Tag Archives: International Adoption

Cielo

10 Nov

Alright, so reading back over some of my post from the past year I am a little embarrassed by what I have shared. I know I shouldn’t be because all of those feelings and struggles were/are real and I did, in those moments, need to share what was on my heart and mind.

But holy crap that’s a lot of whining and shitty feelings. That is just not me.

Yes, I feel things very deeply and am often overwhelmed by the negative thoughts in my head. But I have hope and joy and peace and my life is so magical and full. That is who I am. And I am so, so blessed with people in my life who remind me of that when I fall a little too hard.

If I have cornered you in a conversation for longer than five minutes, I hopefully have shared with you my love for my church family. They are the coolest people on the face of the earth and I would be lost without them. I am exceedingly grateful that God has led me to them and allows me to do life with them.

My Ladies

I gave up on religion a long time ago. I have absolutely no time in my life for legalism and judgment and appearances. The faith that I have found and share with the world is based on one thing and one thing only.

God Is

Love and relationships built out of love are all I desire and all that I hope to give away.

I do not want to argue doctrine or draw lines between denominations based on who is right and who is wrong. I just want to understand where you are coming from and meet you there. I want to love you for who you are and not who I think you should be. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for in this life? Love and acceptance.

And I’m not perfect. I fail ALL THE TIME. I judge without realizing it. I make assumptions based on my understanding of things instead of finding out someone else’s perspectives. I get righteously angry and my passion goes before my reason. But if I can find my way back to God and His love for me, confess anything that is not based out of love in my heart and make an effort to do better the next day, isn’t that the best that any of us can do?

Thankfully I have been welcomed into a group of people who feel the same way. We are a small and rag-tag bunch who will simply love the crap out of you. We are casual to a fault and base our weekly meetings on coffee, bagels and worship. We all share what God has been doing in our lives. We celebrate. We comfort. We mourn. We do life. We realize that God has an individual plan for each of us and we support each other as we pursue these callings. Everything else tends to fall to the side and I like it that way.

So with this in mind, these people rescued me from myself this week.

Without a doubt, this week was the hardest I have endured to date with our adoption. Expectations and timelines have been shattered and I was utterly broken. I cried more than I have ever cried over this process. I spent an entire day in bed. But it was all worth it.

Even in my despair and my brokenness, I knew that there was hope and that God was at work. He had so much for me on the other side of that meltdown. I was able to let go of everything that I had been holding on to with regards to how I thought our adoption should play out and I am truly and honestly ready to just wait on Him and His plan. I still had to drag my butt out of bed this morning and force myself to church (because I love sleep and my bed….) but I’m so glad that I did.

I was able to sit in the stillness of God’s presence and turn my focus and attention to Him. As I did so, everything else melted away. In light of who He is and how much He loves me, everything else is not so heavy in my heart.

In all of my frustration and resentment, it is not God that I am angry with. It is the world. It is this.

Orphans

Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world” James 1:27

I am not okay with being corrupted by a world of apathy and complacency. I was reminded by one of my dearest friends today that the Lord has placed within me a righteous and burning anger towards injustice in this world. Yes, it is heavy and exhausting, but I am honoured that God thinks I am strong enough to take on such a fight.

I know that I cannot fight the battle for an entire population of orphans, but I can champion the cause of one nation. And I can be the Mama to one tiny soul. That one soul means more to me than I can put into words.

God is good and His heart hurts more than mine ever could for those without a family and He is angered by injustice too. But all I can do is focus on His love for me and my family and the one orphan who we can help.

And thanks to CityLight Church, today I am able to stand a little taller and love a little deeper because of their love and belief in me.

I have many, many friends outside of this church who also cheer me on and I would likewise be lost without you. Thank you for enduring my whining and complaining throughout this journey. I promise to return the favour when your heart and desires become too heavy.

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Feelings are Stupid

28 Oct

Last night I poured myself a glass of Riesling and then burst into tears.

It was the culmination of far too many thoughts and feelings. I am a little bit lost at the moment and I probably have been for awhile now.

