Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
On Tuesday they had their ultrasound to find out the gender of #4. (They have two boys and a girl.) My brother sent me a text that read, "K (their daughter) is officially the last of the Mohicans." I assured him that K will be fine. I grew up with three brothers and no sisters and I turned out okay. He responded with, "If she's anything like her aunt, it will take three brothers to keep her line." Hey, now!
So after this fun exchange I started thinking about what really had just happened and started to tear up. No, I wasn't thinking about how wonderful it was that they're having #4 and that wasn't it neat that they had been able to see him. It hit me afresh that I will never have that experience. I will never feel a baby growing inside me. I will never have that "let's find out what kind of baby we're having" ultrasound. Never.
I couldn't believe how upset I was. I thought I was past all of that. I'm okay with our infertility (most of the time) and I love adoption, but it was like a slap in the face, reminding me that I'm different, I'm broken. I don't get to be in the club. I didn't feel like B and J were reminding me of this, but our closeness was probably the catalyst for my mini-meltdown. I love them so much and am so excited for them and feel sad that I will never get to experience the very beginnings of parenthood in the way they do.
I felt pretty sorry for myself for the rest of the day. I called my husband to tell him the news, cried a lot, and told him I wouldn't be making dinner. He's so wonderful. He brought me flowers and ordered dinner. I kind of just checked out for a while. I let him do the bedtime routine with Olivia and wallowed a bit.
Then I started remembering that Heavenly Father knows and loves me. He knows me far better than I know myself and loves me more than I am capable of imagining. He's given me everything I value (and plenty of things I don't value enough). He has plans for me. Big plans. He has given me the opportunity to be a mother through the miracle of adoption. He teaches me through my experiences--the good and the tough--and provides me the opportunity to become a better person. And sometimes I actually remember that. I think I needed that jolt of awareness this week to help me keep perspective. I am a daughter of God. He loves me and wants me to be happy. That is what I need to remember and focus on--all the time.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Tonight the Mr. and I were sitting on our couch watching a movie and at 8:30 pm someone knocked on our door. It turned out to be our neighbor who we've talked to once and waved to now and then. But never really got to know like we should have. She asked for me and then with a little hesitation and fear in her voice, told us that she just happened to come across our profile on itsaboutlove and she was wondering if we had time to talk to her.
At first I was speechless. I thought that maybe our day had come and a birth mom had selected us. So we invited her into our messy house and sat on the couch for an hour and 15 minutes talking about the beauty of adoption. It turns out she just found out she couldn't have kids four weeks ago after an ectopic pregnancy cost her one tube and endometriosis cost her the other. She asked about dealing with grieving, what to expect with adoption, how to fill out the paperwork and so much more.
The Mr. and I sat there and spilled our guts and were just so happy to be able to share our testimony of adoption. I truly feel like she was guided to our profile to help her because she doesn't know anyone else who has ever suffered infertility. Out of the thousands of profiles out there and without the use of last names, it was absolutely God directing her to us.
It made me grateful to have FSA and the adoption community as strength and things like girls night where we all shared our stories and such to draw strength from to be exactly what she needed. I truly feel like we've been blessed with a close-knit adoption family here locally and am so grateful to have friends to talk to and lean on. It made me even the more grateful that I could give back and be the friend she needed. She left here smiling, with hope, and peace in her heart and we couldn't ask for anything more for her. What a wonderful thing to be a part of. I love adoption and the wonderful miracles and experiences it has brought into our life.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
We did sealings today. I had been endowed for seven years before Brigham and I were married. After we were married, being a proxy for sealings took on a whole new meaning for me. I liked doing sealings when I was single, but didn't have a full understanding of what being sealed means. (I probably still don't.) Today, as I was sitting in the sealing room, I was imagining having another child sealed to us--a soft little hand on top of ours.
Then I thought back to when Olivia was sealed to us. (She screamed the whole time!) Knowing she was sealed to us, to an entire, enormous family, changed the way I felt about her, about family, and about love. I can't wait to re-experience that, to have another child join our family, to learn even more about the sealing power in such a personal way.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Two thoughts overtook me this last weekend.
First, we are so lucky, nay, blessed to believe that family is fundamental. To quote mormon.org, "it is the most important unit of society". Because we believe these things, we are willing to do hard things, accept infertility, and build our families through the beauty that is adoption! I truly can testify that without my religious base, I would have never overcome my infertility.
Second, hope is a beautiful thing! How anyone could ever get through this world without hope is beyond me. Just hoping for a brighter future, hoping for a baby, hoping for a prayer to be answered, etc... can brighten your life. Hope is what gets us through. Hope is what makes us strong enough.
