Birds on a Wire
So, we went on radio silent there for a good while. Since we last caught up with you, there’s been a bunch of changes to our family; some great, some hard to swallow, and some wonderfully unexpected.

First things first. We’ve moved! YAY!

Daniel was offered a fantastic new job as a librarian at a beautiful city library in the central valley. We’ve been praying for this kind of opportunity to come along since Daniel completed his Masters in Library Science in 2009.

The process to the job was long. He applied in January, completed a mega supplemental questionnaire in March, did interviews #1 and #2 in April, and waited for the background check to clear in May. Finally in June, he had an offer and we had only two weeks to find a place to live, pack up our stuff, and move to California’s Central Valley! Luckily it all came together without too many bumps in the road!

We’re still adjusting to our new home. We moved in the middle of a heat wave, so we’re getting a dose of what the hotter end of the climate looks like here. Thank goodness for air conditioning and dry heat! =)

Daniel LOVES his job. He comes home everyday with a smile on his face and a bunch of wonderful stories and anecdotes to report. These guys were at his library the first weekend we moved there for a special event. I like to think it’s God’s way of telling Daniel, a hardcore Star Wars fan, that he truly belongs. Daniel was too shy to have his picture taken with them, but not too shy to insist I get one. *wink*

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Now on to our other news…

In our excitement for the new opportunity, we made the mistake of making an assumption. We had never considered that our adoption process would be hugely impacted. We were wrong.

We thought, since our agency was a nationwide organization, that all we would need to do was update our file and home study with the local office where we were moving and we would continue to wait for a match. We did not anticipate the news that there would be no adoption services offered to our area and our file was now effectively closed. The eight months we spent doing paperwork, fees, screenings, interviews, training, and home visits and the 15 months we spent waiting for a match were all out the window. We were told we could start from scratch at another agency.

This was a horrible blow for us. At the very least we expected to be able to take our hard work elsewhere, but that wasn’t the case. To add salt to the wound, we received a wonderful email from a couple that had seen our profile on the agency website not long after we moved. They were interested in placing with us. The agency had neglected to take down our profile. When we asked the agency about it, they immediately called to inform the expectant parents that we were “no longer an approved couple”. I was physically sick.

In the days and weeks that followed, I only found peace after turning it all over to God. He had led us to this new place, and He must have a plan.

Although we weren’t praying for “a sign”, they started showing up anyway. “Become a Foster Parent!” fliers and billboards were popping up everywhere. There was an information booth at the farmer’s market and pamphlets at restaurants and stores. Apparently, there was a HUGE need for foster parents in the area we now call home. We had briefly considered Foster to Adopt before, but thought maybe we should wait until our second or third child to try. Maybe we were wrong to rule it out so soon?

After prayers, discussion, and more prayers, we decided to attend an information night for the county. It was a relief to find out that after just a handful of forms, a set of classes, and a just a few easy tasks (CPR/First Aid re-certification, Fingerprinting, and Medical Reports), they could take care of the rest and we would be on our way to welcoming a baby into our home for the first time in our lives. Having watched a friend travel this route, I know it isn’t easy to love a baby and work toward reunification with the family at the same time. But something in my heart knows that this is the right path. I’m willing to give all the love in my heart, “if only for a short time” as we are fostering.

One day, there will be a baby that will stay will us forever."if only for a short time" graphic

A Soon to be Foster Momma,

Christy

So much of how we keep moving forward everyday is about one thing. Hope. When I have it, it makes the whole world open up. My steps feel lighter, I feel the sun on my face, and the future is full of promise.

Sometimes while waiting, I get stuck in worry. It pulls me down and makes the walls close in.

Sometimes I need a pick me up. A reminder of the reality of our situation. We are SO blessed to be in the position to adopt. Thanks to adoption, we have a hope for the blessing that we’ve spent years praying for. We are blessed to even be considered by those who find us on this journey.

This is a song has helped me shed the worry I have been feeling and reminds me of what a miracle it is to have HOPE in our lives.

It’s hard to recall what blew out the flame.
It’s been dark since you can remember.
You talk it all through to find it a name
as days go on by without number

You’ve been here for a long, long time

Hope has a way of turning it’s face to you
just when you least expect it.
You walk in a room,
you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
You say to yourself
it’s been a while since I felt this
but it feels like it might be hope

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. -2 Nephi 31:20

Hoping, praying, and living life as a waiting adoptive mommy,

Christy

I know you are out there, somewhere. I know that you’re path can’t be easy and that you aren’t sure what to do. I haven’t been where you are now, but I know what it’s like to feel lost.

