Monday, January 25, 2010

Home Study Visit #1

Well...all went well. Our SW (social worker) is fairly new to adoption home studies, so I think she was even more nervous than we were. Most of the appt. was going over all the paperwork that needs to be filled out. She took a look around the house (was greeted by my excited, jumping dogs) looked at our pool fence, gave us a couple of things we need to either get or consider getting (which I will list later) and was on her way! It was not as bad as I thought, she BARELY looked at my house and I am convinced that if I hadn't dusted every nick-nack in the hosue...she never would have noticed! LOL

Our next home study appt. is on March 12th. We scheduled it so far out because February is CRAZY busy! We have Pace's birthday the first weekend, V-day the next weekend, a possible dunes trip the third weekend, our wedding anniversary the last weekend in February and then my parents will be in town the first week of March. Whew....that makes me exhausted just thinking about it!

So...we started going through the paperwork, and is EXTENSIVE!!! It is going to take a lot of time and some careful consideration to fill all of that out. We have a certified copy of our marriage license, but will need to get our birth certificates. We are going down this week to do our fingerprint clearance. I have my physician's appointment set for Tuesday February 2nd and Pace's scheduled for Thursday February 11th. So by the end of February I hope to have EVERYTHING done, organized and prepared for our meeting on March 12th. INCLUDING our references.

I was very surprised, the SW said that the references tend to hold up the process many times. We are going to make DANG sure the people writing our references get them mailed back in before the end of February!

Things we need to do in/around the house before our next meeting:
  • Have Pace's shotgun locked and stored where we plan to store it when we have the baby in the house
  • Consider buying a grill guard. I had never heard of this, but apparently it protects little ones from burning their fingers on the grill
  • Buy an ABC fire extinguisher
  • Write out a fire escape plan
  • Have emergency contact numbers posted next to our phone

Pace talked to his dad yesterday and told him of our adoption plan. His dad was very excited for us. I wish I could have taken a picture of how happy it made Pace to have his dad's support. It was very awesome!

So...we are one step closer. Many steps to go...but one step closer!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Relationships

I received a comment from my previous blog which I thought was worth exploring. The question was this:

Why is there so much contact between the birth parents and the potential adoptive parents prior to placement?

I feel that there is a lot of controversy over this subject. On one hand, it sets the PAP's (potential adoptive parents) up for heartbreak if they bond with the BP's (birth parents) and then they ultimately change their mind. On the other, it can give the PAP's an opportunity to experience some of the pregnancy and really get to know the BP's.

I am not sure what the proper answer is, however I can definitely see a benefit to having a close relationship with the BP's after all, you are going to be in each other's lives in some fashion for life, so having a good relationship is very important. In addition, it is so important to build trust between each other. Pre-placement the PAP's have to trust that the BP's are being truthful, legitimate and to not take advantage of them. Post placement the BP's have to trust the PAP's in that they will follow through with the "openness" that they agreed to pre-placement and that they are going to cherish and love the baby and provide it a secure, happy home. I can think of no better way to establish that trust than from the very beginning. The BP's need to feel secure that the PAP's are "the" family for their child and in order for them to be able to do that...they have to feel comfortable.

Of course this only applies to open adoptions, which is what ours will be. The level of openness will be determined after we are matched and after discussing comfort levels with the BP's.

That is my $.02 anyway...anyone else want to add?

Home study meeting is tomorrow, I am trying not to freak out and just take it in stride. I am excited to get the process going after tomorrow we will be one step closer to our new addition.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fine lines

We went to our adoption support group meeting last night. It was great seeing so many familiar faces. I knew everyone there except for one from the infertility support group meetings we go to, so it was like long lost friends going out to dinner!

The meeting did take the wind out of my sails a little bit...which i needed. I needed to hear the truths of adoption and get out of the little fantasy world in my head. Adoption is hard. It is hard for the birth parents, it is hard on the adoptive parents, and I am so grateful that I was able to hear both the good and the bad stories last night.

