It has been nearly a year since my last post and I started thinking today that I hate it when I come across an article or blog online and the person just cuts the audience off out of the blue and never comes back to give an update. It irritates me so much and I don't want to be a hypocrite.
So much happened after my last post back in November of 2010. A week later, I was skimming the "waiting" foster kids online as I did every single day, countless times a day and I came across the profile of two little ones who struck a nerve with me. I managed to track down the caseworker that same day and called him. We had a great conversation and I forwarded our homestudy. That night, I went home so excited (again) and showed Chris the online profile picture and blurb about the kids. He saw their picture and immediately professed, "That's them...those are our kids!" I was blown away by his reaction. He'd been very supportive of me in this search and very understanding of how attached I became to pictures and stories of children. Not once had he become as attached as I. This case, though, hit him so hard and I'd never seen him so excited! We could barely sleep that night thinking, imagining them here with us.
The next morning, I went into work and arrived to an email from the kids' caseworker. He was writing to let me know he'd received our homestudy and while he thought we were great, that morning, the kids' paternal grandfather expressed an interest in adopting them and he was obligated to give them the opportunity to prove to be fit parents. I was crushed. I was even more crushed that I'd have to break the news to Chris. We were both devastated.
Months passed but we still couldn't get those kids' off our minds. They had been removed from the websites but I had copied their picture and information to my computer and often just stared at them. We were in love and heartbroken...heartbroken again. However, my birthday came and I went into work that day. Unknowingly, I would receive the best present of my life! I had an email from that same caseworker! I couldn't open the message fast enough and to my surprise, I was elated to read that the bio grandparents were no longer a viable option and they would like to consider us for the kiddos if we were still intersted. "YES!!!!!! Absolutely and Thank you so much!!!" was the response I sent back. Out of hundreds of inquiries, two weeks later, Chris and I were finally matched with our true, God given, match! The caseworkers would not even going to consider any other families at the committee meeting because they felt so strongly that we were the right fit for these kids. FINALLY, I was going to be a MOMMY! My sweet, loving husband was going to be a DADDY!! We were going to be a FAMILY! We cried and cried and celebrated and couldn't wait to tell our friends and family! The catch? Well, the kids were a legal risk case because the bio parents' rights had not yet been terminated. Long story short...the rights were rightfully terminated three weeks after we were chosen to be their forever family.
During that three week span, we were able to get to know the foster family and the kids via Skype. The kids lived in a different state. They didn't know right away who we were due to the legalities of the parental rights not terminated at that point. They knew us as Nicole and Chris, friends of the foster family. They were so happy and bright and adorable and we just fell even more head over heels in love with them! We also became very close to their foster family who'd cared for them and really taken on the responsibility of bringing these kids into a real family life for nearly a year. We'll call the foster family J & Z for privacy sake. J & Z were such a great influence on these children and what a difference a few months of love, caring, and teaching can do for a lost child.
At the end of February of the this year, we made plans to fly out and meet our kids in person for the first time. It was like a first date! We were so nervous and praying they'd like us as much as we already liked them. Finally, the moment came when we got to the end of the terminal and there they were, live and in real time! Our kids! It took all I had not to scoop them up and hug them tight and cry my eyes out! The moment we'd waited so long for had finally come! Alas, we had to remain calm, remain neutral and non-threatening. Afterall, the foster family had become their pseudo family and the kids were, for obvious reasons, very attached to J & Z. It didn't take long at all and they were goofing around with us and laughing and just being kids. At this juncture, they'd been told who we were and what was going to happen and they were happy about the prospect of being in a real forever family. They were, however, hesitant about leaving their foster home and family, their first safe place. I would have been too, if I were them!
During that time, the kids stayed with us in our hotel room and it was such a wonderful week! We felt like a real family and were bonding quickly. It was finally sinking in...we were now parents...we now have a daughter and a son. We have a six year old and a four year old sibling set. Christina is an amazing little girl! She is so smart and beautiful and she is JUST like her Daddy! Acts and looks just like him. Noah is a funny and loving little boy who looks and acts just like his Mommy! She is all girl and he is all boy. She loves arts and crafts and so do he, she loves playing barbies and dress up. He loves Spiderman and Hide 'n Seek and loves to give hugs! We had to leave without our kids at the end of that week and it broke our hearts. We had to wait on the court paperwork to be completed but we did talk to them on the phone and skype often. We talked about moving and what was here in our hometown and what our house and dogs were like. They seemed very excited and couldn't wait until we got to come see them again.
