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Have you ever been so sure that your life was going to turn out a certain way that when things didn’t go the way you expected you were left wondering how to deal with it all?
When life throws you a curveball you can feel disappointed, depressed and anxious or you can look at it as a new opportunity, embrace the challenge and accept that God knows better than you or you can do all of the above… 😀
I was recently reminded of this when I was watching the Mom Conference. It’s a free conference put on every year that was created by moms for moms because motherhood is hard. And Important. And beautiful. And, we can all use some help!
I was listening to an interview with Heather Avis, an adoptive mom of three kiddos – two with Down’s Syndrome – where she spoke about how much differently her life turned out than she had planned (between infertility and the adoption of differently-abled kids)…
And, her story and her feelings just struck so close to home that I felt I had to write a post and share a little about the curveballs I’ve faced too so that maybe when you’re feeling down and wondering why things aren’t working out like you expect, knowing someone else has been there too might just make you feel a little better.
Dealing with Infertility
Just like Heather, I never expected to have to deal with infertility. When my husband and I got married, we weren’t in a hurry to have kids but at the same time, we did begin to wonder why I never got pregnant.
As the years passed and we were still just a family of two, we started to face the facts – having a child would not be as easy for us as it seemed to be for everyone around us.
That’s when we decided to look into adoption, never knowing where that journey would take us…
At that time, as Heather put it, we were still trying to control the process and thought we knew best. We decided to adopt internationally and chose Brazil because at the time it was supposed to be a fast moving program.
But, no sooner had we turned in all of our paperwork (homestudies, background checks and an endless list of others) Brazil closed their program to Americans because the U.S. had not signed the Hague Treaty. So, we were back at square one, frustrated, depressed and wondering what to do next.
An Even Rockier Adoption Journey
We pressed on and started our paperwork for adopting from Kyrgyzstan – once again because it was supposed to be a super fast moving program where we could expect to bring our child home in a matter of months.
That was not going to be the case for us though.
For some reason, while adoptive couples working with agencies other than ours were being matched with their children, our paperwork just sat there going nowhere fast.
I can’t even begin to tell you how depressed I was at the time. To see so many others getting to start their families while we just waited. Then it got worse.
There was a coup in Kyrgyzstan, the government was overthrown and all adoptions were halted.
We contacted our agency, asking for advice and they said to wait. They expected the new regime would get things moving again and with so many couples bailing out of the program we would be first on the list.
You can probably see where this is going now…
We waited for another eight months and nothing. By then, I was so depressed by it all that my husband wanted us to give up on adopting just so I would quit stressing about it but I couldn’t let it go – I knew our child was out there somewhere.
At that point we came to the conclusion that we had been trying too hard to find a fast program and we just needed to go with a secure program. So, we redid all of our paperwork once again and submitted it to China.
We told them we were open to special needs kids to hopefully cut down on the wait – although we were still trying to control everything because when we had to choose which special needs we would accept, we only picked physical issues (like cleft palate and club foot) that we knew could be helped medically and that we had great insurance to cover.
We were absolutely not open to brain injuries. I think God laughed at this point. I know that I do now.
Because in the end not only did our daughter not even come from China, she had a brain injury at birth.
Finding Our Child
You see, since we were a possible match for special needs kids, we were registered to look at the websites of agencies who were facilitating the adoption of these kiddos from a number of different countries.
I looked at them religiously, every single day, searching for our child.
But, I had been having a lot of pain in my side and my shoulder and it turned out I needed surgery to remove my gallbladder. So, on the day I had surgery, I wasn’t going to even look. My mom, who at the time lived a few hours away, said she would check it out for me but I planned to spend the day after I got home from surgery relaxing on the couch.
That’s when she called and told me I had to get up and look at the site because there was a little girl who had just been approved for adoption that we had to see.
My husband told me to not worry about it – that I needed to rest and not get my hopes up – but I’m not very good at listening. And, when I opened up this little girl’s picture, I knew without a doubt that she was ours.
She was in Korea and we didn’t have the right paperwork done and she had a brain injury, something we never thought we would be open too, but none of that mattered because she was ours. We called the agency she was placed with, getting only voicemail messages so I must have left at least five messages. When they finally called us back and told us that they had assigned her to our family, I cried.
None of it – not one single thing – was what I had planned. But, all of it was exactly what we were supposed to have… What God meant for us.
And, we still thank God each and every day that things didn’t go as expected because if they had we wouldn’t have our little girl, a kiddo that frustrates and challenges us but that makes us so proud and makes us laugh and who made us a real family.
In the end, each one of those curveballs that life threw our way, was just a step on the path to real happiness.
So, like Heather says… It’s better to go through life with open hands, ready to embrace what God gives you, than to go through life with fists clenched so tight because you’re think you have to control everything. When it all comes down to it, you’ll get what God intends for you.
Embrace those curveballs! Love those curveballs! I know I do now!
If you need a little more motivation and happiness, check out these posts:
If you need a little extra help to overcome that sad, blue feeling that can happen when things don’t quite turn out as expected, try the book Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David Burns. It’s an absolutely super book that gives you really simple exercises to overcome depression and anxiety at home.
And as always, I wish you a strong family, optimal health and smart incomes,