Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adoption: A Path Paved With Good Intentions

As part of my morning ritual, instead of drinking a cup of coffee, I sit down to catch up with my favorite bloggin' Moms.  This morning I headed over to Tonggu Momma's, she's had A LOT to say recently about adoption and I can't help but silently cheer on my end of the computer.  If you're interested, head on over here to read how she feels about God and adoption-the comments alone will keep you busy for hours.

The longer I have been an adoptive mom, the more convicted I feel about adoption itself, both positively and negatively.  Most of the negative stems from the intentions of adoptive parents themselves. I have met too many that just want a child.  Period.  It doesn't matter how it happens, the credibility of their agency or the manner in which their children were relinquished.  The ends justifies the means and to them they rescued a child that needed to be saved so where's the rub?

I am a big on research.  So not only am I uber prepared for family vacations, I am a self-taught hypochondriac doctor and a Google maven.  For Prim's third birthday we went to Disneyland and I had printouts and maps out the wazoo for our big trip. I had scoured the 'net for all things Disney and tackled our three days at the park with military precision.  I loved the fact that all of my tedious preparation had saved us time and effort.

When we started the adoption process I read and read and read.  Opening myself up to criticism I will admit that international adoption was more alluring to us for two reasons. One, my husband is from Vietnam.  We thought it would be amazing to give a child a home where they would be surrounded by family that not only looked like them but shared the same history, language and place of birth.  We thought the transition would be less traumatic if H was able to communicate with our child in their native language.  Second-and here's where I may get hate mail-we did not want the stress of knowing that our child could be taken away by the biological parent or the bio mom could change her mind at the last minute.  We knew families that it had happened to and after years of infertility I could not handle the thought of this kind of loss.  We knew that international adoption provided-in our minds-the safety net of anonymity. 

As it turned out God had different plans for us and Prim was a waiting child from Thailand.  After our referral was official, it became apparent that we would no longer be bringing home an infant but a toddler and I felt a small part of my heart break.  Not only was our wait going to be almost a year until we traveled to get her, but she was not going to be the baby that I had imagined in my mind.  I prayed fervently each day that God would prepare her heart to accept us as her parents and to give us the wisdom to help her transition into our family.

I had researched attachment, broken attachments, re attachments, insecure attachments.  Some books I read two and three times, highlighting, turning down pages of significance to refer back to later.  I was, in my mind, absolutely prepared to receive my daughter and all of her baggage with complete confidence.

I couldn't have prepared myself for the depth of her grief. No book can put into words the raw emotion that Prim experienced.  The unadulterated fear, the crying, begging at our hotel room door to be let out.  We were not her parents and she was terrified.  I felt as if we had torn her from a happy, adjusted family and for the first time felt selfish and ashamed. Was this okay?  I remember crying while she slept on top of me, exhausted from grief, asking H if we were doing the right thing for this little girl. 

This July will be three years since Prim has been home.  Now, as a mother parenting a child who has experienced trauma, I see my intentions for adoption differently.   Knowing that Prim may never meet her biological mother makes me incredibly sad.  As she grows, she may need that communication as another part of her healing and I don't know if that will ever happen.  I think about her biological mom and wish we could send her pictures.  I wish I could tell her that the baby she had to leave is now a beautiful little girl.  I wish I could tell her that she is not forgotten and that I see her in the face of our daughter. 

You see, I went into adoption with the best of intentions.  We wanted more children, knew God had put that on our hearts and found a way through adoption to build our family.   I think now what I realize is that intentions are just that. Intentions.  It's what you do after the fact that makes the difference. Do you pretend away the broken heart of your child and put on a perfect smile, or do you do the hard work and become the parent that your child needs, not expecting him or her to become the kid you wanted?

If you ask me today if we would adopt again I would say yes! Will we? I don't know.  God will have to be in the driver's seat of that decision. Would I now consider domestic adoption? Yeah. I would.  My heart is not any different but maybe my intentions are.  I can only pray that whatever our decision, through infertility to adoption, we follow God and His plan for us.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Have You Lost Your Mind?

