Saturday, July 26, 2008

From the beginning....

For now, I'm gonna skip the message I heard a few days ago, and just start from the beginning of my story.... Because that is what I got out of the message -- that I need to share. :)
I've always been a night owl. My mom tried to MAKE me go to sleep when I was little, but it never worked, and I always stayed awake until I was ready to sleep. One time, she decided she was tired of trying to MAKE me sleep, so she would let me stay up "as long as I wanted to," thinking I would see that it is actually BORING to stay up all night... WRONG!!! She says that eventually, in the wee hours of the morning, she got me some puzzles and coloring books out, and told me to stay in my seat until morning. When she woke up the next morning, I was still sitting there with my puzzles and crayons!! Before I was even in school, I remember watching those Feed the Children episodes -- you know, the ones most people just turn off because it hurts too much to watch. I didn't know there was such a thing as "orphans" in the world... I thought all little kids had a mommy and a daddy they lived with, that loved them very much and took the best care of them. Little did I know.... In my childish innocence, I wondered why every family in America couldn't just take in one of those kids... Surely that would make a difference!! I would sleep on the couch, so that little Romanian girl with those big, brown eyes could have my side of the bed. No, wait, I would sleep on the FLOOR, so another could have the couch!!! Somehow, even then, I knew that people (adults) would think it was crazy, something that would never work, so I just didn't mention it to anyone.
Then I started school. On the first day of Kindergarten, I met a girl we'll call R. We became best buds at school. Turns out she had an alcoholic, abusive father. As a child, I thought that meant he drank a lot and hit her, which he did both.... As an adult, I don't even want to think about the other ways in which I'm sure she was abused. Her mom was just trying to survive as well. R came to my birthday party, and I still have a picture my mom took of R running through the yard, playing and LAUGHING. A smile was a rare occassion. She cried when the party was over, because she didn't want to go home, because my house was safe and fun and she COULD run and play. She felt loved. My other best friend in elementary school, M, also had an alcoholic, abusive father. M had 2 sisters, but M was the one who took the brunt of her father's abusiveness. Her older sister learned to stay out of the way, her younger sister was truly daddy's baby, but M always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When M and I played together, she always wanted to run away (but of course, there was that whole we-can't-walk-in-the-road-and-especially-on-the-highway-thing), or when my mom would come pick me up from her house, she would beg us to hide, because she knew things were better if she had company. She got treated a little bit better. I specifically remember getting warnings at her house about how her dad would be home soon, so we needed to be quiet. M was afraid, and her mom would tell her it would be okay if we would just stay out of the way, and not be too loud. Like it was her own fault or something?!?!
Fast-forward to now... I haven't seen R in a really long time, years, but last time I saw her, she was living between Georgia and Alabama, and had a son who she says looks and acts just like she did growing up. She wasn't married, and she still looked exactly the same, down to her dirty face and old, stained clothing. And it broke my heart to know that, even though she and her mom got away from her dad, R is probably still living the same life... She probably left one situation for another. M, on the other hand.... I am so happy for M!! If anyone deserves a happy adulthood with all of the children they could possibly handle, it is M! She has a boy and a girl, both under age 4, and is due again in August. They recently started going to our church. Her mom eventually got all of the girls and moved into their own house, away from their dad, who has since died a horrible death alone after battling throat cancer. I know, it sounds like a movie, but I swear that's how it happened. M seems to be doing great. I honestly believe the difference was a Christian mother and Christian family.
This is getting pretty long.....
Anyway, throughout school, my friends were those kids who needed some love and good examples of family in their little lives. As I grew up, I kind of "took in" those kids that nobody else wanted to talk to, that everybody else kind of turned their nose up and ignored. All throughout school, it's like God was whispering to me that one day those kids would be my kids. He was showing and preparing me all along that He made me to care for the uncared and love the unloved. But I didn't get it. When you don't listen to that still, small voice, um, God has other ways to get your attention.
Like the 18-wheeler in the rear end... I was dating a guy I knew I shouldn't date. He treated me in a way I knew I didn't deserve. I. Knew. Better. than to stay with him. But since I loved to prove people wrong, I was determined to make it work. I even heard that still, small voice of God telling me it would NOT work, and I needed to end the relationship, because He had something better. Um, I didn't listen, and you know what, I was going to prove it to GOD, too! Uh, don't ever. ever. EVER try that.... It won't work. Suffice it to say that after befriending all kinds of abused kids growing up, I became one myself. Then one summer afternoon between high school and college, I was driving home from my baby-sitting job, to pick up my sister to go to my second part-time job selling fireworks. I didn't make it home, because I was rear-ended. They said I was going into shock, so as soon as the ambulance arrived, they took me to the hospital. Let me just tell you, I knew the wreck didn't kill me, but I thought for sure I would die in the ambulance!!! Scary ride if you've never had the "priviledge!" I spent the rest of the summer that should've been the best of my life, in bed. Severe whiplash, PTSD, migraines brought on my trauma that might or might not ever go away (8 years later, they're still here)... I didn't doubt the PTSD, but I knew it didn't come from the wreck. When I started to college that Fall, it was with way fewer hours than full time, and I was still sleeping all day. I struggled through, but made it. I got better as the year went on, but it actually took several years to get my neck and back stronger. I'm still supposed to be careful -- I still have neck and back pain when I do a lot, I have killer migraines several times a month, and I still get nervous around 18-wheelers. I spent a lot of time praying and thinking that summer and in the months that followed. God has a way of getting your attention, and when you can't get out of bed for more than a few minutes, He has your full attention. I went on to break up with the jerk, who has since been suspected of being a child molester (which I really don't doubt, all things considered), and swore I'd never date again. But once again, God had other plans. I took a summer job away from home the next summer, and was able to talk with some people about the abuse and such, and they encouraged me to talk to my parents. My brother-in-law kept my dad from going to find the dude and kept things from getting very ugly. Again God was preparing me. I hope and pray that my children never experience any type of abuse, but if at some point we adopt older children, chances are.....
Eventually, my never-date-or-marry (to prove, again, that it could be done... you'd think I had learned that already!!) turned into he's-gonna-have-to-ask-me-out-because-I-refuse. Hubby and I eventually started dating, and now we can laugh about lots of circumstances... Like the time he and another church friend rode with this younger girl when we were going out to eat one night. I rode with my aunt and uncle, and I voiced my concern that maybe he liked this girl more than me. My aunt was sure that he just liked her car. A couple of years later, I found out that it wasn't just the car, and the girl told him that he had to choose between her and me... He obviously chose me! Then there was the time I was IM'ing hubby and my friend J, and meant to send a message to J about the whole let-me-pretend-to-teach-you-how-to-putt-putt-so-I-can-really-just-hug-you-thing, and accidentally sent it to hubby instead! He just played it off and made some comment about the batting cages, so I agreed. Of course, we both knew that he had caught me hahaha!!!
Before we were engaged, we knew we couldn't have kids. Why? Well, really it's because we live in a fallen world. Sin, beginning with Adam and Eve, and trickling down through time, has caused lots of bad things to happen. It's not a perfect world. We won't really understand all the why's and how's until we get to Heaven. I could go into this long deal about diagnoses and treatments and blah blah blah, but really it all boils down to sin.
Now, like most girls, I grew up dreaming of finding my prince, getting married, and having all the beautiful children I wanted, that had all of our best features. 2.5 kids and a white picket fence kinda thing. (still haven't figured out how you can get half a kid...) Actually when I first found out, I just kind of laid back a little, I couldn't even sit up anymore... But my first thought and sentence was "Well, then we'll adopt... It doesn't really change anything at all!" Over time, of course, the realization and pain set in, and there are still challenging times. Almost immediately, though, I started catching glimpses of my life. God brought back to mind the childhood friendships. The smiles from kids who didn't smile. The safety when they were at my house. Good grief, I was gonna live on the floor so some kid I didn't know could have clean drinking water. And I realized that all along, from the childhood friends, to the abuse, to the wreck, God was preparing me for adoption. He was calling out to me what His plans were for my life, and I didn't even hear. It took an 18-wheeler with lifelong injuries for me to listen about trying to marry the completely wrong guy. You'd think I had learned to listen. It's kind of funny... People almost immediately want to know who's "fault" it is that a couple can't conceive. Honestly, we're in this together, so if one can't, then duh, BOTH can't!! ;) But I say it's probably mine, because God knew from my past, that without infertility slapping me in the face, I would never listen.
So there it is. That's the whole story of why we're adopting. It's not something we HAVE to do, we have the option of being a family of two. It's something I, and we, are CALLED to do. Because there is some little boy or girl, hopefully more than just one child, who needs US... God is preparing hubby and I to raise a certain child, He knows who this baby is and where he/she will come from. It is no surprise to God that Romanian adoption is closed. God doesn't get angry when yet another country closes its doors right as I was looking into their procedures. What more beautiful, perfect picture of God's love than adoption. When we were dirty, poor, and had nothing to give, God, our only hope, reached down and picked us up. He washed us whiter than snow, He gave us hope and a future, and adopted us into His forever family. I don't feel jipped (is that how you spell that word?) that I never get to be pregnant. I feel blessed that God has chosen me to experience the miracle of adoption. I get to live what God has done for me, and what God can do for YOU. God is not surprised that you're still reading this (although I might be!) All it takes is admitting you are a sinner, believing God can cleanse you of your sins, ask Jesus into your heart, and confess Him and Lord and Savior of your life. Then God can adopt YOU into his family. You don't have to be an orphan.

