Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our Journey to Foster

I’d like to say that we began fostering because we had a “calling for it”. Or maybe because we read the Bible daily and know what it says about fostering and adoption. In our daily prayer sessions God spoke directly to us and laid it on our hearts to foster.  I wish that we wanted to make a difference in a child’s life. However, in all humanness and honesty our sole reason for fostering was less altruistic and so much more selfish. We wanted another baby, desperately. I wanted another child like I wanted air. Every fiber of my being craved a sweet baby in my arms. I prayed for my body to be healed to be able to carry a child.  I longed for days where multiple children would run at our feet, would play (nicely, quietly and for hours with each other), and the sweet smell of baby and delicious sound of baby laughter would fill the air.

Throughout the process, I was convinced that God hated me. That I had done something very, very wrong and He had turned his back on me. The truth is that I did. I had told God, “No”. Just as Jonah had run from God’s request, so had I. For a majority of the time that we had tried for a baby I had been hearing a still small voice. I certainly heard it… I just doubted who it was.  Surely, God would not be speaking to me. After all, He had been silent for so long. He had taken my Josiah away. He hadn’t answered a single prayer I had prayed over the last few years. It also wasn’t what I had imagined it to be. It wasn’t Godly. There were no bushes burning in my front yard and I didn’t get a voicemail with caller ID that said “Incoming Call From God”. So, I just chalked it up to my imagination and my desperate wanting to hear from Him.

The voice certainly wasn’t prevailing, but it was clear. There were two requests, I get baptized and I go to this adoption/foster care meeting. I had said no to both. I grew up Catholic and had been baptized as a baby. I didn't feel the need to do it again. Each week that the pastor would call people to come forward, I would sit. My heart would urge me to go but my feet would not move. I would tell myself on Josiah’s due date, I’ll go forward. But Josiah’s due date came and I didn’t like the preacher that morning or his message so my feet didn’t go. Surely, if God himself was calling me to do something, I should have been moved to tears that day.

My husband had been strongly anti-foster care. We would never be able to give up a child or love someone else’s child the way that we love Drew knowing that we may have to return them. The love that is so all encompassing it hurts. And the cost of adoption was overwhelming. We didn’t have a large savings, we were already in debt and the thought of coming up with the $25,000 or more needed to adopt was laughable.

While God’s voice may not be loud, it certainly is persistent and patient. And each time I said no, each promised date that had passed, the voice waited and patiently urged again.

I finally said yes to the second request.  We joined our small group “Adoption/Foster Care Support” and attended our first session on October 2, 2013. That night, God used the people in that group to be his hands and voice and our hearts became open to foster care. I called the foster care agency that most of the group was connected with the next week and didn’t receive a call back. For three weeks I called almost daily and never heard back. I even met with another agency but didn’t feel comfortable with their process so I had continued to call Serenity. On October 27, 2014 I said yes to His first request. I was baptized at Vantage Point Church. That night, I googled foster care agencies and came across Koinonia Foster Family Agency. I completed the questionnaire.  They called the next day, happened to be literally across the street from our work and had an orientation that night. Brian and I attended and began the process with them. Typically the process takes 6 months to complete, but we were finished in 6 weeks. The whole time praying that we would hold a baby by Christmas.  Never before had the agency ever completed a certification in 6 weeks. Surely, God was there.

We held our foster baby, for the first time on December 20, 2013. Oh, but God had a much bigger plan for us that one more baby.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Plan B

We tried one more time, one final time. The doctor switched my medicine, I still gained weight, I still got sick and I still hoped. With every ounce of my body I hoped.

The cycle took longer than expected, and my body showed once again it doesn't like infertility. My levels jumped off the charts and I felt horrible. We probably should have cancelled but we didn't. The insemination fell on the only weekend we had prayed it wouldn't. Brian was away at a bachelor party in Vegas. I didn't want to tell anyone. We ended up telling everyone. Mostly for logistics, My mom gave me my trigger shot, Brian had to explain his early departure.

Brian drove all night back from a bachelor party in Vegas to be there. On lots oGood thing we needed him. We didn't have anyone to watch Drew, so he came. We didn't ask either. I had been through this before. I needed my boys, needed to be reminded that at one time my body worked. Drew found out where babies come from. Obviously the doctor plants baby seeds in mummy's belly. We prayed in that room they would grow. 

