What's That Smell?

6:30am...I wake up, head over to the bathroom and think to myself, "Wow, that coffee smells really strong this morning in the kitchen!" I don't think anything is different from any other morning though. As I make my way down the steps I see it's snowing outside...again. I hear the washing machine running and lots of activity out in the laundry, which as most of us women know is unusual if we are not the ones loading the machines. I open the door and a very strong scent hits my nostrils. I wish you could smell through the internet, but alas...you will just have to imagine.

Our dear puppy dog, Gideon Ross went outside to take his usual morning pee. He immediately saw a bunny and was chasing it, nothing new. Eric shut the door and went back inside to start his routine of loading the woodstove with new logs for the day. When he opened the door to bring Gid back in, he realized something was terribly wrong. Quickly, he gathered that our dog was chasing more than a bunny. There was also a black and white "kitty" in the neighborhood. He had never met one of these cats before and we know they have been closely acquainted now.

Bless my dear husband for taking care of the rank smell. He was doing research on the internet on "How to get the smell of skunk out of your dog", found some baking soda, peroxide, tomato juice, etc. and went to town bathing his beloved, innocent companion. I only wish that the smell I first detected was indeed some strong coffee. So today, Gid will be spending some quality alone time in the garage. The scent is beyond just lighting a few candles and spraying some room freshener. He seems a bit confused as to why he got a bath and now can't be in the house. Friends of ours gave us some good "parenting advice" this past week. Their 5-year old son decided to give his 4-year old sister a "haircut"...need I say more. I asked them if they punished him and their response was one I won't forget. "Well, we never specifically told him that he wasn't supposed to cut his sister's hair, so we didn't feel like we could punish him." Gideon didn't know about skunks and their phenomenal fragrance so we can't be too mad at him. We'll let reality do the disciplining.

Thanks for the comic relief, Gid...you always know how to cheer me up!


The New Guys

I have been soaking myself in God's Word and I am being healed. There will always be a scar but the pain is subsiding. Tears have been shed. Hugs have been shared. Questions go unanswered. Journaling is therapeutic for me so you better believe my pen has been busy filling up pages. Jesus is the Great Physician and I am under His care. Thank you for those of you who have emailed, called, and written letters. Your kind words of encouragement are exactly what we need right now. We are so glad to be a part of the body of Christ in moments like these. We weren't made to walk our life journey alone. We will not give up. Our profile is available again for birth parents to view and we are filled with great hope for our future children to join our family.

Yesterday I decided I was tired of looking at an empty fish tank (yes, Bubbles bit the dust a few weeks ago). We were waiting to get another fish until we got back from Virginia. No need to wait any longer. Malakai LOVES going to any pet store so it wasn't hard at all to convince him to come with me. We spent some time with Mr. Bojangles, the massive bunny and stuck our hands in the touch tank full of sting rays. But his favorite place is the fish room. He runs up and down the aisles yelling, "Fishies! Fishies! Fishies!"

The girl who scooped out our two beloved fishies for us wrote on the bag and told me several times, "There's no guarantee on these fish." I honestly wanted to laugh out loud. My "risk meter" is very high right now. And you can be sure I was willing to take the risk of these "$1.99/piece fish" dying in the near future. Our caseworker told us that exact same thing, "There is no guarantee that this adoption will go through". But I refuse to live my life in fear. I am a natural-born risk taker. I mean, seriously...who starts a photography business with no formal training or camera knowledge? Hey, when the LORD tells you to do something, you just have to trust Him. He knows the end from the beginning. And now, well...Radiant Images is thriving, my clients are more than just satisfied, and I am fulfilled beyond measure with this profession. Was it worth the risk...ABSOLUTELY! I can't imagine not being a photographer/mother/wife/adoption advocate.

Since I've been writing a lot without pictures, I thought you'd all enjoy seeing a picture of Malakai with his two new fishies. The first two that died were named Sushi and Buttons. He can't seem to get them out of his head and every time I ask him what he wants to name his new fish, he insists on calling them Sushi and Buttons. So I guess we'll put a II behind their names and take the risk of them dying again. Hey, sometimes things don't turn out the way we think they should, but we do it anyway.


The Adoption Ending

It has been a roller coaster of emotions and events for our family the past three weeks. We heard on Monday morning that the birth mother was going into the hospital with strong contractions and were told to get our bags packed to head down to Virginia to meet our daughter on Wednesday. The birth mother wanted us to know that she was headed to the hospital and was asking when we would arrive. She wanted us there and we wanted so badly to be there. We were so overjoyed! So we began packing and getting our calendars cleared once again for a trip that we weren't sure how long would be.

