Thursday, February 25, 2010


I think as a family we are doing pretty well coping with what we lost. We all seem to have our own things that help us. Jay is keeping himself busy with work and another family project that he's taken on. I'm not really sure what I'm doing. I don't have one specific thing that I'm doing just a bunch of small stuff….put a puzzle together one night (Cade lasted all of 5 pieces), organized the closet in the other room (not sure what to call it yet since it's no longer the green room), been trying to decide on a new hobby (scrapbooking is too family oriented for me at the moment). Cade though has found plenty of things to do to keep himself occupied….he's been planning his birthday party.

I've always made a big deal about his parties. It all started because I had so much fun doing it. Then it progressed into not knowing if I'd ever have another child to do it for so I kept it up. Now Cade is starting to get into it. I'm sure someday his wife will not like it, especially if she has to plan "theme" parties, but for now I keep doing it because it's fun. It's really gotten entertaining this year because Cade is taking a very active role in planning his party. He comes by it naturally though because I can barely hold off past Christmas before I start asking what kind of party he wants for his next birthday. This year the big theme announcement came after our trip to California. We are having an Indiana Jones party. Surprise, surprise!!

This past week it's really taken a hilarious turn. He told me last weekend that he wanted to do something to resemble vines between our kitchen and dining room so people could walk through them. Of course I started mentally thinking out what I could do to make that happen. Then Memo and Papa Jim took him toy shopping last Friday. He eyeballed every toy in every toy store in Springfield looking for Indiana Jones stuff. Tuesday night Papa Kerry called and I had Cade answer the phone. The minute they started talking Cade started in on his birthday. He told Papa Kerry some of the stuff that he wanted for his birthday which included an Indiana Jones movie. Then I heard him tell Papa Kerry that he could be in charge of getting the movie for him, then Cade made a side note to himself…he whispered "I need to call Memo". I think he was going to tell Memo that the movie would be taken care of. When I got on the phone with dad he was laughing about being put in charge of the movie. Then last night Cade spent some time with Grandma Robyn and Pampa George. While he was there Charity called so she asked Cade what he wanted for his birthday. He put her in charge of getting him a whip that made sound effects. Charity asked him what to do if she couldn't find it. He told her it was online. She asked if she could give him money to buy it with and he told her she just needed to get online to find it. He put Grandma Robyn in charge of the Indiana Jones Lego sets.

While we were driving home last night I thought Cade was asleep so I told Jay about the vine idea. Apparently Cade wasn't asleep because he told me he had also been thinking about turning cotton balls into spider webs and putting them around the house. He said he told his idea to Neilson. We asked Cade what Neilson thought about it and Cade said "he said that was cool and then he asked me who I was going to invite". Then Cade told us "I need to start working on that".

To someone who doesn't know Cade if they were to read this they'd probably think we were horrible parents or something, but I think to the rest of us it's just him. He's also had a very hard couple of weeks so I think we are all indulging him a little bit. But then again Cade is a lot like me so he may already be working on his skills as a party planner. But to make him not sound so spoiled I did ask him what Jay and I were supposed to get him since he had assigned everything to everybody else. He was quiet for a minute and then he said you can just be the best parents ever to me. Either he knows how to work us or he is one very sweet and unique boy.




Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our Agnecy and Adoption...

I feel like I need to address this topic today. One of the first things we were told was that in adoption almost every family experiences one loss. Sometimes they won’t know they experienced the loss because it wouldn’t have gotten far enough for the family to know. Sometimes it’s the painful type like we experienced. Right now I can think of at least two other families who experienced an adoption loss. Our agency would also put us in contact with another family who experienced the same thing if we wanted. At this point I’m not too interested in that, but who knows on down the road. This is the nature of adoption – nothing is set in stone until the parental rights are terminated. That is different in every county and every state. In some states it’s a state law. In Missouri it depends on the different county laws.
The other thing about adoption is that sometimes the agencies don’t work with the expectant parents long enough to develop a good relationship. Cindy came to our agency less than a month away from her due date. That didn’t give the social workers enough time to really develop a relationship with her and allow her to trust them. That’s how we ended up with some faulty information that no one (including the agency) knew about until DCFS stepped in. This is no fault of our agency, we just happened to end up involved in a not so good situation.

