14 June 2012

Five Weeks...In A Very Large Nutshell!

The last five weeks have been so unbelievably crazy!

On May 3rd, my family in Idaho called me to let me know that my dad's mother, Wilma Strasser had passed away.  She was very old and, while being sad that she had passed, we were all relieved that she was finally pain free and reunited with her sweetheart and her baby daughter Irene.  I decided to take London and fly Idaho to attend her funeral, which was to take place on what would have been her 69th wedding anniversary (May 11th).

When London and I flew out on May 9th (Brooklin's 16th birthday) to attend the funeral; Darwin had been working in Maui for 2 1/2 weeks and had 3 days to go, and Brooklin had made it to the state track meet for the 100m and 300m hurdles and was flying to the Big Island for the weekend.  Some friends of ours took Caleb and Isaiah for the few days we would both be gone.  

I am so grateful for the time I had with my dad's side of the family.  We haven't lived near any of them in a long time and it was amazing to just be surrounded by Strassers!  My grandparent have 45 grandchildren, and all but four of them were at the funeral! (Two were unable to make it, one was on a mission, and one passed away in 2005).

We were also fortunate enough to spend time with most of Darwin's family too!  His brother Bill and Bill's wife Shaneen both graduated from Boise State University the same weekend of the funeral, so London and I were able to see Darwin's parents, his Grandma Ray, four of his six siblings, and one of his cousins and her family.

During our stay in Idaho, we celebrated Darwin's 40th birthday and Mother's Day...in which my husband sent me a lei in the mail and won the best husband ever award!

London and I flew home on May 16th.  We got up at 4am Mountain Time (midnight in Hawaii) to catch a 6am flight.  We had a layover in Portland and arrived home at 10:30am in Hawaii.  When we landed in Honolulu, I switched on my phone I had a few text messages and a couple of missed calls.  One of the missed calls was from our adoption worker, Sally Lee.  This is the message she left:

“Hey Melissa.  This is Sally Lee.  Can you call me back?  Um, couple of things…the volunteer work: Margaret is ready to train you. And um, more importantly I need to sit with you and your husband and I wondered if you are coming into town today…or any chance of it…or I can go out to you guys.  Ok, call me. ###-####.  Thanks! Bye!”

I didn’t call her right then, because I was trying to find our bags.  Someone’s duffel bag had jammed up the baggage claim carousel our suitcases were supposed to be coming out of and we only had one of our bags.  I was also texting Darwin updates on which arrival gate he could pick us up at.

We finally got our bag and met Darwin outside.  We talked all the way home and then after I unloaded my suitcases I laid down on the bed and was out like a light.  I was exhausted.  Sometime while I was sleeping, Sally Lee called again.  One of my children answered the phone and told her I was asleep and that we had just returned home from my mother’s funeral. (My mother is fine…they just gave out bad information)

I told Darwin that I would call her later.  I was pretty sure she just needed some kind of paperwork from me.  I sent my LDSFS Volunteer application to their office right before I left on vacation, so I was pretty sure that is what she wanted to talk about…and she mentioned the application in the phone message.  He told me I should call her back anyway…

I called her back and she asked if she could come out to the house and meet with us.  Wednesday nights are not good for us.  Wednesday nights are mutual nights from 7-8:30pm.  Most Wednesdays are also Activity Days for London and Cub Scouts for Isaiah.  I tried to dissuade her a little, but she just kept saying, “Oh, I’m going to be out that way anyway.” so I told her she could come over at 8:45pm.

After having me tell her about my trip and her being relieved that it was my GRANDmother and not my mom who had died…she got down to business.  She said, “Well, we got your volunteer application in, but we are going to have to deny it because you are not going to have any time to volunteer.”  I was a little put off… lol…  I had tons of time!  I was bored at home and knew that they needed help down at the office.

She went on to tell us that she met with a birthmother over the weekend and had dropped off five couples’ packets with her…ours being one of the five…and the birth mother called her back the next day and said she wanted “Darwin and Melissa”.  She only read our packet and one other, so Sally told her to read all the packets before she decided, since this was a very important decision.  The birthmom called Sally back the next day and told her she had read all five packets and still wanted “Darwin and Melissa”. 

At this point, I ask Sally if she is kidding…because we have been waiting five and a half years and I’m thinking that it must be some kind of mistake or something.

She just smiled and went on.  “She wants her baby to have a lot of siblings…she is having a girl…she is due on June 22nd (5 weeks away)…”  and I am just so shocked I just keep nodding along with my mouth hanging open.  It took me until about 30 minutes after Sally left for me to fully process what was about to happen.  I was in the shower and I just started sobbing uncontrollably.  It really sounded like this was going to happen and all the emotion I had been holding in for the past five and a half years just ripped its way out of me.
I didn’t sleep really well that night, and the next day I was so scared it wasn’t real or that something would go wrong that I don’t know what I did all day, beyond running different scenarios and situations through my head.

I called our birth mother on Friday May 17th and talked with her for 15 minutes. She is a really sweet lady who has had a pretty rough life.  She had been taking the missionary discussions for about two months and was going to be baptized on Saturday May 26th!  Darwin and I bought plane tickets and flew over to Big Island to attend her baptism and meet her and her four children for the first time.

We took our birth mom out to lunch at L & L, and just talked and got to know her a little.  After lunch, we went to her house and met three of her four children and her brother who is living with her to help her out.  We had a really good visit.  She just said over and over, "I just have a lot of faith in you.  I know you are the ones to raise my baby."  She was baptized along with her eight year-old son later that evening.  I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was to be able to attend her baptism!  I am so grateful she has such a wonderful ward family to help and support her through this time in her life.

 She told us that she was going to go on a run after her baptism so that the baby would come out while we were there!  hehe!

We flew home that night and knew that this was really real!  We called our families to let them know what was going on.  Monday May 28th was Memorial Day, so we took the kids out and bought a bassinet, car seat, stroller, diapers, wipes, some clothes, and a few other things.  We were really scared to take anything out of the box though... 

Sunday June 3rd, we celebrated London's 12th birthday...and Monday June 4th is when I took Caleb to the doctor and we found out he had a life threatening condition and he was in the hospital for three days...with many months of treatments on the future.  (To read about that go here, here, here, here, and here and as of this moment, we do not know if one of the kids is a bone marrow match yet).

Isaiah celebrated his 10th birthday on June 6th...and the poor guy had to open all his presents in Caleb's hospital room!  Brooklin left that morning for Youth Conference and Caleb was able to come home that evening (we didn't know if he was going to be able to since the diagnosis was still unknown at the time we opened presents).

We had three days of quiet...which we all needed.  We spent that time letting Caleb's situation sink in a little and just taking everything one day at a time...

...Then on Sunday June 10th, our birth mom called us at 12:49 pm to let us know she was in labor and going to the hospital!  


AlwaysJen said...

Wow! What a crazy few weeks. Talk about emotional roller coaster. I'm so glad that everything is working out. I hope one of the kids is a match for Caleb, and I'm super thrilled the birth mother realized what a great family she'd be giving her baby to. Congratulations, and remember, moms need to sleep when the baby sleeps (although how you do that with four other kids on summer break, I do not know!). :-)

Amy said...

I have been praying for you for all these years and have so much respect for you, your decisions, your faith, and your ability to be such a great mother and wife.

It makes me joyful beyond words to hear that you finally have your baby. What a blessed baby.

Enjoy (and my prayers are with Caleb now).