happy birthday baby II

well, it’s been one year, and only a few posts since josh’s last birthday.

28, today. wow, what an old man!

me being 29, only since june, he still had the nerve to call me old this morning!

somethings never change, like his sense of humor. for that i am very grateful.

grateful also for his smile and his laugh. his blue eyes and sandy blonde
hair. his height. his work ethic. his creativity. his leadership. his desire to do what’s right and follow the Lord. his style. his grace, yes, his grace. he’s very suave at times. his desire to make me laugh, even when i am being a “crabtree”. the way he puts up with me and all the “stuff” i bring to our relationship. the way he talks. the way he talks with me, and listens. the way little things make him smile. the way he sings. the way he enjoys church. the way he enjoys his friends. the way he enjoys family. his desire for a family of our own. the way he prays for our children. the way he loves me. oh the way he loves me. so unconditional. he is a good model of the way Christ loved, especially in our home.

thank you baby, for everything. i hope this birthday is only the beginning of all of the birthdays we will celebrate together.

i love you.

two years

we have been trying to get pregnant for two years. yes, that’s half of our married life. we’ve both always wanted to be parents. for me i think that desire started at birth. for josh it took a little longer. i would have started trying to conceive shortly after we were married. for josh, well, it took a little longer.

once we were finally ready to “try”, we were so excited, and a little scared. those of you who have been down that road, i am sure know exactly where i am coming from. we were scared because of all the questions. “yes, we’re ready to be parents, but are we really? are we ready to share everything we have with someone else? are we ready to eat out less, sleep-in less, sleep all through the night less?” “we want children, but can we really do this? do we have what it takes? will we raise them right? will we give them what they need to be good people? successful adults?” man, the questioning could go on forever, if you let it. then at some point, you dive in anyway, knowing God will give you what you need to perform the role of parent well.

the excitement goes on forever too. i had always dreamt about josh and i finding out we were pregnant, waiting for three months, and then springing it on our friends and family as a big surprise. i concocted so many different ways we could do this. i kept little notes of my ideas so that when we got pregnant, i would remember them and so i could share them with josh. we would go to barnes & noble and look at baby name books (though i think i’ve had names picked out since i was in fourth grade!). we’d look through pottery barn kids to pick out the perfect bedding. which by the way, here is the perfect bedding for our daughter’s room, if the Lord blesses us with one! we bought “the mother of all pregnancy books” and “the mother of all baby books” at sam’s club, both by ann douglas. it was fun to read through these books and look forward to experiencing all or part of what was written in them. and it was fun to make sure they were hidden when family and friends came over to visit!

we were also excited because we were having fun “trying” to get pregnant. we had heard horror stories about marriages being on the rocks during this stage because there can be so much pressure to time things just right, even when you’re “not in the mood”. thankfully this didn’t happen to us, even after we had been trying for so long. also, i was learning so much about my body and was, and still am, fascinated with the inner workings that God so masterfully designed.

we kept hearing that it takes the average couple 3-6 months to achieve pregnancy for the first time. we of course assumed we were above average and that we’d conceive immediately upon trying. at the six month mark however, i began to wonder two things. maybe something is wrong, or maybe God doesn’t want us to get pregnant. the second idea might sound like my concept of God is off course. “maybe He doesn’t want us to get pregnant?” some people might wonder why that would be. would that be God being mean? would that be God ignoring our desires? our mindset was, and is, that it would be God’s sovereignty in our lives. the fulfillment of a plan that originated before there was time. here is how we chose to handle this concept.

from the very, and i mean very, beginning of trying, we prayed that if God wanted us to get pregnant, He’d allow that to happen, and if not, He’d show what He wants us to do. He managed to pretty quickly show us He was leading us down another path. one that was not of our own making.

as humans it’s very hard at times to let go of what we think is supposed to happen and embrace what we see God handing us. we questioned His keeping us from conceiving and consulted my gynecologist. we were told no treatment could be pursued until we had been trying for a year. once that year mark came, we were officially labeled infertile (the inability to conceive after one full year of normal, regular sexual intercourse without the use of contraception). i had been anticipating this, but still think nothing could have prepared me for hearing my gynecologist say it and seeing it written in my chart. my heart sank.

at this point we opted to have some preliminary testing completed and found out that everything with josh was fine. my testing, a hysterosalpingogram, revealed that i had a blocked fallopian tube. i was not happy about this result, but was thankful that “the problem” was with me because i didn’t want josh to have to go through that. our gynecologist recommended we consult a fertility specialist to look into having the blocked tube opened. i wasn’t sure about this and wrestled with it for awhile. if God was calling us away from getting pregnant, i didn’t want to pursue pregnancy. then i realized if something was in my tube that wasn’t supposed to be there, i wanted it to come out.

i also wrestled with this because it meant surgery, a laparoscopy, and we hadn’t told our families what was happening at this point. remember us wanting to surprise them with pregnancy? well, we were still hopeful it would happen and if we told them i was having surgery, the surprise would be ruined!

we opted for the surgery, just to make sure everything was okay inside my body. the surgery took place in the beginning of april 2005. it went very well and i was able to recover quickly. the tube was opened when the doctor looked into it, likely from the gas blown in to expand everything so the doctor could look around. he also found some stage II endometriosis which was able to be treated at that time. from this surgery, the doctor could not determine why pregnancy wasn’t being achieved. after all, my other tube had been open this whole time, and everything else seemed to be working properly. we decided to go ahead and continue trying on our own for a few more months before we possibly pursued infertility treatment.

we met with the specialist again in the beginning of july. we wanted to see exactly what our treatment options were and how much treatment would cost. what could be covered by insurance, how successful treatment was, etc. the meeting was pretty informative, though we had already accumulated most of this information on our own by this time. here’s the breakdown of what we were told.

