Our Family

Our Family

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Peaceful Reminder

In February, it will be 3 years since we first decided to pursue adoption.  I remember before then, I would think about having another child (we’d always wanted more than one) and I’d feel a burden.  I would have such a load. Would I have the same health issues I had before?  Would everything be different or would I not survive the next round and leave Dakota without a mom? Once we decided to adopt, I felt peace in our decision and the burden left.  I always felt like that was my sign that this was the right journey for us.

Over the past few months, I have questioned myself.  Maybe that person that said “I've seen bad experiences…I don’t feel right about this” was right.  Maybe we weren't supposed to adopt.  Maybe that’s why it’s taking so long.  I was questioning everything and then, I would get sad, maybe even in tears, because I was questioning.

About two months ago, an opportunity came open at work.  I felt like the job was a perfect fit for me and my background.  However, I tried to not pray to get the job, but instead to pray for things to work out the way they should.  I didn't get the job.

About two weeks later, I was approached about another position in our company.  It was something completely new for me – I've never done anything quite like it before.  It was exciting to think something might work out.  However, as the adversary is so good at presenting, confusion would follow.

Suddenly, the position I had applied for two weeks prior had another potential opening and I heard through the rumor mill that I might be considered. I found myself debating between the two.  At the time, I felt like I knew what I wanted and what fit me more, but I was tormented over what to do.  One night, I woke up every hour or so worrying about how this would work out and even woke up the next morning in tears.  Something had to give. 

When something doesn't feel just right, I've heard before that someone “didn't get the warm and fuzzies.”  Well, later that same day, I spoke to someone about the original position I had applied for and I didn't get those “warm and fuzzies.”  Before I went home that day, I made the decision that I should stop worrying about what might happen there and focus on this new opportunity that had come up.  Well, all of a sudden (within a few short hours), I had peace.  In my heart, I knew this was the right decision because the worry and fear I’d had for a week before melted away.  I was at peace.

I officially accepted the new position last Friday.  I am supposed to start this new adventure on October 20th. I honestly feel like God has worked this out for me.  It will definitely be something new for me and the unknown is a little scary, but I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be.  
So, what does this have to do with the adoption process? Well, last Thursday night at church, I was thinking about how it seemed like this was all working out and I realized something.  The peace that I felt when I decided that I needed to pursue this opportunity was the SAME PEACE I felt almost 3 years ago when we made the decision to adopt.  

Sometimes, we question things.  Maybe God has given us His answer, but when it doesn't happen right away, we start questioning Him.  Maybe we didn't hear His answer right.  Maybe we were mistaken.  This was a reminder to me that this is the path that we are supposed to be on and that it will happen in God’s time.

Still waiting, hoping, and praying…

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Quick Thank You

I read a blog post today discussing how different adoption is from pregnancy.   I cannot even explain how accurate that is.  Believe me – I've been on the pregnancy path (although somewhat unconventional) and now I’m on the adoption path.  While there may be similarities, things are tremendously different.

When you’re pregnant, it’s usually obvious.  Everyone makes a big deal about it – even people you don’t know.  There’s classes to prepare you for childbirth, there’s friends who share in your excitement, and there’s a normal path that everything follows, from the number of months you carry (again, unconventional for me) to at what point you find out the gender and even to the process of the baby being born.  Oh and let’s not forget, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

When you’re on the adoption journey, there’s no big belly for everyone (even strangers) to touch.  There’s no baby inside you to feel kick, turn somersaults, or get hiccups.  There’s no end in sight.  You’re simply waiting.  You feel alone – like none of your friends or family truly understands the ups and downs you’re feeling, because, quite frankly, most of them don’t. Some of them may even think adoption is the "easy" way - I mean, no labor pains, right? (I'm sure some of my adoption friends either groaned or laughed out loud at that one.)

However, there was one comment in the post that I didn't quite believe was true for me – that no one was there to hold your hand and support you when you felt like it was never going to happen.  While there are many people that have asked how our journey is going and I believe do really care, there are a few people that I feel holding me up – that are holding my hand through this process and give me strength on those days where I wonder if it’s ever going to happen.

So to those people – specifically, my husband, my son (who can cheer me up by just mentioning his brother or sister – or as he says brother-sister), my best friend, and my parents – I want to say thank you.  Thank you for being my hand to hold and my support.  I love you all!

Still waiting, hoping, and praying.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

No News is Good News (Hopefully)

This won't be a very long post but I wanted to give a quick update since its been a while since I've written.

We have basically had absolutely no news for a few months now.  And guess what - I'm not completely a nervous wreck! Praise the Lord for calmness and peace!

We've had revival at our church this week and have had really good services over the past month or so.  It's amazing what a little spiritual reviving can do for you when your going through something like an adoption wait. My mind is no longer 100% focused on when we will get the call.  I still think about it quite often, but it's not at the forefront of my mind all the time.  And that helps tremendously.  I was about to drive myself crazy for a while.  Like I said, praise the Lord for peace!

It is so very true that God's timing is not our timing.  And that's because He sees the whole puzzle while we are just seeing piece by piece and what's already put together.  We can't see the end result so we don't always know what's best - but He can and He does.

Another benefit to having more peace about this is that it doesn't drive me crazy when people ask have we heard anything.  I can honestly say no and not get terribly discouraged about it.  They told us it could be 3 years and we are not there yet.  When the time comes for our baby to arrive, it will.  Until then, all we can do is keep waiting and try to focus on other things around us.

Still waiting, hoping and praying...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

(Non)Update and a Beach Trip

Time for an update! Although can you really call it an update when you have nothing to update?
This has been one of the longest and most intense emotional roller coasters I’ve ever been on.  You have the peaks at the top of the hill, the very low valleys that sometimes feel like reach much faster than you reached the top, twists, turns, and even a few loopty loops.  It’s a real roller coaster only with your emotions.  Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good roller coaster.  However, it is much different when your body is making those peaks, valleys, twists, turns, and loops than when it’s your emotions.  Oh and two minutes is a little different than 2 years also. Give me the two minutes of throwing my body around a steel track anyday!
We did finally decide to get away as a family for a few days (and took my best friend's family along with us).  We took Memorial Day weekend and went to the beach.  LONG OVERDUE! I hadn’t been to the beach since a few weeks after I found out I was expecting Dakota.  This was Dakota’s first time to see the beach and feel sand and ocean water between his toes.  He loved it!
I’m including some pictures below of our trip.  Hope you enjoy!

As I said, this was Dakota's first time in the water.  He LOVED it! Please ignore my redneck husband's camo on in the water...

Dakota loved throwing the sand. 

This poor child has trouble taking pictures...He'll smile but before you can click the button to snap the picture, he'll look away.

If you look closely behind this picture, you'll see a fin.  It's a dolphin fin.  This place had more dolphins than I'd ever seen from a beach.  I had a blast watching them.

I just have to show this....me and my friend both looked like Casper out on the beach.  There were some bright white legs on that beach!

So before you judge me on the picture below, let me just say - I am no longer a fan of spray on sunscreen.  We were at the beach maybe 3 hours that morning.  I sprayed sunsreen on him before we left to go and once while we were there.   My poor baby got sunburned so badly on his back.  Needless to say, I went out that afternoon and bought him some suncreen lotion/cream and SLATHERED him in it the next day. 

Jon caught his first ocean fish from standing on the beach.  My little outdoorsmen was so happy!

On Sunday, we visited Fort Morgan.  It was cool for the boys to get to see a "REAL FORT!"

And of course, what trip is complete without go carts?  There's not too many go carts that little man is big enough to drive, but he had fun on this one!

Getting away was a good break for me.  It gave me a chance to clear my head a bit (at least for the weekend) and for a few days, every waking moment wasn't spent wondering when our baby would arrive.   This was definitely one of the most needed vacations I have ever taken.

Still waiting, hoping, and praying...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reading My Story Through Someone Else

While reading another adoption blog today, I found a link to yet another blog and found this story: Jennifer's Story. I have read this story to each of my parents and sent it to Jon.  Why? Because the story itself is SO familiar. I've posted part of my story before, but this blog was SO familiar. I actually had forgotten about the back part until I read where she said that the only thing that gave her relief was her husband forcefully rubbing her back.  We remembered that I had my family almost beating on my back because that was the only thing that helped (and we were later told that was one of the worst things we could do).

My doctor and I both thought my issues were related to my gallbladder. It just made sense.  Never mind the BCBS nurse that told me my symptoms could be related to preeclampsia - my high-risk specialist doctor had to know more than her -right?

They never actually told me that I had HELLP syndrome - at least that I remember, but the rest of what they told me was almost identical (right down to no epidural/spinal, that my liver was causing the pains, etc.) to what they told the author of this story. This brings back so many memories of the single scariest night of my life.

I am so thankful that I had God on my side on December 4, 2008.  I am so glad for the wonderful labor and delivery nurses at the hospital where my beautiful 4 pounds, 6 ounce 17" long baby boy was born and for what I believe has to be one of the best NICU's in the South (OK - I don't have anything else to compare it to, but I loved our NICU).  And I am so thankful that God put us on a road so that I may not have to experience the fear of that (or worse) happening again.

You see, before we began this adoption journey, we talked about trying to have another baby biologically.  We weren't even really thinking about adoption.  I was so scared.  Every time we'd talk, I'd have fear that the same thing that happened with Dakota would happen again.  Once we made this decision that load left.  I have to remind myself of that sometimes because I still question everything. 

Someday it will happen (I hope)...I sure hope its someday soon.

Still waiting, hoping and praying...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Helping Each Other

Just over a year ago, our family was struck with the dreaded "c" word.  My dad found out he had an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Regardless of how treatable they say the disease is, when they tell someone you love that they have cancer, its scary.  The day we found out, we were so upset.  I tried to be strong for my mom but I remember coming home to get something and talking with my friend, Stephanie, and just feeling like I could finally talk about how scared I was. 

Shortly after hearing the news, our insurance agent had just so happened to ask how he was doing and I'd told her what we'd been told.  Before I got home that day, he had already gotten a phone call from her pastor.  He had been there.  He had just had surgery for prostate cancer.  He was able to help dad through his battle.

Today, on the way home from work, Dad called the man to check on him.  You see, a few months ago, this brother found out that his cancer had returned.  This time, this man had to have radiation.  Now, Dad was able to be there for him.  He can talk to him from a "been there, done that" stand point.  I started thinking of how weird (for lack of a better word) it was that the circle had come full force.  He was first able to be an ear for Dad and now Dad's able to be an ear for him.  I'm sure it has to help each of them to have someone who's actually been through it.

I remember about two weeks ago when I was so discouraged.  I sat in our church and looked around thinking "There is NO ONE who understands this.  Not a soul in this building has been there and can understand what I'm going through."  Jon said he did, and while I know he probably understood more than anyone there, he still couldn't understand it from a woman's standpoint (at least according to my mind).

Later that night, I was talking to him and told he what I had thought.  Among many other things, he reminded me that someday, some woman will go through this same exact thing and I (of all people) will be able to help her...those other people won't because they've never been there. I hope that is true, not because I want another woman to suffer, but I want to be able to help someone else.  If when its all said and done, my trials will allow me to offer just a small word of encouragement to another person, then it will be worth it.

I remember growing up, my mom would often remind me what a dear friend of ours would say: there is never a trial that you go through that someone else hasn't already been through.  Sometimes, we don't talk about our trials and heartaches for fear of what others would think, when in actuality, talking about that very trial might be just what they need to hear. I've come to realize lately that sometimes the very things that we don't want to talk about - maybe we're ashamed that we've had that trial or that fight - are the things that help others.  Maybe it lets them know they're not alone, that someone else has "been there." We don't help others by acting perfect all the time...we help others by admitting we're not perfect.  So know that through this journey or any journey, I'm not perfect...I've had emotions, a little bit (maybe more) jealously, and trials.  But I'm still standing.

Still waiting, hoping, and praying...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Praying for Rain

Last week and weekend were emotional for me.  For reasons that I won’t go into on here, it was difficult.  I went (within about 12 hours) from being excited and hopeful to being confused, hurt, and sad.  Sometimes, as much as you’re OK with your current circumstances, you still weep over what could have been.  Sometimes, as much as you try to have faith, it withers.
My husband has been strong for me throughout this wait.  He doesn’t say much about it without me bringing it up first (or at least didn’t for a while), but anytime I mention the fact that I am worrying or that my faith is lacking, he is always there to cheer me up and encourage me.  Last week, when I had my emotional meltdown, he was there for me.  My mom was also there for me.  Even when I completely deserved to have someone say “snap out of it” or “you’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” she didn’t.  Her words showed me that she understood I was hurting.  I’m so thankful to have my family supporting me.
Saturday, I bought the last two “must haves” that I thought needed before baby EJ arrives.  I needed (or wanted) to have a diaper bag ready.   I found a giraffe print diaper bag.  Of course that’s what I went with – have you seen the nursery? I also FINALLY decided on and bought some bottles.  Dr. Brown’s it is! I will probably think of things I need to get.  I still need to search through Dakota’s totes to see if I can find some burp clothes, which is one of the major things I need for my diaper bag. I’m sure I’ll think of other things, but I feel (mostly) prepared now.
On our way to church Sunday night, I mentioned to Jon that we might need to go ahead and get the car seat installed.  I’ve debated on whether to install it now or wait until we get the call.  Jon then reminded me of a story.  He didn’t have to tell me the whole story – I’d heard it before.  I may not get it word for word accurate, but I do want to share it with you.  I hope that someone else out there gets something good out of it as well.

Once upon a time, there was a land that was going through a major drought.  The people in the land needed rain and needed it badly.  Three men decided that they were going to go somewhere together and pray for rain.  They decided to meet at a certain time to do that.  When they met, one of the gentlemen was carrying an umbrella.  Of course, since it hadn’t rained in a while, the other two gentlemen wondered why in the world this man brought an umbrella during this drought.  The man’s reply was simple: “Aren’t we going to pray for rain?”
This story says so much about praying with faith.  If we are praying for something, shouldn’t we prepare for it to happen? If we are truly having faith, aren’t we expecting it? So, please don’t laugh if you see me in Walmart buying diapers or see us outside installing a car seat.  We are trying to have faith that our baby EJ will soon be home with his or her Mommy, Daddy, and big brother.
Still waiting, hoping, and praying…

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Still Waiting

Hello! I realize it has been almost a month since my last update.  I really haven’t had much to update.  Our agency has sent some more pictures of baby feet.  I really hope this means we are moving up on the list.  My emotions are still crazy.  I saw a picture this week taken of a family at the moment their baby was about to be placed into their arms.  I almost cried – maybe even did a little.  It was beautiful. The dad had a huge smile on his face and you could tell from the picture that the mom was absolutely beside herself with emotion.  Beautiful.
I’m so anxious for the day we get the call.  I’m so excited to see the look on my son’s face when he meets his new baby brother or sister for the first time.  I have “big brother” shirts hanging in his closet just waiting. I have three of them to be exact.  I’m so excited for the emotions that I know I’ll feel – I almost get teary eyed just thinking about it.  I’m excited to see Jon’s face.  I’m excited to get to experience my parents meeting the baby for the first time.
You see, although most of these things (other than Dakota’s part) have been experienced by our family once before, I didn’t truly get to enjoy them.  The first time I met Dakota, I was still so doped up on medication that I was barely myself.   I can’t even remember for sure if I actually got to see when my parents first met him (don't think I did) and I know I didn’t get to see when Jon first met him (other than pictures).  I’m so excited to get to actually experience these things that most mothers get to experience with their first child.
So other than anxiousness for the future and patiently (sometimes, impatiently) waiting, what else is new with us? Well, we added a couple of new family members last month.   Meet Hulk and Fiesty. 

Hulk has longer hair and looks a little more like a lab than Fiesty.  They are ½ lab, ¼ shepherd, and ¼ bulldog mix.  When we first brought them home, they were kind of like infants – slept a lot.  Now, they are more like toddlers – into everything.  Every day when we come home, they have managed to move their house and usually flip over their food bowl over (with food in it). 
We made their first visit to the vet on the Saturday after we brought them home – they were about 8 weeks old.  Hulk weighed about 13lbs and Fiesty about 11lbs.  We are supposed to take them back either this weekend or next.  They will be about 11 weeks old this weekend.  It will be interested to see how much they’ve gained over 3 or 4 weeks.  They seem to be growing super fast.  They will likely be big dogs, but I was the kid who wanted a Saint Bernard growing up, so I’m ok with big dogs.  
I had to include this picture.  I saw a posting on Facebook of a little girl holding her cat. The caption read: "Get a human they said.  It will be fun they said."  I think that caption could fit this picture.
Other than the puppies, there’s not too much new going on since the last post.  I’m afraid to plan too much.  I was even a little afraid to buy tickets to the circus, not knowing what would happen by then.  Well, I finally caved last night.  I bought tickets – for this Saturday night.
Still waiting, hoping, and praying...

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Beautiful Reminder

I was working on a blog post for this week about how I am struggling with emotions (again) but then things changed – my spirits were lightened. One minute I’m up and excited and the next I’m doubtful and worried.  It’s amazing how just a quick conversation can change your entire perspective on things!
I was walking through our front office at work this morning and spotted a man that works for one of our vendors.  As some of you may know, I spent several years working for our company in our purchasing department, so I still know several of the vendors and they will speak to me if they see me around.  This particular man, Jeff, had another gentleman with him that I have seen before in the office.  As I was walking through, Jeff spoke to me and I stopped to speak.
The last time they were in, my dad (who they were meeting with) went to lunch with them and found out that the other gentleman had adopted a daughter from China several years ago.  Any time someone mentions the word “adopt”, my ears perk up.  I immediately get interested.  I want to know more,  hear more, talk to them, etc.  Dad told me a little bit that he knew and of course, I was interested.
When I saw these gentlemen in the office today, I couldn’t remember for sure if this was the same guy that Dad had told me had adopted or not.  Jeff asked me about Dakota so, of course, I filled him in.  We talked for a little bit and something came up about the baby.  Dad then told me this was the gentleman that had adopted the little girl.  This guy asked if we were trying to adopt and we began talking in more detail.
We talked about their trip to China, how old their daughter was when they adopted her, and just various things about the adoption process.  I thoroughly enjoyed that conversation.  I love when I meet someone who has “been there” – whether it’s domestic or international – and feel like I have a bond with that person.
One of the most beautiful stories that this gentleman told me was about when his daughter was in preschool.  Her teachers had wanted her to bring something in about China and since it was Chinese New Year, she had taken some Chinese items into school.  A little boy in her class said, “Grace, I didn’t know you were from China!”  To you and I, it would be obvious – if we saw a kid that appeared to be Chinese with a set of white parents (or a black child with white parents), we would immediately make assumptions. But to this little boy, she wasn’t “Grace, the girl adopted from China.” She was “his friend, Grace.” Her ethnic features didn’t matter to him.  To me, that was beautiful.
When answering the race question for our adoption, we felt like we had to take into account how the people around us (our community, our family, etc.) felt….and that saddened me.  Why does it matter? Jon and I felt like we could take a child of any color, love it and give it a home.  However, we felt as though our community (and some family) might not be supportive.  The support didn’t matter so much – but being concerned with how they would treat him or her (and Dakota) because of it did matter to us. But as I said, that saddened me – and still does.
The reason this little boy’s response to “Grace” is so beautiful to me is that it shows us that kids don’t care – unless they’re taught to care.  Kids don’t automatically think “I can’t play with this person” because they’re different” or “I can play with her but she can’t be my girlfriend.”  They just see their friend.
I’ve heard of people who didn’t want their kids to date outside of their race or even have friends of a different race.  I’m so thankful that my dad taught me to be good to everyone and not judge others based on the color of their skin.   Actually, he taught me not to judge others.
I don’t want my children to look at someone and decide anything about that person based on the color of their skin or their ethnic features.  I want them to learn the person and decide whether or not to be friends with that person based on their personality and their attitude. I hope that I can teach them that while we may look different than some of our friends, it really doesn’t matter.  I may not be able to change the world, but hopefully, I can at least make an impression on one or two little minds.
Still waiting, hoping, and praying…

