Category Archives: Adoption

Infertility Turned Pregnancy Blogs

Over the past few days I have been mulling over infertility, infertility blogs and infertility-turned-pregnancy blogs. I’ve read a bit here and there that some women are irritated by blogs that are initially geared toward infertility that eventually turn into pregnancy blogs. For some who are still experiencing painful infertility, such blogs give them hope. But for others, it’s as painful as attending a close friend’s baby shower or the news that your younger sister is pregnant… again. And so I have been thinking a bit about my own blog and my dilemma of not wanting to be insensitive and hurtful, yet wanting so badly to share my story so that others will cling to the same HOPE that I clung to while in the throes of infertility.

My blog was initially supposed to be an adoption blog. Mix in some infertility blogging in there too. And IVF. (I hardly blogged about IVF because I had such little faith that God would allow it to work.) Oh wait… God had other plans! So now my blog is an adoption-turned-infertility-turned infertility treatment- turned-pregnancy blog. Talk about a major change in plans! I don’t apologize for this becoming a pregnancy blog now, because I honestly had no idea I would be sitting here pregnant and in my third trimester. I really thought that if we ever got to have children, every single one of them would be adopted. And I thought that my endometriosis would have crippled my body far too much to even think about infertility treatments, let alone getting pregnant. My goals were to exist without having to have surgeries every 8 months, and to survive the pain of not raising children when I so strongly felt like that was exactly what God had called me to do.

I have friends who are currently treading the murky waters of infertility. Where every month that passes with another negative pregnancy test results in more sadness. And there is a general question as to which direction to turn–to keep waiting and trying? To try IVF? Or adopt? What is the best path to take and how can further heartache be avoided? It hurts my heart to watch it. I’ve been there. I know the ache and bone-deep desire to be a mother all too well. Tonight I came across some helpful, loving words for those who are struggling with infertility on another gal’s blog. Her points could not be better expressed. Please take minute to read, and to be encouraged if this is your battle today: http://redeeminginfertility.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/10-things-i-wish-someone-had-told-me-about-infertility/

None of us know what the future holds. My story is living proof of that! If your situation is bleak, if there seems to be no end to negative pregnancy tests, infertility treatments or to painfully prolonged adoptions, please keep trusting God. Refuse to give in to bitterness and despondency. There are many who will not understand your situation and who will ask you hurtful questions (“So why don’t you have children yet?”), and you know what? Praise God that they don’t get it, because it’s a hardship they have completely gotten to bypass. They may be enduring hardships in another vein that you know nothing about. But there are many of us who do understand, who have walked the same path. And although everyone’s situation is unique, the pain is not. So let others pray over you and love you through it. Don’t hide it or shrink away, because God gave us the Body of Christ to help shoulder each other’s burdens. I have many friends who helped shoulder mine, but that wouldn’t have happened much if I wasn’t willing to share my struggle with them in the first place. Being transparent can be scary but I think you’ll find it ultimately freeing.

Lastly, let God know you are trusting Him to heal your wounds. One day, He will. And keep trusting Him through the fiercest temptation to despair. He will carry you through it.

If I can be praying for you, please let me know!

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Filed under Adoption, Endometriosis, Infertility, Pregnancy

Let Us Draw Near

Chronic pain is a tough one. Every day is a challenge — a monumental task at times to get a single errand run or to choose to not fall into despair. Often times the later is harder for me than the former. I feel like a complete wimp for acknowledging it, but I do get frustrated. I wish I had a natural dispensation to “look on the bright side” but I don’t; rather it is a discipline for me. It is a choice I must make when faced with sheer disappointment, over and over again.

For the time being I have given up on working altogether. The pain is too steady and often times very sharp and stabbing. I couldn’t imagine trying to work while occasionally doubling over in pain! How embarrassing! My mom encouraged me to wait until I had 2-3 “good days” in a row where I experienced less pain before heading back to work. Only trouble is, it hasn’t happened yet! So we are buckling down on our budget and I am trying to make the most of this time. Even with the steady pain, I’m beyond excited to meet our little boy.