On April 1st, we made the flight back out and picked up our kids for the final trip home on April 2nd. Home. Our family was home. It was such an amazing feeling! We've now been home together for nearly six months. I won't lie and say it's all been a fairy tale experience. We've had our ups and downs and it has been a major adjustment for all four of us. However, we are a real family and we all love eachother very much. We have, after over five and a half years of trying, arrived at our destination. We've completed our journey to parenthood and are now on a new journey as a family. This is my last post on this blog. Thank you to those who've followed and supported us over the years! This blog has been a great escape for me as well as cathartic. As I've said, I truly enjoy writing and I think I may need to find another subject to blog about. :)
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I feel as if we have signs advertising what tragic excuses we must be for parents hanging 'round our necks. We waited and waited to hear about those three children and thier caseworker seemed to avoid our caseworker like she possessed the plague (AKA. us). Yesterday, I was browsing our state's waiting children photo listing, I discovered that the three children we've been longing to love have been matched with another family. To top it off, two days ago, our caseworker contacted me with the prospect of two very young siblings who would need immidiate placement. I was ecstatic to say the least and, like an idiot, assumed we would surely be the obvious choice. Right. No, wrong...again. That was two days ago and our worker has not yet heard back from the babies' worker.
So, obviously upset, I ran to my social addiction: Facebook...to post "What was on my mind." Simply put: "I'm just so very disappointed." But then of course a few of my friends needed to know more. Certainly. I then explained my dissatisfaction. I feel, perhaps, my online FB friends have become "immune" to our experience and the few who've not simply don't know what to say...well, they don't know what to say without it stinging my senses, namely: common sense. Who can blame them, really? They don't know. They are fertile. They have children. They really cannot begin to comprehend what our journey is like unless they have an immense amount of insight and empathy, which let's face it, most people don't. There are a few who do, don't get me wrong. For those few, I'm so utterly grateful for their grace and humility.
I try very hard to be a Godly woman. I struggle as everyone, maybe moreso than most. I trust God and I put faith in His Word. However, it always seems there are people out there who know His relationship with me better than I do. I don't want to get all religious and righteous but I simply would like to inform people that there are some things best not said to people in pain. I love my friends but some need lessons in comforting.
So, for those out there, honestly, that never know what to say in an awkward situation with their infertile friends...I'm here to help you. Please, please, never tell them to be thankful for Unanswered Prayers and that God has reasons for not giving them children. Think. Before. You. Speak. Would you really tell someone who has lost a loved one to cancer, "Hey friend, you should be thankful that God didn't let your spouse live...yea, that's it...be thankful for those unanswered prayers." Um, no, you would not say that. And, if you would say that, please promptly exit this website and go jump off a bridge.
Let me give you the secret response(s)...don't worry, it's FREE advice! All we need to know or hear is that you love us, you are thinking about us, you continue to pray for us, and that you know we deserve to be parents and that this world is so incredibly unfair for dealing us the hand of cards we're holding. Any one or all of those thoughts will work wonders for us and you. Other than that, just be there...let us vent and be our shoulder to cry on when we need it. Our pain is very real so please, be a real friend and try your absolute best to have some empathy. This lesson can also come in handy for other painful situations so feel free to try it out.
Furthermore, try and keep any religious thoughts out of your "well-meant" comments. They suck. Realize that for many people, their relationship with God is, like their relationship with their spouse, a very, very personal thing. You don't need to overstep your boundaries. It's ok to say that YOU are praying for us because that is YOUR relationship with God. Do not ever tell US to pray to God because that implies that you know my relationship with God better than I know it. Big mistake. Don't tell me that our having children is in God's time. How do you know, really? That implies that God felt it more necessary to give Mr. Child Molester down the street a baby girl but my loving, caring, big hearted husband doesn't fit into God's timing enough to warrant him being a Dad. Same goes for Ms. Meth Addict across the county who has a newborn baby boy addicted to drugs because God saw it fit for her to be pregnant while she was using rather than permit me to carry that precious gift. Guess it just didn't fit in His timing nor His plan. Please don't insult my intelligence and my God by saying those things. It's quite uncouth and can create quarrelsome relations.
