The Journey to Here (An Honest Account): Part 2

{This post is a follow-up to Part 1, written back in May of 2013.  In that first account, I wrote about my personal journey to the desire for motherhood.  This second part has taken me a long time to feel ready to share.  After sitting on it for almost a year, I would like to share a little more about our decision to adopt and the decision to adopt “first” — as our “Plan A.”  Just like everyone’s story, ours is unique; I don’t believe there is any one right way for a couple or person to adopt, or any one circumstance that leads to it.  There are all kinds of incredible adoption stories through Plan A’s, Plan B’s, and never-in-the-plan’s — thankfully, we are all in this together!!  God makes beautiful things out of all sorts of seasons and situations.  This just happens to be the unique way we see Him starting to involve us in a story that we pray will one day expand our family.  It’s not a how-to or a thesis on the best and only way… with a heart of encouragement, I would simply like to share our story.}

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“Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.” ~ Sheryl Louise Moller

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It all started….

Well, I’m not quite sure exactly.

Was it in Africa in my mid 20s?  Was it in childhood imaginary playtime?

Was it a long-time desire finally unearthed?  Or was it a newfound dream suddenly taking root…?

I don’t think I can pinpoint an answer for that: the exact time I knew I wanted to adopt.  I can actually see many threads that make up this quilt — but God, who does the sewing, doesn’t always let us see the whole fabric at once.  Only the parts he wraps us in, so closely that it’s better to touch and breathe in than to look at anyway.

For one thing… I know I have never had a strong desire to be pregnant.

I said that once — *out loud* — and it was kind of scary.  (I don’t think you’re supposed to say that.)  But there was pure FREEDOM in the response: “I feel the exact same way!  I thought I was the only one!!!”

You are not alone.

I should probably fast forward a bit more recently, having said that.  Because that statement written in bold above is NOT at ALL the reason why we’ve chosen to adopt — and it’s also not to say we won’t ever have biological children.

(I also realize that probably everyone is nervous and scared at first about pregnancy.  There are parts that nobody is going to “like.”  Which is different, of course, than not even having the desire.)

Back in October of 2012, Trey and I finally had “the talk.”  The plan since before our wedding was to have two full years of marriage “just us.”  Despite a long courtship, I knew that being married, living together as husband and wife, was a very different and special time as far as building our relationship, and that’s what we hoped to do first: build the foundation.  Plus, I wasn’t ready right away.  I can say that with certainty.  Some people are, and some people aren’t.

Two years went by in a flash, and right before our actual anniversary, we began to hint about the fact that we were supposed to be having “the talk” soon.  All my friends knew it was coming.  (Eeek!)  At this point, I was most definitely ready for kids and knew that I wanted them (see Part 1).  And, simultaneously, somewhere in the back of my mind or in the depths of my heart, a little — we’ll call it — prompting was pushing its way up from a seed planted long ago…

I knew that I felt called to adopt.  I think I always knew it was what I wanted.  But my prayer above all prayers at this point in time, being married to Trey and discussing this as a couple, was:  For our hearts to be aligned.  I wanted more than anything else for Trey and I, the foundation laid on Christ upon which we would be building our family, to be on the same page.  I had seen God do it before — line us up on a major decision — and I knew that the peace and the affirmation and the unity and the power of the two of us submitting to the same leading by God would be crucial.

Because here’s the truth: Despite this strong desire I had to adopt, if Trey really, really wanted to start out with us having biological children… I was on board to try.  I was not at all plotting and planning how to convince him otherwise — I was very much keeping an open mind to “biological first.”  I knew that God hadn’t make a “mistake” when He put the two of us together, so if Trey felt strongly and differently than I, then it’s possible it was me who might need a change of heart.

We had the talk, and we both said we were ready.  We both said we wanted to actively pursue starting a family.

Truthfully, we did not know right away if we were going to have biological children first or adopt first.  Or just do one or the other.  But adoption was something we had talked about long ago, and it was something that instantly became a part of the conversation at this point in time as well.  (Stopping real quick, I just want to recognize what a blessing it is that we did find ourselves on the same page.  I know how often this is not the case, so it’s not something I take for granted — and this blessing definitely doesn’t make us any “more spiritual” than any other couple trying to navigate this decision.)