I’ve been pondering the correlation between fear and pain lately, and how crippling fear often makes pain worse. I know this has been true for me, especially when I have a new area of pain that I can’t immediately explain or diagnose. It’s hard not to focus (okay, maybe obsess!) on the pain until it’s been figured out. Furthermore, fear is kindled by the question of “how long will this pain last? Will it be for a moment? A day? A month, maybe?” Lastly, kerosene is added to the anxious thoughts when we start to wonder if we will have to live with the pain forever. Trust me, it’s not a good place to be, and by this time the sensation of pain is often times blown out of proportion. At this point, we can choose to either despair or to allow the anxious thoughts to be put to rest by the Holy Spirit who assuredly reminds us that no matter what hardships we face, we will not meet them alone but by His strength and power. Without this reassurance, I have found it’s pretty hard to not spin out of control emotionally and find yourself in self pity and despair. I’ve had lots of practice at this, and yet I find myself still failing at times to look to Christ and to ask Him for help in trusting Him.

And trust Him we must. When the anxiety creeps in again, we must again choose to believe that He is good and faithful and will see us through any hardship He allows us to face.

This passage from Hebrews 4:15-16 has encouraged me again and again:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

This, my friends, is what this blog is all about. Whether going through infertility, or muddling our way through adoption, living through the uncertainties of surgeries and then IVF, and now pregnancy and chronic pain– I am encouraged to draw near to our perfect and holy God (take a moment to ponder just how preposterous that statement is). A God who understands because He suffered too. Just being in His presence is enough, but instead He chooses to give us mercy and grace by calling us His own.

And so on days like today, where I look back over the weeks and can’t remember a day where I haven’t been hurting a lot, I choose to not despair. I choose not to be anxious about these next ten weeks of pregnancy, or even how long I will be suffering the consequences of having stage 4 endometriosis. Instead I choose Christ, who suffered far greater than I, who shouldered all my sins and who lovingly allows me grace even though I don’t deserve it.

His mercies are new every morning, and I can only wonder what they will look like tomorrow!

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Filed under Adoption, Endometriosis, Infertility, IVF, Pain, Pregnancy

A Door Finally Closed

We’d put off the decision long enough.

Neither of us really wanted to cut our ties with our adoption agency.  We had grown to really appreciate and like our adoption specialist, Mona. Her advice and encouragement were always timely. She was the type of person we’d probably be friends with if we hadn’t already established a professional relationship with her first. We couldn’t say enough praise about our adoption agency, either. But we had pulled our profile books back in May due to the process of IVF taking place, and our agency had been patiently waiting on us to make a final decision over the last 7 months. If we cut our ties, we would lose all the money we had already put down towards an adoption (rough half of the total costs). It felt like a lot of money, and what if I ended up miscarrying?

It helps that I’ve made it to the third trimester with our son. 28 weeks along today! The hope of seeing him alive and surviving grows greater with each passing day. But those four little embryos of ours, sitting cryopreserved in a special laboratory freezer, seriously helped us know which direction to proceed. We’re committed to them and to giving them a chance to survive. Which means that, if we transfer two back in me at a time, and I get pregnant (Lord willing!), it might be a few years before we’re ready to pursue adoption again. Financially and time-wise, it just made sense to close our case now. Plus, our agency doesn’t like to have cases on hold for too long (understandably). After all, they have to make their obligations as well.

It was a difficult phone call to make. Our adoption agency has just been off-the-charts wonderful. And I love adoption– what is represents; how it cares for both orphans and moms in distress. Mona was ecstatic for us, upon hearing that I was already 27 weeks along. She said to me, “You know, it really thrills me when this happens, because whether you’re adopting or getting pregnant, you are bringing a child into your family, and that is the chief goal.” She made me promise to send her a birth announcement, and that was the end of that. It was just too easy, after deliberating the subject with hubby for months and months. There was sadness in my heart, obviously tempered by the joy of expecting a child, but it lingered there none the less.

