Lilypie - Third Birthday

Monday, December 17, 2012

Its Official!

James Aaron is officially ours, we had our court hearing this morning for the finalization.  Now I can post pics of him online, no more agency rules to follow!  Here are a few from the past 5 months, I can't believe how fast that time has gone by! 











Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Coming Soon....

Where as the time gone, have I really not updated this blog since J was 7 weeks old?!  Finalization is Monday so J will officially be introduced to the blogging world soon.  He's already been on facebook although it is technically against our agency rules.  I know some people make a big deal about the court date that finalizes it all but while I'm excited to have it all done with and official, it kinda feels like just another step in the process.  I have never been worried that J wouldn't be ours forever.  Some of our family is excited and feel like they can finally relax but they don't know J and A like we do.  We had another visit around Thanksgiving.  Hopefully I can get back to posting regularly but don't hold me to it, I said "hopefully" :) 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

7 Weeks

J is 7 weeks old now and I'm finally getting used to being his mommy.  We have definitely been bonding the last couple weeks.  We have left him with relatives for a few hours here and there from the start but this weekend was the first time I actually was sad to leave him and missed him while DH and I were out.  I'm being much more patient during his crabby times and he's having less of them as I get better at anticipating his needs.  I don't have a lot of time to reflect on things like I did before him but I have occasional moments when I can't believe after all our years of infertility that this is the amazing little boy God wanted me to have.  I think its a lot like marrying DH.  On our wedding day someone said to me that I was the calmest bride they had ever seen.  That's because I knew without a doubt that DH was the man God wanted me to marry.  Even in the rough times after we were first married, I may have been mad at DH and wished I wasn't married to him but I never doubted that I was exactly where God wanted me to be, which left me no options other than working it out and changing my own attitude and bad habits.  I know without a doubt that J is the child God meant for us to have, even when I'm frustrated and in tears myself while J is screaming his sweet little head off.  Its not easy but I know I'm right where God wants me to be.

I haven't really written much about J yet but he really is a good baby.  We have done a bedtime routine from the beginning and he is very consistent now.  Around 7pm we put his pjs on, go to his nursery, turn the music on and have a bottle.  At first I was insistent that he sleep in his crib and we were using the rock n play for naps during the day.  Our bedtime routine was taking hours and by the time he'd finally be out for the night we were both exhausted.  So I gave in and let him sleep in the rock n play but now its only for night and he doesn't take naps in it during the day.  I realize that I cause a lot of my own problems by my own self imposed rules but I feel like it will pay off later.  We only use his room upstairs at night and I think it has helped him to associate it with bedtime because he has never seemed to have his days and nights mixed up.  Now he takes naps downstairs in the pack n play, on the floor, in the swing, on the couch or in the bouncy.  His daytime naps are a lot shorter than they were when he was napping in the rock n play but at least now our bedtime routine is only 1/2 hour instead of 5 hours.  I know a lot of people keep their kids up late but early bedtime is my sanity saver.  Once J is out for the night he doesn't wake up until midnight so I can get some work done, go to bed early or even watch a movie with DH.  I usually go to bed early and DH does the midnight feeding.  Occasionally he will sleep from 7pm-2am.   He's pretty consistent though and usually wakes at 12am, 3am, 5am and is up for the day with DH at 7am.  Even though I'm still getting up with him a lot he always eats and goes right back to sleep and I'm snuggled back in my bed within 1/2 hour. 

We've had a lot of trouble finding a formula that agrees with him.  He has so much gas and has from the start.  When he came home from the hospital he was on Similac Sensitive but that made him constipated.  Our pedi said to give him corn syrup twice a day.  That helped him to go but I did not want to have my 2 week old baby hopped up on sugar.  I asked if I should switch formula and they said no just keep up with the corn syrup for a week and then call them back if he wasn't better.  But I tried switching to enfamil newborn anyway.  This made him more regular but he was still having really bad gas pains all the time.  I never did call our pedi back.  Instead I took him to see our chiropractor.  We met her because she actually works on animals also and we take our older dog to see her.  She showed me how to do a tummy massage that literally deflates him instantly.  She also suggested holding him to my chest and bouncing on an exercise ball.  I'd never heard of this but it has been our lifesaver!  If he is gassy we bounce for a few minutes, then I burp him and repeat.  If he doesn't burp and is just fussy, I cradle him while bouncing and he is always out within 15 minutes, never fails!  And its a good core workout for me :)  Our chiro also said that I should put him on Nutramigen by enfamil and he improved instantly.  But its super expensive and after a few weeks as he ate more we decided we just can't afford to keep him on it.  So we started mixing it with Enfamil Gentlease and that's been working well for us.  He's on his last can of Nutramigen and then will just be on the Gentlease.  I plan on eventually switching him Enfamil Infant as he gets older and his tummy can digest it better. 

Another thing we love is our moby wrap.  He likes the stroller and car rides too but loves the moby the most.  We take the dogs for a walk everyday.  Having him in the moby frees up both hands so I can walk both dogs.  People probably laugh and say I have my hands full walking with a baby and two big dogs but we manage.  For my sanity we need to get out of the house.  We have walked up to 3 miles at a time.  When its super hot outside we walk on the treadmill.  A little exercise goes a long way for me, I go crazy and get depressed if I just sit around the house all day.   

He is smiling a lot at random times and I think he's starting to smile at us.  Its still hard to say if its in response to us or if its just cause we're right there while he's happy.   But he's adorable when he's happy and when he's sleeping.  Not so adorable when he's screaming but we love him anyway.  It is getting easier as we all adjust to each other.  Bmom still texts me a lot although its not every day anymore.  Sometimes I don't respond to her.  I feel bad but I just need to bond with J without bmom in my head all the time.  We love her and she will always be part of our family but its hard to think of J as mine when she is always texting and asking for pictures or asking how "her" little boy is doing.  I am looking forward to seeing them again but I don't feel like I'm ready yet.  Its been about a month since we had our last visit.  They are talking about coming here next visit.  In some ways I don't mind having them here since they are good friends but at the same time it feels like they would be intruding on our family in a way that I'm not ready for.  Like I said, I'm still trying to wrap my head around our new little family of 3 and with bmom and bdad always inserting themselves, it gets confusing.  I'm happy we have an open adoption and wouldn't want it any other way but at this point I still just feel like I need some space from them.  We will probably visit them early November and if they don't come here before that I would be okay with it.  But I could never say that to them.  I can see ways that she is moving on and healing so I think it will get easier for all of us as time goes by. 

