In honor of National Adoption Month, I wanted to share the top 5 questions that I’m asked about our adoption journey(s).
I used to think it was kind of weird when people said they were “paper pregnant.” But here we are four years into this thing, one babe home after three adoptions started, one at the beginning stages (Haiti), and this is what it looks like.
Today marks one year since we found out that there was a little girl who would be born the next month in Texas who needed a home. What we didn't know is that we'd find out a week later that we were going to be her parents, and she'd be born exactly one month after we found out about her. If you'd like to read our story of Brighten, click here.
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, 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.
Things are much different than they were in our last Christmas update, that's for sure. Last year during this time, we were sick at the news of our first placing agency closing. We were moving from #12 to #81 on the waiting list and we were absolutely devastated.
Around this time last year, things looked a lot different in our lives. We experienced a pretty big setback in our adoption process. Our hearts were broken as we had been rejoicing and dreaming of days that we thought were soon to come, but in the matter of an instant, everything changed. You can read the post I wrote about that here.
Our Brighten Storie...
This is a blog post I've dreamed about writing for the better part of three years. It's the dream half fulfilled, yet my heart feels so entirely full. It hasn't quite sunk in yet, but it is getting more real with every passing moment.
When I was a teenager, I heard a story about children in a developing country who heard about Jesus for the first time. Their biggest takeaway from the gospel is that Jesus is coming back. They were so excited about Jesus's return that they began waiting at the doors and windows of their homes so they didn't miss the opportunity to witness Jesus returning for His Church. I remember longing to wait like that, and feeling a sense of guilt that I didn't.
One of the biggest differences with our domestic adoption and international adoption is the preparation period. With our #journeytojudah in Ethiopia, we know that we'll have anywhere from 6 months to 16 months to prepare for his arrival, even after we're matched. With our #searchingforsunshine domestic process, we could get a call that a birth mother is in her second trimester, or that a baby has already been born, or anything in between. It's been exciting and crazy to think that our lives could completely change (for the better, of course) from one day to the next, or even one hour to the next. That is a new concept for us!
Jason and I periodically have a conversation about my adoption blog and how my blogging frequency has declined a lot over the last year. I always tell Jason that I just don't know what to write. Most of the time we have no new information, and it seems redundant and negative to just say "Waiting is hard" one-thousand different ways.
As I crossed over the Alabama state line into Florida, fields of green space on either side, I couldn't help but burst into tears.
Ready. Set. Reset.
It's been a while since we've sent an email. Partly this has been because we haven't had an update and partly because we've been praying that things would change and we'd have an update to give. Well, I'm happy to say that day has come, but we certainly couldn't have guessed that this is what God has in store for us. We are using this email as a kind of reset for us all - for you and for us.
Sometimes I dream about opening my email. This is task that I do literally 500 times a day and typically doesn't seem like that big of a deal. There will be a day, though, that it's the biggest deal of all. I dream of getting a call, being instructed to open my email, and then I dream of seeing your sweet face.
I realize that's an unconventional title, but if I had to describe my mood for the last three months, this would be it: I HATE WAITING. I've had a bad attitude, I'll admit, but I haven't been able to kick it. Ever since we got the news about the new waiting list and the delay, I've had a bad attitude. My heart hurts, and my heart is tired of waiting.
Yesterday I was listening to my favorite podcast and the host was interviewing a mom who is waiting for a referral from the Philippines and who has been in the process for four years. Sometimes it's hard to listen to people talk about their experiences because every adoption experience is different and it's difficult to not compare our experience to someone else's.
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.
It would seem that everything in the world is trying to prevent me from getting this blog post out into the world of cyber space and into the hearts and minds of you, our friends. I began this post three times this morning, and all three times my post was deleted as an unexpected "refresh" occurred. After a few minutes chatting with the help desk of SquareSpace, I ended up downloading Google Chrome, abandoning Safari, and beginning again only to be called away a few minutes later by a barking dog. Because of this, you're welcome to use the words "morning" and "night" interchangeably in the next few paragraphs, as I am finally sitting down to write at 11:27pm, with clothes in the wash and a timer set to switch them over in half an hour. Oh, and my alarm clock is set for 5:00am. I will surely be jacked up on coffee this weekend!