Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reflecting

I am nervous, happy, scared, excited, sad...you name it. Writing is very cathartic for me...so bear with me as I share my thoughts.

Oh, dear. I am already crying. Its happy tears, I promise. First of all, thank you for praying for good sleep for me last night. I fell asleep at 9:00pm, woke up at 3:00am and went BACK to sleep for another hour and a half. Now, thats a miracle. Thank you. I am well-rested.

I remember so clearly when Carlton and I felt "the call" for international adoption. Well, actually, its something we talked about when we were dating in high school. But, we felt a real burden back in May of 07. I can't really explain it. We just knew we had to do it and we tried to say to ourselves..."oh, no, not now, we want more biological children...adoption is for when you are older and can't have any children....we can do it in our 40's.....our kids are too young...we don't have enough money....what will our family think?" Oh, and the list goes on of excuses we thought of to put off adoption. But on May 8th, we couldnt say no. (Maybe this is what it feels like when people are called to the mission field?) We just couldn't say no. We put aside all the excuses and rode to Birmingham with another couple and attended an International seminar at Briarwood Presbyterian. This was hosted by Lifeline. Funny thing is, besides the couple that went with us, we told no one. I didn't even tell my mother and I tell her everything. We knew this was something we had to do and nothing (not one of our excuses) was going to stop us. I remember listening to the presentation. I remember looking at Carlton and seeing that big grin on his face. I remember we didn't discuss anything after the seminar. I remember THAT night we RAN up to Karla and told her, "Sign us up, we have to do this, and we have to do this now." Now, you may ask, "Why China?" This is the country we felt called to adopt from and basically we knew that this was where our daughter was. Simple as that. We took home the application and began filling it out. We mailed it back to Lifeline with 3 days. We trusted God to provide us with the finances to do this. And He did. Friends and family gave to us generously. When you are doing an adoption the first $6,000-$8,000 is the hardest. Well, for us it was. You cannot apply for any grants until later down the road. So...this money you have come up with on your own. I remember every single one of those gifts. I cried at each one. I thanked God for each one. One day, I will share with Lily about the incredible generosity of her friends and family. Thank you. Thank you is not enough.

Now, I do want to share something else. At this point in time (May 07'), I was not pregnant. We were trying to have another baby and we had told Karla that night at the informational meeting that we wanted to have another baby. She said it was fine because the wait times for China were so long. We continued to pray that God would give us another child. And he did! I found out I was pregnant in early July. I remember seeing that positive line on the test and then I kept it a secret until one afternoon after church. We went to eat with some sweet friends and I made up a poem and he read it at the table. His eyes got so big and I have never seen him happier. We were so happy. I tear up when I think of the joy we felt those early days of my pregnancy. Well, most of you know my story. But, since there are many, many people from all over the world following this blog, I will share breifly. At 15 weeks of my pregnancy, we were told our daughter would not survive. Our little girl, Sophie Ann, did not have a brain. Through amniocentisis, she was diagnosed with Full Trisomy 13. She was born at 33 1/2 weeks and lived for 9 incredible minutes. It was heartbreaking. There are pieces of my heart that I am sure that will never be mended. It was the darkest time in our lives. But through our sadness, God taught us things that we we would have never learned otherwise. Looking back, I am able to see things that He has done to prepare me for THIS day. Lily will never take Sophie Ann's place, but she is very special to us in that God specifically chose THIS child for our family and to help mend our broken hearts. Had Sophie Ann been healthy, Lily would not have been our daughter. We would have not been able to accept her referral. I already love Lily so much. She is ours and she is a gift to us.

After a long home study, we finally had our Log in Date for China in July 08. There were many paperwork obstacles that we had to overcome. But, we can see His perfect timing in them all now looking back. We accepted Lily's referral in August of 08. We were on cloud 9 for a long time and then reality sunk in and the wait began. Again! I had a big calendar that I kept at home and I would happily mark off each day that passed. (karla, you can quit laughing at my big calendar now!) There were many days I just sat and obsessed over the wait and then there were some days I was so at peace with it. Just another time in my life that I learned a lot of things. I know the timing is perfect and was perfect.

So, here we are....in China....only 9 1/2 hours away from seeing our baby girl. I can't explain my feelings. I wish I could. My heart is about to explode. My throat is tight because I am on the verge of squawling at any moment and as I type this Carlton is fast asleep in the bed??? What??? God love that man, I need someone like that. No worries, just complete faith.

OK, I am off to pack up some things for sweet Lily. I will post again before we leave.

Thanks for listening,
love,
aimee

31 comments:

Krystal said...

Here I was just praying for you to still be sleeping peacefully, and there you are blogging. I'm glad you feel rested. You're on my heart, and I'm so excited for you!

