Whitmer Adoption Story: A Guest Post

This is a really special guest post today. Not only is her name Tara, she is a THOGL adoptive mommy, AND we brought our girls home within weeks of each other. We helped keep each other sane over the incredibly long and painful wait. I had the pleasure of snuggling her daughter while we were bringing home ours. Please read and enjoy! 

 

         “It must not be God’s will.”

“I got pregnant with my husband just looking at me.”  Newly infertile,    I’d just give a courteous smile and nod.  12 years later…I’d reply with “No, I have zero doubt God wants me to be a momma.”

“Well, Jason and I have been doing much more than looking at each other.”  I wouldn’t ask for advice, but sure seemed to get it.  I became bitter.  Well, I’ll be honest.  I became MAD.

I’d preach at myself.  Tara, you have an awesome husband.  You both have awesome jobs and make great money.  You travel to Mexico   whenever you want.  You have a summer house on the lake.  You are healthy.  You have a close-knit, healthy, fun, and supportive family.  God has blessed you in numerous ways.  Is it not enough?  I’d fake it, put on my bright smile, and play the game.  Truth was – no – it wasn’t enough.  My self-sermons were only buying time; getting me through weekend to weekend.

(Stick with me.  I get positive.  I’m very honest and need to tell the whole truth.)

Jason and I were high school friends, friends only.  We reconnected in 1999.  Timing was perfect in our reconnection.  (We’d have never made it in high school.  I was older.  I liked more of the bad boys.  I was ignorant, actually. )  He says he never thought he could get me.  I say I’m sure glad he tried 10 years later.  It was love.  I know that sounds like a cliché, but it really was.  I couldn’t get close enough to him.  I still can’t.  He skipped a lot of work to be with me.  We married 5 months later.  We celebrated year 13 in August.

After we celebrated our 1 year anniversary, we were ready to start a family.  I was already 26 and wanted 2-3 kids, so we started trying to get pregnant.  We weren’t tense.  We weren’t counting days or propping up on a pillow after sex. We were loving each other.  We made a baby.   I carried our first baby for 3 months.  We had the ultrasound picture on the fridge

.  We had the heartbeat as our answering machine recording.  Getting excited, we knew that we would hear boy/girl soon.  Then, I started bleeding.  It scared me some.  I didn’t get too alarmed, at first.  Doctor said to come on in.  Ultrasound showed no heartbeat.  Jason swears he will never forget my face.  Momma said she will never forget Jason’s.  I know we never got to hold and kiss on that baby, but we loved that baby.  I had a D & C that night.  (Jason still believes the D & C messed something up inside of me.) “I’m sorry sweetie.  There is no heartbeat.”  My heartbeat stopped, too.

We tried for several more years.  Now scheduling sex.  Counting.  Planning.  Propping.  We started Chlomid.  Ovulation Kits.  Baby Aspirin.  You name it, we tried it.  Doctor did several tests and exploratory surgeries that showed I was completely “normal”.   I was once labeled as “perfect”.  If someone mentioned another doctor “who could get a cactus pregnant”, I was there.  I drove an hour for weekly acupuncture treatments.  I went to an Amish doctor who told me I’ve had many miscarriages.  I begged God.  I’d breakdown when starting my period…every month for years.

We moved on to a big, out-of-state fertility clinic.  Several intrauterine inseminations – no baby.  More meds and testing.  Normal!  Normal!  Normal!  I would roll my eyes when I’d hear normal.  I was ready to find a problem to solve.  We then moved on to the big daddy of fertility…Invitro Fertilization.  Jason gave me several shots a day.  I was crazy emotional.  This wasn’t covered by our insurance and cost us $15,000.  (We finally paid it off last year.)  They implanted 3 embryos.  I was on 2 weeks of bed rest – bigger shots.  I got a positive pregnancy test.  I remember shouting.  Jason was home with me.  We cried and cried.  I miscarried weeks later.  Heartbroken…again.  Actually, heartbroken doesn’t describe it.  Just broken…

A lightbulb came on.  I’m hit and miss praying.  I’m hit and miss going to church.  The only Bible reading I’ve really done was our Bible study at church.  I was trying to control it all.  I’m a “manager” in so many ways.  I’ve taught elementary for 16 years.  Being a manager, aka control freak, is part of the job.  I prayed only when I wanted something.  I was slacking.  I was miserable.

     ———————

Tears welled-up staring at the University of Kentucky baby tshirt I’d bought years ago.  I sat down on the bed and cried.   It is time to shift gears, Tara.  After many fertility treatments, procedures, miscarriages, money washed down the drain and much anxiety, I had to move on in my thinking.  I tried to focus on OUR plan being different from other peoples’ plans.  I MUST stop crying when I see that lady at school, pregnant with her 5th, and the other 4 are not loved and taken care of.   I must stop getting mad seeing that former student of mine pregnant and without hope. God Help Me.  (He was helping the entire time.  He knew.  My lesson was still being learned. )

We signed up for a meeting with our Foster Care system.  We listened, but didn’t feel led in this direction. “It is our goal to put children back with biological families.” wasn’t easy to hear.  I thought, Blood isn’t always thicker than water. At that point, I couldn’t take more loss.  Heads hanging and discouraged, we left that meeting.  (Although now, Foster Care idea creeps back in.  God trying to tell me something about my future?)

We found All Blessings International Adoption Company and scheduled a meeting.  They were wonderful, sweet, Christian people.  Nepal was a good fit. “Sign us up!”  Home visits, fingerprints, background checks.  Bitterness would creep in sometimes… That meth-addicted lady has been able to “incubate” another precious baby???  Who will mother her 3rd baby?  Grandparents –again?  She doesn’t have to have a background check!  But, we were approved and the #20 family in line for a baby girl from Nepal.  I wore my “Wanted in Nepal” sweatshirt proudly.  Researched.  Prayed.  Planned. Fundraised.

