Thursday, September 24, 2015

The most stressful cruise we might take.

Go ahead, they said.
Plan your cruise, they said,
Just get trip insurance, they said.
Relax, they said.
You deserve it, they said.
You need the breather, they said.

Remember in January, when I posted the craziness of living day to day, hour by hour... now we're down to minute by minute. My life has been a handful of  "1% chances". We leave for our cruise TONIGHT. And got a profile request yesterday. *Gulp* as I open the email.

Backing up....

It's an email we've somewhat seen before and ended up saying "no" to our profile being shown. I text Kirk that we have an email and anticipate the same response. God's been working on us over the last year on how open we should be and what 'we' can handle. Kirk text back and after conversations and prayer, we say "yes" to have our profile shown.

There are a few things that immediately stick out as God, if this ends up being our child. And my prayer becomes, "You have got to be kidding me right now, really?"

Scenarios and questions are starting to play out in my head. We had to reply by 3:30pm today, but she didn't tell us when the mom might be looking at the profiles.

The baby (sex known, but will keep quiet) was born September 20, 2015. Kirk's brother's (you know his story) and our nephew's (brother's son) birthdays. A well as his parents' anniversary.

Kirk has been saying that he has felt we were to end up with a baby saved from abortion. I'd tell him that all babies born have been saved by abortion. But this profile is the first one to specifically say something about abortion.

With our yearly homestudy renewal coming up and us starting to fill out more paperwork, I've been down and out with our "timeline" and if adoption will even happen. I'm always hopeful in Christ, but also a realist and know His will be done. I feel Him with me, but things have been quiet. Just waiting, out of my control. I don't want to give up, I don't want disappointment. I told someone last week that if we don't have a child, we're going to have to get a dog... because we keep telling the kids, "adopting a child comes before getting a dog, don't you want a baby more than a dog?" And with starting our new paperwork, I said, "this is it". We don't' want to give God an ultimatum or timeline, but "You have a year". I've just started to come to the end of the road feeling.

I haven't told many people about my "hair cut plans". January, I mentally said to myself "I'm going to wait till we adopt to cut my hair." The summer came and it was long enough to donate but Kirk's high school reunion was coming, so I said, "after that". Sept 21st I set up an appointment for the chop for today Sept 24. I've given up, I can only hold out so long. And now this... "for real?"

I called our adoption case worker this morning for questions. Questions she need to ask someone else. And questions we might not have the answers to till tonight at the end of the work day. Or tomorrow.She is supposed to call me back this afternoon. The mom will start seeing profiles at 4:30.

I don't know if the mom will take hours, a day, or the weekend to look over profiles. If the weekend, then I can at least relax a little on the boat. If we know before we leave that we aren't chosen, then there will be disappointment but we won't be in limbo. If chosen, she wants to meet the family. Will they want to meet ASAP, or can we wait till Tuesday when we could be back? If we know we've been chosen before the ship leaves, can I really step on to that boat knowing my child is back at home? And if we are expecting to find something out while on the ship, we get to pay $20 a day for internet (which will be worth it, but it won't be relaxing checking for emails.)

This is where we are. I'm packing bags, nervously waiting to cancel at least part of our trip, if not more. The first time for the kids on a plane, the first time for us on a cruise, the first time they go out of the country. And we are down to the wire. I'm in cruise mode, ready to just to mommy of a new born mode in 2.5 seconds. The list for the cruise could become a list of things we need from the baby store and a list of  things we could talk about with the mom, a list of attorney questions....

But Kirk said he's not worried. *insert sideways dog head tilt*

I'm learning to talk to Drew in football terms... do I fake left and toss right or just run with it up the middle?

Monday, March 16, 2015

2 1/2 months

2 1/2 months is how long it took to change my outlook or attitude. We had a roller coaster January, a little in February, and it's been quiet for almost a month now. I've gotten back to a normal pace of life, settled down on excitement, and the Seasons are starting to change. We had two weeks of ice and snow a couple weeks ago, and today I'm in shorts for the first time this year, trying to relax and watch the kids play in the sun.

Then we got an email from BCS. And instead of being excited, I started to cry. I couldn't keep it together at church yesterday either. The battle of giving my heart to a child and in 24 hours all could change, is too much. So I'm trying not to "go there"'. Not to think about this child who is at the hospital without any family right now. Not to think about (his or her-- we know) black hair. Wondering who is holding and feeding (him or her), Not looking at the list of names we've picked out and wondering which one we could pick. I won't go in the nursery today or tomorrow. (Which I just got curtains for and painted canvases for the wall)

I want to be happy. For myself, for this child to find a forever family. But it's too heartbreaking to be happy. Because happy is fake.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Looking For Me

The last two weeks have been low and high again. Not much has happened adoption-wise in the last two weeks up until a couple days ago. But not all our ups and down have to do with whats going on with the adoption.

