The Davis Family Flash

The Davis Family Flash
Welcome to the Davis Family Blog! We are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). We hope you enjoy learning more about our family. We love our six children, wonderful daughter-in-law, and two grandsons. We are a musical family, and love the outdoors.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Stories of our Children

In the early years of our courtship and marriage, Cindy and I would discuss the hopes and dreams of our future family.  As I recall, we wanted to have a large family with at least six children.  Perhaps they would be evenly split with 3 boys and 3 girls, just like her family.  Of course, they would be ideally spaced with with just 2-3 years between each child.

Sadly, we soon learned just making a plan and hoping for a child would not automatically guarantee success.  After a few frustrating years, with lots of research and trips to the doctor, we learned we were sub-fertile, which we guessed was better than infertile. We were assured that with some medical intervention, we cold conceive.  Being very poor college students, we decided to just wait one more year until I graduated from college and secured employment. We even dropped our maternity insurance, officially stopped trying and promptly got pregnant.  Our first happy experiment with paradoxical intent.  The infertility burden was lifted and we enjoyed a blissfully happy time waiting for our first son Matthew who was born on December 3, 1985 (his grandma Mary Davis's birthday).

Within just a couple of years we became pregnant with our second son, right on schedule with almost no frustration or worries.  On the morning of July 8, 1988 Cindy arrived at the Doctor's office prior to her trip to the hospital for the scheduled delivery of our son.  I was at work and waited for the call to hurry to the hospital to participate in the delivery.  The phone call came, but the news was devastating.  My lovely and brave wife told me that our son's heart had stopped and that he would be stillborn.  Just a few hours later, our second son Dale Sherrel was delivered and we discovered the umbilical cord was wrapped several times around his neck and the cord had a true knot.  Our day with him in the hospital and the next couple of days leading up to his funeral brought some peace and we had assurances from Heaven that this was His will.  We were advised to wait just a few months, then we could conceive again, getting our family plan back on track.

After a short season, the pressure was now back on to have another baby.  Again, months turned to years, with more doctors visits and even some counseling sessions.  Cindy's father, sensing her deep anxiety and worry, gave her two of his best horses, which we transferred from Washington to Idaho.  This equine therapy did wonders, but the waiting and longing continued.  The turning point for us happened after a wise friend and professional therapist urged us to just take a break from trying to conceive for one month.  Well, we tried and failed and got pregnant -- our second happy experience with the power of paradoxical intent.  Our first daughter and third child Jenna Michele arrived on November 9, 1990.  With one boy and one girl, plus a son in heaven, all seemed well.

After a couple of years, we decided to try for baby number four.  Well, true to form the trying did not lead to success and this time the wait would be much longer, nearly 6 years.  We tried, fasted, prayed, and visited more specialists and received more assurance that with help we would have success. Thankfully, the fertility intervention recommended would be affordable and we made tentative plans for when the procedure would be done, right after our first ever summer trip to Disney Land. You see, Cindy didn't want to have our summer trip dampened because morning sickness so we planned the procedure for the fall. Happily, our fabulous summer trip never materialized as the very next month we conceived our third son and fourth child Christopher.  We were now event stronger witnesses of the best way to get pregnant, paradoxically, is to really, really not try.

Over the next several years we settled into a very happy life with our family in Sugar City, Idaho.  While we still hoped for more children and knowing our track record, we really told ourselves we were not trying, but I believe subconsciously we were.  I began to justify the size of our family by researching all of the brethren in church leadership who  had small families, including President Thomas S. Monson with three, President Howard W. Hunter with two, and Elder David Bednar with three.  We were going to be okay.  That is until Jenna started praying for a sister.  Every family prayer she offered included this plea.  After years of these prayers and realizing her parents weren't going to get pregnant, she began to pray that we would adopt.

Adoption! Of course, Cindy was all for this, but I was definitely not in.  You see, I adore my kids, but I mostly just tolerated others.  When I spent time in the nursery with Matthew, Jenna, and Christopher in my mind they were the only lovable kids in the room.  I doubted I could care for a kid that was not biologically ours.  Plus, I am a huge cheapskate and adoption is very, very expensive.  I would list a dozen reasons why we were okay and even more why adoption was a foolish choice.  Over the next few years, I patiently endured the prayers and adoption talk saying to myself, "this too shall pass."