I can't wait to post pictures on here!  We have to wait until finalization which will happen the end of October.  I still have not had any professional pictures taken but I'm trying to set that up to happen soon.  I want to do it before he gets too much bigger.  I also love how everyone takes pictures of their little one each month with a onesie or sign that says how old they are.  I've not found time to do that and now I feel like since I didn't do it from the beginning I don't want to start now.  Oh well, we still have lots of cute pictures. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Reality

How has it been over two weeks since my last post?  I can't believe J is almost a month old already.  Most new mom's will post about how much they love their child and how being a parent is so amazing and maybe that's true for them.  Don't judge but I'm gonna be real here.  Life is so different and its definitely been hard to adjust.  I think that the this would have been much easier years ago.  I think couples need some time together after they are married before having kids right away but 8 years is way too long.  We are too set in our routine and our life together.  Its been a really hard change for me to make.  Although I'm surprised at how little sleep I can function on and what a huge difference an hour nap can make.  But I struggle with patience.  I feel like being a mom comes naturally as far as caring for J and his needs but to be totally honest, love and patience are not coming easy.  I know this may sound bad but I haven't loved J as instantly and intensely as I expected to.  Don't misunderstand - I do love him but there have been nights where he's been fussy and I've thought that maybe I'm just not good at this or maybe we should have just lived child free.  And maybe if the bparents changed their minds and wanted him back I would be okay with it.  Wow, I feel guilty just admitting that.  I've read about bonding and adoption issues but I didn't realize it was so real.  I keep thinking if I had given birth and had hormones running through me that bonding would be easier.  I've always loved babies but J came into our house and totally disrupted my life in a way that I knew I should expect but didn't quite realize.  This week has been better now that I'm accepting my new life and and getting to know J better.  I don't really want to give him back, I really do love him and want to keep him in our family.  Its just taking more time that I thought.  I guess cause I read all these blogs about women who have children after infertility or adopt and they all say its the greatest thing ever and so worth everything.   I feel so guilty for not being immensely happy or overjoyed with my new motherhood.  Let me be the first to say that its not all that great at first for everyone.  Sometimes it takes time to bond with a new little one and going from working 8 hours a day and then having free time in the evening and weekends to just working full time around the clock according to someone else's needs.....its just not that easy.   But this is still what I want, I just need to get over my selfishness. 

I keep thinking that maybe another part of the reason I haven't been able to bond with J as much as I thought I would is because bmom is still very present in our life.  In the past month, only one day has passed when she did not text me several times a day.  I love bmom but its like she is constantly reminding me that she is J's mom, not me.  I know its not her intention but it makes me feel like I'm still just babysitting someone else's child.  We had originally planned our first visit to be 3 weeks after J's birth when DH and I would be in their city for a wedding.  But bmom was having a hard time and so I offered to meet sooner if she thought it would help.  So when J was 10 days old we met them half way and spent the day together.  Everyone wonders what our meetings are like and I say its just like hanging out with friends.  No one understands how that can be in a situation like this but its true.  Even if J wasn't there we could still hang out and have fun together.  We couldn't have asked for better bparents.  The difference right now is that she needs lots of contact to heal and move on and I need space to bond and form our new family.  After our first visit she started texting me less.  Still every day but often only one or two texts instead of several or all day long.  Even though she said she cried all the way home and it was still really hard, I think it helped.  I've read other bmoms write that after the first visit the child they start to see the child more as the adoptive couple's child and less like their own.  We saw them again this past weekend when we went to the wedding.  Again it was just like hanging out with friends, we're so comfortable together.  However, as J is growing and his needs are changing I can see how bmom doesn't really know how to meet his needs.  In the hospital he was so easy because all he did was eat, then sleep.  Now he's awake more, he is having lots of gas problems which make him fussy and he often fights falling asleep when he's tired.  Normal baby stuff but to someone who doesn't know what that he likes his little bottom patted, likes to be held a certain way or bounced in a certain way, it can be frustrating.  And as his mommy I do know what he likes but I'm  not sure if I should sound bossy by telling her how to hold him and what to do or if I should just let her do her own thing with him.  But I found it very frustrating because she would always say he needs to eat and then feed him an ounce and let him fall asleep.  I don't want a snacker baby who needs to eat every hour and she wasted a lot of formula - very frustrating because J is on Nutramigen, one of the most expensive out there.  But I was so afraid of offending her and sounding bossy that I didn't say anything.  It was only for one night.  After we got home yesterday she texted me how good it was to see us and that they are so thankful that they can be part of our family.  I was surprised she said "our" family,  it made it seem like she is starting to see J as ours.  Which helps me to see things that way too. 

I know this post sounds negative.  I do love J and things are getting better.  But adoption is complicated.  I guess I always thought that once we brought our son home that parenthood would be everything I imagined and its very different.  But even on the hard days I know this is the plan God has for us, I have never doubted that.  So I just have to trust Him and know that this is what is best for me. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Almost A Whole Week Old

If this is any indication how fast he's going to grow up, I'm in trouble.  I can't believe he is going to be a week old tomorrow already.  He is so precious, I wish I could show you all pictures.  But I'm taking lots and will post when we finalize.  Bmom wants to get together next week and meet half way.  I'm happy to do that if it helps her but hopefully when she is able to go back to work she can go longer between visits. 

J was fussy for the first time late yesterday and last night.  I couldn't figure him out and felt so bad.  Its hurts to see your baby cry and not know why.  But this morning I fed him 3 oz instead of two and he was happy as could be and has been sleeping all day.  The nurses said not to feed him more than two until his first doctor visit but he's a growing little boy and if he says he needs more to eat then his momma is gonna give it to him.  He hasn't spit up or complained of a tummy ache so I think he was just fussy yesterday because he was still hungry.  Today he spent a long time sleeping on my chest and I thought life was just about perfect for that hour.  How many times did I dream of having a little bundle of joy in the house to love and cuddle with?  A long time and now that he's here and such a good baby so far, its everything I thought it would be, except for the constant worry about him.  Didn't plan on that part. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

He's Home!!

Sweet little J was born July 20th at 8:28 pm and weighed 7 lbs 0 oz, 20.5 in.  He is perfect in every way.  Since he came via emergency c-section we weren't discharged from the hospital until Monday night.  Since it was late and we have a 4 hour drive we stayed at a hotel with the birthparents.  They signed papers early Tuesday morning and we spent the rest of the day with them, giving them plenty of time to say goodbye.  I cried all the way home, I expected to be happier but it broke my heart to leave without them.  We got so close over the weekend they feel like family.  I even cried when I said goodbye to birth grandma.  They are our family now and we love them.  I can not believe how incredibly strong bmom is.  The whole thing could not have gone better except the sadness of saying goodbye.  We talked about both sides of the adoption process and it was cool to hear their side of the story and how and when they picked us and how they were feeling after our meetings.  We were so open and comfortable with them.  I was never worried they wouldn't sign.  At one point I was worried they would and I would be responsible for this sweet little person.  (I still feel that way when I think about being his mommy for life, its overwhelming!)   We bonded over how much we all dislike the social worker.  I know she's doing her job but she just made things more uncomfortable.  Thankfully she is a busy lady and left Saturday morning, not to return until Monday  night so we had the weekend to bond without her overbearing presence.  We've been texting and I know bmom is sad but says she'll be okay.  We have plans to meet again in 3 weeks but if she has a really hard time, I will suggest we meet somewhere half way sooner.  There is so much I want to share but at the same time it was so special, I just want to keep it close to my heart and not share it.  I will decide what to share more in future posts. 

