Come and get to know us...

This is our story: Ryan and I were set up on a blind date by my sister and his sister-in-law. I was living in Utah at the time and he was in Washington. We went on a fabulous date to dinner and an Arena football game. It was great and Ryan loved that I knew what was going on and loved sports. At the end of the date he asked if he could see me the next day before I left to go back to Utah. We played games with his family the next night and had a great time. We talked for a long time that night and wondered when we could see each other again. And he kissed me good night!
Ryan called me every day that week and one day he asked if I would go to a concert with him on a Tuesday night. I didn't think there was anyway that I could fly up and go, but I worked it out that I would fly there on Tuesday and fly back to Utah on Wednesday. It was great to see him again. He flew to Utah a couple weeks after that. We were just hitting it off so well. One night as we were talking he opened up. I knew that he had had cancer and had been through so much a few years earlier. We had talked about that, but this night he went into much more depth--especially the side effects of all the treatments that he had undergone. He told me how he would probably never be able to have biological children and he asked how I felt about adoption. This kind of shocked me, but I cared about Ryan and wanted to pursue this relationship. I wasn't going to end things because of this news. And adoption had always appealed to me.
We continued our long distance relationship. In June, after about 6 weeks of going back and forth, I made the decision to move to Washington to be closer to him. Timing of the blind date was perfect so that I could make this decision. I had recently graduated from BYU and was working at two part time jobs that I could easily leave. In July I moved to Washington. I found a job and in August Ryan proposed. We were married in October. From the first date to our wedding was not quite 6 months. I swore I would never do that, oh well, he was the right one, at the right time, in the right place. We went on a cruise for our honeymoon. It was awesome! After being married for about 6 months, we both individually decided that it was time to add to our family of two. We knew that we would need to see the fertility specialist and do in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to have a baby. As we went through the IVF treatments, we had all the faith in the world that it was going to happen. The doctor told us that there was not a very good chance, but we had faith. Unfortunately it didn’t work. We were completely heartbroken.
Over the next few months we had to grieve with the loss of the child we never had.
We eventually felt blessed that without being married a year, we knew that we were infertile and didn't have to deal with the month to month pain of not being pregnant. By the end of the year we were ready to start the adoption process. When we called LDS Family Services, they told us that we would have to wait until we had been married for two years before we could proceed. We asked for them to make a special exception, but they couldn't. So we waited.
Ryan and I filled out all the paperwork and did all the necessary things to get approved for adoption. After we were approved we told everyone that we knew that we were trying to adopt and asked them to help spread the news. A little over a year after we had been approved we got an email from my aunt who lives in another state. She told me that she knew someone that was pregnant and not married and was considering placing her son for adoption. My aunt had shared with her our blog and information. Our sweet Julie read it and felt like we were to be the parents of her little boy. She emailed a couple of days and we read the sweetest words: “I've read your blog and it really touched me. Ever since I found out I was pregnant I never felt much like it was supposed to be mine. Please let me know if you can consider adopting my son. I know you will be a great choice.” We immediately felt so peaceful. We started emailing back and forth and building a relationship with her. We visited her a few weeks later and she immediately felt like family. About 3 months after she contacted us for the first time, she called us to let us know that the baby was going to be born that day. We jumped on the next flight and made it to the hospital a few hours after our sweet baby Lucas was born.
We spent time in the hospital with Julie and we met Lucas’ birthfather. We had a great time getting to know him and his family. We really cherished the time that we got to spend with Julie and Scottie and their families. When Lucas was 11 days old we flew home to Washington. We were so happy to be a family of 3!
Lucas is such a happy boy. We love being his parents! He is now 2 years old. We are now hoping to add another child to our family. We want him to be a big brother.

We have met with our caseworker and filled all the necessary paperwork and completed the background checks. We are now approved for adoption and looking for our next child! We are so excited for what the future will bring!
"The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude." -Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin "Come What May, and Love It"

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Waiting patiently while Lucas is growing up

Lucas is going to turn 3 in less than 3 months. We have now been approved for longer than it took with finding and getting Lucas. My heart is sometimes very anxious. I feel like some of this stems from thinking about how big Lucas is getting. He is learning so much and becoming such a big boy. And it is so exciting! Today I looked at him and wondered to myself, "When did he get to be such a big boy?" I have been thinking about potty training and moving him to a bed. I look forward to those things, but it also pains me. I always imagined having more than one child in diapers. I always imagined Lucas moving from his crib to a bed because a litle brother or sister needed the crib. This is not the case. And it makes me sad. I feel anxiety because I see him growing up so much and he doesn't have a sibling to share his childhood with yet.