Did General Conference touch your hearts like it did mine in the terms of adoption and infertility? I'd love to hear about it.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Last week we were contacted by two birth moms. I don't think I can aptly describe the feeling of talking on the phone with each of these girls. Heart pounding, hands shaking, wondering if what I'm saying makes any sense, wondering what she's thinking, how she feels, why she chose to contact us. And then wondering why she didn't call back. (Out of respect for these girls who are faced with so many tough decisions, I won't go into details here.)
(On a side note: We've had so many problems with our phones that I worry we've missed calls or discouraged callers. We seem to have the home phone problem fixed. My stupid cell phone is another issue. It drops calls, and often won't hold a signal long enough for me to be able to answer or talk for long. Still working on this.)
I could easily go crazy! I know I will get better at knowing what to say/ask and hopefully will get better at reading people over the phone. But, I don't think it will get any easier. It's such a different experience than we had last time.
"We have a baby for you. Can you come get it?" Um, yes, thank you. Knowing what I know now, I kind of feel like we cheated. We got so lucky with Olivia and Alyssa. Well, it probably wasn't luck. It was meant to be. Olivia was meant to be ours and Alyssa was meant to be part of our family. I love how things have worked out. I love Alyssa. And I love our sweet Olivia.
And I love the idea of adopting again and having another wonderful relationship with our birth mom. But I'm scared that it won't be the same. I know it won't be the same, and I guess I don't want it to be exactly the same, but I still worry. I worry about what the process will do to me. Will I have any nerves or sanity left by the time we are blessed with another baby? I'm trying to focus on getting from here to there and not getting stuck in the moment.
For me, "stuck in the moment" is checking our profile stats obsessively to see how many people have looked at our profile, how many have looked at our contact page. (I know exactly where the mouse needs to be on each page of the log in process before I get to it.) It's not wanting to go anywhere I can't use my cell phone (which, these days, happens to include my home and neighborhood), or where I would have to turn it off. It's unhealthy and downright dangerous. Would I pass up an opportunity to attend the temple because a potential birth mom might call during that time block? Fortunately, I haven't gotten that bad. Yet. So, I am trying to find other things to do that are both productive and engrossing so I'm not always thinking about adoption. Yesterday that included cleaning the house and cleaning up vomit. (Oh wait, that last was just gross.) I'm looking for service opportunities, I'm trying to spend more quality time with my family and with friends. I'm looking for new adventures. I'm coloring my hair today because it sounds like fun and because I've never done it.
"Stuck in the moment," for me, also includes focusing so much on adoption that I appear, and quite frankly, am, a little unbalanced in my interactions with others. Someone may ask me, "How are things going?" And I answer with an adoption roller coaster update. And what they probably really meant was something like: "How is Brigham enjoying the new school year? How many students does he have? Has he moved into the new building yet?" or "Is Olivia still taking swimming and dance lessons? Is she loving preschool as much this year as she did last year?" or "Have you done your visiting teaching yet? What are you guys planning to be for Halloween? Is your dog still walking on only three legs?" Or any number of other things that are going on in my life. It isn't all about adoption. I'm not saying that others aren't interested in our journey. Everyone is supportive, but it's probably rather tiresome for me to come across as having a one-track mind.
I'm working on it, but this process is absorbing. I feel like it could suck the life right out of me if I don't find a way to balance the adoption portion of my life with the rest of it.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I went through a phase where I felt like I needed to constantly update our online profile. I felt like we needed to evaluate and then re-evaluate the decisions we made regarding what we were looking for in a child. Am I rich enough? Do we live in a good place? Do we have good jobs? Are we good looking/skinny enough? I became so wrapped up in the worldly ideals of perfect parents. I felt like I needed to change myself to one of these "ideals" rather than just being myself. I forgot to embrace who I was and what made me special and wonderful. My husband was the exact opposite. He was patient with me and reminds me often that everything will be okay. He also reminds me that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.
Because my husband has been an absolute strength to me, I wanted to pass on the strength to those who might be in need.
Here's what I know,
I've learned through prayer, humility, and absolute faith, that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and everyone of us. We are perfect exactly as we are and our children are coming, but we might have to wait for the right people to find us and us them. Patience and diligence are the key! I truly believe we are chosen to adopt by our Heavenly Father and I can't think of any greater honor!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
So I challenge you to grab yourself a composition notebook, cover it in something fun, and write it down!
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Paul and I met while we were both attending college. I was working as a legal secretary and Paul was working as a property manager. Our offices were next door to each other and every time he walked past, I stopped whatever I was doing to just watch him. I had a friend that worked in the same office he did and asked her to introduce us. After an awkward first meeting and a casual bbq with many of his friends, he finally asked me out. We were married 15 months later in October 2001. It’s hard to believe that was 10 years ago!!!
