Thursday, February 17, 2011

Celebrate Come on and Celebrate!!

To celebrate Gracie's Adoption Day, we had a pool party in July 2010. My former boss opened their backyard and beautiful pool for us to use. Gracie has grown so much since this picture was taken!!
We had sandwich trays, a chicken tray, veggie tray, and fruit. We had tea, water, and lemonade. Then we had cupcakes for dessert. I didn't get very many pictures of the actual party because I was in the pool with Gracie. She has loved the water! Swimming was a favorite for her during the Summer of 2010. She had a two piece swimsuit. I have told her this was the only time she could wear a two piece! Ha! Modest is hottest!! :)
Gracie with one of her guest relaxin and drinkin' a bottle:
Some pictures of the festivities

Friday, February 4, 2011

Adoption Day

The Haskins on Adoption Day

June 29, 2010

I remember where Gracie and I were at when we got the call from our attorney for ADOPTION!! We were entering Dillards at the mall, specifically the children's clothing section (I've yet to buy anything there but I do love admiring or could that be coveting!)! And we had just completed taking pictures for Gracie's 1st Father's Day Gift. I took the call on my cell phone and walked to the ladies bathroom while the attorney was on the phone. It is really large and has a seating area. I checked the stalls to make sure no one was in there and then proceeded to give the attorney our personal information. Looking back it seems kind of odd and somewhat yucky that I did adoption business in the ladies bathroom at Dillards. But I had an infant, needed to sit down because I was shaking from pure excitement, and needed some privacy! It was Thursday, June 17th! We met that evening with a county adoption worker to sign some adoption papers for the state child services.

We met with our attorney on Wednesday, June 23rd, and signed the Petition for Adoption. We had a great attorney and if you are in Oklahoma and need an adoption attorney, we highly recommend him.

On Tuesday, June 29, 2010, the adoption was completed in court by 8:50 a.m.!!

Gracie's Adoption Case Worker, Judge Kirby, and Gracie's Foster Care Worker

Gracie's Foster Care Worker was an amazing individual. I kept telling her she was an instrument used by God! I truly believe she was. And, I feel it takes very gifted individuals to work in the Child Services Foster Care Division. Our worker had an amazing heart! She gave us the very first pictures of Gracie at 2 1/2 weeks! I am so grateful for those pictures because we did not meet her until she was about 1 1/2 months old. The adoption worker was sweet too but we only knew her for a few weeks! Hallelujah! Because that shows how quickly the adoption process/paperwork/etc went for us!

Our experience to adopt Gracie through OK DHS Child Services Foster program was one of just a few unique experiences. We had the hand of God all over us and our case. It helped too to have several prayer warriors praying for us and our hearts desire. I know some of you who blogged prayed for us and encouraged me. Very rarely does a family take a baby home from the hospital and then adopts that baby just 6 months into the case. God had this planned before time began! Isn't HE just amazing!! He answered so much of my specific requests when I had those private times with Him. I am blown away just trying to recall it all. God does that though. He has always done that for Bryan and I. We petition Him regarding a job, a move, finances, schooling, a family, and He always provides or answers beyond even what we ask! He will do the same for you! I know He will! I think one must have trust, faith, perseverance, HOPE, and endurance. God works in His time. Doesn't everyone always say that when trying to comfort someone in waiting? They do. And often to that hurting person, they are JUST WORDS. I know. I've been there. But I'm on the other side now. They are not just words. They are experience. Trust him! He is in control!! Allow God to work out your journey! Place God before you in your journey and FOLLOW HIM! Don't get in front of Him!
"No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11

Adoption Day was an amazing day! The excitement reminded me a little of our wedding day. We had such wonderful family and a huge support group of friends stand with us. Several of the ladies who held Gracie while she was in the NICU prior to us meeting her came to the adoption. Our Childrens Director from church as well as the lady who kept Gracie's Baby Class during Sunday School came. Several of my girlfriends and their families came. It touched our hearts to have so many support us and be there to see the end of one journey and the beginning of another journey.

