Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Maximus Samuel

Dreams do come true!
Maximus Samuel
born April 30, 2008
9 pounds, 9 ounces
and 20 inches long
"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalms 126:3

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Packed and Ready

We received a call from Emily this afternoon. She had an appointment with her doctor and because of her regular contractions, the doctor believes Emily could deliver in the next few days.

Since we are packed and ready to go (and simply can't stand it anymore!), we have decided to drive to Tennessee tomorrow. 

We are so excited to spend these last precious days with Emily before Max's arrival.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just Plain Excited

So I just have to write that I AM SO EXCITED! For the first time in months, I think it actually hit me. I am going to be a mommy. Sam is going to be a daddy. We are going to be parents. Our dreams are coming true.

God moved the mountain for us. His plan is in motion and now we can simply enjoy what it means to anticipate the arrival of a new little one.

Maximus - we can't wait to meet you!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Colorado - Part II

And the story continues.

Sam and I got up early Saturday morning and joined Emily's dad for some prayer time before we went to meet Colton and his mom.  

The Scripture the Lord reminded me of was Joshua 1:5b, "I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you."

Emily's dad got this great grin on his face when I shared the Scripture out loud. He told Sam and me that the day he found out Emily was pregnant, the Lord reminded him of that same Scripture and every day since he has prayed that Scripture over his daughter and Colton. Amazing!

So with renewed strength, we took off to meet Colton and his mom.

We sat down at this quaint little diner and right away Colton pulls out this gift [in a bright green bag with bright green tissue paper]. He handed it to me and told me I could open it. I am sure I was trembling. Right after I pulled the tissue paper out of the bag, I saw something very familiar. The papers! Signed and with a ribbon around them. Of course, the tears started flowing. I was crying. Sam was crying. Emily's dad was crying. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life. This young man literally gave us his son as a gift! Words cannot even describe. 

But wait! I am not done. Colton, a fantastic graphic designer, created a birth announcement saying "It's A Boy!" and on the back "His Name is Maximus." Then, as I dug a little deeper in the bag, I discovered a blue blanket. Colton explained that the blanket was passed down to him and he wanted to pass it down to his son. Absolutely incredible. 

Once again, God not only met our need, but exceeded every kind of expectation and dream that we had ever envisioned about this moment. Colton gave us his blessing in such an extraordinary way. 

This all happened on April 19th. I know that our baby boy has not yet arrived, but we will always, always celebrate April 19th as a special day in our family.

Thank you Colton. You are already an amazing birthfather and we are so grateful to be on this journey with you!

Colorado - Part I

We are officially back from Colorado. Sam and I traveled with Emily's dad and were given the opportunity to meet Colton and his mother for dinner last Friday evening.

I think it is best to tell the story of our Colorado trip through two entries.

Let me start out by saying the moment we laid eyes on Colton, we were incredibly impressed with this young man. He carried himself with confidence and had a sincere, genuine and kind quality about him. It was obvious that he wanted to meet us because he cared deeply about the future of this unborn child, his son.

I had prayed a lot last week. Asking the Lord to prepare my heart for this meeting and also to give me guidance on what to share with Colton. I wanted to make a meaningful [and real] connection with Colton. 

Since I am a birthparent, I felt like that was a good place to start. So at dinner, I told my story. I shared about my own adoption experience and how wonderful and rewarding it has been over the years. I wanted him to know that I understood [I mean really, really understood] how difficult this decision was that he was facing.

Of course we discussed a lot more than just my adoption story. We talked about a lot of different angles and how this situation could pan out in several different ways. We talked about the future of this baby and how all of us wanted what was best for this little guy. We talked. And we talked. And we talked.   

After 3.5 hours we were all beat. We decided to call it a night and all head home. We set up a time and place to meet for breakfast Saturday morning.

In all honestly, we were not sure where Colton stood after that evening together. We knew we hit it off and got along great, but was he ready [and willing] to give us his blessing to parent this baby boy? 

Needless to was quite a sleepless night...I am sure for all of us.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Conference Call

Today we had a conference call scheduled with everyone [me, Sam, Emily, her parents and both attorneys] to discuss how we are moving forward with this process.

The best part of the conversation was when we shared our faith with both attorneys! [Sam and I had discussed this prior to the call and felt it was imperative for them to know what we believe and why we are still so optimistic about the adoption]. It was way cool. We were able to explain the God-reasons as to why we are moving full steam ahead. God hasn't told us to do anything different. We believe in miracles and it was exhilarating to be able to share this with our attorneys.

Now, let me be honest that once we got this tidbit of information on the table [the whole we love Jesus thing!] we were greeted with absolute silence.  I am talking silence. Not a peep from either attorney. Hmmmmm...

So anyway.

In conclusion, the best thing that came out of the conference call and discussion is that we have decided to go and visit Colton in Colorado. We want to include him. We want to ask his permission and get his blessing over this adoption. We firmly believe it is NOT GOD'S HEART for this to be a long, drawn out process. It is NOT GOD'S HEART to terminate someones rights as a birthparent. We are going to Colorado to hopefully gain Colton's trust and begin a lifelong friendship with him.

Back to our regular position. On our knees!

Friday, April 11, 2008

From Bad to Worse

I have to start out this entry by saying
God is good.
All the time.
God is good.

OK, now I can begin writing (as difficult as this is).

I feel like we reached our lowest point today in this process. We received a phone call from Emily and her family. They had a conference call scheduled with their attorney this morning. They were caught off guard by what she shared. In a nutshell, the attorney told Emily she needs to seriously consider parenting this baby. We could be in for a long fight, a long battle of the wills, and she could be compromising her rights as the birthmother

Shocking? Yes.
Rattling? To the core.
Doubting God? No.

