Thursday, May 29, 2008

Katy’s Family Forest, Part 2

Welcome back! Before I talk about 1997, we have to back up a bit to the fall of 1996. I don't want to digress too far from the main story, but this is important—both to my adoption story and just in general—so please bear with me. It is likely that this entire entry will deal with something completely separate from my adoption, but it really does have a lot of bearing on the story, at least in my mind.

It was a Sunday afternoon in early fall when we found out that my brother and his wife were expecting their first child. And not just their first child, but the first grandchild for my parents—the first niece or nephew for me! It was such an exciting, elating announcement for us all! Of course, we were all torn because we also knew that my brother and sister-in-law were planning to move to Colorado the following year. L So we began to prepare for both of those big changes.

And then came January. That's when we got "the visit" from my brother and his wife. The one that immediately followed their ultrasound. The one that I can still remember like it was yesterday. My mom, who is an elementary school teacher, was still at work, but my dad and I were home. They weren't able to wait until she got home—they needed to talk about it right away. Something was wrong with the baby. He had a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Oh goodness, I can't even begin to explain what exactly that means, but basically everything worked fine in the womb; but within a few days after the baby was born, his heart would no longer function correctly. To this day I feel like I've been punched in the stomach when I think about it.

Over the next few months, as I was studying, preparing for graduation, and trying to select a college for the fall (which I didn't do until April of my senior year!), Kurt and Mary were busy researching HLHS—treatments, hospitals, life expectancies, etc. They decided to have the baby at University of Michigan Hospital, because they had a strong success rate with this condition, which was wonderful because it was only 3 hours away. The baby would need 3 surgeries in the first 2 years of his life, the first one shortly after birth (anywhere from a few hours to a week, depending on how well he was doing when he was born). They also turned down her job in Colorado, because the altitude may have caused a problem for his condition. They bought a house close by, since they had been renting but now knew they would be staying local.

Finally, the weather started to get warmer, and with it our hopes all started to rise. My sister-in-law graduated with her PhD in something-rather-complicated-but-I-think-it-has-Neurobiology-in-there-somewhere. (I'm pretty sure that's not the official title, but that's basically it in layman's terms. J) I graduated as Valedictorian of my high school class, and got to enjoy the fun perks of that. (Seriously. We got to do some really fun things!) I was also very involved in Bible Quizzing, and was preparing for Internationals—the Christian & Missionary Alliance's championship among all of the districts. It was my final year, and I was determined to do well. I spent anywhere from 4 to 8 hours each day studying the book of Matthew.

We got the call that my sister-in-law was in labor on Saturday, June 21—early on Saturday. We all packed our bags and headed for Michigan, hoping that we didn't miss the arrival during our three-hour trip! We didn't need to worry! J Logan hung out in his mommy's belly for a few days, not making his arrival until Monday (evening!), June 23. It was a long weekend, full of a lot of fast food and card-playing at the Ronald McDonald house. J We were ecstatic to see him, and the doctors said he was doing amazingly well.

On Tuesday, my parents and I made the drive back home. Of course, we didn't want to leave EVER, but my dad had to get back to work, and it looked like Logan wouldn't need his first surgery for a few days, so we planned to head back up the following weekend. By Thursday morning, my mom couldn't wait any longer and went back up without us. My dad and I were supposed to join her the next day. Unfortunately, that never happened.

I don't remember if it was my mom or my brother who called, but I remember answering the phone and I remember knowing that something was wrong by the sound of the voice on the other end of the line. I handed the phone to my dad. And when he got off the phone, all he could say was, "Logan's not going to make it."

Early morning on Friday, June 27, just four short days after we welcomed him into the world, Logan went home to be with his heavenly Father.

The days following that phone call are a blur of family and tears and… so many things. But I need to stress here that although this is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced—not only for my own grief, but because I watched my brother and sister-in-law and parents grieve as well—it was also absolutely amazing to see how God worked through it all. He brought my brother and sister-in-law closer to Him. He brought them closer to each other, and closer to my parents. He allowed them the sweet joy of getting to meet that little boy, and also spared them the pain of raising him for 2 or 3 years, only to lose him to HLHS then, as happened to friends that they made during their stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Logan's story is sad for us, but glorious for him, as he got to be loved so dearly on earth, and got to go home to heaven so quickly. And he touched so many lives in his four short days, I do not doubt that God used him in many ways that we may never know.

