|Mark, Kate, Lydia, and Eli Demien
Photo Credit: Rebecca Reale
Thanks for stopping by today!
I have been so excited to tell you the newest addition to the Blog….Friday Guest Features!
We, by far, are not the only ones going from Type A to Plan B. If fact, I think we all can relate. Right? Think back to 16. Does your life look at all like you thought? Reminds me of that Garth Brooks song: Unanswered Prayers. There is a line that says, “some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.” I am so glad some of my dreams fell on the cutting room floor.
Anyway, it didn’t take me long to realize as I started blogging more, that I am surrounded by people that are not just surviving this “new normal” but actually thriving. Many of them are not bloggers. They are just humble, beautiful people that happen to sit on my couch once in awhile. So, you know me, I just had to see if they would share! Nothing like gently nudging friends out of their comfort zones! Ha! So, at least once a month when you stop by, you may find one of these wonderful friends sitting next to you on the couch. My hope is that their story will encourage you in your own Plan B.
First up is my dear friend, Kate! She has graced my couch more than I can count. I love learning from her. She is a great mixture of humor and wisdom, listener and story teller, and loyal until the sun comes up. She’s not afraid of telling you the truth or licking your child’s germs. She is the woman you always pick first for your team, no matter what game of life you are playing, because you know you have a better chance of winning when she is next to you. And, she happens to be gracefully navigating her journey with two open adoptions.
So this week, meet Kate!
5 years ago, my husband Mark & I shared the stage at Immanuel Church along with 4 other couples to discuss something we all were wrestling with….PAIN. More specifically…Where is God in the midst of life’s biggest storms? The Boyce’s had just recently received Jayden & Brooklyn’s diagnosis and just days prior, Mark & I had our 5th miscarriage in a row. We all were so vulnerable… so raw.
I’ll never forget one of the worship songs that Sunday, “Savior.” “You’re my Savior, Restorer, Rebuilder, Rewarder. My Refuge, Redeemer, Defender, My Healer…Savior. I stood there singing those words with tears in my eyes, feeling like God was so far away.
So much has happened since that day and it’s my pleasure to give you an honest snapshot of our adoption story. Thanks Stef for the opportunity to share!
After a few years of marriage, Mark & I wanted to start our family. We started with a plant, then got a dog and soon after felt ready to join the “kid club” like many of our friends.
That desire marked the beginning of a journey that brought Mark & I to our knees. Over the next 4 years we had a total of 7 miscarriages. We went to 3 different fertility specialists and endured countless tests, trying to determine what was causing each pregnancy to abruptly end after weeks of positive blood draws and increased hormone levels. All of the testing came back normal. No doctor could give us a reason why, which made those years even harder to understand.
Finally we were referred to a Reproductive Immunologist that specialized in recurring pregnancy loss and found out that I have a rare chromosomal mutation that causes my body to attack a fetus like a foreign entity. After learning how much money and drugs it would take to help me sustain a pregnancy full term, we began looking at all our options, adoption being one of them.
At that time, adoption seemed like a last resort, it meant I failed. With each passing miscarriage I felt like we were getting closer and closer to “having to adopt” and that scared me. Ultimately, God had to bring us through a journey to open our hearts to His plan…the best plan.
We began our adoption journey in early 2011 having grieved, and ultimately accepted, that we would never have biological children. After years of trying to force a square peg in a round hole, I waved my white flag and was ready for whatever God had in store. And surprisingly, I was relieved, because I was finally in a place of complete surrender.
After mounds of paperwork, hours of training classes and one failed adoption, we were finally matched with Lindsey. She was 7 months pregnant, carrying a baby girl.
BUT…she wanted an OPEN adoption. Uh oh…how open? What will that look like? Will this baby girl be confused and think she has 2 moms? Will she regret her decision and try to get the baby back? Will she just show up at my door unannounced?
Everything changed when we stopped saying SHE and started saying LINDSEY. She was a real person, going through the most difficult thing imaginable and God said…WILL YOU LOVE HER?
After giving birth, Lindsey questioned her decision and she struggled for weeks with her options. It was a scary time but Mark & I knew our role, we needed to keep loving her. Lindsey appeared in court and terminated her parental rights to Lydia on February 10, 2014 and in doing so made us parents. It was the happiest day of our lives, but knowing it was the worst day of Lindsey’s life made it bittersweet.
God answered our prayer a second time by sending us Samie through a long time relationship with my best friend Kathrina’s mom. On a beautiful day in May, Kathrina & I, along with Lindsey, drove to meet Samie and her mother to discuss open adoption. Lindsey was a rockstar, telling Samie how wonderful we really were and if she did choose adoption for her son, it would be the best decision she could ever make for not only him, but for herself too.
Samie choose adoption to protect her son from an abusive birthfather and to give him the life he deserved. I was able to be in the delivery room when Eli was born. It was a gift witnessing those first moments of new life. It is something I will never forget. Samie terminated her parental rights to Eli on July 24, 2014 and in doing so completed our family.
Eli Paul Demien was born June 28, 2014 weighing 7 lbs. and 18 in. long! Photo Credit: Rebecca Reale
Are we blessed beyond measure because of open adoption? Yes. But it doesn’t come without its share of ongoing challenges that continually remind me of those fears I had in the beginning.
Maintaining relationships with two very different birth moms can be complicated. Why? I’m no expert but I’d say it stems from grief. Some grieve privately and some grieve publicly. Placing a baby for adoption is traumatic. No two stories are the same. My job is to love these young woman and point them to Christ. Some days are just challenging. But with healthy boundaries and trusting God’s will, it’s worth it.
Today I am so proud to say I’m an adoptive mother of 2 beautiful kids, both in open adoptions with their birthmothers who I communicate with often and we see several times a year. Our visits are sacred time spent making memories my kids can look back on and KNOW they are loved by so many.
God choose OPEN ADOPTION for my family and has equipped Mark & I to thrive in it! It went from being my biggest fear to my passion. My plan B to God’s best for me.
A couple Sundays ago Mark got a text from his mom that read, “5 years ago today you & Kate spoke on stage at church about your miscarriages” and guess what worship song was playing when he read that text?
Thanks, Kate for sharing! We all are so honored to get a snapshot of your journey. I know I have learned a lot about open adoption, and what a beautiful opportunity it can be for families!
Friends, thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to share Kate’s journey with your friends! Who knows who needs to read this today!