Thursday, October 16, 2008

Priceless blessings

I've been having a rather introspective kind of day, and although I felt like I should blog, I've been sitting here trying to figure out where to start. My mind is everywhere.

I've been doing some research during the last few weeks in preparation for our next adoption. We are planning to go with an agency this time around to make the process a little more predictable (ha!), and I think I've found one that we would be happy using. That said, I ran the numbers last night on our probable expense versus available funds. Let's just say it was shocking.

For comparison's sake, I added up all of our receipts from Olivia's adoption. When we started the process with her, we were expecting a rather smooth, in-state independent adoption and figured the total expense would come out well under the federal tax credit for adoption. And then her birthmom moved out of state, our costs shot up, and we ended up spending almost as much as we would have spent using an agency. Not that we would change was worth all the stress and confusion and every cent and then some to bring our angel home. It's just that it has left us in a tighter spot for funding a second adoption.

We have both been feeling the call to adopt again, and sooner rather than later. I like the idea of our kids being close-ish in age. And though I don't want to admit this out loud (because I always had the idea that I'd like to have four or five kids), there is a possibility that our next baby could be our last. We could always be surprised with a pregnancy or a huge influx of cash to make it possible for us to adopt again. But the reality of the moment is that pregnancy does not seem likely and adoption is JUST! SO! EXPENSIVE! God could surprise us with an independent referral and in-state placement (read: way less expensive), and we'd certainly be open to that possibility. I'm just not planning on it.

I don't think the money will keep us from moving forward soon-ish. We can make it's just going to be a sacrifice. But if there is anything that the volatile state of the worldwide market has taught us recently, it is that there are no guarantees. The market could go way up this quarter, or it could bottom out. But money spent on adding a child to our family will never be missed. Not when you get to experience the priceless joy of watching that child's sweet personality express itself every day. Olivia has taught us that parenthood is well worth the price.

Recently, I've been experiencing many moments of pure joy and thankfulness for the gift of Olivia. She has reached a very fun age. As she runs around the house chanting, "busy, busy, busy", sits to closely examine a piece of carpet lint, or runs over and pats me on the back, I can't help but think how blessed I am to experience every moment of her young life. She is so full of energy and curiosity. She helps me recognize the little blessings that we take for granted each day...the sounds of dogs and birds outside when the windows are open, the fun of running around in the leaves, the pure enjoyment that comes with giving and receiving hugs and kisses. It is a true blessing, and these days, I find myself thinking that I could do this forever and enjoy it.

Of course, this is just a season of life. Someday, we'll have another baby, then we'll be back to the season of sleepless nights and zombie days. Later, the kids will grow, and we'll be in the season of schoolwork and softball practice and soccer mom. Everything changes.

Which is why I'm determined to make an effort to enjoy every moment of babyhood the second time around. I think I spent a lot of Olivia's infant days just praying that she would learn to sleep.

Still, I recall a few moments in her earliest days when I was overcome by the precious gift we were given. Like the last day we were enduring the ICPC wait. We were already deep into sleep deprivation, having spent several days in a hotel with a baby who didn't want to sleep. But on the day before Thanksgiving, my birthday, only hours before receiving the call that we were cleared to go home, we were sitting in a little restaurant pub having lunch. It was raining cats and dogs, and we were pretty wet after running with a carseat and diaper bag through the parking lot. We were still stressed that our ICPC clearance wouldn't be granted by the end of the day and then we'd be stuck through the entire holiday weekend in a city where we knew no one and a state where we knew few.

But I looked at that sweet little face, still asleep in her carseat, being a perfect angel while we had a nice lunch. And I realized that this precious little child was worth all the stress and hardship because she was ours. Our little gift from God. A gift that seemed so far beyond our grasp after struggling with infertility, and a gift made even sweeter after that struggle.

We have been blessed.


Jen said...

I always think it is so unfair that adoption is so expensive. Most people don't seem to realize that either. I hope you get many blessings.

Brian said...

Thanks be to God.

Stephanie said...

(The above comment was from Stephanie, of course, using her husband's computer.)

I always thought I'd have several children, too. While our stories are different in how we brought children into our families, having lost two babies and waited so long for Asher, we have had some similarities emotionally. We have decided not to make a decision about future children right now, but the dream of raising a large family seems unattainable at this point.

But you're so right - the joy of raising children is worth the financial sacrifices. I'm glad the cost will not be prohibitive for you.