Monday, April 7, 2014

August and Everything After.... Part 9: Waiting

Trying to sleep that night after my glorious and unexpected afternoon at the Nelson with Joe was impossible.  I was so excited and happy that I would doze off and then wake back up filled with so much hope and happiness that I just could not calm my heart down.  I felt like I was floating the next day at work and of course could not tell anyone what was going on. (I did tell a few close friends who I knew would be praying and holding me accountable during this time but no one else).  As the next weekend neared, I found myself checking my phone pretty regularly and not wanting to make plans in case he called and wanted to get together.  But no call came.

And no call came the next week or the week after that or after that or after that get the idea.  As the days turned to weeks and then into months, my heart broke into more and more pieces.  I would see him and his girlfriend around at church looking not-so-broken up.  I was dying inside. The sting of rejection was cutting deep and I began to question myself and most of all him.  Was he the man I believed him to be? The Joe I believed him to be would never intentionally wound someone. Was he actually a mean person who was playing a cruel game with my heart? I did not think so, but it certainly felt like it.  I had no idea what was going on, but I knew things were not looking good and I did not understand what had transpired with his heart since we parted ways full of hope that Sunday afternoon.

I began to sink into a pretty deep depression.  Luckily for me, that June and July I had several back to back trips planned both personally and for work.  In the span of about 5 weeks I traveled to Montana, Boston, Mexico and Colorado.  I was busy and surrounded by wonderful friends and family and kept a happy face on publicly, but privately, I was heartbroken.  I was embarrassed.  I was furious and deeply hurt in an already vulnerable part of my heart.  I had still been seeing Joe around church and social gatherings with his girlfriend sitting together or holding hands or riding together or whatever.  It did not matter what was going on, to the outside eye, they were still very much together.

Most importantly to me, I began to realize that he was not coming back for me.  He had asked me to wait and I had waited and waited and waited.  I did not know how to handle this any better than I had been doing.  I had intentionally tried to give him the space he needed to conclude his relationship with the other girl well.  I did not want to be needy or clingy or a nag, so I had resolved to say nothing and just wait patiently for him to let me know things were resolved and that he was ready.  But after months of waiting, I was nearing the end of my rope.  Waiting was taking every ounce of strength I had.  During this time I lost over 20 pounds- (which I am not complaining about!) I took up running (which I hate, but I had so much animosity and emotion in my body that I had to have some sort of outlet) and I cried countless tears.  All the while, he said nothing and carried on as if nothing had ever he had completely forgotten me.  He never called.  He never gave me any indication that he even remembered he said he was going to break up with her let alone that he was interested in me.  He seemed to be doing just fine.  I on the other hand was not.

It sounds crazy to say, but my faith during this season deepened tremendously.  Without a doubt I knew God was in control.  That did not make it any easier but I knew I had done nothing to orchestrate or invent our wonderful lunch date back in April which had led to this strange season I was in, so I knew God had been the one who had allowed it to happen.  And this was freeing for me in a way.  For what purpose, I did not know, but it had happened.  I trusted Him to resolve this and I knew in my spirit that I was to just be still and wait.  If you have ever tried to do that, you know it is next to impossible.  Especially when it is in regards to something that is running across your mind every .2 seconds.  So that summer I spent a lot of time in the Word and memorizing and journaling and crying out and fighting against myself to remain still and wait for something to happen.  I questioned everything.  Was something going on with him? Was it work? Was it me? Had he changed his mind and did not have the courage to tell me? 

Then finally in late July- yes, almost FOUR months later, I snapped.  We were both at the mid-week service that our church used to have, and after the service he casually walked over and said hello and started talking about something ridiculous like the weather or something lame like that- basically the LAST thing I wanted to talk with him about after nearly four months of silence.  I completely lost it. I could not fake it, I could not be socially gracious.  I could not small talk with him.  I blurted out something blunt and direct to the effect of "What is going on here, Joe?" My exact words are lost on me now, but his are not.  He said something I never could have seen coming in a million years.  He said, "Well, I'm actually thinking I may be moving to China."

  be continued....

Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Adoption Update: How it all Works- Being "Active" and Waiting

It was around this past New Years that we became what is referred to in the adoption world as "active."  This means, you have all of your paperwork completed, background checks done, all 'i's dotted and 't's crossed.  It had taken us four solid months to complete the paperwork, our home study, all of the applications, contracts, our profile and were now just waiting for something to happen.  We were told at the beginning of this process, that the wait can be anywhere from two days to two years.  We have known many who have waited many months and years, so we were prepared for and anticipating a long wait.  

However, we were shocked when we received a phone call less than ten days later about what is called in the adoption world "a situation."  How it worked for us with our consultants was that when they would come across a situation that fell into the criteria we had specified for our family, they would contact us to see if we were interested in having our profile presented to the birth mother for consideration.  Birth mothers are presented anywhere from two to twelve profiles at a time that they go through to make their choice for the forever family for their child.  Depending on circumstances (has the baby been born already? or is the baby is due in a few months), they have a few hours or days/weeks to make a decision. 

We were completely SHOCKED that a situation had popped up that quickly and to say we were unprepared is a masterful understatement.  We ended up not being chosen, which was emotional, but also a little bit of a relief in that it highlighted how unprepared we were should we have to travel immediately to another state to meet and bring home our baby.  This experience of presenting for the first time led to a massive undertaking of organizing baby clothes, finding some (we only have a few) gender neutral baby items, the car seat, baby know, stuff that we have not needed or used in years that was just stored in the basement when we moved.  It felt good to get things ordered and washed and prepped for easy packing should the need arise.  It was also something I could "do" as opposed to just passively waiting.

Since that first presentation back in January, we have presented three other times and have not been chosen.  While it is always difficult to get your hopes up and have your name not be called, we both have felt tremendous peace each time.  We believe and trust that God's hand is in this and that when the situation is right, the doors will just open and we will be chosen.

I have had many people ask me if the waiting and not knowing is hard.  And my answer is yes and no.  Yes, its hard to wait and not know if the next time your phone rings or you check your email, there will be a message that will change your life forever.  But it is also not hard to wait because it is not like when you are trying to get pregnant where you have a defined timeline before you.  Try here...wait this long...find out.  Repeat.  Over and over.  That roller coaster is a nightmare of heartache, hope and emotion.  Waiting for adoption, is a little bit more peaceful.  It is just so unknown and abstract that you cannot help but get on with your life because you have no absolute date where you will know something.  It can literally happen any time, so you just keep going and find yourself pleasantly surprised by hope along the way. 

The waiting while you are presenting is a bit challenging.  I am rather obsessive with checking my phone and email during that time, but otherwise, it is all about trusting God.  Believing that He is working and moving things into place in just the right time for His plan to work out....all while not being able to see any of it.  There are days when I find myself feeling rather impatient.  Thinking about how fun it would be to have a baby around the same ages as all of my friends who are having their latest rounds of little ones. Having no control.  Feeling left out and forgotten by God.  Worrying that Lily continues to get older while there is no glimmer of a sibling for her on the horizon.  It is hard.  

But I know God is moving even when I cannot see or feel it. I trust and believe that.  A friend of mine once wrote something to the effect of if the story God is telling with your life is not good yet, it is because He's not finished with it yet! I'm clinging to that hope as we hold on for a good ending!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

August and Everything After... Part 8: April Fool?

Here is the next installment and if you need a refresher on what was happening when we left off (and I would not blame you!) you can get caught up here: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5, Part 6 and part 7

Seven years ago today I was minding my own business after church.  Driving home, my windows were down, the sun was shining warm and my radio was up.  Spring was springing and I could feel my spirits responding accordingly.  I had big afternoon plans to clean my house, open the windows and mow my lawn.  It had been months since I had last spoken to Joe outside of a socially appropriate "hello" here and there.  My heart still missed him, but after eight months of hoping and praying following our mountain-climbing trip, I began to accept that things were not to be with us.  As the days, weeks and now months passed, I had gradually stopped "casually" glancing at my phone or email hoping for a text or message or something from was never there. Just as we had agreed. No games, no mixed signals.  No contact.  Ugh. Stupid integrity.

