Saturday, December 8, 2012

Our Adoption Journey Comes to an End

For most people, they see that our adoption journey was a fast one. And, it really was in adoption waiting terms.

We completed our Home Study very quickly because it was June - vacation month for most. We were going on vacation to the beach with friends and our social worker was going on vacation too at a different time. We really had to speed things up on both ends. So, our Home Study was completed in a couple of weeks with all three interviews taking place in one week.

We were finished with one part- our part. We were then prepared for a two year wait for placement. We went to Vegas for Gary's work trip to relax. Day 3 ended all relaxation for us both. We received the phone call that we had been chosen and needed to make a trip to Chicago to meet our birth mother in August. We couldn't say no. We had to meet her. We did and we felt such a peace afterward. We tried not to get too excited. She didn't have to continue and even after birth we knew she could still change her mind. But, every time I felt a negative thought or worry come into my mind, I was reminded in some way that God was in control. Throughout this process, I never felt such peace. I had never felt that peace when we were doing fertility treatments.

We came home after meeting our birthmother and waited corresponding through email until the birth. We were expecting delivery in December from the beginning.

On the night of the 13th of November, I came home from work with a fever and feeling pretty bad. I took two extra strength Tylenol and went to bed. 10:30 came and I had just fell into sleep and was getting over the fever when my phone rang. I was a little out of it and noticed the call was from Illinois. My first thought was that it was my leader in Clever Container calling since she is based in Illinois, but I wondered why she would call at 10:30 at night. I answered the phone and it was our birthmother's mother. Our birthmother was at the hospital- 2.5 weeks early. A million thoughts went through my head.  I was sick!! Was this false labor? I didn't really even know what to say. I ran downstairs still listening to the caller. I went downstairs making the motion of someone being pregnant. Gary said, "Who's pregnant?" I pointed to he and I. He was in shock too. I spoke to our birthmother and heard the fear in her voice. She begged us to come right then. We thought it might be false labor so we hung up and waited for the next call after the doctor saw her to say if she needed to stay or not. I cried because I was sick and commented through tears that we had waited so long for a child and now that he was here I wouldn't even be able to hold him. I was so upset.

We went to bed and tried to sleep. This was after I sent Gary to Wal-mart for detergent since we had none and tried to finish packing. Gary was pretty sure it was false labor and said we would plan things out the next day and most likely not have to go. He was in a week long training downtown for work and would miss the last two final days if we left on Wednesday. I was sure we needed to get ready. Adrenaline was the only thing pushing me because I was still running fever and was feeling really bad.

At 4:30 in the morning, my phone received a text. It was from our birth mother's mother. Our birthmother had gone to 10cm and was about to push in 10 minutes. I thought about just going back to sleep and letting Gary sleep, but I couldn't. I woke him by saying, "You are going to be a dad in 10 minutes." He woke up with a start and was in full alert mode. He got up and started planning- hotel, flights, rental car, packing. The first flight out was at 6:30. No way we could make that. So, we waited until the afternoon after we got everything ready. The teenage boy who watches our dogs had to be called. He would be going to school around 9 and we really needed to have him come get our keys. Gary texted him and he came over. He was at our house by 6:30. We were shocked he was even awake. He said he usually didn't get up until later, but he woke up early and something kept him awake!!! We know it was God and His plan working even in the small details.

We arrived in Chicago a couple of hours after take off from Atlanta and went straight to the hospital to see our son. It was surreal. It felt we were visiting a good friend in the hospital to see her baby. After all, that was what we had always been doing- visiting other people's babies in the hospital. (More on the hospital experience later).

It was a whirlwind. From the time we decided to adopt in March to the birth of our son in November. Nothing was ready at home, but I had managed to finish the mural and get some space in our cabinets. I didn't feel ready at all. But, nothing is ever in our plan. God had it all under control.

Stay tuned when I have another night of wonderful sleep- thanks to Gary and Assassins Creed III. I will blog next on the hospital experience and how God allowed us to have peace and a wonderful open relationship with our birth parent and her family as well as sharing our Faith in God with them.

I hope I will always remember...

