When hoping for a baby is not enough

Infertility treatment is often described as a roller coaster. There are a lot of ups and downs. The downs go by many different names: anxiety, fear, frustration, anger, sadness, guilt, devastation... but the ups, the ups go by one name:


Hope can be a scary thing. Hope makes us vulnerable. In our vulnerability we say things like, "I don't want to get my hopes up" because we know just how painful the fall will be if our hopes are dashed.

I've been thinking a lot about hope lately.

I hope I get a positive test.
I hope this cycle will be the one.
I hope we get answers at our next appointment.
I hope the treatment works.
I hope we can afford this.
I hope I will be pregnant... someday. Soon.

I hope.

It's good to hope and it's good to be vulnerable because both those things make us fully alive, but I need something more. "Believing it will happen" is not enough for me because sometimes it doesn't happen. "Trusting God" can't be trusting that he will grant me a pregnancy because what if he doesn't? I need something more. I need something I can set my hopes on, without the threat the failure.

I knew the answer was somewhere in Jesus, but I as I tried to work through my questions, I could not figure out exactly how. As is so often the case, the answer I needed came from a verse I had read many times before but had not yet worked its way into my heart:

Hebrews 10:23, " Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

I read the verse late at night, taking in a quick devotion on my iphone. There, in black letters on a glowing screen were the words my heart needed to badly to hear. "Hold unswervingly to the hope we profess."

To the hope we profess. What is the hope I profess? Not that I will get that positive pregnancy test. Not that I will know the joy of new life inside. Not that I will join the song of millions of women before me as I groan and bring a child into the world. Not that I will hold my baby tight and warm, skin to skin. Oh how I long for those things, but they are not the hope I profess.

The hope I profess is one thing:


Unswervingly, I hold to my redemption in Christ and now, as I look into the face of doctors, pills, injections, and the prospect of more white spaces on the pregnancy tests where I wish with my whole being that a pink line would appear.... now in the face of my infertility I hold unswervingly to the hope that God will redeem these days.

Just as God is redeeming the days my son and I lost as he waited, alone, in an orphanage...

... so too I trust that God will redeem the fear, the pain, and the longing I presently know too well.
God works in redemption, repayment, and restoration. In his time and in his way, I know he will redeem this experience because he is faithful. 

That is the good, greater, guaranteed hope to which I cling in the middle of my uncertain hopes for pregnancy. Some days I do feel hopeful about our treatment and getting pregnant. Other days, the hope that God will redeem my pain somehow is the only hope I have. It doesn't take away the longing, but somehow... it's enough. 

He who promised is faithful. 



Unexplained infertility

Earlier this week John and I made the 45 minute trek to our big fertility consultation only to drive back home after 30 minutes in the waiting room. Dr. Colbert was stuck in surgery and unable to meet with us. We were not upset with the clinic or the doctor because obviously being stuck in surgery is not good news for anyone involved, but we were disappointment and anxious to figure out our treatment plan. Generously, Dr. Colbert called us on his own time to do a phone consultation so we would not have to drive back for another appointment. And he waived the phone consult fee for our troubles; what a guy.

The night of the consultation, we were finishing up an evening of church programming, so we set Arie up with an episode of Daniel Tiger in John's office while John and I hunched over my iphone on speaker, hanging on to Dr. Colbert's every word.

Unexplained infertility. Our diagnosis.

It's hard to know what to feel about this diagnosis. I'm grateful that nothing obvious is wrong. I'm frustrated that there's nothing obvious to fix or treat. I'm scared that we'll never conceive and we'll never know why.

I mentioned before that one of my blood work results showed an elevated FSH level, so Dr. Colbert ordered another hormone blood test to check on that; I'm still awaiting the results, but he did not seem greatly concerned about that elevated number when he was on the phone.

