Monday, November 18, 2013

We remember...

Today is the day...

One year ago today at 1:07am a tiny, fragile, dark skinned and dark haired baby boy was born. He came into this world 9 weeks before this world planned for him but just on time for the plan God had for him. He came in via emergency c section under stress. He weighed only 3lb 10oz and was 16.5 inches long. He had big brown eyes and a head full of dark brown hair. He was bright red, just like a little chili pepper. 

At that time, he wasn't sure of who his mama and daddy would be. He hadn't been introduced to them yet but he did get to meet his birth mom and his birth dad. His birth mom was a beautiful young lady with long blonde hair and very fair skin. His birth dad was average height with dark brown hair and very dark skin. He got to spend some time with them, holding their hands and listening to them whisper their plans for him. He heard how much they loved him and he saw the tears they cried when they told him this would be one of the last moments they would have together. And then he waited... 

On November 21st they walked through the door to his room. His daddy made his mommy promise not to look at him before they both could go over and see him together. They washed their hands (up to their elbows) and he heard their giggles and could see their smiles from where he was laying covered in wires and secured in his warm incubator. 

The moment they walked from the sink to the bed seemed like forever and like they were stepping on clouds. They felt like it was a dream come true. They held hands and smiled and their eyes were sparkling with all the joy and love a parent could hold. As soon as they reached his incubator and looked down at him he raised his arms up in the air as if he were saying SCORE or showing them just how big he was. He slept through most of their first meeting but he heard their giggles and their whispers of "Oh, baby Isaiah how we have prayed for you and dreamed of you and we loved you so much before we ever even laid eyes on you."

He watched as they left and then returned with his birth mother. He listened as they talked and got to know one another. He held her hand as she spoke about how scared she was for him and how she hoped that his adoptive parents would love him even if he had problems due to a traumatic birth. He watched as she whispered love to him and held his little hand just like a mama would. He listened to his new mama and daddy tell her how much they already loved him and how long they have been waiting for him and praying for him and praying for her. He listened as they giggled and said that NOTHING would ever stop them from loving him. He listened as they told her that she would always be a hero in their hearts and she would always be spoken of very highly in their home. 

Isaiah Samuel was born today and his daddy and I have many tears of joy and a very grateful heart. We cannot believe it has been a year. We remember the days leading up to this day. We remember the ache. We remember the pain. We remember the whys. We remember the 16 year old girl that came up to us at church on November 18th; it was her first time there, she was visiting family for Thanksgiving. She told us that she knew a couple in her home church that went through a lot of fertility issues and couldn't have children. They had decided to adopt and they were matched with a baby and that baby was born and the birth mom changed her mind. She said they were devastated but then Jesus gave them another baby and this birth mom did not change her mind and their baby boy was now almost 1 and he was theirs forever. She said God had a plan and not to give up and to trust in him and his timing. 

We remember the call I got while at work on Monday, November 19th. We remember sitting and listening as our adoption consultant spoke about a tiny preemie that was born the day before and he was waiting for his mama and his daddy. We remember putting our YES on the table and allowing God to take us on the most amazing journey. We remember. 

Today we will celebrate one year of God's glorious plan. One year of joy. One year of complete and utter thankfulness. One year of awe. One year of wonder. One year of Jesus showing us just how much he loves us. One year of redemption. One year of the amazing journey of adoption. I have been listening to a song lately called Come Away...

Come away with me, come away with me 
It's never too late, it's not too late, it's not too late for you
I have a plan for you, I have a plan for you
It's gonna be wild, it's gonna be great, it's gonna be full of me 

Jesus is wild. His plan is wild. We NEVER in our wildest dreams or imaginings could have come up with the journey he has us on. We decided a long time ago to trust him. It doesn't always look like it should and we don't always go easily but eventually we get to the place we should be. We trust him. We know that he has our BEST interest at heart. We know that his plan is the best plan and we do not ever want to fight it. It may hurt for a minute but in the end it is full of more joy than one heart can contain. Don't fight his plan. Follow him. Trust him. Believe us when we say, it is worth every second. Every ache. Every pain. Every tear. It's worth it. 

Our Saiah Sammy, 
Today you are one year old. Mama and Dada cannot even believe it. You have been our greatest joy Isaiah. You have shown us what true redemption is. You have shown us what true hope is. You have shown us what dreams coming alive looks like. You have shown us what true joy looks like. You are our perfect picture of God's love for us. You are silly, so smiley in the mornings, stubborn, sassy, busy, handsome, funny and serious. You love to sing and dance. You love to be sung to. You love church. You love kids. You love to play. You love to read books. You love to say dada and you are working on mama. You love to get into EVERYTHING! You love your baba and you love to eat. You love vacation and a new place to stay. You are such a joy Bubs. Daddy and I have loved raising you this past year. It was our heart's cry to get to raise a baby here on this earth and you have filled that void. Jesus has given us such a sweet gift in you baby boy. We can't wait to see all that God has planned for your big life. We thank him for each and every day with you and we pray that you would always run after Him. Today we will celebrate you. The amazing life that God has given you and the amazing gift he has given us. We love you Isaiah Sammy and nothing will ever change that just like we told your birth mom one year ago. We promised her that we would love you forever and that is most definitely what we will do. To the moon and back our love, to the moon and back. 

