Saturday, March 27, 2010


I don't know how much weight you put on dreams. I do know that I had been having dreams of a brown haired baby boy for about 4 years by the time 1995 rolled around. Then as we waited for our baby the dreams morphed into triplet dreams; I even had friends telling me they had dreamed we had adopted triplets. I would dream of holding my baby (or babies) and then wake up to a dresser full of baby clothes but no baby to put in them and an intense longing in my spirit. People would comfort us by telling us "at least you have a child" and I was so thankful for her. It wasn't about our daughter not being enough--she was amazing in every way; it was about this feeling that our family wasn't complete. It was about the desire to mother another child.

On a Thursday in May, Sherry, our adoption worker, called and asked if we wanted our profile shown the following Monday to the birthparents of a baby boy. He was 2 months old, but had been born 2 months early, had spent 6 weeks in the NICU and he had a whole list of health problems. He had been septic and had also recovered from a grade 2 intraventricular hemorrhage. He also had severe reflux that they called life threatening and he would need to wear a monitor because he had apnea of prematurity. They weren't sure what long term effects he would have from all of this. She asked me to talk with Rick and let her know. Just as we were hanging up I said "Sherry, wait, what does he look like." She said "just a cute little baby." I asked if he had any hair and she told me yes, dark brown hair. I called Rick and gave him the whole list of issues and then asked him for his gut reaction. He said, "I'm overwhelmed, what's yours?" I said, "this is our son."

I called our pediatrician and outlined everything we knew about this baby boy, he listened and said he was totally willing and able to handle his medical care. And then he said, "you know, some people adopt a baby hoping for the perfect infant and child. Others adopt a baby because they believe that God has called them to adopt a specific child. I think you'd fall in the second group." He had pegged it, all along we had felt like God was going to put our family together, so again we took this to him and told him we wanted his will most of all. Then we called Sherry back and told her to show our profile.

Even as I retell this 15 years later, my stomach knots up. I spent Friday shooting baskets and weighing options and exploring "what ifs" with my friend, Kristin. I was so afraid to hope; so reluctant to set up a crib or buy supplies. We tried to just act normal, like nothing unusual was going on.

On Tuesday I got another call telling us that the birthparents liked our profile and wanted to meet us. We met at a restaurant in their town, and we arrived first. We wondered, each time a couple approached the restaurant, if they were the ones we were there to meet. Imagine your worst blind date jitters and multiply it by about a gazillion. That's how we felt. We were under the impression that they wanted to meet us so that they could make a decision. They actually had made the decision and just wanted to meet us. We talked about families and I shared about my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. The birthfather said, "so Jake will have a lot of cousins." I smiled and said "oh" while I wondered to myself who Jake was. He obviously caught on and said "you don't know what we named the baby do you? We named him Jacob David, but we call hm Jake." I told him I hadn't known that and said something about how neat it is for a kid to grow up with cousins--thinking he meant people in his family. Again he smiled and said "Jake will have a lot of cousins from your family." And that's when it finally sunk in. We had been chosen. They liked us, they wanted us to be their baby's parents. We had a son. Our prayers had been answered. My brown haired, dream baby was finally going to come home!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Get set....

After we finished our adoption classes the next steps in our journey toward baby number 2 would be interviews with the social workers, a home-study, creating a video for birthparents that told about our home, and creating a profile. All in all, we felt scrutinized. Our adoption workers repeatedly assured our group of hopeful parents that we really weren't being scrutinized, that we really didn't need to be nervous. Every hope and every dream we had about having a 2nd baby seemed to rest on the approval of these two adoption workers we had just met, how could we not be nervous? Our desire for another baby was so strong, however that we finished our paperwork and plunged in. Plunged in and waited, and waited, and waited. We had been through so many classes but no one had prepared me for the feelings of rejection; that each month as other couples were chosen by birthparents and we weren't felt like a personal rejection. We knew we were expecting a baby, but there was no baby bump, no stories of morning sickness or contractions, no birth plans, no expected date, no guarantee even that it would really happen. Through the years people have made comments about adoption being the "easy way." Trust me, I've done both, adoption was way harder.

About 9 months in, our adoption worker called about a child who was already 9 or 10 months old, Rick and I prayed and just heard "no" so I called her back and told her this wasn't the child for us. It felt horrible. I felt like I was passing up on the chance to have our child. We had to stand on faith that God would bring us the right baby at the right time but it was so hard. A couple of weeks later our adoption worker called again and said there was a young birth mom who was deciding between us and another couple in our group. She wanted to meet us and the other couple. The other couple were friends from our class so we talked with them and both asserted that either way she chose it would be win/win. We would be happy for each other and no hard feelings. We met her at the CCS office and after our meeting our friends had theirs with her. I talked to my friend later and just from her description of the meeting they had I knew a big connection had been made. It wasn't a huge surprise when our adoption worker let us know a few days later that the birthmom had chosen our friends. We cried and prayed and cried some more. And then we waited again.

