His Goodness in Our Grief.

For anyone unsure of our story I will share a little history.  My husband and I struggled to conceive and found out we had fertility issues in 2015 and decided to become foster parents in the hopes of adopting.  We got a call in August of 2017 to go pick up a four day old baby girl named Kimora.  They gave us a few hours to go get her and bring her home and they told us it would most likely be an adoption case once parental rights were terminated.  When Kimora turned four months old we got a call from our case worker that a relative was interested in taking custody.  On December 20th 2017 DHHS came to our home and took Kimora and gave custody to the relative.  It has been a little over seven weeks since we have seen her.

As I reflect on what the last seven weeks have been like the only word I can really use to explain is, “grief”.  I am 26 years old and have experienced some very sad things in my life, but I am unsure I have really ever experienced true grief until now.  You see, grief is such a funny thing… it is something no one can see.  Grief is all your own, it doesn’t show a scar or change the sound of your voice and it doesn’t give you a temperature.  Grief is the scary, and silent stillness we experience while the world continues to move and dance.

In the grief however, I have experienced a few things I would like to share.  I have experienced a deeper prayer life.  I have experienced the fall to your knees, scream out, cry for hours prayer that leaves you desperate for Jesus.  I have experienced the gratitude prayer when you (still crying haha) are on your knees thanking God for sending you people who make you laugh again, and for allowing you to smile the smile you thought was gone forever, again.  I have experienced the prayer of fear.  The prayer you pray as you (maybe still crying) seek God’s plan and confess to Him you are still so afraid of the future.  In this time of great grief I have experienced a prayer life filled with truth, pain, and depth.

In this time of grief I have also experienced what it means to grieve.  I know your thinking I just had a typo, but I mean I have learned more about what it means to grieve.  I have learned it is okay to take time to heal, time to hurt, time to cry, but also time to be strong.  I have learned in grieving you need community, your church, and your friends.  I have learned it is okay to grieve, but not to do it alone.

Grief has taught me a lot in these last seven weeks.  It has taught me a lot about God and myself.  It has taught me a lot about my marriage, my family, and my friends.  I feel differently about grieving than I did when we first said goodbye to Kami because I have experienced goodness in the grief.  I have experienced the goodness despite the grief.  I have felt His goodness amidst the grief.

I am not writing this blog to ensure you that if you are grieving it will all be okay.  I am writing this blog to share with you my personal experience with a subject we talk about so rarely.  I am still grieving, and I am still hurting.  There are still some days that come with what feels like 30 pound weights strapped to each shoulder and bury me in my bed as I pray to God to see Kami again.  There are still days I struggle to get through a workout without crying.  In my journey right now grief is not gone, but I have seen His goodness despite the grief and that is what I wanted to share with you.

I have spent the last four weeks working with Kami’s biological mom to get her into housing and to help her in anyway that we can so that she can get her children back.  We have discussed babysitting when she gets Kimora back and discussed Tyler and I possibly having a part in her life when she gets them back, but for now we are blind to the future.  For now, we pray for a photo of her every few weeks, continue to talk with her mom, and pray to God that Kami knows we didn’t leave her and that we love her more than anything.  For now, we pray for another chance to hold Kimora again, but we continue to discover Him, His goodness, and His grace in a sea of grief we navigate everyday.

Kami,

We love you with every piece of our soul.  We pray to see you, to hold you, to see your beautiful smile again every single day.  There is not one day that goes by that we do not love you and I hope one day you read this and get to know that.  Happy six month birthday to the most beautiful princess we have ever laid eyes on.

We love you more than any words,

Forever,

Your (foster) Mom & Dad.

Thank you God for Kami, her family, and her life.  Please use us to bring them to you and bring Kami back into our lives.  We love you, always… Amen.

 

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My Feminist Feelings today…

I love children, I love women’s rights, I love the church, I love Jesus, I love being married, and I love teenagers.  This past weekend MANY people commented on their thoughts, passions, anger, feelings, and just opinions on the women’s march and I am sure you clicked this blog post thinking the title was going to discuss my feelings on that march as well, but I am sorry to report that is not my actual topic.  My reasoning for titling my blog post “my Feminist Feelings today” is because the definition of the word feminist is: supporting the concept of feminism, which is pushing for women to have equal rights to a man, but I want to write about the ONE thing we can do that they cannot.  I want to say I am proud of the women who came before me that allowed women to have such equal rights, but one thing women have always been able to do that men cannot and that is conceive, carry, and deliver a child.  It is that exact subject that is on my heart today and I am eager to have attracted your attention with “My Feminist Feelings” to share my heart with you.

