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.....