Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Well, Christmas 2011 has come and gone and has been wonderful.  Charlie and I really showered the love on each other and there were presents popping up almost everyday for the last week.  This excessive present giving has lead to a whole bunch of furniture rearranging and cleaning and the dogs are now really confused about where everything is located! 

We did something different this year and celebrated Christmas Eve with his family then spent Christmas Day with my mom.  We had church Christmas morning and then had lunch with her and opened presents, then went home and opened presents with each other. 

One silly thing was that Charlie bought me the Harry Potter Lego PS3 game and it is really fun! Normally I'm not a game player, so having something we can play together and I don't die all the time is great.  We can play together, but we're not playing AGAINST each other.  That's key.

Well, I hope that you all had a great holiday! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm in a mood

I know this season brings out the wonder and joy in so many, but I sit here mourning all this things that this holiday season was supposed to bring.  I've been fine, I've been busy, I've been too crazed with the everyday-ness of life to really dwell on it.  But then, I popped around a few blogs today and it all came rushing back to me:  how we're still waiting. 

And I wonder if the twins are okay and if their mother will take them to church on Christmas or if they'll get presents.  I walk past the room that should have been theirs and wilt.  The room is half finished, waiting for yet another match to spur us into action and changes to make it fit the new match.  When our case worker visited a few weeks back, I showed her the new nursery and although it has coffee colored walls and turquoise curtains, the accents are pink.  The clothes I have are pink.  We were ready. 

I don't know how to move forward.

So, I'm probably supposed to write something inspiration here.  About how I know that God's timing is the right timing and how I know that He's used us in a powerful way in the life of the family we met this last time.  And maybe about how I'll just live life while I wait and enjoy all these couple things that Charlie and I can do while it's just the two of us. 

Bah humbug.  I want a baby. 

I ache.  I cry.  I pray. 

What's a girl to do? 

I could tell you about all the things going on at school or all the things at home or the Christmas shopping or deck building or attic renovations, and I will, but this is an adoption blog with NO adoption.  Sheesh.  I wish I had more to give you right now, but I'm all out of hope at this moment. 

So, let's sum it up, shall we? 

I'm in a mood. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

a bunch of something

So, there's progress on the house, and we actually have a deck attached but I don't have pics of it.  We've enjoyed sitting up on the deck during this unseasonably warm November we've been having, even though there isn't any railing yet.  It's a little scary, but the breeze is wonderful and the stars are beautiful.  I've also kept myself occupied with dreaming of what might be in the new bedroom. 

Yes, we're moving along with the renovation upstairs, but I'm dreaming a year ahead or so when I can sit in a bathtub and read a book and listen to Sara Bareilles and relax.  I'm going to get passed this time period of construction and live in my blissfully designed master suited.

Here are a couple other things:
  • I celebrated my 35th birthday on Sunday and managed to get through it by buying a new pair of black boots and not looking into the nursery and feeling like I've just entered the "high risk" category.
  • We bought our Christmas tree today and I love the smell.  Love it!
  • School is going really well and I'm loving the kids, my classroom, and the school.
  • We're hosting a gingerbread house building party for some friends from church and I'm excited about it.  We had some friends do this years ago and we loved it, and have decided to host one ourselves.  
  • I've put a food processor on my list for Christmas.
  • I've put a massage gift card on my Christmas list.  
  • Charlie wants a Shop Vac and outdoor garden heater and he bought them both today, so I guess my shopping is already done.  
  • I ordered our Christmas cards today and had to say goodbye to the dream of sending ones with a baby in them this year.  Another year gone.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

emotions on the ebb

The past week or so has actually been pretty good, emotion-wise.  I've been sick, so congested and miserable that I missed a day of work, but the fact that I haven't been able to dwell on our adoption loss has been a good thing.  I'm thankful that each day brings something to make me smile and if I stay busy I don't think to much about it.  Sometimes. 

ps.  I love this photo of my Phoebe's paws...isn't she dainty?

The truth is, of course, that this time of year is hard on us still waiting adoptive parents, thinking of all that could be and should be and isn't yet.  My birthday is coming up and then Thanksgiving and then Christmas, and we had all sorts of plans for the twins.  There were ornaments I saw in a store that said "baby's first Christmas," and there were Halloween outfits that we liked and baby announcements that I thought were cute, and a mostly finished nursery that we walk past everyday. 

Our case worker is coming for a visit next week and I thrilled about seeing her for a more social kind of visit.  We're going to have dinner and chat and visit and hang out.  I'm glad to see her have a more relaxed time.  We've been with our agency long enough that we really have bonded with them, and they've seen us through all these peaks and valleys.  

Hope all is doing well with each of you and that you aren't dreading these next couple of months and dealing with the holidays empty handed. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

healing by proxy

So healing comes in different ways, I guess.  For me, I would love to run away and take a cruise and let the hurt wash over me while I stare at a sunset and read a book.  I like to let my thoughts marinate and settle in and become part of me as I cry and process and work through it. 

My husband likes a project. 