Over time, I finally relented to at least allow a home study to be done and even helped Cindy do some research on different adoption options.   In the middle of all of this, almost miraculously and again paradoxically, we got pregnant for the fifth time.  However, from the beginning this pregnancy was different with much less morning sickness, which we tried to brush off as a blessing from heaven.  Within just a few months Cindy miscarried and we were squarely back to the adoption question, but this time I was more on board and even created a profile on a web site called "Hope to Adopt."

Within just a few days, we had our first promising contact form a young LDS lady from Water Flow, New Mexico.  She was going to have a baby girl later in the year and we were her first choice -- a sister was coming for Jenna!  We corresponded,  made plans, even canceling Cindy's trip with me to Europe.  As the time drew closer, we started to talk about getting attorneys involved and determining the steps we would need to finalize a private adoption.  Suddenly, however, the communication from our prospective birth mother just stopped.  As an LDS bishop at the time, I had access to church leadership records and began calling all of the bishops in the Farmington, New Mexico stake.  Not one of the bishops new of this young lady nor how to contact her.  I finally sent a pretty direct e-mail and this time did get a response with the shocking news that she never was pregnant, just lonely and needed some attention.  She apologized and told me she was seeking professional help.  To say we were disappointed was an understatement -- and my inclination to adopt was officially shot.  Well, Cindy was still "hoping to adopt" and Jenna's prayers kept on in earnest. In fact, Cindy had several very strong promptings, including one in the temple, that there was someone, some child waiting to come to our family.  And, it seemed families who had wonderful adoptions success stories kept crossing our path.

Because we enrolled on the Hope to Adopt web service, we were subscribed to some adoption e-mail lists.  One morning I was at my desk working when I received an e-mail from A Act of Love, an adoption agency in Sandy, Utah.  The message stated that they had just learned of a baby that was going to be born within the month and they needed to find a family right away.  The need was so great they were even offering a discounted price.  This e-mail piqued my interest, but I quickly discounted it because this soon-to-be born baby was an African American boy and we were hoping for a mixed race or caucasian girl. For several moments my mouse and cursor icon hovered over the delete button.  I knew that if I shared this message with my family, especially Cindy and Jenna, there could be hours of discussion, even pleadings and I knew I would likely be ganged up on as the supposed voice of reason. If I hit delete, I would be spared, yet I  printed the e-mail and shared the message with Cindy and the rest of my family.

True to my prediction, the discussions at home began in earnest and I was obviously the odd-man-out. I was still skeptical of adoption, especially since the gender did not match our plans and a private adoption would be very, very expensive.  After a few days and on a Sunday evening I exercised some patriarchal dad's-in-charge authority and called a family council.  I asked everyone's opinion, which included Cindy, Jenna, and Christopher.  All were positively in favor so I decided to forcefully state my opinion in opposition.  I argued this type of adoption was risky, expensive, and not in line with our initial plans.  I told them that I wanted to drop the issue and we were not going to volunteer as candidates for this little boy.  Apparently my argument was strong enough and there was reluctant, even resigned acceptance.  I went to bed feeling like I had dodged the proverbial bullet.

I arose the next morning and followed my usual routine, including the short three block walk to work.  Along the way, I was somewhat perplexed because I felt particularly anxious, almost like I was sick to my stomach.  I arrived at work and settled in at my desk, still pondering why I felt so poorly. I rationalized that perhaps I was a bit strong in my rhetoric during the family council from the night before and knowing I had dashed the hopes of Cindy and Jenna.  I felt like I needed at least one companion on my side, so I quickly composed an e-mail to our eldest son Matthew who was serving his full-time mission in Florida.  My e-mail said something like "Dear Elder Davis, what do you think of the possibility of having an African American baby brother?"  You see, before Matthew's mission he and I shared similar feelings that our little family with three living children, and one in heaven, was really okay.  I impatiently waited through the morning because I new Monday was our e-mail day with Matthew and his message would surely support my position and "ease my pain."  Well, the message came and to my surprise, Elder Davis stated he would welcome a new baby brother and felt "really good" about the idea.  I was now very much alone and my angst was even stronger.  I quickly called Cindy and asked how her day was going.  She expressed that she was feeling poorly and when I asked her to describe her symptoms, they were very much like my own.  I learned that day, that sometimes the Lord can and will answer your prayers with very strong "negative" impressions and emotions.  I literally felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and I knew that my decision to opt out of this adoption opportunity was incorrect.  Cindy and I concluded the Lord's message to us was crystal clear and we should pursue this chance for a new baby.  Almost instantly, our anxious feelings disappeared and we both felt peace.