On Wednesday Jay and I found out some of this information that we chose not tell anyone about. Another thing we’ve learned over the years is that not everyone needs to know everything. It’s important to keep some of this quiet until the child is old enough to hear it and then it will be their decision on what to share. When Jay and I found this out we didn’t know what to do. The news obviously wasn’t what we wanted to hear. Our agency gave us some information and another adoptive mother to contact that experienced the same thing. With this information Jay and I felt comfortable moving forward but we prayed together and asked God for direction. We told him we were comfortable with proceeding, but if it wasn’t the situation for us He needed to close the door. As hard as it’s been to deal with, we feel that God clearly answered that prayer. One blessing is that he closed the door for us, rather than us stepping back from the situation. How awful would’ve it been if we always wondered what might have been?

We don’t have any angry thoughts towards our agency. Jay and I truly feel that they did everything that they could for us. They also did their best at keeping us informed as much as they could, but again that’s the nature of adoption. Things aren’t always perfect. Part of the surprise for everyone else was that only Jay and I knew about DCFS so it wasn’t quite as much of a shock for us as everyone else. That was no fault of our agency. We have every intention of staying with them. We feel that God sent us to them for a reason and we don’t feel that it is time to leave them at this point. As much as we would like to hurry this process along, God doesn’t care about our timetable. Things will work in His time and in His way. As hard as that is to take sometimes, that’s the way it is.

I’m going to go ahead and mention this only because I think it shows God in the situation. I hesitate because I don’t want anyone to think that we are all drama all the time but we didn’t have anything to do with this. On Friday Jay and I went to Springfield to try to fill the day. I got a phone call from an unrecognized number. It was the lady from the NEDC calling about our embryo adoption. We had figured it would be late in the summer before we would hear from them. She was calling to let us know there had been a cancellation and wanted to know if we could be there May 6. I explained to her that we had just experienced an adoption loss. She kindly asked me about the circumstances so I told her. She said she just knew that it was God that directed her to call me that day. I do to. I think it was Him saying don’t give up, don’t quit. I have no idea if this is what we are supposed to do, maybe He wants us to hang on until our perfect adoption situation comes along? On Friday when I thought about the timing of the situation this verse came to mind…Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Now I wish I could say that I was perfect and I haven’t been angry about this situation and I’ve always remembered to God loves me and is faithful, but that would be lying. It comes and goes with me, but I’m at least trying to hold onto that phone call and that verse as God telling us not to give up. As much as I’d like to quit all of this, we aren’t. We think this is God telling us this door isn’t closed yet and we just have to hold on a little longer.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I guess it’s time for me to address the “elephant in the room” on the blog. I’ve thought a lot over the past few days on how to address it…did I want to ignore it? If I did say something, what did I want to say, etc. I guess I’ll just jump in and try to give you an idea how we are doing…

Background – On February 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm I received the phone call at work saying we had been chosen for a baby that was due any day. Cindy, the expectant mother, had a doctors appt the next day. She was going to find out what day she would be scheduled for a c-section. That was the call we had been waiting for for 3 years. Finally it looked like we would get a baby. We made the decision to show our faith that God would see us through this time and we jumped head first into the preparations. We spent the next few days cleaning out the spare room, painting, shopping for new furniture for Cade, shopping for new baby stuff and setting up a nursery. On Monday the 15th we received a call that the baby had been born, it was a boy. On Tuesday the 3 of us loaded up and headed to a town in Illinois about 7 hours from home. We spent the next couple of days trying to keep ourselves occupied. As of Wednesday night at 6:00 pm everything looked great. Cindy would sign over her rights at 12:30 pm Thursday. We would go to the hospital and our new son would be discharged to us. By 11:00 am the next morning our lives had been devastated. Due to some information that Cindy was not honest about with the agency DCFS got involved in the situation. They took the baby. By 1:00 pm Thursday afternoon, instead of becoming a family of four the 3 of us were headed back to Missouri with an empty seat in the truck…and a whole lot of baby equipment in the back.

