Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011...

I cannot believe it's New Years Eve. I'm not sure where 2011 went. I guess all my elders are right (once again), the years go faster and faster each year we get older. I feel like I just blinked and we went from having an HSG (tube blow out) in January to waiting for our homestudy to be written now.

This time last year I was so determined to have a baby I walked around gritting my teeth. If you would have asked me then how far I would go I would have told you that I would max out every credit card, and take out every loan possible to knock myself up. Now, I'm in a much more calm, non teeth gritting state.

I am so grateful that finding out first birthmom opened my eyes to the world of adoption. I have met so many amazing people along the way that have given me their time, and opened up their homes and families to me so that I could see the miracle that adoption is. I am at peace with the losses I've endured, grateful that I could be a part of giving a young girl the option to be a parent to her unborn baby. I've supported friends through their struggles to get pregnant, one through her miscarriage and another amazing lady who finally became a mother by adoption just over a week ago.

Thought I have nerves about what is to come. I know that what ever happens, the child that I end up with whether s/he is born from my own body, or comes to my life through adoption, they are meant to be mine.

I can promise one thing, and one thing only: I will love them. And, when I finally reach the other side of this treacherous mountain, everything will make sense.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Now All We Do Is Wait....

The home visit is done.

Can I say it again? The home visit is done.

It was really anticlimactic. All the millions of little things that we did to prepare based on the list we were given paid off. Because obviously being over prepared assured us a social worker that literally peeked into every room, asked to see where we keep our cleaners and our medications, where our fire extinguisher was and about our smoke detectors. That was it.

Of course there was one small snag, because lets face it there always is. She asked us to test our main smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector and the battery was dead. Luckily I am a battery hoarder and I had an extra nine volt in the garage. Whew, close one.

Oh and the other cake topper, our black lab puppy decided to show off to our social worker by humping our smaller dog and biting her neck. Thanks Buddy, you really convinced her that you are safe around kids. Jeeeez! She just laughed, and we have a dog pen so she cannot really hold that against us. I guess kids say the darndest things but dogs do the darndest things. I could have slapped him. Oh, but that is corporal punishment and isn't allowed in social worker land. Good thing I held back.

The best part of our visit was sitting in our living room with her and discussing what type of child we are interested in. It was difficult to consider the many scenarios she presented hypothetically, but it gave us some good talking points over the next six weeks or so while she compiles our homestudy.

What we know:
  • We will be going into both the fos-adopt program AND the relinquishment program. This means we could either be matched with a child in the foster care system OR we could be chosen by a birth mom and develop an adoption plan with her for her unborn child. More info on how we made that decision in a later post.
  • If our little one comes to us from the foster care system he/she (we didn't specify a gender preference) will be under 3 years of age. This was increased a year after a lot of discussion between us and our social worker.
  • We are open to a sibling set of two if they are close in age or are twins.
  • We are open to all races.
  • We are open to minor, treatable medical conditions. Such as a baby that wears oxygen because he/she was born prematurely. Or perhaps some malnutrition because of neglect.
We haven't gotten much feedback from our letter that we sent to family and friends this holiday. We got a few, "best of luck to you with starting your family." And we got some ignorant comments such as, "you won't really have to adopt, you'll get pregnant before then." Or another horrible comment that makes me literally bite my tongue, "what if the kid is damaged from their birth family."
In response to the first statement: I've been trying to get pregnant for the past almost three years, and it didn't happen. This is how we are starting our family. If a pregnancy happened somehow, we would be grateful, but we'd still adopt.
In response to the second, horrible statement: I know plenty of people with biological kids who are pretty "damaged" too. If I was pregnant you wouldn't say that to me, so don't say it now. Thanks a-hole.

It's all in time. Adoption is not a very well known topic to many of the people in our lives, so we have to be patient with our loved ones and educate them on adoption.

So now, we wait while our social worker writes our homestudy. Then it goes to the agency director for editing. We've been given the time frame of mid-February before our profile "goes live." This should be the next phone call we get.

We are almost there.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Word Is Out

We've been thinking a lot about how we're going to move forward in our adoption journey once our homestudy is written. And, we've pretty much decided to stick with our current agency. This means that we will likely be adopting a baby from foster care. The program is called "fos-adopt" which I spoke about in my prior post about different types of adoption. Again, this is a program where children in the foster care system are placed with us solely for adoption. That means we don't take foster placements. We will take a foster child who is being placed up for adoption because his/her parental rights have been, or are going to be terminated.

What's the legal risk? If you are in to percentages? Like 2% chance of something happening that could result in the little one being taken away from us once we're placed with him or her.

We have also been asked if we'd like to be in the agency's relinquishment program. This means that if a birth mom contacted the agency looking to create an adoption plan for her unborn child our profile would be show to her along with a few other families. This would be a rarity, as our agency doesn't seek out birth moms, but they don't turn them away if they call in and want our agency to help them. If we were chosen they would facilitate and manage our adoption. But, they said they only get a handful of birthmom's each year so it is a long shot, but an option.

We can do both programs, but we are on the fence about the relinquishment because of our last situation. Part of me wants to do it, a newborn would be amazing, but another part of me is scared that she'll change her mind once again, I'll of waited out some length of a pregnancy and then be - once again- empty handed.

Hmmm....

Anyway, the title of this post implies that an announcement has been made. And, it has. We sent out letters with our Christmas cards announcing to our extended family, and some friends who didn't know yet that we'll be adopting a baby in 2012.

Here's how the letter read (the letter starts with updates about my husband and I and moves on to:

Now for the big news: as many of you may know, we have wanted to start our family for a couple of years now. Unfortunately it hasn’t been a simple plan. But we believe we are right where we belong. That being said, we hope to adopt our first child in 2012. We have finished the “home study” process and are waiting for our social worker to write our final document, so we can begin searching for our child.

We plan to adopt a child under the age of two. This decision is one that we have always spoken about, even since before being married. We hope that you can share in our joy and excitement as we wait for our social worker to find and bring this little one home.

Once we have met our kiddo, we promise to let everyone know. Until then, please keep us in your prayers.

 I hope you all will agree that this was simple, and to the point. The letter should of reached most everyone by today. Friends that already knew didn't get one...cause I was trying to save paper!

I'm going to be "off-line" for a long weekend as we're flying to the midwest for an early Christmas with my family.

I'm sure I'll have something to update on after our home visit on Wednesday.

Until then....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recollectng our thoughts...

Ok. So now that I've "recovered" from the intense interviews this last week, I am ready for the final step of all of this: Our Home Visit.

Our home visit is scheduled for December 21st at 1100. Plenty of time, right? Sorta. We leave on vacation this Friday and come home Tuesday at 11pm...so we will have limited time to "primp" the house when we get back before our SW shows up. I think the home visit will be fine. We have gone through the 5 page list of requirements and the assured everything is up to the state's standard. If we miss something, she'll have to come back once we've fixed it.

We are so close to the end. Luckily, I have found a great group of adoptive momma's to-be online and they agreed that the individual interviews were very intense and made them feel like crap too. So, at least I'm not alone.

Just to recap, once the SW visits our house, there is nothing more for us to do. She has to write our home study up for us. Then someone else reads and edits it. Then it goes to the third person who looks at our autobiographies that we wrote against the social workers document and checks facts.

The date we got for the homestudy to be all done (editing and everything) is Mid February. No, I am not thrilled about this date AT ALL. But, as are many things within adoption, it's not in my control.

I'm off to have a filled day of Christmas prep. I haven't finished my shopping yet, I need to finish addressing Christmas cards, and have some pictures printed to larger sizes...lots to do!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Emotionally Circling the Drain

Today was tough. It's not that I thought it would be easy, I didn't. It is never easy to rehash your entire life focusing on any and all the negative things in it. And then have someone who doesn't really know you question you about how you've coped with, um, everything.

I thought I was strong, and I thought I had moved forward from a lot of things that have happened in my life, but today brought them all up, and me, being the strong, stubborn, and scared woman I was during this interview, not only kept a straight face but didn't shed one single tear. Not one.

This is good right? Not really. Now I'm home and I cannot cry. I need to let it out, I feel tense, and defeated in a way, but I cannot release it. Not yet anyway.

When we first went to our "information session" with this agency, the guy flat out told us that there would be moments where we felt like shitty people. I think we both feel that right now. I also think we're tense that we didn't do well, and they aren't going to let us adopt a baby. That's obviously a ridiculous worry because our social worker scheduled our home visit, and made us a list of a few more things that she needs. It is the most random dang list I have ever seen, but whatever, we'll talk about that later.