From there, we began taking steps in both directions: me taking prenatal vitamins alongside researching adoption agencies.  Praying down two paths that would eventually have to split one way or the other…

Because of my Type 1 diabetes, I knew I’d have to plan a bit more carefully than most other women if we were going to try to get pregnant — not only by starting to take prenatal vitamins several months out before trying, but also getting my blood sugars into really tight, near-perfect control as well.  My doctor said it wasn’t impossible, and with a lot of very, very careful monitoring and extra care, it could be just fine.  I was willing to go for it.  But the battle didn’t feel like it was me against any of those obstacles; it felt more like the persistent, underlying question of: Why do this when I just want to adopt anyway?

I just wanted to be a mom — to parent a child who was already in or coming into the world and needed parents.  A child who needed a stable, Christian family who would be FOR him or her.  And I knew I wasn’t the “rescuer” — that’s God, for both me and the child.  But I felt a call to be in a position of availability…

I think to give you the BEST, most accurate picture of wrestling through this decision, parts of my journal in the fall/winter of 2012 and on into 2013 looked (and evolved) over the days and months like this:

I would love to adopt… I do not know if this is a selfish desire or a desire given to me by God.  I want to check my motives always…  I want to be a mom.  I want kids.  I want to give a child a home who would not otherwise be raised in a good situation or ever know the Lord.

I do not want to proceed out of any selfish ambition.  I do not have a strong desire to be pregnant like so many girls I know do…

I am afraid of making the wrong decisions based out of impulsiveness or selfishness.

I almost feel a pressure from the world/society/culture that I have to at least TRY biologically first.

My biggest prayer thus far is for God to align our hearts.  Trey and I are a team and a unit, and I want us to be on the same page as God guides us as a family into the future.

God is in control.  He already has our children “picked out” — regardless of where they “come from.”  I trust His plan, goodness, and sovereingty.

We have decided to tell both our parents over Christmas that we are thinking about pursuing adoption.

I feel a greater sense of clarity lately that I just really want to adopt…  It’s all I think about, and I can’t stand the thought of not doing it.  I am feeling more confident and secure in adopting as a first choice, despite what the “world” might think.  I just know I want to adopt.

I am feeling a strong desire lately to make sure we adopt a child who would otherwise be brought up in not the best situation.  I want to prevent that from happening, and provide the opportunity for them to grow up in a stable, loving home where they will know the Lord.  I have thought a lot about the youth in Kenya and what their lives would be like right now if they hadn’t been rescued from the streets.  Each and every one of them are SO wonderful, and they all have so much potential and opportunity.  If just one of those kids was at the Center now instead of on the streets or at the dump, it would be worth it.

I really don’t see “adoption as a first choice” as this big selfless act.  We’re not saviors or saints.  It’s more about simple obedience…  To me it’s just what I think God has created me for and is calling me to.

While January seemed to be a month of obstacles and waiting, February is looking like it will be a month of action and discerning…  All of these obstacles and waiting have been surprising for me.  I knew that the adoption process would be hard once we started… What I didn’t know was that it would be this difficult TO START!  The obstacles on the way to the start line were not expected, but I feel like they are indicative of what this process will be like as a whole.  My feeling is that we just have to trust and press on through.

The number-one key component throughout this entire process is going to be listening to God’s lead and obeying His guidance.  We have to trust Him that His way and His will is best!

Crushed, deflated, and disappointed, we got our clarity in an unexpected way — but we began to see that what we should do next was go through a private agency, and our top choice was Bethany…

Those are the words of my journal, verbatim.

I struggled.

Because, you know, it’s really easy to say that “God is calling us” to do something when, oddly enough, that “something” looks a lot like our own desires wrapped in spiritual clothing.  But while there was very much a personal desire inside me to adopt, there was also something else that could not escape me or allow me to do anything else without thinking about it.  Adoption had not only captured my heart and my thoughts — both my intellect and imagination — but I heard it in the still, small confines of my spirit as well.

And so I knew.  It’s not necessarily glamorous, nor is it us being rescuers or self-sacrificing.  You simply have to somehow find the faith to trust and obey.

But what I want you to know now is this:

I (and we) still struggled immensely with this decision.  (Seek our FAQ’s page above – or under Menu if viewing from your phone.)