Cade – Cade is doing pretty well. He did have a breakdown about the time we hit Lebanon Thursday night. I had been on the phone with the Social Worker from Illinois and when I got off I could hear him crying. I asked him if he was sad about the baby or upset because Jay and I were so upset. He really started crying and said it was because of the baby and then he said “at least you still have me”. I’ll never forget hearing him say that. Those words broke my heart because I just didn’t know what was going on in his head all day. Luckily we already had a counseling appointment scheduled for him on the 22nd. We’re both going to go with him.

Us – Jay and I have our moments. Today (Sunday) was a really rough day for me. I’m hoping that once I get past the first few days it will become easier. Right now all I can think of is…one week ago I was painting, We were buying furniture, I was buying a stroller, I was so happy, etc. Now I’m sitting here with the biggest weight sitting right on my heart. I’ve also had a lot of anger today. I had been spending a lot of time praying over the last few weeks about our situation and I had finally come to a point of being ok with it…or at least as ok as a person can be about infertility. Now I’m starting all over. I’ll have to work myself through the stages of grief all over again. I’m not exactly looking forward to that part. I can’t help but wonder why we couldn’t have been left alone if this was what was going to happen. I was ok where I was now the whole cycle has to start over again. Jay is just trying to keep himself busy. At least this time of year he won’t have to try to hard to find things to do. I, on the other hand, wonder what the heck I’m going to do with myself. All of the Saturdays in March stretch out before me like eternity.

The Stuff – Dealing with the stuff is probably what I’m finding to be the cruelest part of this whole deal. Jay and I had wrestled with the stupid car seat base for a couple of hours Thursday morning. We probably hadn’t been done with it an hour before we got the call. I had finally broke down and washed all the new baby clothes Wednesday night. There isn’t a thing we can take back out of the whole bunch of stuff we bought. Now it is sitting in the closet in the nursery. I can’t give it away because that would mean that part is gone…but yet what are we supposed to do with it? Jay said we are keeping it because we’ll use it some day. At this point I don’t quite feel as optimistic as him. I’m also irritated that I’ll have to deal with the finances of paying for a bunch of stuff that we don’t need and can’t return…..not to mention the hotel bill, gas bill, eating bill, etc. At this point it feels like a bunch of wasted money to me. I’m not saying that because we are in any sort of financial trouble, it’s just the way I feel right now.

The Room – Jay and I don’t have a clue what to do with the room. I put all the decorations away this morning. At this point Cade wants to leave the crib up, we aren’t sure why. Maybe Dr. Sue can get that out of him at counseling tomorrow. We did buy a teddy bear on our way there Tuesday (which I ripped the tag off of Thursday morning) for Cade to give to the baby. I asked him what he wanted us to do with it – keep it out or put it away. He said he wanted to keep it in the crib. When we got home Thursday night he took the bear and put it in there. Also, Cade’s new furniture isn’t in yet. They promised us it would be in on Thursday but still his mattress is on the floor. So we’ll have another bill of something that we really don’t need now – new furniture. I’m also getting irritated because we can’t finish getting things back to somewhat normal without the furniture. I really hope it comes on Monday’s truck so we can get his room put back together.

