Man, I haven't posted in quite awhile!
Because writing is soothing and relieving for me, I could blog every single day. However, I wanted to make sure this blog was focused on our adoption journey so I haven't had much to post about lately. As most of you know, we were "active" with our agency on June 1st. It's crazy to think it's been 8 months so far! Unfortunately, it's been pretty quiet on the adoption front the past few months. We haven't heard from our agency at all. This doesn't necessarily mean no one looked at our profile, but it means that no one made the decision to meet us or choose us.
Also, as many of you know, I use social media to put our name out there and try to "self match." Self matching means that I would find an expectant mother on my own and match with her. We would always hope that she would want to work with our agency as we think they are outstanding and very supportive but, she wouldn't have to. We have received messages on Facebook from several expectant mothers, wanting to know more about us, more about the process, etc. Quite a few of the expectant mothers haven't necessarily chosen adoption yet, but are maybe considering it or thinking about it. So now you're thinking - what IS it like to speak to a woman who is pregnant and who may choose you to parent her child?? Well - REALLY REALLY SCARY is how it feels! I am constantly thinking about what to say, how to say it, when to say it, etc. It's almost like dating! I can't imagine how nervous the expectant mother on the other side feels - it's awkward and amazing and scary and nerve-wracking all in one.
Although it's been amazing to speak to several women, our discussions haven't gone much past a couple of days or weeks. This never makes me mad, or upset, because the expectant mother has the biggest decision of their life to make. Even though it doesn't upset me - it is emotional. It's a part of the journey that I wasn't expecting or thinking about. Another part of the journey that I wasn't ready for. A part of the journey that has me thinking "what was it about me?" "I wish I knew all the right things to say."
I still have faith that it will happen when it's supposed to happen. But - some days - it feels like it's been eternity. For 8 months straight I've been glued to my phone, to my e-mail, to my Facebook. Life can change so quickly - it will be one phone call, one text, one message. I pray that we will be the right fit for some amazing expectant momma to trust us that we will care for and love her baby forever.
Thank you to our family and friends for all the prayers, thoughts and sweet messages. You mean the world to us.
As I laid in bed two nights ago, restless, I said to myself - "I can't wait for Friday!" It's been a stressful week and I have a fun-filled weekend coming up. Then, I started thinking about the weeks to come and other fun that's planned and I kept wishing for time to move quicker to get to those times.
As I laid there, I then got to thinking about the adoption. I thought - gosh, I wish it was here already. I wish someone had picked us and I wish that my baby was sleeping next to me. I thought about this for a few minutes and finally fell asleep.
Time is so precious. Last night, I laid in bed again. For some reason, Zach popped in my head. For those of you that don't know, my step-sister, Brittany's husband, Zach passed away a few months ago, suddenly. Ever since he passed away, I think of him often. Isn't it weird how things like that happen? I didn't know Zach well and I didn't spend much time with him - but he obviously made an impact on my life. It's sad to think some of these things are realized after people are gone. As I was thinking about Zach, I thought, I wonder if he ever wished time away? I'm sure he did. We all do. But - if you knew you only had so much time left with those you loved - would you wish it away? I don't think so. The thing about Zach is that if he did ever wish time away - he sure didn't show it. His love for every breath he took and each moment he lived shined right through him. Zach - thank you for this. You've inspired me.
Time is so precious. It truly is one of those things that you will never get back. This entire adoption journey is truly that - a journey. This process of waiting for our beautiful child to come along is a part of the journey. It's a part that I want to remember and that I want to be able to talk about with other people. It's a part that I want to be able to explain to my child someday. I don't want to tell them that I was so excited that I missed that time in my life. I was sooooo excited and wishing the time away that I forgot to enjoy the little moments, to have fun preparing, to spend time with my amazing family and friends....
Time is SO precious. I think about my sweet goddaughter and sissy that I get to spend so much time with. I know for a fact that once Ryan and I have a baby, that will change that time. Nothing will ever get in the way of our relationship but, like everything else, it will be different. In the moments I have with them now, I need to enjoy and cherish every single moment. I think about all of the alone time Ryan and I get to spend together. Taking weekend trips up north or just sitting on the couch watching a movie. These are the moments I need to slow down and cherish. Even when I think about my weekdays - I work, go home, eat and work out. I need to cherish these moments! The chance and time I have for myself to go and work out is precious. I can't keep wishing it away.