*****Post-baby-shower update******
I feel like I need a t-shirt that says "I survived a baby shower" or something!!! I know it's going to happen one day, and I'm not really concerned about when it finally will happen for us.... But the waiting just might kill me. :rolling eyes: I'm sure I won't really die, but geez, louise. I did manage to keep it together, as long as I had food in my mouth (so much for that whole diet thing, right?), or kept my lower lip from trembling... I knew if I ever started, I was a goner, and of all baby showers, this was NOT one I wanted to mess up. They have been where we are, and she totally deserved this day to be completely focused on her and that beautiful baby girl. I watched some of the gifts being opened, but thankfully there were lots of times where our view was blocked. The pictures they passed around of the baby, well, I did okay with that too. The real kicker was all of those (mostly well-intentioned, I'm sure) women who kept coming up to me asking me when they would be doing this for me, or how long it would be before we started a family, or some variation of a tactful way to let me know we've been married long enough, it's time for a baby. Thankfully, though, I was not alone, as a fellow infertile friend who knows about our difficulties was also there, and we stuck together. Good to have a friend like that on such a day!! When we went to throw our trash away, she told me just to not pay any attention to all those people, that's what she learned to do.... Then my sweet sister-in-law came back to where we were and hugged me and told me I did good... (She was around during a couple of the times someone was asking me a bunch of crap) I told her thanks, and that I was running. I kept it together until I got outside... Really glad I didn't drive (we live really close to the church), and came in and went straight to the bed. Didn't wallow all afternoon, just had myself a good cry, then I got up and read the paper. (I'm such an old woman, really!) I hate that I didn't say good-bye to the new mom, as she has been one to encourage me (she's the one who made me cry in Wal*Mart), but like I said, this was her day. I knew if I talked to her again (at least I said hello) I would lose it big time.
So now, we gear up for the birth of 2 church babies next month, at least 1 of which we'll probably be going to see in the hospital.

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