In the end, I have to be thankful, because if we hadn’t chosen to adopt first, I don’t know if I would have ever been brave enough to try IVF, given the severity of my endometriosis. Either way, I’m just so thrilled that our family is expanding!

On another note, life has pretty much come to a grinding halt since this abdominal pain began. I have found that if I just don’t do much, the pain is a little better and I can avoid having to lay down. I went to my OB appointment on Friday and thankfully our baby boy looks pretty good. Every time I go in for an appointment, his heart rate is consistently 150!It’s just me who’s kind of a mess and having trouble walking, bending over, sitting up, crossing my legs, etc. The nurse practitioner offered to write me off of work and told me to go to Labor & Delivery if the pain gets any worse. Not exactly reassuring words. But I’m pretty sure that, once again, we’re dealing with sticky adhesions gluing together the entire right side of my abdomen, from my hip to my rib cage. At times it feels like there’s internal bruising. As baby grows, the web of adhesions  pull tighter and try to shift whatever they’re adhered to — bladder, bowel, uterus, etc. Not fun, but it will be totally worth it in the end.  In the meantime, I’m home sewing baby blankets and listening to sermons, or whatever takes my mind off of the pain!

Here's a sample of some of the baby blankets I've been making--learning to sew this year has been such a blessing.

Here’s a sample of some of the baby blankets I’ve been making–learning to sew this year has been such a blessing.

Thank you to those of you who have been praying for me — you have been a huge source of encouragement. And I’m sure it’s the ONLY way I was able to tell my mom on the phone the other day “Yeah, the pain’s pretty bad today, but you know what? I’d totally do this all over again. It’s so worth it. I can’t wait to hold our son in our arms!”

Merry Christmas to you all — may your eyes be transfixed on our Savior, born both fully God and fully man, as you celebrate this special season.

I received this ornament in my Christmas stocking at my in law's yesterday. So cute!

I received this ornament in my Christmas stocking at my in law’s yesterday. So cute!

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Filed under Adoption, Endometriosis, Pain, Pregnancy

A Time for Miracles

“You must pursue it now and you must pursue it aggressively.”

A thousand thoughts ran through my head as I sat on Dr. L’s exam table back in February. I was in her office once again because I had suspected that my endometriosis had struck back with another ovarian cyst. Ultrasound reports confirmed my suspicions. Once again I was headed to surgery.

I was weary of it all. Weary of surgeries every 8-12 months. Weary of feeling like I was going to lose my ovaries all together with each slice and dice of the knife to peel away those cysts. Weary of pain. I told Dr. L, “I think I should just get a hysterectomy. I’m so tired of having these surgeries.” But then I started to cry as the truth came out: “But I feel like I can’t have a hysterectomy until I at least try and fail IVF first.”

It turns out that hubby and I had discussed IVF a long time ago. At the time, he was willing to try it. I had done my research and had concluded that I had a 17% chance that it would work. In my opinion, the odds were just too low. I didn’t know if I could handle it emotionally if it failed. Adoption felt more certain. Sure, it may take a while. But eventually you’ll have a child. There were no such guarantees with IVF.

Dr. L gave me a rude awakening. “If you’re evening thinking of IVF, you had better pursue it now, and pursue it aggressively.” “Emily,” she told me, “Right now the only thing you have going for you is your age. If I were you I wouldn’t wait any longer.” I was dumbfounded. Completely shocked. I thought maybe we could try IVF, oh, like in five years or so. Maybe after we had adopted a couple of kids. I told Dr. L that it was complicated since we were in the process of adopting. I told her we’d think about it.

