I am so excited and also nervous about starting this blog. I have never done anything like this before but feel this unrelenting need to shout out and share this experience with our family and friends. It has taken a long time for me (Dan has been open for much longer) to finally be ready to leap into adoption, specifically fostering with the intention of adoption, but now I am, too! But first I want to share our experiences and how we arrived at this major decision- it’s been years in the making.
As many of you know, the road to becoming parents was not an easy one for. There were life interruptions. Dan’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly after we began trying to conceive, and he and his Autistic brother moved in with us putting our plans on hold. Oh, and lets not forget a car accident that led to a year of PT only to have a level 3 spinal fusion to end the pain. We also needed medical assistance – I have lost count of how many IUI’s I have undergone and endured 2 IVF cycles. You can imagine the emotional toll this took on both of us. Heartache was also a part of our struggle because I suffered a miscarriage at 9 weeks and numerous “chemical pregnancies” but after almost 5 years, we finally welcomed our miracle, Daniel William in May 2008! I loved being pregnant, I suffered just enough morning sickness to know I was pregnant and relished in the way my body created life. And being a new mom?! Probably the single greatest experience of my life…nursing was so beautiful and everything I dreamed it would be – and I had time to dream- Daniel slept through the night (11pm-5am) at 6 weeks old! We always thought that we would be happy with just the 3 of us and we were, but decided shortly after he was born that we wanted to welcome another child into the family. Knowing our history, we went back to our fertility doctor just after Daniel’s 1st birthday. I have faced just as many obstaclesthis time around including: blocked tubes requiring surgery, pre-diabetic diagnosis forcing me to change my lifestyle and loose more then 30lbs to control my sugar levels, and at least 6 IUI’s and one final attempt at IVF that failed. However, this time was different, still hard and draining but there wasn’t the urgency; it wasn’t about becoming parents, it was about growing our family and giving Daniel a sibling…a brother or sister that he prays for almost every night before he goes to sleep. Well, 3 years later and with the knowledge that we have done absolutely everything possible it is not meant to happen.
We started attending GraceCommunityChurch almost a year ago; Dan and I are both on a path to strengthen our relationship with God. During one of the teaching sermons on marriage, our pastor spoke of how as a couple we should pray together. That night, and every night since, we have done just that. Dan always asks God to guide us on whatever path he wants for us to expand our family. I ask for the will to accept his decision praying that it would be biologically. We have spoken about adoption, Dan believing strongly in the Jewish proverb, “Save a life and you save the world.” I have always said that I needed to do everything I could to have our child and then “mourn” when we were at the end of that road. I don’t know why I said “mourn”…but understand now. Throughout this experience there have been pebbles in our shoes. (Jarrod, our Pastor, says that when God speaks to you, it’s like a pebble in your shoe and eventually it becomes so big that you can’t ignore it any longer!) Our pebbles would be hearing a certain message and just looking at each other knowing we felt the same thing, seeing a family that was clearly built from adoption at Disney World smiling and laughing together, becoming friends with Christie Jones (our pastor’s wife) and following their adoption journey in the Ukraine, even registering for an adoption seminar “just in case” and finally, each cycle failing. This past August was our last try, even our beloved doctor said we were “Tebowing” it. When I got the news, I thought that I was going to peel over and die. I was preparing for the worst – a funeral for my uterus! But, honestly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. And now I understand, this is how God answers prayers – he did give me the will to accept his decision. Yes, I cried and I did mourn. I mourned because I knew I would never feel a baby kick inside me again letting me know he or she was there, or feel the complete bliss of looking at my sleeping child nursing on my breast. But I quickly realized that I was mourning for me, not for Dan or Daniel but for me. And as a mom and wife, when is it ever just about you?
Remember how I shared that hearing certain messages would be pebbles for Dan and me? Well, I wanted to share a couple of those messages with you. After our final failed cycle, we went to church and listened to a sermon titled, “Rebirth.” God doesn’t work how we expect him too – sometimes we have to reconfigure our plans to reach our goal. The following Monday morning, I called the foster care program looking for information and somehow we became registered for an foster parent orientation only a couple of weeks away! The woman on the phone answered my questions, giving me the confidence and understanding that we needed. Then it happened again this past Sunday. Jarrod and Christie returned from the Ukraine and he preached a sermon discussing their experience adopting. He shared John 12:24 NLT: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels- a plentiful harvest of new lives.” He preached that we must “die” in order to truly fulfill our life’s purpose. Give up our ways of thinking or living. It was that moment that I understood why I felt the need to mourn. It was God’s way of showing me to “die” so that I could accept his life’s purpose for our family: to foster… in order to harvest a new life. I have never felt and understood scripture in my core before, until now. John 12:24 will live forever in my soul.
So, why have we chosen fostering with the intent to adopt and not domestic or international adoption? Well, Daniel is getting older and we want a sibling for him sooner rather then later. Typically, international and domestic adoption can take 2-4 years. I have never known a little boy who is destined to become a big brother as much as he is. He is the most nurturing child -staying inside to feed his baby cousin instead of playing outside with his best friends during a recent summer party. He also is an imaginative child – I have probably read “Horton Hears a Who” too many times because when we go out he “collects” babies and they live in the palm of his hand! Just as important, we feel like there is a need right here in our backyard that can not be ignored. Our own way of thinking local not global, I suppose.
We believe that we are fulfilling our life’s purpose and are ready to do so despite the terrifying fact that there is a multi year waiting period for parental rights to be terminated. We also know we could have a child in our care for years and they could be sent back to their parents. A coworker of Dan’s experienced this but told us she knew she made their life better and put her fingerprints on their life and was conforted by this, yet another pebble for us! It is terrifying but not enough to stop us from leaping because we know God will take care of our hearts. So please, join me as we share this journey!