Wow, that got long and heavy, I know. I apologize again for seemingly getting so far off-track, but it's important that you know all of this to know my mindset when my 18th birthday came, just a few weeks after Logan died. But I think I've given you enough to chew on for one day. I'll pick up there soon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On a personal note…

I can't help but write a more personal entry today, as this weekend has been a rather big one for me. In fact, as I sat down to write what was on my heart, it became more than just a little post. So I was inspired by my friend Erin (who, in turn, was inspired by The Pioneer Woman J)—who is writing out the story of how she and her husband got together—to write my own story for you all. Not my love story, but the story of how I, at 28 years old, came to meet my father for the first time.

I hope that you will all enjoy this little piece of me, as I know it will be helpful for me to write it all down and share it. It is an amazing testament to God's goodness and the love of a family.

And so, without further ado…

Katy's Family Forest, part 1

I don't ever remember being told that I was adopted—I've just always known. And I don't mean "I've known" like it was some sort of childhood suspicion that no one ever talked about. It was just a normal aspect of my life. It's a part of who I am, like having brown eyes or being left-handed. I'm adopted. The woman who gave birth to me knew that she couldn't provide the home and love that I needed, and she found a family for me who could. End of story.

In fact, it was so normal for me that I couldn't imagine life any other way. In elementary school kids used to ask me what it "feels like" to be adopted. I would ask them what it felt like to not be adopted. It was just life for me, nothing unusual. My parents brought me home from the hospital when I was 72 hours old—I'd always been theirs, and they had always been mine. My brothers, like it or not, were fully mine as well. J My adoption was a source of humor in my family—"You're such a dork! I'm glad I'm adopted!" or "Aren't you glad I inherited that from you, Mom?"—but never, not once, was it a sore spot or source of division. My family was my family.

Not that I wasn't curious. I had no idea who—or even where—my biological parents were, and sometimes I would see people on the street… at the fair… even on a bus when I was visiting my brother in Seattle… and wonder, "What if I'm related to that person?" Even people I knew—especially single relatives and family friends—were objects of my curiosity. It was a fascinating daydream for me, but not a sad one. I knew what a wonderful family I had, biological or not, and I have always been thankful to my birth mom for giving me what she knew she couldn't provide.

Along with being very upfront about my adoption, my parents always made it clear that once I was 18, I was free to explore as much (or as little) as I wanted into my biological family tree. They would provide as much information and help as they could, and they would support me as I did any additional digging on my own. I always knew that, and I always planned to do it starting on July 13, 1997 (my 18th birthday).

Little did I know what God had planned for me in 1997.

Stay tuned for more……………..

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Prayers in the midst of tragedy

I don't know if you've heard yet, but yesterday afternoon Steven Curtis Chapman's 5-year-old daughter Maria Sue was tragically killed at their home. She was struck in their driveway by an SUV driven by her older brother. I cannot even imagine the pain that they are all feeling at this moment--my own heart is physically hurting for them.

I just wanted to post and encourage you all to pray for Steven and his family. Pray for peace for them, especially for their son who was involved in the accident. And also pray for them as so many eyes are on them in the middle of such a dark time in their lives. No one should have to be worried about others' perceptions when they are grieving, but right now believers and unbelievers alike are looking to see how this strong Christian family will react. Please pray that God will give them wisdom, strength, and, again, peace in the weeks, days, hours, and even minutes ahead.

Father, I do not pretend to know or understand Your will, but I know that it is perfect. God, I just pray that You will wrap this family in Your arms and comfort them. Words seem so shallow, gifts so meaningless, but You are the Comforter. I just ask that You will draw them to You, that You will give them strength in the middle of this, and I pray that You will use this sad situation to bring glory to Yourself. Amen.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Last night I went to a party for a very dear friend. It was not her birthday or anniversary or anything like that—it was a celebration of what God is doing in her life. What a wonderful reason to celebrate! As she told her journey of faith, she shared a quote that has become very meaningful to her: "In the battle between flesh and spirit do you know who will eventually win? The one you feed the most." It was nothing new to me—she and I had actually read it in the same place, and we have talked about it many times over the past few years. But last night, this quote took on new meaning to me as I recognized for the first time the key words in those sentences.

