Friday, December 19, 2014

Where We've Been: Part 3

Alrighty... so what has happened in our adoption process this year? Plenty! 

So, we were officially waiting in February. Nothing was really "moving" in the adoption world the first couple of months, which is totally normal, so we didn't think much about it. We assumed that this time around we would likely wait longer than 5 months like we did for the buddy, so we planned for a longer wait. We originally were just with our agency in Nashville, but soon decided to add the agency that matched us with the buddy (it's a few hours away but still in-state).

Then, at the beginning of April, just a few weeks before our scheduled trip to Italy to visit Dave's sister and brother-in-law, we got a call from our social worker that there were TWO birthmothers that would be looking at our profile that were due by the end of the month! If we were chosen we would need to cancel our trip to Italy for sure. This was so exciting! And when this agency shows profiles, they literally have 2-4 profiles at most, so this gave us at least a 25% chance in each situation! We were so excited!

This was a little stressful because we didn't know if we were going to be headed to Italy or bringing a baby home! So, I was stressed and praying a lot, and figuring out what it might look like to cancel our plane tickets, etc. But, about 4-5 days before we left we found out that one of the birthmothers chose to parent and another chose a different couple. But, the consolation was a trip to Italy, so we couldn't complain. ;-)

But, we also knew that our agency was pretty small, so that it was unlikely our profile would be looked at again for awhile, so in that regard it was more disappointing. 

Then, in July we were told that there were 2 MORE birthmothers that would be looking at our profile, again, right before we left on a trip to visit Dave's family! The director of the agency even told us that we should get everything together before we left to go up north, including making sure all of our money was in the same bank account so we would be able to write a big check quickly. So, she obviously thought we would be a good fit for one of these birthmothers, so we were prepared for a phone call at some point on our trip. After a week on our trip I checked in with them and again, one mother decided to parent and another picked a different family. It is SO hard to hear that someone else is picked over you. Blah.

When we were on a trip just the two of us in September to celebrate my 30th birthday (can you see a pattern here? Always revolving around trips!) there was a particular situation through a connection (so NOT with one of our agencies), and we had to decide while on our trip if we wanted our profile to be shown or not. We ended up deciding that we DID want to show our profile and we were chosen! Yay! But, we were excited for about 24 hours until we did some further research and the agency that this birthmother was working with turned out to be shady at the very least and downright unethical at the very worst. Unfortunately we couldn't proceed with this agency, which was heartbreaking all around. We just loved this birthmother, but couldn't imagine turning thousands and thousands of dollars over to someone we just couldn't trust. (Total costs at this agency would have been over $20,000).

Turns out during this time our profile was shown twice again at our home agency and not chosen. :/ They DID tell us that there was a situation coming up and they'd let us know in more detail as it came up.

We are now in October and during our family vacation I was waiting to hear from the agency again, but heard nothing. Upon returning home I found out that the birthmother she had mentioned before (don't they realize when they mention a situation I start thinking about it as a potential child in our family, not just a passing comment?) wanted her child to be the first child in a family so our profile didn't end up being shown. And at this point, they weren't working with any more birthmothers, so I assumed we wouldn't be shown at all until the New Year.


That is, until my drive north the Friday before Thanksgiving. What a day this was! I was driving up north with the buddy as we were going to stay a couple of days with my family, then drive anothe 1.5 hours north on Sunday to spend the rest of the week with Dave's family. Dave would be flying up on Monday because he teaches one University class each week on Monday evenings and he couldn't exactly miss this once a week class.

Anyway, that Friday morning while the buddy and I were driving up north we got a call from our social worker asking us a few details about our situation (how much I work, etc.) because they were working with a mother who had chosen adoption for her baby months ago, but the adoption had fallen through due to something with the other couple, and she wanted to look at profiles and have her 3 week old son placed with his new adoptive family by Thanksgiving. This was so exciting! The director thought we were the best match for this family for several reasons, but there was one other profile that they would be showing. They would show profiles either that night or the next day (Saturday) and they'd be in touch. From everything she told us, this situation just felt "right." Staring about a week and a half before this I really started feeling like my heart was needing to pray for an adoption situation. So, I prayed and prayed, not really knowing what to pray for. And when we got this call, I thought THIS is what I was supposed to be praying for!