We now started the adoption proceedings with agency in earnest.  After completing all of the necessary paper work, we soon learned that the birth mother Brittany had narrowed her list of potential families to three, and we were on that list!  We learned that the other families included a lesbian couple and another LDS family living in Alabama.  Sadly, we soon learned that Brittany had selected the couple from Alabama.  We were shocked and wondered, why would the Lord give us such strong spiritual promptings only to be denied?  We surmized that perhaps the Lord was telling us, and particularly me, that pursuing adoption really would be okay.  Still, this was a bitter pill to swallow since we now had two failures in our hopes to adopt.

At this time, I was serving as a student ward bishop and we were planning a ward activity for the following day.  On Monday, August 15, I was shopping for supplies at a local grocery store when I received a phone call from Isaac, an adoption professional from A Act of Love.  He informed me that the family Brittany had chosen from Alabama had offers from two birth mothers and they had decided to select the other baby.  We were now first on the list and this new baby boy could be ours.  I immediately said yes, even without asking Cindy, and I quickly called her to tell the happy news.  The challenge, this baby boy was going to be born the next day and we needed to get Cindy to Atlanta right away.  I rushed home and immediately got on the computer to secure a flight from Salt Lake City to Atlanta Georgia, and within just hours and very early in the morning, we were on the road to Utah.

While I was very much used to traveling, including reservations, airports, rental cars, and hotels, this was new for Cindy.  She was justifiably very nervous, put bravely forged ahead.  Thanks to several tender mercies, including a very kind stranger at the airport, Cindy arrived safely in Atlanta.  Unfortunately, because of some miscommunication with the agency, she was directed to the wrong hospital, the DeKalb Medical Center.  After some scrambling and learning that the baby was already born at the Decatur hospital it was decided Cindy should just wait to meet Brittany, the baby, and other family members the next day.

On August 17, Cindy arrived at the Decatur Hospital and was ushered in to meet everyone.  She first met Bridget the birth grandmother and she excitedly exclaimed that Cindy was just as she imagined.  Cindy then met Brittany and the brand new baby boy.  Brittany was also excited to meet Cindy, but sadly the birth father Anthony wanted no part of it and refused to meet this intruder from Idaho.  Cindy was very patient and encouraged Brittany and Bridget to take some time to reflect, ponder, and pray.  She event took the opportunity to teach the basics of the Plan of Salvation.  As it was the middle of the day, she offered to go buy everyone lunch and asked what was there favorite.  They indicated  Chic-fil-A, and she scurried off to get lunch. Once she returned, Anthony was now willing to meet her and surprising he and Cindy made an immediate connection.  Within a short time, and we believe because of real promptings from the Spirit, they all decided to proceed with adoption and Brittany passed the baby to Cindy, stating "you need to hold him because he is your baby."  Soon, the attorney arrived to complete the necessary paper work and he escorted Cindy and the baby to her rental car.  Along the way, he shared that in all of his work with adoptions he had never felt the feelings he experienced in that hospital room.  He said, "I'm not sure why I feel this way, but that is your baby."  Well, we know why and are confident that everyone involved, including a non-lds attorney, were feeling the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Cindy then left the hospital and drove to her hotel.  In the mean time, I was busy trying to find better accommodations as Cindy and the baby would need to stay in Georgia for several days waiting for the requirements of something called the Interstate Compact.  I was able to provide Cindy the names and phone numbers of local LDS bishops.  Cindy was soon put in touch with a local widow named Alma, who took Cindy and our new baby, whom we decided to name Isaac Anthony Davis, into her home.

After about a week, Cindy and Isaac were flying to Salt Lake City, to meet the rest of the family.  Myself, Jenna, and Christopher waited anxiously at the airport where we met our new son and brother. Christopher announced that Isaac "was the cutest kid in the world."  We then all drove to Brad and Suzie's house where Cindy would have to wait a few more days for round two of Interstate Compact, before she could bring Isaac home to Rexburg, Idaho.

Now we had to take several steps before the adoption would become official, this included dealing with an inept federal government to secure a birth certificate and social security number for Isaac.  What should have taken weeks, took several months and finally when Isaac was nearly one-year old we were able to take him to the Madison County Court House where the honorable judge Mark S. Rammell made our adoption official on August 2, 2002.  We could now proceed with a baby blessing  and temple sealing, which happened just days after Matthew returned from his LDS mission on March 23, 2007.

