Friday, December 31, 2010

"Who Gave Presents To Jesus?"

 Photo: www.willowtreegifts.net

Serving in the Primary, the kids are always throwing out the best quotes. Kids can be sooo hilarious when they're just being their cute, innocent selves. This year (reminiscent of last year ... ha ha), my favorite quote was when we were talking about the meaning behind gift-giving at Christmas time.

***

"It was Jesus' birthday and gifts were brought to him to celebrate. Who remembers who gave presents to Jesus?"

"Ooh! Ooh! I know!"

"Yes?"

"The elves!"

***

Wow. Awesome. I love it! Buah ha ha!




Thursday, December 30, 2010

Preoccupied

The month of December has been a crazy whirlwind of excitement, confusion, opportunity, chaos, and emotion. I haven't posted about any of it because I'm not sure what I can say while in the middle of it all. Nothing is certain, everything is scary and new. But whatever ends up happening, it'll be quite the story once it's all said and done. I've learned so much already. My thoughts are all over the place and it's been really hard to focus on anything - work, blogging, holidays, etc. When I prayed for things to happen quickly, God sure did dump a lot on my plate.... ha ha ha. All I'm trying to do now is stay calm and ride it out... and NoT PaNiC!!! Ahhhh!




Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Don't Know How The Holidays Got Here So Fast

I didn't even get a chance to celebrate Halloween yet. Ha ha ha.

Thanksgiving went by in a blur of food.

Now here it is Christmas and I'm just thinking, "Hold on, hold on, hold on... wait, wait, wait. Wasn't I just doing this last year?!"

I've been preoccupied this year, so I guess that's my excuse for sucking at the whole gift-giving thing. And we're trying to save money, so we didn't go crazy like we did last year.

I feel the need to list some things I'm grateful for during this holiday season:
  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don't know how I could survive without the peace and comfort and reassurance that the Gospel brings into my life. It makes me feel whole. I think about those loved ones in my life who don't have the Gospel's positive influence because they choose otherwise, and my heart hurts to see the sadness, the emptiness, the confusion, and the lack of direction. I often feel those things too, but the Gospel has a way of filling those holes and bringing me back to happiness. Without it, I would be a lost soul.
  • Family. I love my family, despite all their weaknesses and dysfunctionality. I love good memories. I love the idea of creating my own family... my own little branch of the tree. I can't wait to experience that and to create a loving and supportive home. I know we have so many memories yet to create and I'm excited for the future.
  • Infertility. As crazy as that sounds, and as painful as it can sometimes be, I know without a doubt that infertility has been a huge blessing for us. It is leading us down a path that is so beautiful that I just can't imagine if things had just been "easy." This is a much more rewarding path for us. Much harder, but much more rewarding. And exactly what God had in mind. He knows us and He loves us and it is very evident.
  • Birthmothers. We've been to birthmother panels and we've met lots of women who have placed their babies, and from what I can tell, these women are angels. I have no words for how much respect I have for them for the difficult decision they made - the most difficult decision a woman could ever face. But they should always know how loved they are and find comfort in their decision. I feel for those who are struggling with the decision right now. No matter what path they choose - to parent or to place - it's going to take a heck of a lot of COURAGE. I'm thankful for the choices that someone else will have to make to allow me to be a mother. There really are no words to say how grateful I am for that!
  • Open adoption. I love the idea. I love embracing the birth families who give so much of themselves with no reward other than to see someone else's hopes of becoming a family become reality. I love this post from The R House about open adoption and love reading about the relationships they've developed. So beautiful.




Do Pets Go to Heaven?

Photo: www.webartstore.com

I am an animal lover. Always have been. Through all my childhood pets I learned so many life lessons and developed within me so many characteristics. I learned about birth and new life, the nurturing and protecting instinct the mother has for her children, playfulness, survival, etc. But what I learned most about was cruelty and death...

We lived in the kind of neighborhood where people acted like they didn't have any sense. Or compassion. Many of our cats were shot just for the fun of it. We had some of our cats come back home with bb's stuck under their skin from attempts on their life. They were tough; they were survivors. Others just never came back home and we'd hear about what happened to them later through neighborhood talk... or we'd discover their bodies. My mom worked at the library and had a difficult time keeping the rowdy, undisciplined children from breaking or stealing things or looking at porn on the Internet... so, they would get mad at her for trying... and come to our house and decapitate our dogs.

I cried a lot. I couldn't understand these people and the sick, twisted way that they treated animals. I developed a strong passion for protecting them that never left me. I don't like the idea of hunting for sport or hurting animals for our enjoyment. I feel sick to my stomach whenever I hear about dog fights in the South. When Michael Vick got in trouble for that, I started hearing arguments to support it based on it being a "cultural thing" to have dog fights and to kill the underperforming animals in inhumane ways. Give me a break. I grew up in the same culture, so don't give me that. You can't blame your incompetence and inhumanity on it being a "cultural thing."

My love for animals pushed me towards vegetarianism. When I was 12, I bought tons of books about it and tried to ease myself into eating less meat. It was a conscious decision that I was making myself, despite what anyone around me thought. Since then (13 years later), I still don't eat beef or pork. I go through phases where I give up seafood and chicken and turkey. I'm still working on the discipline it requires to completely eliminate it. It's difficult, and I'm a hypocrite, but in my heart I'm a vegan.

I have my two cats who I love like little kiddos. Felix Bojangles & Zeus Shenanigans (ha ha ha ha). They're the best of buddies and I'm so glad I can offer them a comfortable existence. Felix was left at a shelter, so who knows where he would have ended up if we hadn't taken him in. And Zeus was born to a neighbor's cat who would have ended up living a feral life in the streets of south Provo had we not rescued him. If I had my way, I would definitely be a crazy cat lady. But I want to avoid the crazy part - ha ha - and I've given myself the rule that the ratio of cats to people in my household can't be greater. Right now it's 2:2.

I think back to all the pets I've had over the years and how much of a connection I feel to them. I can't imagine a heaven that wouldn't include them. I know God develops a place of happiness for us if we make it to heaven, and this article got me thinking about whether or not that would include my pets? What if I don't make it to heaven - are my pets tied to me and they won't make it either? Will animals in general be judged - some making it to little animal heaven and some sent off to animal hell? That doesn't seem like it would make much sense, as I don't think they have much of a moral conscience to be making good vs bad decisions. What about all the animals who weren't loved, who were neglected, who were tortured, who weren't pets? We should care about what happens to them after death too! Do all animals have spirits that are as eternal as ours?

Anyways, that's what I'm thinking about as I look at my nativity scene and imagine all the animals surrounding Jesus on His birth... what an awesome, peaceful scene that is. One of the greatest events that ever took place on this Earth took place in a barn full of animals. I love it. :)




Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Infertility "Sting"

 Photo: www.pcosnomore.com

A few weeks ago, we didn't have to teach the Primary kids at Church like we usually do. We love teaching - it's soooo much fun. But it seemed like it would be a nice break from it and I was kind of glad. I got to actually go to class with all the women. I sat in the back and looked around at all the new faces. People move in and out so fast that I just don't even try to keep up with everyone anymore. The lady conducting the meeting welcomed everyone to class and then asked was there any good news? My heart jumped and I kind of wanted to announce that we got approved to adopt, but for some reason I paused when other hands shot up.

So casual and nonchalant, the first woman announces, "I'm pregnant!" Like it was a matter of fact, an everyday occurrence. I have nothing against this woman whatsoever, but the first words to come into my head were BITE ME.

A second woman announces that she just found out she's having a boy. My heart was sitting in the pit of my stomach and a rush of pain just hit me.

Ugh. Not again. I'm not even trying to get pregnant! Well, I'm not doing anything to stop it... but I quit taking my fertility meds at the beginning of the year. That didn't matter, though. The normal, dull ache had all of a sudden turned into a piercing one.

I felt grumpy the rest of the meeting and wanted to just throw myself on my bed when I got home. But, of course... as the Universe likes to heckle me... I had a baby shower invitation taped to my front door. I said, "Really? Really?" and burst into tears.

Zay said, "Does that really still bother you?" I shot him a glance like HOW DARE YOU and then crumpled into his arms, crying my little heart out.

