Tag Archives: adoption

To Our Child I Never Knew, Thank You…

Precious One,

Today, April 1st, is the 2nd anniversary of the day we lost you, the day that changed me from the inside out. As much as I struggle with facing this day each year, there is a strange sense of joy that comes, too, with this date creeping up on me. Though I think of you several times throughout each week, it is on this day that I feel complete freedom to bask in the tremendous beauty, and even the sorrow, that comes from being your mom.

I love you, Precious One. Had you stayed with us, you would have been around 16 months old, only 5 months younger than your cousin. You would have been walking by now and full of personality, I’m sure. You would have been so loved and cherished by so many people, Precious One. You still are by the two people who created you, your dad and mom.

The Lord and I often have conversations about why, in His sovereignty, He allowed you to leave this earth so quickly, before I even really allowed myself to fully acknowledge your presence, before we ever even got to see you through an ultrasound. The only moments you and I truly had “together” were when I was awoken from my sleep in a cold sweat and in piercing pain, yet you had not left me yet; it was only then, when I was sitting alone in tears that still stain my Bible, that I allowed myself to believe what I think the Lord had been trying to tell me for several days – I was indeed with child, that you weren’t a figment of my imagination but instead fully alive inside of me. It wasn’t 45 minutes later that you began to pass, and with you, a part of me died, too.

Over the past 2 years, I have often felt so incredibly vulnerable from, and lost in, my grief. As one who always easily expresses herself and is known as a very upbeat, positive person, it has been a very odd, humble journey for me to walk. There have been days that I wasn’t sure if I was going to get out of bed, let alone function like a normal human being. Part of that was from my already-taxed body’s reaction to your sudden disappearance, which left me in several months of hormonal havoc and most likely undiagnosed postpartum depression. Even when my body eventually healed, my spirit was often, and sometimes still is, slow to do the same. With each new pregnancy announcement my friends delivered, each new baby shower I participated in, each new opportunity to rejoice with our friends for how their family was growing, there was a very real, stinging pain that came (and still often comes) for your dad and me as we thought about you, your siblings, and the fact that we weren’t – and still aren’t – privy to having any of you in our lives. Who knows? Maybe we never will be parents. Only the Lord knows that. If there’s anything life has taught me, it’s that, as Christ-followers, we aren’t guaranteed anything but His presence, no matter our circumstances.

It shouldn’t surprise you that this isn’t the road I, or your dad, expected to take. In fact, this isn’t the road that we would have picked for our worst enemies. It is, however, the road that God has chosen for us for our good and, most importantly, His glory. Though the path has been long and steep, full of unexplainable hurt and so many detours I’ve lost count, I wouldn’t change, for even a moment, the fact that you exist. I wouldnt’ change the fact that, though we weren’t meaning to create you, in secret your dad and I glorified the Lord through the creation of you, Precious One. I can only pray that one day, when we are all glorified and together with the Lord, that you have somewhat of an understanding of just how much you have meant to both of us.

You will always be my child, and I will always be your mom. I will always love you. I will never forget you or forsake your existence. Besides your dad, you are who the Lord has used the most in my life to bring me closer to Him. Thank you for allowing Him to use you so powerfully in such a short amount of time.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was pregnant with, and then miscarried you, around the Easter season. Thank you for allowing Him to show me that ultimately God cares far less about me being an earthly mother than He does about my sanctification, than He does about changing me into the likeness of His son, Jesus Christ. That is a fact that I admittedly don’t daily want to grasp, but in His goodness and through His grace, I am clinging to that Truth more and more.

Because of the work the Lord has done in my heart in light of your death, I am finding peace and freedom in the fact that my value and worth as a wife, and ultimately as a woman, is not found in whether or not I can successfully deliver children into this world. Again, I don’t believe that every day, but I’m getting better at looking at myself the way our Heavenly Father does, the way I would have wanted you to look at yourself, i.e. as whole and valuable not because of anything you have done but because of His finished work on the Cross, as enough.