Not that he doesn't feel it, but he doesn't work through it the same way I do.  He thinks while he does.  He digs in, gets something done and feels more accomplished coming out the other side. 

And the roof ripped off my house. 

We have an attic that runs the length of our house and we've always wanted to renovate it.  We have stairs and there are two windows up there and it's a great space for a master bedroom and bonus room.  When we finally got a contractor out here to look at it, he suggested raising the roof on a 20 foot section to give us normal ceiling height for the bedroom portion (on the back of the house, only.)  So we did.  The big space in the middle is for french doors.

This project will probably take the better part of a year or so, since we like to pay as we go and will do some of it ourselves.  And, not knowing if an adoption will pop up during that time also makes us want to spend our money wisely and not bury ourselves in debt. But it is in motion and that helps. 

Also, thank you to those of you who have been praying for us.  This one has been hard to navigate and I broke down at church on Sunday and cried so hard my bra was damp in spots.  I want to be a mother so badly and I am surrounded by pregnant women and young mothers and I just want to be part of it.  I scribble in my prayer journal each day and ask that God show his might and miraculous power by bringing an adoption to our door.  Please join me in this prayer. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

time to tell the truth

Let me preface this by saying this story does not end well.

The day of open house at my new school, I got in the car to drive home and had a message from our case worker, Josi.  I called back and she wanted me to call when I was with Charlie so she could talk to us once.  OK.  So I got home fast.

We called and Josi wanted to tell us about a birth mom who was due at the end of September and was having twin girls.  She shared some more details and asked if we were on board.  The birth mom (I'll call her Jennifer) wanted to meet us and talk.  Of course, we said yes.  So exciting.  TWIN GIRLS.  TWINS!  I mean, I was thrilled.  Nervous, but thrilled.  We already had girl stuff, we had lots of girl name options and we were ready financially.

We met her once at the office and another time had dinner with her.  We thought she was funny, sweet, a little immature, open and honestly intending to place the babies.  She shared with us how sad she was to place them, but that she wanted them to have a good life and grow up in a church and with lots of family around.  She loved our minivan, thought we were fun, and really wanted the girls to have a father.  The birth father had already signed off and was on board.  He liked our profile and thought we were a great choice.

The babies were due at the end of September, but ended up being delivered on September 17th.  The agency called us and said that Jennifer had been asking when they would call us and let us know.  Her parents were there and the birth father and his mom, and they were all calling the babies the names WE chose.  They were telling the staff that the babies were being placed for adoption.  Everyone was calm and good.

We sent flowers the next morning then went to church and praised God.  We were going to be parents in about a week, after the waiting period here in NC.  We went home after church to work on the room (we had switched our guest room with the nursery in anticipation of needing two cribs) and waited all afternoon for the call that she had signed the paper.

She would not sign.

They made her call us.  She said she hadn't been able to sleep well and had decided that she was going to be a single mom.

There is more to the story about what a bad situation she is living in, her lack of job and her other kids, but it is too much to tell and since it didn't end up well anyway, I don't feel the need to share all of it.  I just know that I've now lived through another failed match and it hurts.

This one is different that the other one, because I felt really calm about it unlike our first match.  I was getting ready and planning and praying and trusting and knowing it would all work out.  Everyone was caught off guard when she changed her mind.  The birth father was shocked and a little angry.

So now, here we are again waiting for another match and knowing that this time of year is slow adoption wise.  We've been praying that if it is God's will for these girls to be ours, he will move the mountains in the way.  We've also been praying that our adoption agency will be flooded with phone calls, over and above what they can handle.

So, that's the truth about the last month and a half.  I can't believe it's been almost a month since the twins were born and they would have been here and we would be planning the coming holidays as parents.  Sigh.  We're trying to move past it and move forward, but every now and then it gets me that it fell apart AGAIN.  Arrrrggggghhhhh.  I can't think about it at times, and other times it is all I can think about.

Thanks for listening...

Monday, October 17, 2011

some great moments from this year...

On our cruise in April

Phoebe's nose...so sweet

From the Figure Skating Nationals in January

Mandy and I getting ready to make homemade ravioli!

Leaves from the Farmer's Market

Love these orange flowers...

Mandy's new baby, Caleb.  I took some newborn shots two weeks ago.

This is how the husband butched up the minivan.

Elisa's wedding

Jewelry project that I made, and I just like the photo.

Lucy loves to look out the window....
Just so you know I'm not sad and moody and thinking about babies all the time.  There are some good and wonderful moments in my life, and many I capture on film (well, on megapixels.)  I wanted to share some things that made me smile from the ten months of this year we call 2011.  There are still two and a half months to go, and I'm looking forward to seeing whatever else happens. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

the climb feels endless

I took this photo when we were in NYC two summers ago and I love the way the glass reflects the sky and the building almost disappears.  There's just something interesting about it to me, where the building meets the sky and I like the kind-of-magic of it.  Yeah.  I'm weird like that.  I think this is a magic photo. I mean, I could climb all the steps to the top, but where I can't see the building, is it really there?  What if I got all the way up there and the building just faded away?  Or, what if I got all the way up there and the stairs suddenly dropped off?

