Wednesday, December 14, 2011

not it

The birth-parents I wrote about earlier- they did not choose us. There are some complicating factors and drama surrounding that situation that our case worker shared with us that left a small possibility that we could maybe possibly be chosen if some things fell through. Not holding our breath at all though. And we're really ok with it all. I am really hoping that we don't have to be drug through that process too many more times though! Sheesh. God's grace is with us and he's holding up our faith so that we can trust in His good plan. We know he has something wonderful in store that will come soon. His grace sustains.

Carrie

Thursday, December 8, 2011

hope beyond the visible

Having a sad day today. This article was the soul-food I needed. Thank you Jesus for being my hope.

Love this quote:
"God was not done when Noah was in the boat, Sarah was barren, Joseph was in prison, Moses was on the run from Pharaoh, the children of Israel were pinned against the Red Sea, the walls of Jericho blocked possession of the promised land, Gideon was hiding from the Midianites, Samson was seduced by a woman and blinded, Ruth was widowed, David was mocked as a boy facing a giant, Job’s children were all killed, government officials persecuted Daniel, Jonah was in the belly of a fish, Paul couldn’t get rid of his thorn, and Jesus was put in the grave. God is not done!
Hope is not undone, because he is not done!"   Sam Crabtree

Carrie

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

fresh tears

Tonight I shared my "life story" in the new small group we're part of. When I got to the part about losing our baby I totally lost it. I was surprised at myself and I think Ryan was surprised too. A few reasons why: I sorta never cry in front of other people. Not that I stifle it, but I just sorta am able to keep it together usually. Also, I realized I hadn't talked about that experience as a "story" in a really long time. Explaining all the events all together was really emotional. I haven't cried over it in a while. And also.....I realized how much I miss that little one. I'm so excited about our soon-coming-child that I guess I don't think about our other baby as much as I used to. (That makes me sad to realize that.) But talking about them in the context of my entire life and everything that we went through- it was just really sad and I felt so sharply that longing to have them with us right now. I wish the baby we're expecting through adoption was going to be kiddo #2 in this house. I wish they could grow up together...that we could all be together here.

Oh precious one how we miss you! We're so thankful for those 8 short weeks we had with you. Our hearts break all over again wishing you were here. You changed our lives forever. In my heart you'll always be "our first baby". I can't wait to meet you in our forever home. Your Mama and Papa love you so much.

wishing i had news

So I haven't written in awhile because I was really hoping my next post would be a fun announcement about a birth-family choosing us.....but instead we're now 4 weeks in to waiting to hear back about a particular birth-family who were given our profile by our agency. 4 weeks ago we got a call from our case worker that our profile was being presented to a birth-family and that we'd hear soon if they wanted to take the next step of meeting us. But.....4 weeks and still no word. We haven't been sharing that particular bit of info very widely so I had hesitated to write anything on here. But now that we've been waiting 4 weeks I sorta feel like ah what the heck I'll share!

Since we've never been through this before we don't know what "normal" is, so maybe 4 weeks is no biggie to wait to hear if a birth-family wants to meet you or not....but it's been feeling like a pretty long wait. Each week our case worker says "one more week" and then it just keeps stretching out. I would so much rather not know that they are even considering us and just get the call that someone has chosen us and wants to meet us. We know some details about the birth-parents and the baby and that made it all very personal and so specific and really hard to not get our hopes up.

This process is such an emotional rollercoaster that I now think no one can really prepare you for such an experience. Everyone's story is different so having expectations is pointless. There are so many steps and so many things that can possibly happen. This family could choose to meet us, and then not choose us as the adoptive parents. Or they could choose us as the parents and then change their minds at about a million other points along the way. Anything can happen!!!! Control freaks beware! This experience will completely unravel you! You have ZERO control over what happens. All you can do is trust the Lord and let things play out as he wills. You can't control the birth-parents' decisions or the timing with the agency or anything!

Suffice it to say I'm really glad that we can enjoy the distraction of Christmas right now so that we're not just totally focused and obsessed about hearing from these birth-parents. It has also been helpful to put ourselves in their shoes (in the very limited way that our minds are able to do that) and to think of what an insanely difficult decision this is and that it's not something that can be rushed and that I would also want to really take my time in choosing my child's parents and it's really just so selfish of us to be impatient about that.

Hopefully we'll hear at least something by next week and we'll know what direction this is going in next. And if this isn't our baby then it's ok because we know that he or she is still out there and it'll just be a little longer until the Lord brings them home to us.

Carrie

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

the honest truth

Here's a re-post from a blog I've read a bit by a girl who pretty much has the same story as us. Her honesty is so helpful, especially as she's farther down the road than I am and is dealing with the realities of an open adoption, which we also hope to have. This is really helpful for me to hear- to know that I'm normal in my grief- and I thought it could be a helpful perspective for you to hear as well- whether you're in the same place as I am or you're just in the supporting community around adoptive families.


What I Need You to Know 

This isn’t easy for me. Adoption is hard. Really hard. Extremely beautiful and wonderful, but hard. I need to tell you at least two things on my mind lately about this: Adoption does not cure infertility.


1) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard well intentioned people say, “You know what they say…once you adopt, then you’ll end up pregnant!”. Yes, I know they SAY that. But can I tell you that statistically about 5% of adoptive couples go on to conceive. I do not struggle with infertility because I am too occupied with getting pregnant. Stress doesn’t cause infertility, infertility causes stress. Our adoption of G does not mean I will end up pregnant. I could get pregnant…but it won’t be because we adopted. Unless you’ve been through infertility hell, you wouldn’t understand so I have grace that people just don’t really know what to say so they say something that sounds encouraging and hopeful.


2) Even though I have G in my arms, I am still grieving. He was not a “fix” for my pain and grief. He is an amazing gift and my heart has never known a love like this, but that isn’t what heals my grief. It helps though. Please understand that adoptive couples still have things they need to mourn whether it be their infertility, the loss of a pregnancy, or the reality that their motherhood/fatherhood is still different than most of their friends in many ways.


Can I be honest with you for a second and let you in on some of the heart-happenings of this adoptive mama?


I still feel very sad at times. Sad that I don’t have pregnancy stories, I didn’t feel my boy kicking, I wasn’t able to nurse him, and that I didn’t give birth to my own son.


I have moments of anger. Anger over losing a child, that we somehow couldn’t conceive again, that it seems so easy for everyone else, that I wasn’t there for my child’s birth, and that I have to share him unlike most mothers I know.


I’m jealous.


I’m scared. Scared that I’ll fail, that open adoption will be too hard and I’ll never feel 100% secure, that maybe my love for G is lacking because I didn’t carry his first 9 months of existence, that he’ll love her more than me, that I will end up pregnant and G will feel “less than”, or that I’ll miss out on everything extraordinary about the mysteries of adoption and what it can teach me about being God’s child.


I stand on the affirmation that my emotions are very real and normal for where I’m at right now. I realize that my fears are typical of mamas who adopt and probably won’t ever be true. And I trust that God grafted our family together perfectly, that G being my son is no accident, and that His plan has turned out better than anything I could have schemed up.


I love G with every fiber of my being. Some days are still so surreal that I can only praise the One who made me his mommy! I absolutely adore him and that makes enduring even the messy parts of this journey worth it.


All for the glory of my God.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A post about the conference- finally

We attended the Together for Adoption Conference last month and ya.....I never wrote a post about it. I had so many thoughts and convictions and we learned so much and my heart was so impacted- but I just don't feel like it's something I'm going to pour out on here. It's stuff that's still going on between me and the Lord, ya know? So instead I thought I'd post some of the great resources that came out of the conference. And- I'll mention that the majority of the teaching at the conference was focused on our adoption in Christ and the beauty of the Gospel viewed through that lens. The break out sessions were more focused on specific, practical adoption issues. So overall we thought it was a great balance of great Gospel teaching by some stellar preachers and some real nuts and bolts about issues in adoption we will most likely deal with.

Here is a great summary of a break-out session about trans-racial adoption by Vermon Pierre, pastor of Roosevelt Community Church here in Phoenix and adoptive dad-
Trans-racial adoption: Vermon Pierre

There were several videos they showed of a few families' adoption stories and others that hi-lighted work among orphans in certain countries and I'm pretty sure every single one of them made me cry. This one in particluar speaks so much beautiful gospel-truth!
Stewart Family adoption story video

This guy was a great note taker! There were several "feature bloggers" who I guess it was their whole job just to take really good notes and form them in to blog posts. So thankful they did that because my own notes lagged a bit at times. Here he links to his notes from all the main sessions- the ones with the really stellar preachers I mentioned earlier. Such good stuff!!
Main session notes

Carrie

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

planting in hope

Last week on the one year anniversary of losing our baby I woke up with a knot in my stomach and wondered what I would do all day to keep my mind and my hands occupied. I didn't want to just sit around depressed all day. Plant. That's what came to mind. I wanted to plant something.

