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Wasteful love.

We are officially over halfway done with foster care training.  We’ve hit the part where I’m checking batteries in smoke detectors, double locking medicines and posting fire escape plans in preparation of our upcoming home visit studies.  Paul is excited.

I am sometimes excited, sometimes scared.

Before the fabulous five came into my life, I knew I would never adopt a child.  I never said it out loud, because it seemed politically incorrect, but I just didn’t think I was capable of loving a non-biological child in the same way I would love a biological child that shared my bloodline.  I just didn’t think I could do it.

But then MacKenzie came.  And Aviean.  And Angelina, Juliana and Olivia.  And suddenly, I learned a truth about myself: I could (and did) love each of those children as if I had given birth to them myself.  It was the most amazing, shocking lesson of my life.  Here was this thing I thought I was incapable of — and now it seemed like the easiest thing in the world.  I fell in love with them without trying; it was truly that easy.

When I started fostering, I thought it wouldn’t happen again.  This will be different, I told myself.  It will be harder this time, I thought.  And it was harder, but the result was the same: I did love those children as if they were mine.  I remember the day I got the call that Miss Seventeen’s biological parents’ rights had been terminated.  One of the very first thoughts that went through my head was “I need to open a bank account and start saving for her wedding one day.”

So why am I so scared that this time will be different?  Why am I afraid that this child, number nine to sleep under my roof, will be the one that I find myself unable to bond with?

I think it is because, in a way, I feel like fostering is saying that I’m giving up on having a biological child.  And I am not ready to give up.

I’m just not.  Even though I know that I can love a non-biological child in the same way I can love a biological child, I still want to have a biological child.  I want to be pregnant.  I want to have morning sickness.  I want to see a heartbeat on an ultrasound.  I want to go into labor.  I want my family to hurry to the hospital.  I want my mother to show me how to give a baby a bath.  I want my father to triple check that the car seat is installed correctly.  I want to see if the baby has Paul’s hair color.  I want a child that I get to name.

When I was younger, I would worry about never getting married.  But I have never worried about never being a mother because I have just always known that, somehow, I would be a mother one day.  My doctor says there is no reason to give up hope yet.  We think we know the problems and maybe how to fix them.

And so I keep saving money for another round of injections and procedures.

And try not to be envious of people who can try for a child each month without needing thousands of dollars for one solitary shot at a child.

And attempt to keep from berating myself for being overweight (that isn’t the only problem in our infertility roster, but it is the only problem that is my personal fault, which makes me feel guilty).

And, above all, I keep reminding myself that it is okay to love a child again.  It is okay if this child returns to their biological parents.  It is okay if I cry when it happens.  It is okay if I still mourn for the children who used to stay with me.  It is okay to still dream of having a biological child while taking care of someone else’s child while they are unable or unwilling to do it themselves.  It is okay to pour out my love on a child, even if it ends up looking like that love went to waste.

Because love can never be wasted on a child.  Never.

“It’s easy to love cautiously.

It’s easy to show expressions of love that are safe and kept within restrained boundaries.

But loving wastefully always involves risk — there’s the risk that the loving deed might, in fact, be wasted.

Yet is it not in loving wastefully that we display the inexhaustible love of God?”

- Spotting the Sacred



Comment from Laura
Time: February 1, 2014, 12:00 am

Amy Beth, I loved every part of this post except one: the part where you said that being overweight is your fault. As though it is some kind of personal failing. I know people often treat it that way, but it’s a lot more complicated than that. Feeling responsible for it doesn’t help, and it really isn’t true. Think of all the hard things you’ve done – the things that other people are amazed you could do. Are you a person with no will power? Are you lazy? Not even close. Please, PLEASE don’t go to bed at night thinking you have yourself to blame for even a tiny part of your infertility journey.

That being said, it helps to create hope if you can see any part of your situation as under your control, and I don’t mean to take that away from you. I know you’re probably doing everything you can to work on it, and I believe in you!

Comment from Carmen
Time: February 1, 2014, 7:41 pm

Amy Beth, the fact that you are blogging again makes me happier than you could know. I TOTALLY agree with what the commenter said about being overweight. Otherwise, this post was beautiful and ANY children who get to be in your life are ridiculously lucky.

Comment from Carmen
Time: February 1, 2014, 7:57 pm

Forgot to say, I am praying you get pregnant soon!

Comment from Taryn
Time: February 1, 2014, 9:07 pm

OOOhhh I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you. I have a cousin whose sister in law tried forever to have a child of her own with her husband. Thousands of dollars, treatments, in vitro, everything you name it. Nothing worked. During all of that time she explored adopting. They ended up adopting a beautiful baby girl from China. Of course that was a long process. They finally get to China to get their sweet girl and they bring her back to the US and … surprise… she got pregnant! With no help. With no medicines. And it was a shock. I can’t wait to see how this plays out for you guys. I’m sure the Lord has something very special up his sleeve for you. <3

Comment from Honour Annekins Harris
Time: February 2, 2014, 10:03 am

This so confirms what God has been speaking to me, that love=risk. Love you, AB! You’ve been such a good mom in the past and you will be again.

Comment from Tracy Marlow
Time: February 3, 2014, 1:43 pm

I am so happy that you’re posting again. Praying that God blesses you with a baby.

Comment from bessie.viola
Time: February 5, 2014, 4:57 pm

You have such a beautiful heart. You have been such a wonderful mom in the past, opening your heart and home – I know that you will be again, whatever the risk. I am so grateful that these children have known you as their “safe place” – and really, from the bottom of my heart, that’s what I believe a mom is. A safe place to start from, to go back to.

I will keep you in my prayers as you continue on this new journey.

Comment from Christy T.
Time: February 8, 2014, 10:57 pm

We exchanged emails a while back – I did the Snowflake embryo adoption? Child one is a snowflake baby, child two is miraculously our baby, and we just tried another FET with some of our remaining embryos yesterday (I hear you on the $$$$). I wanted to share something meaningful that a guy name Michael Ramsden (British!) shared right around the time we found out we were pregnant on our own. He was talking about Zechariah and Elizabeth and the pregnancy/birth of John the Baptist just ahead of Jesus’ birth. He pointed to God’s faithfulness to hear (and answer) Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers that they’d prayed for so long to have a baby… Fervent prayers, the type that make you wrestle with God about why He hasn’t answered, the type of prayers that had probably tapered off as they got older and the possibility seemed so far-fetched. I’d have to admit that’s where I was. I loved my first baby, but deep down I always (super selfishly) wanted to see myself or my husband in a baby of our own. I sort of resigned that hope over to God. I’d certainly continued to pray that God would build our family how He saw fit, but had never really once considered that He’d faithfully answer those prayers for pregnancy from years ago that I’d even stopped praying. Our family is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and I hope that you find encouragement for what’s going on in your life right now. He hears, He’s faithful, and He always has our best in mind even when we don’t understand. Your story will look totally different then mine, but it will be a story of His faithfulness. Will continue to pray.

Comment from Holly Moran
Time: February 11, 2014, 9:17 am

I’m so sorry. I know it’s all so frustrating. Praying for God to answer your prayers and give you the desires of your heart. You will no doubt be a fantastic mother! Do not give up on your dream of a biological child!! Praying for wisdom for your Doctor’s as well…

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