Thank you for allowing Him to use you to soften my heart toward the thousands of fathers and mothers who, too, have lost precious children and/or are in the season of barrenness, a season that often is accompanied with such despair; this despair paralyzes so many and inhibits them to do Kingdom work because of the lies from Satan they, and often I, have believed. Though your life was but a vapor, you have left a Kingdom-impact, and for that, I am extremely proud.

So, until we meet again, I will continue to rejoice in the fact you are mine and safe with our Heavenly Father. I love you, much more than I even could ever say. Thank you.

Your Momma

 

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Filed under 2015, Adoption, Baby, Marriage, Miscarriage, Purpose, Redeeming Loss, Sanctification

Why I Try To No Longer Sit Around Waiting For Our Adoption To Happen…

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve written, I know.
I am here now, though, so take what you can get! 😉

Since the last time I wrote, not much in life has changed, except it’s now 2015. Also, as of the second day of the year, I am officially in the last year of my 20s. John and I are both settled into the jobs we began in early 2014 and, due to John especially finally being acclimated (for the most part) to his new career, our stress level here at home has thankfully significantly subsided.

Since I know you’re wondering, and thanks for doing so, let me go ahead and tell you: Despite us wishing it weren’t true, there really isn’t anything new to report regarding our adoption journey. Yes, you read that correctly — nothing new to report. I promise I’m not “hiding” anything. Believe me, had I news to report, I would be telling you! Alas, though, there is nothing new. We are not “expecting” a child in the immediate future and don’t even have any prospects on the horizon.

The birth mother due in December who did not pick us (the only one to whom we have been shown) should have had her baby by now. We pray that she and her child are both doing well and that the baby is happy and healthy with his/her new family. It’s strange thinking about how I very easily could have been an earthly mother by now, caring for my approximately two-week old child on my 29th birthday just a few days ago. That wasn’t God’s will for us, though; so instead of spending the day feeding and changing a newborn, we spent my birthday in another city just the two of us and then had dinner with a dear friend.

I wasn’t even fully aware of this shift in my thinking until just the other day when a close friend asked me how I was doing with the whole adoption thing. She mentioned she hadn’t asked in a while, and I hadn’t said anything, so she figured nothing was new, but she wanted me to know she cared. I did very much appreciate her inquiry, but as she expected, I had nothing new to share — except for one thing. I am starting to approach our adoption journey a bit differently, and until just a few days ago, I didn’t even know it.

As I told my friend how I had been feeling about how things were going, I found myself understanding what had been going on inside of me for the past several weeks. I used to literally wake up every morning and say to myself, “Today could be the day!” I would sometimes get up, go into our already-furnished nursery and spend several minutes praying on the nursery floor; at the very least, I would put a lot of emotional energy – almost every single day – into thinking and/or praying about our adoption all day long.

When we spent those few weeks this Fall praying and thinking through difficult circumstances that made us question even allowing our life book to be shown to the birth mother, just to in the end step out in faith and say “yes” on our end but not be picked and have no idea when we will have another chance to be shown, I couldn’t help but become very emotionally-vested in a child I will never see, let alone mother. I sincerely loved that child and, in some ways, still do. Because of that very surreal time in our lives, as well as watching close friends of ours walk through a devastating adoption-oriented situation, I think God began working in my life in ways I didn’t even realize at the time. He has been showing me grace and teaching me to demonstrate the same grace to myself.

Now, a few months later, I am still trying to learn how to truly leave our family’s future in His hands, not just in word but in tangible ways, as well. I am also, though, trying to learn how to keep my sanity, while I wait for someone (or more than one person) who seems at times like a figment of my imagination, while also displaying childlike faith that my dream of becoming a parent could happen tomorrow. It’s a delicate, sanctifying balancing act.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I always believed, and still believe, the Lord has His hand in our adoption plans. I have always wanted, and will always want, His will to be done and Him to be glorified, even if that means that I’ll never be an earthly mother, which is a possibility as harsh as that sounds to most. This process could take another year, or two, or three, or longer, or never even turn out the way we’d like…and if I truly want to be the happy, positive person that I have always been, I am going to lose steam fast if I keep operating the way I usually did the past year.

