Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Men's Week: Supporting Your Wife Through Adoption by Jeremy 'MD' Kendrick

Subtitle: I've been walking these streets at night - Just trying to get it right

Let’s get this out of the way first off. I am not a writer. For my personal statement to medical school I wrote a touching account of how I gave a squirrel a funeral when I was six and how this somehow qualified me to become a physician. It was pretty much the cheesiest thing that has ever been written. I wanted so much to convey compassion, empathy, the frailty of the human condition…. anything, but all that came out was gooey, cheesy cheese. When I try and write what I’m really feeling, it comes out like a bad Hallmark sympathy card. So you can imagine my hesitancy at answering Courtney’s call to guest post on her blog. That said, her blog has given me so much (the laughs, the tears, the quiet moments of self reflection)… How could I say no?

My wife deserves the Nobel Awesome Prize. I am pretty sure they have that. Kentucky, as some of you may know her, is the best part of me. We have been together 15 years, married for 10. My wife has taught me much in many different areas. She cared so much about my medical education that she decided to teach me about Cancer, Automobile Trauma, Meningitis, Radiculopathy, Cervical Disc replacements, Thoracic Surgery, Orthopedic Anomalies, and other uncommon maladies by going through each of them (some multiple times) just for my edification. But, despite all of this medical tutoring, the thing I’ve learned from her most is Patience.

I am not a patient man. When I want something, I need it NOW. I’m told I have been this way since birth and it has been a trait that has served me well in many instances. But as I learn to act with more patience, the problems with impatience have been shown to me with increasing frequency over the past 5 years. “Long-suffering” is a term that is found throughout scripture. It is usually paired with the concept of patience. The irony in suffering long is that just when you feel you can’t do more, more is exactly what you get. Just when Cancer seems too much to bear, throw into the mix that you can no longer have biological children. But did I mention my wife is patient?

Infertility entered our lives after medical complications secondary to Cancer, or rather the result of the “hand grenade” we had to throw at the cancer to kill it before it killed my wife. Initially, the bitter sting of infertility was deferred for a time while we spent the better part of 4 years trying to keep my Kentuck alive. And always, we were reminded of the amazing gift of our son that we had been given a short 5 months prior to my wife’s illness. Personally, nothing has felt more fulfilling to me than being a dad. So, I felt the sting of infertility too. But it was something much deeper for my wife. I’ll say that as a man but also a medical professional, I felt that standing with her, doing what I could do was deeply inadequate. I am a cheerleader and a supporter, but my attempts to empathize often fell short. To say my wife has suffered long seems a little trite and frankly, an understatement. She would never approve of a sob story, but let’s just say she has deserved a little bit of a break.

But as Cjane has said, we do live a life of miracles. These are miracles that in no way do we “deserve” more than the next person. After my wife’s patience, and as a pure gift from God, our greatest miracle has been adoption. We began our discussions about adoption shortly after we learned that biological children were no longer a possibility. We were excited and felt adoptive parents were exactly what we were meant to be. It seemed fairly straight forward. There are parents who want to parent and children in desperate need of parenting. But our experience, yet again, required patience. I won’t bore you with the details of our experience except to say that it was filled with frustration, hope, heartbreak, frustration, despair, anger, frustration, sadness, hope, frustration, hopelessness, anxiety, frustration, hope, and finally indescribable joy. We had faith that it would work out, but holding onto faith, when not coupled with patience, is very difficult. I want to make it clear that I am not an advocate of the concept of faith as a “vending machine”. Yes, we can pray and be faithful, but just because we punch E6 on the keypad doesn’t mean we are getting the Snickers bar that we were dying to have. I guess what I am getting at is that just because WE know what we want, and WE feel we deserve it for whatever reason, it doesn’t always shake out the way we plan. That said, sometimes God finds ways to humble and surprise us.

So, there were tough times for our family, my wife at the center of it all, and a glimmer of hope that things HAD to eventually get better. The hardest part for me was the waiting. But wait we did. And I’ll have to say that I was frustrated with the waiting pretty much the whole time.

We owe much to our many friends and family members. CJane herself helped launch our adoption button, which then found itself on many other blogs, facebook pages, etc. The button has been clicked over 26,000 times. We’ve seen what can come about because of a large group of loving people caring about each other’s life stores. You guys are amazing. All of that positive energy can only lead to good things. Miraculous things, even. Our miracle came in the form of a small 32 week preemie born in early March. And here she is:

My wife has a certain glow about her these days. She does MANY things well, but she is at her best as a mom. Our son Phun adores his new little sister. He wanted to have a chance to post on Cjane , so here is his contribution (without edits):

    I like Life with my baby sister. “BB” I call her . She is a very cute .

Thanks again to everyone. And for those caught in one of the down slopes of the ups and downs that can be the adoption process, hang in there. Our positive thoughts and prayers are with you!

Mostly though, we understand that it is our Heavenly Father that has sent her to us. This was no accident. She is already just as much a part of our family as anyone of the rest of us. She has always been and always will be ours. And all it took was a bit of patience.

Jeremy Kendrick is my brother-in-law, Chup's brother. He usually gets called MD around here. He is finishing up a triple board residency at the University of Utah. He is technological wizard with a kind heart who always compliments my cooking. Even when it shouldn't be complimented. Congratulations Dad!




On my other blogs today:

dear c jane:
Chup's week
An intriguing post on the world surrounding flashlights.
(Seriously, it is not boring.)

c jane's Guide to Provo:
A really touching post about Provo
from our city's greatest bachelor.

This blog was created by me to record happiness.
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