Thanksgiving

It’s so easy to be dulled by the monotonous of the day-to-day or overwhelmed at the seemingly challenging task before us – both of which don’t quite allow us to face the waves of emotions that come as we navigate the waters of adoption. In essense, it’s been hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We had a couple of days this past week to spend time away together as a couple, driving together for hours at a time and talking through issues in our marriage, frustrations of infertility and adoption, and how failing to trust and worship God amidst this leads to living for ourselves. A few days before our vacation, we received a message about a sibling group looking for a family – an 8 year old girl and her baby brother. I remember the excitement I had just in hearing about this possibility – at last, something tangible I could see after weeks of online education. It reminded me that this journey will come to fruition one day, and that the path there is a valuable and necessary one.

And so, I needed to remember all of the things that God has given us – ways He has provided for us:

  • He has given us BOTH a heart for adoption, something that is rare and of which I am ever grateful for
  • He has provided contacts for us of EVERY type of adoption: international, ministry & aboriginal, local infant, ministry sibling group not aboriginal, and lastly, embryo adoption. Although we did not previously know any of these couples, they were all friends of friends, introduced through word of mouth. We never had to reach out online or through an adoption agency.
  • He has given us peace and reassurance along the way in ruling out options in the meantime, with our family’s blessing too!
  • He has taken my mourning and turned it into gladness. I remember half a year ago, while sitting in Honey’s donuts that I had this moment of self-pity and grieving as I saw a new mother embracing her newborn, knowing that I would likely never have the opportunity of naming my child or even raising my child from birth.  But then it suddenly got replaced by the notion that somewhere out there a child was also seeing the same scene, aching for a family of their own and wishing to be loved. I knew that my feelings were valid, but that they truly are surpassed by those of a child longing for a home.
  • He has given us this option of embryo adoption, one that we had heard of before but didn’t think was possible as it is not legal in Canada.
  • He has provided us with the financial means to pursue (almost) any type of adoption
  • He reminds me again and again, through tears and conviction, His heart for adoption, for caring for orphans, and the church’s role in establishing His kingdom here in this way

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” – Deuteronomy 10:18

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” – Galatians 4:4-5
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Waiting for the glory of it all

There is comfort to hear of a stranger’s similar pain…

“Both of us are sick of waiting. We’ve done multiple tests, taken drugs and done procedures…how each period ends a sentence we didn’t want to end, how each month she hurts and aches for a baby. But here we are approaching two years later and nothing has changed.”

It’s been exactly 21 months, 3 months shy of the two year mark. This month was particularly hard, as there was hope of new medication, the first intervention we had ever tried. We also tried an ovulation test for the first time, which brought excitement with the predictive “happy face”, and even had time for a mini retreat over the long weekend. The night before testing, I was convinced my pee smelled differently (obviously a sign of increased hCG levels), and went as far as to bring my video camera into the bathroom with me the next morning to film the moment of truth. But yet again, not this month. As is often the case, I have gone through many phases during these many months – from trusting in scientific methods such as basal temperature testing, to the “superbaby” phase where I fully entrusted new life into the hands of my Creator, to God challenging me with the question “Will you love me even if you are not a mother?”, to visiting the fertility clinic and being discouraged with no real answers. Every day at work, I read and type out my patients’ medical histories; there is something sobering to read “infertility” in my own medical history, and something disheartening to know I have fewer-than-ideal eggs left remaining. That’s it. No connection between the number of eggs with chances of conceiving, but still the likely limitation. Although knowing this probably explanation provides us with concrete facts, it also makes this all the more real.

But amidst the honesty, this writer declares in this article he does not want to waste this time of infertility.

If He is the light of the world and we are the light of the world, then He must shine in us through infertility. If everything works for my good and His glory then infertility must, too. I trust that if and when she gets pregnant it will be with our child planned for us. I trust that when we adopt we will adopt our child planned for us…I trust that God sees our tears, hears our groans and feels our pain, yet loves us enough to give us only the best…I, by the grace of God, will live, either in this life or the next, to experience the glory of our infertility.

