Due

Dear God,

I can’t sleep. Maybe it’s the mild flu I’m fighting and the fact I can’t breathe through my nose. (I can’t stand a dry mouth.) Maybe it’s that hot cocoa I drank. Or maybe it’s the racing thoughts, swirling round and settling on the calendar date. Today was our birth mother’s due date.

We found out on Saturday that she had given birth last Wednesday, and through a series of unfortunate events that little boy is now in the foster care system. Our hearts broke in two.

I keep wrestling with the messages you’ve given me. I wonder if I’m just a crazy person for thinking that you, Maker of Heaven and Earth, would impart unto me sweet prophecies. Perhaps I am. But if those words scribbled in my journal really are divine, then I’m waiting with shallow breaths wondering what your next move will be.

In the midst of thoughtful encouragements and heartfelt prayers by friends and family, there’s the lady who stops in to tell me “some things that might help you get pregnant.” I had grace for this woman because, really, it’s wonderful that anyone should spend even a moment thinking about our situation, let alone caring enough to drive over to share with me. But it was all I could do to keep my tongue from spewing, “You really think that after five years of trying to conceive we haven’t heard or tried every remedy or wive’s tale in the book?!

This conversation came on the heals on my going-to-sleep thoughts last night. When we went to the reproductive endocrinologist last spring he told us the last step, the invasive decision would be surgery. Oh my gosh, this will never come to surgery, I thought. Or if it does surely all my problems will be solved and we’ll be able to get pregnant right away.

My heart grieves the loss of those dreams, those months when I assumed outcomes.

And here I sit, in the dark, still house, late at night, with the tick of clock reminding me of my numbered days, wondering what in the world you have in store for me, God? Is it truly good?

Facebook Cover - Eph 2

But God.

That conjunction changes everything. There is no greater mystery, that God would come to rescue me from who I was (lyrics from The Gospel Changes Everything by Meredith Andrews).

“And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you are saved!— and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.”

And then verse 10 goes on to say, “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”

I have no room to complain, Lord. For it is by grace I have been saved from a life of sin and separation from your goodness. Pour out your green hope into my life.


 

 

Scripture passage: Ephesians 2:1-10, the NET Bible

Feeling the Love

Dear God,

We were well-loved today. Thank you for the evidence of your truths from Jeremiah 31:2-3.

Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

02_05_15 Everlasting Love

These were reminders of your faithfulness in the midst of these wilderness days:

1. A gift card to Lisa Leonard Designs (in that beautiful “you am loved” envelope.) This was one of the most thoughtful gifts I could possibly receive. Would you believe that one of my dear friends remembered a blog post I wrote in January 2013, where I shared the story of a necklace? In August 2011, I had wanted to use my original Lisa Leonard gift card for a necklace with my baby’s initial on it. But in an act of surrender, I ordered a necklace with only mine and Kevin’s names. Today, this gift card was given to me to replace that original one, for the intent of adding that child’s name, believing God will do this one day.

2. Two different cards from our Albion family, sharing heartfelt concerns and prayers for us during this time of hurting and waiting on God. In one of the notes was an incredible message:

I have received no enlightenment as to how and why God works as he does. But this very small check represents my confidence in His goodness and perfect plan for your lives. 

I am encouraged by the confidence others are having in God’s plan for our lives. He is only good.

3. Another ($200!) donation to our adoption fundraiser. Thankful for friends who aren’t giving up on us or on our God.

4. Deep, meaningful phone conversations with our grandparents. Kevin and I spent about 20 minutes talking with Grandma Arvidson then Grandma & Grandpa Eccles and then Grandma Simmons. Our family is incredibly blessed to be led by these rooted God-followers. Their examples of faith mean so much for us. Their support and sharing in our heartbreak is soul-stirring for us.


 

I could believe the lie that this adoption didn’t go through, God must not love you, or maybe He’s punishing you. But, God, I am experiencing your lavish love even now. Just as you told Hosea to pursue Gomer, just as you pursued your people Israel and called them to freedom in you.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.”

