Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Angels & Demons

 
I've considered sharing this a few times, never really afraid of being labeled 'crazy', but maybe slightly intimidated by the topic itself without knowing exactly how to back it all up...
 
Oh well.
 
The majority of my readers have, are, or know someone who is struggling with infertility and/or are travelling through or exploring adoption...
 
Infertility and adoption;
 
In my opinion, two of the most intimate, terrifying, and Satan-attracting experiences quite possibly, in existence.
 
Does that make sense?
 
Intimate and terrifying... self explanatory.
 
Satan-Attracting.... I'll explain;
 
Infertility and adoption both strike at someones deepest emotions.... they test and try everything someone thought they were, and everywhere they thought they were going. They change someones life-course and shake their world in a way that's both physically and emotionally painful.
 
They test someones faith.
 
And in those moments... when we are fragile and emotional and broken... Satan attacks.
 
He messes things up.... makes you lose faith.... distracts you from the path you've been on; God's path...
 
And then you have two choices...
 
You give in... and he'll inevitably chew you up and spit you back out
 
OR
 
You give it up.... and give it to God.
 
That last one? Easier said than done... because as soon as you find yourself back in line with God's plan... as soon as you've given it all over to Him and allow Him to help you re-focus...
 
Somehow, Satan shows up again.
 
It's a pattern.
 
As disheartening as it sounds... the pattern never ends.
 
God is your focus... Satan attacks... God re-focuses you... Satan attacks... etc.
 
But if Satan didn't attack... somehow, someway... God would never be given a chance to strengthen and challenge our faith...
 
In Him.

So... are Satan's attacks actually a good thing?!
 
Our own infertility journey, that later turned into our adoption journey... was rough.
 
There were so many times when we felt attacked... chewed up and spit out by Satan, himself.
 
At times, we most definitely allowed him to do just that.... we let our guard down.
 
But there were other times in our struggle with infertility when Satan would attack when our faith was it's strongest and our resolve was strong and we were just moments away from what we thought would be the fulfillment of God's plan... the end of that journey, and the start of the next.
 
Our first adoption journey was similar...
 
And just as a woman who gives birth to a child will quickly forget the pain and struggles of labor...
 
We quickly forgot the pain and struggles of waiting for our baby.... because the wait was over and our baby was home.
 
Satan's attacks were mostly felt more than they were seen... we would lose hope and begin to wonder if we were even supposed to adopt.... our marriage would suffer... we would argue and forget that we were the only two people in the world who felt like we did at that moment... we'd forget that we were in it together. Many times he tried to break us... and a few times, he almost did.
 
In those ways, our second adoption journey was similar....
 
And in other ways, it couldn't have been more different;
 
Satan's attacks became real.... they came to life.
 
Do you believe in ghosts?
 
How about demons?
 
Angels?
 
You've been asked before, I promise.
 
I didn't believe in ghosts because of Casper.... I watched that movie just knowing that ghosts weren't real ;-)
 
Why?
 
I had no clue.
 
Did I believe in demons?
 
I guess not. Why? No one I know has ever mentioned demons... seeing them, hearing them, or whatever. Yeah, they're in the Bible but they're terrifying....so let's just leave them in the Bible, k?
 
Angels?
 
Of course I believe in angels! I've never seen one but they're all over the Bible... they represent hope and happiness and protection! I believe in them like I believe in God... I don't see them but I know they're there. Who doesn't want to believe in angels?!
 
And then I read it all back to myself and it makes no sense. Zero. I pretty much choose to believe in the flowers and daisies and I refuse to consider the opposite.... the one that's less comfortable.
 
We were about 6 months into our second adoption journey when my nightmares began....
 
Our home study was done, we were actively waiting with a local agency, and we were talking to a couple potential birthmoms who found us through our Facebook page...
 
We were hopeful.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Can we back-track a few years? Highschool.... we lived in New York. I was about 16 and there were nights when I would wake up in the middle of the night and know that someone was in my room.
 
I know. Crazy.
 
I thought so, too so I never said anything about it.
 
He was a cowboy.... hat, spurs, cut-out leather pants (chaps?!), the whole nine.
 
I wasn't afraid of him..... he would show up and kind of just be there. He didn't represent anything to me....
 
except maybe that I was crazy.
 
He didn't protect me... he didn't have 'unfinished business'... he didn't want to chat ... he just 'was'.
 
My parents built that house.... I never thought that someone was buried under it or whatever.
 
I mentioned it to my parents a couple years later.... he still woke me up some nights but I was used to it...
 
I'm not even sure my parents truly heard me.
 
Because I was crazy.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Back to adoption #2....
 
