Thursday, June 26, 2014

All About the LDS Family Services Adoption Announcement

On June 17, I received an email from the Commissioner's Office of LDS Family Services outlining changes to LDS Family Services' adoption program. This is the agency we have used the past few years while we've been officially waiting to adopt and when we adopted our son in 2011.

I immediately had a feeling of what it was about, because I'd heard rumors last year that LDSFS wanted to pull out of being a full-scale adoption agency. In fact, our adoption that fell through in Louisiana last summer gave me a taste of what it would be like if LDSFS was just a counseling service rather than a full-scale adoption agency, because a few offices had already been implementing these new changes - and our office in Louisiana was one of them.

So, I wasn't surprised when I got this letter, but was anxious to know all the details and how it would affect us if we decide to stay on this adoption roller coaster.

CLICK HERE to view the letter as a Google Doc.

That same day I started seeing it all over the local and Church media - that LDSFS was closing its doors to adoption, that the Church would no longer be subsidizing adoptions, etc. Speculation as to why (low adoption placement rates, bad publicity for the Church when adoptions go wrong, etc.) cropped up. My first thoughts were: How in the world do they think that these changes are going to help increase adoption opportunities for LDS couples? And how do they think that in most cases this won't impact cost of adopting or that it could be less expensive with the new program? Lots of people across social media were confused as well.

Last night I attended an info session held by my local office that covered any and all questions about the changes and how it would affect us as prospective adoptive couples. And I took LOTS of notes! So I will share them here:


  • Current prospective adoptive couples (defined as any couple who has at least attended Orientation before June 17, 2014) will have the choice to continue with the old program or explore the new program, until the end of 2014. New prospective adoptive couples (defined as any couple who attends Orientation after these announcements were made) will begin with the new program immediately. Beginning January 1, 2015, everyone will be moved to the new program. The only exception is for couples who are "matched" at the end of the year - LDSFS will facilitate those adoptions with the old program, if the couple so chooses. Any questions/concerns about the transition will be taken into account and LDSFS will err on the side of fair to each prospective adoptive couple as the new changes take place.
  • LDSFS will no longer be a full-scale adoption agency after December 31, 2014. Instead, they will be shifting their focus to better align their services with Church and welfare principles.
  • The two-fold reason for these changes is to 1) increase opportunities for LDS couples to adopt and 2) give more support to families and leaders who are assisting single expectant parents. While pursuing these goals, they want to better meet the needs of a worldwide membership and decide where they should put Church resources vs. where they should refer to community resources and not duplicate their efforts. What can LDSFS uniquely provide? And what can the community do well that doesn't need duplicating?
  • Increasing opportunities for LDS couples to adopt:
    • The site currently draws a very limited traffic flow and is limited in its ability to reach a large audience of expectant parents considering adoption. Its function (to list LDS adoptive couples' profiles online) will be completely replaced. Right now, LDSFS is in negotiations to work with a much more high-traffic "parent profiles" type site in order to get LDS adoptive couples listed on their site for a discounted cost which LDSFS will cover. This will increase exposure for LDS adoptive couples to include much more traffic from non-LDS sources. This is part of LDSFS effort to pull away from trying to duplicate something that is already done in the community much better/ more efficiently/ to a broader audience, and re-focus its efforts elsewhere.
    • LDSFS will now be an adoption consulting institution rather than an agency. The goal will be to encourage couples to be their own adoption advocate, to take charge, and to reach out and talk to adoption professionals to find more opportunities to adopt. LDSFS will be there to point couples in the direction of community resources (attorneys, agencies, foster care, places that will do home studies, adoption education, placement and post-placement services, etc.) and to continue to counsel them free of charge throughout the adoption process. Their goal will be to expose prospective adoptive couples to many community resources and arm them with information to make the best decisions possible on their adoption journey. They will be having an "adoption info fair" sometime in July (to be determined) to help facilitate that.
    • The new requirements to work with LDSFS no longer excludes couples who are "fertile" and biologically capable of getting pregnant and having children, or couples who have more than 2 children. In the past, infertility treatment had to be proven with a doctor's note and a couple couldn't have more than 2 children.
    • Although these changes may increase potential cost (which will now vary depending on each adoption's situation rather than be a flat fee), especially for out-of-state adoptions, it could also save money by removing the agency costs and "pass-through expenses" from the equation. For example, I'm in Utah and if I adopt in Utah with a relatively straight-forward case with no hiccups, it may be less expensive than the old program's flat fee, depending on which attorney we used (which LDSFS would help us find - the best and least expensive). Even if this does turn out to be more expensive for LDS adoptive couples (the Church was subsidizing $18,000+ per adoption on the old program), it still will generally be much less expensive than working with another agency (although that can still be done if the couple so chooses).
    • The new program will help screen out some scammers by requiring expectant parents to meet with LDSFS, but if they need any assistance (what used to be covered by "pass-through expenses") they will also have to meet with their assigned Bishop and he will have stewardship to judge what welfare the Church can help her/them with. This is in line with how welfare is distributed Church-wide.
  • Assisting single expectant parents:
    • How well are we serving and meeting the needs of the single expectant parents in our midst? This is a vulnerable population who is making decisions for another vulnerable population (the children they are carrying) - are they getting all the support they need to make good decisions? This is where LDSFS focus should be - on supporting them, counseling them without being an "adoption agency," and helping them find the resources they need to make good decisions.
    • What's unique and distinctive about LDSFS is that they can provide a place where an expectant mother can find screened LDS adoptive couples. For someone specifically looking for that for their child, LDSFS will continue to screen the couples they work with to meet the high standards of the Church. Now, without the restriction on adoptive couples to those who are infertile and have no more than 2 children, expectant parents are empowered to choose the family she wants. Maybe an expectant mother wants to place her baby with a family with 6 kids. That option will be opened up to her.
    • Without the "adoption agency" title, LDSFS is hoping to become known as a free professional counseling service rather than an agency, by removing that potential conflict of interest and to relieve pressure on expectant parents to place their child. To better serve single expectant parents, LDSFS will focus on counseling and pointing them in the direction of community resources, their Bishop for assistance, or if they so choose - a listing of screened LDS adoptive couples. They want to be a bridge between single expectant parents and the information they need to make the decision that is right for them and find support/assistance no matter what that choice is.
    • Non-LDS expectant parents can still meet with their assigned Bishop and counsel with him and it is up to his discretion what help is given. I imagine that counseling with them to help their lives become more consistent with Gospel principles may be a part of it. Inactive LDS expectant parents may be encouraged to return to attendance. Counseling with LDSFS and/or the Bishop is designed to really reach each expectant parent and help them on the whole. If they choose to parent, they need a good start at it and may need help (counseling, spiritual encouragement, job opportunities, information, guidance, etc.) to be in a good place to do so. This is the goal of the new program. All Bishops will be trained to handle these situations appropriately.
  • Other things to note:
    • The $1,000 application fee that adoptive couples have already paid will no longer apply to placement fees after the changes are in effect, unless they are matched before the end of the year and choose to use the old program to finish out the adoption. From now on, no application fee will be required of adoptive couples. All services through LDSFS under the new program will be free of charge.
    • Instructions will be given on how to migrate from once a decision/contract has been made about the new site that will list LDS adoptive profiles, sometime before the new year. Again, this will greatly increase exposure.
    • Statistically, there is one unwed pregnant mom-to-be per ward per year. Adoption placement rates for unwed pregnant moms-to-be are about 1% nationally. Adoption numbers are down as times are changing and single moms are given much more support. At the same time, if adoptive couples want to increase their chances of adopting, more online exposure in this social media-driven world is the answer.
    • Adoptive couples will no longer have a specific caseworker or have an "adoption file" with LDSFS, since home studies will be done by a different entity of the adoptive couple's choosing.
    • LDSFS will no longer run "Families Supporting Adoption," but will encourage families touched by adoption to continue their own support groups. From the outside, FSA may not even look like it changes very much, because there are so many wonderful volunteers that will keep it going (although the name might change). The adoption community in Utah is amazing!

Those are all my notes! WHEW. It was a very informative Q&A and I was very glad that I went. All my questions were answered.

I love the direction they are going, ethically, in regards to expectant parents. And for me personally, I love the new website idea for increased exposure.

Adoption is still up in the air for us, so I'm not sure if any of these changes will actually matter much to us. Who knows? Maybe something will come up for us soon. But as we saw with both our Louisiana and Mississippi failed adoptions, if our children are meant to come to us from out of state, we may have to swallow the extra cost of hiring our own attorney in each state.

CLICK HERE to see our adoption profile right now as it's still listed on (I'll be updating it with new family pics in a couple weeks!)