I bought two geraniums, a red one and a pink one. Most of the time I think of our baby as a girl, so the pink made me think of her. I wanted to get my hands in to soil, around roots, to feel the sunshine, to cup something living and help make it thrive, to marvel over God's creation of delicate petals and vibrant green leaves- to plant in hope....in hope of what is yet to come of all of this.

The day before that I guess I felt a lot of dread and anticipation about the coming anniversary. All the horrible memories and awful scenes flooded my mind. I could feel that cold, empty, sick, gripping, life-stealing feeling all over again. The moment at my sister's house after dinner when I knew this wasn't going away. Sobbing on her shoulder as we left the house, and her kids watching me with fearful eyes. Sobbing the whole car ride home. Calling my midwife. Knowing this was coming like a freight train right on me and saying "I can't do this!" as I clung to my husband. Deciding to go to the ER. Too many horrendous things that happened there that I try to shove out of my memory. The doctor who finally, finally told us what we already knew. Home with pain killers, waiting for the inevitable. Waking just a few hours later. Seeing my baby with my own eyes. Then the body-shock and the consuming pain and the blood and my husband calling 911. The ambulance ride in the middle of the night. My baby in a plastic bag. Unbelief that all of this is seriously happening. Pain-relief at the hospital and then released later that day. Hearing that even my father-in-law, my brother, my little nephews and niece had cried for us, for our baby. And then the blur of days, weeks, months that passed in a haze of grief and pain, while outside much of life continued on as normal.

If you've been reading this blog much then you know how God walked me from there to here. Amazing really. I never would have imagined I'd be here and that I'd be like this- expectant, hopeful, joyful, living an abundant life, waiting for a new son or daughter to join our family. We sowed many tears, and God is reaping a harvest of joy for us.  
 "Those who sow in tears
  shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
   bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
   bringing his sheaves with him."
                     
                                                                               Psalm 126:5-6
Sometimes I still sow tears. It's interesting at times to see how the joys and sorrows are so mixed and often times so connected- with the baby that was and the baby that will be. My friend so poignantly noted that the baby we lost is now the brother or sister of the baby we will soon receive. I seriously had never thought of that before and I don't know why not. And one day our child will swing on the branches of the tree we planted last weekend in memory of our baby in heaven. A sweet little memorial tree for our baby in our yet-to-be-landscaped backyard.

We felt so compelled to do something for the anniversary and then we both thought of planting a tree. It's tiny but it has several little branches full of broad, bright green leaves and I can see it in my head, all tall and strong with leaves canopied over the yard, receiving years and years of children's laughter, backyard birthday parties, games of hide and seek, little legs jumping in piles of raked up autumn leaves, small hands hanging up a bird feeder or helping papa make a tree house in the strongest branches. A tree for the baby we lost, to be a tree for the children we will receive.

Sowing in hope. Right there in our backyard. I can see it from our kitchen window. I loved this house because of that kitchen window so bright and happy to the backyard. I can see the tiny tree waving in the breeze and I can see the two pots of bright geraniums. Our own statement that death is not the final word. It's not the way it's supposed to be. The dry, barren earth can be redeemed. There will be life where there has been death. We'll see it here, right before our very eyes. We'll touch it as surely as we've touched the leaves and roots of these plants.

Hope has been sown, right along with these tears. Mingling in the hands of our Creator to bring forth something we still can hardly imagine. He is the Author of hope, the only reason this story has hope, the only way for hope to sustain through anything in the future that befalls our lives. He is it. These babies aren't the hope. HE is the hope.

"...shall come home with shouts of joy"- No shout of joy will compare with my shouts on that day when I enter my final home and Jesus takes these burdens of grief and death and living from me and holds me in him forever. That's the home and the joy my hope is set on.

Carrie

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

this week

This week is not a good week. Thursday will mark one year since we lost our baby. I'm feeling sad and gloomy and just want to fast forward through the sadness and get to next week. My hubby was saying last night that it feels like we need to DO something on the 29th to mark it or memorialize it somehow. But we don't know what and I don't think I'll really feel like going anywhere or doing anything because it's going to just be so sad. He did say though that he'd handle dinner that night so I don't have to mess with it. Love this man.
What a journey this past year has been.
Sigh.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

summer 2011 catch-up

Lots has gone on around here this summer- so here are the highlights:

Adoption paperwork DONE July 27th and turned in the next day. 


August 2nd-5th- A lovely trip to San Diego, Capistrano Beach and La Jolla to soak up some ocean-ness and enjoy a welcome break from the stifling, staggering heat of Phoenix. We most enjoyed: walking around outside in the cool air, penguins and polar bears and sea turtles at Sea World, visiting Ryan's Grandma who blessed me immensely with a beautiful baby blanket she knit for our soon-to-arrive little one, peering in to tide pools and watching seals in the ocean.



August 20th-21st- landscaped our front yard in 115 degree summer weather. Crazy- ya. Went from a really gross dirt yard to a nice, clean-edged modern desert landscape. Yes folks- it's Phoenix, it's hot, it's dry, water is expensive- so this is what you get! Mad props to my husband for being awesome and having strong muscles and being the one who did 99% of the work on that thing (shoveling, digging, building steel borders, taking a big stick from a cactus spine, sweating lots etc). Monstrous Mexican Bird of Paradise in the back planter already existed and is yet to be conquered. 


September 3rd-5th- Labor Day up north with some of my family at our cabin. Pretty much my favorite place on the planet. Sitting in a glider on the front porch, looking out at the trees, smelling clean pine-scented air, hearing the familiar voices of family, coffee cup in hand: the pinnacle of relaxation for my soul. Did NOT, NOT, NOT want to come home so quickly.


 We had our first home-study appointment on September 1st, and then the 2nd and 3rd appointments actually combined in to one on September 12th because of some scheduling issues with our case worker. And theeeeeeen on September 15th she called us to say we were APPROVED!!! Just like that- in only 4 1/2 months we went from the start of our training classes to official agency approval. The application process was so smooth and quick for us, but I know it's not that way for everyone, so we're really thankful. So now we wait for a birthmother to pick us! Please Jesus make it soon!


 On September 6th we got news from a dear, precious friend of mine that the Lord had led them to give us a hugely generous gift for our adoption. I was speechless over God's provision and felt so spoiled by Him. It was SO unexpected I was just overwhelmed by His goodness and His lavish gifts to us. A few other folks have also told us they would like to help us and we're so so blessed. Jehovah Jirah- God Provides- indeed!

Standing back and watching how God has worked all of this out so far I feel like I have a little soap box I wanna stand on for a second here. I have heard some people make comments about how they can't pursue adoption right now because of how expensive it is, that if the costs weren't so "prohibitive" that they'd have a baby by now and the process seems so complicated and it takes so long etc etc. (I'm not talking about validly waiting for God's timing. I'm talking about these vague sort of "excuses" I've heard tossed around.) 
Ahem. I will step out and say that reveals a true lack of faith in God's ability to provide and unbelief in the miraculous ways he is able to bring the finances and the whole process together. It also discounts the power of the body of Christ to surround you in support and rally around the beauty of the gift of adoption for your family- and -it denies them the opportunity to be challenged toward generosity and to participate in this momentous experience in your lives in a very tangible way (by donating towards your adoption fees). Family building is a very personal and sensitive subject, but when it comes to adoption you can't go it alone and you shouldn't be so private and perhaps prideful to think that you should just handle all of it on your own. Letting people know about your financial needs won't kill you, although it may just kill your pride. It's an awesome invitation to those who are excited for you and want to be part of this with you. Or perhaps you aren't ready to make the changes in your personal finances and seriously adjust your spending to actually save for these costs. Either way, there are some real heart issues going on that need to be laid out before the Lord. If you seriously want to adopt and really feel called to that by God, then these are not serious roadblocks. I have heard lots and lots of adoption stories where it seemed like the challenges were just too huge, the walls too looming and the details too complex to ever really come together- but God was always working and eventually it happened and children were brought to their forever families through miraculous stories written by God. Search your heart and sit with Jesus to see what's going on underneath the "excuses". With God all things are possible. Seriously.

