Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First class......whoa

Total information overload! We had our first adoption class tonight and it was like a dump truck of information for 2 1/2 hours! I don't even know what to say about it right now. It was good, but it's just really mind-boggling to hear of all the crazy legal stuff involved and all the loops and turns that can take and all the million scenarios of things that can happen with the birthmom and the ups and downs that are all very real possibilities. This apparently is not for the faint of heart. Oh man.

There are so many detailed parts to this process and so many things that could happen that it really is overwhelming to think of it all. It's seriously the type of thing you have to take just one small step at a time and sorta not try to wrap your mind around the entire thing. And with each step you have to constantly surrender your desires and hopes and fears to the Lord and trust that He is in control and that he is working good for you. Otherwise....this all could drive you a bit batty!!!

So the small steps we are working on right now are the huge packet of legal papers and life-history questions and just going to the classes. We've been working on the packet a little every few days and just trying to chip away at it steadily. Soon we'll need to get our fingerprints made, make appointments to get a doctors release and get certified copies of our birth certificates (among other things).

The instructor tonight repeated several times that this process will be stressful and difficult and that we'll need to be extremely flexible and patient. It feels a bit like we're about to jump off a cliff and that someone just told us all the scary creatures that could possibly, and most probably, be in the water below. But despite all that....here we go!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Together for Adoption

This website/movement is a great resource- www.togetherforadoption.org. I love reading the articles they post on their home page, written from many perspectives and experiences, and always very biblical and thought provoking. They also have links to lots of books, blogs, sermons, videos etc. We are especially excited about the conference they are putting on here in AZ in October.
"Together for Adoption Conference 2011 will be held October 21-22 in beautiful Phoenix at Redemption Church (Gilbert Campus). Join 1,200+ people as we explore the theme Missional Living, the Gospel and Orphan Care. One of our primary objectives is to create a forum to explore a theology of adoption, discuss its implications for how we think about and implement orphan care strategies, and work together toward collaboration."
 Just wanted to share some great resources with you that are helping us in our journey, and maybe they will be useful to you too.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Moving on

Holy cow! Where did the time go?? Sorry for the super long silence. Did not intend for that to happen. We moved two weeks ago (a week later than we had originally anticipated) and so I'm writing this in our very own home :) Most of the boxes are unpacked and we're finding our way out of the disorientation that moving is. We sorta didn't realize what a big transition it would be to move away from the apartment and the city where we first established ourselves after getting married- into a new home in a different city. And a new grocery store and Target?? Why is that so hard to get used to? And why can't they all just be laid out the same? I have made multiple trips to both stores and have ended up wandering the aisles in confusion because nothing is where it should be! Obviously a small inconvenience in comparison to real problems going on in this world. I'll adjust to all this newness and I'll be just fine.

All in all we are loving our new home and slowly checking things off our to-do list (though it also seems that each time we check something off, we discover something else that needs "help" and it gets added to the list). Our street is really quiet (music to our ears!) and everyone we've met so far has been really friendly. Last weekend we even went out to dinner with our new next door neighbors. They are a fun young couple who hail from Alaska with a super cute chubby little one-year old. We hit it off instantly and are really thankful to already have friends here. Also in our first two weeks we've already hosted my family, Ryan's brother and several friends for visits and meals. And both times that children have visited they have pretty much immediately slipped and fallen on the concrete floors :( I guess we need to give a warning about that now. Apparently it's not so friendly to the little people. Rugs needed immediately!

I promise to post photos soon :)

Besides all the house hullabaloo, the adoption process is also moving along. Tonight we had our assessment interview and are now registered for the classes that start NEXT Tuesday! That came fast! The lady our case was assigned to is a really nice older lady who is really easy to talk to. Sitting in her office tonight answering questions about why we are choosing adoption and different things about our lives was a cool moment in this process. God has brought us here. That is undeniable. Really this is all His doing. We're here because he led us and carried us and wooed us to this place. This is His story for our family and it's so crazy to see the sentences being written right before our very eyes.

