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....