Throughout all of this we had a lot of people praying for us and with us. We appreciate all of them. We were hesitant about who we were going to tell because if it didn’t work out we didn’t want to face a lot of explanations. Finally on Tuesday we broke down and initiated our church’s prayer chain. We decided we needed all the prayers we could get. Even though I hate that everyone knows and we’ll have to face comments once we go back to work/school tomorrow it probably worked out for the best. I’m not sure we would’ve made it through if we didn’t have all the prayers of our family and friends over the last 11 days. Thank you guys for everything.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


It's that time of year again when I do my annual rant about Valentine's Day. This has got to be one of my least favorite holidays. Now that Cade is in school it is only getting worse. Last Friday night Charity asked me what we were doing for this year's box. I hadn't even thought about it yet. I called Jay the next morning and asked him what Sunday was…he said the 14th so I said yes, it's Valentine's Day…so what does that make Friday be? He thought for a moment and said the 12th….I said yes, what will happen at school that day….he said it was Homecoming….I had to finally tell him what Friday was. It is the Valentine's Day party which means we have to have 23 valentines filled out and a box completed. Jay's answer was to tell me he had done the rocket ship the year before so that year was my turn.
I thought off and on about it all weekend. Mostly my thoughts were grumpy ones like…Valentines Day is stupid….if adults want to exchange gifts that's fine but why do we have to involve the kids in it….I'd rather them celebrate something meaningful like Presidents Day or Veterans Day, etc….. I asked Cade what he wanted to do for his box and his idea was some big plane something or other from Indiana Jones. Since we are limited to something that would fit in a backpack that got me out of the plane thing, but he was still stuck on the Indiana Jones idea.
Finally Monday night we somewhat got our plan thought out so I was somewhat done with stressing over the box. But then I remembered we still had 23 Valentines to complete. Around that same time Cade also told us that Mrs. H got grumpy with him because he didn't read enough nights the week before. I will admit we've gotten very lax on the reading thing. I know Cade can read and I know that he is a good reader. By the time we get through spelling words and math homework I'm done. Jay's done. Cade's done. I HATE reading logs. Jay and I are so burnt out on 2nd grade homework. In kindergarten I remember some of the kids who never appeared on the super reader list. I thought what terrible parents…they wouldn't make sure their kids read each night. Now I understand. Those parents had older kids in school and they'd been doing the homework thing for many more years than us with multiple children. I'm surprised they didn't loose their minds years ago.
That caused me to go into my standard rant last night of…I graduated from HS in a class of 12, I went to MSU and graduated with honors and I never, ever filled out a reading log or brought home math homework in the 2nd grade. Of course my rant fell of deaf ears because Jay and Cade had heard it before. Jay told me that my rant wouldn't get very far with the teacher. Which I know, it just made me feel better to say it. So after that and then a short lecture to Cade on how it's as much his responsibility to remember to read as it is ours, we aren't going to be there to hold his hand forever, etc. Jay sat down and told Cade what name to write down on each Valentine then he'd take it and put the sticker on it while Cade started on the next one. I tore apart a feed sack and used the brown paper to cover a shoebox. Yeah, Cade really learned his lesson….
The whole time we were working I thought about a kid in Cade's class who has three other siblings. They're all in school this year. That means they are making 4 boxes and 4 sets of valentines. The thought gave me chills.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Weekend

Last weekend Cade and I went to Sheldon.  This was Cade's first time to see Baby Lawson.  I think it's safe to say that Cade was pretty impressed with him.  He spent a lot of time Saturday afternoon holding Lawson.  I think Cade did really well with him if I do say so myself.  It seemed to be pretty natural for him...or at least as natural as can be expected for a 7 year old.  For a boy that moves constantly he was content to sit still and hold Lawson for long stretches of time.

Here is Cade seeing Lawson for the first time Friday night

Here is Cade finally getting to hold Lawson.  As you can see Avery didn't want to be left out of the picture.

Mom and the kids made cupcakes Saturday afternoon

Here is Cade holding Lawson again.  I have to admit that watching this made my heart hurt.  Cade would make such a great older brother.  I really hope he gets the opportunity to be one soon.  I had wondered what was going through his mind while he was holding Lawson Saturday and later that night I got my answer.  He told Papa Kerry that he wishes we could adopt our baby.  What do you say to that?

