The Final Count / A New Song

I think back to where God has taken us since our struggle with infertility. I felt so broken them. And so weak for my inability to persevere with faith in God’s goodness. I knew He would give us a child one way or another eventually, but didn’t understand why He was making it so difficult. People would say things like “It will happen when you’re ready” and “God’s just preparing you to be an even better parent.”

It was crushing to hear those things actually.

When we finally got pregnant I was so excited. Yet, my heart was weighed down with guilt because it was at a time when my doubts were the greatest. I knew there were others struggling with infertility whose faith was much deeper than my own. Couples who were much more deserving and had been waiting even longer than we had.

For the first few months of my pregnancy, I wrestled with this, “Why did we have to wait so long? Why  did God answer our prayers when I was at my weakest? Was it because He gave up on me?

These answers have come since then:

Because God’s timing for our daughter’s life to begin was not all about ME. Much of our future in this world hinges on timing, and Elise’s birth has a purpose too.

Because Christians must endure hardship just like the rest of the world. How else can we be relevant to a hurting world that doesn’t know Jesus? It gives us an opportunity to stand by someone else when they face the same struggles and to remind them that God cares, even when the answer to our prayers seem so far off.

Because God wanted to teach me – who always wants to be perfect and please everyone – that I can’t earn His favor. He loves me just.as.I.am. While I was broken and worn out on faith, He stepped in and showed me Grace.

Let me repeat that: While I was BROKEN and WORN OUT on faith, HE stepped in and showed me GRACE.

And finally, because God was preparing us for our next child. We never would have considered adoption before because of the cost. But once we were met with so many obstacles to conceive, we began feeling God calling us to adopt. And ever since deciding to start the process, we have been overwhelmed with our growing, synchronized excitement for adopting our second baby.

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Our garage sale was these past three days, and I’ve been a little emotional, to say the least.

Friends and family running over to drop off baked goods before a vacation.

Strangers coming to the sale and just slipping us $10 and $20 bills without even giving us a chance to properly thank them.

So many people telling us to “keep the change.”

One woman even coming to share her story and introduce us to her newborn baby… that SHE just adopted.

Lots of encouragement from adoptive and foster parents as well as adoptees.

And so, so many donations of money, garage/bake sale items, and time.

On our own, we would have had our sale on our dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Instead, our father-in-law opened his house in town up to us for the community-wide garage sales in our home town.

On our own, we would have sold a few books, my pre-pregnancy clothes, and a some odds-and-ends home decorations that I don’t know how to decorate with. Instead, OVER 30 people donated items for us to sell.

On our own, I would have had to take a whole week of vacation time to prepare. And taken anti-anxiety medication. Because of a dear friend and our father in law, most everything was sorted and priced by the time I came to help set up on Wednesday.

On our own, we would have sold 3 types of cookies. Because of 12 different people, we had zucchini bread, apple pies, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, muffins, dog treats, peanut brittle, and *drum roll please* 12.types.of.cookies!!!

On our own we would have been lucky to raise $200. But because of our family, friends, and community, we raised…

Are you sitting down?

Are your tissues ready?

Might as well forget tissues. Grab a sponge.

$5,079

Bringing our Adoption Fund up to $10,614.Fundraising Thermometer

God has taken us from brokenness to the most overwhelming joy and gratefulness. We thankful for our hardship, because it has put a “new song” in our hearts. These last 3 days we were met with gifts and encouragement every time we turned around. We have never felt more loved and can’t wait to share news of this baby with the many people who are helping us bring our next child home.

“I waited patiently for the Lord;

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, an hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and revere and put their trust in the Lord.

Many O Lord,  my God, are the wonders you have done.

The things you planned for us no one can recount to you.

Were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare…

I cannot conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”

Psalm 40:1-3, 5, 10

10 Things I Won’t Miss About Child-bearing

1. Hormones: Being so emotional about trying to get pregnant, and then then taking hormones. And then having pregnancy hormones. And then after-birth hormones. My poor husband.

2. Progesterone shots in the rump. Administered by my courageous husband. Laying on my stomach, I would hear a heavy, sick-to-his-stomach breath and hope it wouldn’t be too long for him to get up the nerve to stab me with the 17 gauge needle. I stab people with needles for a living, and I would be sick to my stomach if I had to jam a giant needle into their muscle. I’m not sure who hated it more, him or me.

3. Getting up in the middle of the night to pee. Every.45.minutes.

4. Having to be stabbed twice for the epidural. And six times for the IV. So many needles… ahh, karma.

5. Peeing in cups. Good grief, peeing on-demand is nearly impossible for me. Before my laparoscopy they told me not to drink water for 12 hours prior. Then right before the surgery they handed me – the woman who has Pee-Cup-Anxiety – a container for a sample. I took 45 minutes in the bathroom trying to relax and run the faucet and picture waterfalls, all to no avail. I think the nurse thought I was having other issues, because she was flabbergasted when I returned teary-eyed with an empty cup. Thank God she was able to order a blood test instead. Even when I was in labor (I know, right?!!) and we went to the hospital I had a Pee-Cup-Anxiety-attack that paralyzed my bladder. That proves it’s a real thing, folks.

6. Anxiety about my doctor – my FEMALE doctor – not being there for delivery. And having good reason to do so. No sooner did she say “Goodbye and Good Luck,” than a young, hunky resident walked in to deliver my baby in her place. While the supervising {male} doctor looked on. And his other {male} resident observed. With unnaturally wide eyes. That didn’t blink. I looked at Tyler and cried. (In all honesty though, the resident was amazingly-encouraging, and I couldn’t have asked for a better delivery-coach. I just had to imagine he was a motherly, middle-aged woman.)

7. Starting motherhood off with 3 hours of sleep in a matter of 48 hours. Plus crazy hormones that make you question if everything you are doing is wrong. Plus stitches that make it nearly impossible to get out of bed. Again: my poor husband.

8. Looking like a zombie for the first month of her newborn life.

9. Post-partum baby weight… And POST-post-partum baby weight.

10. Breast-feeding. Saying statements like that can start a Mommy brawl, but what I mean by it is this: Breastfeeding ain’t for sissies. Wish I could say I was one of those moms that loved breast-feeding, but we STRUGGLED. (Fair warning: if breast-feeding gives you the heebee-geebees, skip the next sentence). Let’s just say, “Ripped Nips” does not mean having well-defined pectoral muscles. But somehow, we made it through the first year via the Mammary-Torture Device breast pump. I am so glad I did it, and would recommend to anyone to try and to get as much help as they can from a Lactation Consultant. But I will.not.missit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Truth be told though, carrying Elise in my womb and delivering her was the most wonderful, life-changing experience. When we held her for the first time, Tyler looked at me with tears in his eyes and barely choked out the words, “3 years…”

I have no idea what to expect for Baby #2. There is no “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” chapter on Adoption. But I know it will be every bit as miraculous and meaningful as Elise’s entrance into this world. Just minus a few needle-sticks, hormones, and pee-cups. Thank goodness.

Now who wants to buy a breast pump?