My belly grew.

And grew
And grew

I tried to stay distracted ( I certainly had enough to), I tried to not get stressed (I did). As the days passed I grew more convinced by the minute I was pregnant. Drew would talk to our babies and ask God every night for them to grow. (Certainly God can't tell him, no.)

I was on top of the world! Then it happened, after a hike with my boy, I began to bleed. My body  hurt ...my heart hurt, my soul hurt. After five times I thought the pain would be less, it was more and I was angry.

We went to bible study, the group asked for prayers, Brian and I passed. God doesn't answer our prayers. Our group didn't know we had tried, they didn't know we had failed, and they didn't know I was angry. I had put on my poker face.  

The lady next to me began to speak. She adopted her daughter, she had gone through infertility and she said, "I tell my daughter she was never Gods Plan B. She was always Plan A. I just had to get there."

I got it. I wasn't angry anymore.  My baby is out there, and he/she is God's Plan A. I can't wait to meet him (or her).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Be Still

Have you ever had God speak to you? I've questioned this throughout my life. Why would God take time out of His day, and the overwhelming world problems to talk to me.  Was it really Him talking or just the result of an overactive imagination? Maybe a need to hear His reassurance when it steamed like I couldn't catch a break? If the past three years have taught me anything it is that if I'm quiet, if I'm still I can hear him. The problem is I'm rarely quiet and I'm never still. 

I heard him in the dream he told me about Josiah. I felt his power and I knew it was not an overactive imagination. And the past few weeks He has been talking again. Ever subtly and quiet....testing the microphone to see if it is on...testingif I am listening. It started with me noticing the same scripture repeatedly, Be Still ..and know that I am God.

Maybe it's trendy. Maybe a coincidence. Maybe not. Maybe God was ready to move. 

Brian and I had started thinking of trying fertility again. We had sworn after the last time, the health scare, that another baby was not in the cards for us. That sometimes, even if we've prayed about it, wanted it, thought we needed it, God would answer "no". And we had tried to be good with that answer, to make peace with it and to love the little miracle we do have. About a month ago, our hearts started stirring. We are confident that our family is just not yet complete. Maybe just maybe God's answer wasn't "no", it was "not yet", "not this way".

 We started thinking of adoption. In the past, Brian had never really been too keen on the idea. He would say, " the next time will work",  recently, though his heart at first started to soften, and then seemingly move towards Exploring the possibility of adoption. Church had made an announcement about foster care and adoption, but we couldn't make the meeting. We weren't sure if we could handle loving a child and having to give him/her back. I can't imagine that pain. I'm not sure I'm strong enough for that kind of pain. 

Brian and I had both began to independently research the adoption process, the cost (astonishing), the wait (too long), and options ( oh the overwhelming options). We would come together to discuss topics and issues. I found some great families on IG that I began to follow, people that had made it through it. That I could see their happy ending. Throughout our research, the scripture kept presenting itself. Sure there were other scriptures. Holding on to God is apparently be step 1 of the adoption process.  But Be Still ... And know that I am God, would jump at me, tinge at me, make me stop and be still. 

 From @theadoptshoppe 

During our research talks, we both decided we should see if fertility would work. Our insurance will pay for one more cycle. I have been gluten free for almost two months and have been feeling better. I called the doctor and she said we can explore it again. I could call her the first day of my next cycle to check my blood levels. 

I told a few of my closest friends, and of them suggested accupuncture. She has suggested it before. In fact I think she brings it up whenever we talk about it, but I finally gave in. I found a doctor online and made an appointment. Wanna guess what sign sits on their receptionist desk? That's right! It's my scripture. ( yep, I'm claiming it now). 

Then I started seeing it more frequently. Seeming to pop off the pages that I read. Dreaming it. 

My cycle started Friday and I missed my appointment (long story) so she is squeezing me in today. I had to leave before sunrise to get here, but as I pulled off the freeway, the song that started on the radio, Be Still. 

 Me as a pin cushion. 

I don't know if this cycle will work, I don't know if God's answer has or will ever change. But I do know this, sitting in an almost empty parking lot at sunrise on a Sunday, God sure does want me to be still