Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day Reflections... from an infertile turned mama by adoption

Reflections from “the other side”

For five years I longed for the title that this weekend is all about. The pain those years brought is not easily forgotten. And my heart now aches for those still waiting. For those who will struggle through this weekend just as I did last year. And I want them to know they are not alone.

Ellie Grace. She makes all the pain those years brought worth while. This year, I get to wake up and kiss my baby girl. I get to hear the words “mama” as she smiles at me. And that… that is what it is about.

Yet, there is another cloud over this precious weekend.

“A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privelege are not lost on me.”

On Sunday, as I wake on this amazing first mothers day on the other side, I will rejoice in this promise that God kept. I will celebrate the journey that led us to one another… my Ellie and I. But I will also shed tears for her other mother. The one who created her. Who gave birth to her. And who so selfessly and bravely made a choice to give two girls the best lives she could.

She knew to raise this baby themselves would take away from the little they already had to offer to Ellie’s sweet sister. So instead she chose to give them both the best she could at the time. And then… she chose me to bless with this amazing gift.

Last Mother’s Day was hard. But little did we know we would so soon hear that magic line… that we had been chosen by a birth mother! And little did we know that in less than a month we would meet those amazing people. And that in just a few short months, we would be holding our daughter in our arms.

So when I look into Ellie’s eyes and thank God for the wonderful title as her mom, I also will ache for the loss I know someone else feels for that very same reason.

And my prayers will no longer be for myself on this day. But instead will be for her brave birth mother, all the other birth mothers out there, and for all those longing and waiting to be able to celebrate mothers day.

I may be on the other side, but I have not forgotten where I came from.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Is it calling you?

It was a huge leap of faith. But once God spoke, we just knew it would all work out in the end.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ellie Grace

“For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I asked.” 1 Samuel 1:27

Our miracle is here! On July 24th, we welcomed Miss Ellie Grace into the world and our hearts have gotten fuller with each passing day since.

Here is a glimpse at the story of how we came to be the lucky parents of this beautiful little girl.

On May 15th, following another difficult lonely Mother's Day, we received word that we had been chosen by an expectant mother and her husband. They wanted to meet us in a few weeks, at the agency. So on June 1st we made the drive up and stayed overnight. Bright and early the next morning we went to the agency to meet them. Our nerves were high and our excitement higher! We spent about 2 hours getting to know one another and left with all of us feeling even more thrilled and hopeful.

Over the next month we texted frequently, continuing to get to know one another. On June 30th, we attended an ultrasound and genetics appointment with the expectant mother. The feelings that we felt when we finally saw our precious baby on the screen and heard that beautiful heartbeat were incredible. And we were over the moon to learn that it was a girl!

The next few weeks passed far too slowly in our minds. Every week we grew more excited and more anxious. By the 2nd week of July we had the car seat installed and our bags mostly packed. Each day we awoke wondering and hoping that maybe this would be the day we would finally meet our angel. When she was given a date for being induced, we still insisted there was no way our little girl would wait that long. But oh, she was already in the business of proving us wrong! She waited until the day they forced her out; perfectly content in her little haven.

On July 24th, we left home very early and drove up to the hospital. We checked in regularly with the mother during her labor. As things were progressing very slowly, we ventured out for lunch expecting it to be our last meal outside of the hospital for a couple of days. The hours upon returning from lunch continued to seem like days. I couldn't concentrate to read or watch TV or play games. All I could do was sit and day dream about the moment we would finally hold her. So once again we were persuaded to go out for dinner, and the mother was going to try to take a nap after having finally received an epidural.

While we were out, she texted to say her water had broken. We quickly got back to the hospital and checked in with her once more, not knowing it would be the last time we would check in with her pre-birth. Shortly after, I received another text saying it was time to push. When I told her that I was an emotional wreck at that point and that I was crying the happiest of tears, she wrote back telling me she was so glad to be doing this for us and was certain it was meant to be. Her words to me then will forever touch my heart somewhere deep inside that I never imagined existed. As she was beginning what would be a very difficult time for her (physically during the pain and emotionally for a long time after), she was still thinking of us and saying things to encourage us.

