A few (very few) thoughts on suffering and beauty and rest

The house is quiet today. And peaceful. The windows are open. The curtains are blowing. And some sweet smell from some flowering bush is filling the house. I don’t know my plants well enough to name genus and species. Just sweetness.

The contractors will be back tomorrow to finish up some odds and ends in the bathroom, then back again in June to do a little more to the fireplaces and build a couple of shelves for baby things. There is a bit of painting to do inside. A bit more outside. There are flowers to plant, grass to seed, some deep ruts in the yard, left by large trucks, to fill. And of course, curtains and pictures to hang. But the house is, nevertheless, by and large, done.

And it’s lovely. It’s whole. It’s what it was always supposed to be: a home, filled with life and light and the hope for days to come. Continue reading

Discerning Adoption, Part III: It Costs What??!!

Today we’re tackling the third and final (for now) installment in my series about our adoption process: $$$$$$$$. If you need to catch up, here is Part 1 (Discerning Adoption)  and Part 2 (Picking a Path).

How Much Does It Cost?

As I mentioned yesterday, the current average cost of private domestic infant adoption is about $40,000. Let that number sink in for a minute. $40,000.

Adopting through foster care is practically free. Adopting children with special needs is likewise considerably less. And around the country, a few small local agencies manage to keep costs low(ish). But, beyond that, adopting most everywhere else, in 2018, costs more than I earned annually for the first 14 years of my adult life.

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Called to Adoption: Part II, Picking a Path

This is Part Two in a three-part series on our discernment of adoption and the process we’re currently in. Yesterday, we covered our initial discernment. Today, I’m talking about the path we finally chose.

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By November of last year, I was feeling desperate. I so badly wanted to begin the process of adopting a baby, but, A) Neither our house nor our finances were in any way ready, and B) It seemed like every avenue we’d investigated was closed to us. Let’s review:

  1. Local Traditional Agencies: Too old;
  2. International Adoption: Too old, too long a wait, only older children  available;
  3. Foster Care: Only older children available, too emotionally draining after 20 months of dealing with infertility, house couldn’t pass a foster care home study in any way, shape, or form.

Fortunately, I have a lot of awesome Facebook friends.

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Called to Adopt: Part I, Discerning Adoption

Over the past several weeks, I’ve received a steady stream of emails and phone calls asking how Chris and I discerned that we wanted to pursue adoption, as well as how we decided upon the particular type of adoption we’re doing. I don’t want to turn “The Catholic Table” into “The Catholic Adoption,” but because I don’t think these emails are going to stop coming, I decided to answer those questions on the blog—not just for those writing and asking, but also for those of you who want to better understand the process of adoption.**

In order to keep this post from becoming book length, however, I’m going to break it up into three parts, which I’ll post over the next three days. On today’s docket: How we discerned adoption and began discerning what kind of adoption we wanted to pursue.

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The Power of a Name

Six weeks ago, a wonderful adoption attorney named Colette emailed me. “Emily, I’m going to give you a call today or tomorrow regarding the adoption situation attached.”

I looked at the situation, and dismissed it on the spot. We had no profile book yet, no home study done. We had talked to this lawyer a month before, and liked her lots (a friend recommended her), but we didn’t think we were ready to move forward. It wasn’t part of the plan. Besides, I reasoned, there had to be 1000 other prospective parents lined up for this baby. This couldn’t really be a serious option for us.

But, for reasons known only to God, I dropped every pressing deadline I had, and spent the next 12 hours putting together an adoption profile book.

The next night, we were having dinner with friends, when my phone rang. I never answer my phone when I’m with friends. I love ignoring my phone. But I looked at it. Colette. I had to take it.

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One Year Later: An Update…Of Sorts

If there were a contest for laziest Catholic blogger, I’m pretty sure I’d win. It’s been so, so long since my last update, and so, so much has happened, that I’m at a bit of a loss about where to begin.

Probably the best place is with a word of thanks to all of you who offered such kind words of consolation after I wrote about our struggle with infertility and who have been praying for us ever since. At first, I tried so hard to thank everyone individually, but eventually I just got too overwhelmed, by the sheer volume of comments and messages and by life in general, which, if it’s been anything this past year, has indeed been overwhelming.

As some of you know, I’m currently under contract with Emmaus Road to write a book about the house renovations (working title is Don’t Paint the Subway Tile! Lessons in Love, Sin, Gin, and Grace from a Real-Life Fixer Upper). I’ll be starting on it in just a couple weeks, so thoughts about what I want to say are filling up my head. I have lots of those thoughts, but so few are what I had in mind when I originally came up with the book.

Don’t worry, though; the gin recipes haven’t gone anywhere. They’ll still play a supporting role in the book…even a starring role in some parts.

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Rachel, Hannah, and Me: Our “Great Anxiety and Frustration”

Apologies in advance for no house photos or renovation update. The house and I are at war today, and I don’t feel particularly keen on showing it off. What I feel like is burning it down.

I also feel like a fool.

Ever since Chris and I got engaged, I’ve been asking for people to pray for us to have a baby. Yes, I was 40 when we got engaged. Yes, I was 41 when we got married. Yes, I’m 42 now. But the fertility doctor I’ve been seeing this whole time (a NaPro surgeon for those tempted to suggest NaPro to me) has continued to assure me that all those things fertility doctors look for—hormones, cycle regularity, ovarian reserve—look great. I should be fine. No reason to think about my age. No reason to worry. Plenty of time for babies.

But, here we are, 14 months later, with every month feeling like a year, and still no babies on the horizon. And although I keep asking people for prayers, I am, again, starting to feel like a fool when I do that…and an old fool at that.

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Renovation Lessons: God is God, I am not.

Greetings from the land of dust, fumes, and noise. It’s been a while. I know. I’m sorry. It’s been a rough few months, though, filled with delays, setbacks, and unexpected problems (and lots of writing to pay for those unexpected problems). I haven’t blogged about it all because I figured you people have better things to do than listen to me whine. Today, though, in celebration of our mantles and bookcases getting installed and the picture rail going up, I thought I would do some whining with a theological point (and a few progress pictures, thrown in for good measure).

For starters: The Mantles (still in need of finishing trim, but in place at long last).

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Dining In the Time of Dry Wall Dust

They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. If, however, you want to make Him do more than laugh, if you want to make Him double over and fall down on the floor in stitches, write a book.

In it, be wise. So very wise. Combine the writings of the saints and Scripture with practical examples and tips from your own life about how you personally Do The Wise Thing.

Admit, ever so humbly, that you don’t always follow your own advice. But give the advice just the same.

Before the book is even off the presses, God will be in hysterics. And you will find yourself nearly incapable of following a single word of your own advice.

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Day Drinking In the Rubble

Living through a major renovation teaches you all sorts of things about yourself.

For example, spending day after day, working and planning, eating and drinking, talking and resting in the same shadowy 450 square foot space, unable to invite anyone over for dinner or even a drink, has taught me that I would make the world’s most crashingly awful hermit. If I tried really, really hard, I might last three days—three dreary, miserable days that would inevitably end with me being kicked out of the hermit club, and all the other hermits cheering with glee since I’d spent those three days repeatedly breaking out of my hermitage and sneaking into theirs because I wanted a chat…and variety…and space.

Self-knowledge: I am a women who needs lebensraum. The lack of it makes me a little tick-tick.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for someone to keep you company in a bombed out, post-apocalyptic shell of a building, I am your girl.

Despite my love for beauty, order, and floors that don’t have 4’ x 8’ holes in them, I have discovered that I have a surprisingly high tolerance level for filth…and rubble…and 4’ x 8’ holes.

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