Love you always...

mama and dada

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Walking it Out

We walked on Saturday, October 13th for our Ellersley and our baby moo and many other sweet babies that dance with Jesus in heaven. We joined over 450 other people for our Walk for the Angels. It is an annual event put on by an A M A Z I N G grief support group that supported Wesley and I after the birth and death of our Ellersley. We adore them and the bonds that were formed in those precious months after Elle's passing will never be broken. We may only see them once a year but it is a precious time that we cherish! 

This year was extra special because we got to take Isaiah and well, that had me in tears a lot of the day. I was very emotional and I was forcing myself to hold my tears in almost all day. I loathe crying in front of others...that hideous pride of mine. Isaiah loved it; he adores new people so he was just in heaven seeing so many people and being in a new place. He got to meet all of our old friends and they all loved seeing his cuteness. It was a great day remembering Elle and little moo and all that God has done for our family in this life after death. 

 We took this family picture the morning of the walk because our daddy had a cross country meet he had to coach...he couldn't come to the walk and we were very sad but it's his job so we obliged happily! :)
 Our Uncle Rob and Aunt Rara and sweet baby Liam!
 Isaiah Sammy with his Walk shirt and his pin for Ellersley!
 so so blessed to be his mama <3 br="">
 Walkin' it out!

 It was an absolutely GORGEOUS day! So gorgeous that I was a bit shocked and Isaiah was sweating since I thought it was October in Ohio and it turned out to be June... :)

 Isaiah got tired of the stroller, he wanted to walk some too :)
 He loves to send balloons to sissy!
 He's kissing it! :)

 sweet friends :)

 sending our balloons away with lots of hugs and kisses :)
 He watched them float away forever :) such a sweetie...

 so so silly and so happy
 i love him
my sweet, sweet friend...Erica :)

We had a blast and we hope that your October has been wonderful as you remember and honor the sweet babies that you cannot hold. We will continue to pray that God's everlasting peace would surround each and every family of loss...

Much love,

Elle and Isaiah's Mommy

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Life is Gorgeous

I figure it's been a good, long while since I've posted some pictures of our bub man here so I will get to it! I apologize for the delay and hope you enjoy these pictures of his gorgeousness as a peace offering... :) 

Mr. Isaiah Sammy...10.5 months old! And, no that is not a wig...amazing head of gorgeous hair!
 Pj's and this incredible Monster hoodie

 Yes, he eats all by himself now, a big boy!

 He loves to see mama or daddy in the morning!

This is his prized possession...he ADORES it! 
 This is Isaiah's sweet cousin, our little Liam! He was blowing me kisses :)

love love love him 

 some swing time at the park...he was laughing and laughing! heavenly sounds!

 his smile behind that swing is priceless!

 I told you he was gorgeous 

 blurry but adorable :)

We hope you are having a fantasticly gorgeous week! 

Elle and Isaiah's mommy

Wednesday, October 9, 2013



It's been on my mind a lot lately. It was brought to the forefront of my mind as I have been watching a woman battle a pending divorce. I watch her weep and I hear her pain. I see the agony of defeat all over her entire body; head to toe. I was weeping for her and her family and God whispered... Redemption. 

I am redemption. 

I died and it looked ugly but then...

Then, all that was redeemed. 

I woke up and the greatness of that made the ache of death seem so very dim.

I am redemption. 

In the sweet reminder he gave me I was able to encourage this woman but also be reminded of the amazing redemption in my own life; in our story. Our story is a picture of the amazing redemption that only Jesus can offer. Any person who has a personal relationship with Jesus has a story and a journey of redemption. He turned your darkness into light, your mourning into dancing, your ache into joy. He made all things new which means that, at some point, all things were not new. They were old and dirty and ugly and nasty. And now; now they are new and alive and well. 


Someone was making fun of me the other day. They were sarcastically discussing my overuse, in their opinion, of Facebook. They were laughing because an acquaintance of ours mentioned that they saw pictures of our son on Facebook and, in their opinion, that means that I put him on Facebook too often. I was seriously offended by this statement, probably way more than I should have been but we will save that discussion for another post. First of all, I love my son and love equates to facebooking him all over the place (please note sarcasm). Secondly, he is stinking gorgeous people...who wouldn't want to look at him a billion times a day???? And, lastly but most our eyes, Isaiah is a perfect picture of the redemption of Jesus.