This is a common, almost redundant phrase in our house touted by mean mommy.  I can't remember exactly when I started saying it but I believe it happened right around the time our darling daughter ripped the fan from her bedroom wall and hurled it at me over a baby gate.  I remember looking at her and thinking in all seriousness that she had, indeed, lost her little mind.  And *wow* freakishly strong.

So when my kids hear me say have you lost your mind?! they know they have done something extraordinary-and I don't mean in a good way.  I mean the sneeze, look right at me while you wipe the huge booger off your face and then eat it while smiling kind of lost their minds.

For example, I was at the mall with a friend of mine and well into our marathon of shopping she says to me "umm...A....Prim isn't wearing any panties...."  How did she know that? Because a certain little girl was wearing a dress and had her legs from here to there and girl parts were all over the place.  I was mortified and when I asked her  Prim, have you lost your mind? WHERE are your panties?  she responded What? I didn't feel like wearing panties today mommy! Cue big adorable innocent smile and a bit of eyelash batting thrown in for good measure.

Like Ricky Ricardo always said "AYI-YI!"

I know our children make mistakes and, yes, some are bigger than others. Many, in fact, seem to come from a planet I like to call Crazy but relatively speaking they are acting as they should. Like kids.

But I have to remember, too, that there are times-like in that moment when I came within kissing distance of a wall fan- that our dysregulated children can have moments when they do in a sense 'lose their minds'.  It's not purposeful and it's definitely not always controllable. It is a moment driven purely by chemistry and instinct, not logic and reason.

In that moment of crying, screaming and feet stomping, when I wish that life has a mute button and I'd give anything to hear nails on a chalkboard over my daughter's tantruming, I have to check myself.



Check 1. 2. 3


....sometimes more breathing.....

Remind myself how we got here because it's certainly not about asking her to put on sneakers instead of flip flops.  Attachment, separation, attachment, separation, attachment. 

What I love after the initial chaos is being a part of the process.  The calming, the breathing, reconciliation, the hugs.  Watching her come from a place of fear and of being completely lost in the moment to waking up to the reality that I'm still there.

She did not push me away.  I am still loving her and will hold her in my arms.  She loses her mind but I help her find it and those are the times when I know that, oh yeah, this is pretty awesome.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Raining and I Just Watered the Flowers

I don't have a green thumb.  In fact, I may be spoiled enough to admit that the physical labor involved in planting, soiling, watering and maintaining does nothing for me.  If I could hire a landscaper, give him or her a plan of action and manage it down to the last azalea bush I would.  But that costs money so *sigh* the dream ends there.

I took myself to the Exchange and bought two hanging flowered plant thingies and two sit-on-the-front porch flower plant thingies. I don't know what kind they are.  The big tag draped over the hanger said "low maintenance" and I was sold.  This I can do. Hang, water and enjoy. And if it happens to rain some days than I've cut down  50% of the responsibility. Suh-weet.

I made it home with my purchases in tack although tipped over in back of the family van.  Prim and I watered them judiciously and I even added some Miracle Grow plant food for good measure, hung and placed everything in the back yard. Not bad for a few minutes work. Twenty minutes later it rained kittens and poodles and my new "water until moist" plants must be soaking wet.  Ugh.

Doesn't that seem how life is some days?  You wash your car only to have it rain the same day or you make cupcakes for your kids class only to realize that another mother did the same and hers are WAY cuter and much more Martha than yours.  Couldn't you bang your head against the nearest (and softest) wall when you realize you just folded a basket of dirty clothes thinking they were clean?  And who didn't realize that a clean house, dogs and children is just an oxymoron?

How does that song go? Sometimes you're the windshield/Sometimes you're the bug.  Sometimes you're the Louisville slugger/Sometimes you're the ball.