While I wait to see what He has for us, I am learning that every. single. day. I don’t have to – and can’t – emotionally submerse myself into anything and everything related to the fact we are not parents yet. I just can’t do it, if I want to stay sane and really be present in the present, instead of feeling guilty about the past and/or pining about the future.

I am learning I can’t wake up every morning and dwell on the fact that, “Today could be the day!” Could it? Sure. Of course I still believe that, but what if the “day” isn’t until 3 years from now? What do I do in the meantime? Pull myself off my nursery floor every day just to be filled with more disappointment when I am still waiting for the “day” to happen years from now, while most of my friends continue to be blessed with more children while I still wait to be able to be one’s mother and have nothing else to which I look forward?

No, instead I have changed my focus. Instead of daily sitting and thinking about my children for hours, I will be intentional in how and when I pray about my children, with some days devoted to more focused times of prayer than others. Some days I have, and will continue, to shut the nursery door when its emptiness is a little too much for my sensitive heart. I will still unashamedly ask for prayer for our adoption journey, and thankfully welcome concern from others regarding the process, but I will also be trying to celebrate the other things going on in our lives, too. I will do this even when those joys seem at the time to pale in comparison to the joy I’ll feel one day when I am, if the Lord allows, finally a mother here on earth – my deepest earthly desire not yet fulfilled. I will be a supportive, loving wife to my hard-working husband and believe that he truly loves me, despite my inability to provide him the biological children he always assumed he’d have and I, to this day, so desperately wish I could give him. I will do my job with excellence and continue to well serve the 300 or so authors left to my charge. I will serve the Lord in my church and be thankful for the responsibility and privilege to serve ladies of all ages within our Body, as well as the children we’ll both serve soon in the nursery. I will continue to love my friends and their children, while also supporting and caring for those who, too, are walking their own lonely journey of infertility and/or adoption. I will be thankful I am able to be an empathetic shoulder (tangibly or figuratively, depending on their location) on which they can cry, because I know better than anyone else, sometimes all you need is a good cry on a caring shoulder.

As I continue to wait, but try not to sit around waiting for our adoption to happen, most importantly I will daily allow the Lord to sanctify me to His truth and try to walk in the power of His Spirit, seeking Him above all else. I will continue to be honest about the struggle it is to strike a healthy balance between acknowledging my God-given desire for motherhood and saying “not my will but Yours be done,” because that is all I know how to do.


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Filed under 2015, Adoption, Baby, grace, Purpose, Sanctification

Where I’ve Been

I realize it’s been a while.


As much as I adore getting to do what I do, I tend to struggle with regular blogging when I am working in the publishing industry.
When you are working  as a Project Manager with dozens of others on their writing all day, at least for me, the thrill to write out my own thoughts tends to gone by the time it hits 5pm. Frankly, I seem to be more excited about my authors’ projects than my own writing these days. If you knew the whole back story of the last 2+ years and what drew me back into the industry I abruptly left, you would probably have a deeper understanding of why I feel such redemption through my work. Maybe one day, years from now, I will feel comfortable publicly sharing all of those details; today is just not that day.

In any case, as you have probably noticed, my public writing is fueled 99% by what I’m processing with the Lord; it’s emotional, it’s vulnerable, and rather intense — just like me.  🙂 I do want to start writing about some of the tangible parts of our adoption journey, as many have you have requested. To be honest, it just hasn’t been one of my top priorities. As I’ve written about before, the present is a very busy season for us. I’m having to be very intentional with my time or I don’t even get done the things that help our household run smoothly. Sadly, me sitting down on the couch after work and writing a blog post is not a way in which my over-stressed husband feels loved; he likes things like food, calming walks and eye-to-eye contact. To combat the constant busyness, though, I am going to sit down soon and try to get a blog “schedule” figured out, so stay tuned.

Before I go, thanks for all your prayers, private messages and support during this season of my life.  It means more than I could ever say to know that they are people, many I don’t even know all that well, are praying for us and are unborn children. As we tarry on, the Lord continually reminds me that He is enough and always has been.

