#BringingBabyPorterHome: New Beginnings

As I write this today, I’m sitting in Panera Bread in Watuaga, TX. It’s been almost four months since our last update and as you know, so much as changed. It has taken me this long to write again partly because most of February I was not feeling well and partly because our world was turned inside out in March, I haven’t known how to express everything that has happened!

Looking back, I can see how God’s hand was on us throughout the past few years. While I don’t know the why behind everything, I’m grateful I didn’t know God’s exact plan, but I am grateful He was guiding us through each day, one at a time.

In my last #BringingBabyPorterHome update, while sharing about our progress with becoming foster parents, I wrote this...

“But I know every second a call doesn’t come is a second the right baby is being prepared for us.” 

I would have never believed the very moment I was typing that, my body was 4 weeks in the making of our little miracle. I could "ugly cryright here just thinking about it, but it would cause a scene for my fellow breakfast eaters. God’s timing is perfect. I knew that intellectually before but now... I KNOW it.

Many of you haven’t heard how all of this unfolded for Jay and I so I will try to share the cliff notes version...

In January 2010 Jay and I decided to start our family. After a year of trying, we were transferred to an infertility specialist for testing. Thus began our journey of #BringingBabyPorterHome through fostering and/or IVF.

Meanwhile, in January 2012, Jay shared with me he felt God was stirring in his heart that He may be calling us somewhere else. I would love to say I jumped on board and was ready to follow God where he would lead, but it was a very slow and gradual process for me. Jay was very patient. I spent most of 2012 coming to grips with the fact that my life was not my own. But walking away from CCA one day meant leaving our very best friends and family, our church family, a great job that we loved, and a town and house we had come to greatly enjoy. By the end of the year, I started to feel the drawing as well. We had the unique privilege of being able to share this openly with Pastor Mark and Tina without fear of loosing our jobs. They prayed with us and agreed to help us through our journey.

It wasn’t until January 2014, we felt release to pursue a job. But we knew if we received a foster placement, we would not be able to move from Florida. Jay promised if we had a foster child before we got a job, we would stay until we had direction about the adoption potential of the child.  As you know, that call never came.

The end of February we did get a call, but it wasn’t for a placement. It was for an interview for LifeChurch.tv.  The next few days was full of online testing and phone calls. It was a Monday when we found out the interview weekend would take place the following weekend in Oklahoma City. I was in bed with what I thought was the flu, when Jay shared with me we would be flying out in less than 2 weeks to interview. I was devastated at first because I knew if we got this job, we would be starting over with the fostering process in TX. I felt like we were so close to getting a placement here and we were going to walk away from that.

Once again, I was reminded, my life is not my own.

The Monday before we flew out for our interview, still feeling flu-like, I decided to take a pregnancy test. I honestly had no hopes of it being positive; they never have been in the past. I woke up at 5:30 am with Jay and took it. Well, it was positive. I always expected that moment would have involved shouting and jumping and maybe even confetti being released from the heavens, but it didn’t. I guess it was shock. I told Jay. We hugged. I got back in bed and just stared out the window forever. I could not believe it was positive and the very week we could find out God was opening a door for us to move to TX. The timing was overwhelmingly perfect.

That day is when my morning sickness started... I think Emma had good timing on that one.

We flew out to OKC a few days later for our interview weekend and on Monday they offered us the job.  Three weeks later Jay left for Texas as I stayed behind to wrap up some things at home, at CCA, and to help my mom through her knee surgery. I packed up our home, actually more like watched our home being packed up by the movers, and joined Jay in Texas on May 1st. Our house was only on the market three weeks and we got a great offer which closed the end of May.

It has been a whirlwind the past few months. I was reading through my prayer journal for Baby Porter today and saw in January where I wrote about visiting some friends in the hospital who had just had a baby.

““New Beginnings”- that sign hit my in the face as we got off the elevators on the 3rd floor last night at the hospital. Sometimes it feels we will never have that moment... I trust you Father, I do. Sometimes it’s just so in your face though I can’t escape it.

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. Come let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together! Psalm 34:1,3

Thank you for whatever you are doing with us. Help me to know it and use it.”

God changed our story and gave us our New Beginning in just a moment. I’m so grateful He didn’t answer them on my schedule but in His unbelievably perfect timing. Jay and I are thrilled about starting our new journey in Texas and our lil' Emma joining us very soon!

