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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sharing My Heart

I don't really know why I'm posting this. For one, I'm just transparent. Transparent to a fault maybe, but I've always been that way. Heck, I just told folks on facebook that I've been known to go to bed with dishes in the sink and I rarely make my bed. See, I really am too transparent. But, I think more than anything, my writing is for therapeutic purposes. For some reason, when I write things out, it helps my head clear. Obviously, not in a sinus pressure sense (my attempt at humor), but in a too-many-thoughts-running-loose-in-my-head sense. You just get to be the beneficiary (or victim) of my 'fleshing out' process. For some reason, it just works better when it's public.

I say all this because the thoughts running around in my head right now are difficult, but I'm not writing for sympathy. My motives are selfish, but not necessarily in that way.

Back in September, I posted here requesting prayer and I even voiced a prayer of my own. I did not go into specifics at that time, but in my heart it was a prayer asking God to reveal his will to us about adopting. In essence, I was basically asking God whether or not he called us to adopt. We've continued to faithfully ask God that question, and the short story is that we just really do not know.

When we began, it seemed like everything on our own internal list of requirements had been checked off. We both had a strong desire for more children. We were in agreement about pursuing adoption versus a biological birth. We felt like we were financially able. I especially felt like it might be a way for God to redeem the two miscarriages that we suffered. Etc. etc. So, we started the process. Along the way, I began to ask God for small specific things; mainly a name as confirmation. And, several months later, I felt like he graciously answered my requests. (You can read that story in the sidebar)

However, as our paper work was nearing completion, it began to look like the Chinese program was slowing down. We had been told that the wait times fluctuated and that nothing was guaranteed, but we just never dreamed that the year 2009 (we started in 2005) would be here and we would still be without our little girl.

This coming February 7th, our paperwork will have been logged in at the CCAA (China's adoption authority) for two years. Those two years do not reflect the fact that we started the process a full year before that. So, we've been 'in process' for 3 years. I had no idea the emotional toll that this would take on me. But, it has been extreme. I can not attempt to explain it. And, it doesn't sound rational to say that I love a child that I have not seen, or actually, that does not even yet exist. But, I do. And, as I get updates each month from our agency, she gets farther and farther away from me.

Couple all that information with the fact that the wait has now increased to 33 months and is continuing to climb; it just seems like the possibility of actually getting her is slim. I just don't know if I can continue to wait another 2 years and then risk the chance of being told that China will be closing it's door to international adoptions. To be fair, everyone I've talked to in the industry doesn't think that will happen, but how do they really know?

Back in the fall, when all of this information was becoming more and more clear, we began to seek God's direction. We researched other programs and other countries. But, by that time, because China's program was slowing the newer prospective adoptive parents began choosing countries with a shorter wait time. This caused most other programs to slow down as well. In all my research, it seemed that if we pulled out of China and started over with a different country, we would not be any further along (all of your paperwork is country specific). Plus, our agency only worked with a few other countries, and some of those countries were on hold. We still pursued changing agencies all together, but again, were met with the same realization that by the time our new paperwork was completed and we got on a new waiting list, our wait would be the same. So, we decided to stay put.

Meanwhile, I began to do research on domestic adoption; asking God to show us if this was the route that he would have us to take. Metaphorically speaking, the doors just seemed to remain shut more than open. It turns out that domestic adoptions are almost twice as expensive as a Chinese adoption. And, while we hate to even have cost enter in as a factor, the truth of the matter is that it just is for us. Period. This is especially true in the light of the current housing/mortgage crisis and the economy. We had planned to pay for a portion of our adoption expense with a home equity loan and then repay that loan when the adoption tax credit was received. However, as a result of the mortgage crisis (and the fact that we've only been in our house 2 years) we would not be able to secure enough money for an adoption that is twice as expensive (domestic). You see, doors just remained shut.

