I believe God was very intentional when He said we were adopted into His Kingdom. Depending on your life experience, many different images pop into your mind when you think of adoption. For me, it begins with my daughter. There is a side of adoption many choose to ignore, but I think is essential in understanding salvation and why God has adopted us. The truth is He created us, we are His. He could have chosen different imagery such as reunited, but He intentionally chose the word picture adoption to explain salvation.
The Ugly Side of Adoption
Usually, when people think about adoption, we think of happy tears and smiling families. We think of joy and love. Yes, that is a part of adoption, but the truth is every single adoption began out of pain. Even the happiest most ideal adoption would not have occurred had there not been pain. The pain of realizing another home was better/necessary. The pain of fear. The pain of loss. The pain of a million things that cause mother and child to separate.
Our adoption by God is much the same way. Take a look around. There is so much hurt, sorrow, fear, hate, pain in this world. This world is not a suitable mother. We are never going to be complete as long as this world is our guide, our leader, our parent. We need, desperately, a new parent whom is loving, patient, kind and whom will help us heal from our first home. Help us grow into who we were meant to be. But then, that doesn't mean we lose all touch with our old home. We still remember and care and love our old home.
The Beauty of Adoption
The five things I have found essential in being an adoptive mother is forgiveness, redemption, hope, faith, and love. We need to teach our children to forgive the past and redeem the future. Adoption is all about redemption and healing. We need to provide hope for our future, faith that the family is forever, and oh boy the greatest element is love - lots and lots of love.
God wants us join His family and to forgive others. He models it perfectly in the forgiveness he gives us. He redeems our soul and helps us to redeem our poor life choices. He gives us hope that someday we won't live in this world wrought with pain. He teaches us to have faith. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Then there is love - so much love. He is the author of love.
Biblical Clues on Earthly Adoption
The thing that always strikes me from the Bible is how God refers to Jesus's family. We know Mary gave birth to Him. We don't truly know what DNA God gave Him. Was it half Mary, half something/one else? Was it fully Mary with altered sex genes? Was it no genes from Mary, but a full new being with His own unique DNA? I don't think it matters. God made it clear Mary was his mother and Joseph, God recognized as His earthly father. Some refer to Joseph as his stepdad, foster dad, adoptive dad, but the Bible refers to him as his father and even uses Joseph's genealogy in Matthew.
Even in Luke, where it shows Mary's genealogical line, not Joseph's, Luke 2:33 references Joseph as his father. Not an adoptive father, not stepfather, there is no clarifier. Then again, I often hear people also refer to Jesus's brothers and sisters as his half/brothers and sisters, but in Mark 3, God clearly calls them brothers. Yet again there is no clarifier, it states just brothers.
As an adoptive mom, this is significant. It tells me that God does not look at the biology of Jesus when determining his line. He looked at the people He placed to raise Him as His true family. Just like when God adopts us into His family, he is not just our Father because He created us, but because He adopted us. He's not our adoptive father, He is our Father. We are family.
I'm working on perspective. I cannot change the circumstances, but I can change my perspective on it. I can choose to remain angry, or I can choose to look at the positives despite the bad. Right now, I am trying to wrap my brain around the fact that my two toddlers will be transitioning home, probably in less than the next six months. It's not a for sure thing, but a likely thing.
The toddlers are a nice distraction since after twelve years of praying, I have become pregnant. Of course things are not going as smoothly as I hoped, with a few scares along the way, but I did get to see the baby move for the first time yesterday. I don't think that I will feel at peace with this pregnancy until a baby is safely in my arms. I am not out of the danger zone, as I am only 9 weeks. Nausea is beginning to subside already, which I hope is a good thing. We had decided to share the news early, because if anything were to have gone badly, we wanted the support.
Honestly, if I didn't have the toddlers, I think this pregnancy would be harder than with them. Yes, I sometimes worry that my constant chasing them is hurting the baby when I have one of my scares and am supposed to be resting, but the baby has shown to be resilient. If they weren't here, I wonder how obsessed I would be with the health of the baby, especially with some of the stuff that has gone on. Instead I often am too busy to stop and worry.
