Melancholy.

“A feeling of pensive sadness”… sounds about right. Truth is, I’m uncertain of how I feel or should be feeling. I think it has to do with the fact that I’m still seeing people for the first time after “it” happened. Each time, it’s like ripping a scab off only to have it bleed again. and again. and again. The wound never really heals, does it?  We all carry our wounds and scars till the end. Blemished indeed. Granted, some wounds and scars are more visible than others.

Each week, I have to tell it all over again and revisit those moments and those feelings. So, each week as I gradually make my rounds, person to person, friend to friend, family member to family member,  it’s hard to know how I should feel most of the time. I’ve tried giving watered down or abbreviated versions of what happened. It doesn’t make it easier when I lay down at night. The images, the smells, the feelings… they replay in my head until I finally fall asleep.

Sometimes it’s the “elephant in the room.” We want to talk about it. We have to talk about it… but how to transition into it? How do you go from the warm, pleasant greeting of hugs and kisses and the “good to see yous” to the very thing that’s brought us there? How do you politely usher in the dark clouds of sadness, trading the light in the room for a heavy and unhappy overcast of frowns and nods and tears and nothing to say but “I’m sorry” … and sometimes just painful silence. I don’t want to go there, but we have to.

And the talk of the holidays have brought a whole new spread of emotions too. I’m trying to come to grips with a new and different reality that wasn’t even fathomable just 2 months ago. Everywhere I turn, there’s a reminder of that. So, daily I am constantly working through a thousand emotions… which is tiresome. At work, by now I’m expected to fulfill my responsibilities and always in the back of my mind and in my heart I’m sorting through a myriad of emotions while outwardly, I have to remain kind, helpful, and encouraging. And for god’s sake… have some composure!  At home, I have chores, left-over work, and a marriage. All of which require time, effort, love and patience.

And I’m asked daily in passing, “How are you? How are things going?” And I know the answer you expect… or at least what you want to hear because we all have schedules to keep and places to be. “Fine” I say. “I’m ok.” I reply. Deep down we both know it’s not entirely true. But you nor I have the time to say so. We’d be too vulnerable. I’ve tried. I’ve tried really answering that question before. But the expressions and responses I got were so uncomfortable that it’s laughable. I’d probably be the same way had the tables been turned. We can’t take the awkward. The awkward is too unbearable and embarrassing isn’t it? And we are all about the comfort and the bearable here.

But I have to be honest too, most of the time I don’t feel like giving you the “real” answer anyway. It hurts too much. And I don’t want to burden you or make you feel bad or cause ripples in our day. Why make the day more difficult than it has to be? I don’t want to be pitied or make you feel like you have to do or say something clever to “cheer me up.”  I’ll settle for pseudo-happy if it means I don’t have to cry in front of you.

Sometimes, I think I expect that I’d be “happy” by now. To be “over it”. Especially if I laugh or smile at something amusing or if I’m distracted with engagements or outings. I think to myself, “I’m laughing. I must be getting better. Things must be getting easier.” But at the end of the day, it’s there. Waiting on me, like a ghost that has extended its stay. A shadow and a reminder that has refused to leave, and somewhere along the way I’ve grown accustom to it. I’ve made room and even cleaned out a  bathroom drawer. I don’t know if that’s a good thing if it stays, but it feels right.

Because what I really want is to weep and be so sad and then be able to smile or laugh at something funny or talk about trivial things without it being assumed that I’m “over it” . I really want to be free to take up some of your time to talk about it again and again and cry and then go grab some dinner and a drink. I really want to not say anything and sit with you and we both be ok with that. And when you say “How are you?” or “How are things?” I want to be able to say “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” and have the option of expanding upon it or just leaving it at that, and it all be acceptable. We don’t even have to understand it… let us just not be weird about it. I want to know it’s ok to just feel how I feel even if it doesn’t make sense. I just want to feel it all, and it be ok to do so.

What I Meant to Say, But Couldn’t:

If you’re like me, I have trouble speaking in public. Sometimes, I even have trouble having a one-on-one conversation. Words and sentences get jumbled up in my head and have a hard time making their way out of my mouth in a coherent, sensible fashion.

John and I had a chance to speak a little at our first adoption fundraiser last week. I left my notes at home…. so the following is what I meant to say, but couldn’t:

“First, we want to thank our families for sacrificing so much this week to make this cookout happen. Thanks to my parents for letting us have this fundraiser at their home.  For us this is a very personal and intimate season in our lives, and we wanted to share this day with you at a location that is also personal and intimate. I couldn’t think of a better place with a better view than my parents’ home. I’ve always enjoyed the sunsets here… Many times I feel like they belonged to me, like God painted this beautiful picture on summer evenings just for me. And I wanted to share this with you too. I prayed for a beautiful day, and He provided. This is our sunset… just for us.

