Monday, December 19, 2011

Everyone keeps asking "how is the adoption stuff going?"   
I never know quite what to say because really, nothing is happening.    I know we are encouraged to stay proactive and not just "wait" but sometimes it's hard.       We put one of our adoption cards in every Christmas card we sent out, we continue to talk about our search to become parents through adoption, and I continue to hope.     But what else is there?

I am very lucky because Brandon is such a positive person.  He reassures me constantly that this WILL happen.  I WILL become a mother and he has no doubt in his mind.   But to be honest, I have lots of doubt. I have even asked myself in the past few weeks, "If I do not become a mother, what will I do?"    I have no answer really because I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember.  There is an ache in my heart that Brandon will never understand because he has children.   The only people who can relate are those who are in similar situations - hoping and praying that they become parents. 

Now the holidays are upon us and I must be reminded that at most of the gatherings, I am the only one who is not a mother.  I am reminded that although everyone wants to give me a gift, I have no desire to have much, except a child.    

I have friends who have become pregnant and even connections in the online world that have become parents through adoption recently and although I am happy for them, my heart hurts a little each time I read the news.
I will do my best to remain hopeful though, because what else do I really have?  I'm not giving up.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Call

Yesterday I received my first call from our case worker at the agency about a potential situation. I listened calmly to her explain that another agency contacted them about a baby that will be born in about a month. She was asking to see if we would be interested in having our profile shown.

Unfortunately, it is a situation that Brandon and I were not comfortable with. We had to say no and honestly, it broke my heart a little. I know that this was not the right one for us and I know the baby will find a loving home, but still, I never thought I would say no...

I wish the best for the expectant mom, the baby, and the future adoptive family.

And I can only hope that another call, one that we feel good about, will come again soon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another labor of love...

We decided to create a slideshow with pictures and bits of information about us.  This is another way that we can shout to the world that we are ready to adopt and perhaps even connect with an expectant mother who is thinking about placing her child for adoption.

It is like a mini version of our profile.  Feel free to share it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month.  How fitting that I started the month out by going to a seminar on how to adopt more quickly.  There was a message that came across loud and clear: we should not be WAITING to adopt.   Waiting implies that we are doing nothing, while expecting something.      I walked away from the seminar with a few more ideas on how to network and get our information out there to expectant parents who might be thinking about placing their child for adoption. 

I also realized that I was in a room of 50-60 people, all from our agency, that are hoping to adopt an infant.   The numbers that our agency is dealing with now have increased a lot and I wonder if more people are opening their heart to adoption.     I hope so, because as more people want to adopt and the more adoption becomes a larger part of every family, the better it will be for our children.  

So Happy National Adoption Month to my fellow hopeful parents, to those amazing parents who are part of an awesome support network for us, and to everyone who has been touched by adoption.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Wait

Here we are waiting....   we're ready to take a baby home at any time!  We have our foster license required by the state of WI for all domestic adoptions. We have our home study which says we would be a great home for ANY child or even twins!   But, we just have to wait.

Brandon tells people that we are at the "hurry up and wait" stage.  It's such a huge amount of work to get to this point and yet, here we are and things are out of our control.   I've printed the profile books, we've set up our facebook page, created business cards and started handing them out.    I feel a little lost without something to DO as we wait, but hopefully I will get some more ideas on November 5 when I go to a seminar on adoption networking. 

It's only been ONE month and I already feel like I'm struggling.  I'm not sure what this wait has in store for me and I hate the unknown, but hopefully someday - the struggle will be worth it. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

What I must remember....

I must remember that all of my life, I have felt like my purpose is to be a mother.   I know it in the fiber of my being that I am meant to have a child to raise and to love and to build my world around.    When most people were figuring out what their career paths were going to be, the only thing I knew for sure was that I was going to be a mom.         I think that's key - A MOM, not a woman who gave birth.   Because now I know that I am not meant to give birth, but that doesn't mean that I will not be a mother.   

Although my mom did give birth to me (which I am thankful for), the things that came after were probably more important.  She bounced around the house while I was a crying baby, she rocked me and sang Silent Night to me, she listened about my bad days at school, she gave me a curfew, she cried with me when I was hurting.   She has been my source of unconditional love. Even when I pierced my tongue at age 18 and she was furious, I know she still loved me.

So I must remember - that's what I want.   I want to soothe a crying baby, wake up for midnight feedings, push a stroller, hold a tiny hand, read bedtime stories, and teach about life and love.  I want to be a mother.