I do believe God has a plan. I'm not sure what that is. And I will feel that way, even if God decides to take this baby home, and my toddlers go home. I don't often understand the why, but I definitely see God's hand at work.
The older I get, the more I realize that blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than both. Ten years and four months ago, I began attempting a journey that comes so easy for so many, but perceivably so difficult for us - to expand our family. Throughout the next ten years and four months, I would have miscarriages, prospective adoptions that never would happen, constant negative news from fertility doctors, and finally a failed IVF attempt. In that time, we gained one daughter, zero sons, and yet a whole lot of people who have shown a lot of love and support.
My emotions have been high and my hormones have been whacky since I have stopped the hormones for IVF, and I have found myself being hurt by things that would normally roll off my back or maybe not even be a blip on the radar under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, for my three most trusted friends, they have found themselves fallen victim to my constant insecure thoughts, dramatic ramblings, and late night worries.
Over the course of the past month, I have been trying to cope with yet another closed door, wondering where open doors lie. I try to come to terms with the fact that my dreams of a big family may not look the way I always imagined. Truth is, I never thought adoption would be so hard. I never thought conceiving would be near impossible, I never thought money would play such a huge factor in the growing of the family.
Don't get me wrong, I knew it might be hard, I had a gut feeling from a very early age, but how hard was something I never realized. Another thing I never realized ten years ago as this journey began, I never realized how big my family truly could be without adding children.
When I was third through fifth grade, I had one friend. Sure, I had many other friends, but only one real friend. I had a very narrow view of my family. I felt very alone, and decided when I was in eighth grade that I was going to have a big family, and I was going to try to encourage my kids to have a close bond, because I didn't want my kids to feel alone like I did.
I would daydream about how many kids I would have, while other girls were daydreaming about boyfriends.
Things changed in tenth grade. It was the first time I began building friendships that would be long lasting, aside from my loyal third grade best friend.
At thirty-three, I have a changed perspective.
I have prayed my entire life that I would have a big family, that I totally didn't realize that although I never got pregnant (and stayed pregnant) and I only succeeded in adopting one child, my family had grown huge!
If I were to count the number of true friends, I can confidently say the number is more than one.
Just as in normal families, I have lost contact with some for one reason or another. When I thank God for those he has placed in my life, I thank God for the lost ones too. They may have chosen to not have me in their lives, but I am thankful they were part of my life even for a short time. I still love them, think about them, and wish them the best. The same thing happens in families made purely from blood bonds. Yet, when that person walks back in your life, you open your arms wide and welcome them back with cheerful hearts and loud praises.
I get hurt by some of them, that doesn't make them any less important. Usually the pain that was caused has more to do with hormones and outside circumstances than the action of the offender. I find I forgive often and apologize a lot. I may not trust all that I love, but I love many people as much as I would love a sister or that I love my brothers.
I then realized, God gave us a desire towards family, not because he wants everyone to procreate, but because he wants people to build relationships. He wants people to grow old surrounded by loved ones, whether they are biologically related or not. He never intended family lines to be only biological. Take a look at Jesus, his earthly father was not biologically related to him, yet when the Bible follows Jesus's genealogy, he follows through Joseph's line not Mary's.
So over the past ten years, I have begun to redefine family. Some of you may not realize you are part of my family. Some of you may not share the same love I have towards you as you do towards me, but that's okay. Some may reject me, some may hurt me, but I am learning family is not an exclusive club that you have to either be born into or married into. It's a choice to love someone unconditionally, and because of that, my prayer for a large family has finally been blessed.
I had an appointment today for IVF.
The Plan: Do an ultrasound, meet with nurse, decide IVF start date.
Outcome: Did an ultrasound, met with nurse, did not decide IVF start date, because...
Therefore, I get to go again, next Friday, where they will assess whether my cyst has shrunk. If it has, then we may just wait until it disappears. If it has not, then I get to have it drained. Either way, the minimum delay is about a week and a half. So instead of a mid-June date, we are looking at a late June early July date.
Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I could have gotten worse news. I'm only mildly concerned. Just another day in the waiting game. I've waited four years (since we adopted Emily) and ten years since I first tried get pregnant. What is another week and a half. Right?
