Friday, July 29, 2016

Disability, Adoption, and Infertility

8 ½ months have passed since we brought sweet Baby Caroline home! She has been the best gift from God we could ever ask for! We have squeezed her tighter, held her longer, and praised God more often than we ever thought possible. With our journey to parenthood being such a long and arduous one, I am overwhelmed with an appreciation and awe of the Great God we serve! I am also intentionally trying to move at a more leisurely pace as far as moving on to next milestones with her because Caroline could very well be an only child. I am in no hurry for her to eat “real” food, walk, talk, any of these things because I so enjoy each new stage for what it is.

So, the title to this post is something, as a child growing up and as a newly wed, I never thought I would encounter. Let me start this section by saying that in my last post about bringing her home, I mentioned that we wanted to try every avenue for biological children first before pursuing adoption. Thank God He has stirred my heart so that I am extremely grateful that adoption was how our family of 3 started! I have such a love and appreciation for her birth mother than I ever thought possible. I look at Caroline every day and think, “She gave us her baby. She trusted us enough to give us her child that she carried for 9 months.” I’ve never carried a child to fully understand this bond, but my heart cries at how hard and self-less of a decision it was that she made that day.

Saying all of this, we still desire to have a biological child. I feel selfish even sharing this part and this is something that I wrestle with daily. I feel like my “baby blues” should be ‘satisfied’ now that we have a beautiful baby, ungrateful that I still want to carry a child. At the same time, I have settled in with the thought that I will continue to lift praises if a biological child does not happen because we have been given the chance of a lifetime. I have prayed for God to change my heart if this is not His will for our lives and to be able to truly be happy for others who can have children.  For me, it’s more about actually being able to be pregnant and feel a baby growing than it is about having a “biological” child, if that makes any sense. When I see pregnant women, I long for how that must feel and what that must be like. Going through this infertility journey, when I would hear people in passing or through direct conversation say how easy it was for them to become pregnant, or that they weren’t even trying (let alone not nearly as expensive for just a chance) my heart would break (and resentment set in). However, because it was so easy for one person, we are now parents to the most beautiful little baby we have ever known!

Is this my life…?

For the first almost 4 years after Brad’s accident I would often have these surreal moments (and still do) where I would stop and think, “Is this really my life?” Are we really loading wheelchairs into our vehicles, having to call ahead to make sure a venue is accessible before we go somewhere, having a husband who can’t participate in things he used to love to do (golf, bikes, yard work, etc.), deal with chronic pain, etc. One of the things I miss the most is a full body, stand-up hug, his arms wrapped all the way around me. This brings tears to my eyes just thinking of how much I miss this. The last hug I got like this was the morning of his accident before leaving to go to work (I still remember it like it was yesterday). Sometimes it feels like I’m floating above my body looking down at someone else’s life thinking, “When am I going to wake up?”

Now, for the past 10 months, I have been asking myself the same question, “Is this really my life?” but for much different reasons! I can’t even put into words how creative God is and how humbled we are that He chose us to be her parents and chose her to be our daughter. Looking at her it takes my breath away. She will do something new or look at me in this certain way and it really does make my heart skip a beat. So much life and joy has been brought into our lives with this amazing new journey. It’s like Christmas every morning when we get her out of her bed and the most settling of moments when the day is coming to an end and I am rocking a baby in my arms and feeding her her last bottle. What a mighty God we serve!

Going back to the beginning... This was our gender reveal idea for our family! We had them hold the one they thought the baby was going to be!

My sweet, beautiful best friend Claire made these cupcakes for us with pink in the middle! If you just knew what an act of love this was!
Our first family photos. I can't believe she was ever tiny enough to swaddle in these blankets! Thank you Mona Carlisle Owens for the beautiful photographs.
I love everything about this picture... the mouth, the eyes, the little bitty baby, the turtle on her head! 

Kelly, who keeps her during the day, took this and it has become one of our favorites!

Brad made a collage of the many faces of Caroline!

My first Mother's Day! So surreal!

One of our newest family photos! 

I can't even take it with the headband, bracelet, rolls for days on the arms, and blue eyes! She is just too much!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above." -James 1:17

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