She told us that lately there have been a lot of pretty quick adoptions happening (such as people getting matched with a birth-mom in just one week) and lots of calls from the hospital where the birth-mom has decided right then and there that she wants to place her baby for adoption (as opposed to other birth-moms who have made an adoption plan earlier in their pregnancy and have chosen the adoptive family before the birth). She said things are moving faster right now, like closer to 6-9 months and that once we place our profile in their book for birth-moms to choose from, we have to be ready immediately to receive a baby. However, she tempered those exciting reports with other stories of all the unknowns that can come up and how you really have to be in a place of total openness for what God is going to do. We could be chosen by a birth-mom during her pregnancy only to have her change her mind, and that could happen multiple times. We could even take the baby home during the time the birth-mom has to make her final decision and she could decide to parent her child after all. Lots of crazy and very hard things could happen and it all could go really fast or really slow. No one knows and there's not really a cookie cutter way that this goes.

It's gonna be another situation that requires HUGE dependence on the Lord and total faith in his plans for us and our child. He knows the baby that is going to be our son or daughter. He knows the woman in whose womb our baby will grow. He has a story for her life and a plan for goodness for her too. And he knows how he is going to bring us all together. There may be several different birth-moms and babies who come in to our lives and then go right back out throughout this process. That will be a rollercoaster and it will be really hard. BUT- we can trust that God knows the exact son or daughter that will be ours and that eventually they will come to rest in our arms and know us as Mama and Papa. And THAT brings both a smile to my face and tears to my eyes :) Eventually there will be a chapter in this book all about us as a family of three. I can't wait to see my husband love on and gush all over our baby and rush home from work so he can hold our little one. And I can't wait to have our baby snuggle into my neck and know me as mama and be comforted by me when they cry in the night. And so many other things! What a sweet redemption it will be.

Seven weeks of classes and a fat stack of paper work and assignments to complete. Late nights and tight schedules. Lots of money. Interviews and invasive questions. Praying and praying. Fingerprints and background checks. Waiting on edge and wondering if this one will really be ours. And then one day.....it will all be beyond worth it!

Praying for you little one, wherever you are, and for the birth-mother who will carry you.

Happy in Jesus :)


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Babylost Mothers Day and the due date

This past Sunday was International Babylost Mother's Day, although most people have never heard of that. In some cities there are gatherings for the mamas who have lost their babies to death, with balloon releases or a nice ceremony or something, but not in AZ as far as I know. Plus we were out of town anyway- up north for my sister-in-law's baby shower. But that's a whole 'nother story. Let's just say- 3 pregnant ladies and 2 newborns were in attendance and every conversation seemed to be about babies and pregnancy. Thankfully it was a co-ed shower and my husband understood I needed him to keep me close so I could make it through. I'm happy for my sister-in-law but that was just about more than I could take.

Next Sunday is regular Mother's Day. I've been dreading it for weeks already. I told my husband I do not want to go to church on that day. We will have just moved the day before, so that's a good excuse, but honestly I just know I'd be miserable. I also don't really feel like going to any family celebration. I know that sounds horribly selfish and would probably break my mom's heart, but when I'm honest that's how I really feel.

And what compounds it all is that our due date was supposed to have been May 11th. I was supposed to have a Mother's Day baby (or close to it at least). I'd rather skip the month of May if at all possible, thank you. We talked this weekend about what we should do for both occasions and I have no idea. I'm a mama with a baby in heaven. There's no Happy Mother's Day for that. I doubt you'll find a Hallmark card for that situation. All the displays in the stores and the ads in the paper bring it to mind forcefully. There will not be the Mom necklace or the pink bouquet or the special breakfast where you admire your children. Maybe next year we'll have reason for a proper celebration. This year is a time for sadness and remembering what was going to be.


A new place

The title means two things, two new things that are going on around here. First, tomorrow we sign the papers for our house! Our new place :) Our apartment is currently filled with boxes and I'm looking at bare walls with naked nails still stuck in them. I called the utility companies to have things turned off and then turned on at their respective places. Now the move feels real!