Hosea 2:14

I love you, too, God. And I’m hearing your tender voice even in this wilderness.

Processing

Dear God,

Why? Why did this have to happen? Why did everything seem so perfect? Why did we paint the nursery? And rearrange most of the house? Why did we buy a new car? Why did we spend every spare moment in February planning and preparing and dreaming and praying? Why did we believe this was the real deal?

Honestly, God, I never did. I never believed this adoption would actually go through. I have been disappointed far too many times to even remember what it’s like to hope, to believe. I knew you could do it, finish it. I believed this could be the baby we’d waited for. But I didn’t really believe it. I just couldn’t.

I knew that setting my attitude would make my actions follow suit. And so I decided to live in the hope. I decided to think about the joy. I let myself dream. I pushed away the doubts and fears as best I could.

But I can’t help but tell myself I told you so.

I closed the bedroom door. I stopped organizing and cleaning and preparing as the gifts kept arriving. Now the room is cluttered and neglected. My heart wants to do the same, just let the thoughts and feelings pile up, never tending to any of them or allowing anyone in.

The emotions come out in unfounded anger. Why would tell me the website header is wrong at ten o’clock at night?! The emotions come out in seclusion. I have no words to respond to the messages. And I don’t even want to. The emotions come out in fear. What in the world happened to our bank account?!

God, there are many people’s faith hinging on your story for us. Friends who wonder at the religious life we live and this God we follow. Is it real? Would a good God do this to such good people? they ask. And for their sake, God, show up.

And you did for me yesterday. You gave me joy and purpose to lead our congregation on Sunday morning, just days after this adoption miscarriage. My heart grieves, but the mending comes in working out my purpose even through the pain. And so I share my story. I tell of your goodness to my church family, to the Facebook world, to our families, and to these dear readers who journey so faithfully with me.

I can say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21)

You are constant.

You are only good.

I am believing that, God. And I am believing that you aren’t done with us yet. Our story is still unfolding, and I am anxious to look back and see clearly what tapestry you were weaving in these tangled times.

For now, though, You have honored my willingness to share this private story in such a bold, public way. You have showered me with friendships that support with deep dependency. So many have shared their own raw emotions over our pain. Many are grieving, God, not just me. Heal.

I am thankful for friends who are sincere. They rejoice greatly in our rejoicing. They mourn deeply in our mourning. We are not alone. And I am thankful.

2015-02-24 09.12.10

Over Our Heads

Dear Child of Mine,

It is with a heavy heart I write to you this morning. I’d rather just forget all of this, refusing to acknowledge these circumstances. But I am convinced by the Spirit of God that even these dark days are part of my story. The tapestry of my life is being woven together, thread by thread, and today I am engrossed in this one tangly moment. I am quickly losing sight of the glorious masterpiece Father is creating. But I am reminded that “we simply and humbly offer all that we are to the One who offers us the option of becoming more than we are...For to bind our lives to Jesus Christ requires that we try to walk with him into the sorrows and suffering of the world.” (Rueben P. Job, Guide to Prayer, p. 136)

02_25_15 Weary from Crying

We can’t step back or forward far enough to see what Father is doing in this adoption. We want desperately to have some control, but as your Daddy said last night, “God, you got us into this. You’ve got to get us out.

Your birth mother is second guessing all of her decisions and listening to inaccurate advice. She may also be doing things to put your life in danger. Before I knew any of that I felt led to write her a letter. I expressed the prayers and concerns so many are pouring out over her, recognizing the magnitude of this decision. I shared our story of infertility, our hearts’ desire to become parents. I described all of the ways we’ve been busy preparing to bring home this baby, trying to offer her comfort that her unborn child will be well cared for. And I offered to talk with her, to hear her own thoughts and desires.

