When the Adoption Journey Gets Hard

May I be honest for a moment?

Sometimes I run out of words. Not words to say, but words to write.

A few months ago, I wrote “the end” on my first novel and now wade through the revision stage. I’ve started writing the sequel. I’m working to build my social-media platform (mostly Instagram, as it’s the most fun). I help writer friends edit their manuscripts. I dedicate leftover free time to reading.

But even with all of those words pouring in and out of me…I sometimes run out.

This blog suffers the most. It’s easier to write quick captions or post fun videos. It’s harder to write something of worth, something people want to read.

Today, though, I saw something that sparked that burst of creativity inside me. And it wasn’t something I wanted to see.

You see, we’re adopting a boy from China. Not just any boy. No, we matched with this special, little boy seventeen months ago. He was a stocky two-year-old with an amusingly raspy voice. His foster home sent us pictures and videos of him running, kicking, laughing, and eating cake in the shockingly messy way of toddlers across the world.

Frankly, he looks happy, which has been an immense relief during this time of (waning) pandemic. More than 400 adoptive families are waiting to travel to China to meet and embrace their children. In the grand scheme, it’s a small number of affected people. That probably makes it worse, as we’re not on the top of anyone’s priority list.

It’s all so surreal.

I get asked often about the adoption–how it’s going, how I’m feeling, etc. I’m thankful for the care others take in extending those questions. Basically, I have to lean back on God. God knew an international pandemic was coming. He orchestrated the timing of our adoption. I have complete faith that we’ll be able to look back and see things more clearly.

In the meantime, though, I am looking forward to that hindsight.

Today I saw spiderwebs. Now, ever since we moved to South Carolina two years ago, cobwebs are a pretty common occurrence in our house, as compared to Florida. No matter how many times I swipe at corners or light fixtures, those little buggers shimmy their way back into those spaces and fill them with more webs.

These spiderwebs, though, were intermixed in the pile of shoes I’d set aside for our adopted son.

Adoption is hard

And you know what that means? It means those shoes aren’t being used. They’re probably too small for him anyway, as he’s now three-and-a-half. The pictures we get now are of a kiddo, not a toddler. It’s a little bittersweet to see a 2-year-old here in South Carolina. Those are such sweet years, and I missed them with our boy.

I haven’t adopted before, so I’m certain I have no idea what’s coming when we finally get him home. But I know adoption always encompasses loss.

Right now? We’re losing time with him. And while life carries on here (and over there), I have moments where it’s just really difficult. I trust God regardless, but it’s hard when I realize I have zero control.

I’m thankful, though. It’s a gorgeous spring day. Masks are slowly disappearing. We’re on summer vacation. I have two adorable kiddos who mostly adore each other. We’re leading a joyful life here in the upstate.

I can’t wait to add to it.

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Currently Reading:
There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones – I read this book in less than 24 hours, which is insanely fast for me. (We were on a road trip. The kids were happy watching a movie, so I had plenty of car time.)

This inspirational (Christian) YA novel was just turned into the movie Finding You, currently in theaters. A hurting high school senior studies abroad in Ireland for a semester, as she’s following the footsteps of her older brother, who died tragically. She meets a Hollywood heartthrob but, obviously, doesn’t worship the ground he walks on, as one might expect. It’s a sweet, moving story of a girl finding healing through faith and life outside her own trials. The heartthrob was a bit too perfect, but other than that, I found it enjoyable.

What You Need to Know about Menstrual Cups

WARNING: If you are a man who I know in real life, I’m advising you not to read this. But if you can’t resist and read it anyway…I don’t really want to chat about it in real life.

Send your wife instead.


OK, here we go.

I’ve been avoiding this post for awhile.

It’s not that I’m especially shy or reserved. It’s more I don’t like oversharing intimate details in a place that never goes away.

However, I have a personal vow to use this platform as a way to help others. I’ve been in plenty of situations where I didn’t know something, felt awkward asking, then just lived in ignorance, too afraid to ask.

