Monday, March 18, 2013

Our adoption update: the news that we did NOT get the kids

I’ve been thinking and thinking about what to share in a blog post this week about our adoption process. We have recently had news that I was not at all anticipating and the emotional free fall has taken a few weeks to work through.

I mentioned in this previous blog post that my hubby and I have been made aware of 2 kiddos who parental rights were terminated in November. It seemed like an adoption story that only the Lord could write. A client hired us to paint some furniture. That client happened to be an attorney. That client/attorney happened to see my blog that we were trying to adopt and knew of 2 kids whose parental rights were terminated that week. It sounded like an adoption story that was meant to be.

The only part in the story that we were unprepared for was that our family has been wanting to adopt a little girl under the age of 5....we never dreamed of a 2 year old girl AND a 7 year old brother. The idea of taking in 2 kids was at first, a little daunting. 

After the initial shock wore off, visions of life with 5 kids began to warrant permission for consideration in our hearts and minds. Over the course of a few days, the Lord really tore down the walls of our hearts about taking in 2 children. Our house can fit 2 more kids . Our vehicles can fit 2 more kids. Surely the Lord would sustain our energy levels and nerves and bank accounts and bio children, right? So, we decided to give permission for our home study to be considered for these kids and we asked to have the kids files emailed to us.

When we originally started this process, I niavely assumed that if we submitted our home study for a child/children and we were the only ones that did, that we would be selected to adopt them. That is not at all how it works.  The state’s process is to “recruit” other families for the adoption process until they feel like they have enough families to "choose from".  We learned that after recruiting for these kids, 12 families total had submitted their home studies for the children. So, we knew our chances of adopting them were 1 in 12.

It took us 9 weeks to receive the kid's file from the time I first heard about them. I don't know why it took so long. Why does EVERYTHING in the system take.so.stinking.long???  By the time I got their files, I could barely wait. I was at a client's home when the email came. And I forgot all about painting... I can tell you that. As I read the file....I read all about the 2 year old girl. And she sounded precious and precocious and busy and adorable!!!! But, it was the boy.....the boy who resonated most in my spirit. Totally unexpected, I fell in love with the boy....just by his file.

A child's file includes information like names, birthday, physical/medical/mental information, current living situation, mom and dad’s situation, etc. The boy sounded like a little grown up in a child's body. He sounded like my boys when they were 7....liking all things boyish.  He sounded like someone who just needed to be allowed to play.   And to be a kid. And to be wanted. And to be cherished. And within 5 minutes....I had already committed in my heart to mothering him.

We then asked for pictures of the kids. I couldn't wait to see pictures of these doll babies that I was hoping would be ours.  5 weeks went by and our social worker kept saying they had not received pictures from the photographer yet. So, 2 weeks ago, I called her again to check on the photos.

Instead of finding out about the photos, I found out we were not chosen to attend the staffing meetings for the kids (“staffing meetings” is the fancy term for the meeting where social workers, lawyers and therapists interview 3-5 families and select the best suited family for the adoption).

In other words….we are not getting the kids we had prayed for for the last 3 months.

I wanted to blog 2 weeks ago, but I was instantly hurled into a mourning process that I had never anticipated.  I was shocked at how deeply I grieved for kids whose faces I had never even seen.  The only thing my husband and I agree we can compare it to is that it feels just the same as when we miscarried 2 times.  When the answer is abruptly and surprisingly “no”…..it takes awhile to untangle the spectrum of emotions. 

It wasn’t that we necessarily "knew" we were going to be chosen for the kid’s forever family, it’s just that we felt certain we would be interviewed in the staffing process.  The bottom line is…..we were cut from the team altogether when we at least thought we would make the “B” team.  I called our social worker that morning to check on photos of the kids….I had no idea the door to these 2 children would totally close that day.

If I wrote a blog post 2 weeks ago, I would have told you that I wanted to hurt someone for bringing pain to my husband and kids.  It was so hard to tell our 3 biological kids.  They too had started to plan and process and love these 2 kids in their hearts.  It was so hard to watch my husband mourn in his “I-am-saying-I-am-ok-and-yet-I-am-suspiciously-quiet-and-on-edge” sort of way. And just the same as when I miscarried, his emotions were wanting to "fix this", make it better, make ME better.  And yet, there was nothing he could do.

If I wrote a blog post 2 weeks ago, I would have told you we should have never told our 3 bio kids so much about the process. 
 
If I had wrote my blog post 2 weeks ago, I would have told you how badly I dislike the foster care system in the US. 

I would have told you I wished we had gone international. 