Today at 11am she will be handed this letter. And we pray in earnest.

Psalm 77
I commune with my heart in the night;
I meditate and search my spirit:
Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love ceased forever?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?

I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
I will remember your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all your work,
and muse on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who works wonders;

Psalm 22:23-31
For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him.
All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
future generations will be told about the Lord,
and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying that he has done it.

Called by Name

Visit YouCaring.com/EcclesAdoption


 

Dear Child of Mine,

As we anticipate your birth, we consider your name. It occurs to me that no matter how many years I’ve been making baby name lists, nothing could have prepared me for this responsibility. At this point, naming you seems like a massive decision – right up there with choosing to become a Christ-follower, and saying “yes” to becoming your Daddy’s wife. Yes, it feels that important.

There’s a lot to think about in choosing a child’s name. How will the first and last name flow together? What will their initials be? What kinds of nicknames might this name incur? Will people instinctively be able to pronounce it? It is difficult to spell? There are questions about honoring a family member or some cultural tradition. There’s ethnic roots to consider. And there are meanings of names to take into account.

02_19_15 Called by Name

Kevin and I had an epiphany within the first few days we learned of you, and we thought we had settled. For me, though, nothing is ever truly settled. There’s always room for more discussion, more contemplation, more mulling. Back to the drawing board we went.

I was kind of assuming I would arrive at the hospital on your birth day with two or three names selected. It would be a “game day” decision. I have heard plenty of stories of babies whose parents are debating names right up until the moment of birth…or even as late as after they go home with their unnamed infant. But then yesterday our lawyer called and informed us he would be emailing us copies of the paperwork he’d drawn up so we could look it over. Then, the dreaded question: “Do you have a name picked out?” “No, not yet,” I replied. “Well, you’re going to need to figure that out quickly so we can add it to these documents to be prepared at the time of birth.

ohhhhhhh kayyyyyy.

The two of us plopped ourselves down, settling in for a serious time of decision-making. Daddy set a timer for how long I had to add or remove names from the pool. (This seems crazy, but it’s so necessary when you’re dealing with a “waffler” like me.) Then we set about discussing the results. A decision was made.

Many people have wondered what your name will be. We have decided to keep it treasured in our hearts for now. (Well, ours and the lawyer’s apparently.)


In the midst of this naming process, my heart has cried for you, Child. I have called you by name, you are mine. To know one’s name is speak of their worth. A name offers insight into a life, has shape and color, a song attached. To utter a name connotes responsibility, relationship, intimacy. The Lord God created each of us, calling us by name, beckoning us into His Love. And with a mirrored fierceness, I call you by name, My Son. You are mine.

Isaiah 43:1-3

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name,
you are mine
.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire
you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

The Nest

Dear Child of Mine,

I can almost picture you. You’re no longer some far-off dream of mine. I have been busy preparing for your arrival every day since February 1st. Yes, this includes doing the necessary paperwork, but also readying my home, researching baby equipment, and getting all sort of wonderful tips from friends. This morning I thought to myself, “You know you’re nesting when you spend Valentine’s morning cleaning the mold off of the bathroom ceiling with vinegar, having been disgusted by it for 9 months and never done anything about it previously.” I just knew, “I can’t have my baby in this environment!” (Apparently it wasn’t a big enough deal when it was just us, or the slew of visitors we have over.)

2015-02-11 15.18.01

Within days of your adoption even being an option, I set to work painting your nursery. I didn’t care that I had the worst headache ever; it needed to be done. Absolutely essential. I realize it’s totally not that important, but this is how motivating my maternal instincts are. They’ve been stifled for years, stuffed down deep so as to not step foot in the baby department or get lost for hours on mommy blogs. But now, Child, my nesting nature is in season and working overtime to catch up on 9 months of preparations.

