Over the last couple of months, I’ve shared some of the sad side of adoption. I wrote about our first presentation that ended with a no, I confessed I deal with bitterness and jealousy, and just a few days ago, I blogged about our second presentation that ended with a no.
The adoption journey has been harder than I anticipated. Other families shared with us the difficulties of waiting, especially since we’re waiting for our first child. Naively, I felt that being aware of the potential heartache would somehow make me immune to it, at least to a degree. Yeah … yesterday, I laid on our nursery floor and cried so hard that I was convulsing, I could hardly breathe, and I almost threw up. I’m not immune.
I want my blog to be a place where I can share honestly and vulnerably how the process is going for us. My hope is that other people on the adoption journey might stumble upon one of my posts and be encouraged that there is another couple out there who feels the same things they do.
My fear is that I’ve focused too much on our heartache and not enough on the joy along the way. I don’t want anyone to read my blog and be scared of adoption!
So, I thought I’d write a post about the happy side of adoption, the little moments we’ve experienced when we knew God was with us and is orchestrating our adoption.
Warning: This post will be random and out of order!
When God affirmed it was time for us to adopt and Joseph and I experienced complete unity about that decision, we entered one of the sweetest times of our marriage. We laughed. We cried. We fought. (The stress came quickly!) We reminded each other we’re on the same team. We prayed together a lot! (We still do!) We learned our family is more important than stuff. We helped each other see God working in our lives. We’ve been growing closer to God and closer to each other. While this waiting is one of the hardest things we’ve endured, it’s been one of the best things for our marriage, and we’re thankful for it.
We have been blessed by family and friends pitching in to help us, both through financial gifts and with their time. During our yard sale, people loved us enough to enter our (very literal) mess and help us sort and price donations. Joseph and I felt claustrophobic in our home during that time, so the fact that people were willing to be in our house and help us meant the world to us!
Speaking of that yard sale, we were blown away by how God provided donations for our sale. My original thoughts for a yard sale were a few tables on our driveway. Ha! God had a MUCH bigger plan! We had enough donations to fill our carport and half of our house. In addition to our friends and family donating items, complete strangers filled our cars over and over with donations. Then people let us borrow tents in anticipation of rain, tables so we could sort items during the sale, and coolers to keep drinks cold for the bake sale. People gave of their time to help us set up everything, to help us sell as much as we could, and to help us pack up and donate what didn’t sell. God lavished His love on us through His people, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the joy of that!
Again, still speaking of that yard sale, God provided over $3,000 for our adoption through that fundraiser!
One of the fun things over the last seven months has been hearing stories from other adoptive families. God loves adoption, and He has worked in so many people’s lives through the gift of adopting children.
Our home study wasn’t nearly as terrifying as we anticipated, and we met an awesome birth mother through the process.
God has opened my eyes to the realities of birth mothers, breaking down many stereotypes I had previously. I hope to blog about this at some point.
He used this video in a big way to deepen my love and appreciation for birth mothers. Please, please take the time to watch it if you haven’t already. It blessed me so much.
God helped me put our life into pictures and our hearts into words when putting together our profile book. Then He provided a coupon so they wouldn’t cost as much to print!
We had the opportunity to participate in a book study of The Connected Child at our church, meeting several times with families in our church who have fostered and adopted. Making connections with these families has been invaluable. The book was great, too.
A couple of months ago, God challenged us to give generously to something, so we did. Knowing how much we still needed to raise for our adoption, we were scared, but it felt good to be obedient and generous. Within a week, He tripled our gift and more than doubled our adoption fund. Never, ever, ever doubt that God will provide!
At the end of May, we learned of a baby girl due at the end of June. Though her birth parents didn’t choose us to be her adoptive parents, we had the opportunity to be a part of their lives through prayer. What an honor!
I sneak peeks in the baby sections of stores more often than I will admit on this blog!
Nice swaddling blankets were 50% off at Target one day, and Joseph told me I could buy a girl pack AND a boy pack! (I saved the receipt!)
While we were still grieving not being matched with the June baby girl, a woman from church offered precious encouragement to me. She hugged me and said she knew failed matches felt like miscarriages. Having never experienced a miscarriage, it was something I had been scared to say out loud, for fear it would be hurtful to my many friends who know the devastating heartache of losing a child. In that moment, though, face to face with a woman who knew the pain of infertility and the difficulties of adoption, my grief and pain were validated. She’ll never know how much her kindness meant to me.
On many occasions, family and friends have sent us cards and financial donations of all sizes, encouraging us along the way and telling us they’re supporting us through prayer.
SO MANY PEOPLE have been praying for us. SO MANY! I hope to have a party with them all in Heaven one day, because I suspect there are hundreds (yes, hundreds) of people praying that haven’t told us they’re praying. There will be cake and ice cream at that party. And I will invite Jesus, and I bet He’ll be there, too.
We have been given a crib, a car seat, a jogging stroller, and several other things for our babies. People have been so kind and generous!
We have a painted nursery! A baby room of our very own!
This morning, I asked God to send someone to encourage me. As I was waiting for the church service to begin, one of the sweetest women walked over to me. She stroked my very wet hair, said she had been praying for us, and spoke Scripture over me.