FSA adoption walk in honor of birth mothers. :)

Cute quote board I found, someone was selling. I want one!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday #tbt

September 2012, Zay & Kal

October 2012, Tough Mudder weekend

October 2012, Trip Home to Georgia

October 2012, Trip back to Utah

January 2014, Haircut Day

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Previous fertility post: Prepping for IUI #1

So, we've had a couple months to really think about what we want to do.

Zay has always been accepting of our infertility as a sign from God. That if He wanted us to get pregnant, we would have been pregnant a long time ago. I wholeheartedly disagree with him on that one, because I believe God has given us intelligence and scientific advances have come through that blessing of intelligence... and if there is a way to get pregnant using that science and we don't do it, it's our own dang fault, not God's.

That makes it hard when I wish he thought the exact same way that I do (of course, don't we all wish that about our spouses??)... and it makes him hesitate a lot longer on decisions than I would. But he slows me down (in a good way) when I'm ready to jump head-first into something. When it's the right thing to do, he eventually recognizes it and comes around. When it's not the right thing, he recognizes it far quicker than I do and has to pull on the reigns and slow me down until I realize it.

Right now, I think I'm right (ha ha) and we should continue fertility treatment until it works. He is being supportive, but he's also warning me that it may not work and we'll have to be okay with that if it doesn't. Which I get.

But it's gonna work. I told you - it has to! :)

After going to the fertility specialist a few times, I felt pressured to do in vitro immediately. Especially since our insurance will cover $5,000 of it the first cycle (and then it doesn't cover anything after that). That is huge, that is helpful, the fertility clinic was pushing it, and I had dreams of sugar plums (babies) dancing in my head. The chances of it working are great. Any fertility clinic would recommend IVF with ICSI based on our diagnoses. Let's do this thing and knock it out!

Enter Zay, reeling me back in: It's still expensive - even with $5,000 off, we don't want to go into debt to do it so we'd have to save for a little while first, and it's still possible that it won't work. And what then? Where's the line? How far would we go and how much debt would we go into before we quit? And by then, maybe we'll be exhausted and hurt and angry and bitter, and why would we do that to ourselves? And what happened to those qualms about IVF you had? Oh, yeah.

I prayed many, many times and felt like I was hitting stumbling block after stumbling block. Something wasn't right but I couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe the thought that Zay was right? Ha ha. No, that couldn't possibly be it.

My biggest fear when it comes to fertility treatments is that we'll try whatever (IVF or IUI) and we'll do it over and over and over again. And the doctor won't know why I'm not getting pregnant. Or, that I'll manage to get pregnant and then miscarry over and over and over again without any known reason. It happens. I know people with so-called "unexplained infertility" and that terrifies me. I want answers.

I confessed this to the fertility specialist and as soon as I said my fears out loud, I started crying. I can handle the past - that I haven't gotten pregnant in 10 years. I can handle the present - that we have 1 child through adoption and we're getting as healthy as we can before we decide whether to do IUI or IVF. But what I can't handle is the FUTURE and the UNKNOWN. And the possibility that it won't work, ever... and that I don't know that beforehand. And the doctors won't know why. And they'll tell me it's "unexplained."

She reassured me that our infertility isn't unexplained. The explanation is perfectly laid out for us. And that there's no indication that we won't be able to get pregnant. My PCOS would actually be a good thing as far as IUI/IVF goes, because I have a lot of follicles ready to go! She said if we wanted to get pregnant and we wanted to get pregnant soon, IVF with ICSI is our best bet... and why wait?

Notice the pressuring??

I had qualms about in vitro before. The idea of freezing leftover embryos bothered me, I think. And how they all don't always survive the thawing process. I guess... just hypothetically, the idea of creating a bunch of embryos that may or may not live while in the process of trying to create life - is that wrong? If the end product could be life? Do the means justify that end? Do intentions count at all in this? Are we meddling with things too sacred to touch in the way that IVF does?

The semen analysis results also had me wondering about donor sperm. Is that okay? Would that be something we would be open to? I saw in a lot of fertility forums that many, many people "just used donor sperm" like it was no big deal. That felt weird to me too. I couldn't imagine picking a random sperm donor... so the only thing that seemed slightly acceptable was getting a very close family member of Zay's to donate... like one of his brothers. But, omg - I can't even imagine broaching that subject!!! Lol. I asked Zay (mostly jokingly) and he said, "You wanna have my brother's baby?" Ha ha. I think he was slightly insulted, but mostly found it amusing that I would even mention something like that. I shook all those thoughts from my head and knew that we would never use donor sperm.