In 2010 when we started trying to get pregnant, I turned my garage sale inclinations to all things baby. I had built up quite a stock pile of beautiful onesies, bottles, bibs, and gadgets. As the years went by and we moved homes again and again, I slowly started getting rid of these items. The only things I kept were 5 Avent bottles, 4 onesies (U of M, 2 Hungry Caterpillar, “Little Squirt”), an adorable bedroom set (including an impractical comforter, window valence, clothes hamper, mobile, and a bumper which I hear I’m not supposed to use), an inexpensive front carrier, and a beautiful red jogging stroller.

It’s taken all of my self control (and a little of my husband’s) to keep me from buying a crib, diapers, wipes, formula, new bottle nipples, car seat, changing pad, bathing necessities and a slew of onesies. We’ve already received so many offers of hand-me-downs as well as rumors of baby showers, that we know many of these purchases won’t be necessary. Now if I can just stifle my nesting needs just a little while longer.

Our people are seriously incredible. On a daily basis I am reminded of the friends and family who are rooting for us, praying fervently for us, and overwhelmingly supportive. I have received lengthy emails giving me all of the details of baby supplies and needs. The details are so important to my psyche and I can’t believe so many would take the time to share their experiences. I have friends who tell me, “You’re going to be fine. I promise.”

In the past few days, there have been a handful of emails that have brought me to near tears. (Side note, I haven’t had a big cry over all of this yet. It’s like my tears have dried up in exchange for the productivity necessary. I’m just waiting to be overtaken by sobs. I’ll get back to you on that.) These particular words are exactly what I needed to hear; I was already worried about this. How did she know? I am certainly going to need to return to often over the next season of life.

“Even though you desperately want a baby, and have been trying for YEARS and paying lots of money and undergoing multiple uncomfortable medical procedures, and even though you’re doing everything you can to adopt this baby successfully, and you really, really want to hold his little self in your arms and just be his mom…even though ALL this is true, you’re still allowed to be overwhelmed sometimes, especially at first. You’re allowed to have bad days, and you’re allowed to think wistfully back on the days before the baby and remember how you could get the sleep you needed, or how it was easier to do what you want when you wanted. ALL moms have those feelings, but I don’t want you to feel that because you’ve done so much more than most people to get a baby, that to feel that way is somehow ungrateful. The truth is, being a mom is amazing and wonderful and so, so good, but it’s also brutally hard and exhausting and overwhelming. That’s just normal. And you have every right to feel that way too.”

Child, as much as you are loved and prayed for, know that your Mom and Dad are also covered in care. We are so thankful.

Come quickly, Child.

Love, Mama


Help Kevin & Melanie bring home #BabyEccles at YouCaring.

 

Sowing and Reaping

02_04_15 Sow in Tears

Dear Child of Ours,

Sometimes there are so many swirling thoughts, countless circumstances being juggled, it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s easy to feel paralyzed by the options and opinions. Deep breath. One thing at a time.

I’m a future-planner. A get-all-my-ducks-in-a-row kind of person. Thus, I am so thankful for your Daddy, the guy who speaks truth and peace into my harried lifestyle. He empowers me to accomplish one task, well. Then we’ll move on to the next. Because of him, I haven’t had to do any brown-paper-bag breathing. (Thanks, dear.)

You see, Child, for the first time in nearly five years of barrenness, we are beginning to see a glimmer of hope, that perhaps you are going to join us. And before I go any further let me tell you how much I love you already. I don’t even know you yet, but you, Child, are loved a hundred times over. And not just by your Daddy and me, but by countless people who have treaded this path with us. They, too, have dreamed about this day, prayed for you to join our family. You are widely and richly loved.

Sunday, February 1st dawned cold and snowy. The flakes fell hard and fast, covering the path behind us even as we shoveled. Your Dad and I got to church at 7:30am and readied the sanctuary for the brave souls who might venture out in this weather. The service was undeniably small – 27 people compared to our usual 60 – but the warmth and intimacy was felt by everyone in the room. We worshiped together as friends.