Time is precious. It truly is. While it's so easy to wish for the weekend, or for that next trip, or....for a sweet baby, I am going to try and remember to slow down and enjoy those moments. Even if I can't wait until they are filled with bottles, cuddles and baby kisses :)
So...what do you do when your loved ones tell you to go with your gut...but your gut doesn't know what the heck is going on?! I promised I would be open and honest about this entire process. This blog is the first time I'm nervous as hell to tell you all what has transpired over the last 36 hours...
Ryan and I had our first opportunity to adopt a baby come to us on Tuesday night. What's exciting about this is that it came to us through someone I work with. As I've told you - so many times an adoption takes place because of word-of-mouth and this was the case for us. A co-worker of mine has a friend who has adopted children from Florida. The attorney of this woman had a case of a baby boy to be born in September. I requested information on the family and received it Wednesday morning. From there, the clock was ticking. Ryan and I would have exactly 24 hours to decide if we were interested in engaging in conversations with this expectant mother or not.
So, naturally, it's all I could think about at work all day. How could I even focus on work? I wanted to think, cry, smile, laugh and puke all at once. I wanted to call Ryan and talk but of course he was at work and wasn't available. I couldn't imagine what he was thinking - only knowing as much as I could send in a text.
22 hours left.
At first glance, I had concerns about some things in the information I got. I'm not going to go into details out of respect for those involved but something didn't feel right to me. I read the information over and over and over. I didn't want to miss anything. I wanted to make sure I understood everything. I read it so many times it all started to get blurry. How would I ever make this decision?
19 hours left.
I needed someone. I needed my Momma. I reached out to her via Facebook messenger while on lunch at work and exclaimed "ARE YOU THERE?!" I'm sure she was worried. But, I couldn't think about that. All I could think about was telling her each and every last detail about this situation. Then....I waited. I waited for the normal "go for it honey!" or "it sounds great!" that I normally get from my Momma. But, that didn't come. Instead, she shared her concerns, questions and fears. It matched my concerns. But...I still had hope. I was still hoping Ryan would see something I couldn't see.
16 hours left.
Leaving work, I needed more. I needed someone else to hear this story and to help me. I called Ryan...no answer. Ryan and I decided that when it came to a decision like this, we wouldn't tell anyone except family as to not bring anyone on this rollercoaster. Yet, I needed someone. So, I text my best friend who was working. She said -- come meet me, NOW! So, I made my way to Edina to meet her for dinner. In the meantime, I wanted to call my Dad. My Dad is always the voice of reason and surely he'll be able to give me an answer! I call my Dad and tell him the story. Again, he has concerns and questions...very similar to mine. He said "I'm sorry I can't tell you one way or the other, this is a hard decision!" I am SCREAMING in my head - SOMEONE JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO! I try calling Ryan again with no answer. So, I go to dinner with my best friend and explain the entire situation to her. Of course, she is supportive and positive. She wants this baby for us as much as we do. But, again, she can't make this decision for us.
14 hours left.
Heading home from dinner....call Ryan. Still nothing. Still working. So, I go home to sit on the couch and yet again - read the details of this situation. I think to myself - I am literally deciding if I want to start engaging in a conversation/relationship that will end in me being a mother. Who am I to say no?
13 hours left.
Ryan is FINALLY home. The poor man is shook and said he couldn't stop thinking about this all day (join the club)! I tell him that I've made a list of "pros and cons" and that he should do the same. So, he does, and we compare. Surprisingly, they are very different. The pros were longer on his list and shorter on mine. The cons were longer on my list and shorter on his. What now? Well, now we talk. And talk. And talk. And talk.
11 hours left.
I'm exhausted. I'm sad and nervous and upset. But, the decision is made. Our decision to pass up on this offer. Ryan is very satisfied. He is perfectly okay because we know it's not the right decision for us. In my mind, I know this is the right thing to do. Way too many red flags. We'd be settling. We'd be making a decision that could cost us a lot - both money and emotions - and could not work out. But -- I'm so sad. How could I not be sad?
2 hours left.
I woke this morning feeling grateful. Grateful to have such an amazing support team. Grateful to have the most amazing, caring, supportive husband in the world. He truly knows me. He gets me. We are 100% on the same page. Today I'm sad that I'm not going to be a mother...right now. But, I know that this was not my child. I can feel it. And -- I'm okay. My child is out there and I know when the right time comes, what will be, will be.
Thank you all for being on this journey with us. We are eternally grateful to our supporters.
