On becoming a Mother

Getting ready to become a parent through adoption has been an interesting experience.

Many of you may know, we chose to leave the adoption open to a boy or a girl, as long as the child is under 12 months. We have also purposfully not picked out a name for our child, because we want to see what they are named when they come to our home. We may keep their given name, or we may opt to give them a name we choose. We will cross that bridge when we get there.

We daydream about life will be like when the baby arrives. I often find myself thinking, when the baby is here…..I wonder what their laugh will sound like, what their face looks like when they are learning, what their cries and cues sound like. Then I also find myself  thinking….I will have to wake up earlier in the mornings, get used to very little sleep, have someone dependent on me for all of their needs. Then I think, Geez, I am signing up for this voluntarily?! What is wrong with me?!

And then there is the waiting. Oh my gosh, the waiting. I hear many people say the waiting is the most difficult part. For us, waiting has been the best part. We have LOVED our time together. We cherish the quiet evenings and lazy weekends. However, waiting means living in the in-between. We are almost parents, but still a family of two. On the rare occasion, I get really annoyed with waiting. We have a room for them with a crib and toys and books. I am ready to meet them and play together. Why can’t they just hurry up and get here already? On those days, I find myself thinking, “Perhaps it would just be easier to get pregnant. Then we would know when the baby would be here. We could find out if it would be a boy or a girl, we could pick a name, we could have more control of the situation.”

Then I remember that we choose adoption for a reason. We were called to it. Yes, we did not get pregnant on our own, but we choose not to pursue any testing and opted for adoption as our first choice. The process of adoption can be beautiful when it is done correctly. We pray for our unknown child everyday. I have had dreams about our child that feel as real as any memory and are as vivid as any movie.  I can wonder for hours about what life we be like when they join us.

I often find myself operating in two worlds. One of science and one of faith. Many times, the two do not appear to blend. I have learned that with careful evaluation, the two worlds often completment and support each other. It is through science that my faith is strengthened.

The world of science might say the faith in a Higher Being is used as a crutch. A form of denial of the cold, hard facts. The world of science will, at times, say the desire to become a parent, while completly natural, can run the risk of setting one up to fail. That adoption can often hide unaddressed deeper issues that are covered by becoming a parent. That parental responsibility can (at times) be used to work out larger unconscous issues in an attempt to re-do the past. I have seen this first hand – more than once. It can certinaly happen.

I also operate in a world of faith. A world where I know that our experience of peace while waiting is due to the fact that we a doing exactly what were called to do. And while I have a multitude (MULTITUDE) of questions about how this will all work out – how we will ever bond and attach appropriately, how we will address our child’s feelings of loss of their birthmother etc.  I know that ultimately, God is taking care of it. He will create the correct neurological chemicals to help attachment and bonding. He is giving us peace while we wait so that we are able to be free from (a majority) of expectations so that we are free to enjoy the process – whatever it may look like.

I am not so naive to think this will end is a story book ending, but no matter how messy the end picture,I know we will have walked the path that was meant for us.

It is an odd feeling, to know I am already someones momma. I know while we wait, God is knitting our hearts together – mine and my child’s.

Knit one, perl two, baby.

“And God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what Hannah had asked.” −1 Samuel 1:19

It’s not about blame

Facts that are more comfortable to overlook:

  1. In the 1800’s, American Indian Religion was outlawed.  American Indian’s spiritual practices went underground as did much of the culture and traditions. 
     
  2. The Indian Religion Freedom Act passed in 1978 (Um, that was 31 years ago. Not that long ago. This also means American Indians were the last ethnic people group to have their civil rights acknowledged)
     
  3. In the 1970’s, 40% of American Indian women that went for a routine hospitalization (i.e. having tonsils removed) were non-consensually sterilized. 
     
  4. Many American Indian children were forced to go to boarding schools.  Their hair was cut, their name was changed from their Indian name, they were forced to wear English clothes and were whipped for speaking their Native language. One person said, “We went in the door Indian and came out English.”
     
  5. Canada, New Zealand, Australia’s governments have all made a formal apology to the aboriginal people of their country for what happened. America has not. 
     
  6. In Oklahoma, every April, children participate in a ceremonial ‘land run’ to remember when the Sooners claimed family land. And while this is an important part of Oklahoma history, it is also the day people groups were once again displaced. 

 

People ask why were are adopting from Jeremy’s tribe. These are not the reasons. But hearing about these fact moves me.  It moves me teach my child to embrace their culture and treasure traditions so they do not become lost.  It also moves me to advocate for them should I ever need to. 

For many people, this information is difficult to hear. A sense of shame and guilt is quick to rise. Followed by defensiveness and statements like, “How long do we have to apologize for this? Isn’t in the past?”

It’s not about blame.

 Read # 2 and #6 again. It was not that long ago. It is still happening in subtle ways.

It is about awareness.

Ohh, so THIS is nesting

Did I mention that we are approved?! Well we are! Now we just wait for a phone call to tell us to come and pick up Baby F.  The phone call might come next week, or it could be as long as a year away. I daydream about that phone call a lot.

In the mean time, I am feeling the need to plan, organize, re-organize and scrub every corner of the house. I am finding myself making lists and moving furniture – only to re-arranging it again. Can anyone say nesting?  🙂    

Most days I think we will have a boy. How fun would that be! Dinosaurs, airplanes, trucks, sports and pirates…I love it!

