Some personal news

 

I’m gonna be honest, this is awkward to write about and even more awkward to talk about, but Brad and I get asked questions about our family’s journey and future on a regular basis and I would like to save myself as many somewhat difficult conversations as possible and also just be honest about some of my current emotions.

Last week I had an appointment with one of my doctors to discuss the future regarding my heart difficulties and pregnancy. I had discussed this some with my cardiologist and he had made it seem that while my medicine would have to change quite a bit if I wanted to get pregnant that it wasn’t too big of a deal and I should discuss it with my OBGYN.

Well the conversation with my OBGYN didn’t exactly go as I expected. She told me exactly how much my medicines would have to change leading up to and throughout a pregnancy and she told me the risks to a baby involving the use of warfarin/coumodin. I nodded and told her that I had been informed of the changes that would need to be made and then she told me that if it was something I really wanted that she would walk my hand through it.

She then said, “But I do need to tell you that your risk of cardiomyopathy after giving birth is higher because of your condition.” She explained that my heart is already weak (hence the need to replace my mitral valve in November) and that after giving birth it can lead to cardiac failure. This definitely surprised me.

As any parent knows, everything changes after your first child arrives. Your dreams and desires, your schedule and plans, EVERYTHING is different when you become a parent. I have Malachi and he is the biggest priority in my life besides God and my husband. Everything I do affects him. And I am not comfortable with even a heightened risk of not being here to raise him and take care of him.

IMG955196

Brad and I had been often discussing our plans to continue growing our family throughout the past few months. We know we want more kids but how and when was less clear. I was open to pregnancy and was honestly planning to get the go ahead from my doctors and then possibly begin trying. Brad was a little more hesitant. You see, adoption has been our first priority for years. God had planted that desire in our hearts and we both knew it was crucial to how we wanted to grow our family. I hadn’t closed off the possibility of pregnancy, but adoption was my heart’s desire.

Well as the days had passed recently I was feeling more and more uncertain about the next step to growing our family and I had been praying for direction in which way to go. Only pursuing adoption for future kids OR trying to get pregnant and having a biological child as well. So I’m having this conversation with my gynecologist and I tell her that I had never been the kind of woman who absolutely had to get pregnant to be fulfilled but that I knew I wanted more children and adoption is expensive and emotionally exhausting and I wanted a somewhat easier option. She looked at me and said “If the only reason you are not certain about continuing with adoption is the frustration of it and not that you just HAVE to have your husband’s child, I don’t think you should pursue pregnancy.” It kind of slapped me in the face.

Okay, there is the answer I’ve been praying for.

It wasn’t exactly the answer I had been expecting and I have needed some time to process it. I grieved the possibilities that I had dreamed about and pictures in my mind of what my family could look like in the future. I know so many strong women who have struggled with fertility and I understand some of the emotions they have faced now.

I want to be clear: I LOVE adoption with all of my heart. I am not grieving the loss of having a biological child (not to diminish those who do grieve that), I am more than okay with all of my children being adopted. I could not love a biological child more than an adopted child, it’s just not possible. But after the loss of Adelaide and the ups and downs of infant adoption, I am not looking forward to being in a situation where I have little to no control and a person could back out at any moment. That was an impossibly difficult position to be in and I don’t relish being there again, but I would love to have another infant. And with international adoption, it is pretty much impossible to ever get an infant because of the long wait. We still want to pursue a Haitian adoption, but now we just have to figure out if there are other adoption avenues in additon to that in our future.

The reason I wrote this post is because it is a long, emotional and somewhat difficult conversation to have and understandably a lot of people are curious about our adoption journey and our future family plans and ask a lot of questions. I don’t mind questions about our adoption stories, but I don’t relish having to tell people that for my health, I should not pursue pregnancy. I don’t want anyone to feel bad for asking and I don’t want to have to apologize if I happen to get emotional while talking about it. These questions will still inevitably pop up from time to time, but I would like to prevent it as much as possible.

I appreciate anyone who has read this somewhat lengthy blog post because of their interest and love for us. Thank you guys for loving us for who we are and where we’re at and going on this journey with us. We are extremely grateful for you.

18444662_126835141203065_5843732318254006272_n(1)

 

Advertisements

One year after our failed placement

It has almost been a year since we lost our Adelaide. She is with her birth family and goes by a different name. Today is her birthday.

As many of you know, we had a failed placement in September of 2015. It was the hardest experience of our lives. It shook our faith, sent us into a pit of despair, and tested everything we claimed to know. A year after this trying time, I figured a blog post about all we have learned since then seemed appropriate.

I will never forget the phone call that turned our world upside down. We had been expecting a call from our adoption worker telling us what time to pick Adelaide up from the hospital that day. The call went very differently. We were informed that the birth mother had changed her mind about the placement and that she couldn’t go through with the adoption.

