Since our last short update, a lot has happened. When I sat down to write this, I truly thought it would maybe be a few sentences long but it ended up being a pretty intense processing experience for me (Lindsay). So be warned, there's a whole lotta Jesus talk and a long and drawn out version of where we're at. For those of you who would love the short version -- we are currently alive and well, with no babies.
For the long version, keep on reading :
We officially became home study approved on December 6th, celebrated over dinner, then continued in normalcy because nothing really had really changed yet. We had not even made our parenting profile, were still choosing between working with an attorney or an agency, and simply put – we had a ton of work left to do. And, when adopting domestically, you’re typically told to anticipate waiting a year or two, so we had already shifted into a mindset of waiting.
Two days later, on December 8th, I received a phone call from a friend who knew we were in the adoption process. She shared with me about a situation she was aware of where a baby was born a few days prior and needed an adoptive family. The agency the baby was connected with was having trouble finding a match due to some physical disabilities the baby had and asked if we would be open to considering parenting. As you can imagine, I could hardly process what was happening because we didn't even know getting a phone call like this was possible at this time. I called Ethan and he immediately drove home from work. We prayed, called the agency and said yes. From there we experienced a lot of anxious waiting, back and forths, ups and downs, and while I won’t be giving this story justice, there are too many pieces of confidential information that we are both not only required to, but desired to, protect. In short, Ethan and I came close to becoming parents but after 8 days of waiting we were told that the Biological Mother decided to go with another couple. When the phone call finally came, we weren't sure what to do with ourselves. There is no box to place our sadness in, this baby was never ours yet it still felt like we were experiencing a loss. (This photo pretty much sums up what those 8 days looked like)
We had said that we were excited about the ministry of loving the Birth-Mom yet we found it very humbling and difficult to sacrificially love her and pray for her while we were waiting for a decision to be made. It was way easier to focus on how difficult it was to wait for Ethan and I, while completely missing the insane amount of hardship this Birth-Mom was going through. For 7 of the 8 days we were pretty much the only option for this Birth-Mom so for us to start processing how different life was about to become, what it would look like to parent this baby and getting excited was super real. It was impossible to guard our hearts from disappointment when excitement seemed so close and so real -- any moment we could have received the phone call of our dreams: "You've been chosen and can start arranging plans to pick up the baby".
I'm so thankful for the people in our life that walked with us and brought our perspective back to focus when we were in our darker moments. One friend encouraged me, "Know that your place is to lay down your life through prayer for this Mama and baby. God has the perfect place and time and child for you both and y'all want that path, His path. This could be it or this could be Him putting you into her life or another family's life to pray them through some serious stuff and that's a beautiful gift too". While we were in the middle of it all, when the wait was intense and the longing was heavy, I did not err on this side of things. I wanted out - it was too difficult. When this baby was placed with another family, we were sad and confused about why we had to go through that. The idea that having the privilege to love and pray over this Mom and baby didn't feel like enough of a reason. I struggled to have eyes to see and honestly still do sometimes when I look back on those 8 days. Now nearing almost 2 months since this happened I am confident of this...
God is still good. Even when we don't know why and nothing seems to make sense, He is good and present and faithful. I'd be lying if I said I'm still not wrestling through this but I'm choosing to fight to believe this.
I love my Man. I cannot imagine going through all these things without Ethan. He has been real and honest hasn’t put on a smile just for show, to pretend we’re fine. He's helped me to give time and space for my sadness but also doesn't let me stay there. There's a depth of love that can come from walking through difficult things together and by the grace of God we're experiencing that. And I'm so grateful.
Safety and self-preservation will not be the driving force of our decisions. Our initial reaction was of course to protect ourselves from ever having to go through something like that again - to choose the safest options from here on out. What’d we gone though was so much harder than we would’ve thought, and much more that we could’ve handled. Plus, adopting alone is such a big deal, couldn’t we still feel good about going with what was most comfortable and likely least harmful for us? Etc, etc, ec, - the rationalizations could go on and on but we are constantly being reminded: that's not what it looks like to walk with Jesus. Our desire to say yes keeps coming back, and we continue to feel strongly about walking this path – to keep pressing in and not focusing on our worries about feeling vulnerable or uncomfortable. There is risk here, sure. We don't have to choose this path. BUT we believe that true freedom is found in living a surrendered life for Jesus, and that because of this we can fully experience peace and joy even in the midst of all these unknowns.
We are not the Savior. I totally fall into having a savior complex in most categories in life. I want to fix and heal and resolve things. Turns out Jesus doesn’t need me for that but most of the time I start off by thinking He does, get served a slice of humble pie (sometimes it’s a smack in the face when I need it- like that one time when we first moved into Philadelphia and I decided I was going to figure out how to resolve the deep poverty issue, reach every homeless person, build relationships with all of my neighbors, empower single Mom’s that decided to parent with the baby they were pregnant with, walk alongside them for years to come and help start a church…..), then I relearn my proper place and graciously get to be a part of what God is already doing, and He uses me - my limitations, inabilities and all. To be honest I think I still carried this with me into adoption (more so than I like to admit) and felt sick at the idea of ever having to say no to a child in need. So, God in His grace gave me an opportunity to yet again learn how to walk out what it means to trust Him in this way. Just last week we were informed about a baby that needed an adoptive family but because of a lack of information and short timeline, Ethan and I didn’t feel like we could make a confident decision and had to say no. Strangely enough, I had a total peace about it and didn't struggle with doubting our decision. When we choose to recognize that He is the ultimate Savior, we can walk away knowing that our role is not to say yes to every baby because “if not us then who?”. This child is seen and loved by a God much bigger than us and I can rest in our “no” because of that.
My desire to become a Mom has become something fierce but it is not where my hope is. If we get to experience becoming parents together it will truly be a gift, but I know it is not promised to me. Yes, there are days when the struggle is real and I just want to be a Momma more than anything but on those days, I usually miss my opportunities to love the people and circumstances already present in my life. Those don't seem to produce anything but a lack of contentment and anxiety to change things I cannot control. This whole waiting thing is so not in my nature and I’m not necessarily loving this season of life but I am doing my best to be intentional about not missing out on how sweet this time can still be. So tonight I will date my husband, no babysitter necessary. My mornings are slow and filled with coffee dates with girlfriends, special one on one time with Larisa, working as a nanny and volunteering at the pregnancy center. I can still meet up with friends for spontaneous happy hours, wait in line for 3 hours at Pizzeria Beddia and go run around Broad Street when the Eagles won (totally a fake fan but I live in Philadelphia so it's fine). Ethan has been waking up at 4am to go to the gym which I'm so proud of him for but I will definitely keep sleeping in until 8:30 because I know it's only a matter of time before that no longer exists in my life. There are totally going to be days I am sad and feel like complaining about what I feel I’m missing, but I want to do my best to enjoy this season and to wait faithfully.
So now what...?
Well, we are back in a place of making decisions when it comes to the details of agencies and choosing the route we want to take. As for now, your prayers are the best way you can support us. If you read all of this, we want you to know that so appreciate you caring enough to read our updates and we love that you choose to let our story be part of your day.
Love Love Love
E + L