Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Unexpected Grief

My sister in law said it perfectly: “My heart breaks for her and aches for you.”

When we got the text at noon on Thursday that there was a baby in Florida who was 1 day past her due date, I did what anyone would naturally do. Called my husband, freaked out. Called my mom, freaked out. Read the text and subsequent email 100x looking for any detail I missed the time before. I had done this with each mama we had seen, except this time it was different.

As I read the email, I was weepy.

As I called Zach, I was desperate for him to say we could present to this mom. I wanted this baby. I wanted to book the next flight to Florida and snuggle her as soon as she was earthside.

He said YES! I cried again. I wrote the most honest, heartfelt letter I’ve ever written. Last time it felt unnatural. This time felt right.

Coincidentally we had stayed home from an all expense paid trip for two to Australia, and instead decided to spend the weekend with our close friends about two hours away who live and work at a Young Life Camp. We decided to still go, regardless of the fact there is no cell service, and spend the time we could with them. Atleast there is wifi and FaceTime at their house.

We got to camp late at night, put the kids down, and that’s when the anxiety settled in. I had been trying to pray all day and just couldn’t find words. I kept saying “Lord, you know. We trust you.”  After the kids were down and all was quiet I started praying for mama, for her decision to choose a family, that she would feel confident in her decision to choose adoption and clarity in which family she wanted to place her baby with. I was praying the Lord would comfort her as she goes through these final days of pregnancy knowing what is coming.

I started memorizing Romans 15:13. With each word I would forget and go lookup, the Lord was teaching me and bringing me closer to him.

Hope,
fill,
believe,
power.

To be honest, I was sure this was our mama. This was our baby. I just knew it. I actually had this post written up until here because I wanted to remember each step and how I felt to live out our story, the one we have prayed for this whole time. I was writing it as I felt it so that I could post something as soon as we knew she was ours.

 I was so anxious for my email to ding because I knew it was going to say she had chosen us, or she wanted to meet us. At camp we don’t have cell service so I thought maybe someone would FaceTime us to tell us the amazing news that we were about to welcome a daughter, and it was time to get on a plane to Florida.

We headed into camp to grab an ice cream cone from the Sassy. I was actually grateful to leave the house and the wifi so that I could stop hitting 'refresh' every 3 minutes hoping for news. There is zero service down in camp, and I knew I needed the fresh air that comes with being totally disconnected. We let the boys run around & then decided to head up to start dinner.

I was chopping mushrooms while waiting for water to boil when Zach came around the corner holding his phone. As only Zach can do, he used the same calm voice he always does and said, "the mama has narrowed it down and she is choosing a family that is local."

I had to actually stop and think about what he had just said because that certainly wasn't what I was anticipating hearing. This was our baby! Everything was perfect; Australia, the timing, our suitcases were packed, our friend has a house we can stay in, we are ready! But it's not up to us. And all of a sudden I understood the verse the Lord had laid on my heart. He wasn't giving me this verse for our wait to hear back from this mama. He was giving me this verse for after we heard this wasn't our baby.

I was and am ok. I had peace in her decision. I knew this just meant this was someone else's baby. I have said that all along, that we would be ok waiting for our baby. I knew that there were other families showing this mama their books and we had been praying for her all weekend because of the magnitude of the decision she was making.

What I wasn't expecting though, is the sadness. Even as I type this my eyes are welling up with tears yet again. When my sweet friend Jess came inside and just hugged me without saying anything, that is when it hit. Yes, I have a supernatural peace about this. I have joy, so much joy. I trust in Him. I am overflowing with hope, truly. And I am also sad. When we decided to present to this mama (present is the adoption lingo meaning the agency shows her our family's book), that was our yes. In our hearts we were prepared to call this baby our own. And now we lean into the Lord as we grieve that "if" and wait on our "yes."

xoxo,
Katie

photo credit: Kari Rae Lewis

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

For Life

Last week, we heard from our case worker that our home study would be approved that weekend. Our consultant sent us our profile book to order. We narrowed down the agencies we were going to apply to. We were ready to send everything in & be "waiting."

I decided I would write us a letter from ourselves at this point, to read later on in case we get discouraged & to document each step of the process and what we are feeling at this point. I felt like it was a good transition point to take a pause and write things down before the next phase started. Process it and pray over it.

Until I woke up and there was a birth mom situation in my inbox. What? I wasn't ready! We hadn't even gotten our approved home study, we hadn't sent our applications in, I hadn't written my thoughts down!! That sweet letter I was going to write to the future us as if we were campers at Young Life Camp or something - I hadn't even thought of what to say!

And then it clicked. The Lord was like, "hey Katie, did I ever say this was going to go how you planned it? Even a little bit?" No, in fact at a women's weekend I went to last fall (at a Young Life Camp, no less) He specifically told me this process was going to teach me patience. Not like we will have this take longer than normal, but more like I am just an INSTANT gratification person, 100% of the time, and this wasn't going to work like that. I was already feeling pressured to keep up with everyone else's timelines. But this is ours. Our adoption. Just typing that brings tears to my eyes. No matter the timeline, we won't miss our baby, the one the Lord already has for us.

