Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Adoption birthday!

Cohen Bennett is now officially a Moore!!! Yesterday was a wonderful day. We legally finalized Cohen's adoption into our family. The judge was so kind, having us introduce all the people that were there to support and witness this day. He then allowed us all to take pictures with him! It couldn't have gone better. Although it was an important day we will never forget and tell Cohen about for years, it didn't feel like any weight off our shoulders or like something huge had been accomplished. Excited to be reminded of the gift we've been given, we enjoyed it, but the feeling of the day to me felt like a formality and not truly a "finalizing" of his place in our family. I am glad it felt that way. I am glad I didn't feel like, "whew, we made it" as if I was fearing a different outcome. He is ours, always has been and we are so in love with him. Last night I was watching tv and on the show a little girl was sick and needing surgery. While the parents stood there looking at their little girl, unsure of what would happen with her health, I began to think of Cohen and not morbidly like, 'what if something happens to him' but something just got my mind off on a thought of how deeply connected I feel to him and how that he has just rocked me to the core in terms of love. I guess that's just the feeling of being a mom. I went into his room with tears just streaming down my face and prayed for him and for Eric and I and for every person that teaches or has influence on him. I am so glad that I can feel this kind of love. It is different than a romantic love or a friendship love. It is amazing and I am just so so thankful for Cohen and to God for doing what is quite obviously His workmanship.

On sunday, we dedicated Cohen at church and the picture with the green overall type outfit is from that day. My talented mother made that outfit for him and she made his brown pants he is wearing in the other pictures. Isn't she great???

As I said in the last post, Cohen is all over the place now. He does an army crawl, but just in the last 2 days he has really gotten good and crawling on his hands and knees! He is saying all kinds of new sounds and loves to echo our sounds. I frequently find him standing in his bed hollaring for me to come and get him after a nap... not mad, just like he is saying" HEY!!! MOM!!! I AM AWAKE!!! Too cute. I love this stage he is in!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the last few months...

Well, once again, its been awhile! Cohen is growing and changing daily! He is SO busy these days, walking around the house while holding momma's fingers...eating solid food and some adult food (veggies mashed up and stuff like that) like a champ. This morning for the second morning in row I woke up to his loud hollaring voice, not mad or sad, just ready to get UP!!! When I went around the corner to his room, he was standing in his crib holding the rails!!! Now he has been pulling up for a while, but never has he done it in his bed and yelled for me to come get him....he's getting too big!!! Cohen LOVES his cousins, Aubrynne and Houston. He loves to play with them so much. He has all kinds of new sounds and noises that are so fun. Anyway, at almost 8.5 months old... he is doing wonderfully as are his proud parents.

Some exciting events coming up next week: we are publically dedicating him to the Lord this Sunday at church! I have always been so excited about this day. It just seems so special and so appropriate to have this ceremony type event to publically say to our church family that we want them to join us in praying and raising Cohen. I love that. THEN, on Monday we'll be having his court hearing to finalize his adoption!!!! I can't believe he is 8 months old and I am just so thankful that he is being made legally our son. This will be such a special day for all of us.

I knew I couldn't come without some newer pictures! so here they are. He was a penguin for halloween. He has two teeth still but the first top tooth is trying to come in causing some swollen gums! He is tolerating it great though. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Spirit of Adoption

Mandy and I have dealt with many different reactions about our story of adoption. Honestly, most of these reactions have been extremely positive but we have run into some that have been negative. As of late, it seems I am being questioned even more about our decision to adopt a child of a different race. I find myself really struggling with how to respond to these people in a loving non frustrating way.

