Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hand Chosen

This was my mom's license plate throughout my childhood.....
California had just made 5 shapes available that you could incorporate into a personalized license plate. I remember so many family conversations as we all tried to agree on what our new license plate would say and we knew it had to be meaningful... a conversation starter!
Hand Chosen
My parents had a few reasons for choosing Hand Chosen...
* The 'hand chose' the car (boring, but true!)
* Each finger on the hand represented each of us
* Our family existed because God 'hand chose' my brothers to complete that hand
* Eric and Brayden's birth moms 'hand chose' us to be their family
* God 'hand chose' every one of us to be HIS children
It's just a license plate. Yes. The meaning behind it.... and the process my family went through to create it.... has stuck with me for 23 years.
On Monday, I had the opportunity to share our family's story with some friends.
Each time I tell our story, I come out of it feeling extremely overwhelmed.... and intensely humbled.
I relive every emotion.... the fear, nerves, defeat, heart break that came through the adoption process..
 awe, disbelief, amazement and thankfulness when our babies were finally home.
I love those moments. I live for them.
Each time I tell our story, a different part of it follows me through the next few days... God highlights a different piece each time and gives me an opportunity to bathe in it, to feel it all over again, and to truly thank Him and give Him glory in the story that He has written.
I got stuck here. Specifically....
"We had just said "no"... again. I was desperate for direction... for something."
"The agency hadn't put any effort into matching Baby boy with a family... how can you when his chances of survival are so small?! D said she had spent hours the night before pouring over the agency's family profiles... she needed to find a family who was 'open' to heart problems, prematurity, low birth-weight, a condition as complex as Hydrops, and the list was growing and would just continue to grow. She also needed to find a stay-at-home mom... it was stressed that Baby boy would need continuous medical care and constant stimulation to ensure as much of a future as possible for him.
She had no families that fit the bill.
I interrupted her...
"D... what if...."
Her turn to interrupt...
" I think he might be your son."
This conversation took place in a hotel room. In Florida. We had spent 3.5 hours the day before getting to know the sweetest woman who was due to have a baby boy in June. She had chosen us. Everything about this woman, her baby boy, the relationship we had started, and the future we saw with her fit our bill. It seemed like a perfect match.
Healthy pregnancy. Healthy mom. Healthy baby. Open adoption. The foundation to a great relationship.
But something didn't feel right. We didn't know what.... we had ZERO reasons for why we said 'no'. ZERO. ZILCH. NADA. NONE. But our hearts were just saying 'no'.
And then the phone call....
"In late March, a baby was born... he was delivered by emergency C-Section because the doctors were having trouble keeping his heart-beat stable and rhythmic. As a result of the efforts they made to control his heart-beat in utero, he developed Fetal Hydrops (his body began to swell with fluid and that fluid was pressing on his organs).  He was delivered at 30 weeks gestation... delivery was more of a precaution for his mom because of how his conditions were affecting her. Baby boy wasn't expected to live through delivery."
Very very sick baby. No previous relationship with his birth mom. Thousands of questions and ZERO promises for our future with that baby. ZERO. ZILCH, NADA. NONE.
But, even with a perfectly healthy baby boy at arms reach.... we said 'yes'.
At this point in our story, most of the time someone will say something like, "You guys were so brave!" "Most people would run the other direction." "I could never have done that."
But we weren't brave.... we wanted to run... we were TOLD to run by many people.... and, if you had asked us only 12 hours before, we probably wouldn't have done it either.
Here's where I've been since Monday...
We didn't fall in love with Hunter when we heard about him over the phone. We cried for hours as we poured over his already-intense medical history documents. We felt physically ill with fear when we Googled so many of his conditions and the possibilities for his future. We wondered if the people who cautioned us... who were concerned for us AND for Hannah.... who told us we were making the wrong decision to go meet him.... were right. 
But still....we did. We went through the motions... we pursued yet another opportunity God had given us. Our hearts fought tooth and nail the whole way.
But God pushed us.
And then we met him.
And we said, "yes"....
To all of it.
I don't know why we said yes! Looking back, I SEE why friends and family were concerned for us. I totally GET where their cautions were justified.
And I am so thankful that God blinded our minds and deafened our ears so His plan could prevail in our hearts.
A conversation I have with God quite regularly...
"God, we were okay with the possibilities. We were ready for each prognosis and every trial he faced. We had fully embraced every medical concern and every possible outcome... from a forever-long feeding tube to Cerebral Palsy to major heart surgeries (many of them!) to accepting that our child might have a very very short life. If that was your plan, then we were ok!
But, God... here we are. Our son's appetite matches his activeness! His muscles are strong! His heart... our son's heart, is healthy! And he will grow old one day!
So why?
Why were we so comfortable and ready for all of the above... why did you prepare our hearts in that way....but you chose this for us, instead?"
I've never been one to ask God "why?". Ever.
And obviously this 'why' comes with an unbelievably grateful heart for everything He has done in our son's life.
And that's part of the answer....
Hunter's life. IS WHY.
He spared Hunter from every obstacle that we were 'ready for'.
At times I feel that He spared US... but He didn't. Every single caution and possibility could have come to fruition.... and WE'D be ok!
God has given him a life that will be full and fast and long and joyful.

