Wow! It’s Been a While! So Much to Share.

It’s been a while since I posted. I was really giving my head and heart some time to process things.

A lot has happened since I last wrote a post. Let’s see there’s this:

then there were six

Yep! That’s right. We are expecting another baby in February! It was a shock to say the least. After trying for over a year and then just giving up, who would have thought that we would randomly and without any medical help – get pregnant!?! I was in shock. I found out after starting a HCG diet. It took me a good week to believe it. In fact, I’d say that I didn’t really believe it until I saw the ultrasound and heard the heartbeat. It still feels surreal. We’ll see baby #4 again next Friday. Maybe seeing him/her again will make it feel more real. I told Douglas the other day that we are a big party all on our own! When we go to restaurants now, we’ll be a big party and it will just be our family! Crazy.

In adoption news. On the day we found out I am pregnant, about thirty minutes later actually, we got the call from our social worker that our license has been approved to foster/adopt. We are now licensed for two children aged 0-21. Being pregnant complicates things. In our state you can only have five children in the home to do foster/adoption. So, after baby #4 arrives, that means we’ll only have room for one foster child. We’ve told our new worker (whom I think I’m really going to like) that we will wait until after the baby to accept a placement. That will give us time to adjust to being a family of six before we take on another child.

Friends told me when we started this process that both were going to happen. They predicted that I’d end up adopting and then get pregnant, not that I’d get pregnant before we’d adopt. I guess in a way they were still right. The day we found out was so overwhelming and exciting. There really aren’t words.

We are starting to look at houses. We all fit in ours but with the kids getting older we are feeling the need to stretch out. I’m not sure if that will happen soon or if we’ll wait a couple years so we can pay down some debt, but a bigger house with more square footage is definitely in our future.

So, I guess at least until February, I’ll use this blog to write about the pregnancy and adding another biological child to the family. And then, we’ll get back to talking about adding a foster child to the mix. God has big plans for us – maybe bigger than we even realized. I just have to trust that this is all his plan and that we’ll end up with the children He has chosen for us.

 

 

Mother’s Day

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On this Mother’s Day, let’s take a moment to remember all the mothers, including those who have lost the right to parent their children. We might never fully understand the reasons why, but these women have experienced significant loss. I imagine this day is extremely hard for them.

 

Tests and Trials

I know that God tests us. I know that He does this to help us grow. I thoroughly believe that I just went through a huge test and I’m happy to say, I learned a lot. For the past month or more I have had lots of big life decisions. I’ve often said I felt like I was in a hallway of doors, waiting for one to open, praying for God to answer and show me the right door to go through, waiting in the dark. Suddenly, several doors swung open at once and I felt paralyzed. Which door do I go through? Prayers went up, but I couldn’t feel God’s presence. It was a dark and lonely place to be.

The doors held behind them different huge life opportunities. A new job. A new baby. An adoption. Graduate school. Any and all of which would impact the other and essentially close an opposite door. To say I was lost would be an understatement. The stress of the decisions and the fear to move left me in a miserable place of blackness. And I found myself in the pit of depression.

To be completely honest, this wasn’t my first round of depression. I suffer from a mood disorder and unfortunately for me, depression is a place that I visit on occasion. It’s a destination no one wishes to go and a place that seems destined to hold you forever once you arrive. After taking some time off work and giving my brain a chance to relax and heal, the darkness slowly started to lift and I can once again say I see the light.

The scariest thing about depression is that when you find yourself there, at least for me, I find myself in the farthest place from God. I can’t feel Him, I can’t hear Him, I don’t trust that He’s there, it feels as if He is just gone. With the sunlight streaming back into my life, I can once again see that God never left my side. He had not forsaken me. God was always there. For that I am grateful.

So, what doors did I close? After the depression lifted and I had my brain back (it really felt like I was living in a fog for a while), it was clear which doors needed to be closed. So I’ve closed the door to the new job – it required travel. That requires me to completely change what I live for – time with my family. I’ve closed the door to grad school, at least the program I was applying to. Timing is not ideal and there are several other reasons. I’ve closed the door to the new baby. This was probably the hardest. There will probably always be a part of me that longs to have another biological child. But, this bought of depression (not my most severe by any stretch), helped me to realize that I don’t do well with post-partum hormones and for my health, that isn’t the best option for me.

So I’m left with one door now. Adoption. The door that I feel God put there, not me. All the other doors were doors I set in front of myself. I set up that hallway of torture. I put those things in place – perhaps in an effort to control something, anything.

