Monday, August 26, 2013

Good things come to those who wait... or those who PRAY

This summer has been filled with plenty of ups and downs, joys and pains, questions and answers... We have felt, at times, like we were put in the middle of a cyclone with no direction! Amazingly enough, we made it out alive! I want to clarify that nothing particularly awful happened. We are strong and blessed, and we could not be more grateful for the lessons we learned and growth that took place as a result of the changes that have happened over the past few months. However, there is always so much uncertainty within a cyclone of change, and it can really rock you while you're in the middle of it!


A lot of things happened this summer, good and bad, big and small, but the biggest and most exciting this is... Drumroll.... We got approved to ADOPT!! 
The process was extensive, and for those of you wondering, it involved:
- 29 pages (typed) of information about our childhoods, lives, spirituality, families, views, theories, home, pets, etc, etc...
- Background checks 
- Physical Exams
- Interviews (Together and separate)
- Fingerprinting
- Financial evaluations and assessments
- Environmental Inspection (Weirdest part of all of this - They checked the temperatures of our fridge, inspected my meat thermometer, checked our toilets and tubs, looked in our closets, asked questions about whether we would make the baby buy their own toilet paper/diapers or would we provide it - seriously?!?! - and many other very invasive questions and inspections)
- Fire inspection
- Home Study
- Fees 
- Questionnaires that dug into our real feelings about rape, incest, drug abuse, special needs, race, culture, and other tough topics
- Training Classes 
- Wrote a "Profile Letter" for the potential birthmothers to review when making their decision on where to place their baby
- Re-wrote the "Profile Letter" when we were informed that we were "too excited about adoption" in our letter... I'll explain at another time. (We have learned SO much through this process!!) 
- Created an album that captured the essence of us (It was harder to do than you would think!) 
- I'm sure I am forgetting something...

I can't even begin to explain the myriad of emotions we have experienced.

First, let me explain how we arrived at our decision to adopt. As I have talked about in a couple of posts, we have been struggling with diagnosed infertility for the last two years. When we got married, since we were in our late 20's, we wanted to start our family rather quickly. We both desire children, and we know God has called us to raise children to love and serve Him. After the first year of our marriage, we assumed it wasn't happening because we weren't focused on actively trying to get pregnant. In the middle of our second year of marriage, we started to worry that something was wrong. Without going into too much detail, we were doing everything humanly possible to try to get pregnant, and still, nothing was happening! We saw a doctor, and we got to do all kinds of fun tests. (again, it would be TMI to talk about! ha) After all of the tests, nothing new was revealed. There was no specific explanation as to why were weren't getting pregnant. This led, first, to a lot of frustration, disappointment, even depression. I felt like I was failing... Even though I, literally, have no control over the situation, I felt like I was somehow not accomplishing something I was created to do! Finally, when the negativity didn't help (as it never does), I went to prayer. 

I had so many long talks with The Lord about my feelings, my frustration, my failures, and even my anger that this wasn't happening for me!! (see the common thread here?? MY, ME) It was all about ME! God was so sweet to me, as He always is, and I believe He revealed to my heart that, at this time, I WASN'T created to be pregnant!! He did not ordain for me to carry a child at this time. He DID, however, create me to be a MOTHER!! Once I recognized the difference, my heart felt so open and softened. I finally felt like I understood a small piece of God's plan for us! I keep saying "at this time" because I know I can never predict what will happen in the future, but for now, He is gently leading us in a beautiful direction that we could have never predicted, and we could not be more excited!!!!!

We started praying that God would establish in our hearts a clear direction and make us more excited about adopting than we would be about getting pregnant... It might have been a weird prayer, but I really love weird prayers because that is when you REALLY see God work when He answers! We started researching, reading blogs, talking to people who have adopted, etc, and one night, we both looked at each other,teared up, and said we KNEW we were being called to adopt!

Once we reached the conclusion that we were called to adopt, we started researching foreign vs. domestic adoptions. I combed through blogs by Jen Hatmaker, Jennifer and Chris Verme, The Getty's, and others. All of these people adopted from countries abroad. Although I find foreign adoption so beautiful and necessary, we kept feeling a tug towards a local adoption. We both had a picture in our minds of an open adoption - strange, unorganized, but beautiful. When we discussed our hopes for our adoption, we both wanted for our child to always know who his/her birth parents are, to always know that they are deeply loved by us and by their birth parents, to know their "other" grandparents and the depth of their love, to feel completely secure in their situation from the very beginning. We felt called to minister to birth mothers as much as we felt called to adopt. Most open adoptions include minimal contact, a picture a month, and maybe a meeting together every few months or once a year. We really desire to include the birth parents in our family as much as possible. This might sound strange, and we don't even know what that will look like for us, but we are just being faithful to whatever God leads us to at each step. A friend of ours pointed us to a local, Christian agency that specializes in open adoptions! (I didn't even know it existed!) This agency has been such a blessing to us... 

