Monday, March 31, 2014

The Great (and Long Overdue) Thank You List

We have traveled the path of miscarriage, infertility and adoption for 5 years now. We know our story isn't done but with the coming home of our beautiful son and the emerging from those chaotic first few months, I am finally setting up an ebenezer. I know not what is next but I know that right now, there is some deep thanking to be done.

To my blog and facebook friends. It has been quite a journey. Thank you for reading, for your notes of encouragement, for sharing the ways that God has used my words and our struggle to speak to you or encourage you. Thanks for giving me the chance to be honest. Thanks to a colleague for encouraging me to blog in the first place and to my husband for always, always telling me to write.

To the amazing Richmond friends who walked with us, mostly silently, through our miscarriage in 2009. Some of you didn't even know why we were sad or what had happened...that is not your fault. That was in my "keep-it-all-to-yourself-and-you'll-feel-better" years. But to those of you who loved us in our silent pain and didn't offer us trite responses, who shared your own stories of miscarriage and loss, thank you.

To my amazing students at University of Richmond, UNC-Chapel Hill and all those who came through the worship track at Rockbridge during this journey, thanks for the ways you asked about our story. For the ways you let me share myself (as I was figuring out how to do that) and share my heart for adoption and transparency in loss. Thanks for keeping me laughing, for always making up the craziest skits and songs in the world, for loving Jesus boldly the specific way that only college students do, for free (and not so free) babysitting of our son and for praying for me so faithfully.

To my hoohah ladies. For always holding out hope, for sharing your babies with me (and letting me rub them on my belly), for giving me a whole weekend of your time every year to laugh, remember, sing, dance, eat and create new and lasting memories. For friendships that started that first week of college and have lasted for over a decade, I thank you.

To my running buddies, thank you for letting me bitch and moan and for telling me to get off my sad, whining butt and run with you as often as you did. Thank you for, quite literally, pushing me the extra mile and for sweating out this wait with us in more ways than one. I am quite sure that had I not kept running, my head would have exploded at some point during this long wait.

To my staff colleagues, for living a life unashamedly answering the call to love college students and pushing them to be who God has created them to be. For sharing your children, your lives and your gifts with me. For caring for me at staff meetings in the midst of miscarriage and dashed dreams, for asking me to tell this story, inviting me to love your students and for holding out hope for the eventual celebration. No one has better colleagues. No one. I miss you all.

To my Aunt, Cousin and Mom, thanks for planning a trip to Ireland during the height of my struggle with infertility and making me come with you. For the beautiful castles and gardens, for Irish coffees and long chats, for laughter and good family and for distracting me for a whole week so much so that I could just live and enjoy. I don't know if you know how much that trip meant to me.

To my life group in Durham. For letting a woman who struggles with female community be herself, for welcoming her wholeheartedly into an established group, for providing resources and understanding and terminology throughout the adoption process, for showing us what multiracial families look like in all their beauty and struggle, for countless prayers, for being angry for us when it was necessary and pointing us to Jesus when we lost sight. For sharing your amazing kids with us and doing church and life with us. For being almost as excited about this adoption as we are.

To those who prayed, thank you for your persistence and your strength when we couldn't pray for this ourselves. For our family being a line item in your journals and for the texts and notes you sent along the way to remind us that God hears.

To my new friends in Wisconsin. I haven't known you long. Thank you for screaming and crying and rejoicing at our news. Thank you for watching Josh so we could visit the littlest man when things looked dicey and we wanted to protect him by not bringing him with us. Thank you for providing a community for us to bring our son into, for friends he will make in years to come and memories that will define his childhood. Thank you for meals that were perfectly timed and impeccably prepared. Thank you for reminding us that wherever you go, God is already waiting for you.

To my old friends all over the place. It's amazing to me that I can still talk regularly to people who knew me before puberty and that God has sustained and deepened our relationship over the years. Thank you for checking in on me, for reminding me of what a goober I was in high school, for visiting me and inviting me into your homes, for googling old crushes together to see whatever became of them, for sending gifts when little man came home and for always, always being a part of my past, present and future.

To my family. You've had a long road of waiting right alongside us. You have loved us so well, supported and encouraged our decision to adopt and kept heart when we grew weary. You have rejoiced over the pictures and chomped at the bit to get out here and meet this new member of the family. Thank you for who you already are to us and to what you will become to this new little person in our lives.

To my sweet firstborn, for praying faithfully for four years, for honestly asking what the heck God was up to in the meantime, for loving our friends' children so well that they are half a continent away and still talk about you, for taking seriously this business of becoming a big brother and for making me laugh even on the days when all I wanted to do was cry. You are forever my little man, my gift from God.

To my husband, for holding out hope the whole time, for never agreeing with me when I told him I was going crazy (even though he had that look in his eyes), for not batting an eye over all the stuff we had to do to stay on our waiting list when we moved, for being such an amazing father that I just KNEW we needed more kids so they could experience what being his child is like, for always making me know that no matter what, we were ok, for taking me on "no baby talk" weekends and insisting I take a class last fall and then cheering me through it. I really don't deserve you.

Thanks to God for everything. For never leaving or forsaking me. For sustaining my family through the long wait. For growing my son into an amazing young man who is the best big brother ever. For giving my marriage new depth, honesty and solidity before bringing another child home. For teaching me that you weep alongside me, that you know waiting more than anyone else and that you love adoption. And thank you, most of all, for your love for me and its eternal patience and pursuit of a heart that is too weak to hold on to you sometimes.

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