For now, a glass of wine, a piece of pie a la mode, and the love of my life by my side. And hopefully tears, I'll feel better when the tears come out.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

More things for our little one....

Since there isn't a lot going on in our homestudy process while we wait for our appointment Thursday, I thought I'd share a few more things I've found that I love:

There is an amazing adoption website where you can buy all kinds of things for adoptive families, and even gifts for birth mom's and things. I found this, which I love. I haven't purchased it yet, cause it's a bit pricey, but I haven't found anything like it, what do you think?:
http://www.adoptshoppe.com/Lifebooks-Baby-Books/Adoption-Baby-Books/Adoption-Baby-Memory-Book.html

A memory book, or a "life book" is a must have for adoptive children as they get older. It's similar to a baby book, but instead of looking at pictures of mommy's ever growing baby bump they get to look at pictures from the first day we met, and "coming home." There are also removeable pages for birth mom and birth dad information. So those can be used if we have that information, or can be put together and added in later when our little one is older.

Also, I ordered this fabric last week. A family friend of ours is making me a valance with it for the nursery. Super cute right?

Not much else going on. I've been power housing my Christmas shopping. We leave to be with my family in less than two weeks, and once we get back only a couple more days til Christmas! We absolutely love this time of year. There are lights in the yard, often something baking in the oven (good for the soul but not the waistline), Christmas tree in the corner....and Christmas carols, I love my Christmas carols.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Houston....we have a social worker!

Finally!

Today, just after hanging up the phone with my husband, where the conversation was all about my frustration that our social worker hadn't called yet this week, and it being Wednesday, my phone rang again. It was only a couple minutes later and there she was! Our social worker (from now on to be written: SW) is a great lady, she taught all of our classes so we already have a rapport with her, which is comforting.

I was already thinking about all the little things she's seen: us play with a fellow adoptive families 2 year-old, us talk about our prior adoption plan, but how we felt that we may be open to other means of adoption in the future. She knows how we feel about little one we hope to have one day, as we spoke about this a lot during those classes.

Exhale. Sigh of relief, this is almost over. Just to recap what we have left:
  • We have to have individual interviews, which we scheduled today for December 8th at 1000. (My husbands day was open, mine is not, but I have an amazing boss so she'll let me move things around)
  • The SW has to come and see our home, there is a five page check of list that has to be completed for her to "certify" our home as safe
  • We have to provide a measured picture (I'm talking graph paper to sqaure feet) of our house and yard (working on that this week)
  • We have to fill out some final forms but our SW helps us with them, the state is VERY specific on how their filled out
  • Then we pray for her to write like it's her job! And hope for NO writers block!
  • Once its written, it's given to another SW to proof read.
Then, its done :) And can you believe that once it's done it's only good for two years. Holy Moly.

The eight week timeline of her writing the homestudy starts today. Of course, many SW's write them more quickly. So, we'll hope with that. I'm a little leary of it all with the holidays, but I know I have to be patient and let her do what she needs to.

Eeeek, I'm super excited about this next step.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blessings

"We say grace and thank the lord, got so much to be thankful for..." - Tim McGraw

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We all have so much more to be thankful for. Probably more than we will ever realize.

For me, its my friends, family, amazing husband, my health, my job that allows me to teach and be a nurse (which I love and am good at), the means to go and hit black Friday sales at midnight with a great friend, witty humor with a dash of sarcasm, and love, I'm surrounded by so much love.

Lastly, I am thankful, yes thankful, that my journey to motherhood has made me a better, more selfless, patient, and appreciative person. As these things will all help me to be the most amazing mom.

With that being said, c'mon little one, your room is done!

My infamous tree with owl (courtesy of Styley Walls @ etsy.com):


The crib:

Cute dresser with owl lamp:

My indulgent owl outlet and light switch covers, complete with childproofing :)


I also want to add some wall art, shelves, and of course, the kiddo!

It's an amazing room. I put my "boyfriend" pillow (pillow with arms) in there, and will sit in there and read. The room soothes me, and reminds me that great things are coming.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time Heals All Wounds, Or Does It Wound All Heals?

Two years ago tomorrow, I found out I was pregnant. I had been sick with the flu, but pulled myself out of bed to go early Christmas shopping with a friend. We bought a test on the way home, and...a few minutes after I peed on it, it clearly read "pregnant."

I will never forget that moment, or the moments following where I got to tell my husband he was going to be a dad.

A few weeks later, December 12th 2009 those happy moments were washed away. There was bleeding, a call to our OB who we hadn't even met yet, and an ultrasound on a Saturday while it was pouring rain outside washing my dreams down to the ground.

I will never forget that day.

I will never forget the emptiness I felt when I realized I was no longer expecting a baby.

No one understands this pain unless they've gone through it, and though there are many analogies that could compare it, the raw emptiness of it is never quite describable.

I feel almost like I'm re-living it lately. A song will play on the radio, and I remember hearing that very song while this horrible loss was happening. The thought of going to Christmas at my husbands grandma's house, just as we did days after my surgery, exhausts me. It's the familiarity in the air, the warmth of my home during this month, the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon that I loved so much during that time.

It was the time of calm before my life turned in to a storm that has lasted for two years. But, I believe the storm is ending. I am at peace with what has happened, and though I don't understand why my life unraveled the way it has, I know that I have to move forward.

I won't use the term "move on" or "get over it" because there are things that we never really leave. We just put them up on a shelf in our hearts, take them down and cry with them in our arms when it's appropriate, but otherwise, we let them be. They are always a part of us and we are better because of the imprint they've had on our lives.

Rest in peace, baby. Rest in peace, my little sister. Rest in peace, my fearless heart. I am better now, stronger, but even the strong shed tears sometimes.

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Waiting

Well, the buddy family form made it to the agency. The husband of our "buddy couple" emailed me yesterday and let me know.

With that information I emailed the paperwork lady and asked her if the fingerprints were back. Of course, I didn't hear back from her. Hopefully she'll get in touch with me Monday. According to the fingerprinting agency it only takes about a week for them to be finished, so they should be done, as Monday will be two weeks.

There is nothing more that we can do until our social worker calls to set-up our individual interviews. We must wait patiently impatiently.

I am relieved to have all of this paper work beneath us. It has been three months since we began our journey, and I cannot believe its taken this long to get all the paper work together. Wow.

Seeing as how next week is Thanksgiving, I won't hold my breath for the social worker to call, but if s/he does I'll be thankful!

Last night we had a girls night for one of my friends birthdays. I have not laughed, ate or drank that much in a while. My heart feels lighter. I didn't think about the homestudy once. Thank you God for my amazing friends.

Also this past week, a family friend (who used the same agency as us to adopt her now 22 month old daughter) finalized her adoption! Her daughter is forever her's. So amazing. I hope we'll be next.
(photo taken by my sister, who I miss like crazy)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A, B, C, D, Effing Form, G

Our buddy family visit was great. They were amazing, their kids were great, and we had a great talk.

What was not so great was when I emailed our agency the next morning to tell them the visit was done. Paper work lady wrote back, "oh great, please remind them to send in the form they have to fill out because I cannot consider the visit complete until I have that."

My reply "OK, are we good with our caregiver's stuff? And, is there ANYTHING else I need to be working on while we're waiting for that to be completed?"

Paperwork Lady, "no, I'm waiting for the caregiver fingerprints to clear and the buddy family form. Hang in there."

Blindsided once again by something I knew nothing about. Shoot, I'd a had them fill the form out, driven across this large town to the agency at 8pm on a Sunday night and put it in their slot if I knew it existed.

And then she throws in the patronizing, "hang in there." Oh I'm hanging, literally, by a thread lady. You have no idea.

Since my buddy family didn't even remember we were coming when we showed up at their door Sunday night, I felt like I should probably remind them about this infamous form. So, I gave them a couple days, and just emailed them tonight thanking them for their time, and in closing, I threw in a reminder about the form. Since, its basically what is holding us back from getting our golden ticket aka social worker.

When I get the call from a social worker, I will jump up and down. I hope it happens at work. I love it when my office mates look at me like I'm nuts.

I am.....openly.....nuts at this point.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Educational Post: Different Types of Adoption

I haven't spoken too much about what the "adoption options" are for parents interested in having children this way.

There are four types of adoption, with many variations involved.

