Friday, July 13, 2012

Normal, everyday life

I just read a blog post recently from my friend Jules that talked about joy. It got me to thinking a lot. It is hard to be joyful when things are hard. Lately here, things have been hard. Sometimes I feel like it has been about 17 years of nonstop hard, but I try not to look at it that way. After a lot of prayer, and after circumstances beyond our control, Jeff and I have decided not to continue with the adoption process. I hate the decision, but didn't see any other door. It is a long story, with lots of different things involved. We found out a lot since starting the adoption process. One thing we found out was that birthmoms are wanting only open adoptions. It is a rare thing for them to decide semi-open. Jeff and I aren't comfortable at all with open adoption. We also are finding out that birthmoms placing their babies is becoming a rare event. One adoption agency I contacted said that they stopped doing domestic adoptions because they were only doing 1 every year and a half. Our agency never would tell us how many adoptions they had done last year. They also would not answer my questions each month when I asked if birthmoms were coming in. They also kept changing our wait times. When we started out, they said the wait was about a year. It is now over 2 years. With almost 10 families on the list, and I'm assuming no birthmoms coming in, I would imagine that the wait time is way over 2 years. Add that to the fact that we won't do open adoption, and we are looking at years and years. Many adoption agencies have decided not to do domestic adoptions anymore, and are only doing international adoption. We would love to do international adoption, but we had a hard enough time trying to come up with even half of the $17,000 needed this time. How could we come up with $40,000?? Adoption has become a money making, sell the baby to the highest bidder market. Sad, but true. Birthmoms are keeping their babies or aborting them, not placing them for adoption. I wish it weren't the case, but it is. I wish I had other options, but I don't. I have to be okay with things. I have to be okay with Evie being an only, even though it tears me up inside. I have to know that God has a plan, even though I may not understand any of what is happening.

So how do you have joy, in the midst of all of this? I am realizing that we can find joy in many things if we look at things with different eyes. I can find joy in the fact that I have a beautiful daughter, and a wonderful husband. I can find joy in the fact that I know Christ as my Savior. I can find joy in the beauty that God created. As I have sat here typing this, I had a hummingbird almost land on top of my head. He sat about a foot away and stared at me, completely still (he even had landed with his wings stopped). He sat like that for a good 2 minutes. I was in awe. Also, as I sat here, 2 Orioles came and stood about 3 feet away from me on the deck. We have had 3 of them come at a time. Here is a picture of them (it is a bit hard to see 2 of them...they are on the top of the shepherd's hook). They are the babies that had been in the nest.


I can find joy in our newest little furry family member, Zeke, who is so much fun. He does a lot of sleeping...








And is so happy with his furry mommy, Daisy....



He also does a lot of this...ears flattened back, tail foofed, and running like a crazy man all over the house. SO hilarious! He makes me laugh. He makes me laugh a lot, and very hard. I need that.
I can also find joy in my garden that is growing. I took this picture below, standing in the middle of the garden. The far end is my tomato "trees", then my carrots, onions, beets and peppers.
Here are my peppers, and 2 rows of parsnips that haven't come up yet. I planted them as a fall planting where the pea fence had been. The huge hedge is my green beans. Actually one side is purple podded beans, and the side you see is green beans.

Here are broccoli plants, my celery, my cucumbers (in the same row as my celery), and the green bean hedge.
The cucumbers (can you see this one?) are SO tasty! I have been making lots of fermented cukes, and they are wonderful!

Then there is my crazy Zucchini Rampicante that is over 7 feet tall! It is just starting to get small ones on it, and the plant is loaded!

My other squash varieties growing vertically, and my zucchini plant that is producing nicely.
I do have much to be joyful about, and I have much to be thankful for. I need to keep telling myself that during the hard times.

7 comments:

K said...

