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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Retirement

David submitted his retirement application yesterday! That is crazy! I've only been in my career two years and he's already at 19! It's hard for me to imagine being in a career that long, and also knowing there is a whole other career to go in this lifetime. It seems like such a huge accomplishment, and I can't relate at all. But I'm so proud of him. I joke about his age a lot; lately I've taken to calling him Grandpa! But he has done amazing things in his career. I'm proud of him for being focused on the mission and holding to his integrity even when it sometimes meant not being popular. I'm proud of him for how much he cares about the younger airmen. He has been more than willing to sacrifice his own time and resources to help his troops succeed.


With retirement comes some uncertainty, though. The job market is still shaky and he's only about three to six months from starting the job hunt. I'm not feeling worry right now. I've seen two sets of friends go through job search struggles recently and both have come out stronger for it. So I know the world won't end if things don't go the way we hope. We'll just have to learn and grow with wherever God is taking us! Easier said than done, I know. But I better not kill the optimism yet!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Invisibility and Contentment

I think we all feel kind of invisible at times.  Jealousy is something that can make me feel invisible.  Rejection can make me feel invisible.  Not being the center of attention can make me feel invisible (which I find interesting since I decided I'm probably an introvert--the jury is still out on that one though).  Not having my desires taken into account by other people can make me feel the most invisible.  When I feel invisible it is usually because I feel I deserve to be treated better or because I think "If only..." then life would be better and I wouldn't be invisible.

What I think counteracts the invisible/insecure feelings is having a measure of contentment.  Attaining this would happen differently for everybody, but will generally have something to do with changing perspective or attitude.  So go ahead, I dare you to answer the sentence, "For me to gain a measure of contentment without changing any of my circumstances, I need to..."

I feel more content than I ever have in my life, despite sometimes feeling invisible.  What I most recently read in Afflictions by Edith Schaeffer is that we can only ask/expect to have a measure of contentment.  We are not perfect beings and therefore can't reach a fulfillment of contentment.  I believe I have a measure of it, and that makes me feel like I'm "traveling light".  And because I'm feeling this way, I'd like to go on a new venture.  (Don't worry, I'm still keeping my job!)  I don't know what this means, and I'd love some guidance.  Brainstorming is not my forte.  All my brain can process is that I want to find something where my talents or skills can be used for something I'm passionate about.  I don't know exactly what I'm passionate about, but if I had to pick some interest areas they would be elderly people, homeless people, women and children in poverty, people who are depressed, people who are disabled.  I'm generally a worker bee but I'd also love to be part of something dynamic.  I think there's something out there, but I haven't found it just by perusing the volunteer websites or church bulletins.

Comment away if you have any suggestions!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Update on the Book

I think I have put down Men and Women:  Enjoying the Difference by Larry Crabb for now because I'm not finding it to be what I'm interested in at the moment.  I did really find good information in the first half of the book.  Larry Crabb described selfishness in such a way that it helped me desire to be more selfless.  I think we are all generally selfish but are capable of selfless motives and actions.  I want my motives and actions to be more selfless.  Doesn't that sound like more fun?

I started another book today, Afflictions by Edith Schaeffer.  So far I'm very intrigued.  It deals with how to live amidst afflictions, whether large or small.  My initial reaction to a tragedy or hardship is to ask, "why?" 

Here are some quotes from the first chapter:

"God gave us the possibility of tears to help express sorrow at the reality of battle wounds in the midst of life.

"...the question of Why? is without an answer for our finite minds, except in the concept of the total picture of what history has been since the Fall."

"The infinite, personal Living God has done what our minds cannot grasp.  If we could understand all that God understands, we would no longer be finite and human."


Schaeffer, Edith. Afflictions. Grand Rapids, MI: Raven's Ridge Books, 1993.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

For What I am Thankful

I am thankful to God...

...that I have not been able to get pregnant and therefore get to adopt.
...for what the last six years of marriage (almost) have taught me about patience, love, and selflessness.
...for being able to work part time and having lots of extra time to cook, clean, take care of David, spend time reading, hang out with friends, and play with the dogs.
...for the small group we are part of and especially for all the women in the group whom I have been able to share life with.
...that our church has an awesome service on Sunday nights geared toward community and life-worship.
...for my family.  I am where I am because of their help and support.
...for relationships and communication, which I believe are the "stuff" of life.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The weight is lifted off

Working part time is without a doubt "working" for me!  I absolutely love it.  I'm pretty sure everyone at work can tell I'm much happier to be there.  David is getting meals every day I don't work, even if they haven't turned out so well!  I get to do grocery shopping, laundry, run errands, clean the house, read, and play with the dogs without the pressure of time.  It seems as though time has always been the enemy because of not having enough of it with either school or work.  I also have more desire to hang out with friends, which is enriching.  I am very blessed to be in this situation.  I don't know how long it will last but I'm going to try to savor every day of it!



Currently, I'm reading Men and Women:  Enjoying the Difference by Larry Crabb.  So far it is excellent.  I am not very good at sticking these kinds of books out to the end but I'm going to try.  Good accountability opportunity for you readers ;).  I'll let you know what I think when I'm finished!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Big Step

I went to a birthday party for a one year old girl today. That is a pretty big step for me. I initially planned on not going but have been mulling it over for a while. I figured I'd see how I felt today before committing to anything. I felt fine while I was there; I had no jealousy even despite the abundance of kids, pregnant friends, and moms. When we got home I felt a little jealous though. Right now, I feel a little bit empty. I'm proud of myself for going, and I have another few months before the next friend's baby turns one so hopefully I'll be even better by the next party. I'm not up for baby showers though yet. Baby steps, if you don't mind the pun.

There's this tension going on in my head and my heart between feeling the ache of not being able to bear my own children and knowing that where we are right now is where we're supposed to be. I'm satisfied and yet discouraged all at the same time. Our profile has been shown now 5 times I think in the last seven months, and obviously we haven't been chosen yet. Again there is tension in me between wondering what is wrong with our profile that we haven't been picked and knowing that God is choosing each of the parents specifically for the child, and that He has already chosen ours (or has He? I despise the predestination/free will argument). Anyways, I'm again satisfied and discouraged all at the same time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Here to Stay

David decided to turn down the assignment to the Pentagon. It was a pretty easy decision for both of us. Staying here feels right. David is ready to retire sooner rather than later. The Air Force has been his life for the last 19 years and he is ready to move on next year. I'm so proud of him for working so hard. His hard work has put him in the spotlight many times and he has been nominated for positions and awards that most airmen don't get to see. I am also proud of him for serving so many years and making the decision to move on to a new career in law enforcement that he is eager to pursue. He was set for promotion in the spring which he now won't be able to take, but I'm proud of him for choosing to pursue his interests over money and prestige.

Friday, November 6, 2009

More Unknowns

We found out this week there is a possibility our assignment will be cancelled. Basically, the job requires the person to be able to stay there 3 years, and David plans on retiring in 2 1/2 years from now. He had to write a letter explaining this and sent it to personnel. We will see in another few weeks if they cancel the assignment or not. Hopefully!!! I am planning as though we will end up going so that I don't find myself running out of time getting the house ready to rent if that happens. And of course, still waiting on a baby could change things too.

We have been reading 1Timothy in our small group on Tuesday nights. The last chapter has a couple verses that are so important for me to grasp right now. In 6:6 it says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." I can't imagine someone being Godly but not content, so I think they go hand in hand. Then in 6:8 it says, "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." When it comes to money and things, all I need to live is to have food to eat and clothes to wear. Everything else is just bonus. It doesn't matter where I live, I can have contentment anywhere God sends me.

