Our Family

Our Family

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...