The reality had hit both Jamie and I hard after "Our" dr appointment. I knew she was the one and she knew she had to start preparing. Within a matter of days, Jamie had planned to have a baby shower at Hebrews with her friends from the salon--and she wanted me to come!
Jan 30th-- I wasn't sure what to expect when I thought about the baby shower. I had no idea if I was going to feel completely out of place or if I would be welcomed? I didn't want people to have an image of me with the baby because I only wanted the baby to be seen with her. She would be the Mom and I didn't want to take any attention away from Jamie on HER baby shower.
Thinking about less serious things I contemplated on what I would even wear! I could barely fit into anything I owned, so I ended up picking out a black and white stretchy dress. Little did I know how ironic my outfit choice would be.
I walked into Hebrews Coffee and didn't see anyone. I texted Jamie and just as I did-- I saw them. All the girls were waiting in a back room in the Cafe. As I walked toward the room, I was so nervous. Not really knowing what to expect or how I should act. Was it going to be weird seeing things for Charlie when he wouldn't be mine? Would I be able to say things were cute without seeming as if I wanted them for myself? I didn't want to come off as though I was going to be TOO attached to him--even though I was attached. I didn't want them to think I would change my mind because I was involved in the shower. Nerves just...slowly... took over.
But then, I saw Jamie. She showed me inside. She asked me to sit at the end of the table. All the girls were smiling at me. They were all so happy and I could feel the excitement radiating off of Jamie. I took my seat next to her and everyone began talking to each other.
Insanely enough, they all started asking me questions--asking me about how my pregnancy was going, what I liked to do, and then we all just started making jokes. I told them about how I would always waddle.... it was like when you get off a treadmill and still feel like your walking on moving ground... when the baby would come out, I would still walk like he was in my belly! Then they made a joke that I would come in black and white because where they all worked they always HAD to wear black and white. They laughed and I took it in. Their laughter warmed my soul. It made me feel so at home--so welcomed.
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me..." Matthew 25:35
Jamie began opening her presents. I remember one in particular that had the name "Paxton" on it. They were graffiti looking little shoes--so cute! The name Paxton... was perfect. It was meant for him. It seemed to fit... As soon as I said it in my mind, I realized this was going to be PAXTON that was. He would BE her PAXTON and he would bring peace to our family and to hers. He was already doing what his name was stating.
All the sudden, one of the girls got up and slid the last present on the table to me.
"Open it." They said.
"This ones for me?!" I replied.
Their smiles and eyes lit up. It made me want to cry. They went out of their way to put together a gift for me when it was my HONOR to give my son a better home, a better family, and a better life. I could not believe that they would be so kind with wanting nothing in return. I wasn't doing anything for them, I was doing something for a little boy and for Jamie... and because they all loved Jamie so much, they accepted and loved me like a friend, like part of their family. Was this what "pure" love looked like?
"Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness." Psalm 145:7
In my present was a ton of hair products! I received Paul Mitchell products-- about 7 things! I was so grateful. I seriously couldn't believe all the stuff they put together. For someone to do something so nice was just overwhelming. I wanted the day to last forever. It was the first time during my pregnancy that I felt appreciated... that I felt as though the right thing to do was starting to bear fruit and that I was an important part of the equation--that I wasn't just going to be the mother birthing this baby-- I wouldn't be forgotten about and at this moment, I was loved just as much as they were going to Love Paxton.
A few days later, Jamie had planned another shower at Pastor Tosha's. I had asked if it was okay to invite my mother and my sister because after the first baby shower I wanted them to experience God's unfailing Love.
My mom agreed to go with me. My sister ended up having other things she had to get done-- but she supported me even though she couldn't make it. It was nice to have my family there for me, to back me up and to share in this journey. I wanted to show them what God could truly do when we trust in him.
When we arrived at Toshas, everyone was already there (We ran late a lot) and they were all set up. They had the cutest decorations and an amazing cake. It couldn't have been more perfect. The girls were all so sweet-- welcoming us as soon as we set foot in the house. Jamie was gleaming-- shining! She had this gorgeous glow about her.
I loved being there and seeing all her family and friends. I loved that everyone was so supportive of her! It was as if they KNEW the whole time that this is exactly what GOD had planned and that it was going to be carried out.
