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Monday, August 29, 2011

Great Expectations!

Summer is almost over- finally! I am so happy whenever I go outside and feel that ever-so-slight breeze that signals the changing of seasons. I do love summer, I love taking my wonderful step-kids to the river, the pool, or the lake. I love how much longer the days are, so we can just enjoy a little more daylight. I love vacations, and the Fourth of July in Dahlonega - spectacular! But, this summer was so hard! I am so glad to see it go away. And it was also HOT! I am not a hot-weather girl by nature. I like fireplaces, snow, sledding, sweaters, a cozy blanket, and a cup of cocoa. So I say "Bring on the cooler temperatures!"
But I can also say that the changing of seasons in nature is reminding me of the changing seasons of my life. I have really seen some changes in myself over the past season or two. I have seen some changes in my "step-parenting", my marriage, and even in my friendships. For the sake of example, I will mention that earlier this summer one of my dear friends really encouraged me that I should "enjoy" my step kids more, instead of always fretting over the fact that they aren't mine "all the time," or that I struggle with infertility. The old Melissa would probably just be hurt by that, but this summer it has been a time of growth and change and I realized I really wasn't "enjoying" them or trying to get to know them. If I truly love kids as much as I say I do, why am I not loving the ones God has put right in front of me, in my house? This summer, some of my favorite memories will be of picking blackberries with Samuel (we picked four huge buckets in about two weeks, adapted the Southern Living recipe for blackberry cobbler and made it for ourselves, our lovely neighbors, Tom and Ginger, and for some other friends around town.) I will also treasure the memory of taking Mitchell to the junkyard just to "poke around" and see what treasures we could find. I will also treasure the back to school shopping with Georgia, and of her helping me color Samuel's hair. One particular memory that will also stand out is of the day the boys helped me take all the covers off the sofa cushions to wash them. Samuel and I left for the day, and when I returned home, Mitchell had dried the cushion covers and replaced every one of them on the sofa and love seat. I was delighted - perhaps ecstatic would be more accurate. All in all, despite the heartbreaking loss of our little ones, the transition of Hannah moving out, and overcoming the loss of Canaan, and losing my precious grandaddy, we had a life-changing summer. And now, this season is coming to an end.
The best part about this season ending is that the sorrow it brought us will only now be a sad memory. But pain is not always a bad thing, as I am learning through the books I am studying at home. Humans hate pain, and so we avoid it, and God is showing me that through pain we learn. Oh, how I hate this, but I know it's true! It's not by accident that I finally pierced my ears for the first time this summer, and gave blood for the first time this summer. I have "avoided pain" at all costs . . . even a silly little prick or minor stick with a needle. I'm not a fan of pain by any means now, but I know that you don't have to run from it. As silly as it seems, I found such victory in those minuscule brushes with pain. I embraced the pain, instead of running from it. And I learned that my fear of the pain was actually worse than the real pain itself. How many of us are running from pain and avoiding pain, and yet living with anxiety and worry over when it will actually hurt us? Yes, I am guilty of this!
One BIG area for me is this adoption process. Mom asked me two years ago when I lost Abigail, if I would "consider" adoption. I assume at the time she was talking of infant adoption. I remember saying, "I would adopt, but I still want the experience of having my own." I am sure all of you women out there can understand this longing. I wanted to feel the baby kicking inside me, feel it growing, see it on the sonogram, yes, even feel that pain of bringing him/her into the world. But most of all, I wanted that heart-stopping, breathtaking moment when I looked at my child for the first time in the hospital and felt the instant bond between us. I wanted that instant connection and intimacy.
But now I see that maybe that is never what God had for me. I have "fallen in love" with my step kids. I have "Fallen in love" with every other child I have parented short-term (23 counting Peniel and Jeremiah.) I have "fallen in love" with my CASA children, the kids I have mentored in schools, and my CR babies who break my heart. I did not love them the instant they came into the world - I did not even know them. But I fell in love with them as I came to know them, and learn all about them, and find out who they are.
And now I know that out there in the world, there is a child or children (I hope two or three), who do not know me, and who's lives have taken a turn away from what is healthy and ideal. They have faced pain, and insurmountable loss. I hope that in their pain, somewhere deep inside them, is a longing for me, and John, and a "forever family". And this fills my heart with a sense of great expectation!
I don't know how old they are, if they are boys or girls, or both. I don't know the color of their skin or their eyes, or their shape, or anything about them. I only know that God has planned for them to be mine through adoption and I am overjoyed at the prospect of finding them!
Between my two ectopic pregnancies, I have only been pregnant for a short number of weeks. It went by too fast. The joy didn't last nearly long enough. But I've had enough pregnant friends to know that there is so much "expectation" in pregnancy and there is so much looking forward, and yes, anxiety, but also a great hope for the future. I also know there is pain associated with pregnancy and childbirth (duh!) And since that is not the way God has chosen to make me a mother, I can either be angry about it, or accept this beautiful gift that is adoption. Accepting that gift means embracing more pain. There is pain in this process. There is sadness, grief, humiliation, anger, frustration - challenges I'm not always sure I can meet. But there is something wonderful waiting for me on the other side of this pain. And I am moving forward in great anticipation and with great expectations for the child(ren) God has for me.
Please pray for me!

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