The Priceless Cost

Have you ever thought about the word ‘just’?  I think people use it too flippantly these days.  It’s used as an answer to almost every solution.  Here is a list of my favorite ‘just’ solutions for infertility:

  • ‘Just relax’ (been there)
  • ‘Just let go/don’t stress/don’t think about it’ (done that)
  • ‘Just drink a bottle of wine’ (drank LOTS of that)
  • ‘Just try artificial insemination/IVF’ (yup, done some of that, too)
  • ‘Just adopt’

Here’s my little nugget of wisdom.  Get a pen and a piece of paper and take notes…  Go ahead, I’ll wait.   Ready?

There is no ‘just’ about anything that has to do with any painful situation.

Any situation where a decision needs to be made that could significantly alter the outcome of an original perception requires intense discussion, pondering and most importantly, prayer.

As most of the people in our lives know (and heck, any stranger who will listen), J and I are in the process of adoption.  After our unsuccessful battle with infertility, we did some soul-searching and praying and decided that it wasn’t as important for us to be pregnant as it was for us to be parents.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.  In 1976 in Massachusetts, Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed National Adoption Week.  President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation and in 1990, the week was extended to a month due to the excitement and participation by so many people and states.  There’s even one day of the month that is proclaimed as National Adoption Day and many adoptions are finalized all at the same time!  I just think that’s neat!

I have been criticized VERY harshly in the last couple days about the way I see adoption (as an amazing blessing), even to the point where I was told that I don’t deserve to have children and that me not being able to get pregnant must have been God’s way of telling us that we shouldn’t be parents and that there is no way that I could ever love an adopted child unconditionally because we HAVE to adopt and not WANT to adopt due to infertility.

The “conversation” – a term I use VERY loosely as it was more just overly assertive, opinionated people trying to get everyone else to believe exactly the way that they do rather than hear what anyone else has to say – escalated very quickly and left me feeling ashamed, embarrassed, scared, naïve and unprepared, to say the very least.

But as I remove myself from the “support group” – HA – that I got the criticism from, I realize that my opinion is just that.  MINE.

Every parent is frightened before they have their first child.  Ever parent wonders if they’ve screwed up monumentally along the way.  But every parent loves their child in an unconditional way that can’t be judged, deemed unworthy, viewed incorrectly or questioned by anyone else.

I say again:  Biology is the LEAST of what makes someone a parent!

I am beyond excited to meet the child that we will give a forever home to and love with every single nook and cranny of our hearts.  My heart pines and my arms ache for our child to come home.

To be woken repeatedly through the night to take care of someone who needs me.  To hear the pitter-patter of little feet.  To see daddy holding on to the bicycle seat while running alongside.  To wipe away tears after a broken heart.  To celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day from the inside.

And to the parents who love their child enough to make the painful, selfless decision to entrust them to us to love them enough for all of us, my heart will be eternally grateful.

We all have learning to do, growth to be made, challenges to be met, disappointments to face, joy to share…  And in this month of awareness, I know that I am learning and growing.  I’m facing challenges and disappointment.  But the joy that I will be able to share will be so worth it.

Home Study:  $1,500
Background Checks:  $250
Legal Fees:  Cost undetermined
Having a child to call our own:  Priceless

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Strength from Our Struggles

When you first think about that statement, it seems crazy.  But when you really think about it, it makes perfect sense.

Weightlifters have to struggle through resistance to gain strength.  Kids have to struggle through falling off their bikes to gain the strength to get back on and try again.

Sometimes, facing our fears and weaknesses can become not only our biggest strength but a great testimony.

I’ve been through a LOT in my life.  A LOT.  A lot of struggles.  A lot of pain.  A lot of junk that I remember thinking “WHY ME?!”  And in the midst of those struggles, I used to hear from people “Someday, you will be able to use this to help someone else.”  **Cue the eye roll and whiny voice**  ” But whyyyyyy do I have to go through it at ALLLL?!”

temper tantrum

It’s a great sentiment to tell people that their struggles will be someone else’s strength some day.  I guess I just didn’t really stop to think about how it could actually be MY strength too.