It was a perfect shower filled with games and love. I remember thinking the whole time how unfair it was that they couldn't play any fun "measure the belly" games with Jamie's pregnant belly and I just wanted it for her so bad. I wanted her to get the WHOLE experience. I rubbed my belly and was so grateful and extremely humbled.
After losing all the baby games and stuffing my face the night Was coming to an end with one final event--present opening. I felt as though I could respond better this time, that it was okay to celebrate and it was okay to have feelings of grief. It was bitter sweet.
Earlier in the week-- Jamie had asked me how I was going to cope when I gave him up. I told her I wasn't sure... That I would just write in my journals and do artsy things because it always seemed to help me overcome any negativity.
At this moment, when she finished opening all her amazing presents... There was one tucked away near the fire place. Jamie picked it up and walked it over to the big chair I was sitting in, my feet dangling over the cushion.
She plopped it on my lap with a HuGe grin! I was amazed. My mom was just as stunned at how big the bag was.
Everyone was watching me. I didn't know how to react... I had received a gift days before-- but this time it seemed different. Everyone was so eager for me to see what was inside.
I began pulling out journals and art supplies-- things that looked expensive. I wanted to cry and laugh. I could feel my face turning red. I loved it all so much but I couldn't help to think:
This is what I am going to have after Pax is given away. I won't have a baby. I won't have him to snuggle-- this stuff is replacing him. It hurt my heart because I wanted to keep Paxton so bad, but I knew that God had given me EVERYTHING to be comforted.
"who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:4
These ladies showed me genuine generosity. I felt at home. I felt loved. I knew that Even in my ironic state of happy grief, I would... Be... OKAY.
"May mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you." Jude 1:2
During my whole pregnancy I had been seeking the acceptance of anyone who saw what I was going through or what I was doing. The thing about being accepted though--once you get it--you realize that the only one you'd been seeking acceptance from is God.
Through these ladies who accepted me, they ultimately showed me God's acceptance.
Do you know of anyone that could use some love shown through your acceptance?
"Showers of Love" - Jamie's Take
I had weeks..a couple to be factual..to get ready for a baby. A baby, not a puppy....a little baby chicken (in human form). I had already registered. Those around me were getting really excited about throwing a shower. I wanted family to start knowing. Even as I type this I realize how backward it sounds, my friends knew, people I worked with knew, but our family didn't.
Let’s rewind for clarification.
Ben and I were called to Republic, Missouri in 2008 to work at a church. Our church became our family. The people we worked with were family. Ben had relatives who were close that took a vested interest in us, however we were mostly around people from church and work. We have always felt like Sarah and Abraham, away from home and close family and somewhere seemingly random. A couple in a foreign land and unable to have a baby.
People were always concerned we hadn’t had children yet. We had a lot of people wanting to pray for us and give us 'faith' books and magazine excerpts on people who got pregnant
after proclaiming specifics scriptures. People were invested, even the preferrably undesirable kind, but all in love and deep hope we'd conceive.
And our parents didn't understand nor our extended family. No one had ever adopted before. So we wanted to have details and more certainty before sharing with our parents and family.
I took time during my lunch break to call my family. I called my mother first. She was extrememly confused and apprehensive. Hesitant that her daughter may get her heart broken, which inevitably breaks hers.
I called my dad while he was at work. He had no clue what I was talking about and said, "Uh...okay." My dad is a great dad, but never-the-less a man. I knew he'd come around when he held that baby.
I then called a dear friend and family member. She was married to Ben's first cousin, practically a brother to Ben...and she, practically a sister to me. They were married a few months before we were and began trying also a few months before we did. She also wasn't able to become pregnant. Family gatherings, we'd sit and talk alone about our deepest desire, and we'd cry together. Unlike me, she did the hard work of doing tests and going to the doctor and such. She had to be tenderly told by me, that I was going to be given a baby before her. It was my hardest call. Yet, by no surprise, she was tender and incredible. She shared in my joy. I knew her heart though, excited for me - she still lacked her promise.
Ben did his part to call his family. Afterwards, we blasted the news on our social network pages. The only way us next generations knew to.
Now the showers could commence.
My first shower, was with girls from my salon. I worked part-time and loved everyone there, however I wasn't mega close to any of the ladies. Most of them didn't have children. With that, I was unsure how the shower would go down. They were so excited for the new addition but also were concerned about the chance of Lesa changing her mind.
