Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I am reminded why I do this

Over the past few years, we have had a LOT of people ask us why we chose open adoption and why we continue to choose it. It's not always easy and it's not always the most natural thing to do, but we do it for our daughter. I was reminded of that while I watched last night's episode of "16 and Pregnant". The young Mom featured is 16 and pregnant, obviously, but was also adopted through a closed adoption. Now, we were told during one of our counseling/education sessions at Buckner that the rate of teen pregnancy for girls that were adopted is higher than those that were not. We saw this first hand one day when we started talking with a Mom and her teenage daughter. The mother had adopted her daughter through Buckner and was now helping her daughter make an adoption plan for her unborn baby. I bring all of this up because the young mother on last night's show kept saying something that really struck me. She talked about how this baby was the first blood relative she had ever had, and how could anyone ask her to give it up. Despite all the love and nurturing her adoptive family had given her, there was (and will always be) a void in her life that only her biological family can fill. It's a fact.

I remember being a little girl and even though I was not adopted, I never felt like I resembled anyone in my family. Then one day, I was looking through some old photographs and saw a picture of my Grandmother as a little girl. I was astonished at how much I resembled her and remember feeling such joy that I finally looked like someone in my family. Now, imagine that you NEVER have that. You always feel like an outsider, never really belonging. I don't want that for my daughter. I want her to always feel connected to us, but her biological family as well. I don't want her to make poor choices as a teenager to fill a void that I am incapable of filling.

Of course, I have NO idea what the future holds for Mia. Who knows if maintaining a relationship with her birth family will help, or hurt. I can only pray that I am doing what is right for her and our family.

And on a much happier note - today is Mia's "Gotcha" day. Four years ago today, we got to finalize her adoption and she legally became ours. What a happy day! For the first time this year, we are celebrating it with her because she is understanding more about adoption (i.e. she came out of A's tummy but her sisters came out of mine, etc.)and we want to make sure she knows that she is special in her own way.

"Gotcha" Day - 2006

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just because

I can't believe it is already March. Sarah is 8 months old. Olivia is showing interest in potty-training and Mia will start school in a little over five months. Where does the time go? I never seem to have time to update my blog like I want, so I thought I would just post of few pictures of three, most beautiful little girls in the world.

The last few pictures are from our trip to Disney World last month where we had an AWESOME time. Grant it, going with three little ones was work. However, we were blessed to go with my parents and brother who all helped out enormously. There is no way we would have attempted it on our own. I can't wait to go back.

Friday, February 26, 2010

To pray, or not to pray

Soooo, I've been wondering lately about the purpose of prayer. It all started last year when I read "The Shack." Our pastor had been going on and on and on about for months so when it finally became available in our church's library, I snatched it up and eagerly dove in, certain that this would be a life-changing book for me as my pastor had promised. Well, it was life-changing but not in the manner that I had hoped.

For those that have not been "Shacked", I will give you a brief run-down. Basically, the main character's young daughter is kidnapped and murdered. The father meets God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit at the shack where his daughter was brutally killed. Through his time there, he receives healing and peace.

This book stirred up a question that had been brewing for some time. If God has already determined the course of our lives, why pray? As a parent, I constantly ask God to protect mt children from harm, illness, etc. It is reasonable to assume that the fictional father in "The Shack" would have done the same. So, why would God allow such a horrible thing to happen? Why does He allow children to be abused? Neglected? He has the power to snuff out those that harm children in an instant. Why doesn't He?

I believe God is sovereign and that my prayers will not change His mind. I don't think He is sitting there thinking,

"Well, I was going to let that bus hit Jessica's daughter. But because she asked me to watch over her today, I think I'll make the bus driver swerve at the last instant."

Or does He?

Then again, He has known since the beginning of time when we would pray and what we would pray for.

Do you see how confused I am? Anyone else out there pondered this before?

Before you worry that I have stopped praying for my girls, worry not. I take the "better safe than sorry" approach and will continue to cover them in prayer...just in case. :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Infertility, adopting and giving birth...twice!

One of my FAVORITE blogs to read is Kelly's Korner ( and every Friday she has a "Show Us Your Life" post. They are usually fun things, like home decor, baby showers, etc. Of course, I never post because I'm not all cutesy and creative. However, this week's "assignment" was "Show Us Your Ministry/Testimony." I don't have a ministry, but here is my story thus far.

