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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Here we go...

It's funny how things start to really feel real just by turning in a huge packet of paperwork. We've been working on this paperwork since the beginning of January. Like most people, I'm not one who enjoys the tediousness and repetitiveness that comes along with filling in what seem to be endless blanks. Hundreds of questions, and empty printer ink cartridges later, it's complete. We've answered self assessment questions, revealed our financial information, and over analyzed and picked apart our deepest desires to become parents. You'd think by now we would be overly confident in our readiness due to the amount of paperwork we've pondered, and number of checklists I've scoured. But the looming question still exists: Are we ready for this?

In our preparations, we've agreed, disagreed, argued, compromised, laughed, cried, comforted, and interviewed one another, just to name a few. We are barely into this process of adoption and we can already see what a beautiful and messy journey this about to become. And now that it's beginning to seem very real, and we are about to experience another phase/step in the process, we are becoming more and more invested and attached emotionally than any one person could ever prepare for.

There are not many absolutes right now. We are not absolute in our parenting styles yet, nothing has been "approved" about us yet, we haven't been chosen by a birth family yet, we don't know if we will end up with a baby boy or baby girl yet, and we absolutely don't (despite any amounts of paperwork or training classes) feel prepared yet. I don't know if we'll ever feel "prepared".

But the things I do know for sure:

I want this so badly. My heart is 100% in this.

My husband wants this so badly. His heart is 100% in this.

We may not have it all figured out, but we are willing to take any risk necessary to look into the eyes of our child every day. We are ready for that kind of love.

Whether we feel prepared or not, we know that we serve a loving, merciful, graceful and very faithful God who will give us every quality we need to get through it.

So...here we go. Next up is our home study. Pray for us =)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A cycle?

This is the week I say good-bye to my kiddos. I have two days left with them before they hit the road to GA. It's bittersweet to say the least. While I scramble at the thought of what I will do with myself every day without them here, I am also looking forward to some free time. But knowing myself, I give it a few days before I'm ready to drive to GA to pick them up from school and kiss their sweet faces. They gave me some sweet gifts in preparation for our parting. I now have a beautiful picture of the three of us adorning my media console. Catherine asked me yesterday what I'm going to do on Monday instead of watching them. I told her I will probably lock myself in the house and cry all day. Her response? "Well at least you can look at our picture while you get depressed." Little booger. I love them.

Yesterday I woke up to a very welcomed surprise. **Disclaimer** Before I go any further into this paragraph, I just want to remind you that this is a blog all about our ups and downs to parenthood. This paragraph may or may not consist of a detail or two that you may or may not want to know. While I am not an advocate of going too much into detail, I do feel that some biological details are necessary to fully tell our story. If you shudder at the word period, then stop reading. Before I woke up yesterday morning, I had been on a cycle of 332 days. Basically, it had been that many days since I last experienced a period. That last period, nearly one year ago, happened because it was medically induced by synthetic Progesterone. After that "menstrual induction", since it was ineffective, we just kind of let it go. Okay, we completely let the issue go. We just figured that it was better left in God's hands. So, 300+ days went by with nothing. Not a symptom to be experienced. I felt fine, I functioned daily, and just went on with life as normal. Then all of a sudden, yesterday morning, it happened. Out of the blue. I spent the day reintroducing myself to the feeling of cramps, relocating all of my "supplies", and rejoicing for the first sign in a very long time that my body works.

For all this time, my prayer to God was just that He would move my body in His perfect timing. All of this, medically points to something being wrong. This absence of a period has obviously been the result of my body not ovulating, which we all know is one of the main keys to getting pregnant. So doctors were always on the hunt for that reason why it was not happening. Between me and God, I just knew that He had something to do with it. Although I've always been gravitated towards the world's reasons of why, I knew deep down that God had this. And I can say that because with my DEEP desire to have babies, there is no earthly way I could have gotten through this past year with absolutely NO answers, had it not been for God's presence in my life. Only He can bring a calming peace like the peace it has taken for me to get through the past year.