The one thing I could do that made me feel like we were having a baby was sew baby clothes. So I made the whole crib set, bumpers, blanket, bed skirt, and I made sleepers, rompers, layette gowns, overalls. I filled drawers with baby clothes. And still we waited.

There have been many times in my life when I feel like God has forgotten me in this "waiting room." I feel like I'm sitting alone waiting for something I've prayed for but I'm not entirely sure he will provide. I usually am sure when I first pray but the longer I wait the more I doubt. What I've learned is that I'm not alone, God is there with me to comfort me and provide my strength as I wait. I don't understand why he doesn't just answer prayers right away. I understand that he sometimes says "yes" and he sometimes says "no." I get that. I have a harder time with the "not yet." I want to know why he's making me wait and letting me know that doesn't seem high on his priority list. I've also learned that he's okay with all of my emotions as I wait. His desire is relationship with me, and with you. And sometimes the biggest relationship growth happens as you sit together in the waiting room.

On your mark...

When our daughter was about 2 years old I started thinking that maybe our family wasn't complete. But my cardiac issues remained and now that we had a child there was just too much at stake to think about taking the risk with another pregnancy. So we made a call to Catholic Community Services to ask about adoption. They sent us a packet of information and I put it away after looking through it. Adoption was overwhelming! It remained an option for someday in the back of my mind but I wasn't ready to go there yet.

Whenever I would roll the idea around in my mind I thought about the facts they had shared in the pamphlet; we were looking at a waiting period of at least 1-2 years, the cost was high, newborns were in high demand--and the birthparents had to pick you! About a year after my first call I called CCS again and they sent me the same packet as before and again I read it and we decided to wait until our daughter was 3 to start the process.

About 3 months before our daughter's third birthday I really started feeling like we were supposed to submit our application. Our one stumbling block was we didn't have the money to pay for the home-studies, social workers, attorney fees etc. But the feeling wouldn't go away so we submitted the application with the small application fee. Our literature said that the usual wait from the time of submitting the application until you actually could start the process was 6 months to 2 years. They only allowed a certain number of potential parents in to the program at a time so you had to wait. We decided that this time period would be when we would save money so we could actually afford to do this.

We were shocked when we were contacted less than a month later to begin adoption prep classes, the process was beginning! The classes were wonderful, we met weekly to learn the facts about adoption; what the process is like, closed vs open, what it's like to grow up adopted, what birthparents feel and think. We had panels with adult adoptees, birthmothers, adoptive parents and medical specialists who work with special needs and drug affected kids. It was a wealth of information and helped us know what we were entering into, and what our child would face as his reality. During this time we learned that our total costs would be around $7000. No problem because we, big problem--we had around $100 in savings. So we started asking friends and relatives to pray. We believed that God would provide the money if this was something he wanted us to do right then. When they asked for a specific amount we needed we told them $7000. And we went forward with the process believing that he would provide somehow if this was his will. About 4 months later we received a settlement for an auto accident that had happened about a year beforehand. The amount of the combined settlement that Rick and I received was, you guessed it, exactly $7000.

I'm not sure why God chose to bless us with the amount of money we needed in that way, but I know that it strengthened my faith. God could have provided the money through a second job, he could have provided the money through a long waiting time while we saved up. But he gave it to us in a lump sum that was exactly the amount that we had asked for. We still had a long wait and lots of emotional stress ahead of us. But now I knew concretely that we weren't in this process alone. God was there, he was in control and he would build our family.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Open My Eyes and Make Me See

I just got new glasses. They're Calvin Klein, super cool...because I care so much about brands. But the thing about these new glasses is that they have progressive lenses, which is a nice way of saying that my new glasses are no-line trifocals. I'm all for improved vision. I actually paid for these new lenses and frames. But the truth was that I was intimidated by them. I was afraid they were going to make me nauseated, that maybe I couldn't get the head movement down right to see clearly. And after I got them, they made my eyes really tired. I wasn't used to having 3 different prescriptions all at the same time. So my temptation was to take them off, set them aside and put my old glasses back on. My vision wasn't that bad, I could see most things and if I hit "ctrl ++" enough times even the computer was clear. Adjusting to this new way of seeing felt too hard, it wasn't convenient.

Isn't it funny how that mimics my Christian walk? My life before I was truly walking with Christ wasn't that bad. But God's not satisfied with satisfactory. Jesus came so that I could have a full and abundant life. He wants my relationships to be the best they can be, he wants my relationship with Him to be the best it can be. But the truth is, those things can feel really hard. A new way of relating to my husband or my kids or my friends or even the clerk at Walmart can make me tired and I can be tempted to reach for the old way of relating just like I wanted to put back on my old glasses. But when I decide that God's way is too hard, I'm deciding to live my life with clouded vision. I'm deciding that I would rather miss all the small details, all the small blessings that come from seeing life clearly because I'm walking in step with Christ.

I'm still adjusting to my new glasses, but I haven't put my old ones back on yet and each day it gets a little easier. And I'm still walking out my life with Christ; step by step, day by day. Want to join me? Want to give up the old and familiar for a life filled to overflowing? It won't always be easy--I'm not going to lie. But the things you see with clear vision make it worth all the work.