To say the call caught us off guard is a gross understatement. Our birth mother had only ever demonstrated certainty at this placement. Just two days before, right after giving birth, she told us that she didn’t feel grieved but honored that she could do this for us. We don’t know what exactly went wrong the next day and we probably never will.

This sweet baby girl will probably never know our names and she will never know how much we wanted to be her parents. She will never know how often I think of her and pray for her well being and future. It’s still hard accepting that I can’t take care of her and be everything I wanted to be for her. And I still have to give Jesus the pain that is caused because of that.

I will never understand why exactly we went through this before the Lord brought us our beautiful son. I definitely wouldn’t have chosen this loss before our incredible gain. But it did teach me that God is still all that He says He is even when my feelings scream the opposite. It did teach me that He will be my firm foundation when the storms of life come. And it did teach me to be so incredibly grateful for my miracle of a son. He is the light of my life and my angel baby. And every single day that I get to be his mother I am beyond thankful. And I have peace in that.

Happy birthday baby girl! I wish so many wonderful things for you and you will always hold a special place in our hearts and memories.

IMG_20160815_114647

This  is a picture of our “Adelaide” box. It has pictures and keepsakes from our journey with her.

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

Yesterday morning Pastor Bob referenced this verse during his sermon and I was immediately reminded how that verse has been taped to the mirror on my dresser for almost 10 months.

A couple weeks after our first placement fell through, I sat down on our bed with colored pieces of construction paper, Sharpies and my Bible. I was determined to find and write down encouraging scriptures to put around our house to help me through each agonizing day that passed.

I saw this verse many times and tried my best to let these words heal my broken heart. Some days were easier than others.

Finally, after 6 months, our prayers were answered when we were informed we had been chosen for the placement of a beautiful baby boy.

Fast forward to yesterday as I sat in service and saw these words appear on the projector screen. Tears abruptly filled my eyes as I thought of our adoption journey so far and how my precious son was just a few feet away experiencing the nursery for the first time. God had been moving pieces of the puzzle that I didn’t even know existed while my heart had been in shreds after our horrible loss. I didn’t know that God was saving us for Malachi and I didn’t know how different his story would be from Adelaide’s. Now that we are nearing finalization for our sweet boy, I can see a more complete picture of what God was up to during our pain.

And I just want to encourage anyone who is in a time of questioning or waiting or grieving that God loves you, He has a plan for you and He knows much better than we do. Be encouraged today friends, for His thoughts are much higher than ours.

IMG_20160302_141132

What’s on my heart

A lot has happened since we brought Malachi home almost 3 months ago. I am adjusting to being a first time Mom, learning what works for me, what works for Malachi, how to run errands with an infant, how to deal with the constant looks from other people, taking in constant advice from other people, having to do monthly update emails with our agency, visits from our adoption worker, ongoing legal issues with the termination of the birth father’s rights, knowing that my son isn’t legally mine yet, praying everyday that all of this is working out and that God has got this.

All this to say… it’s not easy guys. All of the pressure of being a first time parent is multiplied by adoption related issues and even more added stress of our adoption being a transracial adoption. Everyone has an opinion about everything. And it is tiring.

I need encouragement. I need everyone to realize that every day has a lot of difficulties. I don’t say this to make anyone feel sorry for us, but just to open your eyes to what we face because we were called to adoption. Please pray. Please encourage us. Please don’t make unnecessary jokes. They bother me. I am probably especially sensitive in this time and I acknowledge that, but I am sure that is normal given all that is going on in this period in our lives.

There have been so many people who are a blessing to us and encourage us and pray for us and we are SO grateful for that. We need it so much.

We have a few more weeks to go until the hearing that will hopefully terminate Malachi’s birth father’s rights and we still have a few more months until the adoption is finalized. Please pray with us that both of those things will go smoothly without any hiccups as we are just ready to know that Malachi will be ours forever.

Thank you for being a part of this journey with us.

Meeting Malachi

This is the story of how Malachi came to be a part of our family.

Brad and I were in Nashville enjoying a weekend getaway when our adoption worker texted me and said she wanted to ask us a few questions about our placement plan. We were curious but tried not to think too much of it as we didn’t want to get our hopes up unnecessarily.

She soon called and asked me a few questions then told me that there was a birth mother who was going to be shown profiles soon. I asked when she was due and our worker laughed and said, “She actually gave birth yesterday.” She then informed me it was a little boy. “Oh my goodness..” was all I could get out. A little boy… I could feel the smile beaming on my face as I stood in the crowded Opry Mills mall straining to hear our worker’s voice over all the background noise.

