Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Preparation of the Heart...

March 2004.  My last cycle on chlomid and insemination came to an end.  That night Nick was out with a friend, and I was feeling pretty down about everything, when I picked up the book a Purpose Driven Life that someone had given to me awhile back.  I decided for the next 40 days I was going to go through that book a chapter a day.  In the back was Scripture references, so I spent each morning writing out those verses and God used that time in great ways for encouragement - and poured into me exactly what I needed as He was preparing my heart for a change. 

ADOPTION AGENCY DECISION

Nick and I talked and at the end of March he gave me the go ahead to start researching out adoption agencies.  And research I did.  I talked to people, looked online, asked around for packets, figured out questions to ask, called different agencies and asked those questions.  We visited a few agency meetings, and then I talked to my friend Anastasia who had also done some research recently, and she told me about Bethany Christian Services.  We found out they had an evening meeting close by, so we went to it. 
Everything they said and their heart behind what they did lead us to choosing them to be our agency.  We had 100% peace that by the end of the evening we left them with our first deposit and thus began the first stage of paperwork.
The next step we needed to do with them, was attend an all day class in Seattle.  We found out the next meeting was at the end of June, but it was on a friend's wedding day, whom I was suppose to do all the make up for.  Nick and I debated about it a bit, prayed about it, and I talked to my friend and her family.  The next meeting wasn't until September, and we would not be able to start our homestudy until we attended this meeting, so with my friend's gracious understanding, I left them with all the make up supplies that they would need, and off we went to Seattle the meeting. 
It was an interesting meeting.  One term that Nick and I had discussed a little was "open adoption."  That idea scared me.  There was an adoptive couple their with their birth parents, acting like such good friends with their little boy, and I did not understand this.  I knew I would not be able to handle something like that, so I made it very clear to Nick after that meeting I would only be okay with a semi-open adoption, but not at all up for anything like what we had just witnessed today.  One thing Bethany did share was that there was actually a lot of birth moms they were counseling through the decision of whether or not adoption was best for them, and they had a shortage of adoptive families right now.  For some reason that just encouraged me and Nick as we walked along this path, that the time was right. 
I immediately got to work on more paperwork, and on 4 original scrapbooks about Nick and I, that we needed to submit for each Bethany office in the Northwest.  We had to write autobiographies and answer specific questions about how we were raised.  We started our homestudy and met Roxanne - our caseworker who would walk us through the process.  I started going online and looking at pictures and letters written by hopeful adoptive parents that were waiting to be chosen, and I started praying for them.  One couple in particular stood out to me and I prayed my little heart out for them.  Then at one of our homestudy times Roxanne shared how there was a couple that had been waiting for a long time that just got placed with twins - and I went back online that night and saw that the couple I had been praying for had been placed.  I was SO excited for them.
By the end of September we had all our paperwork done and were approved for adoption, but we decided to wait to go one the waiting list, until November.  We were moving at the end of October, and I wanted to be settled in our new home and have a nursery ready before we went on the list.  In the middle of November we finally went on the list, and we then we waited.  During that time, my niece was born right after Thanksgiving, and I remember praying - so excited for Joy and Sam, and yet so aching that my time would be soon too, and I started off with my prayer... "Lord, I so badly want for Christmas..." and then I stopped....  and changed.  "Lord, You know what my heart wants for Christmas - I don't need to tell you that - Your timing is perfect, and I would rather have that than take control of this anymore."   So I surrendered the dream once more, and was willing to wait for HIS best. 

THE LORD'S PROVISIONS & BLESSINGS

I want to say, that after feeling like I kept hitting a brick wall in trying to get pregnant, that the moment we started the adoption process, there was nothing I could do to STOP what was going on - it was me and Nick along for the ride that God had planned for us.

One of the first things the Lord provided was a Job.  Solid Rock was planted on Easter of that year.  During that time, we wanted to help however we could.  Nick was working and in school for his master's degree, so I was the one with more free time during that season of life.  I started helping once a week in the office and then Doug Rathkey called to talk to me about having me work part time as a church secretary.  I was beyond excited to do it.  I hadn't worked since Nick and I were married, so me and my lack of tact wanted to make sure that Doug knew I had bad cramps that put me in bed once a month, just so he would know if that happened on a work day I might need to leave in the middle of the day.  Poor Doug - but he was very gracious and understanding and I committed to working through the end of September and thus began a very fun season of helping the pastors with a wide range of needs as our church was beginning.  I will always cherish the memory of that time, and the priviledge of getting to work for 3 godly guys, and see the heart behind the church that was being started, in a very real way.  It was a beautiful gift from the Lord that helped us save for adoption, and also allowed me to play a very small part in the HUGE thing HE was doing. 

Second thing He provided.  We sold our house - the home I dreamed of bringing my children home to. 
And we sold it very quickly.  We found an apartment to rent from my friend Jennifer for the exact amount of time that we needed while we would wait for our new Beaverton townhome to be built.  Our house closed just a few days before we went to go pick out all the features for our new place at Arbor Homes, which made it really special because it showed me God cares about the little details too - and allowed us to choose a few extra touches on our townhome to make it special.  Timing is everything.  We got to move into our new townhouse and thanks to a great suggestion I spent time painting rooms ahead of time, to really make our new place feel like home.  And the money from the difference in moving was enough to help us pay for our adoption. 

At the end of working at the church and before we moved, He even gave me the gift of a mini vacation with my friend Katherine - kind of a one last hurrah before children.  I will always be so grateful for that refreshing trip and the time spent.  

The Lord showed me so much during this season.  We can spend our lives discontent and unhappy because God isn't giving us what we want, or if we surrender, we can wait and follow what He calls us to, and He blesses us beyond what we would ever ask and think, in very different ways, but ways that place His fingerprints all over it to confirm that it is what HE has planned for us, and go along for the ride of seeking and following and obeying His leading. 

In Psalm 37 it talks about delighting in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  That is something HE wanted to teach me - it wasn't about my desires, it was about how He made His desires mine.  Phil Comer once asked me when I was working at the church, if I would ever want to go back and change the way things were working out.  I didn't have any children yet in my arms, just the hope in my heart that we were moving forward to the direction God had for us, and I was able to confidently say, "No, because I would not have learned anything that the Lord wanted me to, and I would not be who I am today if I had gotten things the way I wanted."  God was so good to us. 

This is the verse that the Lord gave me during this season of waiting: 
Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord. 

Praying that whatever season you are in, that you will believe in what the Lord has shown you and commit those heart desires to HIM! 

Babies are awake :)  Gotta run!

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