Talking about fundraising.  My Muhlenberg County, Kentucky community pulled together!  We sold Harley Davidson Raffle Tickets.  We smoked and sold Christmas meats. A Yardsale.  A Zumbathon was held.  A Gold Rush.  My small, country town united.  I loved my people.  I love them even more now.

Teaching one day I got a heart-breaking email.  US had closed Nepal adoptions.  Again, my heartbeat stopped.  (Some illegal stuff was going on there.)  I wasn’t even worried about lost money.  I was just worried…and broken AGAIN. Another teacher came to my class. She sent me home and covered my room for the rest of the day.  My best friend showed up with a bottle of wine.  I licked my wounds.  Jason was wounded.  Back to square one, we kept living day by day, praying, hoping.  Tara, your life is pretty fantastic!  Isn’t it enough?  It should be.

Jason’s aunt told us about “The Home of God’s Love” originally.  I’d emailed months before, but they weren’t accepting new families.  I forgot about it.  (Defense mechanism I used to protect myself along this roller-coaster…I’ve learned.)  But, in July, our social worker called me telling me they are reopening.  The next day, I emailed and forwarded our homestudy!  Is this it?  God leading us here?  More fingerprints, paperwork, homestudy. We got on the official waiting list September 11.  We were cheesing, shaking in the knees, sick, journaling in our “Adopt Taiwan” journal, biting our nails, ON our knees.  I caught myself pulling on the reins when I got too excited.  (Defense mechanism)

Monday, November 7, 2011…what a day!  I’d taken a personal day.  My sister was home from Atlanta.  We were going to spend the day together & shop.  (God had this special day planned.  I took a personal day.  My sister was home.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.) Proverbs 25:25 “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”  Boy!  Was it!  The phone rang early and it was Ted Skiles on the other end.  What we felt that day, we cannot put into words.  She was perfect.  An 8 day old baby girl, born on Halloween!  We fell in love.  Fell to our knees.  My sister came down as I opened pictures.  I loud-cried, lost it.  So grateful she was here.  Little did we know we’d be “officially shopping” for Rossi Quinn Whitmer that day! Family and friends gathered w/ cake, champagne, balloons, gifts.  I was bubbling over and ready to pack my bags and go alone.  Glory to God!

Time passed.  Felt like years. Hourly, I’d slide that iPhone button over and hold my breath.   Madwoman checking her email again!  Phone literally “slept” beside me.  There was process, paperwork, Taiwan court…  Kept telling myself, She is loved Tara.  She’s well-taken care of.  You get pictures and updates monthly. She has blankets and stuffed animals that we’ve slept with for smells.  She has 2 books with our voices and pictures.  But, we needed HER smell, her touch.  Months went by.  I literally fell to my knees in a teachers’ meeting when I got the email to come on.  The teachers ordered cakes.  Cried with me. (I’m telling you, this small Kentucky town is really something!)

Ready to put our hands on our daughter, we loaded the plane in Nashville.  19 hours – no problem!  We got there early, opened front door of orphanage (trembling, praying, smiling, crying), and there she was, sitting on their kitchen table!!!  We’d never seen anything so beautiful. I hugged her immediately.  Her hair was so thick and soft. Cradling my hands around her head, She’s so much smaller in person.  Her almond eyes looking up at me swelled my heart.  That smile and those full lips were perfection.  Momma and Daddy were in love.  We’d just stare at her and then smile at each other.  Pinch me!  She’s in my arms!  At first, she was scared.  Wasn’t long, she was smiling and giggling.  Holding her, I just couldn’t get enough of it.  Her night nanny smiled and said, “I love it when these babies can just get held for no reason at all!”  I planned to hold her forever! Our little Wildcat is OURS!  OURS!!!! Let’s take her to Kentucky!

And we did.  Family picked us up at the airport full of excitement, hugs, and tears.  “There she is!!!” squealed as we walked out of the terminal.  My sis-n-law was scolded by security for getting too close.  Our caravan of love headed home.  Muhlenberg County was full of excitement.  They surprised us with our Sherriff leading a parade.  I’m thinking, Oh My!  This CAN’T be happening.  Off the exit and along the few miles home were loved ones.  People jumping up and down.  Rossi signs seemed to jump, too.  Plum bows tied to signs and trees.  Our house was painted with loving posters and plum bows. Rossi even made a billboard in Central City! Muhlenberg County had gripped onto this 12 year, heartbreak roller-coaster with us.  Now, they celebrated God’s Plan with us.  I’m so grateful.  I’m just so grateful.  Rossi’s Plum Tree was the centerpiece for our family picture.  We put her feet in the Bluegrass.  Momma carried her… answered prayer, daddy’s little Wildcat, her DAUGHTER in her new “Home” that is also filled with “God’s Love”.

I could type another 2000 word essay just on our Rossi. (OK – 2,000,000 word essay)  How I cry many times just holding her.  I thank God daily.  His timing was perfect.  From the November 7 phone call to us being in a position where momma gets to stay home from work and love/raise our miracle.

Our forever gratitude to God and The Home of God’s Love Orphanage in Taiwan…  I could type another story about this place.  Selfless, God-serving people who dedicate their lives to the parentless children of Taiwan.  Words honestly can’t tell you how God moves there and how we were moved by being there.  Prayers Always to you HOGL! www.thehomeofgodslove.org

Again – Thank you to Muhlenberg County Kentuckians!

http://whitmeradoption.blogspot.com/ for more of our journey.

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