Monday, January 31, 2011

I am not liking what I am hearing today….

I am really, really disliking the news today about the weather headed our direction. I just pulled up a TV station website and they were giving advice on what to do if your power goes out. I remember 2007 – it was not any fun and I do not want to see a repeat of that. They are comparing this one more to the storm of 2002 that started on December 23. It was a lot of snow – probably at least a foot? I also remember that one because it took me close to two hours to make the 45 minute trip from Carthage to home. Jay kept calling me to tell me I had to leave work right then – which he never does. That is how bad it was. But I can handle that better than I can another ice storm. I'm sure Charity also remembers the great snow of 2002. She got stuck in Springfield – was it 1 time or 2 times that day? My dad had to go get her on Christmas Eve. Even I-44 was still a mess the next day, after the snow had stopped. They almost got hit by a semi. Fun times, fun times….

100 Days of School

Friday I went to a special thing that they had at the elementary to celebrate the 100th day of school. Jay and I tag-teamed the day – he went from 9-10 during his planning period and I went from 10 until after lunch. That seemed to satisfy Cade and it worked good with our work schedules. Jay called me when he was leaving and said it was not very exciting. When he was there the kids were doing a measuring activity. They were measuring things 100 cm and then writing it down. Jay said he almost fell asleep.

I got there in time to watch them do another activity and then we went to lunch. I learned a few things while I was there. I now know why Cade is starving everyday after school. He has never caught on that at school he doesn't have all day to eat. He talks a lot and eats little. He managed to eat 4 carrot sticks and about ½ of his pizza. That's why he grazes all night long. I got a kick out of listening to Cade and his friend Neilson. Neilson is pretty funny and he made some comments that made me laugh on the inside. There were some boys across from us who were obnoxious….so annoying! Neilson said "Crystal, do you see what we have to put up with every day". I had to agree – they were acting so immature. Then Neilson said I don't want to mention any names but some people end up in the principal's office every day and then he did a head nod towards those two boys. Then Cade leaned over and whispered that they are like that every day. I finally had enough and I told the two of them to knock it off. Yeah, they probably thought I was a mean parent. Then the boy sitting on the other side of me kept playing with his food. Cade leaned over again and whispered that this boy played in his food every day too. It was so funny to witness the 3rd grade lunch room schematics! One thing though that Cade and Neilson said to me I didn't fully catch on to until later. I asked them if they had had fun so far that day and they said they had. They also said that they measured Jay's belly in the activity Jay was at. That somewhat went over my head and I didn't dwell on it.

That night Jay and I went out by ourselves, which is an extremely rare occurrence. We never do anything alone. We were going to go out and eat and then to a movie. By the time we were done at the restaurant it was almost 9. We decided we were too old and tired to stay in town for a 10 pm movie. So we went home. Jay said we tried to play like the cool kids and stay out late, but we just couldn't do it. Anyway, I told Jay that I heard the kids had measured his belly that morning. So then I heard the full story and realized I should've paid more attention to the lunch room talk…

One thing to know about Jay is that his resting face looks like a crabby old man. You know the face that you have when you are sitting there thinking about nothing – not that you are happy or sad or mad, just sitting there? Well Jay's face always looks like whatever he is doing or wherever he is at is the last thing in the world he wants to be doing. It took me years to get used to that face. Even now if my mood is right I'll look at him and say if you'd rather be somewhere else just go! That usually snaps him out of his trance and then he's confused because he has no idea what just occurred because after all he was just sitting there. We've talked about this before, especially before meeting someone new. I'm always reminding him to not get that face because someone who doesn't know him would think he hates them.

So back to Friday. Remember how I said Jay almost fell asleep? Well, he was sitting in a chair and he was so sleepy. He also admits that he had the grumpy old man look on his face. So he's about to doze off when the activity leader calls on Cade. They wanted Cade to name something that is 100 cm. Cade could've said anything – a ball, a desk, anything he could've laid his eyes on in the classroom. But of course this is Cade we are talking about. Instead he says "my dad's belly". I'm sure that snapped Jay out of his coma like state, but I know he would've had his "I hate the world" look when everyone turned to look at him and his 100 cm belly. He let them measure his belly. I asked him if it was 100 cm. Jay said he didn't know - the kids said it was but he didn't pay any attention. And this is just another reason why Jay is such a great dad. Not many can say they let 3rd graders measure their belly's for a school activity.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Surviving the Wait

I've read Kelly's blog for quite some time but this is the first SUYL I've linked to.  When I saw that adoption was the theme for this week I debated on what to do.  No, I technically don't have an adoption story yet, but I have been in the trenches for a long time.  A very, very long time.  Sometimes I wish I could find a blog where the person had an experience similar to ours but I have yet to find it.  I decided maybe today I needed to be that blog.  I was going to write out our whole story but it got really long.  Instead I decided to put our timeline on the left side and then write about some things I've learned over the last few years....

To sum it up we have been praying for a 2nd child for 67 months.  We are one of the "lucky" ones who had no problem conceiving or delivering our first child but then learned about the world of Secondary Infertility when we were ready to expand our family.  Out of these 57 months 39.5 of them have been spent as a waiting family with an adoption agency.  I know in the scheme of thing we aren't the longest waiters ever and we don't have the saddest story - but still the waiting stinks.  No matter how long it takes - it is a frustrating place to be.

I would say though that I've made some great strides in my relationship with God and how I choose to handle my feelings towards the wait in the last few months.  After our last failed attempt at embryo adoption I knew that I was finally at the point of where I had to say "God, I've done all I can do, it is in Your hands now".  It was freeing to give up the hold that I had on always wondering what our next step should be and should we find another agency, is there anything else we could try etc.  I knew without a doubt we had exhausted all of our resources.  There were no more backup plans.  We had to make a choice - either we continue to wait for the perfect time from God or we give up and quit.  We have decided to persevere and never give up until God tell us differently.