Our lives were in ruins after losing our daughter and Jesus brought us Isaiah. He is the hope we had been holding onto, he is the good after the bad. He is the sunshine after so much rain. He is a picture of Jesus making all things new. He is alive and well and so stinking gorgeous. Why would we not want to share him and that picture of redemption with everyone we meet? 

Also, I've talked about it here a lot but adoption...oh, it's all about redemption my friends. God decided to adopt us into his family; into his home and take our rough, dirty, ugly past and make it all new. Isaiah came from a long line of nasty pain and hurtful ugliness but Jesus...he has made all things new. He gave him a birth family and an adoptive family that will love him and cherish him for all of his days. A family to raise him to someday know of the redeeming power of Jesus that can come alive in his own heart and life someday. I could go on all day...I just love me some redemption! 

I talk about all of this to share this amazing story with you and to let you in on one of our next adventures. Read this article...because it's awesome and made me cry and hopefully you will be moved to fight for orphans in your area and around the globe. 

Amid churchgoers, an orphan pleads for a family

ST. PETERSBURG — As soon as they pulled into the church lot, Davion changed his mind.
"Miss! Hey, Miss!" he called to his caseworker, who was driving. "I don't want to do this anymore."
In the back seat, he hugged the Bible someone had given him at the foster home. "You're going to be great," Connie Going said.
Outside St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, she straightened his tie. Like his too-big black suit, the white tie had been donated. It zipped up around the neck, which helped. No one had ever taught Davion, 15, how to tie one.
"Are you ready?" Going asked. Hanging his head, he followed her into the sanctuary.
This had been his idea. He'd heard something about God helping people who help themselves. So here he was, on a Sunday in September, surrounded by strangers, taking his future into his sweaty hands.
• • •
Davion Navar Henry Only loves all of his names. He has memorized the meaning of each one: beloved, brown, ruler of the home, the one and only.
But he has never had a home or felt beloved. His name is the last thing his parents gave him.
He was born while his mom was in jail. He can't count all of the places he has lived.
In June, Davion sat at a library computer, unfolded his birth certificate and, for the first time, searched for his mother's name. Up came her mug shot: 6-foot-1, 270 pounds — tall, big and dark, like him. Petty theft, cocaine.
Next he saw the obituary: La-Dwina Ilene "Big Dust" McCloud, 55, of Clearwater, died June 5, 2013. Just a few weeks before.
• • •
In church, Davion scanned the crowd. More than 300 people packed the pews. Men in bright suits, grandmoms in sequined hats, moms hugging toddlers on their laps. Everyone seemed to have a family except him.
Davion sat beside Going, his caseworker from Eckerd, and struggled to follow the sermon: something about a letter Paul wrote. "He was in prison," said the Rev. Brian Brown. "Awaiting an uncertain future . . ."
Sometimes Davion felt like that, holed up at Carlton Manor with 12 teenage boys, all with problems. All those rules, cameras recording everything.
Davion wants to play football, but there's no one to drive him to practice. He wants to use the bathroom without having to ask someone to unlock the door.
More than anything, he wants someone to tell him he matters. To understand when he begs to leave the light on.
"You may be in a dark place," said the preacher. "But look for the joyful moments when you can praise God."
Picking at his fingers, Davion wondered what to say. And whether anyone would hear him.
• • •
Davion always longed for a family. His caseworker took him to picnics, put his portrait in the Heart Gallery. But he had thrown chairs, blown his grades, pushed people away.
When he learned his birth mother was dead, everything changed. He had to let go of the hope that she would come get him. Abandon his anger. Now he didn't have anyone else to blame.
"He decided he wanted to control his behavior and show everyone who he could be," Going said.
So someone would want him.
"I'll take anyone," Davion said. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."
All summer, he worked on swallowing his rage, dropping his defenses. He lost 40 pounds. So far in 10th grade, he has earned A's — except in geometry.
"He's come a long way," said Floyd Watkins, program manager at Davion's group home. "He's starting to put himself out there, which is hard when you've been rejected so many times."
Davion decided he couldn't wait for someone to find him. In three years, he'll be on his own.
"I know they're out there," he told his caseworker. Though he is shy, he said he wanted to talk at a church. "Maybe if someone hears my story . . ."
• • •
The preacher spoke about orphans, how Jesus lifted them up. He described an epidemic, "alarming numbers of African-American children who need us."
Then he introduced Davion, who shuffled to the pulpit. Without looking up, Davion wiped his palms on his pants, cleared his throat, and said:
"My name is Davion and I've been in foster care since I was born. . . . I know God hasn't given up on me. So I'm not giving up either."
Lane DeGregory can be reached at or (727) 893-8825.
How to help
At publication time, two couples had asked about Davion, but no one had come forward to adopt him.
If you want more information about Davion — or any of the 120 foster children in Pinellas and Pasco who are waiting for families — call Eckerd at (866) 233-0790. If you can't adopt but want to donate time or money, call Eckerd at (727) 456-0600. For information about children who are available for adoption in Hillsborough County, go to heartgallery

