Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If Not for Infertility.....

I mentioned in my last post that my excitement had returned, but it was actually not finding out our interview was coming up that brought it about. It was a response I received by email from a blog reader who is an adoptive mother and the encouraging comments after I wrote The Sorrow in my Heart and A Painful Realization.

It was also several blog posts I came across at that time. I would highly encourage you to check them out, especially if you are contemplating adoption. I think you will be blessed. This is in no way an attempt to "push" adoption on anyone. I only want to share how blessed I have been over these last couple of weeks.

Elaine at God's Faithfulness through Infertility posted Healed Heart shortly after I wrote "A Painful Realization" and I felt God speaking directly to me through it. Several days later she wrote Did all that really happen? and expressed how her daughter was so worth the pain of infertility and how unfathomably heartbreaking it would be for her if Little Bug was not her daughter.

"Just Believing" wrote about how her heart is overflowing with all that God has done in her family and how at peace she is with the possibility of never experiencing pregnancy.

Jennifer at Thought from a Blonde wrote about her friends who have adopted. She wrote, "I can look at their family and know how perfect she is for their family. Without infertility that our dear friends struggled with, this precious child would not be in theirs" and "If this couple would have conceived a child they would not be parents to these four children. How could they not be a part of their family?"

In the emails I received from an adoptive mother of several children, I was particularly encouraged by several things. It was so encouraging to me because she is really speaking from the "other side," having never experienced pregnancy and now several years down the road on the journey. I share this with her permission:

"Just wanted you to know that for me the sorrow has gone away - in fact it seems odd to even use that word now."

"I must say, the wait to become a parent was probably the most trying of anything I have experienced so far. I can honestly say it was worth every minute though."

"As far as pregnancy goes for me, I don't know that I would say that I am glad that I was never able to experience that. However, if I would have we would not have the family that we do now and I, of course, would never trade our family for anything."

"I just want to keep encouraging you, though, that it is possible to get through this and to be able to look back and smile. We may not ever fully understand it all on earth, but God knows exactly what He is doing and I am sure when we see the full picture in heaven some day we will be in awe of his wisdom, grace, and love."

"I think it is easy for people to get discouraged if some adoption processes have a lot shorter waiting period than others."

"It is incredible to think how God specifically put our family together and we will take His timing over ours any day!! We tell our kids that before the world was even made God knew that our family would be together."

The common message I take from all of these lovely ladies is that, "If not for infertility...." they would not have their children and that would truly be heartbreaking.

I am once again resting in His plan.

First Adoption Interview Next Week

I got an email today from our adoption agency! We have been assigned our social worker. It turns out the gal we have been working with to get all our paperwork done is also doing her internship for her Masters in Social Work and she has been assigned to us. I am pretty excited by this since we already know her and have a rapport with her. Plus, she is really nice :)

We will have 2 visits with her, one in her office and one in our home. The first visit should be next week at 9 AM. She said it will last 2-3 hours. I think we will each be interviewed separately and then jointly.

This process has definitely taken longer than I thought it would. All this waiting with no moving forward has been really difficult. But I know it has been for the best because it has enabled me to experience a time of healing and preparation.

My excitement has definitely returned!

Please pray for us regarding next week's interview. Please pray for us to have the right words and for us not to be too nervous.

I was thinking tonight about how blessed I am to be a part of this blogging community. I don't know what I would do without all of you!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Painful Realization

For quite some time I have felt adoption was the right path for us. Even before we went through treatment I felt this way. I am still very excited about adopting and want to build our family through adoption. But recently I realized I am struggling with some adoption losses. I think I was quick to embrace adoption after our last treatment and in fact talked more about adoption during our second treatment cycle than I did about the possibility of conceiving a biological child. Maybe I didn't really give it enough time after my miscarriage. Mentally I was completely unprepared for another pregnancy after we lost Johannah so maybe I was too quick to think I was okay with never achieving pregnancy. After all denial is my favorite coping mechanism :)

Now that more time has passed and a great deal of healing has occurred, I am finding I think more about pregnancy. Reading books that go over developmental stages and how the particular stage impacts adoption has made me think about all that we may miss out on by not adopting a baby. As I have said before, being a mom has always been more important to me than being pregnant and I have always loved toddlers (call me crazy!) so we are open to adopting a child that is not a baby. But these losses are really hitting me right now.

