Monday, August 30, 2010

I Don't Have Another Option

I've been getting a lot of really encouraging messages lately from co-workers, facebook friends, church pals, and family.  A lot of them circle around God, his perfect plan (sovereignty is my hubby's favorite word, ever), and tests of faith. One thing that keeps surfacing is people saying "It's good to see you keeping the faith/trusting God/etc."

The thing is, I don't have another option.

If I can't rest assured that his plan is perfect, and will work out in his time, and he wants the best for Herb and I (and you, too), what do I have?

The answer is nothing.

I don't get God.  I don't get why he would put something in our laps, just to take it away.  I don't know why it seemed like he had answered our prayers (and some of yours) with a "yes," just to change it to a "no."  In fact, I am really still struggling with asking God for big things and small things alike, because it seems like my prayers don't make a difference.  All I can do is pray for his will, and that my wants and desires would be aligned with it.

But what I do know is that God is good.  I know Jesus loves me.  When he was hanging on the cross, brutally beaten and broken, I was on his mind.  When he beat death, it was to give me eternal life.  He has given me the gift of eternity, and because of that gift, and I want to follow and serve him with my gifts and life.

In the meantime, I going to keep asking him for my baby, because I know this is a desire he put in my heart, and wants to fulfill.  Will you keep praying with me?

I feel a little bit like Mary Katherine Gallagher saying my feelings can best be described by lyrics to the following song (which I've quoted SO many times in the last year), but here ya go again...

Take this broken heart, if it brings You praise,
Take this beaten soul, shivering hands I will raise...
You are, You are, Invincible.
You are You are, Unbreakable.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Not-So-Random God, Part 2

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

These are both completely random items that came up in my blog reading this morning. Thank you, God, for reminding me that I am in Your Hands. I trust You, and I will not lose heart. I love you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to Handle Heartbreak

In case you were wondering, these were some of the coping mechanisms used by my husband and I this week.  We're not necessrily proud of all of them, but hey, this is what you have to do.  It's kind of funny.

1. Ice cream: We have eaten it every single night, and I'm not ashamed to say a couple times for breakfast.  It is litereally the only thing I want to eat right now, and I love my husband for going along with it.

2. Beer: We haven't gotten drunk, but there have been a couple beers every day.  Fortunately, we haven't resorted to drinking it with our ice cream for breakfast.

3. No phone calls: Sorry, if you tried to call us this week, we either didn't answer, didn't return your call, or didn't even have our phones charged to see that you tried to call or leave a text message.  It kind of goes along with not wanting to talk about what happened.

4. Movies and TV:  I have rented 4 movies this week, and I can't say that they have even been good.  Actually, they've all been borderline terrible.  The Last Song, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Remember Me were less than memorable.  Tonight Avatar is on the playlist, so hopefully that won't disappoint.  In addition to the movie rentals, there has been lots of TBS, Comedy Central, and HGTV.  More than I'd like to admit.

5. Sleep: Remember how I was too excited to sleep for most of August?  That is not a problem now.  We've been going to be before 11:00 (which is a rare thing for us), sleeping in as late as possible, and taking naps.  If you know me, you know I'm not usually a napper.  This week, I have to do it to get by.

6.  Eating Out:  I'm not hungry much these days due to the sinking feeling and pain in the pit of my stomach.  However, when we do get hungry beyond what ice cream or beer can sustain us, we've been eating out.  We've been to Chili's, Palasta, Panera Bread, McDonald's, and Cafe Jess Smith.  There has been absolutely no cooking going on.

7. Spending Money:  So much for the cash budget.  This week has been all about comfort, and I'm afraid to say buying fun things is part of it.  It hasn't set us back too much though... Herb bought something for his guitar, I splurged at Salvation Army (a whole $15), and I did treat myself to some Pampered Chef items today, too.

8. Quality Time:  We have both canceled all plans (except work) we had for the week in exchange for just being together.  It's just good to be in the room with the only person who is feeling exactly what you are feeling at that moment and not having to say anything.

9. Clothing and Personal Hygiene: Life is just so much better if you don't have to wake up, shower, and get dressed.  I have spent many days in sweat pants and a t-shirt.  Life just seems 100% better on days that don't require wearing a bra.

10. Hybernation:  Other than ice cream, movies, and eating out, we have been staying home a lot.  It's actually really nice to do that sometimes.