And now I promise to be a better blogger and keep you more updated on our waiting process. Waiting, waiting, oh the waiting!

 Carrie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stay tuned!

Hello. Hi. Wowzers where has the time gone!?!? I totally did NOT intend to have this huge lag in updates here. I have news and photos and excitement and stories to tell! But....not tonight because I am way tired. Just wanted to put this up for those of you who might keep checking back hoping I've posted something new and keep getting disappointed. Stay tuned for some goodness coming up :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Learning more

Once we made the decision to jump in to the adoption process I quickly realized how little I really knew about adoption. I've shared before about how extremely helpful and beneficial the classes from our agency have been. I also wanted to just mention a few other things that have been helpful to me so far.

Ok we haven't gone to this yet, but I'm anticipating that it's going to be super duper great. In October we get to attend the Together for Adoption conference. Registration is still open if you're interested in going.

And here are a few books I've read that I thought were good:

Secret Thoughts of An Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldrige
Raising Adopted Kids by Lois Ruskai Melina
Adopted for Life by Russell Moore
Post-Adoption Blues by Karen Foli (although it was a bit depressing because it gives a lot of examples of tough adoption situations)
Saying Goodbye to a Baby: The Birthparent's Guide to Loss & Grief in Adoption by Patricia Roles
The Whole Life Adoption Book by Jayne Schooler
A Treasury of Adoption Miracles by Karen Kingsbury
Baby, we were meant for each other: in praise of adoption by Scott Simon 
Making Room in our Hearts: Keeping Family Ties Through Open Adoption- Micky Duxbury

I'm sure I'll be able to add to this list as time goes on. There are some great blogs I've read as well, but I won't list all of those. Suffice it to say there are so many wonderfully helpful resources out there and with the interwebs these days it's not too hard to find them :)

Carrie



Done and done

My hubby keeps reminding me that I haven't written on here in forever- so here's a catch-up post:

We finished our seven weeks of classes on July 12th and just today I turned in our huge pile of paperwork to the adoption agency! Woo hoo! Done and done. Fingerprints, life history, criminal history, medical release, birth and marriage certificates etc etc etc......It's finally done!!! What a relief to have that part finished. It was totally the type of thing that you look at and think "Oh that won't take too long to do." Uh, wrong. Two months later we finally answer the last question and sign the billionth form. One step closer to baby :)



I was a bit bummed for our classes to come to an end because it was just so good to be learning so much each week and to be with others who are on the same journey. It's so crazy to think back to the start of the seven weeks and to remember certain things I thought and felt back then, and now to see how God really changed my heart and mind and taught me sooo much. I'm so so thankful for our agency and for those classes. I seriously wouldn't be in the place I am right now if we hadn't gone through the classes. The biggest change was my view of open adoption and birthmoms. I wrote about that in this post. 

The other thing that I learned in the classes that is such a vital part to my experience is that it's normal and healthy to continue on in the grieving process- grieving past losses, but also grieving the losses that come with adoption. Continuing to think through, process through, feel sad, cry, and talk about the things that we don't get to experience because of adoption is such an important part of a healthy adoption experience. And I know now that it doesn't mean that I won't love our adopted child or that this is second best or I'm not ready. It actually means that I'm approaching it in the most healthy way possible by having eyes wide open to the realities of adoption and allowing my heart to fully feel the weight of all that that means. If I wasn't thinking through all these things or just stuffing them down or trying to act like adoption is perfect and what I think and feel doesn't matter right now- then I'd be a ticking time bomb ready to explode later on, probably to the great detriment of our child. In some ways parenting is parenting, but it is completely naive and stupid to try to pretend that adoption doesn't change things. There are facts that must be faced.

This past Sunday was a rough day for both Ryan and I. We both were mourning our baby who is in heaven. And I was really being hit hard all over again with the losses that come with adoption. It was just one of those days when it felt like thing after thing kept coming up and I just couldn't get away from all the reminders. Just as we pulled in to the parking lot at church a pregnant lady and her little boy walked past our car. Obviously there are pregnant people all around, but for whatever reason seeing that particular lady just made me sad. I miss our baby and wish that he/she had stayed and continued growing and was here with us now. And when I think of the baby God will bring us through adoption, I wish I could carry them in my womb as well. I wish I could have that connection, and be able to nourish them and keep them safe and bond with them in that way. But I don't get to experience that.

Then in church there was a mama and her adorable little daughter in front of us. Now this was not just any mama and daughter- this was one of those who look exactly, exactly like each other. You know what I mean? The spitting image of her mama right there on her little chubby two-year old face. She was being cute and we both kept smiling and watching her. And then I realized I wouldn't have that. My child's face will not mirror mine. My child will not bear any family resemblance to us. We won't compare baby pictures when they're born trying to figure out if they have Ryan's nose or my eyes. Our child will not come from us and will not bear any similarities that come from our DNA. This is the truth and it's a loss and it's something I grieve. And it's something I must grieve through so that I do not unfairly place a burden on my child to live up to my "dream baby" and to allow the Lord to open my heart to the child he brings into our family- no matter how much or how little they look like us. In my mind I already love that little face, whatever it looks like, but at the same time I grieve that we won't be able to look at each other and see our family in each other.

Then to top it all off there was a very cute pregnant couple sitting near us, apparently pregnant with their first. The husband had his hand on his wife's belly nearly the whole service and they were just glowing and obviously feeling the baby move together. It made me remember the ridiculous joy we shared in when we realized our little one was growing inside me. It filled us with awe to know they were right there with us and that he/she was there wherever we went. It brought us so close and we were so so happy. And then I think of the baby God is going to bring us and how maybe they have already been conceived and they are growing out there in some other woman's womb. My baby. Growing in another mother's womb. I so wish Ryan and I could share so intimately in the early months of our baby's life. We can imagine it, but it's not the same. No ultrasounds and heart beats and first kicks and talking to the belly. We hope and pray that God blesses us with a birthmom who allows us to experience the remainder of her pregnancy with her as much as possible, but who knows. It's still a loss and it still makes me very sad and I still wish that the baby who will be ours was growing in my tummy right now and that Ryan and I were sharing in that together. Yet another thing to grieve through and to let the Lord speak healing and comfort over.

So that's where I'm at these last few days. So excited to be moving through the process and getting closer to our baby, while also grieving the realities of what all of this really means. And yet those are not conflicting things! A few days ago I had a good cry over these things and in my internal dialogue with our baby-to-come I wanted them to know that even though I was feeling sad over these things that it didn't mean at all that I didn't want them to come or that I wanted them less or that I was disappointed that this is how things turned out. In my mind they are already ours. My child. Through adoption. Not any other way. I don't know who they are, what they will look like, how all of this will turn out or anything- but I know he or she is mine and I can't wait to hold them in my arms at long last.

Next up: we'll start the home study in a couple weeks. More updates to come :)

Carrie

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Heartache

Tonight our class was all about birthmoms and what the adoption experience is like from their side. I cried multiple times throughout the class and my heart was just aching for these women the whole time. We watched a video with interviews of birthparents and then a birthmom came in and spoke in the class. Ryan asked me on our drive home what I was thinking and I just burst into tears. But let me back up and start from the beginning of this part of the story.

When we were first considering working with the agency we chose we found out that they preferably do open adoptions. Open adoption means that the adopted child and the birthparent(s) have the opportunity to form an ongoing face to face relationship. This is opposed to a closed adoption where the adopted child may know some identifying information about their birthparent(s) but does not meet them face to face or have any communication with them (unless they choose to search for them later in life). To clarify, open adoption does not mean co-parenting. Legally the adoptive parents are the absolute "real" parents and the birthparents can never interfere with that or change that status in any way. Open adoption encourages occasional visits throughout the year and fosters a mutually beneficial, trusting and honest environment for the adopted child to grow up in. Research has proven that this is the healthiest approach to adoption for the adopted child and the birth family. It doesn't always work out perfectly, but it is the preferred path for adoption.

Now, when I first learned about that my first thought was "No way is there gonna be another set of parents to deal with! This is gonna be MY baby and I don't want to share them with anyone else!" I thought the birthmom should move on with her life and I didn't want her interfering with how we were going to raise OUR child. I imagined having these incredibly insecure and competitive feelings around the birthmom. We'd tell our kids all about their adoption story when they were old enough to understand and that would be just fine. Oh man I had so much to learn!

