Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's almost Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. The Christmas season is typically full of excitement, anticipation, joy, warmth, family, and love. It can also be a hard time of year for people, for many different reasons. Maybe you lost a loved one this year, maybe you lost your job, maybe you don't have family to celebrate with, maybe you've had a hard year and are just ready for 2016 to be over. There are a million posts floating around with how to deal with a hard Christmas this year, and what Christmas looks like if you are _______ fill in the blank, missing someone, infertile, alone, etc. And the ones I've read are good, really good, but I don't need to write a post like that, they are out there.
I thought I would explain why Christmas is hard. I have seen comments on blogs and posts and heard comments when I talk about Christmas being hard that are less than supportive. "Why can't you just get over your issues and focus on Christmas?" "I don't understand why Christmas is so hard for you, can't you just be happy?" "Focus on the meaning of Christmas, not your problems." And I think they are probably (hopefully) well-intentioned, but they are not helpful, and are a little crushing.
For us specifically, this year is our third in the adoption process without a baby. Christmas is a constant reminder of what we don't have - last year we thought, "how great, next year we will almost definitely have a baby to enjoy the Christmas season with." And here we are, still childless. And we are okay, but it's a hard reminder. Seeing the "my first Christmas" outfits, seeing others ecstatically celebrate their first Christmas as parents (and trust me, we are happy for them, but it's still a reminder of what we so desperately, with all our beings, want), is hard. We also lost a baby this year, we planned for Christmas, we looked at Christmas outfits, figured out how we would travel with a baby, and the best way to start our own traditions with our child. None of that will happen this year. And that's okay, we are okay, but it's hard, and it's not fair. It's never fair to lose your child. So, Christmas is a reminder of what we lost. So, it is hard, we will be okay, but we struggle. These are not things we can just forget, or put aside for the holidays (or any other time), they are our life right now. It doesn't mean we aren't happy, it means we are struggling. I've been telling people, 2016 wasn't an over all "bad" year, it was just hard; really, really, hard.
SO, I say all this to say, don't say mean, unhelpful comments, no matter how you mean them. Instead, here are some things you can do and say.

1. Be supportive. Understand if the person hurting needs a break, doesn't want to talk, wants to talk, needs to be busy, needs to be still. Everyone's grief (because if we're honest it's all grief, over something we don't have, something we lost, something we dream of) will need to be taken care of differently, so respect that and help them get what they need.

2. Ask supportive questions. Ask, how are you doing with___? Instead of making suggestions, or telling someone what you think they should do, ask them. "What do you need?' "What can I do to help?" Ask often, "do you need a break?" Tell them, "I understand" when they don't meet your expectations because they need a break. Let them bring up what they are going through, you don't need to bring it up. If they want to talk about it past your questions, they will.

3. Understand if they have a moment. Crying, being stubborn, being on edge, all possibilities during hard holiday seasons. Give your loved one a moment, let them get through it and then if you feel like you need to talk about it, wait until it's long over.

4. Love on them. Cook them a meal, bring them gifts, treat them to coffee. Any of these shows that you love the person who is going through a hard time at Christmas. We all just want to be acknowledged and loved and not forgotten.

Don't forget us in our struggles, do try to understand. Don't push, just accept.

Hopefully all of this helps you understand our struggle (and hopefully others' during this holidays season) and gives you some ways to handle/help your loved ones.

Merry Christmas, and no matter what your situation, remember there is always hope, and hope really was born at Christmas time, whether you feel it or not, and you don't have to! You don't even have to focus on the fact that it's a holiday, but don't forget the hope. Your hope lies in someone who is above all our circumstances, so even when it's hard, remember the hope that you have.

With love,
Kristen 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Part of Something Bigger

God has really been showing me a lot lately. I keep reading things that have the same message or point and am really feeling God teach me something. Today, I was reading in Joshua and wanted to share some of my thoughts because, you guys, God is awesome and God is doing something amazing.

In Joshua, God tells him (him being Joshua) to take the land that they were promised that is on the other side of the Jordan River. Joshua knew there were people and the city of Jericho on the other side, but he wasn't sure what this actually looked like. So, he sends 2 spies over to figure out what is happening. The spies find Rahab, a prostitute, and she lets them bunk at her place. The King of Jericho hears about the spies and sends people to Rahab's house. When his men get there she lies and says she doesn't know who the men are and that they have already left, when in actuality, she hid them on the roof under some flax. After the men leave the city gates to keep searching she bargains with the spies, she says, since I helped you, you help me. She tells them that the city is afraid of them, because they know that God has given the Israelites this land. So, she says, since I helped you, promise me that my family will not be destroyed when you take this city. The men agree, adding some conditions of how to ensure her and her family's safety. She gave them an escape plan and they followed through. (Joshua 1 & 2)

Okay, pause. So, here's the big deal with Rahab - she helped people she didn't know, who she was probably afraid were going to conquer her and her family. The spies found her and she gave them security. God ordained their meeting, God could have just kept the spies safe, He didn't have to give them shelter with Rahab, but that is how God chose to keep the spies safe, this is an important detail in God's big plan. This was the catalyst to the rest of Biblical history and the life of Jesus.

Resume. Later on in Joshua (chapter 6) God tells the Israelite army to march around the city of Jericho once a day for 6 days, and 7 times on the 7th day. (we will come back to this later). Then the city fell, and everyone died, yet Rahab and her family were kept safe because of her promise she made with the spies.

Okay, so here's why this is important - Rahab is in the lineage of Jesus. Rahab was Boaz's mother. Boaz married Ruth (who has her own book of the Bible). Later on this line would include; David, Solomon and eventually Joseph (Jesus' earthly father). SO, if Rahab hadn't helped the spies, she and her family wouldn't have been saved. And there would be no Boaz, so no David, no Solomon, no Joseph and potentially no Mary (since he is Jesus' earthly father because he was betrothed to Mary). What we know as the Bible would be drastically different and the salvation story may be different. AND - Joseph's lineage is important because Jesus is in the directly line of some of the greatest people of faith in the Bible, including David, Solomon, and Abraham (and even a prostitute, our girl Rahab).

What does this mean? This means that God used Rahab to be the stimulus for something that would happen over 30 generations later. God knew that she needed to be part of the line of Jesus, so He orchestrated all the little details of her life and her story to be saved from Jericho, and He ordained all of this before she was even born. WHOA. Is your mind blown? Mine totally is.

SO -what does this mean for me? It means that God is orchestrating something great for me that He ordained for me before I was even born. That means that my adoption wait is not an accident or "just because" it is a specific detail that God has planned in order to be the starting point for something else. Our baby will come at the exact right time, in order for other pieces of God's plan to fall into place. And, whatever you are waiting for in life, the same applies to you, God has a plan and all the details are perfect, including when you will get what you are waiting for, because it puts the rest of His plan and your story into place.

Okay - back to Jericho. So, God tells the Israelites to do something crazy - march around the wall of Jericho 13 times, and on the last day blow your horns, and Jericho will be destroyed. I don't know about you, but if I were taking down a city, I would think catapults, bows and arrows, and maybe a Trojan horse. But, marching around and blowing horns? What is that going to do? And I'm sure the Israelites thought so too, especially when after 12 times the whole city looked exactly the same as before they started. BUT after the last time, SUDDENLY the walls came crumbling down.
Along, with God orchestrating every detail of your life, He can act suddenly. He can give you what you are waiting for, what you need, close a door, change your direction. Just because things have been the same for a long time ( 22 months waiting for us in case you lost track), it doesn't mean God isn't working, and that He can't suddenly change everything.

This is the hope that I am holding onto. If you don't have this hope, I don't know how you do it, seriously. I hope that this can be an encouragement to you today, no matter what you are going through. Know that God has ordained, orchestrated, and knows every detail of your life, and has a great plan for you. Even when bad things happen, God turns them around for good in one way or another, even if you won't see the effect for generations. I believe God will use Toby's death for good in my life and others', even if I don't ever see it.