An adoptive momma, who's blog I follow, made me cry in a recent post.   Thank you for this.
To my dear friends who are still waiting for their precious dreams, I promise you, your dream will come true.  And in those darkest moments when you think all hope is lost, remember, that “no matter how your heart is beating, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”  As someone who never thought this distant dream of mine would come true, I promise you this as true as the sky is blue, it will come true.

So I will choose to believe that my dream will come true.  Someday soon, I will be a mom.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Feelings all over the place

So, lately, I've been looking at Brandon and thinking "what would our biological child look like?"  
I've been feeling a little sad when I really think about never having a child with our genes mushed together. 
Perhaps it's because we've had some friends who have recently given birth or perhaps it's because I look at his kids all the time and see parts of Brandon, but none of myself.    His youngest looks so much like him, but his oldest only has little hints.   I wonder what would happen if we did have a baby.    Unfortunately, I will never get to see that unless perhaps we win the lottery!  I'm pretty sure I've talked about this before and here I am talking again.... 

 I feel at peace about our decision to forgo crazy medical interventions to get pregnant - not that they are CRAZY in general, but they would be much more involved than a we would want and we would have to spend a lot more money with little hope that it would work.   I have felt very good about our decision to adopt, because I know that I will LOVE the child that is placed with me with all of my heart.  I will fall in love with the baby the moment I see him or her.  Heck, I might even fall in love as soon as we are matched with the amazing birth parent that chooses us.    I am thrilled to have the opportunity to parent a child, no matter how that child comes to us.   

Because I know that I will FALL IN LOVE - I am so excited that our profile is DONE!!  I posted a link to it on the previous post and I am very proud of what I created for us.    This means that at any moment, we could be matched and I am just in awe of that!  

Now I feel like I want to buy everything that we could ever need for our baby.  I've been researching strollers and it is so overwhelming!  I'm hoping that Brandon and I can take a day to go to a few stores and try a bunch of strollers out.  It seems like such a big deal to pick out those big items!    If it were up to me, I'd fill our house with baby items immediately.  That's how excited I am!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What?! We're ready?!

So, apparently I was a little confused as to how things worked with our adoption home study.   After our last visit, I assumed that we could not be considered waiting until our home study was in it's final form and we received our foster license (needed for domestic adoptions in WI).     I was waiting (not so) patiently and emailed our social worker to see how she was doing on things and told her we were excited to be approved.

After a couple of emails, it turns out, there is no doubt that we are "approved" and that we can actually be considered by birth parents RIGHT NOW!  Because we have completed all background checks, interviews, paperwork, training (except for one next week), we are ready!   After the home study is written in it's final form, we'll receive a copy of the foster license and I believe the home study, but really, that doesn't need to be there in order for us to move forward.

We are waiting for our sample profile to be delivered to our house, because I want to make sure it looks great in print before I order a bunch of copies for the agency.   Once we have the copies delivered to the agency, I'm sure it will feel like we are officially WAITING.      For now, I'm working on creating some cards that we can hand out for networking purposes and I have set up an email address and a facebook page especially for our adoption contacts. 

At this point, I want to ask each and every one of you to cross your fingers,  your toes, your eyes - everything!  Hope that this will be a short wait for us and that we will be connected with our baby very soon, because I can't wait to really start this adventure of parenting!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A quick update

I haven't written in a while; mostly because not much has been going on as far as the adoption goes.

We are waiting for our home study to be finished and I am having a couple of people review our profile before printing a test copy.  I think about names a lot and have started to think about cloth diapering, which will be an adventure.    

 We're enjoying our van and love how spacious it feels even with the 4 of us in there.    The boys went back to school last week and weren't too happy about starting earlier than other schools in the area.  They are in 7th and 8th grade this year, which seems wild.   I'm excited to go to some football games, choir concerts, and band concerts.   
Brandon and I had a date night on Saturday night. We had a blast trying a new restaurant and going to a comedy club.  My mom reminded us that we need to do this now, because when we are the parents of an infant, it won't happen too often!    We also went to a State Fair on Sunday and ate fair food, fought through mobs of people, and enjoyed some time with our friends Amy & Laura. 

Overall, things are going well, but I am anxious about getting things going again....  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Have Minivan, Must Fill!

This weekend we made the leap and bought a minivan. 