(Side story that I feel the need to share: This woman who gave birth to my gorgeous daughter... well, she is by far the most amazing person I have met to this day. So often she tried to make the experience all about us, when it was really all about her and the baby she created. Very rarely did she show emotions of sadness, fear or anything negative. She was focused and determined, wanting nothing more than to give her baby the best life she felt she could in that time and place of her life. The love I feel for her is tremendous, and its been incredibly difficult for me to not hug her and tell her how much I love her. But it didn't take long to learn that she needed some distance from emotions that would be too deep. So I constantly kept my own emotions in check and worked hard at focusing on her.)

The time in between her saying she was getting ready to push, and a nurse coming to get us to bring us back to our baby girl passed both in the slowest way possible and all in a blur at the same time. I don't think I will ever forget them coming out to get us and opening the door to the labor and delivery area. I started down the hallway and saw a bundle in a bassinet coming towards me. With tears in my eyes, I asked if she was mine and looked down and saw the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.

I think I will let a few pictures take over in telling the rest of the story now. Clearly we are head over heels in love with this perfect, amazing and beautiful girl that God blessed us with. And, lest you ever wonder how it feels to adopt a baby... there is not a single day that I don't look into her eyes and while feeling tremendous gratitude to have her, also feeling tremendous sadness that in order for us to have her, her birth parents had to let her go. My happiness is their pain, and for that, I refuse to stop taking time every day to remember that and to pray for them. It's a gift like no other.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Blogging isn't really my thing. I can enjoy it now and again, but my life is too boring to make regular blogging easy. But this week is very near and dear to my heart. So I always try to post at least once.

You see, it's National Infertility Awareness Week. It's the week when I, like so many, chose to finally step out of the closet and turn the light on for all to see. It's just about impossible for me to explain to someone who hasn't experienced infertility personally, just why it is so difficult to initially share with others about your struggle. There are so many things in life that we tell to anyone who will listen. But when you find yourself walking down this lonely path, the last thing you feel like doing is sharing it with others.

We feel broken. Like we are missing parts. (Some are actually missing parts!) We feel like failures.

God created man and woman and told them to procreate. Simple right? As little kids we sing "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage". As little girls, we play with dolls and say that when we grow up we want to be a mommy. It's a natural part of society. It's something you don't question, but rather something you just know will happen.

Then come those years. The years in our lives where (most) worry about getting pregnant. Kenny Chesney said it well in "There Goes My Life".

And in the blink of an eye, you're finally married and ready to start your own family. Some plan it all out. "I want to have my first child when I am 24, my second when I am 27 and then maybe one more in another couple years." Or "I want to finish college and get a steady job. Then we can buy a house and save up some money before we get pregnant." The list goes on.

But for 1 in 8 couples, couples just like my husband and I, those dreams and plans are all tossed in a blender, and spun all to hell. We start out counting the months. Then as those months turn into a year or two, we find ourselves at a specialist, being poked and prodded in ways most never imagine possible. We find ourselves taking drugs that require us to sometimes ask random people to give us a shot that will leave a huge and nasty bruise and will cause us to act like a raging lunatic at times. Then a few weeks later, we learn once again that it was all for nothing... again.

It's tough. It turns your life upside down. For me, I went from being "that person" who loved all babies, kids and pregnant bellies, to being the one who ran out of a church service, hysterical, because I found myself literally surrounded by pregnant ladies, newborn babies and young families as the pastor began a sermon on parenting. I became the one who can't attend baby showers and "hides" posts and sometimes friends, on Facebook because I can't bear to see another belly shot or ultrasound picture. And worst of all, I became the one who couldn't bear to be around babies.

Some women are caught completely off guard when they find themselves struggling to get pregnant. For me, there were some precursors that occurred in my early twenties that led me to enough awareness to know that it just might be more difficult for me than others. I went through periods after that of denial, when I was convinced it wouldn't be that way. But I went through more periods of grief when I was certain it would become my struggle. I suppose if I am honest, then I have at least a small amount of thankfulness for the events that warned me of what might be in my future. To some degree, it would have been nice to not think about those things in my early twenties, before meeting my husband. But knowledge is power. I knew it might happen. I know that I shouldn't wait long. (Doctors had forewarned me to try on my own for 6 months and then seek a specialist.) I knew not to "wait for the right time" before starting to try. And for that, I am thankful. Because as I sit here 5 years later, still without a child, I know if I had waited any longer than I did to start trying, then my pain and grief would be that much worse.