Anyway, there's something about it that makes me sad.  It feels like our adoption journey...within my grasp but almost mystical.  Like, we've gone all this way up the stairs and the penthouse is just fading away.  Like the part where I bring a baby home is mystical and mythical and out of my reach. 

Yes, I'm sad.  We've just been in a place where I think things are looking up but we're really still in the same place.  My mom reminded me that a waiting time is a trusting time and I know I'm being stretched right now, but I feel like I'm being stretched too thin. 

The pages of my prayer journal have been filled with my longings to be a mommy and raise a child to his glory.  I've written about it so much this last year and the words seem repetitive and trite.  I wish I had something different to say, but I'm trying to keep positive and continue praying and trusting. 

Thanks for all of you who continue to pray for us.  Thanks to all of you who keep your eyes and ears open for an adoption possibility for us.  I hope that this road is shorter rather than longer, and our journey's end is soon.  I hope that someday soon my arms will be full and our nursery will be needed.  I wish that I didn't sound so hopeless, but there are days when the climb feels endless. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

We're Number 1

I talked with our case worker at the agency yesterday, and asked her if we were the longest waiting couple they had now.  We've been waiting almost three years (it will be 3 years at Thanksgiving) and have been disappointed many times, with the one big failed match.  She said that one couple ended up pregnant, one adopted embryos and now we were waiting the longest.  We're officially first on their list.

Such winners, aren't we?  :)  It really doesn't mean much.

I mean, everyone loves our profile book, and they've had women in that match our profile, but before they've gotten to the match stage, they decide to parent.

I've had lots of conversations with God this year, and many in the past couple of weeks, about how Charlie and I need him to move the mountains out of our way in order to adopt a child.  We can't do this without him, and even though I like to look at adoption postings, and talk to our case worker, and network with you all, the actual signing of the papers by a birth mom will have to be orchestrated by our heavenly father. 

The only bonus of being first on the list, is that if they get a birth mother in that does not want to choose parents, and she is in our program, then we will be matched.  That doesn't happen often, though, so I'm not holding my breath. 

Also, our case worker also reported that this time of year is generally slow for them.

So, I've been praying that our agency would experience a boon of calls, and that God would help me keep me calm, patient and glorifying him.  These years have been long, and short at the same time.  I know it is stupid, but I'm haunted by our Christmas cards.  I thought for sure that this year we'd be sending out a family picture, instead of just the picture of the two of us.  And I know there is still time for it to happen, and I'm trying to trust, but it is hard. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

the new job

Let me just tell you that I'm loving my new job and it is taking up so much of my time.  In a way that uses my mind all day long and leaves me tired at the end of the day and not wanting to write.  It's good.  I'm thrilled that I've been given this job and am loving my classroom and the kids and the other teachers.  The time is passing by so quickly and I've already been there a month! 

Each day I see kids in grades K-5 and I'm still getting used to seeing that kind of age range and switching my strategies up with each grade level.  It's taking all my mental faculties and at the end of the day I'm kind of a pile of mush.  So, I'm typing this to you on Saturday night at 10:22 and I don't have much to say. 

My house is a complete and total mess right now, because a project involving changing the hall bath sink vanity and toilet became changing the guest room into the nursery and the nursery into the guest room.  This involved paint and a new rug and some crafts that I have yet to do.  And some fabric shopping that might get done tomorrow and who knows what else. 

Ok, so, that's the confession from this tired blogger girl, but tired does not mean that I'm not in a good mood.  I am.  I want you to know that I'm feeling good about this new job and am so thankful that the Lord was with me this year as I searched for a new job.  So thankful. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

introducing the word "might"

Over the last couple of days, I've been thinking about the word "might."  As in, adopting a baby might happen someday.  There are just some days it feels like it won't ever happen, and there are some days I feel so hopeful and confident that it must be right around the corner.  But it's been almost three years. And there are times when it just seems so impossible.  Why would a woman choose to give up her baby?  It's such an incredibly, almost unfathomable idea, for a woman to give her child to someone else.  But I know it happens all the time, it just hasn't happened to use yet. 
  For those of you who've adopted, especially those of you with long waits, was there ever a point where you just felt like giving up?  When you wanted to throw in the towel and ask your agency to stop showing your profile?  Don't get me wrong, that's not exactly where I'm at, but there are times when I'm just so tired of waiting for the phone to ring. And I'm scared that if we get matched again, it will fall apart again. 

It's all wrapped up in fear, isn't it?  Sigh.

But then I think about God's "might," and how the intricacies of this situation are not beyond his control.  The growth of my family, the addition of children, will come at his choosing, in his timing.

I continue to pray, I continue to dream, I continue to hope.  I choose to submit to his will and let him lead us down the path to our family.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

so many prayers

Since I've been keeping my prayer journal this year, I've really started to notice the suffering that is all around us everyday. It isn't that I pray for everyone I know everyday, because most days there is something on my heart that I write about. Other days, I just think of everyone who needs prayer and write a list in my book.