Thank you also to our families and friends who couldn’t be here that helped with cooking, setting up, donating hot dogs, and donating items for the raffle. Like I said, this wouldn’t have happened without you. Thank you for the prayers and talks and the encouraging words you’ve given us. We can’t put a price tag on that stuff. We love you.

Thank you to all of you who are here. Just being here has given us enough encouragement to face any giant on this journey. Ya’ll are amazing. We can’t wait to share this night with our children. You all will be infamous in the Petty household!

A few of you here have or know someone close to you who has been touched by adoption. Some of you know the awkward and vulnerable season we are in right now. So, please pray for us even now as we try to open up to you and share what the past year has been like for us.

But before we get into that, I think we should preface that adoption had always (since the moment John and I knew we would be married and one day begin a family of our own) been in the forefront of how we pictured the future of our family. We knew we wanted to conceive children, but we also knew that we would adopt as well.

For me, the conventional, American family never existed. I’ve had the privilege of knowing and seeing what it’s like for someone to become selflessly in love with little people who are not biologically related to them. If you’ve met my dad today– you’ve looked into  the face of one of the most gentle and loving men I’ve ever known. He’s not my birthfather — but he’s my dad and always has been since the first time he met us. He was my mom’s knight in shining armor, and a hero to my brothers and me. (**And cue the emotional mess– I can’t talk about my dad without getting choked up. If you knew our whole story, you’d understand why. He’s awesome! For those of you who were there… I’m sorry for the awkward silence as I tried to muster up some composer. I’m daddy’s girl, you guys, so it’s hard.**)

December 2011- John and I sensed things were going to be interesting as we realized that starting a family would be difficult for reasons beyond our control. I think that is when the season of vulnerability began. I won’t go into detail, but you can imagine what it’s  like to have to let complete strangers into some of the most intimate and personal areas of your life. It’s very awkward- like having to wear an itchy wool sweater on a sweltering summer day. It’s extremely uncomfortable. After weeks of praying, talking, crying, asking questions, praying some more, we decided to forgo any fertility treatments. We don’t know the exact moment, but we felt that since adoption has always been on the table since the beginning… why not? And we just started making decisions and taking each step with that in mind.

Over the past year, we have fallen into new jobs that have allowed us to save, plan ahead, and buy our first home. It’s like those times in life when things just start to fall into place as if they were suppose to happen.

After doing a lot of research, consulting the people we know personally who have adopted multiple times, calling and meeting with different agencies and learning about the different types of adoption and avenues to take– we decided to go with an agency called Nightlight Christian Adoptions.

We are adopting domestically through an open adoption,  and at this moment, we are in the phase of our adoption called the “home study”. Our home study should be finished within the next couple of weeks. Afterward, we will create a portfolio that will be available for birthmothers to read and find out more about us. If you are unfamiliar with open adoptions, let’s talk sometime. I promise the ideas or fears you may have are the same we had when we first heard the term. But let me assure you, I’ve learned that most of those ideas or fears are preconceived and inaccurate. I’d love to talk with you about it sometime :)

There are many reasons we chose an open adoption, but one of the main reasons is we feel that it will give us a chance to see God’s grace abound even more in our lives. When looking at the different types of adoption, this one was the last direction we wanted to take– which for us, usually means it’s the way we are meant to go. We know that we will emerge changed people with the ability to love deeper than we ever dreamed.

On average, it is common for an adoption to cost between $15,000 – $25,000k. Fortunately, there are grants and aide you can apply for (usually after the completion of the home study). Tax credit is given as well, and some businesses offer reimbursement plans. So, adoption can be affordable. But much of the cost is upfront large sums of money. That is where we will need the help of friends and family.

Raising $5000 by June 1st would help us immensely in helping offset some of the cost. John has been adding an hour a day to his normal 9 hr. work day since April 1st. I have been handling the paperwork, adoption education, fundraising planning, and organization of the whole process in my spare time. I tell you these things not to boast in them or to be congratulated as saints (and believe me, we are not… you guys know this best) but because I want you to know that we are ALL in. Some days we feel like “we got this!”. Other days we feel like we are stumbling through a dark room with blindfolds on. But regardless, we are in preparation mode for this little child that will one day know the love we have seen here tonight and the love we’ve found in the Father.”

To all of you who came out the other night, we love ya’ll so much! You all are our heroes… we mean it! We raised just over $3,700!!  This exceeded our expectations and then some! $1,300 is mere pocket change to our God. He has provided so much thus far, and we know He will continue to do so. Please continue to pray for us…

Here are few pictures from that night:

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Adoption Update

Last week John and I submitted our adoption application along with the application fee. We received the application acceptance letter on Thursday. This means that we can continue with the process. Next step: The Home Study. Normally, this step only takes about 6-8 wks.