That's what a bad day feels like. :(




Friday, December 10, 2010

Family Pictures November 2010

One thing that's great about this whole adoption thing is that it's forcing Zay to take some good pictures with me! Ha ha. I'm always, always, always trying to get him to take nice pictures and to get him to smile. He's soooo cute when he smiles! Luke from plukehansen.blogspot.com took these photos for us. :)









Saturday, December 4, 2010

Felix Says HEY

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Waiting Time

As soon as we got approved to adopt, the first thing I felt was relief. And then I felt a little silly for ever being worried about it. Of course we were approved. We're awesome. :)

But immediately after that, my mind started to wander. A month passed. I started to feel anxious. I kept myself busy with work, took on some overtime hours for the holidays. Went and got some family pictures taken. Played with my nephew as much as I could. I daydreamed...

Approval was just the beginning and now we were out there, "on the market," waiting... waiting for something to happen. What that something would be... *shrugs*. Every adoption is unique. The questions started creeping into my mind - How long will it take before birth parents start contacting us? IF they contact us...?

All that was left to comfort me was random statistics... like, the chances of us getting picked within 6-12 months, the average length of couples waiting, etc. Things that tell me how other people's stories happened, but not how ours will happen.

I started tying our "wait time" with our worthiness to be parents. The longer we wait, the more unworthy we are. The longer we wait, the less desirable we are. The longer we wait, the more hopelessness will set in. The longer we wait, the less excited I'll become. The longer we wait, the more Zay's concerns about this never happening will be deepened and reaffirmed.

Screw praying for patience. I'm praying for things to happen quickly. :)




Saturday, November 27, 2010

I ♥ Kinect

Zay and I love to play video games. We're just that kind of couple. We can sit there for hours playing Mod Nation Racers or Little Big Planet. I enjoy my Tetris and Zelda... and he enjoys his Gears of War. We like big HDTVs and Blu-ray players, etc. That's totally our thing.

Our new toy is Kinect - the controller-free camera/sensor attachment for the Xbox 360. We got it on the day it came out, of course. Because that's just how we do things around here. Lol. We don't spend money on a lot of things, but when it comes to entertainment... we just have to.

My fave, fave, fave game is Dance Central. I have GOT to get some videos of us playing it. It is a trip! I cannot dance to save my life! Ha ha ha. I did the very first song ("Poker Face") on Easy and then I turned to Zay and said, "Uh-oh! Time to go to the club and break out these new moves!" Muah ha ha ha! Not gonna happen. It's in my genes to be a dork no matter how hard I try. Lol! But it's sooo much fun, that I don't even care. All my insecurities about dancing in front of people have gone out the window. I get up and try to "Crank Dat" with the best of them. Annnnd I fail. Miserably. Ha ha ha! Zay laughs and gets up to show me how it's done. It's honestly the funnest video game I've ever played... and I play ALOT of video games.

I'm loving not having to use a controller. I just use "the force" to control my Xbox and I think that's pretty sweet! And I'm loving that it gets us up off the couch and gives us a *serious* workout.

I think Microsoft should be paying me for this kind of blog, right? Ha ha.

Here's some pics of my bro, me, and Zay playing Kinect Adventures. It takes pictures of you when it knows you're doing something silly. Ha ha. Hilarious. And kinda creepy that I just said it knows. Video games are getting too smart. Freaking me out a little!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Daily

I can't believe it's Thanksgiving again! Just last November we were attending Adoption Orientation and starting this crazy journey. I didn't feel like I had much to be thankful for at the time, because life in general was just so confusing! But this year, a lot of my prayers were answered in very obvious ways that I could see and understand (thanks for dumbing it down for me, God!) and it's very apparent that God cares about me. Poor pitiful little ole me. :) Ha ha ha.

Be thankful, yall!

And enjoy this video from the Church. The *sick* braids on the Thai guy (ha ha, that rhymes) were provided by yours truly. LOL. Yes, I'm proud of myself.





How This Here Adoption Thing Works...

Recently I've talked to some people regarding our adoption plans... and I've gotten a few responses like these:
  • "Oh! You're approved! So, when do you bring your baby home?"
  • "I don't really know anything about the process. So is approval, like, how the process starts?"
  • "Do you get to pick your baby out?"
  • "Where are you adopting from?"
  • "You say you have to wait... what do you have to wait for?"

So, maybe I can answer some of those questions!

We decided that for our first adoption (hopefully this won't be a one-time thing), we wanted to adopt through LDS Family Services. They are a non-profit agency run through our Church that offers addiction recovery programs, pregnancy counseling, birth parent assistance, and adoption services. They handle domestic adoptions, which means we won't be adopting internationally. Although we could specify that we only want to be matched with a baby from a particular state, our child can come from anywhere in America. We didn't specify, because we don't care where they come from! We're willing to travel as needed.

We are working with a caseworker who is guiding us through the process and will (sort of) help match us with a birth mother (or birth parents) who have decided to place their baby for adoption. I say "sort of" because in all actuality, the birth parents get to choose who will be the parents of their baby. This is the opposite of what some people envision an adoption being like. We won't be going to an orphanage and "picking a baby out"... the birth parents have to choose us.

There are lots of things that we could specify. For example, we could say, "Only show our profile to birth parents who live in Utah, with a female Caucasian newborn 0-3 months of age with no sign of disabilities, and the birth mother didn't drink alcohol while pregnant." Things like that. It was difficult to choose our "preferences" when we were filling out that paperwork. I kept thinking, "Who am I to be picky?!" We thought hard about it, prayed, and carefully filled out what we thought we would be comfortable with. The only thing we got "picky" about was race (black or black mixed with any other race). So, in a way we can "choose" things about our baby, but the birth parents still have to "choose" us. There has to be a match.

How the process works... there are initial interviews and paperwork that has to be completed (and updated on a regular basis) before we are approved. Once approved, that means we are determined to be acceptable by state and Church standards to adopt a baby. That's the point we are at right now. We're in the "finding a match" part of the process. We're not done yet! Approval doesn't mean the end. It's definitely just the beginning.

That's where the "waiting" comes in! There are lots of things we can do right now to "market ourselves" to potential birth parents, to make the waiting time shorter. So far all we've managed to do is just tell everyone we're adopting. We just got some new family pictures taken. When I get them back, I plan on making some cute pass-along cards that say "Hoping to Adopt" and have our blog address and other contact info on them. These can be passed on to all our family and friends... and they can pass them on to anyone who may be considering adoption. There's all sorts of things we could be doing to get the word out there. Remember how in the movie Juno, she sees an ad in the Penny Saver? An ad for a couple who wanted a child? Juno says, "They have ads for parents?" Lol. Yes, they do. And it's kind of weird to put yourself out there like that, but you never know who might see it.

I feel completely awkward writing this, but a couple weeks ago I had a dream. I don't remember anything about the dream other than it being about a birth mother (a young black girl) from Michigan (I've never even been to Michigan before). The next day I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I put an ad on Facebook targeted to a certain age range of girls from Michigan that said "Pregnant? Adoption is an option!" and it had our picture and link to our profile. Let me tell you, IT FELT SO WEIRD to advertise ourselves like that. So awkward. I took it down the next day, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "As weird as that was - and even if nothing comes of it - who knows if a pregnant girl in Michigan saw that and had a seed planted in her heart about adoption when she needed it?"

Ahhhh! Seriously. So awkward. And kind of embarrassing.

But that's just the nature of doing an adoption this way. We're going to be judged. We have to put our heart out there to be trampled on. We're going to have to learn how to say, "Screw it. I'm putting on ad on Facebook." Lol. Because in the end, this can't be about us. Hopefully, we'll be an answer to someone's prayer and they'll be an answer to ours... but it's really all about the child. I want an open adoption (more about what that means to me later!) and I think doing it this way will give us the best chance of finding birth parents who want to be open as well.

Yes, I know I'm long-winded... but I hope I answered those questions! And when I get our pass-along cards made, every single one of you reading my blog - yes, I'm talking to YOU - should send us an email (xavierandaliceanne@gmail.com) and give us your address so I can send some your way. I can give you some ideas of places to put them and people to give them to as well. :)

Cuz it would be super nice if we didn't have to do all the embarrassing stuff ourselves. Help us out. Ha ha.