And so, without further ado, today we will be discussing…

Menstrual Cups.

I wish we lived in a world where certain things weren’t taboo or awkward to discuss, but I’m also OK living in a world where we’re discreet about certain topics, periods included. I felt the same way when I posted about ditching birth control.

I first heard about menstrual cups when my college roomie spent a semester in London. They sounded foreign (which, obviously, they were legitimately foreign in that conversation), and kind of gross.

I mean, instead of using a tampon or pad, you have a little cup that holds…everything?

Sounded messy. And potentially dangerous.

So, I went through my next decade buying a box of tampons every month, grumbling at the price, and feeling slightly guilty at polluting the planet with those plastic applicators. (We all know they’re easier and more comfy than the cardboard ones.) They also can be uncomfortable, which is my main beef.

But in February, a menstrual-cup discussion popped up in one of my Facebook mom groups. The comments exploded, and women raved about them!

One gal posted this link to a quiz, as there are many different kinds/brands of menstrual cups. Skeptical, I took the quiz. It asks questions about age, activity level, and flow. There are even helpful videos to help you answer accurately.

At the end, the quiz gives a recommendation. I decided to bite the bullet, click over to Amazon, and buy the thing.

Now, a little silicone cup costs about $30, so it made me a little nervous that I was throwing $30 down the drain. But if it worked, then I’d save money in the long run, as you reuse your cup every month.

I ended up buying a saalt soft menstrual cup, in case you’re interested (I’m 100% certain you’re not).

It came in the mail, and when I pulled it out of its impressive packaging, I winced. It’s not exactly tiny.

However.

I’m always amazed by the female body. I mean, I’ve birthed two babies, and most of what happened is still a complete mystery to me (much to the eye-rolling of my biologist husband).

I read the little instructional booklet, folded the rubbery cup appropriately, and positioned it as best I could (use water and give it a little twist once inserted). While there are still warnings about toxic shock, the general consensus is that you can wear your cup longer than you would a tampon.

When you think it’s time to empty, you reach up, squeeze a bit to break the suction, then remove. It can get a little messy on my heaviest day. You remove it and dump the contents into the toilet (instead of a tampon that absorbs everything for you to put in the garbage). I basically dump it out, then use some toilet paper to wipe it out. Then reinsert and wash my hands thoroughly.

So, after two cycles, I can honestly claim…the thing works!

It’s so much more comfortable. I can’t feel it, which was rarely the case with a tampon.

After your cycle, you’ll want to sterilize it. I purchased a sterilizer (also $30), as I’m planning on using a cup forever. The thing works like a charm, then stores my cup for the less emotional days of my month.

Those are my thoughts on menstrual cups. Just like absolutely everything, they’re obviously not for everyone. However, if you’re a bit fed up with how things are going, it may be worth a shot.

Here’s a video for more info, and here’s a great FAQ.

Any questions? I’m obviously no medical expert, but I’m happy to answer what I can!

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Currently Reading:
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy – OK, this one was selected in my book club. Honestly, I wouldn’t have picked up this 650-page beast of my own volition. It can get pretty heavy (literally and figuratively!), but I’m still enjoying it. We shouldn’t have attempted to read it within a month, so we’re taking two months to wade through. After our midway book club, I scarfed down Tessa Afshar’s Jewel of the Nile and Adrienne Young’s Namesake, both of which I adored. And now I’m back to Conroy.

When Books Reflect Real Life

Picture this: Twenty-one-year-old English major gets her first real job at a local newspaper. She’s tasked with covering seven cities/towns, the county court house, the county commission, and the sheriff’s office.

She spends a lot of time feeling stressed.

However, she only breaks down in the office one time (over a story about morticians…seriously), which she counts as a win.

I grew a lot during my time as a reporter. I’m thankful it was a county-wide, weekly paper in Alabama. Sometimes I’d sneak in a reference to my age so the rest of the staff would remember I was only like 22. (To be fair, they were only like 25 but seemed so seasoned, but I still liked being cut a little slack.) I learned how to talk to strangers. I tried to balance building relationships with having to report the ugly side of those people’s stories. Basically, I had to grow a backbone, which I did with varying degrees of success.

