Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lucy's perceptions of foster/adopt.

My sweet girl and I have a priceless conversation about foster/adopt.

Monday, September 27, 2010

gulp

"So, how long does the process to get a child in our home take, after the classes are over, background checks completed, CPR class taken, home visits finished? (a week from now)."

class facilitator: Well, the license takes 3 months to get, but you would get your temporary foster parent license in 2-3 weeks.

me: so, 3 months then, right?

her: no, 2 - 3 weeks.

For those of you at home, that's 3 - 4 weeks, kids. FROM NOW.

me: *gulp*

halllloooooooooo

The moms at Lucy's school are all pretty laid back and everyone drops their kids off with messy hair and sweat pants. Scott swears there's a secret pact between moms to wear black "kung-fu" (capri) pants and talk about mini vans. After we got the mini van he said, "Now you can join the secret society."

I am looking at two granola bar wrappers right by the computer desk, and lots of crumbs. This room is really messy and I don't feel like cleaning.

Wow, there really is a whole wasteland of blogs out there just like mine, huh. Does anyone care? Not really.

Which is why I am no longer on Facebook. Can't say I miss it. A Facebook relationship is not a real relationship.

So, tonight is our second to last foster/adopt class...wow. This is moving fast.

Buckle in.

And also, what do they put in Diet Coke? Crack? I am starting to need "fixes" of the stuff.

Last Saturday I took the kids to an art fair and witnessed two people fighting over a parking space. A cop had to get involved and take my name and number in case he had questions. He looked like he just had his 12th birthday party. I wanted to offer him some Silly Bands.

The lack of parking was insane. Then, this lady with 3 teeth offered to let me park on her lawn for $3.

Yeah, lady, and when I come back, my car will be up on blocks.

No spank you.

OK, that's all I got.

Friday, September 24, 2010

suffering

Watching others get pregnant and pregnant and pregnant while personally continuing to miscarry is like a personal hell.

I am 31, so naturally, friends around me are procreating like mad. And in the midst of it, God has given me friends who are *done* with their families, and I feel like I can rest there, because I'm not going to get sidelined with a pregnancy announcement when we hang out. There are new babies I have not yet seen, there are pregnancies not yet acknowledged.

It's a strange kind of suffering.

I was listening to Mary Beth Chapman talking about losing her youngest daughter in a horrible accident. She said, "God chose to enter us into the communion of the suffering."

This spoke to my heart in such a profound way, I almost can't articulate it. And in that moment, folding clothes on the rich shag of the living room floor, I wept. She gets it, I thought. She gets it.

God was there when each of my babies died. He was there when Lucy's body was not formed correctly; he saw into a future when she would be 5 years old, sitting on her princess bedspread, asking me why she was different than other kids.

He was there, silent, compassionate.

This is such a hard concept for me to grasp. How could he have been there and not changed it? How can he allow such suffering?

God is near to the broken-hearted, and I know He is near to me. He is near to every woman who has witnessed the silence on an ultrasound screen, the unbearable weight of a negative pregnancy test, the knowledge that the husband was never going to keep the commitment he made before God on the wedding day. God is near to those who have a life-long struggle with depression.

He sees it, and He knows, and His heart hurts, too.

I've just begun to see how richly God has blessed my life THROUGH this suffering. We are only truly free when we let go of the preconcieved, of the expectation. This life is what it is, and He knew it all.

Dorothy Dix puts it this way:

"I have been through the depths of poverty and sickness. When people ask me what has kept me going through the troubles that come to all of us, I always reply: "I stood yesterday. I can stand today. And I will not permit myself to think about what might happen tomorrow."

I have known want and struggle and anxiety and despair. I have always had to work beyond the limit of my strength. As I look back upon my life, I see it as a battlefield strewn with the wrecks of dead dreams and broken hopes and shattered illusions - a battle in which I always fought with the odds tremendously against me, and which has left me scarred and bruised and maimed and old before my time.

Yet I hvae no pity for myself; no tears to shed over the past and gone sorrows; no envy for the women who have been spared all I have gone through. For I have lived. They only existed. I have drunk the cup of life down to its very dregs. THey have only sipped the bubbles on top of it. I know things they will never know. I see things to which they are blind. It is only the women whose eyes have been washed clear with tears who get the broad vision that makes them little sisters to all the world.

I have learned in the great University of Hard Knocks a philosophy that no woman who has had an easy life ever acquires. I have learned to live each day as it comes and not to borrow trouble by dreading the morrow. It is the dark menace of the pictures that makes cowards of us. I put that dread from me because experience has taught me that when the time comes That I so fear, the strength and wisdom to meet it will be given me. Little annoyances no longer have the power to affect me. After you have seen your whole edifice of happiness topple and crash in ruins about you, it never matters to you again that a servant forgets to put the doilies under the finger bowls, or the cook spills the soup.

