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"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Our family is growing!

I am updating this blog in a month since my last post instead of six months since my last post. That must mean that there is some kind of news, right?! Right!

We received word that we were licensed for foster care on June 20. Home finders (the group that finds homes for foster children) called us and said that he saw that we had been licensed and that he was looking for respite care for 18 month old twins for a week while their foster parents went on vacation. I told him that we would do it if he couldn't find anyone else. He ended up calling back and so we took in the twins for the week. On Tuesday, June 24, we started getting more phone calls. The first phone call we got was about a little boy about to turn one. We got a phone call about triplets just born in May and the first one was being released from the hospital. We got a few other phone calls about other children that needed a home. 
Since we started getting licensed we started praying that we would be able to discern what situation was right for our family and be able to discern quickly since they would need an answer quickly. We knew immediately that the triplets weren't right and that the other children weren't right. We felt good about the little boy that was about to turn one and we got more information about him. He was in a foster home and they were needing to transfer him to a permanent foster home that would also be able to adopt him. With the state they always have 2 concurrent plans: reunification with the biological family and a permanent plan usually involving adoption. The other thing about this little boy is that they needed a home that would be able to take in his baby brother that is going to be born within the next couple of weeks.
By the end of the week (we still had the twins in our home) we were in contact with the current foster family. We set up a time to come meet him and start the transition for him into our home. We met Isaac (that is what we are calling him) and he is a sweet, smiley, happy little guy. Lucas was pretty excited to see him and meet him. He came over to our house for a few hours on Tuesday of that week and then he went on a trip with the foster family. Julie was able to come over the weekend (another post for that visit!) and so we got to spend the weekend with her. After she left we got to work to putting our house in order to accommodate a year old and eventually a newborn as well. We turned Lucas' bed back into a crib and moved Lucas' big boy bed upstairs. Lucas and Isaac are going to be sharing a room. I bought a dresser and refinished it. I sorted through all of Lucas' old clothes to find things that would fit. He didn't come with anything except for what he was wearing. He came to our home permanently on Thursday, July 10. Ryan had work off on Friday and we were all able to start adjusting to our new normal. Isaac is a happy little boy and we are so happy to have him in our home. We celebrated his birthday on Sunday, July 13, with his previous foster family. We will have a party for him next week with family. We are now waiting for the baby to be born. His due date is July 28, but she has always gone early with her babies.  
We aren't going to give specific details to Isaac's situation and his biological parents. It is a sensitive issue and confidential. We will probably not post pictures of him facing the camera. After talking with the caseworker, we are hopeful and  confident that this will lead to adoption of both boys. We do not think it will be an easy journey and it will probably be a long road ahead, but we feel like we can enjoy this and love and welcome these children into our home and into our family.

Meeting cousins for the first time
Brothers at the park
This journey of adopting for a second time has been a long road (and it is not over and might be more than a year longer!). We felt like we should open doors by getting licensed through the state. In all honesty, I hoped that while we were doing this we would be contacted by a potential birth mother and we wouldn't have to go through the state and foster care. It scared me and still does a little bit! It is different. I have had to change my dream of having a perfect open adoption like with Lucas. I had to change my dream that we would get a newborn. We have had to open our hearts to a new dream. We think that this situation is perfect for us: Isaac just turned one and a newborn that we will be able to take from the hospital. It is not going to be easy and I am sure that there will be bumps in the road, but we are ready for this and ready to jump all in. I have heard that some people get wrapped up with the courts and the process and forget to see the joy that comes with the children. We are already in love with Isaac and we want him to feel wanted and loved and protected. He needs that and he deserves that. We are putting our whole hearts into it and if the worst case scenario happens and for some reason the courts allow him to return to his biological family, we will be heartbroken, but hope that he will have felt loved and safe in our home and family.

"If you came to me and said 'there are two people in the world who want you more than anything; they'll do their best, they'll make some mistakes, and you'll only get them for a short time, but they will love you more than you can ever imagine.' Well, when that's true, I'd say 'so much is possible.'" ~The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


There has been a question running through my mind the last couple of weeks: 

Why does it have to be so hard for us to build our family?

Nothing has come easy for us. I take that back: the only thing that was easy for us was that we knew the exact reason for our infertility. But since that point, I feel like nothing has come easy or quickly. We went through IVF 8 months after we were married and it didn't work. We had to wait until we were married for 2 years to start our adoption journey. Our caseworker at the time was slow and it took us more than 6 months to get approved. Over the course of a year we had one hopeful situation that didn't work out. And then we ended up waiting for 18 months from the time we started until Lucas' birth mother contacted us. He was born a week before our 4th anniversary. A few months after Lucas turned 1 we decided to start the adoption process again. We wanted our kids to be close in age. It has now been the length of 3 pregnancies since that happened. We were scammed, we were hopeful in one situation, and other than that no contact has come.

We feel dejected. We feel like we aren't cute enough, or smart enough, or cool enough, or that we make enough money, or even that we don't live in the right place. We want Lucas to be a big brother and we want to be parents to more than one child. And so it is hard. 

We have decided to continue on this roller coaster of adoption and are hopeful that something will happen. We have also decided to open more doors and are almost licensed through the state for the foster-adopt program. We don't know what will happen, but we continue to be hopeful that the right child or children will come into our family. As we have been taking classes and doing tons of paperwork and having another home study, we have felt like we are on the right track and we feel happy to be doing something and that we are moving closer to where we need to be. We are and have been done with everything for almost a month and have just been waiting for our background checks to clear (since we have committed so many felonies since our last backgrounds last year). 