Here is the list I wrote recently:

Lord, please bless and heal:

Donna and Cameron (we lost Uncle Roy to cancer in July)
Crystal, Kaitlyn and Kyleigh (in the loss of Dennis to suicide in May)
a friend from work struggling with depression and mental illness
a blogger friend who lost her husband
another friend who lost his father in July
a friend from church with breast cancer
our adoption agency
any birth mothers that they are working with who are placing their babies for adoption
the students at my school who live in poverty
Charlie's grandmother who is in her last months of life
Charlie and I as we try to patiently wait for a baby
all you bloggers waiting to be pregnant or adopt babies

Long list, huh?

Some days I fill up my pages with longing for a baby. Some days I plead on the behalf of others. I've been praying a lot for our adoption agency and any women they are working with, asking that the Lord touch them and comfort them in this time of decision. There is so much pain and grief out there and I can't pray for it all, but I try to cover my little corner of the world.

If there is something you want me to pray for, just let me know and I'll fit you in! I'm happy to include you in my prayers.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

grace for the good girl

This is my buddy, Emily. We've known each other for ten years and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. We met at my first teaching job, when I was an art teacher and she was a sign language interpreter. The student she interpreted for liked to take art classes, so Emily was in my classroom for part of the day each day for two years. We planned her wedding in my classroom! You may also know Emily, from her blog Chatting at the Sky.

Emily and I have similar tastes in many things. We both have ministry employed husbands, we've used the same paint colors in our houses, we love Friends and Gilmore Girls and Mimi's Cafe and Harry Potter. She has a great laugh, and is about the best listener I've ever met. She is a person I can cry on, and have. She's a person who can hold your deepest secret and not judge you. And now she's written a book. A book many of you should read.

I don't want to get into where her idea for the book came from (because when you read it, you'll get it) but suffice it so say, as I read her book chapter by chapter, I came apart. What she's talking about, being freed from the idea that we're trying hard for other PEOPLE, is amazingly the place that many of us find ourselves. She writes about how we, as women, tend to be who people want us to be, instead of being ourselves. We mold our idea of ourselves around what others need. I soooo do that. But it's not me. Trying so hard to be the good girl has defined my image of myself and reading her words have helped me let go of that idea.

The book is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Nobles and is both conversational and inspiring. I think you'll be able to relate to it and find it helpful. And....there are a couple pages in there about me! Emily asked her friends to share stories of how hiding behind this image has played out in our lives, and we did. It is odd seeing my story in print, but kind of cool at the same time.

So, if you're looking for something to use as a Bible study, this is a great option and has a study guide in the back.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

random updates

Today is Sunday and I've been able to rest my mind a little over the weekend and restore a little balance to my frenzied mind. We've been talking about tackling a few home renovation projects and then one project has led to another idea and then we end up talking about switching our guest room with our nursery. Who know what we'll end up doing, but if we switch the rooms around, then I get to do a little decorating. And, of course, I love that. So, I've been looking at paint swatches.

We also went to the grocery store today and I'll be doing some cooking later. Lettuce wraps for dinner.

Let's just say that I like to cook. I do. I love to be in the kitchen creating meals. I actually love to grocery shop too, and today Charlie and I went together. Sometimes I like that and sometimes I don't. Today it was pretty enjoyable. I like having him with me because then I'm able to get what he wants, but I have a system of shopping and he messes with that a little bit. His preference is to get all the cold things last, which I agree makes sense, but the store isn't really planned that way and to do that you end up crisscrossing around the store. I work from one end to the other and don't stress about the cold items.

We also had dinner out last night with my friend Emily, who has a book coming out on Thursday. She hosted a big group of people that had helped her with the book, and coincidentally the people at our table were all linked to adoption in some manner. One couple was in the home study stage, we're in the waiting stage and the other couple works in the adoption field. It was a fun and lively group and we all enjoyed getting to know one another. It was great fun to celebrate Emily's first book and also talk adoption with other people who get it! (more about the book later this week.)

So, for now I hope you all are well, having survived Hurricane Irene. We got three sprinkles of rain yesterday and some wind and that was it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yes, I'm here...

Just wanted to let you know that I am still here and extremely busy! I accepted a new job at an elementary school teaching art and have been busy trying to get my classroom pulled together, lessons planned and meet all the new people. I know I've been missing around here for a while, but I've been keeping up with your blogs and checking in on you. Please forgive me if I'm not prolific in my posting over the next couple of weeks, as I get back into the swing of things. The first couple of weeks of school (as many of you know) are certainly tiring and in the evenings I might not be inclined to get out my computer and share my life.

Plus, I try not to talk a lot about my job on my blog. It's just not a good idea.

Here are a couple quick takes for you:

  • My mom picked apples on Saturday and then we made pies. Charlie was thrilled.
  • As a gift for my new job, Charlie bought me a Cricut! It's purple.
  • I think I've decided to get an iPhone.
  • I got new glasses today. They're purple.
  • Do you see that purple is a theme here?
  • I need to get off of here and type up my lesson plans, but I'm sharing with you!
  • We're planning on adding a deck/carport to the side of our house, but have to file for a variance due to the proximity of the property line.
  • Oh...I've been watching episodes of Criminal Minds and James Van Der Beek (aka, Dawson from Dawson's Creek) played a veeeeeeerrrry creepy serial killer. Interesting to see him as something else.
  • I currently have pink sheets on my bed. They make me happy and Charlie doesn't care.
  • I'm getting a pedicure next week...I think.

Well, that's the news from around here. Hope all is well with you all out there in Blogland!

Monday, August 1, 2011

last weekend

Wow, last weekend was hot and it was a challenge to be outside on Sunday afternoon. Charlie and his siblings were throwing a 40th anniversary BBQ for their parents, but only a few of us were brave enough to actually eat outside.

We clustered up in the shade, had fans going and wear in as few layers of clothes as possible.

The kids wanted ice cream cones, and they came outside to eat with us, but the ice cream was melting so fast and they didn't know where to lick. It was all over their hands and then Cheyenne bit the bottom off her cone and she had it dripping from both top and bottom. Eventually, she stuck a finger up the bottom to stop the dripping. LOL.

The heat drove us all back inside pretty quickly, but a fun time was had by all.

Happy 40th anniversary, Tim and Judy!

Friday, July 29, 2011

little boy blue

Here are some shots from a baby shower I threw last weekend. For a baby boy, obviously. LOL.


Monday, July 25, 2011

two years and counting....

Last week the agency called and I talked to one of the case workers. I was excited when the number came up on my cell phone, but quickly understood that it was not "the call" like I hoped and was just some questions. Questions I didn't know how to answer right away.

They had a birth mother coming in and wanted to show our profile, but there was one hitch. The BM was requesting that the adoptive family had a stay at home mom for at least three years. I told Lori (case worker) that I didn't know. It certainly wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility, but that I would have to talk to Charlie and let her know.

Charlie and I talked about it that night over dinner, and since he is the one who does our finances, he knows the truth. There isn't a way we could pay for the adoption and me stay home. It was sad to talk about. He asked if they could show our profile anyway, but I know they won't show profiles unless they match what the BM has requested. That way there isn't any pressure. I wish they could have shown our profile. Sigh.

I asked the other day on Facebook if all the mothers out there would still think about getting pregnant if it took two and a half years. Most said yes, but they did agreed it was a long time. I think most of us have written a post or two about waiting and what it is like and what happens when our friends have babies and pass us by and how that hurts some times. I threw a baby shower this weekend and was happy to do it, and didn't think about it much until someone wandered into the fully decorated nursery and wondered about our non-present baby. Yeah, the one that we're still waiting for...

It's hard to talk about with strangers sometimes, because they ask questions that I've answered hundreds of times. They are intrigued and interested about adoption and they think we've just started, and then I start talking and they realize that even though I'm upbeat, this process is really emotional, stressful, expensive and full of ups and downs.

So, that's the update from here. Again, if anyone has any tips/suggestions/advice let me know!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Adoption Q and A

Grace in My Heart posted this adoption questionnaire and while most of the people who've answered it have actually adopted, I thought I would answer what I could. Helps me to think back about this journey.

1. How did you know when to begin the adoption process?

After about two years of TTC and having it not work over and over, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, who said, "don't you think it's time to move on?" I had been longing to move on for a while, but kept on trying because adoption is more expensive than an insurance covered natural birth. Stupid reason, really, because I have always wanted to adopt and talked about it with Charlie when we were dating.

2. Did you ever feel like you failed at TTC (and were giving up "trying") so that's why you adopted? What suggestions do you have for those working through these emotions?
I didn't feel like that, really. I was ready to have the burden off me. Adoption takes it out of my hands (and body). I was tired of the pills, the temperatures, etc. I always knew I wanted children, but was never wanted to give birth. Plus, I have a bladder condition that would have been greatly irritated by pregnancy. See, for me, I have always seen adoption as the way my children would come. I know, I'm weird.

I felt more like a failure when our first match fell through, like I had done something wrong and that was why she decided to parent. I know that was not my fault, but it was really hard at the time.

3. Were you and your husband on the same page about adoption? What suggestions do you have for a spouse who may not be as excited as the other about adoption?
Because we had talked about the possible problems I might have conceiving when we were dating, Charlie was fine with adopting as long as we tried to conceive first. His desire was mostly out of financial practicality. Once I said I was ready to move on, he agreed. My suggestions, though, are to keep talking and expose your husband to adoption where you can.

4. How did you work through figuring out where to adopt from, how open to be, and what type of communication to have with your child's birthparents?
I originally thought we would adopt from overseas, but in the end we were drawn to our small, Christian agency. I had even made this chart with all the countries listed, costs, type of trip required and such, but then my husband said he'd like to try domestic, so we prayed about it and went looking for an agency. They were the ones who talked with us about openness, although we haven't had to really deal with that much, yet.

