No disappointment…only God’s Hand

This adoption process is full of things to check off your list in order to get your beautiful kids home. You make your way through paperwork hoping it will go quickly. For me it hasn’t been emotional. I am just working towards a goal. When we got matched I was excited and a little part of me started realizing that this was really happening.

My past experiences with so many miscarriages have really messed with my ability to become excited before something happens. Sadly, I think I have a little doubt when I should just be leaning on my strong Savior who has me in his arms. However, I am not perfect so this is the area of my life I am working on. I wasn’t sure when it would kick in that this adoption was real, I was becoming a mom, and God had been preparing me for this.

Just a few weeks ago my husband and I needed one more document before we traveled to Colombia to pick up our girls. We needed to get our Visa to travel to Colombia and have two Colombian citizens in our custody. We tried to get this done early however, they were closed. The best option was a little risky but why not! Our plan was to get our Visa the day before we got on the airplane. I already had filled out the application online, we just needed to show up, pay, and pick up the Visa.

We woke up early and were the 2nd family in line at the Colombian Embassy. When it was our turn to pay we sadly found out that our application had expired. We had heard that this place was not very helpful because of how busy they are. So, immediately we called our case worker so she could forward some documents and get a new application filled out. However, while I was on the phone with her things changed. The wonderful women at the counter decided she was going to fill out our application and take our picture for us. Then, we tried to pay the fee with our money order and they had raised the price. This was a big deal because you can’t pay with cash….just a money order. However, again this precious women said she would take cash. This was truly God standing right there with us making sure this plan He had, was right on track!

When we left, I was overwhelmed with this feeling….it was finally that feeling…we were ready to get our girls! It reminded me of a doctor’s appointment but instead of leaving with devastating results we were overjoyed! Adoption is not like being pregnant. The emotions are different and the bonding starts at different times. Although some things are very different from a pregnancy…… we are becoming parents!

Miscarriage…..reminders from God

This post is just pure honesty. I’m not sure what you will think or even if you will understand. However, I am inspired by a friend to share my emotions and story with you. My friend had several miscarriages and was open with people about how she was really feeling. This was huge for me! I saw her story help comfort other people. It helped others know they weren’t alone and she could grieve with them. When I have had miscarriages, I was very closed off because:

*  it was so painful

*  it just kept happening over  and over

*  I felt like it was private

*  it created awkwardness in conversations

*  people would say things that hurt (you’ll get pregnant again)

*  and it just hurt to talk about it.

I felt like in the beginning of my journey I was alone with God. It was important for me to stay positive in these stages of loss.  So, I prayed continuously and read scripture. But I was missing that connection with people to connect about what I was experiencing. It started to form bitterness and jealousy. And then….it happened!!! A precious women at church had the same idea and created a very needed group that has been such an encouragement for me. The name of the small group is Hopeful Hearts. It is not a place to be overwhelmed by negative stories but a place for restoration, encouragement, and scripture to hold onto. These women understood my deep emotional scars and were able to connect because of our similar journeys. No ones journey is the same but they all have some connecting paths.

This was my healing ground along with tears, daily prayer, scripture, and a husband that was there for me every time I cried in his arms.

I had people that I was sharing my story with in this group but I definitely wasn’t posting my miscarriages and feelings on Facebook. Again, I just felt very private about it. So, I’m stretching out of my comfort zone because if this could comfort one person, it is worth it. The healing that you can experience from sharing with each other is important in the process of healing. It is such a blessing to have encouragement from women who have experienced the same thing.

Last year this precious leader of our Hopeful Hearts group gave each of us a gift. It was  a plant that was very special. She wanted us to have a plant that would come back each year. We had all experienced so much loss that even a dying plant was depressing. So a plant that would give life and color each year sounded like an amazing gift. Except that I actually can’t keep plants alive. So, I was a little worried about this gift that was suppose to give life each year.

Until……

This week was the 3rd week we had been waiting on an approval answer from the orphanage. We are so close to getting our kids home….it is kind of like when you are finding out if you are pregnant or not. That is exciting for most but for me that brings extreme stress because the last 13 times we have been pregnant, we have experienced the loss of a child. So, without even knowing it, my emotions have been reminded of my babies that had strong heartbeats but I never got to meet. To be truthful….I’m just missing my babies. And then I came home to this beautiful blooming flower in my backyard…..yep….it lived…it came back!

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What a beautiful reminder from God that He has my babies with Him in a place more beautiful than I could imagine. This beautiful flower is also a reminder that God has a path for us. A plan that is greater than we could ever comprehend. His children are important and need love. He has chosen us to raise a set of siblings in Colombia. It is so unbelievable to see what God has already done to make this adoption happen. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for the rest of our lives. When the Lord your God sets a plan out for you ….run towards it!

God is with us reminding us everyday that there is hope for the future….just look around and see it.

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Live with purpose

In the waiting, you have to live your life-like it matters.

At times I have lived differently because  I was waiting on something. Then when it didn’t happen I would be devastated. For example, when we were waiting on a phone call from the foster care system, we definitely put our life on hold. We knew the shelters were full and we would be getting a call any day to place a child in our home. So, we waited at home for the call and canceled any big decisions we might have wanted to make because we were getting ready to have a child come live with us. This was huge and we needed to be prepared for it. Well, when the placement never came……we had wasted all that time waiting…trying to be prepared. We could have instead invested in our family, friends, projects, or activities. These are the important things in our life and we shouldn’t put them aside because we want something to happen now.

I think this quote from Lysa Terkeurst is so appropriate for this blog today……

“The one who obeys God’s instruction for today will develop a keen awareness of His direction for tomorrow”

Through the miscarriages and adoption process, I have really learned to embrace the right now. I do forget this at times and in fact this week has been especially hard for me. However, my support system is amazing! My friends and hubby are always there reminding me to not give up hope and enjoy the blessings I have in my life right now.

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Through the different events in our lives that required waiting, we have started to live differently. For example, I was getting discouraged about how long the adoption process was taking for us and I asked myself why I wanted to adopt. When I looked at the answers, I realized that some of the things I listed could be done with children at school or church. I was being greedy and wanting to do those things with MY children, but when it is all said and done…..it doesn’t matter whose children they are ….. They are all God’s children. So, I had to pick up my pouty lip and go love on other people’s children so I could be accomplishing things that I had always wanted to do. This has been the most rewarding decision of my life.

Living with purpose is such a blessing!

 

 

God’s visual reminders

I would like to share with you some really important people who God has put in my life. They are people who I can look at and see God’s mighty hand at work in. When I am struggling or feel defeated I can see these people and they always bring back the joy! I am so thankful God does this for us. He does this in so many ways. That is why for me blogging is so helpful. When you record your blessings it is so easy to see God at work in your life. But if I don’t keep track of these wonderful things in life, I sometimes lose track of the reminders God has for me. We have seen this so many times in the adoption process. I will get discouraged and then be reminded that we needed a certain amount of money for a fee and it was provided to us in the exact amount needed. So, basically what I’m saying is keep track of your blessings!
My prayer is always to increase our family and bring children hope for their future.

Here we go…Blessing #1
12 experiences with carrying a creation of God inside me. This is truly the most amazing ability God allows women to experience. One of those beautiful babies is now 18 and I smile every time I see what an amazing women she is becoming. Thank you God, for allowing me the chance to raise your beautiful creation. She has a good foundation,  high goals and a hope for her future!HPIM6445My other sweet babies bring joy to me when I think about how they never had to experience the struggles of Earth. Yes, I would have loved to see their sweet smiles but they only know the perfect place called Heaven. It just makes me smile when I think that my children are hanging out with God being taken care of perfectly. What a blessing to be reminded that my prayer was to increase our family and He has been so faithful.

Well, this next little guy was an answer to prayer that we didn’t even know we needed. He is not born genetically into our family but he is part of our family. Wow…he changed our life forever! He lived with us for 4 months and we attempted to adopt him. But God knew that reuniting with his mom was the perfect plan. When I think that we are not stepping in the right direction to give hope for the future, I look at this little boy. He is the reason we began the journey to reach out to children and bring hope for their future. Adoption started to churn in our hearts. We were able to build a relationship with him and his mom. This by far has been the most wonderful experience ever! We love them so much. So, thank you God for this reminder in this sweet boys smile that you are increasing our family and bringing hope for the future.

Love this boy!!!!

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This next blessing I had no idea would change my life forever! She is my precious granddaughter. When I hold her and watch her grow and smile, I just can’t help but thank God for another blessing and reminder. Her sweet presence is the reminder that our family is increasing and we have yet again another chance to spread hope for her future. I just can’t get enough of her sweet baby cheeks!

