Well, that’s us up there. Those are copies of “our book”. Advertisements, really, for our lives and why we would be great parents.
For years now, I have felt like I have been trying to prove to God that I will be a good mother while he has simultaneously been trying to persuade me that he is already a good father.
Maybe I was the harder one to convince.
It was difficult for me to begin the adoption process. After wrestling with infertility for so many years, I kept wondering:
How will I find the energy…. patience…. and courage to convince strangers that I will be a good mother?
This might be why making the jump to adoption has often felt like a giant leap for me.
Across a lake of fire.
When something feels like that, you might not be swayed into it right away.
And, this MIGHT be why our adoption timeline has gone something like this so far:
In 2012: After another failed IVF, one with no embryos to transfer, we had a bunch of friends over one night. Feeling overwhelmed with sadness, I snuck out the back door and walked to the ocean. I sat in the dark and cried, literally, out to God. Prior to this moment I wrote emotionally in my journal, saying things like, “something died inside of me today…” and “one can’t help but feel that she is being punished for something.” I considered the women who have lost babies, both before and after birth, and wrote, “I feel like I have lost all my babies, all my hope.” So that night when I cried out, I said, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!” I think that was rooted in more than just my fertility issues, but the response was fertility related. Almost immediately I heard a small but mighty voice inside of me say: I want you to adopt. I remember walking back home feeling slightly shocked, yet largely at peace… and then mostly miffed when I got there and saw that no one noticed I was gone. (What a brat.)
In 2013: After a year of pondering this night and taking poor advice from my doctor over that small but mighty voice inside me, I emailed our current adoption agency requesting more information. Which I put in a drawer somewhere.
In 2014: After finding out my doctor was probably a sexual predator, I briefly stopped believing in that small voice and questioning everything that comes with it. I decided to find a new doctor instead.
In 2015: After a lot of healing and forgiveness and learning, I told my husband in May that I was ready to attend the first group meeting required by our adoption agency to prepare us for the adoption process. (Note: let’s not forget I had a couple failed IVFs this year also, one before and then another after this meeting; still trying to ignore that voice!)
In 2016: After a year of feeling overwhelmed by IVF and the adoption process, we decided it was okay, and maybe even very responsible(!), to wait awhile longer until we were ready to submit our preliminary application, which ended up being in April. With guarded hearts and busy hands, we waited until September to spread the news to our loved ones of our new adventure.
I say “busy hands” because since the application, paperwork has been endless. I have spoken about and answered pages of questions about my childhood, my family, my relationships with my family members, my family members’ relationships with each other, friends, finances, hobbies, careers, etc. I have been asked to check boxes to some really surprising questions like, “would you be willing to adopt a child conceived from incest” and “have any of the following people in your family ever been the victim of sexual abuse: mother, father, sibling(s), aunt(s), uncle(s), cousin(s), grandmother, grandfather, etc, etc? I’m not sure what I thought when I read these. Maybe something like: How do I know?? Or, I’d kill the person that molested my grandmother!
Make no mistake, I’m not trying to make light of the fact that these things really happen and they are incredibly sad. There’s nothing light about it. I’m being pretty serious about the short burst of concern and panic I felt reading these. But it was explained later that these questions are not to determine if they will “allow” us to adopt; they are to let the social workers know how they can help us to be good parents, control social situations within our families in the future, and not put our children at risk when we do adopt.
All that to say, even though the paperwork was endless, so became my confidence in God and that this is his plan for us.
After six failed IVFs, countless needles (and POKING), medications, losses, emotional rollercoasters, and spiritual battles… paperwork has not felt like something to complain about.
Our last project before we could be listed as a “waiting family” was to make the previously mentioned book. This book is given to expectant mothers that the social workers think might be a good match for us. If a woman takes a glimpse into our life and thinks she could see her child growing up within it then she will ask the social workers to set up a meeting with us. This meeting was described to us as “a somewhat awkward blind date”.
Will I have the energy…. patience…. and courage to convince a stranger that I will be a good mother? Will I crumble under the awkwardness?
Can’t be more awkward than having your legs up in stirrups with a bunch of strange nurses poking around.
God has prepared me for this. I’ve made the leap. I think I’m across the fire. Time to journey on over to the next lake of fire: