Monthly Archives: July 2016

When it hurts

I struggled through Elliott’s adoption.  Never before had I prayed so much for clarity about something.  Never before had I begged God as much for confirmation.  And never before had I been so sure.  From the first moments of saying “YES!”, I knew I had a daughter on the other side of the world.  From the moment we began the process, I ached for her.  As we worked on our paperwork, I ached to see her face, to know who she was.  As soon as I saw her face, I ached to get to her.  There were days that I didn’t want to get off the couch.  Days I couldn’t stop crying.  Days I counted down our timeline over and over again. And no matter how I tried to distract or comfort myself (ie M&M’s), the ache stayed with me until we met her and then brought her home.

When we began the process of this adoption, of pursuing our Isaiah, I was convinced that it would not be as hard.  I was convinced I would not let it be as hard.  I am busier now than I was a year ago.  I spend my days parenting bigger kids, chasing a two year old, and seeing therapy clients.  It takes most of my energy to keep Elliott from causing mass destruction to herself and our home.  I generally have more things to do in a day than time to do them and am perpetually behind.  Three kids is harder than two.  Surely the circumstances of my life would make it easier for me to focus on the here and now?

I would make myself do it better this time too.  This time, I would not immerse myself in blogs, in online adoption groups, in timelines.  I would keep living my life and surely not become obsessive about adoption.  This time I would go through the motions of the adoption and reserve my excitement and my emotions for when I actually meet him.  My emotions and my mind will stay focused on here, on my present, and I won’t become a single-minded weirdo.  Basically, I’ll keep it together this time.  I’ll stay detached.

I first started to notice that I wasn’t feeling right a few weeks ago.  I couldn’t quite pinpoint what was wrong, except I felt…off.  Frustrated, overwhelmed, discontent.  I blamed it on the stress of parenting (summer ain’t easy, ya’ll) and tried to get away some to recharge.  It didn’t get better though.

A few days ago I came face to face with the sheer volume of my emotions right now and finally sat quietly long enough to realize – that familiar ache was lurking under the surface.  I felt incomplete.  I felt desperate for a boy across the world.  I felt terrified about how much more money we need to bring him home.  I felt desperate to not have him spend a single extra second in an orphanage.

Part of me felt relieved.  I was glad to know the why behind my dramatic emotions over the past few weeks.  But to be honest, part of me felt very frustrated.  Really?  REALLY?  We’re looking at a minimum of 7 months before we travel to bring our son home.  7 months of longing?  7 months of counting down days?  Months and months of feeling that isolating feeling – where it’s hard to think or talk about anything else?

As I sat and thought through the ache of the wait for Elliott, I began to see what a gift those overwhelming feelings were for me throughout our journey.   The ache for her that motivated me to fill out a million forms.  That caused me to stay on top of hundreds of details in a process that normally would have overwhelmed me.  The longing that spurred me on to ask for money, to humble myself to raise funds, to sacrifice our own finances in ways that were scary.  The longing that allowed us to do crazy things like like long flights, weeks in China, sleepiness nights, the hard transition home, wearing her in a carrier for one million hours for the first months, holding her for every meal.  It was the longing I had for her that pushed me forwards towards her as my heart needed time to get to know her and really fall in love with her.

Adoption is not natural.  When we carry our babies for months and months, we are growing love and attachment all at the same time.  Biology is on our side.  When we give birth, we are aided by DNA (he has my nose!) and hormones to help us attach.  And while adoption is beautiful and redemptive, it is WORK.  We are learning to love and attach to a stranger child, often while giving them space to exhibit grief behaviors that make it seem like they hate us.

I’ve started to understand this week that this ache, this longing, this pain – it’s a tool for me.  God has said walk forward.  This journey is hard.  And although I believe He is capable of pulling this off and bringing our boy home, something else keeps me going: I already have a son out there.

And so, even though I don’t like the pain, even though I wanted it to feel easier this time, I’ll push forward.  Acknowledging that this ache I have is a gift that is going to make me go back to faith when it would be easier to give up.

Because I am already Isaiah’s mom.

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Shoes Shoes Shoes!!

We have kicked off our next adoption fundraiser and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We are partnering with Funds 2 Orgs to put on a massive shoe drive.