When I was the RS Secretary, I learned a lot about Church policies. I wondered what the Church leadership handbook had in it about fertility treatments. I consulted it about so many other things, so I thought if it had any guidance for me, I should find out... this is what I found that stood out to me:
  • "Members should not use medical or health practices that are ethically or legally questionable."
  • "The Church strongly discourages artificial insemination using semen from anyone but the husband. However, this is a personal matter that ultimately must be left to the judgement of the husband and wife."
  • "It is the privilege of married couples who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for the spirit children of God, whom they are then responsible to nurture and rear. The decision as to how many children to have and when to have them is extremely intimate and private and should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge one another in this matter." 
  • "Married couples should also understand that sexual relations within marriage are divinely approved not only for the purpose of procreation, but also as a way of expressing love and strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife."
  • "The Church strongly discourages in vitro fertilization using semen from anyone but the husband or an egg from anyone but the wife. However, this is a personal matter that ultimately must be left to the judgment of the husband and wife."
  • "The Church strongly discourages the donation of sperm."
  • "The Church strongly discourages surrogate motherhood."
That kind of settled things for me in my mind - no sperm donation, no surrogacy, but no problem with IVF.

I went back and forth about IUI and IVF. One day I'd think for sure that we should try IUI's first like we planned to and then the next day I'd think for sure that we should just do the IVF now and I just needed to convince Zay to do it.

I'm usually much better about making decisions, but neither path felt right. Dangit! I really, really wanted to do this. I'm impatient. I want it my way. And I want it now. But that's not the way to go about it.

Many long talks with Zay... many long, heartfelt prayers... an intense study of the story of Abraham & Sarah in the Old Testament... all led to us deciding the answer to "IUI or IVF?" right now is neither. We're rushing into it (so, Zay's right). Fertility treatment is what we're supposed to pursue (I'm right too!), but not in this way. Not now, anyway. We have to slow down... WAY THE HECK DOWN. And back up and start over. The stress of adoption and intense fertility treatments back-to-back like that wouldn't be healthy. In any way at all.

Failed adoptions felt like being cheated on by a spouse... that's the analogy I've been using in my head. And now I'm trying to rebound from that "unhealthy relationship" by jumping right into having my own dang baby right now no matter how stressful or expensive. That is not good. I need to learn patience and this is how I'm gonna learn it.

SLOW THE EFF DOWN, ALICE ANNE! We need to take a new approach to this.

Slow down, take a deep breath, take our time, focus on enjoying the present without the distraction of hypothetical future babies. They will come. I know it. But we're going about it all the wrong way in the wrong time. As much as I didn't want a huge age gap between my children, I'm just gonna have to get over it and not try to force something. Do it the right way - starting with going back to my plan of relaxing, de-stressing, and getting healthy - really healthy, including treating my PCOS rather than letting it rule my life.

Okay, now that I got all that out... I promise my life isn't as horrible as I make it seem sometimes, ha ha. This fertility mess isn't what I think about ALL the time, believe me. Not anymore. But I need to document the craziness of this journey and these thoughts and decisions are part of the story. For the most part though, this has been a really fun time in our lives and I wish I documented that better than I do! Maybe I'll make that a goal. I like goals, ha ha. :)

How beautiful is this view that greeted me when I left the house this morning?? Snow on the mountains in June!!

Next fertility post: Starting From Scratch

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Wards & Callings

In our last ward (congregation), I was the Relief Society (women's organization) Secretary. It was a lot of work! But I will always remember what I learned from it.

I remember when we moved into that ward, I wanted to really get to know the sisters and throw myself into service. In my mind I thought we'd be adopting sometime in 2013, so I needed to do as much as I could as far as being involved at Church before that happened. Because then I'd have a brand new baby and I would be so wrapped up in that. I volunteered for anything and everything that needed to be done. I wanted to learn from the sisters. It wasn't long before I was called to be the Secretary. That's what I get for volunteering, ha ha. :)

There are much more demanding callings than that one, but it was my first in Relief Society and I learned so much. The vast majority of my callings before then have been in the Primary, teaching the children's Sunday School lessons. Those are pretty basic and I mostly followed the lesson manual and tried to make it fun. Not too bad. Being in RS was a lot more intimidating at first! Thank goodness the RS President was so amazing, organized, and insightful.

