Monday, October 29, 2012

my story. my ramblings.

     As a little girl, I have always wanted and dreamed and prayed for a large family! Never dreamed of my wedding day. Never imagined what my husband would look like. Never even thought about my vision for a dress. I just knew that I was to have a BIG family and I was going to stay home and raise them all! I even told Bryan on our first date I wanted at least 5 kids. He had no idea what to say, and after a pause he said, "um.....OK?" Yes, a question. I can't even imaging what was really going through head. I always told my mom I was only working until I had kids. I was every one's babysitter. Nannied for e.v.e.r. for 3 families. And, being the oldest of five kids, I was always the 'mom' to someone whether you wanted me to be or not. I was a natural! Naturally loud, fun, crafty, caring, opinionated, and loving. is all I ever dreamed of and wanted.
     Before Bryan and I were married, I was already having 'issues' with my mommy making parts. I found out I have Endomertriosis. It has been estimated that 20%-50% of women being treated for infertility have Endomertriosis. And up to 80% of women suffering chronic pelvic pain may be affected. I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. One in ten women in America today are affected by PCOS. baby makin' parts are already damaged. And, we hadn't even started trying to get pregnant yet. On top of that, I also have Factor V Deficiency. That is a blood clotting disorder. It makes you 'throw' blood clots easier than the average person. It is hereditary. My Mom has it, and so does my Grandma. Having Factor V and pregnant, means I took Heparin (blood thinner) shots daily starting when I was 6 weeks preggo till 8 weeks after delivery. Seriously, enough already. I felt like I was done...and I hadn't even started my family yet. So much for pregnancy being a 'natural' process. So much for just letting your body do what God made it to do. "No big deal," Bryan said. "We can always adopt!" Excellent!!! No problem!!! Fantastic!!! But...


     Bryan and I were married 02.02.02. We have three beautiful amazing children here on earth. And one little baby girl in heaven.

08.31.03 Caden Roy
07.20.05 Hope Nevaeh
01.18.07 Kai Steven
12.13.08 Teagan Marie

     Pregnancies that ended in a miscariage, and before Caden, I had a tubal pregnancy. more 'thing' to add to my defective list. A tube that has now been blown out, GREAT! Can I just catch a break? "As long as you have breath, somebody needs what you have," is a Joel Osteen quote that I have tried to repeat over and over and over again. Some days, reading the quote worked, most days I was a mess. I like to call those days the 'poor Bryan' days. Bless that man from then till eternity for dealing with my problems, my anxiety, my depression, my 'issues'. The babies we had here on earth were what made me get up every single day. What I did with some of those days is still a blur. My husband, my friends, my family...they are the ones I gave credit to for getting me up and walking one foot in front of the other. Notice God was nowhere in that sentence. I had lost all contact with Him for a good while. That is the only way I can explain it. I was mad at Him for letting me go through all the troubles of trying to get pregnant. Then all the issues of me actually staying pregnant seemed to be a feat in itself. Then to not actually be able to carry a healthy baby...why can I not get this whole mommy thing right? So, I cut off all contact to God. I didn't agree with him, I was not happy with Him, and I certainly wanted nothing to do with Him. That was my reality for a very long time.
     Fast forward...I am pregnant with Teagan. We are moving to FL. We had no family or friends where we are moving to (Lithia). I told Bryan we needed to find a church, because I didn't want to be 'alone' in our new community. I needed 'safe' friends. And I figured if I need anything at all, that would be a great place to start! We thought we were moving for the promotion Bryan would have at his job.  A better position for him meant we would have a bigger house, more money coming in. And with the third kid coming, we thought we had a golden ticket! Little did we know, our move here to FL was for bigger and better things! God. We went to church. The closest one we could find. It was sooooo convenient! The pastor was amazing. The children's ministry was the best. And MOPS was where I ended up meeting some of my closest friends. As I was starting to look up, God was looking down. On me and Bryan and the kids and our life and our future. I know for sure 100%, that God has always been there for me and with me. I see now, as I look back. I know now that had all my pregnancy's gone as I planned, I would not have had Kai. Never had Teagan. And defiantly would not be adopting right now. God had his plan for ever. I know that. But let me tell you....being in the thick of all my 'issues' gets pretty foggy and it is hard to see that God is really there. So, we were back at church...after all, it was convenient! FFC was 5 minutes from our house.
     We were going to church. As a family. Every Sunday! No matter what. All 5 of us. It was as if the clouds parted and the angels sang to me. I felt like I was at home. It was an hour and a half that I was with my husband and I could think clearly. It was the one time a week (with 3 kids and all) that peace was all I could feel. I was starting my walk with God again! I was starting to get those 'God Whispers' back. The feeling that all was now going to be OK. Those gut feelings. Oh, how I missed them :) Then, there was a service that brought A.L.L. of my emotions, that I thought I had buried back up to the surface.