There are so many fine lines to walk when pursuing adoption. I want to walk very carefully and make certain that whichever birth parents choose us really want to follow through with the adoption. I don't want them to be influenced by their families, by me, or by anyone else. I want to know in the end if/when they relinquish their rights, that they feel that they made the best decision for themselves and for the baby. I do not want there to be an ounce of regret.

I heard a wide variety of stories last night, from birth parents asking for substantial financial assistance (above and beyond needs for the birth mom and baby) to birth moms changing their mind a week before they deliver, to the birth mom and adoptive mom becoming best friends throughout the pregnancy and process. Hearing all of these stories solidified for me how difficult of a decision this is for the birth parents and how easy it would be for the adoptive parents to get caught up in their desire to be parents that they unknowingly influence the birth parent's decision.

It would be so easy for adoptive parents to give into every request/need that the birth parents may have, whether it be financial, emotional or otherwise. It would be so tempting to just say yes, yes, yes but is that really in the best interest of all parties involved? I think we have ALL heard stories of adoptive parents that were taken advantage of by the birth parents who really had no intentions of placing their baby for adoption. Or on the other side, the adoptive parents that manipulated and coerced the birth parents into placing their child for adoption. These stories are scary and I want to walk that line. I don't want to be taken advantage of, and I don't want to influence the birth parent's decision either.

This is such a very fine line. And to be quite frank with you...I SUCK at walking fine lines.

Monday, January 18, 2010

That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more...

I had a very good weekend - it went VERY fast, but it was good. Friday night we watched the movie "The Hu.rt Loc.ker" it is a movie about the Iraq war and it is AWESOME!!! I highly recommend it. I do not like war movies AT ALL, but this one was very good.

Saturday I literally cleaned (both for the baby shower and our home study) all day. I was exhausted, but felt very accomplished.

Yesterday was the baby shower. It went really well and I did really well. I stepped outside during the gift opening (I saw her open 2 or 3 and then stepped outside) The shower was a HUGE hit. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and my friend's mom even said that this was the nicest baby shower she had ever been to! That made me feel really good.

We outed ourselves to most of our friends and family over the weekend. Most of them know that we are adopting now and for the most part, we have received very warm congratulations.

The message in church yesterday was just amazing. Throughout the entire service Pace and I kept looking at each other saying "omg, that is SO us!" The pastor was talking about how everyone has something in their life they don't like. He used the story of David and Goliath as an example. David didn't like that the giant was defying his God. In our lives, it could be a relationship, finances, health, career, etc., we all have something in our lives that we would like to change. For Pace and I it is not having children. The pastor shared with us that there are steps you have to take to make that change happen.

1. Admit that facing the "giant" is scary. IF is scary, treatments are scary, doctors are scary, adoption is scary, childlessness is is all scary.

2. Acknowledge that doing nothing will never change your life. If we sit back and do nothing, it won't change whether or not we have children. We have to act. Our previous actions have been treatment, or future actions will be adoption.

3. Embrace your inner Pop.eye. In the Pop.eye cartoon, it is the same theme every time. It is Pop.eye getting beaten up by Bl.uto (something in Pop.eye's life that he doesn't like) and finally he says "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more." Then he eats the spinach, morphs into a body builder and beats the tar out of Bl.uto. That is the moment when Pace and I looked at each other. That is EXACTLY where we are with IF treatments. We just got to the point where we decided that is all we could stand and we couldn't stand anymore.

4. Take a personal inventory. This is the stage we are at right now. Sorting through the emotions and figuring out what we can /cannot accept.

5. Play to your strengths. My strengths include artsy fartsy stuff, so I have taken the challenge of writing our very own baby book for our child. There aren't a lot of "comprehensive" baby books out there for adoption. There are a few out there, but many of them leave out some of the important milestones (in my opinion) and they are expensive. So I am writing my own. This project will help me deal with the anxiety and the wait time. It will allow me a creative outlet which is very important for my mental health.

6. Clarify your plan of attack. So far our plan of attack consists of completing the home study and then figure out if we are going through an agency (and if so, which one) or an adoption attorney. There are many other decisions that need to be made, but that is where we are right now.

7. Ask for God's help. Obviously we have done this, continue to do this and will continue to do this for the rest of our lives.

