Monthly Archives: April 2014

When an adoption falls through

I haven’t written about our failed adoption in a long time. Mostly because it wasn’t even two weeks after that heartbreaking phone call that we were asked by Coleton’s birth mommy if we would adopt him. The gears shifted quickly back then as I was drifting in and out of pregnancy twice between that loss and when C bear was born. Honestly it left us feeling so hurt and confused that we just didn’t talk much about it.

But it was a loss. It was a traumatic loss.

We had met with his birth mom twice. She loved the Beatles, so we downloaded all kinds of Beatles lullaby music. He was going to be our firstborn son that we could cradle in our arms, rock to sleep, and call by name. He was going to be named Carson, and for two months we pictured what he would look like…be like…sound like…feel like…smell like. We prayed for him and his birth mom every single night.

We decorated his nursery so perfectly. After all, he was about to be born! The birth mommy was going to be induced ONE week after my phone rang. The call came on a Friday. Just in time to cancel his baby shower for the following day.

Heartbreak.

A failed adoption is heartbreaking, not just because it is a loss…but because it’s hurt upon hurt. Not always, but most likely there has been loss or infertility along the way.

Here’s the redemption piece.

It’s amazing how many families are made whole through adoption, and how God gives us a glimpse of his bigger purpose through that. If no one ever faced heartbreaking infertility or loss, so many children would be without a family. So many families would be missing out on these INSANELY AWESOME kids who were WOVEN TOGETHER so they could be theirs!

If we hadn’t gone through so many miscarriages and even walked through that failed adoption, our little Coleton wouldn’t be our son! We literally can’t imagine life without him. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we would go through all of the hurt again in an instant to have Coleton and Annabelle here in our arms.

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But, lawdy lawdy…it hasn’t been easy. Especially the day we got the phone call that our first birth mom had changed her mind. Her boyfriend’s parents would be adopting the baby. We were so crushed…upset…confused…PISSED (frankly)….and above all else: heartbroken. All of our personal miscarriages and now this??

Did God not want us to be parents after all? Was there seriously something that wrong with us? WHY?!?!?

We didn’t know. But now we know. It wasn’t any of that. It was that God could see our little Coleton, who was already growing in his mother’s womb. He knew that C was going to fit more perfectly into our family than we ever could have imagined.

If you have had a failed adoption, and I know there are so many of you…I’m so sorry. The pain does subside, but it is harsh and intense initially…and probably will be for awhile. You should grieve. You should mourn (mourning being the outward expression of grief, for example, create a memory book or buy something that will remind you of that child you were growing in your heart.)

As with any grief related to child loss, it is yours. Don’t feel like you “should” or “shouldn’t feel a certain way”. Don’t compare your loss to others and don’t  sweep it under the rug. When an adoption falls through, especially when you’ve held the child in your arms, but also when you haven’t yet (in my experience) is pain upon pain and needs to be processed.

I’m so thankful for the friends who stood by us even when we kept enduring loss and pain. It must have been so exhausting for them! But they didn’t give up on us, and we are so grateful that they kept praying for us and pointing us back to the source of all comfort.

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If you know someone who has had an adoption fall through, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. That child was theirs in their heart, and they just lost that baby (or older child.) Shower them with prayer, words of encouragement, cards, flowers, mementos…whatever kind of love you are best at giving. They need you.

If it was you…hang in there. God’s got this.

 

 

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That just happened …

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 3.25.03 PMIt was a beautiful morning in Downtown Nashville, TN. The buildings were glistening as the sun rose over the music city, and my best friend Aubrey and I stood anxiously together each wearing shorts, a tank, and a set of goosebumps. (Little sissy Jess, our marathon sherpa, wasn’t too far away.) We tried to remain calm with nerves and energy drinks coursing through our veins…waiting for the 7am horn to sound, marking the start of our first ever FULL MARATHON.

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Before the race

The full marathon that I always wanted to do, but never knew how…or if it was really possible for me.

The full marathon that I trained for for SEVEN months. (started from ZILCH)

The full marathon that I used to be afraid to run because of my recurrent miscarriages.

I said, “If we ever have a baby biologically, I’ll run my marathon (and hopefully as an added bonus, lose the baby weight.)”

WELL, RUN A FULL MARATHON I DID…this past Saturday, April 26th 2014.

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It was such an emotional experience! Despite the 45 minute delay at the start line thanks to 30,000 people running and the wave start system, we took off with a steady pace.

I had mentally prepped myself for the hills in the first half, because the elevation chart looked FIERCE. Incorrectly judging the elevation on the the second half of the course to be milder than the first half, I expected more flats…but flats did not come. It was VERY hilly and got pretty warm.

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Starting around mile 14, I got into the zone. I just ran. Around mile 18, I didn’t listen to my music b/c my headphone were being funky. I didn’t think much. I just ran! My legs hurt, but my lungs kept up beautifully and I really enjoyed the gorgeous sights and sounds of the city.