In the meantime, while we waited to hear back from the director, my car got a flat tire on the interstate and I waited an hour and a half on the side of the interstate for AAA to come! Then I had to get the spare replaced with a real tire, and proceeded to be 15 minutes late to an essential oils class that my aunt was hosting and that I was TEACHING! ha! Thankfully they were an understanding group. I'm also so glad that I left so early in the morning so that I was only 15 minutes late and not an HOUR and 15 minutes late!

WELL, anyway, after all that, this mother has pretty much just disappeared. After working with her for months she won't return any of their phone calls or texts and is impossible to reach. There are so many possible reasons for this, the strongest one in my mind is that she changed her mind. The agency suspects they'll hear from her after the holidays and the new year. We shall see.....I WILL say it made for a stressful Thanksgiving break. We knew she hadn't reached out to the agency and prayed for her health and the baby's health and for to get in touch with the agency with so much intensity, only to find out the Monday after we got home that they still had no idea what had happened to her. When just 9 days earlier it seemed like we would be bringing home a 3 week old within days. What an emotional roller coaster that week.

There is one last possibility as the year comes to a close. A mother gave birth to a very micro premie who will be in the NICU for quite some time, and she is looking to make an adoption plan through our agency. At this point the agency wants to get a more thorough picture of his health before showing profiles. We don't know any other details and won't know more until at least until the 2015. And considering our track record with possibilities we aren't holding our breath. 

We continue to pray for a miracle and trust that God will do the miracle of His choosing in His timing. It's been a rough year with a lot of disappointments, but God has not abandoned us. He is with us every day and continues to let us know that He loves us even when circumstances are hard. There have been several times where our hopes have been raised that a baby could be headed home with us any day, but every single time we've ended up with bad news. At this point bad news is just what we expect. It's hard to think that everything could align so perfectly that we could end up bringing home a child, so we don't even imagine it anymore. It has gotten too hard. Because of all of this drama and possibilities that don't work out, fertility treatment is looking more possible in the new year. We have officially been waiting for twice as long as we did to bring home the buddy, which is not an unrealistic amount of time, but as I've said before, for the number of times our profile has been shown and not picked, we are discouraged. 

The hardest thing for me is that it's getting harder and harder to imagine that the buddy will have a sibling close in age. This makes me sad because he is SO social and absolutely adores and loves babies. We know he would make a good big brother and it's sad that considering how this year has gone that he may never get to be that. We are not ready to give up, but we are discouraged. I grew up 3 years older than my next sibling and then there were 4 years between the younger two. Of course we are all close now and love each other very much. But, growing up, I think we would have gotten along better had we been closer in age. And I don't like that I have ZERO control over that for him.

If you put together all 3 of these "timeline posts", you will see that we have been trying for 2 full years now for #2. That's a long time when you're trying every route possible to parenthood. I feel so sad about this. Honestly, when I look at the circumstances of my life I am grateful for so many things, but when I look at the details of our fertility and now, these adoption failures, I can honestly say that our situation is worse than my worst fears would have imagined. Before we started trying to get pregnant 4 years ago we prayed for our fertility. We prayed that we wouldn't have to go through infertility, but we did. We prayed for release and healing from infertility, but it hasn't happened. And we have been praying for a sibling for the buddy for 2 years and he still doesn't have one. I have always wanted 4 children, Dave wanted at least 3. And right now, we can't even get to #2. And I can't imagine going through all this pain for every single child in the future, not to mention the crippling costs. Please pray for God to show us mercy and grace. And for a miracle. We truly need a miracle, because there's no way that WE can bring home a child on our own. It can only be through God.

I will say that I'm surprisingly at peace. I feel like there's no other option. Of course I'm very sad, but I'm at peace and not running around like a crazy lady trying to "fix" our problem. I'm trying to rest in God every day and listen to what He is telling us to do. I'm asking for more clarity because we want to follow where HE leads us. And for now we are called to just wait. We are waiting, and living in the moments He gives us each day and noticing the every day blessings that are showered on us despite the area of life that is so hard. We have a warm home, food on the table whenever we need it, loving family and friends, the awesomest 2.5 year old son a person could ask for, etc. We do have so much and I am so grateful for all of those things! But, that doesn't mean my heart isn't broken, because it is. But, I can be whole with a broken heart. I have to be because it's the only way to continue living in this hard place. So, I do. Every day we wake up knowing his mercies are new each day and that His love endures forever. I may need daily reminders, but I am grateful for these truths.