A fear-driven question, “What if you are never a mom?” daily pops in my head. I’m training my heart and mind to automatically respond, “Then, Lord, You are still good.” Do I always want to say that? Of course not. I desperately long for motherhood. Even though it’s oh so difficult, I don’t want to waste this season of waiting. After all, it isn’t about what I want, anyway; it’s about how He wants to use my life for His glory and my good. In the end, when I put things in eternal perspective and take my emotions out of it, my ultimate desire is to know the Lord, with or without motherhood.

Have your way, Lord. Have Your way.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Blogging, Life, Purpose

The Long & Hard Road

No one ever told me this season in life would be so hard.
More importantly, no one ever told me it would be so…lonely.
So very lonely, at times.

My husband and I both are experiencing very hard seasons in life. He is getting used to a new and exciting, yet stressful, job. Consequently, often (like tonight) the last month-and-a-half, because of the stress and/or lack of sleep the night before, he gets tucked into bed when there are still hours left of daylight. I, too, am getting used to a new job, and have experienced my share of long hours and work-related stress, though my job is thankfully slowing down and becoming much more life-giving. It also helps that I am now 2 months post- sinus surgery, so I am no longer heavily drugged or in pain; therefore, I can think straight, unlike when I first started. 🙂

For my Loves, his career, though he loves it, is his main source of stress and exhaustion right now.  For me, it is my empty arms and nursery, especially around Mother’s Day. For both of us, this is the hardest season of our marriage, and in some ways, our lives.

Last night, it was John’s turn to not sleep. He sat awake in the family room with his Bible,  sermons on his phone, and his nightlight while I snoozed away. I, on the other hand, had my turn the two nights before, when while he sawed logs, I slept no more than 2 hours in 48. I tried so, so hard to stay awake with him, as I usually do. The Lunesta I found in the cupboard from my surgery, though, beckoned my attention and wooed me into a deep, much-needed time of 12 hours of rest.

 To say that life is hard around the Payne’s right now is an understatement. We are exhausted, in all senses of the word. We are also closer than we have ever been. It’s funny how, if we are willing, the Lord refuses to waste our (and your) suffering, even the kind that involves the most stinging of pain.

 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Yesterday, for us, was in a way a living hell. We both didn’t make it through church without crying. John got close but broke down at the end. I never had a chance. We both cried some more later on in the day. To make matters worse, I had spent the last 2 nights up in the dark crying out to the Lord to please take this cup of sorrow from me.


He has chosen to call me to wait for earthly motherhood, and though I can quote you all the verses and know I am to be content, sometimes I am just not OK with that. I know that’s not the “Jesus” answer, or something of which I am proud, but that’s the truth. I can quote you all the verses (in context) and exegete the passages, but sometimes all I can manage to pray is, “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief!” To be honest, this road of barrenness has been much harder for me than it ever was to almost die at the age of 19. Can I say that without you judging me and calling me melodramatic? Maybe not, but I am going to say it, anyway.

Sometimes, the pain that is involved in not having our child who passed away, here or earth or any child at all, is just too much to bear for my weary soul.  With each passing announcement of another pending or new birth, I feel like part of my heart is being ripped from my chest, that I am slowly dying inside. I desperately long to be a mother, much more than I ever knew until I was asked to journey the road less traveled that involves not being able to have them. My husband struggles, too, though he tries to keep it together outwardly more than I do; for both of us, though we deal with it differently, it’s our Cross that we daily bear.

As I said on Facebook last night, though my journey is not normal (especially in my circle of friends), it is not unique. I know that. I know, even though Satan want me to feel like I’m the only one, there are millions of women who are either barren or who have miscarried; they understand my pain in a very tangible way. As I also said, though, we women need each other. We need each other, no matter if we are the mother of 8 kids or on our 8th year of painful infertility. We all have something to learn from, and more importantly to offer,each other.

We need to rejoice with those who rejoice just as easily as we mourn with those who mourn. There are a women on both sides of the coin, women who deserve to be loved and fully met in their current season, even if that season is the polar opposite of ours. Is that always easy? No. It is always necessary? Yes, for the benefit of all involved.