Some are probably thinking "well, they just want the perfect healthy Caucasian baby, that's why their wait has been so long".  Unfortunately no, that is not the case.  We are open to a lot.  We are open to drug abuse, different races, not so pleasant situations.  In fact both babies we have been matched with have been different races.  We have been shown many, many times in many different situations.  I wish I had kept track of how many times our profile has been shown.  But still we wait.  I have no idea why or what God's plan is with all of this, but I have to assume it is something big.  Somehow He will use all of this to His glory - we just hope it is before we are 80! ha ha...

So my contribution today is just some things that I've learned over the years.  Hopefully it can encourage someone else who may be having a rough time with the wait.  Maybe it will help you to learn some of these lessons a little quicker than I did???  I also think it is important though to express that adoption can be a wonderful thing, but it is not pleasant all the time.  You will be forced to make some decisions that really don't seem fair and no one but another adoptive family will even begin to understand.  Even if you have the greatest most understanding family in the world, they will not fully understand what an adoptive family goes through during the wait and the really hard questions you will have to think about.  I'm not saying that to be negative, I'm saying it because it is the truth. 

  • Go in to it prepared to wait.  We all hope to be the family who is placed as soon as their face appears on the website, but that only happens for a small few.  Try to remember it will happen on God's time not yours.
  • Research, read about, listen and learn from others about adoption. Even read opinions from others that you may not agree with.  You will learn that your views will change during the wait.  BUT do this in small doses.  Too much information at one time is overwhelming.  You will only end up upset and confused. 
  • If you are like me and don't want to look at anything baby related until the baby comes home that is completely ok.  But one suggestion would be to find a family member/friend who would buy you a few essential hospital things  and pack them in a plain bag that you can stash in your house.  After two losses I finally developed this system.  Next time we get a call we will be prepared to go, but won't have the emotional stress of yet again sorting through the baby clothes.
  • You will get tired of the wait.  No matter how good you try to keep your attitude it will get hard.  There are days you will cry from sadness, want to throw things in anger and actually feel at peace with the wait.  Sometimes these phases last weeks, sometimes all three happen in the same 15 minutes.  But you will survive it.
  • Is is expensive - and I'm not talking about the agency fees here.  When you count every trip, every profile copy, every stinkin' HIV test (6 between the two of us since 07) it adds up.  Just be prepared.  That total sum from the agency includes none of that.
  • Even in you are matched and it seems like God has lined everything up it still may not work.  BUT remember that God wanted your paths to cross for a reason.  Maybe you are the only ones who will ever pray on a consistent basis for that baby and their family.  Take that responsibility seriously and do it! 
  • You can and you will do more than you ever thought you could.  God will lead you through it.  I will admit that I've read blogs or online forum posts where people have waited 2 months, throw a big fit saying that they can't take it any more and then bam they get a placement.  Then all the people on the online forums say God is wonderful because he knew you were at your breaking point and he sent you a baby.  So I tried their method before.  I've thrown some doozies and told God I was at my absolute lowest at that moment.  And like I don't appreciate my child throwing a fit, either did God.  Instead of getting my way I heard him say "get up and get it together, I will give you the strength to get through it".  And He does.  Every time I start to think I won't survive I hear Him say Yes you will!!!
  • If you are like us and have another child DO NOT put off the big trips until you think your family is complete.  We finally reached that point in 2009.  We wanted to do the Disneyland thing and finally knew the time was right.  Cade was almost 8.  If we waited for another one to be old enough to go Cade would be in HS and the magic would be gone.  So we made the most extravagant financial decision we ever had and flew to California.  I think Jay and I would both agree on this - we could loose our jobs and our house tomorrow, but we would never ever regret going to Disneyland. It was the greatest trip. And after seeing it with my own eyes I will never do Disneyland with a stroller!  Talk about a nightmare (just a little bit of extra advice there).
  • It is disappointing to be rejected time and time again.  Even though you know that God will put all the right people in the right place at the right time it still stinks.  None of us wake up each day and think "boy, I hope someone really dislikes me today".  It gets hard to not take it personally.  Sometimes I think the choice could be between us and a pack of wolves and the wolves would be the ones picked!  I have no idea why....we shower, we wear deodorant, we have normal jobs and pretty normal lives.  Jay is a teacher, I am a loan officer....Jay likes football, I'm a typical mom who's only hobby is whatever activity her child is doing (ha ha).  But seriously, what is wrong with us?  We have one child that I think has turned out really really great.  Not that we did anything special to make that happen, we have just loved him like any other parent does.  So why don't people like us?  I have to constantly remind myself that was not our baby.  God did not intend for us to raise that child.  And when that doesn't work I take the advice of a friend and tell myself...well, it was just another ugly baby!! :)
  • Research all the different types of drugs and their effects on development.  Just because you think there are no drugs used in a situation the baby could test positive at birth.  Have an idea of what you would do in that situation.  I know from personal experience how stressful this can be.  When you add that on to the other normal stress of any adoption situation it is hard.  A lot of decisions have to be made in a short time frame.
  • But with that being said also remember that the birth family has chosen you for a reason.  There is something about you that has made them trust you enough to give you their child.  Take that responsibility seriously if you have to make one of those hard decisions.  Again, from personal experience I know this is hard.  And I still feel guilt about a decision we had to make and I wonder daily if the mom has/can/will forgive us?
  • Be very careful what you say if you tell people that you are being shown or if you are picked.  Once it is said it can't be unsaid.  What if you are picked for that situation?  Will you really want people to know everything that you knew about the details?  Probably not.
  • And most importantly never ever loose your faith that God will get you through it.  Even with all of what we have been through I still feel that God is going to bless us at some point.  I don't know when, I don't know how, it may not be the way we think it should be, but it will happen!
I know this is getting really long, but I want to add a couple more things for friends and family members of those who are adopting....
  • When a couple tells you they are going to adopt just be happy for them.  Don't give them a lecture on why you think white couples should not raise black kids or any other adoption advice - like how hereditary mental illness is.  Again, that is something that once it is said can't be unsaid.  Those kinds of comments can seriously hurt your relationship with that couple.  Once they have a child their 1st responsibility will be to raise the baby in a safe environment.  If they feel you are negative towards them or their family they will cut off contact with you.
  • And I can't stress this one enough - Don't ask nosy questions.  There are a lot of things that adoptive families will not share about their child's history.  It is no one's business except for the parents and the child.  Sorry, but not even grandparents need to know everything.  When you ask questions you put the parents in an awkward situation.  They have to lie - and no one likes to lie, but they also have to protect their child. So don't ask.  Just be confident in the fact that the adoptive family does know everything that the agency knows and as long as they are comfortable with it, then you need to be comfortable with it.  It does not matter in the least to you if the child was drug exposed or if you know all there is to know about the birthfather or even if the mother has other children.  All you need to know is that this adoptive finally has the baby they have prayed for for years and years.  Your job is  to love the baby and not worry about the other stuff.  Because it just doesn't matter.  And if/when the day comes that the child is ready to share his full story he will share it with those who loved him for him without knowing every detail in the past.
So for all those in the process or thinking about it Good Luck - you are on quite the adventure which will be full of ups and downs.  But I know you know it will be worth it in the end - just like I do.  When I finally hold the son/daughter that God intended to be in our family it will be magical.  And so worth the wait!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Freshenator