"We are persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:9

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." Psalm 143:8


Merry Christmas everyone! So sorry for how long his post got! PLUS, there are no pictures. So, if you read to the end I'm super impressed! :-) Thanks for your support and prayers. I don't know where we'd be without them.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Where We've Been: Part 1

I think I can officially be considered a "blog neglector." Even though spell check tells me that's wrong, I've decided that it's a real word. :-)

I often think of things I'm learning about faith or life or things I'm struggling with in faith or life. Or daily life things that might be cute to share (the buddy IS quite adorable!). But, these "inspirations" always happen at a very inconvenient time to write and then life happens and I just don't get it done.

And then when I DO have a chance to write things down, I lack inspiration, so then I just don't write. But, then I'm not a good blogger and have absolutely zero connection with my "audience" (the handful of those that still read here).

So, I thought I might go back and write about "where we've been" through our adoption and infertility journey. So, brace yourself as this is quite a long story. I tried to make it brief, but that didn't work, so I will divide this into 2 parts. Sheesh. Our story of building a family is a WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT than "we had a few drinks and whoops! I guess I ended up pregnant." Those stories sound like fairy tale stories if you ask me! Hard to believe that's the normal way to do these things.

Anyway, let's start at the very beginning. Hard to believe it's really been 4 years now since we started this journey!

December 2010- Stopped preventing pregnancy

February 2011- Really intentionally started trying to get pregnant. We had done Natural Family Planing to prevent pregnancy our entire marriage (ha! Isn't that ironic?)

May 2011- Went to the fertility Dr (RE) and found out that Dave's numbers were not so good.

Summer 2011- Went to several reputable natural fertility "experts" who were really nice and helped Dave's numbers to get a lot better, but still not in normal ranges- this was very expensive! We saw a naturopath, 2 different acupuncturists, did a whole lot of supplements during this time, which was expensive but we thought it would be worth it.

August 2011- Did one IUI- it didn't work.

Based on our research over the summer we realized that with Dave's issue (morphology), because he has a lot of sperm and they're pretty good swimmer, but they are not shaped correctly, IUI wouldn't really help with his issue and our best option would be IVF. This was totally out of our financial ability and we knew it would just be a SHOT at a pregnancy. So, we decided to pursue adoption. (Adoption was also something we talked about before we got married, so this seemed like a good choice for the time being!).

Fall 2011- We worked on our home study paperwork, but didn't give up entirely on our attempts to get pregnancy because pretty much EVERYONE we talked to said we still had a good chance.

February 2012- We decided to go to a urologist to find out if there was a reason for Dave's poor numbers. They did find bilateral varicoceles, but he would recommend IVF instead of surgery because they were similar in cost and it's debatable on how effective varicocele repair surgeries are. We then called a leading urologist in the country who said with Dave's numbers we should be able to pregnant. SO, we decided not to do the procedure.

March 2012- We found another acupuncturist who specializes in fertility, and started seeing him regularly.

May 2012- We found out we were chosen by the buddy's birthmother and brought him home 10 days later! BEST NEWS EVER!!!

At this time it seemed like a long, drawn out, tough journey. But, honestly, looking back, that first year was hard, but our journey to #2 would be a whole lot longer.

The summer of 2012 was the best summer of our lives! Hands down! We didn't worry about anything fertility related and enjoyed every minute with our sweet, sweet boy! We knew we wanted kids close together, so we decided we shouldn't wait too long to try again. We KNEW adoption would be a great option, but if we wanted biological kids, it would likely be better to try while we were younger because fertility diminishes with age. SO.......we started back up when the buddy was 6 months old. The "plan" was to try natural methods for a few months, then move on to more IUIs, and if that didn't work then pursue adoption again. We were thinking that within 6 months I'd either be pregnant or have a renewed home study. BUT, life doesn't work very well like that.

December 2012- We went back to the fertility acupuncturist we had started with in the spring to see if he could help us. After 3 months of working with him Dave's numbers not improving we decided to MOVE ON.

April 2013- We found another RE (fertility specialist) that is WAY less expensive than the big fertility clinic. We thought we would do a few IUIs with him to get them "out of the way," say we tried them and know where to go from there. However, he wanted to get to "the root" of Dave's problem, which we liked the idea of for sure! He tested all of Dave's hormones, found some out of whack and had him start on some drugs to help get Dave's testosterone up. It actually worked! His testosterone went up, BUT his sperm count got worse. 


November 2013- Dave's numbers were the worst they had been so far despite his testosterone getting better. The RE wanted Dave to go on a different drug, so he did that in December and it made him feel AWFUL. Like, horrible, awful. So, we thought that with how he felt on these drugs it was time to move on. We didn't think good could have come from him feeling so awful. 

