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(Post 4) – One of the Best Years of My Life – Part IV

Two of these “Best Years” series posts in a row? Well, I couldn’t help myself as I laughed at Frankie baby this morning. My cup runneth over. THIS baby’s birth…changed me as a mom…as a person…and I had no idea what I was missing…

The days were long and the years seemed to fly by…and I was convinced it would have been easier to have twins who were on the same schedule rather than two babies a year apart…we LIVED at home to accommodate everyone’s schedule–and if it weren’t for these pictures–I wouldn’t remember much.

Parker and daddy’s favorite past-time…

And before you know it–I had officially survived the first year…

It was at this point that Richard began reminding me that we wanted more children–and if we tried for #3 now–then our 3rd would be just 2 years younger than Laney. For months I called him CRAZY. I thought he had lost his mind. But the more he talked–and shared his heart–the more I was convinced it would be a great thing to have the children close together so they could grow together and do life together. It took me awhile to get there–but I got there. And this was a new perspective for me–because we’d had two surprises and I thought this was fun to finally “plan” when we’d have a child…(as IF you really have any control–hadn’t I learned that by now?!)

So we started trying for #3–and I started playing lullabies and dreaming. Fall passed us by…and then came Christmas…

I stocked up on ovulation tests.

I checked my temperature daily.

I made a poster board charting my temperatures and when the best times would be to get pregnant.

While the first few months of taking tests to see if just MAYBE we were expecting seemed fun…like the anticipation of Christmas morning and waiting to see the gift you’ve dreamed of…at first it seemed exciting. But after Fall and Winter passed…it was no longer fun any more. It was stressful…and my heart longed.

And every month–when I got a negative test…I sat on the bed–and cried.

I. Had. No. Idea.

One of my bestfriends had her baby…I forced myself to go to the hospital…I was so happy to get to hold her sweetie–but I didn’t expect to feel the way I felt when I did. I couldn’t get out of the hospital fast enough. I ran to my car and cried all the way home. I ran up the stairs to Laney’s room–and I picked her while she was still sleeping…and I watched her sleep. I went to Parker’s room and combed my fingers through his hair. He was so perfect. And so was she. And I. Had. NO. Idea. WHAT MIRACLES THEY WERE.

I realized then and there–how much I had taken some of my mommyhood for granted. It came to me before I wished for it or LONGED for it. The diapers I dreaded. The nursing…a chore. So many things…were just something I had to do rather than GIFTS…MIRACLES…TRUE JOYS. I had no idea!

From that day forward–I was changed. And this is where ONE of the BEST years of my life REALLY begins…in the REAL LIVING…

I STILL LONGED for another baby. But I threw the ovulations tests away–as they were making conceiving a baby a task. I threw the chart away. I tossed the calendar in the trash. And I called an adoption agency–and asked for a packet. My heart knew it was longing for a baby…but maybe my baby was coming in a different way this time. We always said we’d adopt first–but God had different plans for us…and I now realized how PERFECT HIS PLANS WERE. I now watched them sleep at night with a worshipful heart to my Savior for blessing me with these precious gifts. Being a mom was now a TRUE MIRACLE.

Rich and I just decided to ENJOY our two little ones…our lives…and we even set the adoption papers aside. Our hearts needed to stop trying so hard to make all “OUR PLANS” come true…and just rest in the waiting for HIS PLANS–we needed to just BE for awhile. Every time a baby was born or a friend called me with pregnancy news–my heart sank for a moment…but then I looked in my back yard at my two precious miracles and thanked God for giving them to me. I realized how MUCH I NEEDED this season.

I came alive with my littles more than I ever had…and life was good.

Another season passed and Richard was heading over to Africa to make another trip to Wiphan Zambia. When he planned the trip in the Fall I had decided not to go with because I thought we’d be pregnant. Now, he left–and I was home with my two little ones with the reminder of why I didn’t go. I packed our bags and I headed to the beach to crash my sister’s beach vacation. Isn’t that what every good sister does in times like these;). Just kidding–it was just my mom and sister and my nieces at the beach–so we took off to join them. Only–we didn’t quite make it on our first attempt. Laney started throwing up in the van when we got stuck in Atlanta traffic–so we turned around and headed home.

It turned out she was only carsick. I got the car cleaned up. Babies to sleep. And I had the sweetest PEACE come over me. Nothing was quite like I would have planned–but there was PEACE…and I longed for my sweet husband who was half way around the world.

And just for kicks…because I was bored and couldn’t sleep at 1am–I took one of the 100 pregnancy tests under my bathroom cabinet. And I sat on my bathroom floor and cried. By myself. I was going to be a mommy again!

Looking back now–I am in awe how God planned this. How HE was the only one I could celebrate with in the moment…and WORSHIP. I laughed sitting there thinking how if Laney hadn’t gotten sick on the way to the beach–I wouldn’t even know. I was in tears driving BACK home with the car all packed up…with puke every where…knowing the clean up was NOT going to be pretty and how if she hadn’t gotten sick we’d be at the beach with family and DISTRACTIONS by now. But God said, “NO.” He said, “You can’t see what I’m up to…” He wanted me to have this SWEET knowledge of the gift ALREADY given to me to enjoy all week while Richard was gone…and He had perfectly written this story.

It took me 2 days to get in touch with Richard in Zambia. That may have been the longest two days of my life! My heart couldn’t believe it…and I made him swear we wouldn’t tell anyone until we were 10 weeks along to make sure it was safe and the baby was okay. He didn’t hear me I guess–because I heard him shout to 400 children and widows, “I’m gonna be a daddy again!!!”

How can you be mad at that;)?!

