Monday, November 12, 2012

You can tell the size of your God by looking at the size of your worry list. The longer your list, the smaller your God. ~Author Unknown

Adoption...It Ain't for the Weak.

Now it pretty much takes common sense to know that adoption is tough. It's not as easy as a glass of wine and a back rub that may eventually turn into a baby. Oh no. Adoption involves so very much more. You'll need a back rub and a glass of wine as you go, but it may not move things along or even make them easier or even produce the kid you long for. It seems like a "sure thing", but...

I'm an open book. I don't hide much and I am willing to share my experiences in hopes of helping others. Truthfully, I've just always been known as a "big mouth". I had no idea that upon choosing to move forward in the adoption process I would have to expose all parts of myself, including those parts I had forgotten about for so long. I didn't mind the medical exams and immunizations. I don't mind the paperwork although it can be very annoying. I don't mind the politics. The thing that really gets me is having to share every little detail of my personal life. It's one thing if it's my idea, but when I'm made to do it? Not as easy. And it's not basic questions. It's hard questions. Questions on integrity and morals. Questions of your dating and marriage history to your spouse. Now, don't get me wrong; I know why they ask all these things and we probably should ask parents that conceive biological children the same ones, but it's tough laying your whole life out to be scrutinized over and then be told if you are "fit" to parent. My young, yet very wise friend Rachael asked, "So two crack addicts can do 'it' under a bridge somewhere and have a kid and no one questions it, but you are trying to save a kid that lives in an orphanage that no one wants and you have to do all this?" Yup. That's pretty much it.

My husband and I know that we are supposed to do this. We are supposed to adopt our little guy. We are his forever family. If I didn't constantly keep that in mind and stay focused on the end goal it would be easy some days to shout a few expletives and be done with the whole stinking process! There a very few times in my life that I can recall following God's will for my life. I often know what He wants me to do, but since I like to control things I fight it. I fight Him. When it has come to adopting there has been little fight from me. We all just know it's where we are being led and so we go. When I start to worry about the money, the paperwork, the time, the possibilities...I am instantly calmed by that peace you hear about. You know, the kind that surpasses all understanding? So, even though I am weak, and sometimes the adoption process sucks, He is strong.  I persevere.  I follow. And in the end, that is what faith is all about, isn't it?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

Best Laid Plans...

It's been a long while since I've written anything.  Therefore it feels crazy jumping from my last post to what I'm about to share now...

Ya, so, we are adopting a Russian...!  Some of you reading this may already know the big news.  Others of you may be thinking, "Wait. Wasn't this lady just writing about her bad postpartum experience and now she is adopting an orphan?"  I know.  If I were looking in on someone else I'd likely be thinking the same.  But if you saw this kid...if you looked into his eyes, you'd get it.  Let's go back to 4 short months ago...

My kiddos after setting up Edik's sleeping area.
Our church participated in a program called "Journeys of Joy" through Friends of Russian Orphans( where a group of Russian orphans along with an orphanage staff member and translator come and stay in the U.S. for 16 days.  Host families volunteer to take care of these children during their stay and help them get the feeling of what family life can be like - if only for 2 weeks.  We had a "mini" home study and went to some training classes to know how to deal with these kids and how to communicate with them as they knew no English.  We chose to be a host family with the idea that this would be a great experience for our children and a way to make an impact on a young child's life.  The children come with very little clothing or supplies, so we gathered these items as we waited for our little guy to arrive. 

You may wonder how a family gets paired with a certain child.  I wonder too.  We were asked to write our gender age and preference, and we chose a girl with an age range of 10-11 so our daughter could have the experience of having a sister.  When we got our e-mail revealing our child it read, "We are pleased to introduce you to your host child Eduard, age 6."  I was thinking, "I ORDERED A GIRL!"  I seriously has to be reasoned with as to why we may have been paired with a boy and why that made sense in our family.  Looking back it was all part of a much bigger plan that we truly had no control over.

Eduard - Age 6

The Russian children slept at our church and were with us from 8am when we met them for breakfast until around 8:30pm when we returned them to the bunkhouse.  We set up Eduard's bed and waited anxiously for his arrival.  To describe the morning we finally got to meet him is difficult.  It was certainly very emotional, as we had known this boy from his picture and in our hearts for months, but he had only seen us from the picture we laid on his bed.  He was visibly nervous, but we found quickly that he handles emotions with humor.  He made silly faces and did funny things to make this strange situation easier.  Eduard (Edik for short - said like Eric) is extremely physical and loves to climb.  That's pretty much what he did on our church's playground; that and try to get squirrels.  We grew comfortable enough to head out on our own with him and that began our 16 days of realizing our family had been missing something.