After Sam and I received this information we could do nothing but cry (ok, probably me more than Sam). We started praying, reading Scripture, crying out to God. What else could we do? 

In fact, it seems that is all we can do anymore. Pray. And then pray some more. This is truly out of our hands, out of our control. This process has become a daily surrender.

So in the midst of us crying out to the Lord saying, "Is this exactly what your will is for us? Have we heard you right? Is this the destiny you have for all of us?" we hear this "ding" on Sam's new Blackberry phone. It's an email from Emily. This is no ordinary email. This is God speaking through this amazing young girl to give Sam and I encouragement and strength to continue this process.

Here are some excerpts from the email:

"When I got off the phone with the attorney, after she told us I should be prepared to parent, I just knew that this was not the Lord. All of these things that are happening are just obstacles the enemy is putting in our way to make us doubt the Lord's plan and I am not having it!"

"I have NOT ONE DOUBT that this is the path we are supposed to be walking down. And I have NOT ONE DOUBT that God is right next to all of us."

"I am so confident of this path we are on. This baby is Maximus Samuel Costello. :)"

"I know that if God is for me, than who can be against me?  I am absolutely willing to continue with this adoption and I wanted you guys to know that. I believe with all my heart that God is watching over us in this and I believe He is working in us, through us and around us." 

"I wanted you guys to know that I have not been moved by what has happened today." 

My tears are now happy tears. Rejoicing in the journey God is taking us on. I feel like we have this front row seat to watching this young girl blossom in the Lord. 

And hey! Aren't I supposed to be the mature person in this scenario? Shouldn't I be the one modeling a resounding faith and unmovable strength? Instead, Emily showed me how to respond by the Spirit today. Claiming victory in what lies ahead.

Thank you Emily. You are already the best birthmom we could ever ask for.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Trust, Wait and Take Refuge

As I have been walking through this time of my life, I have been relying on God's Word to provide me with truth and direction. I was reading Psalms 37 and thought I should share the highlights. This is powerful stuff!

- Do not fret.
- Trust in the Lord.
- Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
- Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it!
- Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
- Do not fret.
- Do not fret (hmmmm...I am sensing a theme).
- Wait for the Lord.
- The Lord sustains the righteous.
- Those blessed by Him will inherit the land.
- The steps of a man are established by the Lord and He delights in his ways. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand (Thank you Lord!).
- The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of God is in his heart, his steps do not slip.
- Wait on the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.
- But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is our strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them because they take refuge in Him.

This is AWESOME encouragement to me! As I was reading this passage I was reminded that it is GOD who has the final say. He is the author if this story. This is HIS tapestry He is weaving. He holds all power and authority. Our part is to trust, wait and take refuge in Him.

Let it be God.

Let it be.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

God Speaks Through Cheryl

After last night, this was a welcomed email from Cheryl [a powerful prayer warrior] in my inbox this morning:

As I was praying for you and Sam this morning this is what I heard from the Lord. 
Though things seem insurmountable at times the Lord wants you to move forward in your endeavors. Sometimes as Christians we have the mindset that if things become difficult, if there are too many obstacles or glitches, we think that it is not of the Lord. BUT this is not the case many times. As you know, He allows glitches for whatever reasons that we may not understand this side of heaven. When we ask for His favor and hand upon something then there are insurmountable ( or so they appear) obstacles, we tend to think it is not of Him and start the questioning process.  
Be at peace, keep your eyes focused totally on Him, and do not allow that to come in to play.
The other thing I have been praying about is the Lord "cutting through the red tape." He is a God of order and details. Red tape, which can be obstacles again, He has under control and He can handle with no problem. It just seems like alot on this end, but He has it covered.
Again, not sure of what this says to you but got this at 7:30 this morning so figure I best pass it on.
 Blessings, Cheryl

What an amazingly cool and kind God we serve. New mercies are available EVERY morning and He wanted to remind us that HE is in control. HE already knows the outcome. HE can handle it with no problem.

Uh ya Cheryl, this speaks to me.

The Intensity Climbs. And Climbs. And Climbs.

Once again we were hit with another dose of reality tonight. Still with Emily and her family, we received confirmation [through a letter] that Colton is taking action to retain his rights as a birthfather. 

It is hard to explain the intensity of this situation. It seems that the future of this baby boy still hangs in the balance. 

It is a struggle between the natural and the supernatural right now. 

In the natural, it seems hopeless. It seems that we either need to throw in the towel or get ready for the fight of our lives [FOR the life of this baby].

In the supernatural, we know that all things are possible. We know that God works miracles. We know that God wants to not only provide a resolution for us, but give us a restored and whole relationship with Colton.

And it seems that is where my heart is tonight. Even as the intensity climbs, I have great compassion for Colton. I want to have the same kind of relationship with Colton that we have developed with Emily. He is so removed from this process. He is isolated and I am sure lonely. He is disconnected and I am can only wonder what he thinks about me and Sam. 

God help us. 

It seems that is all I can muster as a prayer tonight. 

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Shopping for Baby Boy

I had to include this photo! We went shopping and found this little outfit at a boutique. It says "peanut" on the front pocket. LOVE that we got a picture of this on Emily's growing belly. Now I can't wait for the picture of the outfit on baby boy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Just the Girls

What great fun! Kristen was only in town for two short days, but we certainly made the most of the time. Shopping, talking, walking, dining. We packed it all in and made some great memories.
[Kristen, me, Emily, Em's mom]

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Off to TN Again!

So it looks like this could be our last trip to TN before baby boy arrives.  We already have lots planned.  Kristen (my sis-in-law) is coming with me at the beginning of the trip and then she will leave and Sam will join us for a long weekend.

I am so excited...can't wait to see you Emily!