Thursday, November 18, 2010

Becoming an Adoption Ally


Adopting a child is a huge undertaking. We didn't know what to expect starting off. We still don't know what to expect! Originally I thought it would be something that we would have to endure to become parents. I knew it would be hard...an emotional rollercoaster. And I wished it didn't have to be so difficult. I didn't know if we would be able to handle the ups and downs. I thought we would suffer through infertility and adoption plans alone, and I braced myself for the silent suffering to come. I had no idea how passionate I would come to feel about it and that there is such a huge "adoption community" out there ready to embrace us and let us know that we are supported in our choice. I have met soooo many people online and IRL ("in real life" lol) who have been there or are going through the exact same things that we are. The support is amazing and I feel such a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.

It's going to be easier than I thought to make adoption "normal" for our family. Especially in Utah. Adoption is a big deal here, and ever since we decided to adopt it seems like half the people we knew suddenly were opening up and saying that they were adopted or were planning to adopt or had adopted siblings, etc. Everyone seems to have an adoption story! Who knew? People should talk about this more! The children that we will have through adoption will be able to mingle with all kinds of families... families brought together in many different ways... and they will see that "family" doesn't have to mean blood-related. "Family" can look differently from each other and still be family. I love it.

November is National Adoption Month (CLICK HERE to see the Presidential Proclamation about it). Other bloggers are making a goal to write a post every day of this month about adoption and how it has touched their lives. How amazing is that? I didn't make that promise because I knew I wouldn't be able to live up to it! But it's been really great to read so many stories from other bloggers. They inspire me. :)

The National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is an awesome source to keep up with what is happening in the national adoption community. They have an option on their website to "Become an Adoption Ally" where you can learn about current adoption news and how you can continue to support adoption in your area. You can sign up to receive emails about certain topics, such as foster care or international adoption. It's a small way that we can all get involved in promoting adoption this month!




Friday, November 12, 2010

Our Relationship in Six Words

I love the site "Black and Married with Kids"... seriously, I forget I'm white sometimes. I mean, if you grow up with black people, live the culture, fall in love with a black man... it happens, I guess. I look in the mirror sometimes and say, "Who's that vampire???" Ha ha ha.

Anyways! They have such thought-provoking articles about marriage and parenting and the challenges that come with it all... sometimes race-specific challenges. I'm always reading it. I read a post that wasn't anything deep or insightful, but was kind of cute. It was about summarizing your marriage in 6 words.

It wasn't hard to come up with something. I immediately thought, "We're Still Down For Each Other." I counted the words on my fingers (LOL)... gave myself credit for the contraction... and said, "Yep, that's it."

Despite our issues (everybody has some), despite our right-outta-high-school wedding, despite our struggles with infertility... when it comes down to it, we're still here. We'll always be here. We're loyal. No matter what has come our way in the looong 9 years that we've been together, we've found some way to tough it out and remember why we first fell in love. It hasn't been easy. No way! Marriage wasn't meant to be easy - it's the merging of two lives together in love and purpose. It takes a lot of growing (sometimes painfully) and commitment and sacrifice. But we're still down for each other and wouldn't have it any other way. :)

2001

2010





Sunday, November 7, 2010

Acting and Not Being Acted Upon

Every quote I hear nowadays seems to somehow relate to infertility and adoption! I guess that's what it means to "liken" things unto yourself.

I heard this quote about acting vs. being acted upon. It made me think about our freedom of choice (our agency) and how we are given the power to act and choose for ourselves. When we sit around and wait for life to happen to us, we're not exercising our right to choose very much at all. If we just go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing, we're not making good use of our agency. If we do what other people tell us to do without thinking it through for ourselves, we're voluntarily giving up our freedom.

It also made me think about what faith means. Just saying "whatever happens, happens" and "I'm leaving it up to God" may sound like faith on the surface... But "faith" is supposed to be an action word. If we want to really show our faith, we have to do something. Actively. Not passively. We have to have courage and strength to do the hard things first. The trial of our faith comes before the blessings. God's not just going to hand us everything we want all the time (although He does bless us often when we don't deserve it). We have to make right choices, even when they're difficult. And we have to show our faith by following through with those choices.

We can’t always have “control”, but we can do everything we can and THEN leave it in the Lord’s hands. I think that’s the way He wants it to be. It’s how we learn the most.

Anyways, I think this applies in so many situations. For me, I think of birthmothers. Women who make the hard decision to place their baby. That's an act of faith. That's actively making a choice and using God-given agency to do something that not everyone agrees with... something that not everyone will support... something that isn't the norm. But when you make a choice that you know is right for you and your child, that's acting rather than being acted upon.

I also think about our own situation. We have a righteous desire to have children. If we went with the philosophy to "let whatever happen," I'm pretty sure God would have little reason to bless us. That's not the case for everyone, but for us I think it applies. There's something He's trying to teach us. That's pretty obvious, because we have learned so much through fertility treatments and adoption plans. We're learning how to listen to the Spirit more, act and not just be acted upon. I don't know how things are going to turn out, and using our agency doesn't mean that we have control (God's definitely still in control!), but we are doing what we can. That's what He asks of each of us.




Saturday, November 6, 2010

Life Update

Things are going great lately. I couldn't be happier! :)

Zay is fully onboard with adoption plans. We're setting aside all fertility treatments until we see how things turn out with adoption. The worry he had about people being able to tell us "no, you can't be parents" has definitely faded. They (caseworkers, friends who've been through the process before, etc.) keep telling us that they expect us to get chosen by a birthmother quickly... for two reasons: 1) we don't have any children and 2) we're an interracial couple seeking a black or bi-racial child. It's typical for birthmothers to want to place with a family who doesn't have any children rather than a family who has 4 or 5 already. Children are blessings and we should spread 'em around! Lol. Also, as sad as it is to say... black children (specifically black males) are the least likely to be adopted, most likely to fill foster homes, etc. And the fact that we want a non-white child increases our chances of getting picked sooner rather than later. I hope that's the case. :)

May sound weird, but a lot of the "prepping" I'm doing lately to be a mother has been eliminating a lot of the negative influences in my life (i.e., "friends" who ain't no good). I'm just trying to think about the kind of people I want in my life when I'm a mother, the kind of people I'd want around my kids... and some of these people just don't cut it. Lol. I have a tendency to be nice and try to help people who have a lot of problems, but over time it has just accumulated into a lot of headaches... people who don't change, people who bring negative vibes, etc. And I'm coming to realize that it is NOT my responsibility to fix everyone and all their problems. Seriously, as soon as I "broke up" with some people, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I'm starting a new chapter in my life and my priorities have got to change. It feels good to evaluate who I spend my time with and take out the trash. LOL. In the process I've found sooo many people who are actually supportive and encouraging, and that feels awesome. Not everyone has a great support system, but I know I do... and I am so grateful for that.

One big thing that happened recently is that they finally had a funeral for Heather Finch (my brother's mother-in-law) who died two months ago in a plane crash in Nepal. She was with her best friend Leuzi... off to hike Mt. Everest and add to their growing list of adventures they had taken. Heather kept amazing scrapbooks of all their adventures. I got to flip through them and remember how happy she was and how she embraced life. The funeral brought a lot of closure to everyone. There were so many people there. She was definitely loved. I was bawling the whole time. I love my sweet, sweet sister-in-law and it was so hard to see her cry. I learned a lot from being there and I can't even express in words how it affected me... There are so many qualities in Heather that I need to develop in myself. The word family means so much more to me now. I watched my nephew Evander (her first grandchild) wave to the casket and say, "Bye bye, Grandma!" Oh, boy. The tears kept coming. I will never forget that experience and I'm grateful for it, despite the tragedy and the heartache. I've grown. It's made me realize how ready I am to be a mother and to show the kind of love to my child that Heather had for hers.