At least in the beginning, adopting “first” never really seemed that weird to us.  Granted, it was NOT the story I heard very often (or much at all).  But somewhere along the way, a deceitful question found residence in my head and in my heart with an evil, relentless grip on me that wouldn’t let go.

This is what it would whisper, disguised as my own inner voice:

For me to have been created female, with the absolute privilege of the opportunity to conceive a child… is it unbiblical for me to not even try?

There I sat, trying unsuccessfully to hold back tears, in a home adoption-ministry meeting, surrounded by other couples — some I knew, some I barely knew, and some I didn’t know at all — consumed with the weight of the singular thought that me choosing to adopt a child who needed a home was somehow un-glorifying and dishonoring to God.

Maybe it sounds strange, but that thought was VERY real for me.

On top of that, there was also this: the real and heavy terror — one that still rears its head at times today — that I was insulting and disrespecting thousands of women who have struggled immensely through infertility or miscarriage… and here I was choosing to adopt from the start!  Who was I to have that right??  I have sat in hospital rooms, in living rooms, across lunch tables, across dinner tables, and in small groups with multiple women, dear friends, in widely varying circumstances of both of the above — which simply will not allow me to approach this flippantly.

She may not have been the angel Gabriel, but God spoke into my life through a woman that night that I still believe He sent to be there to cross my path.  The ferocity of truth in her tear-filled eyes is something I will never forget as long as I live, when she spoke these words to me:

“Don’t you ever, for one second, let Satan make you believe that adoption isn’t from God.”

An adoptee herself, now in her 50s, she spoke clarity and truth to me that night on a couch in a living room with a message I desperately needed to hear.

And later I would read these affirming words in an adoption book:  “There is no reason for you to feel guilty, as though you are ‘taking sacred resources’ by adopting a child when there are childless couples out there seeking to adopt.  First of all, a child isn’t a ‘resource.’  He or she is a human being, created in the image of God.  Secondly, there are more children needing homes than loving Christian parents who are willing to take them in.”

Thus, it was not fear or philosophy that led me/us to consider and pursue adoption, and to pursue it “first.”  Ultimately, I truly believe it was God’s plan for our family to take the road we have started down.

can see, however, how certain circumstances of my life have made that easier and more clear.  Not the reasons I seek to adopt but certainly part of who God created me to be in this journey to that end…

I once sat in a circle among preteen girls on a spring day in Africa, girls who had seen and heard more in their lifetimes than anyone should ever have to see.  We talked about boys and dreams and fears.  They laughed about all the same stuff I remember joking about at 11 and 12 years old.  “I am afraid of when I’ll have a baby,” one of them shared bravely, her voice suddenly rising out of the laughter like a satellite searching for connection.  The giggles suddenly hushed under suppressed shame.  This girl was not pregnant, and she was not in a place in her life anymore where the probability could have been a dangerous and/or violent reality.  She was simply talking about the physical process of pregnancy and labor itself, like any of the rest of us.

You, too, huh?

God creates us all differently.  I love to see truthfulness fostered, and I was so proud of her (and encouraged) by her sharing that.  For me, just the mention of anything bodily/medical/procedural is enough to send me into a spiraling light-headed mess.  Again, not the reason I started thinking about adoption.  But certainly an interesting piece of the puzzle that God added in…

Like having Type 1 diabetes, for another example.  The truth is, there are plenty of women who also have Type 1 diabetes who have had perfectly healthy deliveries of perfectly healthy babies.  Is it high-risk?  Yes, it is.  Every time.  Is it unthinkable?  Absolutely not.  (It’s always in God’s hands!)  In fact, when I went in for my consultation before starting on prenatal vitamins, my doctor assured me there is no reason to believe that, with extremely careful monitoring, I shouldn’t be just fine.  Again, not a reason for choosing to adopt.  However, isn’t it interesting that God created me this way, perhaps with adoption in mind…?  If so, I consider it a real blessing.  I simply can’t imagine if I had no high risks involved and desperately wanted to get pregnant — only to find I was unable to.  (THAT is unfathomable.)  My heart breaks apart for couples who live in this reality.  And for those who have conceived only to have lost…  I simply cannot even wrap my brain around the tragedy of how often this happens.  And yet it does.  God wastes nothing, and He works all things for good, with purpose — but it is tragedy all the same.

