Thursday, June 26, 2014

Not That Anybody's Counting...

It's been 19 months since we told our families we were going to try to adopt again.   It was our "big" announcement at Thanksgiving.   Thanksgiving 2012.

On Thanksgiving 2013, my sister made the "big" announcement that she was pregnant.  Her baby arrived last month.  Her sixth.

I can drive myself crazy counting the months, believe me, I've done it.   I can drive myself even crazier by counting the number of babies who could've been born during this time.   Should've been born.   Could've been adopted.   By us.  By one of the millions of couples waiting to adopt.

Should've -  would've - could've.

I don't want to think that the children whom God wanted to add to our family were aborted but statistics don't lie.   These ridiculous waits that go on for years, not just months, after getting approved to adopt are driven by one thing.  The ridiculously high cost of adopting an infant is driven by one thing.  

Supply and demand.

I will never have the large family I once dreamed of.  My two children will not have all the siblings they could've had and that their father and I wanted to give them.    It just takes too long and the expense is too high.

Sure, we can consider fostering, or taking older children, or special needs adoptions (all of which are still lengthy processes). None of those options is off the table.

But when it comes to simply wanting to adopt another baby, one who we can love and know starting from his or her first days of life, I feel greedy.

I feel greedy because there just aren't enough.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Good-Bye To Misery Again

We’re heading home from Missouri this weekend, which will bring to a close a very eventful past ten days that has been filled with the ups and downs, highs and lows that I've come to expect as we continue our ride on the emotional roller coaster for which I apparently have bought a lifetime ticket. As I write this Quick Takes, I’m not sure entirely sure that I will be able to publish it in a timely fashion but I am confident that sometime Friday or Saturday, we will stumble across an oasis in the Ozarks called McDonalds with Wi-Fi which will meet my husband's need for iced tea, my boys’ need for French fries and Mama’s need to blog.  Not to mention that ten minutes at Mickey Ds usually equals another 150 miles of traveling bliss;  something you learn quickly when making long hauls with small children.

So here’s the low down.    As of this past Monday, we are no longer residents of the great state of Misery (that’s how Tom put it anyway).   We spent three final nights in our empty house (which the boys seemed to mistake as a gymnasium) and on Monday, the new owners took the keys (metaphorically speaking, we never actually got to meet the new owners).   I’m not sure anything really prepares you emotionally for saying goodbye to a home where you and your spouse started your lives out together.  Tom and I took a lot of pride in that place and we can only hope the new owners do the same.   On our last evening there, we sat on the back deck (which we built together) and admired the pin oaks we’d planted and how tall they’d grown over a period of ten years, the tall warm-season grass patch we’d established in hopes of attracting unusual birds to our backyard (it worked, we had sedge wrens and marsh wrens show up one year) and we watched as the tree swallows went back and forth to feed their young in the bluebird house that the boys and I had put up on Earth Day last year.     So many memories, but I didn’t cry.   There is too much life still ahead and I have learned from experience that it is best to not look back.  We made that little corner of our world better while we were there and that’s all we can do.  It is someone else’s corner of the world now.   So, we closed the door, piled into our car, and drove away from the little house on a hill.   

Of course, Sunday also coincided with Father’s Day.   Joah decided to make the day memorable for Tom by having a temper tantrum and slamming a door against the wall, leaving a nice new hole in the drywall of the house that we were planning to leave forever in about two hours.   Happy Father’s Day! Tom had to make a trip to the hardware store and came back and did his best to repair the hole for the new owners.   After that little fiasco, I made the command decision that the boys go sit in their car seats and watch a movie on the  DVD player in our car until we were ready to leave.    Tom was happy to oblige and the boys were happy as larks watching Wall-E for the ten-thousandth time while we finished repairing Joah’s handiwork.   So much for sentimental good-byes.

The boys connecting with nature at the KC aquarium.
After we pulled out of our driveway for the last time, we turned west.  Tom and the boys dropped me off to spend the week with a former co-worker who is also a good friend.   Together, she and I, along with another biologist,  spent the next three nights doing bat surveys while Tom and the boys spent the week with his folks in Kansas City.   It was a win-win.   The boys had a great time visiting Grandma and Pawpaw while I got some much needed time in the woods.  
Mama connecting with nature in the boonies.
I always loved being a wildlife biologist and so every once in a while, I volunteer my time just to get a taste of it again.  But after a week of being away from my boys, I am ready to get back to my new vocation.

