Endings and New Beginnings.

Some people compare adoption to a roller coaster. You get on, you go up, you go down. But, eventually the ride ends. For us, the last seven years have been like enduring one of those ultra-marathons..only, it. never. ends. Has anyone out there ever run a marathon? FPD is a marathoner, but he’s a little obsessed with the ultra-marathon. So, I’ve had to endure many a conversation about how cool ultra-marathons are. It’s when CRAZY people get out there to attempt to run 100-200 miles at a time. On the way to Florida this year, as we’re driving with four kids from our midwestern snow-covered home, FPD made me listen to the autobiography of some guy who is OBSESSED with running huge distances. It was all about his struggle, injuries and eventual conquering of these never ending runs. He never stops. Even through the torture, he. just. keeps. running.

It made me think that it is a total metaphor for what we’ve been through. We started our journey in 2001. We were happy, newly married, totally trusting. We were 22 and 23-years-old at the time. We had a house, two cars, great jobs. Why not a baby? I’m a pediatric nurse, I love kids. FPD, while less experienced, loves them too. We wanted a lot of them from day one. In our high school, lovey dovey dating days I talked about five or six. Pregnancy for me wouldn’t be hard to get to, but I would have to be on bed rest from day one, have a c-section and then wouldn’t be allowed to do it again. ever. One pregnancy, that was it. One child? No way. We wanted our five or six.

Enter the idea of adoption. Birth parents? Too scary. Let’s go international. Since FPD is a Spanish Interpreter, let’s go someplace where they speak spanish! We can share so much cultural heritage with our child. Enter the Social Worker (SW) who suggests Guatemala. Great! $20K? Not great, but we’ll do it. Check written to agency. Promises made of referral in 1-2 months. We’re open to any gender (but I REALLY want a boy). 1 month. 2 months. Where’s our referral? hmmm… 3 months. 4 months. This is getting ridiculous. 5 months. 6 months. What the heck? When questioned, the agency and SW (who know and love each other) tell us that we’re more high maintenance than anyone they’ve ever worked with. Trust the process. Stop bothering them. Hmmm… Enter the REFERRAL. It’s a girl, and not a newborn like we were told, but who are we to question? Our daughter is 10 mos. old. Who cares? We have a daughter. Process should be complete in 12 weeks. 1 month…no progress. No DNA test done, nada. 2 months…nothing. But, the lawyer is working on it. 3 months…STOP asking! Trust the process or the agency tells us they will fire us and take back our referral. 4 months…I flip out one random summer day and make FPD call the embassy in Guatemala. Not one piece of paperwork has ever been filed for our daughter. She isn’t even eligible to be adopted. WHAT? Call to agency that results in the horrendous firing of the SW and agency. Attorney hired, agency sued, money returned (well, minus $2K). Not quickly though, it takes two months and nearly all of my sanity. Lose total faith that God even cares. The end.

Enter new SW. You’re open to ANY race? Think about domestic adoption. There are so many African-American kids in the U.S. that need you. REALLY? Sign us up. We’ll deal with birth parents. We don’t care. They can’t take the baby back right? No! She assures us that once parental rights are terminated it would be unheard of to have a baby go back to it’s birth family. Alright! We’re in. Write “Dear Birthparent’ letter, sit patiently by the phone. Wait. Now it’s nearly Christmas. I had promised myself, no more holidays without a child. Stupid promises. I call a referral coordinator who promises to show our letter to birthparents at no cost. What? She’s Christian, so maybe these aren’t lies. Letter and copy of HS sent. Christmas goes by, we just stare at each other. One whole year wasted. How did we get here? No tree, no presents that year, nothing. No faith left. Nervous breakdown at the thought of HS expiring and wasting more money for new HS (still using the one from fired SW). Call to referral coordinator to tell her to pull our “Dear Brithparent” letter, God obviously doesn’t have it in the plan for us to be parents. NO! She says she’s read it and God is just waiting for our baby to be ready. Have faith. She’s working on it now. She has been praying and has a feeling that our baby is out there. Whatever. I have no faith left. 20 minutes later ResponsiBoy’s birthmom is on the phone. He is born, rights are terminated, come get him! New beginning. Faith restored.

–Enter ResponsiBoy, age 5 months. What a joy!–

In May of 2002 ResponsiBoy’s supposed birthfather sues us for custody of him. Birthmom wasn’t sure of who the biological father was, and apparently, this guy thinks he could be it. I crumple, FPD stays strong. God gave us this baby for a reason. Hold onto your faith. So, we do. Awful torture. Will we have to give him back? Not any time soon, but it will be a long, expensive fight. DNA test requested. Drive across state line to get it. The end? Praying for a miracle. Got one in July.

–Enter Middle-Middle (M-M)–

Born prematurely, family lined up but passed because they’re too scared. Can you take him? YES! HS had already been re-done because we were praying about it anyway. Not one boy, but TWO. God is good! And, while we’re traveling to get our new son we get a call DNA not a match! Case dropped. On to finalization of both boys. Two years of pure bliss watching them grow and change. Signed up with ResponsiBoy’s agency again. Requested a girl. Called in March of 2006. Surprise! Baby is born, he’s adorable. HE!?! Don’t care. We’re coming anyway. God has a plan and this baby is it. New beginning.

–Enter GigantoBaby–

THREE boys. Awesome! GigantoBaby is so big that we get the triplet question all the time. Are you ever going to request a girl? Maybe. All in His time. But, I have been praying. So, when GigantoBaby turns two and FPD tells me he has been praying for pink, we update the HS again. This time we’re matched with a mom before she delivers. Many phone calls, will she place? New territory here. She is wonderful! She delivers. I fly out alone. She sees me and hands me my daughter! We cry together. I love her instantly. My daughter…our daughter. New beginning.

–Enter Divalicious (Divalish)–

Divalish is almost one now. What about an older child? My work as a peds nurse has me working with families with older, adopted, African children. Is this something we can handle? More prayers. Definitely moving forward. He plants the seed for a reason. Research. Since I work so closely with Ethiopia, I’ve seen the waiting child lists. So many little faces. There is a four-year-old boy on the list that needs us?!? Instant love. Months of paperwork and money for HS. Not an inexpensive program. Told our family. They don’t get it. Can’t you just be happy with the four children you’ve got? We are. That doesn’t stop the calling for more. Discuss it in generalities with the boys. They’re on board and excited, even though they seem to understand that it won’t be easy. Falling in love with the idea of this little boy and our new family of FIVE kids. Agency calls. Referral was ready to be sent, but orphanage lost its license. Referral will not be issued. What about this boy? They don’t seem to care. Too many children that already have referrals in place to worry about our little boy. Can they just tell us what will happen? No, they say, he’s not your child. We can get you another one! Or, you can just be happy with the four you’ve got! Grrrr…The end.

This happened two weeks ago. I don’t think I got out of my pajamas for three days. But, I do have four kids. So even though it feels like Guatemala re-visited, I don’t have the luxury of time for self-pity. Is there a new beginning out there after this? I don’t know. But, I haven’t lost faith. I won’t lie, I cried a lot and asked Him why. Hadn’t we paid our dues? We just wanted to add to our family with a child that needs us as much as we need him or her. It’s not about paying your dues. It’s about finding the path that He intended for you. So, for now, we just put our heads down and keep running until we find it.

–Full Plate Mom

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