It Is All a Gift

Two methotrexate injections and three weeks later, I am still technically pregnant. Never would I have thought this blip of a healthy pregnancy would have turned into this – so far – 11 week journey. I haven’t known really what to write because I just feel a little stuck. Physically stuck, emotionally stuck, spiritually stuck. Exhausted.

All of this is okay, though. I am trying to accept the pain and the vulnerability I feel when more and more people are invited into my pain journey. If we don’t allow our stories to be told for the purpose of connection, what is the point of the pain anyway?

So, I am learning to let go. When my sister tells her friend at the gym, or my mom tells the woman I have never met whom has also gone through similar fertility pain, I don’t tell them to stop sharing. When the woman next to me on the plane asks bluntly if my husband and I have had trouble having kids since we don’t have any almost nine years into our marriage, I don’t mask the hurt in my eyes and my voice when I give her a simple, “Yes.” She may not understand my journey completely, but she understands struggle through her own lens, and she may understand another person’s pregnancy struggles better if I allow my story to be told.

I am not ready to offer my story up on say, my Facebook page, but I do want to use my experience to lessen another’s feelings of vulnerability, loneliness, and heartbreak. So, as uncomfortable as it is, I am fighting the reaction to control the sharing. I don’t think anyone actually wants to be the poster child for miscarriages, but – if this is a way I can help others – I will do my best to share in the moments that count.

As my family structure will most likely look different than I once imagined, my struggle will be easier to identify. I imagine wheeling a cart of groceries around in the store with my Haitian child and possibly another internationally adopted child. Once in a while, I am sure someone’s eyes will catch mine and I will get that look. The look laced with a little compassion and a little question, wondering if I couldn’t have biological children. The part that bothers me about this is that having adopted children is not a second choice! However, maybe the fact that people will identify a possible struggle more quickly will allow me to have more opportunities to connect and even possibly help others when they are stumbling around in the dark, confusing period I am in now. Maybe I will have more moments to share the pure joy and excitement I have for my uniquely crafted, god-given family.

To all of this, I pray to remain open, forgiving, compassionate, and honest. It is all a gift.

Contemplating Desire Versus Calling

I don’t know how to start this post. Do I just come out with it – that I am yet again/regretfully/humiliatingly/confusingly miscarrying? That it feels a little like selfishness; a little like shame; a little like we should have known better, even though each doctor keeps telling us we should have no trouble having a biological child soon?

Do I add that I just found out today that last Friday – the day I found out my hcg levels had dropped in half – our dossier had also been stamped “received” in the Haitian government office in charge of making child referrals? I have said before that I don’t believe in coincidences…

My soul work lately has been a lot about trying to figure out the difference between desires and divine calling. When do we decide a desire (e.g. having a biological child) isn’t a divine calling in our life? I am reading Radical Amazement – Contemplative Lessons from Black Holes, Supernovas, and Other Wonders of the Universe by Judy Cannato. It is challenging me to dig deeply and try to distinguish how I can best evolve my spirit and my communities. What is the most powerful way that I can connect to others positively and fuel a collective transformation of spirit? It seems like a no-brainer that adoption will do this. But, is this revelation mutually exclusive (for me and my family – I obviously don’t believe having biological children is in any way a bad thing)?

As usual, I don’t have an answer. I may not for the better part of this decade, or my husband and I may have an aha moment tomorrow…who knows. What we plan to do anyway, is commit ourselves entirely to this Haitian adoption for now. With that commitment in mind, we will follow the advice of my primary obgyn and go back to the fertility specialist for more analysis and possibly more testing. Whether we do anything, with whatever information comes out of that meeting, is completely an unknown.

With this current pregnancy, all we prayed for was to stay open to God’s divine plan. Full acceptance of reality feels peaceful some days, and like a full on struggle other days. We are completely aware that full acceptance sometimes – dare I say often – means a death of some dreams. But, we have to make room for new and better ones.

Maybe this means we’ll adopt two kids. Maybe this means we’ll only adopt one and re-vision our nuclear family tree once again. And maybe, sooner than later, we’ll bring that second labradoodle home and name her Mimosa, finally giving Hollywood a buddy. Sometimes we just need to revise the plan, and that’s okay.

Appreciating God’s Paint Palette

I don’t know the answers. I am saddened that all people don’t find the thrill of beauty in the variations of colors and textures of the human race. I am heartbroken for our future son or daughter. Yes, I am referencing what is happening in Ferguson, MO. I don’t feel qualified to comment on specifics, but I do feel like this needs to be discussed. To me, the different skin tones, eye colors, hair textures, and facial features are much more interesting, and the vastness of our beauty is breathtaking…the way we all are. I feel, like many others, that we need to appreciate cultural and race differences while pausing before stereotyping based on what our eyes see.