The day has come. On June 1st, 2018, we got notified that we had fulfilled all of our requirements and we were officially "in the book" with our agency! This was such a surreal feeling for us. The past 6 months has been filled with paperwork, meetings, phone calls and deep thinking. Making books and profiles and writing letters, whew! It was fun to be busy and to think about where all of this was leading us. But now? Now we wait.
We wait until a woman and her support system start researching adoption.
We wait until a woman chooses adoption for her child.
We wait until a woman wants to look for a potential family for her child.
We wait until someone finds us, whether it be via social media or our agency.
We wait to meet these incredible people and find out more about them and their unborn child.
We wait until a sweet expectant mother chooses us to be parents.
I shared with some people that a few weeks ago, we met a mother who waited only 19 days before her and her husband were chosen to adopt. Today is our 19th day. It's a long shot that this will happen quickly, but it's fun to think about. On the other hand, the other day, I met a woman who waited 5 years to be chosen, only to have a failed match and is now waiting again. Such heartache. I cannot imagine this scenario. Either way, Ryan and I both are convinced that there is a plan for us. Whether it be 19 days or 5 years, we know that a sweet baby will be ours one day. A baby who we will choose each and every single day to be the love of our lives. I'm surprisingly calm and patient. If you know me, you know I'm normally neither of those things. However, I have such a peaceful, calm feeling about this wait. I feel so blessed to be able to pursue this journey and I will wait as long as I need to, to become a momma.
I want to share something I shared the day I sent in our final paperwork to the agency because it was truly from the heart. I want our tribe to know how special and amazing they are to us. Especially after this past weekend, where we had a fundraising garage sale - I am reminded of how blessed we are:
To those that have been there every step of the way - I’m in awe of you. We’ve put you through the ringer. Every emotion, every sad phone call, every hopeless text message, every piece of exciting news, every mood swing, every time something is checked off the list...you were there. We will never ever forget the love and support we have felt through this process. Whether you like it or not, you read the books, researched on your own, read every single blog, and send us articles on adoption. You are our everything. We could never thank you enough.
To my incredible husband… There aren’t words to describe my thankfulness for you. You have gotten through every step of this journey with a smile on your face and are always the first to make sure that I keep smiling as well. You are the strongest and most courageous man I know. This journey has not only made us stronger as a couple but has truly helped me believe we will make it through absolutely anything. You are my love of a lifetime.
And now....back to waiting.
Happy (belated) Mother's Day! Our day was filled with love from the morning to the evening. We started off the morning with the Walk for a Cure 5k. It's always such a beautiful morning! We then spent the day with Ryan's parents and grilled some fabulous food. Ryan and I ended the evening on the deck and enjoyed the weather.
Mother's day, baby showers, birth announcements are hard for some people on this journey. For me, these days aren't hard. In fact, I enjoy them. Being a parent and having a baby are some of the most joyous things someone can experience. It's absolutely beautiful and special when someone is able to be pregnant and give birth. Though I completely understand why it's hard for some, I'm glad that I can still enjoy these amazing events.
This Mother's Day, I thought long and hard about the fact that someday soon, I could be a mother. I felt excited, nervous, anxious and happy. During the day, 3 different people wished me a HMD. I thought - "huh!?" One friend from all the way back in elementary school explained: "Motherhood isn’t just physically having a child, it’s the mindset, love, dedication that YOU already have." How beautiful is that? It's crazy to think how in love I already am with a child I don't have yet. I can't wait to be their cheerleader, their love, their strength. I just can't wait.
Now - UPDATES! As you may know, Ryan and I finished our home study at the end of April. So, these first few weeks in May have been filled with preparing our letter and our book.
Remember the old saying, "it takes a village to raise child"? Well, in our case, it takes a village to bring a child home to us.
Our village is perfect.
Just this weekend, Ryan and I started discussing how many people we've interacted with in regards to our adoption. Starting last August, we started researching and talking to people about this whole "adoption thing." Since then, we visited agencies, participated in webinars, made phone calls, went to a conference and talked (a LOT) with family and friends. Just thinking of all those people that have had a hand in us being parents is overwhelming to think about.
Our village is eccentric.
Besides all of the amazing professionals we've come into contact with, Ryan and I started talking about our personal village. Our family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. Some of the people in this group have been there from Day one. From the day I was diagnosed with PCOS to the day where I was told "I'm sorry but, the pills aren't working." From the day we started researching agencies to the day that we chose. From our very first meeting to our final home study. Some people haven't been there. Some people in our lives have no clue what's going on, or only know because of what I share on social media or what they hear from others. It's inevitable that you will have those people, but those people are not in your village.
Our village is hilarious.
While discussing, I couldn't help but think about the fact that our village, our real, AMAZING village, had absolutely no say in being involved in this. Sure, they could be one of the ones that slowly disengages. They could ignore my blog, not call or text. But - that's the whole point of this post. Our village, our real, amazing village doesn't have a say. They would be there no matter what choice is made. But, at the end of the day, they had no choice in this. They are involved in this adoption journey no matter what. They have to hear about the meetings, the phone calls and the home inspections. They have to read the blogs, "like" the statuses and think of us when they hear "adoption."
Our village is country-wide.
They don't have a say. They are a part of our journey. They know probably more than they'd ever want or need to know about adoption. Like us, some of them have gone from feeling like this is a big scary journey to one that is peaceful and amazing. They are advocates for family being about love, not biology. They are researching adoption and tagging me in adoption-related posts. They are asking questions, sending texts and constantly wanting updates. There are so many amazing people in our village. Our village is family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. People who we never thought would be in our village, are in our village.
Our village is strong.
I could never begin to thank our real, amazing village for all they do for us. People don't understand how much it means to us when people read this blog, comment/like on social media or send us a text. You are getting us through this crazy, amazing, blissful process. We try to see the good in everything but there are still hard days. Our village will be there. They will be there until the day that we are able to say - "we are parents!" They will be there, I have no doubt in that. Some of you are our close family. Some are our best friends. Some are people we don't know well but have shown so much love and support in this journey. To those in our village, we thank you and we hope we can repay you some day for the love and compassion you have shown us.
Our village is everything.
We all have choices in life.
After a wonderful weekend/beginning of the week with my sweet husband, we spent his birthday (Tuesday, April 10th) in deep conversation about life and how everything in life is based on choices.
Everyone makes choices - simple choices like what to wear, what time to leave for work, what to make for dinner (ok, ok - not always easy) and what to do on the weekends. At the same time, everyone makes difficult choices - to leave a job, to get married or divorced, or to relocate. Your actions are choices as well. You choose to speak respectfully (or not respectfully) to others, you choose to assume things about someone else, you choose to go on a date with someone or to write in a blog.
Every choice you make is important. Every choice you make could not only impact your life, but others' lives as well. How often do we think about that? How often do you think about the choices you make and the way it affects others? Probably not as much as you should - I know I don't. No one is perfect. Let me say that again: no one is perfect. But choosing to love others for their imperfections is a choice I am happy to make.
It's no secret to many people that there is drama (quick note: drama is typically used in a negative connotation, though the definition of drama is "an exciting, emotional or unexpected series of events or circumstances) in everyone's life. Family, friends, co-workers, partners all make choices that may create drama. However, it is your choice to let it affect you. It is your choice as to how you move past whatever that drama is and how you come out on the other side. No one is perfect. Don't let anyone dull your sparkle. Choose to be happy. Choose to see light at the beginning, middle and end of whatever tunnel you're facing right now. Choose sparkle.
Ok --- you're probably now thinking...ISN'T THIS AN ADOPTION BLOG?! Yes, it is...I'm getting there - I promise! While Ryan and I were having this conversation, it quickly turned into a conversation about adoption. Choosing adoption was one of those difficult choices. It's not what you think - we were all about adoption and what it stands for - but the choice to allow ourselves to believe that someone would choose us as parents was the more difficult one. This is a choice that we battled with for a long time.
Our conversation turned to - what about the choice this sweet baby's mother, father and family have to make?! That choice is unimaginable. To hold a baby for nine months inside of you and make the decision to place them with another family, no matter the reason, has got to be one of the most difficult choices a person can make. This choice will affect a lot of people's lives.
We hope that this sweet momma knows that we will continue to choose her baby - and her (and the father, and family, etc.) for the rest of our lives. We hope that this momma knows that we will choose to put this baby first at every twist and turn of life. We will choose to teach this child things that will help them become an amazing person. We will choose to tell this child about their birth mother and the hard decisions that she made. We will choose to love this child as our own -- no matter what. We will always choose this child.
As our conversation dwindled and I walked towards our bedroom, I caught a glimpse of my first nursery purchase. Kinda perfect, huh?
Life is what you make it.
Life is short.
Choose to be happy.
We are our choices.
Some days are hard.
Some days I think...why did God choose this path for me? Am I strong enough for this? Can I do this?
Some days are hard.
Some days I feel like giving up, like no one could possibly understand.
Some days are hard.
Some days I question: why would someone choose me to be their babies mother? What makes me so special?
