One year ago this month, we formally began our adoption process.

Coincidently, a year ago this month, I quit my job.  

It’s hard to explain why I needed to leave a job that paid me well and only required a small amount of my time each month. I still feel the need to justify resigning from a weekend night-shift schedule, the one that was once a perfect fit for my family, but in time, turned me into a thief — stealing sleep, health, and joy from myself and then my family (leaving criticism, anxiety, and anger as calling cards).

It took me years to say “I just can’t do it anymore.”


I sit at the kitchen table in front of my computer. My husband walks by after kissing the kids goodnight and grabs a glass of water at the sink. He leans his hip into the counter. We haven’t decided when I will give my notice at work, but the decision has been made: I’m going to quit my job. He takes a drink, lowers the cup, and asks, “How long can we go without you working?”

I used to call the money I made “Lipstick Money.” It wasn’t much, but it gave our tight budget breathing room. I could go to Target or Costco (or even Nordstrom every once in awhile) and if a shirt my daughter would love or a new red lipstick found its way into my bag, I didn’t have to stress. But as our kids grew and after we bought an older home, most months, the money I made pulled two short financial ends closer together.

Managing the money is my responsibility, which is ridiculous, considering my innate inattention to detail. All my numbers end with “-ish.” Bills are paid less on time and more “in the proximity of.” My type of budgeting is not fancy — I write a lot of numbers on scrap pieces of paper — but I spend less than we make and somehow always seem to save a bit, so I just keep plugging along. It’s like a “Crappy Dinner Party” version of budgeting.

I wish I could give him a definite answer. “I don’t know, a few months maybe?”


My husband and I sit next to each other on our navy couch. Our social worker sits opposite of us in a peacock colored upholstered chair. The square walnut coffee table separates us and I feel the walls of our living room inching in after each of her questions.

I’ve cleaned the house over the previous days and prepped the kids with all manner of possible questions. (There’s nothing like a Home Study to get you to clean your house from stem to stern, consider how often you yell at your kids, and re-think the amount of alcohol you keep on the bottom shelf of the storage room.)

“Tell me about your work,” she asks me.

“Since we first started the adoption process, I’ve actually quit my job. But I am exploring some medical writing and freelance writing. I’ll be looking for another nursing job soon.”

A few months of not working stretched longer as our budget stretched.

This year has been a year of constraint, of saying “not today” and of asking “is this necessary?” for every single purchase. No eating out. Definitely no new lipstick. A year of going to Target and although I may walk down the candle aisle, so help me God, I stick to my list: Grape-Nuts, dish soap, new socks for the boys.


Since my kids were small, we’ve said the rhythmic prayer that ends with ”by His hand, we are fed, thank you Lord for daily bread.” In this year, the prayer changed, at least for me, from rote to real. Pretty quickly, I realized I didn’t actually want Daily Bread. If I did, I wanted it buttered on a side dish next to a plate of filet mignon over a bed of caramelized onions and sauteed vegetables and to be washed down with a glass of cabernet.

In a year of praying for Daily Bread, I’ve realized just how much more than basic sustenance I actually have. How out of touch I’ve been with what Daily Bread really is. How I pray for having enough and how I actually still have more than I even need.

I’d whisper Daily Bread while sitting at our old dining room table because despite the scratches and mismatched chairs, we were all healthy, fed, and together. I’d think Daily Bread while dressing in the same old pair of jeans as my kids walked in modeling the new shoes they needed (because, ohmygoodness, everyone's feet grew three sizes overnight). Daily Bread driving past the coffee shop, knowing four dollar lattes like to add up.


In a month that we gather around tables and look at all we have and say Thank You for these blessings, I’m ending a year where every moment was braided with worries of having enough. A year after we said Let’s move forward with adoption, we’re actively planning a trip across the world to pick up our new daughter.

It all happened so fast and I can’t stop thinking:  

Did we pray enough?
Have we prepared enough?
Are we ready enough?
Can I love her enough?
Will I be enough?


Paying for adoption costs while pinching pennies seemed impossible. A year ago, I was on on my knees time and time again.

We can’t do this.
There isn’t enough.
You have to do this.
Only You can do this.

At church I recently heard someone say that sometimes God leads you through a season of restriction in preparation for Him to work in an area of your life.

In motherhood, it’s all too easy to look at yourself, your circumstances, your resources and say It isn’t enough or I’m not enough. As I think about my new daughter and all the challenges this transition will bring for her and our family, my prayers now are less desperate and more confident, even though they sound exactly the same:

We can’t do this.
We aren’t enough.
You have to do this.

Only You can do this.

This year has taught me more than I ever imagined about what I can’t do. It’s also taught me about what God can do. And as I put my trust and hope in Him and not myself, I know it will be more than enough.

Photo by Emily Gnetz.