For those of you still praying to bring your baby home, I know I’ve joined the running list of people in your mind whose dreams have come true while yours are still painfully unanswered. We pray for you often, you all are still heavy on our hearts. God has your specific moment laid before you. He knows the details and how it will all come to be. Trust that, trust Him, and worship while you wait. The Lord our God is ever faithful. He will see you through till the end. 

A love like this

Did you know Valentine’s Day is a shared holiday with National Ferris Wheel Day and National Organ Donor Day! I guess they can all be attributed to love, but for those of you who are looking for something to celebrate other than V-day, there you go!

For our family, not only February 14th Valentine’s Day, it’s also the birthday of someone very special. My Grandfather, Wayne Morrell, has always shared his birthday with this LOVEly holiday. For as long as I can remember, on Valentine’s Day evening, we’ve gathered at my grandparents house, all dressed in red to celebrate the patriarch of our family while the little ones ran through the house passing out valentines to all the cousins. It’s a tradition I may have not fully appreciated throughout my dating years but now it’s more special than all those dates put together.

Tonight is that night again. However this year, it will not just be our family, around 100 people will be joining us to celebrate my Granddaddy’s 90th birthday!  Although we are all excited to honor him in this big way, it is a bittersweet moment because this will be the first birthday not orchestrated by my Granny... and his valentine.

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On this Valentine’s Day, I’m grateful for the love I have with Jay and the life he leads us to live. I’m grateful for my parents and their example of commitment and sacrifice. But I’m overwhelming grateful my grandparents showed us by example what true love is.

True love does not happen by accident. It’s done on purpose, every day.  It happens when each person lives their life with the other in mind. It happens when Christ is in the center. It happens when you stay committed in the mundane, dry, and difficult. It happens when you enjoy the blissful and romantic. And it happens when you continually care more about the last day of your marriage than the first.

My grandparents lived this. I’ve heard my Granddaddy say too many times to count his daily prayer was that he would stay healthy and strong long enough to take care of Granny until her last breath. God honored his selfless prayer.

I’ve watched him give up things he was passionate about the past few years so he could stay near to her and their home. I’ve seen him smile and bite his tongue when she, as most of us wives do, would still complain about how much he was gone. I’ve seen him leave post-it notes on the table when he left for an errand telling her he loved her and would be back soon. I’ve watched my Granny ask each of us on her death bed to “make sure Wayne has something to eat when I’m gone now.” They always considered the other before themselves. 

Now that Granny is gone, I wish I would have noticed more and learned more from them. They celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary last year before she passed away. Jay and I have written that down as one of our life goals; we want to leave that kind of legacy to our grandkids and great-grandkids as Granny & Granddaddy have done for us. 

#BringingBabyPorterHome Update

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It’s been a while since our last update simply because there hasn’t been much of one. But we’ve had several people ask, so I will give you what we have...

Fostering:
Despite the goal of our foster application being approved by Christmas, it wasn’t approved until January 30th. When I got the call, I could have jumped out of my skin. I had to calm down my heart rate enough so that I could carry on an intelligent conversation with the wonderful lady on the phone.

Now that we are approved, we are just waiting on a placement call which fits our home specifics. I was told the call could have happened that day or months from now. There is no way to gauge it. It could be in the middle of the day or middle of night. We just have to be ready. We have a pediatrician picked out (a foster child is required to visit a ped within 72 hours of placement), the nursery ready, and thanks to some awesome people and especially those in our CCA Life Group, we have some necessities on hand already.

My heart leaps when I think our call could literally come any second. Every unknown call that comes through, Jay and I both hold our breath. But my heart also sinks when I think that it could be months on end. But I know every second a call doesn’t come is a second the right baby is being prepared for us. Despite knowing this in my head, my heart can’t help but long for our little family addition. I pray daily wherever our baby is, whether it be in its mother’s tummy, in a hospital, or in an unprotected environment, they are being protected from whatever danger lies around them that will eventually cause them to be put into our arms.  

As many of you know, fostering does not mean adoption... yet. The goal of fostering is to work to reunite the child with their biological parents. In cases where this doesn’t happen due to the  termination of parental rights either by choice or by law, adoption is then considered.  Many times foster parents are given the choice to adopt first. This is why we have chosen this route. We understand the risk of “losing” a child if reunification occurs, but we pray if that happens, the small amount of time we spent with our foster child will plant seeds that change the trajectory of their life forever.