A few months after our initial request for direction, we were presented with an opportunity to possibly adopt a child that was the relative of a family friend. Naturally, I began to think and hope that this was God's answer to our prayers. And, while the situation was not ideal and we were going way out of our comfort zone, we told God that we would gladly do whatever he called us to do. We went so far as to talk to lawyers and we even had that sweet little guy with us for several days on two different occasions. We pleaded with God to show us what he wanted us to do. The situation was out of our control completely, and when it fell through and it became apparent that we would not get him, we assumed that it was just not God's will for us.

That leads me to where I am now. The proverbial door is still basically closed. Now granted, if I thought that I would be able to maintain sanity, I guess I could wait it out for another 2-3 years in hopes of receiving a child from China. But, even if we did/do decide to do that, I feel that there are no true guarantees. I am tired in thought and deed, and I am heart broken. I am struggling with the fact that adoption or care of orphans is a biblical mandate, and yet our desire goes unfulfilled. (Did I mention I'm transparent....just being honest here). And, I'm sort of wrestling with God a little, begging and pleading for an answer - but don't worry, I know he wins :)

However, there are things that I am not struggling with. I have no doubt that God is good. I have no doubt that He has good plans to prosper this family. I have no doubt that God loves us and that we will love him, irrespective of our family's size. And, I believe that I will eventually have peace and contentment about this in one form or another. To be fair and completely honest, sometimes those statements are a little harder to get out.

So, I have no idea what is going to happen. And, I'm smack dab in the exact spot where I can't influence the outcome with my own power even if I wanted to. Because, I do want to and trust me- there just ain't no way.

As of right now, our paper work will remain in China; however we are letting everything expire. If we still feel the desire (or led) when our turn gets closer, we will work to renew everything. Documents are supposed to be renewed yearly and fingerprints expire as well, but all of that is very costly and time consuming and it is something that we would just have to repeat again (We've already done them twice). So, the possibility of China is still there, but in my mind, it's seems more realistic to think that it won't happen.

Sometimes, I feel what I can only describe as God's urging to persevere. Other times, I feel a contentment with my family as it is. Sometimes, I still feel an ache and an unknown longing. Other times, I feel freedom in the thought that I don't have to think or prepare in that way any longer. So, I just don't know.

Again, I don't know why I'm posting this. Earlier, I mentioned that my motives are selfish and there is probably some truth to that. I guess I'm hoping that if everyone knows the full story it could clear up any misunderstanding that would lead to my being misjudged or judged unfairly. In other words, I think it's that darn, vain, need of approval that I always have to seek out.

But, there is a complete other side of me that thinks of this blog as a journal, and somehow hopes that in the future when I "turn back the pages" to this date, I will be able to share of God's faithfulness. Obviously, the romantic side of me would have everything wrapped up neatly with a beautiful bow.....the kind worn by little girls......and if I must draw a picture......a big lovely bow on the darling head of my beautiful daughter (enough adjectives there?). But, it may just be that I look back with a sense of peace and contentment, even despite a lack of understanding. That in and of itself, would be a huge thing. So I suppose, either way, God proves faithful. He always does.

If I figured out how to do it correctly (I'll be able to tell in a minute), I'm closing comments for this post. Y'all have been so sweet, kind, and supportive. You have loved on me and loved on me. And, most importantly, you have gladly prayed for me. And, I honestly thank you and welcome you to continue that. I just don't want it to turn in to a pity party.......and I have a hard enough time of that myself . I sure hope this didn't come across that way. I am truly humbled by the care that everyone has already expressed. It means so much. I am blessed and highly favored...............and you are loved (by Him & Me.)

5 comments:

The Wild World of Richmond said...

Girlfriend, so much of this is what I was wanting to hear. I've been waiting for some kind of update, but I certainly didn't want to pry. I thought that when you were caring for the toddler that there might be more to that story, but again I certainly didn't want to pry. I'm just glad you decided to share your tears, pain and frustration with us so I can have pain, tears and frustration with you,too. I certainly understand about the pity party, because almost any time that I think of possibly opening up and asking for prayer-I always think "but my problems are so small compared to everyone else." AND often-I don't share them. Guess what I'm learning? I'm learning that God cares about everything about me...even runs in my pantyhose on Sunday mornings. He put us here for relationship with Him and with others. We are here to love on each other and hold each other up. Just maybe, and I am certainly guessing this, maybe, this lengthy, adoption process that seems to be such a mystery most of the time IS about teaching you to lean on Him and others. I wish I had some great, big revelation and answer for you, but mainly, I just have a big ol' hug wrapped up with a beautiful bow just for you. I can't imagine the length of a pregnancy lasting as long as you've been waiting for little Malagan. Patience has never been my strong suit. I'm guessing that I never would have handled it with the grace that you have. Know that I love you very much and YOU are HIGHLY FAVORED and BLESSED. Your Father has much to offer you. May this race that you're running end soon.
Terri