And the second thing is that we have moved to a new season of life in regards to growing our family. As we're literally moving to a new place, a new house, we are also moving to a new season of life: Adoption. We made our decision and are already moving forward with the agency we chose. We're sending in the initial paperwork and the first fee and will start classes at the end of this month. We are pursuing a domestic infant adoption.

The decision at once brought new excitement and anticipation, and also mourning and missing our baby. Classic grief once again popping up where I guess I didn't expect it. A sweet question from my husband about our baby and I'm once again crying those deep, mournful tears into our bed. "I just wish you were here."

I'm also mourning the loss of my dreams and hopes of having biological children. I don't know if I can even articulate why. Ryan and I do think it's possible that we could get pregnant one day (this isn't about us "giving up"), and of course God could bless my womb at any time he so desires. But he hasn't given us that gift yet and it is very obvious to us that he is leading us toward adoption. The natural response of my heart and mind as we step towards adoption is to mourn the fact that the baby we will call our own will not be our biological child. There is great loss there, even as it will be so wonderful to bring our child in to our family. There is so much to wrap my mind around as I process all of what that means. I know that process will be deep and extensive, and that it is also healthy and normal. Stepping towards great joy, while also processing loss and grief.

Adoption won't cure our loss. And it won't erase the pain that infertility has seared in to my heart. Adoption will write a new chapter in this story, but it won't be ripping out the pages that came before it.

But....I am excited (admittedly a very lame sounding word, but what else can I say?) to bring our child, who God has chosen just for us, home through adoption. The reality that we will really seriously have a baby snuggled in our arms at the end of this process is so insane and has definitely not totally sunk in to my brain yet (I guess that's similar to when you just find out you're pregnant and can hardly believe what that really means!) But I have already started to day dream about what he or she will look like and how it will be to meet them for the first time and what it will feel like to bring them home to stay and the story we will tell them of how God made us a family. This time there is no 20% chance, no maybe, no "possibility". This time we get our baby. And that thought makes me smile and light up inside! (Ok, ok obviously nothing is really guaranteed in this life, and adoptions can fall through and sad things can happen, but I'm just going with what the normal expectation is.)

There are so many complex issues that surround adoption and we are just starting to dip our toes in to that very, very deep pool. We have so much to learn and so much to process. Books and blogs are very helpful right now. At bedtime we're reading a great book to each other that I found at the library called Baby We Were Meant For Each Other by Scott Simon about he and his wife's story adopting two daughters from China after going through failed infertility treatments. It has funny parts that we can relate to all too well, and very beautiful, touching stories about their relationships with their daughters (A part we read last night about the mother hearing her daughter cry Mama! for her in the middle of the night brought tears to my eyes). I especially appreciate that it's written by a man, a father, from his unique perspective. I also just bought and barely read the first few pages of Adopted For Life by Russell Moore and so far love it! He relates the adoption of children to how we are adopted by God the Father, and highlights poignantly how adoption is missional and biblical- and basically just the gospel displayed! :) (Comment now that I've finished the book- I definitely need to say that I don't agree 100% with his theology that we have been adopted by God from Satan (exact words he uses). This is called the "ransom from Satan theory" and I don't agree that it's biblical. We were alienated from God the Father by our sin, and the price that Jesus paid for our sins was paid back to the Father, not to Satan, to free us from sin and death. Satan was not the one to hold control of all sinners and demand some price for their freedom, making God sacrifice Jesus so as to adopt his children back. God's wrath was satisfied in Christ crucified and that opened the way for us undeserving, not-blood-related, not-heirs, totally black-sheep kids to be adopted in to His family with full blood-family rights. He chose us and called us and claimed us as his own. We were adopted from a place of complete lostness and darkness, NOT from Satan. THAT's what I think the biblical adoption language is saying. I think at times this author makes too big of a stretch to make the adoption analogy fit and unfortunately it creates some theological inaccuracies, in my opinion. Sorry that was such a long comment, just thought it needed to be said.)

It's a weird place in life where I do feel very in-between and not settled yet, but I'm so expectant about where we're going.