On Tuesday afternoon we got another phone call. This one would change the course of our family's history yet again. The little girl was born at 2am on Tuesday morning, beautiful and healthy. When her birth mother saw her, she had a change of heart and decided she wanted to parent after all. That's all it takes. A single word. No. And we are left to pick up the pieces of our very broken hearts. She has the right to change her mind and we have no rights at all, but to pray for the best to come about of this situation. We firmly believed that this little girl was to be a part of our family. We named her together with her birth mother. We had prepared a place for her in our home. We had diapers, clothes, car seat, and pack-n-play ready to go, but they will remain empty. At least, for now. We are hurting very deeply, but we also are trusting God to heal us and show us His great mercy and love during this time.

Our emotions are very raw. Our caseworker is on vacation this week and when she returns, we will be meeting with her for further counsel. Our family profile will be available on the waiting list for other birth mothers to view. We had some close friends pray for us yesterday and they encouraged us that the battle belongs to the LORD. We fought for this baby and we release her to God's immeasurable grace knowing that the situation she will be raised in seems less than ideal to us.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways", declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

This has been our life verse since the first day of our marriage and it is engraved in our wedding bands. It has a whole new meaning now. Thank you for all of your prayers. We have felt them the entire way through this journey. I told the Virginia caseworker that we had a whole army behind us praying for this situation. We have not been defeated, but the victory looks a whole lot different than we were anticipating.


Puppies, Etc.

They are simply irresistible and I have to hold each one every time we go to visit. Our friends, Derek and Abby's dog, Bailey had seven puppies a few weeks ago and Malakai loves to hug and kiss them. We went in again this past week for a puppy play date. I can barely stand to leave without bringing one or maybe all of them home with me. I think Gid might be slightly jealous so we left them behind. We've been enjoying the snow out here too. My parents were sledding with us all the other night. Pretty sure I laughed like I was 8 years old again...good for the soul, I tell ya!


Call To Prayer

We wanted to update you on our adoption news so you can better know how to pray for our family in the coming weeks. There are many risks involved in this situation, but we know that NOTHING is impossible with God. We are thankful to be a part of the body of Christ especially right now. Thank you for praying and interceding for our baby girl.

Yesterday we spoke with the birth mother's counselor from Va and she shared with us that the birth mother is receiving a severe amount of opposition regarding her choice to place her baby for adoption. Her parents think she is making a bad choice and are trying to convince her to keep the baby and telling her that she will regret this choice she has made to place her baby girl in our family. She is currently living with them and we are concerned for her. Pray that she would not be worn down and give in to their persuasion. She has told us that she has 100% chosen us and is determined to follow through with her decision.

The case worker said that if this (drama) continues, they will most likely place the baby in foster care when she is born and not allow us to bring her home from the hospital. We are believing in faith that she will be placed with us from the hospital. We are going to fight for our daughter and we need you to fight with us. The greater the battle, the greater the reward. Many of you have encouraged us with scriptures or words from the LORD at just the right time to lift our spirits so we are not overcome with fear. Thank you for your support for our family.

We love you,
Eric, Regina, & Malakai


20 inches of snow

This doesn't happen every day so we get out and play while we can. I hear there is more snow on the way too. What a year. Thankful for a garage and a woodstove this winter. And for a dad and husband who love to rescue us from the snow drifts. I asked Eric what is so exciting to a man when it snows. He told me, "It's like a big sand box. I just gotta get out and play in it!" Now I think I get it. Big equipment = tons of fun. Here we are enjoying the accumulating white stuff. It's so great to live next door to my parents too. They are kids at heart and enjoy taking Malakai on sled rides.


Packin' Our Bags

I could burst with excitement so instead I'll just let the cat out of the bag...Eric and I are headed to Virginia Beach, Va early Friday morning to meet with a birth mother who selected our family profile for adoption! She is due to give birth to a baby girl on February 19th and we are so excited to meet her. Yes, there are details to work out, yes, I've been nesting like crazy the past two days, and yes, there are many unknowns but we are taking life one minute at a time right now. We know that our faithful God will fill in all the blanks and help us to get connected to the right people at the right time. We know our schedules will all work out and we know that we are soon going to be bringing home our daughter to meet her big brother, Malakai and the rest of the family members (Gideon, Cookie, and Bubbles). So be praying for us as we anticipate a new transition in our lives. My camera is ready to be worked over :) February really is the month of love. Just two years ago, we brought home little Malakai to join our family. Our hearts are filled to overflowing right now as you can all imagine.


Cabin Fever

Every winter, the Martin clan goes up to a cabin near Raystown Lake for a weekend of family time. We were hoping for some snow, but didn't see a single flake. There was lots of scrap booking, rug making, crocheting, reading, playing games, lounging, movie-watching, eating, laughing, and memory-making going on. We always look forward to this weekend of getting to know each other better.