Monday, July 22, 2013

Delight Yourself in the Wendi Fitzwater

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4

Before we married, my husband and I talked about adoption, and we were both open to the idea.  However, we felt God telling us to go forward with conceiving our own children and did so.  At the birth of our first child we found out that Mark and I have incompatible chromosomes in two places of our DNA strand.  After medical intervention, our first born recovered from the experience, and my OB told us that certain tests would have to be conducted during future pregnancies to determine the safest route of delivery.  Once we conceived our second child, the OB sent us to a specialist who told us that this would be my last pregnancy no matter the outcome because the disorder increased in strength with each pregnancy. We proceeded with all of the medical procedures and arrived at the ultrasound for week 20 of the pregnancy.  After 30 minutes of measuring, checking and rechecking it was determined that the baby was growing and thriving, had no internal bleeding (at this point) and was a boy.  We rejoiced that the baby was doing well and knew that 20 weeks of platelet transfusions lay in our future along with many more tests and no guaranteed outcome.  I made it through the appointment without crying, but as I got to the door of the clinic, I lost it and began to sob in my husband’s arms.  We wanted this baby, and we were thrilled to have another boy, but what I was grieving over was the loss of the opportunity to raise a little girl.  So standing in the hallway of the clinic my husband comforted me and told me that it was God’s plan all along that we would adopt, and there was a little girl out there waiting for us to bring her home.  
I never realized how much of my identity had been tied to the ability to conceive and carry my own children.  As time passed and we got closer to pursuing adoption I fell into a depression of sorts.  I knew this was God's plan for us, but I felt "less than a woman" because I couldn't conceive my own child.  As we encountered obstacles, I would lie to myself - we could have conceived if only I wouldn't have had my tubes tied right after my second son was born.  People tried to comfort me with guilt over not being thankful for my boys, but what I craved was God's peace like I had before.  Ultimately, after praying for several months over a mountain of paperwork and brochures, we chose to go through a state agency and registered to foster/adopt, and then the peace I was craving settled in my heart.  We received a phone call several months later and had our daughter in our arms 24 hours after reading her file!  We had prayed for months over this child for her safety, for her birth mother, for any caregivers involved, but in my heart of hearts I asked God for a blessing beyond measure, that she would look like the little girl I couldn't carry.  Our gorgeous little girl had every physical attribute I asked for... green eyes, curly hair and at 8 weeks old was still about the size of a newborn!  God is so good, so faithful and blesses beyond measure.  
When I find someone at the beginning of the adoption process.  I try to prepare them for a few of the things I felt along the way.  Maybe for them it will be a little easier.  The adoption process for us was about the same length of a pregnancy.  I would like people who are unfamiliar with adoption to understand that it really is like a pregnancy to the family waiting to be united with their child.  Some parts are so much harder.  When you are in a public place with a pregnant person, everyone wants to know when they are due, how they are feeling, etc., but an adoptive mom deals with each step of her faux pregnancy privately. There aren't outward appearances to clue in the rest of the world.  With a normal pregnancy you can assume what size clothes, diapers and resources you will need to prepare.  With an adoption you can prepare a little, but you have no real certainty for what is coming your way.  An adoptive parent goes to classes to learn about their potential child much like a pregnant person goes to the clinic for their check ups.  Some news is a little nerve racking and hard to take.  We go through the hormones and feelings of inadequacy too. It’s a big deal to take on the unknown. It’s especially difficult when many friends and family don't understand the need for them to encourage and acknowledge the pending arrival of the child.  Simple things like referring to future family gatherings with an additional child show your family that you are aware of their process and are anticipating the arrival with them.
Adoption is an incredible way to grow your family.  It is not always the easiest but so incredibly worth it.  People have told our daughter that she is so blessed to have us, but really who are we kidding?  We are the ones who have been blessed with this beautiful child that makes our family complete.

Wendi Fitzwater

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