I drove home feeling depressed and confused. The truth is, I really trusted Dr. L. She’s an excellent doctor, actually so good that we haven’t switched to cheaper health insurance because it’d mean I’d have to transfer to another OB/GYN group. I knew her well enough to know that she wasn’t speaking flippantly about the IVF. But I had no idea what the right answer was. If we waited to do IVF, I might end up never getting the chance to even try. On the flip side, we could get a call to adopt a baby the next day. I prayed throughout the afternoon as I cooked up some dinner in the kitchen.

Hubby came home from work that night and did I ever drop a bombshell on him. “Dr. L says that if we’re ever going to want to do IVF, we had better do it now.” Surprisingly, hubby took a little time to think and pray about it and then announced “Let’s go for it!” For the second time that day, I was completely shocked. Hubby always takes more time to make decisions. Clearly this had been something he’d always wanted to try, I had just squashed those desires by telling him that it wouldn’t work. I felt ashamed at my actions, but the Lord gave me a second chance to get it right. “Alright,” I told him. “I’ll call our adoption agency tomorrow and find out what this means, and then I’ll get us on the schedule for IVF.

And so the IVF game began.

I went on to have surgery and the week of the surgery a miracle happened. My cyst disappeared. I still had the surgery since I was due for an endometriosis and adhesion “clean out” surgery. Besides, my doctor thought it’d be a good idea to have a fresh, clean start prior to starting IVF. Regardless, the fact that my cyst miraculously disappeared — and this kind of cyst either grows or bursts, but NEVER do they disappear on their own– kept my surgeon’s scalpel away from my ovary. I began to wonder, “Is God actually doing something here? Maybe His plan all along was for us to do IVF?” But I kept my thoughts to myself. After all, I still had IVF to get through, and I was terrified that it wouldn’t work.

The rigorous regiment for IVF came to a start in early June. The first day I started subcutaneous medications (three injections a day, in case you were wondering!) I went into the backyard to pray. I wept as I begged God to answer my prayers. I reminded Him of all the times He had answered the prayers of various barren women mentioned in the Bible. I journaled. I knew I needed to do this before continuing on this crazy IVF journey. I needed the Lord to help me through the uncertainty and through the physical toll that IVF takes on your body.

Along the way, it turned out that my body responded better to the medication than anyone could have guessed. My IVF doctor was amazed! He had given me a 20% chance of the IVF working. My ovaries were not responding like someone who had had several cysts removed from them. Also, my lab work was almost perfect. In every way my body responded well, and there were zero complications. I read other accounts of women who had stage 4 endometriosis like me whose ovaries had not responded at all. I had been terrified that this might be my story, but as it turned out, this was not the case for me. God had worked yet another miracle.

We got through the egg retrieval and then the embryo transfer on June 28th. When my doctor handed me a picture of the two clusters of human cells that was to possibly be our future babies, I cried. I wasn’t even sure if there would be any embryos to transfer and here we had two beautiful embryos, plus a few more continuing to grow in the lab. I texted all my friends and family who knew we were going through IVF and asked them to pray.

I then went on a three-day bed rest (doctor’s orders) and I was severely tested emotionally. It took a lot of discipline to not worry that the IVF had not worked. I was a wreck for an entire week. We went on a trip with my parents for the 4th of July but I was still exhausted from all the IVF meds left in my system and if I’m honest, I was overall pretty discouraged. I didn’t feel that I could get my hopes up as a way of protecting myself in case it didn’t work. My family went out and did fun things, but a lot of the time I chose to take naps on the sofa. When we got home from our trip we pulled up in the garage and I went inside and immediately took a pregnancy test. I felt like I was going to snap– I couldn’t stand the wait any longer! I just needed to be able to move forward, with whatever information the test gave me. Isaac was still unloading the car and was completely unaware of my plans to test when I ran into the garage with the test in my hand… “Look babe! It’s positive! Look at it!!! It’s POSITIVE!!” Hubby picked me up and twirled me around, he was as overjoyed as I was. We got dressed up and went out to dinner to celebrate. The Lord had worked yet another miracle in my life! My heart overflows to this day with joy!