Sunday, October 31, 2010

Adoption Update

I took a vacation day from work on my birthday last month so that we could go do our individual interviews with our caseworker. I was happy about moving forward, but had some anxiety about going back to the place where I had cried so much. I was so worried that things wouldn't work out... and then there we were, moving forward again. I was hesitantly excited. It was an awesome birthday present to myself to get that done, but I was still way nervous about how things would go after this.

We finished our online profile, including a birthparent letter that was emotional overload to write. It took forever because it was all dependent on how good Zay felt about the process. We would work on it when he wanted to and when he was less worried and reluctant. Near the end, we worked on it a ton and had a lot of fun late night discussions. I knew that reflected how comfortable/hopeful Zay was getting and that made me happy. :)

The next step was to have our homestudy visit. We didn't know what to expect exactly, but we cleaned a ton, kept an eye out for things we could make safer for a baby, and imagined where we would keep a crib, etc. We made lots of room and rearranged and nested our little hearts out. Our caseworker came, asked us some questions, looked around, pointed some things out to us, and then that was it! She said we could be approved in as little as a couple weeks. I couldn't believe we were so close! This is where the nerves really kicked in. We waited to hear back.

Turns out a new policy made it where we needed more recent physical exams done (as if our life expectancy would change in a matter of months), so I set up appointments to get that done...which was a piece of cake with health insurance, ha ha ha. Did that. Next? A couple of our references hadn't come back from a year ago (slacker friends! ha ha...just kidding), so we figured that out. And then waited, waited.

The day we were hoping to be approved was pushed back a week while the agency was doing some cross training. How nervewracking! OMG. Waiting, waiting.

And then, ta-da! No more hassle, no more paperwork (for now), we were done! We were approved! We persisted and we made it! I squealed when I got the email. I called Zay, I called my mom, I freaked out about it on Facebook, LOL!

For a lot of couples, it can take a month or two and then they're done with the process... not that big a deal, right? But for us, it was the biggest emotional hurdle we've ever had to get through. We discovered so much about ourselves and worked out so many kinks in our marriage (communication, common goals, etc.). We're better people than when we started. So much has happened.

We were writing to each other today in Church. True to my over-the-top emotional self, I wrote, "So... are you happy? Are you oh, so excited?! Are you relieved beyond belief?!?!" And true to his subdued emotional character he wrote, "I'm fine. :)." That smiley face says it all!!!




Saturday, October 16, 2010

"16 and Pregnant"

 Photo: www.mtv.com

I'm looking forward to another season of "16 and Pregnant" on MTV. I seriously get so caught up emotionally in their stories! It's a reality show that I'm not watching for the drama, but just because it's interesting to watch the decision-making. They're so young and have so much life ahead of them... and here they are faced with such adult decisions. It's so tough. I feel for every one of them.

It's hard to judge someone in that situation and say "Well, they shouldn't have done this or that" when being a teenager is just so difficult nowadays. It's just going to get worse and worse for teens. Bad things happen. Mistakes happen. Guys don't always keep their promises or stick around to be fathers. Parents don't always react appropriately. And who knows what I would've done had I been in their shoes?

I know one thing - had I gotten pregnant as a teenager - is that I wouldn't have known much about adoption at all. It generally wasn't discussed as an option where I grew up. Abortion was there - that was the go-to option. So, if you didn't believe in abortion, you just had to man up (or woman up) and raise your baby... no matter if the father was around or was abusive or if you were in poverty. Adoption was like "giving your baby away" and people didn't do that. The feeling was that you had to face your own consequences and "take care of your own." I admit I had that misconception too (embarrassing as that is for me to say!). I didn't even know I felt that way until I moved to Utah and was exposed to many, many adoption stories. Then I started re-evaluating the idea and I realized adoption was such a beautiful thing! How had I not known this before??

It's like these are all the things people "know" about adoption: women who place their babies are trying to get out of their responsibility to take care of their own; adopted children grow up with serious emotional issues and will never fit in; and birth parents can't ever see their child again (or if they do, they'll try to steal them back). OMG, did our values come from psycho Lifetime movies or what? Many, many women who place their babies are doing it out of love. Much more than you'd think. They're in a situation where they know they can't provide for that child the way they'd want and they make a choice. Adopted children normally don't have any more or less emotional problems than biological children. And open adoptions are available to birth parents who want to stay in contact with the child. There's so many myths and misconceptions and horror stories out there that I guess it's no wonder adoption hasn't always been looked on favorably.

I'm glad that adoption is becoming much more recognized and promoted and acceptable as a choice. The movie "Juno" did a good job of making it a little more mainstream of an idea, although it was a really weird portrayal of it and had some pretty far-fetched twists in the story. Lol. And the awesome, awesome, awesome episode of "16 and Pregnant" with Catelynn and Tyler that just had me bawling. I hope more people start recognizing that adoption is an option, because I sure didn't know anything about it and I know there are many young girls out there who don't know much about it either. That's sad! Adoption isn't the choice for every young girl who gets pregnant of course, but for some it would be the best choice for the child... More girls should be aware of that.

Now that I'm on the other side of the story and I'm hoping to adopt, I ache for these girls on "16 and Pregnant"! I twinge with a little bit of guilt that I may end up becoming a mother because of the hard choice someone else will make about their difficult circumstances. Someone else who may very well be just like these girls. It's like we're supposed to make lemonade out of lemons, right? Or quilts out of scraps or whatever? But I feel guilty hoping and praying for the lemons... if that makes sense. I'll be benefiting from someone else's heart-wrenching choice. *sniff* I feel like crying just typing that! But I do realize that this is what life is about - we all face hardships (infertility for me, teen pregnancy for someone else), but our merciful God always makes a way for people to help ease each other's burdens (adoption)... and to me that makes a world of sense.

Anyways, I feel a really close connection to these girls. If I were ever judgmental in the past, I'm sure not anymore. And shame on me for ever thinking differently! Ha ha. I'll be watching this season with a handful of tissue...LOL!







Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cycle Day 121

Today is day 121 since the beginning of this "cycle." Sometimes I forget that women have periods... Muah ha ha! The bright side of my lovely infertility. :)

 I believe this is my "meh" face...*shrugs*.

Today, I thought about all the amazing things my body does well. For example, I have no allergies to anything... Awesome job, body! Go white blood cells and histamines or whatever the heck is keeping me running smoothly! I hardly ever get sick. I'm also strong and flexible because my body handles yoga really well. Go body, go! I have a really acute sense of smell... so, I'll never have to worry about a skunk sneaking up on me or anything... which is awesome, right? I went my entire reckless childhood (riding brakeless bikes down hills, jumping off the roof of my house, running through the woods with my eyes closed, etc.) without breaking a bone other than a finger here and there (that's what happens when you play no-pad tackle football with the toughest, meanest girl on the block...fingers get broken). My bones are tough! One time I got shot in the head with an arrow... a REAL LIVE ARROW. But I only needed 4 stitches! My skull just ricocheted that dang thing! That's pretty cool, I think. See? My body's awesome... and infertility doesn't define me. :D





Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Are You Sure You Want Kids?"

Photo: www.humor-articles.com

I've been asked that question one too many times, usually by someone who is letting their bad little kids run wild through Target. Ummm, the answer is YES. Would I really spend years of my life in pursuit of something that I really didn't want? Or do they think that their idiotic question is somehow going to completely change my mind - "Oh, I didn't even think about it like that! Maybe I don't want kids! Thank you!" So, am I sure I want kids? YES... Just not YOUR kids with YOUR parenting. :)




Saturday, October 9, 2010

Weight Loss Progress

Photo: www.fitnessandfaithfulness.tumblr.com

I've been journaling my weight loss progress since the beginning of the year. I needed to learn some healthy habits and make fitness a part of my life. The journaling helped keep me accountable. I'm really hoping this is the only time I will ever "struggle" with my weight. I want to stick to a "fitness lifestyle" that keeps me in a healthy range and make it just part of who I am to exercise and make healthy food choices.