Also, on Sunday our discussion group in church was talking a little bit about whether we live as though we are owed certain things in life. One of the girls brought up that she had, over the last few years, come to realize that her idea of the perfect life was not God's idea of her perfect life. She has been in the process of learning just what her life is about now that she understands that what she thought her life was supposed to be like wasn't. She said she's discovered new things that she never realized she was passionate about. I thought that was very thought provoking and encouraging. It made me think about how I have been envisioning my perfect life.

So my perfect life consists of living in Tucson, keeping our friends and growing with them and making new friends, having children, staying at home with them for a while, David retiring in a couple of years and becoming a cop, watching our kids grow and learn, helping them discover life and giving them new experiences, finding a job as a nurse that I feel I can make a significant contribution, and keep going on my life in this kind of pattern. I think that while all of those things are great and things we can work toward, none of them are guaranteed. I live in the future way more than I ever live in the present. Instead of looking forward so much, I want to see where I am right now and just live in that.

I can say that this week it has been a little bit easier to live in the present now that I am working part time. I really, really enjoyed my days off this week. I had two days off, and the time is much appreciated since I haven't had much free time in the recent past. I feel a little more like I'm thriving instead of just surviving.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Feelin' Good

I'm feeling good right now, better than I've felt in a couple of weeks. I think it's a combination of church tonight, watching Knocked Up on tv right now, and the Ambien I took about an hour ago!

Anyhow, I'm having a moment of clarity. Everything is going to work out just as it should.
So if you haven't heard, David got an assignment to the Pentagon last week. His report date is Feb 15th. We talked with our adoption case worker last week and let her know our situation. If we end up getting placed with a baby before then, it is likely we won't end up going to DC. The assignment can be deferred for 6 months from the date the baby is placed in our home. Since David will have just under 2 years to go after that 6 months, we should be able to get the assignment cancelled.


However, if we do not get placed with a baby before February, we are moving to DC. We'll be renting out our house and putting a bunch of stuff in storage for our return in 2 years. I don't know what the adoption plan will be after the move, that is something we are exploring but trying not to worry about making a decision until the time comes.


If we stay, I'll be totally thrilled because that would mean we'd have our baby...what we've been waiting for for over 2 years now.
If we go, I'm looking forward to the unknown...I know that sounds crazy coming from me but at this moment now (I can't speak for tomorrow!) I'm looking forward to new experiences in a new place.






Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Promise It's Not That Exciting

The adoption news, that is. Last week we asked our case worker what number in line we were in the waiting families book, and how many times we've been shown. Currently, we're number 5. As I've explained in previous posts, being number 5 doesn't mean the 5th baby that comes along will be ours. It just means that there are four couples who have been waiting longer than we have. I was a little bit surprised that we weren't further along, but then again the number "5" is kind of arbitrary since adoptions don't go in order. When a baby comes along, it doesn't matter how long the couple has been waiting if preferences don't match.

She also let us know that we've been considered 4 times since April. Ouch!!! That was hard to hear at first, because I felt completely rejected. I'm over that feeling now. And you could still tell me a million times that when the baby God has for us comes along, it will all make sense. Well that's all fine and good and I know it's true but I'm not one to keep trying to convince myself of something that is too difficult to grasp until it happens. I feel good about things right now though, so no need to worry about me today. I actually feel as though I've been given this time to learn how to appreciate and take advantage of the time I have.

I've had a hard time with the job transition lately. It seems slightly impossible to be able to enjoy this time of waiting when 36 hours a week is spent doing something I'm not passionate about with people that are difficult to be around. I don't want to leave my job, but frankly I'm not excited about having to spend the majority of this time I've been given in a place that zaps me off all the energy I have for the time I don't work. So my short term solution is to work only 32 hours instead of 36. That means I'll get one day off a week instead of just a half day. It will give me something more to look forward to. I used to take a full day off every other week and it was great. Only having a half day is not really good because I just come home from work exhausted and can't really take advantage of the time off because I just want to sleep the whole time. This is kind of a mundane detail of my life to be blogging about, but putting it on paper gives me relief!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Divine Change of Attitude

Last night I was awake until 2 am. I had a horrible time trying to fall asleep because my mind was going non-stop about how unhappy I was with my job--I think the work itself is fine but working with other people is so difficult. Other things were on my mind also, but work was the most consuming.

I kept trying to pray, but my mind kept wandering. I was discouraged because I so far haven't been able to successfully change my attitude at work. I've tried and tried to go in with the attitude that no matter how people treat me, I can let it go in one ear and out the other because their opinion doesn't really matter. Because God is the God of comfort and the Lord of compassion. Because God is where my hope is. Because God is able to give me the perfect love I crave. Because, because, because... This has been going on for about 6 weeks. I was actually at the point yesterday of really considering quitting and taking another part time job offer I have on the table and trying to find another part time job.

Finally, I just said something like, "God, the only way it seems possible for me to continue is with a divine change of attitude. I would like to be able to say I'm strong enough to do this based on the knowledge I have of You and Your Word, but I'm failing. I need a miracle." I then wrote three pages of prayer because I was having such a difficult time praying without getting sidetracked thinking about work and getting angry about something someone has said or done. Writing everything down helped me stay on track.

I think I finally fell asleep around 2 am. I remember seeing 1:30 am so that's why I'm assuming it was 2. I woke up this morning super tired. You know that point when you're really so tired that you actually feel giddy? That's what I felt like. I was actually, dare I say, feeling "happy" and not grumpy like normal at work. I assumed it was just because I was so tired. But the day wore on and I was amazed at how differently I felt. I surely didn't have the expectation of answered prayer last night. My request was out of desperation. But I am confident it was answered prayer. I can't imagine waking up tomorrow morning and carrying around the anger and grumpiness that was so familiar just yesterday.

Like I said earlier, there were other things on my mind. One had to do with some information we received from our adoption agency this week. No baby on the way, but I'll keep you in suspense and write about what we learned in my next post...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Big Bug





Anyone know what kind of bug this is? I was up early cleaning the pool and trimming the roses. I didn't get very far with the roses, however, because of this little bugger. I enjoyed taking pictures of it but I wasn't exactly thrilled about the idea of trimming the roses more after coming across him!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Things I Don't Like To Admit

This past week I have realized there are two things going on in me that I don't want to admit. First, that I am jealous. I've never "considered" myself to be a very jealous person, but I'm pretty sure that I am. I think it probably started when I was little and was always jealous of my older sister. I was jealous that she was smarter and that she could think more cleverly than I could. I think that's part of where my perfectionist tendencies are rooted. I think I tried hard to make things happen my way and to be as smart as I could and know as much as I could so that I could outsmart others. Then, I wouldn't ever have to feel jealous. So for a long time I haven't felt much jealousy. Now, however, this not getting pregnant thing is a big wake up call about jealousy for me. I'm jealous of others who can have a baby when they want one but that I don't get to have a baby when I want one. I'm jealous of others who are at home with the babies they gave birth to and that I'm still working full time when I want to be raising a child. I'm jealous of others who get the thrill of reading a positive pregnancy test.

When I isolate David and me in my mind, I am happy with the way things are. I'm looking forward to adopting a baby and loving him/her so much that I won't have words for it. In the meantime I'm satisfied working and saving money so I can stay home at least for a while. I even kind of feel special that I haven't been able to get pregnant so instead we will get to adopt a baby. But when I start comparing David and me to our friends, the jealousy is overwhelming. It is so overwhelming I had to leave our small group this week crying because I was so upset after finding out about a friend's new pregnancy.

Next thing I don't like to admit: I'm angry at God. I've never felt angry with God before. I don't even remember feeling frustrated at him. I've always reminded myself of the truth that God works things together for our good. That even if I can't understand the reason for something, God has a perfect purpose in it. But just yesterday I realized I'm a little angry with God about not having a child yet. I'm not a lot angry, just a little. I don't want to admit that, because I know my anger is unjustified. I know when we have a baby, that I will look back and understand the reason for the wait. It's just hard to see that now. It's hard that none of my friends can empathize with me. And it's funny, I'm mad at God yet he is the only one who can understand.

