the kiddos

the kiddos

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Time to Connect the Dots

In considering adoption or fostering I really believed that only special people are called and equipped to foster or adopt. And, I mean, how can you love a child you did not conceive and carry in the same way you love and care for your own flesh and blood???

I have never really fully entertained the idea because I didn't really think it was possible to feel real, deep feelings for a child that was not your own. You hear stories, sure, of people visiting another country and claiming to KNOW as soon as they laid eyes on a child that he/she was THE child for them...that they fell in love immediately. But I wanted to have my own 4th child. My flesh and blood. There is something about carrying and giving birth to a child and there is a special bond that takes place as you raise and love and nurture your could a person actually experience anything like that with a child not their own???

I worried that it was not possible for me to find a child that produced the joy and love and fulfillment that I so desperately want.

And then...Peru.

We had the opportunity to have a couple of block parties in front of Casa Alcance with the neighborhood children. So many kiddos came to play. But there was one in particular that I fell in love with from the very beginning. A 9 year-old named Hassiel. Oh my gosh - her smile, her eyes, her feisty personality! I am literally in love with that child! Let's be clear, I am quite certain that she is not in need of being adopted but that is not the point.

Here's the point and the thing that God spoke to me after our trip...His love and His grace makes a way. It is possible to fall in love with a child that you did not personally give birth to. And how many children are there around this world who have no one on this Earth to love them. It doesn't take a special person with special love to adopt or foster - it takes someone who is willing to be used by God, someone who is willing to be obedient, someone who is willing to be a channel of God's love and grace. He equips those He calls...but in reality, it is not a chosen few who are called to love, we are all called to love. And if God has placed a desire in my heart to parent a 4th child - who am I to doubt that, who am I to shy away from it, who am I to question whether or not I could love "someone else's child"??? It's not someone else's child - it is God's child and He needs people who are willing to care for and love on and raise each one of them.

Hassiel opened my eyes to the reality that when I am obedient, when I am willing to put myself smack dab in the middle of God's plan for my life - He will equip me and give me the grace to accomplish any and every task He has planned for me. AND I can love a child -to the core of my being- that I did not personally conceive, carry and give birth to!

I don't know exactly how this plays out detail by detail but I know God and I am so thankful that He teaches us and guides us in such a sweet and loving way. He used a precious Peruvian girl to teach me more about Him and about love. I don't know the details about if/when/how we will foster or adopt but it is a seed within me that is growing...

Very Long (and difficult) Backstory...

You know...God is funny in a cool sort of way. I knew that when we went to Peru there was the possibility that it would change my outlook on life and serving God. I knew that I might come home more thankful for the things I have. I knew that I might feel the need to do more or give more. And those things did happen and as I shared in an earlier post, so much more. There was; however, one very unexpected result...

You probably need backstory. And I haven't shared any of this backstory at any point because I didn't think people would want to hear it, I didn't want to be a Debbie Downer AND it is still pretty difficult. But here it is...

Mother's Day 2014 I was dealing with the loss of a child. In April of that year, at the age of 41, I had found out that I was quite unexpectedly pregnant. I had always regretted not having had a 4th child - we didn't because we weren't sure how to afford another child (which is another blog post all together) - and so the years passed and our youngest child was almost 13, oldest child was 22 and having a 4th child on purpose seemed like a crazy, impossible, foolish thing to do. I had shared these feelings with friends in March and a couple of us spoke about how we had always felt like someone was missing from our family. So, when I found out I was pregnant I had A LOT of crazy mixed up emotions. I was scared about the process of having a child at 41, I was nervous about the reactions my friends and family might have, I was anxious about the future and finances and where we would put a child and my job, etc. etc. etc. But I was also excited that our family would be complete-that the regret I had about never having the 4th child I had so desperately wanted would go away.

We told everyone - our family, our friends, my boss! We made plans and started picking out names. I got excited about the things I would do differently - cloth diapers and being more careful about what immunizations I would do and when. How does that thought still make me cry all this time later!

And then we went for our first doctor's appointment (on my son's birthday, no less) and were told that there was no detectable heart beat. My word, we were in complete and utter shock. And we were broken. BUT - we decided that we were going to trust God. We were told that it was possible that we were looking for the heartbeat too early so a follow up appointment was scheduled to see if perhaps the initial ultrasound was premature.

We decided to stand in faith and speak the Word of God. I was so very careful with my words and we were also very careful about who we told because we did not want anyone speaking fear or death. We didn't even tell our two youngest children. We just spoke the Word, prayed and trusted. In fact, at our First Wednesday service, we went for prayer and I was convinced that in the following months, our church would be able to share our story of life and redemption and healing with the congregation. That the life of our child would be a testimony to God's faithfulness and the power of God through faith and prayer.

As it turned out, upon returning for a follow up appointment, we found out the baby was, in fact, not alive. What a devastating blow. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't stop crying. How could this happen? What had we done wrong? Why did this happen? Why did we even have to have conceived in the first place? I had been just fine. I had dealt with the fact  that we were never having a 4th. And then, after getting so excited - it was ripped from me!

Fortunately, God put key people in my life that helped me process the whole event and deal with the thoughts and emotions that accompany tragedies like this. I never blamed God - it is the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. I was confused though about why my faith didn't appear to work like I had always believed it should. Thank heavens a friend shared with me things she had learned out of her personal tragedy. She shared that as believers, we know that as soon as a child is conceived, God places a spirit within the new child. The Bible is very clear that God knits us together in our mother's womb and that he makes a plan for our days before we are ever born. That spirit had a say in the matter. I believe my child had a choice and chose heaven. And I can't honestly say I blame her! I believe that I will see my child in heaven and I believe that she is hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa Grape in the meantime!

All of that being said I do still desire to the core of my being to have another child. Scott is completely NOT on board with the idea but we have talked multiple times about the possibility of fostering or adopting....

...and that is where the backstory ends and the dots are connected!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Moses and Me

So today I had kind of a big opportunity...I was interviewed for a video they will show at church in a few weeks. This sort of thing is not something I feel completely comfortable with - I don't really like to be in the all. And quite honestly it is because I don't really feel like I have a whole lot to say. Or I do have things to say but I might not be able to articulate them as well as someone else, or I'm not funny enough, charming enough, intelligent enough, etc. In fact, on my way home I was thinking to myself "will there be anything at all of value that they can use from this interview?" and "why didn't I say...?" or "why did I say...?".

God reminded me of the story of Moses in the Bible. God asked Moses to speak to the Pharoah and ask him to let the Israelites go free. 

But Moses pleaded with the LORD, "O Lord, I'm not very good with words. I never have been, and I'm not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled." Exodus 4:10 NLT

But in the end Moses did speak to Pharoah on several occasions and God used him to lead the Israelites out of captivity!

Here's the deal, Moses didn't go to speech class or Toastmasters to perfect his speaking ability before he led the people out of Egypt. God was able to use him because he was willing and obedient. God reminded me that it is His work through me that makes a difference in the lives of others. I am not the game changer, I am not the one who wins people. It is not my words or the amazing ability I have to speak into the lives of others that is ultimately going to make a difference. It is simply my willingness to be used by God. My prayer is that God will speak through me, through my words, through my actions, through my example, etc. to make a difference in the  lives of others and in His kingdom. 

We need to remember that even when we feel like the things we do or who we are or the amount of money we give is small or insignificant, God takes what we give with an obedient and joyful heart and multiplies it to bless others.