Why? Why force ourselves to enter someone’s joy when we are hurting or embrace their sorrow when our life is far from sorrowful?
Because that’s what Jesus would do and calls us to do, as well.
After all, we are to be His hands and feet.

Why? Because that’s how we learn to do live life – the good and the bad of it – together as the Body of Christ.
If you just focus on the good, you lose sight of our utter dependence on Him, of the perfect Redemption to come.
If you just focus on the bad, you lose sight of the beauty of grace and God’s constant hand in our lives.

So, even though my arms are still empty this Mother’s Day, and I just experienced 2 of the darkest days in my life, I publicly celebrate and honor those to whom I am close who are mothers. I love you all and think you are doing a great job. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Purpose, Sanctification

What 2013 Taught Me

I don’t know what yours was like, but my 2013 was quite the year.

2013 was a year I’ll certainly never forget and wouldn’t necessarily want to re-live. I won’t, though, go as far as to say I wish I could just re-do 2013 all over again. Though it was excruciatingly hard, the lessons I learned within the crazy that was my 2013 were well worth the pain and will never, ever be forgotten.

I’m not going to re-hash my entire year in this post, as there is plenty of posts already written (even whole series — read here and here) about much of what transpired in my life last year; others part of my life have remained more private, as they should.  If you haven’t been reading my blog the past year, just know I, even one with a wild imagination, could never have written the journey through which the Lord asked me to walk in 2013, especially the first 8 months of it.

As much as you’d like to think differently, you can’t change the past. You can only move forward. 2013 was what it was and it’s my job to learn from it, embrace the brokenness that came in many areas from it, and walk in 2014 full of joy and hope, just like I did when I walked unknowingly into the madness that was last year.

So, what did 2013 teach and/or remind me?
Well, lots of things.

Here’s some examples, in no particular order (except the 1st one):

  • God is still good and sovereign. Absolutely nothing can change that fact.

Though 2013 was my hardest yet, my steadfast belief in God’s sovereignty and goodness did not change. Were their moments I struggled with why God allowed me to become unexpectedly pregnant, let alone why He then allowed our child to die? Of course. I’m a human, after all. I am a human, though, who has seen the hand of God all over their life time and time again, even when things look the darkest from an earthly perspective.

  • My life is not about me.

After almost dying at 19, I am blessed to know from a young age that my life is not about me but instead the glory of God being displayed through how I respond to not only life’s highest highs but also its lowest lows. Though I know I didn’t do it perfectly, I hope that this year I brought Him glory through how I dealt with the circumstances He allowed into my life for my refining and His glory. I pray I do the same in 2014, no matter what happens.

  • My marriage is rock solid and can withstand anything that life throws its way.

I didn’t say my marriage is perfect, because it most certainly isn’t; it does involve two humans, after all. 😉 It is, though, rock solid, and it just keeps getting better. 2013 was the hardest year yet for our four-year-marriage. I’m thankful to say, though, that everything we went through this year brought us even closer together, horrible miscarriage included. During this year, at times, we fought a lot. At times, we cried a lot. At times, to be honest, we struggled a lot…but we came out on the other side a stronger, more unified couple. We came out a better definition of two people living “one flesh.” We came out of the struggle closer to the Lord on an individual basis as well as a corporate one. As  a couple, we came out of 2013 changed, changed for good! I can’t imagine displaying God’s love for the Church through marriage with anyone else than my best friend.  He rocks my world. 🙂

  • I long to be a mother more than sometimes I even know.

This could, and eventually will, be the subject of a whole post. Stay tuned. 🙂

  • Adoption (at least our journey) is hard – really hard – but so worth it. We can’t wait to meet Noah and Hannah and pray they join our family at the same time. 🙂

The giant mountain of paperwork hasn’t even been the hardest part. Being married to a really detailed-oriented person, though, definitely helped in that area. 🙂 No, the paperwork has been a breeze compared to other things, mostly emotional in nature, through which we’ve had to work; some of those things are just a part of the usual process (and will be written about in another series) and others are unique to our particular situation. No matter what comes up, though, the important thing is we’re committed to working through it; we’re committed to finding our children and bringing them home. No matter what, we Paynes don’t ever give up.