Psalm 23:1-3a  MY SONG:lyrics for life "FOR HURTS"
Let God remove guilt for the debt is paid in full.

 I must except what cannot be changed. All the grieving in the world will not change one darn thing. There will not be a peace unless and until there is acceptance. When you are in 'peace' you are in power. And last but not least...focus on what is in front of you...not what is lost. ~all from Pastor David's sermon.
     Until that Sunday, I had never went up to the alter. NEVER. Until that Sunday. I still have no idea what I prayed for that day, but I know that I felt God all around and within me.  It had been a long time coming, and for the people who sat around me in church...they were all witness to me doing my ugly cry. I could not stop the tears. I could not catch my breath. I was handed tissues by strangers (it was that bad). And at that moment of prayer it was if the time on earth stopped. I knew in that moment I was going to be OK. With my husband holding me up and God's hand uplifting me...I knew I was going to be OK.

Garage Sale Day
     Bryan and I had talked about more babies. OK...I kept talking about more kids! We agreed on 5 right? But, one big problem was Bryan was content. Not me. But, knowing I was going to be 35 in one month. And knowing I was already high risk. And knowing I was now 'old' and 'high risk', I sold EVERYTHING at the sale. everything. Everything was now gone...even the breast pump (for me, that was the hardest). Laugh now. fine. go ahead. For me, that was the hardest. Because it was final, like a death. A death of the thought of me/us having no more kids. Bryan however, was crying because I was getting rid of all things baby, clutter, junk! He was beyond happy that we were going into the next season of our life.

     I was decorating early for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!!! Nothing makes me more excited, than to start getting ready for CHRISTMAS!!!! I hung up all of our stockings + two. Our two nieces. Bryan's brother and wife and his parents were coming here to FL for Christmas! And we had socks knitted with their name on just for when they come down here :) So...I had to fill the ledge up with us 5 Friendshuh's and two more :) It looked sooooooo good. And full. And perfect. Bryan saw the perfection too. And he said so, out loud for me to hear!!! I said 'do you realize I just sold everything?' Really, what I was thinking is I have a green light for more kiddos!!!!! In my head I was running and jumping and going crazy at the same time. At least I knew Bryan was open now! We had been talking about adoption, and I had received some pamphlets. I had asked some friends who they used as an agency. Some emails were written to see if any and all questions could be answered.  Our issue was trying to decide domestic, international, how many, what ages, ect. But the conversations were at the beginning stages. By Bryan saying out loud 'perfect', it became the official start of our adoption process.
     Bryan really wanted and felt called to adopt Internationally. I wanted Domestic for the one reason of getting a little itty bitty baby directly from the hospital. Really, I need to do a quick assessment. Who am I to pick and choose what I want where I want and when it will happen? Really did it matter? NO! What really mattered (when I came to my senses) was we will be adding to our family. It does not matter where or how.

     Bryan and I were baptized at church! After 3 years of going to the same church. About time. And part of the reason for decorating was we were having a late Thanksgiving dinner at our house to celebrate our baptism with our Life Group. On that Sunday, you would never guess what part of the sermon was about. ADOPTION.  Bryan and I looked at each other. CRAZY how looking back how everything fell into place. At the end of that service, he said, "where do I need to sign?" I have never had a bigger smile on my face! And in that exact moment, I knew why we had had so much loss and so much pain. I know now why we moved to FL. I know why we go to church where we are. I know why we are where we are. And it is not a coincidence that we have been placed in the exact location at the exact moment of God's exact story. Simply put, God needed us here in FL because our adoption story would not have happened anywhere else. God put us here in FL so Bryan and I can grow together as a married couple and as Christian people. We jumped in with both we are Lord, show us where to go!