I'll be honest.  At first we had no plans to adopt.  Even once we met Edik, I still wasn't sure.  I had my two kids who are amazing.  I had a marriage that with some work had gotten to a place of happiness and peace.  I wasn't really sure I wanted to disrupt that.  My husband on the other hand apparently knew upon seeing his picture that we would adopt him!  In fact we had many "discussions" our first week having Edik here because everyday he would ask me, "So, what do you think?  Should we adopt him?"  This wasn't something I wanted to be pressured on, and I needed to come to the answer on my own.   People in our lives felt very free to tell us what they thought our decision should be one way or the other.  Even once we had decided to adopt it is amazing to me how many people were hung up on the fact that Edik was Russian and not American.  I always respond to those questions with the answer that we  weren't planning to adopt and this is where we were led.  Honestly though, I would never question someones choice to adopt from overseas.  Who am I?

We had the opportunity to have Edik with us for 3 full days and nights before the children returned to Russia.  We packed up and headed north to my in-laws home in the Michigan woods.  We swam, walked in woods, and enjoyed time with family.  The last day of being up north I asked Edik if he was excited to return to Russia.  He slowly shook his head no.  Then I asked him if he liked being with us and he said loudly with his hands in the air, "Da!"  So, there was my sign.  The day Edik left was sad and awful. He was part of our family and we had to say goodbye. He was quiet. Not himself.
I had no idea what to say.  We couldn't say a word referencing adoption, and we couldn't cry.  We were under strict orders from the orphanage director not to cry because if we did the children would cry too.  I had to send my daughter to the bathroom to gather herself before Edik saw her.  Watching the children leave us was difficult.  Not knowing when, if ever, we'd see them again.  My husband was supposed to return to work, but couldn't muster the will.  We decided to go have breakfast as a family.  During that breakfast we made a decision that changed our lives.  We went around the table and rated from 1-10, with 10 being the best how we each thought our two weeks with Edik had been.  We all acknowledged that it wasn't always easy, but no one gave it lower than a 9.  Then we each said whether we thought we should adopt Edik and it was a unanimous YES!  That single word propelled us into something we ever expected...

Friday, June 18, 2010

God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning


(I didn't look back to see if I have blogged on this subject before, but then I decided to just go there again because we all need to think on this one a bit more...I know I do...)

Who are you REALLY? Is the person everyone sees, day in and day out, the person you are? What about the life people see from the outside? Is it really the life you live? I know I am a great pretender. I have been that way my whole life. Until someone really gets to know me I will always say how great things are with me and how great Dan and the kids are... Bottom line - I am a liar. There are some days I just want to kill someone. There are some days I want to run away. There are actually days I wonder what the hell I am doing here! When I see myself faking it I get mad. I get mad because I faked it through about 2 years of my life not that long ago. I was in the darkest place and most people had absolutely no idea. Until my mom heard my talk in California last summer she was clueless. Even my husband, who I told how horrible I felt, was clueless. I was scared that if I admitted how crazy I really felt and some of the things I was really feeling that they would lock me up. They probably would have which may not have been a bad thing.

Last night I began a book study at church. It's all about finding out what your spiritual gifts are. Not what you're good at. Not your skills. What we are searching for are the gifts God bestowed on us when we were made. The first question we were asked by our leader was, "WHO ARE YOU?" All of us stared with this blank look. When you have a room full of women, most of them mothers, that is a loaded question. We are what we do! That is what our lives are based on and really for me to tell you who I am is nearly an impossible task these days. My life, for the most part, does not reflect who I feel I truly am. Don't say, "That's sad!" or "Kendra sure takes her life for granted!" because I don't. I know what I have are all gifts from God - that's why I don't run away on the days I want to! But I do think I sacrifice many of my wants to satisfy the needs of my family and those closest to me. THAT is my reality. I look forward to learning more about myself through this study and maybe be reminded that our plans for our lives aren't always God's plans. I hate that. But just like I have over the years when things didn't go my way, I will look back and know it was all for the best.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. ~Glenn Turner