5. Adoption can be really expensive. What recommendations do you have to work through the financial aspect of it all?
It does seem that the more money you have, the faster adoptions happen, and I hate that about it. But, that said: Save, save, save. Have a couple credit cards. Save some more. Do the research on grants and find out if your job has adoption benefits. Then let go and let God worry about it.

6. Do you truly feel like a mother even though you didn't give birth? If you've never been pregnant, do you feel like you missed out on this experience?
I can't say much to this one yet, but the things I think about missing are the ultrasounds, because those always look so emotional and fun on TV, and baby showers with my big belly. But I'll still have a shower, it's just the baby will be there too!

7. What prayers and/or books do you recommend for those discerning whether or not to pursue adoption?
I didn't read to much about it, just talked to a couple of people in our church that adopted. They were super helpful and willing to talk about their journeys.

Hope this helped someone, anyone. Adoption is a long road for some and a short path for others.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

a season in the valley

This week has been kind of heavy, in that way that dark emotions can bring you to your knees. It seems that this season of our lives is destined to be one where we are walking in the valleys, not on the mountaintops. Two things have come together to create this heaviness, and while different, they are strangely the same.

It may take a while to explain.

I think I have said before that I was honored to be on a field trip to the Kennedy Space Center the day of the Challenger launch that forever changed space exploration. It was a confusing and odd day, in that I was in the fourth grade and not well acquainted with the concept of horrific accidents or God's Will or death, at all. My mom says I didn't understand until they starting televising images from the funerals of the astronauts, who were fathers and mothers and had left behind little children.

The children. That's what made me get it, made me grasp it, internalize it and let out the grief.

And they meet me here again.

This week my husband's uncle passed away from Leukemia, the very same thing that took my father. The family spent time in the hospital with Uncle Roy (who was 49) sitting with him, chatting, sharing these last moments. Roy's 11 year old son, would alternately smile and then climb up on the bed with his father. Roy passed early Thursday morning.

Again, I am touched by this fatherless child.

Friday morning dawned a new day, one of history making importance...the last shuttle launch. Not that NASA won't send anything else into space, or that we will stop exploring, or that we've given up on learning what's out there, but that they've decided to retire the shuttle. To most people this wouldn't be anything big, but I've been surprised by how sad this makes me. They showed the launch on TV, and I'm teared up. I checked out some articles on CNN and I'm getting nostalgic for that day. Sheesh, there was even a shuttle launch seen in Transformers 3 and I was getting misty eyed.

I don't know why it has affected me so, but if future space launches aren't as beautiful, as awe inspiring or as majestic as the space shuttle over the Atlantic, future generations will have missed out on something special. And for us who have been witness to a live launch, it is a memory to behold. I wish I had seen a different launch, one where we could have watched it in the sky until it was only a tiny speck on the horizon and then taken out tour of the Space Center. But I, and my other classmates, have been witness to a larger piece of history.

In this weird week, where the last piece of our history with Roy was met by the last piece of history with the space shuttle, where two tragedies leave behind children, I am left with what can only be described as a melancholy mood. Time will heal it, for sure, but for Roy's son and all other fatherless children, the wound is deeper.

It has been that kind of season.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

adoption un-update

There isn't much to say, or tell, or write about right now. Well, except for the conversation I had with our case worker, who told me I have all the bases covered when it comes to finding an adoption situation and that I need to sit back and let God handle it.

Telling this to a "gotta get it done kind-of girl" is just not what I wanted to hear.

It is hard. To let go. And let God.

She did say that domestic adoptions had been down this year but that everyone seems to be seeing a rise in calls and visits in the past couple of months. She said to keep praying that the calls turn into decisions turn into matches.

So, that's the update. All I got for you right now.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

no summer vacation

Well. This is the first year that I'll be working a 9 to 5 job all summer instead of having my standard 8 week vacation. It's odd. I know every other industry except education works all year long, and people get by, and it's normal, and I shouldn't whine, but for my working career I've had summers off.

I did take a week of vacation in April, and it was a glorious, peaceful week. The cruise. My laid back with a little adventure, book reading cruise. It was fantastic, but I wish that I was going to have more down time this summer. It's not gonna happen. Gotta get used to it.

I'm so grateful that I have a job, and that should be the point. End of sentence.

I'm so grateful I have my sweet husband. He is wonderful. End of sentence.

And I don't know when we will be parents, but I'm hopeful that will happen. I don't know any more about the birth mothers that our agency had in mind for us, other than some things have happened and they have missed meetings. As it is in adoption, what is urgent often takes weeks to play out. You send something off one day, plan and hope and the baby is already born and then back to square one when they choose someone else. Sheesh. I really don't want to again renew our home study and it seems like we just finished it in December, but December will be here just as quickly. Just as quickly as the two years have gone by since the failed adoption.