I hope to always remember how it felt to not be able to get pregnant. I still have that desire even with Declan home, but I am now among those who are no longer waiting to become a mother. I am a mother now. But, I do remember the pain of not being able to get pregnant and the pain of failed infertility procedures. I hope to not become complacent to those and antipathetic to those who are still waiting mothers. I want those mothers to know that joy of motherhood does await no matter what path to motherhood is taken.

People have said Gary and I are lucky and people can't believe how fast everything happened for us with the adoption. In reality, our lives have been anything but lucky. Luck had nothing to do with anything that has happened. And, the reality of the short wait is that it really was a very long wait.

When I say that luck had nothing to do with our adoption, I mean that it was God that orchestrated everything.

Those closest to Gary and I know our extended story, but many do not. When you are in the middle of a challenge in your life, you don't look at that challenge and say, "Oh, I bet God is really doing something great in our lives right now." It usually happens after the challenge is over that we can look back and see God's hand in everything.

When I was in college, God called me to join a summer missions trip. I declined that call on my life. The next year, God called me again and let me know that it would be His last call and I needed to obey. I did and it changed my life forever. I was in college to become an Interior Designer and I was great at it. But, after a summer working with children in camps, churches and clubs I knew I was to be a teacher instead. When I came home from California that summer, I went and changed my major to Elementary Education. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I wanted to become a designer. My professors tried to keep me from leaving. I cried for hours battling over the decision that was not mine to make. God had already decided for me.

Little did I know at that time (I was dating the WRONG person at the time also) that God had His plan already in motion and I was falling into it. I changed my major and began planning the rest of my college career. It turned out that after three years in design, I had a good bit of catching up to do on my courses in order to complete the new degree. After changing my major, I finally broke up with the guy I was dating who wasn't a Christian and began to focus more on God and my new studies. Soon after I did this, I ended up meeting Gary through a mutual friend. We were friends for a year before we began dating and when we did began dating, it was a natural development. We dated for 5 years before marrying, but we both had our Master's degrees and we both had jobs when we did end up getting married.

After a year in Mississippi, we decided we needed to move elsewhere in order to fulfill our dreams of owning a home and beginning a family. Gary applied at many different companies throughout Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, etc. None of his applications were for Georgia. But, we ended up here after friends invited us to stay with them for the weekend when there was a teacher job fair. I ended up getting a job soon after that in Georgia as a teacher. The principal called me right after the interview and offered me the job. We didn't have a plan. We didn't have money. Gary didn't have a job. We were shocked at the cost of living here even for an apartment. We ate beans and rice and shed many tears during the 6 months of no income during the summer and my first few months of teaching. We were very down and were rethinking our decision to move here. But, God worked it all out. Gary found a job and began bringing in a salary. That time tested our faith for sure. We thought we would never be able to buy a house and begin a family.

It just so happened that an elderly man lived across from us whose wife had recently died. He was lonely and sad and we befriended him. He became fond of us and introduced us to his daughter who happens to be a realtor. She helped us find and buy our first house.

We moved into our home feeling very awkward in a neighborhood full of families and kids. We had already began to try to conceive, but we had no luck and we didn't have the money to begin seeing a specialist.

Timeline at this point: Married 2005, Move to GA 2006, Bought our house in 2007

We finally began to get back on our feet. God had taken care of us so far. But, we still hadn't been able to get pregnant. We began to see specialist. They ran test, they sent us to different doctors, they ran more test. No one could tell us what was wrong. We kept trying and praying. In 2010, we finally found a doctor who gave some sort of diagnosis. We both began to exercise, changed our diet, began to get healthier. Surely we would get pregnant.

If you read our previous blogs, you will see what we went through from this point until we decided to follow God's will for our lives to adopt.

So you see, luck had nothing to do with it. God was in everything from the very beginning. In my career choice, in Gary and I meeting (Gary has his own story of how he came to MS from Hong Kong-- that is a story all in itself), in Gary and I moving to GA, in Gary and I being in this neighborhood, in the friends we would meet and in our adoption. God has led us and we have chosen to follow. If we had not followed, it wouldn't see to everyone as if we were so lucky.

Stay tuned for my summary of how God was in our adoption from the very beginning and why it seemed to happen so fast to everyone on the outside.