(not going to lie, though…the bands along the way were disappointingly ehh sounding…)

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Sadly, around mile 23 I let my 4:45 pacer break away; he was needing to finish the race at 10 minute mile pace and I just couldn’t hack it on the hills (MoUnTaInS). He said that in 15 years of pacing races, only 2 people had ever successfully started and finished with him the whole way! I was hoping to be #3 but it wasn’t going to happen.

Kevin hopped in with me (illegal, yes we know) off and on throughout the race and that helped a lot! He brought me watermelon, bananas, and smiles.

He helped me power up the last big hill, and took me almost to the finish line. I am so grateful for that guy who supported me every single step of the way, literally. He was full of back rubs, babysitting, and encouragement when I needed it the most. I COULD NOT HAVE RUN IT WITHOUT HIM!

When you marathon, your body is so depleted and deprived that you have no self control as you cross the finish. THERE WAS NO WAY I could hold back my tears!

This race that I had always wanted to do…and had been so scared to do…was finally completed. It had taken more sweat, sacrifice and devotion than I ever imagined it would…and yet there I was crossing that glorious (electronic) finish line with my arms lifted high!

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As a nice guy set that heavy cowboy boot metal around my neck, I just WEPT people.

I was dazed and confused mostly…but I remember walking (likely waddling) slower than I ever have in my life as I collected my chocolate milk and power bar and headed to our family meeting spot. I just wanted to lay down and cry like a baby.

Cry because my body hurt….and it was so flipping hard!

Cry because I was proud of myself.
Cry because I was in shock.Cry because I missed my babies.

Cry because I was so grateful to have the strength and opportunity to run.

Yeah…cry cuz I’m a girl and I’m emo.

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My finishing time was 4:49:05, which with a porta potty break (and line to wait in!) + hills + heat, I’m proud of.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement and wisdom along the way…you know who you are! Thanks for sending me good music, and thanks for helping me raise $250 dollars for Compassion International’s clean water fund. We provided clean water for 3 kids for their entire lives! That alone makes all the sweat and tears worth it.

And just like having a baby…it’s a huge rush and despite the horrible pain, I just want to do it again. HAHA.

I know, I’m crazy.

It was an honor to run with you Jess and Aubs! You kept me going! Can’t wait til next time…in like 10 years ;o)

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PS. Puckett’s is RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME. I would drive 8 hours just to go eat there again.

PS2. I’m still in pain. But ibuprofen and I have become good friends the last couple days 🙂

bite sized chunks

“SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME!”

You know those huge goals you’d love to reach someday? Maybe they include:

Fitness & health goals…

Businesses open…

Higher Education degrees….

Books written….

Marathons run…

A life of discipleship lived….

Places seen…

A strong marriage built…

Financial goals…

etc, etc.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I love setting goals and going for them. But my proclivity is to think about the end goals, and then want to accomplish all of them RIGHT NOW, TODAY by the end of the day!

Hah! Not possible, of course! But I want to anyway, and that leads to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Are you good at breaking your goals down into bite sized chunks?

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The Marathon (12 days away!) was broken down for me by a specific training schedule. I have written my daily running goals on the calendar, and boom! Attainable, bite sized chunks…easy as pie! (Because I will have run 500 miles over the course of my 7 month training, I’m working to raise $500 for Compassion’s clean water fund…if you feel compelled to give $5 or throw in $26.20……or $79 to give a child clean drinking water for his or her whole life, here’s the link to check it out).

For other things, breaking down goals hasn’t been as easy. (Especially something as unpredictable as writing a book.)

Picture a funnel with a BIG jar underneath. This funnel is what you pour your energy and efforts into so that you can eventually fill your jar! (Jar full=Goal accomplished!) Funnels frustrate me…in cooking and in life, because patience isn’t my #1 virtue. Funnels don’t magically filter through stuff quickly when you’re in a hurry! They require patience, attention, and time. If you dump too much into the funnel at once, it overflows and makes a mess! (been there, done that.)

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Today, I’m intentionally saying to myself :

“Deep breaths. One step at a time….bite sized chunks.”

I will not rush this life away! I will intentionally celebrate my smaller goals as they’re reached, and eventually accomplish the biggies. Specifically: Getting published.

I sometimes feel discouraged when people ask, “How is your book coming?” Because I want to be able to tell them I have a publishing contract! BUT it’s okay that the time has not yet come. I’m wearing more than one hat right now, and I want to enjoy every aspect of my journey through life, not just the day I reach my goal of being published. (Although that day will be magically magical!)

If you’re wondering about my book update…I’m currently refining my query…finishing and tightening my proposal (YAY!!!) and finishing the last 10% of the (typed) first draft of the book. It’s SOSOOO close I can almost taste it. The day I send out my first few query letters, will be a day that I celebrate. And I will undoubtedly share that celebration with you!

But for today, bite sized chunks. (That phrase makes me think of cookies, which are my favorite dessert ever. You can call me Mrs. Cookie Monster if you want.)

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Which of your goals is most important? How have you broken it down for yourself?

 

Sometimes, someone comes along who changes everything

For me that person was Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, aka SARK. (Of course there are others too…namely, JESUS, Kevin, Coleton, Annabelle) …

But today, you get to find out about how I met SARK. 

