Flash Back: 3 Days Until Moving Day

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I was keeping some short little journal snippets leading up to moving day and then afterward. I wanted to share these on here, because they are raw and real, and now looking back at them I can see God all over it! The flashbacks will be in bold, and any additional information I add afterward will be in regular text. 

These little flashbacks will give you some insight into how our move went and how our match with Sammy happened in the midst of it. I mostly want to post these for two reasons:

  1. Because God is so cool and it is clear he had it all figured out!
  2. Because I want you all to get a more accurate picture of the adoption world. I want you to see what really goes into the home inspections, but I also want you to see how many people work their butts off to help you. I want you to see how things that seem impossible (moving the same week you are matched with your son) are possible.

*I have changed names and omitted dates*


3 days until moving day

I stood among my church family for the last time as a member. Together, we lifted our voices to sing the beloved verses of my favorite Catholic hymn:

“Here I am Lord, is it I, Lord, I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, where you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart.”

I remembered singing this song as a kid. Even outside of church I would sing this song, it was my favorite. And I remember learning about Samuel in the bible and how he heard God calling him in the night. As a child, I desperately wanted to hear God. Not like, “hear” God, but really hear him! But I never heard his voice, not with my ears anyway. So I thought God never wanted to call me; I thought maybe He didn’t want to choose me. It was around that time that God revealed a tiny sliver of His will for me, only I didn’t realize it was Him, because it wasn’t a voice it was a vision…

I’m about to say something that is just me being me, me being honest, me as I was in second grade. But it has a point, although…I didn’t fully understand the complexity of this statement until recently.

One day, when I was in second grade, I told my mom I was going to have a black baby. I have no idea what brought this conversation about. I have no idea what happened before or after or whether or not my ginormous crush on Terrell had anything to do with it. I didn’t know how babies were made at that point, so I doubt it…but just as I knew I was going to be a mom someday, I also knew I was going to be the mother of a black child. I just knew…and I guess, just like today, I felt the desperate need to share this good news with my mom. But as the years went on I forgot about that little snippet and when I remembered it I would think, “well, I was in second grade, I probably didn’t really see that…”

 Ok, so back to me singing in church in the present…we continued to sing and I felt the Lord calling me. Calling me to our new home, calling me to follow Him, calling me to motherhood, calling me to love His people, and like I typically do in church service, I wept. Only this time it was different. I knew this church family of mine would be here for me and I could always come visit. But, Dean and I had this secret that I desperately wanted to share with all of them. We had been matched with a baby boy and there were only 9 days left in his revocation period.

(A Revocation period is the amount of time decided by the state that the biological mother has to change her mind after signing the adoption papers. Normally, our agency wouldn’t notify us of the match until that period has passed, but because we were moving they wanted to make sure we were able to get all of our inspections up to date as soon as possible.)

We stood among our church body; in a sea of believers who prayed for us when we lost hope, who prayed for us when we found hope, who prayed for us when we didn’t ask for prayer, who prayed for us when we did ask for prayer. We were surrounded by people who cried with us in our pain and delighted with us in the will of the Lord. They shared my burdens of infertility for seven years…seven years!!! And now, now I had this budding secret growing in my heart- This dare to hope greater than I have ever hoped. This little gold nugget, this blessing, this treasure, this joy, I could not contain it…and yet, I had to, I was not ready to share it because I wasn’t quite sure what it was yet. It killed me that I would not be surrounded by my church family when I found out if I was going to finally be a mother. I wanted them with me, I wanted them praying for me, Dean, and Baby Lavon. But I was terrified of letting them down. I was terrified of God’s will, because maybe this wasn’t my time to be a mom…again… and not only would I question God’s ways, but who else would question His ways on my behalf? I knew for myself that my questions always lead me running back into God’s protective arms, but I didn’t know that for everyone else. What if my burdens cause someone to walk away from our creator? Fear won out and I kept quiet. BUT!!! Dean and I went up to the alter for prayer and my friend and her husband held our hands and prayed out loud for us while others gathered around us laying hands. They prayed for me and Dean and our new home and the adoption stuff, but in my heart I kept praying for Joanna and Baby Lavon and all of a sudden my friend’s husband says, “and God, we know you have a child planned for Liz and Dean, we pray for the protection of that child and that he finds his way into their loving arms.” AMEN!!!