As 2013 turned into 2014, a full year ago, we decided to start working on renewing our home study to adopt again. It was actually quite freeing! And considering we were matched with the buddy just 5 months into our wait, we were hopeful something like that could happen again. :)

February 2014- We were approved and on the waiting list to adopt! Yay! We were so excited!

More to come in 2 more parts.....

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving

The past year has brought a lot of tough stuff, not just personally, but also for those close to me, our nation and in the whole world.

It's hard to not get so discouraged and feel defeated when life doesn't go as you plan and/or when loss is a part of your daily life.
But today, on Thanksgiving, I choose to call myself blessed. Not because of any of the material gifts or wonderful people in my life (even though of course I am grateful for these things as well). I am truly blessed despite heartache and pain because God is near to all of us in our tears and our suffering if we just ask Him to be there. It is HIS presence in our lives that is the greatest blessing.
For Jesus told us:
"“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:3-10
Here's an article below that really resonated with me and relates to what I shared above. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Simplicity

Can I just say that I LOVE simplicity? I strive for it in every area of life, whether it be my various jobs, cleaning, cooking, decorating the house, taking care of the buddy, spending money, etc. Why be complicated when you can be simple, right? Cut out all the non-essentials and focus on the simplest way to do something. That's the best way, right?

One would think.

But, that's what's so hard about this infertility/adoption journey. I WANT SO BADLY for it to be simple. Somewhere on the spectrum of easy. But, no. It is not. It's complicated and messy. Every time we think we have "a plan" for how to proceed it gets totally messed up. I mean, every.single.time!!

I know this is likely due to the fact that God knows I need to learn patience. And trust. And learn that I am 100% not in control of my life. But, I'm not a very good student when it comes to these lessons. I really, really, really still just want things to be simple!

It just doesn't work that way.

So, we are in the mess right now, but I'm realizing it's a beautiful mess. Outside circumstances are not good. Confession: we are spending more every month than we are making. Without anything impressive to show for it (ie: failed fertility treatments, worse sperm analysis numbers, a whole lot of money sunk into the crawl space of all places, etc.). We have been sad a lot in the past several months. And when you're really sad (and even depressed at times) it's hard to be productive or creative, hence my total lack of blog posts. I haven't been so good at eating healthy due to aforementioned sadness and so a lot of my clothes no longer fit. (Boo!)

But, this mess is still a beautiful mess. It's the mess of someone falling apart. And only when we're falling apart to we get to the place that we realize that we are not God. That there is only one God and He is the God of the universe despite the mess. He gets down in the mess with us and loves us through it. 


Jesus' ministry was full of those who had fallen hard and were in desperate need of a Savior, just as I am today. I am so much more aware of my need to God when I'm falling apart than when I think I have it all together. It's only when I've discovered I am completely unable to make my life simple that I cry out to God in desperation to put back the pieces of my total disaster mess. And He does. Not by making everything simple or easy. But, my being there. By seeing me. By remembering me. And letting me know that He's there through it all. Loving me the whole time. Blessing me throughout the mess as He creates a softened heart, a heart that looks to him instead of for the next "simple answer."

Oh it's hard. He never said that it would be easy. But, it's where the blessing of His presence and His words of faithfulness ring the most true. It's the times when He shows that His power is perfect in our absolute weakness. And when I am listening so, so closely to hear His quite and still voice. Breathe. Listen. Repeat. And know YOU are loved.

And Jesus said said:
 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Piecing Thoughts Together

I know I'm an absolutely horrid blogger. Mostly because life is busy and I'm not so good at sharing the day-to-day of things here on this blog.

The buddy is awesome and growing and we are so very lucky (some would say blessed, but I'm having inner turmoil about that word right now) that he's growing up so healthy and smart and (mostly) sweet!

But, otherwise things have been pretty hard. Behind the adoption wait and rejections, there has been a lot of questions and Dr.'s appointments and natural supplements and more "stuff" than I even want to write about in attempts to improve our fertility. A lot of money and energy spent that has worn us out on a lot of levels. We KNOW we want to build our family through adoption again, but have also been trying to improve our fertility as much as possible, but are getting discouraging results.

In the meantime, I am spending some time trying to figure out faith and life and God and community and how that all works. I'm at the point where I have more questions than I have answers, but I feel like I'm moving in the right direction since I'm actually ASKING questions instead of being totally silent when it comes to talking to God.


