Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Our Plan

We finally had a chance to sit down and talk about our fertility plan when we were on vacation. It was wonderful. We had 3 whole hours to be stuck in a car together as we drove down to San Diego where I had to work the next day. I say stuck because we were. I forgot my laptop at my parents house despite going back in once or twice to get it. My husband's iphone mysteriously stopped working while we drove. It started working just fine the next morning and I didn't end up needing my laptop. Amazing coincidences huh? ;)

So we were left, me driving to avoid motion sickness and my husband captive to discussion about our options. (see a previous email on those). We decided that night that although in our hearts we'd prefer to have more biological children and maybe one day we will either by "accident" (hehe...that takes on a whole different meaning with infertility!) or by planning and medical intervention (IVF-ICSI), we really feel that the best option for expanding our family is to pursue adoption.

And then we got excited and had the opportunity to think about so many of the millions of directions that could lead us. Our initial decision was that we, at this point in our lives, are not interested in International adoption. And, we feel that if we have to spend 20K or so on increasing our family size we'd rather pursue the biological options. So, that leaves us with two main options...adoption through finding a random friend/family reference or adopting through the "system".

We attended an informational meeting on August 8th at the CPS office in Arlington. It didn't really prrovide us with any additional infrmation but did give us the opportunity to officially start the process and further discussions in my home. While I left the meeting less sure that this was our option, J was confident and even excited. We waited to fill out the application until we were able to think about it some more, pray about it, and then talk to others who've been down that road.

We met with our wonderful friends who opened their home and hearts to us to share from their experiences and knowledge bank about adoption, particularly from the foster-care system. While I will never share with anyone else what they shared with us, what I will say is that we are both so unbelievably grateful and indebted to them for allowing us to share in a glimpse of their lives as they were, as they are, and as they hope it will be. We left that special time 1000000% confident that we were heading in the right direction for so many reasons. We were so excited about pursuing this option and haven't looked back.

It was during this conversation we felt the initial plan was really outlined for us. Pursue adoption through the foster care system while simultaneously saving for IVF-ICSI. Afterall, if we save up the money and decide at some point that we don't want to go through with trying for more bio-kids, well, there really isn't a downside to that.

We decided to put our application in with DFPS on August 14th. I drove it there myself and dropped it off in person to make sure it got there and give it an extra chance at getting started on time. It took us 2 weeks to hear back from them and I was getting anxious (see previous post about what I'm learning!), but we did hear back from the recruiter on Saturday (8/29) at about 9pm saying that she was ready to put us in our training class. It was such a glorious moment! I can't explain was wonderful. It's almost comparable to not taking that first birth control pill when you are trying to get pregnant. It's like going to the pre-conception appointment. And so now we're eager to become actively trying adoptive parents!

Some of our decisions:
  • We will be initially open to accepting 1-3 kids, ideally a sibling group of 2-3.
  • We are undecided about the age, but know we want additional boys for our son to play with and grow up with for sure...we are leaning on having children younger than him enter our home...either that or right around his age. I think of how great it would be to have a 2 1/2 year old, 3 year old, and 3 1/2 year old. But I'm crazy and in reality we're just excited to go on this journey
  • We do not want to pursue foster-care right now but are willing to consider foster-to-adopt with the idea that we'd be pursuing younger children who require 18 months in the system before being eligible to adopt anyway...we are also willing to pursue straight adoption and believe that over the next few months we'll probably get a little clarification on this.

We'll be going to training in October, which means we'll be doing our home study sometime through November to January...we've been advised that it may take longer because of the holidays. We'll see. Like I said, the reality is that we're really excited to go on this journey. We're praying for our family. We're praying for our future children. We're praying that we get closer to Christ now and in the future. We're praying for our son and for wisdom to parent him now, through this transition, and forever. We're eager to get started and yet we know that this whole adventure will be more challenging than anything we've ever expected we'd face.

And we're so grateful. But we might need your help making it through and additional grace as we learn once again who we are...letting Christ shape our family rather than planning it all out ourselves.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Revelations and Hope

WOW! We've gone through so much in the past year. I've learned so much. First and foremost, God's timing is amazing, as is His provision, as is His sovereignty. The devastation I've gone through as a result of the infertility diagnosis (and in this case devastation is not a strong enough word) has really been the tip of the iceberg.

Let me put it this way. I learned along time ago that life isn't about me. The answer to the question "why me?" in good times and bad is as simple as this: Because I am me. Because He is God. He created me as he did and has allowed whatever has been in my life as he has because of his perfect will and provision. He knows me more than I will ever know myself. I matter to Him. But His will is supreme above my own and that not only doesn't mean that he doesn't love me or I don't matter but even more emphasizes that He is sovereign and somehow still loves me. Amazing huh? Crazy.

And yet, the reality is that I'd forgotten for a while, or at least my will became much more important than His. This year I've really struggled and not just because of the fertility challenges. Anyone in my shoes I think would have probably struggled if they were looking at my circumstances as I was. Here's how I saw it...

