Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Waiting On The Call

That feeling you get when you see that there are two lines--instead of just one.

For so many months, you hoped for two lines, and it never happened. You would wait the agonizingly long 5 minutes for the results, take a deep breath, and look--to see a single line-yet again.

But then...

you take the test that is different. You look down and do a quadruple take to make sure that the double line is actually there. And it is.

That feeling.

That is the same feeling that you get when you receive 'the call'. Your social worker calls you to let you know that your profile is being shown...or that a birthmother has chosen you. It is the same feeling.

I am going to be a mother...

What a feeling--Excitement. Anxiety. Worry. Hope. Joy. Praise.

All of these emotions at once. It is truly amazing. And instantly-you are 100% invested. A baby is coming, and you are finally going to fulfill one of your most heartfelt dreams.

As much as you try not to get too emotionally invested, it really is impossible. You try not to plan, yet you have to plan. You try not to buy baby clothes, but you buy a few things just in case it really happens. You put off vacation plans, because you might have a newborn by then. You turn down invitations because she could go into labor early. As much as you try not to let it consume your every thought--it does.

You may or may not text the birthmother, but you think about her constantly. What is she feeling? What is she thinking? Is she worried about you being a good mother? Does she ever second guess her decision?

You are invested. That baby is in your heart. And nothing can change that.

As the date approaches, you busy yourself with your checklist. So much to do. Trying to do enough in case it goes through, and not too much in case it doesn't. What is she doing? Is she preparing herself to give up her most precious gift? Can I handle this amazing responsibility?

Finding out that you are going to be a mother is the same...regardless of how it is going to happen.

The unfortunate flip side of that, is that it is just as heartbreaking if it falls through. And inevitably, it sometimes does. You know in your head that God is ultimately in control, but you can't always convince your heart of this--because it is aching. All of the hope, anticipation, and excitement is gone. You are not going to be a mother yet.

Will I ever be a mother? Doubt sets in.

You take the clothes back. You try to jump back into your life as it was before you got 'the call'. But it is hard. Because you are essentially mourning the idea of motherhood. You are having to let go of the child that has already become yours.

What will the baby's life be like now? And her mothers? Will the millions of prayers sent their way ever be known or felt?

 I don't know if I can go through this again.

Pain is sometimes a part of the plan. I write this not to discourage anyone from adopting. You all know that I am a huge advocate. But only to let you know that it comes with ups and downs, as does anything worthwhile. I have re-lived this rollercoaster recently with a friend. And it reminds me of the disappointments from our journey. It is sometimes hard, but know that in the end, it is absolutely worth it.

Please do not be discouraged. Try, try again!

" Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."--Proverbs 19:21

As always, I welcome emails from everyone! If you are a hopeful birthmother or adoptive parent trying to find your own way down this crazy, yet absolutely amazing path...I'd love to hear from you too!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We Are All Guilty...of Things Unplanned

So...I figured that everyone was tired of hearing my thoughts all of the time. Therefore... I asked Jenny, who works at an Unplanned Pregnancy Center, to write a post about whatever she felt led to say. And here it is...

I want to say thank you to Amy for allowing me to write a little post on the topic of adoption. Adoption has been dear to my heart since I was a child, and luckily I have been able to learn and experience more and more about the process over the years. I want to begin my post by saying a couple of things.

First of all, I was not adopted. I was raised by my biological parents. Secondly, I have not personally adopted a child. However, I have experienced adoption within my family. My younger brother was adopted by my parents when he was a baby, and his baby brother was adopted by my aunt and uncle at the same time. 

I have also been blessed to learn a tiny bit about adoption through my work. I'm no expert, that's for sure! However, God has blessed me by placing me in a position that now, looking back, I can see that He had orchestrated all along. Isn't it funny how crazy things that happen in our lives actually start to make sense in the long run?

I work at an unplanned pregnancy center. I feel like I was placed here by “accident”, because I had no experience, and this was my first "big girl" job. I graduated in May 2008, and started here in November 2008. I'm so honored that He chose me to minister to women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy!

Our center is pro-life, and pro-adoption. By this, I mean that we offer adoption as a positive option and refer potential birth moms to wonderful adoption agencies that can address their needs and walk them through the adoption process. I DO NOT mean that we pressure folks into choosing adoption. Adoption is a beautiful thing that many birthparents would be open to if they only knew that it was an option, and knew how to go about making an adoption plan for their baby. That is what we're here for...to point them in the right direction if they want to know more about the process.

