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."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Carrots...Good for the Eyes

We had a great weekend. This is what I found on Sunday afternoon...

Gracie had her 6 month check up Monday May 24th and received her shots!!

I was by myself on this round so I didn't even try to get a picture. She was absolutely happy the entire time and then BAM!!! The shots came!!

She now weighs 12 lbs 9.5 oz.
She is 23 inches long.
Her head is 16 1/4 inches.

She is now in the 5th percentile in weight!! Yea!!! That may seem low to you, but we are just glad she finally made it onto the growth chart!! Her height still has not made it onto the chart.

Our doctor suggested we begin Gracie on some baby food...starting with veggies. So on Monday night we put her chair together and Bryan had the honors. I think I was too nervous to try. She was a little fussy beforehand because of her shots. Plus she never liked the cereal we tried in previous weeks. I just wasn't sure if she would take to baby food.

Initially it was touch and go...

But overall, we feel like she did very well her first time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What's In A Name

I have spent the past month and a half absolutely enjoying life as a wife and mommy! The time has flown by!! I find myself saying that several times a week. Our little princess has changed so much in just the past 2-3 weeks! We love her more and more each day!! And we are just mesmerized by her more and more each day!!

Some may already know her name from my original post on face book. But I later removed it for security reasons. Today, on her 6 month birthday, I wanted to post her name and why we chose it.

When her adoption is complete her name will be:

Gracie Faith ______ Haskins

She will have two middle names. The last one is the first name her birth mother gave her when she was born in November. Although parent rights have been terminated, we are still waiting to post that detail as well as her actual birth date.

We debated on changing her name. We considered keeping her name but shortening it to something else. We wanted to have a name that was reflective of Bryan & I and one that would display who our Lord is and what He has done in our lives as well as hers! We wanted her name to be a testimony. We do not have salvation from an eternal hell were it not for God's grace and His gift of His son. Her name isn't just about our journey to have a family, her name is about all things in life on our walk with God. God gives us grace, undeserving favor, every day of our lives.

Gracie's name is reflective of our journey to get her into our home. We would not have Gracie were it not for God's grace. There is absolutely nothing Bryan and I could have done in our power to receive such a precious child. God gave us Gracie because He is gracious. We could not have worked out the details and timing like God has. We are undeserving of every gift He gives us. When you face infertility or the loss of a child, it takes a lot of faith to walk through to the other side. It takes faith to walk through the unknown. Ours was not always perfect. At times, our hope and our faith seemed so small.

We want Gracie to know how important faith is. For it is by GRACE through FAITH we are saved!! I'm excited for the time to come when Gracie realizes her name is reflective of God's plan for salvation. I pray everyday for Gracie to grow in faith, love of scripture, and her understanding and realization for repentance and a Saviour.

So each time we say her name, look at her, hear a song about God's Grace...His AMAZING GRACE, I am reminded both of the beautiful daughter we have and the Grace of God throughout every activity and provision in my life.

We are still waiting for our side of the adoption paperwork which we hope to receive within the next few weeks. It is our hope all legalities are done by her 1st birthday!

Gracie is 6 months old this week!

I completely missed posting on her 5 month birthday, but I did get a picture.

She has changed so much since her 4 month birthday. And a lot of that change has come just within the past 2-3 weeks. We think she is on a growth spurt.

At 6 months:

*Gracie began sleeping through the night April 29th. She has only woke up during the night on 3 nights. Last night though, she woke up every hour!!

*Gracie weighed 12 lbs on May 3rd and was 23 3/4 in long.

*Gracie wears a size 1 diaper.

*She has now begun to wear size 3 months clothes.

*Her eating schedule has changed back down to every 3 - 3.5 hours and she takes about a 5 oz bottle at each feeding.

*We have tried rice cereal 4 times now, but she doesn't seem to like it or take it well from the spoon.

*Her first laugh was on Monday, May 3rd.

*Her daddy goes into her room every morning before he gets ready for work and she greets him with a huge smile! She is a happy baby in the mornings.

*Gracie loves to watch people in a crowd. She is very alert. She loves to interact.

*She has begun to bend her legs up and down, like she is jumping, when someone holds her in their lap.

*She loves to have her hands in her mouth. We often hear her smacking!

*This morning she began bringing her hands up to her bottle and she held her bottle briefly by herself for about 4 seconds today.

*Gracie took her first long distance trip to Ft. Worth, Texas in April for Daddy's PE exam.

*She has slowly, very slowly, moved from despising tummy time to tolerating about 5-7 minutes.

*She loves the clown a lady made at Nawna's church and that helps with her tummy time.

*She loves to stretch and kick in her bed. She slams her legs and arms down. We think she loves the thud sound. She still moves all over her bed at night.

*Gracie has rubbed a lot of her hair off on the back of her head and the crown. We think it is from moving so much in her bed. I have found her hair on her bumper pads!!

*Gracie has begun to spend some supervised time in her bouncer. She is learning to hold toys in her hands. She is also realizing items with texture.

*Gracie holds her head up quite well. She has begun to raise her head up when she is sitting in the swing and laying on her play mat.

