Goodness, y'all. I feel like I need to take a really deep breath before we get going here. I have lots to share with you. I feel like I've been absent for a while. I've posted, but kept my heart on a tight rein. Part of me feels like I've been keeping secrets from a close friend. But the truth is, all that's happened over the last three to four months has taken my heart on a roller coaster ride. I've needed some time to process and breath and to be reminded that God is sovereign and good and in control. 'Cause y'all, I am NOT.
January 12 marked the one year anniversary of losing our precious little one. That takes me waaaay back...back to when we first shared our struggle to have another child...it's been a looong road. And y'all have been so sweet each step of the way. I'm so thankful for you.
On the day we said, "I do," we knew we wanted four children. And then as time passed and we enjoyed the blessing of children I started to want five. And I thought I must be crazy. And then one day, we were at the red light close to our mechanic's shop and the Engineer looked at me and said, "I know you're going to think I'm crazy, but I really want five children." And I just about jumped out of my seat and screamed, "I've been wanting the same thing!" And that was in the midst of pleading with God for a fourth child.
As time passed and the Lord deepened the desire for more children in our hearts, we began seriously praying about adoption. We researched agencies and countries and read blogs and prayed about adopting. Was that something He was calling us to? We were open to it. And yet He never gave peace in that regard. Even after a year and a half of pleading with Him for a little one, we felt He was telling us not to adopt.
So what to do with this ache and desire in our hearts? At that point we were broken and we finally let go. The cadence we lived by was a prayer, "though we can't comprehend how three is better than four, not our will but Yours be done." Over time, He brought us to that place of truly wanting whatever it was He had for us. And we stopped pushing our plan.
So yeah, at that point, He gave us a baby. And we were dumbstruck. Could. Not. Believe. It. No wonder He'd not given peace as we considered adoption. He had other plans.
We hit twelve weeks and my OB predicted a boring, "normal" pregnancy. Everything looked great. And I went be-bopping in at 17.5 weeks for a routine visit...in and out...and we received the heartbreaking news that our little one had died. It felt like the earth stopped spinning. Everything happened in slow motion.
He flat out shattered us. And it was horrible and it was beautiful because He did things in our hearts that only He could do. I've shared so much of that journey here...point being...we've continued to plead...and His answer has continued to be, "I love you. No." But He never would take away the desire.
Adoption has stayed on our minds and hearts. It's something we've continued to research and pray about. After our loss last January, The Engineer was ready to begin the process, but assured me if I wanted to keep trying, he was good with that as well. I wanted to keep trying.
We made radical changes in our diet. I began running and lost the extra weight I'd been carrying. I started taking a handful of vitamins and supplements...I went in for blood work. Everything seemed to be working perfectly. At that point the desire to adopt was growing stronger in my heart. And in his. Almost to the point of being relieved each month to learn I wasn't pregnant. And that totally confused me.
November came...still no baby. All of this has convinced us that He opens and closes the womb. He is the giver of life. And it seemed apparent that He had closed my womb. And for the first time ever, we were okay with that. I was okay with that.
My baby sister called to tell me she and her husband were expecting. And in my heart - I rejoiced. I didn't have to fake it and get off the phone and cry. It was honest...rejoicing.
We'd already done gobs of research and knew which agency we wanted to go with. And so in November, we began the process to adopt...TWO BABIES!!! A boy and a girl.
And our children were BESIDE themselves!!! Little Man would finally get a brother and the girls would get a sister...they were THRILLED!!!! The Engineer and I had such peace in our hearts. We were excited. Super excited. Nervous, too. Actually, I was the only one nervous. Not about actually adopting, but about calling to tell the fam we'd decided/felt called to adopt. It was terrifying...telling them we wanted to adopt one would be nerve wracking enough, but two!!!...well...it made me sweat. A. Lot.
My sister asked me why I was so nervous...I explained that I am well aware we look like insane fools to most of the world. Not everyone will share our perspective on adopting. She reminded me Noah probably looked a fool building that big boat in his front yard. But - he was doing what God was calling him to do.
After lots of prayer and quite frankly, just seeing what we could handle (open or closed adoption, domestic or international, time traveling, etc.), we decided to pursue adopting from China. And so we began our journey!
We are in the "home study" phase. Early December marked a great first interview over the phone with our social worker and someone from the adoption agency. Oh my. They asked a lot of questions about a lot of stuff and assured us that was only the beginning. (smile!) On that particular night we had to discuss what led us to this place of being ready to adopt...we had to share our struggle to become pregnant, our losses, and about God's never ending, never changing, always and forever the same faithfulness. It was hard. And it was good. And at the end of the interview, we "passed." And we were pumped.