My journaling notes:

~~~

I am excited to say that I've lost some more weight and I'm getting all toned up! I haven't been the best at exercising consistently, but I do exercise a lot more (and a lot better quality exercising) than I have in a long time, and it shows. A friend even commented that I looked like I was losing weight, which always feels good. I even feel lighter when I get on the scale!

Beginning of 2010
157.6 lbs - after gaining 2 lbs of holiday weight
26.26% BMI

Today
151.0 lbs
25.16% BMI

That means I lost 6.6 lbs and 1.10% body mass in a month! Whoo-hoo! And I think I'm even more excited that I'm doing this well while I'm still slacking half the time and munching on chocolate every other day. Ha ha. Who knows what kind of progress I can make if I just step it up a tiny bit! :)

~~~

The past month included the Superbowl and both Zay and Josh's birthday parties... so, food was abundant! Shame on you, ice cream cake... for being so delicious. I was afraid I was going to gain weight, but I improved on my exercising. I lost a teeny tiny bit and I'm happy with that!

Beginning of February
151.0 lbs
25.16% BMI

Today
150.4 lbs
25.05% BMI

That means I lost 0.6 lbs and 0.11% body mass. Whoo-hoo! As long as it keeps going down, I'm happy. And healthier! I've been eating all kinds of fruits and veggies. They're not so bad! Ha ha.

~~~

I found a good workout partner who's kicking my butt. We started working together a couple weeks ago and every.single.muscle.HURTS right now. I pigged out a little on Easter, but other than that day I've been really good with my diet too. I'm making progress!

Beginning of March
150.4 lbs
25.05% BMI

Today
144.2 lbs
24.02% BMI

That means I lost 6.2 lbs and 1.03% body mass. I took my exercising really seriously this month. I'm super excited to see that much weight come off! Yay! I'm trying to get into a routine that I'll be able to keep up for a long time and make it a part of my regular daily schedule. And I think I'm getting closer to that... developing good habits and whatnot. My general goal has been to lose a pound a week. I think that's very doable. I'm excited to see what I can accomplish in the next month!

~~~

I didn't make any progress this month! Grrrr... I'm finding my relationship with food isn't that great. I'm kind of self-destructive actually. I have some issues with letting any food go to waste, so if there's food available or food offered to me, I feel like I have to consume it. Maybe it comes from growing up in poverty and having little to eat that was any good? Hmmmm, I don't know.

Getting in shape is supposed to be a journey, though. I'm glad I'm learning about my issues with food so that I'll know what I'm up against.

Beginning of April
144.2 lbs
24.02% BMI

Today
145.5 lbs
24.24% BMI

That's a gain of 1.3lbs!!! Ahhhhh! That's not bad, though. That's actually basically the same. I'm staying consistent. This month I've got to start forming some good eating habits that'll stick with me after I get to my ideal weight. I'm doing well with exercising and I'll just have to keep that up. I've started the habit where everytime I have free time to do whatever I want, instead of choosing activities that have me sitting down (staring at the computer, watching TV, playing video games), I try to think of activities that actually have me up and moving around. That's helped a lot and I've been getting outside and throwing the frisbee and hiking and all sorts of stuff! It's been great. :)

~~~

I stopped weighing myself so much and just concentrated on how I feel everyday. Focusing on the numbers and how they fluctuated from day-to-day wasn't working for me. But I didn't stop trying to lose weight! I've gotten a whole lot better with P90X and I can actually get through an entire workout every now and then. I had been breaking it up into tiny sections for awhile, but I did more and more over time until I could do an entire workout. I've set the goal to do something everyday, and if I do something then I've succeeded. If I do more than something, then that's just icing on the cake. :) That way I never get disappointed or feel guilty. Lofty goals are not my friend. I'm not even using any weights higher than 2 1/2 lbs for any of the exercises (they're using 35 lbs on some of them!) and I can't do a pull-up to save my life. But I am making lots of progress!

I've also done a lot of work at recognizing what triggers emotional eating for me and learning how to avoid those triggers. It's helped a lot. And if I do feel like indulging in something and I can't get around it, I've been making much healthier choices because I'm so conscious of what I'm eating now. I just think to myself, What am I craving exactly? (something sweet, salty, etc.) Why am I craving that? (bored, reacting to some sort of emotion, actually hungry, etc.) and What are my choices? (candy bar vs. piece of fruit, etc.). The other thing that bothers me about food is thinking that I have to eat everything that's offered me or everything that's on my plate. So, I've started practicing saying, "No thanks!" and putting a lot less food on my plate. 

Beginning of May
145.5 lbs
24.24% BMI

Today
140.4 lbs
23.4% BMI

I lost 4.1 lbs! If I take into consideration that I gained 1.3 lbs in April, then that takes it down to 2.8 lbs lost. Very, very slow progress. But that's okay. I think the things I'm learning about myself in the process are more important than the weight loss. But to make myself feel better, I like to look at the numbers from a couple years ago when I reached my highest weight and compare them to now. I weighed 168.7 lbs and had a BMI of 28.1. Eek! What a difference. I will not let my weight sneak up on me like that again. Holy cow. I'm proud of my progress! :)

~~~

I'm starting to develop much better habits with my eating. Even if I feel like I just cannot exercise today, the major impact on my weight has been better food choices. I try to make it easier to make those choices. It starts with the grocery store. If you don't have good choices in the house because all you buy at the store is processed garbage food...lol...then it's going to be much harder to make a better food choice! It's such common sense, but seriously - humans are morons, myself included. Even the smallest changes in your thought process about food...the smallest caution before grabbing something to shove into your face... can make a world of difference. Someone gave us the most A*M*A*Z*I*N*G chocolate chip cookies yesterday. Seriously, if I was my former self... I would have eaten them all in one sitting. But just the smallest change in my thinking made me eat one cookie and enjoy the heck out of it. Then I gave the rest away to people with better metabolisms. :)

