Four Six McBabies so far...

Adoption has been a part of our lives for the last 7 years. We started the journey out of desperation. During the journey our desperation turned to conviction. This site tells stories. They are the stories of our journey. We love sharing this journey with anyone who wants to hear and we’d love to hear yours too! Read the stories of how we adopted each of our boys and check back to keep up with the progress of our most recent adoption.

David and Judith McNeely (Dawson, Smyth, Davis, Emerson, Sawyer and Wyatt)

October 16, 2009 Anger

Anger.  I find myself in this corridor of grief as I walk through the maze of healing. My anger seems to be multi-faceted as it doesn’t seem to be exclusive to losing Bradford.  I never thought I was an angry person inside yet strangely it seems to come out of the recession of my heart.  It flows to easily for it have not to have been there.  I was somehow unaware.  I believe anger can be good when kept in its rightful place.   I should be angry over sex trafficking, murder, pornography, injustices, etc…anger should motivate me to help and try to put an end to such hanusness.   I get angry over the years the beast of anorexia took from me, the hold it has on other young girls, and a world where weight and appearance are such an obsession.  That really gets me boiling and I can’t say that is sinful anger.  But then there is an anger in me that is hanus in and of itself and not God honoring at all.  Its selfish and comes from comparing myself to other women, coveting “stuff”, wanting this world to satisfy me.   When it doesn’t satisfy me my hard heart ensues and only hinders my relationship with God-the only one who is capable of righteous anger.   I wonder why this world was not set up differently-why must there be any kind of suffering. Why couldn’t it be through joy and not pain that we draw closer to God.  There is where my anger lies as well.  Doesn’t He owe me?  (I really act like he does sometimes!!!  even after He died for me!!)   Jeeze Judith what more is He supposed to do?   Is it that deep down I want to be “worshiped” and when I am not it elicits some “justified” anger?   It comes out when deep down I expect David to do something fun for our anniversary or my birthday and when he dosen’t I get angry.  If I didn’t want to be “worshiped” than why do I get so mad about that?  Hmmmm….I am often amazed at how patient  Jesus is when He gets angry..”He looked around them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “stretch out your hand”. He stretched it out and His hand was completely restored.” Mark 3:5  Even in anger Jesus reached out and healed a man.. looking beyond himself.  God has given me Through Jesus’s life a beautiful picture of what I am supposed to do with my anger-look outside of myself, love others, and find healing there.  I cannot express how hard this is for me right now.

I have been blessed by reading the book, “Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow” by Nancy Guthrie.  She has given me a new perspective on God’s hand in the hard parts of our lives.  There are a few instances in Scripture where God allows suffering.    However,  more often He is the author of the hardship that is sent.   In her book she states “I fully recognize and respect that many faithful believers will say that God “allows” suffering into our lives.  Perhaps part of our struggle is the inadequacy of language-we are limited by the mere words in our discussion of God’s role in suffering which is beyond our complete comprehension and articulation.  But as we take Scripture at face value, we see that God did not merely “allow” many of the events and actions we would label bad or evil, but he actively sent them, intended them, gave them.  Perhaps the best word is that He ORDAINED them.” p.79

I have mulled over these words the past weeks and  began seeing more clearly God’s true character.  I often am lead back to the quote from C.S. Lewis, “He’s not safe…but He is good.”  How can that be?  Somehow it just is and the Lord owes me NO EXPLANATION.  HE is God and HE is in control of everything that befalls us good and horrible.  What kind of God would he be if He didn’t control the bad as well…pretty wimpy really.  That is not a character trait of the God I know… “With my great power and outstetched arm I made the Earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please.” Jeremiah 27:5 I am not seeing a nonchalant God there.  So I am left to face God with losing Bradford…I am angry but know I will come to a healthier side of anger in the end as I wrestle with Him.   After all HE is bigger and stronger than me and I imagine after I give up the struggle and go limp He will just hold me and cry with me.

October 6, 2009

Being a mom is humbling.  After crying spells my son asks “mom, are you all done whining?”, I tell the boys to put their shoes in a certain basket by the door and then trip over mine in the living room,   I hear words or voice inflections come out of their mouths and think where did you get that…their answer..”You, momma.” , and obviously teachers must really want to get to know me because they keep inviting me to these “meetings” 🙂  Oh dear Lord help me.  Well honestly, He’s the only one who can right?

