I am super excited about April. Not only is this my favorite time of year (sun, heat, happiness), but it is also the month that Josh and I officially start on what I am sure will be a very cool journey.
Here is a little bit of the back story to what I am going to tell you. We conceived Madelyn through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in November of 2008 after 3 years of trying and treatments. We used 3 embryos to get her and had 7 left over for future babies. At the start of this year we decided to use those embryos for another pregnancy. Unfortunately all seven embryos were unsuccessful.
Those are the brief facts. My feelings on the situation? Sad. I knew I wanted to have more kids. Madelyn has been such an incredible blessing in our life that I just couldn't wait to have more sassy bags of trouble running around my house. But Josh and I weren't quite sure how to move forward. We quickly narrowed our choices down to the two choices we were faced with in May of 2008. We could either adopt or go through IVF.
Those of you who walked the past journey with me knew I didn't have a good experience with the adoption lawyer we consulted with. I never felt comfortable with her and therefore was not feeling very comfortable with the idea of adoption. However, this time my mind keeps wandering back to adoption. Obviously I am NOT go with that particular agency, but I wasn't sure where to start. This is when things get pretty cool.
In the fall I was reconnected to an old friend named Molly through facebook. She went to my (huge) church and did a Holy Yoga class that I had been involved in every semester but the fall semester she was a part of it. I contacted her and asked if she was going to do the class in the spring because I would love to see her. She signed up and so we got to have a pretty cool conversation before yoga class started one day in January. During that conversation I told Molly that we started IVF again and she said they were adopting again, after having two adopted angels at home. They are so much fun! Anyway, after that initial conversation I did not see Molly for a few weeks. Once she did come back to class she had her newest little guy with her. But then I never saw her at class again.
After we found out our IVF was not successful and I knew I wanted to find out more about adoption, I contacted Molly to see if I could talk to her. I went to her house last night. M played with her kids, I got to hold her little boy, and we talked about my feelings and her family's story. It was a very powerful hour. I left her house feeling like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. All my left over fears about adoption from the first pass at it had gone away and I was on to more positive thoughts. I had what I considered to be a game plan and a new friend to lean on for understanding and guidance. The whole process just didn't feel so overwhelming any more. And too bad Molly was there the whole time because I might have just stolen her baby boy from her. He is serious so precious. He just melted into my arms and was so relaxed the whole time Molly and I chatted. In fact, he smiled at me the minute I said hello. And yeah, that pretty much does it for me.
Once I was in the car driving home Molly called me and gave me some good advice. She said that I should go home and write down what had happened that day. She said that when you adopt you don't have doctor's appointments, blood work, ultra sounds, any of that. So you have to celebrate every little thing along the way. Yesterday was huge for me. I have wanted to adopt for a long time. I just got scared off the first time I pursued it. And I think God had other plans for me. But this time I was not comfortable with any other option. And I knew I wanted to grow our family. So adoption has now become the path for us. Who knows where the Lord may lead, but for now I wanted to make sure that kid knows that I am already praying and looking forward to the day that I can hold them in my arms. I may not be growing them inside of me, but there is a child out there who God has meant for our family. We don't know when or where they will come to us but we will document the experience of getting him or her just the same. Can you see why I am so excited??
So now for some answers to questions you may be thinking and commentary on what I am anticipating from the last time Josh and I went through this process.
1. Why not IVF again?
This is a question that many people have already asked. I will tell you that I would never, in a million years, give up the experience I had getting pregnant with Madelyn. I am actually very grateful to have been able to experience being pregnant and giving birth to a child that is half Josh and half myself. However, I was not very happy along the way. And I not sure many people even know to what extent it was hard for me to function during those years. I was constantly going to the doctor for one procedure after another. I was being pumped with pills, and shots that contained drugs that messed with my body and emotions, sometimes to the point that I felt like I need to be institutionalized. And again, I am not joking or even being dramatic. These are facts. I have said on multiple occasions that I would have out of body experiences. I would see my self doing things that were not cool. Acting in ways that were not appropriate, but I could not stop myself from doing them even though I knew I was acting crazy. And now that I am out of that craziness I am embarrassed about not being able to handle my emotions for years. Plus, when I was pregnant I was very sick and my body did not respond well to anything. I ended up 73 pounds gained, with pre-eclampsia, a c-section, and a baby in the NICU. NONE of those things were as glorious as I though they were going to be when I mourned not being able to get pregnant naturally. So the thought of going through all of that all over again just feels like too much to handle. And to be honest, seems entirely unnecessary. I did it once. And there are kids out there that need homes. So, if it saves me the doctor appointments, drugs/needles, 73 pounds and uncontrollable emotions, I am totally down for it.