I feel like this was all a test to see if I’d come out the other side with the right answer. I don’t always have to understand the reasons for the trials, but I can appreciate the knowledge that I gain from them.

This time I learned:

1. When I try to be in control of everything instead of trusting God, I create my own hell.

2. God never forsakes us or leaves us, even in the pit of depression.

3. God’s plan for our life will always prevail.

4. Sunshine always returns, even when the darkness seems like it will stay forever.

5. I have a great support system (friends and my family) for hard times.

Writing about my mood disorder is hard. It makes me feel vulnerable and weak. I’d ask that if you don’t have anything positive to say about this, that you just keep moving on to another blog. This one might not be for you. I try to be real. This is part of me.

I’ll leave you with this scripture – it means a lot to me after this trial:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Finally, It’s Off to the State

Finally, 10 weeks after our last MAPP class {but who’s counting}, our paperwork has been sent off to the State for review. It took several emails to our social worker to inquire about what was going on. Several emails telling us it was happening that week. Several more emails to inquire again and then a few more from the worker that apologized for the delay.

One word sums up this process: F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G.

Oh, and we found out that we are getting a new case worker. Our worker has been reassigned due to “staffing changes”. So not only will we have to learn someone new, but the new worker will go into the most important phase of the process – the matching phase – without really knowing us from Adam. Yay! That makes a lot of sense. {bleeding sarcasm}

I feel so sorry for the children in the system. If this system is this difficult for two grown, well-educated adults – it must be a million times more complex and frustrating for the children. Oh that’s right, the children don’t really have a voice. They are just picked up and moved, garbage bag in tow, and dropped off at the next foster home. How sad. My heart breaks for them and the pain their hearts must feel.

We’ve grown so frustrated with the process that we’ve all but moved on. Life has been busy. I’ve had an opportunity present itself for a new job, we’ve not changed out Miss M’s room, we’ve gotten comfortable with our life. Maybe we’ve become too comfortable. I certainly don’t think about the adoption every day like I once did. Now it’s further down the list with all the other major life decisions I seem to constantly be facing.

What’s the right answer? I’d like to wake up in a year and see what my life looks like. Then I’d adjust to the decisions I made and get used to the new norm. Every decision I’m faced with seems to close a door on another decision. If I take a career move, it means more money and financial freedom, but it closes the door on adoption. If I choose adoption, it means I’m choosing to live in debt and not have a college savings for my children. If I choose to try to have another baby, it means I’m giving up on the children out there that so desparately need a home. No decision feels good.

Who knew when we started this journey that by the time the packet went to the State, we’d be second guessing if this is even something we can see through. All I can do now is pray – pray for guidance, discernment, wisdom. I certainly need a lot of it. Will you say a prayer for me and my family? We could use some help.

Lots of Anchors and Frustration

We’ve been done with our home study packet since the first weekend in February. It’s been in the hands of our social worker since that time. Waiting. Waiting for backgrounds checks to complete, waiting for review of the supervisor and then review of the adoption committee. And still, it is waiting.

It’s hard not to get frustrated. We did all of our work very timely. Our social worker commented on how timely we were to get everything finished. We did that on purpose – so that once we finished classes we’d be ready to submit. I never thought that there would be such a delay once we did all of our work.

When I questioned our social worker about this she apologized {thank you}, and then she said that she would keep me posted on a timeline. What I want to hear is within one week we’ll send your packet to the State. Not I’ll keep you posted. Keep you posted means I have no idea when we’ll be done with our part. Frustrating. Frustrating. Frustrating.

I also recently realized that I’ve missed a perfect resource and she lives right next door! Our neighbors have adopted all three of their children from the foster care system. I’m not sure why I haven’t talked to her sooner. This is on my short list of things to do. Maybe I’ll crash their yard sale this morning to ask if we can talk soon.

Lastly, anchors. I didn’t know when I selected this as our symbol that they would be EVERYWHERE this season. But thankfully they are. So I went shopping for some spring items and found lots of items with anchors on them. I got a nice blue blouse with white anchors, a t-shirt with an anchor and my favorite a fun navy and white scarf. Wearing my anchors helps me feel hopeful. It helps remind me what this is all about and to be patient {as patient as possible} during the wait.

We’re starting the bedroom soon! We’ve got the paint and are ready. Now it’s just a matter of finding the time! I think this step will make it feel more real. We’ll be ready and {eagerly} waiting for a child to whom we can provide a loving home. Pictures to come!