Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year, New Prayers for Waverley (and one old one!)

Okay friends, I have been trying to come up with a way to get this info across to those of you who do not read Matt and Molly's blog without boring those of you who do.  As is often the case, the only info I have at this point is from their blog, so if you would like to read it "from the horse's mouth" get in contact with me and I will give you their blog address (if you recall, they asked us not to link directly to their blog for privacy reasons).  The best I can give you is my interpretation of what Matt wrote.  Here goes...

The result of Wednesday's hearing can be boiled down to three key things:

1. The judge had the opportunity and the authority to put Wavy's best interest at the forefront of his decision and he chose not to.  I don't know ANY details about this, but Matt eluded to some specifics that may be revealed at some point.  Ugh to that.  Ugh to you, Judge Sheppard.  So disappointing.

2. The transitioning of custody starts tomorrow.  The court has ordered that TOMORROW January 1st be the day the "transition plan" starts.  Tomorrow will be the first of daily visitations with Waverley's biological father.  The first of these will take place at Matt and Molly's home, with the visits eventually taking place at the birthfather's home.  The idea is that full custody will be transferred by the end of January.  The finality of that takes my breath away.

3. A next date to keep in your mind and prayers is January 10th.  All of these court appearances, hearings, appeals, and decisions have really only decided that Matt and Molly cannot adopt Waverley.  Now that their adoption has been rejected, the courts must determine which "natural" parent will get custody of Wavy.  I don't know much about this - it's actually the first I've heard about it.  If I'm understanding it correctly, the birth mom and birthfather will now battle it out for custody.  I have no idea if the birth mom even wants custody since she had placed Waverley for adoption to begin with, obviously.  All I know is that there is a hearing on January 10th to determine which parent will get custody and what the terms of custody will be.  Matt indicated that whatever decision is made in this court may affect their transition plan - depending on the terms of custody.  

For those of you who care what I think, here are my thoughts on each of those things:
1. Angry Kelsey says, "Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully. Take that, Judge Sheppard.  Coward."  
Nice(r) Kelsey says, "It's okay, Judge Sheppard, we know that you're human and that you can forget that there are actual people attached to the numbers and letters on the court documents.  Good thing your court and authority will crumble away and be replaced by the unshakeable throne of the King who longs to be gracious to us; he rises to show us compassion.  For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!  (Isaiah 30:18)"

2. Our daily prayers matter even more now as each day holds the stress and anxiety of a visitation (set those alarms, people!).  We need to pray for protection for Wavy during these visitations.  Matt asked specifically that we pray that she not feel scared, but would feel safe and secure.  He also asked that we pray for him and Molly that they would be kind and gracious (can you believe he is even thinking about that!?  I think if I were them, kindness would not even be on my radar.)  I have also had the thought that maybe these visitations would be just the right dose of reality to get the birthfather reconsidering if he really wants to do this - let's pray for that!

3. It's my understanding that a custody hearing will take into account the best interest of the child in a way that adoption law does not allow for.  That's a plus.  Also, perhaps something will come to light regarding the birthfather's lifestyle that would demonstrate to the courts that he would not be a fit father.  My mind is running wild imagining every possibility - of course informed by my layman's understanding of the law!

The end of Matt's blog said this:

And, for all of you that still want to, you can pray for a miracle. I don't see where there is a possibility for one, but I'm sure anyone that's experienced a miracle felt that way - otherwise it wouldn't really be a miracle. Right?

Thank you all for praying for us throughout this whole journey. Thank you for fighting along side of us in this, for helping to bear our burden. You have no idea the encouragement you all have been through this.

This permission to continue to pray for a miracle was just what I needed!  I don't know about you guys, but I have been feeling this tension about stubbornly praying for a miracle in the face of a harsh reality that tells us it would be wiser to just give up and make the best of a horrible situation.  All along I have been asking the Lord if I need to do just that, but I continue to receive encouragement to hold out hope.  

