Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Not "Pro-life" enough?

*Note: This is NOT a political post, not about the election.

Ugh...I find comments, memes (like the one at right), & articles like, "White, Conservative, Christian Friends — I Wish You Really Were Pro-Life" annoying...
Why??? Especially the one on the right, it's not like she's saying anything wrong. I mean, she's a nun, she's Catholic, I'm Catholic, we share the same beliefs. So why does it bug me?  Well, for a few reasons...

1) I've seen several pro-choice people use it to deflect the real issue at hand - That abortion is the real, brutal ending of an innocent human life. Many pro-choicers know this and would rather not have to defend it, so why not just attack the pro-lifers? As the saying goes, "The best defense is a good offense." They can go ahead and attempt to cloud the issue, attack the credibility of your opponent, in an attempt make them more "right" or "moral."  

2) I've seen it used in this way, "What about all the suffering children out there? Pro-life people obviously don't care about them."  Soooooooo, they're better off dead?  It's better to offer them no chance at all? I don't follow this logic. 

3) Many of the comments, memes, & articles wrongly assume that the pro-life movement is only pro-birth. They pretend this type of pro-life person (one that cares for the mother & child) doesn't exist. They're obviously not looking too hard...  Where are these so-called pro-lifers that support birth, but not the life of the child? In my 35 years of life, I have yet to meet one. I have, however, met amazing pro-life people who:
- adopt children here in the US and abroad of all races, ethnicities, ages, and abilities (even children with significant "special needs" such as HIV & down syndrome)
- foster children of all races, ethnicities, ages, & abilities
- sponsor children all over the world
- educate, both in the classroom and in non-traditional settings
- donate time, talent, and treasure
- volunteer with children (such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters), within the community (such as Live United, at church organizations, & more)
- work at pregnancy centers showing love, patience, & compassion to women in crisis pregnancies and offering healing & support to women who have been hurt by abortion.
The truth is pro-life people are working around the world to support those in need. I have the slight suspicion that these imaginary solely pro-birth people are just a projection of some pro-choice... Perhaps, some pro-choicers aren't as selfless/philanthropic as they'd like to proclaim? Perhaps some see all the good pro-lifers are doing and have some guilty consciences floating around???  What better way to sooth their guilt than to throw mud at the pro-lifers?

4) In the particular article referenced above, author John Pavlovitz makes a lot of incorrect assumptions about "White, Conservative, Christians." Apparently, we are all..
a. Anti-LGBTQ
b. Anti-Black (RACIST?!?!)
c. Pro-death penalty
d. Anti-public schools
e. Anti-poor & welfare
f. Anti-health care
g. Anti-access to healthy food
h. Pro-rape & sexual assault
i. Cold-hearted & non-compassionate towards our deployed soldiers
j. Anti-immigrants 

Just take a second to read that list again.. Am I the only one who sees the ridiculousness of it?!?! Please introduce me to the pro-rape, pro-life person that he's writing about. I seriously think that most of his article is just a figment of his imagination to defend his made-up argument. I could go through these one-by-one, but I'll spare you. There is a major (& tired) problem with his logic here: Just because you do not agree with a person's decisions, does NOT MEAN YOU DON'T SUPPORT THEIR LIFE.  It does not mean you are anti- whatever.  Being pro-life does not mean you need to celebrate everyone's life choices/decisions.  For example, I absolutely support my children's lives, but when they scribble all over the wall or don't study for a test & bomb it, I definitely don't support those life choices. ;)  Loving someone does not mean you have to love & celebrate every decision he/she makes. In addition, sometimes we can love and support people/causes in different ways. We may have different ideas about education, health care, or immigration, but that doesn't mean one of us cares more about them than the other. Just because my way is different than yours doesn't mean either is wrong or anti-whatever. 