A while back I wrote in a blog that not all lessons are hard lessons. Sometimes God makes our lessons easy. Sometimes he doesn't. This one is not so easy. God is not calming my storm this time, he is trying to calm me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

While We're Waiting

I haven't asked David how he feels, but I'm starting to get tired of the question, "What's new with the adoption?" I have a feeling it's a bit like when you're unemployed and looking for a job, and everyday someone asks, "What's new with the job search?" I know people are just curious and hoping to hear some good news, but unfortunately I don't have any. It's nothing I fault anyone for asking either; I'm just as curious with people who are out of jobs, say, to find out if anything new has come along.

It's only been 4 months but it sure feels like a lot longer. I think it feels so much longer because the not getting pregnant thing has been going on for over 2 years now. Usually every day I ache for a baby, but also at some point during my day I am content in the moment with the way things are. David and I were talking last night about how we can't let getting a baby become our idol. If we could think about God and be thankful for His blessings as much as we covet a baby, I am sure we would find ourselves more patient.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blessing

I almost titled this post, "Mini Blessing". Is there such a thing? In my eyes, it seems so, but what about it God's eyes?

Anyways, I got my schedule for the month of August at the new job. We're open late every Tuesday, and I only have to be the late person twice in five weeks. I also get to work at the new satellite office that is just down the street 4 times in the month, which I am very excited about! I thought I might only get to go there once a month or so, but turns out it is more often.

Yay!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

ESFP

I was inspired by Katie's blog to go through past blogs and came across a personality profile I took about a year ago. The results were different, but I'm not surprised. Some are different probably because of change, but some because of the nature of the questions. I don't consider myself to have a black and white personality, so sometimes I'll think of myself one way and sometimes the opposite.

The Caregiver

You are sympathetic and caring, putting friends and family first.
A creature of habit, you prefer routines and have trouble with change.
You love being in groups - whether you're helping people or working on a project.
You are good at listening, laughing, and bringing out the best in people.
I'd say this is pretty accurate except for the being in groups thing. While I do enjoy groups, I find myself more comfortable in smaller settings.

In love, you value harmony and mutual understanding.
You will apologize or give someone the benefit of the doubt, if it means getting over a fight sooner. Yes, absolutely. I apologize even when I'm not sure it is warranted.

At work, you are good at building relationships and connecting with people.
You would make a great nurse, social worker, or teacher. Whew. Last time it said something about being a designer...no way!

How you see yourself: Organized, dependable, co-operative. Organized, yes. Dependable would depend on the situation--my dependability coincides with my priorities at the time. Cooperative--only sometimes. If I don't agree with what's going on I am uncooperative.

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Opinionated, critical, and know-it-all. Yes, yes, and yes.

Staycation



Normally I have every other Wednesday off work, but because my co-worker has a visitor coming the week after next, she offered to work Monday instead of Wednesday for me. So I get a three day weekend next weekend! I am excited. I initially thought about planning a vacation to Sedona or some other place close by. I was trying to think of where I'd like to go and I asked myself what my ideal three day vacation would be. I realized it would not necessarily involve spending money to stay someplace new or go to a new town/city. It would involve doing activities I already know I enjoy like bowling, shopping, hiking, getting a massage, etc. So I decided I don't need to go somewhere to have a great three-day vacation; I can do it right here in Tucson! I'm going to act like I'm not at home and not do any cooking (not that I do it anyways), cleaning, bills, email, facebook, etc. I'm going to plan my time like I would plan a vacation. So feel free to post a comment with some staycation ideas!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Job!

Don't worry, I didn't quit. Still going strong in the same job for over 5 months now! But, in three weeks, I will basically be starting a new job.

We found out at work today that the doctor I work for is no longer going to be in practice by himself but is joining a group of allergists. He is probably going to be heading toward retirement in a few years and this will allow him more flexibility for him and his wife. He and his wife have been trying to find a way for him to cut back, keep his employees employed, and allow his patients full access to care while he cuts back. He said he had tried in the past to join other groups but none would take care of his employees the way the group we are joining offered to. The new group we are joining is gaining our doctor plus two new doctors, so it works out that they will be able to afford the extra employees. My new office will only be a couple miles farther from home than it is now, so I'm satisfied with that. The benefits are better at the new place which is great. I'm looking forward to meeting new people. Apparently they have only had one employee leave in the last 15 years, which is comforting.

Certainly this move will help keep me from getting bored. It will be like starting a new job. The only problem is it is obviously causing some anxiety since it is 2am and I am awake and writing this post! Not necessarily bad anxiety, just a general anxiousness with starting a new job and having a new boss. Hopefully sleep will come soon...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Acceptable

I thank you, Peter Hochuli, Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Arizona, for ordering us "acceptable to adopt children."

We received our letter in the mail on Thursday.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Nursery

I have been waiting to post this blog until I took pictures, but it is 10pm and I'm waiting for my sleeping pill to kick in, so I figured I'd go ahead and post without pictures. Then hopefully I will get the gumption (is that a word??) to post pictures tomorrow-ish.

From what I've read, deciding to set up a nursery for an adoptive couple is a very personal choice. On one hand, having a nursery with no baby in sight is like buying a lawn mower for a yard with no grass. Some women can't bear the thought of having to see the nursery and not know when a baby might be there to fill it. For others, it gives hope. For a while, there was no way you could get me to think about setting up a nursery. But the idea of it grew on me, so finally a few weeks ago we set up a pack and play that has a bassinet attached to it. We put the few baby items we have in the room, and cleaned the room out of anything non-baby. So we have wipes, bottles, a couple cans of formula, and one baby blanket to not-so-fill the cabinets.

The morning after we set up the room, I woke up and passed by the room only to notice the bassinet had an occupant--our cat, Phoebe! It was the cutest thing! So if nothing else, at least she is able to use it!

I say we emptied the room of all non-baby items. That was true, until yesterday. David decided he wanted to learn how to play the drums so he bought a drum set, and decided the nursery was a good place for it. Ha! I was talking to Cara online yesterday and she said, "Well what nursery wouldn't be complete without a drum set?" Double Ha!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Prime

I'm watching the movie, Prime as I write this. It's been a while since I've seen this movie. It's my favorite movie and it makes me smile. So here is #6 on my list of favorites:


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Favorite Things

In my effort to live in the moment this afternoon, I decided to go for a swim after I got home from work and the dentist. While I was swimming, the chorus of the song that came in my head was "Seize the Day" by Carolyn Arends:

Seize the day, seize whatever you can
'Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day, pray for grace fro
m God's hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day

I was thinking that I need to remember that I have favorite things that can help me seize the day. Lately all I can think about is doom and gloom! It consumes my mind. When it's not consuming my mind then my mind is just on mundane things, like going to work or getting the kitchen counter cleaned. I was suddenly inspired while swimming to write a list of my favorite things I can remember I have when my mind is consumed by gloom. I easily forget that there are things that make me smile!

Sarah's Favorite Things (in no particular order):

1. Baskin Robbins' chocolate peanut butter ice cream

2. Indoor rock climbing



3. Taking the dogs to the dog park

4. My rose garden

5. Swimming in my pool when it's really hot outside (like today)



Since I went swimming this afternoon, I guess I better go clean the kitchen counter...


Monday, June 22, 2009

Oh What a Day!

Today started out very normal. I asked David to wake me up at 6 so I could go for a walk with the dogs. As usual he woke me up and I changed my mind and went back to bed! Then I went to work and everything was so normal. Then, I find out mid-morning that an acquaintance's husband died this weekend. He was 31. I was totally heartbroken even though I had never met him. I didn't really know my acquaintance all that well either. It just hit me like a ton of bricks.