Grief comes and goes when it pleases and sometimes unexpected, out of nowhere. I do know weather is a big trigger for me. Having multiple cloudy, rainy days in a row can make many people not want to get out of bed, but on top of that it spins me to emotional lows. Sometimes we expect emotional lows. Sometimes we expect certain times, like one coming up, "D-day". And sometimes that day comes and goes and we look back and say "that wasn't too bad." D-day is diagnosis day. The day I talk about as the worst day of our lives. The day a Mack truck hit us. February 16th is when we found our Kendall wouldn't live after birth.

So, from the beginning of January and the first time we showed our profile, I also started Advocare's 24 Day Challenge. This was the second time doing this "mini diet". I wasn't thinking about how the emotional roller coaster of life, adoption, and dieting would all crash together. At one point towards the end of the 24 days, I stepped on the scale and it said I had gained four pounds! Some people fluctuate here and there, but going up was NOT an option! I hadn't seen those numbers in a while and I was not happy. Meanwhile, I knew my BFF of 19 years was going to call and ask how the challenge was going.  The truth was I did still lost an inch in the waist. I stayed off the scale for a week.

Now I know some people will read this and roll their eyes at last paragraph, but the truth is my body image in very closely associated with the grief of Kendall. Many of my friends now didn't know me more than 3 years ago, much less before all babies. We all know after a baby, most bodies don't go back exactly where they were pre-baby. Post three c-sections is probably worse. Although I know a friend who it didn't effect (yes you...). Right after Kendall, I wasn't ready to lose all the weight because we planned on trying again, and did, and got pregnant, miscarried..... I wasn't sure where we'd be until later, and wasn't ready to lose all the extra weight. People started to know me the way they saw me, but the way I saw myself wasn't what was in my head. I'll come back to this subject....

On top of adoption, grief, body issues, and having a lack of control over my future... I still try to plan as much as possible for our future as I can. I pre-registered Drew for Kindergarten next year. Only to find out during that down week, that there is a bill that could be passed that changes the birthday cut off for entering school and effects whether Drew will be able to go. So that's in limbo. And a couple days before that, Kirk and I were talking about me maybe getting a small/ part-time job, as Drew would be in school full time and if we hadn't adopted yet.

So we have adoption, grief, body issues, school issues, job? Could anything else be thrown my way? I'm also in the middle of trying to find a good time to switch Kristen's gymnastics to, since she is moving up a class level. We were told our BFG leader was going to teach middle school next year (which is wonderful... not calling you out or trying to make you feel guilty, just came at a bad moment for me) and our adoption case worker emailed us to say our case would be handled by a new lady in the office. Someone who doesn't know us from Adam, except what she had been told and through our paperwork. I wanted to crawl under a rock, I think I cried every day for a week. Those were little things, but it all added up. Nothing seemed to be normal. And I need stability.

It was the first time in three years that I really wondered if I need to talk to a professional. I have a pride issue when it comes to me getting help. I have a lot of respect for people who seek Stephen Ministry at church. Being a Stephen Minister myself, doesn't excuse me for sometimes needing one for myself. But between blogging, talking to Kirk and analyzing myself, asking myself all the questions I would to someone else, and praying, God puts all my cracked pieces back together.

Adding something to my plate this week was actually a good thing. For a couple days I didn't have anything besides house work that really had to get done and I was in la la land. Being creative helps me, and we had a bookfair meeting. I decorate the halls at the school. Something on a short term scale I could quickly fit in and keep my mind busy. Yea, I had a small purpose.

My week was turning around, the whether was turning around, and we got an email from our new caseworker about a possible match and now are waiting a few more days for the mom to look at profiles. I had a couple friends who probably have only seen me here and there, wearing sweatshirts, see me in a t-shirt and ask where the rest of me was. I stepped back on the scale and saw that I was not only back down to my previous weight before gaining four pounds, but I had lost an extra two. And I cried with joy, as I'm back to my pre-Kristen and drivers license weight!!!!! And I moved a belt loop!! What- What!

It's not only about the weight or my body, but it's about getting ME back. And that makes me cry. Because many people don't really know who I am. And I've lost who I am. Part of me thinks back to who I was and I know I've grown and I will never be who I was. And some of me doesn't want to be who I was. And the other part missed the good parts that have been masked with pain. It's just one part that finally gets to say "Hello old friend, I'm back!" Too bad I can't run to own arms and give myself a big hug. I know a small part of what people feel like on the Biggest Loser.

SO as this week comes and goes, no matter the outcome, it's going to be an awesome week! And if this week turns into game winning out of the park grand slam, fireworking, Ric Flair whooo-ing, Nascar donut making, MC Hammer pants wearing, happy dancing week... there is only and is always only One to thank. That's what I'm looking forward to. That's my prayer. That's the Stephanie that is still missing.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Wait: my own pep talk

Thanks to everyone who continues to follow us with love, not only in this moment, but remembering our whole journey, for this adoption isn't just an adoption, or just another child in our lives, but something far greater. (And reading through the run on sentences and grammar mistakes, I know there are plenty... not sure if that last sentence is correct) Thank you for encouraging words. I know sometimes it's hard to find the right words. We appreciate the comments that acknowledge that we know about the "the wait" and that it isn't something new to us.