Beginning of August
140.4 lbs
23.4% BMI

Today
137.8 lbs
22.96% BMI

I lost 2.6 lbs! Only 2.8 lbs to go!

~~~

I haven't been doing much differently. I've just settled into some good habits that I think will stick with me for a long time. That's the healthiest way to lose weight - just making small changes and losing the weight slowly but surely. It's much less stressful that way too. I didn't weigh myself for over a month because I wasn't focused on the numbers! :)

Beginning of September
137.8 lbs
22.96% BMI

Today
135.6 lbs
22.59% BMI

I lost 2.2 lbs! Only 0.6 lbs to go! Easy peasy!

I'm debating whether I should put a before and after picture on here. I have a pretty horrible "before" picture that's embarrassing as all get out! Ha ha ha. I'll think about it...




Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nesting?

Is it really called "nesting" if I'm not pregnant and we're not even approved for adoption yet? Lol. I get these urges to just completely change the arrangement of our place to make it more appealing and more baby-friendly. I have thrown away so many papers and junk furniture... and I've found places for things that I've previously just thrown in boxes in my closet or in some random kitchen drawer... and I've been to RC Willey and Target in the past year more than I have in my entire life. Any pack rat tendencies I've had before have now gone out the window and all I can focus on is making space and making things better and cleaner. It's instinctual, I'm telling ya... I think my "mama-gene" is kicking in. So, I guess there's no turning back now. :)

Now if I can only convince Zay to let me take down the HUGE, towering "Superman Returns" banner he got when he used to work at a movie theater. It takes up an entire wall in our bedroom and doesn't match anything! ... ha ha ha.  Nah, I don't think that's going to happen. Oh, well. I guess I'll have to let that one slide...





Thursday, September 30, 2010

Way Behind On Blogging... And Some News!

Should I just do a bulletpoint list? Cuz I think that's the best I can do right now because I am SO far behind. Whenever I have 2 seconds to filter through my SD card, I'll start posting some pictures... but for now, you just get my beautiful words. Ha ha.
  • My job is going awesome! It's exactly what I was looking for and I'm really happy there. Getting that job eased so many worries and gave me something to anchor the rest of my life around. Now Zay's not so worried about the financial aspect of adoption (side note: I've been reading a lot about how the economy is affecting people's decisions to add to their family. Interesting stuff and makes me think about Zay's concerns)... and he has more freedom to go to school without feeling like he's not working enough. Yay!
  • We're still Primary teachers and it can be SO HILARIOUS. We taught about "Obeying the Law," which basically consisted of "no littering," "stop signs," and "keep your dog on a leash." We explained littering about 5 times and then asked, "So - do any of you have any stories about littering?" Child #1 starts speaking and says something completely incomprehensible. "Ummmmm, anybody else?" Child #2 is much louder, but still isn't on topic. "Wait, does this have to do with littering?" Child #2, "I... I... I don't know what littering is." Me and Zay eye each other, trying not to laugh. Child #3 starts speaking before we even call on them, "What if! What if! What if there's a monster? And the monster, um, eats a person? And then he, um, spits him out?" Zay got a really confused look on his face and said, "Whaaaat?" I just burst out laughing. I said, "I think that's the closest thing we're going to get to a 'littering' story. Let's move on." I brought out the paper and color pencils and let them have at it. We got 3 decent pictures of cars stopping at stop signs and red lights that Zay and I mostly drew...and then we got them to walk semi-reverently to the Sharing Time room. Awesome. I love being a Primary teacher.
  • I had a super duper awesome birthday weekend that consisted of birthday brownies at work, getting to leave work early on Friday, presents, the season premiere of Smallville (which was like the best thing I have ever witnessed, ever...lol), not having to do hair all weekend, good friends, riding horsies, seeing Zay's reaction to said horsies ("I don't do big animals!"), BYU football (which was fun even though the game was horrible), getting Monday off from work and still being paid for it, relaxing, eating out, Netflix, strawberry shortcake, a picnic with Zay at the base of the Y where we watched the sunset, taking pictures, and getting to see my scrumdiddlyumptious nephew and visit with my bro and sister-in-law. Best birthday weekend EVER.
  • Tuesday night was a new episode of Glee... ALL ABOUT BRITNEY SPEARS! I've been anxiously waiting for that episode ever since I heard rumors about it a couple months ago. I can't believe it actually came to be. I love, love, loved it and grinned through the whole thing. Zay said, "Oh man - you're in heaven right now, aren't you?" Ha ha ha. Dang right.
  • AND...dun Dun DUN! Zay finally said screw our goals and let's move on (even though we were doing really good on our Baby Bucket List - I'll probably reach my weight-loss goal within the next couple weeks and Zay's lost a lot of weight too... and we finally got a good Date Night routine going... and we researched counseling and decided that it might not be all that necessary at this point in time... and we did a lot of restructuring of our finances and saving). So, at even the slightest hint of the word 'go' from Zay, I went nuts about getting things done. We finished our online adoption profile and then did our individual interviews!!! Conversation with Zay afterwards... Zay: "I'm excited." Me: "Excited for what?" Zay: "To have a kid." Me: "REALLY?! Why do you say that?" Zay: "Because it's time." Sweet!




Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lighten Up!

Okay, okay. Now that I've gotten this post out of my system, I think I better start being a little more positive on this blog. Not so dang depressing, geez! So, how about a funny story?

Zay and a friend were riding back from Salt Lake together (P.S. - because Zay went to sign up for school!!!). The friend was driving. They were listening to an old 2Pac CD. Zay was talking about how 2Pac died and now Michael Jackson died. He said, "I don't think I can ever get excited about music again." He waited for a response and then the friend mumbled, "Well...how's he going to pay his bills?" Lol. Zay got all confused, looked over at him, and realized he was asleep at the wheel. He yelled, "WAKE UP!" This particular friend of ours jerked awake and said, "Oh! No, I'm not asleep. I'm just on stand-by mode."

Ha ha ha! Oh, man... he always has the best quotes. I've gotta start documenting these!




Friday, September 24, 2010

Untitled

I've had a hard time forming words to talk about a recent death in my family. Even now I don't even know what I'm writing... I just feel like I need to say something to acknowledge how awesome she was and how much she is missed by everyone. She was happy, generous, loving life, accepting, warm. It's been a month, so I've had time to try and process it. But it's still horrible to think about. I'm not even sure what processing it really means. Recent nightmares have kept bringing it back fresh into my mind. Death scares me... not necessarily because I will die one day, but more about having to live while those close to me die. I wish I had taken the time to know her better. My heart hurts for our mutual loved ones, especially my brother. I love my brother more than anyone.... Anything that affects him, affects me. It's so hard for me to see him cry. It seems so unfair that her grandson is so young that he won't remember her, when she loved him so much. Her brand new granddaughter will never know her in this life. My heart is raw and aches for understanding. It doesn't make any sense. I hope her husband and children find peace, because I can't even imagine what they're feeling. There hasn't been much closure without a funeral. Everyone's still waiting to see if there will be anything found to bury. It's sickening to think about. It's hard to imagine what she went through in her last moments. I pray that she's okay now. I don't know what life after death will be like, but I sure hope she still carries that cheerful attitude that she always had... despite having her life on earth ripped away from her so quickly. I hope she's taking on whatever Mt. Everest's are in the spirit world! Ha ha ha. We miss you, Heather. :)




Sunday, September 19, 2010

Timing

 Photo: www.sunshinereflections.wordpress.com


A friend who I consider one of my fellow "infertility warriors" sent me a talk given by Dallin H. Oaks called "Timing" that she and her husband were listening to. It made her think of me and I'm so glad she forwarded it on. She thinks I'm doing an awesome job at being patient, but I think she's the awesome one and I learn a lot from her! She has a very calm and soothing personality.

Here are some of my thoughts while reading this talk:

Learning to accept God's timing is difficult, that's for sure. But it's one of the lessons we have to learn while we're here on earth. And that doesn't mean to sit back and just let whatever happen either. There's a delicate balance between planning/preparing for life and accepting how life plays out.

"In all the important decisions in our lives, what is most important is to do the right thing. Second, and only slightly behind the first, is to do the right thing at the right time. People who do the right thing at the wrong time can be frustrated and ineffective. They can even be confused about whether they made the right choice when what was wrong was not their choice but their timing."

God wants for us to dream big and have desires for our life. This life is precious and short and we are meant to make the most of it. I know that my desire to have kids and to pursue adoption are righteous desires. So, I know that I'm doing the right thing. I also realize that when I'm feeling frustrated and ineffective and confused, it's because I'm trying to rush things. Instead of rushing towards the end result, there are so many things I could be focusing on along the journey. I hope that I'm doing a good job in that aspect, by making goals and taking my time developing myself as a person. I've learned a lot of things that I can take with me forever - self-control, managing my finances better, working hard, time management, healthy eating & exercising, preparedness, relying on the Lord, etc, etc, etc. Those things can never be taken from me, no matter how my life ends up and how adoption plans pan out.

"The achievement of some important goals in our lives is subject to more than the timing of the Lord. Some personal achievements are also subject to the agency of others."

I cannot take away the agency of any other person, including my husband. I'm definitely learning this one! Patience is a hard thing to learn, especially when you feel so strongly about something. But I know that he needs to work through his issues just like I need to work through mine. If our timelines don't match up, so be it - I've just gotta deal with it!