I was also told today I had to censor some of what I say in this blog. That frustrated me, because this blog is all about honesty and openness. I want to be completely transparent. I want to be transparent for my friends, so they can see what I'm going through. I want to be transparent to people who are thinking about adoption, because I think shared experiences are important. And I even want to be transparent for birth moms who might read this, because there are so many facets to adoption. It's one of those things that even though I understand where the censorship is coming from, it's not a good feeling to know that I can't write about everything the way that I think is best and honest.

On top of all that of course I've been feeling discouraged about not having a baby yet. I'm not actually discouraged about the time it's taken so far for the adoption. I think I'm more discouraged about the time it possibly could take. I'm discouraged for David, that he is almost 37 and has waited even longer than I have for this.

My co-worker let me go home early today because she knew I was having a hard day. I came home feeling very, very discouraged. But David and I talked about how important it is for us to really "live life" right now. We don't really know what that means, but we're praying that we'll find out soon!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Blues--Post from David

I often thought throughout my life that when I was in my 30's I would already have children and a purpose in life. Now that I ponder being 37 next month, I often ask myself, "Will I ever be a father?" Up until 3 years ago, I had my own father to wish Happy Father's Day to, and deep down I thought that by this time I would be a father, but the Lord has not seen it fit for us to be parents yet. So to put it in a nutshell, waiting on this adoption sucks! I battle every day with the disappointment of not getting a phone call or update, or any hope that our adoption might happen soon. If nothing else, I guess I can be a father to our two dogs and cat (but not biological, ha).

I guess I have to take back all the bad things I said about blogging; this blogging is fun. I think next, I'll twitter, whenever I figure out what that is...

Friday, June 19, 2009

News on the Assignment

It was canceled! Woo hoo! I feel relief. However, there is still a good possibility that we could get another assignment at any time. Usually assignments are given six months before you have to move. So I figure we have at least six months to hopefully get our baby.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Since Then

This will be the last bit of catching up I have to do, so from next post on everything will be current. Since we're waiting, I'm sure I'll have more to post about than just the adoption.

About the first two weeks after we finished our interviews, David and I were on pins and needles wondering when we might get a phone call from our agency. As I mentioned before our case worker said it would "probably happen pretty fast." We met a couple in our class who had switched agencies so they already had all their paperwork finished. I think it only took them a month or two before they got their baby. So because of that we were thinking it would also take a month or two. Well, it's been a little over two months of waiting, so obviously our timing wasn't quite right! I heard somewhere that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. God must be laughing a lot because of us!

We did get a phone call on Memorial Day weekend that our profile was being shown to a birth mother who had just given birth and was in the hospital. We got the phone call from our case worker at about 7:30 pm and were told that she was planning on making a decision that night. If we were chose, we would be picking up the baby girl from the hospital the next day. We didn't get a call that night, so we assumed we weren't chosen. The next day at about 1 pm our case worker called and said we weren't chosen. The birth mother chose a couple who already had a child--I'm not sure if the first child was adopted or "homemade." Anyways, we were a little bummed of course but not as much as I imagined we'd be when we got into this. It just wasn't "our" baby.

After that phone call our case worker told us she wouldn't call to let us know if we were being shown anymore, she would just call us when we were chosen. I'm not sure that I like that idea. I think I'd rather at least know that our profile is out there. So David and I decided we'd email her every week or two to find out if we had been shown. We've only done that once since Memorial Day weekend, and our case worker told us that they are expecting a couple of babies later on in the year but nothing else going on right now. Apparently there are 10 couples waiting now.

We both go back and forth on how anxious/disappointed we are during this waiting period. Sometimes we're totally ok with the time it's taking, and sometimes we are pretty down in the dumps about it. Right now what is scary for me is that David has orders to move to Maryland in September. We're hoping the assignment will get cancelled because we found out last week that David was promoted during the last promotion cycle. The job that is in Maryland is for someone in his current rank, but since he will be moving up a rank, he's been told that they wouldn't want him for that position anymore. If it doesn't get cancelled and if we haven't adopted by then, well, that just sucks. We'll have to start all over if we move and that means a longer wait. Plus, one of the reasons I like our agency so much is because of the open adoption. I don't know that I'd want to adopt a baby here and then leave for two years if the birth mother is wanting an open adoption. I also don't think I'd want to adopt a baby in Maryland and then move away for the rest of our lives once David retires. So basically, I don't know anything! I don't know what we'd do, we'll just cross that bridge when we come to it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Home Study

The home study was the last thing our case worker needed in order to submit our paperwork to the courts. It literally took only 10 minutes. I sent a chat to Leatrice when the doorbell rang and when she left I got back on the chat and it was only 10 minutes later. We knew it wasn't going to be super-involved because we had talked to a couple beforehand who had already adopted. They said the home study was basically just for the case worker to see that we weren't going to keep the baby in a closet or that we didn't live in a complete dump. Of course we had spent a long time cleaning and getting ready for her but since we knew it wasn't going to be too involved we didn't make it quite so that you could eat off the floors. Maybe close, though.

She rang the doorbell and we sat down at the kitchen table. She asked us to describe the neighborhood and say if there were many kids around. She asked us about our house, including the year it was built, how many bedrooms, square footage, and what decorating style we had. She asked us if our dogs were good with kids and we said yes. Our dogs are actually much better with kids than they are with adults! When there are kids at the dog park they just go up to them and sniff or lick them. With adults, our dogs like to jump up to be at their level. With kids they don't have to, because they can stare them in the face.

After she asked us the questions we gave her a tour of the house, and that was it! She said it would take her about a week to get her report written to submit to the courts. She told us once our fingerprints came back and the courts signed off on us, we would get a letter of certification in the mail.

That night I think I finished our profile that the birth mother gets to see. The following is the information that is included. It is not in the best format here because it was in a table in a word document, but here is the best way I know how to post it...

FAMILY INFORMATION FOR BIRTH PARENTS

NAMES: David and Sarah

YEAR MARRIED: 2004

(There were a few items in the beginning of the profile that I did not include simply because they were in a table and I don't know how to post a table on here! Information included date of birth, race, height, weight, hair/skin/eye color, and religion)

Describe your personality

Husband: Very outgoing, friendly, charming, love to laugh and make others laugh

Wife: Caring, loyal, good listener, introspective

How do you express affection?

Physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service

Give the name(s), age(s), personality and physical description(s) of your children. Born to you or adopted?

N/A

If you do not have children in the home, what experiences have you had with children?

We have several nieces and nephews. We also have grade school age cousins that we hang out with at least monthly and baby sit occasionally. We also have several friends with infants/toddlers that we see weekly and baby sit occasionally.

Why do you want to adopt?

We want to welcome a child in our home that we can pour our love into!

How will you tell your child about his birth parents?

We will start from a young age and use materials such as children’s books or videos to help them understand who their birth family is and who their adopted family is. We will answer all questions honestly!

What goals do you have for your child?

We would love for our child to learn how to love God, him/herself, and others. We would love for our child to learn how to be generous, kind, and have fun!

How do you plan to discipline your child?

We plan to set and communicate boundaries, use lots of positive reinforcement/encouragement, and teach consequences for actions.

What is special about your family? What sets you apart?

We love God and we know we are loved by God. We are generous with our time and resources. We love meeting new people and welcoming them into our home. We love to laugh and joke and make others laugh as well.

What do you do with your free time, as a family (i.e., evenings, weekends, and vacations)?

In the evenings we like to have dinner together, relax, and talk about our day. On the weekends we like to have a good balance of going out and doing activities and staying at home and relaxing. We spend time together on the weekends watching movies, going out to dinner on occasion, or hanging out with friends. On Sundays we go to church and sometimes out to lunch after church with friends. In the summer we have a pool we use and enjoy inviting friends over for cookouts and pool parties. We travel usually twice a year to spend time with out-of-town family. We have also vacationed to such places as Hawaii, Las Vegas, San Diego, and New Mexico.