And now I will get personal...
I'm white, conservative, & Christian...
- I also worked in public education for 10 years, but according to writers like Pavlovitz I'm against fully-funded public education.
- At one point in my life, I was poor. For a time period, I was on welfare & free health care and will forever be grateful for that, but apparently I'm against all of that.
- I have awesome friends who are gay, but apparently I'm homophobic & anti-LGBTQ.
- I've had loved ones deployed, but apparently I don't care about them.
- I've written a letter in support of a student who's parent was in danger of being deported, but according to Pavlovitz, I'm anti-immigrants.
- I've experienced small steps of the immigration process: filling out an I800 & I600 (Petition to Classify an Immigrant as a Relative), having my biometrics checked by the Department of Homeland Security's US Citizen & Immigration Services (USCIS), standing in the long lines of the US Consulate in a foreign country to wait for my child's VISA. But, again, apparently I'm against immigration.
- And the one that hurt the most...the accusation of RACISM...
According to Pavlovitz, only "Caucasian embryos" matter to me and I "don't give a damn" about "diverse babies."
Two of my children were not Caucasian embryos, and I'll be honest, the momma bear inside me is now ROARING. How DARE you say that because I am white, conservative, & Christian, I don't give a damn about my Asian & black sons?!?! The love and devotion I feel for all of my children is equal. Not one of them is more worthy of life because of his/her race or ethnicity and to suggest that I must feel this way because of my demographics & pro-life convictions is offensive & ignorant.

Step inside the world of adoption, Mr. Pavlovitz, and your eyes will be opened. Whether domestic or international, you will see that many of your assumptions about white, conservative, Christian, pro-life people are wrong. I am not unique in my feelings or beliefs. There are many of us out there, but you are choosing not to see us just to further your pro-choice rhetoric. 

You write as if being pro-choice makes you morally superior. I've had the opportunity to know many wonderful people, some who happen to be pro-choice. I have pro-choice friends who volunteer & work within their community to improve the lives of the less fortunate. Do I demonize them for their beliefs? Of course not, I still love them and believe their lives have just as much value as mine...and I pray for their conversion. I've also known women who have chosen abortion. Do I hate them? Shame them? Wish them harm? Again, of course not. My heart breaks for them. I so wish they could have had the happy ending that I had. I will always be here as a shoulder to lean on when needed.  And that's part of what being pro-life is all about. Showing love and compassion. Offering support and help. Not hate. Not pointing fingers. Not writing articles filled with false generalizations. Being pro-life is about supporting humans from womb to tomb. I'm sorry you haven't met these type of people, but I'd be glad to introduce you to some! ;)

To being pro-life even in a messy world & standing by our convictions even when they're not "popular," 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The "YES!" that led to #6

This is the story of how one leap of faith...One giant "YES" lead to our 6th child... After the heartbreak of a failed adoption, I remember telling Obie, "I wish T had never picked us." I was hurt and just wished it had never happened. But this time was different. This time I felt like WE picked "A."  We truly appreciate all the kind words that followed our failed adoption, and we've gotten a lot of questions about our newest addition, so here is the story of our happy ending.  Although, I wouldn't really consider this the ending...more like the beginning... ;) 

Fri, Apr. 1, 2016 - I'm sitting in the car waiting to pick up our youngest son from preschool, when I get a call from K, the matching coordinator at our agency. She proceeded to describe a situation that she said was "perfect" for us involving expectant mom, A. Again, the expectant mom had received no prenatal care, so again there were many unknowns. I listened, guarded but interested. It had been less than 2 weeks since our first failed adoption. Could we really put ourselves through it again??? I said we'd give her answer in 1 hour...that "1 hour" turned into 10...

Oh, and did I mention A was scheduled to have a c-section THE VERY NEXT DAY?!?!?

I called my mom in tears. I felt scared. Scared to say "yes" and scared to say "no." What if this was meant to be our son or daughter and we turned away?  Obie & I discussed it and doubts ran through our heads. As we thought about all of the reasons to say "no," a few began to sound eerily familiar... A lot like the ones I had used when I became pregnant with our first son, B, and considered termination...
  • Bad timing
  • It's just too soon
  • We would inconvenience everyone  (Again!!!)  
I thought back to other times when babies came at the "wrong" time. When I was born, my mom was unemployed and my dad was laid off. When our first was born, I was a poor, unmarried teenager. And despite those circumstances, I'm so grateful for my life & Blake's.