Happy Gotcha Day, Lily!!!

Tamara said...

I'm so glad you got some sleep. It seems like forever ago that this whole process started and so much has happened in between then and now. But, you are absolutely right God has you right where you are supposed to be. God is so good and so awesome to bless you and Carlton with this precious life and soon you will have your little girl in your arms! Yipeeeeeee!!!
I can hardly wait!!

Praying for a smooth transistion!
Love you both,

Jessica said...

Oh precious Aimee, I am typing this through tears of joy. It has been so wonderful to follow your journey to Lily and Sophie Ann and to see God's hand through all of it. Through every joyous occasion and through the times when you felt your just could not go on...God has been with you. Your family is so precious. And God has specifically chosen Lily as your daughter. And in just a few hours she will FINALLY be in your arms...no more calendars to mark off, calls to make, or letters to wait on in the mail...she will be right there in your arms. Oh I am so excited!
I am so happy to read that you were able to rest last night. Continue to pray as you guys wait for the time to pass...it's almost here!!!
Praying for Lily and for a smooth transition.

It's here Aimee...IT IS HERE! Finally it is your turn at GOTCHA!!

love and lots of hugs to you guys!!!
Jess

jengallahar said...

I can NOT wait until I get up in the morning to check your blog! I am so excited for you!

4ever said...

Hi Aimee,

I cried a little reading your story about your decision to adopt. It is alot like mine. (We are currently waiting TA). Thank you for sharing. I am hoping all goes well as you meet your little girl and that she will feel peace. Thanks for sharing with us.

Jennie

Anna Catherine said...

God has given you and incredible story! He is using and has used y'all in so many ways. Carlton and Aimee- Its here! In just a few short hours the long wait is over and sweet Lily is in your arms! The times have been hard the past year but Aimee I pray that I can trust the Lord like you have in ever circumstance; good, bad, easy, and hard. I can't wait to see pictures/video of Sweet Lily! I am praying hard! Love- Anna Catherine

Anne Marie said...

Reading you story and your thoughts makes me cry. I will be thinking about you guys and praying for you today. I will check your blog for updates tomorrow morning right away. I cannot wait to see pictures of your Lily. I am so excited for you guys! We are still waiting for our TA...

The Ferrill's said...

Oh I love your reflections on how you got to be at this point in time...waiting just hours until you see your DAUGHTER!!!!!! The Lord has carried you to this time and place, and you are right: in HIS perfect timing.
Aimee what a blessing it is to follow your journey in life as you follow Christ's leading.
Counting the hours with you! And praying along the way!

Elizabeth said...

How encouraging to read about God's perfect timing in your adoption story. Especially at a time when we have been waiting on fingerprints since July!!! It seems the adoption stories I keep hearing are so similar. I know HE is using every roadblock to teach us something. IT IS YOUR TURN NOW, AIMEE!!!!!!!!
Love,
Elizabeth

Lou Anne said...

Dear Aimie & Carlton.
I have followed your blog for well over a year. Your faith has been a true testament to God's love for all of us. Your new little Miracle is almost in your arms. I know I will have trouble sleeping tonight as I can't wait to see pictures and hear all about the gotcha day. Love and continued prayers.
Lou Anne

Linda said...

Your story parallels ours except that we were some of those people in the mid-forties who answered the call to adopt and then learned that I was pregnant during the same week we received preapproval. (Things were done differently in 2004, and PA was required before you began the paperwork.) I didn't tell anyone about the pregnancy because we KNEW that Ruthie was our daughter, and we were afraid of jeopardizing the adoption. We just knew that this was to be our "second" family, and we talked about how we would raise Ruthie and Baby Ben together. He only lived 6 hours and also had trisomy 13. He will always be a huge gap in my life, so I understand your loss of Little Sophie. G*d did bring Abby & Joanna into our lives, and I have to accept that we would not have adopted again if Ben would have lived. I long for the day that my family is united, and I know you do to. In the meantime, you have a beautiful little girl who is just hours away! I can't wait!

NotTheMama said...

Oh Aimee, I don't know if I'll sleep tonight!! I can't wait to see pictures of you HOLDING your little girl!!!!!!!! It's just a few hours away!

Anna said...

Oh Aimee!!! You're so close! I know you're so excited because I'm freaking out! How amazing is our God? I am so thankful you were able to rest. We're praying and can't wait to see pictures! AHHH! We love you!

The Terrells said...

So glad you got sleep and so glad you took that picture with the lion- (showing the phi mu love) i can't wait to get up in the morning and see the sweet pictures of you and carlton with lily!!! YEAH!!! thanks for letting us be part of this long journey with you!! love you

Angie said...