The biggest thing that infertility took from me was my hope. My hope for the future that I always envisioned. Everyone walking this journey, struggles in their own personal way. And each one of us have to take the path that feels right for us. And healing comes in different ways, at different times, for each one of us. The first step I took towards healing was the day I "came out of the infertility closet". The second step I took was when we decided to stop treatments and start the adoption process.

Infertility is real. Infertility is ugly. Infertility is painful. And infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. Be aware. Be conscious. Be aware of what you say to others. Words can be like salt in an open wound.

Awareness is the key to conquering all diseases. Help those of us struggling to increase awareness of this emotionally painful disease.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Officially official

On December 29th, our official approval as Adoptive Parents came in the mail.

I met with the pregnancy counselor a few days later and sent in our dear birth parent letter this week. Today I had an email directing me to the website where we are now officially up for the world to see!

CCC Website

I have also been working on our nursery!

I can't put into the words all the excitement I have been feeling lately!

This just got real... and I gotta feeling 2013 is gonna be OUR BIG YEAR!!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Moving Forward

A brief post to update on our lives.

We have officially set aside all medical consulting/treatment/intervention with trying to conceive. We closed that chapter and took some time to work through the emotions that came with doing so. And then the week before last we sent in the application for adoption with our chosen agency.

We are now scheduled for our initial interview on the 19th. I honestly have no idea what the initial interview is. I presume its largely about reviewing our application and discussing what happens now. I am excited and nervous.

I am a social worker and I do home studies, so I am aware of how deep into our personal lives this will have to get. I tend to think that a home study for adoption will have to dig even deeper than I have to do. And while being the one conducting the interviewing for my job makes me very nervous still (who wants to ask strangers about their most personal things??), the nervousness I feel being on this side is a lot worse.

Meanwhile, I am greatly and pleasantly distracted by the yard sale fundraiser we are having on the 22nd. As soon as we announced officially about starting our path to adoption, the support began pouring in. I fully see now that all these people always did care about what we were going through, but people just don't know how to react to infertility. No one knows what to say or what to do or how to act. So most just retreat from us. Now that we are planning ways to raise funds for adoption, these people know how they can help. And helping they are!

I have been totally blown away by the things people have donated and the ways people have helped. I started into this yard sale thing fearing we wouldn't have anything to sell really. But now, I am just fearing we won't have enough people come to buy all this stuff! We have a bedroom at my home almost full of things donated, and an outdoor building and a room at my moms almost filled. We also have things someone left for us at the church. And things others said they will get to us closer to time. We are BLESSED! And man did I miss realizing just how blessed we are and how awesome the people in our lives are! Adoption gives me this joy and hope; infertility gave me nothing but hard times. So... here's to hoping that this new chapter in our lives is much happier and easier than the last!

And to my mother and Kimberly... we truly could NOT be doing this yard sale without you! Thank you for all the help! And to everyone else as well!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Privileges not rights!

(Excuse me while I get on my soapbox. But this one I can't resist or hold in.)

Some people will never know what it is to truly fight to get something in life. Some people get many "things" handed to them easily, and take those things for granted, not even giving them the appreciation they deserve. This goes for jobs, spouses, parents, siblings, cars, homes, financial handouts, and nearest and dearest to my heart, children.

These things are not rights people!

They are privileges!

You are not guaranteed to get them nor to keep them. Appreciate what you have.

Stop taking them for granted, for tomorrow may not come and if it does for you, it may not for others around you. And I am no saint... far from it. I complain far too often and I am first to admit that. But the things we complain about... someone somewhere would give anything to have. And that someone is probably far closer than you realize.

Infertility has taught me a LOT of hard lessons. This is, without a doubt, in the top 3 lessons learned so far in this journey. Going through this, learning these hard lessons... it has really helped my consideration for others and the (often silent) things they may be going through to grow and be strengthened.