Monday, December 7, 2015

Why we are "still" adopting

Since announcing my pregnancy, there have been many questions that I thought could come, and I had prepared answers to these, ready to give a well thought out answer.  Thankfully, no one was so bold or curious as to ask.  Yet still, in case anyone is wondering, I thought I would answer one question.  Why are you still adopting?  Some people did come close to asking. Or, at least, they gave indications that, in their opinion, it would be best if we didn't.  And, I think if this were our first adoption, I may have been more nervous to proceed.  And, if our sole purpose to adopt was simply to fill a desire to have more children, then we would probably have stopped the adoption.  But, that is simply not the case.  Although we love our children and are happy to have more, we were pretty content with our three boys.  But, we knew God was calling us to adoption.  There was more behind our yes to adoption than just simply wanting to have more children (that more will be covered in a moment).

So, why are we still adopting?

Here is my answer:

(Before I get to the actual numbered reasons, I want to clarify something.  We love TJ as if he were our son, 100% , already.  And when you love your child, you want what is best for him/her; even if it is painful or hurts you.  We want what is best for TJ; even if that means we are not what is best for him.  And after we found out we were having a baby, we prayed, and talked, and prayed and talked some more about what is best for TJ.  Was our family still what was best for him?  And, our answer, again, and again, was yes. We still firmly believe that our family is what is best for TJ, even with a little sister coming right after him.  The reasons below, are my answers after answering the most important question . . . . What is best for TJ?)

1.  He is our son. Period.

I am going to let you in on a little secret.  Do you know what my first thought was as I held the positive pregnancy test in my hand?  I cannot leave Thomas Joseph in China!  And those were the first words I said to Pete when I told him we were having a baby (I didn't exactly get the "best way to share the news with your spouse" award on this one).  I was panicked that we would lose Thomas.  That I would lose my son.  I know families who have adopted get this.  You see a photo and you just know that you are looking at the face of your child.  God has shown up again and again in our process to adopt Thomas and it is hard to refute that he is our son.  God set something in motion on October 30, 2014; the day I met TJ.  It was like He whispered in my ear a promise, yet that promise was not fully revealed until 6 months later.

And because he is our son, I would fight for him (and already have too).  The change in our family does not change the fact that he is our son.  And so, we still work to get him home.

2.  We feel God is calling us to adopt Thomas Joseph

No explanation necessary on this one.

3. 147 Million Oprhans

You can find different numbers for this, as no one can really know truly how many orphans there are in the world, but there are anywhere from 147-163 million orphans around the word.  China reports that there are 576,000 orphans in their care in the social welfare system alone.  These children need families.

Children need families.

Thomas needs a family.

Adoption is hard and broken and beautiful all at the same time.  Pete and I are far from perfect.  We are far from perfect parents and fail our children more than we would like.  But, that is all a part of parenting and being a family.  We are not better suited for this journey than you are.  But, we feel called and I believe that God has given us the grace to walk this beautiful and broken road.  We are walking it with Felicity, we will walk it again with Thomas.  And I would gladly say yes to adopting again, if called.

I often say a short phrase to my boys, "See a need. Fill it."  I started using this phrase with them when they were complaining that I was asking them to do chores that weren't their "normal" chores.  But, we have also had long discussions about this idea and how we should look for ways to help others too.  Adoption is a need that God has opened our eyes to and we are filling it.  I do not mind days at clinics, researching doctors who are best suited for our children's special needs.  I do not mind working at different therapies with the kiddos.  There are moments that I get the sense that God is equipping us with all we need to walk these roads with our special needs kiddos.  And, in a way, I like it.  Getting a first row seat to transformation, to redemption is pretty powerful and special.  And with this in mind . . .

4.  You get far more than you give.  

We may give a lot, sacrifice a lot to adopt and parent an adopted child.  But, the reward is far more precious.  We do not do it because of that, but it is a beautiful side benefit.  It is found in the little moments.  The boys, holding Felicity's hand, guiding her.  It is when she kisses us good night or begs for her brother to read to her before bed.  It is her screaming "Yaya" (Her version of Dada) when Pete comes home and running into his arms as the door opens.  These moments are so special and the blessings of them are indescribable.

5. There is no "line" waiting to adopt children like Thomas.

Thomas is a boy with a heart condition.  Those are two strikes.  And the older her gets, the closer he gets to getting his third strike.  Truthfully, we were not even open to adopting a child like him when we adopted Felicity.  But, God opened our eyes and heart.  Upon reading his file the first time, my initial reaction was NO.  But, after seeking several doctors' advice, we know that right now he is healthy and doing really well.  We are aware that he may need surgery in the future.  We have discussed the fact that although he could live a healthy, happy, long life, we know that he may not.  We know we could outlive him.  But, for the years we have with him, we want to him to experience the joys of being a part of a family.  

6. There is always room for more

I LOVE my kids.  Each is a special gift and I cannot imagine not having each and every one of them.  We live in a small house.  A house that feels smaller with each addition and as the boys grow.  But there is always room for more.  More love. More laughter.  We may not fit in our van any more, and we may feel maxed out in our home when TJ and the baby arrive, but somehow, if God calls us, I think we would gladly make room for more. 