So, as we say our prayers that are grounded in the reality of a broken world and a broken system, let's still cry out the the Lord, our God of justice who longs to be gracious!  Remember our battle cry? Let's have the faith of Abraham that God himself will provide the lamb.  

As far as I can see it, Isaac is on the altar; Abraham's hand is raised.  Any second now, God's voice will come booming through the heavens saying, "STOP!  Don't touch that child!  I have provided another way!"  

Please, Lord Jesus, God of mercy and justice, Ruler of all time and space.  We are putting our hope in your goodness and faithfulness.  We are waiting for your voice!
Wavy with big sister, Harper

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A letter to my daughter

Dear Lila,
You are one year and 11 days old today.  It's as though you were waiting to turn one so that you could shed your infancy in one fell swoop.  At 366 days old you walked across the kitchen to me with no prompting at all - this after weeks and weeks of failed prodding and bribing on my part.  That same day you began to string "sentences" together of complete nonsense, but you look at me with such seriousness and confidence that I'm sure you mean what you say...whatever that might be.  Within that precious 24 hours, you multiplied the number of teeth in your mouth by 3 (you had two, and now you have six).  I got you up the next morning to find a toddler in your bed, my baby had melted away overnight.  What are you doing to me!?

The very first thing you do when I get you up in the morning now that you're a grownup is point to your CD player.  I say, "Do you want your music?" and you bounce up and down in my arms in response.  Then we walk over to the dresser and I push play.  There is a still silence for a moment while we wait for the player to wake up (it's rather finicky).  You are so patient in your anticipation of that familiar clapping of the first track and when it begins, you grin and sway back and forth.  Your daddy and I so often say how glad we are that you love music as we do.

This morning I sat in the rocking chair your daddy built for us, listening to Elizabeth Mitchell (our very favorite) and watching you take your Noah's Ark animals out of the ark, talk to them, and then put them back in.  I imagined that you were saying, "Now little giraffe, your neck is quite long and you really must try to keep it to yourself.  The other animals are complaining that you are crowding them.  Now back to bed with you."

You were wearing your fuzzy leg warmers that you got for your birthday and a Christmas tree onesie.  Your hair was endearingly disheveled and your round cheeks were chapped and rosy.  I found myself outside of my body telling the temporal me to take it in, this will soon be gone!  In obedience, I turned on my senses and smelled your shampoo (Daddy gave you a bath yesterday) and leaned down to kiss your cheek and then closed my eyes and listened to Elizabeth Mitchell singing.  And, silly me, I began to cry because this is what she was singing:

rest your head, my angel; stay here by my side
i've been doing some thinking and you've been on my mind
oh you're growing up so fast right before my eyes
you don't have to figure everything out; you just take your time

listen here:

I think you saw me close my eyes because you crawled over to me and pulled up on the rocking chair and tried to climb into my lap.  I lifted you up into the chair with me and then you just about killed me.  You laid your head on my chest and said, "Mom-meeee" the way you do, but softly.  I let out a moan and felt as though I would melt into the chair.  It was just too much for my fragile mommy heart to bear.  

My daddy, your Pop, used to "scold" me on each of my birthdays saying, "I told you not to get any bigger!  You disobeyed me!"  Now I know exactly what he meant.

I've been doing some thinking and you've been on my mind.  Oh, you're growing up so fast! Right before my eyes!  You don't have to figure everything out.  You just take your time.  Please, just take your time.


P.S. to blog readers: Matt and Molly have what should be the final hearing to determine the transition plan for Waverley on Wednesday at 10:30am.  Please keep them in your prayers over the next 48 hours. This is the last leg of this race as far as we can tell.  Let's finish well and pray fervently for favor with the courts and a miracle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Lord's Prayer: the Wavy Remix

For those of you who don't yet follow our friends' blog about their daughter, Waverley, here is a quick update.

Today (Tuesday) they had what was supposed to be their final court appearance during which the transition plan for removing Wavy from her home and placing her in the custody of her birthfather would be settled.  However, they hit a few bumps in the road and things didn't go as smoothly or efficiently as expected and in the end, nothing was decided.  Matt and Molly are being intentionally vague about this, so I don't know much.  They were clear, however, that nothing has changed in the long run as far as Waverley's future in their family.  She will still be taken from them.