What makes your home distinctively yours?

Our door is always open for guests and friends! We love to have people over whether we just met or have known them for years.

Do you currently smoke?

No

What kind of pets do you have?

Two dogs and one cat.

What is your extended family’s involvement in your lives?

We visit David’s side of the family once a year and talk on the phone with them about twice per month. Sarah’s cousin lives in Tucson and we get together with her family about once per month. Sarah’s parents live in Florida and they visit twice per year and we visit them once per year. We talk to them on the phone several times per week. They are planning to move to Tucson in a few years and we are so excited to have them around to see their grandchildren as they grow up! We are very close with our extended family and they provide us with a great deal of support.

Are they aware of your plan to adopt? How do they feel about it?

Everyone is aware and everyone is excited for us! Sarah’s half sister recently adopted a toddler from Vietnam and it was a very exciting time for the family.

If mother is employed out of the home:
How long will mother/father be off on maternity leave?
How many hours will mother work?
Childcare plans:

David will have three weeks of paternity leave and will take additional time off since he has two months of vacation time saved. Sarah will be off for at least the first three months and may stay home full-time after that as well. If Sarah goes back to work it would most likely be part time and in the evenings or weekends while David is home with the child.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Individual Interviews

We each had to do an interview alone with our case worker. Actually, it is two interviews each but we both did them back to back. Since it only took each of us an hour it would have been a waste of time to do them separately anyways. David did his first, just a couple days after our joint interview. I did mine about a week after our joint interview. Questions asked were focused on how well we get along with our spouse and strengths/weaknesses of each other. When I was doing my interview our case worker said that in all the interviews she had done, no one said more sweet, nice things about their spouse than David said about me. Of course that made me feel great! He didn't have to because it wouldn't have made a difference--the birth mother doesn't see any of our information from our interviews. But David is always good about being very complimentary of me to other people.

Before my interview David and I were able to get our letter to the birth mother written and printed and our photo collage put together. I brought it with me to our interview and our case worker said that was all she needed to put us in the "Waiting Families" book. She said we were #7 in the book, which means there were 6 other couples in front of us. 3-5 couples that match birth mother/adoptive parent criteria are shown to a birth mother at one time.

Here is our letter to the birth mother:

Dear Birthparent,

Thank you so much for taking time to read our letter and considering us to be the parents for your child. We would like to start off by telling about how we met, our family dynamics, and our future plans.

In 2002, we were introduced by a mutual friend, began dating and a year and a half later (Jan 04) we married. Since being married, we have fallen in love with Tucson and have decided to make it our permanent home. Sarah’s cousin and her family live here and we get together as often as possible. Sarah’s parents plan to move here from Florida in a few years to be closer to us and their grandchildren. David’s parents are both deceased, but he maintains a strong relationship with his brothers and grandparents, who live in South Carolina.

David was born in 1972 and grew up in South Carolina with his parents and two older brothers. Shortly after graduating from high school, he joined the Air Force. It was one of the best decisions he ever made. The Air Force has given him a great career and plenty of opportunities to travel. He has completed 18 years of service and in that time has lived in Japan, Germany, Korea, Texas, and Arizona. He has had various job assignments during his enlisted career, but most recently was appointed as a Team Leader for the First Term Airmen Center, where he helps younger airmen who are new to the base get acquainted with what the Air Force has to offer. Once he completes his 20 years of service, he plans to retire and pursue a career in law enforcement. One thing that is unmistakable about David is his desire to laugh and make others feel comfortable and laugh along with him. David is a true Southern gentleman and shows it in his words and actions. His favorite thing to do is hang out with friends! He also likes playing cards, bowling or just working on things around the house.

Sarah was born in 1979 and grew up in Pennsylvania with her parents and her older sister. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of South Carolina. She graduated with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management and moved to Tucson to pursue her career. A couple years into her career she decided she wanted to be in a “caring” profession and chose to go back to college to become a nurse. She was accepted to the University of Wisconsin and graduated in 2007. Upon graduating she worked at a local hospital to gain experience and now works in an allergy clinic. Being a nurse is very natural for Sarah because she is a kind-hearted person. She has many activities that she enjoys doing including yoga, camping, hiking, and gardening. She also likes to go to the dog park with our two dogs, Chandler and Monica, or snuggle with our cat, Phoebe, and read a book.

We are Christians and are part of a group in our church called “Young Marrieds”. It is a group of married couples in their 20’s and 30’s who meet weekly to discuss a book or study the Bible. We also do many social events together including game nights, picnics in the park, “Rock Band” nights, camping, hiking…you name it! This group has been the biggest blessing of our marriage so far and we are thankful that God has blessed us with such a wonderful group of friends. We are all getting to the age where children are coming into the picture and it has been so much fun watching their kids enter the world and begin to grow up together.

We own a home with a pool located in a family-friendly neighborhood with lots of schools, playgrounds, and a park nearby.

Sarah plans to stay home full-time with the baby and will evaluate her job options after three months. Being a nurse is great because there are so many options and many jobs that offer flexibility in scheduling. We may decide it is best for Sarah to stay home full-time, otherwise she will probably work part time in the evenings or weekends when David will be home with the baby. David will be given at least three weeks of paternity leave from the military and will take additional time off the first few months since he has saved up almost two months of vacation time. We have always dreamed of being parents and are so excited to meet the child God has planned for us!

Thank you again for taking the time to read and learn about us. May God guide your path and bless you along the way.


These are the pictures we put in our photo collage. Walgreens.com lets you choose photos and puts it into a collage for you, so it was super easy.





















We had to have 10 photos in our collage. We also had to choose a picture to put on the same page as our letter to the birth mother. It was kind of stressful picking out the photos, especially the profile picture. Of course we're scrutinizing every picture and wondering what people will think about when they look at each one. What we tried to do was choose pictures that showed our funny/playful side, because I think that's what makes us unique. We also wanted to include some family photos so the birth mother could envision their child with other family members as well, not just ours.

Here is the picture we used for the profile:



I wrote in my last blog that I would be writing about our home study this time, but I forgot that our individual interviews came first. So in the next blog I will post about the home study and I will post our profile information that the birth mother sees also.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Joint Interview

David and I met with our case worker for our joint interview a few days after our classes ended. We had some minor paperwork to fill out, and then she asked us some questions. She started asking us the questions and we gave pretty short but complete answers. Then she told us that what we tell her has to go into about a 10 page report to the court, so we got the hint that she needed us to ramble a little more! One of the questions asked us why we wanted to adopt and for how long have we been wanting to. I told her that adoption was something I remember thinking about back when I was at least in middle or high school. I don't know why I was thinking about it that early other than I had a good friend who had been adopted. I'm sure I also had learned the scripture that states, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27) I liked the book of James when I was in high school for some reason, and I read it a bunch of times. That verse must have struck a cord in me at some point. So since then I have always had adoption in the back of my mind. When David and I married we tossed around the idea of having one homemade child and then adopting one. We thought we'd see how the first one went and then decide from there. At that point adopting would have been our secondary means of increasing our family. Now, of course, it has become our primary means since finding out about my infertility. Maybe if David blogs he can recall his answer to this question...I'm pretty sure his was a lot shorter than mine!

She also asked us about religion and what part it played in our lives. So we told her we were Christians and believed that God is most important in our lives. She asked if we go to church regularly and we told her yes and that we also have a small group of Young Married couples that we meet with for Bible study, fellowship, and social activities.

We moved on to discuss our preferences for our baby's race, health, and medical history. David and I discussed this at length before this interview because we knew it was coming. We were told in almost all of our classes not to be ashamed to be honest about what might make us uncomfortable. The race of the child was easy for us; neither David nor I had any hesitations that we would accept a child from any racial background. I was surprised during my classes that many adoptive couples were a lot more restrictive. I couldn't relate to the idea of only adopting a child from a certain race, and to be honest I've had a hard time being non-judgemental about that idea. However, it is not always just about the adoptive parent's comfort level. Family members come into play and many couples will be more restrictive to avoid problems down the road with their family members who might not be as open. David and I are aware that we may have family members that are not happy with our choice, but we have decided that God's desire for us is not to look at the color of the child but to know that the child is God's, and that He has handpicked him or her for us.

