Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here Comes the Next Phase

I have been thinking about this post for months now, and I am still finding the exact words elusive. Please bear with me as I sort my thoughts. It really is amazing how life goes. We start out so pure and innocent with these great plans and ambitions. I have always been such an idealist. It has never been much of a challenge for me to see the good in people. In my mind things always work out. That is just the way it is.

Given everything I have been through I find it no real surprise where I find myself today. Is it the way I planned things? Of course not. Plans are quite silly, really. Honestly, who do we think we are anyway? The course of our life is not up to us. God is in control, and the sooner we learn that the better. Do I understand His plan? Not at all, but that is okay. I am glad to not have the responsibility that would encompass. Playing my part is challenging enough. I can handle no more than one step at a time.

My life has seen much pain and many disappointments. It has also provided many lessons, miracles, and accomplishments. Everything is all a matter of perspective anyway. The less time we spend wondering what others think and the more time we spend putting one foot in front of the other the better. Things always look better if we are focusing in the right spot. If only I could have learned that lesson years ago.

It seems it took the recent turn of events to bring this lesson into full perspective. I spent a couple of months processing, praying, and healing. It was the most paralyzing bout of depression I think I have ever had, but it may have been the most productive. I have honestly never experienced anything quite like it. I really did feel paralyzed. It was a frustrating spot to be, that is until I embraced it. Once I recognized that I was right where I needed to be the healing began, and progress moved in. It was an awesome experience.

When we are feeling depressed we always want to do something about it, and that just may not be the way to go. Numbing out feelings and emotions with prescription drugs can most often prove counter productive, in my humble opinion. I would venture to guess that we have the feelings we have when we have them so that we can learn something from them. If we numb them out, how on earth will we ever learn and grow? It has been my experience that it is best to embrace our circumstances and open our hearts and minds to guidance and growth.

Back in July, when I was in the thick of VBS planning and preparation, my husband and I learned that our youngest daughter, our remaining beacon of hope for all things dreamed and wished for in a successful daughter, had joined the ranks of her older sisters. She was now uneducated, single, and pregnant. Talk about a shocker. July was to be the month that we made our first OB/GYN appointment. This daughter was a virgin, or so we thought. Fortunately, we had some time to process this information before she sat down and talked with us herself.

Honestly, she was in a state of panic, and we were in a state of shock. We had known there was something quite wrong for a few months, but we were unable to crack the case. It was obvious to me that she was depressed, but not so obvious why. I had attributed it to the recent breakup of her and her boyfriend, her failing grades at school, and some other poor decision making she had been doing in relation to finances. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It seems there had been a momentary lapse of judgment during the two-month breakup of her and said boyfriend that culminated in a "one night stand" and about 10 positive pregnancy tests. This child set into panic mode and was bent on moving out of the house rather than dealing with the situation head on. Finally, after some strong encouragement from the sister she was to move in with, she stepped up and talked to us. An unexpected journey was unfolding before us. We had no idea where we were headed.

What set in for me was an unrealized bout of depression. Really, I think all three of us, (my daughter, my husband, and myself), sat in depression for some time. I finished out VBS without being able to deal with anything. Any of you that have ever done VBS knows how consuming it is the week it is going on. When VBS wrapped up we started taking baby steps.

The first thing I did was take our daughter to see a woman at a crisis pregnancy center. She talked to us about the dangers of abortion from a much experienced position. It was an emotionally draining day for me. It became obvious to me that this child was terrified of her situation so much so that she was actually considering abortion. What came out of my mouth was a shock to me, "I will promise you right now that if you do not abort this baby I will raise it." Who knew I would be that desperate to have my daughter not kill my grandchild? Through conversation, I learned that she didn't really want an abortion. She was scared, and she was not ready to raise a baby.

The next step was to visit an adoption agency. She was interested in placing the baby through an open adoption. We made an appointment and drove a few cities away to an agency that was recommended through the crisis pregnancy center. We talked with the lady, and she made it clear, "This is not your decision. This is your daughter's decision." Well, duh? BUT, we are a family, and we do rely on each other. In the end she just didn't sit well with either of us. Our daughter was not in this alone. We were facing this head on, together.