The great thing is, is that God's in it all.  It doesn't matter if you're the bat or the ball.  It doesn't matter if the cool cupcake mom also happens to wear matching accessoriesIt matters that we meet Him where we are.  Rumpled, tired and woebegotten.  Or on a good day; showered, lip-glossed and rockin' a new pair of jeans.  What He cares about is our heart, and for me, that is enough....

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jillian Michaels: Body Image, Adoption and Controversy

I'm not a huge fan of The Biggest Loser.  Sure I've seen it.  Who hasn't watched in abject horror women in spandex pants and jog bras perched on a scale big enough to weigh an air craft carrier?

I think it's a bit exploitative myself-what reality show isn't-but if this is the motivation someone needs to save their life who am I to judge? Humiliation can be the great motivator.

In this mornings news I read a comment from one of the show's two fitness gurus, Jillian Michaels.  In a nutshell, she states that she does not want children biologically because she can't imagine putting her body through pregnancy and instead *wait for it* is going to adopt. And how did she put it??

Oh yes.

Because (and I quote) "Also, when you rescue something, it's like rescuing a part of yourself."


Oh dear where to begin. Well, let's dive right in to Ms. Michael's seemingly shallow remarks one by one shall we?

1)  As far as I know JM is not married so I'm assuming she's going to be another single celebrity jumping on the adoption bandwagon.  How stylish she'll be with her brand new trophy baby and flat abs!

2) Isn't her JOB to motivate men and women to be physically fit and lead a healthy lifestyle? Is she associating pregnancy with being unhealthy and *gasp* FAT?

3) Is her position that fitness and pregnancy can't go hand in hand? I mean, if her body were to change in appearance due to a pregnancy does she equate that to having less self worth? Because that is what girls do learn nowadays, Jillian, skinny = worthiness and overweight = laziness. 

Moving on.

4) Oh were to start with the adoption comment. Let's just say that I take offense at calling another human being a "something". You're not adopting a goldfish or a houseplant. They are children and they have no business being a part of rescuing you! You can't place that kind of responsibility on a child.

Oh my goodness. I realize how ugly I am being in this post and can't even find the right words to describe how selfish and out of touch with reality I think this woman is.  Adoption has been put on this holier than thou pedestal and it drives me crazy. We just wanted to be parents! Some of us are infertile, some of us just felt called to expand our families through adoption. Has the experience made us better people? Sure! Just like having a biological child, it changes you and I think I can say for myself-for the better.

So, Jillian, get over yourself and your wash board abs.  Maybe one day, when you find someone to love unconditionally you'll see that having a biological child is a natural extension of that love and commitment. If you chose to adopt, great, but do it for the right reasons. If you need rescuing turn to a God who will fill that void in your heart better than any child or workout.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Counting Down

I woke up this morning pretending it wasn't just one more day.

I've ignored the lump in my throat  and smile like my heart is not breaking in a million pieces.

We talked about the vacation we'll take when he comes home.  Won't it be fun to celebrate Prim's birthday here or there? We've talked about buying a house towards the end of the year.  Is this how I entice you to stay in one place? I tease.

We'll all go to bed tonight knowing that tomorrow is another goodbye.

In twenty four hours I will watch half of my heart walk away in a uniform.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Challenge

I get distracted when I think.

I forgot Prim's lunch for school this morning.  I was standing at the fridge, contemplating what I could pull together despite many days of avoiding the grocery store and thought to myself "that Jill Zarin is a real pill".  Just like that I was distracted by thoughts of a reality television show.  Somewhere between the Real Housewives and blackberry yogurt I lost my focus.  Really?

This is what I've become.  A semi geriatric woman inside a thirty three year old body with just enough consciousness to get through the week.  My son has become my personal, fully automated 'To Do List'.  If I could press his belly button for play and tug on his ears for Forward and Rewind my days would probably improve ten fold in the area of organization.

The worst is at night.  When all is quiet except the buzzing of my white noise machine and the overhead fan, I close my eyes and begin my prayers. I have so many to pray for, so much to be thankful for and constantly in need of guidance.  There are bloggy moms that I ask God to encourage, my husband who needs comfort before saying goodbye to our children, and, oh yeah, that small tiny prayer of becoming a mother again.  For all of my concentrating and yearning to be in complete communication with Him I wander.