We were hopeful. We were strong in our marriage and in our faith that our baby(ies) was on it's way.... and we thought that it would be soon!
 
The that night....
 
According to Joey I had only been asleep for about 30 minutes. I woke up screaming.... the 'your whole body is shaking, you jump toward the middle of the bed and hide under the covers' screaming.
 
I was terrified.
 
There was a man in our room.
 
He was standing on my side of the bed... hovering. Black hoodie, hands in his pockets, I couldn't see his face. Just standing....
 
Like the cowboy....
 
But this guy? He terrified me to my core.
 
Screaming, I told Joey that he had to still be there.... maybe under the bed?  Joey jumped up, grabbed his gun, and hit the floor to look under the bed...

No one.
 
But he was so real. I knew someone was there.
 
Joey ran to Hannah's room... she was sleeping but he grabbed her and put her in bed with me.
 
He checked the doors, the basement, walked around the house...
 
No one.
 
It was official... I was crazy.
 
Neither of us slept that night and the next day, we wrote it off to a bad dream.
 
That man? Black hoodie, hands in pockets, face shadowed....
 
He stayed away for a while....2 weeks or so.
 
Rewind.... repeat. Same story, different night.
 
That night, after Joey's look under the bed and walk around the house...
 
We prayed.
 
We knew that this 'bad dream' wasn't a bad dream at all....

And we weren't entirely sure anymore that I was crazy.... becuase over the 2 week 'break' from the Hoodie Guy, things started falling apart; our adoption plan, finances, marriage, friendships....
 
It was a nightmare, yes.... but it was more.
 
We were being attacked.
 
We prayed in every room of our house that night... we read and repeated Scripture.... and begged the Lord to protect our house... our baby.
 
Hoodie Guy came back one more time before we took him public...
 
There's no possible way to nonchalantly discuss demons with friends. Period.
 
So we talked to one of our Pastors and one of our closest friends.
 
They told us that they believe in demons.... and in Spiritual warfare...
 
They gave us Scripture to back it... they prayed for and with us...
 
They didn't make me feel crazy.
 
(I still felt crazy.)
 
We started to believe in demons.... because all of a sudden, they had become as real to us as God or angels...
 
and if they weren't real... I really was crazy.
 
He came back again.
 
I was visiting my parents one weekend and decided to explore their feelings about demons...
 
they didn't really believe in them, or hadn't seriously considered it.
 
So, in order to justify my question, I reminded them about 'the cowboy' and told them about 'the Hoodie Guy'.
 
They remembered the cowboy...
 
They really thought about the Hoodie Guy.
 
None of us have ever known anyone who had 'seen' a demon.... I mean, it's not a normal dinner table conversation when you have friends over..
 
"So... have you seen any demons lately??"
 
They encouraged me to talk to another pastor and read Scripture with me...
 
I knew they'd be praying about it and I knew they were bothered by it, too.
 
By this time we were preparing to move to another state... our adoption journey had changed course 100% and we were back to square one; no potential birthmoms and we now had to change agencies.
 
The next week was moving week... Joey was going ahead of us to start his new job and Hannah and I were going to wait for the movers ("we'll be there sometime between Monday and Friday."), stay at my parents' house (4 hours away) for a few days, and drive to our new house with my mom.
 
Joey left on a Sunday morning and I layed down for a nap soon after he left....
 
He came.
 
But this time? Joey wasn't there to look under the bed or walk around the house or check on Hannah.... and I was paralyzed.
 
This was the first time he had come in the middle of the day.
 
I called my dad.... he and my brother were at our house that night and they stayed until the movers came (on Thursday :-/).
 
It was real... my fear, the guy, the association between where we were in our adoption journey and faith and where we were headed... where we were allowing Satan to lead us.
 
Five times.
 
He came 5 times.
 
I had to make a choice....
 
Either I was going to continue to allow Satan to paralyze me, both physically and Spiritually...
 
Or
 
I was going to stop him; I had to make our move a fresh start... spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
 
I had to not only accept that our plans weren't the right plans but I had to embrace the new start that God was giving me.
 
I didn't have any answers as to 'why' the past year had been what it was...
 
But I knew who was in control and I had to welcome this fresh start.... a new beginning....
 
without the Hoodie Guy.
 
Without Satan.
 
It didn't happen overnight. Hoodie guy never came back.... but there were days... there still are... when Joey and I woke up knowing that Satan was going to try and give us a run for our money. There were nights when Joey would sit at the top of the stairs while we were all in bed, daring Satan to attack us again...
 
There are nights when I go to bed and catch myself wondering if I should look under the bed... just in case... Just like a kid who asks her Daddy to look for monsters before he turns the light off.
 
