Our Family

Our Family

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wishes (Not Resolutions) and Reflections

We are almost through with 2013.  Almost gone! Can you believe it?  This past year has been pretty stable for us.  We’ve had some health scares – most notably with my dad this year as he was diagnosed with the “c” word.  Thank God it was one of the most treatable types though, prostate.  We are hoping for great news when he goes back to the doctor next month for the results of his radiation treatment. 
Jon gave me a scare earlier this year when he woke me up one night and couldn’t talk.  After a weekend in the hospital, it came down to being related to migraines and our wonderful family doctor gave him a couple of tips that would change his life.  One was suggesting that he take 400mg of magnesium oxide daily.  He had heard at a conference that this might help migraines.  He’s tried it and wow has it been successful.  Jon was having migraines almost daily and now rarely has one unless he’s skipped his medicine.  The second thing was putting him on a medicine to help keep his heart from jumping out of rhythm (he would occasionally notice it beating faster, confirmed it on a monitor that he wore, and the doctor thought this might be related to the migraines as well).  This has acted as an anxiety reducer for Jon.  When he takes the medicine, he is a much calmer, happier person.  Believe me, our world has changed (for the better) with these two tips!
I am so thankful that we were able to have a wonderful Christmas with my parents this year.  When you see others losing their parents and loved ones, it makes you thankful for the time you have with your own.  Most of the day was just Mom, Dad, Dakota, me and Jon (when he wasn’t hunting).  It was so peaceful and we laughed like we hadn’t laughed in a while.  The thing that touched me the most of all of our gifts actually happened a few days before (but Dakota opened it on Christmas day).  Mom bought the baby a Christmas present! It made my heart happy that she cared enough and thought enough about our future child that she would buy it a Christmas present before it even arrived. 
The weekend before Christmas, my wonderful, talented hubby began building the changing table.  It is going to be great when it’s finished.  He’s started staining it but needs to sand and stain again.  It’s a great height – higher than the older one so it should be less strain on the back.  Plenty of storage room and some of the shelves have doors that close (his first time adding doors to something!).  He’s so talented but I think he gets frustrated with me asking him to build so much for me.  He’d love to be able to make money at it and every time he talks about it, I start telling him what all I want him to build for us.  I just love that he's so good at it and would love for every piece of wood furniture or cabinets in our home to be built by him.
Several people had mentioned that maybe we would get a baby for Christmas.  In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t.  Why? Well, for one thing, Dakota ended up being sick the week before Christmas with RSV and our pediatrician told us that if we got a call to get a baby before Christmas Day, that Dakota would have to stay away from the baby.  I didn’t want that.  Then, over the weekend, Jon & I were both sick.  I surely wouldn’t want the baby to come in and get sick right away!
There are a couple of other reasons I’m OK with it, but I would’ve been perfectly fine with these things if the baby had come. I like even numbers.  I was born on an even numbered day and year (not month), I got married on all even numbers, Dakota was born on all even numbers….I just like even numbers. So, in my world of even numberness (I know that's not a word), 2014 seems like a better year for a birthday than 2013.  (See I’m crazy, right? )  Also, I already have one child with a birthday in December and it is rough.  It is too close to Christmas and you feel like the child gets a little cheated because everything is so close, not to mention the financial impact of Christmas being so close to birthday/birthday party time.  With that being said, if I get a call tomorrow to come get a baby that was born on Christmas day, I will be fine with that.  I would be much more concerned with this cold that I still have (or whatever it is) than the year or month of the baby’s birthday.
So, what are my wishes for 2014?  Of course, as I’m sure a lot of women would say, I’d like to lose weight.  I had started losing weight and had gotten down almost 19lbs but then the holidays hit.  Vacation, Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Dakota’s birthday, and then all the Christmas parties hit and I decided to wait until after the first of the year to go back to my diet.
I wish all of my family stays healthy and happy.  I wish my church family stays close and continues to grow.  I love those people and they really are like family instead of acquaintances.    I want to do more for others.  I feel like I don’t do nearly enough when it comes to helping those less fortunate or in need.  I want to get some bills paid off, definitely.  I would like to do better keeping things caught up at home and maybe even give Dakota some basic chores.
I’m sure you can guess one of my biggest 2014 wishes…our baby.  Oh how I hope and wish that 2014 is the year.  Please let our baby be on the way!  The wall in the baby’s room says: “For this child I have prayed and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart. -1 Samuel  1:27”  Half of that verse is true – I’m so anxious for the other half to be true as well!
Still hoping, praying and waiting...