And so this is how the pregnancy saga began, how we thought we were headed in one direction toward adoption and how the Lord re-directed us to another. We never could have guessed this would have happened. I didn’t even blog about it because I thought “This will take a lot of explaining for something that will probably come to nothing.” Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. And I am happy to have been wrong!

My heart is still for adoption, but for now things are on hold. Our agency doesn’t allow you to be pregnant and adopt at the same time. I can understand their reasoning; after all, if I were a birth mother, I’m not sure I’d pick an adoptive mom who was already expecting. I felt really conflicted about this at first, almost like we hadn’t kept our word, or hadn’t followed through somehow, even though we had never even been picked by a birth mother. We were still waiting. But then as I sat in Dr. L’s office the other day and we marveled together over the course of events and all the miracles that had taken place over the past 6 months, even Dr. L said, “This was meant to be.” And even though the path may still unfold some unexpected challenges, I believe this to be true.

I’m a little over 12 weeks pregnant today with one precious little baby. It’s so fun to get to see his or her legs kicking up a storm on ultrasound, and to see such tiny little toes. It’s an experience I never thought I’d have. We’re praising Jesus and feeling blessed.

Twelve weeks along!

Twelve weeks along!

Thanks for reading this extremely long blog post– 6 months is a lot of events to cover!

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A “But Not” Moment

Last week at my ladies Bible study, we decided to have an Easter dinner celebration together and, prior to taking communion, we individually shared what we loved most about Easter. As my turn to share approached, I began to think of the past month and realized how much it reminded me of Easter, a universe-changing event that didn’t result in what first appearances initially concluded to.

Let me explain. The past month has been comprised of 2 parts: One really awful, discouraging week filled with despair and sorrow (you may have read my blog post during that time)– followed by three weeks of continual encouragement, delighting in the Lord, and in short: HOPE. I cannot emphasize enough how much the Lord has carried me though this time of trial and struggle. After my bad week, the Lord really convicted me that I was starting to sound like “Ye of little faith” and I had to repent of my shallow faith, my inability to even pray in faith during that time. Since that time, the Lord has given me tremendous hope and peace. It is a glorious place to be.

This brings me to Easter. How many times have we been trapped in a dark place, where the future looked bleak and all hope seemed to be lost? This was the day our Lord was crucified. Darkness covered the land. He had died and that was that. Hope was shattered. When our Savior said “It is finished” we didn’t understand what that meant. All we saw was the mangled body of our Lord being put into the grave. We didn’t understand that all we needed to do was trust, and wait. In three days our Savior would rise victoriously from the grave and defy death. He would reign and we would be be made righteous through the death that He suffered, hanging there on that rugged cross. We didn’t know there was such a spectacular display of Christ’s obedience to the Father and love for us.

Over a year ago, I was out walking and listening to a podcast. As I walked, I listened to a pastor teach about the “But Not” Moment. He’s referring to 2 Corinthians 4 when Paul writes “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” We may feel crushed, we may feel afflicted, persecuted, even struck down — but there’s always a “but not” moment coming! A moment when we see the Lord carrying us through these trials, when we see Him showering us with His love. We just have to wait for it.

Speaking of waiting and trusting through adoption and my health, we still haven’t heard anything from our adoption agency. However, in a huge answer to prayer, my surgery is going to be April 19th, not the end of May like we had previously been told! Additionally, I haven’t been in too much pain the past week, and that is also a big answer to prayer. The Lord has surrounded me with countless people these past few weeks who have encouraged me to keep looking to the Lord, to keep praying in faith. I am so thankful. And now it is my turn to encourage you, to be the one to help you keep pressing on. Because while today may seem hopeless, a but not moment’s coming. We just need to wait for it.

Happy Easter!

 

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Heart Sick

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Hoping is a dangerous business. Especially when it’s for something you desire above anything else. I find myself in a continual paradox — how do I remain hopeful, and at the same time find peace and contentment with my current situation? It seems the only way I can find peace is to forget that getting pregnant was ever an option.