I wish I could post pictures so you all could see how cute J is but we can't put pictures online until finalization.  So far he is a perfect baby and I'm still wondering when the hard part starts.  He sleeps for 4-5 hours between feedings and when he's awake he doesn't fuss.  Last night DH fed him before he went to bed at 11, I fed and changed him at 2:30 and was back in bed within 15 min.  Then we got up for the day and fed him again at 6am.  This morning he was awake for over an hour, just looking around and listening to me and his great grandma.  I had planned on putting him on Enfamil but the hospital used Similac Sensitive and he is doing so well on it that I better keep him on it.  No tummy aches or spit up so far.  He is my little angel specially delivered straight from heaven.  I still cry whenever I think of his bmom and what a huge gift she gave us. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Its Finally Time!

We are off to the hospital, bmom is in labor, yay!  Finally, its time :) Pray all goes well for us!

Still Waiting

Still no baby, still no update.  This can't possibly be normal agency behavior.  If I have no right to know what's going on then I wish they'd at least tell me that.  Yesterday I emailed my social worker and asked her to talk to their social worker and get me an update.  I haven't heard back from her.  I know I should just call but I don't want to bother them, what if it is standard policy that they keep me in the dark and they think I'm just annoying?  But this can't be right, I'm sure they are just overlooking me or think that I'm fine with not knowing anything.  We'll see if my social worker gets back to me today but I'm pretty sure she's just going to tell me to be patient. 

Last night I had a dream that we finally got the call and she said that the baby was born a few days ago and they decided to keep it.  Its not hard to see where that dream came from with them not giving me any updates.  For all I know that really could have happened and they just forgot to call me!  Okay, probably not but its starting to feel that way.  I have loved our agency up to this point but the fact that they are providing so little support right now is ruining my trust in them. 

I'm sure its stressful enough waiting for a baby when your pregnant and going to the doctor appointments but its even worse when you have no clue if this baby is getting ready or still two weeks off with no signs of labor.  Plus I'm stressed about work because they haven't found me a permanent replacement, the boss won't email me back about it and as of July 30th, there is no one to work for me.  All of that combined with the fact that I had to beg people to work for me this week and now I feel guilty because the baby isn't here and I'm home when I could be at work.  Bmom didn't want to be induced but her maternity leave starts on her due date.  So maybe when she is no longer working she will be just as ready as I am to get on with this. 

I know I sound ungrateful.  We have had such a great adoption journey and I'm making this worse than it is.  If I would just have a little more faith in God's perfect timing maybe I could have a better attitude.  In some ways I wonder if the past is part of my bad attitude.  I do kinda feel the same way as I did after a failed treatment cycle.  Like its impossible for us to ever have a baby, like its never going to happen, like I was silly to get so excited thinking this time was going to be the one that gave us our baby.  There is no reason for me to feel like this is over but for some reason I do, even though we have been sure the entire time that this baby is meant to be ours.  I don't know what's getting into me here.  I know she can't keep the baby in there forever and she will eventually go into labor but she can keep him forever in her arms if she chooses to. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

4 Days Until What?

What happens in 4 days?  Well chances are nothing.  I've been watching the days tick off and now that we're almost there I realize that J might not even be here in 4 days.  Since bmom doesn't want to be induced she may go a ways past her due date.  I can't imagine the doctors would let her since her trouble with low amniotic fluid but they probably can't force her to be induced.  I know her maternity leave doesn't start until her due date so maybe she is just trying to make it that far.  I wish that someone would tell me what's going on.  Its starting to feel like there isn't really even a baby on the way.  If there is, he could still be 2.5 weeks away for all I know.  Besides that, since she didn't know she was pregnant until 4 months along, how accurate is her due date?  It would have had to be ultrasound dated and the further along you are the harder it is to get an accurate date.  I know he's been measuring small but I also know she eats a lot of junk food so that is a cause for low birth weight or her due date could be later than they think.  I just wish they would give me some indication or let me know what the doctors are saying.  At least give me a date they will induce if she isn't labor yet, even if its several weeks from now!  Just give me a finish line here!

I'm ready now, I've had the weekend and a couple days to get everything ready and off my to do list and now I'm just waiting.  I plan on quitting my job eventually but don't want to do so until we actually bring this baby home so for now I'm on vacation from work.  I've been on vacation before but I don't know if its the restlessness of waiting for this baby or the fact that I might not go back to work at all but this vacation feels different.  I can't believe I'm about to say this but I think I miss getting up and going to work every day.  I know, its only been two days! I'm a person who really likes routine and I'm just having trouble adjusting to a new one, especially since its not going to be a permanent one.  Plus DH is super busy trying to get work done so he can take time off when the baby gets here so I've hardly seen him.  Everyone says I should enjoy this time before the baby comes since I'll never have this life again.  But really we've been planning on starting our family for over 5 years, I feel like we've done everything we've wanted to do as a child free couple.  Last night DH said it feels like we're just in a stand still waiting for our new life to start.  There is no enjoying ourselves, we just want to hold this baby!  I've been dreaming about him every night lately, about the hospital, bringing him home, sharing him with family.  Obviously this little baby is all I can think about!  But the excitement of past weeks is gone and now I'm just feeling impatient and frustrated. 

I have some little things to do around the house and yard today but I'm just not motivated.  I might practice installing the car seat today, wash some new baby clothes, pay some bills, pull some weeds in the garden and around our landscaping.  Nothing that will help keep my mind off the baby.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Almost There

Bmom is 39 weeks today.  I can't imagine what she's feeling right now but here's what I'm feeling.  I've never run a marathon (I'd like to someday) but I imagine somewhere towards the end you start to feel like you can't do it anymore and you won't be able to finish or that it isn't worth it.  The last few days have been like that for me.  I try not to let the what ifs get control of me but they kinda do.  I know bmom had an appointment on Monday and with her amniotic fluid being low last week, I thought it was possible they would have to induce this week.  I'm thankful they didn't since now I am done with work and after today my to-do list will be done.  But I went all week without hearing a word from anyone about how she is doing.  Its very frustrating this close to the end.  Last time I went 5 weeks without an update and when I asked the agency for one they never called me back.  I get that they're busy but do they not care about adoptive parents at all?!   They must know how we are feeling through all of this and that we need updates to put our minds at ease.  So finally yesterday I texted their social worker and said "How is ___ this week?  Have her fluid levels been okay?  Any signs of labor yet?"  and this was her response....."doing fine."  Seriously!?  8 days before due date and that's all you'll give me?!  I was so frustrated and she really just killed my excitement.  It may have been better if she just hadn't responded.   They say they provide adoptive parent counseling but at what point does that happen?  After we bring the baby home?  Cause I could sure use some support right about now.  Our social worker emails me once every 3 weeks and says "just checking in, when's the baby due again?"  Uh don't you have that in your file or something?  With our second meeting she called 1 hour before the scheduled time and said "oh I forgot to tell you, you have a meeting with the birthparents today."  Lucky for us the agency called to set up the meeting so we were already almost there (4 hour drive).  I love our agency, I really do but I've never been a fan of our social worker and I'm feeling like they could provide a little more support right about now or at least a little more communication.  Are they even going to call me when the baby is born?  Of course she said she would but I'm starting to wonder. 