For some reason God made me open enough to the concept to at least move forward with this agency. Ah I'm so glad he did! And I'm so thankful that he's in the business of graciously and tenderly changing hearts!

I went from feeling very put-off by the idea and not wanting anything to do with the birthmom, to now tonight crying mournful tears for her and feeling such heartache over what she will be going through. I now feel like the absolute best case scenario would be an open adoption. For the sake of our baby, I pray God grants us that. I want our child to have that connection, to feel those binding ties, to see the noses and eyes and freckles that are in their DNA and all over their face. It's an ideal for sure, but it's one we and our agency thinks is worth striving for. (However, all types of situations can present themselves and we may end up with no choice in the matter in the end if a birthmom has already made up her mind that she wants a closed adoption, or if we receive a safe-haven baby whose mother is not identified at all.)

I'm sure I'll write more about open adoption as things continue. What I really intended to write about tonight though was birthmoms. Once I say the word most of us probably come up with a stereotypical picture of a girl who is "giving her baby up". We may envision all birthmoms as 16 years old, carelessly sleeping with their boyfriend, doing drugs, not getting any prenatal care, in denial of her pregnancy and just waiting for the day she can give her baby away. This can be the case sometimes, yes. But I'm learning more and more about the great variety of situations that birthmoms come from and that the majority of them have their heart invested in their baby and are choosing adoption because of love. Our teacher tonight even said that adoption is always a choice of love. And the more I learn about where the birthmom is coming from, I really believe that. Even from what can appear to be the very worst of situations, that woman decided above all to choose life for her baby and beyond that to choose a bright and hopeful future for that baby by planning for adoption. She may not have been able to provide anything else at all, but those two decisions made the absolute difference.

The other part that grips my heart and reaches down to the core of my own loss and grief is what the birthmom goes through as she places her child with the adoptive family and says goodbye to being their mother forever. In the hospital she has only a couple precious days to say both "hello" and then "goodbye" to the baby that's been part of her for every second of every day for the past nine months. She will leave the hospital with an empty womb and empty arms. It is an experience super charged with both inexplicable joy and also immense sadness and loss as the adoptive family embraces their so-longed-for baby, the baby leaves the only mother they've ever known and the birthmother realizes that she's made the best decision, even as her heart is breaking.

So many emotions for everyone involved- joy and loss for everyone involved. It's hard to explain how it is all interwoven, but my heart is starting to connect to that part of this process. We've waited so long to receive our baby, what on earth would we possibly feel sad about in that moment? We're gaining a child, what loss could we be experiencing? I can't put words to it all tonight, but I'm seeing it all come together now- how there is this tapestry of loss and love and grief and wholeness that the adoptive parents, the baby and the birthmom will all experience. Maybe in very different ways, and sometimes in very similar ways.

A few weeks ago I told Ryan that somehow I felt like something in me connected to the sense of loss that the birthmom feels because of losing our baby. It's obviously a very, very different type of loss and a very different situation- and I would never want to make a comparison that in any way minimizes the great sacrifice that is involved in choosing adoption for your child. But there's this part of my heart, and it really flared up tonight, that connects to the heartrending of saying goodbye to your baby and leaving the hospital empty-armed. I know it's not the same, but maybe it's just that sense that it's not supposed to be that way. We wouldn't need to adopt other people's children and mothers wouldn't need to make adoption plans for their babies if it weren't for the dark and deadly effects of the fall that creates these situations. This wasn't how God planned for families to grow. I know he redeems it and writes beautiful stories out of it all, but this was not the original plan. There wasn't supposed to be infertility and there wasn't supposed to be people placing their children into other peoples arms. We weren't supposed to have to say goodbye to our babies.

So tonight I'm thinking about the hospital experience and all that the birthmother of our child will feel and think and say and do and I just feel very sad for her.....so very grateful, and also just sad. We don't know how much we'll get to interact with the birthmom at the hospital, if at all, but I imagine I'll be a puddle of tears most of the time- tears of joy and these tears of mourning. Oh Jesus how we'll need you!

Carrie

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Slowly, slowly

We're slowly making progress! We completed class #4 of 7 last night and we've made really great progress on our paper work. Tomorrow we go get our fingerprints done and then just have a few more things to wrap up before we'll be ready to turn in our big packet. I think we'll have a little celebration once we turn that in :)

One big thing on our minds that goes along with that is that when we turn in our paperwork we also have to pay $1200 to cover the next part of the process, the homestudy. Then after we've been totally certified and our family profile is put in to their "match book" we'll pay another $1000 (that's probably in another 3 months or so). And then the big final huge amount won't be due until our baby is legally ours. So I'm beginning to pull together our plan for how we are going to fund raise to cover these costs.

I've been raising funds for missions and ministry staff positions since I was 16 years old, but fund raising is still a bit intimidating. But I'm really excited at the thought of having a whole family of supporters joining us on this journey, tracking with us through the whole experience, and really saying "Yes! We believe God is going to bring your baby home through adoption and we want to help make that happen!" It's another leap of faith, but we do believe that God will provide all the money that's needed to cover every single cost. So the invitation has now officially been made to join us in bringing baby home :)

So you'll notice the first little thing I did was to put a PayPal button up there on the top of the right sidebar. Obviously any donations made through PayPal or given directly to us will not be tax-deductible. I'm talking with my pastor about the possibility of people being able to send their donations through our church so that they could be tax-deductible. I'll update you on that once we get the details worked out.

I'm wrestling through the idea of starting a separate adoption blog/website that has simple info about our story, our adoption details (with short updates as things progress) and info on making donations- or.... just sticking with this one. Obviously this is a really personal blog, but I don't have anything to hide necessarily. But I also don't want people to feel lost in all my super long posts. What do you think?

Carrie

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Class #2

Tonight we had our 2nd class as part of our adoption certification. The topic was "Infertility Grief and Loss in Adoption- Coming to terms with infertility and assessing your readiness to adopt". Oh wow.

Aaaaand- I did not know that was going to be the topic for the class.

I just breezed on in to the classroom and sat down and was feeling all excited for learning more and being in the process. Then the teacher announced the topic for the class AND that we all were going to be sharing our stories and I literally instantly got sweaty palms and my stomach flipped a little. If I had known all that ahead of time I would have been a ball of nerves all day and been dreading the whole thing. It was totally better to be blindsided by it in this situation.

The class started out with this totally bodacious clip from a mid-80's Oprah episode. Yes- Oprah in the 80's- and her hair was so awesome! (Our teacher even prefaced it by saying not to be distracted by Oprah's hair- which was a good warning because it was HUGE!) It was an episode about couples dealing with infertility and apparently there's no other resource out there like this little gem because the agency is still hanging on to it. And it was definitely on a VHS ;) Glad this wasn't my first exposure to the agency or I might question their cultural and technological savviness. Anyway, the Oprah interviews from the 80's proved that the grief, stress and loss of infertility is timeless. We all were shaking our heads in agreement and laughing at how we related to what they were saying.

Then the teacher just dove right in "Who wants to share their story first?" Gulp. One girl raised her hand and out came a story that could break your heart. Then I went (and Ryan shared some too). (But I didn't cry, despite the lump in my throat.) Then another and another until all 9 couples had spilled their heartaches, disappointments, and brokenness. The kleenex box was passed around. 8 couples who have all experienced infertility (and some who have suffered miscarriage(s)) and one couple with 2 living children who have experienced miscarriages. Grief and loss. Yes the room was full of it. Journeys of great pain had brought all of us there. There were no easy roads.

But- we already know that the stories don't end there. The stories don't end with just grief and loss. The very fact that we were sitting in that room gives away the end of at least one chapter of all of our stories. The clouds part and the sun comes blasting through and new life sprouts up and hearts are healed and hope is restored and God works his miracles and.....our babies will come! God will show us the other side of the story he has been writing. Where there has been only bareness, constant disappointment, babies lost too soon, and prayers seemingly unanswered- soon will come these little heart beats proclaiming new life from a Creator who loves and moves and sustains.

The pain and grief won't be erased, but our Comforter will come with tiny fingers reaching out for our faces in the night, soft breaths against our necks, growing feet kicking in delight and some of this anguish will be redeemed. Our children will not be our Saviors from pain, but oh how they will be the Balm of Gilead for our aching hearts. And we will cry and laugh and hold them tight against our chests and whisper in their fuzzy ears "We've been waiting for you."