We knew that we would need more space eventually, but about a month ago, after riding in the Ford Focus for 3.5 hours with the Oldest's knees in my back for the entire ride, I announced that we needed one SOON.   Fitting Brandon, myself, the two growing boys, and the 65 pound dog into the Ford Focus for trips was becoming harder and harder.   The truck is a little better because of it's width, but we don't always want to drive a vehicle that gets 11 miles to the gallon and only has 2 doors.

So we started looking a little online, went and test drove a few, looked online more and on Saturday went to a dealership that Brandon's cousin works at.   They no longer had the minivan we were originally interested in, but they had another one that they thought we'd like.   After taking it for a drive, talking about finances, and a couple of deep breaths, we bought it.

It's used, but hey - that's ok!   It's a 2005 Chevy Uplander, but it has less than 54k miles on it.  Whoever had it before didn't do much driving!  It's fully loaded - leather interior, heated seats, DVD player, 6 disc changer, etc.   I'm still trying to figure out all of the controls! 

I am a lot like my father though: I get buyer's remorse.    I over think all of the "what-ifs" and worry about having a car payment, but in the end I have to remember that this will be good for our family.  We will all fit comfortably and we will be ready to travel as a family of 5 (or 6 if you count Marley) when we are matched with our new child.    I can't wait to find the perfect car seat to go in our minivan!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Home Visit

They day finally arrived... yesterday morning we had our home visit with our social worker from the agency. 
Our house looked great - we spent a lot of time last week organizing, then while we were out of town with the kids (that's another post), my mom and dad came and did some more cleaning and final touches.  
She arrived at 10am and I was a big ball of nerves.  As she walked up the staircase to our house, I thought maybe I'd get sick. 

The awkward initial greeting where our dog barks and tries to greet her lasted about 2 minutes, then she said hello to the boys and asked them to show her around the house.   Neither of them seemed too excited to do so (they aren't young enough to be thrilled about showing someone the house), but eventually youngest step-son started taking her around.    After the short house tour, she went into one of the boys' rooms and talked to both of them. She asked them some questions about how they felt about having a new sibling and any questions they might have.   She was impressed with both kids and said they were very sweet.  She got a kick out of how different they are...

Then it was our turn, she talked to Brandon and I about the process and our feelings about where we are at, then she had to do a couple of more individual interviews.   All in all, the visit lasted 2 hours and now we just wait for her to write up the study.   I didn't realize that writing up the study actually takes a month or two before it's finalized and we are officially waiting to be matched.  I guess all we can do is wait....  and finish our profile of course so that we are ready to jump in.

It's hard to believe that we're almost done, yet it seems like it's taken forever at the same time.
My fear is still that it will take too long to meet our baby and that I will go through a lot of heartache, but we can only do so much. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We DO have fun

I know that I've been posting a lot of emotions and feelings about this journey, but look - we have a lot of fun in our lives too.  We stay REALLY busy and I don't share enough pictures here, because mostly - I add them to Facebook.

However, here's a peak at what we've been doing....
In May, we attended the American Diabetes Association Gala
At the very end of May, beginning of June, as mentioned before - we went on our first real vacation!  Cozumel, Mexico!
I tried snorkeling for the first time and LOVED it
We went camping with friends - they had a sock hop and we dressed up
In July, we went to our friend's lake home and enjoyed beautiful weather
Just last weekend, we went to Fogo de Chao to celebrate my birthday

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Today is my birthday...

I am 28 years old today.  The excitement over my birthday is not what it used to be.  I still want to celebrate it, but it's not quite the same.

A couple of weeks ago, my mother pointed out that when she was 28, I was already 2 years old.
I too planned on already having a child by this point in my life, but things don't always work out the way we want them to. Sometimes the universe has a different path we need to take.

I've been struggling the last couple of weeks as we try to get the house ready for the home visit and try to work on our profile that will be shared with birth parents.  To put every ounce of who you are into something that seems so far away is very emotional.

But there are things that give me hope.   Talking to other adoptive parents who at one point felt the exact same way as me, but now have a child in their arms - that gives me hope.    Folding a blanket that will one day belong to my child - that gives me hope.    Some people might say that it's strange to start buying things already, when we haven't even been matched, but I feel like I have to do it.   It makes it feel real to me.   Something like, "if you build it, they will come."    I'm building a life for my future child and it makes me feel like he or she really is out there.  

Yesterday, we bought a rocker/glider for the nursery off of craigslist.  Someday I will rock my baby in this chair and sing to him/her.  We will sit in this chair and read I'll Love You Forever.  My husband will lay the baby on his chest while they sleep.    This chair means a lot, even though it's just a chair.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The last pieces of the puzzle....