I would have told you our social worker (whom I have never met) hates me. 

 If I had wrote my blog post 2 weeks ago, I would have told you that maybe the people who have said "perhaps we are meant to adopt"…..are right.  Clearly God is shutting doors left and right for us.

I would have told you these 2 kids were stolen from us.
 
I would have told you I can see why people quit this stupid, long, exhausting process. 

And yet, I never felt like quitting. 

And I will also tell you, it’s not over for us.

Over the course of the last 2 weeks, my heart has scabbed over. The Lord has helped me to process many emotions.   I’m no longer crying at the mention of our adoption process.  I’m no longer sighing from the very depths of my soul every few minutes.  I am no longer freaking my husband out.  But I am wondering if I will always take a piece of  these 2 faceless babies with me in my heart? And I believe I will.

If you ask me today how I am feeling, I will tell you I am aware of several tender mercies that the Lord has granted to me and my family.

Perhaps it was best we didn’t see photos of the kids.  The attorney told me they were blond haired and blue eyed and would fit right in to our family.  Having a face to put with a name and then falling in love with those faces may have been more than we could bear if eventually the answer was "no".

Perhaps it’s best we didn’t get selected for the staffing process only to NOT be selected for the final family for the kids.  As you move along in the process, it’s just like moving along in a pregnancy.  You start to plan more and more.  You consider the cost of extra airplane tickets for your family vacation this fall.  You consider the cost of putting 5 kids thru college.  You consider the sleeping arrangements.  You consider the process of moving the kids from their current home into ours. You consider what we will need for clothes, toys, etc.  It’s a natural progression in a woman’s heart…. just like when you are pregnant.  Had we been selected to go to the staffing process where we knew we were in the final 3 or final 4 or final 5 families….and then be told "no".....the sting would have been that much worse.  I can honestly say now….thank you Jesus.

Perhaps these kids really weren’t a good fit for our family.  The social worker will not tell us why we weren’t selected.  A reason of ANY kind would sure seem nicer.  Maybe the kids don’t need to be in a family with 3 bio kids.  Perhaps they need a home with a pet. Maybe they don’t like yellow front doors??????  I am sure I will never know why we weren't selected.  At first I was just so upset with our social worker.....how could she not tell me???? While my flesh cries for a reason…..do we ever know why we miscarry either?  In my case, no.... we never did know.  Some questions will just have to wait for Heaven.

Perhaps the only role we were to have for these kids was to lift them up in prayer.  And we did….over and over.  Individually and as a family. My 3 precious biological babies prayed earnestly for these 2 kids by name that they will never know.  And I am choosing to believe that was NOT in vainWe prayed for their well being, their future, their emotions, the preparation of their hearts, their salvation. If that was our only job….then what an honor that should be.

Perhaps our journey is also about writing our bio kid's stories.  They have journeyed with us for 2 1/2 years.   My husband and I determined early on to share our process with our kids, even at the risk of hurting their hearts too. They need to see and deal with grief and anger and sadness and disappointment and confusion in the safety of our own home…..because they will experience all of those emotions in their own lives.  Hopefully they will be better, stronger, kinder people because of our journey. I am choosing to believe God will use this for their good too!

I can remember when I miscarried both times…  suddenly EVERYONE ELSE was pregnant.  Every single thing I saw at Target had to do with babies. Every TV show had moms giving birth.   It felt like like salt in our wounds.  Fast forward 6 years since my last miscarriage…..and it seems EVERYONE ELSE has a great adoption story.  Just this week I sold an item of furniture on a swap and shop site.  I had a total stranger show up at my house to buy it.  And of course, as only God could have it, somehow the guy brings up in conversation that he and his wife have adopted.  Of course you have…..

Then, just a day or 2 later…..I get a call for an appointment with a new client.  Can you guess?  Yep.  Somehow it got brought up in conversation that their family has recently adopted after 3 bio kiddos. Of course you have.  LOL.  I just come to expect it now.

I am telling you people.....we.just.can’t.get.away.from.adoption.

If you ask me how I am feeling now at the end of this blog post, I will tell you I am just so, so tired of wanting to adopt and it just not happening.  I think part of my grieving in the past few weeks was because it seemed like WE WERE FINALLY GETTING SOMEWHERE IN THIS PROCESS...... but now we are back to the beginning. 

And you know how you hear of alllllllll those kids in foster care needing adopted?  The latest number is that 104,000 are in the system in the US right now ready for adoption. The problem is the process.  It's the system.  It's the bureaucracy. It's the red tape. There are 104,000 kids in the system needing parents today....but we have not gotten a call on a single one of them.  What is wrong with this picture?  I will save those thoughts for another post.