Oh my heart.

I have been trying to be in patient in all of this. I don't think I have done a very good job. I am so happy to be Lucas' mother. And I find joy and happiness everyday. When I start to get anxious about not having another child by now, I try to look at him, really look at him, and play with him and be there for him. I am doing a better job lately. I have read a talk by President Henry B. Eyring multiple times recently and it has given me some insight and helped me feel that all will be okay even if I don't have 2 kids in diapers or Lucas moves into a big boy bed.

The talk is called "Where is the Pavillion?" given in the October 2012 conference.

"Abraham’s heart seems to have been right long before Sarah conceived Isaac and before they received their promised land. Heaven had other purposes to fulfill first. Those purposes included not only building Abraham and Sarah’s faith but also teaching them eternal truths that they shared with others on their long, circuitous route to the land prepared for them. The Lord’s delays often seem long; some last a lifetime. But they are always calculated to bless. They need never be times of loneliness or sorrow or impatience."

I feel so much strength and my patience is increased when I read "the Lord's delays often seem long...but they are always calculated to bless. They need never be times of loneliness or sorrow or impatience." I am trying to find other ways to fill my time. I need to serve more and bless others around me.

"Although His time is not always our time, we can be sure that the Lord keeps His promises."

I know that He will keep His promises to me. A few months ago I was just starting to read the Book of Mormon again. We read about the Nephites traveling to the Promised Land.

1 Nephi 2:20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.

1 Nephi 7:12-13 the Lord is able to do all things‍ according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith‍ in him...let us be faithful to him. And if it so be that we are faithful to him, we shall obtain the land of promise...

I have a couple of different "lands of promise." My current land of promise that I am trying to reach is adopting another child. The Lord will lead us to a land that He has prepared for us. The Lord has a plan in store for us. There are more children out there for us. As we are faithful, we will prosper, children will come, we will be blessed. And we will reach our land of promise. It wasn't easy for Nephi. There were problems along the way. He even had to build his own ship, but the Lord led and guided him and they reached the land of promise. It may not (and has not) been easy for us. Time has gone by and we had to redo paperwork and background checks and renew our home study, but the Lord is helping us build our ship. He is leading and guiding us. And we are promised as we are faithful we will prosper and be led to our land of promise.

I was preparing a lesson for my primary class this last week and I read this scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 98:1-3:

Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;
Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament--the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name's glory, saith the Lord.

My heart is comforted. I am giving thanks for the amazing blessings that I have received, especially to be Lucas' mother. I know that the Lord hears every single one of our prayers. And in every single one we ask Him to bless the birth parents of our next child to be led to us and recognize us and for us to be able to add to our family and Lucas to be a big brother.

We may not know when it will happen, but it will happen and we are looking forward to that, but we have learned recently to "wait patiently on the Lord" for his promises are always fulfilled.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Adoption Fundraising Yard Sale

I added balloons to the signs and arrows before we put them on the street

A couple of months ago I felt like we should do a yard sale to raise money for our adoption. I started formulating the plans and thinking about what I needed to do. I read all kinds of tips for garage/yard sales and tried to use them. We asked family and friends to donate to the cause by cleaning out their closets and houses. We received tons of donations and were so happy. We were so grateful. I made really cute signs for the road and really advertised it on Craigslist and Facebook. We had hundreds of people show up. Lots of them said they saw the signs and wanted to come support us. Some said they saw our ads and wanted to come. And some were professional garage salers. We set up a table for a lemonade stand and a bake sale. We also had a raffle and raffled off 3 prize baskets. My sister was in charge of that and my nieces and nephews helped sell tickets and bake sale items.
Some people were so nice and just gave us donations. There was a family who are teachers/missionaries in the Dominican Republic and are hoping to adopt a set of siblings from the DR and bought a couple dollars worth of stuff and ended up writing a check for $100! People are so nice and we immediately feel a bond with other adoptive families. We talked to quite a few other families who have adopted. We feel so blessed and happy with the outcome. We had a woman come by and then later she came back and said she felt like she really needed to come back and get some of our cards. She didn't know why, but felt like she should. I feel so happy that she did. Another woman saw my post on Facebook, followed it to my page and saw our blog and then read our story. She told me that she knew us and our story even though we didn't know her. I feel like this was a good opportunity to talk and share our adoption story and our hope to adopt again.
We are exhausted to say the least. I had been working non stop on organizing and collecting things. We got up before 6 and started getting it all set up. I was on my feet until 5 and took over 13,000 steps! It was a great day and I am happy it is over. We were incredibly grateful for the support that we got. We raised more money than we thought, but more than that, we raised awareness about adoption and that we are still hoping to adopt again.
The garage the night before, organized chaos?