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Process & The Wait

Wednesday, February 8, 2012, was a day that affected our future more than anything had in a long time.  I received an email from one of our local DHR social workers stating that they were in need of foster and adoptive families and asking us to post a flyer at our church. 
Let’s rewind a bit.  Jon & I had begun talking about having another baby.  Every time we’d talk about it or I’d think about it, I’d get nervous, anxious, and basically scared.  I had decided I’d just have to deal with it and accept the risks in order for us to do what we’d always wanted – have another child.  The best way I can describe that feeling was a load.
When I received this email on February 8, I called the social worker and found out that in our area, there is no foster-to-adopt program exactly and that there is no guarantee when a baby is placed with you that it will come up for adoption.  I was also told that most babies are adopted by their foster parents. We felt that it would be too difficult for us and to explain to Dakota if we were to get a baby for several months, become attached and it later be taken away.  I can’t guarantee you that I would never want to do that or that it will always not be the right answer for us, but it just wasn’t at that time.  However, I felt that this email was a sign. 
Up until shortly before Dakota’s birth, my mom worked at our local DHR office. She knew most of the people there and still kept in contact with some of them.  The social worker had told me that she got my email address from someone there – it blew my mind how they would have or get MY email address and not send this flyer to my mom, since she’s the one most of them knew so well.  Why would they decide to send it to me?  I felt like this might be a sign that we should consider adoption.  I talked to Jon about what had happened and how he felt and got the reassurance: he had the same thought – this could be a sign.
Although we decided that perhaps foster care wasn’t the route for us at the time, the social worker did end up sending me a list of approved agencies in Alabama.   One agency on that list seemed to stand out to me. Don’t ask me why, but they stood out.  I sent a request to another agency for information but that agency never seemed to click.  Maybe it was their name – maybe it was my being able to understand and connect with the testimonials on their website. I’m not sure what it was, but this one agency stood out. 
Within a day or two, Jon & I had decided that we wanted to pursue this option.  When we made the decision to try to adopt, the load lifted.  I was no longer nervous, anxious, and scared about risking my life (and leaving the child that I already had) to have another child.  I called the agency and later that day, the social worker called me back.  I stood in Wal-Mart talking to her for a while about the process, the wait, etc.  The first step would be to meet with the agency.  Jon and I planned a trip to Birmingham to meet with the agency.  We met with them on February 28, 2012.  By the time we left the office that day, we KNEW this was the road we were going to travel.  
By mid-May 2012, we had completed our home study.  Those 2.5 months were stressful – FBI fingerprinting, medical exams, copies of birth certificates and marriage certificate, writing autobiographies, gathering pictures of us and the house (because they had to be “perfect”, you know), and completing the application.  We had to answer questions about ourselves and a lot of questions that would help match us to our baby.  Those were the hardest. What race will you accept? What special needs will you accept? What kinds of drugs/alcohol are you comfortable with (coming from birth parents)?  We felt like we were playing God having to answer those questions.
Then the wait began.  Our social worker estimated 2-3 years from the time our home study was complete. The first year wasn’t too hard for me.  I guess because we knew it would be longer than that, I didn’t go into over planning mode.  I didn’t worry about the nursery or being ready for the baby.  I knew it wasn’t time.  It seemed like shortly after that first year passed, my mind went into overdrive.   The baby has nowhere to sleep!  I need a car seat!  We need to finish the nursery!  Is the house ready?  I quickly went into preparing mode.  Finally, by around October of this year, we had the nursery pretty much complete (except a changing table that Jon finally started working on last night!) and a pack-n-play and car seat sitting in the nursery.
I’ve slowly begun buying up diapers and a few things here and there.  Last night, I got some of Dakota’s bottles down and starting looking through what I have.  I think I have officially begun to feel the agony of “the wait.”  Could it be today? Could it be tomorrow? Could it be next month? Next year? I just don’t know.  I’m getting excited, anxious, and nervous all bundled together.  But this wait is hard. 

The not knowing is the worst part.  With a pregnancy, you have a light at the end of your tunnel.  With adoption, you can't really see that light.  You have no idea have close you are to the end - all you have to go on is faith, hope, and lots of prayers.
If nothing else, adoption teaches you to have patience.  There’s no other option.  You have to have patience.  I looked up the word patience on dictionary.com and here’s what one of the definitions said:
An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay
Wow.  Well, I (and I’m sure Jon would agree) may not be doing a very good job of suppressing my restlessness, but we don’t really have a choice.  There’s not much we can do on this end except hope, pray and wait. 
Our agency sent a video for us to watch.  It was a couple who’d struggled with infertility for something like 9 years and they were meeting their son for the first time.  In the video, the new dad talked about how they had not waited for 9 years for a baby but rather were waiting for THIS baby.  That’s what I have to remember – we’re not just waiting on a baby or any baby.  We are waiting on OUR baby.  And we have to remember that it depends on God’s timing, not ours.
Still waiting, hoping & praying…

Sunday, December 15, 2013

On Time

We had an absolutely wonderful church service this morning.  There was so much encouragement and such a good, peaceful feeling there. A good friend of ours started a song and probably about 1/2 through it, I started realizing just how appropriate the words of that song were:
You can't hurry God.  You'll just have to wait. 
Trust in Him.  Call on Him.  No matter how long it takes.
He's a God that you can't hurry.  He'll be there so don't you worry.
He may not come when you call him but He'll come on time.