Part of the answer lies in the changes that have taken place in OUR lives... we've learned patience and what it means to fully and truly rely on God... regardless of our human thoughts or feelings. Hunter's story has brought out the passion Hannah has for special kids like Hunter... he is her heart.
Most of the answers, tho reach far beyond US and HUNTER....
The miracle that is Hunter's life couldnt' be a miracle without the journey he went through... without every 'maybe' and 'possibly' and 'could be'. Hunter's story has already impacted thousands upon thousands of lives. He has brought people closer to Jesus. He has brought US closer to Jesus.
But when I think about my "why's", I know they come from a place in me that feels undeserving of the life we HAVE versus the life we were 'ready for'.
"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes."
~ Ephesians 1:4

And the simplicity has stopped me in my tracks.
It was already done.
He chose us.
And there's my answer...
He chose Hunter for us. He chose Hannah for us. I don't think our family is done growing yet.... if there is more for us, He's chosen that, too. He chose us for them.
And he chose us for HIM.
Hand Chosen.
God's perfect love.... strong enough to push through every 'maybe' and every 'could be' and every 'probably'.
I will devote every day of my life to remembering that one simple phrase.
And I will do everything I can to instill that one simple phrase in my children's hearts....
so when their heads get in the way of their hearts...
They will always know....
They are hand chosen.

Monday, July 1, 2013

I'm Still Infertile....

I've recently made a depressing observation...

Of all the friends I have who don't yet have kids and are currently trying to get pregnant, a huge majority of them are experiencing infetility.

'There's something in the water" has taken on a whole new meaning.


Joey and I were the pioneers in our group of friends when we were first trying to get pregnant 5.5 years ago. We were lone wolves. Maybe this is why I felt the need to be so secretive in the early months of our struggle to conceive.... My mom was the only woman in my life who 'got it'.


I was talking to a friend the other day about the world of infertility.... it's a world she has just recently been introduced to and if you've been there, you remember the thoughts, feelings, and frustration like it was yesterday; weekly and bi-weekly ultra-sounds, not even knowing when the last time you had a PAP was because really, what's the difference? Don't you have one once a week?! The blood work, the pills, timing sex, the blood work, trying to find your 'ideal weight', trying to keep your 'ideal weight', the blood work, the mood swings, the hot flashes, the blood work...

Yeah... you remember.

I feel that over the past few years I have become a 'Credible Source' in the world of infertility. I'm not a pro but do feel like I could pass any exam at any time to become a fully licensed Reproductive Endocrinologist with all that I DO know. But I DO know. I know the process and thoughts and feelings and frustration and pain when a friend gets pregnant and the depression that hits you like a ton of rocks when you leave her baby shower and how, on a daily basis, you reinact the scene on the elevator in Baby Mama... it's all you can do to NOT smell the heads of every baby you walk by! It all makes you CRAZY.

So yes, friends.... I am a Credible Source... of crazy.

So I know how important it is to know when to talk and when to listen... and in the world of inferitlity, it's always better to listen way more than you talk. But when I DO talk, I feel like my words are credible....

Because while those thoughts and feelings and frustrations are now my memories, and while I now have the baby I thought and felt so much for, one thing hasn't changed and it's the one thing that makes me a Credible Source....

I'm. Still. Infertile.

"Hi. My name is Lindsay and I'm infertile."

I know I know... it sounds harsh. But here's my reality;

I look in the face of my baby every single day and THANK GOD that I didn't get pregnant. I wouldn't change my life for anything in the world.... anything!

But while I look at my baby every day and thank God that I didn't get pregnant, I am also painfully aware every single day that my body doesn't work the way it 'should'. I remember every single day the struggle we went through to grow our family and I remember why we went through it.... because I'm infertile (I really hate that word but what else is it called?!?). I still feel the gentle pang in the part of my heart that would love to experience pregnancy.... not because a pregnancy woud give me a child any different or more special than the one I have, but because women's bodies were created to bear children. It's in the Bible, for goodness sakes and MY body just can't figure it out! I want to know what a baby feels like when he/she moves in my belly and as weird as it sounds, I want to feel contractions and labor and that moment when you witness your child's first breath (granted, some adoptive parents DO get to witness this!).

Back to my recent conversation with a newly 'infertile' friend;

While the conversation started comfortable; she shared with me, I shared with her, she had some questions, I answered them, we cried together...

At some point in the conversation, around where my toddler interrupted us, it felt like we experienced a shift.... one where she realized that I now HAVE the child I went through all of that to get and all of a sudden, I was no longer a Credible Source in our conversation. She changed. All of a sudden, I was on the other side of the 'infertility line'.... we weren't on the same team in the presence of my baby; a baby much like the one she is hurting for.

I didn't experience that when I was in the throws of infertility... I had friends who adopted their children and they were always a Credible Source to me when it came to conversations about infertility....

Because even though they have their baby.... they're still infertile.

So, to be honest, I got a little ticked.

Do you remember this post? A Baby Won't Fix Everything.....

When a journey through infertility brings a baby into your arms through adoption, your world changes; almost every aspect of your world changes.... for the GOOD! And, in many ways, that baby DOES 'fix' many things....

But a baby doesn't fix infertility.

I AM a Credible Source.

"Hi. My name is Lindsay and i'm infertile. Still."