Dr. Colbert laid out three options for us:

1) Have minor surgery- a laparoscopy- for me to look for endometriosis and see if that is the problem.
2) Take Clomid (oral) and Ovidrel (injectable) drugs for ovulation and do an IUI (intra-uterine insemination).
3) Take Clomid and Ovidrel and keep trying on our own.
Clomid and Ovidrel
"If you were my daughter- well, my daughter's not married so I guess not technically, but in the spirit of "if you were my daughter,""recommended Dr. Colbert with a smile, "I would tell you to do the Clomid and Ovidrel and IUI. But I'm not opposed to you trying for three months with just the drugs if you'd rather."

We decided to try only the meds first, but have had a few back-and-forth discussions about whether we should just jump in and do the IUI too. It's a hard decision and there are both financial and, more importantly, emotional factors to wade through. We have a few weeks to decide, but I think we'll try at least one cycle with just the meds.

If you are the praying type, you can absolutely start praying that this cycle will be it and I can throw all these meds in the trash!

In addition to these medical options, Dr. Colbert recommended a few natural steps we could take. You may remember that this summer we were weighing the option of seeking holistic treatment vs. going to the full-on medical route or some combination thereof. I want to share how I made the decision to go straight to Dr. Colbert instead of trying a more holistic route first:

First, before we decided to adopt, I tried a number of natural options. In addition to charting my basal body temperature and reading the entire "fertility Bible" Taking Charge of Your Fertility (which I would still recommend), I was drinking tons of pomegranate juice, brewing red raspberry leaf tea, taking extra doses of b12, and more. I'll leave you to google the reasons why these are supposed to increase fertility, but needless to say they did not work for me. I was burned out from trying every natural remedy I read about and I really wanted answers.

The Fertility Bible. For real. 

Next I considered doing the Dr. Colbert and the holistic route simultaneously, but when I saw how many appointments I would be making with Dr. Colbert, I immediately decided to wait on that decision because I did not want my whole life to be ruled by appointments. I knew that making space for time with friends and "life as usual" would be more important for my health than trying to get out to see another doctor.

Finally, once I saw how much emphasis Dr. Colbert put on lifestyle, nutrition, and supplementation, I was completely satisfied with our treatment plan. In the future, I may change my mind and want to supplement our treatment by seeing a chiropractor, for example, for more advice on supplementation or lifestyle changes, but for now I'm happy with what we're doing.

With that, here's what Dr. Colbert recommended:

1) The Fertility Diet. This book is not about "alternative medicine," but researched based evidence about the connection between diet and ovulatory failure. Even though our diagnosis is "unexplained infertility," even just a few little undetectable "tweaks" in the ovulation process can make conception very difficult. This diet is about priming your body for optimal ovulation. Thankfully, the way I eat is not very different than this diet, but I will be making a few changes like switching to whole milk products, eating more fish, and getting most of my protein from plant based sources instead of animal meat. I'm about half way through this book and I would recommend it to anyone who is even beginning the journey toward conception.

2) CO-Q10 supplement. This supplement is the subject of much research right now, so its benefits are not entirely clear, but what I'm reading about it sounds like: "CO-Q10 is how cells do everything." So, hopefully it will help my cells make a baby.

3) Fish oil/Omega 3. Again, helps cells do important stuff. Supports life. Makes you healthy. Etc. (I am obviously not a scientist.)

4) Quit European drinking. "European" is how Dr. Colbert described our 'glass of wine with dinner every night' habits. :-) Actually, John can keep it up since for men the optimal fertility drinking limit is 7 per week, but for women it is only 5. Monday and Tuesday... water here I come. Dr. Colbert did slyly suggest that we not believe any of the "talk" about having to give up all alcohol when you're trying to conceive, "Have a glass of wine and have fun!"  Doctor's orders. ;-)


I'm also drinking red raspberry leaf tea again in the two weeks before ovulation because I drink tea every day anyway, so I figure why not switch to something potentially beneficial? It is supposed to help with the health of uterine lining, but I've heard mixed reviews about whether or not it is safe to drink after ovulation (potential miscarriage risk), so I switch to other teas after that.

Phew. Congratulations on sticking with this post. I also intended to write about some spiritual work I've been doing in light of my infertility, but you dear reader must be tired and I will save that for my next post.

