Before meeting Snuggs, I had thought in that dreamy "someday" way that I might adopt when I "grew up". Then we met and married and agreed from the get go that two kids was right for us. Cricket was a cake walk. I had some minor blood pressure issues in the last couple of weeks of his pregnancy, which ultimately led to a very minimal intervention induction. He was an "easy" baby, and we conceived Buttercup a week before his first birthday.
From the time we got a positive pregnancy test I was so very sick. I ended up being diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, lost 10% of my body weight, couldn't keep down even two measly ice chips, and was hospitalized for dehydration. We managed to find a combination of medications that "stabilized" me about halfway through the pregnancy. I'll never forget how weird it felt to be 28 weeks along and happy to have returned to prepregnancy weight instead of below. Buttercup kept up the shenanigans through her 1 hour and 13 minute labor and delivery in which we just barely made it to the hospital. I asked them if we got a discount on linen fees since I hadn't ever entered the bed. They declined. Rude.
Buttercup screamed-I mean SCREAMED, for about 19 hours out of every 24 for the first six months of her life. I was baffled. Emotional, exhausted, and baffled. I had always been called the "baby whisperer" and had a long history of success at keeping little ones happy. Around six months she was "diagnosed" with Sensory Processing Disorder. We started to change the way we looked at her and her needs, and the situation improved overnight-literally, and just kept getting more manageable.
That said, even six months ago I would never have thought we would add to our family. Buttercup has been a very challenging child. We planned on two, we were happy with two, we were "done".
Telling the story of how we came to adoption feels just as crazy to me as it will sound to you.
When my moms’ group offered a class focused on the book “7” by Jen Hatmaker, I decided to take the class. See, “7” is subtitled “An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” The focus of Seven is on God, not reducing excess for our own selfish reasons (like my organizational obsession) but reducing excess for the glory of God. Because there’s truth in that age old statement, “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” In her book, Hatmaker talks about having dozens of nearly identical clothing items, while people all around her are homeless and own only the clothes on their backs. She goes on to suggest that as Christians, caring for our brethren means caring for others as though they were in fact our family. If I knew my biological brother had only the clothes on his back, you’d better believe I’d be getting him some more clothes one way or another.
If we are being completely transparent, I took the class in hopes that I would find a way to convince my husband to help the poor in our community. Before getting married I kept nonperishables in my car to hand out the window when I passed someone in need. Then I married a cop. He has seen the worst of the worst. He has seen kind and caring men and women stop and buy bags of food from a nearby restaurant and hand them to a person in need, only to see the recipient throw the food away untouched. He has seen well intended handfuls of cash turn into vodka and yield violence. He has had to physically remove a man who was given a beautiful, warm, furnished place to live but created so much trouble that he was asked to leave. One might understand how his feelings regarding homelessness could be less than warm and fuzzy. But, he married a softie; a softie who is crazy about God, nonetheless. I know, without a doubt that the Bible tells me to care for the least of these, and that it absolutely isn’t my job to judge anyone. But oh, how we have struggled to know the balance between true need and being taken advantage of, between helping and enabling, between serving and selfishness.
As the class began, I shared bits and pieces with Snuggs, and together we decided that kicking 2014 off with a combination of “7” and “Financial Peace” would be a seriously powerful way to make our change. I went through week by week planning to lead him through the study starting in January. He crunched numbers, made predictions, and traded in our Jeep Wrangler for a Prius. It almost broke his heart.
I went through the class taking good notes, learning what I could, and praying like crazy that God would work through this process to affect the necessary change in our lives. About halfway through the semester, something crazy happened. God pretty much hit me over the head and set my heart on fire for orphans. (Um, wait, Lord…THIS wasn’t what I was aiming for here.) I kept quiet. I prayed. I waited (wondering if I had misunderstood His leading). It didn’t go away. It grew, and started to drive me a bit mad (in a good way). I decided that truly, God HAD to be leading me towards orphans even though MY original plan had been to grow a heart for homeless.
As I contemplated how I might go about bringing my husband on board, I decided that sponsoring a child through Compassion International was probably a good starting place. I spent some time considering how he might react when I suggested we start sending $38 a month to a complete stranger halfway around the globe. I prayed some more, waited some more, and researched some more. Finally, I showed him the pictures of a few children who had caught my attention, hoping he would be okay with the idea, and that eventually, through our sponsorship, he would grow a heart for orphans right along with me, and that we might someday be even more bold in our work for God’s kingdom through this new passion.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Um, honey, I know we are still working to pay off the cars, but being at a place where we don’t have to go without anything we need makes me really aware of the fact that there are CHILDREN who aren’t having their basic needs met, and that we are pretty stinking blessed. Do you think, maybe, we could help them a little?”
Me: “Well, here’s the website for this Christian organization that comes highly recommended by several of my friends. We can sponsor an orphan and help meet their basic needs by sending $38 a month. I thought maybe we could narrow it down to a couple of kids and have Cricket choose a child for us to sponsor.”
Him: (after looking at the website for a while) “I don’t really like the idea of sending my money halfway around the world to help some kid I will never even meet, especially when we could just bring a child in to our home and help them with ALL of their needs. Why don’t we just adopt?”
Me: …>>crickets<<…>>deer in headlights<<…”Ooooookay.”
So, a million conversations, questions, discussions, prayers, phone calls, texts, and debates later...we started the process today. We are excited, so stinkin' excited. Also, I've started singing the chorus from "Insane In The Membrane" as a form of worship, because SERIOUSLY, God? I have two under three already, a husband who works a completely ridiculous schedule, a family business that has the phone ringing all the ding dong day, and yes, yes, adding another human being to that is surely going to simplify things....right? Uh, no. Also, I'm NOT a Grade A role model parent. I get mad, I yell sometimes, I don't always lead by example, I sneak chocolates when they think I'm organizing the closet. I totally don't have all of my stuff together. It's a miracle if my clothes match and nobody else's bodily fluids are dried and crusty on my shoulder. I saw a "confessions" article in well known parenting magazine last week about a mom who had allowed her child to go 72 hours without a bath. Oh, the horror.
I can top it...
by more than 24.
Unless you count the pool as a bath, which I do. Chlorine kills WAY more germs than soap.
So, "baby who God has for us that we don't know yet," (as Cricket and I have been praying at bedtime for months), you may be "pool bathed." You may occasionally catch me being "unfair," and I will absolutely hide my chocolate from you, but I promise you will be loved like crazy. Loved like insane in the membrane.