Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Then and Now

I wrote this post a few months back before we were foster parents, but I have updated it to include current events. This is for those of you that are stuck b/t trying to conceive, treatments and contemplating adoption and/or foster care. Despite some of the more difficult things about adoption and foster care, my recommendation to you wondering what to do next is... if you really want to parent then do it! Stop trying to conceive (or at least simultaneously along with IVF/IUI) move into adoption. There are so many wonderful things for you there. Challenging too, but the good far outweighs the bad. Foster care is wonderful too (again challenges) but being a foster parent is the happiest thing that I've ever done, at least this time around. We weren't ready the first time. Instead of pouring my heart and soul into horrendous shots and procedures, I get to pour my heart and soul into children's lives. It is most rewarding and it takes away the time spent just wondering and willing myself to be a parent. I am one now. It may not be official, but I am finally a MOM!

I write:
I read a blog about a man who struggled with infertility for 7 years. I only read one article from his blog, but is really hit home with me. If you want to read the entire article it is here: http://www.stevewiens.com/2013/03/26/ten-words-that-describe-infertility/
Three of his 10 points really stayed with me because I have been struggling with my infertility and pregnancy loss lately (last was early 2013) as we have been going through the foster care approval process yet once again. We did this 3 years ago before we really even started trying to conceive on our own. During the IVF process, I was so strong and hopeful. I think I was strong because I was so hopeful. Now, I just don't know how I am feeling about it all, but I am feeling things that are probably less than the positive self that I had been feeling through the IVF process. I want to still be strong; however, my strength is almost gone, how can I carry on. I do carry on though because of my relationship with my Lord, Jesus Christ. I would rather live my life for Christ than without Him at all. But my emotions are all over the place these days and I am tired of waiting for our family. Written May 2013.

I am still tired of waiting (Sept. 2013) It is getting closer though, I can feel it! :)

The blogger writes: (he is a guy which brings another interesting perspective)
8. Despair. The cycle of hope and despair with infertility can take you out. I remember getting so excited when Mary was 2 days late, and just knowing that this time, it’s going to happen! Then, a few days or hours later, when she told me she got “it,” I would plunge into despair. The alternative is to temper your hope so that your despair doesn’t get so low. After about a hundred months of experiencing this cycle, we found that the best route is to keep hoping, and if it doesn’t happen, keep crying. It’s too hard to pretend that you’re not excited and that you’re not depressed. Be excited. Be depressed.
It’s okay to hope, and it’s okay to cry. Keep hoping and keep crying.

I write:
Even after several months of trying to conceive on our own, IUI's and IVF treatment, 2 miscarriages, adoption where birth parents changed their minds and many months after treatment of getting "it" I still get hopeful and then I feel despair as my dreams come crashing down again each month when I get "it". I wish I could just get the point that God is trying to say that I am not destined to have a child through our biology (at least not yet, see still hopeful). Will I ever be okay with never having a biological child? I think it is something that I will always grieve, but not in a crushing way. It doesn't get me down all day every day. I never thought that I needed to have a biological child and I still don't need one, but I want one. I want a biological child at the same intensity level as adopting a child. May 2013

