Join Us in Praying the St. Anne Novena

I posted this on my personal Facebook page this morning, but wanted to post it here as well, for  those of you who don’t follow me there.

From Facebook:

The Novena to St. Anne starts today and concludes on July 25, which is the day before the Feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim and the day that Toby is scheduled to arrive (via c-section). Chris and I will be praying this novena for his safe and healthy delivery, peace for his parents, and sanity for us (okay, really me, Chris is in no danger of losing his sanity). We would love for as many of our friends as possible to join us in this.
 
For those of you not familiar with St. Anne and St. Joachim, tradition tells us that these are the names of Mary’s parents (and Jesus’ grandparents). The couple struggled with infertility through the whole of their marriage, until finally, after many years of prayer, God blessed them in their old age with a very special daughter: Mary.
 
Knowing this, Chris and I have sought St. Anne’s special intercession since the beginning of our marriage. On our honeymoon, we made a pilgrimage to St. Anne’s beautiful shrine in Quebec, to pray for the gift of a child, and we have prayed this Novena together, for the same intention, many times. We also are blessed to have a small third-class relic of St. Anne (sent by a kind reader of the blog) next to our bedside, and a beautiful statue of her and the Blessed Mother in our bedroom. Both devotional items have brought me so much comfort over these past two years, perpetually reminding me that I have a friend in heaven who has walked this same, hard path. I believe St. Anne has been a faithful prayer warrior for us throughout our marriage, and I trust she’s going to keep up those prayers during these final days of waiting.
 
Thank you for all the prayers offered up on behalf of Toby, his parents, and us. I can’t even imagine where we would be without them.
 
Here is the link to the novena for those of you who missed it above: https://www.praymorenovenas.com/st-anne-novena

 

Approaching Our Journey’s End: The Complicated Joy and Tragic Gift of Adoption

This past Friday, I spent hours and hours online, reading stories about failed adoptions. I did the same thing Thursday. And I’m fighting the temptation to do the same today.

I know. I have issues.

In my defense though, I am part Irish. It’s in my blood to expect the worst…or, as I call it, to be “extra realistic.” Besides that, this whole adoption process has been so fraught with problems, from first to last, that expecting these remaining days to be anything less than traumatic seems foolish.

Friends and family, trying to be helpful, keep telling me to relax, to put it in God’s hands, and trust that it’s going to be all right. But human hearts don’t trust on command. If they did, I assure you, mine would be trusting right now. I order it to trust God daily, explaining to my heart how loving and merciful He is, and how He is working with the mess we’ve handed Him to bring about the eternal good of everyone involved in this adoption.

But my heart can’t hear those explanations. It’s too busy flipping and flopping about in my stomach—anxious, distracted and overwhelmed—to really listen to what my head is telling it.

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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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The House: Week 1

If, anytime in the next eight months, you find yourself wondering, “Where is Emily? Why is she such a slack, good for nothing, lazy blogger?”, just think of this.

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Or this…

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Or this:

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Welcome to our new home: a 3,000 square foot, 1890 Victorian/early Arts and Crafts Four Square, in Crafton, PA. Once the lovely summer home of a well-to-do Pittsburgher, it was turned into an up-down duplex sometime in the 1940s (we think). Lots and lots of remuddling went on then. More remuddling went on in the years that followed. Now, it’s ours. Yay.

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The Catholic Table’s Guide to a Guilt-Free Thanksgiving, Part 1

Despite the fact that most of my kitchen is currently packed away in about 464 different boxes, I’m still planning on cooking this Thursday. Not the whole shebang, mind you. Just some of the shebang: sausage and apple stuffing, creamy garlic mashed potatoes, and winter spiced cranberry chutney.

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I’ll then tote those delights over to my mother-in-law’s house, where the rest of the shebang is being cooked. These are some of my favorite dishes I cook all year, and I’m not letting some pain-in-the-rear move keep me from happiness.

Moves, however, aren’t the thing keeping many a person from happiness at Thanksgiving. For many of us, it’s guilt…and anxiety..and poorly cooked Brussels sprouts. The devil is always at work, and he loves to turn what’s supposed to be a merry feast into an occasion for sin and fear.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It is possible to navigate both seasons of feasting and seasons of fasting with peace, freedom, and ample amounts of tasty treats.

In Chapter 9 of The Catholic Table: Finding Joy Where Food and Faith Meet, I talk about how I do that. Here’s a small “taste” of my thoughts on the subject. Continue reading

How I Do Advent: Extreme Entertaining

Once upon a time, I had visions of Advent activities dancing through my head— visions of Jesse Trees, sweet little wreaths hung from dining room chandeliers, and rows of tiny shoes left out by the fireside for Saint Nicholas to fill. Those visions, however, went hand in hand with visions of a house overflowing with babies. Since the latter visions haven’t come to pass, neither have the former.

As most single Catholic woman will tell you, come Advent, it’s easy to feel left out in the cold. So many of the Church’s loveliest traditions for the domestic church are traditions best enjoyed in the company of children. Or at least another person. So, what’s a liturgically minded gal to do?

Borrow other people’s children, of course.

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