I have learned not to expect too much of people, and so I can still get happiness out of the friends who isn't quite true to me or the acquaintance who gossips. Above all, I have acquired a sense of humor, because there were so many things over which I had either to cry or laugh. And when a woman can joke over her troubles instead of having hysterics, nothing can ever hurt her much again. I do not regret the hardships I have known, because therough them I have touched life at every point I have lived.

And it was worth the price I had to pay.

Monday, September 20, 2010

gained (picture-intensive post)

A year ago yesterday I was lying on a bed in a hospital room, listening to the doctor telling me that I needed to get into surgery immediately, that if more blood pooled in my abdomen I could bleed out and die.

I begged God to let me stay, to let me watch Lucy grow, to watch sunlight filter through leaves and kiss the top of her little brown head as she trotted off to kindergarten.

I begged God not to take me from Asher's memory, for I knew that if I died that day his two-year old memories of me would be fickle.

I looked at Scott as he squeezed my hand, begging God to let me keep him...that 7 years was not enough. I wanted more, I was jealous for more.

Watching my sweet mother in law ushering everyone out of the room, the smell of sweet perfume on her skin as her necklace brushed over me and she said goodbye, I lost it.

Watching my family walk away from me, so uncertain for the future, I fell apart.

Lying on that cot, facing a surgery entailing who knows what, I heard a voice and the voice was the most beautiful, soul-stirring voice I have ever heard. James Earl Jones but 991 times better. And that voice said, "I am here." That's all it said, and I didn't hear it audibly, I heard it in my heart and everywhere there is marrow, everywhere that it matters.

Ears can't hear such a thing. I knew He was, and I was calmed. Oh, how many times in this last year do I yearn for that voice again?

But it's only in our darkest, our lowest, that it comes.

I've done a lot of grieving this past year over what never was, over the loss of that baby, and the ones before it, and the one after it, but yesterday, the anniversary of this day, was a gift.

*******************

Scott's sister got married. The wedding was supposed to be outdoors, but rain, rain, rain. You know how rain can be.

What is that again about the best-laid plans?

I got my period yesterday and the timing of it all was really crappy...I had been wanting to wear my new dress, not including the monthly bloat. FANTASTIC. And another period, another month = no baby.

I had an epiphany last night, and I shared it with a friend in an email. Basically it was this: so long I've used adoption as the contingency plan, that if I kept having miscarriages, that we would adopt. And conversely, sometimes I have used the pregnancy as a contingency plan...if we don't end up adopting, we can always get pregnant again.

Friend, I don't think God likes contingency plans.

My aunt is battling lung and hip cancer, and for the longest time she said that she always had a contingency. "God, please help me, but if you don't..." She stated that God doesn't want to hear about our tiny little human contingencies. He is a big God, and he wants us to have a big faith. Big faith has no place for contingencies.

I immediately confessed my lack of faith, my lack of belief, in holding on to one or the other as "contingency". It is clear that we are adopting, though I don't clearly know what that road looks like until it is done. I guess it's just exciting to know that God doesn't work on contingency. Things are never Contingency in God's plan. God's plan is always the first one.

Gosh I sound like Stuart Smalley.

Anyway, this wedding. It was bittersweet, as I thought about all I have lost, and all I have gained. If God had not orchestrated things that day so that I coud live another year, here's what I would have missed:

Watching my father in law, husband, and son interact         my daughter with her aunt and new! uncle
                                                                           pose with my cutie husband, wonder how I got so lucky

                                            watch my sister in law run like a crazy woman, trying to keep everything in the tent from getting wet
watch my son dance in the rain:
Certainly there is sad in me, but I have been reading "Choosing to See" by Mary Beth Chapman, and ladies, BUY THIS BOOK. This woman is amazing. Her 5 year old daughter was run over accidentally by her 16 year old brother driving an SUV, and she tells the whole story and this woman has an amazing, amazing heart.

I guess the whole book just reminded me that God is writing my story, our story, too, and He is far from done!

I wanted to edit a bunch of photos and share some more, but WE'RE ADOPTING, y'all, so I must clean the house and get ready to go to class tonight. I got together with my cousin and she said, "Doesn't it just give you chills that all of this loss has led to this place? And that your baby or child is walking around right now, just waiting for you?"

Yeah.

Speaking of, as much as I'd like to share more information on a public blog, it's just not going to happen. We're not too far away from doing our home study and I do not want such personal information on such a public forum. In some respects, this has been a very private journey, but there are definitely things I want to share.

So.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

hi

Much better days the last few.