Oh Jen, I am so with you on how you feel. I have been having similar issues with really needing to find joy. It's hard and I have no answers. Your blog brought me to tears just now I realized that I have been missing those simple joys of summer myself. I'm hoping I can start to change that.
I too am struggling with a guilt over my DD being an only. Even though I know in my head, logically, there is nothing wrong with being an only. She will actually probably do better than kids with a number of siblings. She will have opportunities that other kids in larger families will not and she will always have a close relationship with us. But still I cry at times feeling like I've short changed her being an only.
I too have looked into adoption. It was something on my heart before we had our daughter and still it nags at me. But the money is insane. And the money for international adoptions is worse. I don't know how people do it. And I'm with you about completely open adoptions. I don't like the idea of I adopt your child take care of them completely but you get to be there through it all but with no responsibility.
I know God has a plan but it's completely escaping me right now. Hoping for a good end to the summer for both of us.
Hugs, dear friend,
Kelly

Jen said...

Kelly, thank you for sharing what you did. I think it is really common for mommies of only children to feel guilt. I could really relate to what you wrote. I keep trying to work through it. From what I can tell, Char seems super well adjusted and very happy. You are doing a great job! She doesn't seem at all traumatized by your decision for her to be an only. I know I'm on the outside looking in, but that is how it looks to me!

I have to keep telling myself that this is just the way things are, and I need to be content with it. Was it my dream to have an only? No. Was it what I would have wanted for Evie? No. But for some reason, it is the way it is.

I truly wish that adoption was like it was in the olden days. Back 50 years ago or more, adoptions were free, and it didn't take years and years. They also were not open adoptions, and you didn't have to keep in contact with the birthmother. Call me selfish, but that is how I feel. In my opinion, open adoption is a bit like babysitting a child for 18years. The child would not feel at all like my child. We have a semi-open adoption with Evie, and I even find that challenging. We have to send letters every year, and it bothers me to have to do that. Call me selfish, but she is MY child, and has been MY child since she came into my home. Okay, enough venting on that :)...

I hope that you and I can come to terms with our only child issue. Our kids aren't too different in age, so we both have had many years to deal with this issue. I hope it gets easier for both of us!! Hugs!!

Kelly said...

Jen,

Thanks for your response. I think you are correct in that we didn't set out to have only children, and I wonder if that is what makes it worse for us? But I guess I've run into too many people that assume that I did this on purpose. And they treat me with such distain. You would think I told them that I beat my kid regularly the way they act.
I also tell myself that God has a plan and if I'm to have only one child there is a reason. Evie seems so well adjusted and happy as well. And I must say I enjoy seeing your photos as it's easier for me, if that makes any sense, compared to looking at friends with a whole bunch of kids. I just wish the desire for more kids would at least let up a bit. You probably know what I mean. Every baby you see it gets so hard some days.

On the other side of this, I know that I have such a close relationship with Char that I wouldn't have if we had another child. Our relationship is different and other moms have commented on it, and every single of one them says, "wow you and your daughter have such a wonderful relationship, I love how you speak to each other and talk", and every one of these moms has a few kids. It's not their fault but with a few kids you just can't dedicate the time to one child like you can when you have only one.

Totally get you on the adoption thing. The cost is disgusting. And honestly even I could afford it the open adoption thing would probably stop me. Which is sad. Adoption is a wonderful thing and moms who realize that they cannot care for a child properly are heroes for finding a wonderful adoptive home for them BUT they should not get the benefit of the other family raising and loving that child with no responsibility on their side. So I am totally with you on that one. A lot like babysitting for 18 years sounds like a good description. It's not that an adoptive child shouldn't get access to birth family information and records but that should be off limits to them until 18 when they are better able to handle the information.

I too hope that we both can move forward in our only child issues. I'll keep you, and Evie and your dear hubby, in my prayers.

Kelly

Jen said...

Oh Kelly, I could so relate to what you wrote! It amazes me how much people judge when it comes to an only child. The "spoiled only" stigma never dies. I have even had people judge me KNOWING my situation, knowing that we have lost 7, and adopted Evie. They still think we didn't do enough to have another one. They think it is wrong that Evie is an only, and that I need to keep doing what I can to make it so she isn't an only. People who don't know our situation just assume that we are selfish parents who hate children. I remember a woman yelling at me once because I had an only. She had been working at a VBS, and we were visitors. When I went to pick Evie up, she asked me if Evie was an only. I said yes, and she proceeded to yell at me that I needed to have more children so Evie could learn to share. We didn't step foot in that church again. It was humiliating. People are really cruel sometimes. They judge without knowing the situation. I too wish that the desire for more kids wasn't so strong. It would be easier if it wasn't, especially since there is not anything we can do about it.