Just to give you the back drop of the past couple of months:

  • We bought a home in Moore, SC. It has been such a blessing as it has cut John’s commute to work by 30 mins. This has been awesome since he now works night shifts.
  • After weeks and weeks of prayer, wise counsel, and research, we have decided that we would proceed with a domestic adoption. In addition, we really feel God leading us to do an open adoption. There is so much behind this decision, and if you’re curious and have questions as to what it entails, I’m more than happy to talk with you about it.
  • We received our acceptance letter and are now proceeding with completing the home study phase of the adoption process.

Most of you know that adoption can be a very long and expensive process. Most of this is due to legal fees, agency, fees, lawyer fees, etc. To be very candid and blunt– we lookin at about $22k when it’s all said and done. And a lot of it is “up-front” chunks of money.

Who has that kinda change just sitting around? Well, definitely not us! So, as we will be eating Taco Bell on a weekly basis and having date nights at home in front of the telly… we will still need help in offsetting the cost. No doubt.

At this stage, I am planning and trying to set into motion some fundraising things to do so that you all can be creatively involved in the giving process. Already God has raised up a few special people that helped us pay for the application fee to get the ball rolling. To those special people— you helped ignite this journey… and thus, have taken this first step with us in growing our family. From the very depths of my being – Thank you!

Right now, if you are reading this, I want to ask you to do a few things for me:

1- Pray. Every adoption is unique. I don’t think we are doing something that hasn’t been done a thousand times before. But it’s definitely the first time for us. Sometimes, we feel we have no idea what we are doing. If you are a parent or about to be one for the first time– it’s similar to what you are feeling or have felt at some point.
So take a 5 seconds, and ask God to provide financially for us. To give us faith and direction. To love us and carry us through what ever obstacle we might face. He will get the glory at the end of the day, because we know that we cannot do this alone. Period.

2-Give. If you have a few bucks or pennies that are just sitting on your nightstand — we’ll take it! I’m not kidding… every little bit will help us. We have a change jar sitting at our front door as you walk into our house that says “Petty Adoption Fund”. It started out with about $15… it now consists of close to $100 from little donations here and there. It really adds up!!! (And of course, if you have a few hundred just sitting in your banking account just asking to be spent on a selfless cause… I suppose we’ll take that too.)

3- Consider. Think about becoming familiar with the condition that our city, our state, our country, our world is in. There are many orphans in the world that need a family and a home. Something should and must be done. Unfortunately, adoption isn’t the end all cure… it’s the band-aide on a gushing wound. The problem goes so much deeper than that.  It’s much more severe, and each circumstance is different. Consider your part and what you can do.

If you feel lead to give in support of our adoption, here is the information you might need to know:

Make checks payable to:
Nightlight Christian Adoptions
(write on the “for” line – John and Megon Petty adoption)

You can mail it to:

The Pettys
435 West Road
Moore, SC 29369

My email in case you have questions :
megon04@yahoo.com

If you want to come over for tea or coffee  and good conversation just so you can put some change in my jar… just let me know. I’m down.

We love you guys!
-John and MegonImage

So Many Things.

There are so many things that have happened in the past months. I left you all (the 5 people who read this) with the exciting news that John and I would be adopting soon, and I was about to spend a month in China teaching english to precious, little Chinese students. Although adopting is still in the works, I did not travel to China as planned. To make a long story short (and maybe one day I will be able to revisit this), it just wasn’t the right time, and God obviously had something else in mind. I realize that sounds cliche, but it’s all I got right now… sorry.

Over the past few months my job description has changed, my address is about to change, and my perspective of our future has changed. One of the reasons I have not written lies in the whirlwind of change and transition that I suddenly found myself. The abbreviated version goes as follows:

1- Returned from Puerto Rico in June

2- Found out that China was not going to workout

3- Sulked in my own pity and embarrassment… resented God for not allowing it to happen

4- Literally, the day after my China team left, got a call about a job offer as a Bible teacher

5- Took the job; I now teach an off-campus Bible class to middle school students during the public school day

7- John gets promotion in September

8- John and I decide to invest in buying a house for our soon-to-be growing family (and by soon-to-be I mean within the time constraints of adoption)

9- …currently waiting for things to go through with the house…

So this is where we are now. After reflecting on the past few months, I see why China didn’t happen. I am now doing something I love, and I am learning and serving in ways I never realized I could (I will elaborate on this later this week).

I am excited to get back into the swing of writing again. I have so much to say on marriage, relationships, culture, community, missions, and Providence. I cannot promise that what I have to say is profound or original… in fact, I guarantee it is not. However, what I can contribute is an honest heart and an open mind to the happenings around me. I am just another perspective. So… walk with me.

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