Friday, July 25, 2014

SO Worth the Wait

This past weekend was full of joyous celebration as I co-hosted a baby shower for my dear friend, Jocelyn. I met Jocelyn for the first time in August 2011 at NWYM class. I overheard her tearful conversation with someone else in the class that she had been trying to get pregnant for a while and didn't know what else to do. My ears perked up immediately, because my heart was struggling with the same thing.

I boldly introduced myself and shared that I too had been trying to get pregnant for several months (it had not quite been one year for me at the time) and asked if she wanted to be friends. We had an instant connection over such a heartbreaking trial.

I remember the first time we hung out, we shared our background stories and our struggles with infertility. Oh how much we hated measuring our basal body temperatures. (We even joked that hopefully after getting pregnant someday, we'd throw a thermometer burning party.) We shared our frustrations with the insensitive comments and questions from well-meaning people (So, do you have any kids? Oh don't worry, just relax, and it'll happen! Oh I know exactly how you feel - it took us 2 whole months to conceive our third child.) We also shared the bittersweet pain we felt when friends announced their pregnancies, and the feeling that we were left behind, forgotten by God and society even though our hearts longed to be remembered.

In a world that does not talk enough about, let alone understand, infertility and the deep pain it causes, we shared a sisterly bond that will likely last the rest of our lives. We got together regularly for lunch, and then stayed in touch through email and telephone after they moved out of town. We supported one another through all the doctor's appointments, blood test results, two week waits, negative pregnancy tests, and the dreaded periods. We encouraged one another, cried together, laughed together, reminded one another that God has a plan, and always kept hoping that one day our struggles would end with us finally becoming mothers.

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The thing about God's plan is that it takes time. Usually much more time than you want or realize.

But the point of waiting, and of suffering, is not what is waiting at the end of the road. It's all the bumps, rocks, and cracks along the way. 

Those sharp rocks hurt like nothing else, but they make you tougher. They teach you to accept your present circumstances but to push onward and not let your circumstances define you.

Those deep cracks that your countless tears fall into make you feel like your prayers go unanswered. That you are alone in the darkness. Uncared for. Forgotten. But when you're in utter darkness, you stand the best chance of seeing the tiniest sparks of Light. You're ears are primed and ready to hear the softest whispers.

It's the journey to what's waiting at the end that makes the waiting worth going through. As Michael so wisely said one time, "The blessing of infertility isn't so much the child at the end, but the trial itself."

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Though it is deeply painful, and makes you question everything about yourself and what makes you a woman, infertility is one of the greatest blessings God can give His daughters. Because it always has a purpose. You see it multiple times in the Bible - Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth, Hannah, Ruth, Rebekah - women who suffered years of waiting to conceive a child. But each child played an integral role in God's plan.

Every story of suffering, every trial, has a purpose. God truly does have a plan, but He will not be rushed. His plan is intricate and perfect and simply has to unfold according to His timing.

So while you're on that bumpy, rocky, crack-filled attention. Look around and listen for God. There is so much to be learned from Him along the journey. The waiting is not in vain. It's the most important part. And God's plan is SO worth the wait!

God, I thank you so much for answering my prayers for Jocelyn to become pregnant. I thank you for her friendship and the journey you've brought each of us on. You are always and only good, and I look forward to seeing the rest of Your plan unfold.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Home Study Part 2 Complete

We had our office interviews with our caseworker, B, on Friday, June 20th - the day before leaving on our vacation to Costa Rica!

We woke up early and drove to The Chosen Agency's office to meet at 9:00am. By the time we actually sat down to start the interviews, it was about 9:30am.

First, B interviewed us as a couple. For those that are unfamiliar with adoption, I want to shed some light on just how PERSONAL it is. There is nothing left under the table - we were asked about our marriage, our struggles, how we fight/resolve conflicts, strengths and weaknesses, how we plan to parent, what kind of expectations we have regarding the adoption process, the adopted child, and parenting. And we were asked for more detail about what situations we are or are not comfortable adopting with (such as ethnicity considerations, drug/alcohol usage, the nature of the unplanned pregnancy such as rape).

Michael and I consider ourselves to be pretty open and direct people, but it's very uncomfortable putting yourselves in the spotlight and having all your secrets, fears, and vulnerabilities exposed. We completely understand why the adoption process is so personal in order to look out for the child's interests, but I hope I've communicated well that the automatic "solution" to infertility is not necessarily adopting because it's an extremely invasive process that couples who only have biological children may not fully understand. (Imagine if when you got pregnant, your doctor began questioning you on the state of your marriage, struggles with sin, how you plan to parent, how accepting your family will be, etc.) We were real close to B after all those questions! :)

B interviewed us as a couple until about 11:30am, and then we broke for lunch. We drove to a local vegan restaurant and enjoyed a very tasty meal with dessert.

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We got back to The Chosen Agency around 1:30pm and continued our couples interview until about 3:30pm. B had told us that the whole thing would take approximately 4 hours to complete. Well, we must be very long-winded because 3:30pm was when we finished the couples interview. Then B interviewed Michael one-on-one until 4:00pm and they still did not finish all of the questions! B told us to enjoy our vacation and to schedule the remaining one-on-one interviews over the phone.

Well, we just completed our one-on-one interviews Wednesday and yesterday. These questions were also very personal: talked about our childhood, our parents individually, how we're alike and unlike our parents, how are our parents' marriages and parenting tactics, what we learned from them about marriage and parenting, other family members, strengths and weaknesses of our spouse, any physical, mental, emotional, or financial concerns related to adoption. So. Personal.

But, we're done, we've shared honestly and openly, perhaps more than she wanted to hear. It's been very humbling and eye-opening that so many life events and relationships can impact your personality and influence your parenting. Though we feel a little bit on display, we also feel more confident about becoming parents and learned a lot throughout these interviews. We're also really, really thankful to have B as our caseworker, because she is so friendly, sweet, and reassuring.

So now what?

B and her team will review our application in depth. (It sounds weird to say, but it's like we'll be discussed in detail in a committee.) After reviewing our application, they will decide whether or not to approve us to adopt through their agency. We should hear from them around mid-August with this decision. If approved, we'll officially be added to the waiting list. Yes, THE waiting list! That will also start the clock on their average "wait time" of 15 months.

God is good (always and only good). He has completely led this process, and we trust Him to work out all of the details as we wait to become parents. We're so excited to see His plan unfold!