Friday, March 20, 2015

Seasons

With the arrival of March we hit some milestones in our adoption journey.

March 12th marked 6 months since we lost the referral for "A".

March 14th was "A"'s 2nd birthday. We have no idea where she is, but we have turned her over to God knowing that only He can provide for and protect her.

March 19th marked 6 months since we resubmitted our dossier to Bulgaria.

The truth? I fully expected us to have received another referral by now, but we haven't. As a sat stewing and praying and whining about all of this the other day, I had a thought which I think holds a lot of value. Things will not be the same a year from now.

And they won't. I believe that.

This past six months has been an interesting season of life for us. I won't say bad because it hasn't all been bad. Although, heaven knows, it's had its moments. But it has been a season of growing and learning and stretching in ways that are sometimes (often) uncomfortable.

The thing about seasons is that don't last forever, and as one leaves and the other enters, I'm almost always ready for it. As we move into spring, my favorite season with its crazy unpredictable weather, I'm reminded that in rain and storms new life is born. If plants only have sunshine, they'll eventually wither and die. Sunshine is necessary in healthy doses, but rain, in particular thunderstorm rain, fertilizes and adds nitrogen to the soil.

I can't help but think that God knew what He was doing when He set it up this way. Storms can be exhausting. They can be destructive. They can be devastating. But they can also be enriching. And after the storm passes, we often find that those things which we thought were destroyed come back even stronger than before.

I'm learning to trust God each and every moment. I want a referral now, but I'm learning to trust Him, not only for a referral, but for a daughter who is meant to live with us . . . for a little girl meant to be part of our family.

This journey isn't easy, and this part, the waiting part, is only the beginning of what is a lifelong journey. I'm eager to see what lies ahead.

       Everything Has Its Time

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV

To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,

    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
 
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
 
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
 
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
 
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
 
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
 
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Mixed Emotions

It seems that this blog has started to serve as a sort of adoption therapy for me . . . a place where I work out and through all the feelings that go along with the wait and the process. Having said that, I think it's important to understand that yes, I do experience frustration, longing, discouragement, and so on, but the truth is I also experience love, joy, happiness, peace, and contentment in my everyday life. This blog, as with any blog, only shows one small part of my life.

Most adoptive parents will tell you that adoption involves lots of conflicting emotions and feelings. You feel both fear and hopefulness . . . frustration and happiness . . . joy and complete inadequacy. . . sometimes all within 30 seconds. All parents experience these feelings, but I've found, that in adoption they are greatly amplified.

Here's the thing. I don't go 10 minutes without thinking about this child I don't know. She is ever present in my thoughts and prayers. I wake up thinking about her, and I dream about her when I'm sleeping. To me she is as much a part of our life as Andrew is, and because of that, my desire to meet her and bring her home is at times overwhelming.

But . . .

I also love my life. I love my husband and son beyond anything I ever imagined. I live and play and work and laugh and enjoy the blessings we've been given. Unless you've lived this process, it's hard to understand how both intense joy and happiness can exist alongside and in concert with intense longing. When I smile and laugh and talk to you about all the things going on, it's not fake. It's not a show I'm putting on for your sake. I really am smiling and laughing and enjoying my time with you, but always, in my mind somewhere there are thoughts of this adoption. It never leaves, but it also doesn't stop me from living and being happy.

I set out to explain what it feels like to live this process . . . to explain the emotions involved in it all. I'm not sure I did that. It seems like I may have served only to confuse most of you more. But given the complexity of these emotions, and the difficulty in putting them into words, I did my best.

Enjoy your weekend!






Sunday, March 1, 2015

In the Wait

Last summer when we received our first referral, I wasn't expecting it. I had just told a family member that I expected to wait at least six more months. So when we got the call, I was shocked. I was thrilled, but I was definitely shocked.

I'm not going to rehash the whole long, miserable story, but for those who haven't followed our story, a month, to the day, after meeting the little girl who we thought would be our daughter, we lost the referral. It was horrible. We grieved, and we mourned, and we picked up the pieces and pressed ahead.

Fast forward to now. Am I still grieving? No, I can honestly say that I'm not. I still have moments of wondering about the "why" behind it all. I still pray daily for little A ... for her health, safety, and provision. But I'm not sad and angry and hopeless about the adoption anymore. I can't pinpoint when I stopped being sad. It wasn't as if one day I was sad, and the next I wasn't. It was more of a gradual lessening of my sadness until one day I realized that my happy moments far outweighed my sad ones, and hope had begun to grow inside of me once again. If you've ever found yourself hopeless, for any reason, you know what a tragedy hopelessness is. Life without hope is hard. Thankfully, it didn't last long for me, and I've grown to appreciate the blessing that it is to hope for a daughter.

But  . . .

Sometimes hope can become impatience if your not careful. And that is where I find myself on many days. Hopeful, but also very impatient. I feel like the little child who thinks if she just stomps a little harder and screams a little louder she'll get her way. And y'all, I have had some foot stomping moments. When I wasn't expecting a referral, the wait was much easier, but now that we are actively waiting to hear something, it is frustrating.

I want a referral.

I want to travel to Bulgaria.

I want to meet a little girl, and hold her hand.