We are nearing the end of our home study process.  We completed our three hour long Child Passenger Safety Training last night, next week we will do our Children's Mental Health training and we have a few pieces of paper to turn in.  We also have Multicultural Parenting Class in September, but that can be done after they have written the rest of the study.

I just received an email from our case worker asking to schedule our home visit.   When I read those words I couldn't help but feel excited, but also really anxious.   It is scheduled for August 16th at 10am.  We are going out of town to Wisconsin Dells on the 13th and returning on the 15th, so this makes me a little bit nervous.   I know that I will feel the need to clean the house from top to bottom.  Brandon says we'll just have to make sure it's ready to go before we leave for The Dells.    Inside my mind, all I can think about is the imperfections of our house and how we can make things look as good as possible.   People tell me not to worry and that she'll just be making sure the home is safe for a child, but when you are in this spot, you can't help but worry! 

If anyone has been through this before and can offer some suggestions or reassurance, I'd love to hear from you!   Or if you want to help clean my house - I'll take that too!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

16 and Pregnant: Adoption Special

I had heard a few people talking about this special and was sad that I missed it.  Luckily, this morning they replayed the episode where Dr. Drew talked to some of the girls from the show who made the decision to make an adoption plan for their baby.

There was a video of one of the girls at the hospital after the birth of her child.  It showed the adoptive parents coming into the room and being handed this gorgeous baby girl.    I was flooded with emotions.   The bravery of the young couple, the excitement and awe of the adoptive parents.... what an amazing thing to watch.

Later, they showed a video that the adoptive parents made of their little girl in their home. She is two now and is such a joy to them.  They made the video as a gift for the birth parents and again it was SO emotional.

The tears flowed down my face as I watched all of this, imagining that someday I could be in that same position.   How could I ever thank the birth parents enough?    I don't think there are any words....

Here is the episode online if you're interested:

Friday, July 8, 2011


There are times, even now, when I am scared to go on this path.  My desire for a child has not gone away and  never will, but my fear is that no matter how much I hope for it and work towards it, it may not happen.  Then what will I be left with?  

That fear eats at me sometimes, because admittedly, sometimes I am not the most optimistic person.   Luckily, my husband is. He always assures me that it will all work out and that someday, there will be a child who is perfect for us and who we are perfect for.   My mother is also a wonderful reassurance.    Yesterday she reminded me how she prayed long and hard for me to come.  It took her two years to get pregnant with me and I know that she went through a lot of heartache during that time, but eventually (obviously) I showed up.   My mom has a strong faith and although I don't believe all of the things she does, it is reassuring when she tells me that God has given her peace over this and she is no longer worried and anxious for me.  She believes that eventually, our child will be in our arms.

Brandon and my mom have filled me with hope again and I am pushing forward with all that needs to be done.
Today I'm hoping that all the paperwork, training, long wait, and tears will bring us to the perfect match.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What others say....

There's this phenomenon that keeps occurring when I'm talking to people about our adoption journey.   Sometimes it happens right away after they learn of our hope to adopt and sometimes it happens weeks later when they ask how it's going.  

They say to me, "you know, so many people get pregnant after they decide to adopt."

This has come out of the mouths of strangers, of fellow adoptive parents, doctors, friends, etc.
I was especially shocked when a coworker who has three children from Russia said it to me.  She said, "be careful, because a lot of people get pregnant" and proceeded to tell me stories of other people she knew who got pregnant right after bringing their children home.  

My answer is usually the same - "Oh I would love that, but it would be a medical miracle!"   They usually just nod, barely acknowledging that I even said anything.

Why do people feel the need to say this?   I understand that there have been cases where this has occurred. Sometimes people who have struggled with infertility do end up getting pregnant and sometimes it happens at or around the same time that they adopt.   But this is not something to expect, especially in our case.    
I don't feel the need to explain to each and every person that yes, although I have struggled with infertility, this time I really can't get pregnant, because Brandon has had the "snip-snip".   It's really none of their business and there are even a few people who have pointed out - it can still happen.   Really people? I know that it's possible, but what are the odds and why do you feel the need to say it?

Sometimes I wonder if people are so uncomfortable with the idea of adoption that they feel the need to hope for us that we will have biological children.   Or perhaps it's because they assume that adoption was our final stop in a long process of trying for a biological child and they want to keep my hope alive.

Either way, I'm a little frustrated by it.