And, if we said "no," I knew we'd always wonder... What eventually happened? Was the baby a boy or girl? Was he/she healthy? Did his/her mom follow through with her adoption plan? What type of a family did the baby go to?  

Most importantly, how hypocritical would it be of us to say "no," when we JUST said how much we trusted God's plan for our family??? We totally trust God's timing, UNLESS it interferes with OUR timing. We totally trust God's plan, UNLESS it screws up OUR schedule....  No, either we trust Him or we don't.

Now there were two major hurdles:
1) Would my parents watch the kids again? and
2) What about Obie's work schedule?  He can't just go taking off work whenever he feels like it! And he just did take time off work for our last adoption. Plus, the following week was a travel week!  He was supposed to be out of the state for at least 3 days!!!

But God moved mountains. We asked my mother to watch the kids again, and she said "yes." THANK YOU, MOM!!!  And Obie, amazingly, was able to change his schedule. THANK YOU, OBIE!!! He wouldn't be with me the entire time, but he would be there for a few days and that was enough.  We said "YES."  It felt like jumping off a cliff, people! A total leap of faith!

Sat, Apr. 2 - It's morning. My parents just arrived. We're all packed & getting ready to go when I get a text from our agency. The c-section has been cancelled. We aren't allowed to know the details because of doctor-patient confidentiality rules, but it's rescheduled for Saturday.  My parents go home, and we spend a relaxing weekend at home with the kiddos.

Mon, Apr. 4 - Morning again, kids are taken to school, my mom arrives, and we're off! We make the nearly 5 hour drive to a city in Ohio and meet L & B, agency staff members, and E, the state social worker. A says she wants to see us as soon as we get there, so we go up and are literally on the other side of her room door, but there's a nurse in there prepping her for surgery. While we're waiting, the charge nurse and hospital social worker take us into another room and discuss the hospital's adoption policies. Now it's too late to see A, so I pull up a picture of Obie & I on my phone and the charge nurse takes it in for her to see.  Then we wait for over an hour in the waiting room, thinking she was having a baby... The state social worker comes out with a frustrated expression. Nope. No baby. At least not today. Again, we're not allowed to know the details, but apparently she was totally ready for surgery when the obgyn came in and said today is not the day. The c-section is tentatively re-scheduled for Wednesday. It's now been cancelled twice with no end in sight.  We all go home. We make the 5 hour drive back, and the agency workers, who have been there since Friday, fly back to Utah.

Tues, Apr. 5 & Wed, Apr. 6 - Radio silence. Seriously. Nothing. I get a sliver of info from the state social worker, saying A probably won't contact anyone unless she's admitted to the we assume no baby is being born today.

Thurs, Apr. 7 - I wake up today feeling a little crazy - I just want to know SOMETHING, ANYTHING.  Even if the answer is no, even if she changed her mind, please God, please let A contact someone!!!  Was she just going to stop responding? Disappear? Go MIA? Was this going to be failed adoption #2???  The uncertainty was killing me!
           But my prayers were answered - and then some!!!  A told the state social worker that she was at the hospital and at 1:11 pm we got the most amazing text: "Baby is here!" We were over-joyed!!  Later in the day something else amazing happened - I had a text conversation with A!!! And it was wonderful! So positive and affirming! My doubts faded. I went to bed that night with a heart full of joy & a smile on my face!

Fri, Apr. 8 - The state social worker & attorney visited A in the hospital. They told us A was doing great & we were "doing everything right." :) I spent the entire morning trying to find us an attorney. I had purposely put off doing this, just in case, but the state social worker said she needed a name asap & I found a great one! A & I speak more via text. We even discuss names.  I'm getting excited - still super tense - but optimistic that things are going to work out. We're making plans for the future...