To my readers, I hope you feel inclined to share this post with your friends and family as I'm sure you understand exactly how this feels. You understand how desperately tact needs to be taught in a society where people never know what to say but usually seem to say the wrong things.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I'm still here. Still waiting. Still praying as those prayers continue to remain unanswered. We've now been in the adoption journey for over a year and have yet to be matched with any children. We were tunred down for Danny twice. We've since found many, many more children we are interested in but keep being turned away as we are considered "inexperienced parents." We are currently waiting to hear back about a sibling group of three (two girls and a boy). Their ages are 10, 7, & 2. They are in GA and we're very excited about them; however, that excitement is extremely premature. It is so hard to see their pictures and read their life history and not become attached to them right away. We want to love them. We want to give them a chance. We want to be their family. Unfortunately, it seems no one is ever willing to give us a chance to be and do all those things. I'm very jaded now, by this process. It is no longer an adventure and it is not what I expected it to be. I do, still, have faith that we will be parents via adoption, no matter how broken our foster care system is.
I still secretly hold out hope that I'll conceive naturally as well. This Saturday, October 2, 2010, Chris and I will have been together 11 years. The majority of that relationship we've had unprotected sex and I've only been pregnant once, confirmed. I shouldn't, realistically, hold out a lick of hope but somehow every month I manage to play the "what if" game. What if it's this month? What if I see two pink lines? How will I tell Chris when I see those pink lines? Who will he/she look like and act like? I still play these head games with myself and every month, without fail, Aunt Flo shows up for her visit. Like today.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Again, it's been a while since I've updated this site and I'm sorry to those that kept up with our story for so long. I have been wanting, almost needing, to write now for months but it just seems that so many things kept preventing me...time mainly. I wish I could tell you that we've been too busy keeping up with the pitter-patter of little feet running about the house but I'd be lying.
Chris and I are still in Adoption mode so that has not changed. We were FINALLY approved a few days before Christmas 2009. We were absolutely thrilled and the only thing that could have made the moment better was actually having a child in our home. We are now over 10 months into our Adoption journey and no good news. We haven't gotten one placement call from the state of GA. We are looking on our own all over the USA and have found several children whom we've inquired about. Our criteria has even changed a bit. Before, we were head strong on a child 0-3yrs and only one at a time. Now we've expanded to 0-8yrs and will consider a sibling set. Still, no luck.
There was one little boy who stole our hearts right away, never having met him in person. I wanted to be his Mom. His name is Danny and he just turned 7 yrs old in May. He lives in AZ. We found him online in February and immediately requested more information on him and sent them our Homestudy. They responded right away to let us know he was still available and also let us know that he had some behavior issues such as kicking, hitting, and cussing when he didn't get his way. Nonetheless, we were still on board. Finally, in May, a meeting was held where our case and another interested family were discussed. Instead of making a decision on which family to pursue, they moved him to another foster home. When I asked what his committee thought of us, I was told that they were concerned that we'd never been parents before. I then proceeded to ask her when the next meeting would be to make the final decision. She said that they only discussed his case once a month. At that point, my heart sunk in disappointment and disgust. Really? And people wonder why we have so many children in our foster care system. This poor little boy who has spent his 7 yrs on earth being neglected, abused, shut out and he still doesn't have a chance even though the state has "rescued" him. I realized that we'd never get to meet Danny and that he'd never get to call us Mom and Dad. I felt worse for him than I did us. At the rate the system is moving, he'll be a permanent fixture in foster homes until he "ages" out at which point he'll likely become a delinquent. I pray for Danny.
There have been others, probably a hundred. The same excuse is used in most cases. Apparently, my experience in the childcare field (for over half my life) is not enough. I've worked with special needs children, pre-schools, elementary, middle, and even high school ages. We are certified in CPR and First Aid, our home is child proofed, and the state of GA has recognized that we would be fit parents. However, none of this seems to suffice. I don't know what else to do other than to continue praying.
I didn't even tell Chris this, but I believe that I might have miscarried again this past March. I'm still temping/charting so I'll at least know if I'm ovulating. In March, my temperature was elevated for 23 days post ovulation when it normally is only up for 10 days
and then aunt flo comes for a visit. The tests all said negative but I just had that feeling like last time that I was pregnant. I didn't have it confirmed by a Dr. There wasn't really a need to hear the words again. I couldn't bring myself to tell Chris. I've only told one person, today as a matter of fact. But I think I'll continue to stay in denial about it...easier that way.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
We are a few weeks into our adoption journey and excited to say the least! We have chosen to be foster to adopt parents which gives us the greatest chance of having an infant but there is the possibility of having a child go back to his/her birth family if the social workers sees fit. We are also considering one to three year olds who are already free for adoption or have a low legal risk where there is a good chance we'd get to adopt in the end. We've filled out all our repetitive paperwork, totalling about eight hours of our lives as well as had our required physical and are awaiting the results from that. We have also had two of the four state IMPACT Classes which will total 20 hours once completed. We still have to have a background check and homestudy before we can be approved to be parents. Sounds so funny hearing that out loud..."approved to be parents." It makes me a little nervous being judged on our parental capabilities. Like, wow...they could say "No." I know fully well that Chirs and I will make great parents but now there is a third party who has to believe that also or our votes are vetoed. I've begun over-analyzing our lives as I'm so good at doing. Do we make enough money for thier satisfaction? Are we too in debt? Will they like us? What if our dogs are not on their best behavior during the homestudy? What if our house is too messy? What if our house is too clean? All these incidious thoughts race through my mind wondering how much they weigh on the social worker's scale.
