Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clarity with the light of day

As I expected, I did not sleep well last night. What surprised me was that Lexi didn't either. She tossed and turned and woke up crying, which is so unlike her. She woke up this morning and asked, "Why don't we have the child we talked about last night?" Sigh. My gentle, connected, emotional, sensitive and amazing child. You are already so connected to a child that we've only dreamed about. I love you.

When I can't sleep, I pray. I pray for all kinds of things, but obviously the adoption process was forefront on my mind. I feel more at peace that God has already designed a path for us to find the child that He knows will be a part of our family.

A dear friend sent me this verse: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I know the truth of that verse because I have lived it.

One of the other verses I am meditating on is this: "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34

So, after my prayer and meditation, I know that I was a bit melodramatic. I'll get over myself. . .

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

First Meeting with an Agency

We met with an agency tonight to discuss the possibilities. We went in telling her that we knew we wanted a child younger than Lexi (basically three or under), any race, either gender, and only mild special needs. We were leaning toward domestic, and we don't really yearn for an infant. We were basically told that it is nearly impossible to find a child in those criteria unless you foster-to-adopt or go international. The state usually does not terminate parental rights until a child is over six years of age. There are lots of toddlers in the foster-to-adopt program, but there is strong possibility that those children will be in your home for months and then be taken back to be reunited with their family of birth. There are also lots of legal issues and time spent in court. The thought of having a child in my home and having Lexi become close to the child, and then have that child taken away. . . well. . . I cried. I don't think I could do that to her. I know I can't. I can do it to myself, but I can't do that to my child and to another child that could feel like a part of our family.

So, what are our options now? Matt and I need to do a lot of talking. I'll give you the quick rundown of the options we were given.

1. Domestic infant adoption - As I said above, we don't feel called to adopt an infant. She did explain that the fact that we were open to a child of any race made us more desirable. Apparently for every one healthy white infant there are 40 waiting families. For every one healthy African American or biracial infant there are 1-2 waiting families. She told us that we shouldn't feel like we are taking a baby away from a bunch of waiting families (one of my concerns) if we were accepting of a child of another race. It seems so awful when I type that all up, but I swore I would be candid here.

2. Foster to adopt - I already discussed above why this option seems [to be blunt] too painful for us.

3. Embryo adoption - Apparently there are way more embryos up for adoption than there are people who want to adopt them. I didn't realize that, but I do not desire to be pregnant or feel called to be.

4. Using a Facilitator - This is basically hiring a lawyer or other facilitator that works on your behalf to find a domestic adoptive fit for you. I'm slaughtering the real definition. Basically there is a very small chance that they could find a toddler whose birth parents have given up parental rights. Usually they do domestic infant adoptions.

5. International adoption - There are several countries and various pros and cons of all of them. I am overwhelmed just thinking about it. The countries that we discussed were Korea, China, Rwanda, Ethiopia & Poland. I'm back to research phase.

So all of that to say that we left with a home study packet. I still really want to do this, but it appears that domestic toddler adoption is a rare thing. It sounds so odd, but I feel like I'm mourning a child I never had. I don't know. I'm emotional and my head is spinning with information. There is more that I would like to share, but it's bedtime.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Interesting Perspective

A friend sent me a link to this blog post. I thought it was an interesting perspective.

As I have thought about the possible implications of adopting a non-Caucasian child, one concern is that they will always feel different. I think that is valid to think about, and this guy has some interesting insight on that. I remember feeling different because I had long hair. In college, people who couldn't remember my name called me "The Long-Haired Girl." Did that mean that I didn't like my long hair? No. Did I eventually cut it? Yes. I just think there are so many differences that can set us apart from our peers and we can choose to make them positive or negative.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So, the [long] story begins. . .

To be perfectly honest, I never intended to have children. Actually, I never intended to get married either. It is funny how God uses surprising circumstances to change our hearts.

I met Matt as a young college freshman. Over the months, our friendship became more than just a friendship and we eventually started talking about a future together. We were riding on a bus in South Korea when he told me that he wanted to marry me. I told him that I wasn't going to marry anyone. We discussed/argued about this and eventually there were no more words. I prayed to God for His guidance, because I was only 19 and so far from thinking of marriage and family. I opened my eyes and the bus had stopped right in front of a bridal shop. I cried. I knew God was using this Asian manikin donned in white to send me a sign and open my heart. Over the following months, I did just that. Matt proposed to me the next Fall. I accepted (of course) and we were married the following June.

