china

Sunday, April 15, 2018

I just don't have love for you right now

It has been several months since I have written. We have lived much life in that time.

We have been in the troughs of transition with acclimating to life in Texas, we have spent 5 days being magical at Disney World, we have celebrated Christmas and New Years, and Easter. We have also celebrated our 4th family day and have had many in between moments. It has been a wide range of emotions through all those times that have taken us on an incredible journey.

I have never believed on sugar coating our story. It is clear in the bible that we are not guaranteed a comfortable life filled with all the joys and no lows. Through our adoption journey, I have been very open about willing to share some of those (protecting others for the sake of our girl). But with the true intention that this is a journey, one that never stops, and one that is not to take lightly.

And still, 4 years later we are still not taking it lightly. There was a day coming, that I knew would come. I had hoped we had a little more time in answering as we answered the little questions about China.

If you look at our Facebook Page you will see a happy family. We don’t post the pics of the tears, or say that parenting is hard, or say at even moments, I just want to run. But parents don’t say that unless they are in close quarters with friends or on closed support groups or even in the confines of a counselors’ office. Come on, what would the world think of us.

Let me tell you, I could have posted all of the above a week ago.  My girl, my sweet, fun loving, joy filled little girl finally put some things together about her story and knew that there 29 months before us of life she lived. There was a “family” before us. And she grieved, lashed out and put up a wall.

While I will leave out all the details to protect her, the words that I never thought I would hear “Mama, I just don’t have love for you right now”, Came out of her mouth.

I sat on my couch and cried. Michael was out of town, I was alone and I cried. For three nights, straight I cried. And so, I did the one thing I knew to do, pray and call on prayer warriors.

Now, before I continue, I know there are some that will say every child will go through this. No! Not every child goes through this. Not every child is born, carried for 9 months in a womb and then for whatever reason given up for adoption. Not every child will spend time in an orphanage in a steel crib and wonder where their next meal comes from, laying for hours crying for someone to sooth them.  Not every child will go through the waiting and wondering when they will get a mama. This is not normal for Children. It stacks, stacks and stacks and creates a heart with not very good coping mechanisms along with walls and sadness that are buried deep within their hearts. This deeply buried pain, will someday surface. And, some of ours has.

What next, we are looking for help. We have had some gracious people come into our lives in various ways who are helping us find the right person. We are not going to hide, stuff it under the rug, we are going to face it head on, and learn how to deal. I want my girl to love her story, to be ok with it, understand it, and be able to share it with others.

Four year later, 4, my child still lives in fear of being left. Despite constant (Sometimes draining) presence in her life, no absence of necessities and the leaving and coming, still she has a fear of being left. Now, with an added layer of, well my first family left me.

But there are some other lessons that have come out of this weekend.

What is means to unconditionally love, really do you know what that is when it is put to the test? Do you know what it means to say the words, I love you even when the person that you are saying them to just told you they can’t love you right now.

It reminds me of Jesus and I. What it is like for him to still utter the words I love you, despite how he might not agree with me, how I might break His heart. But yet, His unconditional love withstands.

Man, kids can trigger you. My greatest fear, trigger, whatever you want to call it, is worth and value. It was certainly put to the test this weekend as a mom. Leaving me questioning am I worthy enough to be her mom, am I sucking at my job, what did I do wrong. Reality check- I am worthy to be her mom because she was put into my arms, I am not sucking at my job just because we need to seek some third-party help. In fact, that is what I call being healthy.

And the other piece I learned, the value of showing your kids your emotions in truth and love. There is nothing wrong with H seeing me cry. There is nothing wrong with her knowing that her mama has feelings and seeing that she is processing through them.

I don’t write this all to seek out sympathy, I write this as a way to process, but also to show the reality that we are indeed in a constant battle for our babies hearts and lives. What if we gave our babies the space to speak and not teach them that feelings are not to be spoken of, that they are bad and need to be kept in the closet. What if we grieved together what grieves them? I wonder what kind of adults we would ultimately shape.






Jennifer

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Shame I have Walked

I have been mulling over this post for many moons. Wavering between stuffing it into a box and wanting to share so others may not experience what I have. And the other coin is not feeling shame about the story that have been written for me. The shame that I have spent the better part of the past two years processing through. 2018 is a year for me, and so I must clean out the old for that to happen.

