It's been kind of a bizarre season of life for me. In May, I quit my job at a nonprofit that served kids in care to stay home with Brighten and to start my own consulting business. In June, we found out that we were not going to be able to continue to pursue international adoption in Ethiopia after almost four years in process. Now, I'm learning contentment, which, if I'm honest, is uncomfortable and completely unfamiliar.
When Jason and I began our Ethiopia adoption process in December of 2013, we had no clue what the next several years would bring. We were, admittedly, blindly optimistic. We thought it'd only take a few months to do our home study (try 7.5), be on the waiting list by summer (it was the end of September), and be booking flights to Ethiopia by Christmas 2015. Thankfully, even basking in our optimism, we'd heard that adoption is not for the faint of heart, so we had the foresight to set some "guidelines" - rules for ourselves if the going got tough.
Today is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week. I've been working on putting this post together for the duration of this week, and honestly I'm nervous to hit the "publish" button. I'm nervous that it will be too direct, too opinionated, too much for some people. But my prayer is that if you choose to read this, you'll have a greater understanding of my story, and potentially stories that are similar to mine. My hope is that my words can bring us together, not divide, and that we can all rest in the unique plans that God has for us.
My great-grandfather, Storie, who Brighten is named after, marked timber for a living. All day, every day for years and years we walked the woods, marking timber. Everyday at lunch he'd eat a giant meal that my great-grandmother packed for him, drink a thermos of piping hot coffee, and laid on the toolbox of his truck to take a 20 minute nap in the sun. From everything I've heard about him, he loved his job, and he was good at it. Storie passed away just a few months before I was born, so I never got to meet him in person, however the stories I've heard certainly tell the tale of a man I would have loved to have met.
My, how life gets crazy quickly. In 6 months we have traveled to Texas, met our daughter, brought her home, went back to work, traveled to the West Coast twice, finalized her adoption, put our house on the market, taken our house off the market, and updated all of our international adoption paperwork. Whew, things have been busy. I began the year inspired to post something on my blog at least twice a week. I did that for all of one week and then fell off the bandwagon. Whoops! But here I am again, attempting to do better.
Originally written on December 31, 2016. Held for contemplation and revisited on January 7, 2017.
These days my Goodreads list looks more like celebrity memoirs and less like a high school summer reading list, however, I'm thankful for having read some Charles Dickens in my day. Sometimes, authors give us words that make so much sense when we don't really know how to describe something in our own words. As much as I love Lauren Graham and her latest book is a such a delight, she just doesn't quite paint the picture of 2016. Charles Dickens on the other hand...
Happy New Year! We probably shouldn't say this, but we;re not too sad to see 2015 behind us! It was a good year for the most part, but God really stretched us as He worked in our hearts through new mercies that were completely unforeseen to us. We look forward to 2016, hoping and praying that maybe this is the year. We doubt we'll be able to travel to Ethiopia twice and bring home Judah in the next 361 days, but we are hopeful that we will have a referral by 2017. Of course, that's definitely a hope, and as we have learned over the past few years, nothing is guaranteed or set in stone in the world of adoption.
God is so gracious. He continues to provide in the details of our lives and we are so undeserving. Yesterday we found out that there were no referrals this month, so we are still #12 on the waiting list. I have to admit that I felt a little like I'd been been kicked in the gut. We've been praying for a referral by the end of the year, and yesterday made that previously seemingly achievable hope seem less likely. Well, boo. Of course we know that God is not bound by a waiting list, and that all things work together in His timing. We know this, but it's hard.
I'm as much of a daddy's girl as I am a mommy's girl. And I'm as much of a mommy's girl as I am a daddy's girl. I have fantastic parents. As an adult, I look back on my childhood and I have so much respect and admiration for how they raised my sisters and me. But if I'm honest, I had the same opinion growing up (except for a few times here and there as a teenager when I thought I knew more than they did). I've always known my parents were good at their job, and I've always looked forward to trying to emulate their parenting skills.
We are now #12 on the waiting list!!
We are beyond thrilled for the movement that happened in September - TWO referrals, which means two children have been matched with their forever families. As we get closer to receiving our referral, it has begun to feel much more real.
Get a paper bag, I'm starting to hyperventilate. We. Are. So. Close.
We are now #14 on the waiting list.
One day, I'll have time to blog regularly again.
One day, I'll finish my autobiography for our adoption home study.
One day, I'll think about something to write other than what my childhood was like, and how best to put that into words.
Some of you might be wondering, if it's going to be three years before we're able to bring our child home, why would we name him now? That's a great question, and a question that I really do love answering because it helps our friends and family see a little deeper into our lives and our approach to this whole adoption journey.