Ohos Adopt. OHOS ADOPT!
If you would have asked me 12 years ago, I didn't know if I would ever feel that longing for motherhood the way my friends seemed to. Kids seemed messy and chaotic and the thought of sharing my body with another tiny human seemed about as far away a concept as the sun is from Pluto (so...just really, exceptionally far away). So when we told our families in that first year of marriage, "don't ask us about kids until year 10", there was a lot of truth in that semi-joke. Ten years of marriage meant kids in our 30's; a decade meant 10 years to build a solid foundation of marriage before children entered the picture and even better, it equaled ten years of solidifying career and financial plans.
Somewhere between year six and year eight, we started to notice a shift in our conversations from "if we have a baby" to that ever-hopeful "when we have a baby" and by year nine, we felt as ready as a couple could ever be to dive headfirst into a life you know you are vastly unprepared and under-qualified for. (And even better with a pregnancy taking a solid 9 months, we'd pretty much nail that ten year semi-joke, not-totally-a-joke.)
So, we pulled the goalie (yeah, that goalie), we bought the big house with the extra bedrooms in the quiet suburb. We purchased a coffee table with round edges and padding instead of that sharp-edged marble coffee table I preferred. We added the puppy with the reasoning that we wouldn't want the challenge of a new puppy and a new baby at the same time. We started looking at the calendar and planning what potential maternity leave might look like around wedding season and then we waited.
And since then, the puppy has turned three and a half, the padded coffee table has (rather miraculously) stayed and twenty one gorgeous, new babies have been born to those couples who's weddings I had hoped photograph with a pregnant belly.
Late last year, we found out that we wouldn't be able to have children the old fashioned way due to a previously unknown genetic condition that caused my egg supply to go bad and my body to start menopause at the ripe age of 33.
My gosh, the grief & loss were REAL those months following. Bigger and more consuming and more treacherous than anything I had ever experienced in my life.
One day I will write that story; how we dealt with grieving a loss without a physical loss, the rampant emotions that crash like waves when you least expect it and always at the worst time, and those menopause hot flashes (YOU GUYS, THE HOT FLASHES). One day I'll dig in and write it all down but, for now, lest you think this is a sad story, it really is one of redemption.
One where God is working to mold whole, new and complete hearts for Matt and I from the ashes of lost dreams and failure. One where God so plainly showed us a new path; one we never would have walked down without walking through a valley we couldn't see the end of. A story that is already filled with beauty and love and - yes - brokenness, but brokenness that has revealed His glory.
So what's next?
Well. This past Friday, we completed the final piece of our Home Study to become adoptive parents to a yet-to-be-known little one.
Adoption is the exact opposite of how I saw our original journey to parenthood but now that we're in the middle of it, I can't imagine we had planned to do it any other way. We still have a long ways to go; a birth mom letter to write, a website to create, books to make, rooftops to shout "WE'RE ADOPTING" from, pictures to take, social workers to meet, and then?
Well, then the real waiting begins as we await a mini-Oho.
So now, on my 34th birthday, one that I might have envisioned differently but one that is so very blessed to bear witness to the work of God so plainly, I ask for only one gift (unless your name is Matt and then you had better come home with flowers), we covet your prayers and your love as we walk into the undetermined period of anticipation to be matched with a birth mom. Something I suspect, yet again, we are entirely unprepared and unqualified for but something I desperately long for in a way I never could have imagined 12 years ago and with a fierceness I didn't know I had within me.
I'll share more on this journey, I promise, but in the in-between, we owe a massive debt of gratitude to those of you who walked this road alongside us without any expectations. Who grieved with us, cried with us, prayed with us and loved us through our heartache. We couldn't have gotten here without you.
And this story wouldn't be complete without a shoutout to the most (and I can say this with authority) amazing and wonderful husband there ever was - who shouldered both of our grief when mine was too heavy for me to carry, who has shown me the depths of God's love every single day, especially the days when I felt undeserving of that love, and who is going to be the best dad in the whole world to any children we are blessed with through adoption. I love you so intensely.
We're waiting on you mini-Oho.