Saturday, September 7, 2013

Judah Ebenezer Todd

Judah was born four weeks ago today at 3:57
AM. He weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and was 20.5 inches long. He arrived quickly, before the doctor could even get there, but was happy and healthy from the start.

His timing was impeccable. Shelby had just completed her last day of work and had her final baby shower the day before. I had just finished work for the week. We had successfully wrapped up the loose ends that needed resolution. We were as ready as we would ever be.

He was, and still is, perfect. A tiny little human being. Alive. The life that had been growing in our birthmom's womb was now in our arms. We had been around him so many times, never able to imagine what he might possibly be like, and then all of a sudden, there he was. Exactly who he is.

Our time at the hospital couldn't have gone smoother. The nursing staff was so helpful and gracious to us. Judah's birthmom wanted us to be a part of as much as we could and she did an amazing job. Her family came to the hospital and we were all able to enjoy some time together and with Judah before it was time to come home.

There were so many details to work out, so many things that didn't have to go smoothly that did. Signing papers went off without a hitch. We were able to get Judah insured and into a doctor very quickly. Our adoption petition went to a judge the day after we got home and has already been approved. The only thing remaining is our post-placement visit.

I've been back to work now for one full week, plus a handful of days before then. School has started, and we're trying to figure out the new normal. I've wanted to write for sometime, but just haven't been able to. Even doing this right now feels like a chore. Every time I sit down to write, there is a little boy nearby that I'd rather spend time with. I know there are some of you not connected to us on facebook who have been waiting for news and pictures and updates, so this is for you.

Life is very good. Parenthood is a most amazing gift. God has proved not only faithful, but so generous to us in this time, answering our prayers with yesses too many times to count.

Perhaps I'll write more about this journey later. I'm sure there is much that could be said. But for now, I just want to be with my family.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Home Stretch

We are entering the home stretch, and it is hard. We are struggling to wrap up the many loose ends, and though we are not even into August yet, it feels like things are terribly rushed.

All along we've know that he was due on August 19th, and all along we've expected him to come a week or two early. However, now that we're less than a month away, his birth feels imminent, and that is terrifying and terribly exciting. It is likely that we will have another two weeks, maybe a bit more, before he comes, but on Monday, our Birthmom will be at 37 weeks, and officially at full-term.

Though there are things still being worked on, we have been assured by our attorney that all will be fine, even if he comes tomorrow. We have the important things done or in process to the point that they will not be huge obstacles.

We have done so much work to prepare a home for Judah, but we are still scrambling a bit to get things in order to actually go to the hospital and be a part of his delivery, and then bring him home.

It is natural in a situation like this to be rather unsettled as the time draws near. That's what I'm telling myself at least. There are so many unknowns. So many things that could go wrong. So many issues that could pop up. We've done all that we could to address these things, and many of them we have, but there is still plenty out of our control. This is the hardest waiting I've ever had to do. We'll, not quite yet. It hasn't yet reached the point of our waiting to hear whether or not we would be his parents the first time. This waiting is different. It is expectant, but very, very busy. We have been given the good thing and now fear it not coming to us for one reason or another. We are staying active, trying to accomplish the things that still need doing, while keeping each other sane, grounded in Jesus. He's the only place we have peace.

It is hard to do this while both being at work all day. It is hard to do this while writing doctrinal statements and taking theology tests. It is hard to do this while spending special time with family, and writing my Grandpa's eulogy, and preaching. It is hard for Shelby when she's already chasing around a toddler all day.

Please pray for us. We are tired. We hope we can go into this thing with a greater measure of peace than we have right now. We hope we can rest a bit before he comes. Please pray that this time next month our biggest concerns will be who is going to wake up to feed and change him, and that these current worries of ours would be memories that never came to fruition, washed away in the sea of God's faithfulness.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Eulogy

My Grandpa passed away recently, and I was given the honor of writing and delivering his eulogy.


I knew my Grandpa with a shovel in his hand. He would spend summer days irrigating the Circle X ranch, keeping it green, and would often take one of us grandkids along to help him move the water. He always loved the land, and knew the land, and cared for the land. Sometimes it was a hoe in hand, keeping the corn free of weeds, so that we could make the drive to Ukiah to sell it at the farmer’s market. It was until later that I realized it wasn’t about making money at all, but about teaching us grandkids, or about talking to people. Other times his hands were full with a box of bread and groceries dropped off with a family who could use it. His Bible was often in hand, or just as likely in his mind, or on his tongue. He even prayed in the English of King James as he was full to bursting with the Word that he read, and heard, and lived. My Grandpa’s hands were always full as he worked hard, and then empty again as he gave and gave.