Before I left the kids that night, in the care of Grandma Robyn, I got a pampering session from Avery.  It went ok until she tried to wind my hair around a round brush.  I told her that I didn't want to have my hair cut to get a brush loose, because it was just starting to grow out.  Avery informed me that she was trying to make my hair her moms.  Right before I left that night I heard Cade say "No, I'm not a girl".  I asked him what was going on and he said Avery wanted to play beauty shop on him.  That would've been an interesting scene....

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Book Incident

About 4 weeks ago I checked out a book from the county library. One day I put the book in the front seat of my car so I could read it during lunch. When it was time for me to go to lunch that day I was so looking forward to it. I was going to Subway and have 30 minutes of uninterrupted bliss eating a sandwich and reading my new library book. Except when I got to Subway I picked up the book and it weighed about 10 pounds. It didn't weigh 10 pounds when I put it in the car. That's when I realized that a glass of water in the console tipped over when I got out of the car that morning. The book sat in the front seat of my car soaking up a huge glass of water for about 5 hours. I wasn't about to let something like a drippy book stop me from enjoying my lunch. I lugged the book into Subway dripping wet. I had water drops down the front of my khakis. I did try to stuff the book in my purse so it wasn't as obvious to everyone that the book was soaked. The first couple of chapters were relatively dry.

That evening I put the book in the upper drying cabinet of our dryer. It ran for 3 hours and didn't make a dent in the wetness of the book. Then I tried using the hairdryer, which worked pretty well except there were 375 pages in this book. All but about 50 of them were wet. I was going to burn up my hairdryer if I tried to dry every page. Over the next couple of days I ran it back through the dryer two more times for 3 hours a time. Then I opened it up and laid it by a furnace vent.

By this time about a week had gone by and I had two dilemmas. #1 was that the pages were pretty dry….except for the back cover. It was a hardback book but the back cover was like a soggy newspaper. Problem #2 was that the book was due. I couldn't decide if I wanted to face the music now, or delay it. Since I'm a procrastinator I decided to delay the punishment. I asked the library for an extension. Luckily our library will do that over the phone. I had two more weeks to get the back cover dry and figure out a plan.

Finally I got the bright idea to take the jacket off of the book. If I had thought about that little detail two weeks earlier the back cover probably wouldn't have bent. Sometimes the obvious ideas are slow in coming to me. After several more days the back cover finally dried. I had a totally dry book, but you know how paper dries – it was 5X as thick as it once was. I then got another brilliant idea. I put the book on the floor and piled a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, my K-12 hardcover yearbooks, Jay's 9-12 hardcover yearbooks, a large John Deere book and any other book that had any weight to it on top of the ruined book. After a few days of that Jay put the books away and told me I was going to have to face the music.

The book was due today, but I took it back yesterday. I was very tempted to drop it in the night drop and hope they didn't notice. But what if they put a hold on my account? That would be really embarrassing if I was trying to check out a book and they asked me about a ruined book. You can't really pretend you didn't know anything was wrong when the book's pages are all puffed up and the back cover is bent. I also thought about buying the same book off Amazon. I'd put the old jacket on the new book. But again I didn't know what kind of information those librarians can see of their screen. There might have been something off with the book and they would've known it was an imposter. I knew facing it now would be the best thing.

I took the book to the counter and told my story. Confessing that you damaged a book to a librarian ranks right up there with confessing to your doctor that you smoke or your weight watcher team leader that you ate an entire cake. It's just not something a person looks forward to. The librarian was nice, but I could tell underneath her smile she was thinking I was a careless ninny and couldn't be trusted with anymore books….or at least that's what I thought she was thinking. I might have just been sensitive. She might have really been thinking about what she was going to have for lunch. Anyway, she told me I owed $18. I didn't have my checkbook with me yesterday, so I went back today to pay my fine.

When the librarian saw me she knew right away who I was. She disappeared into the office and came out with the mangled book. On top of the book was a yellow sticky note that said Crystal Shepherd is buying and can have book. Nice. I now have something permanent to remember this whole debacle by. I can't wait for Jay to see it tonight. He's going to love it.

Yeah…things have been a little slow around our house. I'm blogging about a ruined book.