But then, oh then, I see this:  

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And these:  

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and I fall in love with the idea of having a sweet baby girl.

We have also been doing a lot of thinking about what life will be like  when the baby gets here. Conversations often drift to, “When the baby is here…”.  

Adoption is so fun!

Our friend Shala is at #1 on the waiting list with her agency!! We are so exited for her! We met up early in our adoption process and it has been neat to watch another person get ready to be a mom through adoption.    

Next weekend, my friend Jess and I are going to create a baby registry! Yea!

Transition is difficult

I don’t think humans were meant to live in long periods of transition. As people, we like to plan, to know what to expect in the future. We find comfort in routines. It starts as soon as we are born. We know that infants do better with routines- their brains develop more efficiently when they know what to expect. 

Right now I am in transition in all areas of my life. At work, a new program is opening this summer. At home, we are getting ready to add another family member, become parents, to change the way we relate as husband and wife. Spiritually I am finding myself challenged and stretching. 

Transition is uncomfortable. Any type of growth typically is.  Yet, I am feeling a peace about it all.  I know that life is changing, but I believe it will all be for the better. 

How have you changed recently?

We are Adopting!

We are very excited to announce that we are adopting! We are beyond excited! Here are a few basic details:

-We are adopting from Jeremys tribe

-We are open to either a boy or a girl

-We do not know how long it will take 🙂 That is everyone’s first question 🙂

 

You can read about it a little bit further and how we shared our news with our church in the post below or by clicking here

Purpose

Last week, we had dinner with our pastor to share a few exciting things with him. In the process, we started talking about how different life is today than it used to be. He called me a few days later and asked me to share my story at church. So I did:

When Pastor Steve called me last week and asked me to share my story about how purpose has played a role in my life, I just kind of laughed. When I was 15, my youth pastor asked me, “When you are 80 years old and look back on your life, what will you have to show for it? If you can indentify the people you have influenced and affected, then you will have lived a life worth living.” I took that to heart and that mindset has influenced many of the decisions in my life.

A few years ago, the standing joke was that I never went to church. My husband Jeremy was very involved in church – he was there every week. I made it maybe once a month. At the time, I was working for a social service agency and used my job as a convenient excuse. I told myself, “I don’t have to rush to be involved in church because my job is very demanding, and I have found purpose there, so I’m fine.” The problem was, without getting involved in the church, I had no reason to go.  So I didn’t. The few times I went were more out of obligation because it was the ‘right’ thing to do.

Once we started attending Passion, I wanted to do better than I had before.  I became convicted that having a job with purpose was not enough. So I got involved at church. I started working in the sound desk to run the screens and got involved in Fuel, our college and career group.  Something amazing happened – I discovered that I loved it. I began to look for creative ways for services to be better, I became very excited when services went well. I had become personally invested. No longer did I begrudge coming on Sundays, but rather looked forward to it as the highlight of my week. As I found a purpose and a reason for being here on Sundays, other things started happening too. I often left services feeling challenged to live life better -not because it was the right thing to do, but because my relationship with Christ was deepening and growing. Our marriage became stronger, and life long friendships have been made. Healing took place, and new dreams were set.

One thing that I am starting to figure out is that “Purpose” is a journey. God has been doing some work within myself and my husband over the past two years and preparing us for an exciting adventure. I’ve realized that not only am I called to have purpose at work and within the church, but at home as well. We are getting ready to adopting our first child. We are beyond excited. We feel like God is leading us in this new direction for a reason. We often wonder, “Who is this child that God is going to bring him/her into our lives?  That He would want us to parent them?” I know that I know that I know that this is God orchestrated. I am not sure what this will all look like in the end. What I do know is that living with a purpose in all areas of life is so much better than with none.

 

On a personal note, it was an honor to share our story this morning. A little intimidating and my voice was shaky the entire time, but truley an honor. I’m so grateful that people can see how God is working in my life and shaping me into what He has called me to be!

VACATION & Merry Christmas

I am on vacation until Jan 5th! Woot Woot! I know I have been a little scarce on the blog lately, and this is why:

-Working for a non-profit agency around the holidays is a sure bet for chaos, busy-ness, and crisis. Add our current economic status in to the mix, and there are multiple situations wide with opportunities to help very needy families that are doing the best they can but still not able to do it on their own. 

-In the midst of working like a intern on wall-street, I have actually been doing a lot of personal growth. It can be painful but oh so exciting.  Whatever mental abilities I have at the end of my work days have been put towards reflections, growth and change. Let me say, I am exhausted 🙂

Simply put, I have not had the time or energy to do much else lately. However, I am now on vacation, so bring on Christmas!!

My family is coming to our house for Christmas and I can not wait! (Sidenote: This means 6 adults and three dogs in a teeny tiny house. Eekk!) We have a lot to celebrate this year. My brother and his girlfriend just got engaged a few weeks ago (Yea!), and it has been several years since we have been able to get together for Christmas. Like I said, lots to celebrate 🙂 Yesterday at our staff Christmas party, someone asked what everyone was wanting for Christmas. I realized the presents will be nice, but being together will be priceless. I am expecting lots and lots of wonderful memories. 

I hope you have a Merry Christmas (yes, CHRISTMAS, not holiday) and that you have lots of wonderful memories too.