 

Moving Day, 6 Days until Revocation Ends

I woke up once again thinking about the promise of Psalm 113:9  “He settles the childless women in her home as a happy mother of children.”

“God? How is this going to work? If Lavon is our son, we will definitely not be settled in our home when you give him to us. We are leaving our home…and the new house isn’t a home yet. Plus, we still have to get everything reinspected for the agency: water, fire safety, and two house inspections (one by the county and one by our social worker).”

“Trust me.”

“Trust you? I am, but I just don’t see how this is you fulfilling your promise to me, it seems like you are slacking a little bit here…”

“What is a home? What made this house you are leaving a home?”

“It’s a place of comfort, rest, protection, and dwelling. It’s a compilation of me and Dean. It looks like us, it feels like us, it smells like us, it has memories, I know where things are, I know how they work (mostly…), and I’m comfortable. It’s where I recharge.”

“This house is not your home, I AM your home. For the past two years it has been inside these walls that you sought ME. It has been in ME that you found your comfort, rest, protection, and dwelling. I AM your home, and I have settled you in ME. You have settled in your house, but I did not promise that. I promised that I would settle you in your home…I would settle you…in your home…in your dwelling…which is me.

Settle in Me and all will be ok. Settle in Me and I will make you a HAPPY mother of children. Don’t worry about the house so much…that will happen eventually, but it won’t be what makes you a mother and it won’t be what makes you a happy mother. Settle in Me-your protection, your creator, your rock, your shelter, your anchor, your source of life…Settle in ME.”

That seemed pretty do-able at 6am before the movers showed up, before I found out our request for electricity at the new house was denied and under investigation, before I found out that our first home inspection for the adoption would be the very next day.

At one point it was just me left at the old house. Dean had gone to meet the movers at the new one. I stood outside on our deck and looked out into our yard. I thanked God for the wonderful times we had spent together in that house. I thanked God for the answered prayers, the comfort, Bulgy the cat, and my hawk. And wouldn’t you know, my hawk cried out above my head, he circled my house a couple times and flew out of site. I was sad to be leaving my hawk. Hearing his calls was always a source of comfort for me, like a reminder that even when I can’t see God I know he is there. My neighbor at my new house said he hadn’t seen any hawks in years, so I didn’t plan on having one at the new place. But that’s ok, because like God said, it is in HIM that I find my peace and comfort.

I worked tirelessly to complete stacks of paperwork for the adoption; my husband, my dad, and my mom worked tirelessly to unpack all the boxes and somehow it all started to come together. As I worked I sang praise songs, and the peace and joy filled my new house. We ran into a couple different patches of white water, but we got through!

My cousin and his fiancé stopped by with some pizza, my brother dropped by after work, and we all sat around the table eating pizza, drinking beer, and laughing. It was starting to feel like home.

 

1 Day After Moving Day, 5 Days until Revocation Ends

The power company was scheduled to come out today and turn off our power until their investigation was complete, but I begged the lady on the phone and told her about our adoption inspections. After a lot of begging and even more praying, she agreed to delay the appointment for 6 days, unless of course the investigation was completed by that time, in which case they wouldn’t need to shut off the power. I still didn’t understand why we were under investigation in the first place, but my emotional energy was of better use somewhere else, so I just had to let it go. 

Our social worker came by to inspect the house and it went great! 

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Flash Back: 9 Days Until Moving Day

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I was keeping some short little journal snippets leading up to moving day and then afterward. I wanted to share these on here, because they are raw and real, and now looking back at them I can see God all over it! The flashbacks will be in bold, and any additional information I add afterward will be in regular text. 

These little flashbacks will give you some insight into how our move went and how our match with Sammy happened in the midst of it. I mostly want to post these for two reasons:

  1. Because God is so cool and it is clear he had it all figured out!
  2. Because I want you all to get a more accurate picture of the adoption world. I want you to see what really goes into the home inspections, but I also want you to see how many people work their butts off to help you. I want you to see how things that seem impossible (moving the same week you are matched with your son) are possible.

*I have changed names and omitted dates*


9 Days Until Moving Day

“He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children.” Psalm 113:9

Once again I was feeling gyped…either God was a liar or I wasn’t understanding something. It’s not unusual for me to not understand, I am always the person asking those “stupid” questions in meetings. But I really don’t get it sometimes and I’m starting to realize my brain thinks a lot differently than other people’s and that’s ok. But this time…was I really misunderstanding?