Paul served a mission in Buenos Aries, Argentina and upon returning home attended college where he graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He currently works as a Property Manager/Business Developer for a growing property management company. He has an excellent sense of humor (which is one of the reason’s I married him) and he loves to have fun. He is always the center of attention and manages to keep people laughing. He enjoys golfing and playing basketball.
I graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. I currently own my own accounting services business. I love to read and spend time with friends and family. I enjoy being silly and having fun whenever I can. I’m a total klutz which leads to a lot of crazy stories and lots of laughing!
Paul and I enjoy doing many activities together including mountain biking, watching movies, playing board games with friends (Settlers of Catan is our favorite!), and spending time with our nieces and nephews.
Our journey to become parents began three years ago. After years of trying, a decision had to made: should we try IVF or should we adopt? So we began investigating IVF and adoption extensively. We were always left overwhelmed and confused whenever we talked to someone about IVF or read about it. But after talking to friends who had adopted and reading blogs about people who had adopted, we always felt peace and calmness. After much prayer, Paul and I decided in April 2011 to start the process of adoption. It has been the best decision for both of us. Our marriage has been strengthened through this process and we know the Lord is aware of us. We are grateful for this opportunity and are so excited to start our family through adoption!
To learn more about Paul and Alli, click here.
Friday, September 16, 2011
I don't know about you but adoption is expensive! The is so much involved in the costs of adopting...costs for placement...costs for pass through expenses...costs for traveling to meet a birthmother...costs to find and market yourselves so that a birth mother notices you or knows you want to adopt...costs to be there when a baby is born...hotel, food, car...you name it it is there...and even more if you are going through an agency outside of LDS Family...It costs alot! Since coming onto this journey I have heard so much about how much it costs to adopt and heard everything when it comes to people saving and scrimping and earning to be able to save money for their adoption. I have recently realized that I have had something all along that has been helping my family with these costs...especially in light of all the expenses that my husband and I incurred this summer when we flew across the country to stay and visit with who we thought was going to be our birth mother until our placement failed...yes more expense that could happen if your birth mother is out of state...have you thought and prepared for that?...I am not trying to be a pooper just be real about what is really here at our feet. Like I said I had found a way to help my family that is not having a garage sale (not that those aren't good but there is only so much in our garages) and isn't selling a product where you have to get people to buy stuff they can get at a store and then you end up having a closet full of stuff you can't get rid of...When I realized I had this resource I decided I had to share with those of you out there that are having to save for your adoption...that I couldn't not tell you...So let me ask you this...If I could show you a way to help would you be interested in hearing? If you are email me at email@example.com
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
At the education classes provided by our local FSA chapter last spring the final class was called "Finding Joy in Infertility and Adoption" (I talk about it briefly here). I was so skeptical of the thought that one could have joy but I went to the class eagerly seeking enlightenment. To do this day there is one thing that has never left my mind from this short two hour class. We were told of how one couple had coped and, wait for it, thrived! Their story is a personal one but I will share with you one of their tools to success. The "Good" list. Essentially, in order to cope, they would turn things into positive moments. An example would be while visiting a friend they watch her child throw up all over everything after having too much red kool-aid and although their hearts hurt for a child-the good, bad, and dirty,on the way home, this couple would find joy in remarking that they were glad they didn't have to clean that up and add it to their good list. One other tool they used was forgetting about the what-ifs and just living their lives. Running a marathon, taking vacations, starting projects, going back to school, etc...
To take this one step further, my husband and I combined the two. We set off to the store and bought a package of cork board tiles, cut a cute phrase out in vinyl and hung them in a visible area in our home. We then hung anything that made us happy, made us hopeful, allowed us to dream, or even simply made us smile. We planned vacations, we celebrated success by posting our graduation photos, my husband hung a candy bar wrapper from a treat given to him, and we collected memorabilia from dates around town. In taking time to appreciate the small things we grew to be grateful for a time in our lives where we were forced to let go of our lives and chart our new directions. It has also allowed us to be grateful for the many blessings that we do have. It has been an essential tool in moving forward every single day.
Whether it be by journaling positive moments, keeping a board like myself, creating a box to hold treasures, or whatever works for you, I would challenge you all to try something like this.
Does anyone have any other tricks of the trade, if so comment below.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Hello Mrs. Jennie
I apologize for being so late in replying to your email but I've been very busy and am going through a lot. My name is A_____ and I am 24-years old. I am very vibrant, ambitious and am currently in school to become a reproductive endocrinologist. I am African American and American Indian. I'm usually the "spotlight" child. If there is a spotlight, there is me! I do performing arts and dance. I was raised Presbyterian but was saved under the Pentecostal faith at 19.