I have had a multitude of people tell me they didn't think I should do in vitro. Some were because of fear for my life, some fear for my health, and others are morally against it. I can understand each and every single one of these concerns, but I can assure you we would not be doing it if we didn't have the confidence it was the right decision for our family.
First, for those who fear for my life. Despite my complicated medical history, my life is not at risk if I were to get pregnant. Although I had a pulmonary embolism, it was not caused by factors that would make it more likely for me to have another one. Pregnancy has taken the life of many women, and I am not taking this lightly. I know that there are many things that could go wrong if I were to get pregnant that could either harm me or the baby. The thing is, anything likely to happen to me, is just as likely to happen to any other woman.
For those who fear for my health. I have talked extensively to all my doctors. I have learned that there are minimal risks. The stats are in our favor, and in fact, they actually have said that my health is just as likely to improve as it is to get worse. Whenever someone gets pregnant, their entire chemistry changes. This sometimes works in their favor, and sometimes works against them.
In my life I have attempted to accomplish many goals. I have accomplished approximately, 0.1 percent of them. Though despite my great failings, there are many things I am proud of. Here is my top ten list in no particular order.
1. I adopted my daughter.
Although I can only say this is an achievement as much as a mother can say she found success in giving birth to her child, but this was one of my biggest blessings and I am quite proud of it. I am so thankful and happy and wish everyone could understand how great a love you can have for someone else, like you do for a daughter.
2. I have never been drunk... As in never, ever, not once.
I do not have a problem with alcohol, I do not have any moral objections to having an occasional beer, margarita, glass of wine. Yet, for most my life, I assumed if I ever got drunk, I might stay that way. So I decided to abstain completely.
The fact that I have time to type this is your first clue that the baby didn't come to us. The mom was able to prove she can take care of her own child, which is the ideal situation. I am okay with it. I think people are expecting a huge heartbreak, but oddly there isn't.
There is exhaustion. The wait and anticipation this weekend was mentally exhausting. There are feelings of doubt. Doubt that there is a child out there who needs us, and we can take care of. Even though that is what everyone likes to say to us. There is discouragement. I am discouraged and wondering if this is the path we are supposed to take.
The thing I don't think people get is that my feelings are not, "Oh I want a baby, I can't have a baby, please Lord give me a baby." This is plain and simple, I would like to expand my family. I have a beautiful daughter, a wonderful husband, it would be nice to have a larger family. It's not this huge deep-seated void in my life. It's a desire. There is a difference.
A void causes someone to grieve daily, a desire causes someone to move forward and try to attain their goal.
So, where are we going to go from here? We're going forward. We are not ready to close this door, just yet. Maybe sometime in the future, we will abandon the foster care system, but I don't feel that door is ready to be closed. When it is ready to be closed, we'll be missing one key element - hope.
So yes, I do feel exhausted, doubtful, and discouraged, but at the end of the day, there is still hope. And while there is still hope, we will trudge forward.
This makes me want to watch the movie Hope Floats again. I love that movie, wish I had it.
Today, I do not feel like a mother of one and counting, I feel like a mother of one. This is a good thing because I am blessed. I know this, but it fills me with a sense of sadness and grief. I would like to say this is due to my utter contentment and my acceptance of my fate, but that's not true today.
Some days I could say the first sentence and mean something completely different, such as I'm content with life. I love every aspect of it! That's the funny part about life is our moods change from day to day.
I know tomorrow I will not feel as I do today. So on days where living a godly wholesome life is just plain hard, and having pure thoughts, contentment, and peace seems impossible, I remind myself that this too shall pass.
So yeah, today is a frustrating day.
Some of it has to do with the foster baby we didn't get and some of it has to do with my not so good experience with the in vitro facility and some of it has to do with hormones and some due to lack of faith in God and then some of it is because I am human and was not born with a perfect flawless nature. I am made flawed and am prone to fits of anger, sadness, greed, selfishness, pride, and all the negative emotions we all wish we didn't have. But we do.
You can give me advice, but it's not anything I haven't told myself. You can say cheerful words of praise, but they will probably fall on deaf ears. Where it lies most is in the heart, my heart. When my heart sings praises, I will be thinking clearly, but just as God has done, I need to give myself grace on days like today.