Here’s how it works:

  1. We collect shoes.  Used shoes.  New shoes.  Athletic shoes, sandals, flip flops, heels, dress shoes, boots.  Adult shoes.  Childrens shoes.  All shoes!  As long as the shoes are still in wearable condition with no holes, we want them!
  2. Funds 2 Orgs sends a truck out, weighs the shoes, and pays us per lb for the shoes.
  3. Funds 2 Orgs then takes the shoes, cleans them, and uses them as they train and develop individuals in developing countries (like Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua) to run their own businesses.  These individuals are able to earn wages that allow them to support their families AND develop the economies in these countries.

We are excited about the potential of this fundraiser to not only aid in funding our adoption and bringing our son home, but to impact lives across the globe.

What do I do with my shoes to donate??

  1. We have multiple drop sites in the Katy and Cypress area.  You can drop shoes at any site, anytime now through October 1st.
  2. If the drop sites don’t work for you, if you have a lot of shoes to donate, if you just want to see our faces…contact us!  kristin@iamthewaters.com
  3. If you would like to collect shoes at your organization, business, church, community, or school…please contact me!  I can get you flyers to distribute.

As always, thank you for partnering with us.  Bringing our children home via adoption has truly been a village undertaking and we are overwhelmingly grateful for our village.

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Naming our son

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In 1998 I became a Christian.  I was 17 years old.  One of the best things about the age and way I was saved is that it was personal to me.  I didn’t choose Christ because of family tradition.  I didn’t grow up in church.  I didn’t feel an obligation to follow Him.  He interjected the path of my life and changed everything for me.  Because of this, my desire to know Him and see Him glorified through my life has not diminished through the years.  He is the very best thing about me.

Some time during my college days, I fell in love with the book of Isaiah.  There is something about how it is written that resonates with the way I think, the way God speaks to me.

I particularly love Isaiah 6, when Isaiah is called by God.  As a young believer, I was trying to figure out what it meant to follow the Lord.  Not to follow a list of rules, not to live up to a list of standards, but to follow Him in an authentic, active, relational way.

In this chapter of Isaiah, in a nutshell, Isaiah sees God and is amazed and overwhelmed.  His response?  To be outraged by his own flaws.  He had seen the beauty of a perfect God.  That provides clarity – Isaiah couldn’t help but acknowledge that he was a wreck next a God without sin.  But just like God, He doesn’t leave Isaiah like that.  He doesn’t leave him to cope with how horrible he is.  God wipes him clean.  Isaiah sees the holiness of God, recognizes that he does not come close to measuring up to that, and then God forgives Isaiah, purifies him, and lifts the guilt and shame.

And THEN.  Then God says “Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us?” And Isaiah responds, “Here I am! Send me”.

It was from the place of seeing who God is, understanding his need for God, and being changed by God that Isaiah said YES.  Not out of obligation.  Not because it was the right thing to do.  Not because his friends, the other prophets, were going.  Because he had a real encounter with God and saying yes was a natural reflection of that.

For the past 18 years as I have known and loved God and attempted to work out this relationship with Him, I have found that I live out Isaiah 6 over and over again.  I see the beauty of God and I recognize how much I do not measure up.  And a faithful God cleanses me.  He pulls out the stuff in my life that cripples me.  He relieves me of guilt and shame.  He convinces me again and again that no matter how much I might not feel worthy, I am fully forgiven.

And from THAT place, when God says “Go!”, I can say yes.  I have learned through the years that my job is not to have a grand plan, but to be willing to do the next right thing.  To say the next yes.  To be obedient to the next thing God puts in front of me and asks “will you?”

Fast forward to May 2016.  We were considering adopting again.  We were shaky, unsure, scared.  We had big questions about our ability to take on another hurting child, about money, about raising four kids, and if Elliott was ready for our family dynamic to change.

I was worshiping one Sunday morning at church.  Asking God if we were supposed to move forward with another adoption.  Feeling the weight of not having made the decision nagging at me and feeling terrified to make the decision all at the same time.

And then that voice that speaks over the noise of the music and the crazy of my thoughts:

“His name is Isaiah”

Isaiah.  Where it all started for me.  The journey of learning to love God’s plans more than mine.  Learning to say yes.  And say yes again.  And again.  Not because I am brave, but because He is good.  In one sentence, God spoke the name of our son and confirmation to our hearts – there is a boy across the world that He always knew would be a King.

Our son, Isaiah.  

Deciding on a middle name was easy.  Our first son, Bennett, is named for my dad.  It is a joy to name our second son for Russell’s dad – a wonderful man and an amazing grandfather.

Isaiah Edward King

We can’t wait to bring you home.