Yet, here I sit, curiously perched on quite the opposite end.  As I’ve said, I just want to be a mom (and quite possibly fertile as can be)… whereas some women just want to be a mom, too, biologically, and absolutely can’t WAIT to be pregnant — to experience the joy and thrill and nurturing and bonding of nine months carrying a child (a beautiful thing!) — and can’t.  The strange and mysterious paradox.  I may never understand that pain.  I may never have that perspective entering into adoption.  I may never know the glory of that redemption when God brings the chosen child to a family who has lost (or who cannot conceive).  It is humbling to think I am part of the adoption community alongside these faithful warriors of grace and trust and battle.

I only have my story, and the perspective of adoption that I can add to the table.

Can you have kids?”  It was not the last time I’d hear that question.  (Especially now, since we’ve announced we’re adopting).  But it was the first time I actually heard it out loud: I was 15 years old, having been diagnosed with diabetes the previous school year, and, well, someone flat out wanted to know.  Honestly?  I hadn’t given it much thought at that point in time.  (Thinking about pregnancy then, even before and after that time, sent me into uncomfortable waves of calculating how much time I’d have left before getting to that point in life.  The appropriate word might be dreading.)  But the answer to that question is the same now as it was then:  Yes… as far as I know.

But just hearing that question spoken suddenly got me to thinking:  So… what if I can’t?  How do I feel about that?  Much like I had accepted my sudden diabetes diagnosis, there was something in that question — and my internal processing of it for the very first time — that led my train of thought, by default, to seek “outside the box.”

What makes a family… really?

Having children is such a gift, and I’ve come to believe that ALL parents are foster parents… fostering God’s children.  (They are all His, no matter if we birth them or not.)  I believe that children are given to us by Him to have the privilege of parenting as long as we have them here on this earth — whether that time is long and full or cut tragically short.  It’s this perspective that makes that “7-day revocation time” not actually bother me all that much.  If the birthmother does not change her mind after seven days, and we can “securely keep” our baby, we still aren’t guaranteed even one more day with them after that.  That’s not an adoption thing; that’s a life thing.

For those who are called to be mothers, I can’t even begin to question the avenues and ways in which we hold that position.  Whether we are able to (and do) have our “own” — biological or adopted — or not.  It’s not in my ability to say what’s the right or wrong path for any individual, especially with all the expectations (even unintentionally) that we as humans place on these issues.  Mothers are stepmoms, and adoptive moms, and foster moms, and kinship adoptive moms, and biological moms, too.

I think with choosing to foster or adopt in particular, it’s about having intimacy enough with God to be able to discern His voice.  (Please see “I Have A Dream” from June 2013.)  To know when it’s His voice and not our own — or the world’s.  What is He specifically calling me and you to do, through our relationship with Him, to glorify Him?  God certainly uses people and works through people to encourage, affirm, and even guide us.  But in the end, it is simply about me spending time with Him, closely enough to know it’s Him when He speaks, closely enough to trust Him enough to obey where He leads.  And suddenly, His desires for me become my desires for me — because He is good.  And He is in control.  His best interest for His children is far greater than our own, and whatever He deems best for a child that could be our own, we have to trust it.  Their needs absolutely have to come before our own; His ways before our ways.

Yes, there are so many ways that God makes a family.  This is how He seems to be starting ours — and, funny enough, it’s really not even about us.  We certainly aren’t perfect.  YES, adoption is redemption, and YES there is an unbelievable need for so many children to have forever families, and YES we are called to defend.  Yes: Adoption is Kingdom-expanding, Kingdom-expressing Gospel.  For me personally, that makes it both wildly exciting and utterly imperative!  That’s exactly why I’ve been so wholeheartedly captured!  It’s on God’s heart!  But — He gets to define it.  Meanwhile we have to remember we are literally just two normal people living each day in hopes that we’re following in His will, chasing after that heart, while soaking in the grace He abounds and the pieces of the picture we may or may not be allowed to see right now…

And so far that’s our story.

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Life Lately | Glenhams Grow

  2. Pingback: The Journey to Here (An Honest Account) | Glenhams Grow

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