Know that you are loved, cared for, and that your life has a plan and is part of a bigger one.

With love,
Kristen

Monday, November 28, 2016

22 Months

Today we have been waiting 22 months. An elephant's gestation is 22 months. I think it's interesting we have been waiting the same amount of time so far as an elephant has to wait to give birth!


We have made it through Thanksgiving and I was better than I thought. I thought Thanksgiving would be hard. We were supposed to have a baby to be thankful for and we didn't. I had some moments, but over all, it was okay. I was also too busy to dwell on it, and that helped. As nice as Thanksgiving was, I am glad it is over. We pictured and planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas with a baby. We didn't plan past that yet, so I will also be glad for Christmas to be over, because it will also be full of things we planned that (most likely) will not come to pass. And, it's hard, but it's okay. That's life. Full of expectations that aren't met. Adoption is no exception. I think with adoption, expectations are pointless (I only know this from experience). All of our expectations have been broken, and none of them have been met, all at the same time.

I really, really hope that next year we will have a baby at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I said the same thing last year on this day when we were only waiting 10 months, and the year before that when we weren't officially waiting yet, but still in the process. And, if we don't have a baby next Christmas, honestly, I'm not sure if we will keep waiting  - we will see when we get there.

I have 3 weeks of school left before Christmas break and end of semester, so that is nice, and gives me something to look forward to, and will definitely keep me busy.

This month was National Adoption Month - so, I'm a little talked out on adoption - if you didn't see my instagram this month go check it out it is FULL Of adoption information, so go check it out (@klwerle)

Okay, that's all for now, I think in the last month I've wrote enough so this is a short one!
Please keep praying for us as we wait, and continue to heal from losing Toby.
Thank you again for all of your support and love and prayers through our journey.

With love,
Kristen

Monday, November 21, 2016

Beauty from Ashes

I need to write a post that's not about Toby. There is still a lot going on in our lives, and we are still waiting.
So, I thought I'd share what God is doing. Man, you guys, God is working in my heart, and some days it is UGLY, some days it is broken, and some days it is beautiful. Isn't that so typical? Since Toby has died, I have wanted to quit, wanted to switch agencies, wanted to be pregnant, been mad at God, questioned my faith in ways that I never have before, doubted God's goodness, and been reminded of His truths and calling in our lives.
It comes down to the fact that I am DONE waiting. I am so over waiting - but obviously, God wants us to keep waiting. I was mad at God for allowing us to get matched and then taking our baby away. And sometimes, I still am, thankfully God is big enough for my anger. The wait has been so hard I wanted to give up. The bitterness and jealousy in my heart has grown. I see other people getting matched who have not been waiting near as long and my heart cannot handle it. Thankfully, God is big enough for my bitterness and is working on healing it. 
I am trying to listen to God's plan, but I am not hearing much right now. As far as adding another agency? We will see - we are doing some research, but will most likely stay where we are as we have waited for so long. I have seriously considered having a biological baby - some days that feels easier. I know in reality it may or may not be. It would probably be full of fertility medicine and doctor's appointments. And I remind myself we were called to adoption. We prayed and prayed and researched and talked and decided we were being called to adoption. Some days that is much harder than others to remember. But I am reminded, when I need it, by Adam, and by friends to follow through with what God has called us to.
I have questioned aspects of my faith like never before - Is God really good? Do I really believe that? Do I believe that His plan is greater? Does He even have a plan? Did He call us to this? Does He have a baby for me? And many other deep questions that I have never wrestled with. But, wisdom from friends, scriptures, and sermons have given me comfort and some answers. God is orchestrating something beautiful in our lives and our baby's life. Our lives will intermingle at the perfect time and that will catalyst the rest of the things in their life into motion. But, everything will be set into motion in the right time in the right way. More than likely, our baby is in their first mother's womb - that helps me wait. Knowing my baby is waiting for me. And I know that God knows all my little worries - taking time off from my job at a good time, the weather (I know, stupid), and every other weird little worry and He will take care of all of them.
I am thankful that God being good is a fact, and not based on my feelings. I am glad that God's faithfulness to me, is not based on my faithfulness to Him or my actions.
I try to remember God has a purpose for our waiting and I don't want to miss living my purpose because I am done waiting. This doesn't mean the waiting is any easier, or that I won't still have hard days, but I am going to try to focus on living my purpose and not living to be done waiting.
I am thankful God can take my ugly, my doubt, my grieving, and mourning and turn into something that glorifies Him, and make it beautiful.

Please continue to pray for our baby to come, for our baby's first family, and for us as we wait. Pray for my heart to heal and for my jealousy to be replaced with joy. And please, help me remember that I am doing what I am supposed to and that God is faithful.

Thank you all for your continued support and for putting up with my crazy doubts and freak outs. You are the best.
With love,
Kristen

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Toby Memorial Fundraiser.


Friends! We still have around $6,000 of agency fees to pay and we thought to do a fundraiser in honor of the baby we lost, Toby, would be a great way to bring our next baby home. Using the tragedy of Toby's short life for something good. So this week (my birthday, National Adoption Awareness month, and Friday being Toby's due date) we are doing a give what you will fundraiser.
If you give certain amounts I will make you something.
$15 -$29 you get a free mini hanging pillow.
Example:

$30-$49 you get a free pillow.
Examples:




 $50 or more you can choose from 2 pillows, a personalized (you pick the design, colors, fabric, etc) pillow, or a baby quilt( you pick the color scheme).
Example of quilt: (embroidery not included)

So if you want to donate click on the Donate button in the right side. That will take you to our PayPal adoption account. If you have questions please contact me here or email me at Kristen.werle@gmail.com





Friday, October 28, 2016

21 Months Waiting

Today we have been waiting for our baby for 21 months.

I think it is safe to say the last month waiting has been the hardest, honestly this was a post that 2 weeks ago I didn't think I would have to write. I didn't think we would have a 21 months waiting post.

We are getting back to normal now. Back to work, back to church, back to appointments and spending time with friends. For me, sometimes socializing is hard, it takes a lot out of me. So, if you have asked me to hang out and I say no, that's why, sometimes it's too much for me to be social. We are still grieving, but we are also finding ways to celebrate and appreciate Toby's short little life. 

What happened has made me question a lot. Are we doing the right thing? Are we supposed to continue down this adoption road? Where is God and why isn't He showing up for me? I really was questioning whether we heard God correctly, if this is what we are supposed to be doing. Luckily Adam and my friends lovingly speak truth to me when I don't see it myself. My friend Kelsey said something that really stuck with me. She said, " don't let Toby's death be in vain. Your heart made room for a child you will never meet and you will be stronger and a better mom because of it. Toby would want you to finish what you started." And I think she is right. We can continue our adoption wait and honor Toby by continuing to wait and see this adoption through to find the baby that we will get to meet and bring home.

I also had a friend share a story with me and he compared the wait (or any significant wait in your life) to being like Moses and the Israelite. They were literally running away from the Egyptians. They were standing at the edge of the Red Sea and this HUGE army was moving towards them. It LOOKED like there was no hope. They were asking, God, why did you lead us here just to destroy us? Why did you free us from slavery just to let our enemy defeat us? Then Moses heard God say, "just touch the water." and I'm sure Moses was like EXCUSE ME?! You want me to touch the water - do you SEE what is happening here? But he did it, and the Red Sea parted. God showed up in what looked like an impossible situation, when His people thought He had left them for dead. And God will show up for me. I may not have enemies chasing me down, but I am at the end of rope, facing my Red Sea, my "God you brought me this far, why did you lead me here to take away my baby?" So, I will keep waiting, in my Moses moment, waiting for God to direct me to touch the water. Waiting for God to show up in an unexpected, only-God kind of way. 

Everyone's adoption story is different. This is NOT what I thought mine would look like at all. But it is my story. God will use what happened for good, that's what He does, use impossibly hard and no way out situations for good. So, we will continue to wait, pray for us as this is not easy.

