Friday, February 29, 2008

Ivy's Adoption Story Part 6

Ivy and Aunt Hollie

By this time it was November and we were waiting, praying and getting ready for Thanksgiving. Our intention was always to redo the baby's room in our house. (It was a skateboard room from the people we bought our house from.) Matt spent a Saturday tearing up the stained carpet. We figured that we had time to put a new floor in and paint.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Matt was watching TV and I was sweeping the floor. The phone rang and the caller ID said it was the sister of the teacher at my school. ( I will call her S.) S. introduced herself and told us of her friend who was having a baby. She said that it was a baby girl due in January. She said the birthmother was sure she was giving the baby up. I think she was 26yrs. old and already had a young son. She had done some things where she hadn't good care of the baby, but she had gone to all of her Dr. appointments and the baby looked healthy. I said OK, that Matt and I would talk about it and then I hung up. The funny thing is that I didn't ask her hardly any questions....I was in such shock! I had to call her back to ask more questions and she was laughing. She said," I knew you would call me back because you didn't seem to ask me anything about her."

The girl's name was K. She had actually picked a different birthfamily and ( I think) was with them for a couple of months. They decided at the last minute to keep trying infertility treatments and they backed out. (It seems odd to me that they would pursue adoption without being sure but I know the Lord used them to guide K. in many ways.) I was concerned about some of the things that she had done in her past and I wanted to get some other opinions.We decided that in a couple of days we were going to talk to K. on the phone and get to know her.(She lived 5 hours away.) However.... even before that, God would bring someone into my life to help change my view of my child's adoption and show me how to truly love my birthmom.....Enter Tracy Dodson into my life.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ivy's Adoption Story Part 5

Ivy and I at the "Ivy Restaraunt" in West Hollywood

I went to work to photocopy my letter. I was going to send it to people in Iowa,Washington, and California. While I was getting ready to copy it , a mom at my school asked what I was doing and if she could read the letter. She started to cry and asked to keep it. That was a couple of weeks before school started.

On the first day back at school, I was greeted by the President of the Parents Association. She asked me if I played bunko. I said no. She said that they were going to have a bunko night where you pay $40. ( I was thinking, I wouldn't be going...I am saving for a baby!) She then told me that it was "Baby Bunko" and that at the end of the night , all of the money would go to Matt and I to use towards our adoption! She came back to me later and told me that it turned into "Baby Bingo" and it was going to be held at the school because so many people wanted to come. I was blown away!

God was so good in that Wendy was still home to experience this with me. ( She is not going to like me telling this part of the story. But this is part of deal!) Wendy kept asking me if my mom was coming out from Iowa to come. I said no and that this was part of me living in California and her living in Iowa. We would miss out on some things. I had invited Wendy and the kids over for chili. While we were eating,my sister called and said that she was coming over. Hollie said that she wanted me to video her and her roommate rapping a song. (if you know Hollie...the funny thing is this is normal for her and I thought nothing of it.) When she came in the door she said she was going to video tape me to see if the camera worked. I didn't care, I just kept eating my chili. ( I wasn't "fat mommy " then...I was just "fat Kelli". ) As she was filming me, my mom walked in the door! I was so surprised! I asked her what she was doing and then it dawned on me that she must be here for my " Baby Bingo". I started crying so hard, my mom was crying, Wendy was crying, and Hollie was still videoing. My mom said, "Thank Mike and Wendy. They flew me out here."

In October.....
"Baby Bingo" was a huge success and so much fun. Money was coming in from people who were invited but couldn't make it. They had raffles and if you brought a baby gift you got a free ticket. Matt and I got to keep all of the baby gifts! There were prizes. Matt chose the balls and I called them out for bingo. They let me talk to the crowd and I talked about God's faithfulness to Matt and I already. God was sure showing me in a big way that He was in control of this! We were also getting money from around the country and encouraging notes from people getting the newsletter. I NEVER ASKED FOR MONEY IN MY LETTER! God had just put it on people's hearts to give. When we got home, I looked through all of the baby gifts. My mom asked me if I was sad that none of my friends were here to look through the gifts with me. I said "Heck no, I've waited forever for gifts like this and I don't care who is watching me open them!"
"Baby Bingo" raised around $5,ooo! I was overwhelmed with gratitude and love.

The week of "Baby Bingo", a teacher at my school said that her sister worked in a home for unwed mothers and had a girl who wanted to give her baby to a Christian home. I gave her Tim's website and phone number and told her to call him if she was interested in us.....that was that. Then I flew to Berlin, Germany with Wendy and the kids. I remeber so well sitting on Wendy's leather couch in Germany late one night and she asked me if I thought I would get that baby. I said no because I hadn't heard anything else.....little did I know that my baby was cooking and ready to meet me in just a few short months.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ivy's Adoption Story Part 4

OK.....Now that we wanted to adopt we were trying to figure out the best way for us. Let me tell you how the Lord deals with Matt and I alot. We have never had much money so usually whatever we can afford, that is an easy answer for us. We had $1,000 in our account saved for adoption. We had used the rest on infertility Dr.'s. Matt and I had some...alot of college debt and we felt really strongly that we could not go into anymore debt adopting. We went to a Chrisitan agency and after leaving, we knew that it would be too much money. The more people we talked to that had adopted, there was a name that kept coming up. Attorney Tim Blied. I think at that time, EVERYBODY that we knew that had adopted had used Tim in some form. We were going to wait and save a little more money, but we decided to meet with him and while we were waiting on a baby save the money we needed.

His office is in Fullerton, so we drove late after work one night to meet with him. Let me just say that we LOVE US SOME TIME BLIED.! We left his office so encouraged. He took so much time with us to make sure we understood everything he was talking about. He is a wonderful Christian man who had the same views on adopting, infertility, birthmoms,etc. as us. He is just one of the many people God used to change our hearts in different areas. We started the process with him right away because we had so much to do. One thing he said was to write and tell everyone we knew that we were adopting....He said that you never know how God will use that to bring a baby to us. So...we wrote kind of like a Christmas newsletter telling about what we were up to and that we were adopting. Who knew that that letter would be used in a chain of events to bring us Ivy Elliott!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ivy's Adoption Story Part 3

Ivy (one week old) with her dad

Matt and I went in to do our 2nd artificial insemination with the Dr. He said that it went perfect. He said that he would be really surprised if it didn't take. Matt and I were hopeful. We had decided that this would be our final step and that if this didn't work, we were going to leave infertility behind and look toward adoption. We had spent so much time and money!

One way that God was so good is that Matt and I agreed on EVERYTHING. When to start infertility treatments, when to stop it, when to adopt.....we hear that is not the norm in most marriages, even Christian marriages and we we grateful that the Lord was working on our hearts at the same time.

During that month of waiting to see if the insemination worked, one night, Matt and I were watching TV. I don't know how to explain this except to tell it like it happened. ( I don't feel like God does anything dramatic to speak to me). While Matt and I were sitting in the living room, I had an incredible "feeling" that this insemination was not going to work(even though the Dr. said everything went fine), I really felt like we were done and my heart opened wide to adoption that night. Not just as an alternative for having a baby but a desire to do it. I started crying really hard and I was afraid to tell Matt what I was feeling. ( I think he already thought I was nuts from all the infertility drugs I was taking). I told him how I felt and he said that he already knew because he felt the same way.

When I didn't get pregnant, I still had a good cry (it was leaving my dream of naturally having a baby behind) but I was looking toward the future. God was so good in that our insemination had went perfectly so I had no "what if's" about the situation. God just didn't want us getting pregnant and that was a good enough answer for me. I didn't need a big medical reason. By the way, let me offer some advice. Please don't tell a woman that because she is done trying to have a baby, that now she'll get pregnant. I know people mean well but that does not help. In order for me to look at adoption, I had to let go of my dream and when people say things like that it makes it hard and ...they don't know God's plan for our lives. People only said it because they loved me and were trying to be positive. I have a list of "not so smart things" that people said to me.(OK...just a minute while I climb off my soap box....Ok.)
Now....what do we do about adopting........

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ivy's Adoption Story Part 2

Ivy (2) and Lexie Kostjuk(3)

People are going to laugh who know this story but I have to tell it. Let me just tell you how much I loved Kirk Cameron as a teen. I was a little obsessed. I even used to pray for his salvation because I know we couldn't get married if he wasn't a Christian. ( He is a super godly man now serving the Lord...I don't want to take any credit for that but....ya know!) Anyways, Matt and I had done our first artificial insemination with the specialist and it didn't work. I drove to Thousand Oaks and met with the Dr., he told me that we were going to start the drugs again. I tried to stay positive in front of him but I wanted so badly to start crying right there. I hated all the shots and drugs. I left the office asking the Lord for strength. I remember praying," Lord I know you love me and this is for my good but I am so low right now. I need SOMETHING today to let me know you care about me and my feelings." I wasn't asking for a baby that day, just something to lift my spirits. I went to the gas station to get gas and a guy (who had that 1990's look about him)walked in to pay and it reminded me of Kirk Cameron. I said to myself, "Lord, now THAT would make my day"....meaning seeing Kirk Cameron.

Now....the next part of this story is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH!!!!! I went across the street to get a Jamba Juice and KIRK CAMERON WAS SITTING THERE READING HIS BIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I went into Jamba Juice and started shaking a little bit. I had to talk to him or Matt would kill me because I have talked about meeting him forever. I went up to him and started talking, I remember talking so fast that he was just staring at me in disbelief. We talked about John MacArthur....we had to because before I went up to him I didn't even plan out what I was going to say. After I left, I was so excited I called everyone I knew. They were waiting for me to call about the DR. and I was screaming so loud about Kirk, I literally lost my voice. People thought I was nuts. They kept asking me what the Dr. said and I said WHO CARES!

As I laid in bed that night still happy from my visit, I remembered the prayer I prayed to the Lord. I just laid there and thanked Him. People might just always laugh at this story but I remember it as the day that God showed me that He was not going to take this trial from me, He didn't even promise me that it would end soon but He showed me that He loved me and that He was going to be faithful to show me anytime I needed it!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ivy's Adoption Story Part 1

My friend Tracy is writing the stories of all of her kid's adoptions. I have started Ivy's story in a book but I think blogging it will force me to finish it. I find Tracy's stories so fasinating (see Dodson Family at the bottom of my blog) so I thought people might like to read Ivy's. So......Here we go. First, let me take a moment and talk to my daughter.

For- Ivy Emma Elisabeth Elliott

This book has stories about your life that I think you should know about. I want to write it down before I forget these little facts. Treasure this story as much as I love and treasure you.
Love, Your Mom

Matt and I had wanted to have a baby about 3 years into our marriage. We didn't start trying yet because we couldn't afford it. I know people say that you can never afford to have a baby but we really couldn't. We had too much college debt. It wasn't until we were married about 6 years (Matt and I are trying to remember...all I know is that it felt like forever!) that we started trying to have a baby. I don't know how to explain it but I always had a feeling that I would have a hard time getting pregnant. Maybe it was God preparing my heart for things to come. We met with a regular Dr. and not long after that we went to a specialist in Thousand Oaks. He was so great and caring, not a believer but he was very positive that we would get pregnant. One problem that we had is that my eggs grow slow, so when we were doing artificial insemination, I would have to drive to Thousand Oaks (about 45 minutes away) every other day, leave work and go by myself. My work was so understanding, telling me my family came first but those drives were lonely and discouraging. The drugs made me so sad and I cried all the time. Ask Wendy! She was such a good friend to me, she endured alot. I often asked her in tears, "Do you like being my friend? I am so high maitenance." I remember Mike walking in the door and saying" Geez,Why is Kelli crying again?" Matt was wonderful too. He would just lay in bed with me while I cried about nothing. I am so thankful that I will never take those drugs again!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Redeemer is Faithful and True

I've debated whether to share this entry tonight but then I thought, when do you not share an example of God's goodness and love? My heart is a little sad. Without going into the whole story, Matt and I thought that we might have a baby girl to adopt. It turns out that we are not going to. In the midst of sadness and disappointment, my mind has raced to all the ways God has shown His goodness to Matt and I. We didn't spend any money, we didn't get into a bad situation, He didn't drag the situation out for us, He has still provided us a slice of perfection in giving us Ivy,, He showed us that a call can really come at anytime. As I dwelled on those things, my heart still was a little sad as the reality of it set in. Then He brought to mind this song. ( I am not computer savy so you can look it up on "youtube".) It is by Steven Curtis Chapman. I played it on Steven's website and had a good cry. "THE WORDS ARE SO TRUE! Here are the lyrics:

"As I look back on the road I've traveled,
I see so many times He carried me through;
And if there's one thing that I've learned in my life
My Redeemer is faithful and true

(chorus) My Redeemer is faithful and true
Everything He has said He will do
and every morning His mercies are new
My Redeemer is faithful and true

My heart rejoices when I read the promise
'There is a place I am preparing for you'
I know someday I'll see my Lord face to face
My Redeemer is faithful and true


And in every situation He has proved His love to me;
When I lack the understanding, He gives more grace to me


Isn't it beautiful? God is so good.....He's so good to me.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Letter from Elisabeth Elliot

When I got the mail today, I was in for a big surprise! THE Elisabeth Elliot ( the missionary who was Martyr Jim Elliot's wife) wrote Ivy the most beautiful letter. Let me back up.... Ivy's full name is Ivy Emma Elisabeth Elliott. The middle name Emma is from her birthmom and Elisabeth is named after this Elisabeth Elliot (it helps our last name is Elliott) . I have always admired what a godly woman she is and how she has lived her whole life for the Lord. What a great example for our daughter! I have always wanted to write her a letter and let her know that Ivy was named after her and this year I finally did it and she wrote back. She also sent her a croqueted bookmark. Her husband wrote me a short note apologizing for Elisabeth's handwriting being shaky. She typed the letter but signed her name. When I looked her up online it said that she doesn't send things to people because she is old and can't do that for everyone but I asked anyway. I asked for her to give Ivy her favorite bible verses. This was her letter to Ivy:

Dear Ivy Emma Elisabeth,

Today is 18th of January 18, 2008, and you are a bit over two years old so you have years to go before you reach my age, but when you do you will find your obedience to your parents and to God will have brought you joy and peace. Fill your mind with Scripture and the old hymns. They will keep you through the long, dark nights. May I suggest also that it's good to read the old books, especially the missionary biographies.

As you grow, strive to be feminine in how you dress and represent yourself. Remember to keep the boys "at arms length", a maxim that I learned from my mother early in life.

In thinking of being a success in life you might keep in mind the words of Ugo Bassi, who wrote, "Measure thy life by loss and not by gain. Not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth. For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice; and who so suffereth most hath most to give."

A couple of my favorite Bible Verses are Isaiah 50:7 "For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded, therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed." Also, Isaiah 58:10-11 "If you feed the hungry from your own plentyand satisfy the needs of the wretched, then your light will rise like the dawn out of darkness and your dusk be like noonday. The Lord will be your guide continually and will satisfy your needs in the shimmering heat; He will give you strength of limb; you will be like a watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

May the peace of the Lord be with you, dear Ivy

Lovingly, Elisabeth Elliot Gren

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cupcakes and Casserole

Ivy was busy in the kitchen today. She made cupcakes with her babysitter, Sarah . Then, she made a chicken and veggie casserole with me. She is quite the "Beckie Homeckie." Sarah said that she got introuble for stuffing a whole cupcake in her mouth. I was going to say how terrible that was until my mind flashed back to me eating Wendy's cupcakes on Valentine's Day. (see Valentine's Day entry). I have always wanted to share my love of cooking with Ivy. While we were making the casserole, I thought how great it was that at two years old she is already learning to love the kitchen. Now if I can just get her to not eat so much of the food while we are making it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Visiting Little Reese Kostjuk

Wendy, Ashley and I went to see Reese at the hospital. I was so excited to finally get to touch her and kiss her. She is so cute and I loved being near her. Wendy and I took turns seeing her because only 2 people could go in the room at a time. It was so sweet of Ashley to let us share that time with her. We love Reesie!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Valentine's Day

My pictures are a little crazy. ( I am not a computer person!) We had a really nice Valentine's Day with Daddy spoiling his girls. As you can see, Ivy got some dress up accessories. We went to TMC to surprise Aunt Hollie with a Valentine gift. Ivy wanted to wear her plastic shoes to see Hollie, The only problem is that they were high heels and plastic and wouldn't stay on her feet. She was in tears by the time we got to the college and I had sweaty pits from being so frustrated. Daddy got me a Starbucks to start the morning and then he got me a "blue Tooth" for my phone. (For those of you who don't is a cordless ear piece for my brings me up to "kickin' it high class" status.) I asked for a burrito from El Pollo Loco for dinner and I was one happy Valentine. I would have done really good on my points (for Weight Watchers) but I stopped at Wendy's because Kate had a Valentine for Ivy. Wendy made the most amazing cupcakes. I had two. I "shared" with Ivy, BUT fat mommy reared her ugly head...or rear and I ate the top with the frosting and gave Ivy the bottom crusty part.....that's when you know you have a problem (But I have been doing really good...11 pounds lost!) The next night, Matt and I went to our annual Biblestudy Valentine's date night. (didn't get a pic. but we had a great time). Hope everyone had a nice holiday thinking of God's goodness concerning the loved ones in our lives. PS. Matt did get a present from his girls!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Best Friends Reunited

Thank you Aunt Hollie for the matching shirts from DC! Kate Penberthy back from Italy!

Kate came over for a playdate so that Wendy could take Jaden to the Dr. I have never seen Ivy get so territorial over her toys! They can't wait to see each other and talk about each other all the time, then when they see each other, they remember they have to share. Here is a picture when we were having a good moment....each girl with her own coloring book, own crayons, own drink, and own bag of chips. Awwww, God Bless Little Girls!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Date with Toby Mac and Jeremy Camp

Ok....My date was with Matt but we went to the Jeremy Camp and Toby Mac concert at Gibson Amphitheatre. It was so good! Toby was amazing. He put on such a good show. Jeremy rocked it out and has such a heart for the Lord. Matt and I ate dinner at "Mexicali" on Ventura Blvd. (I forgot how good it was!) and then went to the concert. Hollie gave us the tickets for Christmas. We loved it Hollie. Thank You! It was a great night spending it with my husband while Hollie spent the evening with sick little Ivy.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Apology Notes

Every once in a while when I am teaching music (at Legacy Christian Academy) a couple kids start to misbehave. When they do, they have to pull a card and their teacher makes them write me a note. Today, a couple of boys got in trouble. I think their notes are pretty funny sometimes so I thought I would share a few. (Spelling is how it is in the note.)

"Dear Mrs. Elliott, Sorry. I was laughing in class on Thursday. I told Tristen to stop making me lagh. He did not listen so I tried to hold it but I could not. I am sorry for not holding it in."

"Dear Mrs. Elliont, I am very sorry I was fooling around in class. It was mostly my falt because I was making the others laugh. I will my very hardest not to fool around again. I am very sorry."

"Dear Mrs. Elliot, I'm sorry for messing around in music. I should've done better in class. I will try not to do it again. I wish I was better at listening and being a better person."

Monday, February 4, 2008

Ivy Praying with Bear and Doggie Before Their Nap

Ivy was really quiet in her room, I was about to go and see what was going on, when I heard her say "Amen". I knew exactly what she was doing. Tucking doggie and bear in her bed for a nap. Here she is praying with them before they go to sleep.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Urgent Care

Ok....potty training on hold. I just left Urgent Care with Ivy. She has pink eye in both eyes and a throat ,nose, ear infection. Poor baby. This will be her first time on antibiotics. Please pray for her little body.

Friday, February 1, 2008

WHAT??? Time for Big Girl Undies!

I can't believe that it is time to break out the undies. My little girl cannot be ready for this!

I was going to wait and potty train her this summer but...I guess we are starting now. I was talking to Wendy yesterday and while we were talking Ivy says"Momma, I poo poo". I looked and said "no, not yet but you are going to." And sure enough she did. Wendy said,"Are you nuts? She is telling you she has to go and you are not potty training her!" Finally I told Wendy to lay off me and that I would go get the undies. (Come to think of it, it was kind of dumb of me to wait that long....Thank You friend) we went and got our Hello Kitty undies and suckers for when we go in the potty. Pray for me! I am a little nervous about it. I will keep you posted. Sickness update....she still has a small fever and now a bad cough. She has a raspy little voice because of it and I love that but I want her to get better!