I thought about God’s character depicted as a shepherd as I walked the twins to school today.  “I am the good shepherd.” John 10.    I felt like I was sending them to the wolves as I watched them walk away with bookbags as big as they are.  I realized my design as a mom is to be the staff for my children.  So often I want to be the shepherd and control where they go and what they do… but GOD actually is.  He loves them more than even I can.   He uses me as his staff to draw them to Himself and uses the Holy Spirit as a staff to draw me to Himself.  They don’t know yet the “Holy Spirit guidance” so I believe I am to be the instrument to extend His hand of guidance and comfort.   “…your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23.     I just love the fact that He indeed is my shepherd. my protector. my guide. my provider. my rescuer. my peace. my comforter. my healer.  Oh how I pray I am a strong staff that brings our boys in to see the nature of the good shepherd and our Great God.  yes, so very humbling..but then again that’s the nature of our shepherd isn’t it? And I so want to be more like HIM.

September 14, 2009-Mosaic

“I pray out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with the power through His Spirit in your inner being….that you…may have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this loves that SURPASSES knowledge…” Ephesians 3

I recently saw a picture of a mosaic called the tree of life.  It was beautiful and was amazed that someone could take so many fragmented pieces and make something so wonderful.  So the story of our lives really.  I have so many fragmented and shattered pieces of emotion in my life and yet somehow God plasters them together into a beautiful mosaic of life that brings Him glory.  Fear, joy, heartache, love, laughter, pain, worry, peace, hope, dispair, contentment, covetousness…..on and on.  God has given me His Spirit to live in spite of my “feelings” as I am a deep thinker and sometimes get lost in it all.  I have found out that grief can be a selfish beast and though all emotions of this pain are necessary it has been difficult to love others like I want to.  I have just began praying beyond myself and have been amazed at how God is using those prayers to draw me to Him and away from my grief.  I just learned of a woman whose fiance was killed on the way to his wedding and his hopeful bride did a memorial service at the alter  where they were to marry.(okay seriously God, what?)  Oh the pain that woman must feel right now and I have prayed for her and for the first time truly looked past my own selfish grief.  Yes, I know I need to feel and grieve but also want to love in the journey of it all.  In my wild emotion mosaic I beg the spirit of God to put them together and create a picture of Himself in me and His kingdom.  I believe “feelings” to be a gift of God-a cleansing of our souls.  I also believe that I cannot live by my “feelings” and the Lord must guide me in spite of them.   As Bradford’s duedate approches I have a choice to make.  Even in my heartache I need the Lord to help me as…..babies due at the same time are being born, young mothers with newborns are coming my way, seeing little girls at play.   Oh my goodness the sadness “feels” like I am being shattered myself.  I am praying God gives me the strength to not turn and run for cover but to embrace them and rejoice with those who rejoice just as I can now mourn with those who mourn.  I know my grief naturally draws me into myself and keeps me from reaching out to others in need.   All of the fragments I beg Him to pick up and create something beautiful, a picture only God himself can create, and I would allow Him to work into the mortar of my life these pieces to make a glorious tree of life…a tree whose branches extend grace, forgiveness, kindness, and love.   “…to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on a new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4

August 29, 2009

I have come to place where tears do not flow freely anymore…I am weary of the heartache and crying.  I honestly did not know that was possible but somehow I find myself tired of hurting.  Maybe I am in survival mode but I seem to avoid most things that would bring the sadness and grief to the forefront just so I can live my days.  I know though I will have a day where the floodgates will reopen.  There are glimpses of joy and laughter springing forth some days even.(especially as i watch our funboys)  I guess the Lord parted the sea for me for a little while so I could walk through this and come out the other side closer to the promised land.  Its as if HE knew I would drown.  hmm.