The Bishop and the RS President both emphasized that they saw our ward as a "training ward," because so many people move in and out and can only serve for a short amount of time, so they try to give responsibility to new sisters pretty quickly and teach them as much about the organization of the Church and leadership skills as possible before they move on. I was nervous about being with all the sisters when I've been around all the kids for so long, but I knew it's where I needed to be and where I would learn the most.

I remember sitting in the RS Presidency meetings kind of just taking it all in and feeling like such a newbie. I jumped right into the role and had to wing it until I knew what all I was responsible for. It needed some organizing, because there were so many responsibilities but I didn't get much training (the last sister to fill the role was called to be the Primary President and had to jump into that role quickly). I learned on the job and still felt like I was learning all the way up until the end.

It was definitely a "training ward" for me - they were right. I feel like I understand the purposes of the Relief Society so much better than I did before. I understand who is in charge of what and it's pretty awesome how smoothly the Church runs when everyone does their job (or even when they don't, someone always steps up and fills in where it's needed). I was surrounded by some pretty amazing women and it was the only ward I've ever shed a tear over when I left. They still invite me to ward activities, so I might double up on those and keep heading back to my old neighborhood every once in awhile, even though I really want to get involved in my new ward too. :)

I felt so supported through our two failed adoptions - one a year ago in July and one this past January. I made it through and I kept doing my job and it kept me sane (for the most part). The women were so kind to me and I felt like I was a part of something much bigger than myself. Thinking back, I should have reached out for help even more last year when I was grieving so hard, but you don't really think very clearly when you're grieving, obviously.

I was (partly) in charge of informing the RS President and the Compassionate Service Leader of each new pregnancy in the ward, and that was good for me. I rejoiced in the sisters' good news. Whenever I could, I tried to write down new baby blessings and give them to the sisters, because those don't usually get recorded. I learned some shorthand and scribbled quickly and probably missed out on the spirit of the blessing, ha ha. But I knew it would be worth something to the new moms to have that in writing. It taught me compassion and empathy and to have joy in others' happiness without a hint of bitterness.

The involvement in that ward is what helped me have a good frame of mind when our second adoption fell through. I knew that I had to serve Miss H in whatever way that I could. It was what I had been training to do. I couldn't see a need and then leave her stranded. My calling changed me and helped me focus on others in a way I hadn't really learned before. That's why I knew I had to send her something to help her get started with her new baby. It wasn't the time to be selfish and bitter and hateful. It was the perfect opportunity to serve, so I took it. And the people who also saw that and contributed just made it all such a wonderful experience.

Sometimes people don't serve others out of insecurity. I know I did! For many years I would hide in the back of Church and avoid people, hoping to be looked over when the Bishop is looking for someone for a particular calling or to give a talk. Now I have a confidence I didn't have before. I actually did get away with not having to give a talk, ha ha. But I'm starting to feel like it wouldn't kill me to get up in front of people in Sacrament meeting. It really wouldn't. Public speaking is not something I need to avoid for the rest of my life - the fear of it is something I need to get over. And you know what? I have a feeling that just because I said that, I'm gonna get a call from the Bishop. The Lord knows when and how we need to grow! Ha ha.

The last few weeks before we moved, I finished up some things I promised I would do and trained my replacement, trying to give her as detailed information as possible about all the responsibilities. She said she felt like a deer in headlights, ha ha. Yep, that's how I felt! But she's gonna do awesome. And now I can take what I've learned and apply it to my new ward. I told her to not hesitate to call me if she needed anything, but I know she's going to be great.

We met our new Bishop Sunday and he is AWESOME. Don't know what I think about the ward yet, ha ha. But the Bishop is awesome and he told us he's been praying for new families to move in. We said, "Well here we are! Put us to work!" He made a good connection with Zay and he even dropped by our BBQ later that day to try out Zay's cookin' - the man has skills on the grill and the Bishop agrees whole-heartedly! We'll miss our old ward, but we're where we're supposed to be right now and we'll see what good we can do here. Zay's excited (is excited the right word? more like "more willing than usual") to throw himself into service here.