It's what we're all waiting for, and this class specifically addressed some of the issues that could possibly prevent us from walking in to that beautiful day as the most healthy, whole parent we can possibly be. We need to grieve well in order to parent well, and we need to process the losses of infertility and adoption well so that we can walk in to parenthood without rose-colored glasses.

Once our agency knows that you have dealt with infertility and/or loss they assess how you are grieving, mourning and processing that. They understand grief and what infertility means, so they're not looking for you to be "over it", but to be progressing in moving through the stages of grief and when it does flare up again here and there to be processing that in a healthy way as well. So if you're exhibiting signs of pent up grief and an inability to process through those losses, they'll put you on the slow track and help you work through that to get you to a healthier place. And I really appreciate that.

The goal they say is "To help you explore the impact of infertility and move beyond it in order to have a healthy attachment and bond in adoption". We cannot fully embrace our child as ours and allow our hearts to receive this new one in to our lives if we are clinging to our ideal of our biological child. We will not fully bond with our baby and foster their attachment to us if we are holding out hope for a baby that's "really ours" one day.

While it still may be in the realm of a miracle that God could do that one day, we are not focused on overcoming infertility and trying to conceive a child of our own. We are allowing that desire to pass in order for a greater desire for the child God will place in our family through adoption to develop. We have to let that death (of a dream) occur and mourn those losses in order to fully embrace the child God will bring to us through adoption.

So- it was a really heavy night as we heard everyone's stories and were moved as we related to their experiences and mourned the suffering they've endured. But it was really healthy feeling for me too. The Lord has done so much to heal me and carry me through this process and allow my heart to be free to release those dreams and embrace His perfect plan. What grace! What patience! What beauty! Jesus you are so amazing and I love you even more!

Thanks for tracking with us :)

Carrie

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"I will have sympathy as long as you have grief."

I've been following this series about infant loss/miscarriage on this blog- www.liferearranged.com. Women who write really well, who have the gift of using words to really impact your heart and give you a different perspective, have been sharing their stories about losing their babies. Sad- yes- but it's done in a way that reveals the small shaft of the light of hope that somehow breaks in to the saddest of circumstances. They are women who trust in Jesus and testify about his hope and his healing through their darkest times. For women like me who have lost a baby, reading these stories helps me know that I'm A) not the only one (obviously) and B) feeling things that are totally normal.

Today the series was wrapped up with this really practical post that I think is really helpful- "What to do/say when a friend experiences loss". I've had a few odd comments after my miscarriage, but mostly I can praise God that I've had really supportive and compassionate friends and family who have done many of the exact things this article talks about. It could actually be applied to many types of loss, so for that reason I think it's helpful to better equip all of us to minister more graciously to those we love.

(Molly Piper (John Piper's daughter-in-law) also wrote a great series on this on her blog here- "How to help your grieving friend" after the heartbreaking and life-wrenching stillbirth of their daughter at 39 weeks.)

May the Lord equip us to be His hands of grace and his voice of peace when the lives and hearts of those we love are shattering.

Carrie

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First class......whoa

Total information overload! We had our first adoption class tonight and it was like a dump truck of information for 2 1/2 hours! I don't even know what to say about it right now. It was good, but it's just really mind-boggling to hear of all the crazy legal stuff involved and all the loops and turns that can take and all the million scenarios of things that can happen with the birthmom and the ups and downs that are all very real possibilities. This apparently is not for the faint of heart. Oh man.

There are so many detailed parts to this process and so many things that could happen that it really is overwhelming to think of it all. It's seriously the type of thing you have to take just one small step at a time and sorta not try to wrap your mind around the entire thing. And with each step you have to constantly surrender your desires and hopes and fears to the Lord and trust that He is in control and that he is working good for you. Otherwise....this all could drive you a bit batty!!!

So the small steps we are working on right now are the huge packet of legal papers and life-history questions and just going to the classes. We've been working on the packet a little every few days and just trying to chip away at it steadily. Soon we'll need to get our fingerprints made, make appointments to get a doctors release and get certified copies of our birth certificates (among other things).

The instructor tonight repeated several times that this process will be stressful and difficult and that we'll need to be extremely flexible and patient. It feels a bit like we're about to jump off a cliff and that someone just told us all the scary creatures that could possibly, and most probably, be in the water below. But despite all that....here we go!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Together for Adoption

This website/movement is a great resource- www.togetherforadoption.org. I love reading the articles they post on their home page, written from many perspectives and experiences, and always very biblical and thought provoking. They also have links to lots of books, blogs, sermons, videos etc. We are especially excited about the conference they are putting on here in AZ in October.
"Together for Adoption Conference 2011 will be held October 21-22 in beautiful Phoenix at Redemption Church (Gilbert Campus). Join 1,200+ people as we explore the theme Missional Living, the Gospel and Orphan Care. One of our primary objectives is to create a forum to explore a theology of adoption, discuss its implications for how we think about and implement orphan care strategies, and work together toward collaboration."
 Just wanted to share some great resources with you that are helping us in our journey, and maybe they will be useful to you too.

Carrie

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Moving on

Holy cow! Where did the time go?? Sorry for the super long silence. Did not intend for that to happen. We moved two weeks ago (a week later than we had originally anticipated) and so I'm writing this in our very own home :) Most of the boxes are unpacked and we're finding our way out of the disorientation that moving is. We sorta didn't realize what a big transition it would be to move away from the apartment and the city where we first established ourselves after getting married- into a new home in a different city. And a new grocery store and Target?? Why is that so hard to get used to? And why can't they all just be laid out the same? I have made multiple trips to both stores and have ended up wandering the aisles in confusion because nothing is where it should be! Obviously a small inconvenience in comparison to real problems going on in this world. I'll adjust to all this newness and I'll be just fine.

All in all we are loving our new home and slowly checking things off our to-do list (though it also seems that each time we check something off, we discover something else that needs "help" and it gets added to the list). Our street is really quiet (music to our ears!) and everyone we've met so far has been really friendly. Last weekend we even went out to dinner with our new next door neighbors. They are a fun young couple who hail from Alaska with a super cute chubby little one-year old. We hit it off instantly and are really thankful to already have friends here. Also in our first two weeks we've already hosted my family, Ryan's brother and several friends for visits and meals. And both times that children have visited they have pretty much immediately slipped and fallen on the concrete floors :( I guess we need to give a warning about that now. Apparently it's not so friendly to the little people. Rugs needed immediately!

I promise to post photos soon :)

Besides all the house hullabaloo, the adoption process is also moving along. Tonight we had our assessment interview and are now registered for the classes that start NEXT Tuesday! That came fast! The lady our case was assigned to is a really nice older lady who is really easy to talk to. Sitting in her office tonight answering questions about why we are choosing adoption and different things about our lives was a cool moment in this process. God has brought us here. That is undeniable. Really this is all His doing. We're here because he led us and carried us and wooed us to this place. This is His story for our family and it's so crazy to see the sentences being written right before our very eyes.

She told us that lately there have been a lot of pretty quick adoptions happening (such as people getting matched with a birth-mom in just one week) and lots of calls from the hospital where the birth-mom has decided right then and there that she wants to place her baby for adoption (as opposed to other birth-moms who have made an adoption plan earlier in their pregnancy and have chosen the adoptive family before the birth). She said things are moving faster right now, like closer to 6-9 months and that once we place our profile in their book for birth-moms to choose from, we have to be ready immediately to receive a baby. However, she tempered those exciting reports with other stories of all the unknowns that can come up and how you really have to be in a place of total openness for what God is going to do. We could be chosen by a birth-mom during her pregnancy only to have her change her mind, and that could happen multiple times. We could even take the baby home during the time the birth-mom has to make her final decision and she could decide to parent her child after all. Lots of crazy and very hard things could happen and it all could go really fast or really slow. No one knows and there's not really a cookie cutter way that this goes.

It's gonna be another situation that requires HUGE dependence on the Lord and total faith in his plans for us and our child. He knows the baby that is going to be our son or daughter. He knows the woman in whose womb our baby will grow. He has a story for her life and a plan for goodness for her too. And he knows how he is going to bring us all together. There may be several different birth-moms and babies who come in to our lives and then go right back out throughout this process. That will be a rollercoaster and it will be really hard. BUT- we can trust that God knows the exact son or daughter that will be ours and that eventually they will come to rest in our arms and know us as Mama and Papa. And THAT brings both a smile to my face and tears to my eyes :) Eventually there will be a chapter in this book all about us as a family of three. I can't wait to see my husband love on and gush all over our baby and rush home from work so he can hold our little one. And I can't wait to have our baby snuggle into my neck and know me as mama and be comforted by me when they cry in the night. And so many other things! What a sweet redemption it will be.