  • People like other people’s drama and shy away from public expressions of grief.

I learned this lesson back in the Spring/Early Summer. I had thousands of people (mostly strangers) suddenly flocking to my blog to read all 21 posts about our hard-to-believe adoption/surrogacy/pregnancy/miscarriage/adoption journey. Only an 1/8 of that audience read, though, after the 13th installment of the aforementioned series when I was heartbroken, and therefore devoted three blog posts to redeeming my miscarriage; most of the sharing of my posts stopped, too. Not surprisingly, most of that audience (and shares) returned once again when the other more-appealing series resumed for the last 7 posts.

Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely appreciated the concern (or curiosity) others showed (either through reading and/or contacting me) during my large series full of twists and turns. I just was rather shocked that my readership went down so much when I took a break from the other series (since I was initially hiding (even from my own parents) the fact I was sick post-miscarriage) to publicly deal with the intense grief that came with all that drama people loved to read. Though they were much, much fewer in nature, the private messages I did receive from that miscarriage series made the emotional exhaustion from writing them well worth it. It also reiterated to me just how important it is for me to obey His voice and live as transparently as possible, so that He can use me to encourage others who often feel alone in how they feel. I was amazed how alone so many women who have had miscarriages felt; it made me incredibly sad. It shouldn’t be this way, and as long as I’m alive, I will continue to be as real as possible (on that issue and others) so that others feel the freedom that comes with living without satanic shame.

Though I was humbled by my viewership this year, I don’t write for certain stat numbers. I write in order to be able to breathe, to connect with my Creator, to glorify His name and have Him do whatever with it He wants.  Your guess as to what He does with it in 2014 is as good as mine. No matter how many read, it’s all for Him!

  • Living “transparently” doesn’t have to mean giving anyone and everyone 24/7 access to your life, emotions, time, thoughtfulness, etc. without requiring anything from them; no, that would be toxic and will eventually leave you feeling burnt.  Having Christ-inspired, personal boundaries is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and others.

I wrote about this topic in my “mid-life crisis” series.

  • Though he came in contact with thousands, and was followed intensely by 12, even Jesus’ inner circle only consisted of 3 people. Yours will look about the same; don’t kid yourself into believing otherwise.

Not every friend sticks closer than a brother, and that’s OK. Life is full of relationships, each with their own level of closeness. Oftentimes, those in relationship aren’t even desiring the same level of closeness, but unless they’re willing to be honest with one another, one just assumes (and prays) the other will “get a clue”. Somewhere between sometimes and usually, the other party eventually does get a clue and is consequently left confused; that is, unless you’re like my former self, and then often you are left clueless for far longer than expected. In my case, for most of 2013, I also didn’t believe in personal boundaries, so my addiction to emotional harlotry didn’t help my case.

Some friendships are for a season, then fade, then come back again. Some never come back. Some evolve and change over time. You can be someone’s friend without giving them permission to know every single thing about you and vice/versa. You, unbeknownst to me until this year, can also do this while still upholding Christ’s call to love. In fact, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is let things change inside of, or even let go of, a relationship that is near and dear to you.

In rare cases, you will find those with whom your soul connects in a way that is, if I can say, not of this world. You will find people who just “get” you without you needing to explain yourself. They will give you the benefit of the doubt but be willing to confront you when needed. They will desire your good above their own, always without question. They will guard your heart as if it were their own. In your divinely-inspired friendship, you will give and take in a natural, beautiful exchange of wills. Cherish those people. Protect those people with a fierce and loyal love this world does not know.

  • With God’s help, you really can survive anything. Better yet, you can not only survive but thrive while in the midst of the deepest pain, no matter its nature.

I learned this valuable lesson in the physical realm back in 2005 and the emotional realm in 2013.

So what will 2014 bring?

I read a quote on New Year’s Eve that really spoke to me:
“A new year is at hand,” the king said. “We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.”
King George VI

That is my prayer for 2014, that I remain undaunted in my commitment to the Lord and His sovereignty and goodness, no matter what befalls me this upcoming year. Whether it be another year of not having the opportunity to be a mother, another year of disappointments and confusion, or even death. By God’s grace, as long as I’m alive, I pray I remain undaunted in my commitment to Him.