For today…..this is all I can do.  Cling to the husband I have.  Love and appreciate the kids I have.  Praise God in the storm.  Believe Him for the best. 

And hope for the best for those two precious kiddos who we had the honor of praying for 3 months. 

For those of you walking this journey with us, whether in person offering your arms for me to cry into, or thru the sweet personal emails I receive….you bless me in ways you will never know.  Thank you for not trying to make sense of this. Thank you for not trying to rationalize it out loud in front of us.  Thank you for just encouraging us and reminding us of the words the Lord has spoken over us. Thank you for not giving up on our heart's desire.  Thank you for just hurting with us.  For letting us just grieve and be authentic and real and human.

I need you to know, I still believe in adoption.

I still believe that God is good.

I still believe that I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.

I still believe He is writing a beautiful story over my family.

19 comments:

Jennifer Wedemeyer said...

I'm so sorry, I can totally empathize with your hurting. Been there 3 time, one time the baby was in my arms at the hospital, she slept in our room and family came and ooowed and awed over her. We were over the moon crazy in love until the next morning when she was taken from my arms...heartbreak, pain, tears, anguish! We didn't know why at the time but God had a plan. He had one for your family too. I KNOW you do not want to hear it right now and I get that. When your adopted child or children are finally in your arms and you can call them yours it WILL make sense. Until then cry and scream, run and run some more, paint your heart out love on your hubby and kids...fall on your knees and give it all to God. When I finally did that on Sept 5, 2000 I felt a peace. I had tried everything to have a child from IVF, fertility drugs, 3 failed domestic adoptions and 1 failed Internatinal adoption, yes I had said I gave it all to Him but in my heart I hadn't. On that say in Sept I truly did, on Sept 11, 2000 we received "the call". We had a referral for a baby in S Korea and we accepted it, the rest was history. I can't imagine life without her! Kylans adoption was a miracle and I'll have to share it with you another time. Girl, I'm praying for you daily! You are in my prayer journal, I hate this for you. It's miserable and frustrating. Nobody understands until you've gone through it. Just know that you have this huge adoption family out there that's praying for you and cheering you on!

Renee Stephens said...

There are no words to tell you how beautiful this post was. Thank you for sharing your raw emotions and for knowing WHEN to share it.
To know that those two sweet children are in His hands and that your children and you had the privilege of praying for them so personally...I know it's hard but there's something so special about that. My words escape me right now but please know that your involvement in their lives, despite the fact that you didn't "know" them, matters tremendously.

Breanna Nielson said...

I also appreciate your willingness to share such a personal struggle... it inspires me to be a better mom to my little babies (3 under 3) who often seem like too much to take... I feel like i should share this story with you; please forgive me if it seems as though i am justifying your situation.. I attended a "Time Out for Women" which was a spiritual conference, several months ago. A woman named Emily Freeman shared an experience.. different from yours, but with similarities. Her husband had been laid off of work... for several months. They prayed daily to speed up the process, and he even received blessings 3 different times-from leaders of my/their faith. The answers were always the same "Be Patient. Wait"... Later on, they were fortunate to buy a family business, after the father passed away..... They were told that the family had been desperately praying for MORE TIME... (after learning that the father had cancer)So her point was.... while they had been praying to speed things up, another deserving family was praying to slow things down!! Maybe in your situation, the children you are meant to have, just aren't quite READY to start the healing quite yet... We never know until it happens, but I pray that it WILL happen. You seem like a very deserving, very spiritual family... who will love unconditionally when the time is right.. Good Luck to you all!! (and sorry for rambling.. i hope what i said made any sense..)

Kathy said...

What a touching recount of your painful experience. I agree It is the system! May Our Lord bless you and you beautiful family!

Melanie said...

Praying for you and your family.....and you are right any prayers that go to that 7 and 2 year old are NOT in vain. Those hearts need all the prayer support they can get.

Charon Hiles said...