No, I don't like myself today, but tomorrow is a new day. Heck, I am entering a new hour. This hour can be different than the last. I have to choose, dwell on the past or hold my head high and look to the future. The past hour I chose the first path, this hour I will choose the latter. It's a choice, one I shouldn't make lightly.
Today, we got a call for a baby girl through the foster care system. We were told it would turn into an adoptive placement. All day, we spent preparing for her arrival. They even told me where the baby was staying, where to pick her up, all we were waiting for was the okay from the judge.
Except... there was no okay from the judge. The baby still will not be going back to mom and she will be placed up for adoption, but the judge said that the case was not technically part of his jurisdiction and sent it to a different county.
This is yet another disappointment to many.
My cool, calm, and collected husband said, "Will we ever get a break?"
I wondered is it time to give up? That was just the exhaustion talking. The part of me that is tired of getting excited, then having my hopes dashed drastically.
But that's life.
Several people I talked to, told me, "Your turn will come." I dread and hate these words. The truth is, when we were trying to get pregnant, we told no one we were trying for the first year, then I started sharing with people because we went from not not trying to actively trying. These were the words they used then.
So yet again, I hear them, but in a different context. It was never my turn back then, so whose to say my turn will come?
Truth is, I'm happy with just one child. I would love and truly hope to have another, but what if my turn is not supposed to come? What if for some reason, I am not meant to have any more children? What if our family is complete?
There are only so many times you can go through the ups and downs before you decide you want to get off the roller coaster. But just like a roller coaster, you have to get off when you're supposed to. So if I try to jump off too soon, I will be thrown violently to the ground in a bloody heap and most likely die.
Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic.
But something that occurred to me is that on a roller coaster, you never get off right when it goes swirling down or swirling up for that time. Instead, the roller coaster slows to a halt. Then proceeds forward. Then halts again. Pauses, then releases. I think that's how life is too. I'll know when to stop, when there are no more ups and downs. When everything halts. Because if I stop because everything came crashing down, then I might be missing out on a really awesome uphill.
I realized, I will know when it's time to stop, because nothing will be happening. I can't quit, just because I had a bad day. And let's be honest today sucked stunk.
Adoption is hard. Very hard actually. There are so many things you must decide, domestic/international, younger/older, sibling group/single child, and they don't want you putting your hands in more than one pot. Once you have decided on a venue, you must keep your eyes there. We chose foster care, so it seems to means that all the other doors are now shut.
We could close our license and do an adoption home study, but then we would not be placed with children through the foster care, and if I'm honest, that is where MY heart truly lies. I want to build my family and I'm only getting older by the minute, but building a family through the foster care system comes with a lot of goodbyes and happens slowly with many heartbreaks along the way.
Don't get me wrong, a lot of blessings as well. We are saying goodbye to our sweet foster daughter after caring for her the better part of six months and I have to admit my heart sings. Not because I'm relieved to say goodbye, but because she gets to go home to her very good mommy and I truly feel that's how it should be. In this case anyway. It looks as though we may be able to be a continuing presence in her life, but I'm not going to put my hope there, as I don't want it to be crushed.
I have to admit, my mind wanders back to in vitro. We can pursue that route all while keeping our license open. Neither is a for sure thing, but no option truly is. We are parents to a wonderful girl, but I'd love for her to have siblings, I would love to have tons and tons of grand-babies when I get old, I'd love to have a household of children. I'm greedy I guess.
So here I am, a week from saying goodbye to our latest foster baby, and I realize I am at a crossroads. Perfect time to close the license and pursue another option, we are financially okay to do that, but I/we don't feel like that is the track we should take. We could do in vitro, but do I really want to bring another child into this world when there are thousands who would love to live in a loving home? Well, in case anyone cares, we made an appointment with a new doctor for in vitro since our latest doctor had to close his practice just one month shy of when we were going to begin doing in vitro the last time. Both of us are unsure if we will proceed. I am praying that God gives us a for sure answer when we meet with the new doctor.
Where will the Lord lead us?
This Christian mom is far from perfect, but continually strives to grow and develop. She is an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction and focuses a lot on personal growth. She loves to share what she has learned through her studies and her own failures, as well as walks alongside other mothers as they learn together the ins and outs of parenting.