Full disclosure: I’m already annoyed with the interface.
If you had asked me 10 days ago how I would be feeling this week, I would have guessed, “Excited! Pumped! Giddy about what God’s doing in our lives. I am confident we are on the right adoption path.”
If you asked me today, I would answer, “Blah. Conflicted. Guilty.”
I think two big things in my life collided and resulted in this state of mind, but that’s just a theory.
First, Wednesday was the first anniversary of Grandmama Helen’s passing, which means she’s been on my mind a lot lately. My thoughts have been everywhere from funny memories to the sadness and frustration I felt during the last conversation I can remember having with her (there were more, but I don’t remember them) to wondering how she would feel about our plans to adopt (I was told she was probably rolling over in her grave; good thing I don’t believe that happens) to everything in between. Lots of laughing. Lots of smiles. Lots of tears.
Second, DSS orientation was Monday night (more on that later – not bad, just a separate post). I have been counting-down-the-days-excited about orientation since the day we registered. It was the first big step we could take toward adopting. I should say second. The step of faith to accept the call to adopt was the first.
In my mind, attending orientation was like the key to unlock the door to our application and home study process. We knew we wanted to walk through the door, but we couldn’t until we attended orientation. Because of that, I just knew I would race home, grab a black ball point pen (the most reliable of pens), and start filling out the application. I promised Joseph I wouldn’t ask him to work on the application on his birthday (the day after orientation), but I pictured him loving me so much that we would work on the application during his Star Wars marathon, smiling at each other over paperwork and the sound of Jawas. Minions. Ewoks. They all sound the same to me.
For days prior to orientation, I had a growing feeling of uncertainty about the path of adoption we were taking, and that feeling intensified during and after orientation. Please don’t misread that statement. I wasn’t wavering about adopting, not a bit. I was feeling conflicted about adopting through DSS versus another avenue.
I knew going into this that adopting a newborn through DSS was unlikely. I knew there was a chance of adopting a baby, but that baby would very likely be at least a few months old. We were told during orientation that children under the age of five who are legally free to adopt are rare. Babies who are legally free to adopt are VERY rare. (These statements apply to children in DSS custody.)
So, I realized adopting a newborn through DSS wass unlikely. What I didn’t realize was how sad that made me feel.
I’m being sincere when I say the possibility of never conceiving, carrying, or birthing a baby has never felt like a great loss to me personally. My longing to be a mother is huge, though, and I’m excited about becoming a mother through adoption. Because it doesn’t bother me that I may never carry a baby in my womb, I was caught off guard by the growing sadness I felt over the possibility of never mothering a newborn. Never swaddling a teeny, tiny baby. Never changing itty, bitty diapers. Never falling asleep with eight pounds of baby cooing under my chin.
Just typing all of that ushers in the guilt. There are so many children who need forever families. Joseph and I have a lot to offer as parents. We want to pour God’s love and grace into little ones and invest in their lives. I want so badly to look into the eyes of my children and say, “I love you. I chose you. I adopted you. You’re mine,” just like God said to me through Jesus. So what does a few months matter in light of all that?
Honestly? Right now, I don’t know.
Joseph and I are prayerfully considering three options: 1) Continue with DSS and trust God to change my heart or to have a newborn for us. He can do both. 2) Transition to adopting through a private agency and adopt a newborn. This would be a huge leap of faith financially, but we trust God’s provision, and we aren’t afraid of fundraising. 3) A combination of the first two options. We would continue on with DSS while also starting the process with a private agency. We know we could end up adopting multiple children that way, but we’re open to our children bring close in age. This could even be how God answers our prayer for twins.
For now, I’m asking God for clarity, guidance, and joy. I’m asking specifically that He’ll use the women’s retreat that starts in a couple of hours to do those things.
He’s already renewing the joy. I took a friend’s advice to sing to Jesus, to ask Him to fill me with a new song that He’s writing. (Thanks, JS!) I even had a 30 Second Dance Party with Jesus that lasted more like 4 minutes. It was good for my soul.
I’m asking for a strengthened relationship with the Lord. Through all of this, I want to get to know Him better.