Thank you for all the continued encouragement and support. Seriously, it has been so encouraging to know so many people care and are covering us in prayer.

With Love,
Kristen

Monday, October 24, 2016

A week later

It has been a week since we found out that we lost our baby. It has been the hardest week I've ever gone through, but the support we have received has been awesome. We have been covered in prayer by, I'm sure, hundreds of people. We have been given food, flowers, cards, and lots of hugs. The hardest question to answer has been "how are you?" I'm not okay, but I'm holding it together - most of the time. Sometimes, after a long day of holding it together, I fall apart. And, it's okay, I'm grieving. I've never really had to grieve before, so I'm trying to figure out what that means for me. Sometimes it means crying, sometimes it means not talking to anyone and binge watching Netflix, sometimes it means listening to the Serial podcast and cleaning my house, and sometimes it is taking a walk with a friend and talking about ways to remember our baby.
We named our baby Toby - we don't know if Toby is a boy or a girl, but we thought it fit. It means God is good, or the kindness of God. Even though it is hard to see God's goodness in death, we know He is good. We don't know why God allowed this to happen, but we know that we have a God who understands. Our God sent His own son to die and watched Him die, and felt the pain of losing His child. We are in good company with God.
One thing my counselor said was that maybe we were matched with Toby because God knew we would remember this baby. Toby will forever be remembered as our child, as all children - no matter how short their life- deserve to be remembered. This is a great honor. And now Toby is with Jesus, he or she is perfect, healthy, happy, and will never cry or be sad. Toby was our baby for 5 days. 5 days that were too short, 5 days that we never saw or met this baby, but Toby is and forever will be our baby. This thought has helped heal my heart.
We will eventually be matched with another family, a family whose baby will be born alive and that we will get to take home. And we are hopeful for that day and pray that it is soon. We are hoping for our profile book to go back into circulation to be seen by expectant families this week. But, we will always remember Toby and the impact Toby made on our lives.
We are trying to get back to normal, but our normal will never be the same. Please pray for us as we try to figure out what life looks like now, how we are grieving, how we will heal, and how we will remember Toby. And pray for us as we go back into the wait. The wait is excruciating and going back into with a loss makes it harder. Pray as we are around family and friends who have babies or are pregnant, because that is a sharp pain to see as it brings to light what we don't have and what we lost and what we are waiting for. Our hearts have a lot of healing to do.

On November 11, Toby's due date we are going to do a lantern release. If you want to release a lantern or balloon for Toby please take a picture and send it to us.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. I will leave you with this:

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me,
YET this I call to mind and THEREFORE I HAVE HOPE:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.
Lamentations 3;19-24


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Baby That Made Us Parents

Warning: this is not a happy post. This is a very heart breaking, hard post.

Last week, we were notified that we were chosen by a birth family! We heard about all the details and decided to accept the match! Everything seemed so perfect. The parents were together, they picked us because we were young, hip, and looked like we liked each other. The baby was due Nov. 11, no drug exposure, and they were very sure of their decision. They wanted a closed adoption, which we were sad about, but knew that was always something they could pick. They didn't want to meet us, so we have never met the family and don't know anything about them. We talked back and forth between our social worker and the pregnancy counselor about names. WE WERE ECSTATIC. We bought a bunch of baby stuff, talked to our families, and our jobs about taking time off. We didn't tell everyone because birth families can always change their minds, and we were waiting to hear about their birth plan and to find out the gender. We were really excited and could not wait to find out more and finally be parents! We were done waiting! We made plans for how to do thanksgiving and Christmas with our new baby, we finally could do and plan things we have been waiting for for 3 years!
Then Adam got a call from our social worker Monday. When we both got home from work he sat me down and said we needed to talk. He said "this is not good news, but we will be okay." I said " did the expectant family change their mind?" and he said "no, the baby died."

And my world crashed. Our baby died. Our baby was gone. We lost our baby. We cried. And cried. And cried. We told our friends, our family, and we had friends come over and spend time with us and cry with us.

We don't know what happened to the baby, and we don't blame anyone, it's just one of those freak accidents. We have a lot of questions that have no answers. Why did God allow us to get matched and then take our baby away? What happened? Boy or girl? How is the birth family? When will we get a baby? Will we ever get a baby?

We have been waiting so long and we thought we were done waiting. We chose adoption because the chance of me miscarrying is so high. We are now parents, but parents without a child. We always knew the birth family could change their mind, but we never thought this would happen. We were never prepared for this. This should not happen.

So, what now? We wait again. This is very upsetting and frustrating to us. We go to holidays as parents with empty arms- this is heartbreaking. We will continue to struggle with our friends having babies and being pregnant - maybe even more now. And we will become stronger and continue to hope. We still have hope. Knowing that God has a plan for our GOOD, and not to harm us gives us hope. Knowing that God is good and keeps our promises gives us hope. We don't necessarily feel hopeful, but we have hope. One day, we may be able to look back and understand, and if not that is okay. We trust God and His plan for us - even though we don't understand why He allowed this to happen. We know that His love and light will shine through this situation somehow (listen to the song Thy Will Be Done by Hilary Scott if you haven't this has been running through my mind the last 24 hours, and Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson)

Please be praying for us. For healing, for strength, for us to be confident moving forward and not to give in to anxiety, fear, and doubt. Pray for the birth family and their healing too.

Thank you for your support and giving me a place to be honest and share the hard stuff about adoption. I wasn't sure if I was going to write a post on this, but I promised from the beginning that I would share our full story, and this baby will always be part of our story. And this is something that happens in adoption so I think it needs to be shared.

When we decide what to do in memory of this baby, I will share it with you. Let me know if you have good ideas.

Kristen


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

One Day

Happy Fall! I LOVE fall, it is definitely my favorite season. And I even love rainy fall days like today. Today we have been "officially" waiting for 20 months.
And as you can see, I love pumpkins!

I was looking back at our timeline and thinking about our journey so far. We started the adoption process over 2 years ago. We have been planning for a child for 3 years. I remember 3 years ago we moved into our house (that we no longer live at) in Waynesboro because it had 3 bedrooms and we wanted to start a family soon. That Winter we had to decide when - because that would determine how my endocrinologist would treat my PCOS, so we decided okay, let's go for it, let's see what happens. That lead to 6 months of trying medicine for my PCOS, doing internal ultrasounds to look at my ovaries, trying to see what makes me ovulate, and seeing what fertility medicines may or may not work. First, that cost a LOT of money, second the medicines made me sick and had nasty side effects, and third this was just "testing" we weren't allowed to try to start a family yet because it wasn't safe. Then we decided, well, we've always talked about adoption, why aren't we looking into that? So, we looked, and researched and then June 2014 we decided to pursue adoption. And most of you know the rest if you have followed this blog from the beginning. 
And now, here we are 3 years after moving into a house with 3 bedrooms, moving into a nicer and bigger apartment, and still pursuing our dream of having a child. It is so cool to look back and see how far we have come in that time. Our apartment is way nicer than our house, Adam has a new job with a big raise, we have a great church that understands and supports adoption, we have paid off a car, gotten ourselves (mostly) out of debt, we have great friends who are our support system, and we are ready for our baby to come. It feels like all this time God was allowing things to fall into place so we would be even more prepared and ready for our child. 
One day, we will be able to look back at all of this and know why we waited so long, one day we will see our child and know they are the reason we waited so long, one day, all of God's testing will make sense, and one day our family will be complete. I cannot wait for that one day! It is a great reminder that as a believer we are always to look to the "one day" and live in the now. "Keep your eyes on the Kingdom of Heaven." We look forward to our hope, that we get to be with our Heavenly Father and Savior in the promised land. So, we wait for that or for His return anxiously. One day.
 For now, as we wait, we praise God for the position we are in, for the wait, for the call to adopt, for adopting us into His family, and for the child He has promised us. 

Please continue to pray for us and with us as we wait and as we pray desperately that our child will be home soon. We also applied for 2 more grants last week, so please pray for the people who decide on the grants as the make decisions, and pray for the rest of our funding to come in. 