All I can tell you is that I have been right where you are. My story is very similar...went through all of the frustrations and pains that you have mentioned. You did NOT pray in vain. Remind yourself of that. You prayed that those 2 children would be blessed with a great family that would be exactly what they need. We will trust in the Lord that they will receive just that. And also understand what I just said...The family that THEY need. Know that those papers will not tell you everything, so you must trust again in the Lord to know what is best for you and your family.
To make a long story short, we ended up with a beautiful daughter who was a little older than what we considered, but she was perfect for us. As we were still being considered in the process, I found a little name card. You know, those cards that you use as a bookmark that have a saying on them like what their name means or a scripture? Yeah, those. Anyway, I found her name card at a little store that I like to frequent and there is was, my life verse, Isa. 26:3. How on the world would HER name card have MY life verse? AND she was born on our wedding anniversary! Yeah...God moments. Just know that He has already crafted the perfect child for you. The foster care system has way too many children for the process to take so long, but sometimes that is how long it takes to find the perfect one for all of you.
Remember I said the family THEY need? My daughter needed a strong (somewhat unemotional) mom...meaning I can't get caught up in the emotional drama and stay strong as I stand up to the defiance that she will posture with....And man oh man she is strong! So, she needed me as mush as I needed her! She needed a soft dad...she had never had one and all the men in her life had been negative...my husband is perfect for HER. She NEEDED these things!
God knows your heart and is preparing you for exactly what you ALL need!
Find all the blessings in this, for there are many!

Desiree said...

We weren't able to have children, and lots of people ask us why we haven't chosen to adopt. Honestly, I've seen the system, and I don't think I can handle it emotionally. I think that before you even start the process, you need to feel called to do it. I can see that calling on your life. You're a trooper. It's so hard not to get angry when you read the numbers of children who need homes, and then look at your beautiful willing family.

Lori Young said...

I can't tell you how sorry I am... but I do know exactly what you are feeling. We went through this process for almost 5 years before adopting our Mia.
I will NEVER forget these moments that were almost and then taken. We went through it so many times- it's become a part of our testimony in faith!! God stops, I can see them now but not then. We almost adopted a sibling group of 4 that the state called us on. And the family came swooping in at the last moment. It's truly heartbreaking. But I always know that our hearts being so open and so willing to say Yes to whatever God has for us is so worth trusting. And your heart being open to them, ready to love them is something they will hold onto forever!!
My heart goes out to you!! Many hugs and prayers for your strength in the continued journey!! ~ Lori {Vintage Charm Restored}

Cindy * Daisies and Crazies said...

Oh Sweet Pea. This paragraph sums up what I was feeling as I was reading this post:

"Perhaps the only role we were to have for these kids was to lift them up in prayer. And we did….over and over. Individually and as a family. My 3 precious biological babies prayed earnestly for these 2 kids by name that they will never know. And I am choosing to believe that was NOT in vain. We prayed for their well being, their future, their emotions, the preparation of their hearts, their salvation. If that was our only job….then what an honor that should be."

We just have to assume that God will work this out for you guys somehow. But man, the waiting and not knowing are hard! I'm sorry.

Love you. xo
Cindy

Julie said...

Faith is getting you through this -- your post was so inspiring. I know this is hard, but your courage strengthens me. Thanks for being bold enough to continue to share your experience.

Traci Creel said...

I am so deeply sorry for the pain that this process has brought to you and your family. This system is surely not working for anyone involved. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Traci

Trish said...

Sorry that you had to go thru this... I think it sucks! I hope they change their mind.

Terra Murray said...

My heart is breaking for you and your family, Jen! Reading your post, I experience various emotions...first of heart break and sorrow and then a sense of peace as I continue to read your faith in our God. He will bring you thru this, and maybe your right, you may have to wait until you pass thru those pearly gates to know the answers to your burning questions. However, you know that the answers He will give you will quickly turn into blessings. Know that there are many prayers being said for you and your family from Ohio!

Terra Murray said...

My heart is breaking for you and your family, Jen! Reading your post, I experience various emotions...first of heart break and sorrow and then a sense of peace as I continue to read your faith in our God. He will bring you thru this, and maybe your right, you may have to wait until you pass thru those pearly gates to know the answers to your burning questions. However, you know that the answers He will give you will quickly turn into blessings. Know that there are many prayers being said for you and your family from Ohio!

Isylla-Beth said...