I wish you and I could just sit down and spill our guts. That I could tell you how maddening it is to wait, never knowing if we could be doing something more or if we should be taking another route to find you. I wish you could tell me all about the concerns you have about placing and choosing a family and how much it crushes your heart to even think about giving your baby to someone else. I wish we could get it all out over Oreo cookies and milk. We could cry together and laugh together. We could feel less alone than we do right now.

I wake up at night thinking about you, praying for you. I have no idea what you look like and what your dreams are, where you come from or what your life has been to this point. I just know that I care about you and I desperately want to find you.

I believe that there is a plan that we are all a part of. I believe that you and I are already somehow cosmically linked and we’re searching for each other. The problem is, we don’t know where to look or when we’ll finally find one another. So we both just hope and pray and we wake up in the middle of the night looking for comfort and answers.

I wish I could introduce you to my husband and my dog. I know you’ll love them as much as I do. I wish I could walk you around my house and show you where our baby will learn to crawl and sing the ABCs. And then you’ll start to feel that you are in the right place, with the right people.

We’ll trust each other with our hearts and take the risk of being open and vulnerable. And when that day comes and you bring that precious child into the world, both of our hearts will be filled with such joy and heartbreak. But we’ll look into each other’s eyes and know that we complete one another. That neither of us can be a whole mother without the other. I need you in my life as much as you need me, if not more. Your child will need your love and support all their life and no one else can fill that place in their heart, but you. I will raise your baby and protect, provide, and love him or her fiercely. We’ll find joy in the smiles of our child. We will both be mothers together. A family.

I hope that someday you read this, and you find that you knew it, too. That I was waiting for you and you were waiting for me. Until that day, just know that I think constantly about you, pray for you, and hope you’ll reach out. I’ll be here.

Love,

Christy

You are not glass. When you shatter, you will heal and be whole again.

I’ve been struggling the last few days. In the span of two days, we found out that three couples who are close to us are expecting a baby. That’s not counting the half dozen people who have made announcements in my social media network.

There once was a time when pregnancy announcements would bring on a complete break down. I would retreat into a dark room and sob. I would spend the duration of their pregnancy shifting between profound jealousy and overwhelming guilt for feeling jealous. I would politely decline invitations to baby showers because it hurt too much to be there. When the baby finally came and I took my turn to hold that beautiful angel, my heart would ache with a force that surpassed emotional pain. It was raw and ugly grief.

Over the years, the grief has eased and I can celebrate alongside my friends and family the way I used to. There is a quiet moment where I process the pain and let it go, but I stay out of the darkness. Last night after getting the news about the third baby from a friend, whom I love dearly, my stronghold started to crumble. I didn’t fall apart, but I did crumble a bit.

It’s HARD. It’s so hard to have a desire so strong that it is infused into every fiber of your being, but out of your reach. Especially when it seems impossible for you, yet so easy for others.

As hard as it is to endure that pain, I also know I don’t deserve to be a mom.

It’s not that I’ve done something wrong or that I’ve disqualified myself somehow. I didn’t mess up. I’m not being punished.

Being a mother isn’t something you earn. It’s a gift. A precious, beautiful, amazing gift. Many women of all backgrounds and circumstances are given that gift and some women, also of every background and circumstance, aren’t. It’s not a matter of deserving it.

In the same way that a baby isn’t a punishment, it also isn’t a reward.

I can’t earn it. I can’t will a child into being mine. I just can’t. I don’t have that control. I can choose to fight that reality and become frustrated, angry, and bitter or I can accept it and do my best to live a life I love and am proud of.

I choose to live. If someday the gift of motherhood is given to me, there will be never-ending, absolutely beautiful gratitude because I know so well that I could just as easily never be a mom.

But something in me knows that I was meant to be a mom. I know it because in my heart there exists a love that belongs to a child. Our child. My child.

Taking a deep breath and moving forward,

Christy

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When I was in high school, I used to hang flowers and my dance corsages from my ceiling. My mother told me it was morbid, although I think I was the only one of her four children who didn’t go through a goth phase. *wink*

Still, it seemed the best way to me to allow them to dry so I could enjoy them a little longer. I endured her eye rolling and head shaking until the process was done and I could take them down to put with my movie ticket stubs and notes from friends as we passed in hallways.

I enjoyed laying in bed looking up at them, so I would leave them up a little longer if the mood struck me. They seemed romantic to me, their petals becoming more fragile and their colors becoming more muted and antiqued.