Since I had really no choice but to tell my family exaxtly why I'm being so withdrawn from them including paternity of my baby. Even the twins (8 year old sisters) knew I didn't swallow a watermelon seed. My family has always been extremely close. There was nothing off limits to asking as long as you asked first. So when I left just out of the blue in January and went over sixteen hours away, my family didn't know what to think. I went from being Miss Teenage Morris College and leaving my second year of med school at MUSC (Charleston) to no contact with almost anyone in South Carolina- my best friend included. I did not know I was pregnant when I left. I left 3 days after the "incident" after spending 2 days in the hospital. The hospital does give the morning after pill birth control is against my religion so I didn't take it. I didn't think I would get pregnant.
My due date is September 25th and this little lady must thinks she is inside a bounce house. My last ultrasound was on July 8th and she weighed 2 pounds 7 ounces but she has never really stayed still long enough for the to get an accurate measurement. She turned her back on one ultrasound and rolled over. I had to actually stay the night in the hospital because she was literally grasping her umbilical cord and had a tight grip on it! So she had to be monitored and turned (which was no easy thrill for me) manually by my doctor. I feel like she doing zumba or something sometimes.
I'm having a hard time-honestly- because I want to give her the best the world has to give. Sure I can shower her with affection, care and love but not safety. I can keep her safely snuggled in her little bounce house now but I can't say that for her future. The last thing I ever want is for my step-father to fight me for custody and win because of his credientals that I can not even compare too but it looks better on paper and in a court. I want her to grow up in a safe and happy environment that she can flourish and grow in. I made her that promise and I plan to always keep it in love.
Feel free to call me anytime on my cell __________. I want her family to have a chance to know and see her before she's here so she'll never have a question you can't answer. I have all of her ultrasounds on a digital CD because I always get two and 3D images so detailed you can see her smile. I even have all 7 of the preganacy test I took over 3 days to make sure I did the one before right. I don't want her to ever think I gave her away or didn't want her because of her conception. She's my beautiful blessing that I was once told I'd never have and it hurts but she deserves the beautiful life I don't think I can promise.
Oh, she says she is under an alias and not in the computer. What room are you in? 402 she tells us. Nope, 608, "they moved me."
They say there is no one in that room.
"What building? Where are you?" She runs us around the hospital. She describes specific areas of where to be. For 2 hours we wait for her to tell us how to get to her. She said she had the baby. We totally think she is just out of it. She just had a baby, right? She is on pain killers.
Tyson sees. Tyson knows it is fake. I can't believe it. I keep holding on to the fact that I know this girl. I have talked to her at least twice a week. She has told me in detail so much about this baby that makes perfect sense. I have to hear it from the horse's mouth. I still keep holding on that the circumstance is that we just can't get to where she is. She keeps talking about the baby. Keeps saying she is just so concerned about the fake baby. She keeps distracting me on the phone, talking about the baby. She creates a fake sister. The fake sister is supposed to meet us outside. We drive around some more. Can't find the sister. I talk to the fake sister on the phone. Gosh she sounds a lot like fake birth mom, but they are sisters, so maybe they just sound the same.
Oh, sister had to go back up to the room to check on the baby.
Ok. Boys are in the car and have been for 4 hours.
They need to eat.
Leave the hospital.
Tyson suggests I talk to a nurse. Perfect idea. Call birth mom, takes her a while to get the fake nurse on the phone. The fake nurse totally sounds like fake sister. I ask if it is the fake sister. Fake sister says no. I ask her to give me the phone number to the nurse's station and I will call her back. She gives me a number. I call the number. It is an OB/GYN doctor's office. Uh, Tyson sees, but I think maybe the "nurse" accidentally gave me the number to the office she works at rather than the nurses' station. I keep having hope. Call social worker. Social worker admits that perhaps she overlooked a few things. She met with this birth mom 3 times, but it could have all been lies. Was the name of the birth mom on the ultrasound pictures? We didn't know. Do we have actual proof of pregnancy? Perhaps not. Perhaps this is a scam.
Fake birth mom talks to social worker, says she is scared we are backing out because we feel like she is lying to us. She wants us to adopt her baby so bad. Finally get on the phone with fake birth mom again. Give her an ultimatum. I need to talk to a nurse right now or her sister needs to come down to the lobby right now. Right now. "I can't reach the nurses button", she says. Oh, "my mom is here," she says. "Perfect, please let me talk to her," I say.
