Monday, January 11, 2010

Because There Are People out There Who Want to Be a Friend and Don't Know How

Here are a few links:

How To be A Good Friend To an Infertile

Infertility Etiquette

For Family and Friends

How Can I Help. The Dos and Don'ts of Support

The Empty Arms Video Link is good too.

Also, the Hannah's Hope book by Jennifer Saake is REALLY good.

Not a Movie Buff...and Can't Figure Out Why

I never thought I was deprived of much growing up but as I get older I learned I was sheltered from the movie world at large. There's this whole world out there that I've never been involved with! Crazy. Maybe it's because we never really went to the movies together. It wasn't our "scene". But, believe it or not I've never seen A LOT of the "classic" movies. Doesn't even matter which "classic" you're talking about! So, I think I'm going to make a list of movies that I've never seen that everyone says I "HAVE" to see :) and are shocked that I haven't already yet in these 28 years.

It's I think about them I wonder how much time must have been spent watching these movies, and, looking back when on Earth I would have been able to watch them all let alone catch up on them! Here's a partial list. I'm sure it will grow

Office Space
The Princess Bride
Young Frankenstein
City Slickers
Pretty in Pink
Sixteen Candles
Singing in the Rain
The King and I
Miracle on 34th Street (the original or remake!)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Monty Python (any of them...there are multiple right?)
American Grafitti
Animal House
Revenge of the Nerds
Bad News Bears
Any of the 80s horror films (Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.)
Star Wars, the original 3 (I've seen the newer versions)
Ben Hur
Blazing Saddles
Breakfast at Tiffany's
A Christmas Story
The Best Little XX in Texas
Born on the 4th of July
Top Gun
Can't Buy Me Love
The Color Purple
Dead Poet's Society
Driving Miss Daisy
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
The Mask
Any of the Rocky movies
Scarface, the Godfather, or any of those movies
Uncle Buck
Urban Cowboy
When Harry Met Sally
The Wizard

Bottom line...if I "should have" seen it...I probably haven't. Funny huh? I guess it's part of who I am.

So...what other movies should I add to my " haven't seenXX"?

The answer's probably no, but I'd like to know what you'd consider a classic that I should have seen.

The Disclaimer for 2010

I once wrote a disclaimer and vowed it would be my only one. I guess I'm writing another. It will be like the first one, but since that was about labor and pregnancy and all things women and this one is about, well, not that, I've made some changes. If you are interested in that, please find it here:

One and Only Disclaimer

Here's the thing. I'm still not too fond of disclaimers on blogs. Not on my blog anyway. I'm afraid that disclaimers make things less serious or like I'm excusing my behavior...maybe they water down the message. The problem is that with the topics on my blog and its place in my life as my journal, you get to see pieces of me that aren't pleasant. I'm not always happy. I'm not always cheerful. I'm not always excited about what is going on in my life or how things happen. Typically, those are the times that I need to get my feelings out. Coincidentally those are often the times I need someone behind me holding me up too. And, for those of you who are interested, you can follow along if you wish. This is not always pleasing to those who read.

Back in the day (when I wrote the original disclaimer) the problem was with my presenting my thoughts about natural childbirth and pregnancy. This offended people, not necesarily because it should, but because by me writing down my opinions, it automatically insinuated that I thought if others didn't do what I say then I thought you were less than me. Of course that's not true and I discussed that in my other post.

In the same way, this is my heart on my sleeve here people. I do not force my way into other people's lives with my thoughts and feelings. more on that here Instead, I use my blog as an outlet for my thoughts and feelings and if you are interested in listening you can choose to or not. For that reason you won't see me calling anyone very often to chat about the same stuff I put on my blogs. Why? Not because I don't want to confront things head on or because I don't care but because I assume other people are at least half as busy as I am, if not more busy, and therefore if they have a heart to reach out to me based on what is in my blog they can choose to, or not.

