16.10.12

update: adoption plans

I have a long list of updates planned for those of you. Many of you have noticed that I blog about an array of topics but often forget to follow through on the end of those stories. The suspense is probably killing you all, I know ;) Are they planting a church? Are they adopting? How is Lily's speech coming? Is Oli walking? How's Emily's French coming? I've written about many of these things at length, but I know I haven't in a while, so there is much to say.

First, our adoption plans. I'm nervous to write this and thrilled to write this all at once, because I'm convinced that it's God's next chapter in His story for us. But it wasn't the next chapter in Our story for us for a long time.

As many of you know, we love adoption. We love orphans and the Gospel and adoption. And they are all so intertwined in a beautiful web of loss and love and reunion and embracing and redefining. And we love it all. After Louisville and before New York we decided to look into beginning the domestic adoption process, through foster care here in Montreal (aka Banque Mixte adoption). Many of you have been reading along as we did this on The Baby Bump Blog.

And we learned some hard things that would surely alter our ideal timeline to adopt. Namely, the square footage and number of rooms in our house were not adequate, as we already have two kids. Lily and Oli share a bedroom and the third child would join them. Perfect in our eyes, not so with the Powers That Be. But there was more. We began to very critically evaluate our life stage and if it was the best time. We are planting a church. Brad is pulling extremely long hours doing so. Our schedule is all over the map. Since we are planning to adopt at child above the age of 18 months, quality and quantity time are a must. You might be thinking, hey, ALL kids need that! And you're right. But toddlers are not babies. They are an around the clock affair, and not in a feeding and burping kind of way. They need face time and hands on, nonstop. Naps are not even a guarantee. And adopted children arguably need more time - to bond, to trust, to love  - than biological children/babies. This fact alongside our life stage didn't seem to mesh. Which we were beginning to learn may be irrelevant in our current home (that we bought just one year ago, and can't afford to sell + move for around 4+ years).

While this was a hard pill to swallow, it doesn't mean the adoption door is closed - just delayed. But when your one and two year olds are 15 months apart by choice, waiting five years to add to the family also isn't ideal. Moreover, as plans we changing, we were changing. Our hearts, in a huge way, were looking differently.

I was gung-ho about selling all of our baby stuff and Brad getting a vasectomy, while he was less enthused.  We'd agreed that Olivier would be our last biological baby, but it all seemed so final when push came to shove. So Brad, especially, was having a bit of a hard time with it all. Knowing that we couldn't begin the adoption process for four years was hard, even though we agreed now wasn't the best time considering our life stage. But the adoption door closing (temporarily) and my husband wavering weren't enough to sway me that we should have another baby. Not for a while, at least.

Then his friend had a baby. Even though we were "done" I'd kept everything from the kids to pass on to my sister when she has kids. I only donated the things that were heavily worn or that we didn't like. But recently I've become more minimalist so I was eager to go through the kid's baby clothes and donate more - perfect timing since Brad's friend and his girlfriend were hoping to receive some hand-me-downs. I eliminated their baby clothes by 50%, and in those short few hours got a serious case of baby fever. The itty bitty outfits are enough to make most people's hearts melt, so we laughed it off, but after many days I couldn't shake the desire to have another baby.

This was such a massive turn around from our previous disposition and plans, so we knew to test it. We decided not to talk about it for a week (hard for me since I verbally process and LOVE to talk), and instead spend that time consciously seeking God on the topic. It was a great week. I spent more time in prayer, journaling, and in the Word than in a long while. I spent more time just listening to God. Waiting for him to speak. Pleading my heart out to him, than I have in recent memory. It was really a beautiful time.

The end result was a lot of confession. Not what I was expecting! I was thinking God would basically give us a strong, deeply rooted desire one way or the other and that would be that. But he doesn't always work that way. And He is more concerned with out hearts than being a Magic 8 Ball.