The first word that stuck with me was "most." I feed my spirit every day, and that is great. I enjoy waking up first thing in the morning and reaching for my Bible before my feet ever hit the floor. But just taking one step isn't enough. The question is not, "Am I spending time with God daily?" It is, "Am I turning to God more than I am feeding my insecurities and jealousies (my two biggest struggles)." When struggles arise, do I give them over to the Lord or do I wallow in them? When I'm not in a struggle, am I praising God or am I proud of myself? Am I spending time with the Lord throughout the day or am I checking Him off my task list when my Bible reading is done?

The second key to this quote involves the words "battle" and "eventually." Even when I am giving my temptations and sinful nature over to the Lord, even when I am walking with Him and spending time with Him and feeding my spirit more than the flesh… there are still battles. God doesn't call us to a life free from struggles or pain or heartache. He calls us to a life of perseverance. If we remain in Him and seek Him through the battles, He will give us the victory—eventually.

As I celebrate my friend's victory, I feel myself being called into battle. I am praying this week that God will show me concrete ways to feed my spirit and to turn my struggles over to Him. I pray also for each of you, that God will lead you to victory in the battle between flesh and spirit.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Mother’s Day Tribute… to my husband :-)

I know it has been almost a week since Mother's Day, but I just had to brag on my hubby a little. He is such a gift from God.

Let's start with planning. I am normally in charge of all gift buying in our house (except my own J), but this year I just could not think of what to get for our moms. "Don't you worry about it," he said, "It's taken care of." He even got all of the cards! WOW!

On Mother's Day, I was scheduled to sing in the praise band at church, so I had to leave the house around 7:00 AM. When I came back to pick them up at 9:00, they were standing outside ready to go—he had even done Grace's hair! (He was so proud of himself. J) AND they were all in good moods, which doesn't always happen. They gave me two cards, one from Jon and one from the kids. What a great start to the day!

After church, my parents and mother-in-law came over for lunch. I did a lot of the cooking, but because I wanted to, not because I had to. Jon was there helping, and he immediately took over all tasks that he knows that I don't like—unloading the dishwasher, chopping vegetables, and he even changed a poopy diaper!

After lunch he cleared the table and got us all ice cream. Then he gave each of us (my mom, my mother-in-law, and I) our cards. Each one had in it a gift certificate to a spa, a gift certificate to a restaurant that I've been dying to try, and a whole Mapquest plan of our girls' day. (The three of us are all very close, so we will really enjoy a day together.) It was such a special gift!

But the best part of the whole day wasn't what he did, it wasn't what he bought, it was how he did it all. He had such a wonderful attitude. He never once complained or sighed or hesitated to jump in and help. He wanted to do whatever he could to honor me—and our moms. And that was the best gift of all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A little explanation…

Hi ladies. I know it's time for me to do my weekly post, but in its place I wanted to give you a little insight into this brain of mine (Yikes—that can be a scary place! J) and some thoughts about what I want for this blog.

Lately my blog has turned into a bit of a devotional—and I think those sites are great! But that wasn't my goal when I started the blog; it wasn't even my goal when I started doing my "Weekly Thoughts" posts. In fact, those posts were just supposed to be smaller insights that I had been thinking about or learned during my Bible studies during the week. But they were to be complemented by the bigger articles that I would include, the type I was writing when I started this blog…

But then came the conference! I am absolutely LOVING the planning of this conference, but it seems to have taken over my life. (Anyone who has tried to talk to me recently about anything else can attest to that. J) It has definitely taken over my "creative time"—you know, the time that I don't spend doing laundry, loading the dishwasher, changing diapers, that kind of thing. This one-day event has become a six-month journey for me!

And then this last week, I started to feel some familiar tugs… The tug that said I haven't been making good use of all of my ministry opportunities… The tug that said that some of the conference planning is slowing down (for now)!... And the tug that says I've got things on my heart to write that go beyond a simple devotional-type post.

So please be patient with me! Don't go away! I'm going to forego the "weekly thoughts" this week and try to get myself back on track. I have some exciting thoughts and ideas that I can't wait to share with you! And in the meantime, I also wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your wonderful, encouraging words; and a big THANK YOU also to those of you who are sharing this blog with your friends!

