Friday, December 27, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Update

"Update" is the only title I could think of that didn't sound depressing. So bear with me.

As you all know, until yesterday, we were excitedly looking forward to the arrival of another baby boy next year. 

I've never been good at using caution with my emotions and I didn't in this situation either. 

We fell in love with the birth mother and the baby. Things at first seemed so perfect. I let myself get excited and plan. I painted the baby's room (in hind sight I'm so grateful I chose a neutral color). We told Nathan a baby brother was coming. We went to 2 ultrasounds and received lots of ultrasound pictures. 

The birth mother got back together with the birth father and we felt so lucky to have the birth father involved this time around. He seemed very supportive of her adoption plan and a great guy. We enjoyed getting to know them and some of her family. 

As things went along though I started to feel a foreboding feeling that their plans would change. And they did. 

As I have already written here, as an adoptive couple we are not here to persuade someone to place their baby for adoption. We have no part in that decision nor would we try to. We can only be in the picture once someone is already decided on placing their baby. The birth mother was no longer sure that adoption was best for her child. Together, they dreamed of parenting this baby. I completely respect that. It's their choice to make and their right. 

But that meant we no longer had a role in their lives. He's not our baby. We have no right to claim anything. We were out of the picture. 

I can't even tell you coherently of the grief I felt yesterday. We had grown to care for this baby and had plans. But how do you grieve over someone that wasn't yours to begin with? 

I was stunned. Confused. And hurt. Oh how I hurt. 
My heart literally felt like it was being squeezed. I had never felt loss so acutely before.
I cried more than I probably have all year. 
I didn't feel like I could talk to anyone. So many tried to reach out to ask what was wrong yesterday and I just couldn't get the words out. 

As I was dealing with the pain, I turned to what I already had and held on tight. 
I've learned so many things from this experience. There are so many things I see from this situation in hind sight and I know that God was teaching me. 

I feel so grateful for all the support and love we have received through this. It will take time to heal. 

This does not shake my testimony. I can't even feel mad that we've been through this. 
Instead I know that the rest of our family is still out there. 
I'm excited to meet the birth mom of our next child. 

I know that when things are meant to be, they are. 

So once again I turn to YOU and ask for your help in spreading the word that we're adopting. Our adoption profile is online again and the link is in the top right corner of our blog. 

Thank you so much and Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A is for Acceptance

Three years ago I wrote a series of posts about what the letters of adoption stand for to me. They're posted on the sidebar to the right.

Now three years and one adoption later I thought I'd revisit that.

Today, A is for Acceptance.

Probably the biggest part of infertility is acceptance. Accepting the diagnosis, or even the lack thereof. Accepting that things aren't working out like you'd planned. Acceptance that your family will be different than you imagined. And acceptance that God has a better plan for you and your spouse.

I personally feel like I've been through acceptance several times. The first time was the acceptance of my own infertility. That was hard. To say the least. I felt like such a failure of a woman. I had to accept that the one automatic, natural thing a woman's body is supposed to do, I couldn't. I was heart broken. I still am.

The second time was when my husband's infertility was diagnosed. Not only were we both in shock but we both started to feel the finality of our reality. That time was very difficult for both of us. We grieved. Oh how we grieved. I went through the process of mentally saying goodbye to the beautiful biological children I had dreamed of. It really felt like someone had died. We felt our loss keenly.

The third time was when we prayerfully decided to adopt. Through that decision, we felt hope. And peace. Our dream to become parents seemed like a possibility again. But with adoption comes strings attached. And that's where acceptance comes into play again. Your privacy is taken away. Everything about you is examined to pass approval to become a parent. It's both invasive and exhausting. You lose knowing how much time you'll have to prepare. No 9 months to get ready. It could happen at any time. You accept that someone else has control over whether you become a parent or not. You accept that your children will probably not look anything like you. With time, we were okay with all of that.

Trying to adopt a second time has brought new things for me to accept. Even old things revisited. And it's probable that I'll feel these things each time we adopt. You never "get over" infertility. You learn to accept the new plan your life has been given and more importantly you learn to love the life you live.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Huge Adoption Myth

November is National Adoption Awareness month!