Love and light to you all,



Orchards of denial

Here in Michigan we are beginning to leave summer behind as we head into the season of denial autumn. The season where everyone is aglow with anticipation of changing leaves, cheap Halloween candy at the supermarkets, and big Thanksgiving feasts. We pull out our vests and sweaters and smile as we slip on our socks after a summer of flip flops and tank tops.

Oh how we forget about winter. How we- incredibly- manage to push out of our minds the next six months which will be filled with icy winds and sloppy wet snow. Do we not remember how we longed- only three short months ago- to wear shorts? To not live in a constant state of hat head? To go for a walk with our kids without scarves, hats, boots, snow pants, coats, and mittens that always.fall.off? To wake up after the sunrise instead of hours before it?

No. We do not remember. We LOVE fall, here in Michigan.

We are experts of denial.

I love summer. LOVE it. It's hard for me to say goodbye. So I'm embracing the best parts of this season of denial and yesterday for the very first time in all my Northern years, I went apple picking.
Lately Arie has been imitating a tiger by growing "LARR!" which is basically the least scary sound he could make.
And most adorable. 
We went with our dear friends the Penny family who recently moved back to Michigan living in Oklahoma for a number of years.  The first time we had a cool night in July, my friend Leanne was reveling in the fact that she could wear a hoodie. In July. If anyone can remind me how to embrace autumn, it's her.

Maybe it was the fact that the temps outside were still almost hitting 70 degrees (21 for my Canadian readers), but the experience for me was all, "Oh yea! I love fall." Apples, cider, donuts. Playing outside without heatstroke. No sunscreen needed. Sunsets that happen early enough to be witnessed by little eyes. Yea. I remember why we forget about winter. Autumn is just that awesome.

Apple orchards must be where fairies live. Especially old ones like this where the trees are so tall and full, you can hardly see through to the other side.

You already know how I love strawberry fields. Apple orchards now coming in a close second.

Our kids ate apples like they were candy! My super slow little eater took 56 minutes that afternoon to eat a half cup of parmesan pasta for lunch and then mowed an apple as big as his face in 10 minutes. This place is magical.

After we had picked our fill, we broke out a picnic dinner...
... complete with apple cider and cider donuts because it's the whole experience, you know.
When our bellies were full, we followed our kids to the playground and spun them around because spinning and jumping and running is exactly what good parents do with their kids right after a meal. Only one of us had to change their clothes during this portion of the night and you could argue that it wasn't related. ;-) 

We finished the night, appropriately, with a sunset on the beach. The rule was that you could play in the sand but not in the water... however all three kids had to change some portion of clothing after that. Worth it? Oh yes.

Autumn, denial, whatever you call it. Loving it.


PS: If anyone has a great applesauce or apple pie or apple anything recipe... I'm looking. 


Why I don't suffer mama guilt

Every few weeks it seems a new post about mama guilt makes its way around the internet. Every time I see it shared in a dozen facebook statuses, I get this bad feeling inside. Not about the post or about the fact that it's being shared, but about the reality of mama guilt and the way it tears down my wonderful mom friends and makes them feel insecure about a job that- in reality- they are rocking.

Sanctuary of another congregation in our church. Empty aisles and pews = guiltless church misbehavior. 
About two weeks ago I saw another one of these posts making the rounds and this time I just couldn't shake those frustrated feelings. I kept thinking about all those posts and all those conversations among women about rejecting mom guilt... and I kept thinking about how little they seem to help the problem. We read these posts, we have these passionate discussions, we all agree to throw off the guilt... and then we go back to feeling guilty about the amount of TV we let our kids watch or the lack of leafy greens we get them to eat.

And the guilt plague rages on.
Misbehaving for his great-grandparents. ;-) Luckily, they are very gracious.
Now, I know I'm just a young mom and I haven't faced the challenges of school-aged or teenage kids yet, but I want to share something with you:

I rarely have mom guilt.

It's not because I'm a perfect or even near-perfect mom. Lord knows I've snapped and yelled, slammed doors, served lazy, loveless lunches, refused to read books or play games and done housework instead, and put my kid in bed because I was ready for bedtime more than he was. I have lots of room for improvement and while I am convicted about my short-comings, I'm not plagued with guilt over my mistakes.