Also, until/unless we receive direction from the Lord otherwise, we’re continuing with the application process with DSS. Things can take a while with DSS, and we don’t think it would be wise to pause while we’re seeking clarity and direction. God may even use the process to give us clarity. We had our fingerprints scanned (super cool) on Wednesday, and we will sign up for training once DSS has been assured we aren’t criminals (I’m totally ok with this process!).
I put my Remember bracelet back on. During this season, I need to remember all the truths about God and all He has done to prove Himself trustworthy.
If you made it this far, will you join us in prayer? We are so thankful for each of you lifting us up as we journey toward adopting our babies. We’ll name the babies after all of you.
1) I hope I didn’t come across insensitive when I said it doesn’t bother me that I may never carry a baby. I know so many of you have walked or are walking the long, hard road of infertility. My heart breaks with you. Please know that.
2) I believe Grandmama Helen now has a heavenly perspective on adoption. If she knows what’s going on here, she’s far from rolling over in her grave. She’s dancing in Heaven.
3) I realize that newborns adopted domestically through private agencies need forever families just as much as a teenager through DSS or a sibling group of eight or a little girl in China or a little boy in Uganda. These babies’ birth mothers have taken the brave step to carry their babies rather than aborting them, and I would love to adopt all of them. I would also love to adopt a few sibling groups, a teenager, and a little girl from India. This is a whole lot less about me than what God is doing. I trust God has known our children since long before He spoke the world into being, and He will lead us to them.
4) This took me roughly three hours to write. I miss being at home with my Mac.
This is your fifth birthday we’ve been able to spend together. Often, I wish that number were higher. I wish we had met sooner. You made my life so much better that I wish we had an earlier start together!
When we met, I was coming out of a pretty rotten time in my life. God used you to bring joy back into my heart. You brought life, fun, and laughter back to me. From those early days when we started hanging out taking pictures together, we began an adventure that has been the best of my life.
Every day, you display God’s grace to me. He has used you in countless ways in my life and in the lives of others to display His steadfast love. You have a gentleness about you (one that balances me out very well!) and a kindness that puts others before yourself. You serve others at your own expense and with joy in your heart. Service seems to come so naturally to you, and I know it’s the Holy Spirit at work in and through you each day.
I see Christ in you as you lead our family, as you serve in our church, and as you care for others. You point me to Christ as we make decisions, when I’m living my way instead of His, and when you love me well.
As we’ve stepped out in faith to answer God’s call to adopt, I’ve fallen in love with you all over again. You’re genuinely listening for God’s voice and seeking His guidance each step of the way. You’re confident this is what God wants for our family, and you’re not afraid of the challenges we’re going to face along the journey. I love the courage I’ve seen displayed in you over the last couple of months. I admire the man of God you are and the man of God you are becoming.
And, by the way, you are going to be THE best daddy! Our babies are so blessed already. I should go ahead and start shopping for Dad of the Year trophies and Best Dad Ever mugs and those My Dad Rocks t-shirts. You’re going to need all of that. :O)
I wish I were better with words so I could express the depths of my love for you. Just know they’re really deep! I hope you have the happiest of birthdays!
Now, let’s start that Star Wars marathon!
I love you moreb!
As I prayed yesterday, my prayers drifted from my heart’s desire to know God more to thoughts of our babies. I told God I was scared I would miss Him in the process of adopting our babies. We’ve seen Him at work over the past two months, showering us with good gifts. I confessed I was scared I would love the gifts more than the Giver. In the midst of paperwork and inspections and waiting, I want to get to know God better. When we hold our babies in our arms for the first time, I want to be closer to God than I’ve ever been.
As I closed my prayer time, Zephaniah 3:17 brushed across my mind, a beautiful image of God singing over me. I asked Him to sing over our babies, to sing the sweetest lullabies they’ll ever hear. I asked Him to hold them in His arms until we can hold them in ours, to cradle them until we can.
I made a little printable that I’m going to have printed and hang in my soon-to-be prayer spot in our nursery. If you like it, you can print it, too!
The last couple of months have been busy and fun and serious and reverent and giddy and everything in between. Most of my posts have been serious, so I thought I would share some fun.
Straight out of my for real memories. For real.