My Grandpa’s life ended the way it began. Dependent on others for every need in the simplicity of infancy. In between those humble bookends was a life well lived. Spectacularly lived, in fact. It may just be the bias of a grandson, but I don’t know of many people who have lived such a life, or had such a significant impact on their family, their community, and on this world for the glory of God.

Donald Edward Todd was born in 1924, on April 27th, the third of four children. He was born and raised in Orange, California to C.W. and Frances Todd, along with his older brothers, Bill and Harold, and his younger sister Johnnie. Don was farming in partnership with his father when he met Marge Carson at Calvary Church in Santa Ana, and they were married on July 31st, 1947.

Even before they were married, Don could see the writing on the wall. Life in southern California was changing fast, and he knew it wouldn’t be long before their farms were freeways. Well before the land was condemned by eminent domain, Don and his father had been traveling with a keen eye out for just the right spot to settle. Their ventures took them as far as Oregon, and all over California, until eventually they found Potter Valley.

Don and Marge moved to Potter in 1959 along with their six children, Dave, Gary, Rick, Russ, Sharon, and Dan. Marilyn and Steve hadn’t come along yet, but as their family continued to grow, Don and Marge were grateful for the children God had given them, raising their family in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

They had purchased the Holman Ranch first and shortly after bought the Circle X and the Tomlin Ranch. Converting the ranches in the valley from pasture to orchards became a major project for Don and his dad. They planted 120 acres of pears and prunes in the valley, while continuing to run the cattle operation over the hill at the Circle X.

Don quickly established himself as a gifted and multi-talented leader in the community. He served in church leadership for over 50 years. He served on the elementary school board in the early sixties and was instrumental in the establishment of the private high school in 1970 after the public high school was shut down. Don went as far as the State Legislature in Sacramento to help Potter become the first school in California to de-unify from a larger district. The Potter Valley Community Unified School District was formed as a result of overwhelming community support and the hard work of Don and other parents and students. That Potter Valley High School even exists today is a testimony to their commitment to the needs and wellbeing of the community.

Don and others in the community recognized the need for a school in the area that would educate and train children from a biblical perspective. They wanted to give them a solid foundation in Scripture and faith in Christ upon which to order their lives, so they founded Deep Valley Christian School in 1972.

Don served as the President of the Mendocino County Farm Bureau, and helped leaders in Covelo successfully oppose the Dos Rios Dam which would have flooded Round Valley.

He was instrumental in the establishment of Hartstone Bible Camp and as the vice president of the Vose Foundation, and through his own generosity in finances, real estate, and wisdom, he helped support Christian ministry around the world. This included support of Mt. Gilead Bible Camp and establishing Camp KewiƱa in Bolivia, which serves over 6,000 campers each year.

Don was someone that you remembered, even if you only met him once. He had a surprising twinkle in his eye for such a mountain of a man. His voice was earthy and rich. His hands were rough. He was equally at home with his peers, with a child, or with nothing but a dog.

Don loved Marge. He loved his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He loved people. He loved to help people. He loved to talk to people. He loved to know people. He loved land. Buying it, selling it, working it, showing it to people, and giving it away. He loved to build ponds. He loved to tell jokes and stories and sing silly songs. He loved to tell us about the funny bunnies jumping onto the car with a THUMP when we would drive under a tree, and he kept doing it with the same happy gusto even after we figured out that he was just slapping the roof with his hand. He loved to eat weird concoctions for breakfast, mixing his cheerios with raisins, cheese, marshmallows, and peanut butter. He loved to salvage things from the dump that someone else had thrown away. He loved to teach. He loved to sing hymns. He loved to pray. He loved the Bible.

Most of all he loved God. This was his great love, the one that informed and inspired and increased all the others.