I’ve been able to speak with young women who are in abusive relationships.  I’ve been able to talk to young women who struggle with being let down by someone who they’d placed on a pedestal.  I’ve been able to talk to women who are battling with the emotions that come with empty arms.

I’m still affected by all of those things.  Some days, it feels like the blind leading the blind.  But other days…  Oh, other days it feels like all the pain and tears and struggling were worth it just to feel that connection with someone who needed to not just hear the words “I know how you feel” but needed to actually FEEL that I know how they feel.

Tonight, I was sent a link to a sermon by an old friend of mine.  It’s from Elevation Church and a series called “How to be Brave”.  The one I listened to tonight was called “See It Through” and in it he says:

“What if God wants to show you your purpose, but He wants you to see it through your pain?”

Maybe I’m starting to see my purpose through my pain.

Do I still wish that I didn’t have to struggle?  Sure.  Do I still wish that God would lighten up with the trials already?  Of course.  Do I still wish that I didn’t have to feel the pain?  Absolutely.

But I am grateful for them.  My past has helped me create my present. 

If I’d not dealt with a LOT of the things I dealt with all those years ago, I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now.  If I’d not dealt with cowering from a raised hand, I wouldn’t have learned how to defend myself.  If I’d not dealt with constant comparisons, I wouldn’t have learned how to place more worth in my opinion of myself.  If I’d not dealt with the pain of knowing what empty arms feel like, I may never have appreciated how the crook of my elbow might be the perfect pillow.

We grow through our pain.  We gain strength in our struggles.  We gain faith through fear.  And God knew that we would before we even dipped our toes in the pool of uncertainty.

Even now, J and I are facing a situation that we may be able to use to help others further down the road.  Oh, how I wish we weren’t facing it.  How I wish we knew what the outcome would be.  How I wish it didn’t hurt so much.

But oh, how it’s making us stronger.  How it’s making us dig in, dig deep and hold tightly.  To each other and to our faith.

Oh, how we are gaining strength from our struggle.

God’s ‘No’ might actually be ‘Yes’

Every day, I get an email with a Proverbs 31 devotional. Some days, they don’t really speak to me. But other days, they scream at me so loudly I can’t hear my own thoughts. A recent devotion did just that.

I’ve always dreamed about being a mom. As a young girl, I would play with my siblings and I was ALWAYS the mommy. I can remember having dolls and “feeding” them and changing their diapers. I’ve ALWAYS had a special place in my heart for children – and an extra special place for a child of my own.

That piece of my heart may physically be missing but the love I have for our child isn’t. I am COMPLETELY in love with a child I haven’t even met yet!

After our miscarriage and failed treatments and month after month of negative pregnancy tests, I would cry and get angry with God. I’d ask Him “Why?! Why are You saying NO to this dream? Why are You saying NO to easing this pain? Why are You saying NO to my prayers?”

The devotion I read this morning was titled “When God says No” and one sentence in particular convicted my heart.

“What if we believed that He was always saying yes – maybe not to what we are asking Him for right at that moment – but yes to His best.”

That’s BRILLIANT!!

So many times, our reaction to not getting what we want is anger and frustration. We think that because we’re not getting what we want, that the person who’s denied our request is doing so just to be mean and spiteful.

A parent tells a child no when they ask if they can ride their bike on a busy street. Or no, they can’t have candy for breakfast. Or no, they can’t eat fast food for every meal.

Not because they want to be mean, but because they are saying yes to their best for the child out of protection.

A teacher tells a student no when they ask if they can rewrite a paper for a better grade. Or no, they can’t copy off the person sitting next to them. Or no, they can’t use someone else’s essay as their own.

Not because they want to be mean but because they are saying yes to the best learning experience.

God may have said no to having a biological child, but I’m learning He has not said no to being a parent. He is still blessing us. He is allowing us to be a blessing to others. Through sharing our journey. Through being a blessing to a child that may not have had a chance to thrive in another situation. Through learning things about ourselves that we may not have learned otherwise. Through strengthening our marriage in ways that may we may not have been able to through other trials.

So, instead of seeing the ways that God has said ‘no’, I’m choosing to see it as His way of saying ‘yes’ to other opportunities. Some days it’s harder than others, but His best is better than ours.

Can you do the same? Will you?

Doing What We Say

I KNOW!  It’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted a blog!  I hope you all don’t hate me!!