I refuse to let dark follow me.... when I turn the lights off downstairs, I always leave one on so when I walk up the stairs, I can look back down and see light, not darkness.
 
I never walk fully into a dark room.... the flashlight app is on my homescreen.
 
 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Palm 23:4
 
I know that hoodie guy won't come back...
 
Do I know that Cowboy and Hoodie are the last?
 
No.
 
(I still don't really understand the cowboy's role.... was he just easing me into all of this?!)
 
But ask me again.....
 
Do I believe in demons?
 
Yep.
 
More than believing in demons, I believe in Spiritual Warfare.
 
I believe that when God's plan leads you into something uncomfortable... something that has the potential to test you and your faith... that Satan can and often will find his way in.
 
The bad news?
 
You can't do anything to avoid it.
 
I believe that Satan attacks everyone... our Pastor has mentioned such attacks on his own faith.
 
The good news?
 
You don't have to fight him.... God has already won that battle.
 
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.           
James 2:19
 
Maybe I'm crazy.... but if 'crazy' is what challenges me to stay strong in my faith and put all of my hope in the Lord?
 
It's ok... I can 'do' crazy!
 
My point?
 
We all have our 'infertility' or 'adoption journey'.... something that Satan is using to break you.

Ok, so maybe you don't have a Cowboy or Hoodie Guy....
 
Is it a guy that's not your husband? A woman that's not your wife? Maybe it's the promise of more money.... or the loss of a child... or a spouse who doesn't share your beliefs..... or a child you can't seem to 'get through to'.... or an upcoming move... Maybe it's your own infertility journey... adoption process?
 
Whatever 'it' is... you either are or will soon be in a place where you can allow it to become your demon... or you can choose, sometimes over and over and over again, to accept a new start... one that might not be what you envisioned, but one that has the potential to be better... because it's in line with where God has been leading you this whole time.
 
Who or what is your cowboy or hoodie guy?
 
Maybe it makes you feel crazy.... but crazy isn't that bad...
 
take my word for it ;-)
 
 
 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Signs are to the eyes what words are to the ears...

If you're a follower of our Facebook page, this might be redundant.... bear with me while I catch up a little ;-)
Obviously, so much was going on when Hunter was born that some 'typical' tests and protocol just weren't priority until he stabilized. Apgar scores were recorded so this includes things like foot and hand prints, hearing and vision testing, etc.
Our decision to have Hunter flown to the NICU closer to our 'new' home was made quickly and the Medi-Jet arrived in record time so discharge tests and exams all happened very quickly! In a matter of about an hour Hunter had Heart, Liver, and Kidney ultra-sounds, vision screening, tons of blood work, hearing screening, PT evals, and probably a whole lot more that I don't remember.
I do remember his hearing screening and I remember that he failed.
This didn't mean that he couldn't hear but it did mean that we would need to follow up when we got home with an audiologist.

Our new NICU repeated almost every test that was done previously because they had newer and more cutting-edge technology... and they just wanted to create their own 'vision' of who Hunter was. They repeated his newborn hearing screening and he failed again.
One of the DOZENS of post-NICU appointments that was made for us was with an Audiologist who would conduct another ABR... a test that would measure Auditory Brain stem Response... or, how Hunter's brain responds to sounds; how do the bones vibrate... or do they?! How does the sound travel through his inner ear... or does it?!
He failed again.
This time, it was very clear that Hunter was 'failing' his hearing screens because there was the detection of fluid in his inner ear.... if fluid is in your ear, the bones won't conduct sound.
So we headed to the ENT to discuss if tubes were a logical next step in learning more about Hunter's hearing.
And we all know how that went.... we got TUBES!
The ABR was repeated a 4th time while Hunter was still sedated after surgery.... and he failed again.
Are we frustrated yet?! Ugh.
Hunter's ears were very full of fluid and they drained for WEEKS after his tubes were placed!
We saw the Audiologist again about 3 weeks after his tube surgery and Hunter was finally old enough to have a Behavioral Test vs. another ABA...
** An ABA is only successful if the baby is sleeping or completely still throughout the testing; Hunter never sleeps, period so these were VERY hard tests!
** A Behavioral Test is done in a booth ... various sounds are presented to the infant and the Audiologist records the infant's responses to each sound. This gives the Audiologist a detailed record of what sounds, at what pitches and frequencies the infant is hearing.