Lord, let it be so.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Prayer, Purpose

Got Adoption-Related Questions?

If there’s one question I get asked almost on a daily basis, it’s a version of this one:

“What’s going on with your adoption?”

or this one…

“What’s taking so long?”

or this one…

“Are you going to be able to adopt soon? What’s the hold up?”

So, for those questioning (either vocally or not) souls, I thought I’d provide a few answers to some basic questions soon. 🙂

First, though, let me say that you don’t have to be afraid to ask us about our adoption process. We aren’t offended in the slightest by questions and understand (and appreciate) people’s curiosity. That being said, just know that we may very well not have the concrete answers for which you’re seeking. We really aren’t trying to be “secretive,” “vague,” or wanting to “hide” anything from you. We also aren’t going to lie to you. If we don’t know the answer, or in rare, rare instances would prefer not to answer, we aren’t afraid to say so.

Adoption, by its very nature, just comes with a lot of unknowns, especially when it comes to timing. If you think that’s frustrating to you, imagine being in our shoes. 😉

We realize you aren’t in our shoes, though, and may very well not have another connection to adoption, so that’s why you might be a bit confused, intrigued, or both. That’s totally OK! There’s nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to not exactly understanding the odds and ends of our journey, especially the personal ones; we don’t really expect (nor want) you psycho-analyzing us from the outside looking in, so don’t feel the need to try. Honestly, especially if you don’t really know us, you most likely will never understand all of it, as much of how being called to adopt (and us losing a child of our own in the process) has affected me and my husband on an individual and corporate basis is extremely personal and has taken – and probably in some way will continue to take – us years to fully grasp.  Our own family and friends don’t always “get” from where we’re coming, so we certainly don’t expect someone just following our blog to ever fully understand certain things.

All we can promise you is our honesty, not necessarily that our adoption journey – in a personal or tangible sense – will make perfect sense to you. Through the ups and downs of the process, we’re here to share and help as much as we can. We hope you glean a lot of useful information (both on a tangible and personal level) as we continue to move forward with, and share about, our plans of, Lord-willing, becoming a family of three (or four) through the beautiful gift of adoption in 2014. We hope that information will help you down the road, whether you feel called to also adopt or are a part of an adoptive mother or father’s support system. After all, if there’s one thing I’ve learned the past year as one who is adopting, it’s that you definitely need all the emotional support you can get; sadly, not everyone will be excited about your journey.

I’ve also learned that people certainly have lots of questions about adoption, about both the process itself and how walking through it affects those who have sojourned that winding path. Tons of questions abound in people’s minds. Many others have the same questions but are afraid to ask. Well, no need to fear anymore. 

So, here’s your chance: What do you want to know? Ask away. 🙂
Feel free to comment, Facebook message me, email me, and wait for a follow-up post!

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Filed under Adoption, Baby, Life, Q&A

Where Our Adoption Stands

Don’t worry. Our plans haven’t changed (again).
As I told you last month, we’re still adopting. 🙂

Sorry I haven’t really updated you all on our progress lately.
I guess working through my mid-life crisis, and life itself, just got in the way.
There’s been a lot going on here at the Payne’s, I guess you could say.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, so I figure it’s time to update you again!

I have some exciting news, though, on the adoption front!

If you didn’t catch it in last month’s update….

As of mid-September, we have an official, completed home study! 😀 😀 😀

This makes us officially “legal” and able to take a child, if one would be offered to us. In case you couldn’t already tell, this is a huge, huge deal and was a giant hurdle to cross.