God's had me wait for a few things in life, but nothing will ever compare to the 16 weeks I continued to carry Kendall. I could have waited a lifetime for the end of that last week to never come. And waiting to see her again... Waiting is all I have at this point for the adoption. I know who's hands this is in. And most may think it is daunting and long and miserable but it isn't how I choose to view it.

It's true that we believe that doors have been open, open, opened and that our first profile sounded "perfect" and the next two weeks after was a roller coaster of ups and down. But we haven't been through what we've been through to accept defeat. Some people wait till they feel defeated and give up. It's way too early for that.

Is. 30:18- Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

Rm 8: 23-25-And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Ps 40:1- I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 

Ps 37: 4-Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Isaiah 40:31- but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

Ecc. 3:1- For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

We didn't get where we are on our own. We couldn't have planned for where we are.  We didn't come into this adoption on our own, we're following God's direction for this, and in that, his timing. But the difference is that we don't wait like waiting is a chore. 

Romans 8: 18-19 is titled Future Glory-  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

This wait doesn't compare to the anticipated future that we have (in this adoption). And even if we groan inwardly (like my last post- not being able to plan), we wait eagerly, with excitement for the what God has for us. No matter how long we wait.

Hebrews 10:23- Let us hold fast [remain tightly secured] the confession of our hope [expectation] without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
Philippians 1:20- As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed.

The saying "Be The Kind Of Woman That When Your Feet Hit The Floor Each Morning The Devil Says, ‘Oh Crap, She’s Up!’” Bring it on, I know God's on my side.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I'm a planner.

When waiting to be matched, everything is up in the air. I think we are a family that goes with the flow and are pretty flexible. After Kendall, I've gotten to a place where I sometimes feel we live one day at a time, not being able to plan for anything till the day before.

Asking me to attend a party.... Sure, I'd love to... Ask me again the week of and then I'll see how the week is going and finalize my attendance the day before. Not the answer I'd like to give, but what goes through my head.

Asking me to help with VBS 5 months ahead... I said yes! And then 24 hours turned around and said, "I can be on the team, but not the lead (at least this time)." The closer we get to Summer without a child, the more likely we could have a child younger and younger. And we could have a new born at that time. I couldn't back out the week of... When I commit, I'm in for the long haul. Not the type to back out.

We are trying to plan a family vacation later this year. Our first (maybe) cruise. I've been nervous and asked an adoption group their experiences with vacation and getting "the call" for adoption. And there were some. But they recommended travel insurance.

I emailed our case worker and she wrote, "Once a baby is placed in your home, you are not allowed to cross state borders until the termination of parental rights has been completed in court (this usually is within 3-4 months after baby comes home to you), and you are not allowed to leave the country until after finalization." 

I'm going to hibernate... Wake me when I can have some control of my life back.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Week Of First Showing

We ended up being shown twice this week, not selected. We actually had four chances to be shown. This week was very unexpected and very mentally draining. But good. Breathe....

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Day After Our First Showing

The last three days were not something I expected. And now after the excitement has left, I'm truly awestruck.

I've been in a few adoption support groups online, so I've heard the ups and downs and braced myself. Trying to learn the good, bad and ugly about and know what trials come with adoption. It isn't just a baby factory, although my kids might think there is a store we go pick a child up at. They are learning too.

Monday (from my last post), we had two and a half  hours to decide if we wanted to show our book for the first time. I was a little frantic, researching a few things that we knew about the situation. I even called my pediatrician to ask a few questions... They were as good as goggle. And we let it all go, gave it to God and said "yes".

The next couple days were crazy, as I only had one thing on my mind but had to still keep functioning... And we got the word that we were not chosen.

I literally sat down on my bed to let myself pour out my feelings and tears. But nothing. As I talked to myself, "okay, are you sure?" I took a deep breath and got up. I surprised myself. But I didn't know why right away. I was and am truly blessed by knowing about this situation, the vulnerability of the situation, and  praying for the family.

We started on with our day and within hours got ANOTHER situation! I started to read TWINS! And my eyes got huge, but we were not a match with that family. I had a little trouble with emailing our case worker back, so Kirk did it for me. It's hard  knowing that high, knowing two children we could be a match for, at the same time and knowing the situations we can handle.

So today we are back to square one and I'm itching to have that excitement back. I'm sure it's different for someone who might not have kids already in the home. The let down is probably harder. But I assume as time goes by, it might get harder for us as well.

Just thought I'd give more insight to the inner brain. Sometimes I even surprise myself. It was really cool... I wanna do it again! (With a prospectively different outcome)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First Profile Showing

We were not selected for our first profile showing. That's usually a long shot anyway, but we were hopeful. It's a humbling experience. To get an email on a situation and details of a family faced with having to place their WANTED child for adoption and for us to have two and a half hours to make a decision, with limited info, on whether to show our profile.
We're thankful for that opportunity. It was exciting. I know there is a deserving family over joyed today. And I know a little glimpse of what happiness is to come to us.
Continued prayers for that birth mom, as she tried to get back to her "new normal".