Several years ago I found freedom from guilt- mom or otherwise- and I want to share my story with the hopes that it will help you do the same.

I was attending a Bible college at the time and it happened in a lecture about the biblical book of Hebrews. That semester, I had a personal issue with someone close to me and although I am not going into the details about what happened, I will tell you that I made a big mistake, some bad decisions, and I felt like a total failure in the relationship and as a human being. The things I thought about myself were plaguing me: you keep making this same mistake. You are a bad person. You're a fake. You're a hypocrite. You are not worthy of love. You've used up all your second chances. God won't forgive you anymore.

Try as I might, I could not resolve the issue I had with the other person. I truly believed that I had used up all my grace and until I could fix the problem, I was doomed to live in the shadow of my guilt. I imagined myself charred and dirty, rejected and unclean before a brilliantly white, pure, and holy God.

Enter that Hebrews lecture. The topic of the day in that college class was sin and guilt. Not exactly what I needed to hear about... or so I thought. The professor talked about the weight we bear under our sin: our shortcomings, our mistakes, our failures, and all the things we should have done, but didn't do. She asked us to imagine carrying the weight of every sin we had committed and how heavy our hearts and minds would feel.

It wasn't hard for me to imagine.

Then she told us about ancient rituals of forgiveness. She read passages from the Old Testament of the Bible and explained how the Israelites would sacrifice animals for the forgiveness of their sins, how they would imagine the burden of all their transgressions moved from their shoulders and placed heavily on the backs of the sacrificial animals to be burned up or sent away.

Together, we imagined the relief, the light-heartedness, and the joy we would have felt as we pictured ourselves clean, pure, and sinless before a perfectly good and holy God.

I almost felt like crying as I imagined it. That's what I wanted: to feel pure and clean again. To be rid of all the guilt I was carrying and to know that I was pleasing and acceptable to the God I loved.

And then the professor asked us an awful question, "How long do you think you could stay that way?"

How long, after the animal sacrifice could we keep ourselves pure and spotless? How long before our wealthier or more beautiful neighbor walked by and we felt the pangs of jealously? How long before we snapped at our spouse or children? How long before we couldn't resist the temptation to gossip or complain? How long before we sinned again? Days? Hours? Minutes? Seconds until the burden of guilt began to pile up with its awful, painful weight on on our shoulders? Mere moments of freedom before we dirtied up our souls again?

And then how long until the next sacrifice? How long until we would be able to unburden ourselves from the weight of our sin? How long until we would be clean again?

"Day after day," she quoted from Hebrews, "every priest stands and performs his religious duties. Again and again he offers the same sacrifices..."

"... which can never take away sins."

Wait. Never? Hadn't we just gone through this whole lecture about those ritual sacrifices? Hadn't we just learned that the whole point was to take away sins?

At this point I was getting angry. And probably- humorously- sinning a little as I swore in my mind well then what the hell were those sacrifices for? 

Shadows. She said they were shadows- greyish pictures representing a greater reality. Shadow sacrifices, preparing us to witness a greater, better, more perfect sacrifice to come. 

"But when Jesus had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God... For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy."

The class was quiet. In my chest I felt a warm glow, getting brighter. 

The professor continued: 

"One Sacrifice. 


By one sacrifice, he has made you perfect, forever." 

While those ancient priests stood, going about their rituals and offering sacrifice again

and again 

and again for the sins we do 


and over 

and over... 

Jesus sat down. Because his sacrifice was it. Forever

As the class went on, the reality of Christ's sacrifice became clear to me as if for the very first time in all my years of being a Christian.

I do not bear the weight of my sin. I am not guilty, anymore. The sacrifice has been made for me. Once. For all time. I am not guilty, anymore."

This is where that important distinction between guilt and conviction comes in: 

Guilt is the terrible weight of our sin. 

Conviction is being certain about the truth. 