I searched and searched for information. I learned that there are people out there that were placed through open adoption that are very unhappy and against the system. I learned that there are alternatives. I prayed. I searched. I prayed. I searched. I prayed, and I searched some more. I checked out books from the library and dug through the internet. There is a never ending supply of information on the subject, but it does require some digging through.

One thing that kept tripping me up is that I just could not get comfortable with the idea of adoption. When I expressed this to my husband he said, "We may not agree, but we have to be supportive." I did not say too much after that, but I kept praying and researching. I talked to friends that have adopted. I spoke to good friends about people they knew that were looking to adopt. Still nothing felt right. Then, when my husband spoke with our daughter on his own, and she told him she wanted to place the baby for open adoption, he had to fight back tears. This was when he knew it was not so okay with him either.

Where we were led next was, what we thought, just crazy. We questioned God and each other over and over. Did we really want to do this? Were we really considering adopting our grandchild? Did we really want to raise another child right at a time when we were actively viewing our empty nest? Our youngest is just getting ready to turn 16. What on earth were we thinking? Were we crazy? Are we crazy?

Well, it is impossible to say no to the prompting of God and the calling of your heart. Through some loving guidance and challenges to my moral stance I was prompted to search through the Bible on the subject of adoption, and it just cleared it up for me even more. This was the right thing to do. This baby is family no matter his origin. He needs to know his roots as best he can and have a sense of belonging and position in this world. He needs to know that his family cares and wants the very best for him. We were prepared to offer just that, and we made our feelings known to our daughter. She said the most mature thing I had heard out of any of our young ladies in a long time, "Can I take a week to think about it?" Of course we were elated. We had just had the most productive conversation we had quite possibly ever had with any of our daughters, and it ended on a positive note with a mature direction.

In the week that followed I took our daughter to see a friend of the family that does some alternative therapy. It seemed to have gone well, and she took the time she needed to process. Then, I'll never forget the day that I came home from some morning errands and found a note on my planner. My stomach did a few flips. I have a couple of children that like to communicate through letters when they have something big to deal with. She is one of them. I had company, but I couldn't help but read the letter right then. I just had to know what she had to say. Was I going to be a mother again, or did I have to find it in myself to let this baby go? Where were we heading from here?

When I was reading the letter I found myself impressed with the thought she had put in to expressing what it was she needed and where her limitations lied. The bottom line was that she wants my husband and myself to adopt her baby. I actually found myself giddy, in the words of my husband, and it was a shock to me. I still couldn't believe that I was getting excited about raising another child. What was I thinking? But, what an opportunity!

Now it was time to include the boys. Shortly after reading the letter and talking together my husband and I sat down with our two boys, almost 16 and 18 years old. It is important to us that they feel free to ask questions and get answers through this entire process. Both boys were okay with the idea much to my surprise. Honestly, I really was not sure what to expect, but I have to say I was a little surprise at their acceptance of the situation. The almost 18 year old is actually excited about the idea and thinks it is "cool". What more can we ask for?

After our conversation with the boys, that left the older girls. I spoke with two of them via the telephone. They asked questions, and we discussed different issues. They still cannot believe that we are going to have another child, but they are happy as well. The two oldest girls came over for dinner on a Sunday afternoon. We spoke then. Our oldest daughter was very excited that there had been a solution that would allow the baby to remain in the family. All in all everyone seems to be having fun with the idea. We will see what we think about it when we are in the thick of two a.m. feedings and diaper changes. (BWG)

Of course, we still need to take care of the legalities of the matter. There are some sensitive issues that need to be addressed. Our daughter will be moving out a couple weeks before the baby is due. In the mean time we need to create a birth plan. Praise God we were led to an amazing doctor right in our neighborhood. She has experience in these types of situations and is completely open to working with us. Our daughter is in good health. The baby is progressing well. At the ultrasound last week we learned that he is a boy. Hubby was VERY happy about that.

Right now we are taking it day by day. We are learning how to communicate better, creating a birth plan, preparing for a daughter to move out, and a son to come in to our life. This whole thing could not have been more unexpected, but we are happy and blessed. I have had this strong desire to do mission work. What I am learning now is that my mission is at home with my family. This is where I am needed. Home is where I need to share the love of Christ. God has planted me here for such a time as this.


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