And I wander far.

I find myself down a yellow brick road of thoughts and feelings without direction.  My mind becomes a crazy mish-mash of oompa loompas and flying monkies shoving prayer into the smallest recess of my mind.  You could argue that cleaning, chauffeuring and refereeing all day is reason enough to give me a pass. That being a busy mom and wife are enough to make anyone sane woman easily distracted with the day to day minutia.  You could also reason that being a single mom during a deployment shoots me clear to the top of the excuse pile right to martyr status. Distraction then becomes my acceptable sin.

But it shouldn't.

The greatest deception we face as mothers is to believe that the often chaotic, supremely tiring lives we live is good enough reason to be distracted from God.

We get sucked in.

Pulled in deep by dirty diapers, spilled cheerios and after school activities.

We miss that there is a force working against the very heart and soul of who we are as Christian women and what's worse is that we sometimes embrace it.  I am distracted by mindless thoughts of a reality show because it is a weakness and Satan uses it to distract me from quiet time with God.

When I am in a moment of prayer and my thoughts are constantly held captive by a  recipe I want to make out of my new Southern Living Magazine or a much needed blog post, I am losing a battle against darkness.

You might be shaking your head saying, April, come on now. We ALL face distractions. It's a part of life!!  I'm lucky to remember to pray every day or Everyone forgets to make their kids lunch at least once. And you're right. Once in a while is once in a while. 

But do not fall prey to the ploys of the Devil because they come rapped in shiny wrapping and social graces.   There is good reason we are reminded to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor 10:5).

This is my challenge to you, dear friends, because this is a challenge for myself. This week, when you find distraction seeping into your prayer life or devotional time, push the pause button.  Acknowledge the distraction and move back to a place of worship while holding the truth of God's Word captive.

God bless and have a productive, distraction free week!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

'Sketchy' Is Not Synonymous for 'Acceptable'

Last weekend, in anticipation of our trip to DC, we headed to our local mall for summer clothes for the kiddos.  We ended up at Gymboree in hopes of finding a bargain -I can't buy anything there at retail price.  While in the store I ran into an older gentlemen who was carrying a beautiful dark skinned baby girl (I have adoption radar). Eventually the Daddy came over and took her from Grandpa and we struck up a conversation. I asked him where his daughter was from and he graciously replied that she was from the Congo.  She had been home two and a half months and was now six months old.  She was absolutely precious!

I expressed my surprise that adoption was allowed in the DRC.  I knew of only a few countries in Africa that allowed adoption and was happy to learn of another that was opening it's doors to the international community.  He was very open about their experience and went on to say that they chose the Congo because other countries they looked into did not allow adoptive parents to be on anti depressants. 

When I asked what agency they used, he emphatically refused to endorse them and although he didn't elaborate, he said that he wouldn't use this particular agency again because they were "sketchy".  He was quick to point out that his wife did all of the research and let the sentence die with the implication that he had nothing to do with that part of the process. This is where I am thankful for the openness of adoptive parents but instinctively uncomfortable in the turn the conversation has taken.  This isn't the first time I have talked with adoptive parents who have questioned the reputation of their adoption agency. That coupled with the fact that he threw his wife under the bus left me saying a quick good luck and goodbye.

In Monterey there was a family from our church who traveled to adopt their two children from Vietnam and sadly only came home with one child. The other baby's relinquishment was in question by the US government and they would not release a Visa until further investigation.  I had one conversation with the father as they waited for their daughter to be released and learned that they were allowed to adopt four month old babies biologically unrelated at the same time. He, too, was shaken to the core from the experience with their adoption agency. He would not endorse them and even considered legal action but at that time would not rock the boat until after their baby was finally allowed to come home.  He also told me that through the same agency this exact same scenario was playing out with a family living in a different state and the outcome for the second child did not look promising.  I learned that eventually the US released their daughter and she was able to come home but it still left me shaking my head.

