Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Keep that fire!

This week's guest post was written by Kenna Shumway, an adoptive mom and infertility survivor. In this post, Kenna expresses her feelings about recent changes in the adoption world for those working with LDS Family Services, as well as the ever important hope we all need to cling to. Thank you for sharing Kenna!

It’s been a rough couple weeks for the adoption community.  Honestly, when I heard there were, “changes” coming to LDS Family Services, I kind of shrugged it off.  How long have we been hearing about changes?  Forever.  So I didn’t take it too seriously.  Probably the rumor mill turning, anyway.

However, as I was crossing campus for a class, my iphone dinged with an email.  As I read through it, my eyes filled up with tears.  “Removing some of our adoptive services,” “Focusing on potential birth parents,” and “Giving our adoptive couples a greater chances.”  The tears piled up and I told Siri in a breaking voice to call my husband.  When his voice came through on the other line I couldn’t keep the tears back.  Through stifled sobs I tried to explain what was happening.  That if we weren’t chosen by a birth mother in four months, we would have to find a different agency.  That the cost of adoption would quadruple, which is money we don’t have. That our chances, no matter how much the letter said would be greater, just diminished.  All the fire hoops we had jumped for so many years all lit up again, and they were laughing.  I don’t know how inanimate fire hoops laugh, but they did.  Fire hoops are jerks.

I had to keep myself together for one more class, after which I walked swiftly to my car and broke down.  It didn’t make any sense.  We felt prompted to pursue adopting another child.  I had been so reluctant, as acquiring our first child via adoption was basically my own personal hell.  Harley came to us after one reversed adoption and one failed placement.  I have been more than happy with my little family of three and while, yeah sure, those feelings of wanting another child are ever present, I’m a pansy.  So when we moved forward with the paper work a second time, I felt hopeful and scared, but more hopeful, because we knew in our bones that this was what we were supposed to do.

I pointed my car westward and drove for two hours listening to sad songs.  I’ve done this since I was a teenager as a way to calm myself down.  Then, I figured I could make it two Utah in 27 hours if I didn’t stop.  I needed my family and friends and Ohio was approximately 1,800 miles too far from those that I love.  Eventually my fully formed frontal lobe kicked in and brought to light some important questions like, “Hey, if this is your plan you should probably stop at home and get some underwear.”  I responded, out loud to myself, “I’ll just buy some when I get there.”   “With what money?” myself answered.  My wallet was left at home that morning.

Touché, self.

I didn’t drive to Utah.  Slowly I made my way home to the arms of my husband and my five year old son.  As I calmed down, my thoughts when to all my friends, all the couples that would be affected by these changes.  The tears came again, harder and hotter than before.  Why were we being abandoned?  All we want is to be parents and the options that LDS Family Services offer are many times the only option families have!  We scrimp and save to pay for these services as it is, and if the cost goes up, our hopes go down.  That’s why I feel so inadequate to address my adoptive warriors.  I’m crushed too.  I’m tired and I’m mad and I’m depressed and I hate all the things one minute, and am in tears the next.  My hope is somewhere between invisible and nowhere.

You know what?  That’s totally okay.  Be mad.  Throw things (preferably not valuable things).  Buy a couple pints of Ben & Jerry’s and get the tears out.  Ask God why.  Lean on those that love you.  Then, you have find the courage and determination, the hope and faith, which you had when you first started this journey.  You need that hope and faith because this is a time to rebuild and find a new adoption path.

I played soccer as a kid, and was lucky enough to make it on my high school team.  I played throughout high school and, even though I was scared out of my wits, walked on to a try out for a college team.  Years of hard work and dedication paid off, because I made the college team.  As cool as that is, it’s not the point.  As we practiced and prepared for our first game, I as full of ambition, hope, and determination.  The feeling I had when I took the field for that first came was unlike anything I can explain.  I took my place, and bounced on the balls of my feet, attempting to channel the fire I had inside.  Our opponents soon walked out onto the pitch, and I peered at them with flames in my eyes that said, “I dare you.  I DARE you to kick that ball at me.  At my face.  I DARE YOU TO KICK THAT BALL AT MY FACE.”  Okay, so it doesn’t seem like sane thoughts, but I meant them.  I WANTED someone to kick the ball at me because I was ready, and I was full of fire, and I was going to plow through whatever they had planned for me.  Some of my team mates yelled at the other team, some jumped in the air, and some were like me.  Fire in their bones and intensity in their eyes.  Quiet, but ready to plow forward.

I will never forget those feelings.  I haven’t thought about them lately, but with the World Cup dominating my tv screen (I have a hoarse throat from yelling at the screen because that was a FOUL and the ref needs to get his head in the game!) soccer is on the brain.

We’ve all felt this way.  Moments where there is fire in our bellies, and steal in our veins.

Find. Those. Feelings.

You need them.  I need them.  We need them.

Let’s be real, this sucks.  It’s a kick to the proverbial infertility sufferers’ crotch (as if we haven’t taken enough hits there already).  I know you see couples that have perfectly spaced children; babies every two years and a life without thoughts of, “What if we get chosen?” “What if we don’t?” “What if we can’t save/raise the money?”  “What if we never get a baby?”  “What if this breaks me?” and lastly, “All I want is to grow my family.  That’s all I want.”  I wish I knew why we have to hurt, suffer, climb out of canyons just to be shoved back in them, and watch what we want practically being handed to everyone else.  I know you check your email daily, if not multiple times daily, praying for that one email that could change it all.  For the one call that could be the open door to a child.  I know you cry when your best friend tells you she is pregnant for the third time, and that even though you know others who suffer with infertility and sterility fight hard for their pregnancies and adoption placements, it stings.  I know some nights the pain digs into your fingertips and I’m so sorry.  I am.  My heart is aching for those of you reading this that find yourselves in the position my husband and I are in.  I want to hug you and buy you some chocolate and have a cuddle part on my kind size bed while watching, ‘Pitch Perfect.’  I want you to find your babies so your hearts can be healed.

We aren’t built to give up.  Our physical and spiritual make up doesn’t know the meanings of the word.  I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve told the universe that I’m done, and that I don’t plan on moving forward anymore.  However, the next day, without fail, I keep going.  Something deep inside me, that place of fire and steal, rises up and pushes me forward.

We need to push forward.

You may not want to, or you may think, “What’s the point?”

Our babies are the point.  They are out there.  They have to be.  This all isn’t for nothing.  These crappy feelings, impossible fire hoops, and years of longing can’t be for nothing.  That’s not the way it works.

If you are having a hard time finding your fire, call me, text me, email me.  I will help you find it.  At three in the morning when you just can’t, I will tell you why you just can.  The adoption community is full of love and support, so use it.  These journeys are our own, but we need others to get us to the finish line.

I know this isn’t the best, most mind blowing advice ever.  These are words from an infertility survivor and a humble adoptive mom who wants nothing more for her family to grow and her son to have a sibling.  These are words from my heart to you, prayerfully thought out and tenderly written.  My deepest hope is that you will find the strength, the faith, and the hope to tell these trials, “I dare you.  I dare you to come at me.”

Show me your fire.

1 comment:

  1. Kenna, you brilliant mother. What a rallying war cry! This spoke to me deep. I need every article of clothing/jewelry possible that says "show me your fire."