The Ryman is where they had the Opry until they could fix the flood damage at the Grand Ol Opry. The store Lulu. I wanted to get something for Lucy but it was too expensive. Kelli score her a little bag that said Lulu though. Painting treasure boxes. Christ Communtiy Church in Franklin. Alot of Christian singers attend there, like Steven Curtis Chapman. His dauther's funeral was held here. Lucy pickin' at the dinner table. Crazy Ben Iverson Ivy and Karli Ivy went to gymnastics with Karli. Emily Chapman Richards (Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter) is the DIL to the owner's. Jon and Kelli's house. My home for 8 days. relay races in the backyard Kelli introducing Lulu to Daisy I had such a great time in Tennessee. It was so great to spend so much time with my friend Kelli and seeing her beautiful town. I enjoyed church, getting to know her friends, sight seeing, eating and relaxing. Great memories!
Gotcha Day- The day you go to court to finalize your adoption. This was 4 years ago today, going to court to adopt Ivy Emma Elisabeth Elliott.Ashley Kostjuk came with us to take pictures. Ivy with her stuffed animal from the Judge. Mommy crying on the way home looking at her favorite girl. The "official" Elliott family.
I never knew how much this day was really going to mean. By this time I knew that Ivy was going to be ours but to hear the Judge really say it brought tears to our eyes. I mean it when I say that there is no one like Ivy. She is one of a kind. These have been the best 4 years of my life.
I asked Ivy if she wanted to spend the day at Disneyland today to celebrate. She said ,"Mom you know that our Gotcha place is Chuck E. Cheese with my friends." So we are going to squezze it in before AWANA. I'm glad to do it. Love you my big girl!
The food in Tenessee was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! I gained 3 glorious pounds that I didn't even mind. Here are some highlights...The Loveless Cafe in Nashville. Alot of celebrities talk about it. Kelli took me there for my birthday ( she had also bought me the restaraunt's cook book.) They are most famous for their biscuts ( I bought the mix before I left at their store). The biscut lady ( who has since passed away) was featured on Paula Deen's show. I tried grits for the first time. Lucy went to town on those biscuts! Then there was my favorite BBQ, Puckett's. I LOVED it! We ate there twice! They are known for their pork and fried chicken. They have live music at night. Pulled pork, 1 spare rib, sweet potatoe fries and a ho cake. I was really excited to have a cupcake at famous Naticakes. It was my luck that 2 weeks before I came, they changed locations to their nati creme location where they serve frozen yogurt. They hadn't moved everything over from their old location so I missed out on a cupcake. Then...(don't laugh)...there was Sonic. Ahhhhh...the slushies were my favorite treat. I talked Kelli into going there a couple times also. I know it seems like we ate out alot but we were always on the go sight seeing and I wanted to cram in as much as I could in a short amount of time. Thus, the 3 pounds.....but it was FUN!
There are so many things that I can talk about when talking about my trip to Franklin. The girls and I had such a great time. My friend Kelli was so hospitable for the whole week. She took me everywhere that I wanted to go. I have so many things to show you and talk about my trip so I thought I would do it by catagories. Here are a few pictures of the town.Kelli's neighborhood. Downtown Main Street The driveway to Kenny Chesney's house.
Taking a little break. I'm leaving tomorrow with the girls to fly to Nashville to visit my friend Kelli and her family. Matt left today to Oregon for his grand dad's funeral so we will be spread out all over the country. Please pray for the funeral tomorrow (wish I was there) and for my flight with the girls. Pray that Lucy gets her own seat and that we make our connecting flight (have only 50 minutes between the 2 ), pray that she is in a good mood.....haha but seriously...pray! I'm sure I will have lots to blog about when I get back!
I sat at the table visiting with Wendy while the girls were playing. I remember that we had such a good, encouraging time talking about the Lord. I told her where the Lord had convicted my heart and how peaceful I was with everything going on. As she was leaving I told her that we would talk later in the day.
About 3 o'clock in the afternoon the phone rang, it was the matcher from our agency. She said that she had a hispanic 5 day old baby girl. This was the birthmom's 7th baby and she didn't have custady of any of them. No other family members (at the time) wanted the baby. If we wanted her then we had to be at a hospital in downtown LA by 5pm. I called Matt on my cell phone while I had her on the home phone line. He said," I think we should do it." I said, "really Ok." The matcher told us to hurry and she would meet us at the hospital.
I called Wendy and said I needed to drop Ivy off at her house, I called my sister to tell her to pick Ivy up at Wendy's, I called my neighbor and she came over to set up the cradle and get diapers, etc. ready for when we got home. Ivy said that she didn't want to go with us because she didn't want to go to the hospital to get adopted by someone. (Another result of Ivy's wrong thinking about this whole process that I had to re explain to her...she also freaked out when Hollie picked her up from Wendy's because she thought we weren't coming back because we went to adopt a baby. Let me also explain that I DID NOT tell Ivy that we were going to the hospital to adopt a baby. I told her that we were going to take care of a baby and we would pray if we got to adopt her but we might not. ) I made sure that at bedtime I spent time with her letting her know that she was here to stay but we didn't know if the baby was. This was one reason why we did foster care when she was young, so that she wouldn't remember any of this.
The Lord was so gracious because there was NO heavy traffic and we were going to downtown Los Angeles at rush hour. We called our friends and family on the way down to the hospital and pulled in right at 5pm. We walked into "not the most glamorous" hospital and they ushered us into the room. There were 3 newborn babies in the room waiting to be picked up by social workers and foster families. I looked at all 3. My eyes caught hold of one baby, I didn't know if it was a boy or a girl but it was definaely the prettiest. I wispered to Matt," I hope that one is ours" ......and she was. So peaceful and beautiful. Matt and I held her. (The picture above is when Matt was holding her and I snuck a picture.) It was hard for me not to get my hopes up but we were definately cautious, that is why I don't have tons of pictures. We had done this 2 other times.