But just before the service started our good friend, Cathy, dropped an incredible opportunity in our laps. In her practice as a nurse midwife, she had begun caring for a young woman who was 34 weeks pregnant and had another baby at home already. (I will not be sharing the details of her story, as it’s not mine to tell.)  In the flow of conversation, the idea of adoption came up and Cathy’s mind instantly fled to “Kevin and Melanie.” She cautiously broached the subject, not wanting to scare this delicate girl away. The response from the birth mother was positive, wanting to know more about us and the adoption process.

So here we are, Sunday morning, getting ready to do what we do – lead a church service together – when suddenly we realize we might be parents in a month! Instantly we said yes, but weren’t very optimistic that this was actually going to happen. We were afraid to breathe.

At the end of the service, I felt led to tell our entire congregation about this adoption possibility. We need our church family, side by side, shouldering this with us. And they responded so wonderfully. The whole group came forward and laid hands on us as we prayed – for this unborn baby, for this birth mother and her family, and for us. May the name of the Lord be praised.

In the 13 days since this announcement we have hit the ground running. I literally had not stopped working on this adoption in all my waking hours until last night around 6pm. There was so much to be done. Thankfully, God had been preparing for the speed of this process as we prepared an application for another agency back in August. A few months ago, we had put the adoption app on hold, feeling like we just needed to wait on God’s “yes.”

God’s “Yes” came with neon, flashing lights, and the speed and intensity of the Top Thrill Dragster! We have filled out applications. We have received letters of recommendation from three references (thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, friends). We compiled our official documents – birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, social security cards, marriage license (one copy for the social worker, one for the lawyer). We have been fingerprinted. (This is the longest part of the process – pray that the government works miraculously fast on our background checks.) We typed 12 pages detailing our personal history. Thanks to Cathy, our messenger, we shared our “Dear Birth Mother” scrapbook with the birth mother and her family. (Shutterfly scrapbooks are an A+ in my book, and a beautiful way to introduce to this unborn baby’s family in a heartfelt, but hands-off way.)

We learned that the baby – a BOY! –  is healthy, measuring now at 36 weeks. The final key to all of this is the birth father. We learned on Monday that he has agreed to sign off on the adoption. Praise be to God! Birth mother has repeatedly told Cathy of her certainty that we are the right family for her baby and that she is absolutely going through with the adoption. Her family and the birth father’s family are all supportive as well. We are as certain as we can be until the baby is born and both mother and father sign their names.

Oh right, we found an incredible adoption agency to do our home study in an expedited fashion, and we found a lawyer right in town who can very easily facilitate our adoption. We have met with both the social worker and the lawyer, filled out the necessary paperwork – pages and pages, and paid both in full. The home study will be finalized next week, followed by the lawyer drawing up his papers for the court.

And we bought a baby-mobile! It’s a 2009 Mazda 5 – described as a minivan crossed with a station wagon. It’s got sliding doors, two bucket seats, and a two seater bench in the back. We love it! The gas mileage is a bit frustrating given our history of 38mpg cars, but totally worth it for the ease and safety of this vehicle. Our little beloved blueberry – a 2008 Toyota Yaris – just wasn’t the right vehicle to bring home baby. We’re selling it if anyone is interested.

2015-02-08 14.44.50
The #BabyEccles Mobile

 

2015-02-12 16.29.39
For Sale! Click on the image for the complete listing.

 

Child, we are readying a room just for you. We have been given clothes and bottles and swings and carriers from friends who want to help us prepare. I wasn’t expecting to have to compress 10 months worth of preparations into 10 days, but we are totally ok with this. I started out feeling fearful, struggling to be excited because we’ve been disappointed time and time again. But one of my friend counseled me by saying “the joy of anticipation now is greater than what the sorrow of disappointment would be.” And truly I believe God will hold our hearts through this, as He has over the past many years. We want to eagerly anticipate the arrival of you – our firstborn son – not live in skepticism and fear.