One of my friends doesn’t like hugs. We had discussed this at community group, and, while I like hugs, this wasn’t a friendship deal breaker for me. The day we found out the June baby girl wouldn’t be ours, I walked into her house for community group, my eyes still puffy from crying. She hugged me.
Joseph has discovered a love for repurposing furniture. He has sold some beautiful pieces! He’s working on a vanity right now that I wish I had the money to buy from him!
We spent much of the last couple of weeks in prayer about the baby due in August. I felt burdened to pray for the mother, to the point that I would wake up in the middle of the night with her on my mind, and I would pray for her. Even though she didn’t choose us to parent her baby, I’m confident we found out about that situation so we could intercede for this expectant mother.
Joseph and I laughed and laughed discussing baby names the other day. Ask me about it sometime. It involves the name Habbakkuk. You may not think it’s as funny as we did, but boy did we need that laugh!
We have a lot less stuff than we had seven months ago. We actually have room for babies! Yay! #makeroomforbabies
I read Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos. So funny and worth reading!
God has been working in the lives of several families I know, leading them to begin the adoption process. That is so fun to see!
We took our own adoption photos. In spite of the swarm of gnats around our heads at any given point, we had fun!
God has stretched us, teaching us every day to trust Him, even in the silence. That’s a blessing, a lesson learned through trials and suffering. We anticipate being able to look back, babies in our arms, to see how God was working even when it felt like He wasn’t.
Remembering some of the happier moments has been good for my soul. Thanks for reminiscing with me! Now I’m going to go hold babies at church. Holla!!
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” – Matthew 7:11
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17
This post is mostly for me. You’re welcome to read it, though.
Today, we received another heartbreaking email. We were hoping and praying that a baby due August 12th would be ours, but the expectant mother selected another family. While we rejoice that this sweet baby will have a family who loves him/her and trust that his/her mom has made the best decision for her and her baby, this hurts.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
But it won’t hurt forever. This pain is both a reminder of the broken world in which we reside temporarily and a pointer to our future home, where there will be no pain.
This pain is a reminder that God is good. And if God is good, and if God gives good gifts, then this “no” is a good gift.
In fact, this “no” is better than the “yes” might have been, because God’s plan is perfect.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
So, we’re thanking God for the “no”, even though it means the wait continues. We’re thanking Him and praying for peace as we continue waiting.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
Thank you for continuing to pray with us. We appreciate you!
Last summer, Joseph and I traveled with a group from our church to serve with Back2Back Ministries in Monterrey, Mexico. While God made it abundantly clear that He wanted us on that trip (ask me about our fundraising sometime), I wasn’t certain how He would use me while we were there. In addition to using me that week, I wasn’t sure how He would change my life when we returned home. And aren’t those two of our top prayers when God sends us out: to be used and to be changed?
Upon returning, I wrote about feeling used by God (in a good way!) while we were in Mexico, but I was struggling with the return home. I didn’t feel like God was continuing to use me here at home, and I wanted desperately to be a part of God’s work. I wanted Him to change me and to use me for Kingdom work. So, why wasn’t He?
It turns out He was.
A few weeks ago, I remembered a moment from our trip. As powerful as it was for me, this moment was tucked into the recesses of my brain. If you asked my team members which activities were the most meaningful and impactful as we served, I suspect many of them would tell you about praying through the children’s home that was (still is) under construction. We were each given a piece of chalk, and we were instructed to walk through the building, praying and writing on the (unpainted) walls. Stopping in the kitchen, kneeling in family rooms, lifting up prayers in bedrooms, we wrote Scripture on the walls, claiming the truth of Christ for the future residents of the home.
And I wept.
There, in that cinderblock room with unpainted walls, my pain collided with the pain of the children in Mexico. My heart ached to be a mother, and my heart broke at the thought of the babies in Monterrey who would need caregivers. I wanted those babies to know they were made in God’s image, and I wanted them to experience Christ’s love for them through the house parents who would care for them there. I even prayed and asked God if Joseph and I were supposed to be those house parents.
I was broken, and I didn’t want to leave that room. I sat on a cinderblock and asked Joseph if we could stay a little longer. In that moment, I felt connected to those babies, and I didn’t want that to end.
I knew God wanted us to adopt, but I didn’t know who or when. Did He want us to work with babies in Mexico? Did He want us to adopt a sibling group through DSS? Or was it possible He wanted us to adopt a newborn through a private agency? My mind was swirly and frustrated as I waited for answers.
Fast forward to this summer. We’ve been spending time praying in a different baby room. This time, it’s ours. This time, it’s the room we believe God will fill with children over the years. Sometimes, it’s hard being in that empty baby room. I find myself sitting in there not wanting to leave. I long for God to fill it, and I trust He will.
If you had asked me last summer how our home would look this summer, I don’t know how I would have answered you. I was clouded by my deep desire to be a mother (I still struggle with that), and I was impatient to see God working to fulfill that desire. Truthfully, there have been many days over the last year when I didn’t think God would make me a mother. There may still be more ahead.
If there are, I will walk into the baby room, and I will choose to trust that God will fill it one day. He has affirmed over and over that we’re on the right path, that He has indeed called us to adopt. He just hasn’t affirmed the itinerary. :O)
So, where has God been at work in your life? Can you look back over the last months, even years, and see that God had a plan, that He was working in your life even when it didn’t seem like it? I’d love to hear your stories!