8. Just do it. David approached Goliath quickly, took out the stone, loaded his sling and let it fly taking Goliath to the ground. He then took Goliath's sword and defeated him. You have to make the decision to go for it and then act upon it.

Thank you Lord for your constant reminders that we are following your plan. Being wrapped in the comfort of your care has made me happier than I ever could have imagined.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Turning the Corner

I went to my monthly IF support group last night. I hadn't been in about 4 months, so it was nice to be back and see so many friendly faces. I started by sharing my information, our past and that we are pursuing adoption. Then we went around the table and one by one with each story I heard...I was more and more at peace with our decision to adopt.

Please don't get me wrong. Each one of us has to choose our own paths, and what is right for me may not be right for all of you and vice versa. We all have our own set of limitations when it comes to Family Building. Ours just happened to be IVF.

As we went around the table each woman shared their stories. All of them except for me and one other woman is gearing up for an IVF cycle. The woman next to me just had her first consult with CC.RM for an IVF cycle with PGS (Basically, it is a test done on the embryos that will check all chromosomes for abnormalities before transfer.) I listened intently to her story and realized...I could never do that. The traveling back and forth to CO, the 4+ shots a day, the stress and anguish...I just couldn't do it. I applaud her for being able to and I hope more than anything that this works for her. Her strength and dedication are admirable, that just isn't right for me.

As I was sitting at the table, listening to each of these women's stories, the same thought came into my head...that isn't for me. This meeting solidified my belief and made me realize that my heart has turned the corner. Although I may have some rough days where I long for a child in my womb, (like this Sunday at my friend's baby shower for example) ultimately, I want a child in my arms and my heart has accepted that.

I had a couple of other "epiphany moments" last night that I would like to share with you.

One of the scariest things for me in regards to adoption is the fact that there will be two sets of parents involved and how do you establish the most healthy, productive relationship for everyone? Then I realized...families do this all the time. My sister started dating her husband when he had 2 young boys. My BIL, sister, the boys and the boy's mother all had to work together to establish a relationship where they could all flourish and function in the best way possible.

Don't get me wrong, I am not naive enough to think that the situations are exactly alike, but there are similarities. My sister loves her step sons just as much as she loves her biological children. They aren't "step" kids to her...they are her boys. Similar in a way to an adoptive couple. There may not be a genetic link...but the love is there all the same.
My sister has co-parented with the boy's mom and they have made it work. Just like we will communicate and have a relationship with the birth parents of our someday child.

Coming to this realization has helped me realize that we really can do this, it isn't that uncommon and couples do it all day long every day. It really helped me feel more secure in this decision.

The second "epiphany" I had was this. I haven't really told anyone about our choice to adopt. The main reason is that I am not prepared to hear lines like "Oh you will get pregnant!" This phrase (although people mean well) cuts me to the core. It makes every hair on my body stand at attention and makes me see red. However, until last night I didn't know how to explain to people (in a nice way) that saying that is the LAST thing I want to hear. Here is what I have come up with (and I actually used it last night on one of my friends - it works!)

Here is what I told her "Making the decision to adopt has not been an easy one. IF is a very long, torturous road and it has taken me time to be able to let go of carrying my own child, of having pictures of Pace lovingly placing his hands on my swollen pregnant belly, of seeing what the combination of our DNA looks like. That has been a long process to work through. However, I have. I have let all of that go, I have grieved it and I have prepared my heart to love a child that is not of my own flesh. So when I come to you and tell you that we are adopting and your first reaction is to tell me I am going to get pregnant, it is very hurtful. I have moved on, I have let that dream go and you constantly reminding me of that old dream isn't helpful to me, it is hurtful. I don't need you to try to keep bringing that dream back. Instead, join me on our new dream and our new desire and just be happy for us."