There has been SO much going on!  I can’t share it all just yet, but it’s REALLY exciting!

(**Disclaimer**  I know every time an infertile uses the words “It’s REALLY exciting” people’s minds wander, so let me put that question to rest now – I’m NOT pregnant!)

Fair Warning:  This blog might make you uncomfortable, and that’s kinda the point.  It might seem like a total rant, and that’s okay.  My goal is to challenge you – to make you think twice or even three times before making some decisions or statements.

I’ve said it before – this journey is hard!

It’s difficult to try SO hard for something, to want something SO badly, to pray for something SO fervently, to fight for something SO passionately …  and not get it.

And when you find a way that you MIGHT get the chance to realize that dream but have no way of affording it,  it’s even harder to swallow our pride and ask for help.

I’ve had people be so much more incredibly supportive than I ever could have imagined.

I’ve also had people tell me that if I can’t afford to do IVF or adoption, I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

I’ve had people tell me that because I can’t get pregnant, it’s God’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

I’ve had people tell me that asking others for money to be a parent is a selfish thing to do and if I’m selfish maybe I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

 If it’s in an email or a message, I simply ignore it.  If it’s said to my face, I simply smile and nod.  (I may or may not say something equally inappropriate sometimes just to embarrass people and make them realize they are out of line making certain statements.)

I know I’ve shared a friend’s blog before that was SO important to me.  She talked about how doing something – even something small – can go such a long way.

We have people telling us all the time how much they support us.  And how they pray for us.  And how they hope we raise a lot of money.  We appreciate it ALL!

There are people who will pray with me in person and there are those that share our story or YouCaring link every single time I post it.  And that’s amazing!!

But I often wonder…  When people say they pray for us, do they pray for us by name?  Do they say they’re going to pray and then forget?  ( I’m guilty of that and even wrote about how I get caught in the “I’ll pray for you” web here )

Almost every day,  I see some of the same people – friends and family – who tell us they support us sharing link after link of crowdfunding accounts for people they may or may not know.  But I’ve yet to see our link shared.

I’m not saying that our story matters more.  Or that anybody else’s story matters less.  Everyone deserves the opportunity to receive the help that they’ve asked for!

I don’t mind that these people share those links one bit!  In fact, on most of them, I think it’s a great way to raise awareness, and I pray that they receive their miracle – whatever it may be!

What I DO mind is feeling that our story just isn’t important enough to share.  Or that declarations of support are simply lip service or “saying the right thing”.

Listen – I’m NOT saying that we expect you to donate a million dollars, a hundred dollars or even ten dollars, we understand that times are tough.  I’m NOT saying that we expect every person to drop everything to pray with us right that second.  I’m NOT saying that we expect people to go out of their way or over the top to show their support.

What I AM saying is,

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

If you tell someone you support them,  show it.  Send a card.  Offer to help where it’s needed.  Take them out for coffee.  Let them cry without offering advice.  Share a link.  Like their post.  Participate in their trials & joy!

Maybe there’s someone in your list of friends that is suffering with something silently, and seeing you share something that lets them know they’re not alone is just what they need.

When you tell someone you’re going to pray for them, say a little prayer silently in that moment.

It’s a hard thing to do, I know.  But it only takes doing something 28 times before it becomes a habit!  And having the opportunity to bless 28 people?  Wow.

If I made you uncomfortable, good.  If I made you think, good.  If I made you say to yourself ” I will say a prayer for someone right then when I tell them I will”, good!

I’m not just preaching here, I am working every day at doing what I say!

Will you practice doing what we say?!

 

Thirty One!

Hi all!!

I know it’s been a LONG time since I’ve written anything! SORRY! I’ll share all about what’s going on soon, I hope!

BUT!! We’ve got another fundraiser in progress!!

If you – or any women in your life – are fans of ThirtyOne purses, here’s a chance to get something cool AND help us out!!

Please visit www.mythirtyone.com/tatum. Select ‘My Scheduled Parties’ and then click ‘Shop Now’ beside the event name ‘Jon & Dacina {month} Fundraiser’!

Each month on the 1st, the event month will change, but the process of finding the event to shop under won’t! Orders can be placed online under the event each month until the 25th!

