Sunday, January 2, 2011

What about Norah?

So as many of you know Brett and I lost a baby this past July (2010). I was 10 weeks pregnant and due in February, on my birthday. This loss was very unexpected and very devastating...... partly because it reminded us so much of the heartache and loss in our life, but also because we desire so strongly to have a bigger family and more children. I never even for one second had a chance to meet my baby on earth.......

On Sunday, December 5th 2010 while listening to a sermon at church I just felt this sense that maybe part of our life included adopting a child someday. I didn't say anything to Brett, because I wanted it to be a burden the Lord put on his heart without me saying a word. When I thought of adoption, I thought of many years down the road, like after we were done having children, and fairly financially set.
On Tuesday, December 7th I met with my friend Liane for Dinner. We were having good heart conversations and I mentioned to her what I felt the Lord spoke to me about adoption and then didn't talk much more about it.
On Friday, December 10th, I got my period and was completely devastated because I felt like it was the perfect time to get pregnant.
On December 11th, I got a heartbreaking phone call, Carrisa, my sister was gone.... In that instant, there was something I have not mentioned yet, is that I thought of Norah.... I mean, who really couldn't think of Norah, and what God had in store for her life with no mother? My heart sank...... but I recalled what the Lord had spoken to me about adoption. Was this why he had planted this in my heart? Were we suppose to take Norah? I suddenly felt so relieved to have my period.....and not be pregnant

After starting to pack our suitcases my husband looked at me and said, "What about Norah? Maybe we should look at adopting her." My husband had brought this up on his own, without me saying anything. We just kind of looked at each other, prayed and didn't say much more until the plane ride.

It was really strange for us to think this was even a conversation we were having about our future, were we suppose to adopt Norah? Gosh, I didn't even want to think about it, I just wanted to grieve my sister, but Norah's situation broke our hearts.....

When we got to California Brett and I did say anything to anyone about adopting Norah. We really felt like if it was what God intended it would be made apparent to others. On Tuesday, December 14th,I was really feeling such a great burden for Norah and more and more. I was praying in my bed at night and I asked God, "if you really want us to take Norah, put the burden on my parents heart and make it known to them." About 30 seconds later I could hear Brett in the kitchen talking to my mom and I could hear my mom say, "have you guys thought about adopting Norah..........?"

I immediately got really excited and really scared at the same time. I knew that God was speaking to our hearts to be Norah's parents and it was really scary and overwhelming. About 1 million things went through my head, literally. It is hard for me to grasp trying to raise my own child and now suddenly feeling like I might be responsible for my sisters child........ it is a feeling I cannot express........ I would just much rather have my sister here on earth and never have to think about this.

There were many ways God continued to confirm our thoughts. We really keep quite about adopting Norah because we wanted to be sensitive to God and others. However, we did mention it to a few pastors and Carrisa's best friend Lyndsey. After we told Lyndsey I will never forget what she said, " I am relieved and I feel like it is what Carrisa would have wanted......" When she said that it meant so much, because Lyndsey knew Carrisa better than any of us. Suddenly there were many other people confirming these thoughts and desires without us saying a word. God was working and it was very evident.

As for my parents, they have been awesome! Of course, immediately they took responsibility of Norah and are taking care of her until we have a better idea of what it means to adopt and have guardianship. I have no doubt they would be wonderful parents to Norah and would have taken the responsibility themselves if it wasn't for their age. They will in their 70's when Norah is 10, and we just don't want to take the risk of her having to be moved around again if something happens to them.

Norah does have a living father who has been so gracious!! I know that her loves her immensely, he is just not in the position in life to take her on on his own. He has unselfishly allowed us this opportunity and we are so grateful!

Isn't it strange how God works sometimes? For something I was so sad about, losing our baby, right now I am so thankful for, because if we were having a baby in February it would have been a much harder decision. I know He has a plan..

There are lots of questions about adoption now, about how everything works and when and how. For those who read this blog you will go through that process with us because right now we don't know a whole lot. We know it is going to cost quite a bit of money, and that it is a lengthy process and that is about all. Many people have asked us if we are excited, and my best respose is, that excited is not the right is more like honored

me & Norah
(this photo was taken in November, when I last saw Carrisa, she actually took this picture)

To help raise even a little support I decided to make something called "The Carrisa Collection." It is a collection of headbands, clippies, broaches ,and kitchen towels that I have made with a fabric that reminds me of Carrisa. These items can be purchased to have something not only to remind you of Carrisa, but all of the proceeds will go to the adoption process.

I will post these items tomorrow where they can be purchased on ETSY, but here is a sneak peak

Our live feels so crazy right now!! Ready to come join the adventure?


  1. So I totally was crying when I read this blog. I have wanted to talk to you about Norah since I heard of your sister. I was thinking about you and Brett taking her and how crazy the Lord works sometimes. But I didn't know how to bring it up. I know you guys will be great parents to her. I am so happy for you and even more happy for Norah! How fun for her to have a sister too. You will always have a piece of Carrissa so close!

