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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On the horizon...

Yesterday at 2:00 p.m., the TPR (termination of parental rights) hearing was successfully completed. Hubs and I have an appointment with our attorney on February 2nd to schedule our finalization date, and get a load of legal documents squared away.

Finalization is on the horizon, people. This is crazy...and awesome.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Where we're at...

Today has felt heavy. I've felt God speaking to me through different means. First a song, and its lyrics pierced me, and broke me once again with gratitude. Then a phone call from the agency that delivered good and bad news all in one statement. And most recently a letter...one that we've been waiting to read for 90 days, but it didn't quite deliver the congratulatory words we've been hoping for. Nevertheless, God is good.

It began this morning with a song. The lyrics echoed through my living room, as I rocked my baby to sleep for a nap. This is rare, a moment like what Selah and I shared as she fell asleep in my arms. Usually at times when we're home and she's ready for bed, I lay her down and she drifts off into her own little land of sweet dreams. But I believe God gave me this moment this morning, with the following song filling in the background, to touch my soul with a reminder that He is here. Present. Alive. Working. Just as He was when He gave us Selah. We rocked and listened, then I laid her down in her bed, and I let the thankfulness overtake me, as I cried in awe of such an amazing Savior.

From the first break of light to last days
Every echo of time every evening fade
You've always been there

From a baby's first cry to last breath
Every fight in our minds, every victory dance
You've always been there

Ancient One, so amazing, unfailing You are
Holy One, overwhelming my heart with your love

Yahweh, Yahweh
Faithful God, You're here to stay
Yahweh, Yahweh
Forever, and always the same...

Where the sky meets the sea and breaks free
When compassion and love are met with need
You've always been there

All consuming, everlasting
God Almighty, Lord of Glory

A while later, my phone rang with a reminder from a social worker from our adoption agency. There will be a court hearing tomorrow that will result in termination of parental rights (TPR) for Selah's birth parents. Good news from this hearing is that we could be as soon as 30 days out from finalization. Finally, an end in sight. The bad news, the rip-your-heart-out realization, is that tomorrow will be their (birth parents) end to this process. Done. It weighs so heavily on my heart.

As I let these things settle in, I took a walk to the mailbox. There inside was a letter from an organization regretfully informing us that we have been denied in regards to a grant that we applied for back when our home study was completed/we brought Selah home. It's a long story, but basically, since there were literally only about 10 days in between the approval of our home study and the day we brought home our baby, we were limited on time to fill out applications for financial assistance with our adoption. Believe me when I say that we had "plans". We were banking on having "12-18" months of expected wait time before we thought we would ever be chosen as adoptive parents. We researched and found several grants that we wanted to apply for, but they wouldn't even consider looking at our applications until our home study was completed and approved. But once that time came, much to our surprise, we were quickly chosen, and right after that we had a baby in our home. Although fortunate in the blessing that we were given, it became unfortunate that several of our financial assistance options would no longer assist us since the baby's placement had already occurred. We were still hopeful though, and sent applications out to the few organizations left who said they wouldn't discount our attempts just because we already had Selah. Well, to wrap this paragraph up, they accepted our application, but denied us from any help. No explanation as to why, just a sweet letter of their regrets and apologies.

But we will not give up, and we will not lose hope. We are praying for a miracle. And we trust that God is going to make a way for this balance to be paid before our finalization date.

I've watched God take my life and turn it into what He's always wanted it to be. He has written this story in a way that I never imagined. At times I was disappointed. Left feeling hopeless, drowning in a sea of unanswered questions, and unmet expectations. But what I've come to realize, and what I've witnessed first hand, is that God works best when we allow Him to work. Things happen when we let go of our expectations, and give up our earthly desires to align our lives with Him... For me it meant giving up on a dream and welcoming His plan for my life. And then He blew my mind. No, things didn't line up the way I thought I wanted them to, but now I'm glad they didn't.

I don't know exactly where I wanted this post to go. Maybe it's a jumbled mess. But while I sit here and type in the midst of much uncertainty, I feel the weight of His love on my shoulders. And I realize that I'm the uncertain one...not God.

"God loves to take hopeless situations and gush hope into them and see it explode and make things beautiful" ~Daniel Bashta

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Birth family and adoptive family dynamics can be such a heap of confusion sometimes. It's one of the aspects of our process so far that has brought about the most questions. It's the number one thing that I worry about when I wonder about the future and how everything is going to pan out. I feel such an overwhelming amount of responsibility when it comes to how Jeremy and I are going to raise Selah to understand her story. I worry about the hurt she might feel as she navigates her way through questions, feelings, and dreams she may have about her birth family. I constantly pray that we just get it right.

Upon meeting Selah's birth mom, and even before we were ever matched with her, we decided that it was important to us to always raise our child with the knowledge of their adoption. It's important to us for our baby girl to know where she comes from, and to possibly give her the opportunity to know her birth family if it was important to them to be involved in her life. So we settled on starting out with a semi-open adoption, and we committed to keeping our hearts open and willing to develop relationships over time with whatever birth family God connected us with. We were beyond excited after talking with Selah's birth mom for the first time, after learning how it was important to her to choose an adoptive family who were willing to be open with her. Spending a week before the birth with her was an absolute blessing, and I was so thankful and relieved to be able to discuss things with her and come up with a plan as to how we would proceed to keep in touch after the baby was born. Things happened so naturally between us, and I remember leaving the hospital with our sweet baby, feeling so confident in the hopes that our relationships with her birth family would just continue to grow and flourish.

In the few weeks after the baby was born, we continued to stay in touch with each other through email and text messaging. We even met at the agency when Selah was 2 weeks old for a sweet visit. But it has tapered off tremendously since then. We continue to update the family with pictures/letters, and email, but have yet to hear a reply. And it breaks my heart like something crazy. My heart aches not for me, or Jeremy, but for birth mom...and Selah's siblings...and most of all for this sweet baby girl.

I think about this woman every single day. I want to be there for her like I was able to be in the hospital. I want to know how she's doing, how she's feeling. I look into Selah's eyes and I see her. The way Selah looks like her, it's haunting.

I have a beautiful picture that I took of birth mom holding Selah for the very first time in the hospital. It's such a special photo - one that captures both the love & adoration, and heartbreak that this sweet woman was feeling in that moment leading up to having to say goodbye. I remember the urgency I felt to immediately go and have the picture printed and framed to put on display in the nursery. I just had this vision of Selah waking up and seeing it every day, learning the woman's name that is holding her in the picture, and connecting it to her knowledge of her beautiful adoption story...

But sometimes now I wonder if that is the best decision.

I am overwhelmed with compassion for these birth parents. I do not understand how they are feeling, that kind of heartache... To make sense of things, I tell myself that it probably is just easier for them to keep their distance. I pray away anger or resentment, and ask God to continue to grace me with compassion for the entire situation. But the distance hurts, especially as we see it slip further and further away. The lack of response hurts. Not for me...but for Selah.

I try not to question how we will do this, and instead just trust that God will give us all the love, compassion, and wisdom that we will need to be there for our daughter as she figures out who she is in Christ, rather than a bloodline. We just trust that He will guide our hearts and our steps as we teach her to lean into His loving arms. We just trust that God will continue to fill us with so much love for her that she never has to question, but she will literally be able to feel it. We will trust that she will always know an abundance of family, and that she will see that DNA doesn't define who does and does not fall into this category. We trust that God will lead us to be everything that she will need in a mom and dad, and that He will comfort us as we comfort her if the answers aren't there. And we will trust that He will show us the way and give us the words we need to do what is best for her.