Our family has been hugely blessed by adoption and we're very grateful for it. We're also so grateful for our open relationship with our son's birth mother. What a true blessing open adoption is! I am grateful our son will know where he comes from and have his own relationship with his biological family. 

However, there are still a lot of misconceptions about adoption. I wanted to clear up a big one. 

Myth: Adoption takes babies from poor girls and takes advantage of their situation. 

Our blog recently received a comment from someone we don't know expressing their disgust with us and with adoption. 

I wanted to clear up one of their accusations. Which is that: adoptive couples take babies from poor girls who have no support and then leave them on their own, alone. 

I cannot speak for every adoptive couple out there. I don't know them all. And if I'm honest I'm sure there are some who have become a little mercenary in their desperation to become parents. 

But I can speak for my husband and I. And I feel like I can speak for the many adoptive couples I do know. 

We do not look for pregnant women to ask them to give us their baby. 
We would never dream of doing such a thing. The thought is sick. 

Adoption is not the only path to parenthood that infertile couples can pursue. Modern medicine and foster care are also great choices. For us, we felt led to adoption through our prayers. So that is the path we are taking. 

We would never dream of manipulating anyone into giving us their baby.  

Instead we look for those who have already decided to place their baby for adoption and are now searching for a family. We invite those women to look at us. To get to know us. To see if we are what they're looking for. 

Deciding to place your child for adoption must be one of the most heart wrenching and hardest decisions to make that I know of. Each woman is led to this decision for different reasons. 

We admire them. 
We applaud their courage. 
We respect them. 
And we would never dream of taking advantage of their emotions or situation. 

To our family, adoption is about love. God loves the birth mother. He loves the baby. He loves our family. He knows each of his children. He knows each of us. I truly believe He helps these brave women and leads them to the right adoptive family for their child. I also believe that God brings the right woman and child into our lives. Our life has been so enriched by knowing our son's birth mother. I can only hope that will continue as we grow our family.

When we ask our family and friends to help spread the word, we mean that we are seeking for the birth mother out there who has decided to place and is also seeking us. 

To learn more about how open adoption works, here is a list of some of my favorite adoptive parents:
Jewls and her family

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baby Dreamin'...Just for fun

The adoption timeline is a tricky and mysterious thing. Once you're approved to adopt there's no telling when that lil one will arrive. With pregnancy you know you have around 38-40 weeks on average. 

Does that stop us adoptive mamas from daydreaming? Nope! 

I thought I'd share, just for fun, my style daydreams for this next little one. 

Humor me :)

If it's a BRO: 

If it's a SIS:

Either way, SO excited! 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Making Connections & Meet the Robinson's

We love the movie Meet the Robinson's by Disney. It's one of Nathan's all time favorites. He asks to watch it almost every day.

I love it because it's one of the only kid movies I know of where the protagonist is adopted. (we also love Despicable Me and The Odd Life of Timothy Green)

I now have another reason to love it though. My son is now 3 years old. We've tried to be good about telling him his adoption story, having photos of big adoption events in our home, having photos of his biological family, having an open relationship with them, etc. But you never really know what they're connecting and what they're not.

This past week I've noticed him making some connections and it's been rather exciting!

In the movie, Lewis is left on the doorstep of an orphanage by his birth mother.

You can't see her face and I don't know if a child would be able to sense her grief. Lately, Nathan gets sad at this scene and says "Poor Lewis". It's given us the opportunity to point out that the woman in this scene is Lewis' birth mother and that he (Nathan) has one too. It's also given us the opportunity to point out that Nathan was not left on a doorstep by his birth mother. Instead, she picked out new parents for him, us. I hope he's making the connection that his story is a lot different than Lewis', even though he feels sad for Lewis.

At the end of the movie, Lewis gets adopted and a new family. Nathan always loves this part and I always get teary (can't help it!).

Nathan always cheers for Lewis at the end. In every adoption story there is the sad and the sweet. I won't cover up the sad for him. I'll let him grieve what was lost if he wants. But I hope he'll come out cheering for the life given to him in the end.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Remembering God is in Charge

Hi everyone! We're back from a long vacation out visiting family in Utah and are still getting back into the swing of things, including our time zone. Who knew that a 2 hour difference could really feel like a lot?