I cried a bucket full of tears last week. I had hoped, prayed, and done everything I could to remain off of birth control and still stave off this endometriosis. My hope that I’d get pregnant soared higher than it had in many months. And, at first I did really well. I had two really great months that were essentially pain-free. Until February came along. And now my nemesis– that is, this daily endometriosis pain that ranges from dull to sharp, as well as indigestion, is back with a vengeance. Even still, my deepest concern is that another cyst is present, threatening yet another surgery in the near future.

All of this will have to be confirmed with an ultrasound. I have an appointment with my doctor this week. On my birthday. Although I love my ob/gyn, my track record with ob/gyn appointments have never been an uplifting experience. If only she could give me good news (for just once!). Even when I try to brace myself for the suspected bad news, I still usually leave with tears in my eyes. If I’m to be honest, I’m dreading walking into her waiting room and taking my seat among all the pregnant ladies waiting to be seen.

Throughout all of this, I continue to pray and persevere in waiting for our precious adopted baby to join our family, hopefully soon. I, as well as other close friends of mine have all had dreams about our adopted baby! It isn’t reality yet, but it feels like a glimpse into reality for just a moment, and I am grateful for that. It spurs me on to keep praying… and to keep hoping.

I lift my eyes up to the hills. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

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Twists and Turns and Prayers that Linger

Sometimes life has unexpected twists and turns. I really thought we would have adopted by now. I’m not sure where I got this (now unwanted) expectation from. It was something that just occurred to me one day back in September when we were approved by our adoption agency. For some uncalculated and unknown reason, I thought it wouldn’t take this long.

In the scheme of things and considering the slowly churning world of adoption, we haven’t waited very long. Just 4 months. These months have actually passed by quickly, and some days I go almost all day without even thinking about our adoption. Then there are days like today, when I hold another mother’s precious baby in my arms while working at my job in the NICU, and it occurs to me, “I could be holding our own baby just as sweet and little as this in my arms come tomorrow.” My usually subdued feelings to want to love and care for a little one bubble up to the surface. It’s a frightful yet wonderful feeling.

And yet… maybe another year will go by without an addition to our family. Maybe I will look on to the beginning of yet another year and ponder the fact that we still haven’t adopted. It’s definitely a possibility. But then again, this year may be different. I’m hoping we’ll adopt soon. And far more helpful is that fact that we and many others are praying it’s so. If you have ever lifted us up in prayer over this matter, we are grateful for you. This prayer to adopt has lingered in the Lord’s presence for many months now. He is not deaf to our pleas, nor incapable of responding.

So, here’s to answered prayers and life’s unexpected twists and turns in 2013!

Happy New Year, everyone!

 

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With a Grateful Heart

It’s a cool but sunny November day here in Northern California. Beautifully colored leaves are falling off the trees with generous leniency at each mild gust of  blowing wind. People are out buying Thanksgiving decorations and supplies. Christmas shopping has begun. It’s a huge change in scenery for us, seeing as we just returned from the hot and humid tropical weather of Papua New Guinea where we were visiting my sister, brother in law and their three delightful boys. We were gone for three weeks, and what a glorious trip we had. We left for Papua New Guinea pretty much putting our adoption on ‘hold’ – as it would have been nearly impossible for our adoption specialist to call us where we were, and almost as difficult for us to receive any emails from her. So, we left on our trip with peaceful hearts, trusting the Lord with each mile further away we got, and thankful for the opportunity to visit my family and see a little bit of what their life is like living among a tribal people group.