My brain is busy, but God is working. He's starting to break down the very tall brick wall that I unintentionally began building almost 4 years ago now. I didn't really recognize it for what it was until I realized I couldn't even see over it anymore and it blocked my vision of the world. These walls were built brick by brick, month by month, and have continued to rise until I became alone and unable to look forward. I have begun asking God to help me remove the bricks, but as the wall comes down, the grief returns in big waves, and feelings can no longer be hidden by this self-imposed wall.

So, blog posts are coming. My heart and brain are ruminating. There's a lot of healing that needs to be done and it's a very scary prospect. But, the brick wall has become far too suffocating and it's no way to live. Something has to be done, so God is slowly but surely cracking open my heart again and allowing me to feel. And with the feeling will come brokenness, renewed pain, but a future of hope. The hope seems very far away right now, but it's the goal. Not hope in a baby or a family even closely resembling the family I envisioned for myself, but hope for feeling whole and free and able to live as the woman I was made to be. That destination seems unreachable for the moment, but it's a walk I'm going to have to take one step at a time. 


So, umm... are you ready for this to get real? I think it's about to.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

To the Beach! Part 2

Just a few weeks after coming back from our trip to Mexico we went to the beach again with my whole family. My sister has a 9.5 month old daughter that the buddy is obsessed with, so they had a lot of fun. I'll tell you what, a beach vacation for an almost 2.5 year old is the perfect trip! He talked about "go to da beach" every day and spend hours playing in the water and sand and watching dolphins. It was a blast!




This kid sure knows how much grandma loves him

My sister and her family


What a good grandma! Helping build a sand castle!

This little guys is so grown up! :-)

The whole family

Sisters

Now we'll be home for a little while, which I'm quite glad for! :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To the Beach! Part 1






Despite our discouragement on the adoption front, we have been trying to enjoy life and have some fun too!

I turned 30 over a month ago and it wasn't the most fun birthday ever just due to where I thought I'd "be" at 30. I always thought that I would have at least 2-3 kids by 30, but I have never become pregnant and we are still in the yucky waiting phase of adoption.

BUT, Dave was super sweet and went to the work of planning an all-inclusive beach vacation for us to celebrate together! Because I help my mom out with her travel business and therefore could get the travel agent rate and we had help from our parents (including frequent flyer miles), we got to go on an affordable, AWESOME trip! 



We stayed right outside of Cancun for 5 nights and it was amazing. No cooking or cleaning for four full days. And I read at least 3 books! Plus, Dave and I got some good time to spend together. Here are some photographic highlights.









They had a crazy acrobatic show IN THE POOL!


Lunch without having to leave the beach... it was awesome.


This must have been taking in the morning before all the chairs got filled up.


View from our room


We really couldn't understand this strange painting! There were TWO of them in the hotel!


Dinner




A pretty relaxing trip for sure


Waiting for us in the room! This picture is making me hungry again.

 This trip was so fun and so nice. After a lot of craziness and job transitions over the past several years, it was so, so nice to relax just the two of us. This trip was such a gift!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bummed

So, here's the truth. 

I'm getting discouraged about adoption. 

Sigh.

I know it's normal for people to wait a year or two to bring home a child through adoption. I get that. However, I talked to the head of the small agency we're working with (the agency through which we were matched with the buddy) and they have had SEVEN adoptions this year. That might not sound like a lot, but this is an agency that usually averages about 5 in the whole year. AND an agency that usually keeps about 4 profiles on hand.

So, that means that our profile has been shown to expectant mothers at least seven different times with only 3 other options to choose from and we have been chosen 0 times.

Ugh.

Statistics would say that if you have a 25% chance of being chosen that within 4 or 5 times you WILL get chosen. Right? Well, the next time our profile is shown we will have arrived at twice that number. It's discouraging to think that that many women have looked at us and our lives (and seriously, you POUR yourself, your heart, and your soul into making your profile!) and decided they didn't want us to parent their child. That's kind of a big hit to the gut. I knew our profile was being shown and not chosen, but I didn't know it had been quite that many times. It's not like I'm thinking "Why isn't this going any faster?" because I know our wait time is not unusual at ALL, but instead I think "Why are we not getting chosen? What's wrong with us?" because we've had quite a few women look at our profile without being picked yet.

So, anyway, we have no update on the family building project. It's discouraging. The good news is that life is so busy I don't often sit down and think about it because I'm just having to think about whatever the current task at hand is. I think that's part of the reason I continue to stay busy and have a few different jobs.