“You will have no other gods before me.”  exodus20 (AND THE FIRST COMMANDMENT) I have grown amazed at my own desire to control my world…my desires even for “good things” set themselves golden as idols.  There’s that word..IDOLS.  I heard a teaching on idols and was given a list of 25 potential idols.  He asked us to look at them and find a few that might be true of us.  So what do you do if you struggle with all 25 ? (knowing there are more-he just didn’t want to overwhelm us I am sure).   It was a stab to my heart and humbliing for sure.   People’s approval, addictions, unforgiveness..of course we can understand those to be idols-setting themselves against the Lord as our stregth.  But what about adoption, money saving, my health, ministry, our children, wanting more children…wait now..those are good things.  How can they be idols?  Oh but they are for me.     I find myself sucking the thumb of life out of some of them while holding the others like a blanket close to me hoping to find comfort in my “companions”.  A child thinks He needs these comforts to be at peace and we all know what it is like taking these seemingly good comforts away. Problem is I can’t hold on to them anymore.  Other than the fact I would look incredibly silly with my thumb and blankie,  they hinder me from growing in my faith.  I am learning through Bradford’s death I have control of nothing of what this world brings.  I try and spin my wheels everyday trying to maintain some symblance of control and it just leaves me exhausted, fearful, and frustrated.   “Come to me all who are weary and heavyladen and I will give you rest”. Rest.  Sounds so good.  No struggle. No idols. No fear. Oh to enter that rest.  It seems so easy and yet I struggle to even find it!!  I often hear “Just let it go” .  I cringe at this statement..not because I don’t want to let it go..its just those words are  yet again placing ME in control. What is “IT” anyway?  HE took my only daughter…what more “IT” does He want?  Noone ever seems to have an answer for that.  I know..I know…He wants ALL of me.  HE wants me to surrender the controls of my life and lay it down at the cross. Oh how easy…Why didn’t I think of this before in these past 16 years(yes that is sarcasm you hear).   The  “IT”only can come from the Lord speaking to my heart and mind…opening my eyes…and piercing my ears.  I cannot control these things either…I just need to be expectant… to be more expectant  and desirous of HIs grace and mercy than even of an actual baby..Ouch.

Oh how I love Joyce Meyer(I just made all my prebyterian friends cringe).  God has used her to minister to me since I was in college in incredible ways.  My head has always believed one theology but my heart and soul tend to lean toward the charismatic side of life.  I am learning through her teaching that we are in control of only ONE thing in this world….our RESPONSE to what life brings.  “I have set before you this day life and death…CHOOSE LIFE…love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.”  Deuteronomy 30:19- 20.  Oh I want to live again…I long to see life differently and  respond as if I am controlled by my GOd, my Savior, My Creator, my Lord.  HE holds everything in that engraved palm of His.  “My hand will sustain him, surely my arm will strengthen him.” Psalm 89.  I got nothing.  I bring nothing.  I contol nothing except how I respond to the Lord’s voice.  “The voice of the Lord is powerful; The voice of the Lord is majestic.”  Psalm 29  OH that I might hear his voice today…let go of my thumb…throw my blanket down…run to Him… fall into Him so only HIs arms can sustain me and hold me up. What a sweet surrender that would be.   “…be their Shepherd and carry them forever.”  Psalm 28.

August 9th, 2009

I found myself resolved to constant tears as David drove down the highway towards the beach.  I felt like I was back in the hospital room holding Bradford again and the pain and heartache were so fresh.  It was the first time I had been quiet with my thoughts since that day…all the boys were sleeping , no laundry, cleaning, or computer to distract my grief.  Just a quiet car and a husband holding my hand over the console as the tears just came for at least two hours.  “I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out callng for help.”  Psalm 69.  It was a cleansing of sorts and  I realized how much hurt and pain is still there.  Bradford(the doctor’s had told us at 19 weeks) was supposed to come this week and all the things we had planned to do with her..the Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving in the mountains, Christmas.  I so want to control the timing of everything..her scheduled coming seemed so perfect to us.  Now we must let go and grieve our dreams and timing and wait to see what the Lord does.  “Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up…answer me out of the goodness of your love.”   God promises us that “our times are in His hands” and I wish it were easier for me to trust that truth.  I find myself arguing with Him about His plan…How in the world can this be good or perfect…how can Bradford’s death be perfect timing?  Oh how I long to believe in the depths of my soul that “ALL things work together for good…”  I confess I struggle to find solace in that truth.  It should be a balm and yet becomes a taunting of sorts…Do i love God?  because it says its good for those who love God…so do I?  If I can’t see the good am I a child of God?  The questions continue to surface even though I know there are no answers..just Trust.  There it comes again…that trusting thing…ugh.  “Answer me out of the goodness of your love: in your great mercy turn to me….But now Lord what do I look for?  My hope is in you.” Psalm 39.   I find my hope tends to come more from what the world gives and of course it leaves me empty.  I long to be pregnant again, for life to be smooth, to NOT stuggle, to be able to live FREE, to have material things and yet I know that the cravings will never be satisfied and it is all a “chasing after the wind”…a way to hide or allude the pain.  “Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping…”  “But you God see trouble and grief, you consider it to take it in hear O Lord the desire of the afflicted, you encourage them and listen to their cry.”