Cade had a project this week. He had to invent somethig that would make our lives today easier. Sometimes I think teachers who don't have kids are the ones who dream up these ideas. Seriously. We finally got the full instructions last night, which meant we had one evening to come up with the idea and execute it.

Cade's idea was an air freshener system for Jay's parents to use in their chicken houses. It was all Cade's idea. I came up with the name and Jay helped him with the drawings. Typical school project that turned into a family project....well a father/son project. It was good practice for Jay though. Valentine's is just around the corner and he is responsible for the box assembly for odd grade years.

They had some serious planning discussions. You can see the Practice drawing also in this picture.

Then there were serious crayon discussions...

The finished design

Up close picture of the chickens

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What was said around our house last night....

Just some things that were funny to us last night....

Cade and I were going over a punctuation worksheet last night.  Which I am learning that it has been a long time since I did anything with grammer and punctuation.  Most of you reading this blog are thinking that is obvious!  One of the problems used quotation marks.  I was trying to explain where he needed to put them in the sentence and very grumpily he said "I am not a quotation man"

Then Jay and I had a little farm/infertility humor that some may not get but at least we can laugh about our situation.  And it is not something you hear every day in most households.....  Jay bought Lutalyse for our cows, which is a drug that is used to bring them in heat.  It is dangerous for women because it can cause miscarriages.  I think it can also just mess with the reproductive system but I'm not positive on that.  Anyway, I think it is a good idea for women to stay clear of it as much as possible.  He must've had the vial in his coat pocket because I found it sitting on the kitchen table with his other pocket junk last night.  I asked him to get it off the table before we had a reproductive disaster.  He said "what, do you think it may actually start working?"  Point taken....   

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Infertility and the Dentist

I actually typed this post right before we found out about Baby C.  It was going to auto post on the 10th, the day of my appointment, but with all the crappy adoption stuff going on I took it off.  Since today I have an update to the appointment I thought I'd post it.  I'll update at the end....

Over the last 67 months of our journey through infertility I've discovered a reminder that is almost as bad as my yearly check-ups with the GYN…..a trip to the dentist. I sometimes wondered if I was alone in my hatred of visiting the dentist because it is a little weird. How can someone looking in your mouth prompt those feelings of infertility? After all it is in totally different areas and why would someone poking at my gums bother me? Then I read on two separate infertility blogs about how much they hate going to the dentist so I felt better. It made me feel not as crazy knowing that I'm not alone.

So today I am visiting the dentist. I guess that would make like my 11th trip to the dentist since we started all of this stuff (give or take an appointment). So you are probably wondering what the big deal is with going to the dentist…Let me try to explain in a few words…X-rays and medication list….

At the beginning it never failed that my dentist appointments would coincide with exactly one week in to the two week wait. Was I pregnant? At that point it is too early to test, but an x-ray could still do a lot of damage to a developing embryo. What to do??? The first year I opted out of the x-ray. The dentist got his pants in a wad and wouldn't let it drop when I refused the x-ray. I finally had to announce that I could be pregnant. That got him to leave me alone. When I left the hygienist told me "good luck". It was tons of fun going back in 6 months later with my belly as flat as it was at the last visit.

Six months after that I had to reschedule my appointment. When you reschedule they stick you with a different hygienist. At least I didn't have to face the same one that a year ago I had announced to that I may be pregnant. I could escape that horror – except I was currently on clomid. I had to confess to a new person all the medication I was taking. Yes, I was so tempted to not mention it, but then that worried me. What if mixing fluoride and clomid created some toxic environment in my body and I died in the dental exam chair? I thought the chances of that not happening were about 99.9% in my favor, but did I really want to mess with that .01%? I mentioned it and then that started the whole infertility discussion. Fun thing to talk about with hands stuck in your mouth. Then six months later I got to go back to the same person. She looked at my chart and said she was sorry the clomid didn't work, but she had some uncle's brother who sisters sister-in-law's great great niece had the same thing happen to them and they finally got pregnant. I was thinking - Uhm, thanks for that awesomely encouraging story I'm sure the exact same thing will happen to me. But instead of saying that I spouted out my normal response to those stories (with a smile on my face) Yes, you just never know what will happen. We will just keep waiting.

After that trip I was finally past the 18 month mark of waiting. That seemed to be a turning point in the wait. I finally came to the realization that more than likely I was not pregnant each month. I was able to have several stress free appointments in a row. I let them x-ray and poke and prod all they wanted. It was win-win for everyone.