There’s LOTS of cool stuff on there, so GET SHOPPING!!!!

If you have any questions, you can email me at munchkinmcnabb@gmail.com!

FroYo, Pancakes & Puzzles! Oh My!

Wow.

It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted anything.  Time sure does fly!

It’s been a combination of crazy busyness from the adoption process and all that’s going on with that and a lot of other things that are going on in our lives right now!

We are excited to be moving along pretty quickly in the process!  There is really SO MUCH to do!  But I wouldn’t change any of it, since it puts us one step closer to being parents!!!

We’ve done most of the required background checks.  Thank goodness they didn’t find that one thing from that one time!  (Totally just kidding.  You should know that by now.)  FBI fingerprinting, state background checks, home study.  Still LOTS more to do!!

Now, we are into the fun part…  FUNDRAISING!!

We had a fundraiser today at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt here in our town and the response that we got from it was absolutely humbling.  Orange Leaf has a program in place that allows people who are raising money for causes to choose a certain day, create a flyer and then when friends and family and whoever else comes in and shows the flyer, 25% of all the sales will go to that cause!!  Which is seriously generous considering most of the other places that I’d contacted were only allowing 10%!

People at work rallied together to make sure that every one knew about it and had access to a flyer.  Friends and family shared it repeatedly on their Facebook pages.  People made multiple trips to get FroYo!

Seriously.  Humbled.  A SINCERE THANK YOU to those of you that went today!  Your support means the WORLD!

We have a few more fundraisers in the planning stages at this time (like Yard Sales, Pancake Breakfasts, etc), buuuuuuuut – here’s the next one!

I’ve seen all kinds of awesome ideas on the internet about ways to raise money for adoption, but one really caught my eye!

I’ve always felt like a piece of our family is missing…  SO!  In an attempt to raise money to FIND our missing piece, I have created a puzzle, had it printed and shipped and it’s just WAITING to be put together!!

The puzzle is 500 pieces and we are going to sell each piece for $5 – for you math whizzes like me, that’s $2,500.  When you purchase a piece, we will write your name on the back of the piece and then when all the pieces have been purchased, we will glue it together, frame it and hang it in the nursery!!  You can purchase just one piece, more than one piece or even just throw a little extra in for good measure!

You can either go to our YouCaring account and donate, or you can email me at munchkinmcnabb@gmail.com and I will give you an address to mail your payment to! (Just make sure if you do it through YouCaring, to mention ‘puzzle’ in the comments!)

Just like we don’t know yet what our child is going to look like, we are going to leave it a mystery as to what the finished puzzle will look like!!

Puzzle 1

Has your curiosity been peaked yet?  Are you excited to see what the end result is?!

SO ARE WE!!!!!!

Possibilities and Prayers

The last blog I wrote was before we had our first meeting with an adoption agent…  And then I left you all hanging.  I’m SORRY!!

I was VERY emotional for about a week afterwards.  It’s a whole new set of emotions that accompany this journey…

There is SO much involved in the process of adoption.  Paperwork, background checks, home study.

But it will all be so worth it in the end.

born not of our flesh

Adoption is one of those things a lot of people talk about, but I don’t think everyone actually understands.

Some people adopt because they can never have children.  Some people adopt because they feel like God is putting it on their hearts to do so.

And then there’s the birth mother.

What a painful, heartbreaking, emotional decision.

Yet one that is so completely selfless that it just astounds me.

It takes a strong woman to realize that they may not be capable of giving their child the life that they deserve and then trusting – often total strangers – to raise that child.

For us to be chosen by one of those women would be simply amazing.

Our faith is completely in God through all of this.

He knows the ending.  And He knows everything in between.

Awhile ago I wrote about how God Never Wastes a Hurt and it still holds so true.

There are some VERY exciting possibilities happening in the next few months and we are fully aware that this process can be frustrating and often heartbreaking.  But just like every thing else that we’ve done on this journey, we are trusting it to God.

We are praying for our child, wherever they are and whatever stage in life they may be.  We are praying for their biological parents that will entrust them to our care – for comfort and peace.  We will be forever thankful to them whenever they choose us.

thank-you

And we will take any and all prayers and good thoughts that you want to send our way!!