I would love for them to say, "congratulations on adding to your family" and leave it at that.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Day Late to Say Happy Father's Day

I'm a day late, because this was a very busy weekend for us.   Brandon and I were camping this weekend with friends, but got home yesterday early afternoon.  We came home to a very spoiled dog and very spoiled kids. My mom watched over the boys and Marley while we were gone and they all had a few too many treats!   
We relaxed with a movie at home, Brandon opened his cards, and then we went out to dinner.
It wasn't anything fancy, but it was good.

So Happy Father's Day to my wonderful Husband.  Your boys are very lucky to have a father who fought for more time, a father who continues to want only good things for them, and for a father who takes care of all of us so well.     And hopefully, Happy Father's Day to the future father of my future child. Our baby will be so blessed to have someone like you to call Dad.  

Also a big shout out to my Dad - as my card to him said, a little girl never forgets her first dance.  I remember the days when we would dance in the living room to a Linda Ronstadt record, which was probably right after playing with my Little People house and right before he showed me his monkey lip face.   

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ice Cream to help fund adoptions? Great!

Wendy's and their Frosties are helping to support father's and adoptions over the Father's Day Weekend.

Fifty cents of every frosty sold Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 will be donated to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.   So get a frosty and help support kids finding their forever homes!
What a great thing!

You can even send a virtual frosty :-)  read more at the website I provided!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Moving along....

Yesterday Brandon finished his autobiography and sent it to our social worker at the agency. This means, another meeting! I feel like this is another big step for us.  She'll really dive into some things that we wrote in our biographies and Brandon and I might learn a few things about each other too.

Last night we also printed off yet another application - this time for the infant adoption program specifically.   In it, it asks if we want to be listed on our agency's website once we are officially "waiting".   Brandon said, "why not?" 
Well, it also asks for three sentences to post on the web along with a photo.  This is obvioulsy my job as Brandon's strength is not his writing.   How in the world can you introduce yourselves and explain how much you want this in three sentences?  Not to mention express your gratitude for anyone reading it!   So far, I've written about 5 drafts. We'll see how many more it takes until I feel really good about it.

We're also working on signing up for Child Passenger Safety Classes and completing some other training is required.   I hope that we can get everything finished by the end of the summer. It's already taken a little bit longer than I had thought, but we lead such busy lives that it's hard to get it all done fast.

A couple of other things...
This past weekend we were able to get some family photos taken by KJB Photography and Design.  It's a husband and wife team and I went to high school with the wife half.  They are just starting out with this business and I was very happy that we had a reason to get some photos done.  The boys have already changed so much since our wedding a year ago and I wanted at least one really good shot of the four of us for our adoption profile.

We've also been recovering from our recent vacation.  Brandon and I were lucky enough to travel to Cozumel over Memorial Day. It was our first TRUE vacation together and it was quite the adventure! It was such an amazing experience and we can't wait to go back to Mexico in the future.   Next post will hopefully include some pictures!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I'm a little late, but I wanted to say that we made it 1 year!   May 22nd was our first anniversary of being married.  Time has flown by and I can't believe it's already been a year since our awesome wedding day.   On the other hand, I feel like I have known Brandon forever.   We have this thing we call a "mind meld" where we think of the same thing even when we're apart or we say the same thing at the same time.   He truly knows me better than anyone else in the world.   I am so lucky to have found him and to have him as my partner in life and in this journey to grow our family.

Our wedding day... ridiculously happy and we still are!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pre-Adoption/Pre-Foster Training

This past Friday and Saturday we had our intensive pre-adoption training.  It was 8 hours each day and it was filled with tough topics that were sometimes very emotional.   Because it was also for people who are doing foster care or adopting older children who have been in the foster system, we had to learn about a lot of the things that these kids have gone through in their young lives.   We listened to a 911 call that was heart wrenching - a 6 year old girl calling the police because her step-dad was beating her mom.  We also talked about the loss that kids experience and how we can  help them through it.   

Even though there was a lot of doom and gloom, there was also the message that we can be great parents to these kids with the right tools.   Although we aren't adopting an older child, every kid has their own unique special circumstance that may need a different approach.  I really think that every parent could use training like this.

As I was sitting in our agency's training room, I looked around at the people who I had gotten to know in the last couple of days and I felt a sense of camaraderie. Although there were lots of differences among us - married, single, straight, gay, young, and older, we had something in common.  Everyone in that room is longing for a child or children - waiting to have kids in our home so that we can give them love.