Filling out the paperwork was a chore. It's been turned in and we're praying for a good grade on our answers though I don't remember studying for the test. One question specifically worries me: "What are your feelings toward the birth family of a child who has been abused/neglected?" You see, I understand that the main objective in Foster Care is for the child to be reunified with the birth family/parents. However, I have this inate opinion that people who abuse children shouldn't get a second chance. So, how am I supposed to feel for the birth family? Here we sit, knowing that we are capable of raising and loving a child and have known this for years. We've been waiting patiently and sometimes impatiently for the day that we would have our chance to be a family completed. On the other hand, there are broken and damaged familes all over this country who do all the wrong things and are not capable and are not loving and do not cherish the obvious gift(s) they've been given. So, I'm supposed to suck it up for their sake? Am I to take a infant/child into our home, fall in love, and then give this gift back to someone who may damage them further? Don't get me wrong, there are some kids in foster care who should be back with their families and those are the ones who've just come into a bad way financially or fallen ill and those people don't have a choice. They should get their kids back, no doubt, once they are on their feet and can properly care for thier children. I'm referring to those who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, neglect and/or abuse their kids. These children are not social experiments. Once bitten, twice shy.
In the two IMPACT Classes we've had, these case worker's have some true horror stories that I really could have lived the rest of my life without hearing. However, they've driven my opionion home even further. One story in particular will stay with me for the rest of my life: A little baby girl, 18 months old, blonde hair, blue eyes. He mother had a boyfriend who moved in one day. With the Mother not around, the boyfriend thinks it would be fun to have sex with this precious little girl. She is raped and her insides are torn. The Dr's were able to put her back together but the damage was still done. The little girl is in foster care and the mother does her due dilligence to get her child back. Kicks the boyfriend out. Court gives the baby back. Two weeks later, the boyfriend moves back in. Same thing happens but this time the child's insides are too torn for the Dr's to repair. Child goes back into foster care and the parental rights are terminated. But it's too late. Now, this precious little girl is too damaged and full of rage at only three years old. None of the foster homes can keep her under control. She comes at them and other kids with scissors and bites and scratches and beats on infants. She is placed in a group home...for the rest of her life. This story, I'm told, was a case in the early 90's. None of them could tell me what became of that child. What if the court had not let her go home? Why wasn't that boyfriend arrested and locked up? Our system failed that child. She's around 18 years old today, if she is still alive. Is she being thrown out of that group home now as she has "aged out?" What will happen to her?
Chris and I have read the first book in a series
by David Pelzer. The first is titled, "A Child Called 'It'." In the first chapter alone, this book had my macho, Harley riding, weight lifting husband crying his eyes out. The things that this author endured as a child made us sick to our stomach. We wanted to literally go back in time through this biography and save this child. The people who came into contact with him had to of known what he was going through and NO ONE did anything! He was poisoned, beaten, stabbed, starved, neglected, burned, frozen, and humilated and no one helped him for years!! He is a miracle case as he has obivously come out of his Hell and made something of his life. I am anxious to read the other books in the series to find out what transpired after his fifth grade year.
Chris's parents seem to be more supportive now that they have had time to mull things over. They haven't said too much and they don't ask many questions about how our "process" is going but they haven't spoken against it either...that we know of. My family is still very supportive and they ask after each IMPACT Class what we thought of it and what we learned. My Dad called yesterday to make sure our physical went well. It makes us feel so good to know that they are behind us and care what happens to our hearts along the way. They seem to understand that this is going to be hard for us and that we are going to need as much support as possible. I only wish Chris's family would be more vocally supportive, at least to him. I think he
deserves it. I think it's a difference of view. My family looks at us now and sees "parents to be." His looks at us and sees "maybe you'll be parents one day." I don't think they understand that "one day" is likely very soon. I have this view that if I were pregnant, the type of support we get from his parents would be different than the support we get now. They'd call and want to know about the Dr's appointments and they'd ask if I had morning sickness and when we'd find out the sex of the baby. I know this because they have five grandkids already and I've seen how they've been with their other sons and daughter in laws. Chris's brothers, on the other hand, have been very supportive and are excited for us. Maybe it will be more "real" for them once we're approved and the phone calls for "matches" start coming?
