Monthly Archives: August 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes!!!

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Wow!  I am getting ready for another start to another school year and I can’t help but smile because it feels really good to be in this place.  (As a teacher, my life is lived in school years so starting a new year feels like starting over.)   Last year, I had no idea the craziness that my life would take.  Looking back, I can just stare in awe, but in the moment, I was just hanging on.   I was overwhelmed and over my head….literally!  This post is my feeble attempt to look back before moving on.

Last August, I began my tenth year of teaching, but teaching all subjects in fifth grade for the first time.  I was taking Clomid to help with infertility and feeling all the side effects (every single one of them) while trying to deal with the emotions and stress of feeling lost in my job.  In addition, I was crazy hopeful that we would get pregnant soon and that it would finally be my year to be on maternity leave.  I began last year with anticipation and uncertainty.  New drug, new roles in my job, new test with new TEKS and WAY more work with no idea the year that would lie ahead of me.

By November, I was in a doctor’s office complaining of fevers, joint pain, weight loss, nausea, headaches which would lead to vials and vials of blood being taken to identify a cause.  (I can be a bit dramatic so it could have been nothing.)  By December, I was trying to wrap my head around the diagnosis of SLE (aka Lupus) and Rayneud’s syndrome; what started as the year to get pregnant turned into the year to survive.  I learned the importance of taking care of myself while my job (for the first time) had to put on the back burner.  We would begin to question not when I would get pregnant, but IF I could get pregnant.  Time became a factor and everything changed.  Side note: even with Lupus, my life was never in danger (praise God) but I had to think about my health for the first time ever and make necessary changes to not let this disease get worse…end side note.

Flash forward to March and April and I had visited four different specialists to get answers to infertility, anemia, autoimmune diseases and more. I was taking off or leaving early left and right to meet with doctors on their schedules.  I was learning more about how the body works as a system than I ever thought I should know.  By April, we were crying tears of sorrow as we learned our journey for biological children was closed (God had different plans) and that He had answered my prayers of no miscarriages and a healthy baby by saying no to pregnancy.  By June, I was finally on medication for my autoimmune disease since we were no longer trying to conceive and by August my homestudy to adopt was complete.

As I sit here and look back I want to say 1.  Thank you to my husband for putting up with me…my crazy year was our crazy year.  2.  Thank you to my God for carrying me; you never left me alone.  3.  Thank you to my friends and family for praying for me-always.  At the time, I had no idea how bad it was, but I feel the impact today.  What a difference a year makes!!  I have seen the power of God at work in my life during that most chaotic year.  I am thankful that my students had no idea what was going on privately and that my team helped me to get through it and be successful.  I am blessed.

The good news is: it is a fresh year with a fresh start and I am super excited.  I feel a renewed energy because  if I can survive last year and still love my job then I will always love it.  Summers are needed for a teacher to recuperate and refocus and I took all summer to do just that. I feel this year will bring some exciting changes.   Thank God for new years!

Celebration before Back to Work

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Nathan and I have been so busy this summer getting ready for this adoption.  I have truly used every day to do something and poor Nathan has been working overtime and then some to help alleviate the costs of our additions and and add-ons.  After so much work and stress we needed a break, so we took another short trip to Austin.  I have the best parents ever that watch our dogs with more love than we would give them.  In fact, our dogs hate it when we get back because they were spoiled so much…our child will feel like that too someday.

We drove down on Wednesday morning, ate at one of our favorite restaurants Maudies off Lamar.  We talked and remembered when we use to live, go to school and date in Austin.  Later, we rode bikes around White Rock Lake which turned into a nightmare when the trail ended.  We were too far to turn back, but the only way to get to our hotel was to ride down a busy street full of cars.  I was already wobbly from my bike being too tall (anytime we stopped at a light I had to throw myself off the seat or get near a curb to touch…I have bicycle seat booty as we speak and my crotch hurts-just being real), Austin is where Lance Armstrong trains since the hills give him a great workout…those same hills became my worst enemy as I was already exhausted from riding over an hour, finally we passed by a homeless camp of sleeping men and felt a little guilty whizzing by on our mountain bikes;  they were all very polite even though we woke them up if you were wondering.