"Someone has said that life is what happens to us while we are making other plans. Because of things over which we have no control, we cannot plan and bring to pass everything we desire in our lives. Many important things will occur in our lives that we have not planned, and not all of them will be welcome... Even our most righteous desires may elude us, or come in different ways or at different times than we have sought to plan."

What a scary idea! I really hope my most righteous desires will not elude me my entire life, but it's possible. It's something that I'll need to prepare my mind for... I think all I can do right now is prepare for disappointment - expect it - and then be pleasantly surprised when things go right. Hmmm... that's gonna be hard to do when I am just too daggum excited and optimistic! LOL.

"Wise are those who make this commitment: I will put the Lord first in my life and I will keep His commandments. The performance of that commitment is within everyone’s control. We can fulfill that commitment without regard to what others decide to do, and that commitment will anchor us no matter what timing the Lord directs for the most important events in our lives."

"If we have faith in God and if we are committed to the fundamentals of keeping His commandments and putting Him first in our lives, we do not need to plan every single event – even every important event – and we should not feel rejected or depressed if some things – even some very important things – do not happen at the time we had planned or hoped or prayed."

"Plan, of course, but fix your planning on personal commitments that will carry you through no matter what happens."

The closer I get to God and the more I focus on developing righteous qualities and virtues, the more I'm able to accept whatever comes my way. I can't control everything that happens or doesn't happen in life, but I can control myself and my reactions and choices. That's empowering when infertility and adoption can make you feel so out of control!




Sunday, September 5, 2010

Adoption: The Reluctant Spouse

I read an article recently called "The Reluctant Spouse" by Jill Smolowe. It's an article posted on www.theadoptionguide.com, which has some really good resources for adoptive parents. It had me really thinking about the many debates Zay and I have had about whether to adopt or not, whether to wait or not, whether to continue fertility meds or not, etc. Over the last couple years, I've been on board with the adoption train and loving the idea more and more. But for Zay, he constantly fluctuates from being on board to OMG, I THINK WE SHOULD WAIT. The article's subtitle reassured me that this is actually pretty normal: "Don't be surprised if your mate resists adoption even as you're embracing it." I think "embracing it" is a very good phrase to describe how I feel about it.

This has been so stressful for me! We have completely different personalities when it comes to making decisions, so trying to come to a conclusion may work one day but then his mind could change the next. That makes it difficult to navigate through a process that can take so long. There's much more time for him to change his mind a million times over. It's actually been stressful for him too, because when he used to think about what it would be like having kids... he imagined that it would just happen. That I would just get pregnant and we wouldn't have to put so much thought into it. He handles life's situations very well when they just happen, but it's taking some adjustment to learn how to accept that we may have to make things happen.

Men tend to be more reluctant when it comes to adoption than women, and no one really knows why. Maybe the woman's motherly nurturing attributes are competing with the man's territorial feelings about his family or need to "pass on his seed"? Hmmm.... I don't know. The thing is, I know without a doubt that Zay would embrace adoption once it's happened. Just like if I were to get pregnant, he would be on board 100% to be the most amazing father ever. He would do the same if someone were to hand us a baby today that wasn't biologically ours... no question about it. The problem seems to be that adoption forces you to think about it day in and day out for a long period of time... and it doesn't just happen like a fertile woman's pregnancy seems to just happen. Adoption doesn't happen until the very, very end... after your heart has been turned inside out and stomped on a few times. I can see how someone might be reluctant to engage in something like that.

So, now that I know that he's going to be reluctant up until the day that an adoption is final and that it's completely normal and understandable, I think I'm going to be better able to handle the constant changing of his mind. No need to cry my eyes out everytime he thinks we should wait. I just need to see things from his perspective and take each mind-changing moment as part of the overall process.

"...consider the kinds of issues that couples are forced to confront during the adoption process. What age child do you want? What sex? What health condition? What ethnicity? What race? How much contact do you want with birth-parents? How do you plan to raise this child? How will you speak of adoption to him? What role will the child's ethnic heritage play in her life? How will you cope with an emotional or physical disability? What will you do if your relatives don't embrace this child? And that doesn't even begin to touch on the procedural aspects. Lawyer or agency? Public or private? Open or closed? Domestic or overseas?

Such questions not only thrust the issue of "baby" at a reluctant spouse over and over, but demand repeatedly that he opt in-or out. In essence, the process requires that he try to envision the child's entire upbringing at a time when he might prefer not to think about children at all."

I don't want the words "baby" or "adoption" to become negative words in our house, but they will be if I push the issue, "thrust the issue of 'baby' at [him] over and over," or "demand repeatedly that he opt in-or out." Lately, I've been so good at allowing Zay to set the pace! I think letting him choose to take each step is giving him the chance to develop those same feelings that I've already established in my heart. :) And if I want to do this the right way, then I'm just going to have to be patient.

The article also listed some "Ideas for Helping to Ease a Spouse's Reluctance" that I think are really helpful!

"Ideas for Helping to Ease a Spouse's Reluctance
*Acknowledge your spouse's concerns and fears; try to listen with interest, not judgment.
*Air and discuss the differences between you, rather than trying to cover them up or smooth them over.
*Maintain balance in your discussions between the reasons for your spouse's resistance to adoption and your reasons for wanting to adopt.
*Don't take a spouse's initial reaction as the final word. When a subject is emotionally charged, people often say things they don't really mean.
*Give a spouse time and space to consider issues as they arise; recognize that people approach change at different speeds.
*Don't expect your spouse to react to developments in the adoption process the same way you do.
*Find a support group of other couples considering adoption. Hearing that they, too, have reservations may help both of you.
*Work with an agency or lawyer that has a solid process for exploring adoption issues; don't assume that you know all the angles.
*If your spouse isn't providing the support and encouragement you need to cope with the rocky adoption process, then seek it from a sympathetic friend or relative.
*See a marriage counselor if you have trouble navigating any of these issues. A reluctant spouse may hear questions and advice better from a neutral observer."




Saturday, August 28, 2010

Crossing Off The List

Photo: www.lifehack.org

We've got 3 down, 5 to go! Then we'll get the adoption process going again.
  1. Reach our goal weights for the year. I'm getting this.close to reaching my goal weight. Only a few more lbs to go. Zay's steadily working on his. We're still trying to find a routine that works for both of us. We have our individual things, but I really wish we could work together on this one.
  2. Find a good marriage counselor and start seeing them once a month or so. I haven't had the time to research this one yet.
  3. Establish a good pattern of Date Night. This is the one we're working on now. We've pretty much established a night and we alternate who gets to pick what we do. But we haven't been doing it (successfully) long enough for me to call it a "good pattern."
  4.  Me getting a job that will allow Zay to get back into school. Being self-employed has a lot of drawbacks... and we've been going back and forth about me being a stay-at-home mom and Zay being a stay-at-home dad... and I ended up deciding that I should use my education to start a career. Zay can go to school like he's wanted to do for years now and be the stay-at-home dad that he used to dream of being. It's in my personality to work and if I can find the right job that I'll enjoy, I wouldn't mind being the main provider
    •  I got a job, I'm still doing hair on the side, and Zay's figuring out his school situation. He'll be a stay-at-home dad when that time comes. That's the plan.
  5.  Get health insurance (hopefully this comes with a job w/benefits and the whole health insurance nightmare will end).
  6.  Start a retirement account (hopefully this comes with a job w/benefits)
    • I've got some catching up to do since I'm almost 25 and I'm just now getting with the program! But it's never too late.
  7. Finish saving for all likely adoption fees/expenses. We've got an account set up for this and we've been slowly but surely adding funds to it.
  8. Make a savings plan in order to pay off all student loan debt, have 6 month's worth of income in our savings account, buy a house, and get a second car. Haven't worked on this one yet!




Friday, August 13, 2010

Darkest Before The Dawn

After our Anniversary, I knew something had to give. Something needed to change and something needed to change quickly before I blew a fuse or popped a blood vessel or something. Lol. I kept thinking about all the stuff we've gone through the last couple years... and how struggles can either tear a couple apart or bring them closer together. I was doing everything that I knew how to do for it to be the latter.

I kept wondering what God wanted us to learn from all this...(infertility, adoption hindrances, etc.)? Because I've learned A LOT. I've grown so much... even more than what I thought I was capable of. I felt like I had done all that I could do and I was wondering when God was going to do His part. What else was there for me to learn? I was humble (ha ha), I was patient (HA)... I was going the extra mile in every spiritual aspect of my life I could think of... but there were no clear answers. I guess my choices at this point were to either lose faith, or endure to the end.

My prayers had all begun sounding the same around this time. They sounded something like this:

Okay God. This is all I can do without direction. This is my best. PLEASE just give me something. Whatever it is I need. Please just make something happen. Amen.

And I kept going. I trusted that God would come through for me when He was dang good and ready.

And then... suddenly everything started to fall into place. I got a job - a job that is perfect for me, a job that I found on accident really, a job that has benefits that begin immediately such as health insurance and 401(k) matching!

This was a job that I was positive I wasn't going to get. I had been actively trying hard to get a job for about 2 months before I interviewed for this one, doing interview after interview and being turned down left and right. I was so frustrated, that I knew I wasn't going to get this job as soon as I got the call for me to come in for an interview. Since I knew I wasn't going to get it, I was (almost) completely relaxed. I wasn't too nervous or anxious. I just answered the questions to the best of my ability without getting all hyper and talkative or blurting out stupid things. I took my time and actually thought about the questions before answering so that I could use good examples from my past work and school experience - examples that actually matched the job description. I joked a little bit and had the interviewers laughing. I wasn't too proud to beg for the job, either. Ha ha. "Please pick me cuz I'm awesome!" The interview went absolutely perfectly and I left feeling good that I actually made it through an interview so well. I would have been fine if I didn't get the job, because I knew I had done my best and there was nothing else I could have done.

But they actually called me back! And I couldn't believe it. I took the phone call in the bedroom and then I cracked open the bedroom door just barely to catch Zay's eye in the living room. He said, "What?!" And I whispered, "I got the job." Zay started yelling, "YES! YES!" and I giggled and shut the door. He said, "Get out here, woman!" and we did a little celebratory dancing in the living room. Ha ha ha. He said, "You have no idea what's going on inside my heart right now." Lol. I think that means he's happy. And I'm happy too. :)




Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our Sixth Anniversary

Last year, Zay and I spent our anniversary camping and fishing together. We're pretty simple, easy-going people like that.



We're not the type to go to some fancy restaurant or throw a huge celebration. This year we didn't even plan anything at all... And under normal circumstances that would have worked out just fine for us. We would've just chilled, watched some movies and spent the whole day with each other... probably would've thrown something on the grill. Our anniversary is the day before Independence Day, so we usually just mesh those two celebrations together with all the BBQ'ing, swimming, and fireworks going on.

But... things were off this year. We just weren't feeling it. The day started off well - Zay got me this awesome digital camera that I love, love, love! and we hung out all day. But as the day wore on, we could tell there was something that didn't feel right. We had been taking life so seriously up to that point that there was no room left for fun. Life was getting too confusing, too difficult, and too disappointing.

So there we were, angry for no good reason... feeling like nothing was going right. We tried to end the night on a good note. We went up to the base of the Y trail to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks and look out over the city, but by then we were both in our own worlds trying to figure things out and we weren't connecting very well at all.

I really wish we had planned some sort of getaway or something. We really needed a break from everything. I regret that now.

This was before we made our Baby Bucket List and before good things started happening (I got a job!!!), when everything was still up in the air - my school plans, Zay's school plans, my possible career paths, Zay's possible career paths, whether I was going to try to get pregnant, whether this adoption thing would work out, if we were going to have to wait until 2014 to get health insurance under Obama's health care reform, whether we wanted to move to a bigger place or move back to GA or what. We didn't know what the heck was going on anymore and we hadn't sat down and talked about it all yet, so it was hanging over our heads and making the mood horrible.

I took one picture that entire day. I think you can gauge how happy I am by the number of pictures I take.


What a sad little picture that is! Ha ha.

Anyways, it was a bad day... and it sucks that it was on our anniversary. But now I can look back on it all and say we made it through it, so it doesn't suck as much as it did at the time. And the marriage isn't all about the anniversaries. It's about every single day. :)




Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Writing Notes In Church

This is from a little over a month ago, right in the middle of all the confusion... around the time we talked to our caseworker and put things on hold because we didn't know what the heck we were doing in life.

Zay:  Hey Baby. How u doin?
AA:   Tired & [sun]burnt. But I'm okay.

Zay:  Adult life sucks huh?
AA:   Sometimes. I'm glad I have you by my side helping me through it.

Zay:  Sweet. I'm always here.
AA:   Thank you. You've been very sweet & comforting lately.

Zay:  I'm tryin. I love u so much.
AA:   I love you too! Our anniversary is so close. 6 years! Yay!

Zay:  Wow, time flies huh?
AA:   Yep. They say the first 7 years of marriage are the hardest.

Zay:  I thought it was 5.
AA:   Whatever. We're gonna make it to 60 years!

Zay:  Hope so. Hope I'm alive to see it.
AA:   I want us to live a long time together.

Zay:  If something happens to me, will u stay sealed to me?
AA:   [*laughing*] Yeah, silly.

Zay:  Nice. I feel so bad sometimes, cuz I don't know what the future holds for us.
AA:   Nobody knows. We can't do much about that except trying for what we want out of life & seeing what happens & what doesn't.

Zay:  There are things we both want for life. Some things we control & some things we don't. But I feel like we have control over nothing.
AA:   We're just in a weird state right now. Nothing is certain, so it's confusing & makes us feel out of control. It sucks.

Zay:  Yup.
AA:   I know I wanna be w/you. That's certain. We can control our relationship if we work as a team.

Zay:  Thanks. I wanna be wit u too.




Monday, August 9, 2010

Baby Bucket List

Part Four

* * *

It took a couple weeks before we were ready to talk about things again, but we sat down and tried to make some goals. These are supposed to be things that we need/want to get done or have before we can move forward with starting a family. The first list started off like this:
  1. Pay off all student loan debt.
  2. Finish saving for all likely adoption fees/expenses.
  3. Set up a retirement account.
  4. Have 6 month's worth of income in our savings account.
  5. Take a vacation to a foreign country.
  6. Buy a house. 
  7. Get a second car.
  8. ......
Okay, so the Baby Bucket List started off with some pretty lofty goals, and they all had to do with money. I mean, the total amount Zay wanted us to come up with before we could move on was about $70,000. I could see where most of his concerns were centered! I was like, "Ummmm.... okay. That was a good start. Now, let's try this again with some realistic goals." Ha ha. And he says he's the realistic one! If we're gonna have to come up with $70,000 before we can even think of moving on, I should just throw in the towel right this second. It might as well be a gazillion dollars.

So we tried again, focusing more on being ready as a couple rather than having a buttload of money in the bank. I think we did better the second time around.
  1. Reach our goal weights for the year. We want to be around long enough (meaning *not dead*) to play with our kids and teach them sports when they're young. We don't want to be huffing and puffing trying to do that... or sitting on the sidelines because our backs and knees hurt. This is also teaching us some much needed self-discipline - a value that we want to pass down to our kids and to do that we need to learn it ourselves.
  2. Find a good marriage counselor and start seeing them once a month or so. I'm a big believer in taking preventative measures in relationships. I've seen lots of divorces where the marital problems had crept up almost unnoticed and then suddenly overwhelmed the marriage. I think identifying issues early on and working them out as we go along will benefit us in the long run. I wish we had done this years ago. I'm sure there would have been far less arguments and more constructive communication. It would also be nice to find a counselor who has dealt with adoptive families before. That would help with the disappointments that are very likely to rear their ugly heads while we're being matched to a birth family.
  3. Establish a good pattern of Date Night (there's an awesome blog HERE with a hilarious video about having date night...OMG, so funny!). Setting a night aside to do this actually reminds us that we need to take the time to have a special night together every once in awhile instead of always just "hanging out." It will help us make each other a priority - something we'll need to do even after we have kids (especially after we have kids).
  4. Me getting a job that will allow Zay to get back into school. Being self-employed has a lot of drawbacks... and we've been going back and forth about me being a stay-at-home mom and Zay being a stay-at-home dad... and I ended up deciding that I should use my education to start a career. Zay can go to school like he's wanted to do for years now and be the stay-at-home dad that he used to dream of being. It's in my personality to work and if I can find the right job that I'll enjoy, I wouldn't mind being the main provider.
  5. Get health insurance (hopefully this comes with a job w/benefits and the whole health insurance nightmare will end).
  6. Start a retirement account (hopefully this comes with a job w/benefits).
  7. Finish saving for all likely adoption fees/expenses.
  8. Make a savings plan in order to pay off all student loan debt, have 6 month's worth of income in our savings account, buy a house, and get a second car. We don't need to actually do any of these things. We just need to make a plan to.
After we settled on these goals, we set a deadline for ourselves. This is supposed to be the date on which we can say that it doesn't matter if we've crossed everything off the list yet, we're moving forward! At first Zay said December 21, 2012, because that's supposed to be the end of the world anyway. Ha ha. I told him there was no way I was waiting 2 1/2 years for him to get comfortable with anything. And if it's going to be the end of the world, I'm gonna be mighty pissed that he made me wait until it was too late! So, the official deadline is the end of this year.

** I got the idea for a "Baby Bucket List" from a friend's blog. Check her out at Baby Makin' Machine! **




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