Seven weeks of classes and a fat stack of paper work and assignments to complete. Late nights and tight schedules. Lots of money. Interviews and invasive questions. Praying and praying. Fingerprints and background checks. Waiting on edge and wondering if this one will really be ours. And then one day.....it will all be beyond worth it!

Praying for you little one, wherever you are, and for the birth-mother who will carry you.

Happy in Jesus :)

Carrie

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Babylost Mothers Day and the due date

This past Sunday was International Babylost Mother's Day, although most people have never heard of that. In some cities there are gatherings for the mamas who have lost their babies to death, with balloon releases or a nice ceremony or something, but not in AZ as far as I know. Plus we were out of town anyway- up north for my sister-in-law's baby shower. But that's a whole 'nother story. Let's just say- 3 pregnant ladies and 2 newborns were in attendance and every conversation seemed to be about babies and pregnancy. Thankfully it was a co-ed shower and my husband understood I needed him to keep me close so I could make it through. I'm happy for my sister-in-law but that was just about more than I could take.

Next Sunday is regular Mother's Day. I've been dreading it for weeks already. I told my husband I do not want to go to church on that day. We will have just moved the day before, so that's a good excuse, but honestly I just know I'd be miserable. I also don't really feel like going to any family celebration. I know that sounds horribly selfish and would probably break my mom's heart, but when I'm honest that's how I really feel.

And what compounds it all is that our due date was supposed to have been May 11th. I was supposed to have a Mother's Day baby (or close to it at least). I'd rather skip the month of May if at all possible, thank you. We talked this weekend about what we should do for both occasions and I have no idea. I'm a mama with a baby in heaven. There's no Happy Mother's Day for that. I doubt you'll find a Hallmark card for that situation. All the displays in the stores and the ads in the paper bring it to mind forcefully. There will not be the Mom necklace or the pink bouquet or the special breakfast where you admire your children. Maybe next year we'll have reason for a proper celebration. This year is a time for sadness and remembering what was going to be.

Carrie

A new place

The title means two things, two new things that are going on around here. First, tomorrow we sign the papers for our house! Our new place :) Our apartment is currently filled with boxes and I'm looking at bare walls with naked nails still stuck in them. I called the utility companies to have things turned off and then turned on at their respective places. Now the move feels real!

And the second thing is that we have moved to a new season of life in regards to growing our family. As we're literally moving to a new place, a new house, we are also moving to a new season of life: Adoption. We made our decision and are already moving forward with the agency we chose. We're sending in the initial paperwork and the first fee and will start classes at the end of this month. We are pursuing a domestic infant adoption.

The decision at once brought new excitement and anticipation, and also mourning and missing our baby. Classic grief once again popping up where I guess I didn't expect it. A sweet question from my husband about our baby and I'm once again crying those deep, mournful tears into our bed. "I just wish you were here."

I'm also mourning the loss of my dreams and hopes of having biological children. I don't know if I can even articulate why. Ryan and I do think it's possible that we could get pregnant one day (this isn't about us "giving up"), and of course God could bless my womb at any time he so desires. But he hasn't given us that gift yet and it is very obvious to us that he is leading us toward adoption. The natural response of my heart and mind as we step towards adoption is to mourn the fact that the baby we will call our own will not be our biological child. There is great loss there, even as it will be so wonderful to bring our child in to our family. There is so much to wrap my mind around as I process all of what that means. I know that process will be deep and extensive, and that it is also healthy and normal. Stepping towards great joy, while also processing loss and grief.

Adoption won't cure our loss. And it won't erase the pain that infertility has seared in to my heart. Adoption will write a new chapter in this story, but it won't be ripping out the pages that came before it.

But....I am excited (admittedly a very lame sounding word, but what else can I say?) to bring our child, who God has chosen just for us, home through adoption. The reality that we will really seriously have a baby snuggled in our arms at the end of this process is so insane and has definitely not totally sunk in to my brain yet (I guess that's similar to when you just find out you're pregnant and can hardly believe what that really means!) But I have already started to day dream about what he or she will look like and how it will be to meet them for the first time and what it will feel like to bring them home to stay and the story we will tell them of how God made us a family. This time there is no 20% chance, no maybe, no "possibility". This time we get our baby. And that thought makes me smile and light up inside! (Ok, ok obviously nothing is really guaranteed in this life, and adoptions can fall through and sad things can happen, but I'm just going with what the normal expectation is.)

There are so many complex issues that surround adoption and we are just starting to dip our toes in to that very, very deep pool. We have so much to learn and so much to process. Books and blogs are very helpful right now. At bedtime we're reading a great book to each other that I found at the library called Baby We Were Meant For Each Other by Scott Simon about he and his wife's story adopting two daughters from China after going through failed infertility treatments. It has funny parts that we can relate to all too well, and very beautiful, touching stories about their relationships with their daughters (A part we read last night about the mother hearing her daughter cry Mama! for her in the middle of the night brought tears to my eyes). I especially appreciate that it's written by a man, a father, from his unique perspective. I also just bought and barely read the first few pages of Adopted For Life by Russell Moore and so far love it! He relates the adoption of children to how we are adopted by God the Father, and highlights poignantly how adoption is missional and biblical- and basically just the gospel displayed! :) (Comment now that I've finished the book- I definitely need to say that I don't agree 100% with his theology that we have been adopted by God from Satan (exact words he uses). This is called the "ransom from Satan theory" and I don't agree that it's biblical. We were alienated from God the Father by our sin, and the price that Jesus paid for our sins was paid back to the Father, not to Satan, to free us from sin and death. Satan was not the one to hold control of all sinners and demand some price for their freedom, making God sacrifice Jesus so as to adopt his children back. God's wrath was satisfied in Christ crucified and that opened the way for us undeserving, not-blood-related, not-heirs, totally black-sheep kids to be adopted in to His family with full blood-family rights. He chose us and called us and claimed us as his own. We were adopted from a place of complete lostness and darkness, NOT from Satan. THAT's what I think the biblical adoption language is saying. I think at times this author makes too big of a stretch to make the adoption analogy fit and unfortunately it creates some theological inaccuracies, in my opinion. Sorry that was such a long comment, just thought it needed to be said.)

It's a weird place in life where I do feel very in-between and not settled yet, but I'm so expectant about where we're going.

Carrie

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Now what?

Now what? That's the question we're wrestling with now. I'm feeling done with IUI and some part of me is ready to move on....while many other parts of me are mourning, sad, questioning, struggling and in a bit of disbelief that we're here. Here at the crossroads where we make a completely life-altering decision about how to grow our family. Here where we accept that, for now, we apparently are unable to conceive. Here where life-long dreams flash before our minds and crash to the floor unfulfilled. Here where we come closer to accepting, or at least acknowledging more fully, what this all really, truly means. This is happening. And it's happening to us.

For me, the sense that God is writing our story and that he knows where this is going, that he knows all of the joys and pains in store for us yet, that he knows the faces and bodies and every hair on the heads of the children who will be ours- this is so tangible to me, so undeniable that we are in the flow of God's plan for our lives. It is unfolding as I write this. His plans made long, long ago are now being revealed one heartbeat and heartache at a time it seems.

I told my sister yesterday that I have this picture of driving on the freeway trying to get to some destination and then you encounter a detour. "Road closed. Exit freeway. Detour." Crap. You're in a hurry. You're gonna be late. It's the long route. The detour is always the long, slow route. And it's not the scenic route either. Are we there yet? Turns, uphills, curves, steep cliffs, long stops. This is taking forever. Where the heck is this taking us? Are we still heading in the same direction? Yes. All along you are still heading toward your destination. The Designer of the detour made sure it's the same destination. He's just having you take a much different, unanticipated route to get there. And we cannot fathom the joy that awaits us there.

So if parenthood is the destination we desire, and that we believe God gave us the desire for, He certainly has us on quite the detour to get there. We'll arrive one day, for sure, but everything along the way is totally different than we ever imagined it would be.

Please pray for us as we're on this journey, this detour, towards parenthood. We sense now that God would have us consider more seriously than ever before foster care and/or adoption. We think that's where this curvy, bumpy road is taking us. The decisions are not simple or easy. Nothing at this point will be simple or easy. Everything feels extremely weighty, fraught with pain, scary and totally unknown. I am thankful for a couple people in my life who I can talk to about their experiences with foster care and adoption. Tonight we started reading a book about one couple's experience. And we're just talking about it and letting all the questions and fears be out on the table. And as we feel ready we'll be talking with others in our lives about these possibilities also.