International Adoption. Just as the name implys, international adoption is adopting a child internationally. Many different countries world wide have programs to facilitation the adoption of children to families in the United States. With this option the risk of the birth parents "changing their minds" is nill because most of these children are in orphanages, or another type of foster care. These children are not newborns. And, paperwork often takes up to 6 months to complete. So, you could received a match to a child and have to wait months to bring him/her home. The other risk, medical information is unknown. And, you don't really know the true situation with the child until you meet them. I met a couple on this journey that went to adopt their little girl in China, and she was severely disabled. So, they did not bring her home due to her extensive medical needs. They were devastated. That's another thing, most often, you have to travel to the country to get your child. The price tag for this type of adoption: 30-50K or more.

Domestic Adoption. More often called "Domestic Newborn Adoption." This is the adoption of (usually) a newborn baby in the United States. This is what we were doing with the birth mom we were working with. The drawback? We lived it. About 1/3 or birth mom's will change their mind during the process and decide to parent their child. The perk? You can often be involved in the prenatal appointments, and get to know the birth mom, or birth parents. This gives the adoptive family medical history, and provides comfort that the birth parent's will know who will be raising their biological child. The wait can be long if the adoptive parents are waiting to be chosen by a birth mom. This means that once the adoptive couple finish their homestudy their profile sits at an agency, or lawyers office and waits for a birth mom to come along that meets their criteria. Also, the adoptive parents situation has to be one that the birth mom has stated she is interested in placing her child in. For example: if a couple is caucasion and has no children they would be presented to a birth mom who wants the same for her child, or something similar.
Cost can be less (4-6K) if you know the birth mom. But, if you're going through an agency or consultant, and are having them do a birth mom search for you, the cost increases to 15-20K. More cost can be added in addition if the adoptive couple are paying any expenses for the birth mom while she is pregnant. I've heard of these situations costing up to 31K.

Fos-Adopt programs are just as the name implys. Adoptive parents adopt a child who is in the foster care system and has biological parents who's rights are either terminated, or about to be terminated. This means that a child was removed from their biological parents care for one of several reasons (a lot of times abuse or violence or neglect are a factor). Then, they are put into foster care and the parents are given guidelines by a court to get their child back. When they fail to meet these guidelines, adoptive placement is sought out for the child. The benefits are that the cost is low: $1500 dollar range for the entire adoption. The legal risk is low because the parents are going to loose their rights based on court judgement. However, again, these children are not newborns. And, they were put into the system for a reason. So something negative was going on that they lived through.
When you adopt through foster care you are given a list of things to consider and you actually check a box that their says "acceptable, not acceptable, or willing to discuss." The wait time in our state can be weeks to one year before a placement. Instead of going into a "birth mom search" you go into a "child search" based on the adoptive parents given criteria.

Lastly, are kinship adoptions. This is where a child is adopted within an extended family. In these scenarios many times the birth parents can sign rights over to the family member. In most states the adoptive parents still need to complete a homestudy. Cost is usually just that of a homestudy and a lawyer, so about 2-4K.

There is a great book that thoroughly explains these different types of adoption, its called You Can Adopt by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley.

As for our homestudy, we are meeting our buddy family tomorrow night. Hopefully our caregiver's prints will come back this next week and we will FINALLY get our social worker. I think, unless they find something else for us to do! Ha.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The (paperwork) Saga Continues

The word came back: Our caregiver's prints were entered into "Name Search" on October 24th. It takes 30-45 days from that point to get results, and in some cases, they may have to get re-fingerprinted again. Since our caregiver is in her 70's and has already had unreadable prints twice, we aren't going to bank that she'll clear even in this new (ridiculous) time frame.

So, one of my great friends did the caregiver packet for us. She actually got all her required stuff (TB test proof, drivers license copy, licensure form that makes you talk about any arrest history- which she had none (shocker), and fingerprints) to me in two days, which is pretty amazing considering she has a work schedule, a busy husband, AND is buying a house. Thanks to her for being amazing.

Well, my happy lil ass (this is a lie, I'm actually bootylicious and proud) called the agency to let them know that they should be getting a second, and hopefully snag-free caregiver packet in a couple days, so to look out for the fingerprint report. The paper work lady's response was "oh thats great, she should clear within days to a week.....oh but, did you have your buddy family visit yet? That has to be done also before you get your social worker."

Buddy family- a family who has adopted through the agency before. One buddy family visit is required to allow the current adoptive parents to ask questions, and meet adopted children.

My moment of silence into the phone: Count to 10....don't flip out on her or she may think you have an anger problem and then you won't ever get to adopt. 1....2...3...4...5...6......................10.

Me: Well you'd told me a couple weeks ago you were sending me the family's contact info but I haven't gotten it, so no, we've not spoken or met up with our buddy family (because we don't know who the heck they are, Dumbass!).

Paperwork lady: Ok, well the family that I had in mind was just about 25 miles away from you, but since they're not calling me back I'll just set you up with one here (1.5 hrs away). Mind you this is for a 1 hour visit.

Me: Ok, lets definitely get that going since it'll be the final thing we need.

So, I got their number, called them, and they are supposed to email me some dates and times to meet up. This was 24 hours ago,which I realize is not a long time, but c'mon folks. I tried to let the guy know that meeting up with him and his family truly was our last step to getting our social worker without sounding completely neurotic and obsessed.

Why do I feel crazy? Because everytime I think I see the light to all of this paperwork something else gets added, or isn't filled out right, or blah, blah, blah. Just get me a camera crew and follow me around for 48 hours. You will see that I am meant to be a momma. Please just get me to the point where our baby can come home. I have had enough.

Meanwhile Michelle Duggar is knocked up with her 20th kid. Tell me that chick could pass all the crap I've been though. What's that you say? Nothing? Right, because she couldn't pass. In fact, half the pregnant people out there would be deemed unfit if they had to endure the type of screening adoptive parents do.

And for the millionth time I say it: Life is not Fair.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to be the Village (re blog...as in re-tweet)

On this journey, there are so many up's and down's. Some amazing things that have happened are the friendships with women that I have met who are in this boat with me. Us Adoptive Momma's are quite special. We are patient, faithful, and most of all, strong.

A friend of mine recently put me in contact with another friend who is also adopting. She and I have texted and emailed a bit, and she is so amazing because she UNDERSTANDS this crazy journey I'm on more than anyone else can.

We also have another contact who a family member put us in touch with. This person actually used the same agency as we are, so she offers a lot of insight.

This past week, on one of my Adoptive Momma friends blogs, she posted this link. It's amazing, true, and insightful.

Here's the link (just think instead of "before and after the airport" think "before our child comes home" and "after our child comes home"):

"How to be the Village" Blog Post by Jenn Hatmaker

This is such a great title because, it truly does "take a village" to get us through bringing our child home!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Speed Bump

We had a little (but in my mind HUGE) set back this week. Our admin person (paper work collector) said all our paperwork and fingerprint clearances were in two weeks ago before she left for vacation. All we had to finish when she was gone was our self study questionaires. So, our agreement was that we would finish those and when she came back (this past Tuesday) she'd review our file, and then we would get assigned a social worker.
 
Well, she must not of read the fingerprint reports, because our caregivers prints (my husbands grandma) came back unreadable. This is the second time this has happened, cause lets face it, when you get old and do dishes for 50 years your fingerprints sorta wear off. But, we would have liked to of known immediately so we could have done something about this problem.
 
So now she's saying its going to be another month because the department of justice main just have to do a "main search" and that takes 30 days. Ugh! I am so frustrated. She is supposed to call me today and let me know if this is the best way to go, or if we should just have another person do the Caregiver packet.

Two steps forward, one step back.

And a BIG glass of wine for me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Closure

My phone rang today, and low and behold, it was our birth mom's- mom. My heart skipped a beat, because I've secretly been waiting for them to call and tell me that they were wrong, and they want us to have the baby. So that this loss I'm feeling could become a side effect of cold feet.

That isn't what happend.

She called to apologize. Turns out, she was pushing her daughter to continue with the adoption in the end. Our birth mom truly does want to keep her baby.

In a way, I'm glad she called. I needed the apology, though I know I'm not "entitled" to it. After all, this is her baby, and at the end of the day, it was closure for this situation. I know I have to be at peace with what has happened. Not only in our adoption, but in our other loss, and in the fact that I am sitting here, two and half years since our journey to parenthood started, childless.

It sounds sappy, and self indulgent. I know I need to be positive. I need to believe that God has a plan for us, and our baby will find their way home soon. But, my heart hurts. I feel beaten and bruised. I feel empty. It's sad, it's self loathing, but dammit, it's how I feel.

