Waiting and Hoping and Praying

Sometimes no news is good news. Other times, no news is…no news. That’s sort of the case with our adoption. I mean, there’s news. There’s dramatic news, sad news, confusing news, good news, infuriating news, unbelievable news, crazy news, and plain old newsy news, but generally, by the time I can get around to sharing the news, it’s become old news, which, really, is no news at all. Right?

In my head, I swear that makes sense.

Sadly, that is my answer to those of you who have been writing and asking for an update on the adoption situation here on the blog. The whole thing is just so changeable, that I’m not sure what to say.  I’ve tried to give regular updates on Facebook, but even that has become too difficult. I worry about saying the wrong thing…or about saying the right thing but having the wrong people read it. I also worry about jinxing myself, which I know is totally stupid and unCatholic and probably going to earn me an extra millennium in Purgatory, but non-stop, soul-crushing, bank account-draining stress does crazy things to your head. So, that’s my excuse.

Because so many of you have asked, though, I’ll try to give  the Cliff’s Note Version update. In a nutshell, we are waiting and hoping and praying.

As some of you know, thanks to the generosity of our wonderful friends, family, and Facebook friends, who donated to our YouCaring Fundraiser, Chris and I managed to buy the baby’s parents reliable transportation (so the dad could get to his job) and keep them off the streets by buying a used travel trailer and renting space for them in a mobile home park. This was an “absolutely necessary, no other options left” decision, made after our attorney spent days and days canvassing Northern California for a place for them to live, I spent two weeks calling every social service agency in the region, and the mom was blackballed from every potential maternity home in California (for good reason).

They moved in to the travel trailer on Holy Saturday and since then, things have been…not boring. Not boring at all.

In sum, the dad lost his job, the mom made some bad decisions, her food stamps haven’t arrived because of the move, and she now hates the trailer and wants us to find her a new place to live (not possible). At the same time, the dad loves the trailer and will be angry with us if we sell it. And, although the dad has found some work, our bank account has been bled dry, as we have been almost fully supporting them for the past five months. And we still have two months to go.

I know. The whole thing seems shady. But, we completely trust our attorney and have been told by others that this is not atypical for California adoptions, as the state allows for unlimited support for the expectant mothers. Note to self: If you ever adopt again, don’t adopt from California. At least not if the mom is only 7 weeks pregnant when you’re matched.

To make matters worse, we have some sort of crisis with the birth mom every 10-14 days. She runs away. She comes back. She makes bad choices. She repents of bad choices. She gets in trouble. She gets out of trouble. She says she’s giving the baby to another couple. She says she could never give the baby to anybody but us.

It. Is. Maddening. It’s like the world’s most expensive and least fun Merry-Go-Ride EVER, and I am dizzy, folks. My face is breaking out. I’m having chest pains. I can’t sleep. My stomach is in knots. And to top it all of, I’m 43 now, so I’m no longer losing weight when I’m stressed like I used to. Instead, I’m gaining it.

Seriously, nothing is going my way anymore.

For years, I’ve watched my friends suffer through the last trimester of their pregnancy, and I’m trying to tell myself that is what I am doing. More important, there’s lots of suffering all around me, so I’m trying to be a good Catholic and offer it up for all the hurt I see. I’m also praying like crazy—for the mom, the dad, the baby, our attorney, and us.

As a Type AAA, choleric “doer,” not being able to do anything but pray is difficult for me. But the longer this goes on, the more I’m coming to realize that there is nothing more important to do right now than pray. This woman needs prayers. The baby inside her womb needs prayers. Whatever happens with the adoption, whatever happens to the baby, those prayers have lasting value. They will make a difference in some way. As hard as that can be to remember, I do believe it. So, for now, we pray.

Please pray with us. Pray the St. Michael prayer. Pray the Rosary. If you can, have a Mass said for the baby’s parents. Or invoke every saint you’ve got on spiritual speed dial and call them in on the job. We believe Satan is attacking us and the baby’s family in every possible way. He is using the big guns on us, so we need to use even bigger guns to fight back.

And that’s the sort of update. Sorry there aren’t more details. But chances are by the time you read this post, things will have changed yet again.

What doesn’t change, however, is how amazing my husband is, how patient the people close to me are being as I handle all this stress way less than perfectly, and how much God loves all the people involved in this process. As we keep telling the mom, God loves her so, so much. He wants more for her than she can imagine. And while no amount of money is going to buy her peace, prayer can secure what money can’t.

Knowing that helps. So too does gin. And our Finally-Completed-After-16-months  fireplace in the dining room.

It’s the little things helping me stay sane, people. When you’re holding on to your sanity by a thread, you take whatever help you can get.

Prayers still helps more than fireplaces, though, so thanks in advance for all the prayer support you can throw our way. I can’t imagine where we would be without you.



25 thoughts on “Waiting and Hoping and Praying

  1. Debbie Womack says:

    You’re so lovely, Emily. Thank you for sharing your heart and world with us. You inspire and challenge everyone to strive higher. You are all in my prayers and Masses. God bless with abundance, His Graces on you all.

  2. Katie says:

    Ever seen we met, you guys and Toby and the birth mom have been in my daily prayers and will continue to be! God bless you abundantly.

  3. cmj4ihs4life says:

    Hi Emily, you are in our prayers and offerings. I am sorry that you are having such challenges. I heard recently from Catholic Radio, that the suffering itself is a prayer. You have been given the “kiss” of Jesus. Persevere and Hope!!

  4. Katie Takats says:

    I’m adding your intentions to list I’ll be offering during labor pains. If there was ever an intention that I could use the suffering of labor to unite to Jesus and intercede for, it’s this one. You and the birth family are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses!