Then I went in November 2009. My gum on my two bottom front teeth is receding. They wanted me to call some oral surgeon to see about clipping the piece of skin that attaches my bottom lip to my gum. They thought that might help with the problem and buy me some time before I would need a tissue transplant. I could loose my bottom teeth if I don't do all of this. I left the dentist that day and never called about visiting the surgeon. I meant to, but then things happened and I didn't get it done. When I went in last May they asked me about it again. I pretended like I was going to do it. I asked for another card of the surgeon so they would leave me alone, but I knew I wasn't going to call. We had just gotten back from our first trip to Tennessee. I had no intentions of getting involved in anything else medically until we resolved this embryo thing. Clearly I hoped that at my November appointment I would be pregnant and they would leave me alone about my gums.

So that brings me to my November appointment. It was scheduled for the 22nd. That was two days before the blood draw. I went back and forth on what to do with the appointment for several weeks. Finally I decided it would be best to reschedule it. I would have to tell them about the embryos and all the medication I was on. It was too emotionally draining explaining all of that to people who really didn't understand and it would be another bad reminder if 6 months later I went back looking the same as I did at the last appointment. So my rescheduled appointment is for today. I know I am not pregnant so I can have the x-rays. I guess maybe I will get another card for the surgeon and think about calling him….but I probably won't. There are some other things going on in our lives right now and I'm just not interested in dealing with this. Hopefully this weird feeling in my bottom right tooth is mental and not because the gum seems to be getting lower….

So there is a little more insight into the life and times of a person dealing with infertility. Since I rescheduled my appointment I will probably be with someone I've never seen before. I hope enough time has passed and all of that other history is covered up so maybe they won't know everything we have been through. But then again I don't know if that's good….because they always ask how many kids do I have….then I get the comment "well, it's time for another one". Maybe I can pretend I don't hear them over the noise of the spit sucker????

***update - The tingling feeling in my bottom tooth is not my imagination.  The gum has receded more and my tooth is loose.  I finally broke down today and called the specialist.  I'm going next Wednesday for a consult.  I'm afraid I'm past just needing the skin clipped and will probably need a graft.  Yipee!  Also, the hygienist that day was one I'd never seen before.  So she had no idea about my history.  And in keeping with my luck she was very excited because on Friday (the same day we were in St. Louis with Baby C) she had an ultrasound and found out she was having a girl.  She was not even showing so I would've escaped without ever knowing that fact if she hadn't volunteered it.  I just smiled and said congratulations.  One of these days it will turn around...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Look Who's 1!!!

This weekend we went to Lawson's first birthday party.  I'm not sure he knew what was going on, but the rest of us had a good time!  I swiped most of the picture's from Charity's Facebook.  What a great invention!
This is a good picture of his front teeth.  See that enormous space between them?  He has inherited that from my mom and Charity.  Cade seemed to notice it for the first time Saturday night.  He said "look at his teeth, he looks like Red Skelton!"  For some reason my mom jumped in to make it known that the space came from her.  I think she totally overlooked the point that the 8 year old referred to an entertainer from 50 years ago.  I looked up some pictures of Red Skelton and I'm not sure I see the resemblance, but it is still funny.  I don't think I'd recognize a picture of him.  And they say kids can't learn anything from TV....

The lamb cake is a family tradition.  Every Fowler has a lamb cake for their 1st birthday.  We don't eat them because the recipe is old and it's full of raw eggs... we just look at it. 

I just love these little guys!

I there anything sweeter than a baby squat?

I love how at 1 yr Cade wouldn't have touched those toys but at almost 9 he is mesmerized by them.

A picture of all of Avery and Lawson's first cousins

Here Lawson is eyeing his cake.  He wasn't quite sure what to do with it....

It did not take him long to figure it out

He grabbed handful after handful of cake and shoved it in.  He was completely serious about eating his birthday cake.  But he did offer my mom a few handfuls....after he licked on it awhile.

This was a picture after Lawson got cleaned up from his cake.  He was really eyeing Dylan's piece.  As soon as Dylan got up Lawson swiped it and shoved it in.  Charity tried to get it away from him but it was useless.  He was up all night Saturday with a belly ache!

Isn't this the sweetest picture?  As soon as Cade got there Saturday night Lawson ran up and hugged him.  It was probably out of thankfulness that another male was finally in his house.  If we have to re-print profiles, praying that we don't, but if we do - I need to include this picture.  Cade will make someone such a good brother someday. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Day!!!

The last two weeks have reminded me if why I had 0 interest in doing a January embryo transfer. Nothing gets me more worked up than knowing I have to travel when there is potential for bad weather. I think that goes back to driving a Mustang in my earlier years. It was not a fan of snow....or anything outside of a normal dry pavement... That old gal and I ended up in many a ditch/median. God took care of me by making sure our transfers happened when the weather was good!!

We haven't had a lot of snow but we've had enough that school was cancelled three days last week and then yesterday. We could get more on Sunday and then at the end of next week. I always think that the people from Minnesota would make fun of us if they were here. Things come to a standstill when we get a few inches and people drive like they don't have a brain!! I'm sure they laugh at the TV every night when they show snow on the national news. But that is ok. At least when our world stops for a few inches that means we aren't used to it. I have no desire to live somehere seeing snow would become the norm :)

I had to work yesterday but Jay and Cade got to take advantage of the snow day....

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Great Birthday Debate

It is that time of year when I start thinking about Cade’s birthday party. I LOVE planning his parties. I know most people think I go overboard in what I do…but it doesn't bother me. I enjoy the planning and the decorating and making this day really special for Cade. It’s not that we try to spoil him with gifts but with the experience of the day  I know Shelley gets this because she had Lucy’s psychiatry booth at her daughter’s Peanuts party. That is something that I would’ve done if we had a Peanuts party. Over the years I’ve done lots of online research on ideas for whatever theme Cade picked. Probably the biggest year was the Civil War for his 6th birthday. I found Union Draft notices and turned them into invitations. I even researched writing styles of the 1800’s and changed my writing on the invitations and envelopes. Yes, I am serious about Birthdays! I did used to think that they were just another day, not any big deal and then stuff started changing in my life and my attitude changed. No, I don’t want Cade to turn into a spoiled kid on his birthday and think it is all me, me, me BUT I do want him to know how special he is and how grateful we are to have him. Birthday’s are big deals because it means you are alive and here to celebrate another year…and God willing, many more years to come!