Nevertheless my blog is not my method of communicating with others. I don't use it like a lot of people do where its to update friends and family on their life. You don't see a lot of pictures of how my son is developing or how we are as a family. Yes, it serves that purpose sometimes, but only as a by-product of the real journal. I could keep this journal private. Some would question whether journaling publicly is helpful. I don't know whether it is or not. I guess it doesn't matter. For me it is. It's helpful for me to come to my blog and put down what I'm feeling. It's just where I keep the thoughts in my head. Because, again, I'm an extravert and if I don't want to push my way into someone's life to make them listen to me in an IRL conversation, I can "speak" here, even if I'm the only one listening. It's a way for me to capture where I am in life. I plan to be able to look back (as I have been able to over time) over my life and see the journey.

I know some of you have heard Anne Frank's sister's speach or at least heard about it where she did needlepoint the whole time and used that needlepoint as an illustrative point. The whole time, as she speaks, the only thing the audience could see was the big old mess she was creating on the back side of the art work. It's only at the end when you can see the true beauty of the end result.

That's what that is here, folks. My big ol' mess. I'm not perfect and I don't expect anyone else to be. In fact, there are two really fundamental things that you have to know about me.

1) I always play the devil's advocate role. I always make the assumption of goodwill about others...meaning that I believe they meant well even if the end result didn't turn out to be pleasant. Although I know this isn't theologically correct, or at least I think it isn't, I believe that people want to be good. I choose to believe that even though I know it's not true. So, when I feel I'm "wronged" by someone else, I always assume they didn't mean was an accident...they didn't know was an wasn't intentional.

That doesn't mean it didn't happen though and that it didn't hurt.

And, for the purpose of this blog that's important. This is my place to record my hurts as well as my super celebrations for good things. More often hurts...because I don't usually need to "journal" about the good things. I think that's true of most folks though with their journals. So, I record the things that hurt me and how it made me feel. That doesn't mean I assume that others are bad or that others intended to hurt me. I have little hurts in here and big hurts. And they will all stay here. Because that's how I roll. Just kidding...but because this is my journal. I don't know anyone (then again I've never asked) who goes back in their journal to tear out pages. Maybe that's healthy? I don't know. Maybe I should? I don't know. But at this point I don't think so.

2) I always think things can get better. Truth is...hope and faith is something so ingrained in me. It's why I keep on coming back for more regardless of the responses I get (in life, not just in blogging). I don't believe in letting things be...well sometimes, but not most of the time. What's that saying...when you are going through hell don't stop...and...then there's this analogy about how when others are going through hell you love them enough not to leave them there. Something like that. That's how I feel and believe with all of my soul. I am ALWAYS looking at myself to see how I can improve and how I can be more like Christ. Always. Always. To the point that I always think that no matter what other people are doing I can do something to change and therefore in most circumstances I can help change the situation. (which is partly why IF is so hard...can't do anything!)

So, I won't just let things be...I won't smile and pretend that everything is ok when its not. That doesn't mean I won't love, in the active sense. I'll still reach out. I'll still keep trying. I'll still be praying and loving and not hardening my heart. That's one thing that makes me different (in my eyes anyway)...many people hurt and put up a wall...I hurt and still reach out...sometimes facing more hurt because I don't want to let things be. And I don't believe in mediocrity. I don't believe we're called as Christians to just let things be. I believe we are specifically designed "for such a time as this" so that when we see something wrong we first pray, then reach out and do something. And so, to my dying breath I will be doing that. Yes, sometimes there is a place for stepping back and "just praying". And yes, the method you choose to "do something" is important...for example I don't see the value in attacking character but instead to shed light on what I believe to be an "unknown" situation (see #1), acknowledge how it made me felt, telling how I think it should be done...then move on. The ball is in the other court then, so to speak, as I keep praying and loving.

I'm not perfect. Don't think I am. Don't pretend to be. I'm a human just like anyone else and will stumble and fall. You'll see a lot of this on this blog. If it offends you or hurts you...I'm sorry and that will never be my intention...please feel free to call me on it. If you think I'm off-track or off-base and want to let me know...that's ok. I'd rather that than heading down the wrong-path...not for a minute or a day but for eternity. If it looks like I'm struggling and it's depressing to read, I understand. But please realize that I'm an open book and I prefer it that way...I don't hide things...never have never will as I don't think that helps #1 or #2 above...what you see is what you get, if you're interested in looking, and I process externally. Some people think "I'm so smart" and I should be able to think through everything I do and know exactly how it's going to effect others. That's just not the case. I throw ideas out there all the time and I expect people to say yay or nay accordingly. That's just how I am.