I just wanted to give everyone an update that, there is no update. And that's ok! We did have an experience while on vacation where we were able to give someone our profile. That experience served as an excellent reminder to me that when it's right, I will feel it. Just like we did with our beautiful son. When it's from God, you feel it. There's a sweet spirit and peace during the experience telling you this is right. That's what I felt with our son, and I know I will again. In the meantime, I'm so grateful for everyone out there cheering for us, praying for us, and spreading the word for us. We couldn't find Baby Holt without you! Thank you!

Make sure to check out our daily blog Our Happy Home for updates on our trip to Utah! It was a great time!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Family Photos!

Last month we enjoyed a family reunion with Gavin's family and got new family photos! We're still waiting for them back but have 2 already!



No adoption news but I constantly remind myself to stay faithful and that God is probably working on things behind the scenes :)

Hopefully we'll get good news sooner than we think! We appreciate all of your love and support for our family!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our LDS Adoption Profile

Our LDS adoption profile is now live! You can view it here.

APPROVED!

This morning we received the great news that we're approved to adopt! HOORAY!

This is a huge moment for us and I had tears in my eyes this morning. We had a goal to be done before we left for our trip and we did it! So grateful for our Heavenly Father's help and our amazing caseworker!

Now the next phase is a combination of trying to find our child by spreading the word and waiting for God to do His part. We are now considered "expectant parents" in the adoption community. So exciting! Hopefully it doesn't take years to be placed!

Thank you everyone for your love and support!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

(almost) Done and Done and Done

I feel like most of my blog posts lately have been about how we're "almost done" and being so close, etc.

Well, we ARE soo close!

As of tomorrow we should be done with everything on our list! It'll be time to focus fully on packing for our trip to Utah and what a relief! I feel like I've had a few stressful things the past 2 months that I've been trying to divide my attention on. Once we finish packing, it'll all be behind me. Nothing to do but eat Cafe Rio and enjoy spending time with family!

Tonight I printed off copies of our profile and Gavin is wrapping up his training. We'll have one last thing to wrap up - the letter to the birth parents. Easily one of the hardest things on the list. I can only imagine the feelings of someone considering placement. We already care so much for this amazing woman, though we've never met her. That may sound odd, but it's the same concept as you loving your child before you meet them. We love them both and have no idea who or where they are.

printing our profiles out!
Just so everyone knows here's the basic conditions we're open to: 
- open adoption preferred
-either gender, boy or girl
-can be from any US state
-any ethnicity, with the exception of Native American. Not for prejudice reasons but legal reasons. Many tribes will not allow the child to be adopted out of the tribe if the adoptive couple is not at least half-blooded Native American. We don't qualify for that. 

Thank you in advance to everyone who helps us spread the word! Thanks to friends we were blessed to find our son very quickly last time! Your help DOES matter! Thank you! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Open Adoption in Our Home

Because of open adoption, the following was able to take place during a quiet afternoon of pretend play...

Nathan had found an old cell phone and was pretending to make phone calls. Then he handed the phone to me and asked me to call Gavin. I pretended to call Gavin and chatted about our day. Then he told me, "Call Emily." (his birth mother). I pretended to call her and chatted. After I was done he sweetly said, "Thank you for calling my Emily." 

I was so happy! Open adoption is still a new thing and it's still very much uncharted territory. My husband and I knew how we wanted our son to feel about his birth mother, but like with anything else in parenting had no real understanding of how we were going to accomplish that. We've hoped the phone calls, visits, positive talk in our home about her, would all help cultivate an open, loving relationship of his own with her. When this happened I felt that rare exultant joy that comes in parenthood when you realize you've accomplished something you hoped you would.

There still isn't any concrete answers or road map to our future and our relationships, but I am so grateful to see his love for her already taking shape!

Next week we are dropping him off with her and her parents for a night of fun by themselves. We feel so blessed we are able to do that and look forward to hearing about the memories they will make!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Waiting and Optimism

Over the next couple of weeks we will be wrapping up our adoption checklist. Then we are DONE folks! We will enter the Waiting Phase.