Sat, Apr. 9 - A & I text a little today. We try to stay busy, doing normal Saturday chores and attending evening mass. After learning baby is a little bigger than expected, I sort through & clean some bigger clothes. Signing is scheduled for 4 pm on Sunday night. Then, Obie & I are scheduled at 5:30 pm. Last time I begged God, Please let her sign!  But this time was different. This time I prayed for peace. Peace for A - that she's confident in her decision. Peace for us - that we find acceptance in whatever she decides. I go to bed feeling calm.

Sun, Apr. 10 - Today's the day. So many futures are potentially about to change... I text A to let her know we're thinking & praying for her everyday, but especially today. We leave around 12:30 pm for the long drive. Four pm comes...then 4:30...then 5...Obie & I speculate, If she changed her mind, we would know by now, right? Since it's been so long, they MUST be going over paperwork, right?!?!  At 5:02 pm I'm about to text the state social worker, when she texts me: "She signed..."!!!  PTL!!! Joy & relief flood over us!!!  We make it to the hospital and meet the state social worker. They wheel out our precious baby boy and we see him for the first time. Tears. Joy. Amazement. I hold him as we sign our papers. Welcome baby DK!!!!

First pic!
My turn to sign
We head to our hotel with our sweet baby boy to await ICPC approval. We can't take DK out of Ohio until we are approved by both OH and IN. It could be up to 2 weeks!

First car ride & first hotel stay :)
Tues, Apr 12 - Obie heads back to IN to be with our other kiddos, so it's just DK & me chillin' in a Homewood Suites in OH.  I don't even have a car!!! Thankfully, Ob stocked me up with groceries before he left. :) Plus, the state social worker, my sister's MIL, & pretty much everyone I meet at the hotel has offered to help me if I need it.  And how neat is it that we ended up so close to my sister's in-laws?

Wed, Apr 13 - OH approval!  Now it's Indiana's turn...

Thurs, Apr 14 - IN approval! WHAAA?!?! We
 were told to prepare for 2 weeks & we're approved  to go home today?? After only a few days?!?  How awesome is that?!?!?  At 7 pm we're home!!!! PTL!!!  Greeted by family & neighbors, I'm so happy to be here!!  Ready to start the adventures as a family of 8!!!

We're so thankful that we said "YES." It was truly meant to be. We will continue to pray for A's peace, comfort, & healing everyday. The process wasn't always a walk in the park, but God didn't put this desire to adopt in our hearts & tell us it would be without struggle. He didn't say, Adopt! But, ya know, only if it's easy... It was bumpy - emotional- messy - sometimes painful & confusing - sometimes full of frustration & unknowns. But so worth it! And we have learned that we are strong. We are confident. We are faithful. We are grateful. We are so blessed. And we trust in Him.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

On Failed Adoptions...

My husband & I joined a club this week that we never wanted to be in...

Failed Adoptions...

Let me back up a second.  So, Obie & I are adopting again...well, trying to adopt again. In Oct '15 we signed with Christian Adoption Consultants (I highly recommend.) In Jan '16 with our paperwork finished, we applied to placing agencies and began seeing "situations."  We "presented" our profile to about 5 different situations and got 5 "no's," which we were okay with. We trusted God's timing and His plan. Then, on Feb 26, 2016 I got an email & a text from one of the agency workers, E.  She said she had a situation with an expectant mom named 'T'. T was pregnant with her 3rd child, although she wasn't parenting her first two. There were many unknowns. T had received no prenatal care, so we were warned that we wouldn't know anything about the health of the baby or whether there was in-utero drug exposure - And we were okay with this. We feel very open to whatever God sends us...either gender, any ethnicity, and a list of special needs, so we presented. A few hours later we got the call every prospective adoptive parent dreams of - Of the 3 families that presented, WE WERE PICKED!!! WE WERE MATCHED!!! We had prayed for this day! And we thanked God for this wonderful blessing! I was nearly doing cartwheels around the house, LOL!  Obie was so shocked!! (Me too!) Now it was time to prepare for a baby that was due in less than a month!

