Lexi attends a private school about 30 minutes from her home. A 3rd grader at her school recently underwent a surgery to remove a tumor in her brain. She is just embarking on the journey through radiation, chemo, and countless therapy appointments. Could you all join me in prayers and encouragement for this sweet family! The have not announced the etiology of the cancer yet but would love any encouragement or love you can send her way. I follow their caringbridge and would be happy to repost at any time!
I don’t want to be misunderstood about my personal impressions of the adoption process on this side of the coin, or to ignore the other side of the situation where a loving mother is trying to find a place for her child- a child that she loves and wants to give them the world. After I posted yesterday a friend from my small group sent me the following message from her perspective as a birth mom.
“I was just reading the post technicalities. It’s very interesting to read from that side of the adoption process. One of the things that struck me was you described mothers sifting through books like car shopping. I guess I had never thought of it like that and can certainly understand why you might not feel “good enough” or want to be compared to other parents.
In my own experience giving up my son at 17, I also had to read through profiles and compared parents. Any number of them would have loved my little boy. But then, I ran across one profile that I was drawn to like a magnet. There was no other profile after that. I was not a woman of faith at that time, but looking back I have to believe it was a direct intervention on my son’s behalf. When I read this profile, I didn’t choose it because they had been waiting a long time or lived on a farm or had kids or didn’t have kids or any of the other general details of their lives. It wasn’t any of the details except this one….that they were very involved with the church and believed Jesus Christ was their savior. That is the sole reason I chose them. In fact, compared to everyone else (the one thing that you were expressing a fear about) these people shone like a bright star. These people lived their lives in such a way that they included that as a priority in describing themselves, not just passively mentioning they were Lutheran or something like that. That, even as a non-believer, was what I wanted for my son.
Interestingly, they told me at our first meeting that they worried they would not be good enough. And I don’t know if God guided my words or what, but I softly responded to them with tears in my eyes and said, “you have opened yourselves to give my little boy a good home, you are more than enough.”
I love this response it represents the care of a mom who knows that this is going to be a painful decision for the future of her life even if it was a good decision for the baby. It is interesting too that her chosen family felt inadequate to ever be “good enough” for this gift. We feel the same way- how can we ever be deserving of such a gift? Who are we that we deserve to be given a life? Maybe that is where the dislike of comparison shopping comes in for me- would we ever be chosen? Ultimately, I believe that my friend was drawn to that profile by the Holy Spirit and that he had that particular family picked out for that child.
In the next few posts I will share a little about our adoption experience that failed as well as our trip through matching with embryo families and the Holy Spirit’s work in divinely creating families.
So, I thought that getting to the match after all of the challenges of the home study that took an extraordinary amount of time. If anyone has completed an adoption home study they understand that it is a long process. While completing the home study I simultaneously needed to find a fertility doctor that would understand and be on board with an embryo adoption for someone who did not have fertility problems. I am often asked many of the following questions:
“Can’t you have your own children?”
“Why don’t you adopt one of the children that are already here?” followed shortly by “There are so many that are already here that need homes”
“I don’t mean to be rude, ugly, frank (you fill in the word)……but, have you considered having more the natural way?”
More often than not I hear people say
“I didn’t even know that you could do that.”
Well, let me answer some of those questions now, and in the future I may continue with occasional sidebars to the reason we chose embryo adoption. It starts with picking our fertility doctor- that is why I have included it here. We visited with Dr S. for an initial consult almost a year ago now on March 23rd 2012. I remember the day when we were ushered to his corner office and a tech performed our intake. We love Dr. S. but this particular tech was perhaps new or not exactly the most mature of this amazing office. She was bubbly and sweet and I do remember her asking me the date that I last started my cycle. I had no idea. It is amazing to her that I was going into the office of a fertility doctor and yet I didn’t know when my last cycle started. Any of you out there who are trying to get pregnant know EXACTLY when your last “Day 1” started! This sweet tech got out her iphone and showed me an app that could help me track things. I would never again not know what day was “Day 1”. She ask me a myriad of questions regarding our fertility history (she was not aware that we had two children biologically) and how long we had been trying to have a child, and all sorts of medical history questions. After a little wait Dr S. came in. He was a tall thin man with 7 children and a quirky clock on his desk that ran slightly different than the other clock. He told us that one of his patients gave him a 25 hour clock because there was not ever enough time in the day to get everything done- he needed another hour. He asked us many questions, asked us about embryo adoption, our motivations, our goals as well as the specifics of embryo adoption. Dr S. has not ever worked with Nightlight Christian Adoptions or the Snowflake Program so he was interested. I remember him telling us “You know how many embryos that we have frozen in storage? We can’t do anything with them and we don’t have the infrastructure to be able to manage all the intricacies of this process.”