Don was not just a man with big ideas and grand deeds. He was a man of a thousand tiny kindesses. His time was yours if you asked for it, and even sometimes when you didn’t and wondered how he even knew you needed something. His home was yours if you needed a place to stay, a seat in his truck was yours if you were hitchhiking, and a place at his table was yours if you were hungry. “There’s always room for one more” was one of his favorite sayings, and he lived by it. It is rare to meet someone in this area who was not touched in some way, large or small, by his life, and in particular, the way he lived it as a testimony to the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Don started to slip into Alzheimer’s and dementia about ten years ago. The decline was slow at first, but before long, the lines between past and present, dream and waking, began to blur.  He had cared for so many for so long. Now he was the one who needed care. He couldn’t work anymore. Couldn’t drive. Couldn’t do so much that he had always loved doing. He still reveled, though, in the sweet cold of ice cream, feet warmed by the wood stove, naps in the sun, feeding the dogs, and the long, slow, shuffling walk to get the paper.

Communication was hard, as he heard little, and spoke much that made sense only to him. He stopped remembering me. Eventually his days were spent in bed, rarely getting out, needing all the care of a newborn baby. I don’t know what Grandpa’s life has been like for him these past few years. It had been a long time since he’d been able to share his thoughts, feelings, prayers and dreams. Life can be hard and death can be harder, when it brings you back to your beginning, utterly dependent on those who love and care for you to sustain your life until God calls you home.

I’ll be a father in less than a month, and I wish my son could have met his great-grandpa. Neither of them would have remembered it, but I wanted to see my son and my grandpa in the same room, and to be painfully aware that the legacy he lived for me will only be left for my son. My son will know him when I talk about my grandpa, when I act like my grandpa, when I say the same silly jokes and the same powerful prayers as my grandpa. My grandpa helped to shape me, indeed to shape all of his family and many of you, and as my son knows me, and my dad, and my grandma, and the rest of the family, he will know my grandpa too.

Don laid his shovel down and went to be with Jesus on June 26th. He went peacefully, surrounded by family, with Marge by his side, as she had been for nearly 66 years. They sang hymns and whispered prayers as he died. My Grandpa would be the first to tell you that death is not the end of things, but the beginning of something new and glorious for the one who knows Jesus. I imagine that he wrestled, as Paul did, with the tension between living in Christ in this life and yearning to be with him in the next. I know though, that he lived a full life; that he walked in a manner worthy of the calling he received; that he honored Christ through life and death, and that he is with Christ now, which is better by far. 

Well done, good and faithful Grandpa. You fought the good fight, you finished the race, you kept the faith. The LORD has rescued you from every evil work, and has brought you safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Prayer Requests, Thanksgiving, and NEWS!

So much has happened since our last update. So much that we apparently neglected to share it with you. So here goes.

1. Our birthmom was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes a few weeks ago. We've done some studying up on what that means, for her and for him, now and in the future. It has the potential to make the last few months of pregnancy more challenging, the birth more difficult, and to leave them both with some challenges health-wise, both long-term and immediate.

Please pray for her as she has to restrict and change her diet, and also deal with a baby that will likely be larger than her first two. This will also increase her risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Please pray that he will not grow to a size that makes labor and delivery too difficult on either of them. Her previous births have gone so quickly, and the thought of a more normal delivery process is pretty frightening for her.

Please pray that when Judah is born he does not suffer any ill effects from this. He will have a higher chance of being jaundiced, of having respiratory distress syndrome (especially if born prematurely), of having a higher birth weight that could lead to a more traumatic birth, of developing hypoglycemia early on, and of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.

As of now, birthmom and Judah are both doing pretty well. He is not measuring any bigger than he should be, and she was able to meet with a dietitian to help make a plan to manage her diet and monitor her blood sugar the rest of the way.

2. We got to see Judah again, this time in 3D 4D (I guess that's what they call them. Time and all that). Ultrasounds are amazing. You can see some stuff floating around, a heart beat, and sometimes a good side-profile. 4D ultrasounds are another story entirely. Shelby and I had always been a bit creeped out by them. How weird to see what your child looks like before she is born. Also, if they're not in just the right position in the uterus, they look like an alien whose face is being smashed up against a pane of glass. For instance...



However, when you are expecting your son to be in your arms in less than two months, and you only get to hang out with him on brief and rare occasions, you rethink these things. We've gotten to spend more with him in utero than most adoptive parents do, I think, but we still are feeling the loss of Shelby not carrying Judah. That I cannot whisper to him as we fall asleep at night, or hear her exclaim as he does flips in there, or watch her slowly grow as he grows...these are things that we miss. Our birthmom was excited about the 4D ultrasound, and the more we thought about it, and the closer it came, the more excited we were as well.