Tues. Mar 16, 2016 - We got a text that T was having contractions.

Wed. Mar 17, 2016 - St. Patrick's Day!  We got a text that T had given birth to an 8 lb, 10 oz baby BOY at 7:35 that morning.  I could not wipe the smile off my face!  We packed, gave our other kids lots of hugs & kisses, and made it to Ohio that night around 11 pm. T was too tired for visitors, so we headed to our hotel.

Thurs. Mar 18, 2016 - We met T, the father, and their little baby boy. T was super sweet. We felt so good about our match.

We spent the next few days loving on her little man. We fed him, changed him, and did a lot of cuddling! The hospital staff was even nice enough to give us a private room in the nursery.  During our time together I told him how much I wanted to be his momma.  His life was truly at a cross-roads - two very different futures were possible.

I wish you could see his face in this pic! His eyes are so wide and bright looking up at Obie with such innocence and trust! 

Signing was supposed to be on Sun at 8 am, but the hospital unexpectedly offered to let T stay another day, and she took them up on it. So signing was moved to Mon at noon. During our entire time there T seemed so resolute. She said she was completely committed to her adoption plan. She refused to take this baby home "to a leaky basement" (she lived in her parent's basement.) She wanted a better life for this child.

Mon. Mar 21, 2016 - I got a call from one of our agency workers around 10 am.  My hair was still wet from showering, and I was just getting ready to put a picture of the little man in an engraved frame that we had bought for T.  "I wish I had better news..." began our agency worker.  T had changed her mind. She said she wanted to at least try to parent this child...

We were shocked at how hard this hit us.  We had tried to protect our hearts. We were rational and logical - we knew this was a possibility... But it didn't matter... It hurt so badly... So much worse than we expected...

I was grateful for the long drive home.  There were a lot of tears.  I thought I'd never be able to talk about this or even think about this without crying, but here I am writing about it, and although I'm not "fine," I am okay. The dull ache in my chest is less & less...  But it wasn't only sadness, it was also guilt. I felt like this was somehow my fault. I had done this. I had brought pain to my husband, children, and myself.  I was the one who suggested we adopt...  And then there was anger. I was so mad at myself for being sad. How could I sit here & cry when I had so much to be grateful for? Thankfully, Obie pointed out how ridiculous that was. Just because we have 5 healthy children at home, doesn't mean we can't mourn the loss of our 6th. One child does not take the place of another. I heard a wise mother once say that her 9th child was just as loved and wanted as her 1st child. :)

Thank God for my strong, sweet husband who listened and comforted me as he was dealing with this himself. And for my wonderful family.  They were there for us in every way. Our parents watched our other children while we were in Ohio. Our oldest was worth his weight in gold - Seriously, he was an amazing help!  My sisters made me laugh when I felt like crying, sending flowers & chocolate to brighten my day. We are very blessed & so lucky to have such an awesome support system!


We still have so many questions... But we know they will probably never have answers. We still pray for T and her son. We hope they have a safe, happy future...

It's tempting to just walk away...just forget about adoption...move on with our lives...focus on other things....Protect ourselves from this EVER happening again...Because I seriously NEVER want to feel this way again... BUT we know that's not the answer for us. We still feel passionate about adoption, and called to add more children to our family through adoption.  We may not understand God's plan, but we trust Him. We hope and pray that someday, He will bless us again with another child.

"God can see the end of the story when we can only see the part we’re in right now. And we can trust that He’s still working in our lives, in good times and bad."

In Hope & Healing,

Update: Just to be clear, we feel no ill will towards T. I didn't write this to paint her as the villain or us as the victims. We just wanted to share a part of our journey & recognize those who deserved our gratitude. I'm sure that her story would be just as emotional. Even though this didn't end the way we wished, we're still proud of her for choosing LIFE for her son, and we wish her and her family the best of luck in their futures!