                I found out earlier last year after 3 years of trying (March of 2016) that I am going to struggle immensely conceiving a child.  My doctor did assure me its not impossible, but that my odds of conception are very slim.  I have cried, I have been angry, I have prayed, I have talked with my husband and cried with him and have talked with my mom and close friends, but it doesn’t change the way my heart aches.  I heard a song around the same time this news came to me called Thy Will by: Hillary Scott and it really helped me to feel peace with the Lord that His plans are always good even when I struggle to accept them.  I just wanted to allow this blog for you to know if you have someone in your life who is struggling with conception, or cannot conceive here are 4 things you can do and things that have made my heart remain whole in the breakage. 

1.)    Allow them to tend to your kids.

I can’t put into words what it means to me that parents of my youth group teens or just parents of kids I know trust me enough to allow me to hang out with their kids, and take care of them.  Weather it’s for a night of babysitting or just picking them up from school I can’t imagine my heartbreak if people stopped asking me to care for their kids finding out my pain.  My pain is made better BECAUSE your children are in my life, thank you for not counting me out because I am struggling to become a parent.

2.)    Don’t be afraid to ask, but be AWARE of WHAT you’re asking.

One of the most difficult thing about the struggle with conception is that it’s a silent struggle.  Most everyone around you has no idea that your hurting or struggling and they don’t realize where you are at emotionally in that struggle (shoot, sometimes I don’t even know how I feel).  Do not be afraid to ask how I feel, if you can pray, or what is going on, but be prepared if sometimes that person or your friend isn’t ready or doesn’t want to discuss those things with you right away, but never be afraid to ask.  Be aware that questions like, “why aren’t you guys having kids yet” or “are you guys ever having kids”  are very hard questions in the midst of this battle.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but pray and seek wisdom about which ones you ask.

3.)    Don’t be shy or subtle sending a card or giving one on Mother’s Day.

The most thoughtful thing someone ever did for me was hand me a card on Mother’s Day.  I was shocked and surprised as she handed it to me and later as I opened it only to find that it was a Mother’s Day card I wondered if it was a sick joke?  I then realized she written a short letter inside.  The letter was reminding me how loved I was by so many children and teens and to not forget that the role God has me in is perfect and to be patient and prayerful in His timing.  It was beautiful, thoughtful, and meant the world to me.  In this story I want to encourage you that if you have friends or someone around you struggling in this silent battle please throw them a Mother’s Day “prayer” card or a random card reminding them you haven’t forgot and you are still praying.  I am a firm believer that cards, & letters have and leave strong impacts on peoples hearts.

4.)    Please do NOT recommend foster care of adoption, or ask if we know about other options.

I can assure you with 100% confidence if a woman cannot conceive or has that battle the doctors and Google has already led them to about 10 different ways to have a child another way or an agency to assist them to still become a mother.  The struggle within these systems besides cost is time.  Most people have no idea the struggle to obtain a foster care license and the resources it takes if you don’t have what the checklist requires, not to mention the credit check, bank account last year information, or the blood type of your pet (yeah, I had no idea either), but because of this those systems are hard and take a lot out of you.  I also want to explain that this is a roller coaster.  One minute I am 100% sure I want to adopt then the next I am sobbing that “my” child will someday have to know why they don’t have “my eyes”.  One minute I am sure I want to be a foster parent and the next I am convinced my teens take all my time and energy.  It is a constant roller coaster and if someone in your life is struggling, unless you have an agency you recommend or have used and that’s your advice, please avoid the list of “other options” we have, trust me, we already know.  We also know you never intend to cause pain or more struggle, but that’s simply why I am writing this blog so that you know how it does feel before you step in those red zones.

        I hope these 4 things have just helped you to know how to better love and support someone around you that struggles silently, but most of all I hope you know if you are one of those people who struggle you are loved and supported, and you aren’t alone.  1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.  I am not telling you this verse has been easy for me, but even in the storm I know God needs my #BESTDAYEVER attitude and to tell him I love him, and that I trust Him no matter what happens and I pray and hope that verse speaks to you in that same way it did for me, regardless of whatever your struggle or “storm” may be.

Chels.