I was challenged to find a verse that speaks of God’s love for me and for me the typical psalm 139 and Zephaniah passages weren’t going to cut it.  I found though God’s promise in Isaiah 49, “See I have ENGRAVED you on the palms of my hands..”  HE has not tatooed me or written me in penon my hand like I do to remind me of something..those can be removed.  But engraving is permenant.  I pray I come to believe that God has engraved me on His hand and He cannot forget me nor forsake me…the engravement a constant reminder that I am His even when I “feel” like I am not.  I am praying He meets me in this crying out to Him.  “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be dissapointed…”

July 23, 2009

“I spread my hands to you, my soul thirsts for you….answer me quickly, my spirit fails….Let the morning bring word of your unfailing love for I have put my trust in you.”  (the psalms)

I have carried a deep sadness and longing around for the past few days…it ebbs and flows that way.  it has seemed to be a constant companion to my heart much like a pair of sunglasses to my life.  I wear sadness before my eyes… so aware of it darkening my view and then I  lift them on my head as a reprieve from the glare around me.  On my head they are out of view but still with me until thye are pulled back down again.  Sometimes I even forget they are on my head until the need arises…i suppose my need to grieve pulls my sadness down.  I go awhile knowing its there but keeping it out of view.  So today they are pulled over my eyes and the sadness seems to darken my vison a bit…my hopefulness seems cloudy as well. I never want hopelessness to lead to despair so praise God they are not a permenant fixture. of life.

I suppose alot of this has to do with my endocrinology appointment yesterday.  Our loss of Bradford was so much more to us emotionally than the loss of a child…it went alot deeper.   My body is struggling to heal and hopes that it will return to normal seem daunting really. Before I became pregnant I had worked so hard to reutrn my body to a healthy state after the devastating effects of the years of anorexia.  I finally reached that point and then all the efforts seemed fruitless as it was taken away again.  I am now back to the beginning again-trying to get my body healthy and somewhat “normal” again(though i wonder if it will ever truly happen this side of heaven).  As a woman you must know the desire now to be pregnant again and somedays it just seems overwhelmingly sad to think it may never be a possibility.  Why the tease God?  I become weary somedays of making the efforts and doing what I know to do to be “healthy” again. If I get there again will God allow something else to hinder my efforts.  All I know to do most days is cry out he psalms.  HE is so in control and I AM NOT.   I suppose this is the enormous issue of TRUST.

I do not always mean to be so heavy emotionally asI know it can be draining.  I know the sunglasses will go off my head soon and my vision will be brighter.  Until then I am trying to sense God’s presence even in the dark..knowing He is holding me and guiding me even when I can’t see through tears.  He is a God who restores hearts so I am begging today as “He leads me beside quiet waters…He restores my soul.”

July 16th, 2009

What a privilege I experienced last night to be among women who strongly believe and have been called to Promise 686.  Psalm 68:6 promise that “God sets the lonely in families” and that is what these women are determined to do with their lives and time.  They are all so beautiful and unique in their stories…adoption…fostering…safe haven and what a joy to be in their presence.  All of them amaze me in putting aside some life challenges and give their home to give the lonely a home.  I am thankful and honored to be counted among these women and that the Lord placed in our hearts 6 years ago to adopt and care for orphans.  I would not have our family look any other way and delight in God’s gift of our six boys.  Oh how I pray that chldren in need of families will indeed be set free from lonliness….

And then there is a seemingly unsatiable desire now to be pregnant and bear children on my own.  I have never known it as strong as I do now….supposing it has come from the loss of Bradford.  There are still nights I wake up and weep as I long to hold her and bring her home.  I had come to such a place of healing…trusting God’s plan for our family and being okay with never conceiving.  So now I feel like the desire is all starting over again…wondering if a pregnancy could even happen again.  Why was this wound reopened?  Do David and I really want the potential of this happening again?  We know though if we don’t risk in life we are not living and will….who knows what GOd will do.  I have to throw my hands up on this one as HE is the only one who has control over it all.  There are going to be some hard and anxious  days ahead as we desire a little girl in our hearts.   I have already revisited the rollercoaster of emotions especally the excitement and yet hurt when someone tells me they are pregnant.   We have no clue what God will do or where this will take us…I suppose this is what TRUST is all about.  I have been crazy enough to pray for twins! I figure He tells us to ask ANYTHING..of course in the end its His call to make. (but i can still ask!)

I am reminded of the children He has already “set” in our family and am so overwhelmed with gratitude. I am even thankful for the infertility as we would not know the blessing of our sons without it .  Once again a double emotion playing in my life…gratitude and longing, despair and hope, pain and yet great joy too.