When it came to family medical history the baby's health, I had no restrictions. David did have some restrictions because he was worried how he would handle certain issues. I had a very hard time understanding his restrictions but I let him set the boundaries because we were counseled it is better to go with the parent who is more restrictive rather than end up with a child that one parent would have trouble bonding with. Some of it also had to do with a lack of confidence on David's part that he would be able to take care of a child with major medical problems. The nurse in me I think keeps me from worrying about that. Again, it's hard for me not to be judgemental toward David about this, but I had to let my own ideas go and trust God. If David chooses to write about his own restrictions, I will let him do that, but I will leave those to him.

With drug use and alcohol I also had no restrictions. David again had some so we went with his desires. Our restrictions are based on amount of drug/alcohol use, not which actual substances are used. So we're ok with more casual use, 1-2 times per month, but not weekly or daily use.

At the end of our interview we were given a form to fill out to decide how open we wanted to be with the birthmother. Our agency requires a letter and at least 5 close up pictures to be provided for the birthmother to view if she chooses quarterly for the first year. After that, it is up to the adoptive couple how much interaction they would like. The birthmother is aware of the couple's desirs, so that plays a part when she chooses the adoptive family to place her child into. We had to decide whether we wanted to have an open adoption where the birthmother has regular contact including visits with the child, or whether we wanted to do the minimum and provide only letters and pictures the first year. We didn't complete this form until the day of the home study, which was about a week after this interview. So I'll keep you in suspense until I write about the home study!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Final Class

Well, we had an interesting development yesterday and David asked if I was going to blog about it. I told him I couldn't yet because right now in my blog I'm only on the fourth class. So I guess I better speed it up! He said by the time I get caught up we'll have a child in middle school! He also said he wanted to write a post so if you see him or talk to him, pester him about it so he will!!

So I'll go on to our last class. We had a potluck that night, and I signed up to bring macaroni and cheese. It turned out that David had to work that night so I brought subs from Safeway instead. I wanted to label my subs "macaroni and cheese" but they didn't have any labels. Ha. That's my sense of humor for you. I guess I should stick to my strength of blogging and leave the humor to David.

There were three couples with their kids there. Actually one couple had a babysitter so their kids were at home. I'm not really even sure what the point was of this class other than for them to give their stories and for us to ask questions. The first couple had a baby who was probably 5 or 6 months old and they adopted her from birth. The couple had initially started with a different agency and were matched with a birthmom in Illinois. The baby was born, the adoptive mother flew to Illinois, only to find out the birthmom changed her mind and didn't tell her anything until after the baby was born. It was a mess and she was very hurt by the situation. She ended up switching to the agency we're with and only waited a couple months for her daughter. The adoptive parents are White and the baby is Black (I've read that Black and White are acceptable terms when unsure of origin of the individual--correct me if I'm wrong). The adoptive father said when he started this process for some reason he pictured them adopting a Black baby. They didn't make themselves restricted to only accepting a Black baby, it just happened that's who they adopted. Pretty cool.

The second couple had adopted one child and then adopted twins. They didn't have their kids there. The adoptive mom's recommendation was to tell everyone we know that we are trying to adopt, because their twins were adopted by word of mouth from a birthmother in either Washington or Oregon, I can't remember. At the time I thought no way, it's hard enough having to deal with the topic of infertility let alone having to answer questions that come along when people find out we're going to adopt. For a while I felt some sort of shame in being infertile. So talking about adoption meant thinking about being infertile, which brought up those feelings of shame. But I'm totally over that now, so I tell everyone!

The third couple had two adopted kids, one of which was there. She was about 2, super cute, and so full of energy. I don't honestly remember their story at all! I just remember how cute their girl was.

Right around this time I had been reading an article in an adoption magazine about adopting a different race. One thing that stuck out in the article was how the mother loved knowing she had such a "colorful" family. Sometimes she would look at families all the same "color" and would think they looked kind of boring compared to hers! I thought that was an interesting way of looking at it.

I was very happy the classes were finished. I learned a little bit and got to hear some great stories. They were definitely helpful but sometimes a bit on the long side for me. I've never been one to want to dwell on questions of "what if", which is most of what the questions by the potential adoptive couples ended up being. And the questions were generally what made the classes sort of drag on. It was the same for me in nursing school. All the other girls would go over scenarios of what classes they would have to take, who their professors were going to be, do this to get ahead, do that, etc. It goes on and on and just creates more stress than to just sit back and let it come. So with the adoption, I had a few questions, but I'd rather just know the basics and let things happen as they do. Whatever we don't know we'll find out as we go along. There are so many scenarios with adoption because no two adoptions are alike.

In the next post I will go over what our joint interview was like with our case worker, and you will find out just what we decided as far as preferences on race, family medical history, and drug use.

Fourth Class

The fourth class was to me the most boring (only because the lady was kind of dry) but yet gave us very important information that we would need later. We were actually 30 minutes late to this class because we had the time mixed up. I can't say I wish I would have been there in the beginning, except it probably looked rude for us to be showing up late...oops. I can't remember what exactly the presenter does, but she was from the UofA and talked about the effects of teratogens on newborns. She discussed various categories including illegal narcotics, prescription medications, alcohol, smoking, and some others. I was surprised at the lack of proven effect on babies exposed to street drugs. Alcohol and smoking were most harmful. Alcohol of course can cause fetal alcohol syndrome in about 50% of babies whose birthmother drank during pregnancy. We saw pictures of FAS children. Often the signs of FAS don't show up until the children are a little older. One of the telltale signs is absence of the groove in the space between your upper lip and nose. I'm sure I learned that in school along the way somewhere, but I don't remember. Smoking causes low birth weight in babies and can interfere with fetal development. There is evidence that illegal drugs like heroin, marijuana, cocaine, etc cause some birth defects but the incidence is low. The problem with the birthmother being on these substances is the withdrawal that the baby has to go through after birth when the baby is no longer receiving the substance through the placenta.

The reason this information was important was because during our joint interview with our case worker, David and I had to decide how much and which substances we would be ok with the birthmother having been on during pregnancy. I will go over what we chose when I get to the joint interview post.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Third Class!

I probably enjoyed the third class the most. We had a birthmother speak who had just given birth 6 weeks ago. The adoptive parents were there to speak too, and it was an awesome experience. It was so good to see both sides of it. What I liked most about it was that before that night, the idea of the "birthmother" was intangible. I had a hard time understanding the concept. The birthmother was about my age or a little younger and had two or three kids already that she was raising. Her sister had chosen at one point to have an abortion, and she talked about how she knew abortion was not the right option for her. So somehow she heard ofour agency and decided to give up her son for adoption. When she came to the agency she was living in an apartment sleeping on the floor. Our agency helped her get beds for her and her children, get care that she needed, and counseled her through the process. She said when she was looking at the book of families wanting to adopt, she knew as soon as she read the first couple's profile that they were the ones she wanted to raise her child.

She and the adoptive mother have a close relationship and have become friends through the process. They went to prenatal appointments together, and the adoptive mom was there for the birth. It was a C-section and the birthmom asked to be "put out" as soon as the baby was born because she didn't think she could handle seeing the baby. So as soon as the baby delivered she was given something to sedate her and she says she doesn't remember hearing any crying. As the birthmom and adoptive mom were talking describing the birth, both were crying. It was so touching. The adoptive mom said that it was more emotional for her than anyone could imagine, because on one hand she was so excited to meet her son, but was also feeling so sad for the birthmom. Knowing what she was giving up and that it was the hardest thing she ever would have to do made her feel absolutely horrible. The birthmom has not yet met her son and both moms have discussed that when she feels ready, she will meet him then.