The nurses talked alot, asking if we wanted to adopt her. They said they thought that she would be ours. Then they said, "I think her last baby was adopted by an aunt and I don't know if they got a hold of her yet...." I froze. Every other time a child had been taken from Matt and I , it was a family member. I started to get nervous, but then I remembered my prayer...whoever until whenever. I silently told the Lord that I would keep my end of the bargain.
My birthday was coming up in 2 weeks and I would be 37. I was not thrilled, not because I was scared to be 37 (which is good because now I am 38) but because I had always prayed that I would be done having kids by 36. When I was about 26, I saw this lady who was pregnant and she was 36 and I thought that I wanted that to be my cut off age. I am not saying in any way that you are too old to have a baby after the age of 36 and I have had some "not so kind at the time" people tell me that it is not too old. I am just saying that 36 was my number...my desire to stop.
I will say that after the summer I had with D and I leaving us and still no baby I was reluctantly saying to the Lord, "Ok Lord, your timing, I got it, yada yada yada...." Then Wendy told me about this blog that I had to read. www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com It was about a girl in Uganda that was in her early 20's who left a comfortable life in Nashville and is a missionary. She has adopted like 13 kids and she is like 22. She had children with Aids living with her and she has cared for some until their death. I was so convicted! Here I was not wanting to be 37 with a newborn and Katie had given up her life to help these children with no mother. I repented to the Lord and made a promise to Him....whoever for however long. Here is my journal entry during that time....
"........A couple things have been going through my mind lately. First, is what Pastor Scott said in his sermon last week. He said that what you do with Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind....." decides the kind of Christian you will be in the next 3 years. Wow!
Also, I read the above blog about this 20 year old missionary named Katie Davis. I had tears rolling down my face thinking about my life. I am nothing like Katie. I am an adoptive mom and I am still nothing like her.
So many thoughts are running through my head. I am turning 37 in less than a month. I had prayed and had it in my head that I wanted to be done having kids by the time I was 36. I haveeven entertained the thought of only having Ivy because I was getting older.
This Katie Davis showed me how selfish, worldly, unbiblical I am. Lord, THANK YOU FOR THIS BLOG!!!! I don't want to be of this world in the next 3 years! I want to be used! I need to make time for God to mold me through His word.
I feel ashamed that God has not given me another child because now I feel like I have not been ready. Thank you God for knowing what is best. To be coninued....."
I wrote that entry and then the next day came....a day I was so in love with the Lord.... a day where I was so at peace with His perfect plan for my life...THE day... I . met. my . daughter.
side note( I started a journal around the time of losing Sissy. I really don't write in it too often but I thought that while I was going through trials that it was good to look back and see what the Lord was doing in my life. I also think about my girls everytime I write in it. That they will read these words someday. See that I knew the times that I failed with them but that I always wanted to do better and that I was always striving to know Jesus more. It is for me and for them.)
Wendy told me that I was crazy! Matt and I had waited and around the end of May we were ready to move on. We stuck to our original plan of 1-2 kids. Wendy said I could only handle one, but I said I thought I could definately do 2. We had said no to a couple of situations and then we got a call for a 2 year old girl and a 2 week old boy. There was a drug bust at the house and the kids were home.
Matt and I went down to pick the kids up. ( D and I) D. was the 2 year old little girl with bouncing curls everywhere and I. was a sleeping 2 week old baby boy. I don't think that D. understood a lot of english and just stared at me alot. When we got to the DCFS office they told us that the parents wanted the kids but they didn't think they had a chance of getting them. I immediately got nervous, they said that we didn't need to take them. Matt and I looked at each other. Well.....these kids needed a home and we weren't going to leave them here at 7pm at an office in downtown LA!
We ended up having them for 2 weeks and it was a LONG two weeks. D. slept with me and would cry in the middle of the night. Matt slept downstairs with I. to feed him in the middle of the night. I had to take them to some visits with thier birthparents. D. would scream as I pryed her away from her dad. I cried a lot. Ivy and I didn't have the best relationship during that time. Everything that had been hers, she was now sharing with another girl. My patience level was running on empty.
I prayed alot during this time. Here I was with 3 kids and I didn't know if 2 of them were mine. or not. It was ruining my relationship with Ivy fast! I knew that we would NEVER give any kids back so I was like, "Lord, if this is my life I am going to fight to make the best of it and I know it will get easier." I don't know how to explain it but I never felt like those 2 were mine. I didn't cry when they left (they went to their sister's house) but I felt bad again that these 2 kids were going back to the same environment.
I learned alot from those 2 weeks like it might be better to have kids that were alot younger than Ivy, so that she was still the top dog....even one might be nice :) I learned more about myself. I wish that I was the type a person that took in tons of kids and thought the more the merrier. I thought that I was selfish if I wasn't like that but the truth is I need to be a good steward to who I know is mine for sure and that was Ivy. I am not the most patient person and I need to create an environment that brings the most peace to my home. I am not the care free whatever happends to my home is Ok but I create order and structure. I hope that makes sense. Wendy could see it in me. I just wanted to be a mom again. I felt like blurring the lines to achieve what I wanted was kind of OK. But God wanted my best.
I had one more thing to work through before the Lord would grant me the desire of my heart. Enter Katie Davis......