"People don't cry because they're weak, they cry because they've been strong for too long."

Lord here my prayer. I am busting at the seams. Please God, send me strength, send me patience, send me hope. It is with a shattered heart that I ask of you to bring us our baby. I know you have a plan but I am hurting. I cannot take this any more. Please God, take this pain away and if you cannot bring me a baby, bring me peace with where I am in life. Amen.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"If you build it, they will come."

I am a major home decorating junkie. Every room in my house has its own decor that I carefully select. The project always starts with a paint color, and ends with nick nacks that I pick up from some homegoods type store. I had done every room in our home but one.

When we thought we were having a baby in March, we moved all of our gym equipment out of our second spare room (the first spare is an office/guest room that I did in a beach theme). So, the room has sat empty since August. It's hauntingly empty. And it's white walls were whispering to me "you're not quite a mommy yet, when will you be." And, honestly, that's all I've been thinking about this week. Am I ever going to be a mommy? I know you are all nodding silently at your screens....Of course I will. But, my heart is really hurting right now. What do I do when I'm hurting? I stay busy. So....

I never thought that it would be acceptable to anyone in my life (or myself for that matter) if I started to decorate a nursery without knowing that there was a baby on the way. About a month ago, my mom started encouraging me to get our baby's room ready. She offered to buy some bedding, and a crib.

But it wasn't until yesterday after a conversation with one of my very cautious friends who I love that I felt like I could do this. She said, "I really think you should just get the baby's room ready." She was right, (and I think I needed her approval) I could get a room ready for a baby that's coming to us, somehow, someway. It's OK to paint. It's ONLY paint. In fact, is probably a more practical option than what I've done over the past two years which is buy little onesies, booties and hat's when I saw one that made me sigh.

So today, I painted our nursery. The color is "Herb Garden." It's a bright green that goes with the bedding pattern I've picked out, and already purchased a couple days ago. It was going to be discontinued and I've had my eye on it for a while now, so I bought it.

Here it is:

I am OBSESSED with owls right now. And, since owls are not only cute and gender neutral, but my first word was "owl" I think its completely appropriate.

Thanks to the tattooed guy at Home Depot (who helped me color match the paint to the little blanket you see hanging over the top of the beds leaf) I got the perfect match on our walls. I am going to get a decal of a big tree with an owl sitting on it for one of the walls. And, in addition to this four piece set I bought a matching lamp, and storage bins. So, the maker can discontinue this pattern and I've got all I need.

I really hope everyone reading this doesn't think I've lost my ever-loving mind.

But, most importantly I am feeling better. I painted, steam cleaned the carpet in there, and then my husband and I picked out the wall decals we wanted and ordered them from etsy and he even let me indulge and buy an owl light switch and outlet covers. More pic's to come once I get all this cute stuff. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Paperwork: CHECK

Well, its official: we are DONE with our paperwork. I mailed it off today. And the weight that lifted off my shoulders when I left the post office was pretty amazing.

What do we do now? We wait. The paperwork should get to our agency by Friday. Our paperwork person is on vacation til Tuesday, so it will be there waiting when she returns. Our therapy letter was sent Monday as well, so it should also be arriving. The only other thing we're waiting for is our finger prints to come back. Because we've always been considering possibly doing the fos-adopt program we got adoptive fingerprints and foster licensing prints. This is necessary because if we do bring a child into our home from the foster care system, they remain a foster child until the adoption finalizes. So, of course, one set is back (adoption) but the second set is not (foster). She didn't seem concerned though, she said they usually follow each other pretty close.

Why is this exciting? Once our paper work is all in our file, a social worker will contact us within 48 hours. Then we schedule our individual interviews, and finally our home visit.

I suppose I'd better print that portion out and start wondering what the requirements are for our house. I know there is a sketch of the house and property involved, so my husband can do that because I do not draw!

Hope everyone's having a good week.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

We have thought long and hard about where we are going to go from here.
For sake of knowing whats weighing on my mind, here are the options:
  1. Stop the adoption process and go back to the RE. He can help us move forward with the IUI with injectables. Again, this is about 2500.00 a cycle, with about a 25% success rate.
  2. Finish our home study, and proceed with the fos-adopt process. This means that we would be adopting a baby from foster care. The risk is low, because our agency doesn't search out adoptive parents until the childs biological parental rights are ready to, or about ready to be terminated. The difference is that the baby will not be a newborn. He/she would be 6 months old, or older. So that's something to think about.
  3. Finish our home study, and transfer to an agency that does newborn adoptions. We would have to take out loans and find other financial means, as this process costs about 15-20K. It gets pricey when an agency has to find a birth mom for you, and you usually have to provide compensation for the birth mom's living expenses, which adds up. (Our last adoption, we were connected with the birth mom via a family friend, only needed one lawyer, and weren't paying for any of the birth moms expenses).
  4. Do nothing, knowing that we could possibly conceive naturally.
We haven't made our definite decision. We have decided to finish our home study, because we are so close to being done with it. We just have to finish our questionnaire's, and are still waiting for our fingerprints to come back, which should be any day. Then we will be assigned a social worker, he/she will interview us individually, and then come out to our home to assess our living environment.

Once this is all done, the decision must be made. This is because, the home study will either be written for a fos-adopt program, or a domestic newborn adoption program.

I keep praying for the right path. And hope my answer will arrive soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finding Peace

My last post was hostile. When I wrote it, I felt like I was rotting from all the sadness and anger I had about our entire situation. But, the show must go on.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

This is so true. I cannot live my life being angry and hostile because others acquire so easily what I long for. I will be a mom, I have to keep telling myself that. One of the best things someone said to me during the past week was that I cannot loose hope. Without it, there's no point. She is right. And, I do have hope, its like a flicker of light in the train tunnel that I'm in, but it's there.

I know one day, when my babies are growing up I will look back on this time, on these past two years, and I'll be thankful that THEY are the mine. For, if I wouldn't have gone through all of this, the children that are on their way to us wouldn't have existed at all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pregnancy Posts

I am a facebooker. This should not shock anyone, I've never researched it, but I'm sure that about 90% of Americans facebook. Ok, maybe not that many, seeing as how the elder folks aren't well versed in the technological world for the most part but, you get my point.

Here's the deal. Facebook is not therapy. It should not be used as such. No one gives a shit that your husband has cheated, you have no money in the bank, or your car broke down AGAIN, and you cannot fix it. Likewise, happy news also needs to be kept to a minimum. I have created the letter below for the "Hey I'm pregnant facebook friends" in my life. Please change accordingly for yours.

Dear PERSON WHO OVER-SHARES ON FACEBOOK,

I am so sorry to be a bother, but when it comes to cataloging EVERY pregnancy symptom that you are experiencing, I really don't give a shit. You see, not everyone is as fertile as you. In fact, I am not fertile. I've been trying to have a kid for 2.5 years. You wouldn't know this, because I don't feel the need to share it with the entire effing world. So, as you are complaining about nausea, sore/huge boobs, indigestion, and all the things you cannot do, I'm literally sticking pins into the voodoo doll I've created for your ungrateful, growing ass. Please keep this in mind in future posts.

Also, when you use humor to try and make your symptoms funny, or add in "I'm pregnant and I want you to know it" digs into each status update, its actually worse than your blatent complaining posts. Keep that in mind. For example, when you say "note to pregnant self...." and go on to say something really stupid that I likely do even though I'm not pregnant, I actually picture my self bitch slapping you.

Thanks,
Me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Letting the Dust Settle

It's been two days since our adoption fell apart. And, through spending time together, drinking wine, cooking meals and hitting up McDonalds (comfort food) we've done a lot of thinking, and praying.

I am so sad but then again, I am also grateful.
Grateful that this happened now, instead of after the baby was born.
Grateful that for the past two months we got to experience what it feels like to expect a baby. And, it was the most amazing feeling.

I know I'll get through this, I just have to feel it. If there is one thing I've learned over the past two years it's how to be strong, and move on with my life even when my heart hurts.

The heart ache of wanting to be a mommy is so painful, especially this time of year. Christmas decorations come out, parents are taking kids to pumpkin patches and picking out costumes all over Facebook. Two years ago I thought I was having my last holiday season without a baby, boy, was I wrong. So, here I am, bracing myself for (hopefully the last) one more Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas without a baby.

Breathe in, breathe out, right foot forward, than the left.

"Life isn't what it's supposed to be. It's what it is. It's how you cope with it that makes the difference."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Things Fall Apart

Holy shit, yes, they do.