I don't plan to rely on these vices for very much longer.  Monday morning brings routine as I go back to school, and my scale says ice cream for breakfast and sitting around watching movies has to end, too.

Thanks for being understanding and giving us each the space we have been needing this week.  We will return to our regulary scheduled programming tomorrow.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Silver Lining

I want so badly to not become bitter again. In an effort to prevent this, today I choose to focus on the things for which I am thankful.

* The situation has helped Herb become more ready to be a father. He was very panicked when we were first chosen, and over the last three weeks he has come to cherish the idea of children, it has become more of a reality, and I feel like I actually have a partner in this journey as opposed to someone who just "happened" to be on the same train.

* I was dreading the end of summer. When there were plans to take maternity leave, I was elated to not go back to school next week. Now that our dreams were shattered (this time), I cannot wait to get back into a routine and have the distraction of an amazing job and wonderful career to pour myself into.

* We got a crash course on financially planning to live on one salary. It would have been really tight, but I think we had figured out how to make it work. Finances in general didn't seem as bleak as I expected when put to the test, and now we have even more time to save, save, save, with specific goals in mind.

* As Herb so gently pointed out, maybe God's intervention was to have the birth father change his mind before the baby was born. It gives me chills to think about bringing a baby home from the hospital today, only to have to return him later.

* In the back of my mind, I found myself worried about whether or not our friends and family would be excited for our future child. Would you be reserved in your love because he/she was adopted?  That, my friends, was the dumbest thing for me to ever worry about. The outpouring of love and support from everyone when times were wonderful and awful in these last few weeks is simply incredible.

When we expected Levi's arrival, there were no less than 150 notes of encouragement and prayers within 24 hours.  When we learned about the disrupted plans, we were immediately lifted up in prayer by so many people that I won't even try to count.  When I couldn't hold myself up in the last three days, and couldn't find the words to ask God for help, you guys did.  For that, we will be forever grateful.

I truly hope that when the next baby comes along (and there will be another someday), that you will all be able to join us in excitement, again.  I know we will all feel reserved and guarded next time, which makes me sad. 

* I am still angry and sad about what happened, but every day is feeling a little better.  God and I are talking again, and I am really really trying to accept that his ways are higher than mine, even though I don't understand.  I know his plan is perfect, and right now I can't see the bigger picture.  I see myself like a little child who is having a meltdown or temper tantrum and God is my daddy, holding me on his lap, soothing me through my tears.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Every Season, You Are Still God

I had a feeling something was wrong.  Call it intuition facebook.

When I called her on Monday, our social worker answered the phone with words I dreaded.  She said, "I was just about to call you...There's been a change of plans..." The rest of the phone call doesn't matter.  What does matter is God is still good. 

I have peace knowing He knew that this was going to happen.  I have peace knowing I can be angry at Him, and he is going to hold me close while I scream, yell, cry, melt, and ignore.  I have peace knowing that Herb is with me, and we are in this together.

We're devestated. I've considered whether it would be possible to just "let it go," and see if everyone catches the drift.  I just don't really want to talk about it.  Period.  But we were all so excited, that I don't think that could have been an option.

Of course, things could change again, and if they do, we are still open to adopting this baby that we've come to love and cherish, but we are not banking on that happening.  At this point, we're taking everything one hour at a time.

Baby boy surprised everyone and entered the world at 3:06am this morning.  We found out through a facebook post meant for everyone to see.  On what could have been the happiest day of our lives is probably the saddest. Just like that...poof.

Thanks for covering us in prayer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Which is better?

Yesterday, I had the most amazing day at the spa and massage at the Omni Hotel in Bedford Springs.

Today, precious little Adin cuddled and fell asleep in my arms.

Honestly,  I'm not sure which one I love more. 

I hope the cuddling never gets old.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baby Smell Conspiracy

For the record, I believe there is a baby smell conspiracy.  It's not that babies actually smell good.  I believe it's the laundry detergent, Dreft, in which you must wash their clothing (and everything else I can fit in the washing machine). 

I know this because there is no baby in our home, but ever since I bought Dreft and started using it, I can smell baby whenever I walk by the nursery.

Every day the reality of this situation sets in just a little more. J and I get more acquainted through email, and my nerves settle. Yesterday we met for lunch, and then got to hear the baby's heartbeat.  Baby boy seems to be doing well, and is weighing in around 6lbs, with 2 more weeks to bake. J is all baby bump and looks great.

In the meantime I am desperately trying to "get all the sleep I can," but, well, this is the problem:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Love Brought You To Us

Monday morning, at the dentist, I told the assistant (who had many questions about adoption) that the birthmom who chooses us is doing so because she loves her child and wants the best for him or her.  I stopped by Ollie's on my way home, and saw the dearest little picture frame that said, "Love Brought You To Us."  I didn't buy it, because I'd been feeling particularly hopeless in the adoption waiting game.  In fact, last week when we were at the beach I reached the lowest of all low points (despite how cute our family looks in this picture!).

When I got home, I lied around feeling mopey.  Cramps, tootheache, baby ache, dread of the end of summer.  I was expecting a phone call from Doug, who is going to replace our bathroom floor.  After I spoke with Doug (who was on his way over), and got settled back on the couch with my popcorn (I know, bad choice on the day of a filling), the phone rang again.  Knowing a potential birthmother was picking up our profile today, of course my hopes got high, wondering if it was our agency calling.

And it was.

In the time it took me to identify the number and actually answer the phone, I thought of at least three reasons for them to be calling us, not related to being chosen by a birthmother.  One of them being our clearances are out of date.

Turns out, I was wrong.

"Michelle, this is you have a minute? J has looked at profiles and really likes yours.  In fact, she found you and Herb online several months ago, and now that she has seen your other profile, her choice is confirmed.  She is not interested in meeting any other families at this time, but would like to meet with you and Herb."

Cue the hysterical bawling ugly cry on my part.

Some time next week we are going to meet with J, join her at a doctor appointment, and make plans for the future.  J and I have been emailing each other nonstop since Monday afternoon, and it is so incredible to think that she has had us in mind for months.  She was drawn to our profile because of the style of which we presented ourselves, and our musical interest.  She also wanted a family who had no children, and could not have biological children.

After I got off the phone with Kiley, many thoughts ran through my head.  How should I tell Herb?  Who should I call first?  Should we wait to tell ANYONE until it's a firm YES?  Get those clearances NOW.
Write down everything you are feeling on the blog, you're not going to want to forget this.  I want to meet J today! I am incredibly petrified of this meeting!  My God is amazing.  Wonderful.  I don't think we're going to be going to Pittsburgh for Labor Day. :) I walked by the nursery and got chills...

So, my next step was to get our clearances ready to go.  I messed around with them for a while, and then emailed Jess to see if she was free for a few hours.  I filled her in on the phone call (and the subsequent emails from J), told her to bring her totally sweet camera, and we were off on our adventure!

Next stop, Ollie's to pick up the picture frame I spotted that morning.  I didn't know what I was going to put in the frame, but I knew I wanted to use it to tell Herb he was going to be a daddy.  While we're standing in Ollie's, J emails me again to tell me that the baby is a boy, and attached an ultrasound picture. 

We high-tailed it to target, got that picture printed out, picked up a onsie that said "I Love My Dad," and headed to Lancaster to suprise Herb at marching band rehearsal.

Herb was surprised, thrilled, excited.  The best part is, the whole thing was caught on film.  In case you missed it before, check it out!

Herb had to go to rehearsal that night, but he told me to go tell my family, so Jess followed me around like papparazzi while we told the future grandma, auntie, and uncle.  Mom thought the ultrasound picture was just a sample in the frame, then she thought it was my future neice/nephew, then she realized just who it was and started crying pretty hard.  It was awesome.

Jocelyn also thought the picture was just a sample, and then when she realized what I was trying to tell her, she needed reassured several times that I wasn't playing a practical joke.  Cue the waterworks!  We took a moment to pose a picture for the first time with the little cousins-to-be.

We ended that night with a round of Coors light and tacos, and then swung by Herb's mom's house to share the good news.  I think Denise was suspicious that we wanted to "randomly" swing by at 11:30pm.

It has now been about 60 hours since THE CALL.  In those 60 hours, I have hardly touched the ground.  I have also not slept more than 8 hours, and barely touched food.  I have visited Babies R Us, visited human resources, organized baby clothing, and made about six million phone calls.  It was foolish for me to mourn the moment - to share this amazing news has proved to be the most emotional and exciting two days of my life.  I laugh, I cry, and I just sit in awe of my God.

And by the way, did you know my small group was praying for us to become parents by the end of summer?  In May, they committed to pray for this request every day for 30 days.

For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted my desire...

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