Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Heart Still Aches For You

I don't want this blog to be all about our daughter, because the main point of this blog is to encourage those who are suffering or waiting on God to not lose hope. Because there is ALWAYS hope found in God.

Recently infertility and the pains that go along with it have been on my heart. I've met and heard from some sisters in Christ that they're still struggling. Please know that my heart still aches for you. I still know and understand your pain. I may not have experienced all that you have, but I know what it feels like to want a child when you want it, and to feel disappointment that it's not time for you to have a child yet. I know what it feels like to have friends, family members, and strangers say well-intentioned things that actually hurt you deeply. I know what it feels like to watch woman after woman in your life get pregnant and have multiple children with seemingly no effort at all. I know what it's like to question your adequacy as a woman because your body doesn't respond the way you think it should.

But the most important thing for you to know is that God knows your pain too. He isn't causing your suffering, but for some reason that you just can't understand yet, He is allowing you to suffer this trial. You can read all about it in the Bible (James 1, Romans 5, 2 Corinthians 1, 1 Peter, Philippians 4, and lots more!), about how trials and suffering are meant to grow your character. I know how hard it is to read those passages and still not understand WHY you're going through this. But I can promise you that God knows.

He knows the end from the beginning. He knows your heart, your character, your strengths and weaknesses. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows that if you choose...key word: trust Him through this time of suffering, you will experience growth and persevere this trial. You WILL get through this and come out with a better perspective than when you entered. But you must choose to trust Him and always believe that He is good and loves you. 

If instead, you choose to get angry, bitter, or lose hope, your character and walk with God will suffer. That will ultimately darken your heart and harm the relationships in your life. I've walked this line several times over the past 4 1/2 years of infertility. Sometimes I've stumbled and allowed some darkness to take over my thoughts and heart. But by the grace of God it was only for a short time.

I can only speak from my story, but for me, when we got the call that a birth mother had chosen us to adopt her baby, it started healing my heart in ways I never thought possible. I finally saw a glimpse of the final puzzle picture. I finally realized that everything...all the negative pregnancy tests, all the tears shed, all the hurtful comments I heard, all the gut wrenching moments alone with God where I wrestled with fears like "What if I never get pregnant?" I finally realized that all of those things were for a reason. I needed to experience hurt and disappointment to convict me that I don't have as much control over my life like I pridefully once thought. I needed to be broken down and question my health so that we might be open to trying a plant-based diet. I needed to experience years of disappointment so that I would start to consider the idea of adoption. I needed to see that adoption could be a possible path for us, and that maybe there could be some beauty to be found in it. I needed to wait and toil through all the time that elapsed before we submitted our adoption application. Because God knew that the month we submitted it, EVY was conceived. And God knew what we needed to put in our profile that ultimately connected with the birth family. He knew EVY was supposed to join our family long before we ever even considered the idea of adopting. It wasn't until after meeting EVY that I truly had a moment with God where I can honestly say, "God, if I never get pregnant, I know I will be okay. I know you are still good." Of course I still desire to experience pregnancy someday, but I finally let go of that "need" and truly made it nothing more than a desire.

So if you're hurting right now and you feel frustrated and confused about why you're suffering, I encourage you to turn to Him and trust Him. Lay all of your fears and tears at His feet and know that if you choose to trust God through this, you will most certainly gain wisdom and spiritual growth along the way. I'll say again something that Michael once said that I still love to remember: the blessing isn't the child (or whatever you're waiting on God for) at the end, the blessing is the trial along the way.

Don't ever lose hope!

How Is It Possible That We Have An 8-Month Old!?

I realize my blogging frequency has plummeted...I think this is just my new reality. If you want more frequent updates/pictures, please find us on Facebook. :)

But, I'll give an update on the last several months.

1-2 Months
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Her eyes started focusing on us more. Developed good head strength. And smiled! Oh what a beautiful sight! Only cried a little bit after her first set of vaccines, tough girl. Still ate like a champ and slept well through the night - a huge blessing to us.

2-3 Months
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Lots more smiling and babbling. Started hair and earring grabbing, which eventually led to my getting a hair cut. Eager to move - learned how to "scooch" on her back by pushing with her legs. Big head - 83rd percentile for head circumference. :)

3-4 Months
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I officially quit my job to be full-time Mom! EVY started blowing lots of spit bubbles. Also started to give us some soft laughs. Started rolling over to tummy and back before 4 months old...which at first concerned me during nighttime sleep because I was worried about SIDS, but after extensive Googling, I learned that once baby can roll back and forth on their own, you don't have to worry as much about it, just make sure their crib environment is safe. Started teething at 3.5 months (but teeth didn't appear for several more months). Still ate and slept great.

4-5 Months
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Made a turtle face as pictured on the right that we love. Rolled over with ease and loved sleeping on her tummy. Giggles a lot more and is very playful. Tried to sit up and push up when on tummy.

5-6 Months
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Went to visit the birth family - had a wonderful time seeing everyone again! Took many precious pictures and videos. Still ate and slept great. On the brink of crawling. Loves our pets. So playful and goofy.

6-7 Months
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And she's crawling! Also sitting up while using an arm as a kickstand. Enjoys bouncing in the jumper. Loves the pets and crawling after them. Started solid foods...banana is her favorite. She's a good fit for us! Lots of giggles. We finalized our adoption this month!

7-8 Months
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Crawls with ease and very quickly when she wants to hustle and get somewhere. Also sits up easily without arm support. AND started pulling up on things to get on her knees. Just a matter of time before she gets a foot underneath and stands up. First two teeth on the bottom came through, our cute little bulldog. Loves to play, pull things from their shelves, smoosh her face into the crib railings like she's in jail, throw and then chase after her toys...while panting like a dog (I guess they've been teaching her how to fetch). "Talks" a lot more. And screams a LOT more. Eardrum piercing squeals to communicate that she's bored, mad, or tired. Went "swimming" for the first time (we held her the whole time) and loved it! We put her in the nursery at church for the first time and praise the Lord she has yet to get sick! Church was getting to be difficult when trying to keep her entertained and quiet. Wears 9 month size clothing, weighs close to 17 lbs, and is about 27 inches long.

All videos are posted here.

Now somehow we have an 8-month old who is growing up WAY too fast. For the first 7 months, our mentality was "I can't believe she's already __ months old!" Then when she started crawling at 7 months, it shifted to "Wait...she's ONLY 8 months old??" My day-to-day routine completely changed once she became mobile. Time feels like it has flown by, but then in reality not that much time has passed. It's a weird feeling.

But motherhood has been such a joy for me. I had always heard from friends that they felt desperate to have adult conversations or to get a break. Though I can certainly understand the frustrations and stresses that come with being a mom, I truly love my day-to-day "job". My role isn't what defines me as a person, but it's a role that I'm so thankful and honored that I get to fulfill. It stretches me, convicts me of my own selfishness, and inspires me to live a life that she might want to look up to. I'm just so in love with this little girl and can't believe she hasn't always been in our lives. Michael is completely smitten with her and will probably buy her a pony if she asks for it. :)   But really y'all...parenthood has been such a blessing and wonderful growing experience. We still make our marriage a higher priority by setting aside time to talk, but our hearts and home are so much fuller with sweet EVY.