the four of us
Welcome back to the small world of the Gjertsens. We ended 2014 with a date day, just John and me. We needed some time to reconnect and process the losses of all the embryos and think about what to do next, as far as adoption. My prayer for the day was that we would be refreshed and renewed. I wanted to try an adventure, some kind of unique experience we could enjoy and remember, and I found this zip-line company near Fayetteville that did a canopy tour of the forest. We learned how to zip, and I was relieved to discover there wasn’t really any way I could fatally mess up. We were literally hooked to something the entire tour. Which was good, because it was all way up in the tops of tall trees.
The first couple zips were terrifying; I felt suddenly at the last second that I was crazy, and that I could not possibly hold on to the line all the way across, that my scrawny arms (which hold on the top of a little metal trolley on the zip line) would never hold my weight and I would plunge to my death. I mean, I could never even make it across the monkey bars! But after my feet kicked off the platform, my weight transferred to the harness, and I only needed to use my arms to brake or turn. I had to learn to trust the harness before I could relax and start really enjoying myself.
It was a great thrill to fly through the trees and over waterfalls and streams. Before each of the rest of the zips, I tried to deliberately ask God to carry me between each platform, and to remember that He had me securely and would bring me to the other side. Especially when I could not see the destination that my zip line would be taking me to, I reminded myself of the security and the joy of walking with God when we are living sacrificially for Him, even when the future is unknown.
Free of my fears and weighty spiritual metaphors, John was mainly thinking about how to zip as fast as possible by curling up like a cannonball!
John’s mom officially retired in January, and we got to attend the posh party her company threw her. The next day we went to the Raleigh Children’s Museum (Marbles) for a fun day with the kids. Percy is attracted to anything messy and wet. I need to do more messy, wet things with him at home. We just started doing some cooking together.
Valor loved the area with the power plant and all the energy sources that had chips that rolled around on tracks. It was like a big marble run for him. He also liked playing this balancing mobile game with his grandmother.
Valor created his own alter ego, Domino Man, and presented about him at school. Domino Man shoots dominoes at the bad guys from his wrist cannons and his chest. In his regular life he builds machines, traps, and contraptions in his secret factory. I think this is actually Valor’s dream job!
Percy has been so inspired by Valor’s weekly presentation practice for CC that he has started making his own presentations. It usually goes like this: “Hi, my name is Percy, and I have a special _____(book, picture, etc.) to show you.” The end.
This will be the last time you see a picture with Percy’s pacifier. We threw away the last paci a couple weeks ago when it got a hole in it. Percy has not asked for it back very much, but he is struggling to get to sleep, so there’s often a lot of screaming as he tries to lure me back to his bedside for chats. He’s missed about half of his normal naps in the last two weeks, and when he doesn’t nap his normally somewhat picky two-year-old behavior is boosted to major diva mode. I am trying to get him to at least have some alone time in the afternoons (this is easy because there is a lock outside his door), but I wish I could get his happy naps back.
Recently, Percy stopped calling orange “ornorge.” However, he still calls Smarties candy “snooties,” dessert “bessert,” and movies “woovies.” He calls humming along to a song “humbling,” and yesterday is sometimes “lasterday.” His imagination frequently takes him to the world of his superheroes, where Batman invites Robin over to watch a movie (woovie) and Captain America makes hot chocolate. His favorite song right now is “What a Mighty God We Serve,” which he dances to with fervent abandon. Music really moves him. He got a report card from preschool which had high marks in most things except for sharing, listening, and obeying his teachers. And there you have it. Not interested in sharing, cleaning up, or cooperating. To which he has recently added: not interested in wearing sweaters (“too puffy”), jeans (“too hard”), or tennis shoes. Good old Percy. Fortunately, spring is coming.
Valor is still loving school. He is a memorization machine, which in the Classical model is exactly where he should be. If it can be put to music, he can remember it, from history to math, Latin to the periodic table. He has a great attitude about school and we are able to knock it out in about 1 or 1.5 hours a day, M-W and F. Then the rest of the day is free for errands, playdates, reading, and Legos!
My highlight of February was seeing a dear hope fulfilled (Prov. 13:12)! My friend Kelly and I have been writing and editing a Bible study on the Sabbath for the past couple years, and last spring we were invited by our friends the Kahlers to turn part of it into a set of talks for Kelly to deliver at a women’s retreat! We have been working on the script weekly since then, and the upside of the miscarriage late last year was that when the retreat time came, I was able to attend! I flew to Austin for a long weekend while John and the GPs took care of the kids. Valor threw up in his bed at 3:30 the morning of my flight, so John gets some major husband points for still letting me go!
All the prayers for the retreat were very clearly answered, and Kelly did a super job as a first-time retreat speaker! We got to room together at the hotel in Fredericksburg, shop at the quaint shops, and meet a bunch of really neat women who love Jesus and are committed to following Him at any cost. I wasn’t sure what to expect the retreat to be like, since I had helped write the material and none of it would really be a surprise to me! But I found that God still met me right where I was and taught me new things. Between seeing God use our gifts to bless the church, eating a ton of amazing Tex-Mex (including an obscene number of fresh tortillas), and spending sweet time with great friends like Kelly, Lindsay, and Aaron, it was a really idyllic vacation for me.
A lot of people have asked what is going on with our adoption plans. We waited a long time for the doc in Knoxville to get back to us with whether he would let us try another embryo adoption. My own obgyn cleared me to go forward, so at first we were thinking we would continue, because why stop now? Then we discovered that our adoption home study had expired, and a new study would cost $1300 and would only be good for one more try (not used for any other type of adoption). We also felt a sense of closure from adopting the complete family of lost-mom blastocysts including Nemo, Luke, Leia, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
So by the time the Knoxville office called, we were already thinking of moving on. The doc’s verdict was that we were “probably not” good candidates to try another embryo adoption. So God has closed the book on that one. We don’t regret doing it at all, and would recommend it to others trying to adopt. We have no complaints about the NEDC. I think we had an unusual outcome compared to most people.
Our current plan is to enjoy the kids we have now and take a year off of adoption to rest and grieve. We may start looking at other adoption avenues next year. But right now we are continuing on a path that God knows but we only see by faith, like the zip line to the platform hidden in the trees ahead. We don’t know where we are going, but we trust Him to carry us there.
Valor is still intensely interested in marble runs, dominoes, and Legos, and recently discovered the world of Lego GBCs, or Great Ball Contraptions. He is trying to build his own hand-driven GBC, as you can see from this video!