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stand Still

Today has been a hard day – I’ve been ill, in a bad mood, and just not happy.  Sometimes, I tend to borrow trouble.  I worry about things that I have no control over.  My worries aren't always directly related to the adoption, but with almost everything a thought crosses my mind of "how will this affect the adoption?" I'm so terrified that something will happen to wipe our bank account out or anything that could negatively affect the adoption.  Paranoid is probably a better word for it.

My newest worry has gotten to me and drug me down a bit.  My dad has reminded me - "Holly, just pray about it.  He's always provided for you before."  Mom told me, "Just pray about it."  I know they are right.  He has always provided for us.  When one door closes, either it doesn't shut too hard or another one opens right up.   Sometimes, I think Satan tries to block those memories from us and cloud them with worry.  What reason has God ever given me to think that He wouldn't work things out for us?

On the way home tonight, I was burdened.  All of sudden, this song came across my mind and I realized how well it fit the situation.  Anytime you're faced with a decision, its stressful.  If I choose the path to the left, something might happen later to make me regret it.  But if I choose the path to the right, I might regret that one as well. Do I take the path to the left, right or stay on my current path?  I think this song helped to ease my mind a bit:

Maybe that's my answer - I just need to stand still and wait on God to work things out for us.   My absolute favorite Bible verse is:
Delight theyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. - Psalm 37:4
I need to try my absolute best to work for Him and delight in Him and He will take care of us.  I definitely have some moving up to do.  I hope this situation works out for the best and I hope our baby comes sooner rather than later but all I can do right now is work for Him and do good.  Then, stand still and let God move. But standing still is hard to do.

Still waiting, hoping, and praying...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Learning As I Go

Today is Valentine’s Day.  Two years ago today, we lost my father-in-law.  This man took a 2-year-old boy who wasn’t blood related to him and chose to raise him as his own.   Jon has been through a lot in his life, but the one person in his life that he would always take up for was his dad.  His dad would tell him he could do anything he wanted when others would tell him he wasn’t smart enough.  His dad was his source of encouragement.  I don’t even want to think about where Jon would be today or what kind of person he would’ve been had it not been for that man. We had just begun discussing adoption when he passed away and we never got to tell him about our plans to adopt.  I was thinking about that today and I wonder what his reaction would have been.   He might have encouraged us to be careful and make sure we knew what we were doing, but I think he would’ve been supportive of our decision. 
When we first began this journey, I really didn’t understand too much about adoption, although I thought I did. We were looking at it as a way to grow our family.  We thought we knew what was important and what wasn’t.  I will admit, though, I felt lost and inadequate completing some of the paperwork, like the Dear Birthmother letter – what do you say?
I’ve written before that for the first year on the waiting list, I didn’t do too much in the way of planning.  It never left my mind – don’t get me wrong - but it was something that I hoped would happen in the future.  After that first year passed, it became more real.
Over the past nine months, in addition to preparing the nursery, I also began reading more and learning more about the adoption process.  I’m not so much talking about the process itself, but more about birthmothers and the emotions surrounding the adoption process.  Even though I knew about some of the effects on adoptees from my husband’s experience, I had never really thought in too much depth about adoption from the birthmother’s perspective.
I think most people who have never been touched by private adoption have a stigma that they associate with birthmothers.  I think a lot of people assume birthmothers are all teenagers who are not ready to be parents.  I also think that a lot of people also have a negative impression of birthmothers and assume you should be constantly worried that she’ll try to “take the baby back” and that you should want as little contact as possible. I will admit that before we began this process, I probably had some of those same thoughts and it was all due to ignorance.
Sometime last year, I discovered a TV show called “I’m Having Their Baby.”  Some people didn’t like the name of the show.  I was less concerned with the title than the fact that this was a show about adoption – a subject that was, by that time, close to my heart.  To me, this show gave me a small glimpse into the lives of these women.  I saw teenage expectant moms but also an expectant mom in her 40s.  I saw girls who weren’t ready to be parents but also women who were already parenting children.  I saw some expectant moms who knew right away they wanted to make an adoption plan while others had trouble deciding.  Some ended up placing their children, others decided to parent.  While this show may not have been ideal and I’m sure had its flaws, I appreciated the fact that it gave me a different perspective on some of the reasons women choose to place and a look at some of the emotions related.
I have also had the benefit of finding a couple of forums for adoption and read posts by some birthmoms and adoptees.   It definitely gives you a different perspective. 
I know that there is a good chance that we may not know our child’s birthmother directly.  I can only hope that we have some information about her and the birthfather and that she wants to receive updates from us all along.  If she doesn’t, that’s fine – it’s her choice.   Most people that think they wouldn’t want any contact with her at all are only thinking about what would be best for them – they aren’t considering what she may need or what our child may need in the future.  I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to read and watch some of these things.  Over time, my thoughts, opinions, and biases have changed regarding adoption and birthmothers.  I now better understand that this process is not only about what’s “best for Jon and Holly,” but it’s about making sure this child has what it needs (including emotional support related to his or her birthparents) and trying our best to help our child’s birthparents in any way that we can. 
Two years ago, I rarely thought about her – other than that she would hopefully choose us to parent her child.  Now, I think about her quite frequently.  I pray that not only does she make good decisions during her pregnancy, but that she also finds peace and comfort in her decision. She is choosing to give this child LIFE – doesn’t she at least deserve our prayers and support instead of judgment?
I started this blog as a way to write my own feelings down regarding our adoption (without plastering it in Facebook status updates).  After I started it, I realized it would also be a great way after the adoption is complete to go back and see where we came from.  As an added bonus, I hope that it may help some readers who have never been affected by adoption gain a new perspective on some of the stereotypes and biases and help them learn a little about the process.
Still waiting, hoping, and praying…