July 8th, 2009 And yet…

AND YET…..    These two small words have meant so much to me in the past few days.  Once again I find myself living in contrasting emotions everyday…I am intrigued though at how uncomfortable it seems to make people.  I am told to focus on the postitive and be thankful for what God has done when I express my hurt and fears.  I know, in my mind, that I can be sad, confused, hurt, and angry at God and still see ALL the blessings He has given and the wonderful things HE has done in my life.  One emotion does not negate the other to me.  I find it all through scripture as David tells God how hurt and confused and scared he is and then says”AND YET I praise you”.  This is David…a man after God’s own heart and if He can feel so many different emotions and still praise God why is it not okay for me?  God knows anyway…its not like I can hide it.  I tend to try out of fear that He will discover the darkness of my heart…and my heart is as black as they come but HE already knows it.   ITs why I must cry out to Him with every emotion I have in me..He knows and loves me anyway.  He also knows when I don’t “feel” like praising Him He never leaves me or forsake me(even though it once again “feels” like He has abandoned me).  He knows the dualing emotions exist in me and He loves me regardless….which takes me to the sinless undarkened one…JESUS.  GOd’s son.  pure. spotless and yet…..listen to Him in the garden.   “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  AND YET not as I will but as you will.”  Jesus was struggling through all of His emotions AND YET God loved him more than we can even comprehend.  And on the cross, “My God, My God Why have you forsaken me?” AND YET Jesus surrendered to the Father with this conflict of abandonment and love.  Should people have come upt to Jesus on the cross and said, “if you will just remember the good things God has done…”  I know Jesus knew God’s goodness and love.  I know Jesus never wavered in His love for the Father AND YET His human emotions were real and raw just like ours. I must believe we have the freedom to scream with our hearts and lives AND YET praise Him for who HE is and who we are….His precious sons and daughters that He promises we will one day have no more conflict of emotion.

July 2, 2009

Its hard to believe its been over a month since I have updated this.  I guess we go through such a spectrum of emotions each day its hard to write exactly where we are.  Sawyer and Wyatt are doing so well and the older boys are loving them more beautifully than we could have imagined.  They are all growing so much and I so desire they all grow to be men of God with great compassion for loving other people.  I suppose i realize that example starts with David and me.  So the question goes “HOw are we loving people well even when we don’t “feel” like it?”  Sometimes our grief wants us to hole up and forget the needs of others.  I am trying to find the balance of joy with grief intersperced in there…its a weird way to live…a new normal people call it.  I admit I still struggle to trust the Lord and wich it wasn’t so..but its just where I am.  I think why pray if God does what He wants…and yet I know I need to cry out to Him and pray.  I feel like i live in such a dichotomy of emotion in every area..wanting to dive in and believe the word and yet so fearful of God at the same time.  Of course the question of why He took Bradford remains as my arms just ache somedays to hold her.  I then look at our wonderful boys and feel there hugs and the outrageous joy they bring.  I know we all have something we try as humans to add to the cross.  Christ’s death plus…you fill in the blank…comfort, children, money…will somehow redeem us.  Yet Christ said “its is finished”.  His death was enough-Nothing extra.  Yet I struggle with this…anyone else out there?

May 29. 2009

her feet

her feet

we were given the pathology report and everythng is Bradford was perfectly healthy(as well as my placenta)  once again…no answers…no explanations except God took her home.  We are still kind of shocked, confused, an very sad.  We have glimpses of respite from our emotions but we know it will take a while and diferent stages of grief will be evident in our lives.   We received a cd of pictures with Bradford in a pink dress someone so graciously donated.  The picture of her feet was the only one I could process for now.  It means the most to me and I am not sure why.  Maybe wondering when she would have taken her first steps, where would her feet have taken her…would she have been a dancer, an athlete….would she have walked with the Lord?  Is she frolicking and dancing with the Lord even now? oh her precious feet….its what caused me the most heartache upon holding her in the hospital…her small tiny feet.

We know amist our pain we have such great joy in  the homecoming of Sawyer and Wyatt and all of our boys.  We have been given 6 incredible gifts and we are so thankful for each one.  We cherish now every milestone they have with their own remarkable God created feet.  Wyatt is taking more steps each day, Sawyer is climbing every ladder he can, Davis just got his cast off and is jumping off everything, Emerson now reaches the peddles on his bike!, Smyth and Dawson are kicking in the pool learning to swim.  David and I are just trying to keep our feet walking day to day and hoping along the way we will know God’s feet were walking with us the whole way.  We see evidence of his mercy and grace but we stumble so many days and our feet want to stop.  May Bradford’s feet remind us of dancing one day with our Saviour and frolicking with him alongside of her in a world with no sadness and no tears…