An Adoption Prayer

One of the things which needs to be talked about more with adoption are the deep, spiritual wounds our children come to us with. I'm so grateful that before Judah and Addise came home our wise, trusted pastor-friends, Ed and Stephen, taught us what we immediately needed to do with our kiddos.

They taught us about breaking off spiritual curses and generational sin, cleansing their bloodlines, restoring wounds that may have incurred from a traumatic conception, pregnancy, or birth. The impact from not praying through these issues for our kids can be huge! Night terrors, shame-based or destructive behaviors, attachment struggles, food issues, lying, hoarding, lack of belonging, lack healthy emotional reactions....the list is as extensive as the spiritual brokenness.

Many of these wounds can be prayed through simply with a couple prayers sessions. But I don't know what we would've done without this wisdom.

We experienced some of their wounds within the first week of parenting, particularly on our flight home from Ethiopia. Without going into graphic detail, we experienced intense spiritual warfare and activity with one of our kids from the time we entered U.S airspace (literally!) all the way through U.S customs. We couldn't even make it to customs for what seemed an eternity because of the intense warfare. Our child was wailing out of control, thrashing their body, totally hysterical. We were texting family, close friends, and our pastoral connections begging for them to intercede on our child's behalf. Some thing was happening in the spiritual realm that could not be described in human language.

By the time we made it to customs nearly 2 hours later, all four of us were crying as we got our passports stamped and the officer said "welcome home".

Even in recent days we've seen an increase of wounds emerge with one of our kids. The shift of emotional response was clear enough that we were able to identify this as a wound opening from their past.

Two and a half years later we are in the thick of dealing with their trauma again. I don't expect this will be the last time, too. In fact, it is very normative for kids from hard places to surface old wounds when 1) their environment changes, 2) they feel safe to express that pain, 3) they have the resources available for the wound to be healed. I've seen that in my own kids and the research would agree.

Only a couple months ago I came across this prayer. Within reading a few lines I was weeping. I hope you'll find this resource so practical in helping your child heal from their past. With love and prayers as you parent and provide refuge for kids from hard places.

We say to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
that your life is not a mistake.
God made you out of the love that he is. 
He called you into being at the right time and the right place.
He prepared a way for you and gave his life for you.
You are a privilege, not a burden;
a joy and a delight, not an intrusion.
You belong!
You are a treasure just because you are,
and not for what you can do.
You are one of the Father God's children,
and he delights in you, and we delight in you.

Lord, we ask you to destroy the lies this child has accepted.
We bring them to the cross with every destructive attitude, 
expectation, and personality structure or habit pattern.
We see you, Lord, pouring your love all about the child
breathing a fresh breath of life into his/her spirit,
wrapping strong welcoming arms about the child, 
and inviting him/her to grow into the fullness of his/her own life
restfully as you planned for him/her from the beginning.
We pray that the inner child be enabled to forgive those who wounded him/her.
We also pray that the child himself/herself be forgiven his/her negative responses.
We pour the healing love of Jesus into this wounded spirit like a healing balm.
We ask you to gift                   with a sovereign gift of trust and rest and peace, and 
let his/her entire being be integrated with wholeness and harmony
as (s)he is reconciled to being who (s)he is where (s)he is.

Now, we place the cross of Christ (the stopping place of all sin)
between                    and his/her parents and his/her parents' parents
all the way back through his/her generations
declaring that all of his/her inheritance be filtered through the cross. 
All decendancy of evil, every curse coming to the child
through his/her family line must stop on that cross.
We ask you, Lord, to hide the child in your own heart
and to cast light in the eyes of any powers of darkness
that might attempt to oppress or afflict or prevent his/her life.
We stand in the authority of Jesus Christ against such powers.

Finally, we place a blessing in the name of Jesus on                 's life.
We ask you, Lord, to melt any hardness of the heart,
to strengthen him/her with might in the inner man (spirit),
to enlighten the eyes of the heart,
to draw him/her to his/her destiny and
to place a mantle of protection on him/her.

taken from Family Foundations International


2 Comments

April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.

REGULATED!

This morning my mom and I went to see Asher. Her first meeting of her newest grandson. :)

Within minutes the nurse told us that Asher's blood sugar levels have self-regulated!!!!!!!!!!!!! His sugar IV was removed and he is now IV free. MIRACULOUS! Somehow between when we saw him Saturday afternoon and yesterday his insulin and blood sugar levels reversed and his body is doing what it's supposed to!!!! I almost lost it. Regulating his sugar-insulin levels was the biggest deterrent to him coming home.

Next Goal: sucking, swallowing and breathing from a bottle 8 times in a row successfully (we can supplement with breastfeeding, too). Today he took 1/2 his feeding successfully from a bottle. The nurses and OT will keep working with him on this combo. When he accomplishes that – ASHER COMES HOME!