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My niece is the next person I want to share about how she visually reminds me everyday that God is right there with me everyday. She is my brothers first-born and such a special little girl. This little girl would have been a couple of weeks younger than one of our sweet boys that is now in Heaven. I thank God that he gave us a visual reminder of what stages our son would have been doing if we were here today. When she smiles and giggles it just brings so much joy! I know our son is doing the same things with the King of Kings! Pretty cool..huh! So, again…thank you Lord for the reminder that you are bringing hope for the future…this little girl has big plans for her future! Praise the Lord!

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Sometimes God just puts people in your path just for a season. Well, that’s how I met this next precious angel. God put a women in my path that was walking down the same path I was. We were trying to find answers about infertility. God knew we could encourage each other with scripture. This was truly a blessing to have when you are in a time of searching. So, this little baby was born to a wonderful family that is truly an inspiration. I pray for this little girl daily. And again, I thank God for this reminder that God is the creator and provider. He is the hope for the future.

1530468_633871321004_737388601_nBig families just make me smile! I am so blessed to have all of these children to call part of my family! Sometimes  we are focusing so much on God’s big plan that we  just lose sight of what is what is right in front of us.

Ending Bitterness

Due to the fact that I have been stopped multiple times to discuss my last post, I think there should have been a part 2. So, here you go. Again….please remember that this is just what I have learned,  I’m not an expert, this was VERY hard for me, and I still fall backwards every once in a while.

I am very serious when I said before that bitterness overwhelmed my life. So, how did I get rid of this? That is the question that many people have asked me and told me that they have the same feelings but with different topics. So, let me share what I did to grow and become a healthier-happier person.

1. Realize that being bitter and jealous is an unhealthy feeling. I really told myself that the jealous feelings I was having were ok. I had experienced 10 miscarriages. This to me seemed like a perfect reason to be bitter! I didn’t understand why everyone around me was being blessed with babies and I had to say goodbye to mine. The truth is,  I should have been grieving through this journey, but being overwhelmed with ugly feelings towards other people’s blessings was NOT ok! So, first step was seeing that I had a problem….I know….sounds silly but I am being truly honest!

2. Stop making excuses for being bitter. I figured that since I was asking for a creation of God…a blessing to our family…an opportunity to share Christ….I had every right to feel these negative feelings because what I was asking for was important! I kept telling myself, “it’s not like I’m asking for a new car!” Well, I’m sure you are seeing the problem already…..yes, this was an idol in my life! I had an excuse for every negative feeling!

3. Learn what bitterness does to your life. So, at this point in my life I am reading scripture, meeting with people who encourage and challenge me, praying A LOT, and really just seeking to figure things out. Well, my precious friend from church that leads a group called HOPEFUL hearts gave me a year devotional. It was called HOPE. It wasn’t the whole book that changed my life, it was ONE devotional! It said that if you get what you have been waiting for and don’t deal with your bitterness it will still be there. WHAT!!!!!!! This totally blew my mind! If I get a sweet baby….I won’t be bitter…are you kidding me! Ok, well that was my first thought…..my second thought was tears! I didn’t want to meet my children and be that ugly mom who is jealous of everyone! I want to embrace my children and feel absolutely joyful about the blessings in my friend’s lives!

4. Look for the tiniest blessings that surrounded you. I had to start small. (my car started, date night, my teen was respectful, food!!) Then when I started to do this, I realized that they were everywhere! There is always something that you have that someone else wants. Hold onto what you have and have pure joy and hope for the future!

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5. Get rid of bitterness. This was the hard part. It is super easy to recognize that you have problems, but fixing your problems are much more difficult. So, I knew that my major problem was being jealous of a healthy pregnant women, going to a baby shower and feeling sadness overwhelm me because it brought back thoughts of our loss, hearing pregnant women complain about being pregnant, or just spending time obsessing about why this kept happening to me. I finally had a place to start because I could identify the  situations that increased my jealousy/bitterness. You might think this is totally crazy but let me remind you that this is just my experience….I’m not an expert! But it did work 🙂

CRAZY STEP #1: I surrounded myself with children. I teach school but I went a step further and I even started working in the church nursery.  I know…..I also thought this was insane because why would you surround yourself with the one thing that was causing all of these negative feelings. WELL, first of all ……fact #1-children make you smile! Secondly, I decided that I should surround myself with what I wanted most! And lastly, when you are in this overwhelming state of negativity….you should do things for others not yourself. It really does help build you back up! And running from my problems was just making it worse!