Thank you so much for all of your continued support. You guys are seriously the best.
With love, 
Kristen

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Ugly

Man, these feelings that come with waiting to adopt are UGLY and so not fun! Lately, I have been very aware of the bitterness and jealousy that has taken root in my heart, despite my best efforts to try to prevent that. I notice it when I start having bad feelings towards people for reasons that have no depth or that I don't have a reason for. When I realize that I don't like them because of ME and not because of THEM it's almost always this bitter jealousy creeping in. (This is important for you to hear, these negative feelings I'm going to talk about are not because of you they are completely because of me and my desire for attention, my insecurities, and my heart that aches for a child).

Listen, please don't judge me on what I'm going to say, I'm trying to be transparent, but this is hard to talk about. I've talked about this before, maybe a year ago. For us, waiting to adopt is not just waiting for a child, it is waiting to complete our family, waiting to be parents, and waiting to see what our life will be like with children. I think that makes the bitterness worse. When I see pregnant people, it hits the deepest part of my soul with jealousy. Jealousy due to wanting attention for waiting for my child (adopting doesn't get you attention like being a cute pregnant lady does). Jealousy for someone else getting what I want (ugh I know this makes me sound like a terrible person). I see people with babies and sometimes I burst into tears. Seeing other people get matched, placed, or get a ton of support with their adoption makes that bitter jealousy creep up. See people get matched or get a baby after a couple of months waiting causes the same thing. Thoughts run through my head like, "If they only knew what it was like to wait almost 2 years," "It's not fair they get a baby and I don't," "Why are their fundraisers so successful and ours aren't?" And UGH these are so ugly and selfish and mean! Really, I hope that NO ONE has to wait as long as we have, I hope others fundraisers are SO MUCH more successful than ours, and I hope that others who wait get their babies - the babies meant for them and their family, and not for my family. When I sit and think about it, the UGLY thoughts are just my gut reaction, I really do want the best for people, even if I don't have what I want. But it is SO HARD to get to that point. I pray everyday for God to take these feelings away and replace them with joy, love, hope, encouragement, and understanding. I have also talked to my counselor about it and we have talked through some strategies for coping.
So, if you are feeling these ugly feelings - and I promise I hope you don't struggle with this too - here are some things I've found that help.

1. SELF CARE - this was a hard one for me to learn. There is a difference between being selfish and taking care of yourself (this was one my counselor had to tell me). Knowing your boundaries, not putting yourself into situations that will bring this feelings on or ruin your day if you can avoid it - obviously you can't not do anything, but being aware of your feelings and your limitations. If you put yourself in a situation that feels like your soul is being stabbed taking breaks, excusing yourself from a situation to pull it together, and being honest with others about your feelings.

2. BEING AWARE and HONEST about your FEELINGS - knowing how you feel, what causes those feelings, and then talking through to see if that's what you REALLY feel is important. You can only address and deal with them if you are honest about how you feel - honest with yourself and others. And then seeing if it is just a gut reaction or if you really wish ill intent on people or really have negative feelings about others - and then dealing with them from there.

3. FIND A FRIEND. Find someone or a support group who understands how you feel and can help you keep your feelings in check. Someone who can call you out on feelings that are inaccurate or unfair to others. It is important that this person is trustworthy and not judgmental because these are TOUGH things to share.

4. COMPROMISE - If you can't be around a certain person because those feelings creep up and you were invited to their birthday party or to a dinner at their house- send a gift, and try to be honest about your feelings and hopefully they will understand. If seeing other babies causes those feelings, don't volunteer in the church nursery or sit somewhere that you know the people with babies sit. If you have to go to something where people don't understand adoption or your feelings take a friend with you who does.

5. PRAY - a lot. Read scripture. Ask God to grow His fruit in your heart and prune out the negative feelings. Pray for those who you struggle to be around or have negative feelings towards. Ask God to bless those who your gut reaction is to run from or talk bad about because you have that jealousy.

6. SEEK HELP - Go see a counselor, join an adoption support group, ask for help. These are so important for you to help you cope during this extremely hard time. It also just helps to talk to someone who won't judge you, who will help you sort through your real feelings and opinions and get to the root of why you feel this way.

Okay, thanks for letting me be honest and share. I hope you haven't and never feel these things but if you do you can totally contact me and we can chat, also I hope you don't think I'm a jerk, because I kind of feel like one when I say this stuff out loud .
Thanks for your continued support. You guys are the best.
Love,
Kristen

Friday, September 9, 2016

Holding on to Hope

This waiting to adopt thing is so hard you guys. I know, I say that a lot, but today, it is still hard. Every month we get updates from our agency sharing how many babies have been placed, and what race and/or special needs have been placed this year so far. This year 37 babies have been placed, that is already 10 more than last year and it's only the beginning of September! This is very exciting because it means that more families are choosing life and choosing adoption for their birth child. And of course, the more families they see, the more families have the opportunity to see our profile and choose us to parent their child. Every month we also get updates of how many times our profile has been shown. This past month our profile was seen 2 times. This brings our total up to 20 views.
Wow...
This gives me very mixed feelings. It's great that our book is so active, the more it is seen the more chances we will get chosen. But at the same time, it is hard not to take it personally. My first thoughts are often "why were we not good enough for 20 families?" "How is it that 20 families saw our profile and we didn't get chosen?" "what's wrong with us or our profile?" And many other versions of these same thoughts. I NEVER thought our profile would be seen 20 times without a match. It's hard to remember at first that it's not usually about me (ok pretty much never). It's not what they didn't like about me, and more about what they DID like about someone else. And I know that ultimately, that means those families are not, and never were our future birth family. Their baby is not, and never was, our future child. And that God has a plan for us, a family for us, a baby for us.
So, on days like today, when it is easy to doubt, easy to focus on what I don't have, what God has not yet come through for me on, and focus on my waiting, I hold on to HOPE. If you remember my post from, I think, January, my word for the year is HOPE. I hold on to hope that God is still working in the background, that there is still a baby for us, that we are doing what we are called to do, that God will move this mountain, and that God is still good. I have to remember, even if none of this ever happens, He is still good.
Please continue to pray for us in the waiting as it is HARD stuff. And pray for us to get matched soon. There is power in prayer and God wants us to beg Him for our heart's desires. So, beg Him with us!
Thank you for your continued support of us, and thank you for always letting me share my heart honestly! And, let me know how I can pray for you!
LOVE,
Kristen


Monday, August 29, 2016

What Adoptive Parents Need from You

Good Morning friends! The last few weeks for us have been a crazy whirlwind so, I'll give you a brief update!
First - as of yesterday we have been waiting 19 months. The wait is not getting any easier. We are ready for our baby to come!

Last week Adam's Granny died, so we went down for her visitation and funeral. The service was nice and it was good to see and catch up with family.
Adam also took a new job last week! He is doing the same job he has now, but for his old boss and in a more high profile market. This means in the future we will probably be moving closer to where his new job is (but still where I can keep my job). We did decide that we don't want to move until our adoption is done. We DEFINITELY do not want to do the homestudy AGAIN.
So, all this has made our lives a little crazy - plus I am back to work and still trying to get used to being in school and dealing with teenagers.

I thought today I'd talk about what waiting adoptive/adoptive parents need from our friends and family. Most of the time people adopting don't even know what they want or need from others, and others don't know how to treat us because it is an uncommon experience.

As waiting adoptive parents:
 We need you to treat us the way you would treat people who are pregnant. If you are our friend or family you can say we are expecting a child through adoption! Be excited! Host us a baby shower! Buy us things for the baby. Bring us food when the baby comes home. The same things you would say and do for someone who is pregnant. Don't call our child "their adopted child." Once they come home they are our child. Period. Yes, adoption is part of their story, but it is not their whole story. All of this helps us know that you remember we are expecting a child, and that you value our child as much as you would if they were expected biologically.