I can remember everyone sitting in the seats, we were sitting at a table closest to the judges bench. When the judge called us and our attorney forward, he also told our entire group to feel free to come stand around him, his chair, and us. And just about everyone did!! He was such a nice judge. We had probably seen him in court I think 2 other times. He even told everyone with cameras to give them to him and he stood on the back bench and took the above picture! A neat addition to our adoption day was the fact my dad use to work in the very same building where our court was held and the judge and my dad knew each other. The judge did not know this until Adoption day!

Gracie with her Pop and GranD on Adoption Day

Gracie with Poppa, Nawna, and one of her Aunts

This was just about on our way out the door. Notice Gracie had already shed the socks and shoes!

Bryan's parents took us to lunch later that day to celebrate. We ate at Cattleman's Steakhouse. The very same place we ate at the first night we met Gracie!! It was also Gracie's first time to try water from a glass!

I think of Gracie's birth mother every week. We never met her or saw her. She did not work a plan and never came to court. The state has been unable to locate her or Gracie's birth father. I do think of them though. I wonder if they think of Gracie. I've wondered if they realized her first birthday came. I hurt for them and I've prayed for them. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will touch their lives, their very soul and redeem them from their lifestyles. I wish sometimes, not all the time to be honest, that I could have seen what they looked like. I think I would want Gracie to know. Gracie is such a beautiful little girl. I'm sure her mom was so pretty. I wonder if her mom lives with regrets or if she has become numb. It is quite hard to reconcile in a human mind how one person can live so poorly, make such horrible and dangerous choices yet another family becomes blessed beyond words, beyond imagination because of what she has done. One hurts so another is healed. Only GOD can create, can carryout such a thing.

"On You O God was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God." Psalm 22:10

"Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of you." Psalm 71:6

Oh, how I pray Gracie will see her need for Christ as Saviour. May she always have God as her God! He has sustained her! He protected her in her mother's womb! May Gracie continually praise His name!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Very Nice to Meet You!!

Saturday, January 8th, marks the 1 year anniversary of when God introduced us to our forever daughter!
January 8, 2010

January 7, 2011
My heart has just raced with joy and excitement all week long as I have thought back on that day. It has been a wonderful year!

We have a picture with Gracie's case worker that was taken just outside the NICU at 2:47 p.m.! It is a little fuzzy but this picture is just priceless to me. We had a wonderful case worker. You can see the time clearly in the original picture.
I remember signing my name for security reasons on Gracie's sign in sheet (her name was different then). I remember seeing her birth mother's name. She visited Gracie the 3 days she was in the hospital after giving birth. I remember taking my jewelry off and leaving it with Bryan's mom. I remember washing my hands and arms in the big steel sink just inside the NICU. I remember thinking "This is it! This is it!" During those moments of meeting Gracie and throughout the entire day, I felt like I was floating above myself watching me go through all these events. It is just so hard to describe. There was much to be done from signing papers, to making doctors appointments, to meeting multiple case workers, to picking up the diaper bag at home, to installing the car seat!

The hall and walk to her room seemed so long! I remember we walked nearly the entire length of the hall and then turned right into her room. She was the second "bed" from the door nearest the window. As we drew closer my heart squeezed tighter and tighter. We just wanted to see her.

Oh! She was precious! I play it over and over in my mind sometimes. I remember being awestruck at the first sight of her. We had no idea what to expect. We just knew she was Caucasian Hispanic and weighed around 5 pounds. She was so tiny! She was swaddled so tightly we could only see her face, hands, & hair! Oh, what hair! I remember thinking "Yes! She has hair." She was just so much more than we could have imagined! Although she was born early, she was perfect in every way.

She never liked having her hands swaddled. Several times during those first moments she would raise her hands. We called her our Hallelujah Baby! I would sing to her..."Your love is amazing, steady and unchanging, your love is a mountain firm beneath my feet. Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah! Your love is amazing!" I was so giddy, I never could remember the other parts of this song while we were in the hospital.