Before I dive into what has been swirling around in my head lately, I should pause to say that I know I have a beautiful and wonderful and truly blessed life. I try my best in each day to be thankful and to never take a moment of my crazy schedule for granted. But sometimes the feelings are just a little too overwhelming.

Even before we received word that we had been granted approval for our adoption to move forward, my head had been full of stress and anxiety. And while we are thrilled that things are moving ahead, there has been no new news. I always try to be reasonable when setting my goals and expectation in terms of when things will be finalized and we can jump on a plane. By Christmas seemed absolutely possible….. but I’m going to have to let go of that dream. Of course my heart is heavy, but that leaves me with more to look forward to in the new year.

So again, we wait.

And life doesn’t pause or stop or slow down just because of what’s going on with our adoption. On the contrary, it zooms and flies around us with terrifying speed. I have made myself so busy that I have almost no down time. This way I don’t have endless hours to ponder the “what ifs” and the “maybe tomorrows” and there is no time to research baby bottles and carriers and cribs. This also leaves me with little time for the things that really matter; quality time with my girls, with my husband, time to be intentional about my own well being.

Minivans are cool!

I spend many hours each day with the girls, but they are filled with school, activities and appointments. And when they’re not scheduled to the brim, I am working. I have become obsessive about my jobs. I love each of them dearly and give my very best to every task. I want to help with our monthly income and some days I truly succeed. But mostly I continue to add to my own stress by feeling the need to do everything perfectly and all at once.

Working It

Wine and jewels, wine and jewels

Piles of clean laundry overflow beside my desk and the clean dishes never really get put away. I love having a clean space to think in, to create in and to simply be in, but I can’t seem to find the energy or the desire to change my surroundings. This causes even more stress and anxiety.

And to add to all of these feelings, I have gained 15lbs since June. Sure stress will contribute to that, but so will the glass or two of wine each night. I feel like I’m failing myself and none of my clothes fit. I make time to workout and I count my calories, but everything just feels forced and empty. My outlook on the world is constantly coloured by how I feel about my body.

I do not share these things to make anyone else feel bad or to find an answer or to have anyone else shout “me too!”. I know that I am not alone. I know that I am not the only person, mother, woman to have ever felt these feelings in the history of the world. Others have gone before me and endured these same things. But that thought leaves me with little comfort.

I have the best friends in the entire world and my family is exceedingly patient with all of my dizzying craziness. They listen to me over and over again. And I read blog upon blog about stress, anxiety, depression, adoption stress, body image solutions, healthy eating habits and so on and on and etc…. but none of this will be going away anytime soon.

We're cute.

At this very moment, my life is not what I desire it to be. It is full and amazing and I have so much to be grateful for. I will wake up again tomorrow and will throw myself into my day with reckless abandon, checking things of my ever-growing list. But something is missing. Some one is missing.

Will having this child in my arms fix every negative feeling that I have? I am not naive enough to believe this. Of course it will not. But it will end this feeling of limbo that I exist in. Maybe I will be able to plan for things again with great certainty. Maybe I will allow myself a day off to truly savour and enjoy. Maybe I will sit still long enough to re-evaluate my goals and dreams and priorities. Maybe I will feel a little bit of peace. Then again, maybe not. Emotions and expectations are tricky little bastards.

I know that I am the master of my own mind and feelings, and maybe this is why I feel the need to share all of my yuckiness. If I type these words into my computer and send them out into the abyss for everyone to read and criticize and analyse, or ignore, then the thoughts will now live outside of my body and they will no longer consume me.

Having said all of this, please do not read TOO much into my melancholy. I believe in hope and magic and the promises of rainbows. I know that joy comes in the morning and I do experience love and laughter on a daily basis. But sometimes the waiting is just too much and I break.

Be Kind

I won’t pour myself a glass of wine tonight, but I might just sob while destroying a few calories on the elliptical. And I know that that is okay. Maybe.