Speaking of Lesa - it was really important to me that Lesa came to the showers. I wanted her to see who was going to be in our son’s life and that he was going to be celebrated well.
The day of the shower I was nervous. I got there on time and no one was there. Within in a few minutes I recieved texts letting me know many of them would be late. Lesa arrived and we ordered a coffee and headed to the back - where the girls trinckled in. I was blown away. They were all there minus a couple, we tightly huddled in the meeting room at a coffeehouse, Lesa and I sitting at the end of the table. Every single one of those ladies were so incredibly genuine. Their love for this baby stole heart beats from me. Their gentleness to Lesa made me proud to work with them and love them even more. They shared in our excitement and made Lesa feel comfortable.
They got Paxton, cute little graffiti shoes, clothes, his registered bedding, tons and tons of incredible gifts - ALL needed. Then they held off till the end to honor Lesa, giving her - what all us ladies know best - hair products and telling her thanks for giving me, her baby.
"I pray that because of the riches of His shining-greatness, He will make you strong with power in your hearts through the Holy Spirit." - Ephesians 3:16
I felt blessed.
Within days I had another shower. Women from the church had a shower at my Pastor’s house and my mom and youngest sister were going to be in attendance and so was Lesa's mom and sister. They were going to meet for the very first time.
I worked most of the day and rushed home from work to brush my teeth and meet my mom and sister so I could show them how to get there. We arrived. This was it, reality for my mother. Many women followed. I was honored, as any woman being celebrated. All these women came, with gifts for my son (no matter the way I was getting him) and gifts to honor Lesa. The decorations, the honor, the detail and the cake looked incredible. I was fasting, so the cake would have to be frozen.
The only thing that was missing was Lesa and her mom and sister. Soon enough,though, she found her way and entered with her mom. Her sister couldn't make it. She was stunning. I felt so priveldge to introduce her to my mother and my younger sister, who still didn't understand yet courteous.
We took some pictures, ate some cake and made introductions when we were all seated. I was amazed at all the women that came. My mom was able to see my support system, my Republic family. I would catch her looking at me tenderly. It was becoming a reality to her.
The gifts were endless. The love was stuffing the room. Then they pulled out the huge amount of gifts for Lesa. Art supplies, journals and such..letters of love and thankfulness. I was overwhelmed with pride; I was so proud that I had the honor to know these women. Women who showed up in such a giving and intentional way for a woman they never met, thanking her for giving their friend the greatest of gifts. Women in attendance were watching a miracle. God was so good.
"Receive each other as Christ received you. This will honor God." - Romans 15:7
Then Lesa and I shared give and take after, while everyone enjoyed what was left of the cake. I sat at her feet and continued to rub her belly as she told me about her discomfort and lack of sleep. But she was compassionate about it..being cautious to no be ungrateful that she was pregnant. She then gave me pictures of Paxton's ultrasounds to look at. She was planning on parting with them but kept them. I was still grateful to see them..and take pictures of them. I later texted them to Ben.
The crowd slowly left, saying goodbye to both Lesa and I. This was happening and people were witnessing a miracle with Ben, Lesa and I. I was blessed and so humbled to be apart of this journey.
"Many words will come from their mouths about how good You are. They will sing for joy about how right You are." - Psalm 145:7
While attending all my showers, Ben was tackling the house. God was good to provide all that we needed. I found myself painting Pax's room two different times..finally settling on gray. Things were coming together. One day I had a few girls over for well over 15 hours, painting, cleaning, organizing and so forth. I was beyond grateful! My sister and I actually retiled my shower one afternoon turned evening.
While all this was going on, God was also taking care of all the details with the adoption.
Ben's uncle was a lawyer and agreed to do our adoption pro-bono. He was really nervous as it was not his line of law, but he strongly felt the Lord was prompting him. He was unseasonably slow at work and knew it was God giving him time to read up on all we needed legally.
Lesa was feeling celebrated and welcomed and Ben and I were being strengthened. Strengthened by God's favor and faithfulness, by Lesa's humility, by my friend's compassion and by my family's opportunity to see God - the one I serve that they didn’t or even understand why I did. Even more they didn’t understand why any of this was happening - that He would do miracles and show Himself.
"May you have much of God’s loving-kindness and peace and love." - Jude 1:2