Sunday, April 3, 2016

Being Brave

It seems about time for my once a year post, ha. I've run into a few people lately who have asked if we were still adopting. Some have mentioned our four, "maybe one day five" children, and others have asked if we were still adopting.  The answer is yes, we are still adopting. We are still here, still waiting, still postured to receive our baby girl any day. I actually so appreciate being asked, it blesses me that any one would think of Pearl and recognize our longing. After so many years, and so many changes in our adoption story, it can really feel lonely in the waiting, and every mention of her reminds me that we are seen and loved in our longing. So, I wanted to update the blog to bring whoever is still reading this up to date on where we are and thank you for being a part of our journey. There are countless people who have bought jewelry or art, or simply asked for updates, and I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate it. I have learned so much in this journey about myself and about what it looks like to let myself be loved. Each person's interest in, prayers for and support of her story has held us in hope and we are so grateful.

I could fill pages of this blog telling of the countless lessons of love I've learned from the Father in this waiting. I asked him 4 years ago to help me wait well.  I never knew the depth of the well He would dig in my heart as I waited. It has been the most incredible, vulnerable and growing experience I've ever had and I've grown to love myself in process. Permission to love yourself may be the greatest gift any of us could give ourselves and thankfully this journey has helped me step into more of that. I am amazed that a baby girl, whom I've never met, could set me on a journey to find her, and that what would happen after all is that in my search for her I would find myself. There are so many stories to tell, and I hope to have the time to share them all.

Today, I would love to update you on where we currently are in the waiting and to share a bit of what that looks like. We are waiting to be chosen by our birth mother. We've made the detailed profile book, with pages and pages of details and pictures about who our family is. When our agency has birth mothers placing for adoption they view our profile to decide if we are their family, the one they would give the highest honor to in placing their baby into our family. To say that this part of the process is emotional would be the greatest understatement.  We have had months of being shown, about a dozen "she chose another family" answers and what feels like an ocean of tears. But, we have learned what it looks like to love without walls up, and to go 'all in' each time. I've learned that even when I feel disappointed, that God can handle all my emotions, and that he designed me to come to him as I am and be loved by him. I've learned that in his love, being disappointed is very different that feeling disappointed. What I am is my identity, my feelings are not. So I can feel disappointed, but when that disappointment meets God's love, I remember I am his child and with grace I begin to see the truth...that I am hopeful and I am loved. I've learned that it is safe for me to be myself before Jesus, and trust him to be himself back to me.  When He is himself, I know Him as my Living Hope, and I can never be the same.  Its miraculous and its hard and its stretching in ways I cannot express. Each time we have prayed for and fallen in love with a birth mother I have gotten a glimpse into our birth mother's story, and have prayed and wept over her bravery. I've shared my heart on our birth mother here, and quite honestly that could be a whole book in itself.  I wrote that when we were still pursuing international adoption, and now that we are pursing domestic adoption my love for her has grown even more.

When we have received news of not being chosen, time and time again, I have most often been standing in front of my other 4 children. I found myself wanting to be brave for them, to protect them from my hurt and to hold it all together in front of them. I found myself doing the same thing with friends, not wanting them to feel sad for us, and wanting to show them God's goodness by being strong and holding it all together. Turns out that doesn't actually work. A few weeks ago, I was cooking my kids breakfast in the kitchen and I could feel my emotions welling up inside me. I just wanted to get breakfast made and go to my room to fall apart before the father. I prayed "Help me be brave, help me hold it all together"... I felt the gentle but strong voice of the Holy Spirit say "Who taught you that's what being brave looks like?...I did not teach you that..."..I asked what being brave looked like...He seemed to say "Being brave isn't holding it all together, its letting yourself be held by me when you feel like you're falling apart". Being brave is feeling the depths of your emotions so you can feel the depth of joy and hope when He restores it. Being brave is letting ourselves be held and loved in relationship, letting others encourage us and stand with us. Being brave is letting other people sing our Hallelujah until our song returns. Being brave for me has meant continuing to go all in with every birth mother, declaring His goodness over her story, praying for her and believing Gods best for her. Being brave for me has meant refusing to let my circumstance of longing tell me who God is. The gospel, the person of Jesus, his love, tells me the truth not my feelings or my circumstances. In my longing, He is the fulfillment of every promise and believing that when your circumstance tells you other wise is a beautiful thing.

Also, side note here, yes we are also still fundraising. I know right, how is that possible? Well mostly because the painting and jewelry has been extremely therapeutic for me to create and have a tangible way to help bring her home. But also, because adoption is expensive, with legal feels and including the possibility of travel many adoptions can be 30-40K. Not to mention the longer you wait, the more updates to paperwork, clearances, etc are necessary. We have had the privilege to donate art, proceeds and jewelry to other adopting families and I am believing we will continue to be able to do that. It makes my heart so happy. I've shared my heart of fundraising and giving here before. So, yes we will continue to fundraise until she is home.

Thanks for following along in our journey.  I hope to share more of what I have learned in letting Him teach me to wait well. Until then I'll work on being brave, and continuing to wait for our YES phone call, we believe its coming soon! So yes we are still waiting, but we are waiting in hope.

May you be brave today, in whatever you are facing, may you be held and be loved. If you hear anything, hear that you have freedom to feel how you feel, and in letting yourself feel loved I believe He can restore hope and joy in you, that there is no circumstance outside of his sight and width of love for you.