Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Rest of the Story

When Troy and I decided to adopt, we both felt certain that International adoption was the way to go. There were a few reasons. One of them was wanting a safety net of space between us and the birth-families ... making it easy for us to decide how much we wanted to share with them and vice-versa.

You know, a safety net of like ... 3,000 miles.

Yeah. Not so much.

God had different ideas about what our adoptions would look like. So far God's plans have meant growth and blessings for us and growth and blessings for the birth families. We're down with God's plan. We're glad He took over and showed us who's boss.

We have spent the last year and then some getting to know both birth-mothers fairly well. No longer are we nervous to see them or worried it will confuse things with our kids. As you know, being here is the only reason we even found out that Phoebe was coming. It's the only reason she is with us today.

Our experience is unique, and we recognize not everyone would be comfortable with it -- and for some kids, it might not be the best thing to have such an early awareness of all these complicated relationships and events. Open adoption is not for everyone.

From what we've observed & gathered, our kids are comfortable with the situation and thriving in the knowledge of our love, God's love, their birthmothers' love and the beautiful way the Lord pulled it all together into a super-cool adoption story.

We care about each of these two ladies. They are very different. One being tough and savvy, the other being shy and timid. We appreciate their unique reasons for placing and know they have both lived lives that most 35 or 40 year old women can only imagine. Their strength and determination in the face of adversity and difficulty is amazing to us.

In mid-June Isaac's birthmother contacted us to let us know she is pregnant. She (Joceline) said at that time that she did not feel she could handle another child. She planned to place. We told her right away that we were not feeling that we could adopt again. We had no sense that we were to even consider it. (We really do feel "7" is the perfect and final number for our family - the baby IS the grand finale. Mark this down.)

We shared her story with Tina and Matt (Tara's little sister and hubby) - they had always talked about adopting but had never had the serious "now is the time" moment. If you follow Tina's comments on the blog, you know that Isaac happens to be her favorite person on the face of the planet. Who can blame her? They did not take long to decide that YES, they would have an interest in adopting Isaac's sibling.

We purposefully waited a few months to get back in contact with joceline - Ike's B-mom. As time is running out and I wanted to be there to meet with her, we asked her to talk to us today.

We basically asked if there was any way she could see keeping/parenting the baby. We talked about what sort of financial help it would take and if she had that help would she then want to parent her baby. After a lot of questions and clarifying over and over she made it clear that even with an option to have financial help - she feels she wants to place this baby. We just wanted to be sure that she was sure. Her reasons are hers, and we trust she knows what is best for her own baby. She is so pleased the baby will know Isaac and that we're open to the baby knowing her too.

As we dropped her off at her home, it hit me that Isaac could be living right there. Mr. Minnesota, Mr. entertainment, party and celebration --- he could be in a 10 X 10 cinder block hut in an area of Port au Prince that stinks to the high heavens of trash and sewer. It is such an odd thing to understand. It is so sad that anyone lives in such a depressing place. I cannot imagine Isaac there. How do you even BEGIN to sort out the "whys" of it all?

We were able to get her a Doctor's appointment for next week with our OB/GYN, we hope to get a better idea of a due date --- that is sort of unclear. We would guess late this year, around Christmas time. She is going to begin to attend Beth's Women's Program. She will go once a week for a class and to receive basic medical care and vitamins. She will learn about proper nutrition and options for future birth-control. (We also talked about having a tubal ligation after the baby. She said that she would really like to be able to have this be the last time she faces such a challenge.) This will be her 8th child. She has six she is raising, we have Isaac. Now it appears (God willing) Tina and Matt will be blessed to adopt and raise and love her last child.

It's too crazy to be anything but God.

I think we're all anxious and hopeful and cautious and sad --- all at once. What represents a new and exciting chapter for Matt and Tina and our entire family ---- represents a loss and the difficulty of carrying and placing a child for another family. We're praying for the health of the baby and the health of J. We're praying for Matt and Tina as they enter into the crazy-not so easy time of waiting ... and waiting.

Troy and I will have the privilege of being with our niece or nephew from early on. We know that is a distinct honor to be able to provide shelter and love for this baby while we wait for the day that he or she can go to MN to become a (Porter) Cleary.

Remember back when I told you we were wigging out a little about next year, well this extra information played into that --- but it looks like Tess (a college age daughter of Haiti friend, Marcia Erickson) will be coming to help us with kids from January until May of 2008. So God is answering these questions and concerns for us. His provision is perfect.

Bring on the babies. Congrats Tina and Matt! :-)

~Auntie Tara (Photo taken today of Brother of Ike who is 10 - Ike and J.)