So I know I haven't been posting as consistently of late. I've been slacking on the blog mostly because of stress about the adoption. And there is a lot that has gone into us just trying to adopt (and we haven't even finished yet).
First we decided to adopt, and had to start raising/saving the money. Talk about hard. With the average adoption costing $25,000+, it can be a hard pill to swallow when trying to figure where the money will come from.
Then we had the homestudy. The You-Must-Be-Perfect investigation into your life. Clean the house, pray the cats don't do something stupid, dress nice, pay for tons of background checks and get multiple letters about your character NOTARIZED. And then you have to wait for everything to be checked with a fine tooth comb and wait to be approved to adopt.
Which, YAY, we are now approved adopt!
Now that we have passed, we have officially reached what I consider the hardest part of the adoption. Getting the child/children. We have to wait for the children, we have to then wait to have them placed. If the parental rights haven't been terminated, then we have to wait for that. Then we have to wait for us to legally and officially be declared by a court of law that we are parents of whatever children we are given. I'm sure some of you are thinking that this can't be that stressful. But for me, it is the fact that we are now waiting on others, not Mike and I, to get us where we need to go.
I actually had someone say that if I'm this stressed about about adoption, then we need to reconsider adoption because children will just make life more stressful. The thing is, adoption is unlike any other form of growing a family. There is no timeline, there is now due date. There is the constant waiting, hoping, praying that your children come home as soon as possible. And some days there is the gnawing ache where you wonder if you will ever get to go and pick up your children, take them home, and just hold them.
And I ache for that moment. I stress out that the moment hasn't arrived yet, and that it might be far off in the future.
So, for everyone out there, whatever you are going through, whatever you stress out about, and however you figure out how to deal with it, take hope! We aren't alone in our burdens, and we only have to reach out to those we love to realize that we are going to make it. Cana
So today is a day to partially celebrate. Why partially celebrate?
Because we got our official home study, completed and approved! So now we can legal start an adoption process in the state of SC. It's awesome! It's amazing! It lifts a bit of stress off our shoulders, because this means that there is legal proof that we are approved to be parents. And yet, I still want to cry in exhaustion and discouragement. We are facing a long journey, one that won't necessarily be finished in the next few months. I mean, it has been almost a year since we announced our intentions to adopt, and we only just got our homestudy completed.
I'm tired, and I'm hoping and praying that everything else in this process will go off without a hitch, but in reality, adoption doesn't always work the way our society portrays it. One of my friends, who has been trying to adopt for almost 10 years, compared adoption to be like being pregnant for years straight without a child. The up and downs, the stress (and this is not normal stress), and the constant what ifs of adoption will drive you crazy if you let it.
So today, we are going to celebrate a little. And then, later, when we finally reach the finish line, and hold our children in our arms, we will celebrate a lot! Cana
Everyone has a group of friends, or their family that they are really close to. Sometimes they are people we grew up with, and sometimes they are people you meet along the way. Last week, during some emotional upheaval, I spoke with a friend of mine who is also going through the adoption process. She told me to look at my blessings, my small victories, and to write them down. So that is what I'm doing. And I'm starting with my tribe. Some I am related to, and some I have known for a while, and some I have only met recently. But EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM is part of my tribe. They have encouraged me, they have support me, and they are standing by us as we go through this process. Some have gone through this process, or are currently going through an adoption. Some have never adopted and don't feel called to do that (and that is totally okay). I would personally name every single one of them in this post, but I think that would make this post WAY too long... But it makes me smile knowing that I've got such an amazing tribe.
I hope that if you haven't found your tribe yet, that you will soon. Everyone needs one. And when you have your tribe, you will know it and, just remember, LOVE THEM HARD and NEVER LET THEM GO.
Today I have been thinking how blessed Mike and I are. 2 years ago we got engaged and started to prepare for the amazing journey called Marriage. We got married, and 6 months later we bought a house in Pendleton. Not someplace either of us thought we would moved to, but we loved the house. Because of where we moved to, we have some amazing neighbors, that have helped us out in those moments of trying to figure out what it means to be homeowners.
A few months after moving in, we decided that we were officially going to announce our plans to adopt. We knew that we were called to adopt, we just didn't know when it would happen.
Six months after moving, we decided to visit the church where a friend had referred us to. We never would have thought that the first church we had visited after moving would be the one that God had planned for us to be at, but it was. We are now both members of Clemson UMC, and God constantly keeps showing us that He had His plans for us to be there.
In the past 2 years, it is amazing how much has changed, and how God keeps blessing us (even in the uncertainty over the years). And through it all, we continue to reach for the goal that God has called us to: Adoption. We know it will happen, we just don't know the exact moment of when our children will be with us, but we know it is coming.
So as you go about your day, I pray that you realize how blessed you are. It may just be small blessings, but they all add up to amazing big blessings.
There is a special art to being "Okay" or "Fine" when asked by another person.
And where this thought comes from is the women's retreat I went on this weekend. I have a great tendency to tell people "I'm fine" or "I'm okay", when really I'm stressed, angry, upset, or just plain tired. But I've kind of grown into the idea that I have to do this. Call it a defense mechanism, but for me, it is my armor against the world (which does include my family and friends sometimes). And I know that I'm not alone. There are millions of women that live with this "Fine" armor, telling everyone they are okay, when are actually the exact opposite on the inside.
I went to a women's retreat this past weekend, where we talked about this one session. And it got to me. I've been thinking about it a lot. Is this something that I want to teach my children? Do I want them to feel that they have to put on this act of perfection, when all they need to do is be present as they are?
And for the first time in a while, I'm breathing in a new idea. It is totally okay not to be fine 100% of the time. And I need to start being honest with my family, my friends, and my tribe. Today, I challenge you to do the same.
So our pastor at church for New Years service gave a wonderful message about the Power of Yet (actually, I think her actual sermon said it was the Magic of Yet... Same thing for the purposes of this post :-P). She said, no matter where you are, no matter what you have or haven't done, you can use the word yet to give you the hope you need to get there. And when you think about that, that is a really small but powerful word. "Yet" can go so many places. It can be used in the place of "but", or can be placed as the final word of a sentence before a period. It is almost as awesome as a comma or semi colon. It means you aren't finished; There is more to come. Let me repeat that: "Yet" means it isn't finished, that there is MORE to come! How inspiring, how hope-inducing is that? So I started saying it. And I started using it when I was asked about the adoption. It was a way to say, I know that we aren't where I want to be RIGHT NOW, YET we are getting there in the time frame it needs to be. We don't have all the money for the adoption yet. And it feels good to say it like that. It reminded me that we will get the money. It may take FOREVER (or at least feel like it). I may stress, and then stress Mike out, yet we will get there together. And it will be worth it. In whatever place you find yourself in, remember the power of yet. Find hope in the things yet to come, and start working on those things that you can. Cana