Different voice this time. Totally different. I plead with her to help us. From what birth mom told us, she wasn't on board so perhaps she would not tell us where birth mom is. "Please meet us down in the lobby. "
"Where did she tell you she was at?" Mom asks.
"At the hospital with the baby," I say
Mom replies, "She is at home. What has she been telling you? What is going on?"
Me, "She said she went in to have the baby."
Mom, "No, she is not having a baby."
Me, "Is she even pregnant?"
Mom, "No. She is a very sick girl. She has serious mental problems. She made this all up."
Wow. Such detailed stories of a baby, such real stories of what the baby was doing and how it felt inside. Such detailed situations of what she was going through. Seriously, she had to research this like crazy. There has to be a book or something online she is getting this from. Amazing. Can’t believe this happened to us. She knew so much of what a birth mom would go through. She knew how to keep us talking to her. She knew about drugs doctors would have her on, she knew about premature labor and the things they do. She spoke to me in detail about the plans in the hospital. We were her project, something fun she did for 4 months. I hope her mother has taken away her computer and her phone and gotten her some help.
Despite this crazy situation and this crazy day, we are not in a deep dark hole. We are over adoption, but we know people are generally good. We wish we could go give all the people a hug that helped us yesterday. I had random hugs from strangers who saw what was happening. They cried with us, had concern and care for what we were going through. For this one sick person there was 10-15 amazing people who bent over backward to help us and show us compassion and love.
In the past year we have had three girls who have chosen us to be the family for their baby. Three times we have dreamed of a little girl who is coming into our family. Twice minds were either never really made up or minds were changed. Situations changed and the birth parents decided to parent. It hurt. We fell in love with them. This one, we were totally played. Totally.
One of the things that is so frustrating with having gone through these three experiences (especially with them so close together) is that we've been embarrassed by having announced our family growing by one more with the most pure and naïve faith that it was going to occur. We've announced to employers, friends and family that we are going to or actually do take off time from work to have this addition come in to our home in mere hours, days or weeks just to find out that we were mere pawns by mal-intended and sick people.
It is such an emotional thing when someone tells you that they feel that you are the perfect family to raise their child. You feel such a responsibility to not do something to upset them for fear that your spouse and children are denied the blessing of the child coming in to your home. You simply do all you can to not ask questions or give impressions to the birth parent that you don't trust them or that you're crazy. You fear being the reason that they're unwilling to place in your family. I think it makes you unwilling to ask the hard questions that need to be asked. Just imagine trying to live with that. You, your family and close friends all conjure up hopes and dreams for this huge blessing to come in to your lives and for the opportunity to rear, raise and love this child. You fear that YOU might be the reason that all that might be lost. The chance at that great blessing is lost due to you. YOUR actions ruined it for you and your family by simply pressing too hard or appearing untrusting or crazy. It is unnerving to even think about and creates an enormous amount of pressure. It is something you would live with your whole life. I can certainly say that we have tried our best to guard against it but simply have been out-foxed each time. Maybe we only saw what we wanted too.
We are done with adoption. We love adoption because we have two beautiful boys who came to us through strong and wonderful birth families, but we are done opening our hearts to it again, just to let them be crushed. We have been blessed with two tremendous little boys that we love. We are no longer willing to put them or ourselves through this again. We are no longer going to waste time trying to build our family but rather invest in the family that we've been blessed to have.
A couple of weeks has passed since we went through this. It still seems like a dream that this even happened to us. I think it is so important in this open adoption world that everyone is informed about what to look out for and what to watch for. Stay involved in your adoption. Check up on what the social worker is supposed to do and what is or isn't being done. We definitely thought we were fine and didn't think much of a scammer because it was through an agency. I so hope she has not contacted any of you.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Thanks to my local FSA chapter, we were introduced to Hoping to Adopt, a free online profile resource. This is only one of many sites that will host a profile for those seeking adoption, but as it is free, it seems to be very popular.
Hoping to get our names and pictures out there, I sat down one night and built a profile. It is very easy to use and colorful. You can personalize your site to your tastes (much like a blog) and use information off of one of your existing profiles or make another one entirely. The downside is that it also has a place to check your profile stats and if you're anything like me you make a habit of doing so obsessively. I also feel some of the information is much more lax as in you can see occupations and locations without even logging in, so if you feel fears over internet security this site might not be for you, although keep in mind you can keep some of the questions blank. Play around with it, build a profile and see if you like it first. It doesn't hit the net until you hit publish so feel free to experiment.
If you'd like to get an idea of what it looks like and whether it's right for you and your family you can see our profile here.
Anyone on this site? Opinions or thoughts?