I told his doctor today that we've had LOTS of people praying for Asher and he said, "that's good". :) I also informed him that Asher will be coming home before 37 weeks. He chuckled and said "sounds good. Alright." In my momma-opinion, he could come home in the next week. That's my hope.

Keep praying people!

5 Comments

April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.

Part 1 - What a Weekend!

When I showed up to the hospital on Friday afternoon for my scheduled non-stress test (NST), I had no idea what we were walking into for the weekend. Before I share the facts, I would be remiss if I didn't say a MASSIVE thank you to those who've covered us in prayer the past 7 days. It has been truly unbelievable, unpredictable, and demanding of our greatest maturity.
 
Friday Afternoon and Evening:
Went in for my scheduled NST at 10:40am. What was going to be 40 minutes turned into 4 hours of monitoring my elevated high blood pressure and baby's heartbeat. Within minutes, I was escorted to labor and delivery and admitted for better monitoring.
 
After 4 hours, our baby boy was looking good and my blood pressure somewhat normalized so I was discharged. They required me to do a 24-hour urine collection for testing and also scheduled me for another NST at 3:30pm.
 
Saturday Afternoon to Sunday Morn:  
I cooperated with the doctor's orders and collected my pee (terrible task) and came in for the NST.
After 3 hours of testing my blood pressure was no longer alarming and it looked like I was getting discharged.
 
Then, the doctor abruptly came in an gently announced, "it looks like you've earned yourself and overnight stay with us." Instant, hot tears filled my eyes but I couldn't leak in front of this doctor while she explained "why". A good friend spontaneously hurried over to the house after Brian put the kids down for bedtime so he could be with me. Thanks Robyn and family for your help!!
  • Baby boy had a few decelerations in his heartbeat over the 3 hours. Though my admittance into L&D was for my high blood pressure, I was staying overnight because of concern for his stability!!!
  • I moved into the "high risk" category and was told it'll be one step at a time as to what that will mean.
  • Throughout the night, these heart "decels" happened multiple times and always in conjunction with a contraction. I didn't feel more than a couple of those contractions. They were very mild. But as a result, the doctor told me that I'd probably deliver early; we just didn't know when.
  • We were asked to sign C section consent form if there's an emergency or if he's breach.
  • Throughout the night I was strapped to 6 machines (IV, BP, pulse, 2 fetal monitors, catheter). No sleep for the restless and exhausted. The nurse was in and out all night checking machines, checking blood pressure, taking blood, etc.  Lemme just say that L&D nurses are AMAZING though. Brian's sister is an L&D nurse and I'm nominating her for sainthood now.
  • I was given a steroid shot Saturday evening for baby boy's lung development, in case I have to deliver early.  They gave me another 24 hours after the first.
  • They drew my blood every six hours to confirm the safety environment for the baby.
  • The ultrasound showed that baby boy is 4 pounds 9 oz; he's in the 48th percentile. He looked good! They did an ultrasound on the baby & April could see his fingernails!!  He's got everything at this point; these last 7 weeks are just mainly lung development & weight gain.
  • I was given magnesium sulfate in a drip to help keep my blood pressure down & help baby boy's brain development.  One side effect of this is that it makes you very warm & sticky - very uncomfortable. I felt like I was going to spontaneously burst into flames at points. This is no walk in the park.
  • Throughout the night they had me on an oxygen mask to make sure baby boy's getting plenty of oxygen, which helped when his heart rate dipped.
  • I've asked whether I need to go on blood pressure meds & whether this means bed rest for me.  No answers yet.
  • Brian called Ed Salas Saturday night to ask for some prayer and assistance with my Sunday schedule. Ed was moderating our services at Newsong on Sunday and graciously offered to invite to pray for us. We watched online and I immediately burst into tears with the first song: "Come thou fount of every blessing". ** Take note of our son's name later!!
  • Sunday morning: A good friend came to take care of Judah & Addise this morning; she'll stay til they have their naps; Brian plans to go back & be with them from nap time till bed time.
  • At this point I was hoping for a Monday morning discharge (they already confirmed that I need to stay Sunday night).  
  • My iPhone app says the baby is 19" long now & if I deliver now, he has a 98% chance of survival... and only 12% of babies delivered at this point have severe complications.