Infertility Treatments:
On the other side of things, we are continuing to see doctors, try medicines, and other things to help us get pregnant. Currently, Jay is seeing a urologist at Shands who specializes in infertility. He gave us some advice last week and some options to pursue. One of those is actually a surgery for Jay. It’s a simple surgery and if it works could possibly increase his numbers. The doctor was cautious to not elevate the results very high, but if it did help even get his numbers up a bit, it could be the difference in a $12,000-$20,000 procedure and a $5,000-$8,000 infertility procedure. 

One of the many struggles with the infertility journey as with any medical dilemma, is there are many, many different routes you can take, all have costs and risks and specific percentages of success.  One of our concerns is continuing to pursue other alternatives and eventually spending the same amount of money or more with no results, then having to return to our original plan. Therefore we are praying God would direct us to which doorknobs we should turn and which we should not. We can’t physically or financially do them all, so wisdom is what we need.

Please join us in praying for wisdom in our decision-making, peace in our waiting, and for the RIGHT call to come in God’s perfect and merciful timing.  Thank you as always for your continued support and prayers during this journey. We are so grateful for each of you. I laugh sometimes at the thought of getting onesies made up for Baby Porter like those you see at different fundraisers. It would say “Brought to you by...” and the back of it would list all the people who helped them become a reality through prayer, donations,  or buying a piece of jewelry. But then I realize, no onesie could hold all those names. :)

 So just know... I will tell them of you often. 

Delight in the Stillness

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Be still.

Be still.

Be still.

Those are two of the most comforting words to me and yet the most difficult to do. Yesterday was a day I needed stillness; stillness with the One who silences every wave of fear, doubt, frustration, hurt, stress, and disappointment.

I found myself repeating those two words to myself over and over again around 6 pm as I was cooking dinner. I opened up my Bible app to something I read just a few days earlier in Psalm 37...

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act...
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

It soothed me yet again. Be still. Let those words sink in. Be still. Quit thinking about what’s waiting on you after this... just be still. Relax your shoulders, let your face relax and be still.

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“Wait patiently with me while I bless you. Don’t rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind. I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be. For you, time is a protection; you’re a frail creature who can handle only twenty-four-hour segments of life… Though you are a time-bound creature, seek to meet Me in timelessness. As you focus on My Presence, the demands of time and tasks will diminish. I will bless you and keep you, making my Face shine upon you graciously, giving you Peace.”  - Sarah Young in Jesus Calling

Try to find some time today to spend with our Father who delights in every detail of our lives, who holds our hand, and who will not let us fall. Delight in the stillness...

Dreaming About Pigs

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Happy New Year! I hope and pray your 2014 is off to a great start as is ours!  It’s time for my monthly #BringingBabyPorterHome update...

Last month I told you Jay had been on some fertility medicine and was getting some tests done in December. We found out on the 30th the results of those tests. Unfortunately the urologist saw no improvement at all from the two months of medication. He did however refer us to a new urologist at Shands who specializes in infertility.  The appointment hasn’t been scheduled for us yet, but that will be the next step towards our infertility plan.

On the adoption/fostering front, although we were hoping to be licensed to be foster parents by the end of the year, there has been some hold ups in the process (not on our end) which has caused delays. We are still waiting, but the new deadline is late January... hopefully.

We received both of these updates the same day during the week of Christmas. Although it was discouraging news, God has shown us time after time He is working on our behalf whether we can see it or not.

One of the very tangible ways we’ve seen this was on Christmas Eve.  We received a $528 check from a very special someone who we don’t get to talk to very much and doesn’t live near us. They initiated a very covert #BringingBabyPorterHome fundraiser, with the goal of raising $500 by Christmas. They met & exceeded this goal. It makes me gitty thinking of pulling out the check with a list of people’s names, some I do know and some I’ve never met. 

I tell people this all the time, I cannot wait to tell our child one day of all the people who have prayed for them, supported their cause, given financially to them, or bought a piece of jewelry with them in mind.  They were loved before they were in existence.

We have big dreams for 2014 and these set backs won’t change that. When Jay and I set our goals for 2014, it was funny seeing the difference between the two of us.

I wrote “Have at least $8,500 saved for infertility procedure.”
Jay wrote “Have infertility procedure done.”

He’s the dreamer and I love that about him. No matter how well we budget this year or little we eat out, completing this by the end of the year is too big of a dream for us to accomplish on our own, but...

From a human perspective, things are impossible... but not with God. Everything is possible with God.
- Mark 10:27

In 2014, I believe my pigs will fly! (Wondering what in the world that means? Check it out here.)