Friday, 21 December 2012


Each year, at the start of the year, I think about what I would like to achieve by the end of the year - what my goals for the year are. It is something we used to be encouraged to do in our church small group and it is something that I have carried on doing. I have looked over my goals for the past few years and have thought about what they have meant to me. I am definitely an 'achiever'; I am determined (my friends might say 'stubborn') and like to see things finished well (my friends might say 'obsessive'). I rarely reach the end of a year without accomplishing my goals - or at least being well on my way to accomplishing them. But the past 3 years have seen a new goal work it's way on to my list. 'Get pregnant/have a baby' have been interspersed with my other goals. At the start of 2011 I noticed that my other goals were becoming less and 'baby' was at the top of my list. At the start of this year there were no other goals. Simply 'have a baby'.
There was one occasion last year and two occasions this year in which I thought I would achieve my goal, my dream, but one ended in a stillbirth and two ended in early miscarriage. Throughout the year I have seen my desire for a baby not diminish, by any stretch of the imagination, but begin to be matched by old goals, old passions and old desires. I am seeing things that I had buried with my overwhelming desire for a baby being brought to the surface, raised to life and set alight again.

At the start of this year, a prophetic word was given at my Church. You can read all about it here:
I have referred back to this blog post many times throughout the year with differing emotions. At times it has spurred me on and at other times it has made me yell at God 'where is my reward?'. I have spoke it over myself time and time again. After all, I am a member of the Church - the word related to me too, right?

As I sat in tears in the hospital at the time of my second miscarriage, waiting for the doctors to decide whether I needed to be admitted for what they thought was an ectopic pregnancy, I begged God to get my out of the situation. I bargained with him saying that if my baby was alive I would use the situation to glorify Him. I promised. And then the scan revealed that the baby was dead. Again. I felt deflated. Back in the cubicle I prayed again that God would show me how to get out of the situation that I was in. I told Him that I couldn't do it anymore. I asked Him to take it from me and, for the first time, I gave the situation to Him. I handed Him my desire for a baby and asked that He would show me what to do. Almost instantly a burden was lifted from me and over the next few days I saw my passion for fostering increase ten fold. I knew that that needed to take priority. I used to work with parents, delivering adult learning and providing support to help prevent family break up, and that passion was fired up again.

I'd like to say that that was it; that the desire went - that I gave it to God every day since but that would be a lie. There have been days, sometimes many days, since when I have felt myself slip back into that place of despair. I have needed my friends more than ever to keep my going - to remind me of how far I've come. I have cried many tears and willed my body to slip out of infertility and work as it should and then after the wave I'm ok again. But in these months the two things that have remained as really strong desires within me are the fostering and working with parents. I am beginning to relearn who I am.
And so, back to Dave's blog. I have been reading it again over the past few days and these words are going over and over in my head:

‘I have seen your perseverance,

I have seen your standing in the time of trial,

I have seen your standing in the firing line of the enemy,

I have seen you when you’ve just been holding on and just hanging in there,

I have seen your wading through the quagmire,

I have seen your faithfulness and your diligence,

I have seen you holding on to the word of God when your circumstances seem to laugh in your face,

But now I say to you,

My son, My daughter,

My church of Frontline -

But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.

2012 is the year of reward........

I would love a baby. I really would, but that is not the reward that God has chosen for me this year and there are moments when that thought is beyond painful. But He has given me another reward. He has begun to restore me and help me become the person he has designed me to be, again.
My husband and I have been approved as foster carers within the last couple of weeks and were told today that we have been assigned a social worker and to expect our first placement early in the new year. I have just completed training to facilitate parenting courses and am so excited about it. I can't wait to begin working with parents again and seeing lives transformed.

I had no goals at the start of this year, apart from wanting a baby. God has gently shown me that he has a purpose for me, other than just being a mummy to my own children. Inspite of my stubbornness he has provided opportunities for me to see new goals, new desires and new dreams. I really believe that this is my reward. And I will try and wait patiently for my own baby to come.