2. Do I think I will love my adopted baby as much as Madelyn?
This is a fair question, and one that I have gotten only once. But thought it was good enough to share. Of course the answer is yes. In fact I was telling my mom that I love my friends kids so much that I would be happy to take any of them if ever I needed too. And I am serious. There were 9 babies born just the summer I had Madelyn. More before and even more since then. I have watched these kids grow up, and even though they are not my blood I can't stand it when they get sick or even hurt themselves on the play ground. I love them! So if given a child who God has entrusted to me to raise, I have no doubt that I will love them as much as any other kid I love.
3. For people who are not sure what to say...
Then my advice is to not say anything at all. Just give hugs, encourage us, pray for us, or meet me for yogurt. I don't care. Just don't feel obligated to have some fancy words of wisdom. And I am not being smart here I am just being sincere. Sometimes the best thing to do is ask about what is going on and just listen. When we were going through stuff the first time people would say the dumbest things. The fact is, we all have different perspectives and beliefs. And when you throw emotions into the game things can just get out of hand. Comments are misinterpreted and relationships get strained. So unless you really feel led to say something, don't. Let me give you an applicable example for this time around. When Josh and I were deciding between IVF and adoption the first time, a number of people would tell me stories about so and so who filled about adoption papers and then got pregnant. Or so and so adopted a number of kids and then got pregnant. Whatever the story was, the message was always the same, but I felt very strongly about two things. One, I didn't feel it was fair to whatever child we adopted if I was just going through the motions so that I may become pregnant with my own child. That didn't sit right. I wanted that child to know that we specifically wanted to adopt them. We were not hoping for someone else. Secondly, it made me feel as if everything I was doing to try to get pregnant was seen as unnecessary to whoever was telling me that story. If they truly felt that I could just be one of those people who filled out paper work/adopted a few kids and then become pregnant, that they didn't believe the very real things that were wrong with Josh and I. Like were just putting ourselves through craziness for nothing. I am positive that none of these things were meant by the people who were telling the story. But I hope you can see why I think saying nothing sometimes is better than making someone who already feels bad about a situation, feel worse. And please don't feel like you can't talk about this with me. You all know that I am a talker. I guess I just don't want to hear that maybe God didn't want us to have this or that. Or that I am not trusting Him. Or that I just need to have more faith. Or that I should just stop thinking about it or do nothing and something will pop into my lap. I would rather hear that you love me, support me, and pray for me. Sorry if I am too sassy...
4. So, how can we pray for you?
I am a worrier and I read into everything. I hate this about myself. But it is true. So here are some of my worries. I just ask that God allows me to release these.
- I worry that people won't love my kid like I do. It makes me worry when people ask if I think I will love my adopted kid the same as my "real" kid. Does that mean they see "real" and "adopted" as different? I see kids as blessings from God. Little people that we get to raise and love for a short time in the span of eternity. These kids are not mine, but have been entrusted to me and my care. But I freak a little when people talk about "real" versus "adopted". I don't want my kids to ever think I love one more than the other. I could care less about labels. I just hope everyone can feel the same way.
- I worry about the money. But more than that I worry about the anger that goes along with having to pay thousands of dollars to have a family when other people just shack up and boom. I went through this the first time with the IVF. In fact, one of the biggest reasons we chose IVF was because is was, slightly, cheaper. I just have a hard time knowing that I don;t have a retirement because I save my money for kids. Or that I don't get to do things other people get to do because I am saving money for kids. This is INCREDIBLY selfish I know. Believe me, I know. And I KNOW that God has blessed Josh and I. I really do know all this. But I can get really bitter about this every now and then. So I just ask that God helps me though that.
- I worry about more heartache. I can't tell you how many negative pregnancy tests I have taken. It makes my mind swirl just to try and think about that. All those months that I put in so much time, effort and money only to get disappointed. It just broke my heart over and over again. And to be honest, the pain was more than I could bear some nights. So, I just ask that God is present through any failures that might occur. Actually I ask that God protects me from whatever failures could be. I can pray specifically right? I feel like I am a strong person, but I might be a couple heart breaks from complete devastation. God knows what is best. But I can pray that everything goes perfectly. And then He can fill in the blanks...
- I do not worry about Josh. He is so level headed it makes me crazy. Ha! He does not want me to worry about any of the things listed above. He doesn't care about money and he is fairly certain that everyone will love our kids the way we do. However, he does not want to see me hurt any more. He doesn't want be hurt any more. He asks me all the time how I am doing. He very rarely tells me what he is thinking. He did say to me last night that he is excited to see me excited. So just pray that Josh and I can always be open and honest through this entire process.
5. Do you need anything?
Actually we do not right now. I know I just asked for prayers. And some people I have asked to just send over all adoption info they have, but I want to make sure we do not get overwhelmed with the whole process. So if we need something I will be sure to ask. Promise!
Okay. I know I am kind of all over the place. But I think that is pretty normal. Maybe not. Who cares? It is pretty apparent that I am not normal. And there is way too much going through my mind right now. Plus, when I get excited about something I just get chatty. So all and all, here's to our new little one, wherever they are. Let the journey begin!