I remember the moment I came across SARK for the first time. It was in Barnes ‘N Noble, my favorite pre-kids hangout, and I was in the beloved self-help section…which at times has been my favorite section of the bookstore, despite my annoyance with self-help books that breed narcissism. I was nonchalantly browsing for nothing in particular when the title “Eat Mangoes Naked” jumped out at me. 🙂 Obv, the title is pretty racy and catchy…and the book was was strangely pretty! 

As I pulled it out of the crowded shelf and started my typical 30 second-flip through, it was like the scales fell off of my eyes! I was holding pure gold, people! It was like Christmas morning. There dancing across the pages before me was the HANDWRITING of this beautiful, free-spirited author who THINKS JUST LIKE I DO! She writes in color. She draws in the margins, and makes cool charts and wheels and random thought expressions throughout her stories! A part of me came alive in that moment.

Her books aren’t in a cool, artsy font. It’s REAL pen on paper handwriting! It’s not “in the box” for once! HallelujaH!

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Her books, and her brave new style changed everything for me. I purchased and devoured every single one of her books within a matter of months, feeling inspired and FREE! If you know me, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard me talk about her. I’m sorta obsessed. SARK is the pioneer of REAL creative non-fiction, at least in my book.

The way she writes speaks to me and inspires me. Like REALLY inspires me. Why? Because I have always wanted to write books, but her style finally FREED me from the fear of writing them the way I want to write them! I didn’t have to be afraid of the big scary publishing world saying NO WAY! because SARK had done it, and not just self-published or squeaked by. She was and is wildly successful!

The book I’ve been writing, Bearing Hope: Your Inspirational Companion Through the Darkness of Infertility (that I’m going to be querying within the month most likely!) is creatively handwritten too. When I explain to people by saying, “similar to SARK’s style”…they always kinda nod their head, but I can tell they don’t know what I’m talking about because the people who do know SARK are like, “COOL!!! I LOVE SARK!!”

 

My favorite thing about her creative, colorful handwritten books is that they’re easy to read. They’re fun to read! When someone is walking through a dark season, they need something light. Something easily digested!

Of course my book has its own rhyme and rhythm and is more of an interactive journal book; my goal isn’t to be a SARK copycat. I am insanely excited to share it with you soon!

Now, I have been praying for and just need God to bring along the right visionary agent and editor, because when submission guidelines call for “Times New Roman 12-pt” font, I die a little bit inside.

Today, along with the gorgeous sunshine, I am so thankful for SARK who wasn’t and isn’t afraid to break the mold. I’m so thankful that she came along and changed everything…

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(I’m guessing my face looked something like this when I stumbled upon the greatness that is SARK!)

If you’re reading this SARK (in my dreams), THANK YOU and YOU GO GIRL!! 

Who has come along in your life and challenged everything you knew as truth? Who is a major role model for you?! 

 

Marathon Tuesday…Mini-Update and Runspiration

Well, we’re coming down to it folks.

Nashville Rock ‘N Roll is 18 days away and I’m so anxious! Anxious GOOD and unfortunately, anxious-ridiculously-nervous too.

Three Saturdays ago, I ran 20 miles! My longest run ever by 4 miles. I psyched myself up mentally the whole week prior, choked down some nasty GU’s (why can’t I get used to these?!) and rocked it out. I have never been more proud of myself! (well, maybe when I birthed Annabelle :)).

Then we went to Disney for vacation, where I did not run as much as I was supposed to. :(Thanks to a 20 hour drive each way, a mild case of food poisoning, demanding children and the magic of Disney…the trip wasn’t very conducive to marathon training. But I walked a heck of a lot more than usual! I did run, just no where near as much as I should have. Which probably contributed to my second 20 mile demise…(worth it)

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This past Saturday, my second 20 miler was up to bat. I ran with a friend for the first 6 miles, but I went out a little too strong and ran a hillier course than I was accustomed to. Needless to say, it didn’t feel great. I had to walk a LOT starting at mile 18, and barely squeaked out the 19th mile. At that point I called it a day, and got to my car feeling discouraged and scared that this was my last REALLY long run before the real McCoy. HOWEVER, I did run 19 miles and surely that counts for something!

This mini update is all to say: It’s psych up time!!

Since my “tapering” plan (slowing down to conserve energy for race day) has officially started, I can rejoice in that the worst and hardest of the training is over! Either I have put enough miles and hills and sweat and blood in, or I haven’t. And since I have stayed pretty true to my plan, I have to believe that I’ve done enough!

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I finally get to enjoy the fruits of the last 6 months, cut back on the weekly mileage and save up some serious energy for April 26th! I can’t believe the end is in sight. Seven months ago, my goal seemed so insurmountable. So huge. But bite by bite (I like food analogies), I’ve taken the training plan down…now there’s only a little bit more to go!

You can do almost anything you put your mind to, people! For real. Go lace up those tennis shoes, because there’s no better time to start than now.

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Get a good playlist rocking and take some time to tune out this noisy world we live in! Even if you have to walk. Here are some great training plans to get you started:

Couch to 5K Explanation and Plan

Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan

My Marathon Training Plan (Hal Higdon Novice)

3…2…1…GO!

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