We're in a good place, literally and figuratively. Learning and growing is never pain-free. I was super burned out trying to pack and move and train the new Secretary at the same time (while keeping up with hair clients and Kal's many many many demands - ha ha), but we get a bit of rest now while we're making the transition and adjusting to the new ward. So I'm reflecting and feeling a little free right now while I don't have a calling. :)

Our last ward is where Kal met his best friends. :) Look at that face he's making,  ha ha.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I'm Exhausted

There's a million things I could write about right now... that I want to write about... fun family things we've been doing, all the happiness I've been experiencing lately at this point in my life, but something's bugging me and I am just too dang exhausted to think.

I'll start with this video... "Seek the Good." The third story, specifically... about seeking the good after a failed adoption, hits home for me. I follow The R House blog and it was kinda cool to see her talking about her experience.

"Seek the Good" Video:

I'm practicing seeking the good when my world gets turned upside down. It works. Gratitude in any circumstance works. Loving people when they let you down works. The hard part is remembering that when you're hurting.

So, what's bugging me is... I lost a friendship recently and I've never had someone genuinely hate me so much, especially after I spent so much time trying to support her in her life's pursuits. I'm just so confused about what she thought I was doing/saying that ticked her off so badly. Because I didn't say or do or even think the things she's accusing me of. I was always encouraging her and wishing the best for her and helping her in any way that I could, even if that meant washing her dishes or loaning her money. Whatever she needed, whenever she needed it, I was always there for her. At any point in time, if she called me up and needed something from me, I would make time to make sure I helped her if I could. That's just the small stuff. There were some really BIG things I did for her too and I don't think I ever heard a word of gratitude for how much I went out of my way to show her I cared.

She has poured so much energy into hating me when I haven't said a word to her. I've been minding my own business since she decided to "break up" with me. I'm not going to beg someone to be my friend if they don't want me in their life. What sense would that make? I'm not in desperate need of friends who support me and treat me right. I surround myself with those kind of people every day. I honestly/genuinely don't want someone in my life if they aren't that type of person and don't want to give as much as they take in a friendship. She was not the friend I thought she was going to be. Very poor judge of character on my part, but I always gave her the benefit of the doubt. I definitely didn't get the same treatment from her, just a twisting of my words and always assuming I was being sarcastic when I expressed genuinely nice/caring things towards her.

Sometimes friendships don't work out and that's fine. There's no point in hanging onto a friendship that is meant to only be temporary or that obviously isn't working. People drift apart. Different people take their place. That's life, that's normal. But to end it on such a bad note was just so childish and unnecessary.

So, with everything else going on... I've been dealing with that too. I normally don't let people into my life who are going to bring a bunch of drama with them, but somehow she managed to sneak into my life under my radar and I was too nice and let her get away with sub-par friendship. Now she hates me and I'm left confused and trying to figure out how I could've been any more nice to a person like her than I was. There's no dealing with irrational people, though. You've just gotta move on. Learn from your mistakes and make better choices in the future. Let people self-destruct and deal with the consequences of their own actions, but be the better person and walk away. And continue to seek the good and learn the lesson before me.

I learned a lot about forgiveness with our failed adoptions. Forgiveness after what feels like heart-wrenching rejection/betrayal is the hardest thing I've ever had to learn to do. Losing a so-called "friend" after that doesn't even compare, but it's still exhausting emotionally. Especially when I have so many other things on my mind.

It's honestly not worth my time/energy/emotion, though. I'm worth way more than that. So I'm trying to breathe through it and let it go and move on. I was doing that just fine until she showed up again, trying to cause trouble. Hopefully it's over now, hopefully the beef is squashed. We needed to talk and we did, sort of. But I still don't think we understand each other. Maybe we never will, but that's okay.

I've got my own life to live rather than wasting time worrying about someone who doesn't have my best interest at heart. I've got a child to raise - we're still doing homeschool preschool ("play school") and trying to night potty-train. I've got health issues to address - I've lost 10 lbs so far, trying to lose 30 more! I have a husband and a home to tend to - including unpacking the last bit of boxes from our move (did I mention we love our new place??? and do I ever mention how awesome my husband is in supporting me and making me feel loved???). I've got a barber/salon business to run - which I've done successfully for 10 years. I have plans for my future, career-wise and with family planning...

I have no room for someone else's nonsense. The drama wears on me.