We need you to listen to us complain, cry, and rejoice. Adoption is hard, even when we bring our child home, there is still trauma and legal stuff to deal with. We need emotional and mental support. And coffee - lots of coffee.

We need you to ooh and ahh over our child(ren), just like you would over a biological child. Give our child the same attention you would give a biological child. Talk about how cute they are, give us your best child rearing advice (when asked for!), and treat our child the same way you would any other. And this goes through their whole life. If you spend a certain amount for holidays on our child's cousin or biological sibling, make sure it is close to the same for our child. If you take a biological sibling out for ice-cream once a month, do the same for the adopted child.

We need you to respect the boundaries we have created. With adopted children our boundaries HAVE to be different. We won't give you all the details of their adoption/first parent situation -that is their private story to share. We may not let you hold them when they come home from the hospital - we have waited SO LONG and we are all afraid of Attachment Disorders. We are also trying to deal with trauma - even if they came home with us day one.

We need you to respect our parenting choices. Some of our choices are based on adoption, some are because we agreed to do and not do certain things with our agency. We may not be able to always explain them to you, but respect our decisions. We may have a relationship with the first parents you don't understand- but respect our decision because A LOT of thought and prayer (and probably research) has gone into that relationship. We may have made certain rules on food or other things based on our knowledge of their first parents - so please respect those decisions.

We need you to ask us about our adoption. This shows us that you are interested and you care. Ask how things are going, how we are dealing with the wait, when we bring our child home, ask how we are doing, ask how the birth family is doing (we may not share this with you), ask if we need help. Don't always ask if we have heard anything - usually if you are close friends or family you would know if something is going on. That question can be hard for us to answer.

That's all for now.
Thanks for reading and for learning more about how to support those of us in the wait and those of us with adopted children. And thank you for the support you have already given to us. And as always, leave a comment, ask your questions, keep praying for us, and let me know your thoughts!

XOXO,
Kristen

Thursday, July 28, 2016

It Matters What You Say - Adoption Language

First, I want to say thank you to the adoption community and all my friends. After my last post I got such a great response. The adoption community is the best and sooo supportive. It is nice to know how many people are praying for us, rooting for us, and supporting us. And it's nice to not be alone in those feelings. ( not that I wish anyone to experience that, but it is nice to have support from people who have been there)



Today we have been waiting 18 months! I'm hoping we are in the final stretch. I talked to our social worker on Monday and opened up our preferences a little bit. We are now willing to consider a baby who has been exposed to drugs. There are a lot of reasons we opened this up and if you want to know we can talk about! We feel really good about our decision to be open to more babies. Plus, with adoption, most babies have been exposed to something. She also told us that looking at our preferences and profile that we are looking at 2 years average wait time. This is longer than we have been told in the past, but that's okay. It is also hard for the social worker to give us a time - she doesn't know if the next family who views our profile will choose us or 20 families from now. We are hopeful it will be around 2 years or before, if it takes longer that's okay. We will wait until the right family finds us.

So, I have really been thinking about adoption language recently. There are so many people involved in adoption so there are a lot of emotions and sensitivity. It is important to those adopting and birth/expectant families that you use the right language when talking about adoption or adopted children. So here is a list of appropriate and inappropriate adoption language. I hope you can learn from it and be more aware of the impact of your words.

Expectant mother or family - a mother contemplating adoption who has not given birth yet.
Birth mother/first mother or family - a mother who has given birth and made an adoption plan
Make sure you use the appropriate term when talking about the biological mother, it depends where she is in the adoption process what you call her.

Orphan - An orphan is a child who has one or more parents who are deceased or have been abandoned. This term is appropriate for children in international adoption but NOT in domestic adoption. Most infants adopted through domestic adoption have parents who are alive and were not abandoned. This term could offend your child's birth family.

"real family" - this can be in reference to siblings or parents, but this term is NOT OKAY - no matter who it is referring to. The birth parents are real parents as are the adoptive parents and siblings.

Once the child is adopted and part of a family do NOT refer to the parents as adoptive parents or the child as adopted son or daughter. As much as this is true, the parents are just parents and the child is their child. Yes they adopted and the child WAS adopted, but once that's done they are just family, a family made through adoption. If you want to talk about the child being adopted make sure you use past tense - the child WAS adopted, not IS adopted.

Made an adoption plan - this is the right phrase for a birth mother who picked an adoptive family for her child. DO NOT say - "gave up" for adoption. This phrase has a negative connotation for the child and the birth family. It could make them feel like their birth family gave up on them and that's not usually the truth.

I'm sure I've missed some - so let me know what I should add to the list! I'll add as I come up with more

It is really important that you start using the right terms when talking about adoption - it shows respect for the family that adopted or is adopting and the birth/first family.  Hopefully, this helped you learn the right thing to say and you can start adjusting your vocabulary! If you have ever said the wrong terminology to us that's okay - we know you don't know.

Thanks again for all of your support - you guys are the best.
With love,
Kristen

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Window into Adoption Heartbreak

I want to write this post because I want to be transparent and honest and give you guys a glimpse of the reality of the adoption world. This week was a really hard one. My heart is breaking as I write this, but  I want to share.
Monday we got a message about an expectant mom who is due soon and wanted to make an adoption plan - I'm not going to share any of the details because they aren't mine to tell. Because of certain circumstances our agency asked us if we would be willing to have our profile shown to this mother. We talked it over and agreed to show our profile. We knew the expectant mom would be viewing profiles on Tuesday. And our social worker promised to update us by end of day on Friday. So then we waited. And waited. And prayed.
We agreed to be open-hearted, to stay hopeful, and expect the best. The amount of anxiety felt in a wait like this cannot be explained. It is harder than the regular wait because I know that our future and our family could change by the end of the week, usually you don't know this kind of information. You just get a call that you've been matched or you get a message on how many people viewed your profile. But in this situation, you know the mom is looking at your profile  in the middle of 9 other profiles (at least). So we pray for something in our book to stand out, for the expectant mom to pick us, for the baby to be healthy, for peace and comfort for everyone. We pray and pray and pray for God to bring our baby home.
And today, we waited all day. Wondering, what time is end of day for our office? Has the expectant mother decided anything? Why is our social worker waiting all day to contact us?
Finally, we heard at almost 7, the expectant mom picked another family. And the world starts to crash. All the hopes we had for this baby, our expectations, our prayers crashed around us. And now we grieve the family that we are still waiting for. We have been told no around 15 times at this point and this is the 4th situation like this. Every time stings. This time stings a lot. It is hard to remain hopeful and hard to thank God for this, right now it doesn't feel good. Right now it doesn't feel like a blessing. It makes me wonder how much longer I can go through these ups and downs and when our time will finally come.
I know this is obviously not our baby, it is not time yet for me to be a mom,  this is not the time for us to be a family of three yet, God will bring us our baby, I know that. It doesn't make it hurt any less to know these things.
Now, I will focus on leaning on my community and accept the support offered from those who have been here and get this feeling.  I will continue to grieve. I will continue to pray that our child will be home soon. And I will continue to hope, even though it's painful, and continue to believe that God will bring us our child. When that happens I will be able to look back and see why this was a no. When we get our child I will be able to see why I had to wait for that yes. I cannot wait for that day.
Thanks for reading, for being willing to see the hard parts of this adoption world, and allowing me to be honest. Please continue to pray for us. That's what we need right now. You guys are the best.

PLEASE watch this song it is beautiful and encompasses a lot of my feelings right now, and hopefully it will speak to you too.




Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What It's About

As of today we have been officially waiting for 17 months!

This past month we have been busy! We started going to a new church and a community group, I finished school, we went on vacation (we went to TN and it was awesome!), and I started selling crafts to help support our adoption. If you want to check those out you can visit my etsy shop: etsy.com/shop/waitingquietly. I make homemade personalized pillows & bags, and cute crochet animals. Message me if you have questions or want anything! Our goal is to raise the $6,000 remaining for our placement fee. If you can, we also have a donate button to the right of this that goes to our adoption paypal account. 