As of Sunday Night:

  • When I called my mom, Brian was just leaving with the kiddos to see me. That was water for my soul. I was missing my babies after such an abrupt separation. My mom asked me how Judah & Addise were doing, and I said, "They're doing great... all kinds of people are playing with them!" ...and then I broke down & cried.  
  • A shift in my spirit occurred when Brian reminded me, "We've done this before - we had to leave the kids in Ethiopia for seven weeks - we can do it again..."
  • It was more or less confirmed that I would have a C-section, whenever he was ready to come.  The baby's heart rate decelerates each time I had a contraction, so the thinking was that labor & delivery would be too much stress & trauma on him. Plus he was breach.
  • My spirit surrendered and I said, "We have no control over anything anymore". A C-section was #1 on my list of what to avoid for a number of reasons. But my dogmatism wilted away to obedience, trust, and a deep confidence that God's got this.
  • My blood pressure was been normal for nearly the entire time. The mag-sulfate treatment helped with that.
  • Late Sunday night, the doctor confirmed that in order for me to be discharged from the hospital, she has to have a "clean strip" for 24 hours. A clean strip is basically when his heart rate wouldn't decelerate at all during those 24 hours. At 5pm Sunday, his heart decelerated again - so at this point, 5pm Monday would've been the earliest I'd be discharged.
  • Then, the doctor warned: There is a 50% chance I would have a C section on Monday... if his heart decelerates more, then they will strongly consider a C section earlier.
  • Emotionally, Brian and I were both feeling very good... no stress/not scared/not sad.  We had deep confidence that "God's got this... He started it, He'll finish it."  We had a good measure of strength & peace. God started this whole process six years ago & look what we have today.
  • We talked with the NICU doctor today, and she said that 33 weeks is a good size.
  • Of course, everyone is well aware that every day he's still en utero, the better, but having the baby now is not cause for alarm.  In some ways, having him now would be easier than carrying him full term if things continue on as they have for the last 36 hours.  Obviously, having him wasn't our goal or aim, but if it happens, "it's ok."
  • Meanwhile, our bathroom is under remodel. SERIOUSLY?!?! Brian's begging the contractor to work on it double time this week.  (The initial end date is 1-2 weeks from now.)
  • If the baby is born Monday, I'd be home in 2-3 days and the baby would be a little longer - from a few days to potentially 2-4 weeks longer if there are complications or if he just needs growth time.  It all depends on whether he can breathe, suck, and swallow on his own.
  • I got to eat dinner, Brian helped me shower, and went home around 9pm to get our kids from our friends house. I've been praying earnestly about our kids' sense of security and peace in these days. I think J&A thought they went on vacation with all the friends and attention they had on Friday and Saturday. Thank Jesus!


Words and Prayers We Fell Asleep To:
** that I remembered to save and post

  • We serve a powerful, provident God — no surprises for Him. (my little bro)
  • He's just ready to come. (Maria)
  • A couple L&D nurses who interestingly enough had their babies at 32 and 33 weeks with no complications with the baby and minimal NICU stays.
  • I KNOW you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, but sometimes with let's say with strong personalities (Which God uses mightily) the strength sometimes is our own pushing through.....and not God's. Just a note to make sure you hand over the control (EXTREMELY HARD I GET THAT) to the wise and remember FACT, FAITH, FEELINGS. Keeping those in order is vital for you and your tiny little baby within. (Annette)
  • "God is our refuge and strength. An ever present help in times of trouble." You are bathed in prayer & covered in love. Your baby is covered in prayer as well. You are an incredible, sensitive, knowing, adaptable, strong, intelligent, resilient, prophetic, faithful, deeply-sensing mom. You & your body know exactly what to do & how to experience this. Each step, each breath, is completely covered with the prayers of the Saints!!! (Becca)


    Sweet dreams and good sleep was in our prayers.  
    But another surprise was in store...
1 Comment

April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.

5 months

Today marks 20 weeks pregnant with our son. I'm halfway there!

To be honest, though, this has been the roughest month of pregnancy for me. I've experienced more physical discomfort, pain, exhaustion, stretching, and nauseous that my first 4 months combined. Vomit, gas, indigestion, utter exhaustion, and physical depletion have all been a major part of this past month of pregnancy. It may have some to do with 2 weeks of holiday traveling, my belly growing, caring for 2 toddlers, and a few very emotionally exhausting work weeks, but I'm desperately praying this isn't a trend for the remainder of my pregnancy. The past couple weeks have involved a LOT of tears, Tums, careful eating, desperate prayers, silent fears. If you need further proof that we are less-than-perfect, the Christmas tree wast just taken down 4 days ago and is still sitting in our living room in it's box.

REDEMPTION. Instead of working a satisfying and FULL work day today at my church, I spent the day in bed. I woke up and knew I wasn't feeling ok. But I pulled myself out of bed, took a shower, starting putting on makeup, and then sent a text to our [male] lead pastor and [male] co-worker that I was feeling awful and needed prayer. The next 5 minutes of text exchanges lead me to literally weeping in my bathroom: "rest with joy", "we are a team", "we got your back", "take care of yourself and baby". While wiping away hormonal tears to read the texts, I realized the tears were both present and historic.