To go a little bit back, 2 years ago I had a hysterectomy. I was backed into a corner by my own body. The disease that many do not speak of, had caused years and years of immense pain. Took days from enjoying my life, took organs internally and dragged them to places they should not have been. My life was decided around it.

I had 5 surgeries prior in attempt to keep it at bay. Which scare tissue built up after each one. After the last clean out, we tried fertility drugs in an attempt of one last ditch effort. That made my body only angrier and it revolted. I was put into the corner and had to make a decision. I heard the final NO.

November 24, 2015, I was wheeled into the OR, in tears knowing that my life would never be the same. I had expectations of my recovery. Expectations set by my Dr. and my own research. The past two years have brought nothing but unexpected.

It started with the hearing the first 6 months of no Hormone Therapy. If you have been through this you know what I mean. It was rough. After 6 months, I began the journey of trying to find the right combo. Two years later, I am still working on trying to find the right combo. I have been through some very intensive physical therapy to strengthen all that was lost, and needling in my scare tissue to loosen it up and heal. Seriously, I still feel like my body is revolting.

But more so, was the deep sense of grief in the final NO. (Now, I hesitate to even write this next part, mainly because some of my words may not be well received by some. What I am sitting on is this is a story to be shared for someone. I believe that there is someone out there who is walking this path.)

Grief that comes from the final NO is not talked about with many. Frankly, in my opinion only those who have gotten the final NO, to a dream or a desire of their hearts know what I am talking about. My final NO was knowing that a child would not hear my heart beat from the inside. My final NO, was not having that experience of holding my baby close as they were formed inside my womb. My final NO was watching others getting excited about my growing belly, my final NO was not experiencing the birthing process and watching my husband’s face in the hospital as his child was born. My final NO was not knowing what a child created with my genes and my Husbands genes would look like.

My final NO left me questioning God and my prayers to Him. If I was committed enough, if I prayed enough, if I sought him enough. I wrestled with Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”. This was a desire of mine, why indeed was not it given.

To top all of that, Within the first 6 months of my surgery 15 people announced their pregnancies to me. Some deep friendships that I treasured. I struggled on putting up the smile. I struggled with the proper way to support them. I struggled with hearing their stories of their bodies. I frankly wanted to scream from the roof top, WHAT ABOUT ME, WHY HASN’T ANYONE ASKED ME HOW I AM DOING, WHY DOESN’T ANYONE WANT TO HEAR ABOUT MY PAIN. I felt cornered in my world of who to talk with.

And so, I wrestled, and I wrestled hard. Thankfully someone saw that I needed to process. And I met this incredible woman of Jesus. She was safe, and walked with me.

I sat for the first time in her office and cried about where I was at. I walked in there with full intention of processing my grief that I felt was because of my surgery. But instead, this woman brought me to the depths of my soul. She had me unpack boxes that I had buried so long ago in my heart that were screaming for healing. She held my hand, cleaned my mind and gave me tools to walk through things that I had previously stuffed, and when they triggered me I would stuff some more.

I felt like this tree that had gone through the harsh winter and was stripped of the leaves that made me a tree.

I cried more tears with her than I have with anyone in my life. But she was there. She helped me learn how to set proper boundaries in my life. Not just for myself personally but in other relationships. How to walk out some things with my girl. She was my shining light.

What I learned through all of that, is that my final NO came with shame. I was walking not just in grief but shame the world said that I was supposed to go through college, get married and produce 2.5 kids. I couldn’t even produce one. I felt like a failure. A complete and utter failure.

So, here I am 2 years later. Able to feel the healing that came in that office with the windows that overlooked pine trees. I know that indeed I am not a failure, but that there is a different plan for me. I am thankful beyond words for the way that God orchestrated my meeting this sweet woman. I am valued, treasured and well worth Jesus dying on the cross for.  

I have been able to put boundaries in place so that my heart can be whole. I think when people have been through things, they do not contemplate what that really looks like. So, I am now ok with saying, Yes, I will come see your new born. However, it will be after you come home from the hospital. I am ok with saying, I am not really the most appropriate person to share all the details of your pregnancy with. I am ok with changing things on my social media so I do not have to see every little post of every pregnant person’s update. I am ok with missing baby dedications my heart says it is needed. I am able to protect my heart in a healthy way. I don’t feel shame anymore in saying that I can’t have children. Infertile is not the label that I walk in.