Who knows how long we'll be waiting. Really, only God knows.
And that's where I found a past blog post of mine really helpful to me right now.

I was looking at other adoptive couples posted on this blog and felt discouraged. Some of them have been waiting for soo long. Some of them have been childless the whole time I've been blogging - 3 years. It made me feel really discouraged.

Then I saw this post again that I had written in 2011: O is for Optimism

It was a good reminder to stop focusing on what I can't control and to essentially find "joy in the journey" or joy in the waiting process.

No one likes to wait. Patience comes easy to no one. And honestly without faith in a heavenly plan for our family I really don't know how I'd stay sane.

So here's a reminder for all of us out there (ie, really me): Be happy! Waiting doesn't last forever! Baby Holt is coming! Enjoy this time as God works his magic!

...and in the meantime go to a berry farm and pick berries with this lil guy as your helper:
using his muscles - adorable!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting Close!

We have been busy lately getting things done off our adoption checklist! We're getting close to having all our pre-approval tasks completed. Once we have all these items completed we'll be approved by the agency to adopt. Then it's all in God's hands after that as we wait for our next precious child to join our family! We are so excited just thinking about having another little one. Our goal is to be approved before we head to Utah later this summer. The end is in sight!

So how can you help? SPREAD THE WORD! 

If all goes as planned, we should be ready to be chosen by the end of July. So please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

You can also download the photo below and upload it to your own blog with a link back here: www.gsforeverfamily.blogspot.com


Thank you everyone!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Birth Mother's Day!



Today is a mega important day for our family. It's Birth Mother's Day!

For us, today is a chance to honor Nathan's birth mother, her sacrifice for Nathan's welfare, the fabulous job she did being Nathan's first Mommy!

This week I took Nathan shopping for some fab presents for her. On the way to the store I asked him what he wanted to get her. We had the following conversation: (names have been abbreviated for privacy)

Me: What do you want to get E? 
N: E? And J? (his biological half sister)
M: No, no presents for J this time. We're getting presents for E because Saturday is Birth Mother's Day and she is your birth mommy.
N: birth mommy?
M: Yeah, birth mommy, She was your first mommy. 
N: first mommy?
M: Yes, you grew in her tummy. 
N: And J?
M: Yes and J grew in her tummy too. Both you and J grew in her tummy. 
N: Ok. Can I watch George? 

I know that's long, but it was remarkable to me as it was our first interactive conversation about where he came from and E's importance to our family. We've told his story to him before, quite a few times. But he's just now starting to comprehend the tiniest bit.

Our hope is that he grows up knowing how loved he is and who he is, where he comes from, and feeling secure in where he is now.

I love taking a special day to recognize our E, her love, her dedication to Nathan, her sacrifice, and the fact that she was indeed his Mother first. I wouldn't even get to celebrate tomorrow if it wasn't for her.



Happy Birth Mother's Day E, we love you!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Eight Years

Tomorrow is our 8th wedding anniversary! 

I was feeling sentimental and looking through a photo album. I came across this photo of us: 


The date on this photo is 8-11-02.

I was amazed to realize that this was taken on Nathan's birthday - 8 years earlier! 
We were in high school and this was one of our dates. Who knew 8 years later we'd welcome the arrival of our first son! 

Now it's 11 years later! Happy anniversary to us! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tantrums are not just for toddlers

First, thanks to everyone who has been so sweet and interested in our second round of adoption. It means a lot to know so many care!

The process is...going. It's a lot more time consuming than I had thought. Paper work, dr visits, safety inspections, finger prints, training hours, etc. All worth it of course, but a lot to squeeze in our small windows of quiet time. 

Of course it doesn't help when someone takes a month and a half pause with the process. 

And here's where I keep it real. 

Years ago, that now seem like eons, we were so hopeful. And hurt. And really desperately wanting to become parents. We were intently focused on becoming parents. On getting our first. We both knew we wanted more kids, but they weren't in the forefront of my mind during our first adoption. 