And so we wait with open arms and hearts full of love.

Eagerly praying,

Mama


Dear Readers,

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for following our journey. It has been completely overwhelming to discover the number of people who care deeply about our story, having read my entries from the beginning. I first shared this struggle 31 months into our infertility – January 2013. In December 2013, I began to write Letters to my Future Children, a venture which allowed me to share my life, my thoughts, and my dreams with the little ones who I prayed would join our family. Thank you for being faithful to pray for us, for telling me of your joy and excitement over this announcement.

My deepest desire is that the name of the Lord be praised. Our God does great things.

Screenshot 2015-02-13 07.03.00

Believing that many of you would want to help us in some way, we started a YouCaring fundraising page. Again, we are blown away by the generous investment in our family. Thank you for contributing to the finances of this adoption. It’s come fast and furious, and our hearts rest easier as we watch God provide through your donations.

Love,
Kevin and Mel

Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jig

Dear Child of Mine,

I’ve been yearning for you a lot lately; more than usual. Perhaps it’s because so many parts of our life seem to be eager for your presence. Our desire is changing from we really want a child to something is missing. There is a new void in my heart that I can’t quite describe.

It’s been three weeks since we moved (back) into the parsonage and I have to say it seemed like our surroundings whispered, “Welcome home.” I wasn’t sure how I would feel dwelling in the space we occupied during the first three years of marriage. It seemed so long ago, another lifetime. But this house is our home. It feels right, like pulling on the glove sized perfectly for your fingers.

Seeing the empty rooms, though, reminds me in a very loud way of your absence. Barrenness was easier to ignore when we lived in a studio apartment, but now its presence is around every corner. I’m hurting maybe more than I was, but also more hopeful. This seems like the right place to have you join us, with space to play, a church to love you, and family nearby.

I’m not certain of our next steps. We haven’t found a new doctor yet because we’re waiting for our insurance to be official and I still need to call our R.E. in Rochester for a good referral. Even if all of those pieces line up perfectly, you may not come to us in the form of a biological child. Maybe it’s time to start the arduous steps of adoption.

Either way, you’ll be loved, welcomed with arms wide open and received with tight hugs.

Come quickly, Child. There’s room for you.

Love, Mama

Why is Adoption So Difficult?

The April 8th reading from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest says,

Our Lord’s Resurrection destiny is to bring “many sons unto glory.” The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We are never in the relationship to God that the Son of God is in; but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. 

As Kevin and I were reading that day’s devotional together, it brought to my mind an answer to question I had been pondering concerning adoption. Why is adoption so expensive, why does the process take so long, why is there so much pain involvedPerhaps adoption needs to be a long and painful process for us just as it was for our God. 
Romans 8:15 (and other New Testament passages) proclaims the adoptive relationship we have Yahweh.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

And how did we receive that Holy Spirit, friends? But through the sacrifice offered by our adoptive Father himself – giving his son to humanity, watching his torturous crucifixion, being forced to turn his back on Jesus because our sin was so black, and then sealing our adoption through the supernatural bodily resurrection and ascension of that same Christ. 
All for us. 
He wanted to invite us into his family, to be his sons and daughters, so desperately that he did more than wait a year or two, sign papers, deal with heartbreak and devastation, sign more papers, and finally bring that child home. No. God waited for thousands of years as his children rejected him, then gave him hope that they might possibly draw near to him, only be saddened again by their disobedient disdain. After centuries of waiting, he offered part of himself – his Son (the son who was already in perfect communion with him, who would never disappoint him or leave him, never disobey him) – as payment for our adoption. 
Ok, so I guess the thousands of dollars, the piles of papers, and the months of waiting really can’t compare.
Lord Jesus, if you call us to adopt, please keep this perspective fresh in our hearts. Amen. 