I can understand its only natural to want to have children through birth. Giving birth is natural and was designed by God to come out of a loving relationship with your spouse. I am assuming thats why people struggle with the idea of "adoption" so much. We all yearn for things to work the way we supposed they were designed to work from the beginning. However, we live in a broken world. God has commanded us to be fruitful and multiply and has told us that procreation and adoption are equally God-ordained ways of fulfilling this command. Adoption is just as natural as procreation, if we expose ourselves to orphans. In the same way that God makes a place for us in his family through adoption, God wants orphans to experience the permanence of being placed into a family and having their deepest desires fulfilled as well

To me parenting is much more than blood lines. A biological child is not guaranteed a secure realtionship with his/her parents. I see this everyday in education. When you consider it from a relational perspective, parenting is really about trust, time, and committment, which amounts to love. These aspects of parenting are beyond blood. Adoption is God's perfect plan for transforming orphans into sons and daughters, regardless of skin color, who are set in families to His divine purpose in a broken world.

Cohen is the greatest thing that has ever happened to Mandy and I. The adoption of Cohen was definitely Gods Perfect Plan for Mandy and I. We are certain of that!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Just a few more pics from the last month. He is turning 6 months this week! Can you believe it??? We have our 3rd and I think final post placement visit in one week. We are also proud to announce the birth of TEETH in cohen's sweet mouth! He woke up on Saturday morning with two rough edges in the bottom center of his gums! One is has broken the skin more than the other. I'll post pictures when you can actually tell that they are there :) He is loved on so much all the time. we are so blessed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

yay for the bush's!!!

Our friends Maris and Steven who I have mentioned before in the blog about adopting also, have been chosen as adoptive parents for a precious baby boy due in early October!!! I am so excited for them, I was screaming!!! I felt like I was reliving all those emotions we had when we were chosen! I know they are just elated right now and I am so happy for them. Please pray for them as you did for us, cause the emotional rollercoaster has only just begun! Also pray for the birthparents of this baby.

My sweet boy is growing and changing daily and is such a joy each day. Cohen is 5 months now. He is sitting up and noticing things that he didn't last week, and really a lot more "busy" and wanting to explore. He looks like he wants to crawl soooo bad but can't quite figure out how to do that. I am expecting to hear from Bethany soon to set up our last post placement visit before we can finalize the adoption. This time has FLOWN by. Now I see what people say about feeling like your kids were little just yesterday. Here are some more updated pics of Cohen sitting up and of Aubrynne, my brother's little girl and Stockton, my cousin courtney's beautiful new boy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I recently took a spiritual gift test that I found online. I found the results very interesting, and very challenging. My highest score was in mercy showing! Some of you may find that funny, especially those of you who know me well or have known me long enough to have seen quite the opposite behavior from me :) whether directed at yourself or someone else. It was interesting though because the description of what mercy showers are like really described me well (again, not always, due to my sinful nature). I felt challenged by this because whether the test was accurate or not, I felt compelled to really examine myself and think about how I am or am not showing mercy to others day to day and staying true to who I believe God has and is calling me to be as Mandy, wife to Eric, mom to Cohen, sister to Bryan, co worker and caregiver to many, etc. Ironically, I am actually reading the book whats so amazing about grace. Slowly but surely I am really getting into some challenging stuff there as well, and all pertaining to the showing mercy/giving grace and forgiveness to others theme. I have these fleeting thoughts from time to time about what I can do on behalf of the orphaned children of the world. The thoughts and dreams range from educating others in some form to adopting again to ministering to birthparents to lots of other ideas.... but dreams seem to be short lived with me and I decide that someone else will do it, or that I don't have the gifts or ability to do anything. I was reading today on Rebekah's blog, a girl who comments on our posts from time to time and is also on a journey to adopt. I appreciate her perspective so much:
"I am excited for motherhood and all that comes with. I am excited we are walking the path less chosen and that we are part of the solution and no longer ignoring the problem. I am excited for the voice God has passioned in me to bring change. I am excited that we get to shake heaven and earth to make a difference in the life of one…someday two…and maybe three…"
I guess all this rambling about the random thoughts in my head are being put on this blog about adoption because I really feel that my heart has been changed and passioned as Rebekah says to bring about a difference for the orphaned, even if only for Cohen, but I am feeling that it won't be just for him that change comes. I pray that I begin to really develop and put to use the gifts God has given me, even if not perfectly. I pray that I not be idle just because. I have seen God do great things in my life and can look at His word for proof that He uses the ordinary to do extraordinary things, so why not me?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

new transportation options...