He promised the orphans and widows in Zambia wouldn’t tell anyone we knew;)–and they all rejoiced when he told them. We had stepped out in faith a year earlier to join 4 other couples in heading up Wiphan–and God’s plans were perfect. These people across the world were now family to us…and dear to our hearts…and although normally I would have wanted to share this moment with Richard–it was perfect to share it across the world…and with part of our heartbeat of in these people we had fallen in love with.

By the time I went to my first appointment–to my surprise I learned that when Richard shared our news in Zambia WE WERE actually 10 weeks pregnant!! SO…he had even told others in the time we wanted to. BUT we still hadn’t told anyone–and at our first appointment we not only learned I was 15 weeks pregnant (crazy how all the previous tests were negative each month because I’m convinced the Lord wanted us to find out in this way instead)…but we ALSO found out at our very first appointment we’d have a SON!

I cried…and I was overjoyed. A MIRACLE!!! And I proceded to cry through EVERY. SINGLE. APPOINTMENT. When there were new doctors, they would assume he was my first–and when I would tell them he was my 3rd they would ask if everything was okay at home…seriously–all a nurse or doctor would have to say is “he’s measureing perfectly” and I’d burst into tears! And hearing the heartbeat–I’d lose it EVERY time. I’d look at them and tell them it was more than okay…and I was having a baby!

I thought of all my friends who had tried for much longer than this to have their little ones…and I now rejoiced with them in a new way with their news. I knew I would NEVER, EVER in a million years understand the grief and heartache some of my dear family and friends have gone through not ever carrying a little one…and I began to see my days and the miracles God had given me in a whole new light…and I really, really, REALLY began to hold my children differently…sing to them more passionately…and from that day forward–I would (and still do) cry almost every night when I read them sweet stories at bed time.

I called a dear friend (Tammy Dugger) to capture my big belly just a few weeks before delivering my sweet Frank…

We decided to name our sweet boy after my grandfather who shared the gospel with me when I needed it most. His name–Frank–means “spear/arrow” and we pray the verse over his life that he will be an arrow for the gospel…that when we send him out God would use his life to pierce the hearts of man to be transformed for His sake…

Psalm 127:3-5…Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them

And then…he made his appearance…

For this delivery…the room was full. For the others–it had just been Rich and I…and the doctors and nurses of course. But for this sweet miracle–the room was lined with my very bestfriends…my sisters and my mom. Many tears were shed at his first cry…and I couldn’t believe I was a mommy again. My heart was more than full.

Parker – Age 4

Laney – age 3

The nurse came in and asked that night if she could take Frankie baby to the nursery so I could get some rest. I had followed advice of others and done this with my first two. I looked at her and held back tears at the thought of her taking him from me for a moment–and shook my head no. And I pulled him closer.

Richard turned out the light–and all was quiet.

Tears rolled down my cheek, and I softly asked, “Rich?”

“Yes my love?”

“Can you imagine not doing this again?”


“Me either.”

And we went to sleep…with our miracle sweetly sleeping beside me.

The days were suddenly not so slow–and it seemed I had to do everything to slow them down…and my new heart desire was to ENJOY THE MOMENT and the sweet miracles our lives had been blessed with. I think I have a picture of our Frankie baby almost every day of his sweet life thus far…

Frank – Day 4

And little did we know that just 6 months later…

…that we’d feel the longing so strongly again. Only this time…we’d travel the world over to bring him home…(Post 5 is around the corner:)

Lauren - April 15, 2011 - 1:40 am

Hi Andrea! My name is Lauren and I met you a LONG time ago, back in 2001 after your year in East Asia, as I was considering going. I remember you told me, “You WILL meet your husband there”! And I did! And you know him! His name is Brett Dooley. We have just returned to East Asia and I have been turned onto your blog by some adopting moms here. I had to comment on this post, because we also had a very long road in conceiving our second child (whom I am expecting this July), and your post definitely captures the new gratitude I have as a mom while longing for a baby, and the joy that comes in expecting that long-awaited miracle. I had no idea what a miracle our first son was until it took us 1.5ish years and a miscarriage to get pregnant again. Thanks for sharing this as a best year, it’s a great perspective to have as heart-wrenching as I know it was. Your family is so precious!

Christy - April 15, 2011 - 7:15 am

Oh, I can’t read enough from you – I think you should write a book! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reminding me to enjoy my kiddos in the here and now, in every moment, not just looking to what’s ahead!

Kandra - April 15, 2011 - 8:08 am

LOVE you! Enough said. Your real and authentic and that is why I know God has called you to such a divine purpose…you reach women at a level that I don’t know if YOU even know yet, my sister.

Thanks for always been honest…it is beautiful.

Joy Kinard - April 15, 2011 - 9:05 am

I love this sweet story of your life!

Sara - April 15, 2011 - 9:23 am

Love the story. I also love the picture of Frank with Richard in the background. It looks just like the big boy Frank we now know!

Kim - April 15, 2011 - 9:58 am

Every chapter just keeps getting better!

Audrey - April 15, 2011 - 3:53 pm

That was so beautiful and my story is so similar with our first two being wonderful surprises and then trying two years for our third son, and here we are on our own journey to Ethiopia for our daughter. Your story is beautiful and I look forward to the next chapter; you’re an excellent writer and your words gush the glory of God all over the page. Bless you.

abby - April 15, 2011 - 4:00 pm

just beautiful. and now I don’t feel so silly for taking pictures of my girls almost every day. they are the most precious gifts.

Dawn - April 15, 2011 - 6:54 pm

Love hearing God’s story of your family πŸ™‚

missy - April 16, 2011 - 9:54 pm

i am AMAZED at how frank has looked just the same from the very first minute he was born!!! that expression on his face is just so FRANK. i love it!

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