God gave me the promise of Psalm 113:9 back in 2010, when I lived in my little apartment in Columbia, MD. Dean and I had been searching for a house to buy and I received a lot of comfort from knowing that once God settled me in my home, he would give me children. Well, as you all know, Dean and I did a lot of settling, and still had no children.

But the children would come! I knew they would, because our house was a home and it looked like us, and we were established in the community. In every sense of the word we were “settled”. My mind often works in “if”… “then”… statements: “If we are established in our home, then we will get a baby!” But God doesn’t often work that way…

And now I’m packing up my house and feeling disappointed because I have to settle myself in a new home, which means it will be even longer before I become a mother. I really thought it was going to happen soon. I felt like everything was in order. Now everything is out of order and I can’t bear the thought of starting this process all over again.

 

5 Days until Moving Day

“Joanna has picked you two to raise her son, Baby Lavon. She read every single word in your book, twice! She said she loved your youthfulness, the fact that you didn’t have any children, your large supportive family, and your strong faith in Jesus. Revocation ends in 10 days at 5pm.”

(The revocation period is the time in which a birth parents can change their minds about placing their child for adoption after signing the papers. Each state has a different revocation period ranging from 24 hours-30 days. Basically, once the revocation period ended we would know if Baby Lavon would be coming home with us.)

That call was the best, most terrifying call to date. Our agency told us to call them at 9am today, but Dean and I both thought it was just to go over some stuff about our move. We had no idea it was going to be a match call!

But now what? I have 10 days of waiting. 10 days of praying; praying that my will is finally aligning with God’s. Praying for Joanna and all she is going through. Praying that this can all still happen with the move going on. But I can’t pray that Baby Levon would be mine, not if it means hurting Joanna, not if it means going against God’s will. I want to know that it’s God’s will that Baby Levon will be mine so I can pray that he would be mine without hurting someone else. I can’t bear the thought of Joanna’s loss. 

“God, Is he mine?”

The question tumbled out of my mouth before I could think twice about it. I stood there in the shower…sobbing. Sobbing for what seemed like hours, trying to make sense of the morning, trying to understand fully what God’s plan was.

“Just tell me God, is he mine? Is baby Levon mine?”

“No, Elizabeth, he is mine.”

“Oh, right, yes, I’m sorry God, I know that, Amen, yes, he is yours.”

Five minutes later…”But is he going to be mine?!”

“No my darling, he is mine and he will always be mine.”

“Right, yes. You’re right. Of course You are right…. I’m scared.”

“I know.”

“Can’t you ease my mind? Can’t you let me in on your plan? Can’t you tell me what will be? I just want to know if I should guard my heart.”

All you need to know is that he is mine.”

And then there was silence.

My fear was that I would think about Baby Levon as my son and then he would be taken away from me. My fear was that I would once again be flooded with disappointment. My fear was that I would not be able to handle the pain of loss, not again. Even now, just thinking about it makes me feel sick to my stomach. My heart is racing, my stomach is lurching, and my mind is shutting down.

What if?

In that moment of fear I knew what I had to do, God had been preparing me for years now, when I am scared and when I doubt I fight those lies with truth. I began to sing, “You are good, you’re good, oh.” And with every exclamation of “you are good” I was able to surrender a little piece of my life plans to my Lord and savior. Surrendering the little baby boy that could possibly be my son to the will of God and relying on the truth of God’s goodness to bring me peace instead of the “idol of understanding” I so often run to.

Adoption Update: It’s A Boy!

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Well, many of you know, and probably most of you figured it out, but…

WE ARE PARENTS!

IT’S A BOY!

HE IS AMAZING!!!

We haven’t posted anything on social media for several reasons:

  1. Everything happened while we were in the middle of our move
  2. For safety reasons we won’t be posting any pictures of the little guy for at least 6 months and to keep myself from posting pictures in my insane excitement, I pretty much had to just not post anything about it at all!
  3. We wanted to spend some time celebrating and cherishing these moments as a little family
  4. We wanted to make sure we knew exactly what we would be and would not be sharing with the world about our little guy.

I know this seems a little over protective, and that’s why I’ve decided to keep writing my blog: to inform those out there who don’t know much about the adoption world a little more about adoption.