The One You’ve Been Waiting For…

22 Aug

If you’ve been following our adoption journey, whether intimately through weekly phone calls and text message or from afar through this page, this is it. The post you’ve all been waiting for…

Our adoption is official!!!

Everything has gone through!!!

This is a reality!!!

Sparkles! Rainbows! Confetti! Music! Hugs! Laughter!

Celebrate!

At least that’s how I should feel, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic. I’m elated. I’m so grateful to God for His faithfulness to ridiculous little me. I’m thankful and my heart is so full… But…

This journey isn’t over yet.

So what comes next? Death by paperwork.

In the coming weeks our contacts in the country will work with authorities to find us a child (eeek!!!!) but from there all of the paperwork needed to send our agency the official match proposal must be in place. Medical records, police reports, any and all documentation that the Canadian government would need for us to be able to accept a proposal. Sigh. Even here in Canada such paperwork could be slow moving. Just typing out these words is slowly killing my joy.

We are done with waiting!!!

But that’s the reality. More waiting.

So here’s what we need from you. Yes, please celebrate with us! We are so thrilled and want to share this excitement with you. Then please join with us in this prayer:

  1. That The Lord would lead our contact to the child that He has for us. We know that there is a perfect fit for our family and we know that she will be lead by His spirit to find this child. We also pray that The Lord would give her strength in these days as this is a delicate process. Please pray that she would meet angels in every government office that she walks into.
  2. That months would turn into weeks and weeks would turn into days for us. Obviously we have no choice but to wait for as long as this process will take….. but I’m so ready to be on a plane already!!!
  3. That we will be able to continue to raise the money needed to go back to Africa. We do not know at this point how long we would need to be there for or how many countries we may need to visit to obtain the necessary passports and visas to bring our baby home. There are a lot of unknowns still, but we would like to be as financially prepared as possible. (Anyone ready to host a Trunk Show?!?! Free jewels! Bring baby home!!)
  4. For emotional and mental strength. I am quickly becoming unbearable to be around because I so badly want to be with this baby. Poor J-Sauce. Please pray for him.

We are so thankful that you continue to support us throughout this process. Thank you for letting us vent and cry on your shoulders and share our joys and our longing. We love each and everyone of you and couldn’t do this without you.

We hope to be able to share much more good news with you in the coming weeks and months.

 

Shake It Out

3 Aug

In my day to day life people often stop me to ask how things are going. How are the girls? How is work? How is the adoption going…… any news?

These are fair and honest questions. I often have things to share about school, dance, new job opportunities and the few morsels of news we have heard from the adoption agency. But sometimes I have nothing. So I find myself sharing something else; something unexpected but also truly necessary. I begin to share with them what The Lord has been speaking to me, teaching me and guiding me through over the last few days, months or even years.

Allow me to preface this by explaining that I am far from being a perfect example of a “Christian”. I struggle to make time to read my Bible, I listen to music with swear words in them, I occasionally swear, I enjoy a drink from time to time….. I could do a lot to clean up my outward persona.

However, in all of my imperfections, there are a few things that I cling to in my understanding and my relationship with God. Daily, in my mundane and often frustrating existence, I constantly seek His voice. I do find myself in constant prayer, looking for Him around every corner and in every moment. I long to be close to Him and to feel His peace. My heart desires nothing more than to know Him better. And sometimes, in all of my mistakes and worldliness, I am fortunate enough to hear His still small voice and know that I am not too far off the path that He has for me.

This may seem bewildering to you. “How do you hear the voice of God?” And I wish that I had a defined answer for you…..

Sometimes, very rarely, there is something that moves inside of me. Something stirs in my very core, my heart and soul. It shakes me so hard that I cannot deny that THAT in fact was the voice of God. This was my experience when I received the call to pursue an international adoption. There was no denying what I felt and what I needed to do. I could not imagine ever finding a sense of peace within myself had we not decided to journey down this path. Of course it is terrifying and filled with unknowns, but at every fork in the road or obstacle, that moment with The Lord carries me through.