The process of adoption can be precarious because of changing requirements,  extended wait times and unforeseeable paperwork snafuus. It's not a place for slippery slopes and questionable ethics.  For me, in adoption, the ends do not justify the means.  I wonder at what point during the process that little voice, that feeling in the pit of their stomach told these parents that something was off.  Do we begin to justify the circumstances to suite our needs? Do adoptive parents in questionable circumstances begin to ask questions like, when you consider the fact that these children are now in 'the system', does it matter how they got there to begin with? Don't they need a home regardless of the circumstances surrounding their relinquishment? Aren't we saving a child who needs a home?

I don't want to be judgmental. I don't want to imply these families did something wrong because I only know bits and pieces of their story. But in the wake of the Torry Hansen fiasco, when international adoption is front and center, I can't help but feel disbelief at the willingness of families who put time lines ahead of the well being of their future children.

To me it speaks to the now! now! now! society we have become.  I mean, who hasn't gotten frustrated waiting for the microwave to count down backwards from one minute? And don't even get me started about how long it takes to fast forward through a commercial on my DVR'd tv shows...

We are driven by instant gratification. Are you kidding me? Wait three years for an adoption to be finalized? can be a common attitude for the faint of heart.  It may suck three ways to Sunday but the process of adoption is a marathon not a sprint and cutting corners to satisfy personal desire should not be acceptable.

There is this pervasive attitude that we deserve what we want, when we want it. It overlaps and spills into our work lives, our homes lives. With the amazing advancement in technology and the rate at which information is exchanged it's unthinkable to wait more than a keystroke to find what we're looking or acquire goods and services.

I remember during the paperwork process H and I grumbling about the fact that we had to wait for forms through the mail. Have they lost their minds?  In this day and age we should have been able to send our dossier online! It was agonizing at times to WAIT for the process to move itself forward with nothing for us to do but be patient. And wait. And wait some more. If I had a dollar for the time we spent waiting for this paper to arrive and that form to be approved I would be one rich momma.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The ends do not justify the means in adoption because ultimately we are responsible for bringing a child into our family. If we don't stand up for ethical adoptions and walk away from "sketchy" agencies, than we have allowed the proliferation of baby buying and coerced relinquishments.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Knee Jerk Reaction

I am grieved to read that Russia is suspending adoptions to the United States in the wake of the firestorm created by  Torry Hansen.

I have spent days thinking about this situation and to no end can I see the logic, reason or justification for this mother placing her child on a plane back to his country of birth.  This is a mother-who had resources available to her through her adoption agency or social services-methodically purchased a one way ticket to Russia, packed her son's belongings, wrote a note relinquishing herself of the responsibility for his welfare and sent him on his way-alone.

Already speculation abounds in the media as to the procedural validity of international adoptions, this article going as far to describe it as a "cottage industry" and Americans the "leading importer of children" as if the desire to grow families is the equivalent of acquiring a new car or piece of furniture.

While everyone is busy casting blame and pointing fingers, there is only one person who can be held responsible for this tragic situation and that is the mother, Torry Hansen. Regardless of the circumstances, the emotional stability of the child, the alleged misinformation about her son from the orphanage or the desperate feelings that pushed her to act in this manner, she alone made the decision to abandon her son. 

Although I have so much to say about this story time will not allow it today so I will end with this. For all of the outrage that the Russian people and their government have expressed over the abandonment of this little boy, where is the outrage associated with the living conditions of institutionalized, homeless and orphaned children in their own backyard? Why do we not hear the screaming protests, the demands for justice for the almost 700,000 children currently living in substandard, cramped, government run facilities?

Thank you to the families all over the world willing to open their home and their hearts to a child in need.  Do not be discouraged by this, but know that God in His wisdom will use this for His glory and honor.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Gen 50:20

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Neurotransmitter Testing and the Adopted Child

I am a believer in homeopathic and integrative medicine.  After years of working with pediatricians to stabilize my son's chronic asthma, it was a mixture of vitamins, supplements and prescribed medications that finally calmed the storm in my son's small lungs.  Inhalers and steroids, while life saving, did nothing to promote a strengthened immune system and an improve physiological response to allergies and upper-respitory infections. 