Bright and early in the morning

Driveway sign

Bake Sale and Lemonade stand

Raffle table

Take a card, pass them out

End of the night hugs

And kisses for mommy

Monday, April 29, 2013

Why my fingers are still crossed

Our family triangle: Ryan cuddling on me and Lucas cuddling on daddy with his feet on me.
We want to be a family square soon!
We have now been approved to adopt a second child for one whole year. We recently filled out more paperwork and had our fingerprints taken to keep our profile active. This last year was a little easier (for the most part) than the first time that we were trying to adopt. We have been parents for 2 1/2 years and love being Lucas' parents. We love seeing him learn and grow each day. We have that blessing of being parents already and so that has been one thing that made this last year a little easier. A little over a year of being approved last time I wrote this post about God remembering Rachel and how He would remember me. At the end of that post I wrote, "Every night as I fall asleep, I cross my fingers. I am always hoping that the next day will bring good news. Someday soon that good news will come." Two days after that post we received the email from Julie asking if we would consider adopting her son!
I find myself crossing my fingers more and more lately and hoping that the good news will come soon.Very recently we had an experience that gave us so much hope that we would be able to adopt a second child very soon. We started thinking that this was going to happen and although we didn't want to get too excited, we started thinking about and planning our future with this child. We felt rejection, sadness, and loneliness when the couple chose another family to adopt that child. We hope that things work out for them and their little girl. This is the way that adoption goes. I have been reading other couple's adoption stories. I don't know why some adoptions happen so quickly and some take years. It is a process and it is hard to compare one adoption experience to another. But I know that the child that is meant to be in our family will be. God has a plan for our family. We are very hopeful that we will be able to adopt again soon. We hope that Lucas will be a big brother soon. We don't know when that will happen, but we will continue to be hopeful and cross our fingers that the day will be soon.
It seems as though Lucas has picked up on crossing his fingers. We find him crossing his fingers sometimes too. The other day he announced to us that he wants a baby sister. Maybe he knows something we don't know. We aren't picky though, it doesn't have to be a girl, we would welcome a boy or a girl with open arms and grateful hearts.
My fingers are crossed.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Reflections: Surviving Infertility and as an Adoptive Mother

We have been approved to adopt a second child for 9 months now. It took us 4 months to get approved. If we had been pregnant, we would be snuggling a little baby now. I wrote the following a couple of months ago. It was therapeutic writing down some of the feelings I was having and have. I debated about whether or not share this, but I decided to let others glimpse into what it is like to deal with infertility and the adoption process.

 Sometimes infertility slaps me in the face. I am not expecting it and boom, there it is. It is unbearable. I seem to suck in oxygen, but stop breathing all at the same time. The uncontrollable sobs don't stop for a long time. There is a lot of ugly crying when dealing with infertility and the emotional roller coaster surrounding adoption.

 There are times when I am fine when going to a baby shower or to see a new baby. But there are other times when I have to make an excuse not to go. There are times when I feel fine to go, but then as I leave, my heart breaks a little and my body betrays me and I have to drive for an hour before I can get control of myself. When there is a group of women together, lots of times the topic turns to pregnancy and childbirth. Once again there are times when I am okay with this. I have heard it all, I have 6 sisters! But then there are times when I need to step away from the conversation because I don't always trust my heart to take it in.