Amid churchgoers, an orphan pleads for a family 10/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, October 7, 2013 9:32pm]
© 2013 Tampa Bay Times

This is heartbreaking but it's also prime opportunity for redemption to show it's amazing power. God has a plan for this young man and I hope I hear his amazing name again someday soon. I hope and pray it's him standing up and telling the world about the amazing redeeming power of Jesus and that he puts the lonely in families. He redeems the ugly and makes it oh so pretty. He makes all things so new. 

Wesley and I are in the beginning stages of foster care. God has a plan for some sweet babies and we are hoping and praying that he will allow us to be a part of many sweet ones precious lives. We know the road will be long and full of things we cannot imagine but we know that God always has a great plan; one that is full of his redemption. Redemption for us and redemption for many precious little ones that he loves so very much. We can't wait to see all He has planned...

Much love to all of you...

Elle and Isaiah's Mommy 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

There is Beauty here...

Two years is weird...

It feels so very different from the first year. I feel that I have moved on but then I feel that I'm still standing in the same place I was a year ago. I feel so happy that she's not here but then so sad that we aren't walking hand in hand at the park. I feel like I know who I am again but then I look at myself sometimes wondering who on earth it is that's staring back at me in the mirror. I feel intense love here but sometimes the intense emptiness floods in. I feel fulfilled. I feel peace. I feel joy; honest and pure joy.

The biggest emotion that I have at this 2 year birthday/anniversary is intense gratitude over the beauty that has been found here. There is beauty here...lots and lots of beauty. The death of a child is devastating, heart-wrenching and just plain awful. These descriptions come to mind for people who just hear of another's loss; those words barely delve into the mess that it causes in the lives of those that are directly affected. 

Today, not only are we remembering the day that she came but we are remembering all the days directly following. We are remembering the emptiness; the huge hole that she left in our home and our hearts. We are remembering the groaning and the ache of dreams that were now lost, never to be returned. In the midst of that I have this gratitude and this huge smile on my face. She brought beauty, lots and lots of beauty. 

Isaiah 61:1-3 
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. 

I don't know about you but I think it's pretty incredible that this verse comes out of the book of Isaiah. :) What a great name! :) Two years later and we are seeing the beauty that Jesus promised. 

We have watched as Jesus took this blog and used it and our Ellersley to bring more glory to himself than we ever could have done without her story. 

We have seen Him bring more compassion toward others because of Elle.

We have seen friendships grow with people we never would have ever known before our daughter.

We have been a part of loving a group of teenagers; learning how to love like Jesus loved-with a lot of grace and loads of patience. 

We have endured the breaking down of our pride and control. 

We stood by and watched as God took the reigns of our adoption journey and he made it exactly what he wanted it to be.

We stood by as he intricately timed each event and brought us to Isaiah's NICU room on the most perfect day and at the most perfect time.

We stand by each day and smile and laugh at our sweet son and the awesomeness that is our life. 

There is beauty here. 

I hear this song often but I didn't really take in the words until recently. It gives me goosebumps and makes me cry every time I hear it now. 

We have a serious story to tell and we have a serious wound that, on some days, still needs some serious healing. I remember wanting to believe that there would be beauty here. I remember the nights crying and telling God that I knew there would be meaning here but it was so difficult for us to see. I remember this ache. 

Today, I want you all to know that there is beauty here and there is beauty in whatever the situation is for you. Jesus is watching and He is hoping that soon you will see the beauty and the meaning behind the ache that you have. I will be praying for you all today...there is beauty there and I will pray that today you will see it. 

Our Ellersley Grace, 

If you were here you would be two years old today. We would be making gluten-free pancakes and singing Happy Birthday to you over and over again today. We would be having a party tonight with our family and you would be the center of all the attention. You would be in a sparkly hot pink tutu and big bows in your pretty strawberry blonde hair. You would be beautiful. Today, we miss you so very much Elle. We love you and we are so very grateful for your big life. We cannot even begin to count all the good that you brought with you and two years later we are so very full of joy over that. We will celebrate you today with your baby brother. We will take him to your stone and we will leave a balloon for you and tonight we will send you two balloons and your princess lantern. We will read the story of you to him and tell him all about how stinkin' gorgeous and special you are, just like him. We wish you were here to celebrate with us but we know that this plan is the best plan. We are so overjoyed at the beauty that you brought and the beauty that Jesus has given in place of the ashes. We love you our sweet girl and Daddy and I are so happy that we are 2 years closer to seeing your beautiful face again... We love you to the moon and back always and forever...

Mama and Daddy