Most experts agree, and I believe in the research and data as well, that children who are adopted suffer some degree of trauma. Regardless of circumstances prior to adoption, the type of care and attention received and the attachment made during their 'foster' period, most, if not all adopted children, have a traumatic response to broken attachments regardless if said attachments are deemed healthy or unhealthy.

Studies have shown that all persons who suffer trauma, whether it is a prolonged childhood illness, an accident, abuse or neglect, can be altered chemically. Brain development can become stunted, neurotransmitters altered and basic neurological functions impacted to such extremes that a child's natural born tendencies for certain character traits may be overridden with fear and anxiety.

I have heard about neurotransmitter testing within the adoption community here and there.  Some debunk the testing as "junk" or "pseudo" science but a part of me wonders if there's something to it.  I knew of a woman who had one of her two daughters adopted from China tested through a company online.  This little girl, who was adopted and brought home around age one (if my memory serves me right) suffered from tantrums, fits of rage and what some would label as difficult behavior.  This mom had her daughter tested and after receiving the results, began supplements to boost deficient neurotransmitters and was astounded at the results.  Her daughter became more easy going, her mood was not as explosive and her general demeanor was more peaceful. 

There is so much that science can not explain. The inner workings of our brain are still largely a mystery and I believe that there is so much to learn about the effects of broken attachments in our children.  I don't know if neurotransmitter testing is right for everyone but the idea of it is intriguing and possibly even worth the expense for my Prim.

Have you considered neurotransmitter testing? Have you even heard of this and do you think it could be beneficial for your adopted child?  I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh Nurse, Can I Get a Straight Jacket Please?

It's only noon and I have already had one of those days. I've already prayed two dozen times. Rambling, incoherent prayers for my family and myself in particular.  Half whining, half pleading for some semblance of strength and peace while trying to praise Him in between wiping away tears.

It started okay I guess. I woke up feeling better than I had the two days prior and was relieved to have the energy to get out of bed (thank you Robitussin with Codeine) and get G ready for school. Little Miss likes sleeping in these days-can I get an AMEN-and I was looking forward to our breakfast routine just him and I. I inwardly groaned as I tried to rustle G from sleep. "Get up love, it's time to get ready for school" was met with a fierce Uh Uh and an attempt to slide beneath the blankets again. I could see how this was going to play out, we've been having more of these days the past few months and I tried to put on a happy face and entice him from his warm caccoon.

"Get up and get ready and I'll pour you a big bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch".  Scowling eyes. "Let's go, buddy, we don't want to be late".  The start of tears. "Come on" I coaxed now pulling him from bed. I don't want to go to school he tells me. School is no fun and I'm sick of working!

I manage to get him dressed and down stairs for breakfast but when it came time to put his shoes on the tears started, the feet stomping commenced and a poor Zhu Zhu pet was kicked aside in frustration.  I don't like school anymore. Why do I always have to stay so long at school and work? I never get to be with you and I never have time to play!

Oh how the mother in me wanted to wrap him in my arms and not let go. I know that this is partly to do with H's deployment next week. I also know that the seven year old boy in him just wants to play and have fun.  I ache for him because I can not make this easier.  How do you tell a child that life is not always fair, our responsibilities are not always fun and pain can seem like a constant companion?

I held his hand with Prim in tow, still in pajamas, to the bus stop. He held onto me with such fierceness that even with coaxing from the bus driver he would not let go. I carried him home, put both kids in the car and drove to school while he sobbed and wailed that he did not want to go to school.  We walked to class, put away his things and a half an hour later, after holding him and whispering words of prayer and encouragement, started to leave. He began to cry all over again, big, fat, rolling tears and all I could do was tell him I love you and walk away.