the average couple has a 20% chance of getting pregnant each cycle.
we, with no therapy, have a 3% chance.
we could pursue a treatment consisting of artificial insemination (with josh’s sperm) and fertility drug shots which would increase our chance of becoming pregnant to 10-12% each cycle.
we could try this for 3 cycles and then move onto invitrofertilization for a 50% chance of achieving pregnancy, with a price tag of $10,000. if pregnancy isn’t achieved, you don’t get a refund.

at the end of handing us this information, the doctor asked us which route we’d like to pursue. josh looked at me, took my hand, and smiled. then he looked up at the doctor and said, “this is all great, but if we adopt, we have 100% chance of having children.” my heart sank again, heavy with joy.

you see, for the past two years of trying to get pregnant, God has made us wildly passionate about adopting. it seems that at every turn we have taken on this long journey, we ran into the idea of adoption. when it first came up, i told josh i had always thought i’d want to adopt someday. to my surprise, josh stated the same. he had always planned on having a few biological children and then adopting if the funds were there. what? we both have had it in our hearts to adopt? wow!

i decided to trace the origin of my desire to adopt. i remembered listening to wcrf radio as a child and hearing different pastors talk about the importance of family. i remember families that i knew that had adopted and how i always thought it was so neat. i remember hearing about and seeing children less fortunate than me and i always thought it would nice if someone would step in and help them.

then i started baby-sitting and fell in love with taking care of children and watching them grow and learn. i started college and chose to major in child developement and family development.during college i continued to baby-sit and i volunteered with young life. then i took a job with our church’s jr. high dept. then i moved on to a youth shelter where i first came into direct contact with children who had been abused and neglected, many of them removed from their homes and waiting for foster home placement. this job increased my desire to learn more about abused and neglected children and what i could do to help them. it also led me to pursue a job in children’s services. so instead of just working in the social services field, i became a full-fledged child abuse and neglect social worker a local children’s services agency.

i was exposed to a world i didn’t know exsited. and i was exposed to children who so desperately needed to be loved and taken care of. it broke my heart on a daily basis and it became too overwhelming to handle. i chose to leave after a few years and i became a nanny.this wasn’t my first choice of jobs, especially becasue i had a college education. but when no other jobs made themselves available, for a whole year, i decided to once again look into child care. i have now been with the same family for 2 years and it has been great. i love being able to have an influence in the lives of these four young children and to watch them grow and learn. i am having a wonderful time!

but all of this has only increased my desire to become a mother. seeing the good and the bad that this world has to offer affirms for me that i need to step up and offer the good. this is another major reason why we are pursuing adoption. it’s not just because we want to be parents, it’s because there are children out there who need parents. we have started getting information from adoption agencies, public and private. “our plan” at this point is to pursue the adoption of a sibling group of 2-3 children, the oldest child being no older than 5.

we feel very strongly that God is calling us down this path. He has taken my desire for biological children and replaced it with His desire for me to care for His children that don’t have a mommy now. would i still like to get pregnant? i would love to get pregnant, but i know even more than that, i will love taking what God is handing me because His plan for me is better than all of my plans put together. it’s still been a struggle at times. God and i have had our wrestling matches. they don’t usually last very long and surprise, He always wins. He speaks to me at times when i am sad and questioning His will for my life. one conversation went like this. kirsten, “why me Lord?”. God, “why not you?”.

He also speaks to me through His word. these verses have kept me hanging on at times when i thought i couldn’t any longer.

philippians 2:13
for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

ephesians 1:11
in Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.

romans 9:17
I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

romans 8:18
i consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

and finally, my verse that i cling to daily, the one that can always keep me going.

proverbs 19:21
many are the plans in a man’s (kirsten’s) heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

if you made it to this point, thanks for taking the time to read our story. you can check back often for updates. they’ll be coming regularly. please pray for us as we seek guidance as to where our children are to come from. please also pray for our children. God knows where they are and when they will make it to our home. please pray for protection over their lives as they wait for us. wherever they are and whatever they have been through and whatever they are doing, even right at this very moment, they are our children. created specifically for us. and we are their mommy and daddy, created specifically for them.

praise God!

"but, i don't want to be a middle-class Christian…"

i couldn’t get to sleep last night. my mind was racing with images of my life and what it stands for. “is it enough”, i thought? “Jesus gave His life. am i giving enough in return?” yes, i serve. yes, i tithe. yes, i pray. yes, i share my faith. but, is that enough? am i not supposed to give my life too? i was trying to come up with people i could run to for solace. there’s got to be someone else, at least one other person i know who wants to be sold out for the Lord. images of all my friends and family flashed through my mind. images of pastors. we’re all in the same boat, knowing how to live, but still holding back. someone or something is standing in our way. maybe many people or many things. i finally found someone who i can run to. someone who is sold out for the Lord, someone who is sold out even for me. someone who gave it all.

Jesus.

was He middle-class? living half of His life for God and the other for the world? attending church once, two times a week? leading worship or a small group? volunteering in the children’s department? volunteering in a homeless shelter or nursing home? shopping for the latest fashions? searching for that next promotion? putting into His mind images that would distract Him from His Father? listening to music or talk that is displeasing to His God? no, not Jesus.

this is me!

wanting it all, from both sides of the fence. yes, i know the Lord blesses us with jobs and homes and material possessions. but when does it get to be too much? when is enough, enough? when do we have enough from the world and when do we realize we don’t live enough for God? why do we always seek after that which will only leave us empty? i don’t want to be a middle-class Christian. how about you?