Sunday, November 16, 2014

"You'll be done after this, right?"


Four kids. 

My fourth isn't even born yet, and I'm already getting looks, questions, and comments. 

"So, you're obviously not adopting then."
"You'll be done after this one, right?"
"Hopefully it's a girl, so you can have your two boys and two girls and be done."

Let me clarify that these comments do not make me upset or even offended. I know most are born out of honest curiosity, without the intention of being rude. So I give a lot of grace. 
Here is my own detailed response on the subject. 

At this point, I know better than to say we are definitely done having kids. After having our third, I swore I was done. But God really impressed adoption on our hearts. We went forward with plans, waiting for God to direct us, and yet we were met with God's silence. My pregnancy, and subsequent miscarriage, left me desiring to have another baby. After finding out we were again expecting, (we hadn't even told our social worker yet) the state adoption licensing fell through. 

So as you can see, so much happened this year, and it has changed my perspective greatly on our plans vs. God's plans. All of our lives, we are urged to consult God on all decisions, even the most mundane. Because He cares. I believe that. But how can we ask Him what His plan is regarding how to spend our money, but not on our family life? Should believers ask God to guide all areas of their life except for how many children we should have? This question has challenged me greatly. I am not necessarily saying we should all get off birth control and have tons of babies. But I believe before assuming control of that area of our lives, we should spend time praying and asking God what He has in store for us. If we choose to go our own way, I don't believe God will punish us, but I believe we will miss out on blessings He has planned for us. In my life, even though it's a constant struggle, in my heart I truly want what God wants for me, because I believe that will be the most fulfilling path I could take.

On adoption...I still with 100% certainly believe it was God who laid it on our hearts. I struggled with wondering why He would do that, and then not allow us to pursue it. It didn't make sense. But a friend shared a video with me that really helped me understand more about how God works. Christine Cain shared about the story of David's anointing. God passed over the other sons for the shepherd David, then just a boy. The Lord anointed him as king, and it seemed like everything was about to roll into motion. Yet he waited 20 years for the anointing to be completed. 
(Here is the link to that video, if you are interested. 

Waiting is a pretty common theme in the Bible. For example, Noah received the prophecy of the flood 120 years before it actually happened. In this world of instant gratification, we assume if God seems to be putting something on our hearts, we need to get right into action. Sometimes that is the case, but not always. In our case, I believe God will use our heart for adoption sometime in the future. I honestly don't know if we will adopt or not, but we will remain open to God's direction in that regard.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Expecting #4!

What craziness! We're expecting baby #4 April 30th, in case you haven't heard. Which would explain the serious lack of updates on our blog. I've felt so awful for the last 7 weeks, some nights I went to bed at 7:00. Of course it all started right around when we started school, and let me tell you, homeschooling while feeling like you could either throw up or fall asleep = no fun. But we've gotten through it. Barely.

This pregnancy has been wrought with emotion and anxiety. When I went to my first appointment at 7 weeks, I showed up there fully expecting to not see a heartbeat. I was terrified. Every other pregnancy, I had very little anxiety. But once you experience firsthand the fact that not every pregnancy results in a baby, it ushers in a whole new height of anxieties. Obviously, things turned out well, and I left feeling extreme relief.

Today I went in for my second appointment. Right away, we could see the baby, kicking and squirming like crazy. I don't remember being able to see so much so clearly at 12 weeks. We even got an ultrasound pic of the baby waving.

I cried almost the entire drive home. I cried out of sheer gratefulness to God. In April, it was as if I had been given a gift, only to have it taken away. I am so thankful for another chance.

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing." Psalm 30:11

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Closing A Door

It's been 3 months since I last posted, and felt I should give an update.

We have been working on getting all the required paperwork done for licensing, and were maybe 2 or 3 items short. Last time she visited, we chatted for a long time. I mentioned to her that we don't have a van yet, so we cannot take a child until we buy one. With Justin having been out of work for almost 9 weeks, we were getting less than half his salary from railroad disability, so obviously we weren't in a place to even think about purchasing another vehicle.