I had a rock in my stomach the rest of the morning. I got home with enough time for a quick shower for me, get Prim ready for school and once again head out the door. After dropping her off I headed to the doctor's office for one more ultrasound to confirm this cycle had been a wash.

The ultrasound tech walks in and starts to do her thing. As she's reading off measurements I ask her if she's measuring for size of the follicles to which she responds that they are only checking for ovulation. What? I ask her. I thought I was here to have the follicles measured to see if they had matured over the past week. Her reply was curt and snippy and after a few more back and forth exchanges the tears could not be held back any longer.

When I get frustrated I cry.  I am not rude to other people. I am not usually confrontational and I do not reply in anger when I feel like I've been wronged. Are there exceptions to this rule? Yeah. Who doesn't loose it sometimes? But today, after my morning with G, still not feeling well and just being ticked off at being infertile plus arguing with the ultrasound tech about semantics just culminated in frustrated tears.  She was quick to finish her scan, try to explain why there was miscommunication and then wrap me in a big, fluffy hug which only made me cry harder.

My doctor must think I am an emotional wreck. It's the second time he has seen me cry and my attempts to tell him I really do have it all together probably fall on deaf ears.  How can I explain that this process is very lonely? With all of the people involved the person I need the most can do nothing but offer the token words of encouragement and now will have to do it from several thousands of miles away. How could I say that my tears were really for my son-that my smiles can only last so long before I need to be released from the sadness. That as a mother I must be an emotional trapeze artist, maintaining a delicate balance of stability in the face of so much change and disruption.

I'm sure I was the talk of the office this morning.  Maybe my tears were seen as a tantrum for not having a good cycle.  Maybe they will pity me my infertility or departing husband.  Maybe next time they will offer me a sedative before my ultrasound.  It can't matter right now.

The only thing that has to matter is making it through next week.  I have to get through saying goodbye which, as always, is the most excruciating part of deployment. I need to smile while watching my husband walk away, praying that God will keep him safe and that one day, when he least expects it, I can say Hey babe. We did it. We're pregnant.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Hi & Goodbye

For anyone new to my blog-WELCOME! It's a pleasure having you here! While we are on vacation for a few days, please feel free to browse the archives.  If you are an adoptive parent or prospective adoptive parent, you might like this posts or this post.

If it's attachment or adjustment issues you're interested in hop on over here or here.

For all of my fellow Jesus freaks or prospective Jesus Freaks, I love writing about how faith continually shapes my life.  This particular post detailing our car accident in Thailand (while picking up Prim) is a testimony to His amazing protection and promises.

We head to DC tomorrow until Sunday so posts may be sparse for the next few days. I'll do my best to post pictures, my goal is to get each of the kids in a cheesy picture of them "holding" up the Washington Monument.  Oh yeah, that's how we roll....

Monday, April 05, 2010

Eggs Stink

 Why are my little follicles being so stubborn?  Still no growth. Even with double the dose of follicle stimulating hormones this past three days-nada.  In fact they measured smaller today than the past two ultrasounds. Maybe the measurements were a bit off but really there was no change in maturity.

Unfortunately, that means this cycle will have to be canceled. We may start medication for PCOS in the next few days and then begin a more aggressive schedule of injections at the onset of my next cycle.  Clomid is officially out of the picture.

H leaves for deployment in three weeks which also changes things a bit.  I guess we'll be stockpiling the 'boys' so I can continue for the next few months.  How weird would that be five months into deployment to email H and tell him we're preggo?  I can hear the navy wife gossip now.....

So I'm just going to keep my chin up, keep praying and praising God.  He put this urge in our heart for a reason so I remain faithful that we are still on the right path.  I have to keep reminding myself that we are not on a time schedule, I am young.

This week we are off to DC for spring break and family time in our Nation's Capital.  Thank you for your continued prayers and best wishes.


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

Sweet Talking My Ovaries

On the way to see Dr. Robin today I decided to give the girls a bit of a pep talk.  I considered that maybe they're shy. Or maybe they're late bloomers. MAYBE the constant sight of that probe coming at them has scared them silly.  Who wouldn't want some words of encouragement?