This is what I looked like in my reporting days. HOT on the case!

Very early in my reporting career, I was sent to cover a drowning. A precious 2-year-old had drowned in a residential lake, and her body had been recovered by a dive team. I later won an award for that story, which has never set well with me. I learned a lot from that story, and I came away wondering about the men and women on the dive team.

Once a year, our staff would pull together more in-depth stories. The dive team had been especially (tragically) busy in 2012, and I wanted to learn more about them.

This was one of my favorite parts of reporting. I shined light on local heroes, the people who didn’t receive the praise they deserved. And even those who were too humble to want the praise.

(The flip side of this was the worst part of reporting. I had to approach people on their absolutely worst days and coax information from them. No one wants to be on the cover of a newspaper with their dirty laundry for all to see…and I hated it for them.)

Thankfully, the dive-team members were willing to share their stories (the then-police chief decided I was a trustworthy sort. Thanks, Chief!). They worked regular jobs, such as police officers, firefighters, law-enforcement support staff. It’s not like they had easy, low-stress jobs, but to add diving? Whew.

The police chief invited me to “observe” a training session, then, of course, made me participate. This is him taking a picture of me acting “tough” (and my first time holding a gun…even though it was fake). I’m sure everyone had a good chuckle when I left.

When diving to recover evidence or, heaven forbid, search for a body, they sometimes don’t turn lights on. They literally search murky lakes by feel. I struggle to imagine wanting to find a body in the dark by feel. Praise God there are people who can handle, or at least endure, these missions. I was blown away by how they cared for their community.

So, why am I telling you this nine-year-old story? (Click here if you’d like to read it.)

This is my SERIOUS face. Also, the mayor and city councilman were sitting behind me…grinning.

Well, I recently attended a writing conference. I’m writing historical fiction, but most (all) of the faculty at the conference write Christian suspense. It’s not usually my cuppa tea, but after a fantastic conversation with Lynn Blackburn, I decided to support her and see what she could do with the English language. (Lynette Eason, DiAnn Mills, Edie Melson, and Carrie Stuart Parks were also there and highly recommended!) Before Lynn Blackburn, I have enjoyed some Dee Henderson, but I can’t read too many suspense in a row. I get creeped out.

Case in point, Lynn Blackburn’s Dive Team Investigations series kept me up waaay past my bedtime this past week. I tore through that series. Around 12:30 a.m., I was in the dark with a flashlight (my husband has major issues with lights on after bedtime), and I heard a noise. I stood at the top of the stairs and waved my flashlight around (like any brave heroine),then I went back to reading my book. I heard the noise again. I poked my sleeping husband until he woke up and checked the downstairs.

Needless to say, he didn’t find anything, then groused about how this was why I shouldn’t stay up late reading “scary” books.

Ahem.

(He wasn’t wrong.)

While suspense probably won’t stay in my go-to genres, I enjoy the fast-paced aspect. It’s not like fantasy where the author has to build the world and convince you of the made-up words. It’s not some sweeping drama with long highs and plummeting lows.

No, with suspense you are in the action, and everyone already has a tragic backstory. The entire story takes place in like three days. It’s a good genre to squeeze between your more harrowing reads. In, out, bad guy caught, hero/heroine in love, the end.

How do you feel about suspense novels?

For more Mama, subscribe and follow me!

Currently Reading:
OK, I just finished Lynn Blackburn’s One Final Breath, and I snatched her brand-new release, Unknown Threat, on Kindle. As I’m writing my own novel, I can see how writers get better and better the longer they write. I could tell she improved through the Dive Team Investigations series, so I can’t wait to see how she handles her next one.

However, in the meantime, I’ll be reading Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides, as I started a book club, and this is what was picked out of the hat last month. I’m only nervous about the 679-page count (and the two-week deadline). And, no, I haven’t seen the movie.

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