We hired our adoption consultant (sidenote, if you are even thinking about considering adoption, please consider going through a consultant. I literally don't know how people adopt without a Casey) in June, we sent our home study paperwork in in January, while other people who hired Casey in August are already bringing their babies home. We're on the slow track, and the Lord is teaching me to be okay with that. Especially since that is not very slow at all compared to the years it can take for an international adoption or even through other agencies in the US. Comparison though. It just robs you of things, and usually without you even catching it!

So our letter to ourselves is different.  Even though we didn't present to the birth moms we saw last week, seeing their stories shook me a little bit. This adoption thing isn't about us, it is not romantic or amazing of us. What it IS, is us being obedient to something the Lord put on both of our hearts a long time ago. No matter the heartbreak it brings, on either side of it.

Dear Self, this isn't going to go as planned, even the parts you thought you could control. Even still, your baby is out there and because of that, you should not be discouraged or think less of your journey and circumstances. This is it, the adoption you've always dreamed and prayed and hoped for. You're doing it. Be grateful that you can say yes so easily. Soon you'll have a newborn and these months will be a blur and so worth it. 
Some of the birth mom situations you will see will hurt your heart. Pray for them. Know that each baby you don't present to or don't get matched with is someone else's baby that they are hoping and praying and waiting for! Continue praying for their birth mamas. Also? Give yourself grace. Just because you're not physically pregnant doesn't mean you aren't just as emotional. This is your baby. Feel the feels. Go there. They deserve it. Honor your baby during this time so you can tell them about it in the future, how you waited and longed for them gracefully, diligent in prayer and working every day to better yourself and prepare your heart for what was coming.
Mostly, don't lose sight of why you're doing this. Not for you, but for life. For a life that is so very wanted and has a beautiful purpose.
Your baby will be in your arms soon. Go on a few dates before then :) Rest in the comfort of knowing your God knows exactly when and where your baby is. And buckle up, because you have no idea what's coming. Oh, and please remember to keep Jesus first. Don't run to friends before kneeling before Him. He is the author of this story and wants you to seek him first.

p.s. We are still waiting on the approved home study that would be to use for sure three Mondays ago. Patience. Once we have it, we can send everything into agencies and officially be a waiting family! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Our First Home Study Interview

Oh hey blog world. It's been awhile. Like, almost three years awhile. I needed a break from this space because it didn't feel like "me" anymore.

I've realized how much writing is an outlet for me and how it helps me sort through my thoughts. I need this for me. This blog became something I felt I was doing for other people or to "keep up", so I stopped. I'm in a much different place now, and I'm excited to start over. I toyed with starting a whole new blog or just revamping this one, and decided to stay here. This blog tells my story, and I don't want to lose that or forget it.

So here we are. This "adoption" thing we've always talked about doing is happening. Sometimes I stare at the wall and wonder how we got here. Wonder how our story will go. Mostly I think of our birth mom. Is she devastated to have to choose adoption? Is she relieved to choose adoption? It's weird not knowing. Not knowing her, not knowing her reason for choosing adoption, not knowing where she is, if she's even pregnant yet.

We had our first home study interview last night. I had worked myself up so far I was a complete ball of anxiety. I texted a friend who was grocery shopping and asked if I could come with just so I could get out of the house. Our nanny helped us get our house in tip top shape but I still was re arranging, dusting, sorting, rearranging more. It's not that I thought she would care what our house looked like, it's that I didn't know what else to do. It isn't a test you can study for. We are who we are, I'm not overly concerned with getting "failed" on our home study, but I was concerned about who would show up to our doorstep at 4pm. Her report is what will be sent with our profile to agencies across the country telling them who we are. I wanted someone who made us feel comfortable so we could be ourselves and really be able to share our hearts with her.

The Lord totally provided and she was just those things. Kind, gentle, compassionate, and very friendly. She asked us about our families, discipline, what we would hope for in a baby or birth mom and relationship with her, education, etc. A friend of mine wrote a post a year ago announcing their adoption and said she was so tired of talking about herself. I didn't get it then, I sure do now. I could be done talking about myself for a looooong time and be ok.

Maybe the hardest thing is I don't know how to put it into words. My heart longs for and yearns for a baby. My heart aches for a grieves for the birth mom/parents. It is a strange emotion to be excited for your family while simultaneously so sad for another. But, that is adoption. That is the sanctity of life. They love that child & believe in that life, that wanted life, so much that they place the baby with someone else to love and raise. I can't think of anything more brave.

Expect more rambling from me as we go through this. We have our 2nd home study interview on Monday, and then we get to choose which agencies we are applying to. Please be praying for discernment and direction with that decision. I want this all written because I want to remember it, I want to remember how I felt and what my prayers were. I also want to share this because I think adoption is beautiful and so needed, and it doesn't have to be scary. I want to share so that maybe you might decide it is right for your family. These babies are so worth it.

Our announcement photo: October 2016