It was amazing. He was awake. He has huge cheeks and pouty lips. He has fingernails. He likes to stick out his tongue. I mean all the time. He needs to learn how to stop poking himself in the eye. I hope he gives up the deathgrip that he has on his umbilical cord. It seems like stuff needs to be flowing freely through that thing. He just seems perfect in there.



3. Our birthmom is on maternity leave now, so we're excited that she'll be getting a break and getting to sleep at night, and we should be able to spend more time with her and with Judah from now on. Please pray that as we do, we will be able to continue to build a unique relationship with her and minister to her.

4. I started class last week. I had registered for two classes back before the start of the term, and I hadn't done much school-wise for a long time. I dropped one class, but am hoping to be able to power through this one along with all else that is going on. The class will wrap up towards the end of July, leaving me free from school in the month of August. Shelby decided to audit the class with me as it will be her last chance to do so before this thing happens. Please pray that I'll have the time necessary to devote to school and to continue preparing for Judah.

5. Judah has a new cousin! Sebastian Lawrence Baker was born to my sister Bekah and brother-in-law Zeke on June 12th. We're so excited to meet him, but rather impatient as well. I don't think we'll have a chance to see him until Judah is here, so it can be a mutual meeting of the cousins. That sounds fun.

6. The home assessment for our homestudy will be a week from today after getting pushed back a few weeks. We are basically ready for it, but still need to cross a few t's and dot some i's. Please pray that it would go smoothly. Please pray that there would be nothing left to fix, or that the fixes needed are simple ones. Along with the home assessment is an interview of sorts. Please pray that we are able to represent ourselves well, and that as our homestudy is actually processed, that we would have God's favor in being approved.

7. This last thing is what really motivated me to get on and update you all, but I've been delaying...I honestly don't know what to say about this, or how to share it with you.

As we said in our last post, we have been humbled and given a special glimpse of the gospel with each gift to us. As donations came in, and as the little bar on our fundraising page filled up a little bit at a time, we were often left speechless, only able to laugh or to cry or to stare at each other in wondering awe. We couldn't believe how much generosity had been poured out on us in such a short time. We expected the remaining months before Judah was born to settle down a bit. We didn't want to have the expectation that our friends and family would give more than they already had, but we also kept praying that God would meet our needs.

As we've seen on a few other occasions during this journey, when presented with a surprise of significant magnitude, Shelby falls apart and I go numb. When we first found out that we would be Judah's parents, she was overcome by emotion and expressed that freely. I on the other hand, went into a sort of shock. I was a bit lost in my mind, going through  the motions of smiling and hugging and so on, but once we got into the car to drive home, she thought for a while that I was upset or not excited about the news. Neither were true, of course, we just react so differently in those situations.

The same thing happened when my family surprised us with a baby shower. Shelby had a brief outburst of emotion, and then became an ostrich and buried her head in my chest. I was a deer in the headlights the whole time.

All that to say, it happened again. We were opening the mail a few nights ago and found a $200 check from some friends who had already given us so much in hand-me down baby stuff, brand new and amazing baby stuff, and most importantly had walked with us through this entire journey, praying with us and for us from the time we got the first email. This would have done it on its own, it was so unexpected, and such an overflow of generosity, but there was more. The next letter we opened had two checks of $600 each.

These checks came from a few far-off members of Shelby's family who had heard our story and been moved by it. They saw the remaining need and felt moved to try to complete our goal. Somehow they came up with the means to do so and decided to give us a crazy generous gift. I was dumbfounded. Shelby cried.

That is what happened. I still don't know what to say about it. The same humbling experience as before, magnified, expanded. We are grateful. We are excited. This is happening.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Generosity

We found out that we would be adopting Judah 3.5 weeks ago. We were overwhelmed with joy, but were also just plain overwhelmed. We knew that we had only four months to figure out and go through the entire adoption process rather than a more leisurely year or two. We knew that this was going to change our lives forever. We knew that babies, while cute, are prone to pants-pooping. We knew that we would soon say farewell to sleep. We knew that parenting would be not only the most challenging thing we had yet faced, but  the most sober of responsibilities that God could lay on us.