So this morning I took Cade to school and decided it would be a good time to start thinking about a theme…

Me: Do you know what theme you want for your birthday

Cade: (silence)

Me: Are you maybe getting too old for themes? Do you just want to have a regular cake and no particular theme.

Cade: Who’s ever heard of a birthday without a theme? Yes, I want a theme.

Me: Yeah, a birthday without a theme would be boring. What are you into now….I know we could do something with WWII since you are so into that.

(in this brief pause I already had a couple of ideas for WWII party…)

Cade: Let’s think that over for awhile. There may be something else I get into before my birthday….

At least he recognizes that his obsessions change on a daily basis!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A week in pictures

I know my post from yesterday may not seem like it, but it hasn't been all doom and gloom in our household.  After our first loss last February I felt like I would never smile or laugh again.  It was awful.  Thankfully I didn't feel so much like that this time.  I have smiled and I have laughed.  Even as early as last Saturday I laughed quite hard.  I'll post about that seperately, I may even have to put the video on the blog.  It concerned Cade and basketball and shoe tying.  It was funny and quite embarassing for Jay and I.  Nothing like a whole gym full of parents knowing you have failed in your parental duties. 
I'm not sure why these pictures are so fuzzy.  Normally my iPhone takes better pictures than our crappy camera.  This was Tuesday night, January 4 - the date that we have lived and breathed since the Arkansas/LSU game.  It was the Sugar Bowl!  I came home from work that day to find our living room decorated.  I tried to get a picture of the decorators but remember what I said about Cade and the dorky poses?  He struck again...

So I tried again.  You can't tell it in this fuzzy one, but you can just read it on his face that he is really working hard to control himself and not go into another weird pose.

The seat cushion that Jay is not at all embarassed to tote into the games.  I think seat cusions at ball games are a defining moment in a person's life.  You know you have finally reached a pivotal moment when you are willing to say that the comfort of my butt overrides my need to look young and cool so I'm buying a seat cushion.  So far I've resisted that but after Cade's first basketball game last week I may soon be crossing over to the other side.....  And the Razorback helmet that gets brought from Cade's room into the family room every game.

And a mug and a sign.  Yes, that is making tape holding the sign on my oak endtable.  I'm trying to practice self I didn't say anything about it.  Yes, it was very hard.

Cade's first basketball game was last Saturday.  We had an hour break between the two games.  This is how the boys occupied themselves.  Those are Avon magazines.

Jay and Cade missed three days of school this week because of snow.  So they can forget about their 4 day weekend in February.  You may wonder why we don't have a cover on our grill.  I don't know why myself.  I wonder than on a daily basis but yet never think to buy one. 

Work also kept me quite busy this past week.  We had to get these files...

and these files...

Up these stairs.  I promise that had nothing at all to do with me calling in Thursday. I did move my fair share on Tuesday and Wednesday.   But I wasn't too upset when I got to work Friday and saw that it was all done.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

And Finally it Hits….

Today I'm having a harder time with everything than I have up to this point. Today I am so sad for us and for everything that has happened this past year. Today I had to write a check to the clinic in KC for my last ultrasound from the transfer. That made me mad and so very sad. Then I keep thinking about everything with this last situation and the circumstances with the baby. The chances of everything that happened actually happening is very small…but still it happened. The chances of us being picked, when you consider all of the times our profile has been shown, was very small. Still we were the ones that somehow got the call. His mom wanted to bless the family that had waited the longest. Go figure. The only time that has happened since we because the longest waiting family.

I read in a Beth Moore devotional book about a year ago that we should thank God when we do go through these hard times because maybe He is using us to help glorify His name in the situation. We should feel honored that we are the one He saw fit to use. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Yes, it sounds wonderful, but in reality it sucks. I guess in a way even that makes me feel more sorry for myself…were we picked because we were the family that could handle the news better than any of the other families? And if that is the case why do we keep having to be the "strong" ones. There are plenty of other families waiting with BCS. Why couldn't it have been one of them? Why have Jay and I have to stand on either side of Cade's bed and listen to him ask God for a brother OR a sister (adding in that or was a big step for him but even he is frustrated by the wait) for years and years and now we have added the healing of Baby C and to help find him a family? I am really really trying to let this refine my faith and bring me closer to God and work out all of the junk in my life that God needs me to work and really trying not to complain and be thankful in all situations, but it is so hard. And it is awful. And I really wish I knew how much more stuff I need to get out and work on because it really doesn't feel like there is anything left in me at the moment.

I should've known this day would come. I really hadn't cried since last Friday. Yesterday I woke up and had a headache. I decided not to come into work. I never call in sick unless Cade is sick or I have the stomach flu. I will and (have worked) through any and all illnesses (including labor) except for the stomach flu (which thankfully is a very rare occurrence for me). So I sat in my jammies all day alternating from reading, napping, playing Bejeweled and watching Little House. Cade and Jay had a snow day so Cade stayed with me and Jay went to school to do some work. When Jay got home he said something about it not looking like I had moved all day. Cade said "the only times I've seen her move are to go to the bathroom". I did have to correct him – I made lunch. All of that should have been a clue that I needed to deal with some issues because it is extremely unlike me to do any of that. It all became very apparent to me at lunch today when I got the sauce from my Subway sandwich all over my shirtsleeve. I had been writing out a couple of checks (one was the above mentioned one to the fertility clinic) so I didn't unwrap my sandwich right away which made it leak everywhere – all over the napkins and eventually onto my sleeve. That seemed to be the unleashing event. I had tears in my eyes and my napkins were sticky and soggy but I didn't want to get up and ask for more napkins because I didn't not know what might happen. I had to make do with what I had. Then the sticky on my sleeve seemed to grow and I was transferring it to other parts of my body. And I was trying not to all out loose it at the Subway. I think I even had a snot bubble at one point…or it couldn't been the Sweet Onion sauce. I'm not sure. Yes, lunchtime was a hoot today. I had to have brought the mood level down quite a bit in that 12x12 area.