Over the past five years that I have served in my position, I have been blessed to minister to birth moms. I have heard their concerns about the idea of "giving up their baby". I have heard their concerns that "people will think that I didn't love my child." I have also heard the pain in their voice when they are torn between being able to provide for their child, being seen as a bad person for giving their child up, and being able to act out the love that they have for their child by making a decision to better their child's life.

Making an adoption plan ain't easy, folks. It should never be looked at as a decision that was made because the mom couldn't or wouldn't care for the child, or because she didn't love her child. I like to think that adoption is a part of God's plan, seeing how HE adopted US as his own. Moses was adopted...and Jesus was adopted...think about that.

By definition, adoption means "to take up and make ones own." A synonym for adoption is "acceptance", or to "embrace". So, basically, these birthmoms are making a choice to place their child in a loving home that will accept their baby, love their baby, and embrace their baby.

That is about as far from literally"giving up your baby" as you can get.

Adoption is an act of love. Now, I'm not naïve...I realize that there are people in this world whose hearts are hardened so hard that the amount of emotion in the decision to make an adoption plan is pretty much nonexistent. But, this is not the case in most circumstances. Even in those circumstances where the birth mom seems to be making the decision to make an adoption plan with no evidence of emotions, they're there. I think this is something that we tend to forget.

From my experience working in a pregnancy center, it seems that adoption, from the viewpoint of the birth mom, has a lot of negative judgments attached to it. It usually stems from people close to them who haven't really been close to someone who has been involved in adoption before (which is probably not many of you readers). Or the circumstance is most often that a person knows someone who adopted a family member's child and there was bad blood between the birth mom and adoptive parents...perhaps there were drug issues, etc. Because of this, many women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy situation have those negative ideas about making an adoption plan for their own baby, afraid that they will be judged even more than they already have been for their unplanned pregnancy.

God does not love one person more than another, regardless of their situation and choices in life. He did not die on the cross for some of us...He died for us all. We are all His children, regardless of what choices we make, and the results of those choices. Adoption is the act of His love. HE accepted US. HE embraced US. No matter what the birth mom's circumstances and reasons for making an adoption plan...as an adoptive parent, you are representing Jesus to her, and loving a piece of her by loving that child.  

As an adoptive parent or someone who sees the adoption process play out regularly, we may know that. But others do not. The purpose of my post is this...to help people remember that there are people on both sides of the adoption planning process, and to encourage you to remind others of that as well. Despite what many people think, normally, the actions of both the birthparents and adoptive family are lead by love.

Remind others...let's make sure our actions are lead by love as well. Don't judge. Don't project a stereotype. Don't generalize. While that baby or child is being adopted and embraced, realize that the birth mom is as well...by the Lord.

Wow. I love this. I have expressed deeply my admiration for birthmothers before, but had never completely thought out what it really took them to get to the point of handing over their baby. Crazy, right? I should have gone over that in my mind a million times, since I am the recipient of two of those precious bundles. But here is some of what I experienced...

Both of my childrens' birthmothers' had other children. They each handled their pregnancy differently. One told her children that she was having a baby and was giving it to a couple who wanted children. The other didn't even tell the other children that she was pregnant...but that she was at the hospital to fix her belly.

I knew this, and simply accepted it. But here is what I neglected to reflect on...

These women lived 9 months in this society with constant judgement. I have been pregnant, and I know that a pregnant woman is "free game". What I mean by that is that people constantly ask you questions and invade your space when you are with child. They ask what the sex is, what the name will be, if you have other children, etc. I even had one woman talk to me about her psychic abilities after telling me the correct sex of my child(true story). But I digress...As annoying as that was for me, I can't imagine what it feels like for a woman who is placing her baby in the arms of another woman.

I also know that the society that we live in is, in fact, exponentially judgemental. I never placed myself physically in a birthmothers shoes until Jenny painted this picture so vividly. Why do we as a society feel such need to judge others? These women are doing an amazing thing, and most don't even realize it because of the shame that they feel. Haven't we all made decisions that were not ideal? Haven't we all had an "unplanned" situation in our lives?

In case you're wondering...the answer would be yes.

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?' They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 'No one sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'"--John 8:3-11