So, here I sit, thinking of a nice quiet summer, and knowing I'll be back in the office tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

when it isn't natural

I’ve been living in this weird place lately, where I think of my friend Dennis and grieve his death and am hurt and angry and lost in the corners of my mind, but then the next minute I’m back in my life full of dogs and adoption and my husband and shrubs to plant. The busy-ness of the day to day often take me out of the sadness, but I know, for Crystal, she is there always, minute by minute. I visited her today, and we had a good laugh, in between some very serious moments. The life God gives us is like a kaleidoscope, ever turning. If we are smart, we point it toward him, the light, and see the beauty in all of it, but many times we look down and miss so much of what he has to offer.

I’ve made it a point recently to look up, worship him in my sadness, praise him for the life I have, and focus on his presence and peace. I haven't always been so dedicated in my devotions or prayer life, but for the past few months, I've kept a prayer journal. It helps me remember what the prayer needs are around me. You know, we do this thing, and I'm guilty of it too, where we say, "I'm praying for you," and then we promptly forget about it. Or we say, "You're in my thoughts and prayers." And though many of you are strangers and you wouldn't know if I was or wasn't praying for you, I feel as though I shouldn't say it if I'm not going to do it. Thus, began the prayer journal. If I say I'm praying for you, then I have written it down in my journal to remember.

Many of my prayers lately have been focused around Crystal and her daughters. Any woman who loses her husband is certainly to be showed sympathy, but we are only in our 30s, and she has young kids, and that makes it more difficult. They don't understand his death. Heck, we adults don't understand his death, completely. I don't think I shared before that Dennis took his own life. It's scary to type out here...in black and white for people to see. There must have been pain and fear and a feeling of overwhelming confusion for him to carry it out, and we don't understand it all.

I can't wrap my mind around it.

But I know God will bring us through it.

I'm giving all my sadness to him, all my hurt and grief and confusion. I'm praising him and his will and trusting that he has the plan. I don't understand why an adoption hasn't worked out for us yet. I don't understand why Crystal is left lonely. And I'm not meant to understand right now. I'm meant to trust and worship and give him my faith.

It isn't easy. The tears still come. The selfishness comes out. I want, I need, I can't have.

Little by little, he's working in me, and on me. I trust that we will know his purpose. I trust that I will be a mother. I trust that Crystal will be taken care of in this life, and Dennis in the next. I am working in worship, prayer and clinging to the Jesus who has given himself as my savior. In the past month, he has drawn me to him, with ever so subtle tethers. Little by little.

Dealing with things that aren't natural go against the grain of who we are as people. It would be natural for me to get pregnant and have children, but my children will come in what some might consider an un-natural way. It would be natural for Dennis to grow old with his wife and children, but it is not to be. When life isn't linear, we struggle.

Thank God, he is the one that is SUPERnatural. Beyond what we can comprehend, understand, compute, relate to or explain. I can take a breath, let him flow in and fill me.

I can look up, let the kaleidoscope turn, and know the beauty of his love. And I hope you can too.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

under the weather

There hasn't been much to talk about over the last three days. Charlie has been working on landscaping in our front yard and I've been a little under the weather. I slipped in our kitchen on water from the dogs and although I caught myself before I fell down completely, I twisted my neck a little bit. Friday morning I woke up with horrible neck ache and headache and was feeling sick.

All weekend I've been in a little bit of pain and we've been trying to get some yard stuff done. I managed to weed one of the beds, but Charlie has done 99% of the work. Today I also just rested and tomorrow I need to go back to work.

Adoption-wise, I talked with our case manager on Friday and the birth moms that were supposed to come in have not managed to come in for profile reviews yet. They both have personal stuff going on and have not made appointments. I'm praying that they will both come in and be able to make the decision to place. I pray that we might be the right parents for a baby, but at this point, while I'm not feeling good, I'm not optimistic.

I might be later, but I am not right now.

Well, I hope you all had a good weekend.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

it hasn't been 24 hours

It started last night about 9pm with an adoption situation that was a "stork drop." Baby girl born on the 30th, needs family, send home study immediately.

So I emailed and asked and got a response that the situation was still available, and it was on. It was in the price range, the factors seemed to be lining up. Oh, and I should mention that Charlie was at the grocery store while I was doing all this. When he came home, I told him what was going on, and Lord, bless him, he has a hard time with these "jump" situations. He just can't compute. He started asking me all these questions, most of them that I had already answered and well...

Well, the story isn't about getting frustrated at 11:30 at night with your husband.

Anyway, I scanned and sent our home study and profile booklet this morning, then waited on pins and needles. They wanted to be able to grant custody to adoptive parents today, and this baby was in Texas, so if it was going to be us, we would need to get on a plane. At 12:30.

At 10, I emailed and asked if they got it. No response.

At 11, I asked again and said if they wanted us to come we needed to know now. No response.

At 12:30, I figured it was over, and then they emailed and asked for my phone number and I was hopeful again. The woman said the director would call me shortly after 1.

By 3, no one had called and I was wondering what happened. The birth mother was supposed to sign at 4.

At 3:30 or so, I got an email that they had chosen someone else.