I am feeling very good about that response and she seemed to get it after that. I love my friend dearly, but in the past when I have talked to her about adoption, she hasn't been the most receptive, so I have shared very little with her about our choice to adopt, in fact I really haven't told anyone (other than you all). Which reminds me...if you are my friend, please don't post anything until I have "outed" myself!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"The Talk"

It happened spontaneously, it was unexpected, much shorter and much less dramatic than I expected. :-)

We talked last night over pizza at We have determined that we are going to proceed with adoption. Going back to treatment may be an option for us someday, but right now we want to be parents, we don't necessarily want/need to be pregnant in order for that to happen.
Besides, we received this wonderful gift of a free home study, so we decided to use it!

I have been praying a lot and Sunday night I asked God to please direct me where He wants me to go. I told Him that I was torn and confused and I wasn't sure what He wanted us to do. I told Him that I was open to whatever He has in store for us, but that He would need to speak a little louder because I can be stubborn and don't listen well sometimes. He answered in the most clear way possible.

Pace has absolutely no desire to return to treatments at this point. He didn't even want to discuss it last night. At first I was a little hurt, I felt like he was closing that door and giving up on my body, but then I really listened and realized that he wants to be a dad as much as I want to be a mom. He knows that the most productive way for us to do that is to adopt. God closed Pace's heart to treatments for right now because He knew that I wouldn't push treatments if I knew Pace was not on board. (I think God knows my weak spot..LOL)

I am faithful that God will provide for this adoption financially as it is going to be difficult, but I feel His hand is leading us and He wouldn't be doing that if He wasn't going to go before us to make it happen.

So I called the agency that we won the home study from and we have our first home visit on January 22nd, 2010 at 6:00 pm. During this visit we will get all of our paperwork, information packets etc.

I need to crack down and do some real training for my dog before the case worker comes. I will be absolutely humiliated if he jumps on her! (He is such a lovable dog, he just gets REALLY excited when new people come through the door) Eeeek!

I am very excited to be moving in the right direction to become a mommy again!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Say what you need to say

About 5 months ago my church did a service with the theme "Say what you need to say". Complete with a rendition of May.ers song. The service was about how limited our time is here on Earth and how important it is to be upfront and honest with your feelings and your thoughts. They focused on forgiveness.

This service hit me quite hard because I have a "someone" in my life that hurt me beyond repair. This person's actions altered the rest of my life, and who I was to become. I would never be the same person after this person hurt me. Although this happened many many years ago, it has haunted me, continued to hurt me and has continued to change my life. While I was sitting at this service, I realized that even though what that person did caused me and the rest of my family so much grief, it has made me the person I am today. It made me stronger, wiser, more resilient and molded who I was to become. How can I begrudge that? I think if I hadn't gone through that situation, I may not have been able to survive this trek through infertility.

It was at that moment while I was thinking of how many things have changed for me because of that situation that I realized I wasn't angry anymore. I held no more hostility for this person, in fact I found myself holding compassion and pity for this person instead of the hate and rage I had felt for so many years. I knew it was time to forgive. Correct that...I knew that I HAD forgiven.

That, I found out, was the easy part. The hard part of forgiving is actually contacting the person that hurt you and TELLING them that you have forgiven them. I have not spoken to this person in almost 15 years. How do I begin to let this person know that I forgive them? I started by looking this person up on the Internet. I found the phone number and saved it in my phone. That was four months ago.

God has been tugging on my heart since that day in church to call this person. To give this person the gift of Grace and sense of peace. I know in my heart this person is not evil, this person has paid the price for the sins committed in the past. God has been urging me to call, to let this go for my own health and well being, as well as the well being of the person that hurt me.

At least once a week I would hold my cell phone, scroll through the contacts and see this person's name. I would stare at it with my thumb hovering over the "CALL" button. But...couldn't do it. I would hit clear and go on with my business. Four months of this. I had no idea how I would react to hearing this person's voice, what would I say? Would I cry? What would that person's reaction be?

Yesterday I was on my way home and I had an almost out of body experience. I was driving down the 60 headed home from work and without a second thought, as if this was an everyday occurrence, I picked up my phone, found this person's name and hit "CALL". I was calm, my mind wasn't racing, in fact I was at peace.