The truth is that by his one sacrifice, Christ has made me guiltless before God.
The truth is that I fail all.the.time as a parent, but what I need is not to suffer the weight of guilt but to apologize, repent, repair, and pray for the grace and the strength to do better next time. 

Guilt tells us we are unworthy, unredeemable failures.
Conviction tells us that our failures can always be redeemed and provides a way forward. 

When I walked out of that college classroom, I did it with a beautiful, joyful, warm fire inside and it was the last time I ever felt overcome by guilt. Today, when I feel guilty about a parenting move, I look to Christ's sacrifice and I remember what he has done for me. I remember that my life is defined by my spiritual reality: I am forgiven. I have received mercy and grace.

So, my mama friends- here's my offering for you: the next time you feel weighted down, ask yourself is this guilt or conviction? It it is useless guilt, throw it off, look to the cross and pray for the grace to live into the forgiveness Christ died to give you. If it is conviction, look again to the cross, repent, remember that there's grace, and trust that the Spirit will show you a better way forward and give you a new tomorrow.

Most importantly, remember what God has said about us:

Their sins and lawless acts
  I will remember no more.

Praise the Lord. 



Bad news/good news test results

It is hard to come up with pictures for some of these posts.
Embroidered uterus.
(photo source)
After my positive HSG experience and "all clear" results, John and I were feeling very positive.... but as is so often the case in the land of (in)fertility, the high only lasted so long. The next day I got my blood results back which revealed an elevated FSH level. FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) is involved in the production of eggs and an elevated level of FSH most commonly indicates peri (pre) menopause. Most women reach this stage in their 40's and I'm 27 so this definitely came as a shock.

My levels were thankfully only slightly elevated so this is a bad news/good news diagnosis.

Bad news: we are going to test again next month but if my levels remain elevated, it means my fertile years may come to an early close. I don't think just one blood test can indicate an accurate timeframe, but the nurse I spoke with said she would not want to see us wait even four years to start treatment (which would put me at age 31).

Good news: our decision to go ahead with treatment now as opposed to trying on our own or even pursuing a second adoption first was the right decision. As the nurse told me, it doesn't mean I won't get pregnant, but it does mean we should be aggressive with treatment as we move forward. In the fertility world, you always want time to be on your side.

John and I felt very grateful when we received this news because when we made the decision to start treatment, we did not feel a sense of supernatural leading like we felt when we made the decision to adopt. In fact, our decision was made almost entirely on the fact that women peak in fertility around age 28, so we thought, "If we want to do this, now is probably the time." We did not realize how true that decision would ring! Though we did not have a profound moment of divine guidance, I believe God led us to this decision though the simple fact of my age. I have also considered the truth that even if the worst happens and we never have a biological child, at least I will not have to live with the regret of missing our small window of opportunity. Again- thank God.

All the other hormones that were measured in my tests came back at normal levels.

After we received the bad news/good news about my FSH levels, I started to feel anxious about my ultrasound. Even though something is obviously not quite right as proven by my inability to conceive, I had been feeling confidant that the ultrasound would come back normal. Suddenly I started worrying about the what ifs.

After a few days of worrying, I moved past the fear to a place of just wanting to know. Infertility brings with is such a loss of control. I've found that it is hard to know what I should even hope for in this testing. Of course I don't want anything to be wrong, but at the same time, it is also scary to think that maybe there won't be anything wrong- or anything to fix- and we'll walk away empty handed with an "unexplained infertility" diagnosis.

 In this sense, going through Arie's adoption has helped me prepare for this journey. In the adoption process, we also dealt with that same sense that we were not in control of the situation. We struggled with the idea that our family's future was being passed around- paperwork in the hands of our adoption agency, of our government, of the Russian government, of the doctors who did our medical exams, of the embassies who secured our travel visas and Arie's passport. We were secure in our goal: to bring our son home, but we had no idea what the process would look like and how long it would take.