We are still on track to foster/adopt, though now it looks more like straight adoption, unless some of our more concerning questions can be answered. Classes wind up soon, and more paperwork and then the home study.

There's just a huge part of me that can't conceive of bringing a child into our home only to let him or her go again. Too much loss involved.

Is that selfish of me?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

fighting to stay open

that last post was a song by sara groves, the song I listened to repeat last night and laid in bed, fan blowing on my feet, crying my eyes out. there's something incredibly cathartic about just sobbing, making that "cow having babies" noise that makes everyone turn and run. there's something transforming about just letting it all out.

last night i laid my heart out to my aunt who has cancer. she served it back to me by saying, "trust God, just like you've been telling me, you've have to put it out there and trust God."

the problem is, I have trouble trusting God. These past two years of loss, hurt and heartache have been so painful. No clear way on how to proceed, everything in me just screams, "I've had enough already. I've had enough." I want to cry uncle, ask God why He has chosen me for this burden of infertility. Why I feel like I have to explain to people that I don't feel that our family is "complete", even though we have a boy and a girl and are the perfect "nuclear' family. I've been praying for over a year that if we are "complete"< that God would give me that feeling of contentment, or that I would learn to have it.

I am working toward that, I am working toward this place of complete surrender.

Did you know that surrender has to happen, again and again and again? You don't surrender something and it is surrendered forever. That's not the way of the human, at least. The human tendency is to pick it back up, stick it in the backpack, carry that load much longer and further than He ever intended us to carry it.

Agh...the tears are clogging up the keyboard. I am a mess.

World, I am a mess. How could God ever use this mess for anything?

Last night after our foster/adopt class Scott was talking to my parents about how there is so much that we don't understand, about how the parents seem to have free reign in coming to visit the children in our home, etc., and how he didn't want to open his home to anyone and everyone who thought they needed to be in our home to visit their kids.

And I agree, and I also wonder how I would be able to say goodbye to children we have had long-term in foster care. And my heart is leaning more heavily toward straight adoption.

And then I sat there, and this incredibly horrible feeling of RAGE swept over me. And I said, "I think the thinkg that makes me the angriest is that we have to think about all of these things...that we have to consider all of these possibilities, that I can't stop miscarrying babies, that for other people it's just a night in the bedroom and the decision is made. For us, it's 85 painful decisions."

That makes me SO angry, and I cried all night last night over it.

So, this is me being real.

I am angry, and broken, and hurting, and if you call me on the phone I will be fine in 10 minutes. And if you think I'm mentally unstable, good for you.

I KNOW this was all in his plan...birth defects, 5 miscarried babies, all of it. And maybe it would be easier to believe He didn't exist, to believe it was all just chance. But because I believe that He exists, I also have to swallow the fact that He let all of those things slip through His fingers, into my life.

Why?

Not having faith would be so much easier. Who are You, great Mystery? What do You want to show me? Why am I not seeing it?

I helped in Lucy's kindergarten class this morning. I nearly dissolved into saline as I watched her count her numbers and recite her letters. If there weren't 12 other children in that class and a teacher watching me, I would have snuggled her and kissed her and said, "You're my adorable little baby!" Before we left, she said, "Now, Mom, don't cuddle the other kids like you cuddle me." AND SHE WAS TOTALLY SERIOUS!

And last night, watching Asher sleep, kissing his sweet cheeks...so much blessing I don't deserve.

I so desire God's will for my life over any will of my own.

And that, my friends, is the hardest part.

Monday, September 13, 2010

a lake

so much hurt and preservation

like a tendril round my soul
so much painful information
no clear way on how to hold it

when everything in me is tightening
curling in around this ache
I will lay my heart wide open
like the surface of a lake

wide open like a lake

standing at this waters edge
looking in at God's own heart
I've no idea where to begin
to swallow up the way things are

everything in me is drawing in
closing in around this pain
I will lay my heart wide open
like the surface of a lake

wide open like a lake

bring the wind and bring the thunder
bring the rain till I am tried
when it's over bring me stillness
let my face reflect the sky
and all the grace and all the wonder
of a peace that I can't fake

wide open like a lake

everything in me is tightening
curling in around this ache
I am fighting to stay open
open like a lake

Hello, Kitty.

OK, so I ordered these instead.

If you have known me for longer than 5 seconds, you are nodding your head and saying, "That is SOOOOOOOO Rachel!"

My son has been vomiting since 5 AM. And here I sit, ordering Hello Kitty checks.

No, Al, that is not my routing number! It is 123456789.

I love you all. I love life. I love the earth.

Today is a better day.

Can you tell?

Post coming about Scott's nursing home observations.

Also, post coming about me realizing my own limitations as they pertain to being with large groups of women who like to talk about reproduction (i.e., MOPS).