So Sorry to hear that!My Family and I acan totally sympathize with you, I have a prespective of a bio child whos part of a family who adopts. We had our hopes up 3 times before we got our first adopted brother, we orginally started our adoption process being "a plan" for a young lady who had drug problems. by Gods grace she cleaned up her act and got to keep her baby's, since we had already gone thru the whole process my parents thought why not just adopt anywas. we had our heart set on the three most adorable girls, very similer situation to yours, hopes up and then brought down, a year later my parents re did the profile of kid they wanted, instead of "girl under 2" we just any kid under 3. We then got a call for a little boy, he had "problems" seizures, night terrors, couldnt, and didn't have any interest in walking or talking, jsut kind of a lump. My parents still said yes and started visits with him. We all fell in love with him right away. As soon as he came to live with us almost a month later he never had another seizure, never had a night terror, and started walking and talking, his worker was amazed and said, kids just KNOW where they are supposed to be and with love they flourish. Its so True, there is a kid out there for you who's waiting to flousish. I know the foster system is less than perfect,(we are now a foster respite home) and difficult to deal with, but TRUST me its so worth it, we adopted A's sister 6 months later, and then adopted one more little girl after that and I couldn't imagine my familys life with out them, they are all super smart and you would never thing they had rough starts! Keep encouraged and keep praying! hugs.

charlieandjo said...

Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. You're not back to square one, however. God doesn't send us there. He has a plan and a purpose for you and your family. Never fear, it's not what you expected but much better, much grander. When you get your children you will be able to say: "Straight from the hand of God." Jo @ Let's Face the Music

Frugal Jen said...

This is heartbreaking. I was adopted and have recently become involved in the adoption agency I was adopted from. My teen daughter learned of 2 girls pregnant at her school both 15. We tried so hard with the 1st girl to place the baby. She ended up having an abortion at almost 20 weeks. It was devastating. The 2nd girl is now thinking of an abortion also a 20 something week. It makes me so sad and sick that there are so many families who want these children and can provide a great life and girls know this and still choose abortion.

Shelly Miller said...

So sorry about your heartbreak. May God use this season of your life to speak to you about what He wants for your family. Whether adoption or not, you all are in his best interest. This I know.

Charlotte said...

I'm sorry to hear this, too. I promise you, though, that God does hear you – and He will come through for you in His “own” way and His own time, just like He did for me.

My husband and I have five awesome boys, ages 22, 16, 11, 3, and 1. I had the strongest desire to have a girl of my own, I could not imagine going my entire life without the mother/daughter experience, but I am now happy that I did not have my own. Here’s why: .

Two years ago I got temporary custody of my 9-year-old niece. She had some pretty severe social and behavioral problems, and it was really hard on our family to deal with her. The negative impact she was having on our children, and the fact that she got caught pushing our 20-month-old backwards where he nearly busted his head on the tile did not sit well with my very overly-protective husband. He wanted her gone. I had to keep holding him off, trying to buy time for her to go home. However, we found out as time went by that the chances of her going home were slim to none. This is when I found out my brother (and my best friend, my bro’s wife) had a very serious drug problem.

It was a living hell with my niece her! I was literally asking God, “what did I do to deserve this punishment??” Then we found out her parents’ rights were terminated. We didn’t want to adopt her, but how could I just throw her away? I couldn’t…simple as that. So my husband and I ended up fighting…a lot!!

Some of my family members kept saying, "well, now you got that girl you always wanted." I didn’t find that statement amusing at all. Again, I wanted my “own” baby girl…a child who grew inside me, a part of me, who looked like me! I didn’t want this crazy girl…an 11-year-old girl who had tantrums like a toddler, a girl who talked crazy while she played with her stuffed kitties, a girl who could be so fake and phony, manipulative, selfish, inconsiderate, and who was a danger to not only my own children’s mental status, but their physical well-being, too!. I didn’t want this “broken” girl. I wanted my own shiny new one. That sounds horrible, I know, but that’s what I wanted to say back to the ones who told me I got the girl I always wanted.

My niece’s mother knew that with the evidence the state had against her and my brother, they had no chance of getting their daughter back, so she decides it would be a good idea to have another baby. She told my brother she could no longer have babies, so this was a surprise to him. She’s a very manipulative and selfish person (hence, the reason her older daughter is the way she is now).

However, “I” now have a precious and gorgeous 4-month-old baby girl. I have had her since she was 5 days old, and she is my perfect sweetheart – a really good baby. God heard me when I begged him for a girl. I feel God gave me my brother’s new baby to make me realize that you have to take the good with the bad and do the best you can. We have solidly decided to adopt both girls. I could never hurt my older niece by sending her away and keeping the new baby. She already felt, on her own, that her parents tried to replace her...she even told them such on the phone. But now, she knows she is a part of our family and so is her baby sister.

Sorry for rambling - I guess what I'm saying is we don't always get what we truly desire, but God does things His own way in His own time. I may not have gotten my own biological daughter, but I did get two girls who I will do everything in my power to raise properly and love endlessly (and I work tirelessly on the 11-year-old, and there have been some improvements).

I wish you the best of luck. I will follow your blog, and I hope to hear about an adoption for you soon!!

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