Perhaps I'm a fool, but to me, a stall is better than moving smoothly on toward an unhappy and tragic end.  To me, a stall is more time to pray.  More time for Wavy to be under the care of her sweet parents.  More time for a young birthfather to think things over.  More time for a miracle.  Am I beating a dead horse yet?

To be honest, my faith has wavered.  The other day as I was driving by myself at night and enjoying a rare moment of silence and alone time, my thoughts and prayers wandered to Wavy and I found myself asking the Lord, "What do you think about all of this?  Are you just as frustrated and devastated as we are?  Do you feel like your hands are tied by the hardness of heart that it seems like the birthfather and his mother and his lawyer are demonstrating?  Don't you want Wavy to stay with Matt and Molly?  Isn't that the best thing for her?  Isn't that the best thing for them?  Because if not, I really want to know.  I want to know what you think!  I want a glimpse into your perspective because I don't want to waste my time hoping for my version of a miracle when you may have a much better plan in mind.  So, what are you thinking, Lord!?  My prayers for a miracle and lamb don't seem to be working the way I had envisioned, so should I change my prayers?"

If joining Wavy's prayer army has taught me anything it's how little I really know and understand.  It's so hard for my little human brain to consider more than just physical and emotional safety for this sweet little girl.  I try to consider the possibility that maybe the Lord covets intimacy with Matt and Molly in a way that can only be achieved through the grief of losing a child.  I try to imagine how being a dad might change the birthfather's life in that powerful way that any of us who are parents can testify to.  I try to think beyond my past, present, future timeline into God's kairos always-present and see a future where Waverley's story saves many lives and furthers the Kingdom of Heaven in an unfathomable way.  I try to wrap my mind around the way things have gone despite the prayers begging for the opposite.

But when I ask the Lord for different prayers, I don't hear anything in response.  So my conclusion is to hold tight to this prayer that has become so familiar to me:  Oh Lord, provide the lamb!  Do the impossible!  Let Waverley stay with Matt and Molly!

A book I'm reading with a group of friends challenges us to put our own prayers into the method that Jesus taught us to pray.  So tonight, I'll leave you with my version of the Lord's Prayer for Waverley:

Our Father.  Waverley's Father.  Matt and Molly's Father.  My Father.  Our Father in Heaven.
Hallowed be thy name. You are wise.  You are creative.  You are holy and good.  Your goodness reaches deeper than our understanding can reach.
Thy kingdom come.  Bring your Kingdom.  Redeem these broken people, this broken system, this broken situation.  Let these circumstances look like your Kingdom.  Be the King!
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Your word and authority rules over all - so take charge here on this planet at this moment!
Give us this day our daily bread.  And in this moment, be gracious.  Give Matt and Molly their daily bread of peace and rest and faith and trust and hope and love and relief.  Give Harper and Waverley their daily bread of protection and safety and assurance and lack of fear.
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.  Forgive us our ignorance, for thinking we know what's right and wrong in such a complicated situation.  Forgive us our evil thoughts toward the birthfather and his lawyer.  Forgive us our lack of trust and our lack of action.
Lead us not into temptation.  Save us from our cynicism, our lack of faith, our fear and exhaustion.  Save us from our laziness and the temptation to take our own children for granted.
But deliver us from the Evil One.  Oh Lord that our own sins would never cloud our eyes from your Truth!  Do not allow Satan to pollute our minds with doubts or fears or misplaced anger.
For thine is the Kingdom. We trust you and your plan.  We trust your love and your wisdom.
And the power.  You are strong.  You are good.
And the glory.  And we vow to honor you with our lips and our lives no matter the outcome.
Forever, Amen.  Amen.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh Happy Christmas Birthday Tree to You

I have learned over the years that tree choosing is the one area of our marriage where it is not worth trying to be the decision maker.  The Husband, ever the nature-enthusiast, is particularly passionate about his Christmas tree.  I have come to recognize the look he gets on his face when he has found "the One."    This year, LJ and I followed him around for about 5 minutes until we succumbed to the cold.  As I headed inside with a red-cheeked and grumpy Baby Girl, I said over my shoulder, "You talk to the trees and text me when you've found one."  About 10 minutes later I received this text:

"Got her.  Trimming and binding."