The Almost Adoption

My heart is in that hurting sort of place. I knew these kind of days would resurface, even after coming to a place of peace and contentment with our childlessness. But it seems to be impossible to completely ignore the desire and if I lost all hope that may not even be healthy, I don’t know.
Keeping the balance between hopefulness and contentment is where Jesus must come in. 
But in these moments of sadness and wanting, of deepest yearning and tears, I thought I would share with you another portion of our journey down the road of infertility. (This particular story was hinted at in this post all those months ago.) Come with me, won’t you, to June 2012? The days were extremely hot and our house was kept shaded by the closed drapes. In the midst of the heat I wasn’t exactly thinking about options to expand our family, but then one presented itself. 
A dear friend of ours said she had an urgent matter to discuss with us and asked if she could come over for a visit. Our minds were racing, scrambling through the possibilities. You see, this friend was one of the only people with whom we’d share our interest in adoption. She was most certainly coming to us with a related circumstance. 
Wasting no time, she laid out the situation – There was a 19 year old girl, from a good family, living in a nearby town and attending community college. She had just found out that she was pregnant, eight months pregnant. This young girl, who was likely scared out of her whits, wanted to give her unborn child a wonderful adoptive home to be a part of and she was wanting to do an independent adoption. The baby could be born within the next four weeks, so if we interested in this opportunity we would have to move quickly. 
Before we knew it, Kevin and I were alone in our living room, staring at each other and wondering, “What now?” 
You should know we had done absolutely nothing to prepare for the possibility of adoption. All we knew was this is normally a long, detailed process, and we weren’t sure how to begin. For the next four days we operated in turbo mode. We found an adoption attorney (we had never had any experience with a lawyer of any kind), we paid a $2,000 retainer plus the $500 consultation fee, we communicated with a third party who was speaking on behalf of the 19 year old girl and her family, we filled out the paperwork, we contacted a social worker who was willing and able to do an expedited home study (for an increased sum of money, of course), we had references write letters of recommendation on our behalf, we wrote our own letter to the birth mother.
This was the fastest, scariest roller coaster we had ever been on. There were days (hours, really) that felt extremely defeated. There is no way we are going to be able to do this all in time. Then there were moments of hope. Oh my goodness, we have all of our ducks in a row, this could really be happening. 
And in the midst of all of these meetings and this turmoil, we had to decide whether or not we were going to join the Bible Quizzers for a week in Seattle. Ack. It certainly wouldn’t look good to the birth mom if we skipped town at this crucial time. But we had heard nothing back from her or her lawyer since moving speedily forward on everything. We were playing a waiting game and had no idea which direction the mother was going to go. We had made commitments to quizzing (and the money had been paid) and we didn’t want to back out of our responsibilities if nothing was going to come of this adoption scenario. Does one of us stay and one of us go? 
For a short while I was considering staying in town to work with the birth mother, and Kevin would go to Seattle. But after over a week of no communication from the family or the lawyers, we knew it wasn’t looking good. And so rather hear the devastating news all alone, I opted to go with Kevin to Washington state. 
Thankfully this turned out to be the right decision. We finally heard from our lawyer the day we were flying back to Buffalo – The birth mother had decided to go with an agency adoption. The case was closed. The matter settled. I am still grateful for the lawyer we had chosen to work with. She was generous enough to return our $2,000 retainer since she had done no further work on our behalf. And I was able to spend a week not dwelling on the heartbreak and stress and anxiety of the pending situation. I was with my husband and our teens, and the other leaders on the trip proved to be wonderful encouragement to me as well. 
And here we are, 10 months later. We are still interested in the pursuit of adoption, but we’re not Dave-Ramsey-ready for that financial commitment. Our conversations on the subject continue and we are trying to make the choices that will be best for us and best for the child we bring home. 
But, dear friends, in the meantime you can pray. And please, if you know of someone who is looking for a Christian couple to adopt their unborn baby or infant, feel free to connect us to them. We are willing to wait for God’s perfect timing in this process.