As I was typing the last line of this entry, my sister in law, Jessy, called me to tell me I'm going to be an Aunt again. I'm happy for them, truly, as they have no issues having kids. This will be their fourth child. Have to admit it still stung a little but not nearly as much as it did two years ago.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Yet again, it's been a long time since my last post. For some reason though I am in the mood to write today. Chris and I just returned from our Italian Holiday! Yes, this year for his Birthday I surprised him with a trip to Italia as well as seeing his favorite singer while in Italy...Andrea Bocelli! We left on the 10th and returned on the 21st. What a blast we had! It all just went by too quickly.
Our base was in Cortona and we traveled by train, bus, and taxi to Rome, Florence, Siena, Montepulciano, Venice, Volterra, & the site of the Bocelli concert, Lajatico, Italy. Chris fell in love with Toscana and I fell in love with it all, all over again. We've dreamed of going to Italy together since we were 16 years old and I finally had the wonderful opportunity to experience it with him this year so I went for it!
So, the question you all must be asking: "Well, did the Italian Holiday allow for you to get knocked up?" Um. No. Sorry to disappoint all of you out there who seem to think taking a vacation will magically make the infertile couples of the world fertile. Ha! If only it were that simple. No, no...we're not pregnant and I don't think I've been pregnant since that one and only time but I continue to refuse to take pregnancy tests and every month Aunt Flo eventually rears her ever so ugly head and well, I'm right again.
We are, however, discussing the possibility of adoption again. I was not the one to bring it up this time...Chris did. About three months ago, he put the conversation back on the table after about a year of silence on the topic. We've been seriously talking about it ever since (privately, until now). We have decided to take one baby step (pardon the pun) at a time in the direction of Foster Care Adoption. The number one reason for our choice about foster care adoption verses private domestic infant adoption or international adoption is the price tag. Foster Care Adoption is something we can afford. Unfortunately, agencies have made private adoptions so expensive, we'd have to take out a loan to the tune of about $40K to proceed with that. In reality, we just can't afford it. What will we likely sacrifice: The chance of raising a child from infancy. I don't yet know how I feel about that. I want to raise a baby. I want us to be able to experience the "firsts." I'm already missing the first kick in the womb, the birth, first smile, etc. I want to get as many firsts as possible so when my child asks me in the future, "Mom, what was my first word?" I'll be able to answer. Maybe that is selfish? I don't really care. We've already had to give up so much and we have wants, needs, and dreams too. We deserve to have our dreams come true.
Chris told his Dad the news a few days ago and the result was less than excited...at least in my husband's eyes as I was not there to hear the length of the conversation. His Dad is
supposedly supportive but posed a question that we're insulted by: "Well, what happens when you adopt and then Nicole becomes pregnant?" Chris was like, that would be great! I'd have two kids! His Dad seems to think that we'll show favortism to the biological child because well, blood is blood. They would both be OUR kids, no matter how they come into our family. I also took the comment to mean that there will likely be favortism to the grandkids that are already in the family as they are biological. I'm not really sure how to react to this. Should I address this comment that I was not even present to hear or do I let it go?
Our alliance has to be to our kids once the kids are in the picture so, if there is to be any favortism going on then we would have to separate ourselvs from his family for the sake of the child. I really do not want that to happen as we have a semi-close relationship with his parents. I want them to accept any child we bring into this family as if the child were biological. My parents, on the other hand, are 100% supportive and do not have any other grandkids at the moment. I believe that his parents would love it if we started medical treatment again and "kept trying." They don't understand that 3.5 years of this crap is exhausting! We've been there, done that, and the tee shirt wasn't worth the cost. They don't get it and just keep saying, "Your time will come." That's fine and dandy and maybe one day we will get pregnant but I wish they would recognize that it might not happen in the way they want it to happen. We are both at a point where we want to be parents more than have replicas of ourselves running around. We just want a baby to love and raise and we could at least pass on our values and insights if not our genes. I believe that God will lead us to the child we are meant to have either via adoption, pregnancy, or maybe, just maybe both. Now to have them understand it the way we do...
No part of this journey can be simple and clear cut. We always seem to be fighting something whether it be the infertility itself or others' opionions and beliefs. I wish I knew what to do. To make everyone happy and do what they want us to do or to be ourselves and follow our own dreams? God help us and them and the child that has yet to come into our life.