The pain of infertility? Been there, done that and got the t-shirt.

I remember that pain. I remember crying so hard over the possibility that I might never be able to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a mother that I would want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I remember avoiding baby showers. I remember coming up with excuses as to why I could not visit family and friends in the hospital following the births of their children. I remember skipping church on Mother's day, Father's day and baby dedication days. I remember cursing Johnson Baby commercials that talked about how having a baby changes everything. I remember walking through the baby departments at stores hoping that one day, I would be buying something for MY baby. I remember my family trying to shield me from news stories about women dumping their babies in trash dumpsters because they knew it would hurt me. I remember the countless comments from family, friends and even complete strangers as to how we could solve our little problem. I remember feeling like the reproductive endocrinologist held my future in his hands and instead of seeing my pain, he saw dollar signs and a new Lexus. I remember the pain of realizing that if I ever wanted to become a mother, it was going to cost me big bucks and even more emotionally.

I also remember the day Evan said he was ready to look into adoption. I had been ready for a while, but he wanted to consider additional IF treatments and had said that if we did adopt, he did not want to go into debt for it. I remember him coming home from work and telling me that we had gone into debt for a lot worse stuff and that if it was God's will for us to adopt, then HE would provide a way. I remember all the paperwork, home study visits, required training and reading that we had to complete to be approved to be parents. I remember the bitterness that most people we knew that were parents did not have to go through any of this. They simply got pregnant!

And I will always, always, always, always remember the day I was at work and my director came to tell me that there was someone named Rachel on the phone from Buckner. My heart stopped because I knew she was the maternity counselor. I remember every detail of that phone call and how as she gave me the information of the prospective birth parents, I cried on the inside because I knew there were too many "red-flags" for Evan to consider meeting them. I remember him FINALLY telling me (after several hours of him praying about it) that we should meet them and if it wasn't God's will, then He would close that door. To use a cliche, the rest is history. Four days after we met Mia's birth family, Mia was born and our dream of becoming parents finally happened. It didn't happen how we planned, and I thank God everyday that it didn't. When I look back at all the negative pregnancy tests, the perfectly timed intercourse because the OV predictor kit said it was time, the IUI that didn't work - I realize that had we conceived, we wouldn't have Mia.

Infertility sucks big time and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Nor would I force the adoption issue on someone that is not ready to look into it as a way to fulfill their dream of becoming parents. However, my heart breaks every time I hear someone say they are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars in the hopes that they can have a "child of their own." Perhaps it was the adoption etiquette training we received at Buckner that has made me a bit touchy about that phrase, but any adoptive parent will tell you that ALL of their children are their own, regardless of how they came to be.

Adoption? Been there and got a beautiful, precious daughter.

August 18, 2005 was a day like any other day. I woke up, got ready for work, and with a few minutes to spare, thought I would spend a few minutes talking to God. I prayed for the usual…thank you for all that you have given me, be with Evan today, help me keep my sanity at work, and by the way, please send us a baby soon. In the meantime, keep our child safe and give us an opportunity tell his or her birth family about you. Amen. It was the same prayer I had been praying for the last two years since deciding to give up on fertility treatments. Adoption was something that had always been on my list of lifelong to-dos: get married, have a few children and then spend the rest of my life rescuing children from orphanages and the nightmares of abuse and neglect. Obviously, my dream of having a few children biologically never became a reality. But God took those crushed dreams and gallons of tears cried and turned it into something more beautiful that I could have ever imagined.

When my husband and I seriously began looking into adoption, we were met with a huge obstacle. Gone were the days when pregnant women were secretly matched with a family that would take their child, and neither would ever hear of the other again. There was this new thing, called open adoption. We desperately sought an agency that wasn’t doing this new-fangled adoption, but were continually told that this was the best way to go. We prayed and finally settled on Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services, located in Dallas. They too were pushing the open adoption plans, but we decided that we would go to the orientation and agree with them if it meant we could finally be parents. Open adoption was okay for some, but staying in touch with a birth family – NO WAY!

