Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Growing our family

This blog started as a way to keep people updated on our adoption journey. For a year and a half we have been reaping the benefits of our adoption plan! We are a family and we have a beautiful son. We are thankful. We also have a heart for a big family. We've always planned to have a lot of kiddos. So, our journey towards growing our family is not over....

By now, you all know we've been deemed infertile. If you want to know more about the hurt, healing, joy, and sorrow we've experienced, please go back and read through this blog. Here's a quick update on our infertility. We are in a very healthy place with the fact we will most likely never conceive, or have a biological child. The hurt we have now, let me switch to first person... The hurt I have now is not "I really wish I could be pregnant right now".. the hurt I experience is what I feel when I remember how devastated we were early on, and the hurt of wanting to grow our family with ease. So here it is, I will continue to grieve the loss of normalcy and the loss of our biological children. It is a wound so deep that remembering the pain takes my breath away. I can't shake that, it's a part of me, but it does NOT define me. The Lord really has grown my faith and allowed me to heal while continuing to grieve. Our grief at this time looks very different. It is a healthy kind of grief that keeps us grounded and points us towards God. If I don't rely on Him in these areas of my life, I will crumble and slip into depression. fact. However,  I know the Lord desires more for me. So, this is not a poor me "I hate pregnant women" kind of post. I feel so free to be excited for all my friends/family who are expecting. It's a good thing, because I am walking closely with 10 pregnant women! 10!! I can't wait to meet your babies. Alright, so a small bit of info on infertility. It is what it is. It's a continual process, but I can honestly say I am okay! Praise the Lord. 

Which leads me to different aspect. We love adoption. Seriously, love it. We knew the minute we brought Carson home we wanted to adopt again. So, Carson is 19 months, and we are starting to discuss growing our family. It's an exciting time and a little bit of a disappointing time. Adoption costs a lot of money. I am so thankful we were able to afford our first adoption; however, with some amazing new changes. (totally positive) Jake and Cole started a new company, and we forfeited a high paying salary. Sign it Drive it is doing extremely well, but it is a new business and we need to keep cash in it to make a profit. We are living comfortably, Jake gets to start his business day with a Bible study, he is home every night for dinner, and bath time; I wouldn't trade it for the world. But, we do not have an extra $42,000.00 laying around right now. We could save a little each month, have some fundraisers, borrow money, etc. However, we feel like it is not a possibility at this time in our lives. When we discussed a few options, everything felt wrong. I was heartbroken and thus began another grieving process. Okay, infertility, great-bring it on, we love adoption... o wait, how the heck are we going to have a ton of kids without going bankrupt?? I cried, we talked about options, again, nothing seemed like the right option... bottom line we cannot afford an adoption at this time. I began grieving in a new way, thankfully it was short lived. I had to burst and give in to the sadness to be able to move on. Okay, grieve the normalcy of growing our family, take a deep breath, and move on.... I really hope you don't leave this post thinking "poor Joanna" or "here we go again".. It is different this time, there is a hope about this new chapter that feels different than the Infertility Crisis of 2008. 

We keep going back to one option.. really the only option at this time.... Foster to Adopt. Even typing these words makes me a little queasy. We've discussed this several times and always ended with, "I will not survive if a child is taken back from my home and placed in a poor situation." Well, guess what. I keep surviving. When I think, I can't survive this (TTC, infertility, infertility treatments, adoption "no's", birthmother relationship, etc.), I feel a gentle reminder, God loves me and His desires for me are good and loving. He has a plan for my life and I want to honor Him in every aspect of my life. Guess what?... Once I confessed my fears aloud to Jake, I realized I've been here before, completely motivated by fear. I do not want to live my life based on fear. Especially an ignorant fear. I'm afraid of potential hurt. I am still processing, but we are extremely excited to grow our family, and face this new challenge. 

I'm not saying it's going to be easy. I'm not saying I won't be sad. I'm not saying I understand this process. What I'm saying is: We are hoping to begin Fostering to Adopt as soon as possible. We are talking with Hope Cottage to gather more information. We hope we don't have to switch agencies, but there are many things to consider. We are in the early phases of this, but want to let y'all in on it at the beginning. I hope to write about our process and experiences here, so we can all learn together. It will be much like my earlier posts. Information overload. I want to be clear on our needs and what it will mean for people in our community (no idea what that looks like yet). I also want to educate people on another beautiful aspect of adoption. 

Thank you to everyone who reads this and supports our family. We feel so loved by you. We don't know what we're going to need, we don't know what it looks like, we don't know a lot.. we do know this: we'd appreciate all the prayers we can get and we are really looking forward to growing our family. 

Romans 11:33-36 "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen" 

openness

Hey everyone.. Sorry for my absence... Although, you really haven't missed much. Especially if you follow me on Instagram. :)

Things are pretty normal right now. Carson is great. Healthy, happy, smart, fun, stubborn, hilarious, wild, and sweet. Jake and I started a list of words he's saying clearly (and more than once!); he's up to 96 words! I'm so proud of him, and he's still the most beautiful boy I've ever seen. He is a toddler and can be a pistol, but for the most part he's extremely well behaved. He's such a joy.

We are growing in our openness with Kim. We met her "off campus" last week. (We didn't use Hope Cottage as the meeting point) We've been emailing each other, and we are happy with the relationship. She is doing very well and is extremely respectful and positive about her choice. She continues to reassure us, she knows she made the right decisions. It's hard, and she gets sad, rightfully so, but she always says she knows she would make the same decision again. Our time was fairly heavy. It's personal, so I won't blast the information on this blog, but if you think about it, please keep her in your prayers. Her strength amazes me. She has a great sense of humor, and seems to care more about others than herself. Katei is a joy to be around and has a similar grin to Carson. They had a blast playing together. Carson was having so much fun he didn't want to sit by us (moms), and fussed several times when she tried to pick him up. My mind jumped to "oh, I wonder if that hurts her." Well, then I tried to wipe his nose and pick him up - he fussed and nearly flung himself out of my arms. Basically, it wasn't personal, he was busy and playing with Dad and Katei. The next day I got an email from her saying thanks for meeting and she said "don't worry it didn't hurt my feelings, katei is the same way, I know he just wanted to be down and playing." I mean, really? She is so understanding.. I'm not going to lie, it hurts my feelings when Carson prefers Jake over me, or doesn't "want" me. She is mature, and I am so encouraged by her. Our time was a little heavy, but I left it so encouraged. I am growing; Jake is growing; our love for the Lord is growing; our love for Kim is growing; and our love for all aspects of adoption are exploding!!!

Here are the photos from our day:












Check back soon.. we have some news!