Prayer Works!

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was coming to an end, she became a butterfly.

Since my last post, yesterday, everything seems to have changed and shifted.

In less than 18 hours everything has begun to move forward in all directions.  All I can say is that it had to have been prayer. Simple as that.

Don’s test results have changed.  Its not enough to make a difference in our situation, but it shows that prayer works because even the doctor had no idea what had happened.  There are still many questions we have to have answered, but that is a step, it answered one question, and maybe more.

I finally got that phone call from the state I was waiting on. It seems through one error after another, this entire thing shouldn’t have happened. We were supposed to have gotten an email telling us when to schedule the classes, but we were relegated to the “generic letter” pile instead.  I spoke my peace, politely, about the heart break that generic letter caused, and asked what our next steps were. We were given the times for the classes we have to schedule.  The lady discussed with me the process for adoption, the likelihood we’d get an infant (slim to none), and suggested we foster a little one if we wanted to adopt because we’d get first shot IF that child became available. If. So there is that.  She also said not to schedule our medicals because it would be a while on the home study. Not promising, but its better than “wait until we get tired”, now its “do this and wait”.

But we have forward momentum.  And THAT is an answered prayer. Well its a LOT of answered prayers.

There is still no promise anything will change. They may blackball us over my phone call to the senator, “lose” our application, or they may fail us on the home study because of something stupid like having pets.  Or we may get a placement the day after we are approved.  Who knows.

What I do know is we couldn’t have gained any momentum without prayer.

We still have a LOT of stuff to do to the house before we can schedule any inspections, and we have to spend a good chunk of money on stuff we need to pass said inspections, oh and to get the basics for a child when we get the “call”….

Momentum gained. Tiny baby steps I can only attribute to the prayers and positive thoughts that everyone has had for us as we have ridden the worst emotional roller coaster of our lives.

I can not say enough thank yous for the prayers and positive thoughts. Please let me say that over and over and over. Here’s to happier posts, babies in our home, and a family at last.  I’m still praying it all works out for us.

Its Not Giving Up, Its Accepting An End

I’m not giving up.  I’m just trying to accept the end of my dream.

The end of my dream.

My dreams to have a baby have pretty much ended.  They started to fade with age, and really began to dissipate when we found out I don’t ovulate.  They ended when we found out both of us are infertile.  Both of us.  What are the chances? It explains a lot about why we never had an “oops” when I was on antibiotics 8 times in the 8 months of marriage, or why when I forgot my pill for a week why nothing happened.

The dream of getting to scream in delight that we were expecting the moment we found out, is gone.  The dream of sending the soon to be grandparents flowers at church with an announcement attached (as I’ve envisioned since I was a kid) has faded. The excitement over a gender reveal and baby showers and even being big and miserable as I await the due date are all things I will never experience.   No one will ever lay a child in my arms and tell me this is my baby and I will not look at that sweet face and part of me and part of him looking back. No, “she has your eyes” or “he has his nose” will be.  No sweet little redheaded babies to snuggle or hold, no adorable dark headed babies to carry on our genetic line.  No children that carry part of us will ever grace this Earth, and the sadness that I feel over that is overwhelming.

Then we formulated a new dream: we’d adopt.

It didn’t last long. The plug got pulled pretty quickly on that one.  And the more I call and research and contact people “in the know” the further away I realize that dream really was in the first place.

Where would we even begin to get the 35-50k we’d need to privately adopt?  Do I have what it takes to attract a birth mother?  Would we be chosen or would it all be in vain? Would we lose the money we put up because the birth mother changed her mind? Would we even be able to raise that kind of money?

Our only option was to adopt from foster care. And the adoption unit shot us down before we even finished our applications.

Our only option is to foster.  But how do you have the “stuff” on hand to cover a range of 0-5 and for more than one kiddo?  How do you have cribs, and car seats and clothes and high chairs, and all of the “stuff” ready for “the call”?  How do you care for and love a child for months then have to send the child back?  How do you navigate that heart break when the TPR (termination of parental rights) is issued and right before you go to court to finalize an adoption a distant relative shows up and you have to send the child back.  How do you deal with DSS treating you like trash or worse and then asking you to take yet another placement?  How to you set yourself up for the heart break over and over again?

After much research and heart searching and praying, I don’t think I have the fortitude to handle foster care. At least not right now.

So the road came to an end. And with it have come tears of disappointment and grief that I never knew existed. Knowing that I will never be a mom has brought me to my knees. The depth of the grief knowing this road has ended is beyond anything I can describe.  I just want to stay home in bed, all covered up until the pain goes away.