Thank you for what you said about Evie being well adjusted. I completely got what you meant when you said it was easier seeing pics of us, as opposed to people with lots of kids. I feel that way too. Whenever I visit blogs or facebook pages of people with multiple kids, I get the major mommy guilt. It sounds like you and Char share a very special relationship. I know a lot of only children who grew up to be wonderful adults. My father-in-law is an only. His mom lost several babies, so it wasn't by choice that he was an only. My father-in-law is a very special man, and cares so much for others. He is one of many onlies that I know that are wonderful, well-adjusted adults.

Thank you so much for your prayers. I will be praying for you and your hubby as well! It is nice to know that someone understands how I feel!! Thank you for that!!

Jules said...

I'm not sure what made me want to cry more: your post or the comments. I know this hasn't been an easy decision for you to arrive at and it's sad that you feel judged by others. Since you believe that God has a plan and that His Hand is in all this, all I can advise is that you accept with JOY His plan for your life. I know there will still be hurt from the loss of your dreams but perhaps by adopting this attitude (and I know it will be far from easy) it might be easier to just let other people's comments slide off your back. I'm just sorry that you've been subjected to that.

BTW, my husband comes from a large family but two of his siblings made the decision to have only one child. The eldest only is now in her twenties and from the time she was little has impressed me with her gentleness, her compassion for others, and there's certainly never been any lack of sharing or social skills. I do think some skills are learnt more easily in large families, but it's not the only way to learn such skills. And I've certainly seen children from families where they only have one or two other siblings and they are as selfish and obnoxious as they come!

Jen said...

Thank you, Jules, for what you wrote. I especially liked what you wrote about your family member who is an only. It encourages me to hear stories like that! I know it will take time for me to adjust to things. I'm not there yet, but I'm trusting that God knows what He is doing.

winterwren said...

Hey, Jen,

I am sorry that I missed this--I have no idea how. I had already read the Hurricane Zeke post a few times, but for whatever reason missed this one. I am really, really sorry about everything that you have gone through. It breaks my heart. I actually came here tonight because I was reminded this week that I still needed to buy your cookbook but I cannot see whether it is still for sale.

I know many wonderful people who are only children and many selfish people who are not. I feel so mad at that VBS woman who was mean to you! I cannot believe people sometimes. Just awful. Who would think that? And then, thinking it, actually say it to you? Wow.

Why is adoption so expensive? I knew adoption was expensive, but I had no idea it was *that* expensive internationally. I am not supposed to have children for health reasons (my mom freaked out the last time I told her I was considering it) and I also found out in the last year that I have PCOS. (I actually was sent to a specialist about this ten years ago, but they did not even bother testing me or doing an ultrasound because I am slim and when I *was* diagnosed my doctor was shocked. Which is so odd.) I really thought I had made peace with just being us, but when I found out I had PCOS I was so, so sad and cried the entire road trip back from the Mayo Clinic. My husband has MS and we have very little money, so I had more or less given up on the idea of adoption, too, but I did not know it was *that* expensive. How utterly depressing. For some reason I though international adoption was cheaper. Anyway, I doubt anyone would adopt to us because of out health and I do feel really lucky to have each other. And my family nearby, and our cats. At this point I just wish I had a dog.

The fact that you are a wonderful mother should be clear to anyone miles away. It troubles me that there are so many children who need homes and yet someone who could give one of them a good home is not allowed to do so.


You are such an inspiring, talented, and honest person. I am always amazed at all that you do. You have inspired me so much in terms of homemaking. Sometimes I feel guilty for being a homemaker without children, even given my health, but I do love taking care of my husband.

I do love your blog and look forward to your next update (but no pressure!)

Please hang in there,

winterwren