When our trip came to a close, saying goodbye was harder than expected. My older sister Elizabeth (2 years older) and I share a very special bond, and have for years. We’ve written volumes of long emails back and forth to each other over the last decade. We talk as often as our budget will allow (it’s not cheap to call to Papua New Guinea!). When we get to live near each other (this happens about every four years when they come back to the states on ‘home assignment’) we make every effort to live life together as much as possible. Although this wasn’t the first time I’ve had to say ‘goodbye’ to my sister, I realized that it wasn’t getting any easier with practice. In fact, saying goodbye was getting harder. I had looked forward to this trip for such a long time, with months and months of planning and buying plane tickets, and now, well, it was at an abrupt ending. Time to head back to the states, where we would once again be separated by thousands of miles. I couldn’t stop the tears that came that day we said goodbye, but as my sister and I prayed together, we thanked the Lord for our sweet friendship and sisterhood. I rejoiced in having such a precious sister who cared so much about me and who labored over me with her prayers on a consistent basis.

My sister Elizabeth and I while out hiking in Papua New Guinea

Upon arriving back home at our house, weary from being up all night and from switching planes FIVE times, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was much joy and thankfulness in my heart after what felt like a few days of intense sadness. I walked by the room we had set aside to be our adopted baby’s room. For various reasons, this room has invoked sadness in me throughout the months we’ve owned our home. When we first bought the house, the room was empty and it was a constant reminder to me that we didn’t have children. Then we started filling it with various baby items (like a crib, etc), and occasionally I felt sad that said ‘baby items’ were not being used. Then my nephews came for a visit and stayed often overnight in that room (in sleeping bags, on the floor) before we returned them to their parents overseas.  I thought I would be sad to see the sleeping bags still remaining on the floor when we got back, since it would be a reminder that it would be a LONG time until I got to see them again. But for once, as I peered into that room again, I did not feel a sense of loss — rather an intense emotion of joyfulness registered in my heart that I can only attribute to the Lord’s doing, and a determination to finish decorating the baby room in preparation for his or her arrival.

So, I got to work on the room.

Here are a few snapshots of the baby’s room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found this little sign ‘home’ at World Market the other day; I couldn’t think of a wall hanging with a more appropriate slogan for a newly adopted baby! I can’t wait to look our new baby in the eyes and say, “Welcome Baby! We love you so much!”

I got this shelf on the wall at Ikea and put up a few of the children’s books that Elizabeth sent home with me from her own bookshelves in Papua New Guinea. They are books her children have read and loved much, but have outgrown. She hopes we can read them to our children someday. I think I’ll put up a few pictures on the shelf, too.

And so now our little baby’s room is mostly decorated and waiting for the next addition to our family. I don’t know how long the wait will be. But it is with a grateful heart that I write these words.

This brings me to a close. I hope you are having a Happy Fall!

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Clinging to Christ

I’m not a very good journal-keeper, but I do jot down some thoughts here and there as the year goes by. I find that I tend to write more when I’m sad or distressed about something, or conversely, when something really amazing has happened. So my writing slowed down quite a bit when I decided that I’d rather write about the norms of daily life and God working in the midst of it, instead of when I’m experiencing despair or exuberant joy. Unfortunately, I just haven’t had (or made) the time to keep writing in my journal as of late.

I did a little “looking back” into my journal today to remember my journey through infertility and now adoption. I did this because we are now completed with our adoption process and we are just “waiting” for placement. It’s a very exciting time for us! We have been slowly getting ready for our intended baby — we bought a crib, a car seat, some baby clothes and other baby items… not everything we will need when the time comes; just the necessities. Little by little we have been preparing to add to our family. I don’t know whether the Lord will bless us with a boy or a girl, or even what ethnicity he or she will be. I don’t know if he or she will be just delivered or maybe a few weeks old? But I know that my heart is prepared to love whatever child the Lord gives us with all of it’s capacity.

We started our adoption journey in late February. Actually, on the day of my birthday. I looked back to see if I had written anything in my journal in February. It turns out I had, on Valentine’s day, just a few days before my birthday. It would appear I was desperately struggling that day! Here’s some of what I wrote:

“Once again I find myself asking God — rather pleading with God — for a baby. Asking for a miracle, and yet asking for blessed contentment at the same time. These roots of bitterness seem to pierce my heart at the most unexpected moments… I am walking through life thankful for the blessings that I take part in, and then, BOOM! A close friend tells me she’s pregnant. And repeat… again and again. All my friends are bearing children right now, after all we are all in our child-bearing years! The thing is, this is how life is going to be — for many more years, I am sure. So I must dry off these tears, and cling to Christ; trusting that this is His purpose and His good plan for me. I MUST count on future blessings that are invisible to me. And above all, I must be fulfilled by the One who created me.”

