Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ready to get off the boat

Guess who turns 18 months old in just a few days?!?!?!

It is so hard to believe that he still is not home.

Most days I still cant believe how much the process has changed in just a short time.

I feel like I am on a big boat floating out at see with all of the others that are currently in the process to bring home their children. Like we all boarded this ship together and sailed out of the port. Before we got on board we all watched the same ship make the same journey over and over again. The previous journeys may have hit a little choppy water here and there but overall the route was known for being stable...predictable...strong. Until we boarded...

We boarded the boat and were told by the captain to expect a smooth journey and relatively calm waters. Then after a couple months at sea everything changed. What was supposed to be a short voyage grew in length month after month until suddenly the boat just stopped moving. It stopped moving and has been sitting in the middle of the ocean for months just waiting to finish the voyage.  Many times we heard that help was on the way... that the boat would move again.... that we would arrive at the destination. Now after being stuck at see for so long we are struggling...wondering if we will survive the voyage.  We know the captains are doing the best they can but sometimes  it is hard to find comfort knowing that these waters are uncharted territory for them as well. Others who took the journey before us call out and try to offer support to those on the boat now, and even though they have the best intentions, sometimes when they compare their voyage to this voyage its hard not to become more upset. Many of us have been on this boat for  11, 12, even 15 months sailing towards our babies that are approaching two years old.
We wish we could have been on any prior voyage because if we had we would be holding our babies at least 6 months ago. But instead, we are still stuck out at sea just now being able to see a hint of the shoreline.... still not knowing how much longer we have to go. We are tired... many of us have become sea sick.... and we are just clinging to one another trying to reach our destination.

It is hard to believe that James is turning 18 months old on Friday.  

It is hard to believe that his birth mother made the courageous choice to bring this sweet boy into the world  18 months ago. Although I have never met her she is one of the strongest people I know. I couldn't begin to imagine how hard it must be to choose to carry a child for nine months knowing that once you give them the gift of life you will say goodbye so that they can have the life you dreamed for them.

It is hard to believe that almost 11 months ago I became a mom again... that I was given this gift because half way around the world a brave woman wanted her sweet boy to have more then she could give him. Even though we may never meet we will always be connected because I know that we both love this little boy more then words can ever say. 

It may not be time to get off the boat but I can definitely see the shoreline. I know that James will soon join us in our home the same way he has joined us in our hearts. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

10 Months Waiting

Exactly 10 months ago we received the call that we were going to be parents again.

Several minutes later an email arrived in my inbox...

... and we saw this cute little boy and knew that he was meant to be our son.

For the past 10 months we have watched him grow.

9 months

10 Months

12 months

14 months

16 months  

To say that we are over the wait would be a huge understatement.

Most days I can't even come to terms with how a 4-6 month wait turned to 6-8 months and then again to 8-12 months.  Now here we are at ten months and the possibility of the wait extending past 12 months is very real. It is such a hard thought to process - on so many levels.

EP's are expected to start again tomorrow and we already know that we won't be in the first bacthes. The agency has had to expedite some families ahead of others, which I get, but at the same time makes it that much harder to wait. It is all so bittersweet. We are happy for movement because that means that the process is moving again. We are excited to watch some of the friends that we have met on this journey bring their children home. We find some comfort knowing that once they work through the expedited families we should be right near the top of the list. The bittersweet part is that we worry that the ministry will break again and the process will come to a screeching stop again. We have missed so much in James' life and we hate waking up each morning and missing another day. We know that the longer he is with his foster family the harder it will be for them to say goodbye to James and the more he will grieve the family he has has known for over a year.

My heart breaks thinking about James leaving his foster family. I have seen pictures of friends "family days" and the emotions in the pictures are so raw... and sad. You can see the pain in the foster mothers faces as they say goodbye  to the babies they loved with everything they had for so long. The children look equally as sad, sometimes with an almost blank stare, as they are handed over to the families who have loved them from afar. My heart hurts for James and his foster family as they both get closer to having to say goodbye and I am reminded again that adoption is born out of loss.

I remember a lesson that we did during a class we had taken at the agency very early on in the process.
They asked us several questions and had us write the answers down on the paper.

Name 2 people you could not live without?

Name someone you go to for support?

What activity to you like to do for fun?

and so on.

Then they asked us to cross out 2 things...

Then 3 things....

until it came down to just Anthony and Zoey left on the paper.

and they asked to cross off one.....

How could I possibly cross one of the two of them off even having know
 idea what this activity was all about.

and then another.....

and nothing was left on my paper.

We were then told that this was symbolic of the losses that our child would experience.
They would essentially lose every single thing that they had ever known.
People, comforts, smells, foods, sights, and on and on.

They then told us to imagine that we just married our spouse. We were so happy, in love, and ready to spend the rest of our lives together. Then we went to sleep, woke up, looked over and the man in bed was not our husband and the room we were in was not our home.  He was "A HUSBAND" but not the one that we had fallen in love with and married. The "husband" continues on trying to make the wife happy but the wife often lashes out. He brings her coffee but she is reminded that it isnt the way that her husband would make it and lashes out and throws the cup. After some time, the wife appreciates that the new husband is patient and has been trying so hard to comfort her and take care of her, that in time she slowly lets him in and begins to love and trust the "Husband".

It is hard to explain in words how much I love James already. It hurts to think about how much he has gone through in his short life. When he is finally placed in my arms I will be his fourth mama... but am blessed to be his forever mother. I wish that he did not have to endure anymore sadness before he came to his forever family, but I know that we are about to have a huge transition as James processes his grief and learns to trust that we are his forever family.

So many people have joined us on this journey. So many people have watched James grow over the last ten months and prayed along with us that he would make it home soon. The agency says things will move fast now, and as long as the ministry continues to process EP's quickly once they begin (which is right about now since it is 9 am on Monday morning in Seoul, Korea) James will be home soon. We are so thankful for al the support and prayers and ask you to continue to pray for quick homecomings for James and the other children who have waited too long, for the foster families who have loved these children for so long, and most importantly for the children who have been through so much in such a short amount of time.

Hoping to have lots of great news to share in the coming weeks.