The Name

One of the delights of a new baby is finding out the name, and I always wonder about how it was chosen.  Perhaps you’ve wondered the same thing about Nathan.  If so, this post is for you!

At the hospital

After we contacted Nathan’s birthmother (we call her Mina) about adopting, the first thing I wanted to do while we waited for her response was to pick a name.  Tim (very wisely) vetoed that idea until much later in the process–he knew that naming this child needed to wait until we were more certain that the adoption would take place.  I chafed a bit–naming is a big deal, kind of scary, and so permanent; I wanted plenty of time to come up with something just perfect.  But Tim was right, and we waited until after we’d flown out to meet Nathan’s birth family in late February.  God blessed that meeting, and we returned home with the weighty knowledge that we were Mina’s first choice for her son.

Here’s how naming works with an adoption: the birth parents name their child at birth, and the name they’ve chosen goes on his birth certificate.  It is his legal name for about the first year of his life.  The adoptive parents also name the child.  Sometimes the parents work together so that it is the same except for the last name (that’s how it is for Nathan).  Sometimes it is completely different.  When the adoption becomes finalized (between 10 and 12 months) in court, a new birth certificate is issued with the child’s adoptive name.  Until then, the adoptive parents use the birth name for the insurance paperwork, at the doctor’s office, and when flying–and the adopted name for everything else.

We wanted to pick Nathan’s name ourselves, but we also wanted Mina to be involved.  We have an “open adoption”, meaning we keep in touch directly with Mina by e-mails, pictures, and visits.  She would use the name we picked often; we wanted it to be one she liked.  Here’s the solution we came up with for the first name, Nathan:

We sent Mina an e-mail on March 9 (Nathan was born on the 19th; yes, we cut it a bit close!) with four names we liked, and let her choose.  We were happy with all of them, and all of them described what this child had already been/done for her and for us.  Our options were:

 Nathan-“he (God) gave” or “gift”. 

 Jason-“to heal”. 

 Joel-“God is God”. 

 Seth-“placed or appointed”. 

 This worked really well for us.  Mina easily identified her favorite, and whala!  We had a first name we were very happy with–Nathan truly is God’s gift to many who know him, we not excepted.

Nathan’s middle name is Cornelius.  Mina had chosen a name for Nathan before we became involved in his birth; Cornelius was the middle name she had picked after a character in Thumbelina (a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson).  After we had thought about it for a bit, Tim and I realized that Cornelius held significance for us, as well.  My maternal grandfather was named Cornelius.  Also, Cornelius is an exemplary Biblical figure of God’s adopting work in Christ (you can read about him in Acts chapters 10 and 11)!  This was amazing to us.  Cornelius is not a name we would have come up with ourselves–but now we see it as one of the many ways in which God worked to remind us of the real meaning of adoption–that we who were born into sin and Satan’s family can be adopted into God’s family, can become the very children and heirs of God Himself!  Wow.  Every time we think of the name Cornelius (and more often), we pray that God will bring Nathan and all those who love him into His family, that we all might rejoice together in knowing the God of the Universe as our very own Father:

Romans 8: 9-17

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.  So then, brothers,we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

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1/4 Year

I apologize for being a day late with this post–just as I was hitting publish late last night, the computer ate 3/4ths of what I had just written. 

Today Nathan is 3 months old!  This first 1/4 year of his life has flown by, that’s for sure!  What a blessing from God he is to us and our families.  We continue to be awed by the goodness and grace of God that we experience through our son.

In the past month, Nathan’s smiles have erupted!  At two months, he was stocking rare smiles that we had to bend over backwards to earn.  Now, he spends the first twenty or thirty minutes after every good sleep smiling his life away.  Tim and I soak it up.  What a cutie-pants!  We’ve also seen a dramatic increase in vocabulary–Nathan is up to all five vowel sounds and has started working on consonants.  SO fun to experience his increasing interactiveness!

The flip side of smiles and sounds is scowls, and Nathan can do that pretty well, too.  He’s never been a fussy baby, but he’s learned a thing or two about the art of crying in the last month, especially around meal times and in the evenings.  His cry of real distress is heartbreaking, but his grump and groan cry is hilarious–it starts with a massive protrusion of the lower lip, a pinching of the mouth, and a resounding, calf-like “BWAAAAH”.  Cutest thing EVER, and so hard to take seriously!

Other things Nathan can do with his mouth include chewing, gnawing, slobbering, spit-bubbling, and sucking on pacis, knuckles, burp clothes, shirts, and sundry other opportune items.  The boy will be teething before we know it.

