Monthly Archives: May 2012

John-John

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Their first meeting was over a Skype call, across a vast ocean and 7,076 miles, to be exact. My mom had already gotten to talk to Mila and I a couple of times, but this day, my stepdad John was there at the computer, to say hello. We had not decided on the grandfather name we were going to use for John, so I told Mila that the man sitting next to Bibi, was John.  And Mila, who was barely speaking English at the time, said “John-John”. So that day, in our little family at least, John became John-John.

On my first trip to Congo, we received the unfortunate news that John’s cancer had come out of remission. This was so hard to hear, being far away from home, and unable to really comfort and be comforted. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer a couple of years earlier, and had done amazingly well up to this point. But the tumor was back, and he would be starting a hellish chemo/radiation combo once again.

Once we were home, we were able to properly introduce Mila to her John-John. And with great joy I can say, that like Mila’s favorite candy, even with a hard outer shell, John melted in my little girl’s hand. It was one of the relationships that we were just not sure how it was going to go initially. He never said anything negative to me about our decision to adopt internationally, but there was never too much inquisition on the whole matter either. I assumed that he just wasn’t really on board with the whole idea, or just didn’t really care either way.

My opinion of all that changed the first time they met. He scooped her up in his arms, and I got to see his face light up as he met his granddaughter, and became a grandpa, for the first time.

She loved him, and he loved her. It was good stuff.

As the cancer began to grow, and his health continued to deteriorate, you never knew it when Mila was around.

He would make sure she had whatever she wanted, and would always stealthily teach her to shout, (much to mine and Dylan’s dismay), a good ‘ole “Roll Tide!“. This man was CRAZY about some Alabama football, and (much to his dismay, I’m sure), I went to Auburn. So this  has been the story of my family ever since.

Nine months later, while in Congo again picking up Hudson, I got more tough news that John was placed on hospice and that, in his words, “Carrie needs to get home”. I knew that it would not be long, and I did not want to be halfway around the world when his time came. By God’s grace, we made it out of Congo, got home, and I was able to introduce John to his second grandchild, Hudson, as well.

It was really precious, the last time we saw John, I don’t think he even noticed I was in the room, which was fine. He knew those kids were though. He made sure he said “Hey” to Mila, AND to Hudson! It made me smile. He was so weak, and in and out of sleep every few minutes, but he knew those babies were there, and wanted to be sure he spoke… to both of them.

We lost John on May 17th.

Thank you John, for being my stepdad for the past 20 years. For putting up with 3 rowdy teenagers at one time. For moving into the basement and then adding on to our house, so that we could all have our own rooms. For loving my mother, for loving me, and for providing for our family the way you did. Thank you for loving my children like your own flesh and blood. We will miss you so much, and will never forget all of the good times we’ve had. We love you John-John!

John G Mooney

February 10, 1953 – May 17, 2012

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A Happy Mother’s Day

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For years prior to this one, Mother’s Day was a very hard day for me. The pain of infertility rocked my world beginning in 2008. Dylan had just returned from his mission trip, and I was headed out on mine. We decided it was time to start trying. We were giddy. The thoughts of a family and LOTS of kids, began to flood my mind. At the time, we agreed that we wanted 10! Not sure we’d still go with that same number today, ;o) but who knows, the Lord has it all planned out anyway. We’re just along for the ride.

Month after month, and then year after year, we were met with more of the same news. No pregnancy, no baby planning, no exciting news to share. We watched family and friends, over, and over, continue to celebrate the one thing that caused me so much pain. Mother’s Day seemed to peak these difficult emotions, and going to church that day was super tough. Everyone was celebrating motherhood, and I, longing to be able to do the same, sat in the sanctuary with empty arms. Every pregnant tummy, every family… full of children, every cry from a hungry infant, even a mother giving her little one “the look” that only a mother knows how to give when her child is misbehaving, made me physically ache. I wanted to experience these things so badly. If you’ve been here, you know what I mean. As we drove away from church, I’d have tears in my eyes, and this happened many more days than just Mother’s Day, but the empty arms were especially achy that day.

In 2011, Mother’s Day was different. I actually was a Mommy at this point, across many, many miles. But I knew nothing of her touch, her smell, her soft curls or her sweet voice, and I never could have imagined her infectious laugh and personality. All I had was a picture. I’d never met my child, yet I was a mother…finally it seemed. But over the past 10 months, I have ACTUALLY become a Mommy…not once, but twice! I now know my children, and I love them dearly. So this year’s Mother’s Day was something quite special.

The Lord has chosen to form our family in a way that is not traditional, but is more than exquisite. We don’t understand why we’ve been given these two precious gifts, but we praise His name for His goodness and mercy. For years prior to Mila’s arrival, I couldn’t imagine how my infertility could be a good thing. The ache for children would not go away. I’d asked the Lord many times to just take the desire from me if He was not going to give me children. But He did not take that desire. He was creating my family… I just did not know it yet. He created Mila, in her birth mother’s womb, just a few months after Dylan and I began trying to conceive. The Lord made me the Mommy that I longed to be… in His time. And in a way that can only be explained as His perfect plan. He showed me so much about His love, His provision, His purpose and timing, by withholding motherhood from me for a time. He showed me how much I needed Him… so much more than the things of this world, even the good things, like a family. He filled me up with more knowledge of Himself during those years of heartache. And… then He chose to fill those empty rooms in our home, and heal that void in our family, with the most precious of baby girls in July of 2011, and an itty-bitty, smiley-pants, great-natured, baby boy in April 2012. We are more than blessed. He’s given me a story to tell that He continues to write, and I hope it brings Him great glory.

Happy 1/2 Birthday today to my sweet Hudson!! We are more than proud to call you “Son”, and while we’d love for you to stay just the way you are now, forever, we cannot wait to continue to watch you learn and grow. We love you Buddy!!