Now again, we know we want to be pregnant and have a baby, but we have no idea what this journey is going to look like or how long it is going to take. We go into each test and hear each result knowing that in an instant the way we envision our future could drastically alter. As I sat on the ultrasound table, however, alone in the room waiting for the nurse, I was peacefully aware of God's presence around me.  This was the blessing of the anxiety in adoption and it is again the blessing of anxiety in infertility: you are quickly brought to the end of yourself and you have no choice but to turn yourself fully over into God's loving hands. 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31 

My ultrasound came back mostly normal. The nurse saw something "cloudy" near one ovary which is most likely a non-concerning cyst, but something "to keep an eye on." 

So that's where we are now: slightly elevated FSH levels and a "probably nothing" cyst. 

Next week we will go back again to see our doctor and come up with a treatment plan. A while ago I posted about going the medical vs. holistic route for treatment; we are definitely moving forward with the medical route, but I am still sorting through all your excellent holistic recommendations to determine what else we can be doing in conjunction with our doctor's treatment plan. I'll post more on that another time! 

Feeling mostly relieved, a little anxious, a lot hopeful, and more than ready for a baby in my belly. :-)




It wasn't terrible. One of you wrote me and relayed the words of your doctor who said there is some woman out there on the internet who had a bad experience with her HSG and is terrifying the rest of us.

I think that's probably true and to her I would like to say STAY OFF THE INTERNET, LADY! From now on we are only allowed to post good stories about scary medical procedures. Especially ones involving uteruses. (Uteri?)

It was a lot of waiting which was the worst part, although while I was waiting I got a text from my friend Sara who was praying for me as I prepared for the procedure and that made me feel comforted and loved. I am learning a lot about the gifts of vulnerability and sharing my fears with my friends through this process. Infertility with > infertility without.
waiting, waiting, waiting... 
After about 45 minutes of waiting the most chipper young nurse took me to the changing room and gave me two of those hospital gowns to put on: one frontwards and one backwards "so you're totally covered okay!?" Okay. At that point I had a flash back to my Russian chest x-ray where they had me undress on the top-half right next to the unlocked, opened-to-the-waiting-area, door of the radiology room while the technicians looked on from their glass enclosure.

I like American hospitals better.

The light in the dressing room was burned out, but I did manage take this semi-dark nervous face picture because you know I was thinking about all y'all as I was getting ready.
double hospital gown over collard oxford shirt. good look for me. 
Next I met nurse Lisa #1 who took me to the x-ray room and nurse Lisa #2 from our fertility clinic and Bill The Voice who was probably a real person, but I only met him via positioning instruction over the intercom as I lay in "pelvic exam position," so I'm not entirely sure.

Both Lisas stayed in the room during the procedure: one to administer the iodine dye and one just sort of hung out by my head and asked me how I was doing.

Actually those were their secondary jobs; their primary jobs were to listen to me keep my mind off the procedure by listening to me tell them in one impressively long run-on sentence all about my life.

Lisa #2, "So are you going to work after this?"


Me, "Well I'm a stay-at-home mom so yes and no!"


Lisa, "So yes you're going to be working hard after this! *laughs* Okay I'm putting the catheter in; you'll feel a slight pinch.... how many kids do you have?"

Me: *feeling the pinch* "WellihavealittleboynamedArieandhe'sthreeyearsoldandweadoptedhimfrommoscowlastfallsohe'sbeenhomeabout9monthsnowanddoinggreatijustlovebeingamometcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetcetc."

Then Lisa #1 and #2 oooohhhhh'd an excessive amount over my story (to make me feel less ridiculous, I'm sure), Lisa #2 injected the iodine dye for what felt like all of three seconds, the x-ray machine made a noise, Bill The Voice asked, "Anything else?", Lisa #2 said, "no," and it was done!

I had cramping during the short-lived dye portion of the procedure, but as soon as that was over I felt perfectly normal again. What a relief.

The Lisas showed me the pictures of my baby-maker and I showed them pictures of my baby (super cool x-ray machine and uterus pictures Lisas. Now let me show you this iphone I have here and OH LOOK AT THIS PICTURE OF MY CHILD!! HOW CUTE IS HE?!)

My uterus and tubes are perfectly clear.

And they thought Arie was perfectly adorable.