As we went through our premarital counseling, the discussions of children came up. I did not want children. Matt searched his heart to see if he could feel the same way, and he just couldn't. He told me during a counseling session that not having kids was a deal-breaker for him. I prayed more and opened my heart to God's will (all the while fighting my own worldly desires & fears) and agreed that we would have children "when the time was right." Who knows when that would be, right? I still had some control over this situation.

We started our lives together as poor college students. Matt finished up his Masters while he worked full time for a small start-up company. I worked full time while I finished up my bachelors degree and then I moved on to chiropractic school, which required all of my time. When I was in my last year of chiropractic school, we found out that we were expecting a baby right around graduation time. We were in shock. It was not a planned pregnancy in the least, but God's timing is always better than ours. Around the same time, a doctor approached me about buying her practice after I graduated. I prayed. . . a lot. I talked to the doctor and she agreed to wait a few extra months for me to take over the practice.

I had a wonderful pregnancy. I finished up all of my school and intern work and I took the last week before my due date pretty easy. Another week later, we went into the hospital in active labor. I typed out the whole birth story here.

To be perfectly blunt, her birth was incredibly traumatic for me. I had a wonderful pregnancy. I expected a wonderful natural birth. I expected to be healthy afterward and walk across the stage a week later becoming Dr. Mom. I did not expect HELLP Syndrome, fainting, bleeding, blood transfusions, bad blood tests, weakness, bruising, rashes, and just general unpleasentness. I'm sure lots of women say this right after a traumatic birth, but I never want to do that again. Ever. In fact, I never really wanted to do it the first time. I mean- Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter with all my heart and soul, and I would go through all of that for her. I truly feel that my lack of baby fever is a way that God protected my heart and perhaps my body from what did happen and what could possibly happen if I had another baby.

To put it in statistics, 1 in 4 women with HELLP Syndrome die. I have a 1 in 3 chance of having it again in any subsequent pregnancies. That is not a risk that I feel called to take.

So, I was fine with the idea of an only child. Lexi is amazing. We are so incredibly blessed. One and done is fine by me.

Then the dreams started. I lose track of time, but it was about 1-2 years ago. I had a dream that I was pushing a stroller and walking Lexi to school. I couldn't see in the stroller, but I just knew that he/she was not a biological child. I felt it. I mentioned the dream to Matt in passing and we moved on.

We started talking about adoption and we attended a seminar about adoption. I'll be honest. The cost shocked us. We put adoption on the back burner and just lived our lives. As much as Matt respected how difficult my birth experience was, I know that in the back of his mind he thought I would come around about having another biological child.

A few months later I had another dream. This time I was holding a Black boy and helping him jump up and down on the bed. I started researching Ethiopa. It didn't feel quite right. Then I started researching domestic adoption. I decided not to bring it up to Matt for a while, and I'm not really sure why.

In June, we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary at The Melting Pot. As we sat in our romantic little booth, I felt that it was time to broach the subject of adoption. I started by saying that I really did not feel that I would ever be ready to birth another child. I felt the tears well up in my eyes. My wonderful husband replied, "We don't have to have another baby if you don't want to." I literally breathed a sigh of relief. I really did not want Matt thinking that I was going to eventually come around, when in my heart of hearts, I just knew that I wouldn't.

So, we talked about adoption again. We started researching agencies and perhaps private adoptions. We feel really called toward domestic adoption. We are meeting with an agency next week.

We are prayerfully moving forward with the quest to find the child that God is leading to be a part of our family. I truly believe that the child is already born. I pray for him/her often. I wonder what this child is going through at this very moment. I wonder how long it will take us to find him/her. I pray. . .

The intentions (of the blog)

I feel the need to share my thoughts and our journey into adoption. It seems so funny to say that we are on this journey and we haven't even started the home study process yet. I have so much to learn, and yet I am so filled with hope and promise.

With this blog, I want to be very candid. My other blog is all about our amazing daughter, and I try to keep it as I would want a scrapbook to be produced. It is about our memories with her and her milestones. I want this blog to be about my feelings and thoughts as we progress on this journey. I absolutely love reading blogs in which the authors share their hearts and souls and you feel their emotions in the words that they type.

This is a blog that I am really enjoying right now.