Why write this all, many have been asking why we haven’t started another adoption yet. My heart needed to be healed before we could. And wisely so, I am better for it and my future kids are as well.

Why else write this, I believe with my heart, there are people out there who are walking in the same shame that I was. Who feel like they are a failure, because they could not do what they were told they should be able to do. Women need to know that it is ok to grieve. You are not small because of it. It is ok to wrestle. There are so many verses in the bible that I believe we have interpret in our mind and those verses then mean what we want them to mean. Not really what Jesus is telling us. I can’t say that I have come to terms with all of them. There is still some wrestling that I am doing, but it is ok.

And yes indeed, I am a mom. A mom to a spunky, beautiful, 6-year-old girl. But I missed the first 29 months of her life. I had to fight for 30 months, spend thousands of dollars and meet her in a hotel room to become her mom. That journey isn’t for everyone, but I am thankful it was for me.

I have no idea who else is out there for me to be a mom to. I am praying on what that looks like and waiting on Him to say so. Now that we are out here in Texas, Michael is feeling healthier (than this time last year), and we are slowly getting settled. 2018 will be my year. It will be my year to find the right combination of hormones. It will be my year to continue the healing on my heart. It will be my year to try and loose some of this ridiculous weight that I have gained (half that has been out of my control) and when I hit 40, embrace it with all that Jesus has given me.

Please feel free to share this with a woman who has heard a NO and is wrestling with all that comes with. Just as others share their miscarriage stories, fertility struggles, I believe that voice should also be given to those who wrestle with the final NO and be given the space to lose their leaves but heal and allow them to grow back bigger and brighter.

Jennifer



PS- The analogy of a tree was put on me 10 years ago as I was moving over to China. I guess the Lord was preparing me for what was to come.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

5 Months.... Few Words, and Pics

We have indeed been silent. It has been an incredibly busy summer and fall, full of many moments to write about, however I have not taken the time to do it.

Since June……
We have traveled to NY, Many Trips to GA, Two trips to FL.
We have moved from an 800 Square foot Apartment to a house that only God could put into our path.
We have been visiting church’s, thinking we have found the right fit.
H has started school, Kindergarten, and of course, Rocking it.
H has started Hip Hop Classes at a beautiful dance studio.
We have found a new Pediatrician, Occupational Therapist, Heart Dr, Chiropractor with a few more being added.
We are learning where to shop and where not to.
We have found a great dog park for Daisy to play.
We have found the walking trails throughout our neighborhood to be inviting and peaceful.
We have met neighbors whom we adore (even though they just told us they were moving).
Our girl has had her first fever.
She is learning Sign Language and Spanish
Our girl turned 6, Michael turned 44, and I just turned 39.
We had to put our sweet Elmo to sleep as he became very ill with cancer after the move.
Trick or Treating rocks in our neighborhood.
We have done the “Magnolia” Experience.



What we have learned about Texas:
Almost every road seems to be under construction.
Traffic is just as bad as Atlanta.
Drivers are very aggressive, VERY aggressive. It is cut throat here.
Mother Nature smokes crack out here. 90 one day, 45 the next. We keep out all seasons all year long.
It’s nice to be around family, and spend time with them.


What we know for sure:
We miss our people in Georgia.
We miss our community.
We see purpose in the move out here.
Our girl is still grieving the move.
The “honeymoon” phase of the move is over, reality has set in.
We are meeting some great people.
“Breaking in” is hard.
We love getting pen pal letters.

So, there you have it, 5 months of an update. I thought I would let the words be few and pictures speak for it all. I promise the next will not be so far off.


Pit stop on the way out to Texas

My beautiful girl in my dad's wedding. 

Our New House Key

Sweet girl hanging in FL

Cow Day

Hosanna's new room, Rainbows and all 

We miss you buddy. 


Daisy, loving Texas


In NY

In NY at the light house

K Open House

I lost my tooth

First Day of School 

Pretty Cool Paw Patrol Cake

Someone is 6!!!
Jennifer