Now, we are headed back east, to our new home and whatever else awaits.   I am anxious to get back on the waiting list for adopting in Kentucky and am praying that doing so will not be a long process.    It is painful thinking that at this moment, we are not waiting for a baby anymore, after having waited for so long already.   Thank goodness I got to spend this past week in the woods, which served as a great distraction.  

Another great distraction will be this Sunday, when Tom and the boys and I get to witness the baptism of this couple’s new baby girl.   I am still so overjoyed by their happy ending.    Every time I think about their journey, I am reminded again and again that we just never know how a story will end.   A week in the woods followed by celebrating with them is just the therapy I needed.

So, life goes on and I am saying sayonara to the state of Misery once again, both literally and figuratively.   Until next time.

Thank you, Jen and Kathryn for hosting another Quick Takes!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Here We Go Again

In two days, we sign the papers and close on the sale of our Missouri house.   Needless to say, this is a big blessing for us.   No longer paying two mortgages and being able to reduce our expenses even further will be a big stress reliever.  We've been moving towards the goal of having a simpler and more affordable lifestyle for a long long time.   So this is definitely a prayer answered.

And yet...

There is another prayer still not answered.   Because once we sign those papers, our adoption agency can no longer show our profile to potential birthmothers.   Instead, we will have to contact another agency in our new state and get our home study approved once again, etc. etc.    Granted, that may not be a big deal since we already have gone through a lot of the hoops required by both states, but still, it means more time will be ticking away until we get all our ducks in a row again and can have our profile shown to birthmothers again.   And that time ticking away is what keeps me up at night.

So here we go again.  Back on the road to Missouri so that we can take the last few remaining items out of our old home and hand the keys over to another couple, who coincidentally, are also trying to reduce expenses and live a simpler lifestyle.   And here I go again, back to wrestling with all the feelings that come when you have to say goodbye to a baby whom you felt like you already knew but never even got to hold.  

I'm ready to close the chapter that began in a small home on a windswept hill on the edge of the Ozarks. Tom and I had such dreams when we bought that home, and I remember telling the previous owners when they handed us the keys that we were going to start a family soon.   She was overjoyed to hear that the home she had raised four children in was going to become a home for the children we thought we would soon have.   But the children didn't come and most of the twelve years spent in that home were filled with uncertainty and lots of tears as we faced our losses and kept the door closed to the spare bedroom.   So starting again in a new place with my two little boys and the man who has stood with me through it all feels like the beginning of a dream that was put on-hold for over a decade.  

But I'm not ready to close the chapter that began almost two years ago when Tom and I decided to start the adoption process again.  Maybe it is because I have a hard time taking "no" for an answer but I'm just not ready to give up.   I feel like I'm just starting to get the hang of being a mother and that I'm more prepared for a child now than ever.

After our biological son was born, several asked us if we still planned to adopt.   My answer was always the same.  Yes, because we had made a space in our hearts for an adopted child and only an adopted child could fill that space.  One child certainly does not replace another, and never could (or should).  

Two years ago, Tom and I made another space in our hearts for an adopted child.    Only God knows how that space will be filled but I trust that He will fill it.   Maybe we will start the adoption process again in a few weeks in our new state.   Maybe we will pursue foster care.   Maybe it will be none-of-the-above and God will show us another path.   But for now, the space is still there.