Here's the thing...
We have known since we brought Hunter home from the hospital in May 2012 that he doesn't respond to voices and daily noise like Hannah did at his age. He has never turned to look when Mommy or Daddy walk into the room.... he doesn't jump or wake up when the dog barks... he doesn't startle in his sleep...
Knowing that your baby doesn't hear your voice is hard.... and scary.
Hunter takes his social cues from faces.... if he can't see your face (ex. at night, in the car, etc), he panics. You can see in his eyes... "Is everything ok?" "Is Mommy happy or sad?!" "Should I be happy or sad?"
And when one of us has a bad day... so does he.
If you're holding him and he can't see your face, he'll make you look at him.... by touching your cheek, turning your head, or even hitting you... he'll do whatever he can to see your eyes because when he can't, he is insecure.
Sitting in a booth, facing a wall, and knowing that you're expected to respond to something... but you can't hear or see anything... is terrifying to a baby...
to Hunter.
Behavioral tests are stressful for him... they always give accurate information... but they're tough.
It's tough on Mommy, too.
Yesterday was our last behavioral test with a new Audiologist.... She had reviewed Hunter's file and precious test results and when she walked in the room, she didn't introduce herself, she didn't shake my hand, she didn't smile...
"Why doesn't this baby have hearing aids?!?!"
Thank you, Lord.
We have never asked anyone to pray that Hunter's hearing would be restored or that he would pass any of these hearing tests.... we've only been praying for hearing aids!
OUR BABY NEEDS TO HEAR OUR VOICES!!!!
When you can't hear, you can't talk... and he's not talking.
When you can't hear, you can't respond to your environment...
When you can't hear, your own noise level is awkward... and loud.
Hunter needs one more ABR under sedation in order to get accurate frequencies of sound for his hearing aids... this ABR is scheduled for late May (I'm praying for a cancellation before then!!) and, if insurance authorizations and the hearing aid mold process all go as planned...
We'll leave that last ABR with hearing aids.
Our baby will hear.
He'll know what I sound like when I sing to him... he'll get excited when Daddy comes home from work and calls his name... he'll be able to 'talk' on the phone with our family who doesn't live here... he'll recognize Jesus Loves Me and will find comfort in lullabies played in his room...
In the mean time, our job is to learn sign language.
As excited as we are that Hunter will finally hear, we also understand that words and noises will have no meaning to him...
we have to teach him!
Our plan is to learn 5 signs as a family each week.... incorporate them in our daily lives, live and breath them.


We didn't waste any time connecting with our state's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Department and ordering whatever books and DVDs we could find!
Here's a very rough look into what Hunter does and doesn't hear...
He can hear most of what is below the red line but at a much much lower pitch than you or I do.... he cannot hear what is above the red line; namely, voices. (PS... Technology today AMAZES me!)


It's so exciting and comforting to know what he can and cannot hear.... it keeps us grounded and patient. We're excited to know how we can communicate with him now.... and love knowing that, SOON, he will be able to hear us!


Anxiety is there, yes.


But today, this happened....


Today was my first day at my new gym ... It is not a coincidence that the director of the kids program is profoundly deaf. I walked in to pick up my kids and he was sitting on the floor with Hannah and Hunter, teaching them sign language. I will never forget that sight as long as I live and can't even find words to describe what it did for my heart.


I am so thankful that God continues to intentionally place people in our lives who encourage, support, and teach us every day! He is so so good (if I haven't mentioned it before ;-))!


Hannah and I picked our first 5 signs last night....


video
 Signs are to the eyes what words are to the ears....


Hannah's signs to my eyes are what God's signs are to my heart.


God showed me a sign today... in the form of a man who ministered to my children.


And if that's what happens when I go to the gym, watch out! This Mama's gonna get ripped! HA!




Monday, April 8, 2013

A Mom's Personal Ad; Wanted....