  2. I am so happy I'm crying. Norah has been heavy on my heart because there has been so much uncertainty (plus I'm out of the loop because of distance and it's none of my business), but you were the first person to come to mind when the reality of Norah's mother's death sank in. I NEED the link once you have your etsy store up to raise funds. Having miscarried myself, I knew that there would be bittersweet feelings and I'm so glad you are physically and emotionally available for Norah! I'm very excited this is truly an answer to my own prayers.

  3. sweet norah was one of my first thoughts and a soon one to follow was "they should adopt her..." what an amazing honor is right, you and brett have so much love in yours hearts!

  4. Jenni, when Carrisa first told us she was pregnant with Norah, Seth's response was that "we could adopt that baby." Of course that was his love for her that was speaking, and not sanity, because we were due to have Josiah on practically the same day Norah was due! Then Carrisa chose to be a single mom, and an AMAZING single mom she was!! Then when Carla called us to tell us the horrific news that Carrisa was gone, Seth's response again was that we could take Norah. Again, not a sane choice considering the fact that ANOTHER baby is on his way into our family in May! All this is to say that you are right in saying that sometimes a family is not in the right place in life to take on such a responsibility. I told Seth the next day that I didn't want to share my opinion with anyone yet because I didn't think it was my place, or the right time, but that I felt strongly that you and Brett were supposed to have her. Carrisa spoke often of moving to Colorado with Norah to give her more family, and so that she had her cousin. She even applied for a job there. She was serious about this, and I know looked up to you as not only a blood sister, but a sister in the Lord who she felt could help her raise Norah and be a better mother to her. I have been up in the night many nights since Carrisa's death, praying hard about this. I am so, so glad that you guys have made this decision, and that Trevor is also making this decision for his daughter. YAY!!!

  5. I was thinking about you and Norah all night last night...praying for God's Will. She will grow up in a God loving family home with a "mommy" and "daddy" that will love her like their own. Carissa would be so honored. What an amazing sister you are. Praise the Lord.

  6. So excited for you guys. Really what an honor and amazing to see how God is orchestrating this.


  7. Jenni, my heart is full of joy for you and Brett as I read this post. It is so clear your hearts are full of pure intentions and love, and are moldable to what lies before you. I'm excited to 'follow' your journey.

  8. I cannot believe the connection I feel with you. Im so honored to be able to read your post. As I kissed Carrisas forehead goodbye that night at the hospital, I drove in the silence of the wee morning hours...I wondered if God wanted me to prepare my heart to be Norahs grandma. There wasnt really much hestitation. Only a waiting heart that was trusting God to reveal HIS will to all of us. I knew at 3 am that morning that HE had a plan and I could rest in HIM. I had a few people approach me in wondering if Lyndsey and Ryan would be who God would want to adopt her? These folks were not aware of you and Brett so I can see why their hearts were led to Lyndsey and Ryan. I was scared. I was scared of the pressure they might feel. I was scared but I knew HE had a plan! And that HE would reveal it to all of us! My heart has been heavy for days and hours and minutes. I started writing a letter to Norah. I want her to have the perspective of my memories of Carrisa. It has been a hard assignment but I am honored to have this postition and be a witness to a life that blessed our family and especially that my daughters had a true friend that loved them deeply..........whew.....I cannot hardly wrap my mind and heart around what is taking place!!! WE are all here for you.....for the long haul! I mean it!

  9. Jenni,,,Your voice resonates the clarity with which Carrisa spoke-always transparent. This praying grammy knows that God always Shows Up in the Right Way at the Right Time. That is, when & If, the hearts of His people are true.
    Your journal serves a great purpose in that it allows you to "hammer out" your deepest thots. Keep that hammer busy. The rest of us will continue to intercede on your behalf as God exercise His Glory!
    WOW-- The Christian life is as extreme as it gets...
    Thank you Lord, for allowing us to participate in this life & to be onlookers as you reveal yourself. Lord, may I be found worthy of your calling.

  10. Jenni- You don't know me (well we met once at the compassion christmas party!), but I used to work with Brett. I am heartbroken to hear of your loss. It seems like you guys have been through an awful lot. My parents recently adopted a little girl who they had fostered for 3 years. It's a a sacrifice of love, but more so a beautiful gift from God. I found this page from Jaime Green's facebook, and decided to read. I am so touched by the way that God has orchestrated you to be Norah's mother. What a beautiful story! It is so encouraging to see God's hand on a child's life, guiding her life to yours. SO encouraging to see God SPEAKING to so many people. I wish all 4 of you a wonderful happy future together!

  11. Wow what a wonderful gift :) I am praying for perfect timing, wisdom, finances and transition in a time of much processing. Norah is blessed to have you.

  12. wow! what an amazing story!!! God is so good isn't He? sometimes it doesn't feel like it...but He knows so much better for us. His plan is so much more beautiful. Even when it's a painful path to get there. Thank you for being obedient. It's a testimony to his Glory.

    Thanks for emailing! :)

  13. This is so so beautiful. What an amazing story? Your family really is such in inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

  14. This is truly the most incredible story. Incredibly sad. Incredibly selfless, and incredibly devoted. You are amazing, I am in complete awe of how strong you are, an idol for anyone who has lost. Xxx


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