So where do we go from here?   I wish I knew.  What I do know is that there will be an answer to this prayer too.   That much I can count on.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Passing It On - A Catholic Writer's Award

I was completely unaware of this award until Lea popped a comment into one of my blogs posts saying she'd passed it on to me.   Needless to say, I am tickled pink and feel very undeserving, especially when I consider her writing along with the work of so many others in the blogosphere being way superior to anything I have done.   Sometimes, I feel like if I had time to really think through a blog post, I might do a halfway decent job at writing one, but that time has definitely not come yet so instead, I pound out my posts bit by bit on days when I'm still lucky enough to have both boys napping simultaneously or after the house goes to bed.   How any good writing could come of that is beyond me. So let me pass this award on to those who are much more deserving and talented than I.
  • I'll  start with Lea herself who blogs at Mama Takes on the World.    As a new blogger, I am always amazed when someone comments on my blog because it still hasn't quite sunk in with me yet that anyone other than my husband actually reads it.  Writing a blog still feels to me like I'm talking to an imaginary friend. So when Lea made a comment early on, I had to check out her blog and was floored by how much thought and reasoning she puts into each post.  I guess I'm too skeptical to believe one person can take on the world, but by golly, after reading several of Lea's posts, if one woman can do it, it just might be her. The fact that she and I seem to share the same opinions about most matters is a bonus.    And check out her personal story too, which I found incredibly inspiring and intriguing.   I can't wait to hear what else Lea has to say!
  • Then there is Rebecca who blogs at The Road Home.   It's difficult to find someone whose writing makes you feel like they are speaking directly about you but Rebecca is one of the few who has this gift. She shares the good, bad, and ugly of dealing with infertility from a Catholic perspective and her blog has become a voice for hundreds of Catholic women who carry (or carried) this same cross.   My most recent favorites were a post about how we are all called to be spiritual mothers and another in which she blogged about how difficult it is to feel like our lives are "fruitful" when we are facing physical barrenness.  I sincerely hope she knows just how fruitful her writing has been for me and the many others who know her pain but are much more inept at expressing it.    I have no doubt that the road she is traveling will lead her home and it just might lead a few others there as well. 
  • And sticking to the infertility bloggers, I would like to add Chella at Half Full of Grace.  I first visited Chella's blog because she was a new blogger (like me) and just starting out on her infertility journey (which I truly pray is not a long one).  After reading her first couple of  posts, I was hooked. She blogs with her whole heart and I just couldn't help but want to give her a virtual hug.   I also love the fact that she usually concludes each post with a heartfelt and very gracious prayer because, ya know, God reads blogs too!    So keep up the praying and writing, Chella.   You do both too well to stop.  
  • One other favorite blog of mine is Kerri's at Journal of a Nobody.   I can't recall how I found this blog, but when I stumbled across one written by a woman who also has struggled with infertility and miscarriage, and loves being a Catholic, and also lives in Kentucky and has two twin boys nearly the same age as mine, how could I not read it?   We have so much in common that I hope someday we can meet up in the Bluegrass State and enjoy some bourbon while our husbands chase our boys around.   In the meantime, I enjoy reading her posts and am always amazed by how encouraging and upbeat and optimistic she is because trust me, I know her life with twin preschool boys and a new baby ain't easy!   She also writes columns regularly at Catholic Sistas so yeah, she's a real writer, unlike us impostors.   You go, girl!
  • Lastly, I want to pass this award on to a blog that I have never left a comment on (I know, shame on me) but that I have been reading for almost two years now.   Marie at Joy Beyond the Cross was a blog I started reading after having my third miscarriage, which coincided closely with her fourth. I was deep in the midst of self-pity when I found some of her posts in which she described her feelings about her babies in heaven and her connection to them and all the saints.   Her writing really helped me gain some perspective on my losses and suffering and it also helped to know that I was not suffering alone.  If she could keep hoping and trusting, I knew I could.  The name of her blog sums her philosophy up perfectly, i.e., don't focus on your cross but on the joy that lies beyond.   I had really lost that perspective until I found her blog so thank you, Marie, for helping us stay focused on what the point of it all really is.
I should probably stop there.   You can look at my blogroll and see what blogs I frequent.   In my opinion, all of them are deserving of this recognition.   They are all well-written by Catholic women who have a lot of heart and soul.   And there are many more than just the ones I frequent.  But alas, so many little time...and dirty dishes are (always) calling.   So if you are reading this, and you too know of a deserving blog, especially one that may be somewhat obscure, I hope you will pass this award on.

And thank you to Melanie for initiating this idea and who has a lovely blog that I found through this award.   May the giver also be the receiver!