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I’ll start off by giving a quick health update: Dad’s cancer is GONE!  His PSA level was below the point that they measure!  Thank God for that!
We are still battling sickness around our home/family – I finally went to the health clinic and got antibiotics for what they think is chronic sinusitis, my mom is on antibiotics for a sinus infection, and Dakota is right now battling the flu and a double ear infection.  Ouch.  I’m hoping all of this Tamiflu and antibiotics will help us get well sooner rather than later! We’ve been sick long enough! Even with that, you can always look around and find someone with more troubles and trials so I am thankful we are as well as we are.
I decided that, for this post, I’d do some Q&A.  Some of these are questions that I have actually been asked or someone close to me has been asked.  Others are questions I imagine people want to ask and probably have asked before.
1)      Have you heard anything? Or what’s new?
a.       Nothing.  Well, we hear when there are forever families created, but that doesn’t tell us where we are on the list now.  We have no idea if we’re number 1, 5, or 15 on the list (we could guess, but we’d almost surely be wrong if we tried).  As much as we’ve told people we probably won’t know anything in advance, we still get this question over and over.   I know that most people are just excited for us and I’m glad that they’re interested. I have decided that I really need to start keeping a list of everyone that says “when it happens, make sure to let me know” so my parents can start calling/emailing!
2)      Do you know if it will be a boy or a girl?
a.       We also probably won’t know this ahead of time.  If we had another baby biologically, we wouldn’t choose the gender so we decided we were ok with not choosing this way either.  We have names picked out for both.  We picked out our girl name when we were expecting Dakota.  We picked out our boy name before the first bit of paperwork was completed.  We’ve changed the girl name a time or two but finally went back to our original pick.  The boy name has stayed the same since February 28, 2012.  I remember the day because that’s the day we met with our agency for the first time.  We picked out our boy name on the way to Birmingham.
3)      What if it has something wrong with it, like cerebral palsy?
a.       I used that example because someone asked that exact question (to someone close to me).  This one stunned me (and I think my temper even rose a little).  I mean, how do you ask a question like that?  What if we had another baby biologically and it had something wrong with it?  I think this is one of the most insensitive comments I have heard. We had to answer all kinds of questions about health related issues that we could accept but that is not anyone else’s business.   
4)      Aren’t you worried about genetics?
a.       Again, this one stunned me (and it was asked in the same conversation as #3).  Let’s see – between mine and Jon’s family history, we have a LOT of health issues in our bloodlines.  I’m sure most of us have something in our family history that worries us or concerns us.  Yes, I’m sure if we found out our child’s family has a history of some horrible disease, it will worry us, but do you actually think it would make us love our child any less?
5)      Aren’t you worried about the birthmother changing her mind?
a.       I’m not sure that any adoptive parent or prospective adoptive parent can honestly answer this with “no” until the adoption is final.  Of course there will be that worry – although, from what I understand, it’s not always as simple as “changing their mind” after the revocation period.
6)      She’s not going to know anything about you, right? Or wouldn’t you rather have a closed adoption?
a.       These types of questions are usually coming from people who are concerned, usually because they have heard some horror story.  In our case, our adoption will likely be semi-open, meaning she will know our first names and we’ll know her first name but no identifying information.  Would I prefer it to be a closed adoption? Absolutely not.  I love the fact that we may, if she chooses, have the opportunity to provide updates on our child. I love the fact that (if they both choose), our child may have to opportunity to find his or her birthparents someday.   I watched my husband long for the day he could see what his birth father looked like and through him, have understood the need that some kids have to know where they came from.  I fully intend to support our child if s/he ever decides to try to find his/her birthparents.
7)      Maybe you should just be thankful for the one you have.
a.       First, I know this isn’t really a question but please never say this to someone who is trying to make their family complete.  This implies that you think by wanting more than one child, it somehow means you aren’t thankful for the first one.  That is not true, is insulting, and just plain hurtful.    I am so thankful for Dakota – I’m thankful that he is healthy (as far as we know) and happy.  That does not take away my desire for another child though.  If you have more than one child, ask yourself this – did you love your first born any less because you had a second?  Did wanting more than one mean you weren’t thankful for your first born?