Last time I checked, though, even if you’re legally able to say “yes,” to a child, it’s rather rare to just get called out-of-the-blue and offered the opportunity to parent one, not that it couldn’t happen if the Lord saw fit, though! 😉 

That being said, logistically, we’re making progress.
Not enough, though.
There’s still much work to be done. :/

To be completely honest, October wasn’t a fun month for me. I had grandiose hopes and dreams for the month with our call to fasting/prayer for our adoption, ones that (for the most part) did not come to fruition. When God wasn’t meeting my expectations for the month, I oftentimes struggled with feeling depressed, emotionally tired, confused, alone, and every other negative feeling the enemy tried to throw at me. I didn’t always stand firm on the promises of the Word. Many times, I let my circumstances, ones that weren’t changing fast enough for my liking, determine my level of joy instead of my confidence in Him and Him alone.  Many times, though I was participating in my own call for prayer and fasting, I wasn’t actively participating. Instead, I was just going through the motions, tapping my foot, waiting for Him to “just do something” because we were doing all that we could do and seemingly getting nowhere. Consequently, during those distracted times, I missed out on seeing what the Lord was doing in our midst, even if those things upon which He was working weren’t at all for what I had been praying so fervently and weren’t exactly fun to process.

You see, God certainly did move in October; it was just mostly in ways I hadn’t planned. In hindsight, I am reminded of the verse in Isaiah 55 (v.8) which tells us, ““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.”

The Word tell us that man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (I Sam. 16:7). How does that relate to us?

The Lord showed me that oftentimes I, like most people naturally do in my situation, have been coming at the adoption from a purely logistical (“outward”) standpoint. After all, if you know anything about adoption, there are a lot of logistics to think about. When I wasn’t thinking about the logistics, I was thinking about our child and the awesome privilege and responsibility it is going to be to be their mother. Obviously, these were all good things on which to ponder. God, though, in His divine sovereignty and goodness, has been coming at it all along from a holistic standpoint. Moreover, because He so lavishly loves us and longs to reveal Himself to us, He has been thinking not only about not only our precious child and all the details that go with bringing them home to us but, just as importantly, about ME, about US, this whole time, too. 

Though we (especially I) couldn’t see it for the longest time, He hasn’t left us in the desert. We aren’t aimlessly walking around year-after-year, experiencing trial after trial, locked out of the “Promised Land” of parenthood because we’re being “punished” for whatever reason. No, He knows exactly what He is doing, and, contrary to the lies Satan would have me believe, His goal isn’t to break my heart; actually, it’s quite the opposite. No, before He allows us to enter the new “land” of parenthood, He sees the utmost importance in beginning to heal our hearts (in particular mine) first before He moves us elsewhere, especially into such an important season as the one upon which we are about to embark.

No, He isn’t purposefully withholding parenthood from me to torment me. No, instead, He longs for me, for us (individually and corporately), to feel whole before He moves us to a different, very challenging land. The Lord loves us, and our children, enough to tend to our hearts before He ever brings them into our lives.

Sure, He could have parted the waters by now and easily allowed all the tangible, logistical things to fall into place for us to be able to adopt. We could have been richly blessed with a child (or more than one) and going about our lives with our newborn(s) feeling extremely tired but blessed. He chose not to, however, because we never would have felt completely whole. Consequently, things never would have been completely as they should, and the Lord loves us too much to allow that.

He loves us too much to allow us to gain what we want tangibly but, in the process, settle spiritually and emotionally for much less than we could have with Him and with each other as husband and wife. He loves our children too much to leave their parents (i.e. us) as broken beings unable to fully embrace and appreciate our family for what it will be. All this time, He hasn’t been withholding from any of us but instead protecting us, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Though I couldn’t say it much last month, I am so thankful for that fact. I am so thankful that God did not abandon us in October but instead was preparing and healing our hearts, in particular our marriage, in ways that are crucially important for the well-being of our family once we finally do become a family of three (or four 😉 ).

So, where do we go from here?

  • Well, we pray. And then we pray some more. We have extended our October month of fasting/prayer into November and would love to have your support in our efforts to be bathing our adoption in prayer. You can find an outline of our specific requests (which have been updated) by going here.
  • We refuse to lose heart.
  • As Charles Stanley would say, we “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.”
  • We stand back in awe and wonder and watch Him move.

Lord God, thank you for how You’re moving. You are all we need.

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Filed under Adoption, grace, Marriage, Prayer, Purpose, Sanctification