It's REALLY hard not to compare and I know we have a different journey than the vast majority of people do to arriving at parenthood, but we have some friends who are about to have their SECOND child and they got pregnant for the first time after we started trying for #2. Whomp, whomp. How is that even possible? Some people get pregnant and deliver multiple children in the amount of time we have had zero progress for having or bringing home another child (we had seen a couple of different fertility specialists after bringing the buddy home before choosing adoption again)?

There you have it! A totally negative post. I know when we bring home another child (which I regret to say is very difficult to imagine at this point) I will say, "THIS is the child we were meant to have! We are SO grateful for how this turned out!", "God is so faithful!" etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. But, I would be lying if I said that that's where my brain is right now. So, there you have it. The truth of how I'm feeling. I hope you don't mind the bluntness. :-)


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tragedy

I know there's been a whole lot of tough stuff in the news recently. It's overwhelming how much sadness and tragedy there is! I have felt sick to my stomach a whole lot in the past couple of weeks or so.

First there's the killing of Christians by ISIS in Iraq. The stories coming out are so graphic and upsetting. It's hard to even think about. And THEN to realize that all you can do to help these victims on the other side of the world is to pray. And it's also upsetting that it's so hard to find much information about what's really going on. My heart breaks for that whole part of the world.

And then, what has really hit close to home for me is the killing of Mike Brown. It's not surprising that our home would be affected very personally by this because we have a mixed race son who is mostly black. And to think that even in the US in 2014 there are places where there is so much hatred toward blacks that a young black man could be shot 6 times even though his hand were in the air in surrender. My heart breaks.

And to think there are people in this very country that still want to blame the victim for his own death is even more heartbreaking. Whenever I'm out in public with the buddy pretty much everyone talks about how cute and sweet and friendly he is. And I just wonder... when will go from cute to "threatening"? Sigh. This also causes me to pray a whole lot.

But, I thought I would share the articles that have been more informative and thought-provoking. I hope you take the time to read some of this and take the time to stand against the ever-troublesome racism that still haunts our country.

Eyewitness Accounts of the Event
Your white friend is telling you that white privilege is real.
America is Not for Black People - I don't like this title, but the article is so poignant.
First they came for the black people and I did not speak out 
How to be a white ally to black people I really like how this article gives us ideas of what WE can do to help with racism
Pay attention to Ferguson- some really great resources compiled by Rachel Held Evans

I know we THINK we are not racist, and that neither are our friends and/or family, but if you really think about the assumptions and judgments you make about people, you might discover you're not as free from bias as you might think.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What's New?

Well... nothing and lots. Nothing EXCITING per se, but we're doing well.
Mostly I'm just the worst blogger ever right now! Every time I have a thought about something to blog about I just don't have the time. :/ And since the buddy is over 2 now, I'm not having the motivation to do the same kind of monthly updates I did previously. I definitely need to get into a better rhythm about this!

This summer has gone by SO quickly, but now that our travels have died down I am SO ready for the buddy's little preschool program to start! Mostly because I have 3 part-time jobs, 2 of which are done from home and I just don't have time to keep up with the house, cooking, and doing my work when he's such a busy guy! I'm really, really hopeful that he will love his new school. It starts in 1.5 weeks!

We did a good bit of traveling this summer. I'm pretty sure I posted about our visit to my sister back in June (or did I forget?), then in July we were gone for about 1.5 weeks up north to visit with both friends and family and got to stay in 2 different people's lake houses for a few days, which was awesome! The buddy got to try tubing and watching us all ski and wakeboard, which was fun.

Then, a couple of weekends ago I went up north (again) to visit some high school friends AND teach an essential oils class. It was a great weekend! It was my first long road trip just with me and the buddy and he was truly a pro. He did awesome!

And now? This is my first fall to not go to school since I was about 4 years old. Crazy! It's strange to not be going back to teaching, but since my job last year ended up not being such a great fit, I'm very grateful I'm not returning. My biggest paying job right now is part-time organization for our Children's ministry at our church, but I'm also teaching about essential oils and then teaching Spanish 2X a week at a local preschool. Once the buddy is in preschool himself 2 days a week, I think this schedule will feel just right. But for now I'm feeling very frenzied and behind in every area.

But, none of this is too exciting. So, here are some nice pictures from our summer adventures. :-)


Aunt Katie and Uncle Wade (really his first cousins once removed, but that's too complicated!)