So when I heard my phone ringing in my purse, I genuinely did not give it a glance as I answered it because I knew after all this time who it would not be.  So when I heard his voice on the other end of the line, I was so caught off guard that I practically had to pull the car over in order to regain my composure.  Out of the blue, just like that, he was calling me.  Ever so nonchalantly he asked me if I wanted to meet him for lunch.  Without any hesitation or forethought I said 'YES!'  (I've always been known for my breeziness...haha) We made plans to meet shortly and hung up the phone.  I was freaking out. Literally.  What had just happened? Why after all this time was he calling me? Why had I just blurted out 'yes' when I could have played it a little bit cooler? Where was my 'mystery?"  Ugh.  Of course I immediately hung up and called my friend Jessica to freak out and tell her what had just happened.

I raced home to change my clothes and freshen up before heading down to the Nelson Art Gallery where we were meeting for lunch.  I could not focus on anything.  It quickly became clear to me that my previous belief that I had started to move on from him was a complete lie.  We met for lunch in this really cool indoor garden cafe at the gallery and proceeded to sit and talk for almost two hours.  I had no idea why he had wanted to meet for lunch.  Everything we talked about was friendly and un-noteworthy.  Nothing that would rise to the level of a crazy-impromptu lunch breaking months and months of silence between us.  Don't get me wrong, it was lovely (I was loving every minute of it) but in the back of my mind, I also felt like there was something he wanted to tell me and I really began to think that he was going to tell me that he was going to marry the other girl (the one he was still seeing from the summer before), and that he wanted to be the one to tell me before I heard it through the grapevine.  So I kept waiting for our conversation to go in that direction- for the proverbial shoe to drop. My guard began ever-so-slowly going up.

After lunch (he paid?! hello mixed messages!) we decided to walk outside for a bit at his suggestion.  Sure! If he wanted to prolong our time together, who was I to argue?   If you have never been to this particular gallery, there are lovely terraced gardens all around the outside of the building.  On this particular day, it was perfect weather outside, trees and flowers were blooming everywhere, grass was bright green and there was a gentle breeze.  It was perfect and I did not want this afternoon to end.  We wandered around and after a little while, Joe suggested we walk over to another nearby walled garden. 

Of course I said yes and we walked and talked for several more hours.  Our conversation was easy and fun, but I still had this little nag in the back of my head and heart that he was going to tell me he was going to propose to another girl, so my selfish heart was just soaking up every fun minute of this non-date because I was probably going to be my last time alone with him.  I just wanted to stay in this suspended reality of beautiful fun.

We eventually sat down on a quiet bench within the walled garden and talked while watching a lovely fountain.  The afternoon was beginning to fade and we had to start thinking about walking back to our cars.  It strikes me as ironic that I do not recall his specific words, but I do remember that out of left field, Joe began talking and sharing his feelings for after all of this time of absolute apart-ness he had feelings for me that had continued to deepen that he wanted to pursue.  I remember feeling so unbelievably elated that I felt like I could fly. I'm sure it's why I cannot recall his exact words.

Of course in the middle of this dream come true moment, there was one major detail:  Joe was still seeing the other girl.  HELLO! Ugh.  In effort to protect her here, I will not go into details about what was shared where she was concerned other than to say Joe spoke of her with respect and honor toward their relationship, but Joe also respectfully made it clear to me that he was in the process of ending their relationship and that things had been heading that direction for ahwile.  We agreed that it was important to both of us that their relationship be completely over before anything could start with us.

We decided that until they were officially and completely broken up, we would not spend any time together both one-on-one or in a group setting.  We would not talk on the phone, email, text or anything else until they were broken up.  We both wanted to begin our relationship with integrity, so we agreed that after parting ways on this beautiful April Fools day, I would wait to hear directly from him that he had ended things with her. He assured me that he was motivated did not think it would take longer than a few days to a week for him to break up with her.  We both could not stop smiling as we hugged good bye in the parking garage that afternoon.  

Driving home, I marveled at the beautiful turn my life had taken.  I felt blessed, unbelievably happy, chosen and excited for the days ahead.  I had not been talking with or spending any time with Joe for the last eight months, so what was one more week? Especially when I knew the goodness that awaited me at the other end? Oh if only things were that easy.  Looking back now, I plainly see now that as I drove home singing and smiling, I had no idea that in a few short days, I would feel like the world's BIGGEST April Fool, that it would again be months before I would speak with Joe, and that my heart was going to be engaged in a battle only a mountain could have prepared me for.... things were about to get really ugly....

          be continued....