Her.  Evidently Christmas trees are female.  But as much as I tease him for it, the man knows how to choose a good tree.  She is a beaut. 

I was all excited about Lila's first tree-hunting experience.  However, as I eluded to before, Lila grumped her way through.  I think due to the extra layers of clothing which made it hard for her to move her limbs, her apparently bottomless pit of a tummy, and her adventuresome nature and toddler-like desire for autonomy.  No, really mom, I can wander the aisles of Home Depot on my own.  I don't need you.  I really wish you wouldn't insist on holding my hand.
This is before we left so the grumpies hadn't hit in full force.  Yet.

Lila and Mommy taking refuge from the cold in the car.
Watching Daddy tying the tree to the top of the car.
The only way I could get her to stop yelling on the way home was to give her string cheese.

I don't know why I allow myself to have such high expectations for the small little firsts of Lila's life.  She seems to have a sixth sense about those events and plans her biggest hissy fits for those times.   I think it's that I'm starting to understand just how fleeting these days are.  When she was a few days or a few weeks old and people would tell me "it goes by so fast," I would think, "I feel like I haven't slept in about 8 years and it's only been 4 days.  This does not go by fast."  But now I find myself grieving the fact that we are about to say good-bye to Lila's first year and with it, a lot of her firsts.  And it has gone by fast!

Which brings me to my next point.  The big day is coming!  Lila's birthday is in 4 days!!  Huzzah!  Clearly I have been in need of some sort of creative outlet because I've been in major party-planning mode for 3 weeks now.  Here's a preview:

Are you excited?  I am.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another devastating decision

Matt and Molly's motion to reconsider was denied.  They now have less than 30 days as Wavy's parents.  By January 4th, Waverley will be taken from her home.  What horrible news.  What a horrible thing to be hanging over their heads for Christmas.  But I refuse to give up hope.  Keep praying.  Your prayers matter and the Father hears them!

I grabbed this from Matt and Molly's blog as I didn't think I could articulate their request for prayers better than they can:

Please pray for our Wavy. The clock is ticking while we scramble to complete and put into practice a transition plan for her that the court will approve.  Our trauma therapist that is helping to develop and present this plan is upset that the court would think 30 days (or less) is an acceptable timeframe to start and finish a transition of this nature.  Besides being devastated we are extremely stressed as we try to do this in the best possible way for Wavybel. 

Please pray that Judge Shepherd will make the right choices for Wavy when we present our transition plan to him.

Please pray that we will use the right words when we try to explain this to our girls in the next few days.

Please just pray.

And here are a few prayer requests of my own:
Keep praying for a lamb!  I believe that there is still a possibility of a miracle happening so that Wavy will not have to be taken from Matt and Molly.

Keep praying for mercies and protection for Wavy.  I believe that the Lord will care for Waverley's heart, mind and body in her absence from Matt and Molly.

Keep praying for the biological father.  I believe that there is still a possibility that he will have a change of heart - even if it takes her living with him for a little while for him to realize that she would be better off with Matt and Molly.

While Matt and Molly have to live in the reality of explaining this to their daughters and coming up with a transition plan, we have the luxury of living in the reality of hope!  Let's never stop hoping for a miracle for Waverley!  Let's extend our prayer pledge another month to January 18th.  That is exactly two weeks past the 30 day mark.  Two weeks for a reality check.  Two weeks for a change of heart.  Two weeks for a miracle.

I still believe that God himself will provide the lamb!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baby Girl does NOT like her overalls

She's so dramatic.  I have no idea where she gets it.