1) New year starts, I'm really looking forward to returning to work with all of the ideas I had to put into place...the challenge I faced...after taking 2 weeks off for mother & son bliss over the holidays.

2) A few hours into that first day back I'm tentatively offered a promotion to take over a position I'm not nearly as passionate about as the one I had been in. Shock #1. Step against my plan #1.

3) In the next few weeks the plan I had to return to the job I loved, having a perfect work-life balance, finishing up my last semester of residency (with a practicum making up 3 units!...that's basically free credits!), paying off debt, and quickly returning to the actively fertile world via clomid unraveled at an amazing pace:
  • The position I was offered I received. A week after I officially took over the role changed completely and I went from managing 1 person with a ton of projects to managing a team of over 60 in 2 countries with additional global responsibilities...the team was created at the same time as a 10% reduction in time for planning and immediate action was necesary.
  • I became violently ill with no time to take off due to the new lasted 5 weeks and by the time I saw the doctor I had walking pnuemonia
  • I was committed to traveling 1 week per month, at least, which is difficult when you don't have anyone to watch your child overnight during the week.
  • I walked into a mess of a job
  • My husband started a new work schedule which although gloriously brought him home Friday nights took him away an additional weeknight and put more pressure on me to handle full childcare responsibilities during the week.
  • I wasn't able to immediately give up any responsibilities of my old job
  • After a while, it was decided that I wouldn't give up my old job...I still have much of my old responsibilities
  • I struggled to be interested in getting school work done because I wasn't interested in getting the work done...I was always leaving something undone which isn't ok with me.
  • I didn't get to spend nearly as much time with my son as I'd hoped
  • don't get me started about the Johnson Grass in the backyard
  • Finally got an appointment for my annual (3 months late) where I expected to get a quick've probably read the story from there

Basically, nothing went "my way". But let me put it this way:

  • I was given great responsibility at work, a great opportunity particularly for someone my age, and was given a HUGE pay increase only 2-3 months after I received a different one.
  • I was given the opportunity to really speak into and touch so many lives
  • My son continues to grow happy and healthy
  • My husband loves his new shift and we get to spend a whole 18 hours together including a Friday night/Saturday morning combo!
  • I've had the opportunity to travel again which has led me to visit a few places I haven't been and allowed for the majority of my wonderful summer vacation to be paid for
  • I've been in several accidents but have been spared serious injury in any of them
  • i've been able to take the medication I wouldn't be able to take if I was pregnant and it really helps me live my life!
  • I was able to get through another semester, picked a Major Professor, filed a degree plan, and got that much closer to finishing the degree and doing more i've been passionate about.
  • I had the opportunity to visit my family a lot despite my schedule
  • I had the opportunity to help two great friends through major challenges in their lives

I could go on and on. The point is that, like most people I think, I'd put so much faith in what I thought my life would be like, both in the short term and long term. After the first shock in the first few days of the year theoretically I could have simply turned to God and let him adjust my expectations to match his and then kept going, learning more and more about who he is and who he's created me to be. Instead, I chose to continue to rely on my own abilities, delving into my pride and arrogance, fighting within myself to keep going with my chin up trying to figure out how to get things back on track "my way".

And it's now so simple to me. It's not my way. If I had my way would I go through all of this again? The work situation? The family situation? My inability to be a stay-at-home mom? My inability to be "healthy" and awake without taking daily doses of highly restricted medications? The infertility? (and on and on and on)....

If I'm honest with myself...I'd say no. I'd say I'd put it back the way I wanted it. And that's exactly the reason why I've gone through it. I'm sure there's more in time, but for now I'm finally resting in this assurance. I'm not in control. I'm a failure on my own. My plans are not perfect. I'm not able to do it all. I am not perfect. And yet I have a loving God who IS. Who loves me and really honestly provides me with everything I NEED. Who understands not only me but everyone around me...he knows me so much more than I know myself so much so that he has taken me down this path despite my arrogance and pride in the abilities and circumstances he gave me in the first place so that I can turn back to him completely and learn to trust him in such a more deep level. Neither I nor my life will turn out to be perfect as I would have designed it.

But thank God. Because if it were up to me I'd have 3 kids that I gave birth to, a husband who is the perfect leader of our family and home, a son who sleeps through the night wihtout taking 4 hours to fall asleep, financial independence from my husband's career alone so that I could be a stay-at-home mom to those 3 kids while I served in ministry, did play dates, finished school, and had a chance to workout everyday. And while that would be great, I'd be lacking the one thing I need on The Almighty.

I've started a private journal, not so much because I didn't want to share with all of you but because I needed a more immediate opportunity to write down what was going on within me and I've allowed other things to take precedence over finding time to get online to blog. Plus, by the time I'd go to blog I would be in a different mood, too busy, or have different opinions than I had in the morning. And, I didn't want to turn this blog into a fertility-centric journal. Maybe sometime I'll share what I've written in there. Maybe I won't. What I know is that although there will be a ton of challenges in my life and this isn't a declaration that I'm no longer struggling with infertility or anything else for that matter. I will struggle. I will fall.

But I will be caught.