I'm so lucky to have friends who care about my fallopian tubes. 

Next up: an ultrasound to check out my potentially "snookering ovaries" and one more round of blood work. Then hopefully, a plan and... a baby.

To all my sisters getting ready for their HSGs: You can do hard things. And this one isn't even that hard.




Fear, faith, and adoption in a world of special needs

Today I'm getting a little vulnerable and sharing about something I've been humbled to learn though the adoption process. It's always a little nerve wracking to show your ugly/ignorant/sinful side, but I hope you will be blessed as I share how God has changed my heart and mind when I think about adoption and special needs: 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, ADHD, depression, Hepatitis, Malnutrition, HIV, developmental delays, learning disabilities, attachment disorders, chronic infections—these medical conditions were just some of the many listed on my adoption agency’s “Statement of Risks in Adoption; Waiver of Liability” form.
When I found myself signing my name under a long paragraph of scary-sounding diagnoses, I could not help but feel anxious about what my husband and I were about to do: adopt. 
.... to continue reading, follow me to my guest post over at Ethika Politika


Profundity of life after adoption

"Nummies, Mama? I make you dis."

His tiny little voice barely above a whisper as he approaches me on the couch, handing me a tiny toy colander filled with a wooden pizza slice and two felt pieces of bread- white and rye. "Peanut butter, cheese, and chocolate, " he tells me.

Gifts from my boy.

From where I am sitting I can see a wall full of pictures; pictures we took of him last July, when we first met our little boy in a Moscow orphanage. He's two, but he looks much younger. Maybe a year and a half old.

I remember last year: worrying about him, wanting- no aching- to bring him home, and counting down every eternal day until we did. Mostly I remember walking the streets around our neighbourhood and praying as desperately as I could for that home-coming day to arrive soon.

Lots about parenting an adopted child is very normal. We do all the regular parenting things like books and baths, play dough and painting, making messes and tidying up...

But parts of it are just so profound. Every time we walk those same streets together- my boy and I- I think about those prayers I whispered and that deep ache in my heart, now filled. Neither my heart nor my mind can comprehend the mysterious way in which God seemed to bend fate and bring us together.  Redemption for both of us.

We do such normal things like taking our boy to the zoo and yet the whole experience is seeped in this profound brew of what is and what could have been. I watch my boy who has morphed from babyhood to childhood in nine short months and I am amazed. As he gestated in our family he has grown only more vibrant. Just when we think we've hit the height of his transformation, he surprises us.
Can you see the lion?

Nine months ago, he grew upset when we had him run around inside without shoes on, so used to having his little feet always covered. Five months ago we took him, bundled in our winter clothes, to the shore of Lake Michigan and he froze in the sand, then gingerly pushed it back with the tip of boot, wondering what is this stuff? We tried him on a trampoline twice this summer, both times to cries of, "I don't like it!!" and scooped him off.

And then yesterday, we came across this net at our zoo's playground- roped across a pit, bouncing and insecure beneath the happy feet of running children. And Arie tried it.

With apprehension, he took two steps and cried out, "Mama help!" but we encouraged him to do it alone. "Only kids allowed on here Arie! No grown ups. I know you can do it!"

Slowly, he took another step. And another. His face grew more determined and proud with every inch until finally, he reached the other side. Pure victory for my little man.

As he raced around that play fort I was lost again in the profundity of what is and what could have been. A year ago, an orphanage. Today, a zoo. A year ago, thousands of miles away. Today, here. What could have been: the small world, the day-to-day, the every changing care-givers, and the insecurity of not knowing who comes next. A little boy, relying on himself. What is: a big world of new experiences, the day-to-day and the joyful surprises, the constant love of mom and dad, the security of knowing that it's us, forever. A big boy, growing brave and finding his way.

His life verse runs constant through my mind: 

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

With his life, God is doing a new thing. The profound moments stitched like a colorful thread through the fabric of my day.

There will be many more of these moments. Many more times when I will be struck with the wonder of his life- of my life- redeemed. More pictures in albums and photos on my wall. Restoration. Streams in the wasteland.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...