CRAZY STEP #2: I started faking it till I made it. I decided that I needed to bless moms. I would find a cute outfit that a friend would love and I would buy it for them. Please understand that this was not genuine for a long time. I really hate admitting this, but I feel like if someone is dealing with this, they need to know that this is an ugly process. So, after giving these gifts and checking on these moms, I started to realize that I was actually excited to do these things! I can say that today I don’t have those negative feelings when I go through the baby aisle. But let me be real….yes…I do fall backwards sometimes. However, it is not the bitterness anymore….it is usually just sadness from a memory. Which is totally part of the grieving process. It is ok to have ups and downs as long as eventually you have more ups than downs!

Let me tell you that these things above were done also with the help of  lots of prayer, friends/family who would pick me up when I fell, a husband who would take me out some nights just to forget for a while, and a church that truly loved me through this.

I really am very embarrassed to tell you this was part of my life, but I have been growing so much and just want other people to be able to feel free and enjoy everything that God is blessing them with! So, thank you friends for coming to ask me how did you get rid of your bitterness. I hope this helps you!

Getting Rid of an Idol

I am excited when I have times of clarity about my life. I have been in all kinds of different places in my life. Some of these I’m very embarrassed about but they have helped me become who I am, so…. you gotta love those moments! I used to read those scriptures about idols and think….I don’t have those…who has those?

If you ever say anything like this…..you are probably that person….I know…stinks..huh!

Isaiah 44:9-20 ESV 

 

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together. The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. …

Well, as you have guessed…after a process of healing from bitterness….I can truly look back and say I had an idol in my life. No, not a piece of metal that I worshiped every morning…but I might as well have.

EVERY moment I thought and planned about having children. I calculated dates of ovulation, waited for missed periods, planned new things I would try next time I did get pregnant so I wouldn’t miscarry, and I could go on and on about what my mind was thinking every moment. Not to mention that you are surrounded with new moms everywhere.

Just like in the verse above, I became faint, my strength failed, jealousy overwhelmed me, and negative thoughts were always surrounding me. I was that person that you did not want to be around…and to be honest, I didn’t want to be around you either. It was too hard for me to be happy for new moms. (I know…I was in some deep bitterness)

I always kept praying for my pregnancy to not end early, however, I can say that peace wasn’t there because I wouldn’t put my “Baby Idol” aside. I kept trying to put this problem into my own hands….hoping Dr.’s would fix my problem. Forgetting that my GOD is the ultimate healer.

See now I have taken care of those bitter feelings and have healed my heart. I can now say that I live in peace that whatever happens with our children…..I will have joy and peace. I know that God has plans for our children that I could never imagine. I have let go of the plans I had and am excited to live day by day and not control the outcome of how many will be in our family. We just embrace what we do have…..always choosing thankfulness!

Due Date vs. No Due Date

One of the exciting moments women wait for when they are pregnant is their due date and finding out if it’s a boy or a girl. We recently experienced both of these moments just not as we expected them. We found out we were going  to have a February baby! Of course as a women the planning starts immediately, except if you have had many disappointments before. Then instead of planning your just praying for  a baby to be born! Well, we almost got to the “safe point” (whatever that is) , it was our last appointment with the specialist. We were going to be released that day to go to a “regular doctor”. Instead of leaving that appointment excited….we left heartbroken again. Another one of our babies went to be with Christ.

I don’t usually feel the need to share this type of thing. But I was reminded this week of something and I just felt like maybe other people have felt the same way. I was reminded that my due date was just a couple of weeks ago. And remember that I have already mentioned that one of the exciting moments you have when your pregnant is finding out …boy…or …girl. Well, we did find out that we did have a very healthy boy. They aren’t sure what happened. So, when I was reminded about my due date recently….I just had to stop and thank the Lord for that little healthy boy. I didn’t get to meet him but he is one lucky boy to be sitting with Christ right now! I want people to remember that this is not our home. No matter how bad the hurt or disappointment is…this is not our home. I focus on God’s promises and that is what gets me out of the heartache…every time! I’m not saying the emotions just go away(ask my husband…I’m a crying mess sometimes), but I do have hope and joy that I will have the desires of my heart and I will see all of my children one day!

While we are waiting for that, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it…adopting children that just want to be loved. So, to all of the moms out there that are adopting and don’t have a due date and don’t know the gender right now. I just want to encourage you to use God’s strength and stay strong! Stay in His word and speak to him daily! The relationship you have with your Heavenly Father will make this wait so much easier. This process is filled with ups and downs…..but totally worth saving any child from not having a family! I came across this song and thought it was perfect! Blessings are sometimes in disguise. Not fair…I know….But didn’t your mom always tell you life isn’t fair..(love ya mom). God loves us….He is always there to hold us when we just don’t know what to do.