After interrupting a game of catch, we took a dip in the pool to cool off before meeting great friends for dinner at Trudy’s.  We ended our night watching the Rangers game on Rainey Street before driving home the next day.  A nice mini vacay to remind ourselves of why we are doing this adoption and to remember all the memories we have shared just us two.  The bike trip was a perfect metaphor to this adoption journey.  We had so many moments we just had to stop and laugh and a few times that I could have cried.  So many moments we asked “are we doing the right thing?” but in the end, we have another hilarious story to add to our large collection and it was undoubtedlly worth it.  What more could you ask for?

The good news is: Psalm 37:4 states “Delight yourself in the Lord and God will give you the desires of your heart.”  God has placed on our hearts to adopt which is a dramatic change from the journey we began three years ago.  Our desire use to be to get pregnant and all my visions were of a safe delivery and cute maternity clothes.  Today, I envision us holding our son and daughter before a judge and giving an oath to maintain legal responsibility for this precious gift.  We are so blessed to be steps closer to fulfilling this desire and so thankful that God placed it in both our hearts at the perfect time and in the perfect season.  It will be worth the wait!

Sweet Relief!

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We packed a Diet Root Beer and bag of cookies then sent our social worker on an airplane back to Houston.  Before she left, we gave a hug and a kiss and said, “We’ll talk when we know more.”  The hard work is over and the waiting begins!  I feel like crying and cheering all at the same time.  The cheers would be because we did it:  we completed the paperwork, fingerprints, background checks, physicals, interviews, home study, adoption book and so much more I can’t even remember.  The cries because we are finallly here…we are now waiting with a purpose.  We have always been waiting, but knowing that we still had things we needed to do first…now we have done our part and the rest is out of our control.

Another big milestone in my life is that I have shared this blog with more people close to me and that was really hard.  I never want anyone to feel sorry for me or for us on this journey.  I never want people to feel like we have it bad because we don’t.  We are blessed more than we can imagine.  We get to experience a love and family dynamic that many will never know and we are grateful.

I am reminded of Lou Gehrig’s speech where he considers himself the luckiest man on earth.  I love his last line “So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”  Granted, I am not dying so that is a plus for me, but every woman that knows about infetility knows the heartbreak it brings and the grief you feel for not just yourself, but for your husband as well.

Our social worker urged us to be more open about our situation saying: 1. You never know who your story will impact. 2. There is nothing to be ashamed about…if you experience a loss or excitement you need friends to share that joy/grief. 3. You need the prayers of all those around you.  So, I am not posting anything on Facebook since you never know whom to trust, but I am opening myself to share with women I know will pray and love unconditionally. All these trials will serve a purpose and we cannot wait to see where this journey takes us.

The good news is: This school year is one of my most anticipated because anything can happen.  So MUCH has changed since last August.  I never knew about the Lupus, we were still anticipating getting pregnant and adoption was not even a thought in our mind or heart.  Fast forward to 2012 and here we are on the ride of our lives!  We know it won’t be all sunshine and roses from this day forward; so many emotions both easy and hard are still to come, but we are not alone.  Sweet relief!!!

Mi Casa Es Su Casa

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Today was our home study with our social worker.  We have been preparing for this day all summer.  I wrote in a previous post about all the work we have done on our house and today we gave her a tour to show it off.  Yep, a tour of our home and that was all she was looking to see.  It felt good showing it off and admiring our hard work, but a little humbling to learn she just needed to see where we live; nothing more.  I am happy we did all this work because it needed to be done and it was perfect timing before a baby.

The social worker was easy going and easy to accomodate.  Nathan did a great job of thinking about all the hostess type things we should do that would have slipped over my head.  To be honest, these two weeks have been really challenging.  Nathan has continued his full time job, teaching his summer session college class daily and working an extra job on Fridays.  He has been a busy bee taking time to sleep between shifts and using every other waking moment to prepare his lessons or slideshow for class while trying to fix things around the house.  I have taken on the role of doing most of the organizing, painting, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.  Days like these I think “Never again will I let it get this messy”  But I know me and it will.

I have been grateful for him working so much because I have felt comfortable buying the upgrades, paint, decorations and accessories to make it more “homely’.  It has been a strain on us to be so tired and irritable from all the work, but today made it all worth it as we could just relax and show our home with pride.  Another day of remembering we are doing this TOGETHER even though we both take on different roles.  We have had our arguments in this process mostly from feeling the strain of the stress and choosing to take it out on each other.  We must remind ourselves this entire adventure is a labor of love for each other, for our God and for this precious baby.