I want to wrestle with all the uncertainties and joys and fears and beautiful moments and tragedies that come in the package we call adoption.

I want a daughter.

I want it all.

So I find myself in this strange place of waiting, and not knowing quite how to do it with grace. Not knowing how to be content with my situation. Not knowing how exactly to embrace the here and now and not wish the days away.

I pray a lot. I read my Bible. I ask God to forgive my impatience. And along the way He sends me reminders that He is with me. He remembers us. He hasn't forgotten. I'm so thankful that He's so gracious with me. I know He loves me.

I don't know how to end this. I don't have an answer to it all. I don't have a big revelation of how to get through something like this. The only answer I have is to continually go back to God. If I have to release this to Him 150 times a day then that's what I'll do, and I'll keep moving forward. It's the only way to go.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Strength for the Weary

I shared  a picture last night on Facebook that said, "Adoption is not for the faint of heart". I believe that now more than ever. As I was thinking about being strong through this whole process, Isaiah 40:28-31 came to mind. It's one of the most popular scriptures in the bible. There's a reason for that. I'm reminded that my strength doesn't come from me. It comes from the Lord of Lords and King of Kings who loves me intimately and personally. I can say, without any doubt, that I would not have made it this far into this adoption journey without Him. We've waited, sometimes patiently and other times impatiently. We've been filled with joy, and we've suffered heartbreaking loss. Through it all, God has provided comfort, peace, and strength. And now, we are filled with hope as we once again wait to hear good news.

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." (‭Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭28-31‬ NKJV)

Prayer requests: Please pray for referrals for not only us but also for friends we've made as we've walked this road together. Please pray for peace for all those waiting and those home. Please pray for wisdom and bonding both for those home with kiddos now and those who will be bringing kids home in the future.

Friday, February 13, 2015

My Take on Dating and Valentine's Day

Disclaimer: It's never good when my posts have disclaimers. Someone, probably quite a few someones, are going to be royally ticked by my first paragraph. My intent is not to tick anyone off, but more, it's to make us look at our very me centered culture, which seems to have worked its way into our marriages. Please read on past the first paragraph as I do have a point beyond the first paragraph.

And as a side note: I'm far from perfect as a wife. I have plenty of me, me, me moments. God is working on that. 

Tonight Patrick and I will go out for Valentine's Day . . . alone. I've told y'all my feelings on dates before. I do think it's important to spend time alone, but I don't buy into the "we must have a special date once every (fill in the blank) or else we'll fall apart" line of thinking. I think we've created this culture of couples, and quiet honestly women, that "need" constant pampering and attention in order to survive marriage. And yet, marriages seem to struggle now more than ever. If you're going to fall apart if your husband (or wife) doesn't do "XYZ" every single month and holiday, maybe take a step back and look at your priorities. So yeah, Patrick and I will go out alone tonight, but 90% of the time Andrew is with us, and that's okay too. He's spent many a Valentine's Day dinner sitting in the booth at the restaurant beside us. We dated for five years before we got married and were married four years before we had Andrew. We had lots of fancy dates so I'm good with a few big dates a year. But we have a VERY traditional marriage with VERY traditional roles (by my choice as much, or more, than his) so I may be way off base in my thinking. (And this is not saying ignore your spouse and worship your kids. I just get so irritated with this culture of excessively fragile marriages that will shrivel up and die without a special date every 4-6 weeks. A movie after the kids are asleep is fine by me.)

I should stop now. I'm digging myself deeper.

Wow . . . sorry, I think Valentine's Day, in particular, gets me pondering these things. So my original topic . . . Valentine's Day. It's a cute, fun little holiday. I just wish it wasn't so over-the-top. I think it's for kids as much as adults, and who doesn't love a little character card with a sticker and a sucker? We don't do big, extravagent gifts or anything major. I look it as more of an opportunity to show my family a little extra love, which I should probably do every day. So tomorrow, Andrew will wake up to a card, some candy, and a book (because I look for reasons to buy books), and tomorrow night I'm going to make a special dinner for all of us. Then we'll do our normal routine. Patrick and Andrew will play (which may involve nerf guns and me hollering at them not to break something) while I clean up what's sure to be a colossal mess in the kitchen. Then we'll probably play a rousing game of Life or Chutes and Ladders or Trouble, and I'll wrestle my child to bed at a hopefully decent hour.

Why tell you all this (because it's, quite honestly, B to the ORING)? I see a lot of people particularly sad this time of year because they are single, and I think it makes many feel like the last kid picked in dodge ball (been there, done that . . . it's a barrel of laughs). I'm telling you, however, don't look at this day or any day as a day or week or month exclusively for couples. Look at it as an opportunity to show love to those who mean the most to you. Maybe that's a best friend who has been there for every up and down. Maybe it's your own kiddo or a niece or a nephew or a whole bunch of nieces and nephews that fill your life with joy. Maybe it's your parents or grandparents. The who doesn't matter. Just look at this as an opportunity to show a little extra love. And please, for the love of your future and your sanity, never settle for less than the best just because you want a date on Valentine's Day or any day.

And that my friends is my take on Valentine's Day. That and a dollar won't even get you a cup of coffee because coffee is expensive these days, but hopefully it will help you look at the whole holiday with a slightly different perspective.