We contacted Special Delivery Adoptions (www.specialdeliveryadoptions.org) and signed up for their initial training class. After the class, we both sat in the car and wept. (We have learned to be very comfortable with our tears over the last several months.) We had so much confirmation and so much excitement about pursuing adoption as our first choice! I was shocked at myself when I had the thought, "I hope I don't get pregnant in the next year, because that would mess up being able to adopt!!" What?! Who thinks that way? Especially someone who has done nothing but try and try and try to become pregnant over the last 2.5 years! (?!) Well, God answered our prayer! Our weird prayer became our reality.

The training with Special Delivery was such an amazing experience. I could have sat in that room all day. They brought in birth-mothers to talk to us about their experiences, emotions, thoughts, etc., and they also had a few couples who had previously adopted tell about the waiting period, finances, paperwork, and bonding with their child. It was so fascinating, and it spoke directly to our hearts. I was a little embarrassed while the adoptive couples were speaking because I COULD NOT stop crying!! I don't even know why! I think I was just so overwhelmed by the emotions that came with finally letting go of all of my previous expectations and emotions. I finally let go of "my plan" and let God's plan become my plan! Phew! What an experience!

At this point, we are approved to adopt, officially, and we are on the waiting list with Special Delivery! We keep saying we are "Adoption-Pregnant"!! We don't know when, how, who, or anything about our timeline, but we are boldly praying for our baby and his/her mother to come soon!! We are in a place of so much rest and peace, waiting on God's timing for us. We appreciate any and all prayers!!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your story is inspiring!

Congratulations to you both! It takes a lot of courage, as you know, to step back and led God work his great plans through you. Now, you will be changing lives for the better! Its so exciting to figure out that is what life is all about :)

Kristen said...

I found your blog via Pinterest. I'm excited to try your crock pot freezer meals! Then, I saw this post. I just wanted to drop you a note and say that we are on this journey too. It's not an easy one. We've been a waiting family for 4 months. Hold tight. It's a roller coaster! God bless you. I hope you get the call soon!

Lizzy Sharp said...

Thank you so much for the encouragement!! We are so excited to see what God brings...

Lizzy Sharp said...

Hi, Kristen! Thanks for commenting! It's always great to know of other waiting families... You're right. It's definitely a roller coaster. I'll say a prayer that your baby comes soon! I'll keep the blog updated and let y'all know as soon as we hear anything. Let me know when you get your call!

Tara said...

Like Kristen, I found the crock-pot meals via Pinterest, which by the way sounds absolutely amazing. I think they may just save my husband lots of time in the kitchen while I work/prepare for my exams.

I find it truly inspirational when I came across your blog, I wouldn't wish this kind of pain on anyone, yet in my circle of family/friends no one was able to understand what my husband and I were dealing with. Since 2009, all we heard was "it will happen when you least expect it" or "I want grandchildren"...you would think that families would be a little more sensitive to the emotional roller coaster that we were going through.

This is certainly something that can tear a marriage apart and for us...it almost did. For 2 + years were would be on different paths...one would be IUI is "ok" and the other wouldn't be, then the rolls would reverse. Our decision was that we wouldn't do any medical treatments to start a family. We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this year and helped us realize what a true marriage is. While adoption hasn't been ruled out for us, the idea is certainly scary for me. God Bless you and your husband, I'll be praying that God will answer your prayers and you get to hold your little angel.

Lizzy Sharp said...

Tara - Thank you so much for your comment. It can definitely be a frightening journey, and it requires so much faith and trust in The Lord. It is so hard to continue to have grace for people when they make comments that can hurt, but I am learning to see behind their words and into their intentions (which are usually very sweet). It has also caused me to be more aware of my own words to people in different circumstances. I hope you and your husband are able to begin your family soon... whether through adoption or conception. Either way, HE IS IN CONTROL!! It's hard, painful, and exhausting, but the rewards are endless... Keep the faith!