I have ignorance about race. I am sure I have many misconceptions. My perspective can’t possibly be someone else’s perspective when I only have the opportunity to carry around this body. What awareness has taught me is that my perspective in this female, white body is not what others know, and vice versa.

I’ll admit, this is actually my second draft of this post. I first called it, “The Repulsive Reality of Race” but I really just don’t feel that way, even when the world is telling us a different story. What Katie Mohr, a white mom of brown boys, writes here, has been echoed in many other writings I have come across. The basic message that, although many people will tell us racism doesn’t exist if we don’t make race – or differences – a “big deal,” the more experienced people will tell us it does exist; we have to recognize the differences; and there is no playbook or process to overcoming these obstacles entirely.

The common thought that “love will conquer all” (I hear this often these days, especially in reference to our adoption) is, in my opinion, a way to hide in our tunnel vision, our white perspective. I would love nothing more than to just throw a big pile of love on the problem and watch it disappear. Don’t get me wrong, love will always be the biggest part of the formula, but – I specifically – have a responsibility now to use my brain and awareness to delve deeper.

Thoughts on Raising a Child of a Different Race (what I have been thinking so far…)

1. I will not assume I know how he/she is feeling when regarding race differences.

2. I will try my best to find mentors of the same race for regular connection since my perspective is limited.

3. I will instill confidence in his/her God-given skin, hair, eye-color, and – of course – personality.

4. I will acknowledge our many similarities.

5. I also will acknowledge differences without the sting of judgement.

6. Even though we know there are differences, we will often forget them because we are just….we…a family.

7. I will communicate all I know about this child’s life prior to America in an age appropriate manner.

8. We will honor our child’s first heritage in our home.

9. We will celebrate our awesome, unique, and colorful family.

10. I will keep learning.

Haitian Nectar

Today, my husband and I received great news from our adoption agency. Not only has our dossier (which is a phone book sized stack of notarized papers verifying our ability and stability for raising a child) finally made the grueling trip to Haiti, but the estimated wait times for getting a child referral have gone down from 7-8 months to 3-6 months (!!!). It seems so unreal that I am truly having a hard time believing it. We might be able to spend Christmas in Haiti with our son or daughter!

We still have, at a bare minimum, 1-1.5 years left, assuming a seamless process. There are no promises or crystal balls, but our best forecasting now tells us that we should be under or at that 1.5 year mark which feels like beautiful fireworks going off inside my chest. Excited is an understatement.

Grace and fortune have been waiting for us here, and we are finally able to receive these gifts from our Most Loving. I will allow myself to get drunk off this encouragement and optimism for its sake – without expectations. I’ll continue to let the tide wash in and wash out at its own ancient and mysterious pace…while staying committed to my Creole lessons!

Orevwa for now!

The Calm After the Storm

I believe the storm may finally be over. It’s a dangerous thing to put in writing because, as soon as I think I know something, life will prove me wrong.

I am not pregnant, my job situation is still a mess, adoption is two years off by my best estimate, and I still have to baby my dog, Hollywood, in order to keep him healthy from meal to meal. But, for the moment, I feel the eye of the storm has passed and now I just have to keep moving through the aftermath, picking up all the windblown pieces of my life.

We got my genetic test back yesterday and my chromosomes are normal (enter little happy dance here). I am learning to love working part time. The adoption keeps steadily moving forward as I dream of learning how to braid cute, curly hair and nourish beautiful dark skin after bath time. I have continued to cherry pick moments in life that give me happiness…and happiness is surrounding me.

I feel more appreciative than I was able to feel most of this year. All year I felt an outpouring of compassion for others and a true spiritual awakening, but I am finally accepting where my life has led me in this moment. I feel joy bursting open in my soul from simply participating in my life.

As our dear Adam’s birthday approaches, I know my heart will never be whole again, but it may have grown deeper and wider. I am forever changed and this “new normal,” as I’ve coined it, is getting more comfortable, although laced with a sadness that I will always know. Through the sadness, though, space for the next chapter has finally been created.

I will revel in the fact that my deep breaths aren’t restricted with the anxiety and struggle that has been plaguing them for the last two years. I will continue to embrace the joy in the small, everyday moments. I will cherish the right-now, whether this truly is the calm after the storm or just a little break before the next blow. Either way, I have right now, I can breathe, and I feel peace.