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These are some of the roses Daniel bought for me for our anniversary a couple weeks ago. Watching them wilt was heartbreaking and I was about to throw them out when I remembered the hanging flowers in my adolescent bedroom. I hurried to find some thread and I began to string up the blooms that were still well intact.

Of course the most out of the way and puppy safe place to hang them was in the nursery.

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The nursery doesn’t get much traffic these days, except during times when I need to be alone, to cry or pray. Or both. It seemed like letting the roses hang here was a way of making sure I continue to go in, and leave good thoughts there as I enjoy my anniversary roses some more. It might seem silly, but I sort of feel like the more positive thoughts and feelings that fill the room the more likely we might bring our baby home to us sooner. Superstitious? Maybe. Or maybe I just need to sit in a room filled with dreams and love.

The flowers hanging from my ceiling as a teen were ethereal mementos of love, friendship, and hope. That’s how they feel to me now, too.

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Your Dreamy and Romantic Future Adoptive Mommy,

Christy

nevergiveupThis week marks nine months since we were approved as an adoptive family. It’s also the eve of our nine year wedding anniversary. The first couple years of our marriage we would lovingly think of our “December Baby”, with the impression that when a baby came into our lives it would be this time of year.

Our hopes were really high for our December baby this past summer. We were contacted by an expectant mother back in August who was due with a baby girl at the end of December. It was our first contact with an expectant mother and we were cautiously optimistic. She has been prompted by the Spirit to think about an adoption plan for her daughter. After exchanging emails over the next couple weeks, we started to grow a friendship. As we got to know her, we were struck with her intelligence, talent, and spirituality. She loved her unborn daughter fiercely and shared with us her hopes and dreams for her future.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of her control, this sweet and brave woman was forced to abandon adoption as an option for her and her baby. We continued to email, sending our love and encouragement to her. We prayed for her constantly, that no matter the outcome of her decision she would find peace. We had grown to love her.

The few days later, our caseworker let us know that she had made a firm decision to parent. We were informed that if she had decided to move forward with the adoption, that we were her preferred couple and she would have chosen us.

The news brought a lot of emotions. We were praying that everything would work out for this expectant mother, hopeful that she have full support from her loved ones as she raised her daughter.

We were touched that she would have picked us, if it had still been an option. We finally felt as though we had true hope that someday we would be chosen, even if it would be by someone else.

But we were also sad. We had thought of a name and we had dreamed of our little December baby. Though we were happy that this baby girl was already so loved, we grieved to know that we would never see her, never hold her, never kiss her goodnight.

We haven’t heard from her in quiet a while, but with her due date approaching, I’m thinking of this sweet expectant mother and her sweet baby girl, who could be here any day now, if she hasn’t been born already. I pray for them. I hope for them. I wish for Heaven to shower them with every blessing and happiness.

We haven’t had any other contact from any other situations since then. We hope that we someday will develop a lasting relationship with a woman who will be the first mother our child knows and that it will be as beautiful as the experience we were able to share in August with this wonderful woman.

With a thankful heart,

Christy

Sometimes I wonder if there are any such things as “adoption hormones”. You know… the adoption equivalent to pregnancy symptoms that bring on crying and sentimentality out of nowhere? I’ve never had a baby growing inside me, changing my body chemistry, but there’s something about waiting for a baby that tears at my emotional stronghold.

I was hanging out passing out candy on Halloween night last month and watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown when this Carter’s commercial started playing. I was a blubbering mess by the end of it.

It also happens nearly every time I hear A Thousand Years by Christina Perri because my pre-adoption brain has related it entirely with my unknown child out there somewhere. See these lyrics? They have made driving while listening entirely too dangerous.

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid I have loved you for a
Thousand years I’ll love you for a Thousand more
And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought Your heart to me I have loved you for a
Thousand years I’ll love you for a Thousand more

Gosh, this song makes me weep. I fully intend to sing it in dim light, soothing my baby to sleep in the rocking chair in the nursery. In fact, that’s exactly the image that bubbles up while the song is playing.

The waiting I’m doing now is pretty much as close as I may ever get to pregnancy. But there is no reassuring kick in my abdomen to let me know things are going ok. We have no ultrasounds to watch our baby move or heartbeats to listen to at doctors appointments. We don’t have a due date waiting like a finish line in the distance that holds the promise of meeting our baby. I’m trying to be ok with that. I’m trying to enjoy my “pregnancy” as much as I can.