Our social worker will return tomorrow to finish the interview process that we could have completed in Houston, but chose to finish in Dallas while she was already here.  A birthmother has viewed our adoption book, but went with a different family.  I know the family she chose and they are wonderful.  For a moment I felt that feeling of jealousy or rejection, but all that disappeared when I learned she was due in October.  That would have been so soon!  I am reminded our child will come at the perfect time from a perfect God that knows exactly what we need.  I do not doubt that if she chose someone else then it was not our child.  So many prayers being lifted up for God to lead us to our child and our new family.

The good news is: it was a hard decision to choose adoption over trying infertility treatments to have a biological child.  It is difficult to accept pregnancy may not be in our future and to embrace the other options.  However, our decision has been affirmed over and over and the biggest indicator is peace.

Live While You Wait!

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I read a blog that gave the best advice describing that time of waiting.  For some, the waiting is the two week wait–that time between you have done all you can do to conceive and the moment you discover if it works.  For others, it is waiting to try again after a loss or setback that involved a painful time of grief.  Maybe it is waiting to find a surrogate or waiting to hear back from an adoption agency.  It could also be waiting to decide what to wait on or waiting for the spouse that will help you along.  I don’t know the specific situation, but I feel we have been waiting a lot lately.

The advice was simple: Live while you wait!

Profound, yet hard to put into practice.  While waiting it is easy to worry or wonder.  You want to be hopeful, but weary of being disappointed.  You want to enjoy your time, but there are so many “what ifs” that keep you from that joy.  Especially if trying to concieve…the two week wait is horrible!  So many things we do naturally cannot be done when pregnant.  I remember in the beginning being afraid to take a hot bath, drink a glass of wine, play a soccer game or ride a roller coaster.  I would literally stop my life for two weeks in fear of hurting a baby that I could be carrying…that all stopped after my doctor said, “Live your life.”

Right now, we are waiting on the adoption to progress.  We are waiting on a birth mother to choose us.  We are waiting on all of our paperwork to be approved and we are waiting to know more about what we are waiting for or for whom we are waiting. As one author calls it: we are in the meantime.  We have begun the journey, but are in the middle. On a sidenote:  Crazy to think that our son or daughter could already be conceived as I type these words.  We are fervently praying for the child’s health and for the birth mother’s safety, emotions, her family and the decisions she will be making.  We don’t just want any baby…we want our baby.  The baby God created knowing He knew we would be the parents.  The baby that will make all this waiting worth it!

I am happy to say that Nathan and I are living life to the fullest while we wait.  This is a happy time for us because the peace which transcends all understanding has surrounded us to know our waiting is not in vain.  We feel confident in our decisions and see the hand of God at work everyday.  We actually have a new purpose for living because we know our lives can include a child at any moment.  We are living and doing the things we have enjoyed and are able to do because it is just us two.  This past summer we have gone on vacation to Mexico, scuba dived in the coral reefs, girls’ nights out, slept in late, stayed up late, gone out to eat to adult friendly restaurants, spent money to update the house, taken weekend getaways, gone to amusement parks and rode roller coasters and just embraced our time together and with our friends doing the things we love.

A baby does not mean all these things will stop, but there will be a new thought whenever we do them.  We will have a child in mind.  Many of these things we will continue to do, but we are realistic to know that some things will have to wait….and with a wink and a grin….we are good at waiting!!!!

The good news is: anything we have to give up to accomodate for a child we will get back ten fold in the blessings that we will receive.  We have no idea of this love that we will soon experience.  There are times I cringe thinking of the responsibility and worry that awaits me.  Times I want to hug my parents for enduring this for all these years; in awe of how they let me walk out of my house knowing all the dangers that lurk in this world and eagerly want to protect me.  However, it is our time and we know God will be with us so let the journey begin!

I Count This As Nesting…(last step before waiting)

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I have been pretty busy lately getting our home ready for the home study next week.  Since we are an out of town couple, the social worker will be spending two days with us while staying at a local hotel.  So in addition to cleaning our house, we are also cleaning our car and making a plan for meals on the days that she is here.  I have also been trying to get in various appointments before my new school year starts.  It sounds really busy, but I have had three months off so it really is just procrastination in progress.  My goal has been to be able to have everything completed by her home study: fingerprints, physicals, birth book, paperwork…all of it done by the start of school.  My husband has been working three jobs in part to help pay for all this so once the home study is over our plan is to take a mini-vacation before the school year starts and we are trying to squeeze in a trip to Six Flags because I have a free ticket.

