I am so glad you stopped by today because I get the honor of introducing you to my dear friend, Kathrina. Kat and I have a lot in common. We love us some Marshall's, we were born type A, and we would admit we have to work at motherhood. Which is why I adore her. She and her husband are first responders to pain and mess. They relentlessly pursue people with their love, and are teaching their children to do the same. They are hilarious, generous, loud, fun, and really the life of any party. And because of their dynamic, go-get 'em attitude, it is no surprise that they are navigating "none to done" so well!
I am forever grateful for Kathrina's friendship. It is an honor to be a part of her journey going from type A to plan B.
First I have to start off by saying that I am completely jealous that I didn’t come up with the quippy saying “From Type A to Plan B”! If you happen to lean towards Type A (guilty!) and have ever been through heartache because life threw you a curveball, then Stef’s blog is like medicine for your soul (or lemon juice to a paper cut!). Stef and I are cut from the same cloth in life, so when she started blogging about her journey and embracing life when you thought you had it all figured out, I knew I had a soul friend I could count on. Stef is sort of my ‘Pain Pioneer’ who I first journeyed through all the yuck life had to offer, so when it was my turn to let my Type A die to my Plan B, I knew who I could count on.
My name Kat Montondo and I have been married to my husband Micah since 2003. Our Plan B started in 2008 when I discovered I was pregnant even though we were not ready to start a family. Since it just sort of happened, it seemed like it was “God’s plan” for us to join the ranks of parenthood and bring on the babies! I remember doing what all expecting mothers do… researching the best “B” products (Bumbos, Boppies, Binkies, Blankies, etc), comparing my baby to the size of fruits and vegetables in the womb, and buying the most expensive prenatal vitamin because surely that had to be the best. Like any other expecting mother, I showed up giddy for my first ultrasound, and that’s when my journey started - miscarriage. I’ll never forget being wheeled into my D&C procedure and thinking to myself, “How did I get here? I didn’t even try to get pregnant, why a miscarriage?”
Fast forward a few years of not being able to get pregnant on our own, going to fertility doctors, several fertility treatments later with no success, and having to look “Plan B” in the face. That’s when adoption seemed to be our next step. We have friends we do life with who have adopted children, so we were excited to get started! So there we were going through all the classes and getting our background checks done, but there was one thing I still kept in my control and that was that I wanted to adopt a baby from birth. I had heard all the scary foster-to-adopt stories enough to know it wasn't for me. Type A.
And that’s when the real pain kicked in. Micah and I went through three failed infant adoptions. So there I was, the Type A woman with a creepy empty baby room in her house, saying out loud “Okay God, I thought miscarriage was my Plan B, then I thought fertility treatments were my plan B, then I thought adoption was my Plan B, NOW WHAT?!”
I should know better than to limit God and put parameters on His will for my life.
Our phone rang two weeks later and it was a friend of ours who said,
“Hey! I know a couple who has these foster kids, ages 2, 3, and 4 who need a good home. You guys want three foster kids?”
I’m not kidding. It went just like that. My immediate reaction was laughter, because who says yes to that (besides a couple on a TLC reality show)? And my second reaction was fear that I might actually be called to say yes, and embrace a totally different life than I pictured. Again.
So let me back up and explain a little about myself and my husband because the last thing I want to convey is that I am some super human that thinks taking on three kids at once sounds like the perfect end to a story. I hate change, I think organization is the key to life, I love a schedule, I easily manipulate selfishness into the idea of “focusing on me” time, I make my bed daily, and I love going to TJ Maxx. Then there’s my husband Micah, who reminds me of Captain America. He is a fireman, lives for adventure and the unknown, loves a good challenge, likes being uncomfortable, and he willingly anticipates change. Annoying right? Saying yes to three children at once sounded like the world’s best roller coaster ride to him, while I'm standing at the gate trying not to puke and offering to stay back and hold everyone's belongings. When it came to me and my selfish desires, I just couldn’t wrap my brain around embracing a life I didn't picture it to be. There were so many times I pictured raising a child from birth, and it made me so uncomfortable to picture anything else. Adoption alone takes courage, but this sounded insane. What if these kids didn’t like me? What if I wasn't strong enough to handle their emotional needs? Could we afford it and where would we put them? Does TJ Maxx make cute bedding for toddlers?
After a LOT of prayer, tears and looking at their beautiful faces, we decided that our family was going to look different than we dreamed it would, and we were going to take a chance on what God believed was best for us; not what we dreamed it would be. In James 1:27 it says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” To be polluted by the world? Ouch. I am the queen of that. The reality is, we ALL know someone, or ARE someone, going through a life different than we pictured it would be. Some of it would make our high school/early 20s self say, “I’ll go through and experience WHAT?” But the truth is, friends, God calls us to live lives we NEVER expected or EVER planned.
A few weeks ago I was watching a bunch of high school girls jokingly play the game of MASH. Remember that game? It tells you if you’re going to live in a mansion, how many kids you’re going to have, what kind of care you’re going to drive, how many bridesmaids you’ll have, etc. Anyway, I leaned over to them and said “remember girls, in the game of MASH there isn’t an option for adoption, having children with special needs, divorce, cancer, etc. Sometimes God calls us to live lives that make us squirm.” After I crushed their dreams, I reminded them how lucky I was that my game of MASH didn’t play out like I planned, and all we can do is try our best to accept the authentic lives God hands us.
There are still days I am reminded that this life isn't easy and it still doesn't go as I planned. It creeps in when another adoption date is rescheduled or I'm listening to the courts talk about my children's past reminding me of a time I wasn't their mom. Or when my children accidently call me by my first name instead of 'mom.' On those days, all I can do is stand in my kitchen and sing Carrie Underwood’s song, “Jesus Take the Wheel” at the top of my lungs. Because if you don't laugh, you'll cry! But I’m so honored that our perfect and Holy Creator didn’t create me to live a “normal” life. The truth is, if He did, I would have taken it for granted. Even though it’s hard and uncomfortable and causes us pain, it makes us more interesting. I believe when we let go of Plan A and trust Him with Plan B, God smiles and says, “See, you did it. Thank you and I’m proud of you.”
Join with me... Jesus take the wheel!