Present because THIS has been the worst week of pregnancy. I've felt terrible most of the week and by yesterday felt utterly discouraged at the feat of carrying my son for another 20 weeks. I've tried to tough it out this week - at work and at home - while still quietly attending to my body and baby. It's left me exhausted.

But my tears also opened up a historic wound and fear in my leadership journey. Since the early days of ministry, I've been afraid - rightfully and imagined - that my being feminine would eventually place a ceiling on my influence. I felt that most acutely as a mother. So, too often I've erred on the side of not crying on the job, faking feminine pain, speaking like a man when my feminine voice is more needed, not talking about my infertility or kids' latest accomplishments, etc.

However, being on staff at Newsong for nearly the past 8 years has been very healing and freeing for me. Our mostly-male leadership has affirmed, blessed, promoted, and stood by me in the most unlikely times - like this morning. Receiving texts like these this morning - when all I wanted to do is suck in my protruding belly, push through the yuckiness, and pretend to be Super Momma-Pastor - they didn't let me. They didn't ask invasive questions or challenge my plea for prayer. They didn't ask if I thought I could still fulfill my significant responsibilities today or ask that I find replacements. They simply blessed me and prayed for me. My risk to be vulnerable was monumentally healing for me and, I believe, restoring for the community I lead in.

LIMITS. If there's just one lesson to be learned in pregnancy for me, it's accepting my limits. Today was a clear example but there's been a hundred over the past few months. Some close friends gently, firmly, and compassionately chastised me a couple weeks ago that though the demands of my job and motherhood are evident these days, there is nothing more important than caring for the little man growing inside of me. I only get 1 shot to be pregnant, only 9 months to set him on a developmental trajectory that will impact the rest of his life, only one shot to "enjoy" these 9 months. It was a reset of my limits and priorities that I think about every day. Though I may not be able to work 12-hour days anymore or throw my babies up in the air, I must care for this little being consuming my womb and every conscious moment. I'm the ONLY one who can do this job.

As for a picture of my belly, here's a picture I took a couple days ago from our HORRENDOUS women's restrooms at work. The background is an atrocity and it's a self-portrait into a mirror, but at least it captures nearly 20 weeks en utero for our son.

I have to say, maternity pants are the BEST!
So comfy and no zippers and buttons to deal with when going to the bathroom. BONUS!

NAMES. Also, on a very random note, we have no idea what to name our son. We have a few names in the queue but no glorious moment affirmed by singing angels. Again, naming Judah and Addise was borderline divine and simple. For this baby, we had the PERFECT first AND middle name selected. I even have back-up girl names. But to name this boy feels impossible. I've resorted at this point to reading movie credit names and listening into stranger's conversations for tips. Our major problem is the 1) we want a creative and somewhat unique name, like J&A, and 2) it must be highly meaningful and somewhat prophetic for our son's life. That eliminates about one million names. And once you start looking for names for YOUR child, you realize how many names you hate.


Again, if you have any suggestions on where to look for names let me know. And you'll get bonus points if you can direct me to a place where I can search for names by meaning [ex: names that mean "restore" are...].

Thanks for hanging with me in the sob story of today. And for praying. I know it changes things, especially me.

8 Comments

April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.

Blessing Baby

A couple weeks ago, shortly after announcing Baby #3's life within me, I walked into a group of about 20 high school students praying passionately. They were declaring their identity in Christ, praying for courage, praying for blessing, praying for more of God. It was every youth pastor's dream.

They stopped praying for a moment, saw me sitting in the back, cheered congratulations for our baby, and asked me to pray. In the moment, all I wanted is for them to pray for me, our family, this baby.

For the next 10-15 minutes these students, whom I've known, loved, and poured into for years, prayed over this baby, our family, and my pregnancy. To say it was moving would be an understatement. Many of these students laid hands on me and passionately prayed all kinds of blessing and prophetic prayers into our family. As one of the students was praying, he announced that this was a Blessing Baby, our baby is a blessing and is to be a blessing. Speechless. I was and am so deeply grateful for every heartfelt prayer submitted before God on our behalf.

At the end of their prayers, their leader spoke this pasage over our family. I couldn't help but think this was exactly what we needed to hear about this unexpected pregnancy...

Isaiah 55:8-13 [The Message]

"I don't think the way you think.
   The way you work isn't the way I work."
"For as the sky soars high above earth,
   so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
   and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
   and don't go back until they've watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
   producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
   not come back empty-handed.
They'll do the work I sent them to do,
   they'll complete the assignment I gave them.
 "So you'll go out in joy,
   you'll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
   bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
   exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
   no more thornbushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
   living and lasting evidence of God."

 Out of the mouths of babes, WISDOM speaks.

2 Comments

April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.