A new friend (who he still talks about)

The buddy's first boat ride (and yes it was this chilly in July!)


He loves her and she's not sure!

Daddy driving the boat


Driving with Uncle Adam

The buddy LOVES his Nana!

At the county fair, harvesting corn of course. ;-)

And picking veggies

And milking a cow

First pony ride!

There were SO MANY tractors to sit on! It was the most exciting thing ever!

At the zoo with the buddy's buddy :-)

The spot where Dave proposed to me! This time I'm squeezing a cute "baby" boy. :-)


A friend's dad thought the buddy would love a ride on his "tractor" and he was right!

A new friend. They were SO fun together!

With my aunt and grandma... He was having more fun than it appears. :)

Oh you know? Just driving a car! ;-)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Still Just Waiting

A couple of weeks ago we passed the 5 month waiting mark for our current/second adoption. I know that's not too far in and it's normal to wait 1-2 years to get matched, but with the buddy we were matched right at the 5 month mark, so it's a significant point in the timeline for me. 

Overall, we're doing really well and aren't too antsy. Yet. This time is a different kind of hard than it was last time. Last time we were waiting to become parents so the wait seemed eternal! (But of course it wasn't.) And this time our sweet buddy certainly keeps us busy. But, it also seems harder in some ways. The first time we waited we assumed it would be at least a year before we were chosen, so we weren't anxious for the phone to ring or for our social worker to email us with good news. But, this time we know what it's like to get "the call" when you've been chosen by a birthmother. So this time it seemed so likely it could happen sooner rather than later! But, it hasn't. And for various reasons, this time around we've also heard more about when our profile is being shown. We never really knew last time, so I couldn't stress about it. But, this time I DO stress about it! Every time we know a birthmother is looking at our profile, I feel glued to my computer to see if there are any email updates and I'm a lot more crushed this way since I get my hopes up that we could be bringing a baby home soon. It's kind of hard knowing that women look at us and our profile and decide they don't want us to raise their unborn baby. But, of course, we know that whoever she did pick for her precious child will be the right fit for them, and we are very happy for the couple that does get to bring home the new baby!

So, right now there really are no updates. We only waited for 5 months the first time and we will gladly wait much, much longer to have another child that is the right fit for our family. He fits in perfectly in our family, and we trust and pray that God will bring the child that is meant to be with us at the right time. But, there are tough days too. Days we worry about how the next child will fit into our family, how long we will have to wait, or what another open adoption might look like. The future is SO incredibly unknown! But, we are trying to wait patiently. It's not like we have a say in how quickly this time goes by, but we certainly have a choice in how we spend this time and we are choosing to having fun and enjoy our sweet boy every day. And don't worry. If we DO hear something, we'll be sure to keep you posted!

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Buddy's 2nd Birthday Party

I originally thought we would forgo a birthday party for the buddy this year with all the busy things going on in May. The month started off with our trip to Italy, then I was finishing up the school year with all kinds of end of the year events, and we had family that was coming to town. Plus, I had a pretty unusable left hand. So, we thought we would have a little get-together with family the weekend after his birthday. My grandparents were coming to town, so I thought I would get truck-themed decorations and a truck cake and that would be the extent of the celebration. :) But, life always throws unexpected events in your way. My great-grandfather passed away the week before the family get-together, and the services were out of town, so all of the weekend plans got cancelled. Because of this, we opted to move the birthday celebration a week later to Memorial Day Weekend and actually make it more of a party! We quickly made some e-invitations and invited our families (Dave's parents even came down from Chicago for the weekend!) and a few of our closest family friends with kiddos similar in age to the buddy.
Opening up some animals!

Because the event was moved a week later I had a little more time to plan, but I definitely didn't have enough time to get creative or do anything super original. We kept it all very simple. Since the party was from 4-6pm (between nap and bedtime), we didn't think serving a full dinner was in order, but we didn't want to just have cake and ice cream either. So, I made a fruit salad, fresh veggies with dip, Trader Joe's Meatballs and chips and salsa. It wasn't anything fancy or theme-related, but enough so that people could eat. 