 My sister-in-law just had her 5th child. I babysat her kids while she was in the hospital. I took her 4 children to the hospital to see their new baby brother. I was so happy and excited for their family. Their faces lit up like it was Christmas when they saw their baby brother. As I drove them home in their minivan, my throat seemed to close up and the tears started to come. This was a slap in the face. I really was so happy for them, but then the thoughts of infertility came into my mind. I will never have the "hospital" experience when people can come see my new baby. I may never be able to fill a minivan with kids. Yes, I have my little boy, and I am so so so happy about that! I know he is such a miracle and I am so grateful everyday for him.

 Another sister-in-law recently told us, after a very emotional week following the funerals of 2 family members, that they were expecting baby #5. Cue the tears and ugly sob. I am so happy for them, but the thoughts of when it will happen for me can't be stopped.  It is so hard not knowing if and when another child will come to us. Both of these sisters-in-law were pregnant and had babies in the time that we were approved and looking for Lucas. Their children are 1.5 and 1 year older than Lucas. When they told us that time, we were so happy for them and happy that maybe we would adopt a baby in that time frame and they would all be really close in age. As they grew older and older, I got more depressed that our child would not be the same age. This time around, maybe I am more jaded, but I feel like there goes our chance again to get a baby close in age to their children.

 Sometimes men don't understand. I love my husband so much and could not have made it through all this and continue to make it through this without his help. He is so wonderful. He understands the deep yearning feeling that I have to be a mom, but doesn't always know what to say or do when I vent about these feelings. These are natural feelings for a woman and they aren't just going to go away. I think that men and women deal with infertility in a totally different way. I am not sure if the infertility slap happens for men, but I know how real it is for me.

 I see women all around me with new babies or pregnant bellies. Some of them on the second, third, fourth, even fifth babies. I am ready for another baby. I want Lucas to be a big brother. I want my children to be close in age, like I am with my sisters.

 This is hard. It is so hard. But I am grateful for it. I wouldn't have Lucas without all of this. He brings me so much joy.
  Adoption is a hard thing too. The waiting and wondering and waiting. Last year we were contacted by someone and got our hopes up that we would be able to adopt again. We found out that she was lying to us about being pregnant and just wanted attention. That made us feel embarrassed and sad and angry and very skeptical. We worry that we are not cool enough, or cute enough, or make enough money. Sometimes it feels like we are getting rejected over and over. On our profile we can see how many views each section gets. Before Lucas I would look almost daily, but this time around I know better. I only look every few weeks. This time it is a lot easier on our patience. We have Lucas and we are parents. Waiting so long before to be parents was so hard. This time around we are more patient and don't think about it every second of every day. We are trying to be hopeful. We know that things will work out, maybe not the way that we planned, but they will work out how they are supposed to.

 I have been listening to this song by Hilary Weeks. These lyrics really touch some of the feelings that I have.

I had it all mapped out in front of me,
Knew just where I wanted to go;
But life decided to change my plans,
And I found a mountain in the middle of my road.

I knew there was no way over it,
So I searched for a way around;
Brokenhearted I started climbin',
And at the top I found...

Every fear, every doubt,
All the pain I went through;
Was the price that I paid to see this view;
And now that I'm here I would never trade...

The grace that I feel,
And the faith that I find;
Through the bitter-sweet tears,
And the sleepless nights;

I used to pray he'd take it all away,
But instead it became a beautiful heartbreak.
All of this is worth it. It is our beautiful heartbreak.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What's Mine is Yours

This is a powerful song about adoption. This has been on repeat in our house lately. I love adoption. And I love the open adoption that we share with Lucas' birth family. This line from the song gets me everytime:
Holding the weight of the world and her newborn baby
Trying her best to be brave
Wrapped in hope giving him away to a longing family
When her courage met their eyes she saw
Somehow her baby was born to be in their arms
Katherine Nelson, co-writer and singer, said: "The circle of women in my life is quite large. Between four sisters, ten sister-in-laws, and a whole lot of friends I’ve witnessed so much heartache when it comes to watching some of these women not be physically able to bear children, or suffer losses of children along the way. For some, creating families has come easier than others. For many it is a struggle. I’m always surprised at how miraculously God’s hand works in helping put families together. I wanted so badly to include this message on the album...This song was written for every woman who has the heart of a mother, both old and young, and especially to those who yearn for a family of their own."