But I can’t.  I have to be an adult, and I have adult things to do and I have to keep moving.  I’m like water, if I don’t keep moving, I’ll go bad.

So I keep trudging along. I keep reminding myself I will endure this grief like the death that it really is.  And eventually I will find acceptance of a childless life.  Maybe after I heal, maybe after I’m strong again we can consider foster care. But right now, I can not even bear to think about the prospect of having a child taken back, even if that was the goal all along. And because of that, I can not open my home or my heart until I’m strong enough to accept that ending.  It may be that my heart was designed to be a parent, and my cross to bear is that I will never have that chance.

There are no wildflowers for us, at least not in the foreseeable future.

How Do I Sell Our Story?

Part of the adoption process, I’ve discovered, is a “profile book”.  A physical book filled with photos of you and your spouse and your families.  It describes everything about you and who you are and how you are going to be a great parent.

It sells you.

I have a problem. I haven’t allowed any photos to be taken of me in years. There are a few selfies on my Facebook page, but no photos of my husband and I since our honeymoon or maybe a little after.  I detest photos. I’m not photogenic and I hate seeing myself in photos.

The idea of having a book filled with photos of me and my husband scares me a lot.  I mean, its hard enough to define what I have to offer in words, but to have photos of us “doing stuff” scares me.  When I look at photos of me, I don’t see someone that’s going to be chosen. I see the overweight woman everyone laughs at when she walks into the room at work with the answer to the crossword puzzle.  I see the pounds I struggle to lose but can’t.  I see the acne I cant get rid of because of the PCOS, I see the pale skin and red-hair, and I see the lines that have formed around my eyes as I have aged.

I don’t see the mother I know I can be. I see something else entirely. I see all the negative things that are said to or about me.

My friends would disagree.  My husband would disagree. They don’t see these things.  But what will a stranger see?  I’m afraid if I can’t see my worth when I look at a photo of me, who will?  Years of bullying left scars I didn’t know I had. Or maybe I did, but I believed they didn’t matter.

I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of having my photos there for a person to look at to “choose me”.  I don’t get “chosen” over others. I’m usually the one that’s left over after the others have been eliminated and I’m the last pick. I’m that last pick because I’m the one that no one wanted first and the one that gets told I was chosen for that reason, that I’m the only one left.  When people tell you for as long as you can remember that you are some kind of reject or defect you begin to believe it.  When they tell you the day they hire you that they’d have chosen someone else, that you were their last pick, but you were the only one with a clean back ground check, you kinda wonder what on earth you have to offer.

I have love. And I was told that wasn’t enough.

If love isn’t enough will anything ever be?

Lots to Think About

Its early on Monday, and I’m waiting on a call from the regional office.  Over the weekend I joined an online support group in an effort to get encouragement and answers.   I got both, although not exactly in the ways I anticipated.  LOTS of encouragement to fund raise, and lots of answers about a broken system.  I laid it all out at prayer time in church.  I let everyone know what was going on, and the support and love was overwhelming. Maybe another contact for answers bloomed from that.

Lots of people have fostered to adopt only to be heartbroken and disappointed when after 20 months a child is removed, or when promises from the state for free to adopt children become pressures to take more foster kids, or any number of really scary and sad stories.  The promise of a forever family to those of us who want nothing more than to have children (and can’t) followed by the “you have to foster first” after we are emotionally into the process.
The peanut butter in the trap, my husband calls it.  They lure you in and then once you are emotionally vested, they push you into the fostering part of the system assuring you this is how you will have a chance to adopt.

This is the story I’ve heard over and over and over.

Its about finding homes for children not babies for parents.  I get that.  I do.  The barriers to adoption are not talked about much, other than the money aspect.  There are many barriers that must be overcome. Which is crazy because great potential parents become frustrated or are cast off and are never matched.

We were told at the orientation meeting “having a home full of love” isn’t enough, we have to offer more than just love because everyone can do that.

More than just love. How about a chance at a stable family life?  Or isn’t that enough?

People are Weird. (And Oftentimes Flat-Out Jerks)

Yesterday I posted a question to two embroidery Facebook Pages I follow. One machine/brand specific, one not.  Both posts were very active and full of suggestions, love, support and positive comments.  I was overwhelmed by the ideas and helpfulness that people were sending my way.

This morning, on the most helpful of the two posts, I decided to go back and make paper notes so it was easy to follow.  I grabbed my favorite notebook and when I went back to see, it was gone.  All of the suggestions, links and ideas for how to make money embroidering things for a fundraiser were gone.

Deleted by the admins.

The smaller site, was still bursting with love and support and ideas.