Aimee,
Your last blog was just absolutely beautiful! And through all of the things life throws at us, God gives us the faith and understanding of why things happen the way they do...Although we may not understand why, God has a plan for us. I would not even be able to sleep knowing that I am just a few hours away from meeting my daughter. I can't wait to check out your blog next post-I am so excited for you both.

Happy Gotcha Day!

Friends and Family said...

Oh, Aimee, what a journey it has been for you all! I am so excited for you and am just so incredibly thankful for your companionship, your faith and your guidance in my own journey. I will be eternally grateful to have been touched by little Sophie Ann and to have been led to you through her. What peace she has in her own soul as she watches her family grow and her parents' hearts smile again! I am certain she has been speaking to Lily's heart and watching over her "little sister". God bless you all!....just breath....your Lily is on her way!

Tamara (and Sophie's friend in Heaven, Emma Leyce)

jsides said...

Aimee and Carlton,
Just wanted to let you know I am praying for you and your family. How exciting to finally know you will be able to touch Lily in person... TODAY!
Janis Sides

Waiting for Mia Hope! said...

Aimee that is such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with us. Sometimes when we are traveling down painful roads its difficult to see the blessing thru the burden. But then the time comes and God reveals the reason to us.. and it all makes sense... and its SO amazing to be a part of His perfect timing. Adoption is such a beautiful blessing...a family brought together...not by birth...but by the hand of God!

This is the day that the Lord has made!!! Lily Day!!!!

I can't wait to wake up and sign on in the morning!

Hugs!
Robin

Holly said...

Counting the hours until we can get up and see THE entry....the one we've waited for! The time is here---WOO HOO!!!

Barb said...

Just got home from Birmingham and the first thing I wanted to do was read your blog! Thank you for sharing your heart-- you have such a beautiful story of your journey in motherhood. Only a few hours more--they probably seem like the longest hours. I can't wait to hear/see more. God is amazing! He has planned so much for you and it is fun to see this unfold!

Tasha said...

So glad you were able to rest! I can't imagine what you are feeling right now, my tears are flowing and heart is beating so fast! I have tried to watch tv tonight but I keep thinking this was the last morning for Lily to wake-up without her,mommy and daddy by her side and soon her big sister and brother!! What a beautiful picture! Our prayers are with you and I hope ya'll feel our arms around you all the way to China!! Just remember to Breathe!!
Tasha

Kim Wade said...

Aimee I wanted to let you know I am praying for you and Carlton and sweet little Lily. I am so excited for all of you.

Kim

Amy said...

I've already prayed for the 3 of you tonight, but I am going to pray that I wake up around 1 (I usually do anyway) to pray for you again (and Hannah Grace and Noah). Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I'm so happy for you and Lily!! Stay as calm as you can and know we're all there with you!!

Love,
Amy Shepherd

Shea said...

So glad you got a good nights rest. HAPPY GOTCHA DAY!!! We love You Lily! Can't wait to see pictures. HIP HIP HOORAY!!!

Jessica said...

Oh Aimee! I am excited that today has arrived for you and Carlton. Praying that you have a smooth afternoon and easy transition for Lily!!! Enjoy this moment! Looking forward to the new pic. of Lily with her mama and daddy!!!
Much love, Kadle

jill said...

OH Aimee, I am crying! To know you guys and follow your journey from a distance has been SO incredible. I am praying hard for you. I've told EVERYONE here in Texas that I can tell to pray for y'all. I'm so excited that you and Carlton are going to hold sweet Lily in your arms in just a matter of hours. We're thinking of you and hoping that the next few days will be as smooth as possible. Love y'all!

Nicole said...

the day has finally come!!!! i can't wait to wake up in the morning and see LILY!!!! GOOD LUCK!! LOVE YALL :)

Jami said...

Ohhhhh! The wait is almost too much.....almost I said. I am so excited for you all. Hurry up and get back here!!!

Praying for you all,

Jami

Katy Watters said...

oh what a picture of the gospel...

I am so reminded of how Jesus came to GET US...and there you are to get your baby girl.

Aimee and Carlton...your life has impacted me more than you know! Tears, heartaches, trials...and PURE JOY! Thank you so much for showing me, with your life, that Christ is worth it all. I hacce learned so much from you.

Sherri said...

Aimee & Carlton,
This has been such a sweet & precious journey of Lily's life and adoption. Just imagine she doesn't have a clue as to how her life is about change. I'm praying for her little heart as she leaving the only life and family she has ever known, and rejoicing with you Carlton & Aimee as you nurture and love her. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this journey. We are so excited for you, waiting patiently with you, and praying for everything to go smooth. Love you both

Sherri

Valorie Leonard said...

Oh, I can't wait to see the three of you together! I didn't realize that we filled out our application the same week that you guys did! God was pushing the international adoption "thing" that week in Alabama!