Adoption: My Daughter Michaela Asking for Support :)

Here is the latest video of our daughter Michaela asking people to help us with our adoption fundraiser. The adoption process is arduous and largely broken. It is prohibitively expensive, but we are pushing forward trusting in God since we believe He is calling us on this adventure of joy after so much loss and grief. Our daughter has wanted a sibling here on earth for a long time. She has only known loss and the death of her two sisters and two brothers in miscarriage.  She now waits patiently, and not so patiently, as we go through the adoption process. We hope and pray that you will prayerfully consider helping us on the journey. No gift is too small and we are deeply–beyond words–grateful to each person who donates and shares our fundraiser on social media or with friends and family. You can find our fundraiser here: https://www.youcaring.com/constanceandphilhulladoptionfund-680004

May God bless you always. Pax.

 

God Calls Us to an Adoption Adventure

Quite unexpectedly in the midst of our grief, God has placed us on the path to adoption. It started as a providential meeting between myself and another woman in our local pro-life movement and it ended up being a call for my husband and me. A woman who is in her second trimester was considering an abortion and she needed people to minister to her. The main woman helping her asked me if my husband and I would consider adopting her baby if the chance presented itself. She had seen my sign praying in front of our local abortion clinic that shared my 4 miscarriages. My husband and I replied with an emphatic yes. In that yes, we realized that adoption, regardless of the outcome of this particular situation is where God is calling us to be “fruitful and multiply”. Thanks be to God the woman appears to have moved completely away from abortion!!!

It does not appear that we can have anymore biological children. I easily get pregnant, but I lose the babies around 7-8 weeks and after four losses the grief has been profound. Our daughter is nothing short of a miracle in our eyes, since she is the only one to survive to term. While my doctors are perplexed as to my issues–even with hormone treatments–it is a reality nonetheless. My hormone deficiencies do not appear to be treatable with hormone treatments at this time. My body cannot seem to produce enough progesterone to keep the child alive past a certain point. My levels didn’t raise a single point even with progesterone shots, suppositories, and HCG shots.

Many of you have read my story over the past few years. Quite a few of you have read my recent articles over at Catholic Exchange and The Federalist about miscarriage and my grief. It’s a painful road to lose a child, let alone four children. I have had to walk deeper into the mystery of the Cross through each loss, and recently, even deeper as I pray in front of our local abortion clinic.

God is now asking us to transform our grief by once again opening up to love. There are so many children worldwide in need of homes and we want to provide a child or children (if we can get the monetary help to do so) with a loving home. Plus, our daughter will be the best big sister ever! We are called to provide for orphans:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27

When people hear my story, they ask me if my husband and I have ever considered adoption. The answer has always been yes. We discussed it while we were dating. We have four adopted nephews and a friend of ours adopted her son. The last few years we have been focused on having biological children and we were going to look at adoption in a few years. It is now apparent that God is saying now not later. We cannot have more biological children, which has made us shift focus earlier on adoption. God is using the brokenness of my body for good, as is His will.

The problem for us now is cost. Adoption is prohibitively expensive. The average domestic adoption runs $20,000-60,000. Thankfully our local Catholic Charities tends to top out around $25,000. Most people do not have that kind of money lying around. We certainly do not. This is one of the great frustrations for people who want to adopt or even for people who are open to adoption, but haven’t fully considered it. We do not understand why it is so expensive to provide a loving home to a child or children. Nevertheless, this is the system we have to operate within to adopt any children.

After much prayer and a lesson in humility, my husband and I have decided to start an online fundraiser to raise the money we will need to adopt. The more we receive, the more children we can adopt, but we are going to start with an initial adoption cost. Private adoptions are cheaper, but still expensive, so if we are called to adopt this woman’s child we will be able to move any extra proceeds over for our next adoption. All money we are given will go to adoption fees and expenses. If there is an abundance over what we need for our adoptions, then we will donate the money to help other families adopt.

You can access our YouCaring account by clicking on the picture above or on the sidebar of my blog at any time and I will post the link as soon as we are up. You can provide an online donation through PayPal and share the fundraiser in social media. You can also grab the widget on the fundraiser page in order share on a blog.

Thank you to those of you who have been praying for us throughout our grief. Please continue those prayers since the loss of a loved one never fully heals and we are still grieving Andrew a great deal. Pray for all families grieving lost children. I have some friends who are really struggling with their losses from miscarriage. Thank you and may God bless you always.