Wanted:
Not just a babysitter.
Not family. Not a friend.
Not a body to keep my couch warm.
Wanted:
Someone to fall in love with my kids...  no one can possible love them as much as I do... someone who's goal is to come close.
Wanted:
Someone who is seeking to invest in the lives of my children.... in the next generation.... quite possibly the generation of her own children.
Wanted:
A playmate. Someone who, in a short couple of hours, can take my daily job to the next level... who can encourage imagination, someone who's goal is to have exhausted, sleepy, mentally and physically exhausted babies to put to bed at 8pm.
Wanted:
A photographer. Someone who appreciates that the time I spend away from my kids is a double-edged sword.... that time is precious and necessary for my own health but it's also the only time (quite possibly in a LONG time) that I have been split in two. They and their Daddy are my other half.... even if their Daddy is away with me, I'm missing a quarter of my life that completes me. Someone who will 'work' as hard as she can to be 'me' in my place.... and will send me a picture or two while I'm gone so they can still be with me, even though we're apart.
Wanted:
Their first love. I remember my childhood babysitter with the absolute best memories.... Heather. We went on bike rides, fed the cows around the corner, painted, played hide and seek, read books, made up our own stories, and when she put me to bed, I couldn't wait until the next time Mom and Dad went out! Someone who will 'work' to win my kids' hearts.... so when she puts them to bed, she takes the smallest piece of them with her... until next time. Someone who, when a week too much has passed, will gently remind me that she loves my kids and wants to see them soon ;-)
Wanted:
A 'soul' mate. Someone who will spend time understanding and dissecting their inner-most beings.... who can recognize their quirkiness and embrace their insecurities. Someone who can teach them and guide them in their walk with the Lord.... and their walk in life.
Wanted:
My confidante. Someone who can find a balance between being their trusted friend.... and being mine, when it comes to them.
Wanted:
A human. Someone who doesn't strive to be perfect but who's priority is to be the best she can be for them, in the short time they're hers. Someone who admits short-comings and doesn't try to hide behind the check at the end of the night. Someone who isn't afraid to call or text me if she has a question... big or small! Someone who understands that asking me a question is good for my heart when I'm away ;-)
Wanted:
A good listener. I know my kids better than anyone.... and my full-time job revolves around the routine and schedule that, the outcome of MANY trials and errors, works the absolute BEST for my kids. Someone who will tune in 100% to my (sometimes lengthy, often-times redundant, and sticky-note involving) list of expectations. None of them are obsurd... all of them are crucial.
Wanted:
A nurse-minded individual. My kids are precious and fun and lovable... but their medical history HAS to be known by any and everyone who cares for them in my absence. This even includes their Daddy! Their medical history will always be displayed in an easy-to-find place... their medications, schedules, important numbers, etc. Tune in. Make a mental note of where the CPR instructions are posted (on the fridge ;-)) and understand that being with my kids does not increase the chance of you needing to follow those instructions.... but that, in order for me to trust you with their lives... I need to feel confident that you at least know where they are posted. This is a routine I follow every single morning... and I'm the mom!
Wanted:
A quasi-therapist. Someone who can understand and appreciate that no one loves these two children more than I do. No one is more invested in their lives, health, hearts, and future. Someone who will humor me and nod with understanding at my lengthy and repetitive explanations.... even if they make fun of me for it later :-)

Wanted:
Light housekeeper, nutritionist, and pet lover . The house is at least as clean after bedtime as it was when you got here (that's an easy one!).... dessert is a treat but snacks are healthy.... the dog has a chance to pee.
Wanted:
Me. Another me.
I've mentioned before that trusting people with my children is, hands-down, the hardest part of parenting for me. I don't take my job lightly.... I take it so seriously that, often-times, I make myself sick.

Becoming a Mom has challenged and tested my trust in the Lord exponentially.
I have felt so incredibly convicted lately.... I can't seem to shake the Lord's voice; He's telling me that I need to let go. I need to trust that the people He brings into my children's lives will be good for them.... that I'm actually depriving my kids by denying them the opportunities to know and trust other people who love them...

And I'm denying those people the opportunity to know and love two of the most amazing miracles they'll ever know.
That's a hard reality to face.
Don't get me wrong... I've trusted other's with my kids. Joey Mom, my Mom and Dad, my brother and his wife, and a couple babysitters who I (and Hannah) have loved! We've moved a lot in the past couple of years.... and family lives hours away and babysitters are now off at college.

But let me tell you something..... leaving Hannah with a babysitter was one of the hardest things I've ever done... but I did it and it was a step that was healthy for all of us; me, Joey, and Hannah.
Even thinking about leaving Hunter is another story entirely!
I won't find another me...
But I have to start trusting that someone else can be a wonderful variation of me in the lives of my kids when I take a few minutes for the real 'me'.
Wanted:
One kid-crazy, Jesus-loving, psycho-Mom-accepting individual to invest herself 100% in the lives of my children a few hours a week so their lives can be richer and their Mama's can be calmer. That Mama? You'll love her.... eventually ;-) Her kids? You'll love them immediately!








Thursday, April 4, 2013

Expectations

What is an expectation?
 
It's a bullet to the forehead.
 
It's not even a bulls eye because a bulls eye offers the opportunity for something different.
 
An expectation is an end all and be all.
 
It's a bullet to the forehead.
 
And we do it every day....
 
to our kids, our spouse, our parents, our friends....
 
We shoot 'em in the forehead with what we 'think' they should do or be or say.
 
But what happens when your child grows up and doesn't choose to go to college.... like you had planned?
 
What happens when he or she chooses to adopt when they could have biological kids.... like you had always imagined?
 
What happens when your adult child tells you that he/she is gay... like he/she does in your worst nightmare?
 
What happens when your precious child tells you that he/she is going to have a child and he/she isn't married.... like in your other worst nightmare?
 