 
Before all the food had been added to the table

We are grateful for our backyard and nice weather and just hung out back there for the majority of the party. I bought truck plates, hats, napkins and a tablecloth from Party City, along with a big helium balloon of a dump truck that was quite a hit. We borrowed an outdoor folding table and chairs from a neighbor, so we had enough seating for everyone. We started with snacks and then around 4:45 sang and ate cake and ice cream. Because of the buddy's egg allergy, I ended up just ordering a vegan cake from Whole Foods and they did the truck design to try to match our theme. Making and decorating an egg-free cake was definitely not at the top of my priority list at that point. When they asked me about the flavors, I didn't even care. As long as there were trucks on the top and no egg inside we were good-to-go in my opinion. :-)

The tablecloth was too long for the table we used, so for favors we wrapped sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the leftover truck-themed tablecloth, which worked perfectly. In terms of activities, we didn't really plan any because we knew the adults would enjoy talking and the little kids would enjoy running around the backyard and playing with the buddy's toys. At about 5pm a few people had to leave, so at that point we moved into the gift opening, which was a blast! This birthday was the first time he ever seemed to understand presents and gifts. He got so excited about everything he opened! It was really sweet.

Digging into some cake and ice cream!

I think if we continue to do birthday parties in the future, this is exactly the way we want to do them. We loved that there were just about 15 people total, which was totally manageable to have at our own house, and a fun, but simple way to celebrate the buddy on his special day! To me the goal is that he has fun and feels special, and that we are able to celebrate with those closest to us. I don't have it in me to be super creative, so even though I look kind of enviously at parties with big themes and lots of decorations, I know that it's just not in the cards for us to do big parties like that.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The buddy is 2!

Boy, oh boy! I can't believe we have a 2 year old! (Almost a month ago. Oops! I'm behind.)
 
Weight & Length:
The buddy is still quite the little dude at 23 lbs, which keeps him firmly in the 3rd percentile. I can't remember his height (oops!), but I know he was in the 19th percentile. He may be thin, but he is STRONG! 

Birthday breakfast of pancakes and bacon










Clothes: We officially had to get rid of all the 18 month clothes and are just in size 24 months or 2T. Even some of his 24 months outfits are too short -- confirmation that he's definitely getting taller. :)

Sleeping:
I was worried that his 2-year molars were going to really disturb his sleep, but he continues to sleep 12 hours at night and take a 3-hr nap. Not always of course, but most of the time. Although, right now we are weaning from the pacifier, so we're all having some sleeping issues, but we're hoping this isn't too long-lived.


Eating:
He's definitely still a toddler, so there are some moments of spitting out his food, being picky, or refusing to try something new. But, overall I feel grateful we have a diverse eater. He's still drinking whole milk and has 3 decent meals a day, and I'm trying to do away in the snacks in between to encourage him to eat more substantially at meals. I tend to be lazy at lunch as almond butter and jelly sandwiches are quite standard, and even though he loves them I know it would be best to add more variety. Just a few days ago I thought I would give him some raw spinach to try along with some taco salad and he gobbled it up! His favorite foods are pancakes, bacon, grapes, cheese and pizza. 

Loving this excavator he got for his birthday! He's OBSESSED with construction trucks! :)

Personality: Oh man, after we got back from Italy it was as if his personality and vocabulary totally exploded! He has always had such a fun personality, but the more he learns to say the more fun it gets for us! He loves trying to make us laugh and is truly quite hilarious. He loves dancing and singing, so we're considering putting him in a "mommy and me" dance class. He's currently obsessed with all kinds of trucks and can name more than I even know! From excavators, back hoes and garbage trucks to dump trucks and car carriers. :) He also loves animals and sports, so he gets quite excited about the zoo and talks about all the animals long before we even get to their exhibit. He knows the names of all the different types of sports balls, but that doesn't mean he knows quite what to do with them yet. He really is hitting his basketball with his golf club. ha!

Milestones and Firsts:
I definitely can't keep track of all his new words! It's so fun to be able to have conversations with our sweet little boy. He can answer just about all of our questions and knows the difference between the question words, which is fun that he knows to answer questions about "who" with a person, etc. I guess it's a milestone that he now how 3 out of 4 of his 2 year molars, so there's only one more tooth left to come it! He had continued to have a lot of "firsts," like his first extended time away from his parents, his first Easter Egg Hunt, first few times to go pee-pee on the potty (they were all just coincidences of putting him on there before bathtime), first time recognizing "two" of something, and the list goes on. He can also recognize circles and has started to recognize colors as well. Looking back at our calendar of the past 6 months, I'm overwhelmed at all the new things he can do! I feel like for the rest of my life I will just always be amazed at all the news things this kid can do.

The first "gift giving occasion" that he really understood opening gifts- He LOVES these George books!