I would love to be able to have this kind of a relationship with our child's birthmom. It is rare, but what an amazing story!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Second Class

I already posted about our second class, so I just copied what I wrote before and pasted it below:

I'll go on to the second class. We had an adoptive father come to speak to us about the waiting that's involved. He and his wife waiting 2 years before they were matched. It was great to hear about his struggles and frustration of waiting, but it's also good to hear him and the two ladies from the previous week talk about how it is so easy to look back know and see how the wait was worth it and designed how God intended. He had a few options prior to the baby they were matched with but decided that those other babies weren't right for them. When they see those other children now they look at them and can see why their child is their child, and why the children they decided not to adopt were meant for another couple (they all get together each year for a picnic). Anyways, until I heard the phrase "When it's meant to happen, it will" coming from these other adoptive parents, I HATED that saying, or sayings like it. It wasn't so much the saying, it was the knowing that the person who it was coming from was trying to give advice in an area they knew nothing about.

One other thing he mentioned last week that made me feel so much better was while they were waiting to adopt, his wife could be around some mothers and their kids and not others. That made me feel SOOOO much better, because I couldn't understand why it is no problem for me to hang out with some mothers and their kids and not others. It was good to know that maybe this is a normal feeling.


I am still confident that God has already chosen our baby for us. The waiting is difficult, because it could happen tomorrow or it could happen next year. And it feels like it has been a year already! So since that second class I have had more assurance and peace about the "when", even if it doesn't happen as fast as I want it to.

What have changed since that second class are my feelings toward pregnant women and new moms. Since my last post, I no longer feel the desire to avoid them. It is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I attribute this mainly to my two dear friends for reaching out to me. My heart was jealous, and although it may have been "normal", it was no fun to have those feelings! I look forward to reporting this same new acceptance in future posts.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

An Aside

I really wanted to document the adoption process in chronological order, but I can't get what I want to write about out of my head. So I will continue with the entries about the adoption classes in the next post.

As I write this I am babysitting my dear friend Leatrice's baby. I have not struggled to be around Leatrice or her baby. I think this is because we became close friends as we shared our difficulty getting pregnant at the same time. I was so happy for her when she found out she was pregnant because I knew she had waited and struggled for so long. Babysitting for her is no big deal. However, I think I am starting to get over my issue with not wanting to be around other pregnant women. I figured it would come eventually but I thought not until after we had our baby. In past entries I have written how hard it is to be around moms and their babies or pregnant women, and how hard it can be to look at facebook every day only to find another friend announcing her pregnancy.

But something started to change in me about a week ago. We went out with some friends who are in the middle of selling two houses and buying another. They have three kids. They both admitted to being stressed out. I didn't envy them. We recently refinanced and that alone was annoying. I remember buying our house and what a hassle it was. So I can't imagine trying to sell two houses and buy another at the same time. The thought crossed my mind that if I was them, I would be looking at me thinking how nice it would be that the only major stress in my life right now would be waiting on a baby. All the work is complete, we are simply waiting for a phone call. I think I envy myself right now--is that possible?!

I also recently had two pregnant friends reach out to me by email just to tell me they acknowledged what I'm going through and that though they don't understand, they want to be there for me however they can. They wrote this even knowing I haven't wanted to be around them. It must suck to be friends with someone who doesn't want to be around you for no fault of your own. Anyways, it was touching, and I think it helped.

Friday, May 1, 2009

First Official Class

So the class I talked about last time was the orientation, it was on the last Tuesday in February. We had our first educational seminar on the first Tuesday in March. The topic was infertility. When I first found out that was the topic I was dreading it. I didn't want to hear about infertility, I wanted to hear about adoption!

It turned out to be fine, though. There were two ladies there who had adopted I think two children each. They talked about their own infertility stories, so it wasn't like it was an informational session. It was actually a relief to hear their stories. They really only talked about infertility for a few minutes each and then gave their adoption story. It was good to hear personal stories from people who've been through the process not just in general, but with the agency we're using.

During that week I didn't really get started getting much of our paperwork together. David worked on a bunch of stuff he needed, but I slacked off. I felt like I still had a month before it was due, so I didn't really do much. I would come to regret that later, even though it all came together on time.

David commented on how he was hoping to get to know more of the couples in our group. We hadn't really interacted much with anyone at that point, but fortunately in the next class we were able to meet a great young couple. I'll write a little more about that next time!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Adoption Orientation

I'm going to re-post some of what I already wrote partly because there are a few more readers now and so I can keep it in chronological order.

Toward the end of 2008 David and I really began to get serious about adoption. There was never a shining moment when we decided it was what we wanted to do. It was gradual. The more months that went by with negative pregnancy tests, the more we talked about it. We must have started talking about it by October 2008 because I remember discussing it with my parents when they came to visit at the end of October. At that point we were trying to figure out where to start. We knew of a couple from the chapel on base who adopted through a particular agency so I looked into their program. David was really interested in international adoption but I was more interested in domestic adoption. I don't know how we came to the conclusion of going domestic, but somehow we did and decided to go with the agency our friends used. I guess I just wanted to go with an organization that was well established and that I felt I could trust.

We contacted the agency by an email that was listed on their website in December. We had a very brief interest form to fill out and were put on the waiting list for classes. The first step with them was to attend 6 information sessions. We found out in January that the classes were going to start the last week of February. We were a little impatient to start the classes since our first contact was in December and the classes didn't start until the end of February. But looking back it really wasn't a long wait. It feels much longer to be waiting for a baby than to have been waiting for classes to start!

Our first class was an orientation. We were given a folder with several forms to fill out over the next few weeks. We also had to gather all bank statements, proof and copies of insurance benefits, tax forms, pay stubs, copies of pet licenses, copies of our marriage license, and copies of our birth certificates. We each had to write an autobiography. We were given a page with specific questions to answer in our autobiographies. We also had to get fingerprinted. (For those of you in Tucson, if you ever need to get fingerprinted, I highly recommend going to the sherrif's office off Benson highway--it is computerized so no ink! I've had fingerprinting done before with ink and the no-ink method is definitely the way to go!) During the first class we also went over the adoption fees and tax credit laws.

All the paperwork we had to submit was so we could be certified through the courts and basically approved to adopt. The two social workers leading the class told us that if we were able to pass through their process that we would be able to pass through the courts. They also said they only had one couple they weren't able to get approved and it was because of some things they found on the couple's myspace page that weren't appropriate.

I think there were about 10 couples in the first class. We were of course sizing everyone up in the class! It was a good feeling to be in company with others who have experienced the same frustrations with infertility that I had. The agency requires that couples have an infertility issue in order to go through their adoption program, so I knew everyone there was in a similar boat.

We were most interested to find out that first class about what we could expect for timing--we wanted to know when we were going to get our baby! Our classes would be the next 5 weeks, then a joint interview, two individual interviews, and then waiting to be approved through the courts. Once on the "waiting families" list, the average wait time was less than 10 months. However, they'd had couples adopt in as little as 2 weeks or take as long as 2 years. They explained the longer wait times usually corresponded to the couples either having more restrictions on race or wanting a "closed" adoption. The agency encourages open adoptions, where there contact between the birthfamily and adoptive family occurs after the adoption. Studies have shown it is better for adopted children to have contact with their birthfamilies throughout their childhood. We learned more about open adoption as we attended the other classes.

It felt good to get the process started after that first class. It was also nice to be able to put a timeframe on when we thought we might get a baby. I told myself it would take about a year. David told himself it would take about 10 months. I of course was more conservative so as not to get my hopes up! I really dislike the thought of having my hopes crushed. I figured there could be plenty of opportunities for that to happen during the process so I was trying to minimize them as much as possible. It's good though that David and I have different perspectives on timing because it helps balance each other out.