What happens when that precious child of yours tells you that he/she is having a baby and will place that baby for adoption.... like you've never imagined.
 
What happens then?
 
What do you say? What do you do?
 
First, you freak out. Panic.
 
In every situation, you have an expectation... your own plan. Our expectations give birth to disappointment.... and one day, we'll all realize that...
 
Our plan doesn't matter.
 
The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
Proverbs 10:28
 
Plain and simple.
 
YOUR. PLAN. DOESN'T. MATTER.
 
I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11
 
No one wants to hear it... and almost every one of us will fight it.
 
But every one of us, at one time or another, having to do with their child or a job or a spouse or something else, will be faced with the brutal, sometimes painful reality that...
 
Their opinion... their expectation.... doesn't matter.
 
That opinion or expectation doesn't change what is...
 
But sadly, it always changes our view of 'who' it involves.
 
That, is disappointment. The one word every child, every spouse, every employee is terrified to hear.
 
But here's the other reality...
 
It doesn't.
 
That sweet, beautiful, perfect baby boy.... that precious, gorgeous, smart baby girl.... is the same then as he/she is now...
 
except we change them with our expectations.
 
Our expectations change people in our mind and in our hearts.
 
And that's not ok.
 
Expectations kill....
 
they kill people's spirits and dreams and self-esteem.
 
Who wants to carry that weight on their shoulders?
 
Who wants to be responsible for that?
 
Expectations kill.... they kill as much as drugs or alcohol or bullets.
 
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

But maybe our expectations really only hurt us. How much more could we be and do and see and love if we could somehow turn our expectations into unconditional love.... For the person and not for anything else.....


 
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"I'm so sorry but you'll never be able to get pregnant."

No one has ever said that to me.
 
Ever.
 
And if they had, I'm not sure how I would handle it...
 
In the movies there's always a dramatic scene where the doctor is behind his desk and the husband and wife are on the other side holding hands when the doctor brings to life that couple's biggest fear...
 
they can't get pregnant.
 
Obviously, a couple sitting in those chairs, hearing those words, wants to be pregnant... they want to grow their family, and
 
growing your family = getting pregnant
 
To most people.
 
And in that moment, no matter your views on adoption or foster parenting or surrogacy...
 
In that moment, I imagine that pregnancy does feel like the only option....
 
So hearing those words...
 
"I'm sorry but you'll never be able to get pregnant"
 
probably feels like a bullet to the heart.
 
That dramatic scene might happen once in a while but I also imagine that there's a build up to that moment...
 
trying to get pregnant, dreading the 'one year' mark, charting, bulk pregnancy tests, doctors, blood work, counting the days, more blood work, more negative tests, large bills, more blood work, shots...
 
You get the point.
 
I imagine that when you go through all of those hoops and hit one negative after another, that moment is somewhat expected.
 
And even though it's expected, it's never something you're prepared for.
 
Of course, I'm only imagining....
 
Because we've done all of the testing and blood work and charting and negative tests and doctors and shots and meds and more blood work....
 
But we've never lived that moment.
 
No one has to tell us that we can't get pregnant...
 
because here we are, 7 years later, and we've never been pregnant.
 
So we assume....
 
but we don't know.
 
So what's easier?!
 
Living your life in a .... (dot dot dot)
 
or
 
Living that moment
 
???
 
I don't have an answer but I've imagined that moment many times...
 
and many times over the past 7 years...
 
I've longed for that moment.
 
I've longed for a (period) to replace my (dot dot dot).
 
Because I would change the path that has been chosen for our family?!
 
Never.
 
Because one day we will re-visit the doctors and tests and blood work?!
 
Over my dead body.
 
Because I still want to be pregnant?!
 
No.
 
I've never lived that moment....
 
But every single month...
 
I imagine that moment as I live our (dot dot dot).
 
Not because I would ever change our family and not because I want to enter the world of infertility again and not because I want to be pregnant...
 
But because living in the (dot dot dot) is sometimes terrifying.
 
For a few days out of every month, our (dot dot dot) terrifies me.
 
We don't time or chart or test anymore but when people ask the inevitable...
 
Will you have more kids?
 
How do you answer that?!
 
I've tried them all...
 
"Joey wants 2 and I want 3+ so we'll see..."
 
"If the Lord opens the door for us to adopt again, we would be thrilled!"
 
"We still don't know why we haven't gotten pregnant so that's still a possibility."
 
That last one?
 
Terrifying.
 
I know adoption.
 
I'm comfortable with adoption.
 
I live adoption.
 
Adoption feels like me....
 
It's my life.... my heart.
 
But that (dot dot dot) is my biggest 'unknown'...
 