Today, two hours before we were supposed to leave for the airport and catch our plane, we got a loooong text message on my phone:

Our birth mom has decided to keep her baby.

Her timing was horrid, and her mode of delivery even worse. But, ultimately, it is her choice. So, we cancelled our rent-a-car, hotel room and plane tickets. Luckily, we're only out the cost for one night at the hotel, and some of our ticket cost, and we now have vouchers to fly back to see my family for Christmas.

Yes, I'm reaching for silver lining here.

As of yesterday I had spoken with our birth mom twice this week, we had great chats, and had even planned a gender ultrasound for Saturday, to find out all together. But, apparently this morning something changed, or maybe it changed a while ago, and she didn't want to have to break our hearts.

Well, my heart is broken. I feel like I have lost our second baby. I am so devastated at how this journey to motherhood has gone so far, I cannot put it in to words.

If you pray, pray for me to be strong. Pray for me to some how pull together happiness for our friends who delivered a healthy baby boy today. Pray that someday soon my our baby will find their way home, because I cannot be strong like this forever.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tomorrow!

It's finally here! We leave tomorrow for our trip to meet our birth mom. I am over-the-moon excited. I hope this weekend goes amazing. I hope we get to find out our baby's gender, and most importantly, I hope we can bond with our birth mom. I already adore her, and when I talked with her on the phone last night we were both absolutely giddy to hang out in the same room.

Thank you, God. You brought us here, and we are so grateful.

Now, let our dreams take flight (literally).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Here comes the Sun (I hope)

A very dear friend of mine sent this to me today.
She wrote, "I've heard this song three times today and it made me think of you."
I love her, she is the best friend anyone could ever ask for. And, here is what she sent.
I hope she is right.....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

6 days!

In six days we leave to go and meet our birth mom, and her family. I am elated! And nervous! It's so funny, but it feels like a first date. I mean, what if she doesn't like me. Or us. Ok, I've offically re-entered 7th grade by making that comment. But, really. I mean, I'd be pretty darn critical if I was going to give someone my baby, my flesh and blood. And, those of you that know me know I'm a little nutty sometimes, sarcasm is my best friend, and humor a close second.

My husband keeps reminding me that I "get along with everyone." I kind of have to be personable, being a nurse and all, but still- I need HER to like me. Ahhhh pressure...pushin down on me....(sing 90's throwback song in your head here).

It's not as big of a deal as I'm making it sound, because we've spoken on the phone a lot, and texted even more, so it's not like I'm a stranger. But, there is something so real about sitting in a room with someone and getting to see their body language, demeanor, and here them talk.

I'm sort of sizing her and her family up to. I mean, once I meet them I'm hoping to gain some security that this really is going to happen. That they really are invested in this adoption. There are also a lot of topics that need to be covered over the next few months between us. For example, how open will this adoption be? What will happen at the hospital? Will we get together again before baby is born?

In "homestudy" news, we passed therapy. She'll be writing up and sending out her letter to the agency this week. My husband is taking his first aid class this afternoon, and we both got our cholesterol drawn last week. Yes, I just said cholesterol. You have to have a reasonable reading to adopt a child. And yes, I did whine and throw a fit about it to my doctor who reminded me that I was not being irrational. Because, one third of pregnant women out there wouldn't ace a cholesterol test.

Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh!

Eeeek I'm so excited! C'mon Friday!
Disclaimer: yes I do realize this post is a little bi-polar. Sorry.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Weeks Agenda

There is a lot going on in adoption paperwork land. And, this week is no exception.

Monday: Dr's appointment to sort out the parts of our physicals that weren't filled out initially. I have an appointment without my husband and I am hoping and praying he won't have to make one, too.

Tuesday: We get to go to therapy so a licensed therapist can ask us questions that have been given to her by our social worker. A therapist has to sign off that we are ... um, stable? I don't really know what word to use, but basically they have to say we're OK to adopt. Why? Because we both have one parent with substance abuse issues, we had a sudden death in our family last year, and we've struggled with infertility and a pregnancy loss. Jeez, when you bring up all that stuff maybe we are unfit! LOL.

Saturday: My husband takes First Aid. Something that I had to plead my case about, because they were trying to require that I take it too. Um, hello? I'm an RN, so I'm pretty sure I can do basic first aid. It was finally decided that my RN license would be adequate.

Also this week: my husband has to get a TB test, he just had one last February, even nurses only need one once a year, but in adoption world you have to of had one in the past six months (insert groan here). We also have to find a basic water rescue class. All adoptive parents in our state have to take one if their child will be swimming during the time before the adoption finalizes. So basically, if my baby is going to be in a body of water other than the bath tub we have to take this class. It's really no big deal except NO ONE is offering them because its fall. So, I put our name in at a place about 1.5 hrs from here, They need four more participants before they'll hold a class.

Busy, busy! We leave in 12 days to meet our birth mom and her family. I am so excited. I cannot wait to give her the biggest hug ever, and maybe feel our baby kick! Also, hopefully we'll be able to find out the sex.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adoption Lords: 1 Me: 0

I was a good girl - rallied- and got our fingerprint papers and our physicals turned in at our last class last night. I was so proud.

Then today I got a call:

My physician didn't fill out the "eyes, ears, and nose" portion of the physical. He also needs to get a urine sample analysis for each of us, and check both of our cholesterol. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? He had left those tests out because he didn't think they were necessary, as we are both healthy adults. But, the adoption lords seem to think that we need them to parent. So, now I get to take the form back to the doctor, pay for another appointment, and hopefully go through the forms line by line with our doctor. Then, get lab slips for the above tests for both of us, and get those done.

I'm freaking out a little.

Last night I learned this timeline:
ALL paperwork and finger print results from the FBI, ect must be turned into the agency BEFORE a social worker is assigned for final visits.
Time for fingerprint return: 4-8 weeks
Time for homestudy to finish once paperwork done: 6-8 weeks
Time for homestudy to be released once finished: 4-6 weeks
So at maximum this could take: 22 weeks. Baby Due: 22 weeks & 4 days.

Am I panicking? YES.

So we are going to be working very hard to get our remaining documents complete while we wait for our fingerprints to come back. Then, we are going to be very flexible when the social worker calls us to get our appointments with her out of the way so she can write our home study. Then we are going to pray that the final release only takes a short time, not 4-6 weeks as outlined. Because, it would be pretty lame to not be able to take our baby home once he/she's born due to paperwork.

I'm off to get a paper bag to breathe into now.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 17

The baby we are matched with is 17 weeks along today. Notice I didn't call it our baby. I just don't feel like I can anymore. I have never felt so uncertain, but I still hold hope that there is a baby out there for us. Maybe that baby will grow in my heart and in some ones else's tummy, maybe it will grow inside me, maybe its the baby we're currently expecting, maybe its not. I really don't know, but all I can do is keep moving forward and pray that the story ends with a baby.

With that being said, we are completing our homestudy in such a way that it will allow us to accept either the baby we are currently expecting or another baby who is has been placed in the foster care system since birth or shortly thereafter, has parents whose rights are being terminated, and needs to be adopted.

Am I scared?
Yes.
Am I sad?
Yes.

But, I have to keep moving. I have to believe my baby is out there. Somewhere.



Come home baby, mommy and daddy can't wait to meet you. And we will love you, period.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'd like to get off the Roller Coaster.


I knew going into this that adoption would have its ups and downs. But, honestly, I felt like I could take it. I mean, infertility has its ups and downs too. But, here I am, after two and a half years on this roller coaster ride, and I'd like to ask to please be let off. Now.

Yeah, I know it's not going to happen, but man, I'm tired, dizzy, and outright scared. Maybe I even have to pee; but, there isn't anyway off this one. Not until there is a baby crying in the bedroom next to mine and I sleepily get out of my bed at 2am to soothe them.

This week I have spent a total of 7 hours with a social worker. I have driven 320 miles between work, and our appointments/classes out of town for the adoption (and its only Wednesday). I have had a good conversation with our birth family, and a conversation that made me question whether our birth mom was still in this. But, as much as I'm yearning for clarity, and sureness that it will all work out I don't have it. I won't have it until that baby is born and we're able to take him/her home. Period. Actually, even after that the next thirty days are uncertain.