So you can imagine the excitement that came over me when I realized that my body was doing what it is supposed to yesterday, AND all on it's own. At the sight of it, I was more convinced than ever that prayer works. Just the other night, a woman prayed very specifically over my body. I'm talking very specifically for me to have a period. Hello!! Prayer answered.

Slowly but surely as the day rolled on, however, the cramping began to lessen until I couldn't feel it anymore, despite my choice to refrain from pain relievers. Those cramps were a sure sign to me that it was still happening. But, soon they were gone, almost as suddenly as they arrived. And whatdoyaknow, the bleeding subsided as well. All in the same day. Weird, I know. Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and let discouragement and pity have its way with me. But the other part of me still rejoices. There are so many questions, but there is only one answer in our situation. We've been praying for this to happen, and God made it happen. Sure I wonder why for only one day, but we also did not pray for a specific number of days. I was just yearning for a sign that God's hand is in this. And He showed up in the very way I hoped that He would. That was enough for me. At times I have struggled with the fact that I felt like my faith for God to do something miraculous here was all for nothing. But I feel so strongly like this was just a small way for Him to show me to keep the faith. To keep believing. To keep praying. To pray specifically. And maybe, just maybe, He knew that I needed a fresh reminder that He is still here and still in control. Does yesterday's surprise mean that I ovulated? I don't know. Does it mean that I will ovulate or have a regular cycle again? I don't know that either. But it did remind me how powerful He is. How loving He is. And how good He is.

We are also gearing up for a training meeting with the adoption agency on Monday night. The more I look at the bigger picture, the more amazing things look to me. I mean, could all this period stuff happen at a more ironic time? Here we are pursuing adoption, and God says Oh hey, here's a new cycle for you! He is so much bigger than we are. There's no irony with God. He has it all figured out, we just think that we do.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My kiddos...

I sat across from him tonight at the dinner table while he tried everything in his power to get me to do an impression of a chameleon lizard. He told me that this type of lizard "points one eye up, and one eye down." I told him that this would be very difficult for a normal human being to do. His response? "No it's not". Then this 5 year old did his best impression.

She just scarfed her chocolate cupcake down, in typical 7-year-old-insulin-dependent-diabetic-starving-for-sugar fashion, and bluntly reassured him that what he thought he was doing, he was in fact, not doing. Just what a big sister is good at.

This, of course, crushed him and made him cry. He wanted so badly in that moment to be a good chameleon impersonator, but she crushed his dream. So I told him that he is the best lizard that ever lived, and made her apologize even though her observation was correct. He dried his tears, accepted her apology, and then challenged her to a game of Toy Story Memory. She accepted.

In this moment, I realized that times like these, of me helping to resolve conflict between brother and sister are soon to be over as they make their way to a new home, in a new city and new state. Seven years of memories flash before me, and it makes me emotional. I'm their favorite "babysitter", although I prefer to use the word "nanny". I have watched them grow up. I have taken care of them. I was there to pick them up from their first day of school. I was there when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and we learned together the scary highs and lows of blood sugar levels. I went to the hospital on the day he was born, and marveled at the miracle before me. I have disciplined, comforted, entertained, and loved them, and I know that by having the opportunity to do so, the past seven years with them has confirmed within myself how badly I want to be a mother.

