Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Year of the Roller Coaster

I have had a chance this week to reflect on the events of the past year.  
My year started off in a very dark place because I did not truly allow myself to grieve the loss of our child the previous year.  It was extremely difficult to extricate myself from the hole I was in and God knew I was in trouble.  He sent some friends my way to help get me out and set me back on the right track.  It took a few months of hard work, but I finally allowed myself to be angry about our loss and grieve it.  Giving myself permission to be angry is what finally unlocked the healing, I think.  I pray none of you have ever had to experience this, and I pray you never will.  It is something you can never really forget or recover from, but you can learn to accept it and find a place for it in your heart so that you can continue on. Even as I write this, I can't stop the tears from falling.
And from the recovery period of this experience, I learned just how deep the desire in my heart is for the child I have seen in my dreams for the last fifteen years.  The daughter that will join our family through adoption.  Tony and I have discussed adopting since we were dating and we always knew it was quite possibly part of God's plan for our family.  I have felt the pull growing stronger and stronger for the last couple of years, but I was afraid he didn't feel the same way so I didn't say anything.  In February, God helped me conquer my fear and tell him just how strongly I felt about looking into it right now.  He answered me with the sweetest words he could have ever said to me at that moment, "The Spirit has been working on my heart, too."  I don't think I had ever loved that man more than at that exact moment.  We prayed about it for a few weeks and then started doing some research. A LOT of research.  We explored domestic and international.  We researched about twenty countries, and about ten of those in depth.  We went to a seminar, watched adoption videos, read books, talked to people.  And we finally found an agency called Adoption Ark that was piloting a program for a country called Kyrgyzstan.  We learned all we could about this agency, this country, the need for adoptive parents.  We received the requirements from our caseworker and plunged into this new world headfirst.  We jumped through hoop after hoop. And then, when the requirements changed, we jumped through those, too.  We were told the "paperwork pregnancy" would take between six and nine months- we finished it all in less than four.  We were only waiting on one last piece of paper before we could mail everything off. 
It came the very same day we found out we were pregnant.  
We prayed about this new development together and asked for God's guidance.  We both received the same answer.  He was calling us to have two more children right now. We would proceed with the adoption and be pregnant.  How amazing is our God?! We felt completely humbled and blessed that He would give us the gift of not one, but two children at the same time.  Little did we know His true plan.  A few weeks after we found out we were pregnant, on July 2nd, we went for a sonogram to find out how far along we were because we didn't know. The sonographer made a discovery that would forever change our lives: I see two heartbeats.
In my life I have never experienced such an overwhelming, all-encompassing joy and such an overwhelming, all-encompassing sense of loss at the same time. I knew at that moment, we had just lost our daughter in Kyrgyzstan.  We felt the Lord leading us to add two more children to our family right now, but not three more.  I felt this loss just as strongly as I felt the loss of our last child.  I fell into another pit grieving her for about five weeks.  Because I had just been in this same pit not even six months before, I knew I didn't want to stay in it for long.  God helped me get out of it this time with the tools I had gained from the last time.  I still long for this daughter and I always will. Last night, we were packing up some of Sydney's outgrown clothes and unused items and we came across the special blanket we purchased for this daughter.  The longing in my heart is still strong, and we pray about this child still.  If it is in His plan for our family, one day we will bring her home.  I only ask for comfort and patience for my heart until that day comes.
This past year has been quite the roller coaster of emotions for our family. Great highs and great lows.  But one thing has been constant throughout this journey- the presence of God. Looking back, there is not one moment I cannot see His hand or feel His presence, not one.  He is a constant comfort and ever present source of help in times of trouble. He is always there to offer me hope, especially in my darkest hour.  How blessed am I?  How blessed are we all? To have such a loving Father as He.  All praise and glory be His.

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