The person answered, I confirmed that I had the right number, identified myself and then said "You have been on my mind and in my heart a lot over the last couple of months and I just wanted to call you and tell you that I forgive you. I may not ever be able to have a relationship with you, but I forgive you." I breathed a little heavier now in the anticipation of the response. All I heard was sobbing on the other end of the phone.

I immediately knew that I had done the right thing and that I should have done this a long time ago. Even though this person hurt me to the core of my being, by withholding my forgiveness, I had hurt this person back in return. Granted, it wasn't intentional, but I had been holding this person hostage while all the time, I thought this person was holding me hostage.

We spoke for a few minutes, this person expressed gratitude, sorrow, and so much appreciation. I feel that the chains of this pain have been lifted from well as the person on the other end of the line too. I feel a lightness that I haven't felt for a very long time and the satisfaction that I was able to do something I didn't think I was ever able to do. I heard this person's voice and instead of hate and resentment, I felt compassion. The Lord has healed my heart, although the scars still exist...they are scars because I am healed.

What an amazing gift I was given...and able to pass on.

So I challenge you...what have you been holding in? What do you have inside you that you need to say...but haven't been able to. What is it that you are waiting for? Our time here is short, we never know when our day will come. I know that if this person passed away before I was able to express my forgiveness, I never would have been able to forgive myself. Is there someone in your life that you need to express forgiveness to? Is there someone in your life that you need to apologize to?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Trying again in 2010

No, we haven't had "The Talk" yet, but for the first time last night Pace brought up "wanting a baby". We were leaving a friend's house (that is pretty well off financially) and he was thinking aloud saying something about doing some work for him "to trade for something". Now....I am thinking he wants a toy hauler or something - something to take to the dunes and camp in or something, so I was getting a little frustrated. The conversation went like this...

Pace: I wonder if XX (our male friend) would consider allowing me to do some work for him for a trade
Me: Trade??? What kind of trade
Pace: Trade for something that I want instead of him paying me
Me: What is it that you want?
Pace: (ignoring me) I think if I approached him the right way, I could get him to do it.
Me: What is it that you want?
Pace: (continuing to ignore me) I just have to think of a way to approach the subject
Me: What in the world is it that you want????

Pace: A baby

Me: *silence* had no idea what to say, after a few seconds I said "Honey, I don't think XX can carry a child for you" We exchanged smiles and left it at that.

I love that man. He is the most amazing friend I have ever had and even though we get frustrated with each other, or aren't on the same page...we are still best friends. the way, in my "Tribute to 2009" post, I gave some false information. Pace did not rent a Porsche for me for my was a corvette. He read my blog yesterday and was sure to correct me. I felt like a bit of a butt, but I am not a car person. I don't remember that kind of stuff. So...I am sorry honey, I love you and I LOVED the car. Whatever type it may be :-)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Getting back into the groove

Well my is that time again. It is 2010, and it is time to get back on the TTC boat. I can't believe how fast the last couple of months has gone, and to be honest, it has been REALLY nice not having to worry about what CD I was on, taking OPT's, going to Dr. appts, taking has been very nice.

Although we have not officially had "The Talk" to figure out what our next steps are...we are in the boat again and will likely have "The Talk" this weekend. I am nervous, excited and dreading it all at the same time.

I was really hoping that all of those people who have told me to "relax...and it will happen" were right and I would magically get pg on our break...hmmmm guess they were wrong. Didn't see that one coming. Ha!

Oh wait...I guess it will happen if/when we decide to adopt...yeah that's right, well....that's what the all say isn't it?

(Please know that is SATURATED with sarcasm)!!!!

My friends baby shower is less than 2 weeks away, the anxiety is starting to mount and I am hoping I can just push through with very little discomfort. At this point there are over 50 women on the guest list and only 4 have RSVP'd...Oh I hope people begin to RSVP...It is one of my biggest pet peeves when people don't!

Please Lord allow me strength, perseverance and faith during this TTC season. Please help me remember that you are in control. Please help me watch my words and keep my emotions in check. Please allow me to remember that jealousy and anger will only make things worse, and only having faith in you will make things better. I know that you have a plan for us Lord, I just ask that you steer us and guide has been a long season Lord and after almost 5 years, I am very weary...Amen