You know what's coming next - some days are hard.
I'm so lucky to have so many friends having babies. I hear things like "I hope she has a nose just like you!" or "I can't wait to breastfeed!" I think - no one will say those things to me. They don't need to. And I've come to terms with that. But...some days, that's hard.
Ryan and I had our first home study meeting at our agency. We met our Adoptive Counselor (Amy) and she said "Adoption isn't for wussies!" It's true. Adoption is definitely not for wussies. It takes guts. And heart. And passion. And selflessness. And being strong enough to tell someone "no, wait, it's not 'giving up' for adoption, it's 'placing.'" It's being able to tell someone who asks "so how long will it take?" that it may take weeks and it may take years. Some days, that is hard.
If you read one of my first entries, I talk about cocooning and the process in which newly adoptive parents keep their child to themselves for the first few weeks of the child's life. Of course, this isn't a law or a rule but more a suggestion. I think about this a lot. I can't help but wonder if this is something that we will do. The birth mother will have up to 60 days to sign her rights over. Then, she'll have 10 working days to rescind that decision. So...will I cocoon? That would be hard.
People always ask - so when will you adopt?! I smile. I think - gosh, that's a great question. Amy told us that she's had clients that were chosen one week after being in "The Book." She also has clients that have been waiting 6 years. So...what do I say? Why does it have to be SO DAMN HARD?
It was hard yesterday. But today? Today isn't hard. Today I woke up with the love of my life and thought about how amazing of a father he will be. Today I remembered that we get to go to a meeting tonight with our agency and meet birth mothers who will answer questions and tell us about their experience. Today I realized that I'm going to be a mom. I'm not sure when - but I will be a mom to a sweet precious baby that I will love until my heart explodes.
In the words of the incredible Ice Cube...today was a good day.
Well - we did it. We had our first meeting with the agency that we will (hopefully) bring home a baby from! It was nerve wracking and super exciting all at the same time. The meeting was relaxed and involved discussion about our reasons for choosing adoption, our thoughts and feelings about the agency and the process and got a lot of questions answered. For those who are wondering, here's the next steps:
The home study process can take up to 3 months so...hold on tight. Thank you all for the prayers and thoughts - we can feel them. XOXOXO! As always, contact me with any questions. I'd love to chat!
This was my exact expression at about 1:00PM today. Speechless. What, you ask? First, the back story.....
Ryan and I, in mid-December, decided to move forward with the agency, Adoption MN. Once we received their fee schedule, it was clear to us that we needed about $15,000 up front to start the process. So, we started researching and looking into different loans to front the money for this process to start. After looking into things and speaking to our parents, we decided a Home Equity line of credit would be best. Knowing we needed $15k up front but then wouldn't need the rest of the money until we finalize (which could be 2 years), we knew this was best. So, naturally, we went to Wells Fargo since we do all of our banking there and have forever.
The process was intimidating, daunting and plain scary. We went to the bank and were asked what seemed like 1000 questions. Our banker was short with us and didn't explain much of anything. After about an hour, we left - hopeful and excited. After not hearing from our banker for over a week, I reached out, only to be told "you've been declined." When I asked for reasoning, I wasn't given any. Still, to this day, we haven't received anything that said why we were declined.
My husband and I were completely devastated. We didn't know what else to do or what to try. I spoke to friends, family and in particular, my friend, Ryan Weber, who is a Manager at the US Bank in Maple Grove. He told me to give US Bank a shot. Frustrated and scared, I decided to do the online application as to not have to go into a branch and be upset.
MUCH to my surprise, within a day, I heard from both Andrea (our loan advisor) and from a representative from the Burnsville, MN branch. They both welcomed me to the process and thanked me for choosing US Bank. Wow - what a life changer. Soon after, I told Andrea what I was looking to get the loan for. Her response gave me goosebumps:
"First, let me say this...I am so excited to be a part in this process to help you guys achieve your dreams of adoption! This is something that is near and dear to my heart and I am so thrilled I was assigned as your processor."
To get a message so personalized and thoughtful was incredible. Each day I'd submit paperwork to Andrea and she would get back to me within no time at all. I felt like I had personalized service - like I was her number one priority.
And....(drumroll please)....today we were APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!! Totally and completely approved. All we have to do now is go and sign the final paperwork on Saturday and we will have the money to start the adoption process.
For those of you still hanging on - thank you. This process is a long one and many times I don't have updates. For those that ask, pray, and send vibes - we feel you. You are our everything. Thank you so much! On we go.....!