 
(Dot dot dots) open up a world of 'what if's'...
 
Here's mine....
 
"What if God won't let us get pregnant because my body won't be able to handle it?"
 
What if I don't make it? What if the baby doesn't make it?
 
and then...
 
Maybe I should go back on birth control. I should probably start charting again, just in case.
 
And so on.
 
So .... a few days out of every month, it's impossible for me to live outside of my (dot dot dot)...
 
Because well,
 
"Aunt Flo comes for a visit"
 
or
 
"Jenny has a red dress on"
 
or
 
"You're riding the crimson wave"
 
or
 
"Your on the rag"
 
or
 
It's just 'that time of the month'.
 
It does me no good.... none... but every single month, 'it' is my (dot dot dot).
 
There are times that I wish for that moment... that I imagine a (period)...
 
there are also times I wish for a hysterectomy.
 
:-)
 
(I mean really, it does me NO GOOD!)
 
I have no choice so I will continue living in my (dot dot dot) and I will continue trusting that, one way or another, with a pregnancy or that moment or even menopause...
 
one day, my (period) will come... and then? It will be welcome.
 
I don't know of one woman who has struggled with infertility who hasn't heard, at one point or another, from a well-intentioned friend or family member...
 
"You just watch! You'll (stop infertility treatment) (adopt a baby) and then you'll get pregnant! It happens all the time!"
 
I'd like to offer a gentle word of advice to those who might find themselves on the verge of saying something similar in the future...
 
That woman, your friend or family member, no matter what path their family is on and no matter how exciting things may be for her... she's living in a (dot dot dot)...
 
and sometimes, even if only a few days out of every month...
 
that (dot dot dot) is painful and even terrifying.
 
It's true that sometimes couples DO get pregnant soon after ending treatments or bringing a baby home...
 
but it doesn't happen to everyone...
 
and for the one's who it 'could' happen to?
 
A statement like that only extends the already never-ending (dot dot dot).
 
Back to my imagination...
 
I imagine we all have our own (dot dot dot).....
 
What's yours? What triggers your (dot dot dot)? What does that moment look like for you?
 
And when your (period) comes, will you welcome it?
 
Something to ponder on your Wednesday night :-)

 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Jesus told me, Mommy!"

Today marks the anniversary, of sorts, of a day that we will never forget.... a day when our faith in God's plan for our family changed forever... it was stretched and deepened profoundly.

You see, our sweet boy just celebrated his 1st birthday...

but 1 year ago today, we still didn't know him...

he was lying in a hospital incubator, 10 days old, fighting for his life...

And we were still waiting for our #2....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let's flash- back to April 1, 2012;

Hi friends :-) It's been a while and I sat down tonight to write a long-overdue blog post/ update ... I just can't. To admit that we are 18 months into this second adoption wait, to try and justify why it's been that long, to reminisce about how much time we've 'wasted' waiting on different situations, and to act like it's all ok because God still has a plan.... Feels kind of fake. Since I can't find words, I'll let God choose them for me...


"Love is never tired of waiting."1 Corinthians 13:4

Last week Joey and I admitted that we were both just tired of waiting... and every time we feel that way God shows up to offer a light, some encouragement, and something to look forward to. Today, we are thankful for some light, are feeling encouraged, and are looking forward... We will never grow tired of waiting for our baby :-)
That was my Facebook post earlier this week and you know, it's really true;

We haven't grown tired of waiting... because well, we'd wait a lifetime if that's what it took to bring our next baby home. Just because we aren't tired doesn't mean that we aren't frustrated or confused or even angry sometimes... or a lot of times. We haven't given up and to me, that means that each morning we wake up refreshed and hopeful and 'good-anxious'... and we rejoice in the fact that we made it through one more day that has gotten us closer to our baby. THAT is worth the frustration, confusion, and anger, is it not?

Nope, Joey and I are doing fine... living one day at a time and doing our best to trust that God's plan is better than our own (but seriously, I CAN'T wait to see HOW and WHEN His plan will be better than my own... because my own is pretty damn good!), ((Sorry I used the 'D' word :-/)), (((Does infertility and/or adoption bring out your dirty mouth? I didn't even know I had one until infertility and adoption!!)

If you're 'waiting' or if you've ever 'waited', you know the magnitude of what I'm going to say... you know that it pierces your heart, makes you sick to your stomach, and gives you goosebumps all at the same time. Mostly, it just makes me more frustrated and confused and angry when I realize that

 we are not the only one's who are hurting through this wait... who are anxious and excited and hopeful. Our children are, too.