I got off the phone and went to join Brad at the Johnny Rockets restaurant he had been sitting at while I took the call. I informed him of all I knew and then we immediately bowed our heads to pray. “God, if this is your will we would love to be this little boy’s parents. Please God, guide us through this and work it all out if he is supposed to be our son.”

We enjoyed the rest of our weekend, but our minds were never far from the possibility of our family expanding soon. After several long, excruciating days we finally got the call that we had been chosen. We were completely overjoyed. We learned that the birth mother had surrendered her rights that day, but that they hadn’t been able to contact the birth father.

“So when can we bring him home?” I asked our worker. She said they would do everything they could to reach the birth father and that they wanted to do the placement as soon as possible. The next day I went to Target and bought some boy items: a couple outfits, a blue blanket, and some pj’s that weren’t pink or girly.

A few days went by and we informed our parents and a few friends that we knew would pray, but for the most part we kept this news to ourselves. We didn’t want to share until we knew some concrete information and the birth father leads kept turning up dry. We were given a placement date and then it was postponed and we waited and waited for what felt like an eternity.

We scheduled a meeting with our agency to see if they would move up the placement date. They wouldn’t, but they did help calm our anxious hearts. They told us that they wanted to do their due diligence to reach this birth father before placing the baby boy in our home. We didn’t like this, but we understood. They told us we could schedule some visits with him before we were allowed to take him home. We agreed in hopes that the time would go by faster if we could have some days in between where we could meet him and bond with him.

Before we left that day, our workers asked if we had a name picked out for him. We looked at each other with hesitancy, but nodded yes. We’d had a name picked out for a while if God gave us a son, but after everything that happened with our failed placement we didn’t want to lose the name if it didn’t work out again. “If he is our son,” I began, “we will name him Malachi Christopher.” They all squealed with delight. The agency director smiled, “He looks like a Malachi.”

When we had discussed boy names, somehow we happened upon Malachi and it really felt right. I looked up the meaning and it means “messenger of God.” I went to the book of Malachi and one of the first verses says “‘For I have always loved you,” says the Lord.” Reading that sealed the deal for me. We discussed middle names and we decided upon Christopher. Brad had a very good friend and mentor growing up named Chris Camp. He encouraged Brad in his faith and welcomed me with open arms. He was even a groomsmen in our wedding. Tragically Chris was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away in 2012 at the age of 29. We are both better people having known him and we wanted to honor him by carrying on his name through our son.

A few days after our meeting with the agency, we got to meet the beautiful boy who had been placed with a wonderful interim family since birth. We looked at him for the first time and were instantly in love.

 

We had tried to stay detached as much as possible up to this point, but once we saw that face… it was over. He was the most beautiful child I had ever laid my eyes on. And we prayed fervently that God was working everything out for us to be his forever family.

The agency made multiple attempts to contact the birth father and never succeeded. After a couple of weeks with no success, they decided to let us bring baby home. The process to terminate the birth father’s legal rights has begun but will still take about two and a half months to complete. We wish it was quicker but that is just how these things work. Please pray with us that there will be no interference from this birth father (who hasn’t shown up at all at this point) as his rights are terminated. And about 3 months after this ends our adoption will be finalized.

So with that being said, we still need your prayers! We are not completely out of the woods and we all know there is power in prayer.

Malachi is the most precious gift we’ve ever been given and we thank God every day for the privilege of being his parents. After everything we have been through the honest truth is waking up to that face every morning makes it worth it. Yes, I wish we hadn’t lost Adelaide. I will always wish that. But I also know that if we had gotten her we wouldn’t have him. And he was who we were always supposed to have. And my heart has peace because of that.

It’s been a little while since we’ve had a blog post, mostly because I haven’t had much new to say. We’ve been navigating the waves of grief and finally it feels like we can keep our head above the water. At least that’s how I have felt the past couple days, waves have highs and lows so who knows what tomorrow will bring.

The past several months we have deeply questioned this avenue of adoption, we have been weighing our other options and were super discouraged wondering if this was God’s plan for us. I am glad to say that we are feeling rejuvenated at giving this our whole hearts again.

As far as we know our agency hasn’t had much going on, their last placement was January 1st and I don’t know of any other one in the months since ours fell through. We do understand that these things are never predictable though. In 2014 our agency had 14 placements, last year there was only 6. Only the Lord knows what 2016 will hold, but we have renewed hope in our hearts again.

We are praying fervently for some news soon. We want God to really rock our world. And we are so grateful to hear when others are praying for us and for the precious little one we so desperately want, it gives us fuel when we sometimes feel like we are on fumes.

This journey has taught us so much about walking by faith and not by sight. That’s what builds trust in God; believing even when nothing around us makes sense. Each day is a new step of faith.

 

blog post