What to pray: We need God's direction, discernment from the Holy Spirit, freedom from fear or any other manipulating emotions/idols, lots of holy wisdom, unity and strength in our decisions as a couple, healing for our very aching and mournful hearts and specifically to hear from God about whether we should pursue regular adoption first or foster care/fost-adopt first (that's our question right now- which one).

I can't say enough how much we value your prayers for us through this journey. We need them, and we know that it will truly take a community around us to support us through this. While this is an extremely personal experience, we also recognize and really desire a community of people who can support us, encourage us, speak wisdom and truth to us, and love on us as we go through this- and one day to love on our kids too :) If you have anything you'd like to share or any questions you want to ask please don't hesitate to email or contact me/us.

Carrie

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No again

Big fat negative. Not pregnant.

Finding myself in between these:

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nerve-racking and thought-provoking

Lots of weird-feeling things have been going in my body these last 2 weeks. I won't go on and on with all the pains and twinges and cramps and every little weird thing I've felt over the course of the days- but it's just been weird. It turns in to a guessing game (except this not a fun sort of game) and I sorta go crazy. My brain gets like this: "Is it implantation? It's too early. Maybe? Doesn't seem like it should feel like this. Can it happen this early? Would the feelings go on this long? No it's just cramps. The IUI didn't work. This is dumb. Such a waste of money. I'm tired of this. Oh the pains went away. Maybe it was just implantation and I'm pregnant! Maybe there's more than one and that's why it feels so different. Oh wait that doesn't feel good. Blah. This sucks. I feel soooo tired and my chest seems really tender. Those seem like good signs. Uh oh here are the cramps again. What the heck is going on????"

Nerve. Racking.

If I have any shred of nerves left after this whole experience is over, it will be a wonder. Because I really think every last nerve I have has been frazzled and then fried- over and over again. For real- I'll be feeling nothing and thinking things are cool and then bam! I feel a cramp and my stomach totally sinks. You know that sinking feeling? Ya it's been happening like several times a day or whenever I feel something weird inside. And yes I was a nervous person before the whole trying-to-get-pregnant thing came in to my life. It certainly hasn't helped the anxiety levels.

But in the midst of that, there have been some good talks between God and I- some good thoughts provoked. Because there's nothing like feeling cramps when you're hoping you're pregnant to make you have to walk through the possibility of "what if I'm not pregnant". My prayer has been "Lord, please help me deal with whatever your will is". I'm so thankful for the work the Lord has done in my heart to heal me more and more and open my heart up more and more to the other ways he may grow our family. So when He and I talk through the "what if I'm not pregnant?" question he keeps showing me the hope that is there and that the story doesn't end there. There will be pain, but there will be hope and redemption in the midst of the pain.

Suffering and redemption- good timing for thinking about Easter and all that Jesus went through.

We test on Tuesday. What the heck is the result gonna be? This has been crazy and I'm ready to get off this rollercoaster. I told my hubby last week I just wish we could fast forward a few years and see what's going to happen, see what God's plan is and how all this turns out. How will God build our family? I'm sure whatever way he chooses for us will be part of a grand story of his hope, his love and his redemption. And although this is really painful and so hard to go through, I'm humbled to be part of this story and I pray above all that He is glorified through all this.

Carrie

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Here goes!

Today we did another IUI. Like I explained in the last post, we changed the meds this time and I got to feel like a pincushion after 5 days of injections. Not fun, but hopefully worth it! I mentioned that we were praying that my body wouldn't overstimulate from the stronger meds and create too many follicles, in which case they would have to cancel the IUI. Praise God the ultrasound last week showed 3 mature follicles which was just perfect! So that means 3 eggs are releasing this time. The doctor made a crack about triplets this morning and I said "We'll take anything, hopefully at least one." For real, it's beyond my brain to think of multiples when seriously all we've been asking for all this time is just one, at least just one. So now starts another 2-week-wait. We wait on the Lord. He is the author of life and it's all up to him.

In other news- for the past couple months we've been in the process of buying a home. We went house hunting for a couple weeks and found one we just love. It was a short sale and we were pretty nervous about that process really dragging on and on, especially as our apartment lease is up in June and we didn't want to be racing the clock. Miraculously the bank accepted our offer in only 4 weeks!!! This past Saturday was the home inspection and some not-so-good stuff came up, ie the roof (boo!). We don't know how it will all turn out, but we're hoping for an easy, not expensive solution and that the house becomes ours! We have a closing date set for May 7th, but with the possibility of a total roof replacement (or best case scenario- just a patch job), we're just gonna have to wait and see how all this plays out to see if we can wrap things up by that date. Being in the house again on Saturday just confirmed how much we LOVE that house- it's so nice and bright and open and we can totally imagine ourselves settling down there- especially with little ones running through the rooms and having tons of fun in the big backyard. As seems usual for us, it's another huge thing that we're waiting on and trusting the Lord with.

I'm camped out on the couch today since the IUI makes me crampy and not feel so great. I've got my Aubrey Hepburn DVD set and my kitty is snuggled under the blanket with me. Tortilla soup is in the crock pot so I won't have to spend time in the kitchen at dinner time. I ordered the latest Donald Miller book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and it just arrived a couple days ago so I think I'll crack in to that- a book about this idea of your life being a story, which is very much on my mind lately.

All in all- we're loving spring and just waiting on the Lord to see what his plans are for these next parts of our journey. Flowers are blooming like CRAZY in my garden- fuchsia gardenias and dark red and yellow snapdragons and these tiny dark purple ones that I don't know the name of . The ducks that live in the lakes around our apartment complex have had their ducklings (something I'll seriously miss when we move)- a total crack-up to watch and all I want to do is gather all those fuzzy-wuzzy little ducklings up in my arms and kiss their fluffiness. Yes I'm a sucker for small fuzzy animals :). And we especially love keeping the patio door open for the cool breezes- it's like heaven for our little indoors-only-kitty to sit there and sniff the air. Yes I just mentioned my cat for the 2nd time in this post. So I'm officially an animal nerd. Mmmkay.

Adios y'all- updates soon to come. Stay tuned.

Carrie

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pressing on

I didn't mean for there to have been this long silence but I just didn't have my thoughts pulled together to write. It's been a week since we got the big negative :( That was a bad day, a very bad day. No matter how much I think I'm prepared to hear bad news, I never really am prepared. You just can't fully brace your heart for the disappointment, especially since we had let ourselves hope sooo hard this time. I don't really feel like recalling what I felt and thought on that day because it just sucked so bad. So....moving on.....

We're already underway with the process for our next IUI. Even when there's bad news, our bodies just keep moving right along! So there wasn't much time to sit around and think about what happened because after just a few days it was already time to meet with the doctor again and make decisions about this next IUI. I had read something about how different it feels to do consecutive infertility treatments because it seems like you've just barely mourned the loss of the hope for that cycle and then right away you're already starting your meds and jumping right in to the process for your next treatment. And that certainly feels true for me. Although I think Ryan and I had done most of our mourning in the days before I even took the pregnancy test because I was having cramps and pretty much knew what that meant.

I met with our wonderful doctor again and we decided to change my meds a bit to just bump up our chances a little more. The meds I've been on are the same ones I've taken for several cycles over these last two years and it's sorta the base that they start most people out on. It's the lowest stimulation and only causes one egg to be released (although I had been confused about that and used to think there were more being released- but then she explained it to me). So the next step up from that is to add in three injections that will cause more follicles to develop fully and will most likely release 2-3 eggs. Obviously having 2-3 eggs that could possibly get fertilized increases the odds versus when there's just one egg hanging out there. She said this amount of meds should be gentle enough to only bump it up to 2-3. If it goes much higher than that they will actually cancel the IUI because they don't want to create the risk of a high-multiple pregnancy. They're not interested in creating more octo-moms in this world! (Weird that when all you're hoping for is at least just ONE baby that the doctor actually has to worry about the chance of you getting pregnant with TOO MANY babies! So weird!) So something we'll be praying for is that the meds don't make my body go too crazy and that just the right low amount of eggs will be ready.