Well, I just had to share these new pics from tonight... Cohen is rolling, quickly, from one end of the room to the other and looks up at you and smiles like he knows that he is moving himself to where he wants to go....so so fun! With Daddy back at work, they get some great play time in at night, too!

Monday, August 4, 2008

4 months

Well, the 4 month birthday has come and gone....and way too quickly!!! July 20th, Cohen was 4 months old. He weighed 17 1b, 3 oz, and was 26 inches long. He is rolling all over the place now and is much more aware of EVERYTHING around him! We started giving some solid food a few weeks ago and he did great with it! We got one of those excersaucer/jumper contraptions last week and Cohen is loving that as well...as you can tell in the picture, he got a little tired in it. This picture of him asleep in it was today. He has been congested with a little cough and of course I feel like a bad mom letting my boy get a cold! but he has been really off today. He can't quite get to sleep because he can't suck his thumb because he can't breathe through his nose (he told me all this) and so he gets soooo frustrated. It's pitiful, really.

Today was Eric's first day back to work for the school year and my first official day back at home with him! I never thought I'd be so happy to have a summer come to an end. I will say, though, that I am really enjoying my work and am really feeling thankful that I am able to just pick up shifts as infrequently as I am planning in order to be at home with my boy all but 4-6 days per month. Also, I was able to work 3 days a week this summer and save up some good money, and still be with Cohen and Eric the other 4 days. It's been a great summer; definitely the best one yet.

So, no teeth yet, but I am convinced they are coming soon with all the sweet drool and biting things that is going on in our house these days. Daddy is wanting to cut our boy's hair already and I am protesting like you've never seen. We are combing through his pretty curls a few times a day to keep it from getting knotted and to keep it soft, but it's worth it cause it's too cute! Life is pretty much great here and we hope you are all doing well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Termination day...

As of today around 4pm, all parental rights were terminated. It was funny when Carolyn called to let us know the hearing was complete and rights were terminated, before I knew why she was calling I felt a small sense of panic, fear, anxiety....'what does she want???, is something wrong???' I haven't felt the least bit of any of those emotions at all the entire time we have had him home with us. I just have had a peace about it from the beginning. But that fear jumped right up in my throat and in my heart for about 2 or 3 seconds until I heard her say, "all parental rights are now terminated, just wanted to let you know you can breathe now." I am pointing out this brief moment of fear only to say that I am so incredibly thankful for Peace that passes all understanding. I am thankful that we were brought Peace by the Holy Spirit, enabling us to love Cohen without hesitation, no holding back, just as he needs and just as we have been entrusted to do. If I had the feelings that I had for a few seconds today, the entire time we have had him, I fear I may have been hesitant. But God, though I am undeserving, sent His Peace that passes all understanding.

While I am so thrilled that the legalities are over as far as other potential parents to Cohen, my heart feels some heaviness for him. Eric and I wake up each day to a smiling, jabbering, sweet smelling, beautiful, bright baby boy and it feels like and we believe that he is ours just as much as any boy or girl we could've conceived. We couldn't be happier or more blessed. But today is a reminder that reality for him will not be perfect or necessarily easy. I am reminded though, that life on earth his not perfect or necessarily easy either and that is why we need a Savior. So the heaviness in my heart for the pain he may endure in the future is entrusted to my Savior and I look forward to the days ahead that we have to love on Cohen, hopefully portraying a hint of the love Christ has for him. I hope to have this heaviness though, as a reminder not to be sad for Cohen but to pray for him and to be tender to him and sensitive to what he needs as he grows. I love that God created emotions that we can feel when things are good, bad, happy, sad, right and wrong. I am learning not to always assume that a feeling like I had today of heaviness in my heart is negative or something that I need to get rid of, but that it keeps me praying, keeps reminding me of my need and of the needs of others.
Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers regarding the legal side of the adoption.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Florida trip!