Our sealing day on March 24, 2007 could not have been more perfect. It was sunny,warm, and nearly our entire extended family was present. Isaac was very well behaved and impressionable Christopher was excited to see his mom and dad in biblical attire.  The spirit was present and was another witness that Heavenly Father's hand was guiding the lives of the Steve and Cindy Davis family.

After just a couple of years, Cindy and I started discussing the need for Isaac to have a sibling and of course adoption would be the likely avenue.  This time, I would be all in as I was now a huge fan of adoption.  Of course, I would have to be willing to take on more debt, but it would surely be worth it. However, one day at the kitchen sink Cindy heard the words in her mind "you are expecting." What?!  It had been over a decade since our last successful pregnancy and we had not used any "prevention" during that whole time.  I was convinced our fertile days were long gone.  Plus, I was approaching 47 and Cindy 44 -- no way could we be expecting.  Additionally, as we adopted Isaac we were urged to read a couple of books on adoption, and specifically stated you should not adopt in hopes of getting pregnant.  In fact, they event cited studies and statistics showing there was now correlation.  Well, we proved that theory wrong and this was the final and perhaps ultimate example of paradoxical intent.  Actually, we probably should thank Jenna for all of her prayers asking for a little sister.

This was a wonderful season as we anticipated the birth of our second daughter, but it was also a hard time as we witnessed the decline of our brother Bryce who was bravely battling terminal brain cancer.  As the time drew near for our daughter's birth, we learned that Bryce was nearing the end of his mortal life.  Just days before our new birth, we knew we had to make a decision -- drive to Roosevelt, Utah to be with our brother  and risk having a baby in Utah, or stay put and hope for the best.  Sadly, Bryce passed away on October 8, 2008 and Cindy was scheduled to deliver within the week.  Cindy asked for a priesthood blessing and we received the prompting that she would stay in Rexburg.  Our plan was to have the baby delivered on October 10 and then I would take the other children to Utah for the funeral.  On the evening of October 9 we arrive at the hospital where Cindy was induced for labor.  The doctor assured us that the baby would not arrive until sometime the next day so I returned home to retire for the night.

Sometime, very early in the morning the phone rang and the hospital told me to rush to the hospital  because Cindy was having an emergency "C" section.  In the middle of the night the Doctor had broken Cindy's water and would return the next morning when she would be ready to deliver. However, the doctor while leaving the hospital felt a prompting to return and check on Cindy.  He discovered right away that once the water had  broken the umbilical cord had exited the birth canal and our baby's head was pushing on it, prolapsing the cord and cutting off all oxygen.  The doctor jumped on Cindy's bed, shouted for help and they were both rushed into the operating room, where our daughter was delivered after 11 minutes.  By the time she was born, she was not breathing and had no heart beat. She officially had an Apgar score of "0", meaning she had no signs of life.  When I arrived at the hospital I was told that they were in a "code blue" and they were attempting to resuscitate our little girl.  When I heard this news I nearly passed out and they escorted me into room where I had to wait several agonizing minutes.  Thankfully, I was soon notified that or baby had been revived and I could go see her.  We learned later from the nurses that it took quite some time for them to bring our daughter around, but they both felt prompted to keep trying.  Matthew and I gave her a priesthood blessing and I felt inspire to bless her that she would be well with no short or long term disabilities.  Over the years that promised blessing has thankfully come true.

We settled on the name Emrie, which is a loose derivative of one of her great grandfathers Omer Emery Dorman.

Now, after 31 years of marriage and a span of 22 years from our oldest son Matthew, to your youngest daughter Emrie, we ended up with our 6 children.  Not a perfect split of 3 of each, but we will take our 4 and 2 and happily look forward to the day when we will have a happy reunion with Dale Sherrel and have all of them together.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hershey Track Meet

Rexburg hosted the Hershey Track Meet this past week and Isaac and Emrie, along with cousins Grant and Spencer participated.  Emrie and Isaac did well considering they were both the youngest in their age groups.  Grant qualified for state in the 50, 100, and softball through taking third, third, and second. Isaac qualified for state taking third in the softball through.  It was a beautiful day and they were all great sports.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kids and Grandkids in Boise

We enjoyed a quick Memorial Day weekend trip to Boise.  It was great to see Matthew and Aubrey, but we really loved our time with Bently and Cooper at the park, the Village in Meridian, and at the Boise Zoo.