Jackson, my darling boy, is five. years. old.

This boy made me a mommy, and I can't believe we are now five years on the other side of becoming parents. Wow. Five years old is such a big deal! We're learning to ride a bike and sounding out words and getting ready for Kindergarten! It REALLY does seems like just a second ago he was my little baby.  I know the coming years will seem to fly by just as quickly and I'm so grateful that I've taken the time to cherish these littlest years.

Jackson's name means gracious gift of God, and he has already lived up to his name-a definite reminder that this little life, and all life, is a gift from the Lord. Take it back a little over 8 years ago and Nick and I were excitedly considering starting a little Greenwood clan. The thought seemed so surreal at the time, but a few months later, when there was no baby to speak of yet on the way, it seemed more realistic, and why wasn't it happening? No matter, these things take time. It could take up to a year. It did take up to a year. Some friends were now well into their third trimester and we were still stuck on phase one. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. What I collected instead was a longing in my heart to be a mother, to hold my baby in my arms. Every month their was the possibility and every month I sighed a little deeper, we hugged a little longer, and trusted the Lord a little harder. Hope deferred does indeed make the heart grow sick. 

A year came and went and I decided it was time to get the doctors opinion. Some tests were run and some things were found. Medicine was taken, shots given, more trips to the doctor. And another year passed. And no baby. I remember leaving a doctors appointment once during this time and sharing the elevator down to the lobby with a few other women, one who was holding her newborn baby. "So sweet!", another lady said, "What's her name?" Her name was Brooklyn, which at the time had been a frontrunner for us if we were to have a daughter. In that moment I remember feeling just overwhelmed. I was not jealous of other peoples babies, I was not mad at God for our situation. I was just, sad. Overwhelmed with a longing heart that I was now daily surrendering to the Lord. I made it back to the parking garage, jumped in my truck and just sobbed. It was shortly after that, at the end of our budgeted infertility resources and definitely at the end of my emotional rope, we decided to move on. I knew adoption was always an option, but didn't want it to feel like a "consolation prize" to a biological child. Because I absolutely knew, and still know, that is absolutely not the case. The whole baby journey over those first 2 years had just been so incredibly different than I had thought it would be, I just needed some time to re-set, emotionally. So I did. And God met me there. And when the time was right, I began researching adoption agencies and felt my heart growing increasingly excited about adopting. We picked an agency, we went to orientation. We met with our social worker. We filled out the extraordinarily detailed home study. I was in a whole new place. My anxious heart had turned to sweet anticipation.

And then I got a sinus infection. It lasted long enough that I finally went to the doctor. As the doctor was writing up my prescription for antibiotics she asked, as they always do, "Are or could you be pregnant?" "Nope!" I answered, without skipping a beat. After 10 days of antibiotics I was totally better! But being the natural worrier that unfortunately I am, I couldn't shake the thought, "What if I AM pregnant and I should not have taken those antibiotics???" I knew it was a silly thought because I knew I wasn't pregnant, but about a week or so after that, I threw a pregnancy test in my grocery cart as I passed them by, just to put that ridiculous thought to rest. I hadn't taken a test in months. Hadn't been counting days or taking my temperature or any of those tricks. This particular grocery store run was in the early morning, and Nick had been out somewhere as well so I decided to run home and take the test quick before he got home, mostly so that I could see the negative result, and toss it in the trash while I was by myself. I just didn't want it to be a big deal. Because I wasn't even taking the test to see if I was pregnant, it was just so I could see that negative line and put my silly worrying to rest. So that is just what I did.

It was positive.

My heart was pounding, I was a little shaky, and when Nick walked in the house a few minutes later I waved that test in his face and was 50% sure it was a broken test. I'd taken so many before, it was never positive, maybe this one was broken. But a few tests later, it started to settle in, the shock started to wear off, and I started to get excited.

I have some ideas, but I will never really know why God chose to write our family story that way. What I do know is that I leaned on God in a whole new way through that significant season and regardless of the "outcome", walking with Him, following Him, was the point, and still is. A greater joy I will never know. A greater Gift I will never receive. But a child is certainly a good gift from The Lord, and He gives it just as specifically and intentionally in adoption as he does in the womb. And this is how He chose to do His thing in our family. 

And that is how God used little Jackson so much in my heart and life, before I ever even saw him! Waiting is hard. Waiting on God's plan is hard. Waiting on God's plan when it is way different than my own is hard. Parenting lesson number one though, was a big one. God has a plan, and God is in charge. Start there. For worrisome folk like myself, that is THE source of joy, peace, patience, contentment. 

9 months later I got to hold my baby, and look in his little eyes. He came via emergency c-section after a troublesome, fast, intense labor. He had a virus and was immediately moved to the NICU in the Children's Hospital. I remember being exhausted and overwhelmed, but not worried. 9 days later we brought him home, and life has never been the same...

Jackson, I love you. You opened my heart up to a whole new kind of love. You've enriched our lives as only you could. You've taught us so much about how God must love us. You are kind and considerate. You are observant, and you are smart. You are ambitious with your goals, but you are cautious with your methods. You love to celebrate. You love to lead. You are organized. You like your alone time. You love to build things. You continue to wake up so ridiculously early in the morning. You love your brothers. You are head over heels for your dad. You STILL love Lightning McQueen. You've claimed blue as your color and you are still oddly obsessed with warm drinks. I'm loving this age where you are trying on big kid phrases like "Are you kidding me?" and asking the lady in line ahead of us at the grocery store to try to go quickly because we've got ice cream in our cart. And I love watching your curious heart learn about Jesus. You have a sensitive heart towards Him already and we are so deeply praying that God continues to grow that in you, and that He will continue to be the best Gift of your life. 

Happy Birthday Jacksy Jones.