This week, I was reminded of a song about waiting, “I’m waiting on You Lord and I am hopeful. I’m waiting on You Lord though it is painful, but patiently I will wait. I will move ahead bold and confident… While I’m waiting, I will serve you. While I’m waiting, I will worship.”  I certainly have not been serving or worshiping wholeheartedly during this time. I’ve been burying myself in my covers, allowing myself to drown in lifelessness and shutting everyone out.

Give me courage, Lord, to continue to trust that You have our very best planned for us, to continue to worship, serve and love when I just want to quit. My deepest prayer is that the child we adopt and conceive will be the one You planned for us. I choose to believe that there is a reason You have not answered according to our desire, I choose to believe that You are good, and I choose to believe that all things are possible with You despite the direst circumstances.

Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

In pinkeye and in dry eyes

From Tim Be Told’s Battle Hymn: “In sickness or in health declare, God is steady in the raging tide, all our weakness in His strength abide.

Thank you for the reminder yesterday when I was sick, and for making me well today! Need to depend on You through all and in all. As Darrel said, the fall came from the desire to believe we could depend on ourselves.

Engagement: almost but not yet

I was not prepared for the many changes these 11 months have brought on…

The excitement for most of the first half and dreams of life that is soon to be. The anxiety-laden reactions I would respond with to (honestly) not-so-stressful moments. The ways in which I personify an over-controlling bride – temper tantrums when feeling overwhelmed and quickly ignited frustration with differing opinions.

And then, oh my goodness, to justify the tens of thousands of dollars on one day. Being convicted on one hand that all this money could be used for better purposes, yet gushing over all the could-be details.

And what I’ve learned so far is this:

1) It’s not about me. Forget about what every magazine shows and what every vendor will tell you. It’s not. The more you buy into it, the more hard-headed you will be with your future spouse and family. You may even cognitively acknowledge and make a decision that the purpose of your wedding will be for the glory of God or that it is to celebrate the joining of two lives and STILL act as if you should have everything your way because you’re the bride. I’ve been there.
2) It’s simply not worth it. It’s not worth the fighting or the tears. It’s not worth the hurt feelings and especially not worth the strained relationships with those closest to you. Getting #1 right will make #2 much easier.
3) You can’t win ’em all. It’s a game of give and take. Especially if family pays for part of the dinner. $$$ investment does mean having more of a say. In our case, we invited some people on my parents’ list that pushed the numbers up. This limited the venues we could consider for the banquet, and cut out one I had been eyeing for its rustic factor, food quality and affordability. Lesson: Compromise. My parents did a great job at cutting their list down, and I knew that this event was important to them #firstbornadvantages. I also initially didn’t want to have seat covers as it was an unnecessary $750. However, my mom insisted, offered to pay for it, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. >< Refer again to #1. Some things are negotiable, and it’s better sometimes just to keep people happy instead of insisting to have it “your” way and to have everything aligning with your theme (ie a more simple wedding). There may be other ways to cut costs (ie the dress). You might also have to give up some aspects of your “dream wedding” as they just aren’t practical. And that’s okay.
4) Invest time in marriage prep! For me, it meant chatting with a slightly older and wiser female who had recently made similar decisions on “family planning” and also for both of us to meet up with our pre-engagement/marriage counselors. I also highly recommend the two books, “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas and “Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller. I am reminded through these that the sanctifying qualities of marriage that we are experiencing birthpangs of already are meant to refine us if we let them. How awesome (and scary) it is to play a role in helping my future spouse be who God created him to be, in all perfection!

Keller writes this about falling in love: “It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating, and to say, ‘I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that.  I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne.  And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this.  I got a glimpse of it on earth, but now look at you!’  Each spouse should see the great thing that Jesus is doing in the life of their mate through the Word, the gospel.”