But today and onwards, I want my foster son more than any biological child I could ever dream up if GOD was allowing me to choose. I am a foster parent to a wonderful, perfect (I can't imagine a more perfect) little boy who I love so deeply it hurts. It hurts because I can't imagine the thought of ever losing him. I can't imagine the devastation that it would bring my husband who if you watch him he is so enamored by this little guy. And an extraordinary father! Because of this little baby (we will call him Baby J), the biological factor is not much of a concern on a regular basis, if at all. Let me preface this next part with the statement that his birth parents are wonderful people who love him very much and are just working through some things in their life right now. They are very supportive of us and have asked us to adopt him. WHOO HOO (more on that later). The only time the biology factor gets me down is during those moments when the "foster care system" makes me feel like his babysitter as opposed to his mother. And they are correct on a technicality. I am not his mother on paper. But I am his mother. He has two mothers, but in different ways. She is his mother in a way I will never know and I am his mother in a way she will never know, but together we are motherhood. Adoption and foster care are hard. Adoption and foster care are wonderful too. It is possible to have two conflicting emotions at once. I can despair what I do not have YET (again hopeful) and despair the challenges that adoption and foster care bring. And love what I get to be in his life and the other children we will hopefully bless as they will bless us. With adoption and especially foster care, it is challenging to strike a good balance between being respectful to the biological parents' rights and feelings as well as showing them how much you love their/your child and being compassionate to them as well. I despair mostly, because though I am parenting, it is NOT official. On some days, there are just times when it makes me really sad and I cry for a few minutes... alone where no one can see me and know the pain it truly causes me. But once I have adopted my little boy (Lord willing), he will be biological to me because I grew in love with him and he grew in my heart (no stretch marks when they grow in the heart instead of the belly!). I just want to love and parent my children (no matter how they come to me) and not have to worry all the time about if I am acting the "politically correct" way. Or following every protocol and rule that the state requires and making mandatory visits, etc. etc. etc. (see last post about "You know you're a foster parent when".  But again, I do enjoy interacting with baby J's birth family (immediate and extended) so this has nothing to do with them. It is more I suppose a fear of the unknown and an utter lack of control in "my" kid's life. The wind can blow and change directions so quickly. But in reality, do we really have control anyways?! It belongs to GOD.

3. On Hold. We were always checking the calendar, wondering if we should plan that vacation, or that work trip, because what if we’re pregnant? Then we stopped doing that, because we would have never lived if we would have scheduled everything around a “what if.”
It’s okay to miss a month or two; you have to live your life. This is hard, but over the long haul, it will create more stress if you feel so trapped that you can’t plan anything. We even found that it’s good to take a month off now and then.

I write:
I have felt on hold for so long. I need to stop being on hold and just move on to the next thing... but it is hard to just give up and throw in the towel on trying to get pregnant. I never give up on things until I succeed. Well we had to... we ran out of money (at least what we were willing to spend) and our emotions were running thin. And my body was telling me that I at least needed a break. When we got the call for the first adoption (Aug. 2012), I was truly happy and I no longer needed to try to conceive. I was completely in love with my baby girl (never met her) and it fell through early 2013.  Finally (Feb. 2013), I have started back into my life before trying to conceive. I have booked wedding photography and portraits and I am trying NOT to do graphic projects again and we are jumping in with both feet to foster care first as a ministry, but also to adopt. (Foster care licensed since May 2013). 

First placement sibling group of two, girl (8) and newborn little boy. The girl is currently with family who we are in contact with and the little boy we are in the process of discussing adoption with the birth parents. Prayers very much needed.

9. Loss. This was not how it was supposed to be. This was not what you dreamed it would be. And you don’t know how it will end.

Foster care is exciting and extremely terrifying to me (Jan. 2013). I am so scared I will say yes to the wrong kid for our family. Or we will be the wrong family for that kid. Or we will say yes to the right kid and then they will be taken from us too. Or I will say yes to too many kids and then I will be in over my head and burn out and in all cases never get to be a parent. I know my fears are irrational and I am being crazy. We are to be approved tomorrow (May 3, 2013) and I just need to be patient and keep on praying and keep on trusting, but my hope is wearing out and I may be so close to parenting.

Yeah, I wrote that back in May 2013. And so very much has changed. And many of my fears were lived and we survived and once again grew in the Lord and our marriage through them. We are so blessed to be currently foster parenting our baby J. I never knew how much love I could have for a tiny little human. It has changed my life for the better and I am so grateful.

To those that have walked in my shoes through infertility, pregnancy loss, and adoption loss; and to those that have experienced other types of loss, I encourage you to put your ultimate hope in JESUS.
Jesus is always faithful. People WILL fail you. Jesus will NOT. Don't be on hold for too long (it is ok to take breaks and rests), but strive to live each day furthering the kingdom of God. And though you have had loss, hope and despair in your life, it has made you and I who we are and stronger and more capable to do the work that God is calling us to do. 

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