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 :)