Saturday, April 26, 2008

::adoption update::

We had our first home study visit last Monday. It went really well! It was uncomplicated and laid back. We simply chatted over coffee with the social worker. We ran through a lot of the questions we'd already answered on paper but needed to discuss together. We discussed some financial options, our openness questionnaire, and our infertility history. Our social worker wanted to go ahead and do the home tour (Eek!!) but the house was clean and nice, so it was fine. I'm kind of a neat freak at times, so I wasn't fully prepared for her to do her walk-through, but it was fine. I had cleaned, but those of you who know me well know that I'd have overdone it if I'd known for certain that she was doing her walk-through today! She mostly checked things like square footage, smoke alarms, exit plans in case of emergency, etc. It was no big deal. She liked the nursery, which is coming right along.

Our next step involves two more home visits which are individual interviews. William's individual interview is Wednesday, May 7, and mine is Tuesday, May 13. Between now and then, we have a reading list that our social worker provided. She complimented me on my organization and the speed at which we got our paperwork completed. Keeping that in mind, she said with a smile, "You'll have no problem getting the reading done; you both seem like overachievers to me!" She has us pegged. :-)

I found one of the books on the required reading list at Bar.nes & No.ble, Raising Adopted Children, by Lois Ruskai Melina. I haven't started it yet, but I will soon.

Yesterday our social worker called. She said that we need to start getting our profile together (the info about us with pictures--kind of like an advertisement that is shown to birthparents who are trying to choose adoptive parents for their child). She said that she had some "possibilities" that she'd like to show our profile to soon!! WOW!!! Now, technically, she can't show our profile until our homestudy is completed and approved. But, if we can get it put together and sent to her to look over during the next week or so, she can help us edit and then get a final copy ready so that as SOON as our homestudy is approved (Lord willing) she can start showing our profile. Listen up, people! This could go FAST! (Here's hoping, anyway!)

So, that's where we are at this point. We're excited!

XOXOX
glenna

Thursday, April 17, 2008

::4 years::

One year ago I wrote this:
It was April 19th, 2004.
We made a decision that we thought would quickly alter our lives. We decided that one purpose of marriage was to grow our little family of two. And so we began "trying", as everyone does. Being the researcher of the family, I did my homework and was soon immersed into a world of thermometers, BBT charts, ovulation prediction tests, and fertility websites. I thought, "6 months at the most--we'll definitely be pregnant by October." October came and went. So did November, December, January, February, and March. And then it was April again. And so, as all the books told me, after 1 year of unsuccessful trying, we were now labeled "infertile." Armed with a year's worth of monthly charts, I went to the doctor as soon as we hit the one year mark. A round of routine bloodwork revealed no immediate problems, so other tests were ordered. And reordered, after the results were poor. And again, the results were dismal. After saying that the chances of me ever conceiving "on my own" were slim to none, my doctor recommended a specialist in Memphis.
It was a cruel blow, I remember. I had walked into my doctor's office expecting to be handed a prescription that would fix all our problems. The diagnosis of infertility that required special doctor-assisted reproductive therapy....that was not what I had expected. Almost as soon as I got to the parking lot of the doctor's office, I burst into tears. And I sobbed and sobbed all the way to our house where my husband was packing our bags for our vacation (we were leaving in a matter of hours). It was hard timing. We grieved. Oh, how we grieved.
But we went on our trip, and the further we got from Jackson, Tennessee, the further away, it seemed, was our infertility. We returned with broken hearts, though, and packed up our house as we were moving in 4 days to Missouri where my husband would be taking a new pastorate.
So we packed.
And I pushed my heartache down into the deepest moving box I could find, with all my other belongings. It resurfaced when I unpacked in the house in my new town. And from then on, another year passed where I sought to shove away my sorrow while it was ever trying to resurface amidst other battles of ministry and the newness of our life in Missouri.
When we hit two years, we decided it was time to try the doctors again. I found a physician I loved, and had her take a look at our troubles. She ordered all kinds of tests (many were repeats). She even tried an invasive procedure that we were sure would help our chances of achieving the dream we ached for. The procedure gave some good news, but did not (obviously) bring our dream to life. Another round of repeat tests showed that our diagnosis was the same. We, again, were devastated. And my doctor who I had had so much faith in said there was no more she could do....we'd have to go to a specialist in St. Louis. And that was eight months ago (presently, 20 months ago). I've been holding on to that referral for eight months, but have been unable to pick up the phone to make an appointment. My heart won't let me go there.
And while my dear husband and I sit and grieve over a dream that may never come to life, we wonder what we should do. Should we pursue treatment? Should we give up on conceiving altogether? Should we adopt? Should we simply wait and pray? Do we limit our faith to "slim to none"?
We don't know what to do. Three years, while but a breath to some of you, have taken their toll on our hope. Funny thing, hope. You can squelch it down, but it returns at the oddest times. When your heart physically aches as you watch a young family pushing their stroller, when you can't breathe as your friends announce their pregnancy (or possibly their second or third), when sleep eludes you because your mind races with the possibilities of "never" and "how will we cope?".....hope surprises you. It sneaks up on you. Even when you don't want it to.
I have no idea what this fourth year will bring. I can't imagine it being any different than the last three have been. And yet, with all of our heart, we YEARN for it to be different. We ACHE to see our dream in person, wiggling and cooing, before our eyes. But because we sometimes seek to preserve our sanity, we have to limit how much we allow ourselves to hope. We ask that YOU not give up on us, though. Please do not let your hope for us run out. We need your hope to lean on. Please pray for wisdom for us. Pray for hope. Pray that God would bless us with children. But, pray that He would be glorified no matter what. In all of this, it is by grace that I can always say that God is good. Our life is but a breath; to Him be glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.