I will leave you with this: We have learned an awful lot about adopting kids in foster care over the past couple weeks. We've learned that we can adopt a baby (not a newborn though) through the foster care system and become parents that way as well. It has its uncertainties, but it also has its benefits. So, we continue to learn, and to complete our massive home study (see updated to-do list), one day at a time. I hope that somehow we find the path we're supposed to be on.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Abdominal Pain related to Stress secondary to Paperwork

Today we had our intake appointment with our agency. It was conducted by a social worker which was somewhat intimidating but, it went well. Well until they gave me the CD. Yes, a whole CD full of files that include signature pages, documents to be filled out and sent to all kinds of fun places (like the DMV, the state, our doctor), and general information pages. There are the upward of 100 documents on this CD. My head honestly almost spun around and popped off. Literally, popped off. I am the most anal-retentive organized person I know, in fact, I'm the most all of those things that a lot of people know, and I am officially overwhelmed.

Just breathe. In......and out......and take it one paper at a time.

OK, I'm mellow. I am going to take this one stinking piece of paper at a time, and scramble to get this all done. I was just whining to my husband today that I am bored and need something to do over the next 5 months or I may go crazy, spend a lot of money, or both. Well, I guess God has a great sense of humor, because now there is PLENTY to do.

I will be updating "the mother of all to-do lists" soon. But for tonight, I am exhausted. We have a full work day tomorrow followed by our second (out of  three, yay) adoption class tomorrow night, did I mention its 1.5hrs away? K, just making sure.

I'm off to eat some tums. If I survive this process without an ulcer I'll be stunned.
Hmm...stunned, very appropriate word. Go me!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Working Through

What a crazy week. It began with devastating news that the birth father is not going to willingly give consent to this adoption. In fact, he has stated that he is going to get a lawyer and try and block us from adopting the baby. I have learned a lot about birth parent rights this week, and I must say I'm relieved. Let me elaborate:

There are two types of birth fathers: Presumed and Alleged. A presumed father is a one that was living with or married to the birth mom. An alleged is one that is either the "only possible father," openly stating he is the baby's father, etc. So, ours is an alleged father. And, actually he has less rights than you would think. We really thought that the term, "blood is thicker than water" stood firm. But, in order for our birth father to block this adoption successfully he must do the following: provide emotional and financial support during the pregnancy at a reasonable point once he learned of the pregnancy. He must be able to support the baby on his own and provide a sturdy parenting plan.

Our birth father has not been supportive to our birth mom. In fact, he really has been a negative influence to her since she's been pregnant. He does not have parenting plan. So, I have discussed this situation in detail with both our lawyer and our social worker and have been assured by both that he cannot block this adoption given his current situation.

Does it mean we're in the clear? No. When baby is born, he will get served papers stating that his rights will be terminated and our adoption granted in thirty days. If he chooses to appeal this within thirty days we will be going to court. The court process can be long. It can be expensive.

We have decided that we will continue to pursue this adoption unless one of two things happens:
  1. The birth father begins to perform the duties necessary to block the adoption, and it begins to seem that we may not "win" against his appeal.
  2. We find out that this young man truly is attempting to parent for the right reasons. If he genuinely wants to be this baby's father, we won't stand in his way because this is HIS baby first and foremost.
So, as of today we are 15 weeks 5 days pregnant. We leave in less than a month to go to visit our birth mom and her family, and find out the gender of our baby. Last week she told us that she'd actually like us to be at the doctor's appointment with her for the sonogram. We are elated and trying to move our plane tickets around to try and be there for that appointment, what an amazing thing to share!

Our home study process has begun, we have completed one of our three classes, and have our "intake interview" (with the social worker) on Monday, followed by our second class on Tuesday night. It's a big time commitment because the classes are 1.5 hours away,start at 5:30pm and go til 9:30pm, and occur on week nights. Oh well, pressing forward, it will be worth it in the end!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

An Update (sorta...)

First off: adoption update. Last night our birth family met (birth grandma and birth father) to talk and try and figure out what is going on in our birth fathers head. I haven't heard yet what happened, but assume they'll call me today.

As for the not communicating, they truly weren't being malicious. They have a lot going on, and didn't have any news, so they didn't call. But, we did finally speak, and set some guidelines for our communication over the next 6 months. So, I'm feeling better. We're definitely not out of the woods with the birth father, but we're on track. At least, I think we are. I have no idea what we're in for, except that instead of the two of us having a baby, there are two more people and their families involved in this baby's plan, so its obviously a complicated process.

Now, for the good story that I want to share. One of my friends who tried along side me for a long time to get pregnant finally succeeded, she is in her early forties, so I'm really happy that she was able to conceive, as her "clock was ticking" as they say. Anyway, she is having a baby shower this weekend, today actually, so I sucked it up and went to one of the little baby boutiques that she registered at. (I say sucked it up because I did this as all the other stuff seemed to be falling apart, so it was a bit of a bittersweet idea at the time).

So, a friend of mine and I went to the store. We walked in and were give a tour guide and the baby registry and we embarked on our mission to find a gift. Remember the movie, "Away We Go?" The lady in that movie that said strollers, sugar, and separation were the enemy? That was the attitude of this store. No, I'm not exaggerating.

OK, back to the tour guide that was a a size zero and looked about 14 years old. She showed me in detail all of the cloth diapering products. She then proceeded to inform me that she used them for her baby. Baby? Whaaat? Where did you get the baby? Pretty sure you're 14 years old. I was already distracted and our "tour" had just begun.

She continues to show us around....from the $30.00 magnetic bib to the $55.00 terry clothed towel that you can wrap around your neck, holy crap this store was ridiculous. Why not wal-mart? $8.99 for three towels and four washcloth's? I mean, c'mon!

Anyway, I FINALLY find something to get her. I chose the "nature touch" bathtub she wanted, and then decided to would go to Toys-R-Us for some bath towels and such and I was ready to get the heck out of there...but first I had to pay. Take a deep breath before you keep reading.

I went to the counter, and the lady there was cooing to her kid, that she was wearing. This may sound normal to some of you, but now I'd like to let you know that the kid was 6 years-old. Yep. The 6 year-old was clinging to her moms back like a baby monkey. My friend (who has a 7 year old) even made the comment to her, "If my daughter did that I'd dislocate a shoulder." No Sh**! It was nuts. As I made my purchase the lady noticed her daughter had chocolate on her face. After figuring out her daughter had eaten a skinny cow ice cream she stated to her child, "I thought we weren't eating those anymore because they contain pear-tree oil that kills monkeys in the rain forest?" Noticing my horror, she looked up to me and said, "She goes to Charter school and last week she informed me that we couldn't buy skinny cow ice cream bars anymore because of the pear-tree oil. But, we still had some in the house so we decided that we would finish those." I did not respond. I was officially traumatized.

W.T.F.?

Things that are "out of the question" for my baby:
Cloth diapers (I'm sorry, but I just cannot do it)
Charter school
Baby wearing over the age of .....hmmm....lets say 1.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hanging by a Thread

It's been a tough weekend. The longer we've gone without an update from our birth family on the status of our birth father's rights, the more worried I've become. And this afternoon, my fears were justified. Our attorney notified me that she had spoken with our birth family, and the birth father is being resistant to terminating his rights. Not only is he threatening to not allow the adoption, but he is stating that his family is going to help him, and he may want to parent the baby.

I know what some of you are thinking: Why am I surprised? I knew this could happen all along. After all, the bottom line is that this is truly HIS baby. And, I have to respect his wishes.

Needless to say, my heart is breaking. What seemed so close yesterday could now be miles away. It's not for certain. He could just be treading the waters and stalling while he processes all of this. But, we don't know that yet. The scariest thing that our attorney said to us was, "honestly it could be this way up until the very end. Lots of birth fathers stall until their 30 day window after the birth but never take any action." Great. That's freaking terrifying. But, again, that is the risk we took when we agreed to this. Though, I must mention that the first time I spoke with our birth mom she said that the birth father was on board with adoption. So, I don't know what changed.

My heart is also breaking for our birth mom. She really wants to have us adopt her baby. And her relationship with the birth father is not a good one. I am sure she is just as scared as we are by the problems he is presenting. I cannot imagine her having to carry this baby only to have to either decide to struggle and co-parent with him, or allow the baby to go to his care, which I know she really doesn't want.

The most worry is actually not because of the birth father. Its that the birth grandma who was facilitating this termination of rights has not communicated with me at all. I texted her a "hi there, how are you" text last night and she didn't write back. Then, I left her a voicemail this morning and she hasn't called back. Not really a huge deal except that she has never done that before. And, open communication is huge in this situation.