I received a call a few minutes ago from the social worker. She and her supervisor were talking about our case, and feel that if we were to go to a teaming meeting, a different family would be chosen, one with less children and a vehicle to accommodate. She suggested that we would be better off waiting a while to adopt, especially seeing as we would like to have another biological child at some point. I told her, our plan was to be licensed (since we didn't want to have to re-take the classes) and then be put on hold if we didn't have a van yet. She said our class is "good" for a year, which means it is good until March 2015. Which isn't long from now. I highly doubt we'll be ready by then, and it's extremely difficult for us to re-do the classes, as it's all day Saturday for 8 weeks...child care isn't easy to come by. So I'm feeling like this is a door God is closing. I feel very peaceful about it. And although I have so many unanswered questions, I know God will reveal things in time. It's been almost 7 months of wondering if this was what God wanted for us right now, and having an answer makes me feel at least somewhat relieved.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Show me the way I should go

"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in You.
Show me the way I should go,
for to You I entrust my life."
- Psalm 143:8

As I have written before, adoption blindsided us in a way that we knew had to be God. The timing was wrong, the call too strong to ignore. It was something I had never even actually considered doing, so it shocked me when I started feeling this pull towards it. Praying, we weren't receiving any definite direction, so we felt we needed to make some sort of step in faith. Which is why we signed up for the DCF classes. We figured even if He leads us toward adoption in a way other than the state, the information would be valuable. And we were right, the classes taught us so many things that we would have never found out on our own. But during those 6 weeks of classes, despite prayers, neither of us felt a leading as to what to do next. We agreed to become licensed, because we can always say no, and if we felt called to come back to it later and hadn't been licensed, we would have to start all over again.

It was the day of our last DCF class that I found out I was pregnant. I thought, okay, God has revealed the direction He wants us to go in. Another beautiful baby for us, adoption will come in time. Yet just weeks later, I lost the baby. I was left with confusion. I wanted to adopt, and still do. But now I want a baby. I want to be pregnant again. Why would God give me that, just to take it away? In a way, it feels like it was stolen from me and sometimes doesn't feel fair.

I was talking with a close friend a few weeks ago about this confusion. She brought up a good point. Maybe, God doesn't want us to adopt right now. Maybe, He gave us the strong desire because He wants that to be fulfilled in the future. Much like how many people in the Bible received a prophecy that wasn't fulfilled until many years later. Yes, that makes sense. But why? Why would God give us a burden on our hearts for something that won't be fulfilled until later? It hurts my heart every single day when I think about all the orphans suffering. It literally aches. Aren't we called to look after the fatherless? It's hard not to feel a strong sense of urgency when it comes to this. Which is why I have a hard time even considering letting it go.

It is my daily prayer that God will use me for His glory. I will go where He wants me to. Every day I do my best to offer Him all that I am. I believe my family is my first ministry; taking care of my husband and children come before any other commitments and ministries. But I can't help but feel that there is more. That, even though my life is crazy sometimes, in a way it's just too...comfortable. I don't believe God calls us to a comfortable life.

Without a doubt, I know that He is faithful and will direct our path. I know He has great plans, and I continue to pray that He will reveal what is next for our family.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Redeemed

How can I possibly put into words all of the things God has been teaching me? Through the pain of my miscarriage, and the millions of other stressors and issues that come up daily, God has quietly been making His presence known. I can honestly say, I don't understand why He chose to take our child before we had a chance to truly know him or her. I know that I cannot change what has happened, and so I must accept it. I know He does not want me to go down the road to bitterness and anger. So instead, I chose to lean into Him for comfort.

I try my best to see difficult times as opportunities for growth...the fire refining my faith. It's so easy to say that you will stand strong among the storm when you aren't in the middle of it. When the storm is raging around you, it's a lot harder to hold on...but totally worth it.

Things are moving along on the adoption front. The DCF worker came for a visit. She is wanting to license us quickly. We had our water tested this week, and I still have paperwork to fill out and physicals to schedule. And of course, there is the issue of the van. We cannot take a child until we have a vehicle large enough to accommodate our entire family, plus (at least) one. I truly believe if this is His will, God will provide, and so I am praying and researching options that will work for us.