As we come closer to our time at the hospital it feels like this is it, this is what it all comes down to.  What if he's not healthy?  What if they don't sign?  What if we come home with empty arms?  What if I can't do this?  How do I drive away with someone else's baby while they are in tears over it?  It just seems so hard and so overwhelming.  Yesterday I cried to DH again saying I can't do this and I want to give up.  I haven't done that since our final homestudy visit.  I don't really want to give up of course but it just feels like so much.  We've had a really good adoption experience, a great one by comparison to some but its still really hard.  Even when things have been going so smoothly and we had such a short wait and great birthparents, its still hard.  I'm just going to stick with what's worked for me, not think about it and leave it in God's hands.  He'll handle this much better than I would.

I wrote my first letter to J this week.  I started a journal for him that I'll give him someday.  DH and I got gifts for bmom and bdad last night.  A locket with J's name engraved for her and a key chain with the name engraved for him.  We also got a digital picture frame to give them on our first visit after the baby is born, by then we can have it full of pictures of him.  I told DH its kinda risky buying a locket and key chain engraved with the baby's name cause what do we do with it when they don't sign?  DH told me to stop talking like that and have a little faith.  God's hand has been obviously all over this from the beginning and we just need to trust Him.  Besides that we both feel in our hearts that this baby is meant to be ours.  Even though people say that all the time and are disappointed we're still going all in. 

The freezer is stocked with easy food for when we get home, our bags are packed, my house is clean and now we're just waiting for the phone to ring!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thank You Gift Of Adoption Fund!

I applied for 4 grants and after three rejection letters, I finally got good news.  The Gift of Adoption Fund awarded us a grant for $3,000.  Woohoo!!!  We have to write a check for $18k when we leave the hospital and now it will only be $15k.  We have most of it saved but I've been nervous about spending every penny we have and then me not going to back to work.  It seems like a small amount when looking at the over all cost of adoption but we are so grateful for it.   Can you all do me a favor and help spread the word about the Gift of Adoption Fund?  Like them or post a comment on facebook, mention them on your blogs and encourage people to add them to their charitable contributions list.  This is the last one I expected to recieve a grant from but yay! we're so excited to have this little bit of financial help.  We will definitely pay it forward by giving back to them in the future when we can afford to do so. 

If your looking for grants our agency has some links on their resources page here, http://www.nhadoptionagency.org/grants/

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Insenstive Comments

We met with our expectant birthparents this week and 2 of the expectant grandparents.  And it went great!  As we get to know them better, they feel more and more like family.  I know I've said it before but this feels like such a perfect match that I can't imagine this adoption failing.  We talked about the baby a lot, which always makes me feel better because I always feel like I shouldn't bring it up.  Which I know is silly but I don't want them to feel like all I care about is the baby.  The grandparents asked a lot about our family and our lives but it didn't feel weird or like we were being interrogated.  I always imagined the relationship with our adopted child's bio family to be uncomfortable but a good friend told me it wouldn't be, the only reason she gave was "it just isn't".  She was 100% correct and even now I can't give a better reason myself.  It just isn't.  Why do we always need concrete reasons for everything anyway?  A little bit of faith can go a long way.  Bdad's mom said before she left that she's really excited for us and that this is going to be one lucky little boy.  A simple thing for her to say but it really meant a lot to me.  It would be wrong for me to say I loved our baby's (he will be referred to as J from now on) bio family immediately but I definitely feel love growing for them as the days go by.  Never in a million years did I expect adoption to be this awesome of an experience. 

On a little more negative note, I've been sort of sensitive to comments well intentioned people have been making and I'm afraid its only the beginning.  Here's what I've heard this week.....

"I hope the ultrasound is wrong and its a girl so our little girl has someone to play dolls with".

"When is the baby coming?"  followed by "Is she ready to get rid of it yet?" 

"If she is still with the father, I just can't understand why she wouldn't want to keep it".

"I'm just concerned about you possibly homeschooling, don't you know those kids have issues.  He needs the social interaction of school and you don't even have a teaching degree." 

All of these comments made by my family and DH's family, not random strangers.  And the homeschooling idea is just something we're considering and will do more research on.  Just like the person who made that comment should do more research instead of making ignorant comments before checking his facts or meeting some homeschooled kids.  But I won't get into that debate today, J is not even here yet and people are acting like we're bad parents.  I'm sure there is much more where that came from. 

J will be here soon, I don't think he'll make his due date.  My sub is on vacation so I hope he waits one more week.  Last week her amniotic fluid was low, she got it back up to an acceptable level but if she can't keep it there they will induce, even though she doesn't want to be induced.  She said she is not ready to have this baby because she doesn't want to not be able to work.  I think part of it is because she wants to hold on to him as long as possible.  I'd be worried if she wasn't attached to him but I know that signing the papers will be really hard for her and that makes me nervous.  Thank goodness she is going to the doctor regularly now so they are watching her closely.  We found out this week that she didn't know she was pregnant until she was 4 months along.  I'm praying he will be healthy even though he hasn't had much prenatal care until recently.   

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

FREE Book Give Away

As you know I've been doing massive house cleaning in preparation for bringing our little baby home.  If you or someone you know would like any of these book/resources please email me you address and I will send them to you for free.  My email is jenbabe_luvs_tex at hotmail dot com. 

Two most recent "Adoptive Families" Magazines

What Every Adoptive Family Should Know DVD from Show Hope

Tragic Blessing by Bret Merkle (not IF or Adoption related)

Baby Hunger by Beth Forbus w/ In-Depth Study Guide

Inconceivable by Shannon Woodward

When The Cradle Is Empty by John & Sylvia Van Regenmorter

Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake

The Infertility Companion by Glahn & Cutrer

Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman (not IF related but a great book on sexual intimacy in marriage)

These were all helpful to me and hopefully with bring peace to someone else.  I'm more than happy to ship them to you for free.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our secret is out

DH and I have always been private people, especially when its come to our journey to have a family.  A few reasons being that I don't consider my reproductive organs or sex life anyone's business, how and when we build our family is a personal decision and my grandma goes to coffee in our small little town which is gossip central and she can not under any circumstances keep a secret.  The main reason I've wanted to keep our adoption a secret is because I'm still afraid of failure.  I do have confidence in our agency and in this match being successful but there is always a chance that it won't.  When we did our first IVF we told everyone we were doing it.  So of course everyone wanted to know if it was successful and we couldn't lie so we told them it was.  Everyone was so excited and a couple weeks later we had to tell them that we lost the baby.  It is one thing to suffer that loss privately but for me it was worse that our family knew.  For some people that extra support might be helpful but to me it felt like I was a failure and like it was my fault they were all disappointed.  This is so much bigger because our whole church, everyone at work, all our family and all our friends know about our plans to bring a baby home in a few weeks.  I can't imagine disappointing them all with a failed adoption, even though I understand its not my fault. 

This weekend our  little town had a big celebration and while at this celebration my grandma deliberatly let it slip to people who didn't already know that we're bringing our baby home in a month.  She waited until we had gone home.   I'm pretty mad about it.  Its not like its still a secret but I'm still trying to limit the speed at which this gossip was traveling. What I'm mostly upset about was that she told someone special to me that I was waiting to tell myself.  I just haven't seen this person in a quiet setting for a while.  I know she's excited but its not her news to share, its my announcement and I should decide who and when to share it with the world. 