Our little Nathan is not so little anymore–he weighed in on the kitchen scale at 13 lbs even–up from 11lbs, 9oz at just past 2 months.  He eats 4-6ozs of Enfamil formula every 3-4 hours, with a 5-6 hour stretch at night.  It takes him about an hour to feed, and he often intersperses it with bursts of temper.  We haven’t been able to figure out what’s bothering him yet.  We tried to upgrade to the next size bottle nipple, but he’s not ready.  We’ll try again next week–maybe we can cut his eating time in half here soon!  He’s just about to burst out of 0-3 month clothes–I think I’ll give him another week or two and then switch over to 3-6 month stuff.  He wears size 2 diapers and goes through about 7 a day.  He perfected the art of the blow-out this month, with a record reaching leak all the way up to his neck.  He also set a record of outfits worn in one day recently–6.

Our Nathan is a little mover.  His kicks, waves, squirms, and attempts to roll keep himself and us entertained by the hour.  He continues to be very strong in all departments, and is working on conquering his next hurdle: crawling.  As soon as he discovers his knees, he’ll be off and going.  Our house is definitely not ready for that yet!

Highlights from this month include visits from both grandparents, lots of snuggle time with Pop and Great Aunt Chris (who has begun nannying for us a few days a week and helping with household chores), and wide-eyed walks through the neighborhood with Dad and Mom.  Nathan soaks up all he sees like a sponge and is ALWAYS wide-eyed and ready for more new things.

Nathan’s hairline continues to recede, and we have yet to see what will grow back in its place.  His eyes have stayed a beautiful deep blue, and his face is filling out as he grows.  We love to see all his different expressions!  He has a very expressive mouth.

As Nathan loves to tell us, it’s hard work being a baby!


2 months!

Hi, my name is Nathan Cornelius, and today is my birthday.  My two month birthday, that is.

They tell me I am as cute as I’ve ever been.  I like to think so.  I am growing like a weed, too–I’ll get my official stats at my 2 month check-up next week.  I spent all week fighting my first cold, and I think I have almost emerged victorious.  I sure hope so, because if not I’m pretty sure I’m going to have another duel with the dreaded booger-sucker later tonight.  Daaaaaaaaah!  I hate that thing.  The whole being sick thing kind of messed with my schedule–I went from sleeping 5 hours at night to 2.  But want to know how I know I’m feeling better?  I slept 5 hours again last night.  Whoo-hoo!

I have a few favorite things, and here is what they are:

1. My dad.  He remains my favorite person to look at in the whole world.  Anyone who has ever looked at him can understand what I mean.  He is so fascinating.  His beard, his hair, his eyes, his glasses, the way his mouth moves when he talks.  I can’t get enough.  Of course, Mom’s a better snuggler, but I don’t hold that against him.

2. My boppy pillow.  This is a relatively recent addition to my life, and I’m not sure how I survived this long without it.  I love to kick-back and hang with old Bop on the couch, on the floor, on the table, in my crib, and pretty much anywhere.

3. My polka-dot blanket.  When all else fails, including Dad and the Boppy, lay me down and let me stare at my polka dots, please.  Thank-you very much.

4. My diaper changing station.  Sometime in the last two weeks it got a make-over, and I am telling you, it is P.L.U.S.H.  I could lay there talking to my mirror-friend all day.

I have a few favorite activities, and here is what they are:

1. Eating.  I eat and eat and eat.  It is my full-time job.  I am eating about 4 oz every 4 hours, give or take and ounce (or hour).  Got milk?

2. Walking.  I take my parents for walks daily.  It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.  I have a great little front pack that I ride around in.  Used to be that I fell asleep immediately upon entering that front pack.  Not anymore!  Now I can make it almost 5 minutes into the walk before conking out…

3. Observing.  This activity takes up by far the most of my awake time.  It’s a big world, folks, and I am determined to take it all in by my next bottle.  This requires the widest eyed attentiveness imaginable.  And I am just the man for the job.

4. Music Critiquing.  My current favorites are this little bear mobile that plays “Rock-a-Bye Baby” and Beethoven’s 5th symphony.  No joke.  I have broad taste.

5. Fighting sleep.  Don’t ask me why.  I like to sleep.  I need to sleep.  I’m happy asleep.  But I stand strong in my resolutions.  I will not surrender to you, sleep!

My least favorite things in life include:

1. The Booger Sucker.  Man, I despise that bulbous little guy.

2. Stomach cramps.  I don’t get them much, and I’m not what you would call colicky, but I do make it known when my poor little tumbly hurts.  Burping, tooting, and pooping all help, as does spitting up all the phlegm in my stomach.

3. Cold baths.  Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE my bath.  But if Mom doesn’t get it warm enough, I think my world might end.

Happy two month birthday, me!



It’s been a month!

Happy one month birthday, Nathan Cornelius!

To celebrate, we took the little guyser to the doctor for a check-up.  Although it wasn’t his favorite way to spend the afternoon, Mom and Dad were happy to hear that he’s doing great!  He’s up to 9lbs, 11 oz and 20.5 inches long (birth: 7lbs 13oz, 19.75 inches).  His color looks good, his movements look good, and he can lift his head by himself when he’s laying on his stomach.