During my times seeking God that week a lot of things kept coming to mind. Things that I hide in my heart that deep down I believe are more important than God and His plan for me. Things that I don't think I serve but my actions would show differently. They're called idols, and many came to the surface during that glorious week. In the ancient world, idols were usually statues - images made of iron or bronze that certain religions esteem as gods. But idols aren't just metal. They're anything you serve, esteem or seek above God. And mine were becoming very obvious as I considered having another baby.

Idols like comfort. I don't like being pregnant! I don't like sleepless nights! I don't like breastfeeding or giving birth! I'd rather be comfortable thankyouverymuch.

Idols like body image. I didn't like the eight long months it took to get back to my pre-baby weight. I don't like owning pants and bras in three different sizes because I never know what I'll fit into. I don't like stretch marks! I don't like looking like I've birthed two children, even though I have! I'd rather stop now that my body is back to decent shape, mk?

Idols like control. My life is predictable and manageable and some days, dare I say, easy. I don't like trying to get babies on a sleep schedule! I don't like the frazzled first few months when babies arrive! I don't like my life resembling chaos in the least bit. I'd rather have complete control, all the time, and my life + kitchen to be spotless, alright?

These idols were rampant in my heart, and have been for a long time. But since having just two kids was never our desire (we have always wanted at least three), adoption seemed like a perfect solution. We already had a heart for adoption, for orphans, for birth mothers, for the gospel. We wanted more kids but I definitely didn't want them at the expense of my idols, and adoption seemed the perfect answer. I know you're probably thinking "Emily! Adoption is going to take away a ton of control and comfort from your life!" and you're absolutely right. I'm not saying these thoughts were rational or legitimate or true, I'm just saying that's how I saw things at the time.

After many hours of confessing these things to God and talking things over (and over...) with Brad, we both realized that adoption wasn't right for us right now. And the right thing at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons, is the wrong thing. We also both realized that we wanted, without a doubt, another baby.

So here we are. Not pregnant. Not adopting. But on a different path for now. And we're giddy. We feel God's guidance in this SO firmly. I NEVER thought I'd be hoping and praying for a third baby. I mean, I listed our Baby Bjorn on Craigslist, people! I was calling the clinic to book Brad THE appointment! But here we stand.

But I do worry how this will all look. There are posts prepared on this topic that I've been writing for weeks and months. Weren't you passionate about adoption? Weren't you sure about adoption too? Shouldn't you follow through and trust God? These comments, with the right tone, make my stomach flip upside down. And sometimes, if I loose perspective, they make me feel very guilty, so please be tender with me and careful with what you ask, and how :)

The truth is, I'm as surprised as you are. The plan is, we are still adopting. This doesn't mean we aren't, it just means we're sure (and the laws are agreeing with this) that it's not the time, and that in the meantime, we're not done adding to our family. But this has taught me such a great deal about waiting on God and not being too quick to pronounce my future, because it's not my Story that's being written, it's His.  It's responsible to plan, but plans are not guarantees. And your plans - no matter how beautiful and holy they seem - if they're not what God wants for you, at this time, they're not best.

I'll be posting some posts on my other blog that I wrote in New York on our journey so far. Hope you'll read them and join us in rejoicing in this next chapter :)

23 comments:

  1. It's exciting to see how God is working in your hearts. Interesting to hear how He has shown your idols and desires and where to walk...Thanks for the update :-)

    -Ama

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  2. sounds exciting! I also feel passionate about adoption and have recently started doing lots of research. I don't think we'll adopt until our late 20's or early 30's though...for similar reasons to yours! Thanks for being so honest..I have been wondering what your plans were on the adoption front!

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  3. Aww Em, I just loved this post. I can only imagine how challenging this whole process must have been in surrendering things that are SO close to your heart {adoption}. I LOVED hearing to how you spent a week just listening to God and His desire for your guys lives. And how you said at the end there that its not your story that is being written, but "His". Love you girl and the faith you have in God is unreal. Keep trusting in Him. His story is good. Love xoxo

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    1. thank you for your encouragement amanda! it's also deeply reminded me that THE NEED IS NOT THE CALL. While I do still believe and hope we are called to adopt one day, I can't be guilted by the need (orphans) if I'm not called to adopt right now.