It didn't take long for this kind of thinking to reduce our brains to scrambled eggs. It was a lot to handle, but we knew that we would learn along the way, that we would work hard, and that we would get through these challenges. There was another fact, though, that was unsettling in a different way...

We knew that it would be costly and that we were unprepared for that kind of expense to hit us all of a sudden.

I can learn have learned how to change a diaper and how to rock a baby to sleep. I can fill out paperwork and get fingerprinted with the best of them. I can learn how to sleep while pretending to work. We have many friends who can help us through the challenges and show us what it means to be godly parents. But man, when it comes to money, there is only so much you can do.

We have pretty fixed incomes, so taking on extra work is mostly out, especially given all that we have to do in the next few months. We are quite practiced at scrimping and saving money, so we knew we'd be able to go into super frugal mode for the next few months to save as much as possible. But as we budgeted things out, we still were only about halfway to the amount we would need, and much of it would need to be paid before we would be able to earn it and save it.

We wanted to do this thing. God was giving us an unexpected and marvelous gift and at the same time giving us an opportunity to give of ourselves to serve a mother and her son. We had long desired to serve in this way and to have a family, and had prayed for just that. We couldn't turn this down just because we didn't have the money.

Nearly 2 weeks ago we launched a fundraising website. We really had no idea what to expect. We were hesitant to ask people to give us their money. It felt weird. It wasn't an easy decision to make.

What has happened has turned our brains back into scrambled eggs.  We have been shocked. We have laughed. We have cried. It has moved us.

Most of all though, we have been humbled.

We have never been particularly good at accepting gifts. We both have an overdeveloped sense of fairness that makes us want to even out the score whenever we are given a gift or treated to ice cream. Shelby gets mad at me if I do the dishes out of turn because it makes her feel bad for not doing them. We have that human thing that makes us desperate to earn what can only be gotten by accepting the gift. The gospel is hard, like asking for money is hard. Just like we want to be self-sufficient, to meet our own needs, to be able to pay for our sons adoption, we want to be good. We want God to owe us something.

Our adoption will cost about $10,000 and realistically, we hope to come up with $5,000 on our own. The first big expense we were going to need to cover was the homestudy, so we set our first fundraising goal at raising the $1,500 for it in two weeks.

Two weeks will be here tomorrow.

We have been given over $3,200.

About $1,600 came in through the website during that time, and we were absolutely thrilled and amazed at that result. We had really not dared to hope that it would happen, though we prayed hard for it.

We were at home in Potter Valley for my cousins wedding last week and on Sunday were thrown a surprise baby shower by my parents and brothers and sisters. At that shower we received a number of generous gifts for baby Judah, but people knew that our greatest need outside of prayer was financial and their gifts amounted to over $1,100. Combined with other gifts from friends and family and people we didn't even know, we have reached our current level. We now have $1,800 to raise in the next 3 months.

We have received emails notifying us of donations. We have refreshed our website and seen them pop up. We have received unexpected checks in the mail. We have had wads of cash pressed into our hands.

Why is this happening? Why have people been so generous to us? To Judah? To his birthmother?

I'm not certain I know the answer, but I do know that every time we receive another gift, another message promising prayer, another encouraging hug, I understand the gospel a bit better. I understand a bit more about why I have such a hard time accepting grace. I understand that I need help. Lots and lots of help. We could not have done this adoption on our own, and we have been shown that we do not have to.

It would have been okay if we had never received a single donation. We may not receive another one from here until the end, and that will be okay too. God deserves our trust and we will give it to him. He is also generous, and his precious gift to us has been to use his people to show us how little we are and how big he is.

..Hither by thy help we've come, 
and we hope, by thy good pleasure, 
safely to bring him to our home.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Here we raise our Ebenezer


About a month ago, I came home to find this written on our bathroom mirror. 

We had been emailing back and forth with a friend of our birthmother and only two days before had gotten an email from the birthmom passed on to us. She thanked us for our courage and faith in exploring the possibility of adoption and then told us about herself, her situation, and her desires for the adoption. 

Until this point, we had been operating on information passed along to us indirectly and had mountains of questions. After we got her email, we had new mountains of questions, but a much better understanding of the situation and what we might be getting ourselves into. The biggest question mark and stumbling block for us was the fact that the birthmom talked about wanting an open adoption and mentioned a few specific things that she was looking for along those lines. Before this situation came about, our biggest interest was in international adoption. We had hardly thought through the implications of open adoption and honestly, they were quite scary at first, particularly for Shelby. 