Which means this second time around brought on some old and new feelings. 

It was like "Oh yeah! We wanted more kids...uhm, where are they coming from???"

To be honest I think a part of me thought that all this was temporary. That we'd be one of those couples to magically become pregnant and ride off into the sunset in our minivan to baby land.

I never thought I'd have to come to terms with our infertility again. To have to stare it in the face again and say "That's ok! No worries!"

Instead I stared it in the face and threw my own personal tantrum. Complete with pouty face, "it's not fair" and "I don't wanna". Much chocolate followed.

I realize now that every single time we want another child I will again have to come to terms with our infertility.

And face some crushing emotions.

Feelings of failure, of feeling not good enough, but mostly hurt. Hurt that it can't be "easy", like "everyone else". Hurt that having a minvan full of kiddos that look like your hot hubby is really not a reality. Hurt that you will never get to send your hubby out for ice cream at 2am (and him actually go get it) or get that pregnant glow. No ultrasounds on your adorable huge belly.

I finally snapped out of my pity party when my husband came to the rescue and hit the adoption paperwork full force outta nowhere. Don't tell me that wasn't divine intervention. It was just what I needed to wake up and get moving.

Seriously, I consider myself blessed. I have a life that so many people only dream of. I have food, clothes, a beautiful house, a minivan of my own, etc. I have my health. I can walk, run, see. I'm not disfigured. I'm not obese. I don't have diabetes, asthma, anything. I've never even broken a bone before.

Everyone has challenges. What matters is that we shoulder on. We give it to the Lord and say "Okay! No worries!" and appreciate what we do have.

I loved Elder Holland's talk from spring 2013 LDS General Conference.

photo from theRhouse.com
So hope on, journey on! And...continue to fill out adoption paperwork if you're me :) 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Get Ready!



Spring General Conference is almost here! I'm so excited! Without fail there's always so many talks that I feel like you meant just for me! Check it out!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Google Reader Dying

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

So if you haven't heard the news, Google Reader is ending July 1st. I relied heavily on Reader to track all the blogs I follow so I was disappointed. But now I've switched over to Blog Lovin' and like it! I've even added my blog to it so you can follow it there too!

What blog reader sites are you using?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Orientation, done!

Today we had our orientation meeting. Woot! I'm so excited! We got another huge stack of paperwork (seriously folks, it's huge) and had a great meeting with our caseworker. She explained the process and there are quite a few things that differ between Utah and Ohio. For instance, we have to have an emergency evacuation plan posted on every floor of our home...Uhm, does anyone have that posted in their home? On the bright side, I could see that as something I'd think about doing later. When Nathan was older. And understood the concept of emergency evacuation...but hey, the kid is almost three so maybe now is the time! Plus we have to have someone from the fire dept. inspect our home for fire safety every 6 months. Seriously folks. No messing around here in Ohio. None of these things are bad though. I won't complain on being safer. One of my best friends asked me today if it annoyed me that we have to do things like this and other parents (you know, the lucky kind that get healthy pregnancies?) don't have to. I told her only if I stop to think about it. No use in comparing apples to oranges. It is what it is. And no harm in being safer. It's like a bonus! And you know our emergency evacuation plan will be graphically designed with some Shauna flair. Absolutely.

The other bright side is that despite having more to do, it'll actually be a lot easier to get approved faster than last time! Hooray! Here's hoping we're celebrating approval in May! Or earlier!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Application DONE! Woot!

I had made a new goal to have our application done and completed by the end of this month. And today I emailed it in! Now we're scheduling our orientation meeting with the agency! I'm so excited!!!

the massive application. in all it's papery glory.


Seriously, I am SO excited to be a Mommy of two (at some point on the future...). To celebrate this milestone in our adoption process I updated my Amazon baby wishlist for this next little one. Picking out a cute diaper bag...so fun.

Last night I told Nathan that Mommy and Daddy had finally completed the application for his brother or sister. He didn't get it. I can only hope he'll be excited later when we bring him or her home!

We'll continue to keep everyone updated on our progress until we're in the waiting stage. Then no questions allowed please since it will be entirely in God's hands at that point!

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