At first when telling people I felt so excited immediately followed by regret, thinking how painful it will be to disappoint these people if it didn't work out.  Now I'm past that regret but I still don't feel real comfortable with everyone's happiness for us.  How wrong is that?  I feel like there is always that pity there because we couldn't have bio children or like they think this adoption was our second choice.  Everyone says "oh you must be so happy, you guys have waited so long, you'll be great parents".  I'm not sure if I'm paranoid and reading into it or if I'm sensing that people are really thinking about our infertility.  I already feel  like a mother bear to our little baby and like I should attack anyone who even suggests he is second best.  I have to confess that I have even asked God not to let me get pregnant - ever.  I may have taken a while to come around to adoption but my heart is all in it now, it is not second best or my second choice or something I have to do to grow our family.  This is how I want my family to be built, I just didn't know it.  I don't want a copy of DH and me, I want everyone in our little family to bring something different to the table that will strengthen and grow everyone else.  Different genetics, different looks, different personalities, different likes and dislikes, different perspectives and what ever other joys our children will bring.   Not that we wouldn't welcome and a love a bio child, but I kinda wish I could undo all those years of praying I would get pregnant, I'm sort of afraid God might answer that prayer now that I've changed my mind about what I want.  So I'll leave it up to Him, obviously He knows better than me.  So glad I listened when he called me to adoption.  One more quick fun fact - Last November is when I had a change of heart about adoption, practically over night.  Last November is also when our little baby was conceived (I did a reverse due date calculator).  I really feel like God woke me up to adoption and said "hey Jen, your baby is on its way so you better get your act together!"  His timing is always perfect!  When we first applied I told DH and our SW that I felt like our baby was already on its way, they laughed and told me not to get my hopes up too high.  DH said the same when I started buying baby stuff right away.   How awesome is our God's timing?  So happy to have Him in my life! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nesting

It doesn't occur to some people that nesting isn't just pregnancy related.   Apparently adoptive moms do it too.  This week we moved our bed to the upstairs bedroom so that we can be near the baby at night.  Because we have super steep stairs that I hate going up and down, we are going to be using what was our main floor bedroom as the baby's room during the day.  I plan to use the pack n play for changing and naps but also have the swing, bouncy and rocker in this room.  While the rest of the house including our new upstairs bedroom has been a total disaster, I've been totally focused on making sure everything in both of the baby rooms is just right.  The baby rooms shouldn't be a priority right now since we still have a month to go but organizing and cleaning for the baby is so much more fun than regular house cleaning.  But both rooms are complete now, as well as our room upstairs so now I just have some major main floor cleaning to do.  But today I'm taking the day off to relax.

I've been trying to decide what to do for a long time about work.  It has always been my intention to be a stay at home mom and not work at all.  But I don't want to quit before the baby gets here in case the adoption fails.  I'm not sure I want to quit completely even after the baby comes because I'm fearful of not having the extra income.  So what I decided to do is quit full time as of July 15th.  That way if the baby comes early I don't have to wait for someone to come replace me before we can leave for the hospital.  This way we can leave as soon as we get the call.  I decided that if this adoption fails, I'm okay with only working as a substitute until we eventually bring home a baby.  If we do bring this baby home in a month, I will still be a sub for a while and see how it goes.  I may quit completely or I may welcome the break of occasionally going to work.  I feel really good now that this decision has been made.  As long as our baby doesn't make his appearance before the 15th, it should all work out.

Our agency called this week to set up our final meeting with the birthparents and birthgrandparents for July 5th.  We are going to meet at a park for a picnic.  I'm excited, I love picnics and it will be a little more relaxed than sitting around a table at a restuarant.  I'm not worried about meeting his parents, we already have a lot in common and I know we'll get a long fine.  I asked the agency to get me an update about how our birthmom is feeling and if she's been to the doctor lately.  They haven't called back yet but I'm hoping this next week they will.  I'm praying that she's been to the doctor and everything is going great. 

Instead of a countdown to baby, I'm counting down to my last day of working full time.  The next few weeks will go by fast, especially with the holiday and our visit with the birthparents to look forward to.  Our little boy will be here before we know it!! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Adoption Book Reviews

Our agency has a great book list on their resource page.  They list books about adoption, kids books about adoption, parenting books, magazines, and books about racial issues.  Check it out here: http://www.nhadoptionagency.org/booklist/

Here are the ones I've read so far:

Raising Adopted Children, Revised Edition: Practical Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent by Lois Ruskai Melina

This book is the one required by our agency.  It was the first book about adoption that I read and it was informative since I knew so little.  I skimmed through it and skipped a large section about international adoption since we didn't go that route.  It made me a little weary of continuing with adoption since this book like so many others seemed to focus on the negative aspects of adoption.  I'd consider this one average, there is some good info in it but I feel like I could have learned the same thing in other books. 

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

HATED this book!  In its defense I will say it is outdated but I could not stand the negativity of it.  It was all about how messed up adoptive kids are and really made me feel like we would be ruining this child's life by adopting him because he will have issues that can never be overcome.  I felt it was a little slanted towards saying that all kids are better off with their birthparents.  She did say that children in open adoption have fewer issues but its still really hard on them.  I thought this would be a good book because it was written by someone who was adopted but it really wasn't.  It only feeds the stereotype that adopted kids can't grow up healthy and happy.

Dear Birthmother: Thank you for Our Baby by Kathleen Silber

This one was a huge improvement over the last one.  Again this one is outdated too and focuses mostly on semi-open adoptions and the letters that are passed back and forth through an agency.  It was great to see real examples of the letters to/from birthparents, adoptive parents and adopted children.  It was more positive and showed how even though adoption is still emotional, all parties involved can be happy with their lives.  This one I would totally recommend.

Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches by Russell Moore and C.J. Mahaney

The BEST so far.  Written in 2009 it is more relevant and was written by a Pastor who adopted from Russia.  This one was positive and focused on how we are all adopted by God through Christ and that adoption can be a wonderful experience for everyone.  While Twenty Things focused on the negative of how adopted kids will always wonder who they are and where they came from, this one says adopted kids are no different because we all are searching for the answer to those questions.  And the answer is the same for everyone, we all came from Adam, we're all sinners and Jesus saved us all.  I always thought that if we raise our adopted son to know Jesus that he won't end up with all those sterotypical adoption issues and this book affirmed that.  Our little boy can grow up and be a stable adult, he is not doomed to be unhappy and confused.  The chapter on infertility and adoption about made me cry, it was so true of our journey. 

Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay

This is not an adoption related book but it is a great parenting strategy that was echoed in some of the other adoption books.  The main idea I got from this one is that parenting can be fun.  The author said he feels guilty for enjoying parenting so much because all his friends only complain about how much work it is and how stressed out and miserable they are.  I hope that we can apply his techniques to our parenting style. 

Still on my to read list: The Connected Child by Karen Purvis

I've also bought a few kids books about adoption. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

40 Days and Counting

So I added a ticker to this blog.  I'm now trying to figure out if I stare at it long enough if the days until D-day go by any faster.......I'm gonna say no, it does not help to stare at it. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dear Adoptive Parents

I'm reading a book called Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge.  I'll comment further on books I've read in a later post but I wanted to share this from the book.  Its an imaginary letter from God to adoptive parents.