I know that I have to take comfort in knowing that God has a plan and this will turn out better than I ever dreamed of asking Him for. But at this point I have to wonder if we will be adopting the baby that turns out to be President or cure cancer or something. It is going to have to be something big…very very big J

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What has happened since...

Without really talking about it Jay and I knew we had to get ourselves back to normal very quickly for Cade's sake.  We left our hotel in Pacific at 5am Saturday morning to make it to Jasper by 10 for his first basketball game.  We made it just a few minutes before it started.  I feel that we both handled everything pretty well.  I did tear up once when I heard Lawson giggle....Jay said that when he looked at the bi-racial boy on Cade's team it made him wonder what Baby C would look like when he grew up.  I know we will have our moments for awhile but it hasn't been as overwhelmingly devastating as it was last time.

Last time I was angry.  I was so so angry at the state of Illinois and DFS.  This time I'm not angry because there is nothing to be angry about.  It is just a sad situation.  Sad for everyone involved, but mostly for the baby and his family.

After reflecting on the whole situation for a week I can see some things that I'm thankful for and that I can see God's hand in...
  • The fact we didn't rush up there Thursday.
  • That we went on as normal for the two nights before we went to meet him, that made it easier to get back to normal when we got home.
  • That even though we have thought the whole time we've been in the process of adoption we had hoped to do it in "secret", but that has never worked out.  I'm not sure that it ever would with a school age child and cattle.  But both times I know we wouldn't have survived if we hadn't had the prayers of our close friends and family that knew what was going on.
  • A new appreciation for what birth families go through.  They leave their child at the hospital after knowing them for 9 months.  We had a hard time leaving him there after 10 minutes.
  • A new respect for families of sick kids.  Again, after knowing him for 10 minutes we had to listen to doctors tell us what was wrong with him.  We only had to make a decision on what we were going to do.  I can't imagine having to listen to doctors tell you something that important when you are numb and then have to make a decision concerning your child's treatment plan.
  • An even bigger appreciation for those called to adopt kids with special needs.
Even though Baby C's time with our family was very short, we will never forget him.  Cade prays for him every night - that he will get well and that the agency will find a family.  I know there are several who may hear our story and wonder what is wrong with us.  Or they may think our long wait has been because we only want a "healthy white baby", which is so far from the truth.  I know that those who really know us know that isn't the case.  I have no idea why our wait has been so long or why things have been so painful.  I read about adoption stories all the time that seem so easy.  We aren't those people for reasons we don't know and don't understand.  But it is the way it is.  God has a plan for all of us so we have to take comfort in that.

Also, please don't hesitate to ask us about Baby C.  I think it will be more hurtful to us if people forget about him or don't bring him up because they think it will upset us. Especially our families. Anyone who goes through an adoption loss knows that you never forget about them.  You don't think about them all the time but still they were a part of your life.  He was a part of our family, even for a short while, and we want everyone to keep him in their prayers. 

We did get an update on him today.  There are some families who God called to adopt special need kids.  I thank God for those people.  They did find out he has a rare recessive disorder that doesn't allow him to break down a certain protein.  Even though they have him on meds he is not showing much improvement.  The doctors are baffled by this little boy.  Please, please keep him in your prayers. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Happened Friday....

Friday Jay and I left home around 6 am.  We had told Aimee we would meet her and Donna at the hospital about 10.  Our drive went relatively smoothly..once Jay got some 5 Hour Energy in Springfield.  Up to that point I felt like I had a grandma following me.  I wanted to drive 80 to hurry up and get there while he was dragging behind at 60ish.  We drove seperatley because it looked like Baby C would still be in the hospital for a few days.  Jay was going to leave on Sunday and I was going to stay with Baby. 

Around 9 am I got a call from Aimee.  She told me that Baby C was still having trouble sucking and swallowing.  He was being taken to for a swallow test that morning.  The hospital didn't expect to find anything.  We needed to wait until 10:30 am to get to the hospital.  That worked out great for us.  By the time we found the hospital, parked in the parking garage, lost the checkbook then found it, lost my parking garage ticket then found it, gathered up the diaper bag and video camera, walked into the hospital and found out we were in the wrong spot, walked across that hospital to the childrens hospital, found the second floor waiting room and then found the bathroom it was right at 10:30 am.  A few minutes later Aimee and Donna showed up and we started the process of checking in so we could meet Baby C.  The security in the hospital was extremely tight, which we can appreciate.  Donna kept having to say that we were the adoptive parents she had told them about that morning.  It took awhile to keep us all signed in and then admitted into the NICU. 

On the way into the room Donna asked is she could take pictures when we met Baby C for the first time.  We were fine with that because we knew we would be too preoccupied for pictures. We walked into Baby C's room and he was so tiny laying in his isolete alone.  His nurse came in right behind us and she did not look pleased.  She told Donna she needed to speak with her outside.  While Donna was gone Jay and I just looked at Baby C.  I think we both wanted to pick him up but there were so many wires and things we didn't know how.  We just stared at him until Donna came back.  That's when things started to go wrong...

This is also where my memory starts to get fuzzy.  Donna came back and said we were going to have a consult with the doctors and they were going to tell us some stuff.  She needed us to know that it was ok for us to say no to this situation.  Looking back I realized she never started taking pictures.  It was such a confusing 10 minutes or so...Donna was saying stuff but yet not saying anything...I'm sure she had the feeling that something was wrong, but didn't know what and didn't want to worry us until we talked to the doctor.  I think Aimee clued in that something was wrong because she told us that after talking to the doctors we could spend more time with Baby C before we made a decision.  I remember asking what we needed to do about the appointment with the attorney if we weren't sure.  They told us we could postpone it. 