Stay tuned to find out how our second class went!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our Infertility Story

I was inspired by Leatrice's blog the other day where she wrote how she wants to be open and honest about parenting. I have read many blogs of women who are/were pregnant, have kids, or are struggling with infertility, but I have not read anyone who is writing about adoption as they are going through it. I haven't looked, so now that I think of it I will probably search after I am finished writing and find someone else who is doing it. In the meantime, I decided I have an opportunity to give others an insight into what the whole process is really like.

I started to write EVERYTHING in this blog but then realized it was too much to read at one time, so I'm going to start with infertility.

The first time we tried to get pregnant was in 2005. After only six months of trying we decided I'd just go back on birth control and we'd wait a while longer--at least until after I was out of nursing school. We were both wishy-washy after I graduated in May 2007 about when we wanted to try again, but finally in January 08 we decided it was time. By July, nothing was happening, and when I mean nothing that includes nothing happening in my body. I wasn't ovulating, and having no montly visitor. So I went to the GYN and told her we were trying to get pregnant. Even though we'd only been trying for 7 months she referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist. Most healthy women don't get referred until after they've been trying to get pregnant for a year. In my case, there was no point in waiting the extra 5 months if my body wasn't doing anything.

The reproductive endocrinologist at that time decided to give me some hormones to try to start my cycle, which worked and then he prescribed the fertility drug, clomid. Clomid is a fertility pill that helps with ovulation, which I wasn't doing on my own. We tried clomid for about 5 cycles, with one round of intra-uterine insemination. Nothing. I also had a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy done in Feb 09which showed I had PCOS--polycystic ovarian syndrome. That means I have a bunch of cysts on my ovaries that keep me from ovulating. The doctor removed the cysts during the surgery, but they can come back in time.

I was hoping I might find out I was pregnant a few days ago. Turns out, I wasn't. This was my last month I was going to mentally try, if that makes sense. Even though I am excited about adoption I have also been hoping I could still get pregnant and we could have one "homemade" child and one or two adopted children. This was the last month I wanted to keep track of anything. So I was super-duper sad on Wednesday and had a really hard time getting through the workday. Thursday was about the same, and on Friday I went from being sad to grumpy. These emotions are the reason I don't want to keep track of things anymore. I imagine I will still have some disappointment each month but I'm going to work on it.

That's the infertility side of it. We talked about adoption early on in the marriage as something of an option that we thought would be "nice". I don't remember when I first thought about adoption, but it was sometime growing up. I just always thought it would be a great thing to do. Funny how adoption was always something I thought I'd want to do in addition to having my own children, but now it will become our primary means of having children!

Just as David and I were reaching a year of trying to get pregnant, we started talking about adoption. I wasn't interested in continuing to go to the doctor appointments every week or every other week. I also wasn't interested in spending a large chunk of money on in vitro, even though the nurse practitioner said my chances were really good that I'd be able to get pregnant that route. We felt strongly that God was calling us to adopt. Our reasons were not just because we couldn't get pregnant but because we wanted to take in a baby whose mother wasn't able to care for him/her as well as she wanted to. For us, I'd say adoption is 50% wanting to start our family and 50% wanting to take in a child and give him/her the opportunities in life he/she might not otherwise have.

In later posts I will write about the adoption process...stay tuned for more!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Forgiveness

Most people are too hard on themselves and not on others. Sometimes I think I am the opposite. I am not hard enough on myself and too hard on others. I wrote a post a couple weeks back about how I am quick to look at the sin in other people's lives, especially my husband's. I can pretty easily look over my own sin, though. It's because I know I am forgiven. I know that God's grace is abundant, hence the name of my blog.

Katie made such a good point the other day on my blog about how hard it is to know when and how to confront the sin you see in others. I've thought about that often over the last couple weeks and am realizing it must start in me with forgiveness.

One of the hardest things for me is to believe that what the Bible says is true, and that what is says happened, and that it came from God. In this case, my experience tells me it is true. It is unrealistic to think that I could just pass over the sin I see in my own life and around me and pretend it's not there. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden, they could no longer pretend sin did not exist once they ate from the tree. Because of this I have the ability to see sin in me and in others. So the only thing to do with that is to learn to be forgiving.

In adoption news, we are now in the "Waiting Families" book and are waiting to be picked. It could be two weeks or it could be two years. David and I are confident that the baby that comes home with us will be the one God designed for us. I am willing to wait as long as it takes. Knowing that it is not a matter of "if" anymore but a matter of "when" is comforting. Of course the unknown can be frustrating if I think about it too much but most things in life are!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Finding Faults

Finding faults in others is something I find myself doing way more often than I'd like to admit. I'm currently reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I started reading it because I've been wanting to read a good book and it was the only one on the shelf I haven't read completely through. And I've been too lazy to make it to the library. I had to persevere through the beginning of the book because it didn't say much I haven't heard a million times. But now that I'm about halfway through I'm glad I kept with it. This quote--"possessing the knowledge of someone's sin is a powerful and dangerous thing," struck a cord with me.

So much of marriage discussion in church revolves around focusing on yourself and your relationship with God. We're told to look at ourselves and find how we can depend on God and not our spouse for our fulfillment. We're encouraged to serve rather than focus on being served. Blah, blah, blah. All that is well and good, but I've heard it a million times!

The quote struck a cord because I realize that when I have a bone to pick with David, it is because I see some sort of "sin" in him that bothers me. But seeing that IS dangerous, because then I can blame my own shortcomings on him. His sin becomes a scapegoat for my own sin. My own sin exists apart from him, but because I can see his I then link my actions and feelings to his sin rather than separating my sin from his and turning to God for forgiveness, grace, and change.

This doesn't just apply to David, either. I do this with friends. I've been sort of proud of being the person who brings up what everyone else is thinking but won't say for fear of causing hurt feelings. I feel like I'm being brave and standing up for myself and everyone else, but I need to start evaluating this and realize that I can't blame my situation or frustration on anyone but myself.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Learning About Adoption

As I said in my last post, we started our adoption educatinal seminars this month. I have enjoyed them immensely for several reasons. I already spoke about the first class in the last post, so I'll go on to the second class. We had an adoptive father come to speak to us about the waiting that's involved. He and his wife waiting 2 years before they were matched. It was great to hear about his struggles and frustration of waiting, but it's also good to hear him and the two ladies from the previous week talk about how it is so easy to look back know and see how the wait was worth it and designed how God intended. He had a few options prior to the baby they were matched with but decided that those other babies weren't right for them. When they see those other children now they look at them and can see why their child is their child, and why the children they decided not to adopt were meant for another couple (they all get together each year for a picnic). Anyways, until the phrase "When it's meant to happen, it will" coming from these other adoptive parents, I HATED that saying, or sayings like it. It wasn't so much the saying, it was the knowing that the person who it was coming from was trying to give advice in an area they knew nothing about.

One other thing he mentioned last week that made me feel so much better was while they were waiting to adopt, his wife could be around some mothers and their kids and not others. That made me feel SOOOO much better, because I couldn't understand why it is no problem for me to hang out with some mothers and their kids and not others. It was good to know that maybe this is a normal feeling.

Last night we had a birthmother speak who had just given birth 6 weeks ago. The adoptive parents were there to speak to, and it was an awesome experience. It was so good to see both sides of it.

I also realized that I am not yet in any sort of excitement phase about adoption. People keep asking me if I'm excited and of course I say yes. But the thing is, I'm keeping my emotions calm because I know that once we get certified and we are officially on the list, it will be an extremely emotionally charged time. Right now, I just want to enjoy the things I have going on in my life and not be consumed on thoughts of adoption, because I know I will have plenty of time to be excited, worried, to cry, to hope, to be let down, then one day to have our baby and it all be worth it.