We celebrated Andrew's "would-have-been" 9th birthday quietly as a family of 5 tonight. Last weekend, special friends treated us to a night at Erie Speedway, which we enjoyed immensely, as we celebrated Andrew's birthday this year. I never am quite sure what emotion to have on days like this. Honestly, I enjoy the special moments that his "birth"day held 9 years ago. The time we spent with him, while surreal, was precious. I can't identify the stage of grief I experienced that first day, but I remember not feeling so sad about his short life, but rather missing my sister's wedding. I remember sharing with one of my labor nurses that my sister was getting married (today) and she answered "I'm sorry". I was truly broken that I missed the big day that she'd dreamed of for so long, but I felt there was some special connection in our special days. Last night, I enjoyed talking with my sister, Michelle, for a couple hours. Actually, unintentionally, we talked right up until 20 minutes before our baby Andrew was born 9 years ago. I am still sad I missed her wedding day 9 years ago, but I was right, there is a special connection because of the way we share July 27. I am even more sad that Michelle now understands even more personally the emotions we experienced that day, and in the time to follow. Our Jesus is holding our precious babies in His arms! I love you, Michelle (and Happy 9th Anniversary)!!
I've always been one to want to plan my future...I think it's my natural female tendency. To want to anticipate when we'll get married (and to whom), to know where we'll raise our children, and to know exactly the number of children we will raise. After we lost Andrew, I realized I had NO control over what I wanted to have control over. That was a VERY hard thing for me to grasp. I mean, naturally, who would want to give up the life of their first child?! Not me!! The next years to follow, held two miscarriages, and many months of trying to conceive. There are so many lessons God taught me in that time, I could never tell them all here. But I know God opened my heart to adoption in that time. Only one month after Andrew's death, we got guardianship over a little girl that was very dear to our hearts. We had hoped to adopt her even before Andrew was born. We dreamt of raising them together at the time. Even after the crushing blow of his death, we still strongly desired to adopt Allie as our own. We were fortunate to have nearly one year with her in our home, before the courts changed their decision.
As we were still grieving our son's death, and a miscarriage, adjusting to a move 5 hours away, and then losing her from our home at the same time, I was in a very deep, dark depression. At the time I was not comforted by the scripture in Romans 8 that says "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God who are called according to His purpose". Deep down, I believed it, but I confess, it was NOT comforting to me at the time. It's taken me years to realize what Paul meant when he wrote it. He didn't mean 'all things are good because you love God'. But he did mean "MY God will cause things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." It is different.
It doesn't take the pain of losing a child, or 4 children away. We will always have a void in our hearts where our children would have been/should be. But looking on our experiences, now from this side, I can see how God has worked things for His good. Oh, I can still justify to God how He could have taught me these lessons while still preserving my children's lives. But there are still truths that I don't and won't see until I get to Heaven. God knows what we are capable of learning now, and just like I do with my children, there are things I just know as their mother, they aren't yet ready to learn. So for that I am thankful. For the lessons God is protecting me from knowing, yet...
I don't remember what first drew my heart and Jason's heart toward adoption. At first, I think it was our love for our Allie. But God still chose to say "no" to us at that time. Even though heartbroken from that experience, we still chose to begin the process to become foster parents. We walked that road for several years. We always had hoped to adopt, assuming that would be the avenue that would lead us to our child. But again, God said "no". Oh, we didn't understand it, and it was painful, but I am so glad we were obedient! Through the years of trying to get pregnant, only to miscarry again and again, we seriously looked into adoption agencies. We had gotten close enough to choose an agency and begin our application, when God filled my womb with another baby! We felt God told us "no" at that time, too. Our Jacob is now 5 1/2, and we realize everyday how blessed we are!
God wasn't really telling us "no" all those times. He was saying "nope, not this child, not those children, but WAIT...wait on my timing!" Why is that such a painful lesson to learn??!! Again, it's the same thing a loving parent does for their children. I want to teach my children to trust me, so I don't always give them all the details at first, but oh, if they will only wait..the reward is waiting! Looking back now, I can chuckle at my own impatience. We are so blessed to also have Isaac, 4, and Daniel, 2. Not to leave out our newest son who is scheduled to arrive at Christmas this year!!!
In March of this year, after 10 years of feeling led to adoption, God made it clear to us that this is His appointed time for our family. We are so thankful that we were obedient to His timing, even though it didn't always make sense to us, and even though the waiting was HARD! We are so thankful for the girls God has chosen clearly for our family. We long for the day that we can bring Ruth and Naomi home, and tuck them in bed with kisses at night. But AGAIN, we are told to wait...Oh, it's not easy. (Even as I write this, I'm reminded of the truths, I believe, but I struggle with!)
We are moving forward with paperwork, but it feels monumental at times. We are ready now to bring them home, but there's work to be done, and I trust there are more lessons for me to learn as we wait. Oh, I am anxious to report from the other side once again!!!
Please pray for our family, as this journey never promised to be easy.....and it's not!
Thank you, Lord for the confidence that You'll carry us through!!