Friday, January 29, 2010

He turned my pain into peace

It was several days after my mom died when everything slowed down and it all began sinking in. My life hadn't been normal in over a month. Spending nights in the hospital for weeks....then the week of the funeral was crazy busy making arrangements....and then the week after was spent being with family and going through some of mom's things. So, I was really too busy to grieve...or I was surrounded with so many family members that I wanted to be strong for. I woke up one morning to spend some time with the Lord and opened up my Bible but I was so incredibly sad and brokenhearted that I couldn't read it. I got down on my knees and just sobbed. I cried out to the Lord that morning and told Him my pain was too much. I ached so much to be a mom and so I begged God to take away that pain. I just lost my mom so there was this new pain and the combination of the two was way too much.

There have only been a couple of other times in my life besides that morning where I felt the presence of God SO strongly that I KNEW He was there with me. I mean, I always know He's there. But you don't always physically FEEL it. I felt it that day. After crying out for some time I remember feeling this indescribable peace in my heart. I heard God telling me that it was okay to grieve for my mom and to be there with my family and for my family. Then He said..."TRUST ME"....with my plans for you to be a mom. Two simple words right? Not so simple to do. "Trust that I have a baby for you and you will be a mom." Not, "trust that you will get pregnant and carry a child." You see, God was telling me that He had a child for us and that if I would just surrender to His plan....His timing....His way....then it would happen.

So on that morning that's exactly what I did. I surrendered and began to trust that God had it all in control. I knew we would adopt a precious baby soon and I couldn't be more excited! After questioning it for so long I was finally ready and could hardly wait to meet our child! Little did I know that as God was telling me to trust Him and that He had a child for child was already on her way.

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I hate cancer

When the doctor said, "colon cancer" I froze. My mom had colon cancer? Did I hear the doctor correctly? Was I dreaming? No, it wasn't a dream. It was....all too real. My thoughts were all over the place in those moments. Will she be okay? What will I do without my mom? Those of you that know me know that I didn't have a relationship with my father so she was the only parent I had.

Three days later we sat in the surgeon's office and mapped out the plan of attack. The prognosis looked good. He would remove her whole colon. She had scans that showed that the cancer had not spread so once he removed the colon the cancer would be gone. It would be a long road of recovering but overall things looked good. I could breathe again. Thank you Lord.

Three days later we were at the hospital ready for the operation. It was a long day of waiting but the surgery went well and they removed her colon. No further treatment needed. All the cancer was gone and now we could get on with our lives. Except that's not what happened. I won't go into all the details because honestly they are still too painful. She wasn't healing properly from the surgery and went into septic shock and everything happened so fast. Three weeks after I took my mom in for the colonoscopy she went home to be with Jesus. I didn't get to say goodbye and that was incredibly hard.

I shared the story of losing my mom in the middle of our adoption story for a reason. She played a role in our adoption as you'll soon find out.

To be continued....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Decisions Decisions

I drove home from that doctor's appointment by myself that day because Stephen had to work. He was always working. He was in residency then so I had to let the news sink in alone. I had felt God tugging at my heart about adoption for months before this appointment but really hadn't been ready. I was still hanging on to the hope that I would carry a child for nine months....a child that shared our blood and genes. I think for people who already have biological children and decide to adopt this isn't a big hurdle to get through. No big deal. But for a woman who aches with everything inside her to carry a child in her womb it's a big deal. It's huge.

Stephen and I never felt a peace in our hearts about doing IVF. We were doing Andy Stanley's study "The Best Question Ever" with our small group during this time and it was SO very helpful to us as we were making this decision. I HIGHLY recommend the book! We asked God for wisdom because there were so many issues involved with this procedure. Issues that we didn't feel like we as humans should be deciding...only God. I'm not trying to start a debate here and I would never stand in judgment of anyone who decides this is the way to build their family but it wasn't the right direction for us.

Stephen was ready long before me to start the adoption process. I mean he still had questions and where do we even begin and how will we pay for the adoption. But at least he didn't have the big hurdle(it felt like a mountain) to get past like me. In July we began telling our families that we were looking into adoption and we began researching online. We didn't know where to begin. We cried out to the Lord asking for direction and wisdom once again. We were both on the same page about domestic adoption. There are plenty of babies here in our country who need families to bring them home so no need (for us anyway) to spend more money and have a longer wait to go overseas. We began asking the Lord specifically to clearly show us an adoption agency. The agency He would have us go through. Within a couple of weeks, we were getting phone calls and emails from friends and family who knew of someone who had recently adopted. Stephen's aunt had just met a woman who had adopted through Abrazo Adoption Agency in Texas. His aunt said we should look up the agency online. One of my friends called and said "Do you know so and so? They just adopted from some agency in Texas. I'll ask her the name of it." She called back and said it was Abrazo and that I should call her to talk to her about their experience. I called her and she had nothing but great things to say about the agency. I knew that it was the Lord pointing us to this agency. Seems like every few days we were getting contacted by someone who knew someone who had adopted through Abrazo. Once we learned more about the agency, there were lots of things we really liked about the agency. One thing that really stood out was the immediate placement of the baby with the adoptive couple. Basically in the majority of their adoptions, the baby was placed with the adoptive couple the same day the birthmom and baby were discharged from the hospital. That was important to us.

We called the agency and got them to send us the initial packet of paperwork(there would be LOTS more of this to come) to fill out. We began looking over the paperwork and felt quite overwhelmed at all the steps involved in the process. And remember I was still asking God to make me completely ready for this if this was His plan for us. I didn't want to go into this process with any hesitation. I wanted to be excited about it instead of overwhelmed. I still needed to feel like this was 100% what God had for us and it would be okay that I wasn't going to carry and deliver this baby. That it would be okay that we weren't going to say things like, "he has your nose" or "she has your smile." I just needed to let it all go and totally surrender it to the Lord.

Our plans would be put on hold at this point. Remember the part about the dark days and there were more to come? On August 8th my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer.

To be continued.....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Crossroad

It was June of 2006 and Stephen and I found ourselves at a crossroad. We never expected to be there. We thought we would already be parents by then and wouldn't have to face decisions such as these but God had other plans. Bigger plans. Better plans.

We had been trying to conceive for four years. There were some very dark days during that four year span. Days that I questioned if I would ever become a mom. Days that I didn't think I could go any further. Days that I questioned God and what I believed. Days that my hormones got the best of me and I thought I would die. There were more dark days to come. I just didn't know it yet.

Over the course of those four years I had seen four different doctors, had TONS of tests run, had dozens of procedures performed, undergone a surgery, and spent thousands of dollars while doing all of this(mostly in debt). All of this to tell me I have "unexplained infertility." Oh, it's explained alright! We'll get to that later. On this particular day in June we were told, "You are at a crossroad. Your best option for having a biological child is to do IVF(in vitro fertilization) and you have a 58% of getting pregnant. Or you could adopt."

To be continued...

Looking Back...

We spent 2009 praying, talking, deciding about our next adoption. You see, it's not an easy decision as there are a lot of factors in play. Financial issues, legal issues, irrevocable time period issues, and the list goes on and on. We have made decisions and are ready to begin another journey to bring home our second child. However, before I get into all of that....I would like to take a look back and tell you our story of bringing our sweet Caroline home.