Bridenstine3 said...

You know, I follow your journey with great interest. Of course, when people adopt, I always think, "what do they know in their hearts that I don't? Like, what is it that they get that gives them the urge to adopt from China?" I'm always pondering this. Today, I read a couple of entries from my friend Carleigh's blog, "wafting on the wind". She lives in China. She's recently started volunteering in a Chinese orphanage. I got it. I got a clear image of what your heart must long for. Not that I long for it, but I understood it. I'm so sorry your longing is unrequited. I'm continuing to pray for you with God holding your best interest as a priority with a sense of urgency. Love you neighbor. Sorry to comment when you said don't. :)

Robin said...

I was given your blog address by someone you went to HS with. There are other ways to adopt that don't cost an arm and a leg. There is an agency called Crisis Pregnancy Outreach in Jenks, OK. They are very reasonably priced. They do have a website.
I am an adoptive mom who would hate for you to give up your adoption dream. God closed so many doors on each of our adoptions but I believe He left open a window for us to go through. We have 13 beautiful children through adoption. Please email me at Robin4350@yahoo.com if you would like to talk.

Scooter said...

I have been thinking about you so much since I read our agency's news that the wait may increase to 4 years. I knew it would be heartbreaking for you. I wish I had something to tell you that you didn't already know in your heart. And while I am sure this is one of those things, I'm gonna say it anyway...God's timing is perfect. I still have questions about why some people get babies when they do. But having Ephraim spoke volumes to me about God's timing. We would have never done the hard work of adopting a child (one day, two children), if we had had bio children first. Ellie is such a blessing to us and I cannot imagine life without her. I know exactly why it took me six years to conceive, and her name is Ellie McGhee and the other one is Eva McGhee. I have full confidence that Eva will come to our family from China one day. As I feel older an more tired by the day, I too, have wondered about the long and growing wait. But I kiss my daily reminder every night above her almond eyes and tuck her in tightly. And she prays for her sister in China with more faith than I can sometimes come up with on my own. We are to have faith like a child. Ellie hates to wait and often says "Baby Eva is taking too long." But she has never doubted that we won't get her. She draws Eva when she draws our family just like it's gonna be tomorrow. This is how God wants us to be. Again, I know you know all this, but it was just what was on my heart to say and I hope it is received with all the love that I have for you as I am typing it. I will be praying for you, my friend!
Angie

Amie@HeartSmiles said...

stumbled onto your blog.. and so glad I did.

I have so many friends who are feeling the way you are feeling. They are so discouraged.. and disheartened with CCAA and with the whole process.

We started the process to bring our Daughter Grace home from China in December of 04.. Sent Dossier away in April o5. Back then the wait time was only 6 months till referral. But right around the 6 month mark is when the program started slowing down and the whole mess began. Thankfully we only had to wait 8 months for a referral. But I am so sad for all of you who got caught up in the slow down and have been waiting years now to see your precious child, with no evidence of things speeding up anytime soon.

Since bringing home Grace in March 06, we also brought our daughter Hannah home from China in September of 07 and our son in November of 08, through the SN program. I don't know if this is something you have considered at all, but if so, I would be more than happy to chat with you about our experience. I am help maintain a website that was created to be a resource for all things SN China adoption related. www.nohandsbutours.com. If you are interested, check it out. Read a few family stories.. Maybe you will find something that speaks to you there.

Please contact me any time if you would like to chat. I would love to help anyway I can.

Blessings to you!
:)
Amie
www.heart-smiles.blogspot.com