I am calling this time of home study cleaning and organizing as my nesting since I may never have one due to not being pregnant.  I have literally gone through every space in this house and cleaned it and organized it.  Closets, cabinets, pantry, laundry room, drawers, garage etc.  All of it!  What we don’t use has been trashed, donated or sold and what we do use has been placed where it belongs.  Our first bedroom has been my random junk pile for the first eight years of marriage, but now it is the UT room!  I painted it peach and orange and added some of my alumni memorabilia and it is now my subtle, yet fabulous, happy room.  I am very pleased that my vision worked out!  We got new carpet throughout the house and I am now cleaning out the baby’s room that we have had painted since our third year of marriage.  After eight years, we have a dining room table and it is nicely decorated with a place setting and flowers including decorations.  Finally, we have added some home accents throughout the house and it feels like new!

What is exciting is all this has needed to be done, but I have had no motivation to spend the money to do it.  With a baby on the way someday soon, it seems that now is the perfect time.  God has provided the resources and time to get it done and I feel like I have a new house which is amazing since we have lived in it for eight years!  My goal has always been to do it right when we can do it and it feels right.  It feels closer to welcoming a child and we know it is organized, so that makes it better!  I have left plenty of space around the house to get ready for baby things  🙂

Random thought: I have never included photographs on my blog, but that is in part because I am still hoping to remain mostly unknown.  I am still not comfortable sharing every aspect of our journey until it is complete…we are still in the waiting phase which feels a little like being in the middle.  However, I have been reading other blogs and I love how open most of the women are with their lives.  Granted, most of them are writing their blogs for friends and family, but I have not given this blog to either of those groups.  Our family would be a little shocked at all I am thinking and feeling going through this journey and I would rather them read it after the fact…when all this pain is worth it in the end.

On that random thought, I read a blog today that had such confidence and faith that good things WILL happen by the grace of God that it has made me more determined to catch that confidence.  God will create for us a family in HIS time and in the right SEASON where it all works out for our GOOD!  This trial is helping me to discover myself and one area I need to work on is my faith and trust in Him.  I usually try to protect myself, but He is protecting me and I don’t have to be afraid.  Whatever happens is how it is meant to be and I am just being obedient.  I’m done looking back at all the what could have beens and am confident to look forward at what is in store for us.

I love the dedication of all those women pursuing IUI, IVF and surrogacy and choosing to blog about it.  I wait in anticipation for if it worked or how it is going.  I feel like I know you and I am excited for you.  You are amazing women with such strength and you are all right…it WILL be worth it!  For me, your stories are affirming that we did the right thing by choosing this route instead.  I get overwhelmed looking at your medicines and doctor visits and I would have gladly done it all if I felt it would have worked for us…but reading your stories inspires me that we are all on our journey and all of us have infertility in common.   We will all be amazing mothers someday!

Last random thought, I have been reading a lot about international adoption, fostering to adopt, special needs adoption…it seems each new type has advocates pulling for it as being the “best” way to adopt.  I am unsure if there is ever a best way, but for awhile I felt like I am doing the “bad” adoption for wanting an infant from this area even if it means that the cost is higher.  However, I feel God guiding my heart to know all adoptions are part of His plan and He is leading us to where He wants us.  My adoption will be open, from our country and will require a loving relationship with an unknown family. I could not be more excited.  We have been praying for the family of our birthmother and for our unborn baby as we wait.  We have also been praying for our families to learn more about adoption so they can be prepared.  It takes a heart of grace from a variety of people for this to work out happily in the end.   God has something special in store and we are getting closer to finding out what that will be.  In humility, I don’t feel like it is us doing a great thing, I am most in awe of the birth mother creating a plan for her child that includes a faithful home from two parents eager and ready to raise a child.  Our lives will merge and our new family will be more than either of us could have asked or imagined.  I am confident God’s plan is best.

The good news is: as my summer comes to a close these blogs of different women in all parts of life have inspired me.  Thankful that I have entered into this blogging world and excited when I can share it with my family and friends….just not yet.