Dear Adoptive Parents,
One of my children needs a home - a mother and father who will love him and provide for him.  I know how much you wanted to have children.  I know the tears and anguish you have experienced.  But the only way I could make a place for this child in your home was through the open door of your infertility.  I am loaning him to you for a while to take care of.  Do the best you know how to do, for he is precious to Me.  Someday, when you are gone I will be his mother and father.  He will learn to trust Me and depend on Me as he did on you.  Thank you for being willing to love My son and give him a home on earth.  Love, God

When I find this whole adoption and parenting thing so overwhelming that I just don't feel like I can do it, I remember this.  This little baby that we will bring home will always be God's son first and his birthmother's second and mine third.  God and his birthmother have given me the task of raising him for the next 18 years and then I give him back over to God's control.  I can't do it on my own, I can only do it with lots and lots of prayer.  Adoption has taught me that I am only an instrument of my Father and I'm here to do the work He has planned for me.  And there is no way I can do something so huge and so important without Him.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Second Birthparents Meeting

Last week we met with our expectant birthparents for the second time.  This meeting was SO much easier and stress free.  I was not nervous at all.  We were there early again and their social worker came in a few minutes before they did.  She told us that they really like us and she thought our last meeting went well.  She said I was a little too quiet but she understands that's my personality and DH did perfect.  Well thanks to that comment I spent the rest of the visit thinking about how I'm being too quiet and I should say something but didn't know what.  She should never have said that to me.  They had not had their hospital planning meeting yet so we really had nothing new to talk about.  We had lunch and visited for about 2 hours.  I hate how I have to spend 8 hours in the car for a 2 hour lunch but I know that at this point that is what needs to be done to strengthen our relationship with them.  I always feel unsure how to act about the baby.  Do I act like we are going to be his parents or do I act like we still aren't sure if they will follow through with it.  I feel better about them going through with their decision after they talked some about why they chose adoption.  And with it being an open adoption they understand that they are not saying goodbye forever. 

One concern I have is that this is her second pregnancy and the first time she had a stillborn at 36 weeks.  She never went into detail about the circumstances but it makes me extremely nervous.  And what makes it worse is that she hasn't been to the doctor since her gender ultrasound.  She said work is too busy but that she feels the baby moving all the time.  After we got home I talked to my social worker and she said she will have their SW talk to her about seeing the doctor and take her there if necessary, although they can't force her to go.  I just get all these scary thoughts in my head of us going to the hospital ready to meet our baby and its stillborn.  Its hard enough to think about them deciding to parent but to end up with no healthy baby at all for anyone to take home is just horrifying.  So then of course I google it and read even more scary things.  Since she didn't say why it happened the first time there is no way to know if it was preventable.  I'm just praying that she will go to the doctor and everything will be fine.

Next week is Bmom's birthday.  I sent her card and wrote a nice note about how special she is to us and we can't wait to grow our relationship and spend many more happy birthdays with her.  Our agency doesn't let us give gifts until after placement so I sent her pictures of the nursery.  I'm not sure if it will make her happy to see we have a place ready for him and we will take good care of him or if it will make her sad that he has a home ready with someone that's not her. 
We are down to almost 6 weeks until due date.  I'm getting so anxious.  I can't imagine if I were the one that was pregnant.  I just want to bring this little guy home.  Everyone says we need to enjoy our last few weeks of freedom but I'm ready for this.  We've had 8 years of married freedom and we're ready to move on to the next phase.  Of course I'm hoping she'll suprise us with an early delivery but not too early because we want him to be healthy.  Everyone keeps asking me for updates and there is nothing to update.  Other than our next meeting with them later this month, I'm just working on being patient.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Meeting with Birthparents

This is the last of my retrospective updates......On May 9th we drove 4 hours for lunch with our birthparents.  We knew nothing about them except that they were going to college and the baby was healthy with no known drug or alcohol use.  So we had a vague idea that they were younger and making good decisions for their baby.  I had 10 days between getting the call and our first meeting.  Honestly after the first couple days it took for reality to sink it that week went by pretty fast.  Somewhere I've come up with a new coping technique and have been applying it to our entire adoption journey.  I'm not sure if its good or bad but I don't think about things, I don't try to control them, I just let God worry about it.  In some ways its a form of denial and distancing myself from the situation, on the other hand it is complete surrender to Him and His will.  So the entire time I told myself I was just taking a road trip to have lunch with my hubby.  I hate being late for things and we always end up driving around lost so I planned an extra hour into our driving time.  Of course this is one time we didn't need it.  So we were there an hour early, drove by the restuarant so we knew where it was and then hung out at the nearby Petsmart to kill some time.  Our meeting was scheduled at 12:15.  At 11:30 reality hit that this wasn't just lunch with DH.  This was a huge deal!  At 11:50 we left and sat in the car for 10 minutes.  Arrived at the restaurant at 12:00.  The hostess asked if we wanted seating for 2.  I said we were meeting some other people.  She asked if I would like to go look around and see if they were there.  I said well I'm not really sure what they look like, a puzzled look comes across her face and she says "okay, that's weird".  Your telling me this is weird?!  So she seats us and we wait, wondering if they are already here or not.  It was seriously the most agonizing 15 minutes of my life.  They say in situations of stress creatures are wired to fight or flee.  Well the devil was on my shoulders filling my ears with doubt again I wanted to flee.  I told DH I can't do this, its too huge and I desperately wanted to go hide in the car.  He reassured me like he always does and we kept waiting, staring everytime some couple walked in.  Finally I heard them come up behind us and tell the hostess they were with us.  Immediately I felt better.  They were like us.  I didn't realize I had so many fears that they would be snobby or think we weren't good enough for their baby.  Their social worker introduced us but did a poor job of it.  She got my name right, called my husband by our last name (which is sometimes confused for a girl's first name), then said oh well good thing its an open adoption.  Called BMom by the wrong name and couldn't remember BDad's name.  I don't think she instilled confidence in any of us with this situation.  And it made me doubt if she was giving them necessary counseling they needed.

This restaurant was a mongolian grill so we had to get up to get our food and wait for them to cook it.  We didn't say much at this point except about the food.  Once we all sat down I can't remember what was all said.  They showed us ultrasound pics and told us it was a boy due in July.  For some reason the ultrasounds made me uncomfortable and DH said later that I didn't seem real excited about them.  Now I feel bad that I didn't hide my feelings better.  I guess ultrasounds go into the same category as baby showers when it comes to infertility wounds that still cause pain.  While I feel I've overcome and moved on from our infertility there are obviously some things that will always be with me.  Pregnant women in general always made me uncomfortable and feel a little bitter but it has gotten better this past year.  When we went to a marriage retreat weekend there were all kinds of pregnant women there that didn't bother me, because I knew I was an expectant mom too.  But sitting across the table from a pregnant woman did still make me uncomfortable.  What is wrong with me?!  She is pregnant with MY future baby and I still had issues with it?!  I feel so guilty that I'm so jaded about pregnancy. 