All of this happening at work, by the way. I was trying to be productive all the while thinking about flying to Texas, what we'd need for 10 days, who I'd need to call to stay with the dogs, what I'd need to pack for the baby, etc. It's a wonder I got anything done.

I was also praying all day. Lord, let me hear your voice.

I'm disappointed, but getting better at being disappointed because that is really all I have known in adoption so far. I'm used to it. When I went to talk to my HR director to let her know I might be running out of the office to get on a plane, just in case, I told her what would probably happen would be I would get an email that they had chosen someone else. And that is exactly what happened.


Monday, May 30, 2011

look who came to visit

In the midst of all this funeral stuff lately, many of us college friends took the time to visit. I already had lunch scheduled with my friend Laura and it ended up including another friend as well. And Laura's daughter, A. Isn't she sweet?

She is quite the flirt with the camera, and with Charlie!

I can't remember what made her laugh, but the expression is wonderful!

Love it! We had a good time reminiscing and remembering Dennis, all while being entertained by A.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Knocked Down

Ever feel like this?

I don't know for sure that one of the birth moms picked someone else, but I know the other one put off her meeting. When I called the agency the other day they said they had just been looking at our profile in preparation for meeting with her after memorial day. They said to keep praying because she wasn't 100% sure about placing the baby.

I felt like I'd been knocked on my butt again.

It seems like so many around the blogosphere are getting matched or getting babies and even though we've got all these feelers out there, nothing seems to be panning out. I was just in the nursery, putting something in the closet, looking at all the stuff in there that's just waiting to be used. Most of it is over two years old. I'm sure half the safety standards on carseats, strollers and cribs have changed since we bought that stuff! LOL. Anyway, I said to God "I'd like this stuff to be used soon. Okay?" My own little conversations with God go like that.

Anyway, not much else to report. It's been a productive day in that I've gotten half the house cleaned, spray painted some more frames for my dining room wall and am getting ready to hang them up. I'll show pics when I get them arranged to my liking. And we're having friends over for dinner, so that should be fun. I've been on a roll kicking Charlie's butt in Scrabble.

And the song "My Wish" from Rascal Flatts makes me cry each time. And it just came on Pandora while I'm typing this. Such an awesome song. And half the time I sing it as a prayer for people I know.

Well, am thinking of all of you. Happy Weekend.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Elisa and Josh

The bright spot in my week was a lovely wedding we went to yesterday. Josh and Elisa were married at 4:30 yesterday afternoon in a very personal and HOT wedding.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

go away tears

I'm sad.

So sad.

The memorial was last night and it was beautiful and horrible and wonderful all at the same time.

And I'm so tired. And cried out. But I'm sure there are more tears in there.

So, although I know this post isn't much, I'm writing to say I'm here and I'm grieving and I'm trying to move on and help Crystal with her kids, housework, grocery shopping, and whatever else there might be.

But I'm still sad and that isn't going to go away anytime soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

horrible weekend

All last week I was on pins and needles for a call from our adoption agency. One that I never got, by the way. I did, however, get the kind of call no one ever wants.

It was one of those "are you with people?" calls.

An "are you sitting down?" call.

A call so bad that my cubicle mates started giving me looks as I started bawling.

A friend of mine from college, Dennis Foster, had died, suddenly. He was in my class, an education major like me, a fellow resident assistant, a man with ambitions, and a man who had the biggest crush on another education major, Crystal.

Fast forward almost ten years and Dennis and Crystal have two daughters and a lovely home. She's a teacher and he's a principal of a local elementary school. They were at my wedding. I've hosted her baby showers, we get pedicures together, he cooked black eyed peas for my momma on New Year's Day.

And now he's gone.

And I'm sad.

I've spent time with Crystal this weekend, as she makes funeral arrangements and consoles her daughters and deals with some of her own health problems. I've cried with her, for her, for him and for those of us left reeling by this death. She has screamed at the heavens, wailing and wanting it all to be just some story about other people. But it is not.

There is so much pain wrapped up in this situation and this morning at church I worshipped and cried through most of it, praising the God who gives and takes away. All weekend, I've been whispering "Jesus, be with us in this place."

So, prayers for my friend Crystal and her two daughters. This is going to be a hard road for them to travel.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

the farmer's market

In an attempt to keep my mind off other, more adoption-related topics, I'm going to tell you about a recent outing. No, nothing else has happened. We don't have any news. So...

A couple of weeks ago, Charlie, my Mom and I went to the Farmer's market. I took my camera along and had some fun! Don't know what all the plants are, but thought they were pretty.

Something purple!

Charlie and I went around and around and tasted all the strawberries at each different stand, and then went back to this stand to buy. They were the best, although they were covered in sand. We brought them home and while I was outside reading at the patio table, Charlie went in and washed them all and hulled them! He had no idea that you didn't wash them until you were going to eat them, and I didn't understand why he thought cutting off the "handle" was helpful. LOL. Seriously, folks, it was a gallon of strawberries that we then had to eat in about three days.

Pretty flower. Orange one.

The wide view.

Multi-colored marigolds! There was a whole table of them and they were so beautiful!