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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Adoption Update

I wanted to give everyone an update of what the latest is with our adoption. I was hoping to wait and get more clarity on things, but I thought it would be best to share what we know so far… Once we were no longer pregnant, we wanted to make sure that we could pick back up on our adoption. So, many phones calls and emails to our agency later, we were back to active status as of June 13th! We actually weren’t officially put on hold until April 19th, so we really were only on hold for less than 2 months. However, according to our agency, this does not necessarily mean that we get to be placed right back where we were in line, so to speak. It is the agency in Korea that decides these things. Barker, our agency here, explained our situation in email to them and had requested that they would honor where we were in our wait, (which had been 7 months at the time they put us on hold). They quickly received a reply from SWS (our South Korean agency), that they would consider that request. Barker thought that sounded very promising and was encouraged by their response. I, on the other hand, didn’t 100% see it that way. It wasn’t like a guarantee or anything. It was more like a “we will think about it” type of response. But to help ease our pain a little, we were told that two of the ladies from Barker will be traveling to Korea in September and they would specifically ask about us and where we were in the wait. Hopefully by end of September, we will know whether or not we got put back where we were or if we are starting over in our waiting. So, right now, there is no way to know for sure where we are in the process. There have also been other recent changes (surprise, surprise) to the Korean program. This is kind of a complicated thing to explain, but I will try to keep it as simple as possible. There are only a certain amount of international adoptions the Korean government allows each year. They issue what they call, EPs (exit permits), which basically gives the adoptive parents permission to come to Korea, get your child, and bring them into the United States. Well, apparently our agency has already run out of EPs for this year, which means no more referrals until the fall. Travel will then happen at the beginning of next year (February-ish) when the Korean government issues a new batch of EPs. There is a lot more involved than this, but I didn't want to overwhelm you too much. I know it is tough to understand this adoption lingo. ;) So, basically, at the earliest, we might be able to receive a referral this fall and travel at the beginning of the year. But like I said, that is the earliest. At worse, we could be waiting another few years. I am hopeful that we will get a referral soon, but at the same time, with all the changes that have been happening lately, I can’t help but be a little guarded. I am praying for God’s will and that I will be content in whatever that may be. On a brighter note, we received another grant! It was from a great organization called, Katelyn’s Fund. I submitted the application back in December and didn’t expect to hear anything at this point. We actually got the call soon after our miscarriage, and felt like it was such an encouragement during that time. We had an interview with a panel on speaker phone and each one of them prayed over us and our adoption. They were so kind to us and I felt so honored that they would give us a $3000 grant! It was such a blessing because my surgery after I miscarried cost us almost $3000. This money was going to be taken from our savings we set aside for our adoption, so God provided the same amount to cover it and keep us back on track for our adoption! So, as far as our adoption expenses go, we have enough to accept our referral and pay the rest of our agency fees, which was, by far, our biggest hurdle! The only amount we have left is basically our travel costs and expenses (around $6000)! If you haven’t realized by now, God is so good!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Trusting Him

To be honest, I have been kinda delaying in writing this post. Because, for one, I struggled with how much I should share; and two, I didn’t look forward to painfully replaying things in my head again when I just wanted to move on. But I knew when I started this blog, I wanted it to be a shared, ongoing testimony of our journey of becoming parents, complete with struggles and miracles. When God first inspired us to adopt, I knew this was going to be a BIG thing, and I wanted to document how He was going to make this happen. I’m probably the most extremely inadequate person to ever write a blog, as I have a hard time explaining things, my grammar and spelling are atrocious, and sometimes I don’t feel sufficient enough in my walk with God to be able to express how truly amazing He really is. But I feel led to do this, and believe, even in all my inadequacies, the Lord can still use me in some way to bring Him glory. So, after much prayer, this is what I felt led to share… It’s been almost a month now since we found out we lost our baby. On May 19th, we had made an appointment to determine the sex at a 3D ultrasound facility. Bryan’s mother and sister joined us to share with us what we believed would be some of the happiest news of our lives. Instead, it was the saddest moment of our lives. Our technician told us we needed to see my doctor because something was wrong. We eventually discovered our baby had passed at about 16 weeks. We were devastated, to say the least, and mourned the loss of our miracle baby that had taken 4 and ½ years to conceive. I experienced a lot of different emotions at first, but mostly I just felt sad. I don’t think I have ever felt that utterly sad before. I will hold off on much of the details, because it isn’t my goal to make you all feel sorry for me or Bryan. Instead, if possible, I would like to encourage you with what God has taught us through this storm. Yes, we were sad. Our hearts ached. We were confused and just didn’t understand. But for the first time, we chose to look at this situation differently. You see, Bryan and I have been here before. I don’t mean that we have had a miscarriage before or experienced even close to a loss like this, but we have experienced the deep heartache of infertility. I would have to say that although this miscarriage was the saddest moment of my life, our struggle with infertility was the hardest. Throughout our first few years of infertility, I struggled with my relationship with God. I was very angry with Him that He chose this life for me. He gave me a heart to be a mother and yet not a womb to carry children! I have cried out to Him with my face in the ground and felt abandoned by Him. My heart ached so much it physically hurt and I begged Him to take my life if I could never be pregnant. Fast forward (about one year and four months ago), God revealed something better to me, His plan for our lives...adoption. You have heard me say this before, but God suddenly opened our eyes to the world of adoption and we couldn’t look back. He revealed to us that adoption was not second best to biologically building a family; it was just as amazing, but in a different way. Believe it or not, we actually grew thankful for our infertility and considered it a blessing. If not for that, we would have NEVER considered adoption. So, you see, even though we were sad when we lost our baby, we could not fall into that pattern of self-pity and anger with God. Before we had ever become pregnant, we had already experienced firsthand that our plans are not His plans, and that His plans are definitely better than what we could ever imagine. We had to choose to exercise our faith and trust that God has a reason for this too. Yes, we miss our baby. More than I ever thought possible. Along with this adoption, we truly experienced a love for a child that we haven’t even met, and it’s heartbreaking to be separated. But I am comforted in knowing he or she is dwelling in the Lord’s glory and cannot ever be hurt by the pain and sin here on earth. I cannot forget the miracle He gave us in that baby we never thought we could conceive, and will forever be grateful that, if I never become pregnant again, I got to at least carry this angel for 4 months. We know we will, one day, get to hold our baby in our arms and spend the rest of eternity together in heaven. There is no doubt that life is hard and we all experience storms. But God is able to comfort you and can bring you peace when you never thought it was possible. The Bible says in Proverbs 3:5 for us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…” We are so limited in our view here on earth. We can’t see the purpose in all things and what lies ahead, but God can. He promises us that His plans are good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). So knowing all this, it is way easier for me to trust Him, than it is for me to suffer and wonder why. This is just my story, but I pray that God will use it to inspire you to trust Him as well. To all of you who follow our journey and are prayer warriors for us, thank you. I plan to keep sharing our updates with you as He continues to expand our testimony of parenthood.