Talk to you soon, and have a blessed week.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mommy Encouragement (just a few words)

At the end of a long day with two little ones, where I am alternately wondering when my son will start talking more and thinking about the fact that my baby girl is turning three soon, I am reminded of this thought I read in a magazine recently:
The days can drag past so slowly, but the years fly by.

Enjoy the days, even the long ones, because they'll be gone before you know it!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Weekly Thoughts

And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" –Matthew 14:29-30

Focus. How interesting that this is the topic on my mind. I actually started to write this entry an hour ago, but then realized that I was trying to make so many different points that the article itself was completely without focus. Maybe that is why it's at the forefront of my mind—I'm feeling rather unfocused today.

It all started this morning. I am currently reading through my Bible, cover-to-cover. It's a Bible-in-a-year program that I started when I was pregnant with my almost-three-year-old daughter. (Think about that for a minute, and you'll get it…) J I am now reading the book of John. Now, in order for you to fully understand what happened this morning, I have to give you a little bit of background on myself… Not only did I grow up in a Christian home and a strong, Bible-preaching church, I was also in a wonderful program called Bible quizzing for six years. During that time I memorized (among other books) three of the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, and John. Although that was years ago, and I cannot even begin to claim to have them memorized now, the passages are still quite familiar. Sometimes too familiar. So this morning I read my requisite passage in John, closed my Bible, and got up to take a shower… and then I thought, "Wait, what did I just read?" The passage was so familiar to me that I had literally skimmed it with my eyes, all the while thinking about what the kids would wear to church, what we would do this afternoon, what was on my schedule for the week. I wasn't focused, I was just fulfilling an obligation.

But here's the real issue: If I'm unfocused then, first thing in the morning while the rest of my family is asleep and my house is quiet, when there are no other distractions and no one else is vying for my attention… how can I be focused on Christ when my daughter spills her water and my son is overdue for a nap and the dog got in the house and the phone is ringing and we're late for church and… you know the drill. If I am not paying attention to what God is saying when we're talking one-on-one, will I, like Peter, get distracted from Him when the storms come?

It can be quite embarrassing to be in the middle of a conversation and say, "I'm so sorry, but I have no idea what you just said. Could you repeat that for me?" But sometimes we need that little admission to force us to refocus… and oh, the benefits that can come from hearing what was spoken! If you're distracted today, if your mind is wandering away from the important and onto minutiae, if you're looking at the size of the waves instead of to the One who made the water and the wind… take a moment to stop. Tell the Lord, "I'm so sorry, but I have no idea what You've been saying to me. Can You repeat that?" Focus completely on Christ, and let Him worry about the periphery.

Have a blessed week.

Friday, May 2, 2008

This roller coaster ride…

Motherhood: The highest highs, the lowest lows. It can throw you for a loop. At times it inches along those steep, uphill battles, and other moments seem to fly past at the blink of an eye. It is definitely "The Ultimate Roller Coaster Ride."

The 2008 Moms' Conference is an exciting new one-day event that allows moms to celebrate the unique journey of motherhood. Come join us as we are refreshed and renewed, and get the chance to learn more about how to be a better mom, wife, leader, and woman in Christ.

This conference, which will be held in September, is my "baby" right now, and I am just beyond excited about it. Moms will get to attend two great general sessions, and two break-out sessions of their choice. We have seven different topics/speakers to choose from, including "Surviving Motherhood" with author and speaker Trish Berg, plus great sessions on budgeting, discipline, and much, much more. AND at the closing session, we will get to hear from Brooke Taylor of 95.5 the Fish's Morning Show! We will also have a great time of worship, a resource fair, great giveaways, and even some good snacks. J (After all, what's a get-together of moms without food???)

So what does all of this cost? Well, until May 13, it is only $20! I think this is a GREAT value! This is a fantastic opportunity for all moms to get a day out to be encouraged and uplifted. To register and to learn more, go to

By the way, we are also holding a referral contest right now! The person who refers the most registrants by May 13 receives a $25 Applebee's gift certificate. So register now and encourage your friends and family to sign up, too!

See you in September!