Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Allow me to recap the last year of my life...

“Let your hope make you glad, be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.” - Romans 12:12

It has been 14 months since we were initially put on the waiting list.  One would think that after the last year of ups and down we have faced in our adoption, that I would be a knotted-up ball of stress and anxiety.  Without God, I probably would have been.  

The Lord has a way of always making everything okay.  Rhyme unintended, by the way.  Last year when we were put on the waiting list, we were informed that we would be waiting 12-15 months for a referral.  Next month will be 15 months, and we are only in the 60’s on the list.  By default, I would normally be very discouraged by now.  Fortunately - and by divine design, no doubt - the last year has been very eventful for me despite the lack of events regarding the adoption.  

I had a baby.

I became pregnant early last year a few months before we were added to the list.  This was amazing news to us!  We had been ready to be parents since 2012 when we started the adoption!  Because the adoption was already taking much longer than anticipated, we celebrated the new life that was growing inside me with our whole hearts.  But sadly, that sweet little babe was not meant to be.

We lost our first baby in April of 2013 at ten weeks.  Of course it was too early to know, but we had a feeling he was a boy.  And so we named him Matthew.  We had a star named after him and laid him to rest among the heavens.

The next few months were hard for me, but my sadness became interwoven with joy once again.  I discovered I was pregnant again in June.  It took a long time for me to overcome my grief from losing Matthew, and so I had a hard time being excited at first.  Not only was I still sorrowful, but I was also afraid of losing the new precious life in the same way I had lost the first one.  I didn’t want to let myself get too attached to this baby if I was only going to lose it too.  (the mind of one in grief doesn’t always think clearly, as I’m sure you understand).

Eventually with time and several doctor appointments that confirmed a healthy, growing baby, I was able to allow myself some joy.  A few months into my pregnancy, I took about two days to really reflect on my circumstances.  With my husband and my mom, I let out all of my held in feelings surrounding the loss of Matthew, and then I decided to let him go.  After those two days, I was a changed woman.  I became an excited, healthy, and happy pregnant mother!  I was finally able to bond with my little one.  Then in September, we found out he was a boy.  

The rest of my pregnancy was amazing.  I never had any major health issues or complications.  Aside from the fact that our baby was macrocosmic (large), everything went great.  Because of the size of our baby and a few other considerations, we had to deliver him via c-section.  Jesse Canaan Gerrald was born on January 30, 2014!  And life since then has been so awesome.

He is the most amazing thing.  I can’t even tell you… it’s just too overwhelming.  I know every mother reading this right now knows exactly what I’m failing to put into words.  He has brought so much light into my world it’s shooting out my fingers and toes and the ends of my hair!  Yeah, you know what I did there.

Aside from the initial sadness, my past year has been so happily eventful that I haven’t had time to worry or stress out about the adoption.  (Yes, we are still adopting even though we have had a biological child)

When we made the decision to adopt, it was not because of infertility or any pregnancy-related issues, as many probably assume.  The reason we chose to adopt is simple.  We have been adopted by God, and we are called to do the same.  I will write a whole blog post at a later time explaining our reason for adopting.

I will briefly give an update on the status of our adoption.  Everything was going great last summer.  We were moving down the list at hyper speed!  Our agency was giving out 11, 14, 18 referrals a month!  It was going so well that at one point, we thought we might end up with twins!  But things swiftly shifted.

Due to political controversy in Ethiopia, referrals came to a screeching halt in October 2013.  I will not go into the details of all of this, and frankly I don’t quite understand it all myself.  We didn’t know what was going on at the time.  Our agency kept us updated as much as they could, but even they didn’t quite know the reason for the hold up.  Month by month went by with no word on the reason for the standstill or when it would pick up again.  There were even rumors floating around that Ethiopia was planning on shutting down their international adoptions.  (emotional roller coaster for this -then pregnant- girl!)  Finally early this year we began to get some answers, which can only be summed up simply as “political controversy.”  As I said, I will not try to explain it to you.  But we received answer enough to put us at ease a bit and give us some hope.

You see, when it comes to adoption - particularly internationally - there is always the chance that something could suddenly come up and shut everything down.  It happens to so many families.  When you’re dealing with foreign governments, there is always risk involved.  We knew this going in, but we also knew that it was worth the risk.  If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it, as they say.  This is where Romans 12:12 comes in.  “Let your hope make you glad, be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.”  Never stop praying.

We didn’t stop praying.  We prayed alongside other families adopting from Ethiopia, and never lost hope.  And I am very glad to inform you that for the first time since October, our agency placed four children with their forever families in May!  It seems that the government has gotten over whatever was causing all of their drama, and things are now moving once again.  I can’t shout this loud enough:  PRAISE THE LORD!

Through all of the unknowns since October, I’ve managed to keep it all together.  Even if that meant putting the adoption out of my mind completely, that’s what I did.  I knew there was a reason the adoption had taken such a long time up to that point, there was a reason that God allowed me to become pregnant, and there was a reason for the political unrest in Ethiopia.  I still trust that everything is moving right along in God’s time.  In the meantime, I have a beautiful baby boy to enjoy.  

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful, I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it is painful, but patiently I will wait
And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race even while I wait

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