Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Most of those questions, in retrospect, were a little strange, perhaps, but they were very real fears, nonetheless. I think it was easy for us to dream up scenarios when we were still thinking about adoption and what avenue we were going to pursue to start our family.
But then we met Abby.
I cannot tell you the place this young lady has in my heart. She is like the little sister that I never had. She is like a daughter and a friend. I feel incredibly protective of her and want everything wonderful for her in her life. It's funny because people will ask me, "Isn't that weird? Isn't is strange for you to spend time with her? Isn't it weird for you to have her as a part of your life?" My thoughts are always the same. Why wouldn't we have her in our life? She gave us the greatest gift that anyone could ever give. She allowed us the privilege of being parents. She brought joy and laughter to our home after a period of incredible sadness.
We didn't have a traditional match through the adoption agency. Abby went to the high school where I used to teach and the woman who took my position knew about our situation and our desire to adopt. She happened to be one of the people Abby confided in about her pregnancy. When she heard about our situation, she contacted us and asked if we would consider adopting her baby.
I remember meeting with her and her father. I think we were all petrified. I know we were. We had been so hurt by the initial infertility diagnosis and then the horrible adoption fraud. It had not even been a year since all of our pain began and we weren't ready to endure any more. Along the way, Abby reassured us that she was not going to change her mind. As much as we wanted to believe her, that thought didn't ever leave us until we had Abigail in our arms with papers signed.
We were able to spend a lot of time with Abby before Abigail was born. We went to doctor's appointments with her, went to the movies, took her to dinner...all kinds of things. It was so wonderful to really get to know her before this enormous event took place in both of our lives.
So much more to tell about this wonderful lady. I'll save the hospital stories for another day... I'm just amazed, though, at the incredible love that God has placed in my heart for Abby. The unbelievable, selfless sacrifice she made allowed me to be a mommy. We have talked many times about what Abigail would be like, how she would be different, if she wouldn't have made an adoption plan. We've also talked about how her life would be different if she would have made a different decision. I am very grateful she made the decision she did. She certainly holds a very special piece of me.
Friday, September 18, 2009
I am a wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, teacher, musician, artist, lover of all things creative, worshiper of Jesus who has, over the last five years, endured and survived the pain of infertility, adoption fraud and loss, a massive job change that redirected my entire career, the birth of our first child through open adoption, and what seems like so much more that I cannot seem to put into words at this point.
When we had our Entrustment Ceremony, (a ceremony where the birthparents "entrust" or give over the child to the adoptive parents) we lit a candle--much like a marriage ceremony--and Psalm 139:13-14 was on the candles.
For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
I marvel at the creation of the life that Abby delivered to us. I am still astounded by the many small things Abigail does or says that remind me of my husband, Matt, or her birthmom. My mom has said she cannot believe how amazingly similar she is to me at that age. I cannot help but believe that as God was knitting Abigail in Abby's womb and in my heart at the same time, he reached down and in his inifinite wisdom, took pieces of Matt, Abby, Abigail's birthfather, and myself, and wove them all together to create our beautiful, darling, little girl.
He's just that kind of God.
So, the postings on this site will be about lots of different topics, but I will have to take my time telling our story. I plan to give an overview first and then just write about specific incidences that have shaped who were are as an adoptive family.
Our story is wrought with pain, as all infertility journeys, but I am continually amazed by the healing that God has brought through it all. How do you summarize the last 6 years of your life in a blog entry? Even knowing where to start is difficult to decide. So, let's start....
At the very beginning....(someone wise once sang these words, I believe...)
My husband, Matt, and I were very cautious in the early years of our marriage about preventing pregnancy. I remember my mother telling me when I was growing up how she didn't have to really every try to get pregnant, so I should always be cautious. In looking back, I'm not sure how much of this was a true statement of fact and how much was just to scare me into not having sex before marriage. I had a wonderful career teaching high school music and was very successful in that endeavor and we were just not interested in having a family early in our marriage. I have honestly thought at times that perhaps God punished us for our selfishness and for trying to "control" the circumstances under which our family would begin, but I know how ridiculous that truly is. God's not in the punishing business. He's about redeeming. Thankfully.
So, ironically, when we decided to officially start a family, it didn't happen. I had quit my job to take a part-time position in worship ministry so that I would be home more when we had a baby. We had already been actively trying to get pregnant for over a year, so the summer after I finished teaching, we decided to go in for official testing. We thought it would be easier to have Matt tested first and then, depending on the results, I could follow. We had several conversations about whether or not we were going to pursue any testing if the results indicated any problems. Our decision was that we wanted to adopt instead of going through any invasive procedures of any kind. I can't explain why this was our choice--other than the fact that God really knew what our future held. Needless to say, the results were not good. We received the results of my husband's tests and decided to consider our other options.
Our knowledge of adoption at the time was very limited. We didn't have relationships with anyone who had adopted--well enough to really ask them about it. An opportunity arose that looked as though it was an incredible answer to our prayers to start a family. It resulted in a fraudulent federal case....(another entry for this story to come!). We grieved as all who have experienced adoption loss or miscarriage do. We had decided that we were pretty much going to buy a condo on the beach somewhere (with what, I don't know...we're hardly the independently wealthy type...), buy a corvette (for my husband), and travel as much as possible for the remainder of our existence on this earth.
God had another plan.
Several months passed and we had begun to talk about maybe talking with an adoption attorney to see what kind of options we had, but we were not making any kinds of decisions. at all...
Then we got a call that changed our lives...
In March of 2006, we received a phone call from a gentlemen whose daughter was pregnant and had heard we were considering adoption. After our initial shock and the knowledge they were actually working with the attorneys we had looked into using, we met and were officially "matched" with a birthmom.
There is too much to write in one entry about the months that led up to Abigail's birth and the three years since then. She is now three years old (as of June 20th!) and is a vibrantly whimsical princess. We have an very open adoption where we see and talk to Abby (Abigail's birthmom--a very interesting story about how Abigail was named--she wasn't actually named after her, but God has a real sense of humor!) very regularly and see her about 4 times a year or so depending on our schedules. I actually spoke with her this afternoon and asked her permission to share parts of our story that truly intertwine with hers and she was quick to say yes. She and I are both interested in just about anything that can help people breed hope in their circumstances.
My prayer is that our story will bring hope to others. One of my favorite songs is "He's Always Been Faithful" by Sara Groves. My favorite stanza in the song is
"I can't remember a trial or a pain,
He did not recycle to bring me gain.
I can't remember one single regret
in serving God only and trusting His hand.
All I have need of, His hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me."
I can't say it any better.