So, for all who have responded to say in the past or in the future that I'm not a Christian or that I don't love or that I'm selfish or not a leader or stuck up or that I'm wrong or that I'm not trying to be like Christ or that I'm dissapointing or that I'm offensive, way out of line, critical, judgmental, inconsiderate, attacking, thoughtless, cold-hearted, rude, envious, and a myriad of other things...

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I've left you feeling that way. I really am. I hope that my blog gives you a little taste of who I am and what I'm going through, if you're interested to follow along this journey with me, and, hopefully, at the end I'll be more like Christ than when I started.

I'm human...that's all I can say.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The other side of the excitement

Editors note: This post is edited from it's original version to take out any information that could have been identifying as the purpose of this post was not to "share anyone's sin" but merely to show the negative ways I've reacted in this process. Also, it's an attempt to extend an olive branch and show that in all honesty I have no resentment toward any person and I believe that none of the things mentioned in this blog were intentional. I hope that you will all join me in this celebration of what God can do as our story continues to unfold and we see how He took me from what I was here in this blog to what I will be in the future. I'm hoping as well that the relationships I refer to are restored through God's grace and plan and beauty really is achieved from ashes.

I really hestitate to write this. But I have to.

Moving forward with the adoption process hasn't been easy. Actually, it has been easier than the whole infertility thing, but since adoption was the thing we chose to move forward with that's the thing that has the potential for not being easy as to move forward.

I'm so grateful for everyone who've supported us through this. I can't say this enough. I know that we have all of the support that we need for this journey ahead, and there is nothing that can replace that. I am forever grateful and excited to share the future with all of you.

I'm coming to understand that not everyone is a fan of adoption. I've already fully learned that not everyone is knowledgeable or cares to be knoweldgeable about infertility. So, the fact that we are going through some of that with people in our life is really, really, painful.

There are certain people who are totally excited and showing the right amount of interest in the process and what we've gone through. My mom, for example, bought me two new photo albums with family themes which, although I haven't asked her, I believe has full intention of showing just a bit more support for what we have in store. In fact, when I told her about our situation and, more specifically when I told her that we were going to be pursuing sibling adoption from CPS, she said "Great! Any way I can get more grandchildren I'll take it". So sweet. Others, on the other hand, not so much.

When we found out about our situation, we called some people that we have that type of relationship with (my family really, since I could talk about the most intimate details with them). I wasn't, however, as comfortable calling others to share the details of our situation, which of course is MFI...nothing like calling guys and telling them that info you know? So, instead we sent out an email that said the basics with directions to our blog if they were interested. At that point we said we were considering adoption but hadn't decided for sure. We asked for their prayers and support editors note...after re-reading the email...we didn't actually ask for this...we specifically said we weren't asking for anything but the intention was to put ourselves on the hearts of others. The only "caution" we offered was to please not tell us to have faith, because we didn't and don't believe this is a faith issue in that if we have more faith we will get pregnant or if we stay faithful we'll just magically get pregnant or worse, if we were faithful enough God would grant our wish and give us another pregnancy therefore we're currently infertile because we aren't faithful enough for us. We emphasized that we believe God can and would give us a pregnancy if he'd like but at this point we're just learning the reality of our physical situation...not that God couldn't change it if he wanted to...and that our "dream" of the way we'd have kids would not come true. Again, not that God wouldn't have something better for us, because he must/will, but nevertheless first we had to say goodbye to what we thought life would be. I said this in a sentence or two, because I felt it needed to be said.