As adoptive parents we have agreed not to post any pictures or information about our child’s past until the adoption is finalized (for at least six months). It is for his safety and ours, because we are technically not his legal guardians yet. This also means that we won’t be answering any questions about our son’s birth mother or birth father. We don’t do this to be secretive or because we are in any way ashamed of our son’s beginnings, but simply because that’s HIS story to tell when he is ready. And as he is a child and doesn’t really have an opinion or say at the moment (or even know his story), we want to protect his privacy the best we can.

But here is what we can share with you:

We have named our son Samuel. (“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27)

He is currently 8lbs and 22 inches long.

He loves to eat and rarely misses a feeding.

He loves walks and being held.

HE IS AMAZING!!!

Thanks again to everyone who has prayed for us, supported us, etc. We are so grateful! There is no doubt in my mind that he is my son, and he was so worth the wait!

I will continue to be sharing my experiences as a woman who still struggles with infertility, and will now include my findings as a mother and an adoptive mother.

Hope or Stupidity?

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We are moving.

The packing has started and so have the tears, although, they aren’t the tears I thought they would be. I’ve cried about leaving my church family, but we are only moving an hour away, so it’s not like I will never see them again. I thought I would be more upset about moving further from my friends and family, but it really isn’t that far. So, I was a little shocked when I started packing up my Office/Craft Room and the floodgates opened.

My Craft Room was not intended to be a craft room, it was intended to be a nursery. When I painted it, I painted it as a nursery. When I walked in there I said prayers for my babies. Over the five years we have lived in this house it was into that room that I would drag my bleary eyed, defeated body and lay upon the floor to cry when life didn’t go according to plan. So many tears and prayers have been baked into the walls and floors of that room. It was in the confines of that room that I imagined myself praying with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Just as Jesus pleaded that this cup be taken from him and then accepted the will of God over his own, I prayed for the mothers of the babies I hoped to adopt. I prayed for their courage and wisdom. I prayed that they would know that God was their strength and that their children needed THEM. These prayers broke my heart every time, because I was praying God’s will instead of my own: I desperately wanted to be the mother to all these children.

God had promised to settle me in my home as a happy mother of children (Psalm 113:9). He had promised me that to me back when we lived in our apartment. I thought he was settling me in this home to welcome in our children. And five years later I am packing up the craft supplies that migrated and made a home in the room I so desperately wanted to hold our most precious creation.

Packing up this room felt like another stepping stone in my journey of infertility. The other infertiles out there know how daunting those stepping stones are. They are not the excitement of birthdays or growth. These benchmarks aren’t celebratory like when a child begins to coo and make noises: the first steps to talking. No, benchmarks and stepping stones of infertility always mark the loss of a dream. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it means it still hasn’t happened. We’ve been through so much and in all of that still no baby. If God would have told me that I wouldn’t become a mother in this house back when we moved in, I think it would have crushed me. I really don’t know if I could have handled knowing that I had 5 more years  of infertility ahead of me.

And that scares me now. What if that happens again? What if this new house isn’t THE house either? What if I’m wrong about what God said to me?  I keep trying to explain away God’s timing and plan. Like, “Oh, he had a different house in mind for us and that’s why we have to move, and that’s why I didn’t have children yet, and this is good.”

But this doesn’t feel good. This feels like disappointment. I know He is good, but this hurts so much. Jesus dying on the cross was good, but I’m sure it didn’t feel good. And I don’t dare want to think that my struggle is anywhere near what Jesus went through, but I do know that He has given me a reflection of that pain. How did Jesus keep going when it felt so awful? How did he get up after falling? How did he look into the face of his mother and then continue on to death? How did he leave them all behind when he didn’t know exactly how God would reveal His goodness? How did he continue to pray for those that couldn’t even begin to comprehend the blessing they were receiving through his death?

Did Jesus have a dreams about his life? Did he imagine growing old? How did he submit those plans to the plans of God. This room, this room has become an emotional prison. It has become a plan of my own feeble mind. And that plan, along with 7 years of other plans, has once again been foiled. And I am left, in this empty room, feeling silly for creating yet another plan, knowing full well that the first room I will paint in my new house is the nursery. Is that stupidity or hope? Does that make me a bad Christian, trying to make my own way; or a faithful servant putting my hope in the goodness of my Master and believing in the promise He gave me?