So back to my question: Why does it have to be so hard for us to build our family? I am still not quite sure that answer to that. And I still struggle with it. We see couples get pregnant, we see couples get approved and contacted by birth parents quickly, but it hasn't come quick or easy for us. 

A couple of weeks ago our Sacrament meeting talks were about prayer. I went home and thought about what I can do to improve my prayers. I remembered a talk that I read when I was a missionary and I pulled it out and read it. It is called Improving our Prayers by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin.
He goes over the pattern for prayer outlined in Psalms 37.
The first step is to "fret not" (v. 1). "When we worry about the future, we create unhappiness in the present...Instead of worrying, focus on doing all that you can, and then leave the worrying to your Heavenly Father."
The second step is to "trust in the Lord" (v. 3).
The third step is "do good" (v. 3). 
The fourth step is to "delight thyself also in the Lord" (v. 4). "Instead of worrying or grumbling that our prayers have gone unanswered, we should delight ourselves in the Lord. Be grateful. Be happy. Know that the Lord, in His time, will bring about all your righteous desires--sometimes in ways we predict, sometimes in ways we could not have possibly forseen. What a wonderful recipe for happiness and peace."
The fifth step is to "commit thy way unto the Lord" (v. 5). 
The sixth step is to "rest in the Lord" (v. 7). "Sometimes the hardest thing we can do is wait. The Lord has His own timetable, and although it may frustrate us, His timing is always perfect. When we rest in the Lord, we allow Him to work His will for us in His own time and in His own way."

I don't know what will happen to our family, but I believe in this pattern of prayer and I have been working on it. Worrying won't help, I need to trust in the Lord, do good, and delight in the Lord. He has a plan for us and although I don't know what that is, it will be more wonderful than we could ever forsee. The sixth step is hard, it is so hard to wait, but I take comfort that the Lord's timing is always perfect. We will understand why it had to be the way that it has been. Lucas prays everyday that we can get a baby and I know that God hears his prayers and our's. 

"We will never be alone so long as we know how to pray."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hope is the anchor of my soul

Family and friends often ask us how the adoption process is going. I am always happy that they are thinking about us, but sad that there is currently nothing to report. We have been "trying" for baby #2 for 2 years. We haven't had any kind of contact from an expectant parent in almost a year. It is hard not having any control over when we are going to be able to add to our family. We continue to hope and pray that we will be blessed with more children.

One year ago I posted my thoughts about infertility and the emotional roller coaster of adoption. A slew of birth and pregnancy announcements have been made since then. I continue to try to not let it affect me, but it is hard. My newest nephews (now 15 months and 7 months) that I wanted our next child to be close in age to are now growing up. I wanted to be wrong about our chance to have a child closer in age, but it looks like I was right. A few months ago my sister called me out of the blue. She was miraculously pregnant. With her first child they had to use fertility treatments. Her son was born right we when got approved for the second time. I am so so so happy for her. There are other pregnancy miracles that I have been made aware of recently.  In some of not my best moments I wonder, "Where is our miracle?" I am not proud of those thoughts and get down on myself for them. I know that I can't tell God what to bless me with and when. But I also know that "Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you."

In my last post (6 months ago), I talked about waiting patiently as Lucas grows up. He is now 3. He is potty trained and he is in a big boy bed. He is now a Sunbeam at church. All things that scared me because I didn't want him to grow up so fast especially because he doesn't have a sibling yet. These were all exciting things and I am so proud of my big boy. Now I have moved on to being anxious about him giving up naps, going to preschool, and eventually school. Once again exciting things, but hard on me because it means he is growing up. He prays everyday: "Please bless that we can get a baby." If we don't say it in our prayers, he quickly reminds us to say it. What a sweet boy. We sure love him and he brings us so much joy even if he is growing up too fast.
Lucas at the dentist for the first time. He did so well!
So what do I do? How do I continue to (try to) wait patiently?

I have been focusing on HOPE. "Hope for a better world," "having a perfect brightness of hope," and having "hope smiling brightly before us." I have a Hope wall next to my bed with quotes about hope to help me "trust in happier days ahead."

Whenever we begin to feel
 as if we can no longer go on
HOPE whispers in our ears
to remind us that we are STRONG
----Robert M Hensel

Don't you give up.
Don't you quit.
You keep walking.
You keep trying.
There is help and happiness ahead....
It will be all right in the end.
Trust God
and believe in
good things to come.
-----Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings a tune-without the words
And never stops at all.
----Emily Dickinson

Hope anchors the soul.
----Hebrews 6:19

A quote that has been running through my head over and over is "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 have been trying to figure out how I can make this time to not be lonely or sorrowful and help myself to be patient. This is especially hard during the dreary winter months. I try to stay busy. I make goals for myself to achieve. I play with Lucas. I go to an exercise class. I study the scriptures and conference talks. I serve in my callings. I have something to look forward to (right now it is the Super Bowl--Go Seahawks!)
There are definite times of loneliness and sorrow and impatience, but I would like to think that I am improving. I sure hope I am. My home screen on my phone says: "Believe in miracles" and I do. There are miracles out there for our family. And it will be wonderful and exactly how it is supposed to turn out.

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