I had an emotional week last week. This journey is not an easy one, but to realize that I am not alone in it gave me peace.   

The night before the training, I was hesitant about the class and feeling discouraged about the process.   When I left on Saturday, I was filled with renewed hope and determination.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What is a Mother?

Since I was a little girl, I dreamed about being a mother.  For years there has been an ache in my heart for it.

But, what is a mother?
Well, my husband doesn't call me the "googlemaster" for nothing!   Yes, I googled the definition of "mother".

1. female parent: a woman who has a child, or a female animal that has produced young
2. woman acting as parent: a woman who acts as the parent of a child to whom she has not given birth
3. originator: a woman regarded as the creator, instigator, or founder of something
4. origin of something: the cause, source, or origin of something
"Necessity is the mother of invention."
5. protector: something that protects and nourishes like a mother
1. take care somebody with tenderness: to look after somebody with great care and affection, sometimes to an excessive degree
2. give birth to baby: to give birth to and bring up a baby
3. bring something about: to give rise to something
I have not given birth nor am I the origin of any other human (or animal for that matter).    However, I have protected, I have nurtured and cared with tenderness.  I have "parented" a child that I did not give birth to.  
Ok, so according to this defintion, I could be called a mom and there have been times when I really did feel like one.
This weekend was not one of those times. This weekend I struggled to believe it when my own mother said, "Happy Mother's Day" to me.    I started asking myself, "does someone need to call me mom so that I feel like one?"    I'm still not sure I know the answer to that. 

All I can do is be myself. If that means that I "mother" my step-sons even when they don't want it or understand it, I will do it because I love them and care about them.   If that means that I call myself Marley's mom and people look at me like I'm crazy, too bad for the non-dog lovers.  If that means that I still long to be called "mommy" for real, then so be it.  I will embrace that need and continue to hope for it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Marley!

Today is a very special day.  It's is Marley's 3rd birthday!   Well, ok, we don't know for sure that she was born on May 5th, but that's my guess based on her age when we got her.   The youngest calls today "Cinco de Marley" , but unfortunately Marley does not get a margarita on her special day.

So Happy Birthday to our beautiful girl.... we love you even though you sometimes stink, sometimes steal kleenex directly from the box, eat too many treats, and can't sleep without us during storms.  You are really more like a toddler than a dog and we can't imagine our lives without you.

And a couple of outtakes....   

What Have We Been Up To?

Well, first of all, both boys took the Hunter's Safety Course. They learned a lot and both passed their tests with flying colors!  The youngest would like to hunt, but the oldest thought it would just be "good knowledge".   I took both of them to their range day while Brandon was working.   Luckily, they had some great instruction while they were there.

Last weekend Brandon and I participated in the March for Babies, a 4 mile walk to raise money and support the March of Dimes.   Unfortunately, it was unseasonably cold for May 1st and we were freezing as we walked around a lake.   It was still a great cause and I am happy I was able to be involved.     There were a couple moments when I thought I might cry while reading some of the signs. One in particular hit me.   It was a mom pulling her children in a wagon and they had a sign that told us they were walking for their triplets... in memory of two of them, but in honor of the one that survived.    Wow, just writing it now gives me the chills.
I decided that although the kids weren't with us, Brandon and I were walking for our future child.   Of course we hope that they are healthy, but we know that there are some amazing things done through the March of Dimes if they are not.

Here's a photo of Brandon with some special guests before the walk (don't hate on his jogging suit, he might get mad).
Here we go! You can tell how yucky it was outside. There was even snowflakes... in May.

At the finish... it felt good to walk 4 miles, but we were hungry!
Not the most flattering photo, but I happen to love it anyways... 

And after we grabbed a bite to eat, we went to visit an old co-worker of mine.  I haven't seen her since her 2nd child was born and I was very excited to catch up and hold a baby!!
She was such a fun baby - very smiley and talkative, although in this pic she was watching her brother.

We've also been working on the bathroom remodel and our autobiographies for the home study.  We have been a busy family!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Busting Some Myths....

At first, I wasn't going to participate in this, but then I asked myself, "why not?"

Myth # 1
You're young, just give your body a couple of months, you'll get pregnant soon.