Well, Cohen was perfect on our trip to Destin, of course! I was a little worried about the trip there and back, but he did wonderful! No crying, no fussing, although I wouldn't have blamed him if he did. While we were there, he went out to the beach under a big tent we had thanks to pops and JuJu. The weather was so much cooler than normal, I thought, because of the rain and a cool front that came through, so that made it tolerable for Cohen and Houston( my sister in law's little boy) to come out for a while. Eric was so sweet and really allowed me to get some time on the beach several of the days. He played golf a couple of times and just hung out with cohen the rest of the time. Cohen just watched the fireworks in amazement. When the were louder he jumped a little, but overall seemed to be enjoying himself. It was a great relaxation trip and am so thankful we were able to go. So here are some pictures...I'll put on as many as I can. Oh yeah, new thing Cohen is doing....He rolls over from his back to his stomach and then back to his back again! We are so proud! He also likes to hold his own bottle and play with it when he decides he is full.... cute but a little frustrating at times! He still sleeps really well, through the night and is just doing well in general. I weighed him yesterday and he was 16.4 lbs! My boy is getting big. So here he is.....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Well, we are back from Florida and it was back to work for me as soon as we got back....(don't ask me why I scheduled myself for 3 days in a row RIGHT when we got back...wasn't thinking) and we had a great trip. I plan to post pics and tell you more about Cohen in the next blog. I just wanted to post real quick and say that we have no indication that any legal father activity went on tuesday, so thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate you so much. Next Tuesday is the termination of parental rights hearing. We are not worried about this at all, but it still will be nice to have it all behind us! I'll be posting again soon, I promise, with pics and about our florida trip for all who is interested! In closing I will quote Eric from our convo last night, "Cohen is the most awesome kid in the whole world! Life is so good. God is so good." Our hearts are continually thankful to God for the opportunity to parent this baby boy!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Post placement visit #2

We had our second post placement visit this week with Bethany. The first one was when Cohen was only a few days old. Basically, Carolyn comes out and checks in with us. We talk about what Cohen is doing, how he sleeps and eats, what his disposition and personality is like and how he is changing. I am not sure what Carolyn's part of it is, but it always seems to go smoothly and feels easy, and we get no negative feedback, so I guess no news is good news! Cohen and I stopped by the Bethany office in Nashville last week to take our monthly pictures and letter/update for "E", should she decide to see them. I wonder how she is doing. I hear from the birthparent counselor who has a relationship with her that she is okay. We have requested a picture of her and of Cohen's half brother and sister so that he can have that as he gets older. Hopefully she will be okay with that. I think that would be special for him. I must confess something...I am really not that great about remembering to pray for E as far as her relationship with our family goes, and I really don't know why I forget. I really hope that she decides one day to know him. I know that the day will come when Cohen is so aware and will want to know her and about his situation. I would want to know. Eric and I were talking just last night about how much we hurt already for him and want to stop any pain that may come his way. It is an indescribable feeling. However, we know that we can't. It is a real situation, with real circumstances that just are painful and no doubt, will be difficult for Cohen to understand. He may not ever understand and that fact, again, is just reality in this world and a reality that I need to be praying for now. If any of yall pray for Cohen and Eric and I, please remember this important aspect of our lives. I am thankful though, that we can rest in knowing that God is in control. He has orchestrated this all from the beginning. He knows what is best for Cohen. I believe in the same way that He has cared for Cohen so far, he will in this situation, too. I don't know what is best, only God does and I choose His plans over mine!!! All this rambling on and I really just wanted to say that my heart for "E" continues to grow, my heart for Cohen is overwhelmingly huge and this whole chapter of my life is just truly been made amazing by the work and hand of God in my life. Praise God for Cohen!!!!

We are leaving for vacation in the morning and we are so pumped, its not even funny! We'll have great pics, no doubt, for the blog with the new camera when we return and I'm sure i'll be anxious to share them!!! I am hoping to get some good reading time in and just some quality time and relaxation before we get ready to start back up with Eric back to work pretty shortly after we get back.