We have recently met a few good friends who have either adopted, or are in the process. It is so nice to have other people we know in this thing with us! The adoption community is literally the best. When you find someone else who "gets it" you hold on to them TIGHT. Hearing others' stories, and answering questions has made me think a lot about our adoption process, what we have learned, and why we are doing this. Why we are putting ourselves through torture month after month. And I realized, it is not about me. I am not doing this just for myself. Of course, we add to our family, and that is why we started this process, but it has become so much more than that. It is about the child, and his or her first family. It is about helping our child's first mother feel supported, cared for, and loved. It is about us dealing with our grief of infertility and the grief of the first mother placing her child with us. It is about the joy of us receiving that child, and the relief for the first mother knowing her child will be taken care of in a way she couldn't provide. It will be about us becoming her family, and her becoming our family. It will be answering hard questions our child asks, and letting him or her ask the first mother those questions. It will be about us helping our child recover from the trauma of leaving his or her first mother - and any trauma experienced in the womb, and helping the first mother recover from the same trauma. When I think about this, the wait gets a little less burdensome. We are not just waiting for a baby to grow our family. We are waiting for the right family to find us so we can be there to support them. It makes the money seem less daunting, I would give any amount of money to be in this symbiotic relationship, and be able to support someone in such a big way. 

So, as much as I want a baby and I want to grow my family, I want the right family to find us more than anything. I want the right family to find us so we can support them, be there for them, and carry out this mission that we were so clearly called to by God. We will wait for that as long as God calls us to.

Someone gave me this verse today and I want to share it with you: 
Habakkuk 2:3 - But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to a pass. Just be patient! It will not be late, not by a single day.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

2 Years Later

2 years ago TODAY (June 2) we made the official decision to adopt. Of course, we talked and prayed about it before then, but June 2 was THE DAY.

You can read about what last year on this day looked like here.

This year, June 2, we have been waiting for 16 months and a few days.

I Love this picture! These elephants are so cute! 


Last year we did a puzzle piece fundraiser, and here is (most of) the end result! For some reason the picture cut the sides off. But we raised a good amount of money doing this, and it was so easy and great to see how many people wanted to support us.

So, now we are 2 years in to this adoption process. We have completed a homestudy (twice), 2 years of training for the state, got 3 grants, raised around $2,500. We have connected with a ton of people through social media and in real life because of our adoption. The adoption community is one of the best there is. We have learned a LOT about adoption, foster care, and orphan care. We have learned to LOVE and GRIEVE adoption. We have learned to love birth families and appreciate their role in adoption and in their child's life. We have seen people bring home babies and celebrated with them, will also grieving our empty nursery and empty arms. The last 2 years have been hard, really hard, but I wouldn't trade them, because I know this will bring us to our baby, and it has changed us for the better in so many ways. We have new friends, a new community, and such a great support system for when we bring our little one home that we wouldn't have had otherwise. 

One thing about adoption is that it shows you your strengths, weaknesses, failures, successes, and struggles in ways you could never imagine. You will get to know yourself better than you want to. It is like a microscope into your life. I have learned that I don't have the patience I thought I did. I have asked God questions I never thought I would. I have learned that my anxiety gets the best of me more often than I would like. I've learned that I'm more selfish than I want to be or should be. But, I also learned that I am stronger than I thought, on days when I thought I couldn't do it anymore, with God's help, I got through it. My faith is stronger than it has ever been because I can't do this wait alone. I have learned that I have more love for people who need it than I thought I did. And of course, none of this is my own doing, I have these strengths because of God and His strength and His love for me. 

If you're thinking about adoption, just be ready to be shown things about yourself you may not like, have your faith stretched in the hardest way, and your heart opened more than you ever thought it could be. 
Adoption is HARD, but it is also so good, and it will one day complete our family. Hopefully, next year on June 2, 2017 we will have our child, the one we have waited so long for, but until then, we will continue to wait quietly, hope, and rely on God's strength. 

Please continue to pray for us! Pray for our hearts as we wait, pray for God's peace and patience to work in our lives. Pray for our baby to come home to us soon, but pray for God's timing. Pray in all things that God's will is done. Pray for our finances to come in. We still have a lot to pay for.
If you want to or can donate, just hit the button on the left and it will take you to our paypal site. If you want to help in another way check out this blog post here

And always, if you have questions please ask we are more than happy to answer. 

With love, 
Kristen 



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It's not About What You Miss

Hi friends! I know I just wrote a post 5 days ago, but when I have something on my mind, I write it! So, I hope you don't mind a new post already.

When many people think about adoption they think about what the person adopting is missing out on. As adoptive parents it is sometimes easy to view things that way too if we aren't careful. We need to remember we also experience things that are unique to adoption scenarios as well.

As adoptive parents we may not get to see our child before they are born. We may not hear the heart beat through a sonogram or see them stretch and move on the ultra sound. We may not feel them kick or get to talk to them before birth.

We miss out on the birth experience. For me, this is something I'm GLAD to miss out on, but other's long for the experience.

We miss out on pregnancy. We don't get to carry a child, bond with them for 9 months before birth, or experience the symptoms that mean a little one is growing inside you.

Most of us don't get to nurse our babies and need to use donated milk or formula. And we know this may ensue the wrath of the breastfeed only moms.

We don't get to be "cute pregnant ladies" or do cute pregnancy announcements. We don't get to surprise our spouse with the news a little one is coming.

For us, coming home from the hospital will not be completely joyous because it means another mother who just gave birth, placed her child in my arms and is leaving the hospital with empty arms. And because of this, Mother's Day will also always be bitter sweet.

And it is sad that we don't get some of these experiences and the joy these bring biological parents. And I am SO SO SO glad that my pregnant friends and our future birth mother will get to experience some of these joys. But, we get to experience a lot of things biological families do not and that will bring us joy.

We get to add more than just a child to our family. Through open adoption our child's birth family becomes part of our family.

We may get to watch our child grow in another woman's stomach. We may get to support her through her pregnancy and doctor's appointments .

We get to appreciate late night feedings, dirty diapers, and screaming babies even more because we worked so hard to bring that baby home. Those things will never feel like burdens.

We get to prove that love is stronger than blood and that families come in all shapes and sizes.

We get to prove to others and ourselves that we are stronger than we thought we ever were and that we are willing to go through anything to meet our child and bring them home.

We get to come up with adoption announcements!

We don't have to go to the doctor once a week. (I hate going to the doctor).

We get to advocate for those who can't advocate for themselves and we are helping a birth family know their child will be well taken care of.

We know how to fill out paper work like a champ. We know our spouse's answers to questions, family information, medical history, and biographical information by heart. We also know things about the legal system that no one should need to know and terms like ICPC, TPR, Finalization hearing, and Revocation Period and we can even use them all in one sentence!

We get to experience the "You've been matched!" phone call and rejoice over the light at the end of our long waiting tunnel.

We get to put people in their place EDUCATE people when they ask us weird questions about our child or our adoption. (Yes that is "my own" child, no I did not kidnap them, thanks for checking)

We may get to watch our child being born! We at least get a phone call saying "your baby is coming!"

We don't have to lose pregnancy weight and don't have to deal with morning sickness, only potential papercuts from all that paperwork.

We may not have "labor pains" but we have pain. Pain while we wait, pain while we wait to see if the birth mother changes her mind, pain while we wait to see if our baby attaches to us as parents, pain as we our biggest joy is another mother's loss. Neither pain is enviable, but both are reality.

And we get to share the gospel. Adoption often leads conversations that lead to talking about Christ and how He adopted us first.

Adoptive mama's - don't feel like you are missing out on anything! You were called to fight for your child in a way many are not - be proud of that and revel in what you get to experience because of this beautiful, scary, hard, life changing journey.