And so the big realization:

Adoption won't fix infertility.

Some of these losses will remain. Adoption and infertility are two separate things. In our adoption class we talked about the gains and losses of adoption for all members of the adoption triad. I must grieve and accept the losses. But I know that the Lord is able to heal me and bring true peace. As difficult as it is right now for me to envision a time when the sight of a pregnant woman is not a source of pain, I know that is is possible. Even if I never experience pregnancy and childbirth myself, it is possible, for with God all things are possible. So I am asking God to heal me and prepare me for the family He has for me, whether through adoption or childbirth, or even both.

As part of seeking the Lord's healing, I am rereading Inconceivable by Shannon Woodward and doing the study guide at the end. It is meant for those no longer going through infertility treatment (though I read it the first time just before I started treatment). Since I am now at the point the book was meant to address, I thought I could benefit from a second reading. I may post about some of what I learn in upcoming posts, but for now this Scripture from chapter 1:

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" Psalm 147:3.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzards of 2010

We are finally through the back to back blizzards that hit the DC area. I take back what I said about liking snow in my last post. I am ready to be done with it. The federal government has been closed all week so I have been off work. Cabin fever has set in.

Friday was a good day - got my shopping, cleaning, and laundry all done (even folded it). Then my friend Stephanie came over and we had dinner and watched Fireproof. It was my second time seeing it, but it made me cry just as much the second time. I highly recommend this movie - really reminds you of the blessing of marriage and the importance of choosing to act in a loving manner toward your spouse.

Saturday morning, Stephanie and I were able to get some stuff done on a North Korean missions project.

And then we lost power :(

It got down to 45 degrees in our house. However, we have much to be thankful for in that we had a fireplace and just enough wood to get us through the evening. John had the wonderful idea of putting blankets up over the doorways in the living room to keep in the warmth of the fire. He staple gunned them up! We made the best of it, read until it got to dark, and then talked until it was time to go to bed. For dinner we had MREs (meals ready to eat)! My friend Stephanie had never had them so John and I decided to oblige her request. For those who don't know MREs are what you eat when you are out in the field in the military. It was actually kind of fun. It was like we were camping in my living room. We ended up getting almost 2 feet of snow!

Thankfully, we got power back on Sunday afternoon. I was able to get caught up on my perspectives class homework on Sunday afternoon so that was a good thing. But by Monday and Tuesday I was in a complete funk after being stuck inside for so many days.

On Tuesday evening through Wednesday, we got round 2 of the snow. This time it was less snow (about 10 more inches), but way more windy, which was scary.

To get out of my funk, I got in some exercise (Leslie Sansone DVD) and spent some time reading the Bible over these last couple of days. I am kind of mad at myself for not making better use of my time. I should have planned out some projects or got caught up on my correspondence (I am always behind - comes with moving around a lot I think). I was going to try to work from home this week, but I was completed unmotivated so I think I am going to end up taking a week of unpaid leave. On the plus side, John and I were able to spend a lot more time together since he was off school. It really helped him to get caught up and de-stress a little bit.

Here are a few pictures of our camp-out and the snow.