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  4. Love this post, thank you for your honesty you present time and time again. We are actually doing a whole study in my women's study at church about those idols in our lives. It's tough stuff, but so good to recognize and work through and allow God to take over the journey. For us having the miscarriage brought up me realizing once again my idol of being able to be the one to make the plan, even having my own plan B and C was okay, but having it totally switched to something I don't know is not something I love, but it's about God's plan. That one is best! And I am so excited as you guys have worked through what God's plan could be for you now and for the future! Can't wait to hear more.

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    1. I can only imagine how the miscarriage worked in your hearts and faith! I'm beginning to see, after reading Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller, how powerful idols are in my life. Things that seem GOOD even, like family or adoption or the church... can all be idols if they come before a holy God. Thanks for your encouragement Rachel, you always bring it!

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  5. Em, we all want you to follow Jesus. Point finale. I tend to worry about what people think a lot (j'ai soif de l'acceptation!) and I need people to remind me that God's acceptance is the only one that really matters.

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    1. love you. thanks jessbean.

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  6. Many blessings to you and your family in any and all directions to decide to go. Bringing children in to this world, adopting, supporting, advocating for them, it is all the same...LOVE.

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  7. This is a great and challenging post. I loooove the line: "He is more concerned with out hearts than being a Magic Eight Ball." It's so true and yet I needed the reminder!

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  8. One way to know God's hand in something? It's completely outside of what you would plan or expect :)God has shifted my path so many times in the last couple of years, that when I see Him doing it in someone else's life, I don't even question the fact that it is different than what they were previously pursuing...I just smile and say, "Praise God HE is getting His way!" :)

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    1. great perspective! thanks for your encouragement Nikki :)

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  9. Gosh, I really love your heart. You can see it so so clearly in this post.

    Also, I've been reading along for just a little bit now & we would totally be friends in real life :) Also, you lived in Louisville?! We were so close!

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    1. Hi Cory! I wish we could meet in real time! Maybe if we return to Louisville next summer :) My husband does part time MDiv studies there at SBTS.

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  10. I'm so glad to have found your blog and so inspired by your story and your honesty. This post challenged me to take some time with God to pray and confront some of my own idols, so thank you for that!

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    1. amen! thank you Stephanie!

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  11. Hey girl. I know we've talked before about all this and you know, as others have said, that ultimately I care that you follow Jesus. And I know this isn't an easy thing to explain even face to face, let alone in a blog post, so I commend you for putting it out there. Even in my own experience of wanting to adopt and then getting pregnant, I really struggled with how to talk about it, both from the perspective of what God was doing, and the perspective that perhaps we should have done more to prevent pregnancy so that we could adopt. I am sure someone thought that as I did at some points. And so as I still work through my own journey of birth and adoption and timing and having another baby in the face of the incredible need, I am so glad I have friends like you who are willing to be honest and transparent. It encourages me to keep putting myself out there, too. Praying for you, friend.

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    1. ya, it's been a confusing and odd realization because we still love orphans and adoption, but are also certain now is not the time (similar to you since you're pregnant with your third surprise little one). For us, we're sure the Call to adopt isn't on our household right now, though we would have said we were sure it was before. So with that we're also reminding ourselves that The Need Is NOT The Call (I've heard the need IS the call in a lot of evangelistic talks and that is not 100% true), all the while supporting adoption causes and trying to be a voice for adoption, and still praying that we will adopt in 5 years.

      Thanks for your love and encouragement. That first night when I texted you I remember one of the first things you wrote back was "make sure you don't feel guilty about not adopting right now, or that you can't adopt at all later" and I was like I NEED THIS! YES!

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