The meeting went really well and everyone left happy.  I expected our social worker to direct the conversation and ask questions but she basically just sat there and let us talk.  Which worked out fine because we were all getting along so well but I didn't feel like we talked about a lot of things we should have.  They had 3 pages of questions but only asked us a few.  And I didn't really ask any.  We mostly shared stories about our families and childhoods.  We have a lot in common and even though our SW discouraged us from putting things about our farm life in the profile that was one of the reasons they liked us.  What does she know anyway?  God is in charge here!  On the way home I texted our SW and she said that she talked to their SW and that they thought everything went great too.  Even though I could tell everyone was happy it still made me feel really good to hear it from her.  The following week we got a call that they want to meet again on May 29.  I was expecting to meet again, I know they were doing their hospital plan the following week and would want to discuss it with us.  But I thought they would wait longer.  I wish they had since I'm not looking forward to another day spending 8 hours in the car.  With these meeting so close together I'm afraid we will be meeting a few more times before July.  And I get it, if your making an adoption plan for your child you want to meet the adoptive parents a few times and make sure your happy with the decision.  While I'm excited to see them again and get to know them better, it is definetly a burden for us to take off from work and make the trip just to have lunch.  To me, we have the rest of our lives to get to know them better but I know from their point of view its different and I know I'm being selfish.   Maybe they don't realize we live several hours away.  Maybe after our next meeting we can have phone or email contact. 

I know I sound ungrateful but I'm not, just a little stressed and overwhelmed with the whole situation. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

April - Exciting News

It seemed like we waited forever for our homestudy to get approved.  We were used to everything moving so fast that this wait was killing me.  At least if we were waiting to get a match the possibility was out there but this just seemed like wasted time.  It took a month from our last homestudy meeting for our homestudy to get written by our SW and approved by the agency.  On April 4 we officially became a waiting family, our books were out and our profile was online. 

In the month waiting for approval I had 4 grant applications ready to go.  Our agency has a list of possible grants but I could only find 4 that worked for our situation, many of them apply to international or special needs.  Once I got a copy of our homestudy I got those in the mail ASAP.  Most grants you can't get after finalization so I wanted to have them out right away in case we got a fast placement.  I'm still not sure how that works if I don't hear from them before placement since we owe $18k at placement.  Hopefully if we do get awarded a grant after placement, the agency will still accept it and refund us the over payment. 

Once we were officially waiting I went nuts buying baby stuff.  It was addicting!  I NEVER thought I would be that way.  After all our years of infertility I was conditioned to hate and avoid all things baby related.  I always said if we did have a baby I would only buy a few things we needed only because we needed them.  I don't know what happened to all my bitterness but God slowly worked on my heart and took away much of the pain and anger over infertility.  I feel like we hit the rewind button and were expecting our baby after just starting to TTC.  The pain of the past 5 years is mostly forgotten.  I felt God urging me to go ahead and be prepared.  Also around Easter He really put it on my heart to start praying for our birthmom.  I thought that meant our baby was on the way and she was maybe just finding out she was pregnant and deciding what to do.  But I was wrong :)

After less than 4 weeks of officially waiting I came home for lunch to a grinning husband.  I asked what was up and why he looked so happy.  He said we had a message on the machine from our SW asking us to call her back.  At our final meeting she had said that she wouldn't call unless she had good news, anything else she would email or text.  So hubby told me to call her, I said I can't I'm too nervous, he said he would, I said no I want to.....we went back and forth a while before I finally did it.  She said we had been chosen by a birthmom already!  Holy cow that was fast!!  I was literally shaking as she explained the details of our upcoming meeting.  She would not say when the baby was due or if it was a girl or boy.  After hanging up I went from excitement to panic.  I can't be a mom, what happened to my several months of waiting and adjusting to the idea of adoption?  Guess who cried all night again?  Yep, this girl.  Adoption is so much more emotional than I thought it would be. 

In 10 days we had a meeting scheduled with the birthparents.  I had no idea what to expect but was trying not to think about it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

March - Homestudy & Profile

Our homestudy consisted of three 3 hour visits with our social worker.  Our first was at our house which I was totally not ready for.  I felt like we had to clean everything and make it look like we aren't slobs.  I was nervous that our first visit was at our house, we hadn't even met our SW yet.  Some agencies require you to have a baby room ready, ours did not.  In fact she barely looked at the house.  She mostly asked us questions about our childhood and what situations and condition we would be open too.  We went out and bought a fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector and she didn't even ask about them.  But it needed to be done anyway so I'm glad the homestudy motivated us to do it.  I was learning more about adoption but still sort of naive to it and she acted offended by my questions, like I should know better.  How do I know that in an open adoption the birthparents can't just show up on your doorstep?  I've never done this before.  Mike made a joke about his family and she took him seriously asking if they had mental illness or something.  So we decided no more jokes.  I cried all night and begged hubby to let me back out.  I was having some serious doubts.  Adoption is too much work, too invasive, too expensive and too huge for me to go through with.  I didn't feel like our SW liked us and to go through all this without her in our corner seemed too much.  Hubby assured me that this is God's plan for us and even though it seems hard and Satan may be on my shoulder trying to get me not to do, we had to keep going.  I settled on the fact that once we were done with our homestudy and waiting, I would have some time to relax and get used to this whole situation. 

I made our profile book on shutterfly and it turned out really well.  I was worried that some of the scanned pictures wouldn't look as good when I got the books in the mail but luckily it was awesome.  I did have a two typos but hey no one is perfect.  I was offended when sour SW said not to include very many pictures of our farm or animals in our profile books because that turns people off.  Turns out that's one of the reasons we got chosen by our birthparents but more on that later.   We needed 5 copies of our books at about $25 each.  No one mentioned that, I assumed I would only need one or two.  But its reasonable for how well the books turned out.  Not sure what I'll do with 5 profile books when this is all done but its still totally worth it.  Before printing I emailed our SW the online version so she could see it.  She suggested I include more racially diverse pictures.  She must have forgotten I live in rural MN and there just isn't a lot of racial diversity in my family or neighborhood.  I wasn't trying to be racist, its just how it is around here and I can't very well put pictures of strangers in my book. 

Our second meeting we met an hour away in her hometown at a bakery.  At least this was a neutral place.  This meeting went much better after tons of prayers from us and our close friends.  She asked about our infertility, our house, our marriage and our plans for parenthood and our feelings about adoption. 