You know what the 4th year has encompassed if you've read the last 12 months of posts. I'm glad to be turning over the new leaf of adoption. It's hard to grasp that it has actually been 4 years and that we are beginning our 5th year of trying to conceive our first baby. That....astounds me. But, again, I say that God is faithful, even in His not giving us children....or maybe I should say especially in His not giving us children. I will never claim to understand the mind of the Lord, but I know that His Word proclaims His goodness and even in personal tragedy, I can see Him to be so.

It's funny to see how in the last few months our attitude towards trying to conceive has changed. The desire is still there, ever strong, to have a baby biologically. The grief is even still there--it resurfaces and rears its ugly head about once a month--but it has been largely eclipsed by the hope of opening our home and hearts to a child who may not share our DNA but will share in our name and love.

I pray this 5th year is the year I am called by the dear name of "Mother." But, more than that, may Christ be magnified in my life.

XOXOX,
-glenna-

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

::busy::

I'm really busy with work, redecorating stuff at home, and our adoption process.

Our first home study visit is this MONDAY, April 21st @ 4:00 p.m. Keep us in your prayers!!
I'll update sometime after our home study is done (either our first one or after all three are done).

XOXOX,
glenna

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

::oh, humility::

(Where did you go?)

Just when I think I've gotten this thing figured out, the end of a 40 day cycle finally comes and crushes any hopes I had of pregnancy. It wasn't so bad in all honesty, but it certainly was a dose of much needed humility that reminded me that I've not progressed as much as I boasted.

There are reasons to be thankful that God has worked out grace in my heart, though, and evidence that He has done so. Case in point, my close friend who has a darling three month old baby boy and who is now pregnant again. While I yearn to have one miracle like she has, I am really happy for her. Truly. She has had her own battle with endometriosis, so I'm thrilled that it is not impairing her ability to conceive this time around. It's still that balance of bitter and sweet, honestly. I guess it will always be that way, yes? I'm okay with that. On one hand, I swallow a bitter pill when I hear pregnancy announcements. On the other hand, the Lord has cultivated this tiny seedling of joy in my heart that grows every slowly and blooms every once in a great while with true rejoicing for a friend. I recognize that this is only of the Lord, so I must repent of my former boasting. Any progress is a gift of God.

Thanks to all of you who have emailed me recently. I'm sorry if it takes a while to get back to you; I want to provide thoughtful answers to your questions. I appreciate you reading my blog and for feeling like we connect on some level. My writing is for carthartic purposes, of course, but I also want to identify with women out there who are struggling through infertility alone. It can indeed be a lonely place when you don't know anyone "in real life" who is going through the same thing. I feel honored that you would reach out to me.
::
In other news, adoption stuff keeps moving on. We are held up a bit waiting for background checks to come back--not because we have questionable character, but because these things just take time. When those checks come back, the first homevisit will be scheduled. We got our TB and HIV tests done today, but have to wait on those results as well. Thursday we get our health screenings and drug tests. I'm starting to feel like a criminal.

Something that's fun is the STUFF. I've never had baby stuff in my house. Now, as you've seen from a former post, I've got a crib and a changing table in my house--in a room we now call "the nursery," no less! I've ordered a glider/ottoman set, I've got a stack of books coming in the mail, and I'm currently reading a book on infant toilet training (it's not what you think). This is SUCH a change of pace for me. Parenting and baby books? Weird. My mother-in-law sent this:

And now there's all this STUFF in my house for this tiny little person we don't know yet. I know it's okay to prepare, but it still feels strange for this long-time IF girl to be getting ready for the coming of the much-longed-for baby.

I'm not sure how I feel about it all. It's a mixture of emotions.

Will keep you posted...
XOXOX,
glenna