Some important court dates coming up:
  • Tuesday, July 8th will be the "appearance hearing" for the legal father. We don't expect to hear anything from anyone on that as far as the actual legal father goes, but still.... pray for that day that there will be no legal activity going on!
  • Tuesday, July 15th will be the termination of the legal father's rights day. Please pray that we will have peace through this. Pray for peace for E especially.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's day pics

My Dad

My Dad is a man of great character. He is strong in faith. He has a huge heart. Those who are close to him see his tender heart despite his efforts to hold back his tears during a touching moment. He has a great sense of humor, although sometimes a little corny. He tends to keep a great perspective on life and on his place in this life, not taking himself too seriously at any particular time. He gives great advice, although reluctant to do so now that I am married. He says Eric is the number one man in my life now and his opinion is insignificant. Little does he know that his opinion not only still matters to me but his son-in-law has come to appreciate it, too. We know he of all people will have our best interest in mind. And still, the respect shown for Eric by not always giving his opinion speaks volumes. He loves my mother and is not afraid to let it be known. He is a fisherman. To so thoroughly enjoy a hobby, to be able to lay down life and it's problems to take time for himself, I believe, is a luxury. A luxury that many people do not allow themselves even for only a short time. What a blessing to be able to relax and thoroughly enjoy fishing it must be for him. He speaks truth always and stands up for what he believes, no matter what the cost...a quality our Lord will commend him for as he enters the pearly gates someday. He was the leader in our home, providing stability for me that could not have been forced or faked. His unconditional love and support through all things is priceless to me and has been crucial to who I am today. I can't even imagine the sacrifices that were made on my behalf and so as a close to this very special day I must say, Dad, I owe you one. Thanks.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Best Dad Ever!!!

We got a new camera!!!! This might just be the best purchase we have made in a while. As I contemplated having Cohen's picture made professionally for his 3 month birthday, I realized that professional photos don't come cheap....at least not good ones! So, we decided to purchase a really nice camera instead of having professional pics made for now, while he is so little and not mobile or anything. I was a little nervous I'd regret it, but I have now had my camera for 1 day and I LOVE it! I figured who better to take his picture than the woman who loves him most and gets to capture all the sweet moments every day! No promises, but I think this is the beginning of a new relationship between me, a camera, and hopefully our blog! So here he is today at Sis and Gramps' house for Father's day. He'll be 3 months old on the 20th.
Despite major effort for this not to happen, Cohen has discovered his thumb as you can see in this precious pic. I dislike thumb-sucking for mostly one huge reason and that is how hard it will be on him to give up. Pacifiers seem to go easier, so I've been told, but this child loves his thumb and even as we have taken his thumb out of his mouth and given the pacifier, he pushes it back out and finds that thumb again. On a positive note, just as he finds it during the day....he finds it at night and puts himself to sleep and then back to sleep if he awakens during the night. Who knew that such a seemingly insignificant little appendage that I most of the time take for granted, could be so crucial to my sweet little boy, Cohen!
I also want to say that my husband is the BEST DAD EVER!!! I know he has been waiting on this first father's day for many years now. He deserves the biggest HAPPY FATHERS DAY of all. We have a great setup with our jobs... Eric teaches in a traditional school system that takes a 10 week summer break. My nursing job allows me to schedule myself and work as little as once a week. So while he was in school those first 6-8 weeks I was home and barely working. Now Eric gets to keep Cohen while I pick up some extra shifts each week to save a little money for the fall when I go back to barely working so he can work. Another beautiful blessing in our lives. Eric and Cohen have really bonded...really really bonded. I am reminded often of the life Cohen could've had and while he would've had an amazing woman as a mother in 'E', he wouldn't have had a father. E's noble choice not only gave Cohen life, but it gave him a dad named Eric and in my opinion, he couldn't be more blessed. Cohen smiles the brightest for Eric, sleeps best for Eric, coos and talks loudest for Eric and I am so thankful for the relationship that is forming between them. I am working no more than 3 days a week, so I am still home a lot, but miss him so much while I am gone. Needless to say we are really enjoying life and the blessings we are experiencing.

"He upholds the cause of the oppressed...He sustains the fatherless and the widow" -psalm 146:7&9