Maybe the lack of a round belly and pregnancy glow is my own version of “swollen ankles”. And the restlessness I feel, well maybe that’s the “morning sickness”. And maybe the times we weren’t chosen were “contractions” and the babies that I fell in love with that weren’t meant to be mine were my “false labor”. These are moments that I need to be more grateful for. Every pain and worry is worth it, isn’t it?

Growing Here (Heart Image)Meanwhile I’m blubbering in my living room with my tissues and a box of pizza after watching a TV commercial. Someday I will be able to share this exciting time with my child. I want him or her to know how anxiously I waited and how beautiful it was to be able to become a mother at last.

-Christy

I used to keep a blog a long time ago just about what was going on with my life and general journal entries. I was wondering around memory lane and found this blurb about our adoption fund I was working on in February 2007.

I was blessed to have been babysitting the sweet and wonderful Katarina. I saved each precious dollar I earned from babysitting her in a heart shaped box we received for our wedding in hopes that someday we would bring a baby home.

Christy and Katarina playing with web cam photos in Dec 2008

Christy and Katarina playing with web cam photos in Dec 2008

2/27/2007
“My adoption fund is growing by the week. Every week, I take the money out and count it. I am so glad to have the ability to watch a little girl and in return, make some money to put away for my own little boy or girl. It’s great practice and helps me to learn different things about watching after kids. It eases my “baby hunger” because I can love her and play with her every week. I am lucky, too, that she is such a good baby. She is nearly ALWAYS happy. She recovers well when she bumps and falls and does her toddler type things. She is learning to talk and I love teaching her new words. Daniel and I got her to say “noodle” all night one night. It was seriously the cutest thing I have ever heard. Especially watching Daniel’s face light up when she would repeat the word for him.”
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Christy and Katarina in 2012

Christy and Katarina Oct. 2012

Katarina is seven years old now! It has been so amazing to watch her grow. We marveled at the day she started using full sentences. We were impressed when she started playing the guitar.

She has helped me learn so many things about carrying for a little person and helped me see the blessing it is to watch and support someone as they find out who they are.

We have loved Katarina since she was a little baby and she’s excited for us to one day be a mommy and a daddy. We’re lucky to have the love and prayers of such a precious little girl!

I was playing with her last week and she looked at me seriously and asked if we had our baby yet. I told her that we were still waiting for someone to pick us. She replied, “Oh, but it’s been a long time.” My heart broke a little listening to her response. It really hit me that Daniel and I are not the only ones that are waiting eagerly for our baby to come into our lives. I know that when the time comes, that Katarina will be one of the most excited. She will make a fantastic role model and friend for our child!

There are so many people in our lives that our waiting to hear good news for us. There are so many people that will be there to celebrate, to cry, and to laugh when that sweet moment comes. We are so blessed and loved that it makes my heart hurt to think of it. We are being showered in prayers and good thoughts and we are so grateful.

Even little Katarina can’t wait.

When love takes you in by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Steven Curtis Chapman is a Christian Recording Artist and an Adoption Advocate. He and his wife have welcomed the blessing of adoption into their lives and in 2001 he released an album called Dedication that included the song below called “Love Takes You In”. This beautiful song has been with me for years and years. Listening it to it again today, the second verse caused tears welled up in my eyes and my throat all choked up.

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

Watch this amazing video and please share our website with your friends and family!

-Christy

Yet to ComeThere are moments in my day that are great. Shiny little bits that make my smile creep out. A song on the radio. Daniel’s touch. My dog’s pant. A friend’s laugh.

Sometimes though, the waiting gets to me. I try to outrun it by hitting the pavement and logging miles. I distract myself with books and with shows on TV. I get together with my friends and talk late into the night about everything under the sun. We load up the dog in the car and go for day trips.

And every once in a while we just sit. It’s quiet and we hold each other and just breathe. It’s gotten past wondering out loud. We’ve already spent years of talking back and forth about the questions we have and trying to guess the way it’s going to happen, or even if it will. We’ve already said it all. Now we just wait.

Every couple that has adopted goes through this. Whether they wait just a few weeks or years, the consensus is that they have all agonized with the wait. But from everything that I have read, they would all do it over again because even though the wait was hard, in the end it led them to the child that was meant to be in their family. They look at the losses they’ve experienced and the matches that didn’t work out and they are grateful for them, because if anything had been different they wouldn’t have have their child. And life would just not be the same.

I try not to focus on the wait. I try to just live my life and pray that it will all work out. I have to trust that this wait is for a purpose. That this time living in the unknown will be the best thing in the end because it will lead to our baby. And we will be the family that God intended us to be.

-Christy