I am the MOPS reject.

reality check

WHAT is wrong with me? I am 31 years old and I am ordering these checks:


 I often find myself fighting over stationery, stickers and purses with my 5 year old daughter.

What does that say about my maturity? Or lack of?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

happy

I feel sad today. I don't know if it's the anniversary of the ectopic looming ahead, the lull as we wait for the paperwork/government machine to approve us as foster parents, or the flurry of new baby/pregnancy announcements that is making me feel this way.

Usually I would try to "not" feel sad, in an effort to make myself happier, but that just makes me feel worse.

So I am embracing the sadness, not wishing it to go away or hoping it will. I tend to feel panicked when I do that.

Last night we went to another couples' house; we both enjoy their company SO much, and they have a boy and girl very close to our kids' ages. It was SO good.

There are some people I can be around and I don't have to fake it or pretend to be happy.

Because in their presence, I just can "be" and don't have to pretend.

And you know what? That makes me happy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

facebook

Facebook is something I enjoy but it's also something that is really hard for me. It's hard to be having a great day and then log on to see 3 pregnancy announcements, wham, out of the blue, all from people who have recently had babies. Or just pregnancy/baby announcements in general.

Don't misunderstand. I am happy for my friends. VERY happy. But to stick my nose in it? Day in and day out? I've got better things to do.

This is my blog and I get to be honest. We know what direction we're going and we are so thrilled and excited about that. And I know when those babies are placed in my arms it won't matter where the heck they came from. They will have a place in our hearts, home and lives, and it just gives me chills to know that those kiddos are or are not already born. But they need us and we need them.

One day, that will be us, scrambling to Target to pick up newborn or toddler supplies, making excited phone calls and grinning ear to ear at each other. Excited emails, family members meeting our children for the first time, all of it. We will have it again. We will.

But tonight? Tonight I am tired, and I am going to tuck my sweet kiddos in and go watch Dexter.

No more Facebook.

It's torture.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

hold loosely

I've been looking for my purse all morning. I just realized an hour ago that I left it at a Panda Express a state away. It's my favorite purse, a purse from Anthropologie that my mom bought me during Lucy's 8-hour surgery stint in Cincinnati. Surgery was over, we were relieved and naturally, we went shopping. My mom saw me ogling a purse with a pricetag I would never spend on myself, and she grabbed it and took it to the register.

I loved that purse.

In that purse as well were my favorite earrings given me by my friend Alyssa, simple gold hoops. Lost too was the coolest bracelet from my friend Alisa, the $200 camera I bought just 6 months ago, and the custom camera case my friend Melanie had given me. Add to that the check from my grandma for travelling expensies, and I am one sad girl.

Sadder still was the reaction I got from Panda Express when I called, the manager quickly saying there was no purse found and hanging up on me. It made me angry.

The day I lost the purse I got to visit with my dear aunt Mary. She's the woman who definitely helped carried me through my pregnancy with Lucy with her endless encouragement. She's the one who, while the South Dakota breeze blew over the ridge in front of her house, whispered me her fears as we sat and wept in white Adirondack chairs. She has just been diagnosed with cancer.

A boy drove by on a bike, a woman walked her dog right on past. Did they know the gravity of the conversation? Did they know the heartache entrenched within the walls of this sacred conversation?

No.

The boy was thinking of dinner; hoping for a McDonald's meal with fries. THe woman was replaying a conversation she'd had with her husband in which she pointed out his most annoying flaws. She was relieved she'd let him have it; that oughtta teach him.

I've been obsessing over my purse and the jerk who took it. What right? Not fair! Those were my things. my memories. So much for the MAC lip gloss I mortgaged my house for or the darling "cartwheel in a field" photos of Lucy and Asher I was hoping to make a collage of in the entry way.

And so much for control.

I've been thinking alot about my aunt and her fortitude against an unseen foe. I've been thinking about what it means to be in the world and not of it, a quality I see shining so brightly in her...even before this devastating diagnosis.

That priceless conversation in those Adirondack chairs ripped open notions preconceived, it left me speechless as she posted questions I could not find breath to answer.

As I get on Craigslist to scout out $40 cameras and try to renew my slightly shattered faith in the good of humanity, I think of which $7 Target clearance purse hanging in my closet will be my new one. And I ask myself, and I ask you:

Where is your treasure? Your house? Car? Figure? Health? Spouse? Bank balance? Children?

You're a fool if you believe that any one of them could not be ripped from your grasp in the blink of an eye. You're a fool not to realize that the sign of true maturity is to recognize this truth, accept it, and act on it.

How will this truth, this admonition to hold loosely to the things of this earth, change how you live? Do you have an answer?

Matthew 6:19
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, rather store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal."

What'll it be?