I re-read the rules and since I wasn’t actually selling on the site, I hadn’t broken any. Since it was asking for embroidery links, ideas and projects, I hadn’t gone off topic.

People are weird, and often jerks.

Now I’m trying to remember all of the links and ideas people posted for me.

People can be awesome.  And people can be flat out monsters.

I like awesome better.

Fundraising. We are willing to work our butts off.

When I looked at the cost of a private adoption, I laughed.  Its more than I make in a year and its not a sure bet.  My family thinks Im crazy to even think we could ever afford it, but I know others have done it.  Why not us?

I’ve started asking questions and thinking about things to sell to make it happen.

Its the smallest grain of hope.  And right now its all I have to hold on to.

I Haven’t Talked to God Since Monday.

I’ve experienced all kinds of crisis of faith kinda things over the years.  You aren’t a firefighter for 11 years without questioning God sometimes.  When you do CPR on a baby, hold the hand of someone as they die because of a drunk driver, when you see everything a person worked for lost in an instant, you ask God why. I can think of calls where I saw God work amazing miracles too.  The two went hand in hand, and somehow I managed to always talk to God.  I am a believer and I am saved.  Those two things have not changed.

Even when the crisis was more personal I always felt as if God was there. My sister died, my mom had cancer, my grandmother had a stroke, the hubby’s dad dying, mom dying… Job losses, career losses, illnesses, everything.   I always cried out to God.  The good things, I praised him. I was quick to thank him even for the smallest of things.

As we began the path that lead to our infertility diagnoses, I talked to God, I cried out to him, I begged for his mercy and I prayed.  I prayed really, really hard.  I told him that my faith was dried up, like a well in a Sonora desert town, it was nothing but dust.  I begged for a sign, I pleaded for a clear message as to our path.  I pleaded with God as I raged, so full of anger and regret, “please hear me!”.   I looked in my Bible on my desk at work for answers.  I looked for peace.  I found none.  So I concentrated on getting things for the state foster to adopt process.  Picked room colors, bought required safety gear, and began to allow myself to look at baby stuff again.  And I prayed for the right child.  I thought about names (we’ve had names picked since our third date, but still other great ideas come up). I thought about room themes, and I offhandedly prayed some more.  Its a waiting game. So we will get the garage cleaned out, and live while we do each step.  Hopeful, I thought about all of it.

Then the bomb came that exploded my life. In a moment. A generic letter came to tell us they were not processing further our application and would let us know in 6 months if there was any kind of change. Generic.  “Dear adoptive parent”.  They couldn’t even be bothered to put my name on the letter.  I was generically dismissed like my dream was nothing. I imploded inside.

I haven’t been able to form a prayer on my lips since.

Not one prayer. Not the blessing, not my commute prayers, not even an utterance for mercy.  I cant get it to my lips or my heart without it dissolving into nothingness.

I’ve made calls, sent emails, begged people for answers.

I used to pray all the time, all day there were prayers uttered across my lips or floating in my mind.  Its simply not there.

People keep telling me “God will fix you both”.  People keep telling me “God will grant you the child he wants you to have”.  People keep telling me not to give up and to pray.  But I can not. Its as if I have never uttered a prayer in my life. I have no words for God.

I hit rock bottom, then rolled off the ledge into a deeper, darker place where I can’t hear God. (I’m not depressed, this is different) It feels like God has turned his back on us.  I have run out of words for him, and my heart is full of sadness and anger.

I’ve never experienced grief like this.  Grief that encompasses my soul so that it is dark and quiet and that there is no feeling of God in the depth of my sorrow.  I know and understand the steps in grief. I know that there are stages I will slide through and eventually move beyond. Today I am so angry inside and so scared and so sad that I can not fathom how long it will take me to emerge from this valley. I want to scream, I want to throw things, I want to cry.  But I manage to hold it all together, mostly, and I don’t say nasty things to people, or throw things or yell.  I just sit at my computer at work and look out at the sky.  I laugh at jokes and pretend its all ok.  Inside I’m on fire. Inside I’m melting.

I feel, for the first time in my entire life, that I am alone.  I can not see, feel or hear God in my life today.  If this is how atheists feel all the time, I pitty them.

People tell me they are praying for me.  I’m glad because I can not even begin to pray for myself.  I have dipped into a well thats dry at the moment of my utter and desperate need. I have collapsed by the dry stones, so dry myself I feel as if I should shrivel up.  I have no strength left to beg for help.  I lay there, dying inside, hoping someone will quench the parched soul that can’t even utter the words to ask for help.

I hope others are praying because I can not.  I’ve nary an ounce of strength left.