My 28th birthday was on Sunday. I decided to celebrate by finally getting one of the tattoos I have been wanting for a long time.


I chose this word, and this location, as a reminder to me that God has redeemed me. He paid the price and I no longer need to be bound by the chains of my past sins and mistakes. I am free! This word has stood out to me so many times in scripture, it's a word God has impressed upon my heart. It's also from my favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 43: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Grieving A Loss

This wasn't hard to write, but I hesitated in posting it because of the personal subject matter. I know when most people go through something like this, they choose to do it in private. However, for me, writing is how I express myself best, and I feel strongly that writing and sharing this will actually help me to heal.

Three weeks ago, we found out we were expecting. Although unplanned, we were totally excited. I even started brainstorming four-letter names to match our other three kiddos. We planned to tell family & friends on Easter.

Last week, I had symptoms that sent me to the ER. All day, I had cried and prayed, begging God to not take our baby. By the time we were on our way to the hospital, I told Justin I was 99% sure I was losing the baby, and only that 1% remained because I believed in miracles. I had prepared myself emotionally the best I could in a few hours. During the ultrasound, we saw a healthy yet tiny baby, we saw the heart beating, they told us everything looked perfect and sent us home with no explanation for the symptoms I was experiencing. Unfortunately, the symptoms persisted for the next 5 days, and I remained unconvinced everything was okay.

An ultrasound this morning confirmed what I believed deep down in my heart - that I had lost the baby. Although I was only 7 weeks pregnant, emotionally it was a hard hit. I honestly never ever thought that such an early miscarriage would cause me to grieve like I am. But through it, God is giving me so much peace. It truly is the peace that surpasses all understanding. I know friends and family have been praying for me, and those prayers mean the world.

I want to say sorry to all the other women who have gone through this. People don't know what to say. I never knew what to say. It's something we seem to brush under the rug and pretend like it never happened. It's awkward, and sad. But not saying anything, I think, is almost worse than saying the wrong thing. Everyone grieves differently, but no matter how, we all do. Miscarriage is common, so I know there are literally millions of women who have been through this. By sharing this, I hope to at least make someone else realize they are not alone.

I refuse to allow this to dampen my joy for others. I am praying specifically that God will help me to grieve in a healthy way that will not result in jealousy or getting stuck in a "why me?" rut. It hurts, but I know I will get through it. He will never leave my side. All I can ask for is for anyone reading this to save a prayer for me, every word spoken to Him for me is so appreciated.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Scattered thoughts

Life is crazy sometimes, isn't it?

We have less than 5 weeks in the homeschool year and I am burning out big time! I feel like every day, all day, I just keep going and going. There's always something to do. I'm sure other parents can relate! Sometimes I wonder if we're ready to adopt, because my hands already feel SO full some days! But I know there is no rush and I just need to trust God. We were just contacted by the social worker licensing us (who was also one of the workers at the class) about setting up a visit in April. She said she needs to visit with us once a month until we are licensed. I still have lots of paperwork and whatnot to catch up on (physician's statements for us and the kids, vet statement for our dog, CPR class, etc). As Justin says - "add it to the list!" We plan to get licensed and just continue to pray for God to reveal His will for us.

One thing I know, and I say often, is with God, expect the unexpected. So I have learned to try not to visualize how something will play out over months or years. How often do our plans match up with what actually happens? Not that it's bad to make plans, but don't get too attached to them. I try to stop myself from picturing how this whole adoption thing will work out, because as soon as I am connected to a plan that is from my own thoughts, I find it harder to keep myself open to God's plans for me.

Through this journey so far, God has taught me so much about myself, about others, about His character. I have a greater awareness of the needs of those around me, and those thousands of miles away from me. I have met the most amazing, giving, caring people on the face of this planet. Seriously. The things these people will do to rescue these orphaned children...they literally go to the ends of the earth and back. I have never been so inspired. I can only hope God can use me in such a way to influence others for His glory.