After our first meeting with Buckner, the Lord began to soften our hearts. We still were not sold on the idea, but felt like we at least needed to educate ourselves if we were going to completely refuse the idea. We began to read some of the books Buckner had suggested and began to see some of the benefits of open adoption. We began the long, long process of filling out paperwork, getting references, medical records, extensive and personal interviews with social workers. In February of 2005, we attended a two-day seminar at Buckner where we learned the legal aspects of adoption, dealing with our own grief caused by infertility, and a little about what the birth family goes through. On the second day of the seminar, we got to meet a real family living open adoption. The adoptive family told their story and then the birth mother came in and told hers. God began to show us the beauty that can come from these relationships. From that point on, it has been open adoption for us.

Ok, so back to August 18, 2005. We had finished all of our paperwork and all we were lacking to be officially approved and waiting for a match was our final home study meeting…and that was scheduled for the following week. At about 11:30 that morning, one of my supervisors told me I had a phone call from Buckner. I figured there was a problem with some paperwork, but to my surprise, it wasn’t our social worker, but one of the maternity counselors. She told me that they had a birth mother due in two weeks and would it be ok if they showed her and the birth father our profile. There were several medical and personal issues that we had to consider, so I hung up, burst into tears, and then called my husband at work. After two days of hard praying, we decided that letting them seem our profile didn’t necessarily mean that this was the “one.” God still had the capability to close this door. We gave the okay and on Saturday, the maternity counselor flew to Amarillo to give them our profile. By Monday morning, we were driving to Amarillo to meet them in person and decide if this would be a good match for all involved. I think a blind date with a three-eyed monster would have been less nerve-racking. As we were driving to the church to meet them, all we could think was, “What are we thinking?” After spending most of Monday afternoon and evening with them, we decided to meet once more in the morning before heading home. It was SO hard not to get our hopes up, because we knew that nothing was definite. When we left on Tuesday, the birth mother told us she had an OB check-up the next day and she would call us and let us know how it went. That was a good sign.

Fast forward to August 25 – the phone rang at 3:30 in the morning. It was the birth father calling from the back of an ambulance. A’s water had broken and this was it. At this point we figured we had made the cut, so we literally threw clothes and the few baby things we had into the car and sped to Amarillo. We arrived about 12:30 and were able to spend a few hours in the hospital room with J and A, as well as some of their family and friends. At 4:26, our daughter was born. There were some complications during the delivery, so she was rushed to the NICU. We then began the waiting game to see if J and A would follow through with their adoption plan. We prayed, cried, and cried with them. While Mia was in the NICU, J and A allowed us to visit her, which made the wait even more difficult. This was still their baby, and they wanted to keep her more than anything in the world. But more than their own desires, they wanted more for her. On August 29, 2005, J and A signed the paperwork allowing us to bring home Mia Grace to be our daughter. It was the happiest and saddest day of my life. There are no words to describe the amount of guilt I felt. As much as I wanted to be a Mom, I felt like screaming, “Wait, are you sure you want to do this?”

We have a completely open adoption with Mia’s birth family. They know where we live, have been to our house, and even stayed in our guest room one night. We talk to them frequently on the phone, send pictures of Mia, and visit them in Amarillo. There is nothing legally binding about our agreement. At any point, we could back out and they would have no legal recourse. However, we made a commitment to them and to Mia. It’s not always the easiest of relationships, and there are times I have cried myself to sleep wishing to be a “normal” family. But like any Mom, I would do anything for my child. Once people know we have an open adoption, the number one question is, “Don’t you feel like you are sharing her?” Nope! I get all the firsts; all the sloppy kisses, the morning hugs, and years of everyday life with Mia. If I can’t afford her birth family a few days a year, after all they have given us, what does that say about me? What does that say about Christianity to those that don’t know Christ?



Getting pregnant unexpectedly and truly learning that God's timing is always perfect? Done it and have two more beautiful, precious daughters!!!

Getting pregnant, not once, but twice after years of unexplained infertility can only be described as a "God thing." We learned that God's timing is always perfect and even when He is saying no to our desires, He is working and if we will allow Him to move in mighty ways, then He will reward us far beyond what we ever anticipated.

If I would have gotten pregnant when I wanted to, then we would not have Mia.

If my doctor would have agreed to go ahead and do a hysterectomy because my female parts were only causing problems, there would be no Olivia....or Sarah. (A little over a month after an appointment to talk to my OB/GYN about recurring cysts and uterine fibroids I was back in her office for my first prenatal check-up.)

I don't always understand why God works the way He does. But He knows and I am so glad for it.