She was so lite! I was not nervous at all to hold her, which surprised me just a little. I would have thought her prematurity (she was born 3 months premature) would have made me too nervous to hold her. But not so! I wanted to hold her right away (and I did), but I just kept feeling she would slip right out of my arms!I had a tingling sensation too and this odd taste in my mouth (I think it was just the excitement)! I did get to hold her right away and I even got to feed her. She did still have a tube just for a back up (she got that removed within 2-3 hours of us getting to the hospital). But praise God, she was able to eat on her own when we met her.

I could not believe I was holding a child that we were 75% certain (at the time) would be ours. I saw God so clearly on this day. HE had made her just for us. HE knew her when she was in her mother's womb! HE protected her for us! HE knew in 2007 and 2008 she was coming for us! I saw the end of one journey and the beginning of another great journey beginning! God is amazing! God is sovereign!
I remember seeing the absolute love, adoration, protectiveness, and possessiveness in Bryan's eyes! He is an amazing father! He was so gentle and spoke so softly to her. He seemed so comfortable with her in his arms. I totally fell in love with Bryan all over again!

I remember thinking "So this is what husbands and wives feel when they have their baby!"

I remember the nurse showing me how to feed her, how to hold the bottle to make sure she keeps breathing! I remember trying to watch her color and watch her nose flex. I remember praying to myself..."Lord please help me! She's dark complicated and I can't see the change in skin tone. Help me!"
I was a smiggin' nervous to feed her but we had monitors for us and they boosted our confidence. I remember the nurses encouragement.

I remember hearing my father-in-law walking down the hall to come into the room to meet his granddaughter for the first time. His tennis shoe was making a noise as he walked into the room. I remember seeing his frame fill the doorway.

Shortly after we met her, held her, and fed her ourselves one time, Gracie was moved to a step down room in another part of the NICU. She would stay there 2 1/2 more days. I think a big reason was for us to get more comfortable with her and to make sure she could continue to eat on her own. She was also monitored for breathing, oxygen levels, and body temperature. She's a strong girl! She was born at 27 weeks gestation and was only on the ventilator 1 1/2 days!

I got to stay in the room with Gracie 24/7. I remember the click of the door when Bryan left. I just walked to Gracie's crib and stared!! It was me and her!! She ate every 3 hours and I was suppose to sleep in between. I had a twin bed but how in the world I ask you could I have slept when I had my baby in that room! It wasn't that she cried. She never was a big crier in the hospital. I couldn't sleep because I had waited a long time for this day! My heart, head, and stomach was racing!!

I remember the phone calls, emails, and text messages from our friends and family on this day and through the day we brought Gracie home. My friend Brooklyn was my personal assistant! She did so much for Bryan, Gracie, and I. She ran around town on January 8th gathering things we had not yet purchased because we were not anticipating a placement so soon. She bought gender specific items. She brought us a car seat cover, blankets, outfits, and bows to the hospital.

I remember having such a surreal feeling when she visited me...she a mother, visiting me now a mother in the hospital. I will always remember the squeal over the phone when I told her we had a placement call. She walked every step with us through this day. We even went over to her house prior to going to the hospital so she could help Bryan install the car seat. And she was expecting at the time!
I remember where I was standing at in the Ada hospital (where my Granny was in the hospital) when I told my friend Kristine we were going to Children's because we had a placement call. I remember her soft sweet voice say "Oh, Julie!" These two friends as well as several others were so committed to Bryan and I. We have felt loved so much. It is an honor to have our friends. They truly are more than just friends. They are our brothers and sisters!

I have spent the past year enjoying this wonderful creation God has entrusted to us. Many times I have thought of blogging but I just can't quite find the right words. At times, I just cry with joy.

There are so many verses I have read in the past year that I have felt communicated my heart. One is 1 Chronicles 16:8-12, 23-25. It is David's Song of Thanks.

"Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered. Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be held in aw above all gods."

Psalm 145:3-7

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness in unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness."