CCC Gatlinburg Summer Project 2002 "The Beast of the East"
A couple of my faithful readers will find this post especially interesting. On May 5th, we had a Charleston-area GSP '02 reunion! Well, of course, it was a mini reunion because it was only for the Charleston area folks, but that was a lot more people than you may think.
Kurt & Morgan (a Gburg marriage!), Dan, Tricia, Brandon, AmberW
Dan Maloy, Kurt & Morgan Brewer, and Brandon Hammond are all on staff with Cru here in the Charleston area. So, Amber Williams and I joined them (and all the spouses/fiances joined as well)!
The whole gang (left to right): Amber & her fiance Sherief Khalil, Kurt & Morgan Brewer, Dan & Shannon Maloy, Brandon, Ansley, Myra Grace & Mackey Hammond, and the Flaglers
It was lots of fun to get together. Interestingly enough, much of the same crew (though switch Ginger Henry for the Hammonds) had a get together on Cinco de Mayo in 2007. Maybe we will have to make it more of an annual tradition? :)
Last Monday, we got to drive up to the Myrtle Beach Bethany office to meet with our social worker. This meeting was a little deeper than the last. We talked more in depth about the families we came from and who we are, our strengths and weaknesses, and our struggles and successes. Even though there was more sensitive material, it still felt as though we were sitting down and talking with a friend, instead of a formal interview. I'm really thankful that Bethany (well at least our social worker) takes this approach. It's so much easier to be honest! The drive up and back was fun in itself because we got to have that quality time together. The driving time was longer than our meeting time. My interview with her was about 45 minutes, and Matt's was about 20 minutes. After our interviews, we went to Broadway at the Beach and walked around for a couple of hours. We also had a special celebratory lunch at Hard Rock while we were there. This process has brought Matt and I so much closer than I ever imagined. It's been a huge gift that our relationship has grown so much more special these last 8.5 months since we decided to pursue adoption. I'm soooo thankful that God gave me Matt.
Our social worker comes back to Charleston tomorrow for our final meeting in the home study process. Prayerfully, after this meeting, we will be approved and we can start applying for grants. Also, once we receive final approval, it's possible that a birth mother could pick us at any time.
Please pray with us as the time factor starts to become more of a reality. On so many levels, we are VERY ready to be parents. Of course, there are other levels where we still have a few things to figure out. I imagine that people are never FULLY prepared for parenthood, but we want to be wise and responsible as we enter this journey. Thanks for sharing in this process with us!
In honor of Mother's Day, a very funny video showing how silly our Momma, Beth Jones Tyndall is and what she puts up with from us. This shows when we were trying to get her to smile 'normal'. And her silly Momma as well. From Christmas 2004.
Thursday afternoon our social worker came to our place to check it out and get to know us. It was very laid back and not stressful. It was actually really fun!
Even the night before, Matt was shocked that I wasn't frantically cleaning and freaking out, but I had a strange sense of peace and excitement instead of panic. It was probably at least partially because our friends Mark and Lauren told us that it really wasn't a huge deal and not to get too stressed about it. However, I DID clean the apartment extra-well, so I finally have pictures to share of the bedrooms.
She showed up a little early, so we just chatted and hung out until Matt got home. We talked about her family, her career, Cares, our family, church, etc. It was really like getting together with a friend instead of a 'homestudy'. We did ask a lot of questions about birth mothers and what some of her favorite stories were.
Our next step is to go up to Myrtle Beach on Monday for interviews. We are also working on our family profile and letter to the birthparent(s). Then, May 20th will be our final home visit, and we expect to be approved sometime the next week. (Lord willing.)
We are having our first fundraiser next Saturday, a yard sale at my Mom's house. Already, several friends are donating stuff for us to sale. It's so special to see so many people supporting our future baby. Thank you all!
Well, most of you already know this, especially if you're on Facebook. But, to follow up on the "Waiting for Hailey" post, I wanted to document what happened when she arrived.
After getting to 10 cm, Stephani pushed for over 2 hours, and the doctor (finally!) realized little Hailey was face up and wasn't going to be able to maneuver out the natural way. So, they rushed Stephani in for a cesarean (is that the right spelling?) at around 5:00 am.
We all got wake-up phone calls and foggily rushed back to the hospital.
Hailey was born at 5:32 on Saturday, April 30th, 7 lbs, 11 oz, 20 inches long, and she is stinkin' ADORABLE! Here's a video of when we first met her and Grandma's commentary.
(Yes, that is a Flagler male burping in the background.!! We all thought she would have red hair, so that's why we were having the hair discussion.) :)
It was so special to be there so soon after she entered this world. Stephani was doing good after her surgery, so we got to visit with them as a family of 3 and also watch when Hailey got her first bath.
The next couple of days were filled with LOTS of visits to the hospital and being in awe over our little, perfect niece.
If it's not been obvious, this Aunt T is definitely in love! (And Uncle Matt is pretty darn smitten too.)
During our meeting at Bethany, we got a text that Stephani was in labor, so we headed straight to the hospital when we got back in town from our meeting.
We picked up some food for everyone waiting and arrived at the hospital around 7 pm. Hailey is one loved little girl, so there were lots of family & friends already there. (Mark and Steph had checked into the hospital around 3:30). Even more arrived after we got there. Pretty sure there was a total of 16 people who were there throughout the evening cheering Stephani on and waiting to meet baby Hailey.
Gary, Grandpa, and Dad/Papa
Grandma, Lauryn, Gail/GiGi
Towards the beginning of the evening. Waiting for updates.
More of Mark's family starting arriving.
Sydney, Dana, Mike/Popa, Judith/Petey, and Kevin
While we were waiting, we would go back to the labor & delivery room and visit them periodically, but we spent most of the time out in the waiting room.
Grandma, Lillie, Maddison, Lauryn, Gail (the guessers)
We made guesses about what time she would arrive and what she would look like. (see videos)
We watched clips of the Royal Wedding reruns and Shark Tank. We played games with their nieces and the visitor stickers. We anxiously awaited any updates about Stephani's progress and how Hailey was doing.
Callie came out to give updates.
And Mark came out to give updates.
Stephani had a very difficult labor and was stuck at 8 cm for about 3 hours. She finally got to 10 cm around 2 am, but they knew it would probably be at least a couple hours of pushing. So, we all left to go home and get some sleep. Matt had to work the next day, and we had already only slept for about 3 hours the night before.
Some of the waiting party fell asleep long before 2 am,
and some even went home starting at 10:10 (Gary!)
So, we all left around 2:30 after saying goodbye to Steph, and we went to sleep praying for Mark, Stephani and Baby Hailey.
Friday, we woke up early and went up to Columbia for the Bethany training meeting. Just like every stage of this adoption process, it became even more real that day.
We heard more about the approval process, more about financing adoption, more about the home study process, more about how we are chosen by the expectant mother/family. We also heard from a birth mother and some adoptive families about their recent experiences.
We also happened to run into some familiar faces from Upstate Crusade days and got to catch up and talk about our mutual love for Central Asia.
It was wonderful and a bit intimidating and incredibly exciting.
Our next step is the home study, and our social worker is actually coming to our home tomorrow (Thursday) for our first meeting.After the meeting, we drove home with the top down. (My mom let us borrow her convertible for the day because our car was having some issues.)
I'm catching up on blogs and noticed that Joel and Kitty have been posting a lot lately. I love following their blog because it's a perfect mix of life, hobbies, ministry, and faith updates.
You should check them out. And also maybe enter yourself to win the book and cd of Valley of Vision that they are giving away. Here's the link to the giveaway post, but also check out the rest of their updates too.