That type of experience has been rare though. And for the most part, I am glad. It is intense and earth shattering and forever alters the way you live. Most of the time I hear the voice of God in a much more subtle way. I hear the voice of God in music (yes, even the secular stuff, filled with hurt and longing for love) and in art. I see The Lord’s beauty and majesty in colours and in the absence of colour. I feel Him in nature. I think this is why I love the Spring so much. I find Him in deep and intimate conversations with close friends where the things I have been struggling with are discussed and my fears are reassured and calmed. It is in the everyday and the unassuming that I most frequently hear the voice of God guiding me and directing me.

So where am I headed with this? How about my tattoos.

Those who know me well know about my body art and my love for tattoos. Ever since I was 11 or 12 years old, I knew that I wanted a tattoo (or many, many tattoos!). And many of you also know my family. This desire has always been a struggle. I love my parents and understand their perception of tattoos (and piercings) so I waited a very long time before I did anything. But each of my tattoos has come from a very personal message or vision that The Lord has shared with me. Some are straightforward. My maiden name in honour of my Grandparents when my Grandfather passed was an easy, spur of the moment decision. I love my family dearly and I chose to grieve that loss by carrying them with me for the rest of my life.

Every time I make the decision to get a new tattoo or a piercing, I walk away feeling more like myself and the person God created me to be. I still understand why I am met by resistance and head shakes from my family (J-Sauce hates them too). But I feel like I am better equipped to face the world and to share my story. A huge part of that is my tattoos.

So this brings us to this week.

Life has been hard and difficult and uncomfortable and relentless…… as it often is. I feel as though I have been surrounded by bad news or conflict everyday. People around me receive bad news and I feel it so intensely. We find roadblocks or delays in the adoption and it is devastating. My natural inclination is to head to bed every night and complain to God that its not fair. But I find that reaction starting to change as He gently speaks to me and listens to my whining and complaining.

We were never promised that life would be fair. In fact Jesus promised us that we would constantly face adversity and hardship. So I find my new reaction to disappointment and bad news to be, “You only get a little time to be upset about this and then you must move on”. I am shocked with myself and, of course, this is easier said than done. But I do feel myself being able to grieve, to hand it over to The Lord and to move on with my life. My wonderful, beautiful, amazing, colourful and blessed life. I have so much to be thankful for that I truly have no reason to hold onto any disappointment for too long.

So in my very brief and punctuated grieving this week, I decided to get a new tattoo. This design is so completely me and I was thrilled with the outcome.

Years ago, while watching How I Met Your Mother, The Lord spoke to me through an episode and a song. (Yep, even in TV shows…..). Ted once again admits his love for Robin. But this time Robin denies his attempt to make something more out of their friendship. She instead asks him to promise that they will hold onto their deal – that if they make it to 40 and are still single they will marry. Ted takes a huge step and bravely says, “No. I can’t wait around and hope that one day I’ll win the lottery and that we’ll finally be together”. Essentially, as long as that deal stood, he would find something wrong with every other relationship he pursued. So long as he had a foot in the door with Robin, no one else would ever measure up. So he had to let her go.

As the episode ends, Ted is standing on their roof (with a fake New York skyline in behind him….. le sigh) and “Shake it Out” by Florence and the Machine starts to play. As Ted exits the bar later on, with the song still playing, it begins to rain. He takes out his black umbrella and opens it. As he steps out onto the street, everyone else walks past…..with their yellow umbrellas.

The yellow umbrella has been the long standing symbol of him finding “The Mother”. Because Ted has been willing to let go of any future that he might have with Robin, everyone has now become an opportunity. Anyone could now be “The Mother”. He can allow himself to fall in love with someone else and to truly be happy.

I cry as I type this out (and every time I explain it to people) because the message hit me so hard. When you let go of the things that hold you in place – regrets, past actions or relationships, hurt feelings and disappointment – everything else in front of you becomes an opportunity; an opportunity to love, to find joy, to be thankful, to share your story.

This message strikes so much deeper in my heart than I will ever be able to fully explain, but I think that this little portion is enough to express what God has been doing in my heart and my life lately.