I don’t mind talking about our adoption process – at all.  I love talking about it, in fact.  Someone I work with asked me a while back about the process because she was considering trying to adopt herself.  I absolutely love talking about it to people who are genuinely interested.  If you have any questions about our process or how it works, please don’t be afraid to ask.
I truly believe we were chosen to go down this path and have learned to be thankful for that.  I do sometimes feel unworthy of this path because I think adoption is such a great thing.  I don’t look at it as second rate or second best – I think it’s wonderful! So please forgive me if I’m taken back a bit with questions and comments that indicate it is an unfavorable second choice.
Still waiting, hoping & praying. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Over the past five years, I have become more sensitive to certain topics.  One of the things that really bothers me is for people to complain about things that others dream about. While I have never suffered from infertility, I have been through such a bad late pregnancy experience that it made me terrified to even try to have another child biologically.  I can tell you from my experience (and from what I’ve read or learned about from women who suffered with infertility) that just seeing pregnant women is difficult enough.
For a while, I felt guilty.  If I saw a woman have a completely uncomplicated pregnancy, I would think “why couldn’t I?” If I saw a woman having her second or third child (and again, uncomplicated), I would think “why can they have as many children as they want without any issues but I can’t?”  If a teenager or young woman got pregnant accidentally, it was “seriously?”  And then, I’d feel guilty about feeling that way. I didn’t want to feel that way and I sure didn’t want to question God.  I should be happy for those people – they are growing their families.  I knew (or at least thought I knew) that the way I was feeling was very wrong. For a while, I didn’t want anyone to know about those emotions because, as I said, I felt guilty.
When I talked to a friend who was, at the time struggling with fertility issues, I found out she was having the same thoughts and struggles.  It gave me a little bit of reassurance that I was not alone and not completely crazy.
I think the moment that I realized that those feelings were OK came while reading a book.  Jody Cantrell Dyer wrote “The Eye of Adoption” about her own struggles with infertility after the birth of her first son and her adoption process.  In addition to her book, I’ve read enough posts from Jody (even one on my last blog post) to know that her goal was that other adoptive parents (or prospective adoptive parents) could find a friend in her.  She definitely succeeded in that.  She was very open about her feelings and emotions through her journey.  While reading her book, I began to understand that there was nothing wrong with the way I was feeling – it was actually normal.  It was so refreshing to read page after page and begin to understand that you are not alone in your emotional struggles and that those struggles are “normal.” (For the record, I HIGHLY recommend that anyone going through the adoption process, or who knows someone going through the process – hint, hint  – read “The Eye of Adoption.” It will give prospective adoptive parents reassurance and hope and it will allow others to better understand the emotional journey that their friend is going through.)
We can’t help the way we feel but somehow, we still seem to make ourselves feel like having those emotions means that we are a weaker person.  We make ourselves feel like we’re not good enough or have failed as a person, or as a Christian, because of these emotions. If you’re going through this process now or are having these emotions – please stop feeling guilty over them.  You can’t help how you feel and feeling guilty over emotions that you can’t control is not going to make it any better. 
I won’t say that I never have that feeling of “why not me?” anymore.  I can tell you, though, that realizing I’m not alone and that there is no reason to feel guilty over those feelings has made those things not bother me quite as much.  The guilt added so much more emotion to those feelings.
Another reason that I believe those things are not bothering me as much is that  I have become completely OK with the fact that our second child will be adopted.  It no longer feels like a “second choice.”  The more I read, research, and just think about the process, the more I fall in love with it.  It’s OK that our family will be different.  I’m OK with one child being biological and one being adopted – mostly because I know and truly believe that blood isn’t what makes a true family.  A family is a bond that isn’t created by blood, but rather by love.
To my friends who are expecting or will be in the future:  please remember when you’re complaining about your pregnancy side effects that there is likely someone out there reading your post or hearing you complain who wishes they were in your shoes. 
To my friends who have struggled with the emotions surrounding infertility or complicated pregnancies: please know that you’re not alone.  One thing that I have learned with this process is how great it is to have support.  Find a support group – a friend who is there with you completely, an online support group/forum, or even a book that lets you know you’re not alone.   And most of all, please don’t feel guilty for the thoughts and emotions that come along with this process. Guilt, especially guilt that stems from something you have no control over, only makes it worse.
Still waiting, hoping and praying…