During my first marriage, I went off hormonal birth control when I was 23 years old.  This was 10 years after I had first started the pill due to my heavy cycles.   I really had no reason to worry about my fertility.  I was young, I was fairly healthy, and my partner had a little girl so there was proof that he could do his part.   I temped, charted, took prenatal vitamins, etc. I did everything that I was supposed to do.   My charts were a little confusing, I wasn't sure about ovulation dates, but I was getting my cycle every month.  
6 months and 7 months passed and I still wasn't pregnant.  I would cry every month, I had horrible jealous feelings of pregnant women, and my marriage was hanging on by a thread.
Then at the young age of 24, the marriage was over.  I won't go into detail here, but around that same time, I skipped a period.   I took a test and it was negative, so I went into the doctor and a nurse practitioner did a blood test.  Still negative.  

I knew something was wrong, but the nurse practitioner said they wouldn't do any other tests until I had not had a period for at least a few more months.

Finally, after 5 months of no cycle, I went into my normal OB/GYN who did some tests.  She was confident that I had PCOS and referred me to an endocrinologist who confirmed.   He blamed it all on my weight. Told me if I lost at least 20 pounds I would probably be fine.    I went to another endocrinologist who told me that to get pregnant someday, I would probably need to do IVF.

What happened to being young? What happened to just needing some time to get the hormones out of my system?    Little did I know, those hormones were just covering up a larger problem and now I had to deal with the fact that I was actually infertile.

So what did I do?  Well, I met an amazing, wonderful man.   He had two children from a previous marriage and after about a week or two of dating, he informed me that he had a vasectomy.   Hey, that's cool, I told myself since we were just dating.   Eventually, dating turned into the real thing and then my internal struggle began again.    He had a vasectomy, right?  He's done with kids.   Am I ok with this?  Maybe I'm not meant to be a mom, maybe I'm only meant to be a step-mom.   Then I would cry when I thought about never being a mommy.   What did this mean for us?    Thankfully, Brandon said he wanted another child with me.    But what did that mean for us?   You have 1 infertile and 1 snip-snipped guy. 

That brings me to another myth actually....

Myth #2
Just adopt.

Wait, say that again. Just adopt?  People make it sound so easy and simple.    But as you do research, you realize it's not that easy and it's by no means an easy decision.  I don't think anyone, after gaining correct knowledge, starts the adoption process with the idea that it will be an easy road. 
We came to the decision to adopt through lots of discussion, lots of research, and some soul searching.   Now that we've started the process, I know that it is by no means easy and it's not something you just jump into.

However, when it's the right decision for you, there is some peace that occurs after you start.   I know that this is the way that I was meant to become a mom.    At times, I still think about the fact that I will never experience pregnancy and I will never look at my child and automatically see myself in him or her, but the feelings about those aren't overwhelming.  What is overwhelming is that someday I will be mommy to a little person and I will get to share each moment with them and share their hopes and dreams and guide them in the right direction.   I won't see my nose or eyes, but I might see my love of reading or Brandon's love of the outdoors.

I'll never forget the struggles I've gone through and I'll never forget about the other people that struggle with building a family.  My hope is that we will all find peace in whatever road we end up taking.

To learn more about Infertility:

National Infertility Awareness:

Friday, April 22, 2011

First Books

I have a love of books and reading.  I read almost every night before bed and sometimes when I'm working out.  Occasionally I will let myself just read to pass the time too.   I plan to share my love of reading with my future child and hope that as they get older, they will continue to read for enjoyment.

About a week ago, I made the first purchases for our future child's "library" and they came in the mail today.

link to description of book

link to description of book

I'm resisting the urge to open these books until Brandon gets home so we can look at them together.  He might need to grab tissues while I read the first book;  a book that celebrates a child's adoption.  

Maybe Marley will let me read to her for practice...  do you think she'll listen?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I admit.... which turns into the first baby item

So I will admit that for a while, I wasn't sure if we would bring another child into our lives.
Marrying a man with two older kids has a way of throwing a wrench into your life plan.

Before meeting me, Brandon thought he was done having kids.  He had two wonderful boys and wasn't even sure if marriage was in his future.   Apparently I threw a wrench into his life plan!   There were times where I told myself "I'm fine with just being a step-mom.  I'll probably be a fairly  young grandmother."    Then there were the times that I cried myself to sleep because I heard that someone else we knew was pregnant.  Brandon knew how much I wanted a child and eventually, he realized that he wanted another one with me.   We talked casually about our options for a while and when we got married, I knew that someday there would be a child for us.