*She sits in her bumbo chair very well now.

*Gracie squeals and makes the sound of "aaahhh" and "eeeeee." She will "talk" to me when I stare right at her and make an "oooo" sound.

*She loves to have someone help her use her hands to hit the table top.

*Gracie begins to laugh when we use her hands to pat our cheeks.

*On May 10th, Gracie had her first experience of Oklahoma severe weather when a tornado touched down approximately 1 - 1.5 miles from our house. She and I went into the closet...all during a feeding time and very humid weather!

After school, our friends, Ava, Stella, and Boston came by to have cupcakes to celebrate Gracie's 1/2 birthday!

Mother's Day 2010

I had a wonderful first Mother's Day. I had to be pulled out of Sunday School for the first time to go console Gracie! I loved it though. I felt so needed! I just held her close and rocked her! She quit crying almost as soon as I began to hold her and talk to her!! And the fact that she did that on Mother's Day was just fitting. She also spit up all on her new white sweater! :)

She had a little melt down last Sunday as well and I was called out of Sunday School. I'm wondering if this may become a habit. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

Our family has experienced one of the most memorable Resurrection Celebrations weekends! It is in part to having a wonderful blessing from God with our little girl, but the services we attended were just amazing! I wish all of you could have been with me to experience them and worship our Savior and King!
The three of us attended the Good Friday service at our church, FBC Newcastle. The worship leader, choir, and pastor led out in a Tenebrae service and we took the Lord's Supper as a congregation. The songs and drama truly caused a person to think on the cross, the sacrifice, our sinful selves, and God's mercy. It was amazing and really helped to honestly lead me to worship God. I am so thankful for those who worked so hard and gave up so much time so that I could experience it. The Good Friday service left me in anticipation for the services on Sunday.

Before we left for Good Friday Service
Bryan isn't in the picture because he just about got out of his truck and right into the car so we could get to church on time.

We had a nice Saturday at home, enjoying beautiful weather and working in our yard. There was even enough time for me to get all our clothes prepared and laid out for Sunday morning. I had a great Saturday. And thankfully, we were all dressed, picture taken, and on time Sunday morning!!

Here's a shot of my two favorite people while I worked on getting the timer on the camera ready:

I love it!! It was kind of an indication of how the morning was going. Little Bit didn't realize it was Easter Sunday and I needed a little time to get ready myself. Plus, she didn't really want to be in a dress. She prefers her pjs! She was a little fussy! We warned the nursery workers. And you'll never guess....she was perfect for them!! It is fun to watch Little Bit's personality slowly develop.
Our First Easter as a Family of 3!

My mom made this year's Easter dress for Little Bit. It is kind of a wild print but I loved the colors. I'm glad my mom was able to make her dress. Mom has been very giving to us and we loved going over to her house for "fittings."
This picture just makes me smile every time I look at it!

We have borrowed Nathan's Bumbo chair to see how she likes it. We did purchase one on Friday but I got a different color than I had intended for her and need to take it back and exchange it.

I'm looking forward to reading about your Resurrection Celebration Weekend!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What We've Been Doin'

I love cough medicine!! I have had a head/chest (it keeps bouncing back and forth) cold this week and I'm so grateful for whomever created the medicine to clear up the congestion and soothe my airways!! I've just been focused on taking care of Little Bit and resting when I can so I've not had much computer time!

Here's a catch up:

Last Tuesday was an exciting day in our household. It was the DVD release of one of the best movies ever!!

In honor of the movie, Bryan (although he didn't know it at the time but went on my instructions) picked up Taco Bell for dinner that evening. Little Bit even watched part of the movie with us before she went out for the night.

I love the movie Blindside and think every family should see it. It is a great movie to open one's eyes to the huge need of foster parenting and mentoring. What we give up, could save some child from the potential of a horrible future.

We've gone out and about a few times last week, but we have also tried to stay at home more and establish a morning routine. We love to read!
Excuse the frizzy hair! This was pre-flat iron time! Bryan took this and did not know the rules about non-frizzy hair in pictures.

Little Bit loves the book "God Knows All About Me" and I also read out of this illustrated book of Bible Stories each morning. It is fascinating to us to watch her eyes just light up and open wide once I begin reading the book. It makes me think she is recognizing the pictures...I don't know.

This same day we went to the doctor's office for her 4 month check up and shots. Bryan took off the entire day to be with us and go to the doctor's.

On Friday night, Little Bit went with me to my Bunco group. I play with a great group of ladies who are so supportive and encouraging to Bryan and I. It was nice to have her with me, but I'm pretty certain she will not be going again. I think she was a little distraction.

Miss Sharon

Miss Carla

Bryan's parents came up on Saturday to visit with Little Bit and help us with some projects around the house. Bryan and his dad put in the poles for a clothesline (I love sun dried clothes in the summer) and Bryan's mom re-upholstered my chairs.



On Monday we tried cereal for the first time...per the suggestion of our doctor
Please note: These are Bryan's hairy legs, not mine! :)

Cereal did not go so well. So we are definitely taking our time with it. I think she is still a little young.

Have a wonderful Resurrection Weekend Celebration!!!