Please God, help me to see what you have done for me this year and how far you have brought me. Help me to know that my plans don't always coincide with your plans for me and that that's ok. Help me to know that you have a plan and a purpose for my life - a reward for me - and help me to trust you. Amen.

What is your reward??

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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Reindeer pops...

Pretzel antlers and m & m noses. Very cute!

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Saturday, 1 December 2012

A New Chapter?

I've been building up to writing this post all week. I'm trying my best to answer questions - questions of our own and questions of people around us. With our fostering assessment nearly complete and our fostering panel approaching I'm trying to work out what the priorities are in our lives now.

Nearly three years ago a heavily pregnant lady asked me if, as a childminder, I would be able to look after her unborn baby when she returned to work. I explained that, at that time, I had no vacancies as a childminder but that I had a waiting list and would add her to it. I also explained that we were wanting to have another baby and, if that happened before she returned to work, that would need to take priority. I advised her that, although I would love to care for her little boy, I felt that due to my waiting list and our plans she may be better considering other childcare options. That is my marker for the beginning of the chapter in our lives we have been living in recently. I need to allow the page to turn and a new chapter to begin.

I know that, physically, the chances of us having another baby are incredibly slim simply from an infertility/PCOS point of view but when I factor in all of the problems I have in pregnancy and my inability to carry to term I realise that the chances seem next to nothing. This makes me wonder why I cling to it and why I struggle to move on. The other day a friend encouraged me to look back over the past year and see how far I have come. Apart from the grief and pain and how far we've come from that perspective I know that this time last year the desire for another baby was overwhelming. It filled my every waking and sleeping moment and dominated my life. I set myself deadlines for pregnancy and when those deadlines weren't met I would regress to a point of uncontrollable grief. A year on and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want another baby. I still think about it - a lot. I still dream about it - I can't control my dreams - but they are becoming less suffocating. I need to take stock and look at my life. It has been on hold for the past three years or so. A constant stream of hospital appointments, investigations, waiting and disappointment. And, apart from the improvement in our emotional well being, physically we are no further forward. We're three years older and our son is growing up infront of our eyes. I don't want to miss any more of what God has in store for us because I'm waiting and pinning all my hopes on something that may never happen. That said, I am not willing to let go of that dream - I just need to start a new chapter.

So that brings me to what is taking priority in our lives at the moment - the fostering. For the past seven years it is something we have spoken about on a regular basis. I have worked with Looked After Children and 'at risk' children and have desperately wanted to make a difference to many children's lives. Apart from a moment of panic when Emilie died, adoption has never come in to the plan. I am often asked why we want to foster over adoption and to be completely honest I don't know if there is an answer. I know that we can't pin things on 'a feeling' or a 'gut instinct' but this is truely what we feel is right for us. I am not naive - I know that the children we look after will not be our children. They will be heading back home or to their adoptive families and at some point we will have to give them up. How we will find the strength to do that I don't know but I know that it is the right thing for us at the moment. I often think about how amazing it will be to have played a part in influencing that child's life. In supporting them in making that transition to their final point of care. In keeping them safe when that may not be something they have experienced. And if I know that we have done all of this to our best ability then giving that child up so that they can continue to their next chapter will be something that I know we will be able to do. Not without pain but with the knowledge that that child will be moving forward and that we will have played a part in changing their lives for the better.

This is what is taking priority at the moment. This will hopefully be our new chapter and if we are deferred at panel we will return at the advised time and try again. I don't know what will happen if I get pregnant again. All I know is that fostering is our long term goal as a family - with or without more children of our own. I'm looking forward and trying hard to trust that God is in control. I can try to control things as much as I like but untimely it is not for me to do. The answer to the question is we feel that fostering is what we should be doing now and long term and we're not willing to put our lives on hold for that 'what ifs' any longer.

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