I was, yet again, really thankful for the wise, slow approach my doctor takes with all of this. She's obviously not God though and doesn't know the will of the Author of Life- but she said since IUI worked for us before and there aren't any other issues besides the endometriosis (but who knows what that's doing!) that she really thinks it will work again and we just need to be patient. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the meds are affordable, since I had read some crazy stuff on the internet about people spending $1000+ on injectable meds. Plus, Ryan gets to hone his shot-giving skills. Boo. The actual procedure will probably be next Monday, but I'll keep you updated as usual.

Our hope reserves are full and we're still really, really believing that God is able to do this. Of course he is able! We just don't know if it is his perfect will for us. Maybe there is something else out there that is more perfect. Perfect.....the word makes me think of the Kingdom of God. That's where my sights have been set lately. We have big hope for this great earthly gift- a child. But there is not guarantee for that. The lasting hope that will NOT fail or disappoint or break my heart is the hope of my salvation that is anchored in Jesus Christ the Risen King who reigns forever and ever! Sorrow and mourning always draw my heart to just long and long for the Kingdom and to just be with Jesus where all my tears will be dried and I will let out all my sighs in the arms of my Love and the weight of sorrow will be lifted by the tender hands of my Savior. Come Lord Jesus! You are better than life!

This album by Sandra McCracken has been my soundtrack for this past month. It sings my heart. Ok, pretty much everything by her (my very first post explains the inspiration for my blog title from a Sandra song- and how little did I know how much more deeply that song would apply to our lives now), but I just got this album so it's been on constant rotation in the car and on the ipod.
The song Grace Upon Grace is wonderful, especially these lines-
Grace upon grace, every sin repaired
Every void restored, you will find Him there
In every turning He will prepare you
With grace upon grace.

To Thee I run now with great expectation
To honor You with trust like a child (That's what we want to have!!!)
My hopes and desires seek a new destination
and all that You ask Your grace will provide.

But then I also just found this song from one of her albums that I don't have yet. And it's always great to be able to watch her and her hubby Derek Webb (a Lynn family fave) play together. A truly precious song, water to the soul. I'll leave off with this- yes Jesus you are so good!


Shelter
In the arms of a good Father
You can go to the deep water
Where the questions, we have left unspoken
Come out in the open
We will find shelter here

So I lay down, what I cannot hold in my hands
Every sorrow and hope spinning out of control
And here I find sweet resolution comes in letting go
And we will find shelter here

When I look back I can see,
And when I am old I'll remember these things
Like a mountain of stone
And the longing that makes me believe...

There is a tree by the blue river
Where the shade stretches wide over
In this breaking we are hand and glove
Come with me my love
We will find shelter here
We will find shelter here...


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

not pregnant

It didn't work. I'm not pregnant. We sorta knew this was coming because I've been having cramps off and on the past week and I figured that only meant one thing (and I remembered I did NOT feel that way last time). We processed through that some on Saturday night and I got my tears out and asked God my frustrated/upset/disappointed questions. And yet we were still praying very faith-filled prayers asking God for a miracle. So we went in to this morning really hoping that despite the obvious sign that the cramps were giving, that God could do anything at the eleventh hour. But- not. It's not his plan yet apparently. I'm not totally sure what I'm feeling and thinking, but I do feel the Lord with me and his grace is abundant. We still have hope for the future.

Carrie

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Getting closer

The days are passing quickly, thankfully, and we're getting closer and closer to our test date- Tuesday the 22nd- just 9 days away now! We both get butterflies when we think about it....and there's just too much suspense that we can't even really talk about that moment. Ryan brought it up the other night and we both sorta made the same weird sound and I had to say "I know. Just don't think about it." and we had to change the topic.

Waiting has been ok though. Truly God has been so gracious and I've been able to pretty much just go along with my normal business and not freak about what's coming up. If you've been praying for this waiting period, thank you, because God is answering those prayers :)

Our weekend was good and then not so good. I've been having the most wicked allergies and absolutely nothing I take makes any difference. Sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy/runny nose- just like the allergy medicine commercials say- that's me lately. I'm afraid my allergies are getting worse as I get older. Wonderful. Anyways- I spent all day Friday on the couch and just stayed home because I was starting to feel pretty knocked out by it all. But by the time Ryan came home from work and I already knew I didn't feel like cooking I was ready to get out of the house. I was feeling a little bit better and had a real hankering for a Fatburger :) So we headed down to Mill for our burger date and to let me get some fresh air (probably just full of allergy-causing stuff and not so fresh, but oh well). After our delicious burgers and to-die-for onion rings we grabbed coffee and headed down to Tempe Town Lake for a little stroll. That was one of our big date spots when we were dating and engaged, and we had a lot of our engagement photos taken down there, so it's a sentimental place for us. The sunset was gorgeous, reflecting pink, purple, orange and about three different shades of blue onto the water. We were relaxed and in love, thankful to have each other and loving the weather and sunset.


There was one moment where we were sitting on a little bench, my head on Ryan's shoulder, just watching the color-changing sky and then a wave of sadness over our baby just swept right over me. Missing him/her and wishing they were here and just feeling that emptiness in the core of my body. It was out of no where. I wasn't even thinking about it really. It was like a wave that came fast and then left pretty quickly too. I think Ryan said something that distracted my mind or something because the feeling didn't linger and my thoughts moved on to something else. But I remembered it later on.

And that's just how this whole loss and mourning thing is. Unexpected. Still loaded with emotion. Heavy and sad. It takes different forms and just feels different sometimes. It's almost been 6 months since we lost our precious one. I've said a ton of times how there's no time line for how these things are "supposed" to go, and it's absolutely true. But this little experience did made me realize how I am in a different place now than I was a couple months ago. I can sense how the loss has found it's place in me now. How it's part of who I am. It's with me and in me and I'm ok with carrying it as part of me and part of my story now. I think that's a very healthy stage of grief so it was good to recognize that. And it's comforting in a way too. I don't think I can fully articulate it, but as more and more time passes and some of the sharpness of the memories fades, it comforts me to know that it's with me and part of me now and that my mind will bring it to the forefront even if I'm not specifically dwelling on it.



Saturday we headed out to the Arboretum which is one of our very favorite spots. It's a place of real healing for me so I always look forward to our next visit there. I was still feeling a bit like an allergy zombie and we both knew that me being outside surrounded by a ton of plants that are flowering and spreading their pollen all around maybe wasn't the best idea.....but we have very few weekends left before the scorching temps permanently drive us inside for the summer so I wanted to take advantage of the time no matter how my nose would fare. So with my pockets packed with kleenex, we forged on, and it was lovely as usual :) There were lots of beautiful wildflowers popping up and several different trees blossoming and we loved watching the birds, lizards and ground squirrels. We soaked it up, stopping at the little sitting areas to just relax and be in the moment.

And then I woke up this morning and felt absolutely horrible. Is it possible for allergies to turn in to a cold?? My sinuses were throbbing and felt like they were filled with cement. My throat was itchy and achy. I was sneezing so loud I'm sure the upstairs neighbors could hear me. I was a total mess and soon realized I would not be making it to church at all. And my dear sweet hubby decided to stay home from church as well and take care of me. He set up a little spot on the couch for me with a kleenex box and hot tea and made a run to the store for orange juice and chicken noodle soup. He also did two loads of dishes because the kitchen was a disaster area due to me making a new Indian dish last night that required the use of a ridiculous amount of bowls and ingredients and equipment (and after all my efforts I didn't even like it, plus the recipe was horribly misleading and poorly written). My hubby gets the gold star for being my hero today :) I'm feeling a little better tonight, so we'll see how this week goes.

Just a little update while we continue on in this waiting time :)

Carrie

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tomorrow is THE day

The ultrasound yesterday showed that everything looked good so they scheduled us for the IUI tomorrow- Tuesday. Will you flood tomorrow with prayers for a miracle? Every single part of this is in the Lord's hands. He is the author of life. Please beg him with us for the grand miraculous gift of a baby.

Starting tomorrow we will start the crazy two-week countdown until we can take a pregnancy test. We can't test any sooner than two weeks due to the hormone injection that my hubby had to give me last night that causes the egg(s) to be released. Those hormones will automatically cause a false positive if we try to test before the two weeks is up. It will take two weeks for that to get out of my system and let my own hormones kick in, plus if conception did occur then obviously you have to allow time for implantation and for the pregnancy hormones to start going to give you a positive pregnancy test.

So- two looooong weeks before we know anything!

As I've shared before we are very very hopeful about God's power in this situation, but we know it may not be his plan either. So we're open to whatever happens and will see what the Lord leads us to do after wards if it didn't work. Please pray tomorrow and over the next two weeks.

Thanks for praying with us!

Carrie