After losing power:

Heating up the MREs:

The day after the first storm:

In the midst of the second blizzard:

I heard we have a chance of snow on Monday :(

All of this reminded me of the blessings I have that I don't always remember to thank God for: a warm house, a fireplace, the finances to go buy more firewood (it is not cheap in the DC area), enough food, water, electricity. And most of all a wonderful husband whose has worked very hard clearing away snow and making sure we had all we needed to weather these storms.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snowed In

We have a huge snow storm on the way; they are predicting 20-30 inches by Saturday! All my weekend plans have been canceled as a result. One of are plans was to attend the Lunar New Year celebration at Korean United Methodist Church on Saturday, but it has been rescheduled for March. They hold the celebration for adoptive families to help them expose their children to Korean culture. I really hope we get stationed somewhere (we won't know until about March 2011) where there will be events like this. But I actually love snow so I am not too upset.

I have invited one of my friends over so she won't have to be snowed in by herself. The new plan is to hunker down and watch movies. Should be fun!

Not much else going on. I am in much better spirits. I had to remind myself of my own blog name, day by day. Take things one day at at time, keep my eyes fixed on my Savior, and keeping fighting the good fight of faith. I remember reading on someone's blog that adoption was not for the faint of heart. I am finding that to be a true statement. But I also know it will be so worth it in the end when we are holding our child.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Form Arrived!!!

Wonderful news to share! We got the letter in the mail today from our adoption agency. They finally received the form from the state of Maryland! Pretty timely after yesterday's post. God has definitely been at work. Thank you all so much for your prayers, comments, and emails of encouragement.

We have to send in our payment for the home study and then a social worker will be assigned to us. The letter said we should have also received an invoice for our home study fee, but we haven't gotten it yet. We will wait to see if it is in the mail tomorrow and then call if it isn't. Their office is only about 2 miles or so from our house so I can go and make the payment in person and not lose any time if need be. The letter also said we should hear from our social worker within 2 weeks of making our payment. Next step will be our interviews and home visit.

Now we have a few more forms to fill out before we have our first interview with our social worker: Cultural worksheet (our cultural history, exposure to other cultures, etc), transracial parenting plan (what we will do to incorporate our child's culture into our lives), health background checklist (what special needs we are okay with or will consider), and older child worksheet (awareness of issues and plans to help a child over 12 months of age transition to our home). No, the paperwork is not over yet! But I know it will all be worth it in the end.

"Timely" Sarah's Laughter

Yesterday's Daily Double Portion from Sarah's Laughter was very "timely." It was short so I will post it for those of you that have not yet signed up to receive them.

A Broken Clock

Be still, and know that I am God;Psalm 46:10

In my office, it is always 5:30. Never 2:15. Never 8:04. It is always 5:30.
There is a broken clock in my office. People have such different reactions to it! Some look at it with a quizzical look on their faces. Others offer to fix it for us, but I always politely decline. You see, my clock is broken on purpose. I took a perfectly good, functioning clock, broke it and hung it on my wall. What a huge blessing!
You see, that broken clock is a reminder of the perfection of God’s timing. At first glance, it appears that the broken clock is worthless. The hands never move. It looks like nothing good is happening. But glance down at the bottom of the clock. The pendulum is still moving. Swinging left. Swinging right. The pendulum never stops.
In the dark days of waiting through your struggle with infertility, it feels like God’s plan for your family has ground to a halt. No explanations from the medical community. No prophetic utterances promising that long-sought after child. Even in the silence of infertility, listen to the ticking of a broken clock. God, like that pendulum, is still working and moving. When it seems like nothing is happening, the pendulum of God’s timing is still swinging. Buy a clock, break it and proudly hang it on your wall. Let it serve as a reminder of the perfection of God’s timing.

"God, like that pendulum, is still working and moving. When it seems like nothing is happening, the pendulum of God’s timing is still swinging." I needed this today. This is exactly what I have been feeling lately, like things have ground to halt. We are in this "between" place right now. We are done with fertility treatment, but not yet approved for adoption. I guess I am not able to take it as a foregone conclusion that we will be approved. I can't think of why we wouldn't be, but you just never know. Right now it feels like nothing is happening. We are in limbo, waiting on ONE form. But God is still working. I may not be able to see it or feel it, but that doesn't change the facts. He is God Almighty and He is at work.