At that point I started having a weird feeling...there were all sorts of warning bells going off in my head, I was sick and I was dizzy.  The nurse finally helped us get him out of the crib and I held him for awhile.  It was like my brain was just screaming and I couldn't think or feel anything at that moment.  I couldn't allow myself to.  I knew something was wrong.  I only held him for a couple of minutes and then I passed him to Jay.  He held him for longer than I did.  All of a sudden a social worker and the doctor appeared in the room.  They were ready for the consult.  The warning bells screamed louder when I realized the doctor showed up within minutes of being paged.  When does that happen in a medical situation?

We went to a small conference room - us, Aimee and Donna, hospital social worker, nurse, resident and doctor.  A second doctor came in while we were in the middle of the consult.  The doctor started telling us everything that did not seem right about Baby C.  Each thing individually wasn't bad, but when you put then together things did not look good.  What was the most frustrating thing was that they did not have a firm diagnosis, but they were confident something was not right.  But without a name for the problem we didn't know the outlook or the treatment.  I finally asked about Cerebal Palsy and the doctor gave me the impression she thought that was a strong possibility. I think that is when it sunk in for Jay that we probably weren't bringing him home.  I started to cry.  He put his hand on my back.

When the doctor was done they left us in the room.  Aimee and Donna left us for a few mintues and we talked a little but mostly we sat there numbly and I cried.  Aimee and Donna came back and they were very upset also.  The hospital had never indicated to Donna they thought his situation was that severe.  She had been there at 7 that morning and no one said anything to her about any of this.  She felt horrible because she would've never brought us to the hospital if she knew it was that severe.  Donna explained some of our options...we could spend some time with him and then make a decision, we could proceed and then "give him back" before finalization if he didn't improve,  we could leave for awhile and digest the information, we could leave with or without seeing him again...we decided to leave the hospital without seeing him again.  Aimee took us out a different way so we didn't have to pass his room.  We walked back across the hospital, paid for our parking and then found our cars in the garage and drove away.  We had been at the hospital for exactly two hours.  We walked into the hospital so full of joy and left completely devestated.

Since we had the truck and the car we decided we really didn't need to drive home.  We both needed to sit and we needed to make some phone calls.  We decided to get outside of the city and find a hotel.  We spent   the rest of the afternoon/evening alternating from talking to family and staring at the walls.  After getting away from the situation I was concerned - did we leave him too soon? should we go back and spend some time with him?  We kept having to remind each other that the mood in the room was very somber.  They knew something was wrong with him.  Since we didn't know any better we needed to trust them.  They were the ones who have witnessed babies in the NICU. Finally around 4 pm I called and let them know we were going to have to say no.  As much as it hurt we knew it was best.  The quicker we let them know the quicker they could start searching for another family better prepared to care for Baby C. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Happened Thursday...

Thursday morning I woke up totally exhausted and gripped by fear.  Baby C was black....was I truly prepared to raise a black son?  could Jay and I provide him everything that he needed to grow into the man we hoped he would become?  would he truly be accepted by our family and friends?   was our desire for a baby overriding what we really could offer to a child of a different race? would be grow up confused and not really sure of where he fit in life? 

Thank goodness for the faith that Jay has.  I think if he could've slapped me to snap me out of it that morning he would've!!  We had a long talk about how it was satan working on me and my thoughts at that moment.  He was the one putting the ideas in my head that I would not be a fit parent.  Jay knew that we were doing God's will in this situation and felt totally confident in our decision.  He knew we were not stepping outside of His will.  As Jay pointed out to me over and over and over we prayed about it and we prayed some more.  How could it not have been God's plan for us to have been picked to be Baby C's parents? 

As the day wore on I did start to snap out of it.  There were so many things that made us feel like this was meant to be.  One of the big things was his name.  The night we were discussing if we would be shown we talked about his name.  His mom had given him a name.  Jay and I have always planned to try to incorporate a part of our child's birthname with our name.  We do have some "criteria" (for lack of a better term) for our future child's name.  Our plan has always been to have their name either start with a C or J.  Not that we planned to have our childrens initials match ours Cade just happened to be a name we liked.  Then we always said we wanted our kids names to start with a C.  Then Jay chose JCS Cattle Company as the name we show under and will register cattle under.  In order to fit in with everything we want their name to start with a C or a J.  This is one of those things we feel is important in our family.  Anyway, we loved the name Baby C's mom gave him and it started with a C.  And we liked this name better than the name we had picked for the baby a year ago.  We just felt like this was going to work out.

I talked to Aimee several times that day about various things....where I could stay while he was in the hospital, if we were bringing Cade, what would happen at placement...and most importantly updates on Baby C.  He was still having problems with sucking and swallowing.  But we all felt that was not a huge issue.  The hospital had never indicated to anyone from BCS that they were overly concerned about anything with Baby C.  Aimee and Donna both really thought that once we got to meet Baby C and start bonding with him and advocating for his care he would improve.  It all made sense to us.  Jay and I both felt confident that all Baby C needed was his mom and dad to get there and give him some encouragement to start eating correctly.

By the time I got home that evening I was feeling much better.  Jay took Cade to practice and I started working on getting things together.  I was pretty overwhelmed and didn't know where to start.  It was one of those nights where I'd start doing something and then get sidetracked easily.  After Jay and Cade got home we headed out to deliver Cade to Jim and Sharon.  When we got back I still had to fold the baby's laundry and pack his bag.  Aimee told me that Baby C could start wearing clothes while he was in the hospital.  I picked out a couple of outfits that I couldn't wait to put on him.  I think we got to bed about 11 that night.  Surprisingly we slept better than we thought we would.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Happened Wednesday...