With love,
Kristen


Friday, May 13, 2016

11 Steps Closer

You guys, waiting is hard stuff! I feel like I need to insert a giant sigh in here. *SIGH*. Just a little update. In April our profile was viewed 2 times. Our agency placed 9 babies in April in Virginia, yes you read that right 9!!! That's amazing!! We also had a situation we were asked to be presented to in the beginning of May. We only get asked to be presented if it is a situation with special circumstance. So, we decided to say yes, but the family decided to go a different route. The no's are hard to hear. I don't know what is "normal" or expected. How many views do most families get? Is 11 a lot or a little? I don't know. I think, the more we get told "no" the more I begin to expect every situation to be a no. This is not a good place to be. It is important to be realistic, but also hopeful. It also helps to remember that we only need one yes. Every no we experience truly does bring us closer to our yes.
1 year ago, we hadn't had a yes or a no. So, every no we get is progress. Every no is one no closer to our yes. And I know that when we get that yes, we will understand all the no's.

While we wait we are trying to continue to live out God's will in our lives. We are currently looking for ways to get involved with orphan and family care or stopping human trafficking. God calls us to stand up for justice and help those who cannot help themselves. We don't know what that will look like yet, but we are excited to see what God does with that. We are doing fun things together - this weekend we are going to a baseball game in Baltimore! In a month we are going on Vacation to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I have never been  and I am so excited. This summer I plan to spend a LOT of time at our complex's pool and reading and really relaxing before next school year. We want our wait to be worth something, so I'm hoping we can make it count, for as long as the rest of our wait happens to be.

Keep praying for us and for the family and child we will be matched with.

Let me know how we can be praying for you.

Kristen


Friday, April 29, 2016

15 Months Waiting

Hey! Thanks for stopping by today. First a little update. March 16 we found out that we received a grant from the JSC Foundation! This is a sizable grant, and they have asked us not to share the amount because they are a private foundation. But we feel so honored to have been chosen to receive it. In March also we had a fundraiser at Chick-Fil-A that my students set up for us, it was great. TONS of my kids showed up to help and to eat. We had face painting and we served people and talked to people about adoption. We still don't have the official numbers but from my calculations (ha!) we made $200 in donations and $3-400 in selling food. I'll let you know when we get official numbers, but wow that truly exceeded my expectations. The week before our fundraiser I prayed that we would bring in $300 and God really showed up.





As of yesterday we have been waiting for 15 months. WOW that is a long time. Well, it's not but it feels SO LONG!


It's hard waiting for something that you don't know when it will come. This waiting has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I've never waited this long for something, especially when there's not an end in sight. I have, of course, waited for things before. I waited and prayed almost 6 months between deciding to leave my job at VSDB and getting my paperwork to start my job I have now, and God showed up in big ways to make that happen. We've prayed and waited to hear God give us an answer through many decisions. But this is a hard one. This is one I haven't heard an answer from God except "wait." And it has been hard to feel like God is coming through for us. Many days it feels like God is not showing up. Now- of course I KNOW this is not true, God is always working in the background even if we can't see Him. I'm glad that God is big enough to take my questions and my doubt, and that I'm not alone in this. David questions God's presence and plan multiple times through the Psalms, and he always goes back to remembering that God is holy, perfect, and always there and worthy of praise. The wait has taught me that it is okay to be honest with God, to not always trust my feelings, and 10,000 other things - if you want to talk to me about what I've learned let's do it! I feel like above all it is forcing me to trust that God's got this and that He will show up in a big way when the time is right and I CANNOT WAIT to share that story with you. Of course we hope and pray our baby comes sooner rather than later, but above all we pray for God's will to be done above our own. My mom always says, "If you don't know what to pray, pray for God's will to be done." And she is so right, that prayer never fails. So, I will wait on and trust in the Lord to fulfill His promises to me, even when I don't feel Him, even when I feel lost, even when I feel like there is no hope, because He is Holy. 

Psalm 22:1-3 My God, my God why have You abandoned me? Why are You so far away when I groan for help? Everyday I call to You, my God, but You do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. Yet You are holy. 

1 Peter 1: 6 - So be truly glad, there is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Comparison is the Thief of Joy



"Comparison is the thief of joy." Google tells me that Theodore Roosevelt said that. He was a wise man to come up with that saying. Lately, that statement runs very true for me. It is so hard not to compare what I have (or my perceived lack of what I have) to what others have.

"Why did they get a baby - they've only been waiting 2 months?"
"It's not fair that they got pregnant and we can't."
"No, you don't understand the longing I feel, you've only waited (insert a number of months less than the number we've been waiting)."
"It's not fair that our book has been seen 8 times, and every time is a no, when (insert random person I probably don't know) got their baby after (insert number less than 8) views."
"Why does God come through for everyone else?" (and what did I do for God to not give me a baby?)
"I can't believe she is complaining about being pregnant, at least she can have a baby and all I have is my name on a waiting list, an empty nursery, and $20,000 of debt."

These are the UGLY thoughts lies that have been crashing around in my head. Now, they aren't all "lies," I do know of people in the same state, with the same agency who only waited 2 months and 3 months. I do know people who have gotten pregnant. BUT what I tell myself is that it isn't "fair." And that's not really true. In my bubble, in my perspective, it's not fair. But, who am I to decide what someone else deserves, or what happens to them, it is not always a matter of fair. These are all me comparing what I have to someone else in regards to our baby and our adoption.

I think at any stage of life we can compare what we are going through with someone else. Someone else's marriage, job, socioeconomic status, etc. So this (hopefully) is not just something I struggle with, please tell me I'm not alone in playing the comparison game. (actually I wish I was - I wish no one else had to struggle with this, but it is always nice to not be alone in something).

So for me, the longer we wait, the easier it is to see the negative and not the joy. The easier it is to compare my situation to someone else's, when  I don't know all the details (not that knowing the details makes a difference). And the harder I have to look to see God's blessings and to make sure I focus on truth and on joy.

Here are some truths that I know:
Everyone's situation is different, maybe they struggled with something else, or maybe they just needed a baby sooner. Or maybe that baby has issues that I am not prepared to deal with. And, obviously that baby was not meant to be mine.

Everyone has their own struggles. Infertility is one of mine, and usually I'm okay with it. Without infertility I would not be on the road to adoption, and I wouldn't change that for anything.

Everyone feels the adoption wait differently. It's hard. No matter how long you've waited. And I know that it is true that we will wait the right amount of time.

The right family will pick us at the right time.

Our baby will come at the right time in the right way.

God comes through on His promises and He promises us a lot. He is my constant and my joy. Keeping my eyes on Him and His plan for me prevents me from comparing my situation to others. And keeps me full of joy. And nothing I ever do could change His plan for me and change the good things that He has had planned for me and my family since before there was time. I cannot compare what He has given me to what He has given others. God blesses and loves us all equally and He gives all of us what is best.

The best thing to do when these feelings creep in (or crash in) is to acknowledge that they are there, that they are probably lies (or at least that they don't bring joy), focus on what does bring joy and pray for joy, peace, and love for the person you are comparing yourself too. Plus, remind yourself that everyone's struggle is different. And above all CHOOSE JOY.

There is true and real victory for me in Jesus through my pain, and He has shown up and will continue to show up in miraculous ways that glorify Him and not me. In this there is joy. Real joy.

My life is about Him, not about me. He is worth my worship, my struggle, and my praise.

Proverbs 16:3-4 - Commit your actions to the Lord, and Your plans will succeed, the Lord has made everything for His own purposes...

Proverbs 3:6 - Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take

Philippians 4:4 - Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again - rejoice!

James 1:2 - Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way consider it an opportunity for great joy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

God is Good

Happy April! Even though I saw flurries this morning it is still April and spring! I love spring because everything is new again. But I hate allergies - they are killing me today. In March we had 1 profile view and as of March 28 we have been waiting 14 months. Our social worker says we should be encouraged by this. That our book is so active. Most people don't have a very active book when they've only been waiting 14 months. So that is good. But it is hard to remember to be encouraged, and to not look at the "no's" as something discouraging. But, we do our best to view them as something positive and keep our minds on God's plan for us and the positives of our situation, because there are a lot :).