After this song, Dad started talking to the church and really focused on Galatians 6:9:
Be not weary in well doing: for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not.

Dad started talking about how this relates to prayer.  He talked about how we shouldn't get discouraged if our prayers aren't being answered right away but instead remember that our prayers ARE reaching the Throne! The service was such a good reminder that regardless of our prayers and needs, God hears each one.  He even hears the ones that feel like they are leaving our mouth and hitting the floor in front of us.

Last night was our Christmas play at church.  I get so stressed before the play each year and each year it turns out fine.  After being so stressed and worried, the play was finally over.  Everyone (for the most part) did their parts and the hard work payed off.  But my prize came after the play.

If you've read many of my blog posts, you've seen that I have struggled at times with people making comments that hurt me related to our adoption.  As much as I'd like to not care what people think, I sometimes do.  It helps when you have encouragement instead of discouragement.  My mom tries to tell me to focus on the good things that happen and not those that make negative comments. The more good things that happen, the easier it becomes to focus on those.

After the play was over, I was sitting in the kitchen holding my friend's baby that she is hoping to soon adopt.  A sister from our church came up to me.  Her words went something like this: "I've really had y'all on my mind lately.  I've been trying to pray for you and have felt God.  I really feel like it could be any day that you get a call to go get a baby." I almost cried.  It helped me SO much to know that this dear sister cared enough about us to pray for us and was happy and excited for us!

I don't know when we'll get the call - it could be 3 months, it could be 6 months, it could be another year.  But regardless of when, I know God hears our prayers.  He hears each one of them. He knows our hearts, our desires, and our needs before we even pray.  As the song says, "He may not come when you call Him but He'll come on time!"

I have one request before I go today.  The closer we get to our baby, the more I realize that his or her birth mother could be expecting NOW.  She chose / is choosing to give this child life and to do what she feels is best for this child. If you believe in the power of prayer, please help us pray for our baby's birth mother/birth parents.  This has to be a difficult time for her/them.   Please help us pray that she (and he if involved) makes wise choices for herself and the baby and that she finds peace and contentment in her decision.

Still waiting, hoping & praying.....

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Opinions & Bloodlines

It amazes me how different people have such different views when the word "adoption" is brought up. Its also kind of funny how you can read people without them really saying what they're thinking.

My mom and I had lunch today and ran into someone we knew.  The person asked me if we were ready for baby #2.  I explained that we were trying to adopt (and why, although that's not really any one's business).  The person answered with something like "Oh really? Maybe everything will work out."  While the person was cordial and nice, I could get from the conversation that adoption was a bit of a taboo subject. 

Yesterday, I took Dakota to a birthday party for a classmate.  The child's aunt sat down by me and the fact that we were trying to adopt came up.  She started telling me how she had wanted to adopt at one point herself.  I felt comfortable talking to her about the whole process probably because I felt like she understood - at least on some level.  I didn't feel like she was judging me or discouraging, but rather a supportive ear. When you start talking to someone about it for the first time, you never know what kind of reaction you will get, so one like this is always welcome.

When thinking about these two experiences, I've realized there are generally three types of opinions related to adoptions: those that immediately try to discourage you, those that may not say anything but you get the impression they're not pro-adoption, and then those that support you whole heartedly.  I have had experiences with all three types of opinions throughout our process.

If you've ever been pregnant, there's a good chance you've had problems with people thinking that your stomach is public property.  Similarly with adoption, people sometimes think that your decision is up to them or fair game for their opinion.

I've always thought adoption was a very neat thing.  I never realized there were so many negative opinions out there, especially when it comes to infant adoption. It blows my mind that there are people that think you can't love a child properly if their bloodline isn't the same as yours.   I just can't fathom this.  I don't love Dakota because he shares the same bloodline as me.  I love him because he's my child.  It also blows my mind that anyone, especially a Christian, would think that you shouldn't give a child a loving, Christian home just because their bloodline is different.

I was born to my parents 31 years ago.  Nineteen and a half years ago, I was adopted as a child of God.  I am so thankful that God didn't care about bloodlines.  What if He had decided that Jesus was His only heir since Jesus was His only "biological" child?  What if He had decided that we weren't His "biological" children so He didn't need or want us? I'm thankful that He saw differently and adopted me as one of His children.

While I am learning that not everyone is supportive nor does everyone need to be, it still catches me off guard sometimes. But I am truly thankful for those people who are supportive and behind us 100% of the way.

Still waiting, hoping & praying...