We have prepared our sweet girl 3 (T.H.R.E.E) times this year for her role as big sister... as in; "hurry and wash the baby clothes, unpack the car seat, clean the house, and start packing" kind of preparation. One of those times was a slower process but felt just the same when those babies didn't wear the clothes, sit in the car seat, or come home. Because of how difficult this past year has been, Joey and I have been EXTREMELY cautious around Hannah... we simply do not discuss 'baby' anything in her presence. If we get an email from an expectant mom or hear about a situation through an attorney, we wait and discuss it when Hannah's napping or in bed. While we DO pray for Hannah's baby brother or sister some nights at bedtime (it IS important for her to know that when baby comes home, it means that Jesus answered our prayers!), we just want to protect her as much as we can from the possibility of being 'heartbroken'... again.


Well...

Joey and I were getting dressed this morning and Hannah came tearing into our room.... full force yelling, "Mommy Daddy Mommy Daddy!!!! I'm so excited! My baby brother is coming home tonight!!!!"


Now imagine... how do you respond to this?
Well, if you're us, you get immediate goosebumps and stand there like idiots with your mouths hanging open.

I mean, how can you not be a little shocked/freaked out?
When we recovered, we hugged our bouncing 3 year old and moved on... what do you SAY???
Our day was fun; lunch at a fun place since Daddy was home today, puzzles, books, planted a tree, and made sugar cookies. Hannah wasn't into dinner tonight so we said the customary, "You can get down from the table but you don't get any treats until you eat your 5 bites" and she ran to play in the play room.

Joey and I finished eating and about 10 minutes later Hannah came running into the kitchen yelling, "My baby brother is almost here!! He';s on his way, he's almost here! Hurry I have to eat my dinner!  I don't know what car he's in.... let's go watch for him!"
By this time, Joey and I are a little more than confused/freaked out and I finally asked Hannah... "Who told you that your baby brother is coming home tonight?"

Hannah looked sweetly from her Daddy to me and said...

"Jesus told me, Mommy!"

Of course He did....

Ugh.

In the same extremely mature and sophisticated way in which we typically communicate with our daughter...

Joey changed the subject.

(Okay really?!?! Like you wouldn't have done the same thing!)

It was then that I felt sick to my stomach... and guilty... and angry... and confused... and in some strange way...

hopeful.

Here's the thing...

Most moms and dads would hear that from their child, dismiss it, and think, "There's no way that could happen, anyway... a baby showing up on our door step tonight! Ha!"
But... we met Hannah's birth-parents on a Thursday night, and picked up our baby-girl on Friday morning... 13 hours later.

Not so crazy, after all.
Back to the kitchen tonight....  me feeling sick.... my 'inner me' started running her mouth...

"It's Easter weekend.... it's the absolute perfect time to bring our baby home! Maybe she's right... God says that we need to have faith like a child, right? What if we DO bring our baby home this weekend?"

 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and have faith like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
~Matthew 18:3

But here's what followed...

"What are you talking about?! EVERY SINGLE STINKING DAY FOR THE PAST YEAR HAS BEEN THE PERFECT DAY TO BRING OUR BABY HOME!!!!!"

So much for faith, huh?

Joey and I talked later on about how we should proceed with Hannah since she's obviously very aware, despite our best efforts to protect her, of this long 'wait' to become a big sister. We've learned (the hard way) that Scripture is always the best place to turn when you're at a loss...

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  
~Matthew 19:14

We will let her dream... we'll even dream with her.
We will let her be excited... and we'll allow ourselves to be excited (once again), too.
We will learn from her flawless and perfect faith... we need it.


And we will pray that God will continue to place His loving and profound words in her heart because I have to be honest... there are days when I listen to my daughter more than I listen to my Heavenly Father and quite frankly, that's not ok.

To me, Easter represents all things 'new'... Jesus rising from the grave, our sins being washed clean, the weather, flowers, trees, fresh fruits and vegetables...

So why not families, too???
We always knew that Hannah was 'advanced' (my dad's word ;-))...



 but today she taught her Mama a much-needed lesson in faith!

I love you, sweet girl and know without a shadow of a doubt that you will be the BEST big sister there ever was.... and hopefully soon!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
That day, April 1, 2012, Hannah was absolutely convinced that her baby brother was on his way.

She knew.

How did she know?

"Jesus told me, Mommy!"

Friends...

He did.

April 1, 2012 was the day that Hunter's sweet First Mama relinquished her parental rights... not even knowing if her precious baby would be alive when she could come back and visit him on Easter morning.

By all legal terms, that sweet boy was our's...

we just didn't know.

We wouldn't know for 2 more weeks.

But Hannah knew.

She knew that she was a big sister...

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
~Matthew 19:14

And she was right;

Jesus told her heart.