Tuesday afternoon we got an e-mail about a cold call situation.  There was a baby boy born on Sunday who's mom wanted to place him for adoption.  He was born early, the hospital was guessing he was at 36 weeks gestation.  He was having a little trouble breathing and with the breathing/sucking/swallowing process.  None of this was overly concerning because he was an early baby.  What did concern me was that the original e-mail gave his weight as 2lbs 9oz.  That bothered me the most out of everything they told us.  For 4 weeks early that was extremely tiny.  If drugs had been involved that could've explained the weight, but the mom said she did not use and the baby tested negative.  I felt confident that drugs were not the cause of the low birthweight.  Tuesday evening Jay and I discussed it a lot.  I'm not sure why we talked about it as much as we did.  For the most part we have not said no to many situations.  There have only been a handful of times in the last 39 months where we were too concerned about something that made us say no.  We usually operate on the faith that God will provide us with what we need to raise the baby He knows should be placed with our family.  But still we talked and we prayed.  A lot.  Wednesday morning about 6:30 am Jay sent the e-mail to Aimee to show our profile.

When I got to work Wednesday morning there was an e-mail waiting for me.  It was an update on Baby C.  Aimee told the families that there was a mistake on his birthweight.  He did not weigh 2lbs 9oz - he weighed 6lbs 9 oz.  The hospital gave our agency the first weight in kilos.  I felt so much better when I read that e-mail.  That was a much healthier weight for that gestation.  That made me feel much more peace about the fact we were being shown.  I went along with my work and tried not to think about the situation very much.  At 9:30 that morning I got a phone call.  I looked at my cell phone and saw the area code -I knew that we had been picked.

I was so nervous answering the phone.  Aimee told me that Baby C's mom felt very strongly about blessing the family that had waited the longest.  They knew if we said yes to being shown he would be our baby.  It was an unreal feeling.  She told me to talk everything over with Jay and let her know what our plans were.  They wanted to introduce us as soon as we could get there.  I hung up and told them at work I had to leave for awhile.  I drove the 10 minutes to Miller, which was the longest drive of my life, just to talk to Jay.  I could've kicked myself when I got there and his sub reminded me he and Lyle had taken 30 Freshmen to Springfield.  The last time we were chosen I also had to tell him over the phone.  I really wanted to tell him in person this time, but I knew I had to call.  So while Jay was trying to keep an eye on 30 kids we discussed our plans to meet our future son. 

For whatever reason we knew that we wouldn't be able to go until Friday.  As much as we wanted to pick up and leave that minute something kept us from doing that.  It is something I can't explain.  We just knew that not rushing up there would be best.  We had to make plans for Cade and work and the cattle, etc.  Work for me was a pretty big deal.  Since Baby C was in the NICU and it looked like he would be there for awhile I had to get things lined out at work.  If I was going to be 4 hours away for an undetermined abount of time I couldn't just leave them high and dry with the mess of papers on my desk.  That day and a half until we left to meet Baby C seemed like a lifetime, even though it was less than 48 hours. 

That night we drove to Jay's parents to tell them in person and make plans for Cade for the weekend.  When we got home that night we didn't do anything - which is probably weird for people in our situation.  Jay read the book he's been working on - George W Bush's and Cade and I bowled and boxed on the Wii.  I think everything was still unreal for as at that point....and we also had been in this place before so we were trying to keep everything low key.  I don't think I slept more than a couple of hours that night.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


As most of you know by now we had another failed placement last week.  I will probably have several posts about the experience this week.  Obviously there are a lot of things floating around my mind right now.  Not only is this a record that I still hope to be able to look back on some day and think "wow, we were going through that and our baby was..." But this is also good therapy for me.  Writing about my experiences has always been a way for me to deal with whatever I am going through.

I want to start out all of the posts with a verse from Job I happened to read last week.  I decided in 2011 I wanted to read through the Bible.  I've tried this before by starting in Genesis and I always get caught around Leviticus.  This time I found a plan where it was chronological which means you read Job after you read about Noah.  I thought this plan would help me.  The last day I read from the plan was on Tuesday morning before I knew anything about Baby C or what the week had in store for us....for some reason this verse really stuck out to me.

Job 2:13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights.  No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

I know as humans our first instinct is to want to say something profound to those who are suffering or at the very least hopefully not say something stupid.  We would like to say the perfect words to ease their pain, but we all know we can't.  I've had numerous people tell me over the last year that they don't know what to say.  And I want everyone to know that is ok.  If it were reversed I know that I would not have the right words to say to you either.  I guess I feel like Job in the fact that we are surrounded by friends and family who don't have the words and they don't need to have them - they know how great our suffering is.  I know you all hurt for us and you are all praying for us.  I know you all were disappointed for us.  I also know that you are hurting for Baby C and for his mom right now. 

Even if you don't say anything we know...we understand...we feel your prayers....we love you to....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Last of the 12 Presents

When I said I was done with the holiday posts on my last one I forgot I still had to do one more for the 12 presents. We thought we had a pretty good idea who was doing the gifts until the Wednesday before Christmas. All along we thought it was Jay's Aunt LeeAnn. She has come up with some really good ideas in the past. The year Cade was obsessed with pirates LeeAnn and her family and Jay's other Aunt Mary put together a treasure hunt. It was complete with an official looking map with different clues that ended up at an old chest full of pirate related toys. That's why we thought it was probably LeeAnn….until we got a Christmas card from LeeAnn with a gift card to us and a note saying Cade's present was at Nana and Granddad's. That really threw us off…

My sister and I don't exchange gifts anymore, we only buy for the kids….was pretty sure my dad didn't do it….didn't seem like my mom's style….In Jay's words (not mine) it wasn't from his parents because everything was typed…Megan and Terry were about the only other possibility but it still didn't quite seem like their style either…

Saturday morning we finally got to present #12 and the question was answered. It came from Jay's cousin Corey and his wife Kristy. We were very surprised. They included a note saying they sent it because our year had been so tough. I can't tell you how much we appreciate their thoughtfulness with those gifts. By the time I read their card and then read the card Jay gave me along with my snowflake necklace I was pretty teary eyed! Corey and Kristy, along with their three little boys, live in Virginia. We don't get to see them very often, but we love the time we do get to be together. Jay and I are always saying that we wish we lived closer so we could be together more often. They are great people and wonderful parents.

Corey, Kristy and family – thank you so much for what you did for us. We love you guys!!!