We've been through a lot together. All these years have made for some tough times, but we have been able to learn together. It's been quite the experience for myself, and for them as well. I've learned how to be patient, and I've grown to appreciate the beauty behind their imaginations and playful spirits. I can't count the number of times they've begged me to be the horse in their make-believe stories. Numerous times I tried to pawn them off on one another because I didn't feel like "neigh-ing" and crawling around on all fours with a child on my back. But they never let up, expressing how much it would mean to them if I just tried. They've helped me to realize the importance behind making them a priority, even if it just meant a few minutes of my time devoted to "just for pretend" games. They have learned to trust me. They already have a mommy and daddy who they adore, and I had to recognize, especially in the beginning, that it is difficult for them to be away from their parents. There was a time when they cried for what seemed like forever after their parents left for a night out. But with time, and consistency, they allowed me to wipe away the tears and help them gear up for Nerf gun wars (with the help of my husband), and endless rounds of hide-and-go-seek. And I'll never forget when they began to tell me they loved me. Their walls came down, and they opened themselves up to me. They began to trust me with their feelings, their little tiny secrets, their dreams, and even their lives. A day came when mommy and daddy weren't always available, but I was. And they were okay with that. After their "Momma" of course, I was the next best thing.

What began as a simple way for me to earn a few dollars on the weekends when I was in high school, has become a part of my everyday life. It has become so much more than just a job to me, being their nanny. I don't know what the heck I'm going to do with myself after they're gone at the end of the month. To be honest, I cringe a little at the thought of a new "babysitter". I secretly hope she won't be very interesting, and that their time with her will be spent wishing they could be with me. I am tempted to make them pinky promise me that they will not love her. Although, despite my fears of them forgetting or not missing me, I know deep down, they will always remember. They are my kiddos, after all.

Monday, March 7, 2011

God Be Praised...

Not gonna lie, things have been rough lately, emotionally speaking. I've just felt drained, and I'm sure it has something to do with the 5 million things going on at once in my life. Complaint is my first instinct, but I'm working through it and adjusting the way I react. I guess I'm just in a rough spot right now, but I know underneath everything, God meant for it to be this way. He's growing me, and if I'm gonna live it out that He really is my everything, and exactly what I'm living for, then I'm gonna have to see past any circumstance and praise His name: I don't know how we're gonna pay for this adoption. But, God is good. He will provide. Oh, and another negative pregnancy test. Because of His love, I am not consumed. His compassion never fails. Two years of trying ended last week, and now we're into #3. God is bigger than any amount of years. He comforts the brokenhearted. He is for me, not against me. He is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him. He loves me.

The song below has made quite a comfortable spot in my heart recently. Despite any trial, or sorrow, or attack that comes in life, we have already won. It's okay to feel down, but we are not defeated! I may not have any answers, and I might feel like a mess at the moment, but I choose to rejoice and trust in the One who already won the battle for me...the One who conquered death and completed the impossible. God Be Praised!

You saved my life from death
When I was all but defeated
You spoke Your promises
And brought life to my weakness
Came as a conquering King
And You warred for my freedom
My soul can’t help but sing

You opened up my eyes
For the first time I saw You
Your love commanding life
And deserving devotion
You told me who I am
Now in faith I believe it
My soul can’t help but sing

You’ve made a place for me
Silenced all my accusers
Leading me forth with peace
Filled with joy I will follow
Your cross demands my life
Now Your grace is my anthem
My soul can’t help but sing

Hallelujah, we’re redeemed and made free
By the blood of the Lamb We have won
Hallelujah, we will sing victory
Jesus conquered the grave
God be praised

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What's to blog about?...

Blogging has been extremely difficult lately. Despite the fact that there is so much going on in my life, and one would think I would have something to write about, I cannot for the life of me put these things into paragraph form. I have gone back and forth about maybe doing some sort of "series". I'll set a goal, come up with a theme, or general overview, and then daily (hopefully) put these thoughts into smaller, more coherent posts.

Despite my lack of sensible words lately, a lot is happening. Usually, I find myself dumbing these things down to make them seem surface level, or unworthy of blogging about. However, when I get honest with myself, I realize that its all part of the story here. And this "story" is the whole reason I started this blog in the first place. I need to remember these times, these posts, or nuggets, or songs, or whatever the heck I put out there. And even though mine is just one out of millions and millions of bloggers stories, if even one of my posts makes it into the heart of one soul out there, then it is worth it to me.

That being said, I am open for suggestions, and in the mean time, I am planning to get on the ball here.