Our Family

Our Family

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.