At one month, Nathan eats 3-4 ounces of Enfamil Infant formula every 3-4 hours.  It takes him anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to chug it down, depending on how hungry and how sleepy he is.  He hardly burps or spits up, but he is a little tooter.  The gas doesn’t seem to bother his stomach except for about an hour in the evenings.

He is in his own room as of two nights ago, and he likes it because we leave a lamp on for him (he loves loves loves looking at lights).  When he wants to eat, he starts grunting, and while he eats he sqawks like a canadian goose.  So much for feeding him through the sermon!  🙂  He’s a little squeaker for sure!

He has become so much more alert the last week or so.  He spends at least half of the day awake and wide-eyed.  He loves to look at faces and colors.  He is good at entertaining himself while lying on the couch, a bed, or his bassinet–especially if he can hear or see that someone is close by.  But he loves most to be held.  He spends a good part of every day cuddled up to my chest, peering around at the world.

Nathan loves to listen to and look at his Dad, snuggle up to his Mom, and hold his Pop’s finger.  He likes music, especially Tim’s piano playing.  He makes lots of interesting faces and is quite the little kicker, waver, and wiggler.  He’s so strong.  He gets a bath 2-3 times a week.  He doesn’t love baths yet, but he tolerates them well.  He is very bow-legged and likes to rest with the soles of his feet touching.  He has such long fingers and toes.  He has a full, even head of dark hair and sideburns down to his earlobes.  His eyes are deep blue.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole month!  We sure do love you alot, little Nathan!


A Few Pictures…

…of the cutest baby ever in honor of his official due date (which was today) and to tide his grandparents through until they can actually meet him!  🙂

Isn’t he the cutest?  And he’s ours to keep–all the legal paperwork and state approvals came through on Tuesday.  Thanks so much, all of you, for your prayers!

We have a few things to finish up here in Colorado, including some visits with Cailina (who we’ve affectionately nicknamed “Mina”–so much friendlier a title than “birthmother”!) and her family.  Please pray for all of us as we say goodbye to eachother!  Our time here in Colorado has flown by, and it’s hard to believe we’re nearing its end.  We plan to fly home to Richmond early next week. 

In the meantime, we continue to enjoy loving on our baby.  He’s pretty easy to snuggle and cuddle!  He’s still very laid back about life, and lets us know his preferences mostly by grunts.  The hardest part so far has been adjusting our sleep schedules–Tim and I are both pretty much running on adrenaline.  But of course, our little Nathan is worth every minute!


Happy (Belated) Birth Day, Son!

Tim and I and Cailina are so pleased and proud to announce the birth of our son, Nathan Cornelius!  He was born on March 19, 2012 (I know, I know, I’m running about 2 weeks late with this announcement…) at 7:22 pm Mountain Standard Time in Gunnison, CO.  He weighed 7lbs, 13 oz and was 19.75 inches long.  He surprised us by being almost 3 weeks early, but God knew exactly when he needed to be born!  I’m pretty confident that he is the most loved, most prayed for, most photographed, most handsome baby ever. 

For now, Tim and I have physical custody and approval from the states of CO and VA to proceed with the adoption, but we  are awaiting legal finalization from a local judge.  We are enjoying our time in Colorado until all the paperwork comes through (we’re still not sure when that will be).  Nathan is healthy and growing and we love him so much.  He had a bit of a rough start, and we are so thankful to God for blessing his recovery.  He is becoming more and more active and alert.  He loves to eat, sleep, and be snuggled.  We talk and sing to him a lot and he recognizes our voices.  To celebrate his 2 week birthday yesterday, he weighed in at his birthweight and Tim, Cailina, and I introduced him to snow (typical Colorado style, we went from 80 degrees and sunny on Saturday to snow on Monday).  As I type, Tim is playing with him on the floor (tummy time).  He has the hiccups, but otherwise seems quite happy with life.  Overall he is a very laidback little guy and prefers grunting to crying unless the situation is direly serious.  🙂  

Nathan is an incredible testimony to God’s grace and faithfulness, and I can’t wait to share more of his amazing story soon! 



Big News

It is high time for an update, and by high time, I mean it.

Lots changing around here, yo.

And fast.

So without further ado, here’s the scoop:

Yup, Tim and I are expecting….an adoption!  The beautiful young woman you see above–who as recently as last month was a friend of a friend but is now our friend–intends to place her child with us a few days after he’s born (due April 7, but could come any time now!).  We’re mere days from finishing up the approval process with our agency, Bethany Christian Services (a ‘normal’ homestudy takes 6-8 weeks; our wonderful social worker is pulling ours off in half that time).  We plan to fly to Colorado very soon to await the baby’s birth.  What a whirlwind this process has been!  We are EXTREMELY excited, a little stressed, and above all trusting God for the future.  We’ve seen Him do some pretty marvelous things in the past month!  As with all adoptions, nothing is final until it is, which in our case will probably be about four weeks after the baby’s born.  In the meantime, we would appreciate your prayers for God to continue to work His will in this situation!