She had fears of there being two moms, or of a birthmother showing up on our doorstep, or of a child confused as to who his parents were or who his family was. As we wrestled with these questions and emotions, we knew that we had to decide whether or not to take the next step in this process, or to step out of it right then. It wasn't clear how to proceed yet as I was feeling more positively about the situation than Shelby was as she processed through so many fears. We both knew that we couldn't go forward unless we were on the same page and both willing to go through with meeting the birthmom. 

The day after we got the email, Shelby chatted me at work, and told me how frustrated she was. She wanted God to take away her fear or make it clear that we should move forward in spite of it. The next day though,  I got this chat from her. 

3:07 PM Shelby: I think I want this...all we have is now in life and God never said that it would be easy. What better way than to trust Him that we will be okay no matter how much we doubt and fear that this is right for us. I'm terrified still by the way! I am not convinced that He wants us to do this but think it's a fatty chance to take a "leap of faith." I'm afraid to say this without your 100% consent because in my mind if you aren't fully daddy...then I'm stuck in a full time nanny position that I never get a break from and feel like he would be more my responsibility. I'm not even okay with that nightmare of an idea. It will take some extreme trust in you, for me to do this.
3:08 PM me: AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
  ILOVEYOU!!
 Shelby: don't make me cry...what does this reply mean anyways?
3:09 PM me: It means I have a big silly grin on my face
3:12 PM Shelby: I love you and I'm really really scared. 

God didn't give Shelby peace about doing this, but he did give her a desire for it. The amazing thing is that it had less to do with what she wanted or what she might be able to get out of it, and more to do with wanting to get to know this young lady who wanted to make the impossible choice to give up her son. We wanted to adopt, but along the way God was giving us an opportunity to care for someone in a terribly difficult situation.

When I got home that day, his name was written on the mirror.

Judah Ebenezer Todd. 
 "We will praise the LORD, for thus far He has helped us."

As soon as I saw it, I knew that this was his name, and that we would call him this whether or not we were given the gift of adopting him. His name would ring true even if he was never our son. Before we even met his birthmom, or found out that we would be adopting our Judah, God had used him in a miraculous way to challenge us, change our hearts, and help us to trust him like never before. We would thank God for him and he could be our "stone of help" even if God had given him to another family.

Shelby wrote what you see below to explain his name and it's meaning to his birthmom after we found out that she wanted us to be his parents.

Genesis 29:35: "And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing."
1 Samuel 7:12: "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."
The Lord has helped us very much along this journey and has given us many "Ebenezers" (which means "stone of help") to remind us of His hand in all of it. Judah will be a living reminder of God's blessings and promises in our lives! We have so many reasons to trust Him now and with our future, because He's gotten us this far and as we look back at what He's done for us, we can be encouraged and strengthened...and give PRAISES to Him for doing so!
__________________________________________________________________________


I'm not sure what is happening in this picture, but that is our son. 

Judah Ebenezer Todd. 

We can't wait to meet him.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Our Son has bad timing

Ultrasounds are weird. Just when I think I know what I'm looking at, the lady with the gooey wand moves it and I'm lost again.

All the same, I saw my son today. Mostly I saw his spine. Also his head, which is big. He was lying on his face or something, so we couldn't see it, but we could make out his hands.


Unfortunately he was asleep through the whole thing. Our wonderfully gracious birthmom chugged some melted jamba juice to try to sugar shock him into consciousness, but all we got were a few twitches...

Shelby pretends that she knows what this is, but I'm not sure I buy it.

Those twitches were possibly the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

The other contender would be seeing his little heart beat. Fluttering fast like he was excited to see us or something.

The point of both is the same though. He is alive. He is alive and growing even when we are not there with him. He was alive and growing before we were even aware that he existed and needed a family.

I always thought that I would slowly get used to the idea of being a parent. That I would see Shelby's belly grow and feel a baby kicking around in there. That I would see this, day in and day out, and know that there was a little person slowly growing in there.

It's happening differently than I ever thought it would, but it is still the most bizarre, amazing, and beautiful thing imaginable.

Thank you God for the the gift of life.