On that topic, did you know that there are estimated to be over 600,000 frozen embryos throughout the United States? What are we to say regarding these embryos? Are they life? Are they people? Are they an excellent avenue for research? These are personal decisions that each person must answer for themselves. These are the issues that each person who struggles with fertility must decipher for themselves. Technology has intersected Divinity for the creation of life. Is that a bad thing? It has given life to so many families that would not have had children without that intervention. Or, do you call it life? Is it a grouping of cells? Dr S. said one thing that day that I will not ever forget. He said “Once I connect that sperm with that egg it is a whole new thing in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of everyone involved.” Of course, he was speaking of the job of the embryologist in his lab but the principle weighed heavily on his heart although even to today I am not sure if he thinks of it cynically or with appropriate awe. Once an embryo is created in the lab it is a whole different thing, it is no longer just tissue it becomes more. I will leave intellectual discussions for others wiser and brighter than me this blog is about experience, it is not meant to dissuade or change opinions, just to chronicle our experience and hopefully encourage another along this journey. Dr S. has devoted his entire life to helping others succeed in their desires to have children. I guess we sufficiently answered his questions because he passed us on to the next step in the process. We were to meet with a counselor- a psychologist who could determine if we were suitable and if we were educated on using a “donor embryo”. He also ordered more tests so that he could tell if I was a good candidate for accepting embryos. These appointments would come over the next few months.
Happy St Patrick’s Day! St. Patrick the patron Saint of Ireland. We got our green on this morning for church. It was a lot of fun- I have never seen so much green at our church.
For 8 months this blog has been silent. It is a funny thing how one feels that they have nothing worthy of saying or of someone else reading. That said, I have decided now, somewhat in hind sight to record the missing elements of the past 8 months. Over the next few weeks I may blog about current events, our past events and the lessons learned along our adoption journey coupled with the pain of its experiences. I have been private (that is highly unusual with me) in my interpersonal relationships when it came to this journey but now it is time to speak, to give a voice to the joys and the pain that are wrapped up in the journey. Where do we begin? Let’s start with our Oklahoma* babies.
It was a joyful day on October 1st, 2012 when I received the following email:
“Congratulations, you have been selected! Your biography and photo collage were out for consideration by Danny and Krista* (names changed), who live in Oklahoma*. They have now contacted me and said that they would like for you to adopt their five (5) embryos. Accordingly, please find attached their family profile. The embryos were frozen in February of 2004; all 5 are at the 2PN stage. The eggs were retrieved from Krista when she was 36 years old.”
I can tell you exactly where I was when I opened the email. I was connected in my car via wireless card to my internet- I still remember the back street that I was going down when I received the email. I was in tears, I was over joyed, I loved this family immediately, after I called Paul to get his opinion on the potential match I was quick to place an over emotional phone call to Nightlight. I called our adoption agency- Nightlight Christian Adoptions and ask to speak with Kelly, I will never forget the sweet secretaries voice on the other end. “Is everything ok she asked?” I stated yes, yes, it was all just wonderful. Why I broke into tears I do not know (it would be consistent with who I am and how my emotions run).
Here is part of Danny and Krista’s letter that gave a window into the heart of a family that loved their children and desired for their frozen embryos to have a family that would love them and as their letter to us states….
“Our prayer is that we may offer these precious little ones to you in hope that you may be able to give birth and enjoy the child of your dreams…..Our prayer is that they will be loved and brought to the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”
All I needed to know is that we had one common goal to introduce our children to the Savior in the prayer that they will one day trust him as their Lord. In this, we would agree and be aligned and over the next few months our lives would be intertwined from a distance.
What I didn’t know at the time and really until I am researched to write this post today another amazing event happened on October 1st 2012 that I knew nothing about nor would we for months to come. As only God can today again I was brought to tears by the realization of the date OCTOBER 1st 2012 would soon become a large part of our family’s life…….apart from these sweet embryos.
More on that later.
Enjoy your Saturday- we are driving back from picking up the kids from “Grandma Camp”.
“Please dear Lord, don’t let me have a boy!”
These were the words I naïvely said when my little girl was two and I found out that I was pregnant with my second. Boys were never in our plans. Why you may ask? Daughter in laws…. I didn’t want to fall in love with my little boy rear him to adulthood only to be surmounted by a young girl who now gets all his attention. Selfish huh? Yes, but absolutely true- we had planned to have all girls. Of course, God had other plans for us and His plans are perfect.