I walked into my tattoo shop with just a rough outline and pure optimism. What Sasha created is more than I ever could have hoped for. (And a rainbow on Pride weekend! How perfect!) It is everything that I need and wanted it to be. I love it and am willing to share that part of my story with you.

Shake It Out

 

When life gets me down and things happen that break my heart, I have a good reminder to shake it out and hand it over to The Lord. If I let it go, I can then stand and wait for His still small voice to guide me towards my next yellow umbrella.

 

This song breaks me. She is amazing. I can’t get enough of this performance. That dress, her voice, the choir……gah! So good.

When Mother’s Day is Difficult

11 May

Coffee, breakfast in bed, cards, flowers, brunch with Grandmothers, extra cuddles and “I Love You’s”. Everything that a day designed to celebrate being a Mother or having a Mother should be. But why does it hurt so much this year?

I have a few theories.

Over the last few years, we have had many families close to us experience the unimaginable loss of a child. Whether through an accident or illness, we seem to be unable to go very long without hearing of another Mother having to say goodbye to her beautiful child. I do not and will not ever understand how someone is able to withstand such a heartbreaking situation.

Thankfully, many of the women (and men) that I have watched walk through this devastation have done so with a tremendous amount of love, inspiration and hope. This is not to say that the emotions they feel are not overwhelming, heavy and very real; however they have graciously shared their journey and daily realities with those around them and they have leaned on the ever present shoulder of a loving God. I am continually amazed by the strength with which these parents draw from to face a world that is forever missing an important piece. I do not share these things to be heavy and depressing, but rather to honour these wonderful people in my life who have shown me what true love and pure hope looks like. My life is forever changed as a daughter and as a Mother because of these people and their journeys. I love a little harder, laugh a little longer and cry a little more openly just for them. Mother’s Day is different for me now in the light of their stories.

Likewise, it was a year ago that I stood in front of our church congregation and joyfully exclaimed that J-Sauce and I would be travelling to Africa for the first time. Because of the newly developing protocol in the country we are involved with, it was necessary for us to make that trip with the hope of being able to see things move along with our adoption. And while it was a gift in our adoption story and we were both forever changed by it…… It was a year ago. Another year has come and gone. We still have no news on our child. How is this possible?

Mama and Babe

I could take the time to speak of hope and trust and belief in The Lord’s timing (which I still firmly hold on to) but my heart just isn’t in it today. It physically hurts my heart to hope at this time.

But that’s okay because I know that this journey is not finished yet and there is work yet to be done in my own life before this child will join us and will call me Mommy.

As I ponder that day, sometimes hourly or even minute by minute, I am reminded of another very important reality involved in this story. And I feel horrifically selfish.

I am not the only Mother in this story. There is another. She will carry this child within her womb. She will hope and dream and worry about the hows and the whys and the whos for her child as it grows and moves within her belly. She might pray and beg The Lord for guidance. She is likely alone, scared, angry or disgusted by her situation. She maybe my age or she may only be child herself. Whatever the details of her life may be, there is one thing for certain: she will make a very difficult decision and her precious baby will one day become mine.

We will probably never know this Mother, but even now I am eternally tied to her. I may never be able to thank her for the beautiful gift that I will be given, but I will love her all the same.

Today is Mother’s Day and I am unable to put into actual English words the love that I have for my precious, sparkling and unique girls. This is a daily existence for me. I am forever thankful that I have been chosen to be their Mother for as long as God will allow me. But my heart and soul is torn. It is torn for Mother’s who will not be able to hold their children today. It is torn for the women who make the selfless decision to allow someone else to raise their treasures. It is torn for the women who long to become Mother’s and yet continue to be unable to do so. I have no answers for these feelings and that is alright. I think they are important feelings to have and to explore, however uncomfortable they are.

All I can do today, as my heart has moments of sadness, is to hang onto the promises of God and to trust in His good and perfect will. If I did not have that hope, I don’t know how else I could face this very difficult Mother’s Day.

A Waiting Bunny