I’ve been waiting on today’s guest post since I started this blog. I first heard the pretty side of Jennifer Cody’s story over 2 years ago. I was enthralled by the way God moved through a painful hard situation. I’ve continued to hear parts of the story as they have unfolded and have always loved Jennifer’s knack for writing. So, I’m excited to share with you Jennifer’s messier side of the story today.
I’m not a bible scholar, but I’ve been taught to believe that this verse means that when we are close to the Lord, our desires become more in line with His. The verse could be read that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us everything we desire … make all of our dreams come true.
I don’t think this is what it means, but without Him, even if our dreams do come true, we make a mess out of them.
This happened to me. I had the God-given desire to be a mother. For years, I didn’t understand why everyone around me was having children when I wasn’t. Three and a half years ago, my desire for biological children was very clearly replaced by a desire to adopt from foster care.
This is the dream come true, fairy tale story that most of my friends know. We got our first kids, had them for 10 months, they went home, I found out I was pregnant, “our” kids came back to live with us, baby was born, adoption finalized … happily ever after.
In the weeks and months after Korbin and Presley first came to live with us, I heard over and over from lots of people “I bet you’re loving every minute of it.” All I could do was smile and nod. The ugly truth was that I was miserable.
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Adoption is hard. Foster care is harder. God had given me the desire to take this path and He had even followed through in a big way by placing kids with us that fit in perfectly with our life. They were the same ages as our friends’ kids. I finally felt like I fit in with my friends – kind of. Even in the most perfect of plans, humans are flawed.
The trauma that my kids had suffered made them act up in ways that made it hard to love them. I knew going in what to expect, but years of building walls around my own heart wouldn’t allow me to really let them in. We were picture perfect on the outside, but we were all hurting on the inside. I counted down the minutes until every day would be over. They were hurt and confused. I was hurt and confused. All I had wanted was for someone to call me mommy, but after that happened it wasn’t enough. I needed to know that they were mine forever. I was mad. We were clearly called to foster. Why, if we were called, did He not equip me to handle it?
After 9 months, I finally let go and started to let them into my heart after it looked like adoption was going to happen and then our world crashed down around us in one Monday afternoon visit from their social worker. A policy had changed and they were going home within the next month.
This was my rock bottom. I didn’t know what was next for me. When I tell my happy version of the story, this is the good part where when everything crumbled around us, our Father carried us and gave us the peace that transcends understanding. That part is true. We felt the peace, but I still hurt. I regretted being selfish and not letting those kids have my whole heart. I regretted not being the mommy that they deserved even when they were hard to love.
We found out 2 weeks after our world had crumbled that we were expecting a miracle baby. Pregnant without even trying after years of failed fertility treatments! We felt like we understood the peace that had overcome us when the kids left. This must be the fulfilment of His plan. We were supposed to have parented Korbin and Presley for that period of their life and our next chapter was being written. I even felt like I had been given the experience as a lesson on how to be a better mom when the time officially came.
And then … we got the call on a Tuesday afternoon. They were back in care, could we take them again? I was 14 weeks pregnant and considered high risk and “advanced maternal age”. Fostering is stressful, we had my health and the baby’s health to consider. We didn’t hesitate, though. These were our kids. Of course we would take them back. I promised myself that I would do better, that I would be their mom with my whole heart. Things were great for a few months and then the honeymoon was over. I had said soon after they came back that the adoption would have to be finalized before the baby was born. I didn’t want to let them form an attachment to a sister that they would have to leave. I didn’t want the birth of my first child to be overshadowed by kids that may not be a forever part of our family. As the months went on, it became obvious that the case was being handled horribly by the legal system and we knew there was no way it was going to be finalized in time.
The months leading up to the Camryn’s birth were the darkest we’ve had. The added trauma of all of the moves had made one of the kids unbearable. We spent hours a day dealing with screaming tantrums. Again, I was miserable nearly every waking moment. I didn’t understand why God had allowed me to get pregnant but wouldn’t let me enjoy my pregnancy. I didn’t understand why being a nurturing mother didn’t come naturally to me. I resented everyone who didn’t have to get a babysitter to go do their baby registry for their firstborn or arrange childcare to go to the hospital to give birth to their firstborn. I had horrible guilt for feeling this way about the blessing of these two kids when I had friends who would’ve given anything to be their parents. We could’ve asked to have the kids removed at any time, but we knew we weren’t supposed to.
After Camryn was born, I still had some resentment that I couldn’t properly bond with my baby because of all of the distractions. We had the kids call each other brother and sister from the beginning, but it was bittersweet knowing that they might grow up not knowing each other.
The adoption was finally complete when Camryn was 9 months old.
We are a family. I was given the desire and the desire was fulfilled. It was messy and I was consumed in myself all along the way. I have a ton of regrets. I am beyond thankful that prayers are answered for someone as undeserving as me. My new desire is to let go of myself and strive to be more like Jesus.
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I remember on one of my darkest days, begging for prayers to be a more gentle and patient mom. A wise friend reminded me that the fruits of the spirit are already inside us. Wow! I pray that in the future when things get difficult that I can pull those strengths from myself instead of the anger and resentment that comes too easily.
Question: Do you have a desire in your heart you are asking God for? How has God changed your desires or fulfilled desires in your life?