Sunday, September 27, 2015


As I have mentioned before, we have friends who are walking a journey similar to ours. Their journey began about a year earlier than ours and is still in process.  On Wednesday I received a text from my friend that included a dinner invitation and the promise of news on the adoption front.  I was immediately filled with excitement and hope that the news involved a match for this sweet couple and...I was not disappointed!

I am embarrassed to admit that it has been years since I felt only happiness and excitement upon hearing the announcement that a family was going to have a new addition.   Usually the happiness and excitement for the expecting parents is twinged with a touch of bitterness, a heaping of jealousy and topped off with a dash of whoa-is-me.  This time there was none of those feelings weighing me down and it was a moment of pure celebration.

Now a match in the adoption world in no way means that the journey has concluded and it is time for the happily every after to begin.  No, a match is more like one of those road signs that gives you the mileage to your destination.  Between here and there a construction project may pop up.  The distance is the same, but the trip is delayed for who knows how long.   An mishap may occur leading to the need to turn around and begin again another day.  Upon arrival at the exit, you may discover the exit is currently closed and a detour is required to get to your destination.  So to those peering into our world from the outside, a match may seem like just the next step toward parenthood, but for us it is like that road sign providing a sense of hope that this trip has not been in vain and that is in fact a moment to give out a small cheer of celebration.

Celebration...excitement...happiness...these are words that I tend to attribute to events such as the one I have just shared.  However, the word joy is not a word that readily appears in my vocabulary.  As has been the case over the last few years, as I began to learn I am not in control and have so very, very, VERY much to learn about the way the world works and my place in Gods kingdom, when I keep my ears, and more importantly my mind & spirit open, an important message shines through,  The beginning of this learning began a few years ago with what hope truly means, it now appears I have some work to do to truly understand joy.

To this point I would say I have seen joy as a synonym to happiness.  For the first three decades of my life happiness has equated getting what I wanted (preferably when and how I wanted it).  Over the last few years, I have come to learn that the when & the how are not always going to be within my control and have made my peace with discovering happiness presents itself in its own time and in ways I may not have anticipated.  However, I have just realized today that I am still gripping tightly to the idea that happiness is ultimately getting what I want.  I am beginning to wonder whether the time has come to trade my definition of happiness in for God's gift of joy.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Most Boring Story Ever Told. Or is it?

As part of my role at school this year, I am serving as the curriculum leader for writing.  In meeting with one of the grade levels we were discussing how students can quickly draft a story and take it in an one of a number of directions based on the bend of the story they wish to tell or the emotion they wish to evoke from the reader.  That got my wheels turning and below you will see the "flashdraft" for our story of trying to become parents.

A man and woman met, fell in love, and got married.  One day they decided they were ready to share this love with a child, so they began trying to become parents.  They waited and waited and waited for their child to arrive.   No one could tell them why their child had yet to arrive, how their child would arrive or if their child would ever arrive.  So they prayed and waited and waited and prayed.  To be continued...

Not exactly a page turner, is it?  However, after careful consideration there may be another layer to this story that is easy to overlook initially.

A man and woman met, fell in love, and got married.  One day they decided they were ready to share this love with a child, so they began trying to become parents.  At the same time they slowly but surely began to work on other goals.  She followed through on her dream of "starting her own school" when she became the elementary principal of a brand new grassroots charter school.  He followed through on his passion for technology by going back and earning a second degree .  Then by taking a job for a company he respects, doing a job that grows his talents, and also allows him to work a traditional schedule for the first time in over a decade.  Together they traveled to Europe which had been a life long goal for them both and planned and went on other trips to new destinations.  They individually grew in their faith and had a chance to better get to know themselves.  They also had a chance to grow in their marriage and their ability to support one another in the good times as well as the times that aren't so good.  They pursued favorite hobbies and discovered new favorites.  They began to develop new goals and plans beyond the ones involving growing their family.  They learned that even when life doesn't turn out quite the way you thought, that life truly is about the journey rather than the destination and that each leg of the journey brings with it a mix of experiences that help shape who we are whether it's who we thought we were going to be or not.

Still might not be a page turner, but more aptly describes this period of time for what it truly has been...a chance to become the people we were meant to be in this place in time.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Today we hit become average.  Not in terms of any of the obvious ways that may first come to mind, but rather in terms of our status as prospective adoptive parents.

The average adoptive couple waits for one year and exactly one year ago today we became an active waiting family with our agency.  I was REALLY hoping that we might get to be above average for a change, but alas that was not meant to be.  Now we start heading into scary territory--the longer than average wait.

Adoption data is shoddy at best, but it would appear that in 2015 adoption waits on the whole are getting longer.  With the international adoption pool narrowing into a small stream, more adoptive families are flooding the domestic adoption pool.  Additionally, the choice to become a single parent is infinitely more supported by our culture and community than was the case once upon a time.  These realities compound into a mathematical quandary for waiting adoptive families--fewer babies in need of adoptive placement which falls painfully short given the number of families who wish to adopt.

A few weeks ago we got an email from our agency regarding 4-year-old, biracial, twin boys (one of whom had significant developmental and physical needs).  I imagine the reason we received this email was that there were few or no families whose preferences matched this unique placement situation within the waiting families in our agency.  However, I was struck stone still when I opened the email and read through multiple times trying to grasp all of the information that was being conveyed.  Since it was the first blip of any kind we had come across (not only in our adoption journey, but our journey to become parents period), we had a thoughtful discussion but eventually determined that we were meant to be the "forever family" for these little boys.

Sometimes it feels selfish to dismiss the thought of bringing an older child or children into our family, but when we look inward or share our heart with God neither of us feels that we are ready to support a child who has the cognitive awareness that they were a part of another family (or in the case of foster care placements-possibly multiple families) first.  I am familiar with the concept of the Primal Wound and fully recognize that all adoption situations are laced with loss.  This is why I am 100% certain that I want our adoption to be an open adoption with as much contact as is possible to help our child feel connected and the biological family feel connected while at the same time heal as best they can.  All of the feelings involved with adoption are so complicated that it feels crushing at times (and we are only in the land of the hypothetical at the moment!).   That being said, the level of certainty I feel about open adoption and the certainty I feel that we are called to adopt a baby (or babies) versus an older child (or children) are the same.

Interestingly, we have both said that foster care or adopting a child outside of what we currently have listed as "preferences" is something we may be open to down the line.  However, that aforementioned sense of certainty is rather steadfast for the first tiny member (or members) of our family.

So while there may be choices we could have or can be making to move this process along more quickly, those choices do not feel like the right choices for our family.  So with the best "buck up buttercup" attitude I can muster we move forward.  We move forward knowing there will be days of peaceful resolve intermingled with days of dark impatience.  We move forward knowing we are continuing to grow as individuals and in our marriage as we wait...and wait...and wait some more. We move forward being as open as we can with ourselves, one another, and with God so that this long and complicated journey is completed honestly and not in vain.

We move forward into the land of the longer than average wait.