Oh… yes. Now I remember how “stuck” I felt before we started this adoption process. How I remember feeling like I would never, ever, have a child. That as much as I longed for a child, that didn’t necessarily mean that the Lord would allow it. Oh, the pity parties I fell into. The tears that seemed to come from a source that never dried up.

Today we have no children, but I’m praying for a whole house-full of them to be ours someday. A whole quiver-full of children. I want to be a mommy, to run and play and to have fun, to teach them all that I know and learn new things together. I want to build forts, play capture the flag and make jewelry together. I want to teach them to bake and to give generously to others. Most of all, I want to love them deeply with the love God has put in my heart. And so I ask — and keep asking– these things of God.

In the meantime, I’m still clinging to Christ.

Psalm 127:4-5a “Like arrows in the hand of the warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”

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So, I bought a diaper bag…

Last week was a hectic week of putting together an adoption profile book, filling out final paperwork and preparing for our home visit (which will be next week). The adoption profile book was a LOT of work  — I have to say that I am extremely thankful that I was a yearbook editor in high school! The book is the first thing the birth mother will look through to see if she thinks we might be a good fit for her baby, so we put a lot of effort into it to make it as much “like us” as possible. We’ll send several copies with of our profile book with our social worker when she comes to do the home inspection, and she’ll distribute them to the various offices affiliated with our adoption agency.

And just like that, we’ll be finished with this process and will start waiting for placement!

I have to be honest, the final chapters of this adoption process coming to a close pretty much snuck up on me. I haven’t let myself think about anything baby related for a really long time — for example, what kind of car seat to buy or what kind of diapers to use? It was always just too “premature” and I didn’t want to get myself wrapped up in that when we still had, say, a whole year to wait! But reality hit when I realized that in one week we would be ready for placement, and, as our social worker told us, it could take 2 days or a whole year before we get placed with a baby. On top of that, I was hearing that not everyone has a lot of time to prepare for the baby coming — some people get a call and have to head to the hospital right away!

The caveat with this process is that the birth mother has 10 days to change her mind about whether she wants to keep the baby or not. She has 10 days to sign away her rights, but once she’s signed and it’s filed with the State, there’s no going back. Which means that, until she signs, we’re going to be living on edge for a bit. Although it’s unusual for a birth mother to change her mind and decide not to sign, it’s going to be a strange time for us we we bond with our new baby all the while knowing that things could change.

So since our adoption won’t be finalized for up to 10 days, I formed a plan– a goal really, to have the things on hand now so that we could get through just one night with the baby and not have to go to the store a bunch of times.  And yesterday I ventured out and bought my very first baby item — a diaper bag.  And today my mom and I went shopping and bought some things we’ll be needing when the baby comes — diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, blankets, infant soap, a few outfits, etc. Everything is gender neutral and a very small quantity, as we don’t really know anything about the baby at this point, and I’d hate to buy too much of the wrong size.

A huge thanks to my mom who insisted on buying most of this!

It was a strange feeling as my mom and I put the baby items in the trunk of my car and walked on to another store today. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. I was so excited that we have made it this far, and yet I couldn’t help but get all choked up with emotion as I realized that for the very first time, I wasn’t buying baby items for someone else’s baby. It was actually for my baby!

It’s a form of nesting, I suppose. As my mom said earlier, “it’s like being pregnant, only you don’t know if you’re one month along or 9 months along.” So we’ll be prepared in case we’re 9 months along. And if we’re only 1 month along… may the Lord grant us patience as we wait!

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.” -Psalm 68:19

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