Our third meeting we met in the middle at a restaurant.  This time she asked a lot of the same questions and I said I think we already answered these.  She said she has to ask some of them again to make sure our answers are consistent.  So not much new happened at this meeting.  The middle of March we were done with our homestudy and it was submitted for approval to the director of our agency. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

February - Training & Homework

We had to attend one meeting with our agency.  Others we looked at had required attendance at several short meetings.  Ours had it all rolled into one 8 hour day.  It was a long day and we were given a lot of information.  But I was so glad we only had to make one 2 hour drive to the home office.  We learned about their different programs, attachment issues, how things with with birthmoms and open adoptions, different parenting issues that may come up and racial issues.  We then had to go home and do 3 hours of online classes.  We chose one about racial issues and one about attachment.  Up until this point I was starting to get excited about adoption.  I didn't mind doing paperwork and I was excited to think we might finally be parents.  I was slowly putting many of fears about adoption to rest and realizing that I was very naive about all things adoption related.  There are just so many myths out there and I didn't know any better than to believe them.  But now I started having doubts.  I cried all the way home from this meeting.  Adoption is so huge.  Someone doesn't just hand you a baby, say congrats and its like you just had your own.  Even infants can have attachment issues, if you are open to different races you may have to deal with others reactions to it, there may be a lack of medical history on the birthparents, your child may have been exposed to drugs or alcohol, you may have a failed adoption where they choose to parent at the last minute, you have to protect their adoption story and share the age appropriate details with them, if its an open adoption you have to arrange visits and send updates and its just so much more complicated than having a biological child.   It takes special people to be involved in adoption, on both sides of it.  And sometimes I don't want to be special, sometimes I just want to be boring and go unnoticed in the background.  So I moped about for several days.  Why did you make me special God?  Why did you call me to do something so important?  What if I fail?  So what if you've been preparing me my whole life for this, maybe I just don't want to.  I'm definetly one of God's whiny children, always complaining about something.  After a few days, I started to work through and accept all that and began to get excited about adoption again.  We got a totally unexpected call from our social worker, ready to set up our first homestudy meeting.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

January - The Paperwork

I requested a pre-app.  Most of it was just information to read about their programs and all of the disclosures.  It all had to be notorized and signed - like 50 pages worth.  That seemed odd and overwhelming to me but I'm glad they put everything up front.  Then came the application.  I was so glad our agency did a little at a time so it wasn't too overwhelming.  Because I have lots of free time at work I was able to do our part quickly and they were very quick at sending me stuff and processing their part.  DH and I both had essay questions to answer.  The pre-app required a statement of faith and the regular app required an essay about what kind of people we are and why we want to adopt.  We had to have three reference letters and one from our Pastor.  All the paperwork really wasn't that bad.  It was pretty basic easy information and didn't take me that long to do.  Once I sent that back we had to do background checks, get fingerprinted and write some more checks.  Application done, next step homestudy!

At this point I still wasn't 100% on board with adoption.  But I thought we might as well just get our homestudy done and then I'll have time to really think about this once we're waiting since the wait can often be long.  And whatever you do don't ask your agency how long the wait will be.  You will always get the same answer that goes something like this..."well the wait time varies but on average its 1-2 years, some couples wait less and some wait more."  A better question to ask is how many children or infants (depending on what program your looking at) they place per month or per year and the average number of waiting families they have at any given time.  That will give you a better idea of how long you will wait.  And check out their profiles if they have them on a website.  Imagine who you would choose if you were looking for a family for your child and see where you fit in.  We were told that being young and child free along with willing to do an open adoption would be huge selling points for us as a waiting family.  Although it is 100% in God's hands and its all about His timing.  The youngest, cutest, most fun couples sometimes do wait a long time.

Monday, May 7, 2012

December 2011 - Choosing an Agency

We always knew we'd do domestic infant so that decision was easy.  When I started doing research into agencies our options were limited.  It had to be an agency licensed in our state and we live in a rural area so every agency requires at least a two hour drive.  There are the big two (LSS & BCS) and several others in the twin cities area.  We got some information packets and looked at the costs.  Everyone was about the same.  We looked at travel distance, again pretty equal.  We looked at an independent agency.  We went back and forth for a long time.  There was one we liked located 4 hours away but said they would combine meetings and trainings as much as possible for us to eliminate travel.  We finally decided to go with them.  So I called and said we made our decision and asked for an app.  I was so excited! She said we had to come for a intro group meeting and then have an private intake meeting which costs $250 before we could apply.  Umm, that wasn't in the info packet or previously mentioned....I'll get back to you lady.  I was frustrated, I thought we had made a decision.  So I went back to square one.  Did an internet search for agencies in the nearby state that might be licensed in ours also.  Found one - I wasn't impressed with their website but was feeling desperate so I called them anyway.  They work in MN, IA and SD.  The lady was super nice and said they had a social worker less than an hour away that was licensed to work in our state but we would still have to travel to the home office for the training, which was all crammed into one day long session.  Sad to say we chose our agency based on location and convience but thank the Lord He for whatever motivation it took because we absolutely LOVE our agency and have so far had an excellent experience with them.  It was definitely the right decision.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

November 2011 - The Decision

Instead of a super long post about all that has happened the last few months I'm going to drag it out and get you all caught up a little at a time.  When I left off last October I intended to end this blog.  So many of you were bringing home your babies or had them on the way that I just couldn't deal with it anymore.  It was sucking me into this dark place where I felt sorry for myself and where I felt stuck because there was no baby in my future.  I thought DH and I were going to live happily ever after just the two of us, child free.  We even were looking at buying an acreage and put in an offer.  We were super excited about moving out of town and out of our current house.  But God had different plans.  In November, which is adoption month, He really started working on my heart.  As I was sorting the mail one day I noticed an article about adoption on the cover of a Christian magazine.  Okay so I know I'm not suppose to read anyone's mail but I couldn't help it, I turned to the page about adoption.  Boy I wish I hadn't.  I was so mad when I finished reading that.  It was about how infertile couples should not accept life without children.  God made us to have families and there are other ways to grow that family than by giving birth to babies.  Some do foster care, some do volunteer work in church or other kid's groups, some are regular babysitters and some adopt.  So here in this one little innocent article about adoption God was calling me out.  He was telling me that my vowing to live child free was not how I was created to live.  I was using it as a way of protecting myself and maybe I was acting a bit childish myself saying "if you don't give me children the way I want, then I'm not having any at all!"  Geesh, what a crybaby I am! 

So DH and I started talking about adoption again.  We had talked about it before and DH has always been open to it.  It was always me saying I wasn't against it but I just wasn't sure it was right for us.  There is so much scrutiny, I didn't want social workers looking over my shoulder judging me, it wouldn't be the same as having biological kids, it was soooo much paperwork and personal information involved, and it costs a lot of money.  It was just too much trouble to adopt.  But in the end I came around to the point where I agreed to start doing some research into agencies in our area.  I still wasn't on board with adoption but I agreed to take a baby step in that direction.  In the end the acreage didn't work out because the seller didn't want to take our offer and we weren't willing to pay her asking price.  We could have afforded it but then I would be tied to my job for several more years just so we could afford the payments.  I wasn't ready to give up my dream of being a stay at home mom someday so we chose to stay in the house we're in.  We decided to spend that money we had for the down payment on adoption instead. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Never Say Never

Hi ladies! If any of you are still following, I'm pleased to say that I'm back and a lot has happened.  I said our journey to build our family was over but God had other plans.  He took hold of my heart and has made so many amazing changes in who I am and where I'm going.  I thought about starting a brand new blog thinking to start fresh but the fact is that the pain and struggle of this blog was part of the journey that brought me here and its part of me.  So instead I will pick up where I left off.  And surprisingly our infertility is no longer painful.  No... I'm still not pregnant and likely never will be.  But God works in amazing ways and I have seen all sorts of changes these past few months that I never thought I would see.  So never say never.  More details and blog redesign coming soon :)