I tried to explain the importance of this appointment, taking care to be understanding without sounding judgmental. Of course I understand that it's not your fault you're not growing fast enough (or at all really).  Yes, I can see how it must be frustrating for you, I mean, a baby is like an Academy Award where you come from.....

You do remember that H is leaving for deployment in three weeks right? I know, I know I don't have to rub it in-just wanted to make sure we're on the same time table.

I arrived at my appointment cautiously optimistic.  The pep talk went well, my prayers were said and there was nothing left to do but lie down get the picture...  The results weren't good.  Even with two days of stimulating injections there has been no follicle growth. But my ovaries feel huge I tell her. Maybe the measurements are off? (the ultrasound tech did seem a bit distracted today). Unfortunately not she said.

So, we either wait for the next cycle or do two more days of double dosed injections plus one more for good measure.  Then we recheck on Monday to see if we need to wait.  I didn't know what to say at first. My first thought was our planned trip for next week to DC. It's spring break for the kiddos and I don't want to ruin our plans. On the other hand, I have been through the ringer physically and it would be a waste not to give it the old college try.

I ask her if this is normal or am I a freak of nature. She laughed and said no, this isn't normal but it is typical for PCOS patients and although I haven't been officially diagnosed, it seems to be heading in that direction. 

I sighed, decided to try the higher dose of injectables and come back Monday morning for another scan.  If this doesn't do the trick I will begin medication to treat PCOS while doing a full cycle of injections instead of Clomid.

I had no idea it was going to be this hard. Even with eleven years of infertility I still find every new twist in our journey difficult. It makes it hard to catch my breath sometimes, like every step forward is measured in either failure or success with no gray area. 

On this Good Friday I reminded myself that even though there has been disappointment, there has also been-more importantly-victory.  I am reminded that all is not what it appears to be. God's view of this life and our circumstances are incredibly different than my narrow and human perspective.  I may find grief in this moment but I remain faithful that God will uses this for His glory, for His ultimate good purposes.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Easter Week

I love the focus on Jesus this week. It's one of my favorite times of the year and today, as I sit and marvel at the cloudless blue sky that has allowed the sun to shine unobstructed, I think of Him and His death.

The miracle of the Easter story still moves me to a place of awe and reflection.  Year after year I delve into God's Word beginning with Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem in John chapter 12.  I close my eyes and picture his triumphant entrance into the city, greeted by the faithful who had come to celebrate the Passover Feast.  I wonder if it was a day like today, so full of sunshine that the palms branches being waved in honor of the King created long shadows across his path.  I think the air must have smelled like earth from the dust stirring beneath the feet of those shouting "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!".

During the Passover feast with His disciples, the Man who was also God served them in a most intimate way, washing their feet free of the mud and muck of the road and then drying them with the towel tied securely around His waist.  Even as His betrayer sat among them He spoke in love, telling them "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him."

In that room Jesus tried to prepare these imperfect, simple men about the coming days. These same men who had argued just hours before who was greatest among them in sight of their Lord could not fathom the weight of His words.

I think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, falling to His face amongst the olive trees with a soul that was 'overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death'.   The  knowledge of what He was about to face, not just His physical death, but for the burden He would bear on that cross for every man's guilt and shame for all of eternity caused blood to seep from his pores as He cried out to Abba.

I remember a moment when I told a lie in anger and even now, after all of this time,  can recall how my body reacted to my sin. My stomach felt painfully twisted and taut almost to the point of nausea.  I literally shook with guilt and was sickened with fear from my sin. Now I think of Jesus on the cross, bearing that very same guilt and shame not just for me, but for every person to walk this earth.  I am thankful, humbled, overwhelmed that I can seek forgiveness at the foot of that Cross.

What is there in this life but faith? All else is fleeting. All else is temporary.

Eternity was born on Calvary, nailed to a cross, bleeding and disgraced. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice. I could not have born what you did and for that I praise You.

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