Then, last June we were visiting Brandon's mom and her husband out at The Farm, which is surrounded by Amish Country.   We went to an Amish Consignment auction and after a long day of me not finding much that I was interested in we were about to leave when I saw it: a wooden baby cradle.  All of a sudden, I had to have it.   I told Brandon that I "kind of" wanted it.  That maybe someday... and he told me to go for it.    And after bidding $30, it was mine.  The "stuff" that was included in the lot didn't matter. I had a wooden baby cradle!

My cradle has been sitting in the corner of our garage for 10 months now and honestly, I had forgotten about it.    Then, the other day it as I was looking through baby items online, it popped into my head.  We have a cradle!   Not only do we have a cradle, but someday, we will have a baby to put into that cradle!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Step-Mom Moment

I'll be honest. Sometimes, being a step-parent is hard.   There are ups and downs just like being a normal parent, but there is also the realization that if something were to happen to your spouse, you're no longer a part of that child's life.   This became quite the reality when I lost my relationship with my ex's daughter.

Youngest Step-Son and I were talking the other day and I had to explain to him that I'm not really his legal guardian.  He asked me lots of questions about what this meant for me and for him.  He also asked how it relates to the new baby we will add to our family someday.   

He asked, "If something happened to Dad, would you automatically get his part of custody?"    I told him no.. that's not how it works, but that I could ask to still see him and his brother and if I needed to, I could even ask the courts.   

He responded, "I would fight to see you."

This child is amazing.  At not even 12 years old, he has decided that if his dad left this world, he would actually fight to stay a part of my life.   The thought makes me want to tear up a little now, because I never thought we would have a relationship so strong.   Moments like these make me realize that every struggle is worth it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Starting the paperwork

On Saturday when we received the first round of paperwork from the agency, I looked through it and became overwhelmed. There were background check forms upon background check forms, physician statement forms for everyone in the family, detailed questionaires, etc.     I started to worry.  Would they say  my health wasn't good enough?  I mean, they ask for your BMI!  Would they say that our house is too small?  They ask for square footage!   

Luckily, my mom gave me a call and we talked it out.  Of course they want to go through our lives, our home, and our finances with a fine toothed comb.  This is about a baby; a life!   If I was a birth parent deciding on an adoption plan, I would want to make sure that I knew EVERYTHING about the family.   This paperwork isn't about the fact that I've struggled with my weight or the fact our house is more cozy than it is large.   This is really to make sure that we can take care of another human being for the next 18 years and beyond.    And the truth is - we can and we will.   Above all else, we have so much love to give and I know that someday, we will have the opportunity to share that love.

So last night when I got home from work,  Brandon (that's the Mr.) said, "So what paperwork are we working on tonight?"    We started filling out the forms to send into Human Services of each county we've lived in, police departments for the cities we've lived in, etc.   Even my 13 year old step-son has to have a couple background checks completed!   Today Brandon is picking up stamps so that we can mail all of these in and luckily, we have nothing to be nervous about with this step.  It's a good place to start.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The first post...

So this is it; a new blog about our family, the journey we are about to take, and someday about our new addition. 
Where do I start?   Perhaps from the beginning...

I always knew that motherhood was in my future. As a little girl I played with dolls and practiced my nurturing skills. For many years, the only thing I knew for sure was that I was going to be a mom.  

When I was about 20 I met a man who had a daughter and I instantly fell in love with his little girl.  I ended up marrying that guy and becoming a custodial step-parent to her.  I was a parent 24/7 except for every other weekend when she would visit her mom.   During that time, I tried to get pregnant and over the course of about 7 months I realized that it wasn't going to happen for me.  
Shortly after that realization, my marriage dissolved and unfortunately, so did my title as "step-mom".     I may not be in her life anymore, but I am forever thankful for the wonderful learning opportunity that she provided me and I will always love her.

And here I am, married for the second time in my young life.  This time to a man I know will be with me through the test of time.  We have realized what love and marriage is all about and we are truly partners in life.   Once again, I'm a step-mom, but this time to two older boys.  Coming into a house full of boys was an adjustment, but I now know that my role in their lives is just as important now as it would have been had they been much younger.    

Before getting married last year, we decided that we did in fact want to add to our family.  I knew that I needed the opportunity for a child to call me "mom" instead of by my first name. For some reason, I long for that title.   For us, adoption was going to be the way that we would build our family.    So here we are.

We went to two informational meetings, attended a "family building conference" to learn more about adoption, talked to our families, and last week we made the commitment by sending in our application for services to our chosen agency.

Today we received our first large packet of paperwork.  It's my first clue as to what is to come with this Adoption Study or Home Study and let me tell you; it's daunting....