Friday, February 29, 2008

Hearts Full of Praise

I had coffee with my dear friend C today. She's one of those people who you're a better person for knowing and it always spurs me on so much to get to steal some time with her! So my heart is full from that.

We were marveling together at some of the recent changes in both of our lives and she said "Sometimes I feel like I'm living someone else's life." I think that's the perfect way to describe how I've felt as we've marveled at God's handiwork in this process.

I've shared a few times that I can just see evidence of God preparing us for this our whole lives but I thought I'd expand on that a little bit.

I have no relationship with my biological father and the only one I ever had at any point was strained, infrequent and awkward. He and my mom divorced when I was very young so the only memories I even have of them married are very unpleasant. He was abusive to my mom and thoroughly uninterested in being a parent so though we lived close enough for him to be active in our lives, it was never convenient for him and he invested very little. I had sporadic contact with him whenever I initiated it. Shortly after DH and I married, he sent me a horrible letter full of awful things and I have since terminated all contact with him. I did telephone him in the fall when my brother was in the fire because he and my brother do have some semblance of relationship but that has been the extent of our communication for years.

On the contrary, my mom married a wonderful man when I was 9 who is my dad. He has always been a parent to me, though he was never biologically or legally obligated to be one. He gave me away at my wedding and in my heart, he is my dad, and I have as full of a heart for him as I can imagine I would have if we shared the same bloodline.

What I learned from an early age though was that biology had very little to do with one's capacity for or willingness to love. I had one father who didn't love me though I was his flesh and blood, and another who loves me selflessly though we have as much genetically in common with each other as two strangers.

Because of the example my dad set for me, adoption has always been very natural and normal to me. (Though I'm not legally adopted, I functionally am).

DH's extended family has many adoptions in it so though we've never talked at length about it, he has been exposed to adoption as "normal" from a young age, too.

When DH and I decided to get married and we were talking through our family dreams and goals, we always included adoption in our plans, before we had any inkling of infertility. We thought we'd have biological children too but adoption is no surprise for us. Our University is located in close proximity to the Snowflake Program's home and we were in college about the time the first babies were being born so we heard a lot about the program through the media that covered the geographic region that encompassed both the University and the Snowflake Program. So Snowflake became a part of our dialog and mental catalog, too.

A few years ago, my sister in law and her husband adopted the sweetest, cutest little firecracker from China that you ever would know. I know that did so much to grow our family (specifically, DH's parents, siblings, spouses, kids and us) in terms of what the family unit looks like and who is included in that. Seeing the warm reception to our niece has quieted a lot of my fears about how family would accept our little Snowflakes and I am forever grateful for the trail that T&E have already blazed. It also gives me immense comfort to know that our little ones will have such great cousins, including one who knows what it's like to be an adopted child. I pray all the time that they will come to be great friends and sources of encouragement for each other!

At the time they were happening, I didn't really realize how much work was being done in our hearts to prepare us for this. But now that it has been revealed to us that this has been the plan all along, we can look back and say "ah ha" with satisfied and grateful appreciation. They just confirm so much to us.

That evidence of God's handiwork continues even now that we know far more than we did before. I guess I sort of think God could have stopped there and that would have been far more than we deserved. But He continues to lavish upon us tangible blessings to affirm that we are pursuing the course He has for us. Some of our praises today include

•That our taxes are done and filed after much time and labor!

•That for the first time, we're receiving both a state and Federal refund (both very unexpected and in fact we had saved up money in anticipation of owing).

•Last night a dear friend from church gave us a very significant financial gift. She said, "[She] and God talked and [they] decided to give us this to help with the Embryo Adoption." I was so humbled. She was so matter-of-fact and unpretentious about it. DH and I have both been working hard to make some sacrifices in our lifestyle, work more, spend less and reprioritize things and we're doing what we can to do what we think God is asking of us in this but we really haven't been stressed about when and where the money will come from and we haven't asked or planned to ask for help from anyone. We are just completely confident in God's provision. We just have 100% peace that we will earn, save, and/or otherwise receive the money in the right timing so it hasn't been a source of worry for us at all. So her gift to us was completely spontaneous, unsolicited, genuine and God-led. And more than the amount itself, it means so much to DH and I that the money came from her specifically because she holds such a special place in our hearts and we are eager for our children to know her.

•DH and I come from pretty different backgrounds when it comes to money. In the past we've had a hard time coming up with budget, investment and expenditure plans that we're both comfortable with. God has blessed us with 100% unity in our hearts as we decide how to progress with how and what to spend on various expenses, gifts, investments and savings. That has been such a treat and affirmation for us. We worked on our taxes, budget and cash flow projections last night and for the first time, it was fun! We delighted in the unity and peace God had given us as we discussed things that have historically been points of contention for us.

• After reviewing everything last night, including all of our expenses, income, and projected extras of both, we have enough resources to pay off entirely the little bit of outstanding debt we have and which we've been working hard to eliminate, give some gifts we've both been anxious to give, make some investment and savings contributions we'd been wanting to make, and pay for our homestudy, adoption education and home improvements in their entirety!

I am eager to talk to our case worker about scheduling the first meeting and learn about the next steps. I did call the agency to confirm that they had received our application and they had, and they have already sent out our Pastor's Reference form. The Agency said we should be assigned to a Case Worker next week and we should get to talk then! I am excited!

So kind of like C shared, I feel like we're living someone else's life. This is all coming together so perfectly that I feel like I have to pinch myself and wake myself up. I don't doubt God's goodness or ability to lavish so generously, but we are certainly undeserving of Him choosing us to give so generously to, so we are continually humbled and awestruck.

Thank you for rejoicing with us!


  1. Wow, thanks so much for sharing about how wonderfully God has led you down this path. It is so encouraging to be reminded through other people's stories that God is 100% faithful!

    I've been working on being more faithful to Him in return myself.

    Thanks again and good luck with everything! I can't wait to see the you reach the next step!!

  2. I am so excited for you guys! The first time I heard about the snowflakes program it gave me goosebumps - what a wonderful organization. I had to just nod my head when I read what you said about your dad. My husband's story is so similar. His mom married his stepdad when he was 6 after having been down the same path with his biological dad. Your post and feelings on the life journey could have been written by him.

    I know I mentioned before, but embryo adoption, international adoption...whatever is so beautiful - especially since my older brother and sister were both adopted. To my parents there truly is no difference between me and them..we're all their children.

    Good luck!

  3. That is all so fantastic, Jen! I'm so excited for the both of you, and it is so amazing to see and hear of the unity he has brought the both of you to! I can't wait to get together again and catch up! :)