    This is my 'story'. It is not the same for everyone. Maybe a bit more information that you wanted to know. But, it is now out there. Maybe it will answer some questions for you about us. May be not. At the very least I hope it shines a little light as to why we are choosing to follow a path God has put before us.

As of now, our dossier is getting "Authenicated" and then shipped from the Counsulate to our agency. Then our agency will be shipping all of the paper work (dossier) to Haiti for their attorney to review!!!



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the NEW start of our adoption journey.

As of September 1st, The International Russian Adoption Program changed. Russia is trying really, really hard to change the face of adoption as Russians see it.Russia is trying really, really hard to find ways and have 'their own' adopt 'their own'. AMAZING for Russia as a country. Amazing Russia is trying to make it easier for domestic adoption for themselves. So, what does all this mean for Bryan and I? Well for starters, they are upping training for International adoption BY.A.LOT. Sibling sets are going (and have been) far and few between. Travel (for us) was not looking like it would be in the near future.

Bryan and I spoke to a couple of people at our agency. And friends. And family. And our Pastor. We were trying to do our due diligence. We needed to know what all this craziness meant for us. What are we supposed to do? And what would our options be and look like? Really, I just wanted to know what my future looked like. I wanted photos of my children. I wanted dates for travel. And I wanted it all y.e.s.t.e.r.d.a.y. already. To make a long story short, I will simply say our adoption door to Russia has closed for us.

i cried (a lot)
i prayed (more than ever in my life)
i had a panic attack (a big one)
i mourned (for weeks)

All for what I thought my future held. I felt like I was 'jumping ship'. Like I wasn't trying hard enough. I felt like we started in Russia, we need to finish there. What I didn't see as I was in the 'thick' of emptiness, was that where one door closed, another one was opening.

When people asked me early on in our process "Russia? Why are you going to Russia to adopt?" I always said because that is where our agency said we 'fit' with. Our criteria 'matched' with Russia the best, so that is where we went. We really didn't 'pick' the country. It was just where the door opened. They made us feel like we were needed there.

but now (as I smile)
i can say (as my heart jumps)
with 100% (hands sweating)

That GOD (as of August 21st) has placed us in Haiti!!! How do I know it was God? Because I feel it in my gut. I know it in my heart. My mind goes in circles when I think of it. I know God has his hand in our process because I get a tingle. a flutter. a tear. The feeling of "I am here" and the gentle sounds of God "whispers". The feeling of a hand on your back and knowing it is God, because no one else is there. It is simply His Presence that I can now feel...a feeling a peace and gratitude. The feeling of knowing that I am now in the right place at the right time in the exact moment of where God wants me to be.

Yes, it was a complete and total heart shattering experience of having referrals not work from Russia. It was a sickening feeling saying 'no, these boys will not work for our family right now'. It was mind boggling that a family came to rescue the sibling set I thought we would be bringing home (after they had been in the orphanage for a year). Who does that? Now, I can say God.  There is a reason those two precious brothers needed their family. There is a reason those boys needed to stay in Russia. There is a reason two boys 'medically' didn't mesh with our family. There is a reason why.


God started our adoption journey in Russia. He will follow us, love us, guide us and whisper to us while we finish our adoption journey in Haiti! On August 18th I had a conversation with my Uncle. I was confused as to what we should be doing. Where do go? Who can give me the answers as to what we should be thinking about. I felt like I needed (and so very badly wanted) an airplane with a banner  behind it. I wanted to 'see' Haiti or Russia. I wanted to read scripture that would tell me my answers to my bazillion questions. My Uncle Bill, a Pastor, and an adoptive parent said to me quietly with a gentle hug, "You don't need to know the only need to know the One who does".

I found my answers. It wasn't just like that, with the snap of my fingers (I tried). Or a twitch of my nose. Or the clicking of my heels. Or reading 'certain' verses. It was in a bazillion little things, in many instances. In conversations. In prayer. In research. And most of all, my answers came from the whisper of God. I know what I know because I know the One who knows! I know because I see our children in my dreams. Their fuzzy heads of hair. Their big black eyes. Their Hershey chocolate skin. I know because I feel our children's hands holding mine. Their little feet standing on my lap. I know because He has made my vision clear and my body restless; eager to meet our children when the timing is right.

Because His timing is perfect and His will be done. And until that day comes I will be waiting and praying and enjoying this 'calm' of three loud and boisterous kids before the 'storm' of five kids pull me in every direction. My heart is full.