5. “I want to marry a youth minister!” – This one is to be said when you are the ONLY girl in a classroom FULL of boys taking Intro to Youth Ministry. The secret to this one is not fluttering your eyelashes or looking too eager. Instead, click your pen and open your textbook. Look very serious, while maintaining an air of willingness to get messy during youth night games. You want the guys to see you as studious, able to come alongside them when leading Bible studies, but able to cut loose and have fun with a bunch of teenagers. There is a very delicate balance to maintain, ladies.
4. Feel free to try this one in various scenarios. The key is the sweet sigh at the beginning of the statement. “Sigh,” emitted sweetly as the guy plucks away at his guitar, “I’ve always wanted to marry a guy who can play the guitar.” Swap out “can play the guitar” for just about anything: takes good care of his mother, is good with finances, makes good cheese grits, loves Genesis, appreciates Sonic Happy Hour, etc. Anything that comes out sounding more like a compliment and less like a proposal should be safe.
3. “I’m waiting to have my name engraved on my Bible. I’d really like my married last name to be on it since my current last name is just temporary.” Give him a quick glance. Then stare off into space as if you’re imaging your first name with his last name. Blushing a little will knock this one out of the park.
2. This next conversation works well in a parking lot. The distance from Walmart to his car should be just right. If you’re a freshman in college, this one is perfect for you. Start out with your hands in your pockets and your gaze directed to the ground. “I don’t know.” Loooong sigh. “I just have this feeling I’m not going to be able to have children. I think God’s preparing me to adopt.” Pause. Lock eyes with him. It’s very important that you do NOT look away. “I’m just praying God will send me a guy who is understanding and eager to adopt.” If he doesn’t start sweating and stammering and looking for his keys, you have a keeper.
1. This last conversation works great over the phone, especially if you just started dating. Make sure you’ve made very clear notes so you don’t forget anything. “So, I’ve been thinking about things, and I really think we could get married pretty quickly! I worked on a timeline of when we would tell our parents and our friends, when we could do pre-marital counseling, and when we could have the wedding. I think six weeks is plenty of time, don’t you?” If there is awkward silence, just fill it with more details from your timeline.
Yes, I said all of those things! No, I didn’t marry any of those guys! I’m sure all parties involved are thankful.
I married the right guy for me. The guy who didn’t need any crazy lines or really crazy timelines or fluttering eyelashes or long, sweet sighs. He just wanted me, even though I did say all those things to a bunch of other guys.
Our future babies are on my mind and on my heart today – as I suspect they will be most days.
Last night, we attended our first Growth Group session at church. We’ll be reading and discussing The Connected Child. I’m so thankful we have an opportunity to learn a little about parenting adopted children before we meet ours.
When we left our meeting, I felt burdened for our children. There is a chance they’ve already been conceived and are in the womb right now. We learned about risk factors for our children that I had never even considered. Obvious risk factors are the mother consuming drugs and/or alcohol while she’s pregnant, but I had not considered a stressful pregnancy (an unwanted pregnancy sounds stressful to me), fighting with the babies’ father, or a difficult delivery. All of these things can affect our babies’s brain development before they’re even born.
I left with more ideas of how to pray for our children and their biological parents. While we’re purging excessive stuff and preparing a place for our babies, I know their current situation is likely much, much different. I’m praying for peace for the mother, peace in the relationship she has with the babies’ father, and a safe delivery. I’m praying that if she is stressed, she wouldn’t turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with that stress. I’m praying that if the father is scared about providing for these children, he wouldn’t turn to illegal means of increasing his income.
I’m praying that God will place people in their lives who will share the Gospel with them. I want them to know and love our Savior, even if that means we never have the chance to adopt. I would rather their parents know Jesus than these babies get to know us.
During my Bible reading today, I started reading Exodus. God’s people had obeyed His command to “be fruitful and multiply”, and there were a whole lot of Israelites in Egypt. The Pharaoh was oppressing the Israelites and even wanted all of the Hebrew baby boys killed. After years of slavery and oppression, “the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew” (Exodus 2:23-25, ESV).
I was encouraged by this picture of God hearing, remembering, seeing, and knowing. God hasn’t changed since Exodus, so I trust that He hears our babies in their mother’s womb, He remembers His promises, He sees our babies, and He knows our babies. So, I’m lifting them up to Him. Would you lift them up, too?