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

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Blessings from Adoption

My mom and I were talking the other day about how hard waiting for something you want is. But, we ended up talking also about how many good things happen while you are waiting for something that God has for you. So I thought I'd share all the blessings we have experienced and seen while we have been waiting to adopt.

* First we have learned SO MUCH about adoption, birth families, foster care, and so much more, which has really prepared us to be adoption advocates and really come to love adoption. We also have been able to educate people when they ask about adoption.

* Friends - I have made so many friends on social media (there is a fabulous adoption community on instagram - who knew?!?) I also have met someone through an adoption Facebook group who lives close enough that we get together on a regular basis. She has become one of my best friends and it is so nice to have someone who I can talk to who understands the adoption process and is there with me through the wait. That friendship is so invaluable.

*Setting up the nursery. This may not be something that is good for everyone, but for me this gives me hope. And truly having the nursery is a blessing and I LOVE our nursery, I can't wait to use it.

*We have seen our community and my online adoption community step up to help us with our finances. We have raised close to $3,000 total through all our fundraising, and so much of that is from people we don't even know.

* Our wait and experience has given us the desire to do foster care in the future as we see the need for good foster families.

*We have learned how to listen to God's desire for our family and rest in His sovereignty and His timing. We are also learning patience (obviously). And how to actively hope.

* We have heard so many stories about how adoption has touched other people's lives, which is always encouraging to us.

* We have been able to encourage others in their wait and their adoption journey

*This blog has actually been a HUGE blessing. I started this blog for a couple reasons, I wanted to give an honest perspective on adoption which is so hard to find, I wanted to keep family and friends updated on this journey, and I wanted an outlet for myself.This blog has accomplished that and more. I have had so many people write me and tell me that they are feeling this way, or remember feeling this way. I have made connections with people who I never met who pray for me and who encourage me and who I pray for and encourage.

*I have been able to teach my kids at school a lot about adoption which has been really cool and hopefully they consider it in the future.

So, I'm sure there are more, but these are a some of the ways we have been blessed already. What blessings have you experienced while waiting to adopt? Let me know!

With Love,