  5. Jaime says:

    Will continue to keep you in my prayers. I have been involved with mentoring young Moms with very troubled backgrounds and lives and know what a roller coaster involvement in their life can be although your entanglement in it goes far beyond what I experienced and I can’t imagine the drama. Will lift you all up to the Father and to my patron St. Gianna.

  6. Edward B. Connolly says:

    Toby or not Toby?
    That is the question.
    I’m quite sure that the answer will be Toby.

    But seriously ….
    God is in charge of all matters, great and small.
    We do well not to fret.
    We simply wait on Him.
    When He decrees that it will happen, it will happen.
    If He decrees otherwise, it will not.
    Don’t be afraid, little flock.
    All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things ….. all will be well.
    Does He not clothe the grass of the fields?

  7. politicallyincorrectgal says:

    More prayers ascending, dear Emily. As you well know, “nothing is impossible with God,” and He has brought you to this point for a reason. Whatever His plans for you, you can be assured that they are for the ultimate good of you, Chris, and Toby, as well as his birth parents. He wastes nothing (although I can’t help but think He might want you to lay off Facebook — have you considered that?). In the meantime, may you and Chris continue to cherish each other, and the house that you and he have transformed into not just a beautiful home, but a true sanctuary.

  8. Tara says:

    Thank you for your beautiful thoughts, Emily. My dad was adopted through Catholic Charities in 1959. We met his birth mother recently and she said “I thank God for your adopted mom every day, she was such a gift to me when I knew I wouldn’t be able to take care of you.” I get teary just thinking about it. Praying for peace for you and your family, and that one day Toby’s mom will feel that same peace that my grandmother has finally found. God Bless you all!

  9. Theodora says:

    I must admit that I was not always graceful. At first I was angry that the money we donated was used in such an unnecessary manner, for two perfectly capable people to make a living a couple of months. Next year they’ll make another baby and use another couple, like they are using you. I wish there was a way to stop them.

    Now I do not feel anger any more. I am just praying that everything works out well for you, your husband and the baby. That is what I will be focusing on and may God forgive me for the other thoughts.

    • Emily says:

      I’m sorry if the way we used the money upset you, Theodora. Feel free to contact me privately if it still bothers you, and we can work something out. I will say, though, that the mom is not perfectly capable in any way. She can’t work at all for a number of reasons, all legitimate. She isn’t capable of taking care of herself or of parenting. The dad is a little more capable, but he has his struggles too. He was working for the first several months, then lost his job for reasons that were not his fault. He is working again, and we believe trying to be more responsible with money than previously.

      We worry too about her doing this again in the future, but her decision-making ability is not what a normal person’s is. This whole situation has taught us a lot about the problems of the truly poor—how simple things like relocating to a place where it’s cheaper or finding affordable housing in an unaffordable area or simply making good decisions aren’t that easy for people who were never taught even basic life skills, come from shockingly disfunctional backgrounds, and have done damage to their minds through their own bad choices. What concerns us most is the long-term situation of the mother. She simply cannot take care of herself.

      Sometimes I get angry with her and about the whole situation, too. But then I think about how radically different my life has been from hers and see how many advantages I’ve had in life that she could never even dream of, and I just feel sad. The world isn’t called a veil of tears for nothing, that’s for sure. But, as I said, I know God loves this woman and her boyfriend more than any of us can imagine, and I have to trust that there’s a reason he brought them into our lives. I don’t know what he’s doing, but I pray somehow, it will make a difference for her in the years ahead. Anyhow, this whole experience has been an education for us. I’m sorry I can’t share more details about the limitations this couple has, but for their privacy and the baby’s, we just have to keep some details private. Thank you for understanding and for your prayers.

  10. Ellen says:

    Your adoption will be our family Mass intention tomorrow and we will also visit the little St. Ann shrine in our town and say some prayers.

  11. Patricia says:

    Can I ask you a question about your writing – perhaps a little distraction from all the waiting you must endure before you hold your son in your arms. I did not know if I should post my note in its entirety but could not find another address to reach you. I did not want to be off topic. Is there some way I can reach you? (I am not a facebook fan and basically, not good at computers.) God be with you.

    • Emily says:

      Feel free to email me at emilystimpsonchapman@gmail.com. Sometimes it takes me a few takes to reply (and I have family in town right now, followed by a speaking engagement, and then major surgery next week, so it might take even longer than normal), so apologies in advance for any delay in answering!

  12. Stephanie M says:

    Dear Emily, I’m sorry this has been so unimaginably difficult for you and your husband. I will be offering up my suffering, which has been quite intense lately, for all involved in this adoption. Especially for the health and strength of this beautiful baby boy. God’s intense love for each one of us completely blows my mind….all is indeed in his hands. Love and God bless always!

  13. Theresa says:

    Hi Emily, Thank you so much for sharing your intimate life of struggle and grace–I certainly can relate in similar ways–and reading your last few blogs today has truly given me a boost of Hope greatly needed!! (if our paths cross in the future I will explain). My heart aches for you to finally hold your sweet Tobias in your arms–I will be praying for this intention!!
    Love, Theresa

  14. scotch meg says:

    I keep checking to see whether there’s any news. Since there’s not, I keep praying for all of you. Do try to form a good exercise habit. I’m saying what I couldn’t do during stressful times at your age – but I pay for it now at … let’s just say an older age. Besides, you’ll need that high-energy exercise habit when Toby needs chasing at age two. You really DO want to beat him down the aisle at church (before he reaches the altar).

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