There's Penelope with our board. She was scared of it so this is as good as it got. March was an interesting month. One thing that happened was that we were contacted on social media by an expectant mother who liked our blog and thought we were genuine. We tried to hook her up with our agency, which she was interested in and then there was some miscommunication between her and the agency and us, and I'm not sure where she stands now. And that's okay, she is allowed to feel however she wants. We just hope the best for her and that she finds the support she needs regardless of her decision and regardless if she finds an agency or not. Please be praying for her and her pregnancy. 
The last week of March was also spring break for me, which was awesome to have a break from school. I got to see some of my best friends, my family, and get out of town for a while all of which was really good. 

This month I want to blog about the idea that God is good. This is something that is so true all the time. No matter what life brings God is good. Adam and I were talking and we noticed something. When good things happen in life people always say "God blessed me with this, God is good." And that is true, very true. But often people do not say God is good and that God blessed us with something in the midst of a struggle. I think we need to remember even more in our struggling and suffering that God is good. God often blesses us in the midst of struggle, and sometimes we can look back and see how a struggle is a blessing. I believe at this point I can say I have been blessed with infertility - as this made our decision to adopt so much easier and will ultimately be part of why we get our child and have the family we have. We can say that through the wait God is good, not because of circumstances but because He is God and that is part of His character. God works everything for His good because He is good. When we suffer God is still good. When people die, God is still good, when the worst possible things in life happen, when we look at the world around us and all the bad things that happen, we can still say God is good. SO - even though we've waited for over a year, even though we have been told many "no's," even though we have no idea when our baby is coming, God is still good. And God will be JUST as good when we get matched, when our baby comes home, and when we finalize our adoption. God is always good. 

Psalm 107:1 - Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What I Don't Want to Write About

I don't want to write this post. But I need to write this post. I have committed to being honest and giving other people a place where their feelings are shared and they can relate to what I'm going through. One thing I feel like I need to share is my struggle with anxiety.
Ok, I said it, now you know.

I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was in college, my first semester of college. No, this is not a self-diagnosis, and it was not normal anxiety you experience when you are in a new place, or a new situation. This was (and still is) life paralyzing, struggle to get out of bed anxiety. Now, anxiety can be different for people. For me, it was (and isn't) fear of anything. For me it is just a terrible anxious feeling that over takes my entire body. My heart pounds, I feel on edge all the time, I feel like I can't breathe. It's almost like anticipating something (good or bad) but not knowing what it is, and nothing makes it go away.It's kind of like that feeling when you're a kid when Santa is coming and you can't sleep, but it's not usually a good feeling. For me I don't know what causes it - that's not always true, it's not knowing something or being able to control something, but sometimes I really don't know and just have bad anxious days. (SIDE NOTE - A side effect of PCOS is anxiety - duh - wacky hormones cause anxiety no surprise here). My anxiety, makes me sick to my stomach, makes my brain fuzzy, and gives me that depressed feeling where you don't want to get out of bed. It makes me nervous about social situations, situations that I don't know what to expect, meeting new people, and makes confrontation almost impossible. I've seen counselors, been on medicine on and off a few times, and I still live in a constant state of anxiety. Most of the time I can keep it at bay and it's fine, but sometimes I can't and it makes life really hard to deal with. Usually, hard times come and go for months at a time - I'll have 6 great months and 1 or 2 really hard months, and then it will go away. So, I haven't stayed with a medicine because by the time I find one that works and I give myself time to adjust to it, I don't need it anymore.

So, what does this have to do with adoption? ADOPTION GIVES EVERYONE ANXIETY. Adoption brings on anxiety because you are continually expecting something that feels like it will NEVER come. At least it does for me. Anxiety makes the wait harder - again at least for me. The adoption wait has given me the longest stretch of anxiety I have ever had in my life and the depths of this anxiety are deeper than I've ever experienced. There are days I sit in the shower and sob because it has built up - but it makes it better to release the crazy feelings. And trust me, anxiety makes me a crazy person - or at least feel like one. It takes me a lot of willpower to not check our adoption portal 10,000 times a day (this is not an exaggeration) and spend all my time talking to other people who have been where I am to get some relief and empathy. Adoption is not easy - but it will be SO worth it.

When I have anxiety I pray a lot. A lot a lot. It makes me feel better to talk to the one who created me and who called me to adoption. He gets it. I know that we are called to be anxious for nothing, but I also know that God understand anxiety. If you read Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane I think He felt like I do. And He even knew exactly what was going to happen and when. I think that anxiety becomes sin when we stop trusting that God knows what He's doing even through our anxiety and anxious thoughts, and when we let them rule our life. Which sometimes I am guilty of. Anxiety does not mean I don't trust God. It took me a while to learn this. It means that I have to trust God more, regardless of my emotions. And I have to trust Him to get me through when I know I can't do it alone. It doesn't make the anxiety go away, or even feel better, but it reminds me to hope and it reminds me that I don't have to do it alone.

There ya go. That's my honest post for the day. Hopefully this helps you if you struggle know you're not alone. Let me know so I know I'm not alone too!

Thanks for reading,
XOXO - Kristen

Monday, March 7, 2016

Kelsey's Story



Today I am going to share Kelsey's story with you. Kelsey (and her husband Tyler) has an amazing adoption story and I asked her if I could share it and she said 'of course.' Kelsey is my friend who I met on Facebook (I promise it's not as sketchy as it sounds). We met on an adoption group - I noticed she was from VA and we messaged each other and realized we don't live far apart. So, we decided to get together and talk about adoption and now we get together about once a week and share life. Recently, she was able to share her awesome adoption experience with me and I am so blessed to hear this and now to share it with you.


Friday February 26 - Kelsey and I meet for coffee after school as we do often. We talk about life, adoption, and the wait. Kelsey shares with me that she is frustrated with her agency (they signed the contract the week prior). The agency was waiting for them to pay a fee and Kelsey was waiting for them to approve her homestudy. She said that she tried to call and pay the fee over the phone but for some reason her cards wouldn't work, even though they had the money in the account. So, she sent them a check and as of this day they still hadn't got it. So we talked about how frustrating that can be and moved on.

Saturday February 27 - I get a phone call from Kelsey that evening and she shared that she could have a baby in 6 weeks. My response was WHAT? How is this possible? The agency hasn't even got your check or approved your homestudy and you haven't even made your profile book. BUT - she shared that an acquaintance of hers called her about an adoption situation. This acquaintance was supposed to adopt from an expectant mother, but the expectant mother moved and the legal fees increased and her and her husband had to back off from the adoption. BUT they called Kelsey to see if she was interested. Kelsey talked to Tyler and they said YES OF COURSE. At the time the baby was due April 10, the baby is a girl (which Kelsey and Tyler requested!!!). So, the family was called that night and asked Kelsey to call them the next evening after they had a chance to discuss it.

Sunday February 28 - Kelsey tells me the phone call with the family went great! They talked to the expectant mother's parents and got a long fabulously. She said it could not have gone any better and they got a better understanding of the situation.

Tuesday March 1 - Kelsey texts me and says after EM's doctor appointment baby is now due April 2! 1 month!!!! Start freak out now! Kelsey also calls her agency who still haven't got her check and they are willing to hold their spot and the check until after they meet the EM and family.

Saturday March 5 - Kelsey and Tyler go meet the EM and her parents. Kelsey said it went great they got along well and are all ready to move forward with the process.

So now Kelsey has a month and she will be a mama to a beautiful baby girl. This was not her plan, but God's plan and His plan is SO much better. She gets her baby much sooner than waiting with an agency, she met a family who wants the same things out of an open adoption, and their fees are tens of thousands of dollars less.
I firmly believe that God prevented her check from getting to her agency and her homestudy from being approved because He had such a different plan she couldn't even imagine!
I am SOOOO excited for her and CANNOT WAIT to meet her baby and celebrate adoption with her.
Head on over to waitingforabigailsage.blogspot.com and leave her some love and learn more about her adoption story!

thanks for reading and letting me share with you!
- Kristen