Finally, I have worried about how Felicity and Thomas will handle a baby in the home.  I have worried they will feel replaced somehow or feel threatened.  And I guess that may even be something families worry about when they have another biological child too.  But, when I have prayed about all of this, I also get a sense of hope.  Hope, that in some way, being able to witness, first hand,  a baby coming into a family and being welcomed into a family, will be healing for them.  Maybe I am wrong, but I pray that for them.  I pray that being a witness to how the birth of a baby should be if our world weren't so broken, will be healing to a child who was born and then abandoned.

We welcome Thomas into our family with joy.  We cannot wait for him to come home and become a son, a little brother and a big brother all in a short time!  

So, if you were wondering why in the world we would still adopt with a baby on the way, this is why.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Murphy Family 8.0 - The details

Yesterday I posted the above picture to Facebook with the caption: 

The Murphy Family 8.0. Coming in 2016!
 #thismomsgonnaneedlotsofgraceandlotsofcoffee #adoptionrocks #andsodobabies

And that was it.  No real explanations.  In some ways, I did want people to stare at the picture and attempt to figure it out.  I was trying to be slightly creative.  But, I did want to share further details, for anyone who did not wade through the comments and read my replies to questions.

So here are the details:

- As you all remember, we are adopting the cutest little two year old boy, Thomas Joseph, or TJ. We expect him to be home late February or early March.

- We are also having a baby!  I am right around 17 weeks pregnant, due May 9, 2016

- Because I am old of advanced maternal age, there are some pretty amazing tests they can do, simply by taking my blood, that can tell, with around 95% accuracy, if the baby has any genetic disorders, etc.  This blood test can also tell you the sex of the baby.  We are having a girl!  We have known for weeks now.

- If all goes well, Thomas will be home just 2-3 months before the baby is born.

- When the baby is born, we will have a 12 year old, a 9 year old, an 8 year old, a 3 year old, a newly adopted 2.5 year old, and a baby.  Crazy

- For those of you who like math and numbers:  The number of children in our family will go from 3 (a number held for 7 years) to 6 in the span of 18 months.  Sigh, breathe deep, Katie.

- Other crazy facts: we will no longer fit in our new-to-us van.  I got rid of baby items and clothing a long time ago, so we have nothing for the baby.  And keeping with that theme, when we were matched with Felicity, I got rid of all of our young boy clothes . . . as of now, TJ has no clothes either!

Head spinning? Do not worry, mine kept spinning for about a month.  There are still moments I wonder if this is all real or I am somehow imagining it all.  I have seen our daughter twice on ultrasound, I feel her move and I no longer fit in my normal clothes, but somehow, some days, I still wonder if, in 2016, we will really have TJ and a baby.  I think I can totally understand those women who somehow are in denial that they are pregnant, until they actually give birth!

So, in case you have not figured out from the above information, to say that this is all a surprise, is an understatement.  I am a planner, by nature.  Thomas was not really in "my plan."  I figured we would wait a little, adopt a girl later on and be done.  But God had other, much more wild, beautiful plans.  And we are certainly not crazy enough to plan a baby and an adoption at the same time.  I often wonder if I, if we, the whole family, can handle all the changes that are to come.  And one of the days, I was knee deep in fear, feeling this way, I read this quote:

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. 
I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." - Mother Teresa

And I knew.  God has got this.  He will give us the strength we need to help TJ attach to us and meld into our family and have a baby too.  I know it will not be easy.  But, God doesn't always call us to easy.  It may not be easy, but it will be beautiful.  

The last few months have had some tough moments.  We thought we might  lose Thomas.  It really looked like we would have to stop the adoption and I was devastated.   But, God moved mountains and made a miracle happen.  I have cried many tears because I will not be able to travel to China to get TJ, but my joy that he is coming home far surpasses my sadness because I will miss Gotcha Day.  Our agency has been amazing to us.  We are already talking with our social worker about what to do when Thomas comes home and how to help him and Felicity to adjust to the changes in our family and how to help the boys not feel lost in the shuffle.  

Aside from the stress of the possible changes in our adoption, I have physically been feeling pretty good.  I am tired more than normal, but overall I am feeling much better than anticipated.

Finally, we are all excited.  The boys are thrilled and cannot wait until TJ comes home and we have the baby!  Andrew, my youngest boy, cannot wait to see a baby be "borned" (as he says).  Two out of three of the boys are so happy to have another sister. One boy is now pushing for a 12 passenger van.  

As our family navigates the upcoming months, please keep us in your prayers. Especially, these specific prayer requests:

- That I continue to have a healthy pregnancy with no complications or health issues.
- That Thomas comes home ASAP and also has no health complications and that his heart is healthy.
- That our adoption will be fully funded.  (Due to first trimester sickness, etc, I have not been able to complete most of the grant applications we had intended to do.  Nor have we done most of the fundraisers we had planned.  We have a short span of time to come up with the rest of the money for the adoption, approx $15,000. Please pray we are able to do so.)

Thank you all for sharing in our joy and excitement!