So, I don't really know what I'm to do. I guess we wait. We pray, or plea with God. This seems appropriate:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change those I can.
And, the wisdom to know the difference.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Waiting

I haven't posted because I really don't have much to update you all on. I have not received word that the birth father has signed his papers. But, on the flip side, I haven't received word that he has outright refused to sign either, so I'm really just playing a waiting game still. I did talk to our birth mom today, which was great. We sent her a "Preggle" pillow which an amazing body pillow that supports your back and can wrap around to your legs and belly if you want it to. She said that she was getting uncomfortable sleeping and I wanted to do something for her. She was very happy, and said something that warmed my heart: "after I'm done using it maybe you can take it home with you and use it when you're feeding and holding the baby. It says its good for that." It made me stop and realize, "wow, she's really giving us this baby." I'm so grateful for her.
Of course I'm scared about the birthfather. Truthfully, this has all been pretty painless up until now and I don't want it to fall apart. I'm in love with this little one, how could I not be? We will be 14 weeks and out of the first trimester on Monday.

Here's what a 14 week little one looks like in the womb (not our photo):

I sent our application for the homestudy via certified mail a week ago today, so I know it got there, but I haven't heard from them. I know that our next step is to go to our first class, which is on September 15th, so I'll call next week to check in if they don't call me.

Things I'm already doing that I shouldn't be:
Thinking about whether I want cherry wood furniture or white furniture in the nursery
Looking a bedding patterns
Talking names with my husband.

Remember, this blog is a "no judgement" zone!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Birth fathers & Secretaries

Things are moving along. We're 13 weeks today. One more week and we're out of the first trimester already. Time feels like its moving slowly, but I know its going to fly by. There is still so much to accomplish. I have added "The Mother of all To-Do Lists" to the sidebar for easy tracking; and, it honestly entertains my Type A personality to have a list to cross off.

Why the title of this post?
Two things are happening/have happened in the past week and I'd like to share them both.

Birth father:
Our baby's birth father is young, indecisive, and from the sound of it, still possibly in "love" with our baby's birth mother. So, he is really struggling with this adoption. It doesn't seem he wants to parent this baby, but he isn't sure that he is willing to give up his rights either. He is being...for lack of a better word: difficult. In one sense, I don't blame him. I mean, this baby is genetically his, and I'm sure he's struggling with many emotions. On the other hand, I'm not sure his heart is in the right place. He has no parenting plan, no financial capability, and no familial support. All I can do is pray that God takes care of this one for us, and brings this baby to us.
Keep us in your thoughts this week, as the birth father will be asked to sign his termination of rights, and if he does that, I truly believe our journey will be easier from here on out. I wish he could see the desperation in our eyes and feel the attachment we've already grown to the baby that grows in our birth mom's tummy. I wish he could feel the warmth and love that radiates from our home. I wish he could see the many people in our lives that we've shared our news with that are (right along with us) awaiting graciously the arrival of our baby.

Secretary:
This is the most ridiculous thing that happened last week. We had to choose an agency to complete our homestudy for us. (Refer to the "Mother of all To-Do Lists" to see whats involved in this). Part of the application you fill out from this agency that we've chosen is a "Grocery" list of what type of child you'd accept in your home because the agency is foster to adopt focused. I called the secretary to see if we needed to fill our "list" out because we already know the baby we're expecting. This is the answer I got:
Secretary: Well, relinquishment's (our type of adoption) fall apart pretty often, so go ahead and fill it out so that we can move forward if this doesn't work out.
Me: Speechless (which never happens)
Secretary: So go ahead and fill it out, and then send it in to me and we'll go from there.
Me: Okay, I'll get it in the mail soon.

W.T.F.? Really? These are the people who take calls from families desperate for children. Really? Holy mother of crap I cannot believe this lady. If this had been anyone at the agency except for the secretary, I would have found another place to do our homestudy.

Maybe she had an adoption fail? I'm not sure. I know that when we met with social worker he had said that these types of adoption are the most risky, and that we should expect one failed placement (adoption that didn't work out) before a successful one. BUT, I believe our situation is different. We met this person through a family friend. She chose on her own to embark on this mission with us. Our connection is different, its not agency based. I'm not saying there is no chance she will change her mind, there is a chance. And, well, welcome to adoption. Whats my other option? To load myself full of hormones, and do that IUI cycle with my RE that may also not work out? I'm not a fertile myrtle. Things haven't happened easy for me. But, I'm hard working. So I will work hard every day I'm given to bring this baby home. I am going to believe that he or she is coming home every day. This is a gift. My relationship with our birth mother, and her family, is a gift. Too much has happened leading up to this that I'd be crazy not to see it as "meant to be." God does have a hand in this one.

As a last (less hostile) thought.....I'm in love with this quote:
"Not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute that you didn't grow under my heart, but in it."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Mother of all To-Do Lists

So, when we started this adoption, met and "clicked" with our birth mom and her family, I thought the hard part was over. Someone choose us. Someone agreed to give us her baby, and so therefore the rest should be easy. Yeah freaking right. If there is anything I've learned about becoming a parent, it's that nothing, and let me emphasis: NOTHING is easy.

So, in the next 6 months, 1 week, and 5 days (as of today, not that I'm counting) I have a TON of stuff to do to be able to bring this baby home when he/she is born. Here goes:

The Mother of all To-Do Lists
Hire a Lawyer
Find a homestudy agency
Get funds to afford the adoption
-Complete a Homestudy which encompasses:
  1. Attending 12 hours of classes (that occur 1.5 hours away, on weeknights in 4 hour increments)
  2. Filling out a very large and specific application and turning it in with pictures of us
  3. My husband and I each filling out several pages of personal questions encompassing our entire life. Our home growing up, our parents, our religion, our habits, our views on parenting...and on, and on
  4. A social worker interviewing us together in his office
  5. Providing certified copies of birth certificates, and our marriage license
  6. Each of us having a physical
  7. Getting fingerprinted
  8. Having above social worker come into and inspect our home (which involves having all chemicals, cleaning agents, and medications in a locked space)
  9. Being individually interviewed for 2 hours a piece by said social worker
  10. Making sure all our animals (4 dogs and 2 cats) have their vaccines up-to-date and documented
-Finding a lawyer in my our birthmoms home state
-Fulfilling the ICPC requirements (a process required when the adopive child is coming from another state). Something I'm sure I'll blog about later.
-Helping our lawyer facilitate getting the birthparents rights terminated

Sadly, I'm sure I'm missing something. But, this list will be my guide through this process. I will probably refer to it again as I can cross things out, more just to show myself that I'm making progress. I will go through this humbly, and not complain because I realize that these processes are put in place to keep children safe, and I cannot argue that. But, I will say, that there are plenty of parents out there that would not "pass" this process, and it's simply...as I've said before: not fair.

Happy trails to us.....

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Switching Paths

Wow..12 days and no updates, sorry folks! Things have been crazy busy around here. Here's why:
WE'RE ADOPTING.
Yep. That's what I said. In the past month when I was pouring out tears and on my knees begging for a baby. And, I mean begging, I never thought that two weeks later the begging would turn into excitement, and serenity.
It's taken me awhile to write about this, because I didn't want to jinx it, I don't want to put it out there and have someone find it that may be offended by it. But, the truth is, I want to remember these moments and blogging here is not only a way to do that, but a way to discuss and educate others about the new highway toward parenthood that we're on.
So, how did this happen. Well, you know how people always say, "its not what you know its who you know." That statement holds so true for us. I knew (almost) everything about TTC, and ART, and I was ready to adjust my daily life to fit in medications, ultrasounds, and lab draws in order to knock myself up and bring my little bundle home. But it was a family friend who lead us to this baby.
A young birth mom 2500 miles away, who has known our family friend since she was born is growing a baby. And now, she's growing it just for us. She will be 12 weeks along on Monday. We are due in March. It has been amazing getting to know her and her family. We are doing an open adoption so that she can see pictures of the baby as he/she grows, and may do a visit here and there. But, I am going to be the babys mommy, and my husband will finally be called "daddy."
Can you believe it? I have told our closest friends and our families know. Some of them are very reserved, and with good reason. One of my friends said to me, "I just cannot stand to watch you get hurt over this." I understand where she is coming from. But that is the risk you take with adoption. As of today, we're expecting, and all we can do is be thankful for this day. I hope we get to be thankful until the baby is born, and that when he/she is born God will give our birth mom the strength to hand us our baby, and send us on our way as a family of three (of course, more grateful and humbled than ever).
We are so grateful, feel so blessed....we are counting down the days!
Our birthmother hasn't had an ultrasound since very early on (I haven't gotten those pics yet) but here is someones ultrasound pic at 11 weeks (we are 11 weeks 5 days)
(not my photo)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Labs

Remember the lab list? The one that encompassed Hepatitis C and many others? Well, today I received a blessing! Our insurance is going to pay for my husbands labs.