You can read our story, watch a video of our daughter expressing her desire for an adopted brother or sister, and donate here:

 https://www.youcaring.com/constanceandphilhulladoptionfund-680004

I also recorded a video for all of you to say hello and thank everyone for their support in my writing and in this new adoption adventure. You can watch it here:

Miscarriage Grief: No We Aren’t Going Crazy

Grief is an arduous journey for all of us to walk. It is also a process we have very little control over and we have no choice but to walk it; often only relying in trust and hope that God walks beside us. Grief is a lot like being in a dingy in the ocean. The shore is somewhere off the port side, but we can’t see it. It’s foggy and dark and all we feel are the enormous swells. When periods of peace do come, they are often not serenity, but numbness. In fact, we may have days, weeks, months, years of numbness and then some trigger will pierce through and torrents of tears fall once again.

I have been in a period of numbness for a couple of weeks. Once the miscarriage finally ended the initial intensity subsided and the numbness set in. The miscarriage itself stopped and started over a period of 2.5 weeks, prolonging the initial agony. It now seems to have completed and the numbing–somewhat zombie like–period has begun. I started to wonder why I couldn’t seem to cry. I cried for days in the beginning, but then I couldn’t cry anymore and the ache turned to emotionless nothingness. This numbness is often worse than the intense suffering. Numbness leaves me wanting to reach out, but I can’t seem to grasp anything solid.

The numbness lifted temporary in the last few days. The tears began anew. Every mother and father grieving a child lost in miscarriage has different triggers. In the past, an infant Baptism at Mass would reduce me to a blubbering mess. I battled mightily in my first three miscarriages with the pain caused by my inability to baptize my babies before they died. Years of theological study and my trust in God’s mercy finally lifted that burden. Through the direction of different priests  and theologians, I was guided to a place of trust, even if I lacked solid answers. God assuaged the pain I felt because my babies died unbaptized.

This time the trigger is toddler and infant boys. My husband and I believe our most recent loss was a son, Andrew Thomas. Named for St. Andrew and my hero St. Thomas Aquinas. This past weekend, I once again returned to tears after attending Mass where five male altar servers served with great reverence in the more traditional cassock and surplice. This is such a rarity in my Diocese that the beauty from seeing it alone would have reduced me to tears. Instead, watching the youngest boy serve with the teenage boys reminded me of how much I miss my sons Andrew and Caleb.

The youngest boy serving must have been 7 or 8. He clearly had just received his first Holy Communion this year and the teenage boys towered over him, but they treated him with great care and guided him through the Mass. This young boy followed the great dance of the Liturgy (no I didn’t say liturgical dance….shudders) beautifully. His reverence and attention were remarkable in one so young. He did just as well as the older boys.

The second time I ached for my children was while we were at a park. My family and I went camping this past weekend. On our way home, we stopped at a park so our daughter could play. There was a little boy toddling around the playground. He clearly had only been walking for a short time. He was trying to keep up with the rest of the children playing around him. He was adorable.

My husband and I sat watching our daughter and the other kids play while we discussed adoption. We greatly desire more children, but it does not seem to be God’s will that they come from us. We have been contemplating adoption for over a year, but we are taking our time discerning when to put in our application. We want to make sure we make a clear-headed decision because we are grieving so deeply at this time.

Adoption is a long, invasive, and difficult process. We have four adopted nephews, so we know it is a rough process. It is also extremely expensive. It will cost us $15,000-25,000. Yes, you read that right. That’s for a domestic adoption. We have already been through orientation at our local Catholic Charities, so our decision will be made understanding that we will have to cut back tremendously, save a lot of money, and probably stay in our current home for a few more years rather than buy our dream home, which is a small farm. It’s a matter of choosing greater goods, and a human being is always a greater good. Pray for us as we discern God’s path for us.

Grief is a long process and it never fully goes away. There is always that slight prick whenever the lost person or persons is remembered. The ache to hold my children will never fully dissipate until, Lord willing, I meet them in Heaven. My daughter’s loneliness serves as a reminder that I have not been able to give her a sibling. And I even battle the pain that my writing has expanded to wider audiences because of my suffering. Writers often expand their audience because they are willing to enter into suffering. I would give up writing another word to have my children back, but that isn’t possible. Instead, it appears that for reasons not entirely clear to me, God has called me to bring attention to the miscarriage-abortion connection. Doors keep opening that I never imagined or thought possible, even as I sit in my dingy off the shore.

If like me, you are journeying through grief, you may have moments when you feel like you are going crazy. It seems like small things set you off and torrents of tears come streaming, even in public. There may be times the sobbing is uncontrollable and the wound that seemed to heal ever so slightly is gaping wide open once again. This is a part of grief. The senses are how we understand the world around us, which means our senses will trigger memories. Seeing a baby, hearing their laughter or cries, or any other type of sensory response can remind us of the lost child we miss so deeply. All we can do is ask for God to walk with us during this time of intense suffering. We have to hope that good will come of all of this, even if we don’t understand it on this side of eternity. Know that I am praying for all of you grieving. I know that I am not alone in my pain and so you remain in my thoughts and prayers. Pax Christi.