About 4 years ago I was working with Jr High Youth at my church. I was pregnant with a baby- about 14 weeks and I would find out that week what I was having. This baby too was a girl; I had fixed my mind that boys were not in the plans for us! I wanted sister dresses, girls to play together, everything in our house was pink, play kitchens, bunnies, dress up, flowers, pink cars, and pink toothbrushes. Pink Pink Pink Pink! Let me return to my morning in our youth building- we had a guest worship band that morning. They were high school students and really good. My eyes moved from the drummer to the lead singer to the bass player and the guitar. Each one of these boys, I’m sorry young men, was a Godly example to their peers. These boys were making good decisions, using their gifts to Praise the Lord and they were leading others, even though they were youth. I kept watching the drummer, the son of my physician, one of 7, he has the stature of someone years ahead of himself (maybe because of his older brothers, I don’t know). I don’t know him, I worked with the girls, however he was the example that God used in my heart to let me know it was all ok and his will is perfect. As I watched this drummer I held my growing tummy, closed my eyes to sing and I knew, in an instant, this child was a little boy. Not only did I know the sex of the child but I knew that it WOULD be just fine. Tears filled my eyes with thanksgiving for the work of the Lord. After church I told my husband that we would be having a boy and it was confirmed a few weeks later with an ultrasound that indeed it was a boy, and he was PROUD of it! From that moment on I was excited to have my boy.
This boy is definitely a world away from his sister- even if he did play with pink toys for the first year of his life. He acts nothing like her. He is grumpy, loud, busy, and amazingly gifted in electronics. Not only that, but he LOVES his mother. There is nothing like the love of a son, he wants to snuggle and cuddle and he is ALL about mommy! I am not sure where the next part of this story goes but for now my son is our DJ (with his Ipad) and he loves music. Every morning at church my son pulls and tugs my hand to go IN to the service. He is a 3 year old who is off the growth chart of a 5 year old and clearly cannot sit through a service but he wants to go.
What has this little boy mesmerized?
No lie, this little one has an affinity for music, he is constantly playing with his guitar, drumming on a drum pad or hitting anything and everything with his drumstick. He is even drawn to the piano. This mother’s day, as I sat with my big boy on my lap he intently watched the musicians, as he does every Sunday morning. I don’t have some big meaning to all of this except the wonder of our Savior- giving us exactly what we need when we need it. This little boy radically revolutionized my heart; he won it with his tenderness, his enthusiasm, and his loving spirit. I am SO THANKFUL that God had a plan to allow me to have this little boy. How silly I was to ever want to miss this blessing.
Baby dedication was also this morning and as I sit and watch the sweet babies, I cannot help but look to the future- what will it look like next year? Will we have another part of our family? Will we still be waiting? What will our home look like? One thing that I can tell you is I want more of both- boys and girls! Will God give us siblings? Who knows! One other thing I know for sure is I trust the HIM who formed me in my mother’s womb and every day was written in His book before one of them came to be.
Praise Him From Whom All Blessings Flow.
Happy Mother’s Day!
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?
Convictions come with passion. It is easy to have a extreme conviction for your favorite sports team. Ever visited a Texas vs. OU weekend in Dallas? You will see conviction.
Ever tuned in to some hockey or football games where crazed fans dance mostly naked with their head/chest/body painted with their chosen colors? I am a girl who can hardly invest the time in watching a football game that we really want to win because of the heartbreak and pain of losing. Am I competitive? No, never…..ok, yeah for sure. I also don’t like feeling bad when we lose so I would rather just not invest the time than watch some game just to feel bad afterward. Of course, in the case of a grand win, I also miss out on the celebration. Usually I can hear it, in the other room- especially if my father is in the house- he yells so loud I think the neighbors can hear him. That kind of conviction is easy when you are supporting a team- how can we be fanatic about a football/soccer/hockey game but not about what we believe.
What do I believe?
- Jesus is God who loves me so much he died for me, and he loves me personally.
- Jesus desires all to come to know Him, and wants a personal relationship with them.
- He adopted me into His family.
Galatians 4:4-7 Message
4-7But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.
This conviction, for our family, results in some behavior similar to that of the fans of the Georgia Bulldogs above, or the Sooner and Longhorn crazed fans that split the Cotton Bowl in half. Sure, we don’t run around with paint on our heads, body, and face but we make decisions some might call just as weird. Stick around- I am sure that I will share some of our “weirdness” with you. Why wouldn’t all our convictions lead us straight to action? Violently waving and cheering for a sports team is normal but spending money, time, and treasure on an adoption is not nearly as common place. In our case, we have children, and I am asked all the time: Why would you adopt instead of having another baby- as if adoption is relegated to those who cannot BIRTH their own children. The answer to this question every single time is
We have decided what we believe.
What do you believe?
Tell me about it.