I'm a good person and a good friend and I deserve better. I have better.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  
Forgive them anyway.
            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, alterior motives. 
 Be kind anyway.
            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  
Be honest and sincere anyway.
           What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. 
 Create anyway.
            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  
Be happy anyway.
            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  
Do good anyway.
         Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  
Give your best anyway.
         In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  
It was never between you and them anyway.
- Mother Teresa

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you...
(Matthew 5:43-44)

I'll be doing some praying...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Moving - A Little Move and a Big Move

The last 10 years are jam-packed with memories. Of all the fun we've had here, learning experiences, all the people we've met (a ton if you consider school, work, all the different congregations we've attended, and acquiring hair clients who come and go), the friends we've made, people we now consider family, more learning experiences, education, work, pets, developing talents, learning how to be married, mistakes made, growing pains, drama, a handful of very weird people, adapting to the culture shock of moving to Utah (and then the culture shock of visiting Georgia and forgetting how it used to be), learning who we are in the Gospel, losing friends, growing up, battling through infertility, adoption, becoming parents, moving soooo many times (we just moved into our 8th apartment, the 4th apartment in Kal's short life), and even more learning experiences.

I know how I am about reminiscing, so I know when we leave this place for good I'm gonna spend lots of nights sitting out by a fire somewhere under the gorgeous Georgia night sky... thinking about good ole Utah and what it's done for us. And laughing at some of the ridiculous/crazy/awesome memories we've got stored up.

A few years ago, I never thought we'd go back "home" to Georgia. We are so far removed from who we were when we lived there. But one thing led to another, and now we know where we need to be. Despite all we're going to miss and how much of "us" was created right here in Utah... we are going to move to Georgia next year.

At first, I was the one to say it out loud. Zay thought I was nuts. Then the more he thought it over, the sadder he got when he thought about the life we've had out here and what we would be giving up. We talked and I remember telling him that the memories will still be there... they aren't going to disappear just because we leave. All we want and need out of life is each other. If we have each other, it doesn't matter where we are. Eventually he recognized that it was time to move on. I didn't pressure him. He came to it on his own.

We just barely moved to our very last Utah apartment. We'll pack up and drive across the country when our year's lease is up. But just the couple weeks we've been here... we LOVE our new place. We've been spending every evening out on our front step, feet in the grass, watching the cars go by, looking out over the peach orchard that reminds us of Georgia and out to the beautiful view of the mountains and Provo Canyon... and for a brief moment we both thought, "We're going to love it at this place and we're not going to leave Utah as soon as we thought." I felt conflicted about that, but I thought it might be true. We're gonna be so happy here. It's much easier to leave if we hate it here, right?

Moving Day. :D

Watermelon strawberry banana smoothies in the front yard. Mmmmm.... tastes like summer.

Zay was up tossing and turning one night. I felt him get up and leave the bed. The next day he said, "You were right." I had no idea what he was talking about, so I said, "Of course I am." Ha ha. "What am I right about?" He said he knew we are supposed to move back to Georgia next year and that he had been up thinking about it all night. I was surprised he had come to that conclusion himself. We both acknowledged that it's going to be sad, especially if we really do have the best year ever that we've been imagining at this new place. We're going to go out with a bang and leave Utah with nothing but happy memories.

Life is about change and growth and new chapters. And for us that means coming full circle and returning to a place we were so ready to get out of 10 years ago as newlyweds trying to take on the world together. I think that's where we should do Foster Care. I think that's where we should buy a house. That's where we'll get to be around family again. That's where we'll raise our kid(s). It's scary, but it feels right. We have our plans, but really who knows what God's got in store for us there? I think that move is going to be fruitful beyond what we can see right now, but we're going to go with where we feel guided and take that leap of faith. And in the meantime, we're going to enjoy the heck out of this last year here and see what we can make of it!

Spring Didn't Last Very Long

We had a warmer-than-usual winter (thank goodness... the winter before last depressed the heck outta me), then it snowed/hailed in May (whaaaat), then we had about 2 weeks of Spring. That is all. Ha ha.

It is definitely Summer weather now and we're thoroughly enjoying the heat. I LOVE IT. Despite all the fertility drama going on, life was going pretty dang smoothly for awhile there. (I say "was" because we've been moving and contemplating big life changes and then everything felt hectic again... but I'm hanging in there till we find a new groove.)

Here are "Spring pics" I got of Kal the 2 weeks we had pretty flowers in the yard. He is growing up so fast! In the place of my itty bitty baby boy, there's this mini-teenager now. Craziness. Toddler craziness!!! Ahhhhh! Nothing can prepare you for the battle of wills with a 3-year-old.

Kal taking pictures with my phone.

He's so artsy with the dandelions, ha ha.

My big ole 3-year-old.

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