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

True Friendship Through the Wait

“It’s like waiting for your water to break, isn’t it? Only you don’t know how far along you are.”
This is one of my favorite quotes I’ve seen related to the adoption process…and it came from my best friend.  She has never been through this process, but has been by my side.  She’s heard my fears, my worries, and my updates.  She’ll ask if I’ve gotten any more baby feet (our agency sends pictures of baby feet when a forever family has been created).  She encourages me, like when I worried that no one would “pick us” because we have a biological child.  She is there for me – more than anyone else other than Jon and my parents. I’m so thankful to have her in my life.
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you completely understand the normal process.  You find out you’re expecting – usually around 5-6 weeks- and get a due date.  At about 18-20 weeks, you can find out whether the baby will be a boy or girl.  You have ultrasounds to see the baby and have a pretty good idea of at least the month that the baby will be born. If you (unlike me) carried your baby at least close to term, you probably got to the point where you were just waiting for it to happen.  You knew once you reached a certain point, delivery was inevitable (even though it might not have felt like it).
Now, imagine finding out you’re expecting, but having no due date. No ultrasounds.  Nothing.  All you know is that you are expecting a baby at some point but you have no idea if you are 2 months along, 5 months along, or 9 months.  All you know is that (hopefully) you will have a baby at some point in the future.  That’s kind of how this is.  I’m waiting for “the call” (aka water to break) but have no idea when it will happen (how far along I am).
My friend followed up that quote with another that is full of encouragement: “The day before your life changes forever is just like any other day.”  This reminds me that even though I don’t know when or how much longer, the day before will be just like today.  I will likely be at work on a normal day thinking about what needs to be done either at work or home, maybe getting ready to plan our weekend or what day I will go get groceries and then suddenly one phone call could change it all.  One phone call could make our family of three become a family of four.
In the meantime, I’m thankful for my husband and my son, who I think will be an excellent big brother.  I’m thankful for the support of my parents.  I don’t know what I would do without them. Honestly,I would have guessed that my dad would’ve been the more excited one about the baby but, while he is excited, I think my mom is almost as anxious as I am.  I’m thankful for my church family - if you’ve never been in a church where the members feel more like family than acquaintances, I strongly encourage it.  I’m thankful for every time that God has sent me encouragement and strength. 
Finally, I’m thankful for my friend.  She has absolutely been my rock over the past year and a half.  I never realized how much I needed her until very recently.  Even when her first son was born, I didn’t think about it.  When she was getting ready to have her second son, I started worrying on the way to the hospital.  What if something happened to her? It was then that I realized how much I NEED her.  I am so thankful to have a true friend that I can talk to about pretty much anything – even when I’m in a selfish and emotional state – and not feel judged or told I shouldn’t feel that way.  So, to my friend, THANK YOU for everything and I love you!
Do I still worry about not being picked? Absolutely.
Do I still wonder when and if it’s going to happen? Of course.
But as we were reminded this week, God’s timing is not our timing. 
Still waiting, hoping, and praying…

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Nursery!!!!!!!!!!

I am excited to say the nursery is finally complete! Well, for the most part anyway.  I'm not sure I will ever be completely done with it.  I'm sure I'll keep adding things and we need to get a few minor things (like Desitin, alcohol swabs, etc.) but most of it is done.  The changing table is special because Jon built it.  I love it.  It's high enough that it won't kill my back, its a little bit rustic looking, and it has plenty of storage. We need to do some touch-up staining behind the doors, but its mostly done.

Jon has always had a problem with self confidence and I think this piece of furniture has done wonders for him.  I told him I thought he could built it and guess what - he did!  I think it even amazes him at what he was able to do. I'm so proud of him.  It is pretty much exactly what I wanted.  Someone told him that he needed to add the rails to it - I didn't want them. The best part is that its completely homemade - I helped him stain and hold wood and I think Dakota even helped him once or twice.   Other than that, this is all Jon!

The inside storage of the changing table.  I've started putting stuff in it, but who knows if I'll move it around?
It's finally complete and I love it!

Looking in the nursery from the door.

From the other side of the room - The giraffe picture was taken last year during our trip to DisneyWorld (Kilaminjaro Safari).

Baby EJ, your room is pretty much ready now...we're just waiting on you.  Still waiting, hoping, and praying...