Why is this a big deal? Because I got my bill and I had less tests done than him (I'd already completed some of them over the past couple years) and my bill for less testing was $500.00.

So, thank you health insurance for covering one of our lab tests!

Gotta be grateful for the small stuff.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Cha-ching


Friday, August 5, 2011

Maybe I've Been Selfish

Today was one of those "time to put your ass in check" kind of days.

There are some friends in your life that are closer than others. Period. And the closest ones challenge you to truly put your infertile hostilities aside and open your eyes. Other people are going to have kids. Your entire community is not going to abstain from procreation because you are sensitive and subfertile.

I don't have a problem voicing my jealousy to my friends about people who are pregnant. And, I've even said things to them like, "you'd better not get pregnant again until I do." I mean to come off as humorous, but I know my friends are thinking, "oh shit, she's actually kind of not kidding."

Anyway, today, one of my long time friends that I hold very close to my heart burst into tears while she told me that she and her husband were going to try for their second baby. She told me that they'd been discussing it for a while, but part of her wanted to put it off due to my situation.

It broke my heart.

The truth is, as much as sometimes I wish time would stop. That all babymaking could just cease until my husband and I are successful in conceiving, I am not the type of person who wants to hurt my friends. When they are sad, I'm sad, and watching a good friend of mine be in pain about her decision to become pregnant again really affected me.

I told her that I was sorry, for I knew that I had caused these bad feelings. I really didn't feel angry about her trying to become pregnant. She has another child thats getting older and its simply time. I guess it just makes me realize that I need to curb my hostility a bit and be less candid with my friends. I never want them to feel like they cannot share such an amazing, exciting and important part of their life with me because of my selfishness. It really is just so hard. Why does it have to be so freaking hard?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

When God Closes a Door He Opens a Window.

In the past two years I have learned a lot about the different options of becoming a mother. Thankfully, there are many. Sometimes I forget how much lies ahead of me on this journey, I get angry about what I don't have and forget to give thanks for the things I do have.

What do I have?

Great friends. In the past year a lot of bad things have happened in my life. The top of this list of course is losing my sister. Nothing trumps that. Infertility is the second. And this list goes on from there. Through all of this, I lost some friends. But, the ones I gained are angels living on this earth. There are times I will sit with a friend for an hour talking about my triumphs and we will barely skim the surface of whats going on in her life. If you are one of these people and are reading this, I do notice, and I want to be better. I genuinely care about whats going on in your life, and don't mean to derail your importance with my, well, drama. I know how fortunate I am to have my friends.

Great job. I love my job. I get to teach, and I get to be a nurse. My hours are flexible, and my boss has a heart of gold.

Great husband. My husband loves me for who I am. The pretty parts, the ugly parts, the selfish parts, the dramatic parts. He ate burnt food the first two years we were together because I couldn't cook. He knows when I need to cry, to laugh, and when to just sit with me a be silent.

Great family. One thing that has changed dramatically in the past year is my relationship with my mom. Primarily because I have one now. We weren't very close before my sister passed. In fact, it was my sister who was closest to my mom, and when she died I struggled for a long time that God took the wrong daughter. Don't let this statement upset you, Mom, if you are reading this, I know better now. My family as a whole is small (Great grandpa, Gram, Pop, Aunt, Uncle, Mom, Me, my husband, and my sisters memory) but we are full of love.

Ownership. I have the means to own my home, drive the car I want, and go out to dinner on a whim. These things are not given to all. I have worked hard for everything I have, but still realize how lucky I am to have it.

Faith. This is probably the biggest struggle that I've had over the past year. Praising God and having faith is easy when things are going in your favor. But, when things fall apart, and I mean, things club you over-the-head at ninety miles an hour on some random Tuesday afternoon its hard to believe that any higher power (who is supposed to love you unconditionally) is allowing these things to happen to you. But, there was a moment soon after I lost my sister that I made the decision to have faith. To believe in God and allow him into my life for no other reason than to simply believe in my future, and that someone/something of a higher power is out there, right beside me, seeing my through the good and bad times. Assuring that I'm never alone. I still struggle sometimes. But, everyday I remind myself of my commitment to keep faith in my life. And I do.

What I don't have?
A baby.

Not much is missing from my life, but I seem to spend so much time dwelling on it.

I found this picture of a house on Google, and looking at its layout I begin to think of this journey of fertility.

"If God closes a door he opens a window." Right?

The door is the easy way to have a baby. You have sex and BAM! you're pregnant. Obviously not my journey, after two years we can conclude this.

The window to the left of the door you'd definitely see from the street, its obvious. This is ART (assisted reproductive technology). The IUI's, IVF's, meds and other treatments you do with your eggs and your partners sperm.

The window to the right is the donor window. Surrogacy, donor eggs, donor sperm. The baby will biologically not be 100% yours or your partners, but you will be the parent and have the baby from birth. Maybe you will even carry the baby, but it may not be your genetic material.

The more hidden window, the one in the bottom left (the basement) is adoption. It's a window that we haven't explored much lately, but its there. Its an option. My husband and I have thought about adopting a child since we first got married. We've said that we'd like to give birth to two (two biological children) and adopt one or two. We just always envisioned that it would go in that order. But, lately we've thought about reversing the order, and having started looking into adoption. I have a lot of questions, and a lot of fear about it, but we are simply "cracking the window" and seeking out more information.

So, if you are reading this and your in our place, look at your options. Again, "Navigating the land of IF" by Melissa Ford is a great resource.

If you are reading this and thinking, "I'm pretty sure I don't want kids" thanks fine too, and I appreciate your support.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Moment to Breathe

I don't really know where to start, I guess I will start out by saying that I'm sorry I haven't written sooner. I'm sorry that after presenting this amazing plan I bailed out for like a week and left you all wondering.

Here is why, blatent, raw, why.

In the state of California it is required that both partners must get infectious disease screening before they can embark on any kind of ART (assisted reproduction treatment) mission. So about a week and a half ago we both got tested for the following:
HIV
HLIV (human lymphocytic immunodeficiency virus- yeah, I didn't even know this existed and I'm a nurse)
HCV (hepatitis C virus)
HBV (hepatitis B virus)
RPR with reflux (syphillis)
Cystic Fibrosis Gene (one of us has to be negative so our baby isn't at risk)
Chlamydia culture (up the vag)
Gonorrhea culture (up the vag)

Okay, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking what all the people in my daily life were saying to me, "oh come on, you are a respectable person, you make good decisions, and you've been married for nearly a decade, if you had something you would know by now."

To be honest, I was scared. I mean, I had my share of dumbass horny teenage girl moments where I didn't use the proper protection, but didn't 90% of us have those moments? And, as a good friend of mine pointed out "I don't think teenage kids fall very high on the risk list of HIV." True, true.

So, you can guess what happens next, right? I was fine, yep. I was fine. But when I rhetorically asked the nurse if my husband was fine too, she stated, "Oh, his stuffs not all back yet." Ten minutes later he got a call saying that he had a problem with one of his tests. My husband tested + for the HCV antibody (Hepatitis C).  Our RE thought the test could be a false positive, as neither of us have ever been IV drug users, had blood transfusions...basically we live outside the risk factors, and I tested negative so the doc couldn't see how he could have have it. We did another lab test to see if my husband truly had Hepatitis C (its an RNA test that confirms the virus' presence in your blood).

FINALLY today (5 days past the drawing of the second sample, 6 days past the day we found out about the positive), we got the result, he doesn't have Hepatitis C. It has been the most terrifying, exhausting, and just plain crazy week I have ever had. I have honestly never been so scared. But, he is OK, and I am so incredibly grateful. It really puts life into perspective though. Last night I was sobbing because I thought that maybe my husband could be sick, he could have liver damage, he could need months of treatment, I could not have his babies, he could die, and I could be left alone, widowed and without children. It all sounds very dramatic now, but when I was standing in the middle of this tornado, it was very possible.

When he called and told me the news today, we both cried tears of relief, and when I finally got to see my husband, I hugged him like he had come home from war. The love of my life is finally out of the danger zone. And now, I am determined to have his babies!

I promise not to get to preachy here, but I would like to say that it was faith, and asking God for his help in all of this that made us get through this week. And, I am not afraid to say that I truly saw God today.

For more information on Hepatitis C please visit: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001329/