The very next morning I took a pregnancy test. And. It. Was. POSITIVE.
And I laughed. And I cried. And I was so stinkin' angry. I mean...what the heck? Why would God do this? I called The Engineer. I was crying. He was SO. EXCITED. I was so scared. So afraid. I didn't want to go through a loss again. And I mean, seriously, how in the world did this happen? We were being careful because not to be careful made me feel like we were playing Russian Roulette. My heart was attached to a little Chinese boy and girl I had yet to meet. And so we were being careful. And you know what? We don't have ANY CONTROL. Because you know what??? God really does open and close the womb. Not us.
I called an acquaintance who I knew had lost a baby much further along than we had. We'd spoken a few times, but were certainly not close. And so my phone call went something like this, "I know we don't know one another well, and I know you went through a loss much later than we did. I have no idea if you're comfortable talking about that. I know you love Jesus. I'm pregnant. I'm scared of losing another baby. Help." And she spent a chunk of time on the phone with me and shared her heart and what God had taught her. She reminded me that He is mindful of our frames...that we are weak. She prayed with me. I cried. It was good to hear truth.
I felt guilty for not jumping up and down with the news we'd spent YEARS longing to hear. And in the days that followed that conversation I spent a lot of time talking with the Lord and was finally able to put words to feelings...
From the last eleven years of life I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is sovereign over every little thing. There is nothing that happens apart from His will. Even the hard, bad things that happen - like our baby dying - He rules over all. He decrees all. That was part of His will. And He promises that He is using all things - even the really stinky, hard stuff - for good in the lives of His children who are called according to His purpose. He cares a heck of a lot more about my holiness than He does my happiness. I am thankful for that. Even though sometimes it stinks in the short term and certainly isn't how I would do things.
And so I want His will. Even if His will is hard. Because His will is good. Even when it doesn't seem good to me. God isn't a man. His ways aren't like our ways. He sees the beginning from the end. He sees the entire tapestry He is weaving. And I trust Him. I know Him to be good and kind and just and gracious.
And so I know that should He call us to another loss, He will see us through. But my fear - the "my heart is in my throat" moment for me - is the thought of what another loss would do to our children. Sister struggled so with anger and bitterness. I think my heart would break - that I would physically ache for her, should she endure another loss like the one before.
But then I know too, that my children cannot borrow our faith. They must own it. They must trust God. The Engineer helped me sort through this...and I am in a place of pleading with God to protect our hearts, to keep them tender, especially our children's hearts - particularly if His will is for us to lose this little one. And I am in a place of knowing that He sees the bigger picture. He is good and wise. I trust Him. I trust Him with my children.
And so on to the business of rejoicing...for my womb, a place of death and decay, has been given LIFE by God!!! I've seen this little one moving. I've seen baby's heart beating. I've heard the lub-dub. And that is something to rejoice over!
We called our adoption agency to tell them the news. And here's the crazy thing...their standard policy is to place an adoption on hold until the bio baby is six months, but they are making an exception. An exception we did not ask for. They are allowing us to carry on with the process. Which seriously thrills my heart. I am enjoying pouring myself into the paperwork and the autobiography and the reading, etc.
As it stands tonight, on paper, we are seeking to adopt two children from China. We will likely send our "Letter of Intent" to China around week 20 of my pregnancy. If baby is still doing well, that letter of intent will request one child. Baby is due August 25th...putting me right at 11.5 weeks.
Are you half as shocked as we are? More than ever before I am throwing my hands up and letting go on this insane roller coaster ride we call life. I so naively thought we were calling many of the shots. Getting to this place of abandonment...knowing that His will is good - even when it can cut and hurt so bad - it's just freeing. I hope and pray He will bless us with the birth of a healthy little one and a precious "China baby." And I rest knowing if that is not His will, He is faithful and will sustain us.
Woop woop. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
Before I sign off...there are so many of you reading who have been walking alongside us in your own difficult season of wanting and longing. I so wish I could share our news with you face to face. I would put my arms around you and I promise I'd be crying when I shared. Because I know the sting. I know how the news can take your breath away. I remember my heart plummeting, even skipping a beat when I'd hear news of another friend expecting. You're happy for them, but it just hurts so bad. For many of you who have suffered loss, the due date comes and it goes and still, no baby. And the pain can go so deep. We have been there. My heart aches for you. I am sensitive to the longing that heavily cloaks your frame and I am praying for you.
Happy Thursday, y'all.