From the approximately 10 people I sent the email to, one sent a wonderful supportive email. I received two other emails regarding the medical condition we faced and how to get medical records with one promise to talk to us about it later. NO OTHER RESPONSES. No "I'm praying for you". No "I'm thinking of you", no "sucks to be you", no "wow, sorry to hear that", no "hahahahah...that's what you get." I want to make it clear that I did not, in my mind, throw "pearls before swine" so to speak and unwisely provide this information to people who I'd expect to trample on our hearts. Rather, the people I chose were all people I know have a strong faith and have expressed their desire to have a good relationship with us and although I didn't expect anything in particular I did trust that they would take the information and be a part of our support system in the future. I also believed they had a desire to know what was going on in our life.


Perfect silence.

That was in June 2009.

When we finalized our plan to pursue sibling adoption from CPS in July, we decided that we'd probably not be extremely open with these folks while we went through the process. Not that we'd keep things from them intentionally, but that we wouldn't be providing the play-by-play as we went through the process. We'd tell them as we needed to. We'd update them at least by the time we finalized the adoption ;). No but seriously we just couldn't take a repeat of the infertility announcement time after time, over and over again, not at that point anyway. We were too sensitive at the time to risk sharing that information with anyone who we thought might not be able to support us as we needed, for whatever reason. And, as we didn't hear anything from the people who received the email we figured that they chose to keep out of the process because they were unable to participate for some reason...they didn't know what to say, they were too busy, they thought we were crazy, etc. To us the reason didn't matter, all we knew is that while we were in the most sensitive time of infertility those who were able to support us did and they had demonstrated their ability to be trustworthy with our fragile beings at the time. The adoption process is an emotional roller coaster as it is and we didn't need anything to add to it. Intentionally or not. It was an act of self-preservation.

At some point we did have to bring one of those people up to speed because we needed an additional person who had spent time in our home to be a reference, and one of those people matched that criteria. So, we did.

It took this person 10 weeks to provide the reference, and that only because the CPS worker made a personal phone call. We called, reminded, asked this person to fill out the form (there's debate over whether or not it was received and that may have held up the process) reminded this person more and more that there was a deadline and this was the only thing holding us up in the process. After all of what we felt like ages (and in total 5 months) of informing this person about our decision and plans, we heard "I didn't know you were that far in the process".

ARGH. As a result our process was put on hold for 2 months.

At the same time, maybe even the same week, another person talked with my husband after hearing the news. Now, granted, what I heard came from my husband, and I have no knoweldge of the connotation of the message, but the words were this "You need to tell people about these things so we can pray for wisdom for you as you go through this and these kinds of decisions".

Now, I'll give you this...true...absolutely, we appreciate your prayers. No harm in that.

Except...first, WE DID SAY SOMETHING....6 MONTHS AGO! WHEN WE NEEDED YOU!!! WHEN WE NEEDED YOUR SUPPORT. When we really needed your prayers. No one (from the email...) reached out to show they cared then. That was the darkest time in our life.

and seriously...who, when planning to try naturally, asks anyone to pray for them...I know it happens, but have you ever had someone say "Hey...we are thinking of starting to try to get pregnant...can you pray for us so that we can have wisdom to know if this is the right decision?" Most people don't even tell people they are trying. Why? Because it is a private issue that people usually contain within a marriage. And typically, that's acceptable. It's hard to understand, in the fragile state that infertility breaks you into, why you would need prayer for wisdom in that decision making process to become adoptive people who are undoubtedly "broken" because they can't conceive "normally" (or in our all naturally), there is a desperate desire to make things "normal" in the rest of the process as much as possible.

From our broken state, this question, no matter how it was intended cut right to the core to show us that we were not only inept in the ability to have a child of our own naturally (again) but that we were also inept in making the decision on how to grow our family...something that fertile people don't often (ever) think about. Not to mention the fact that we know people who can sometimes hurt their babies and THEY'RE allowed to have babies...why not us? Is there something wrong with us in the core that makes us not capable of making the decision to expand our family? Now, from what I know (I thought I was a fertile once too!) this seems ridiculous...that conclusion is absurd...but infertility robs you and leaves you in such a state that this is the type of things you have to work through to regain your understanding of who you are. And I feel bad for friends and family of infertiles...they have a tough job. Editor's note: there are several articles written more recently that give advice to friends and family on how to help and good things to say or not to say...but a basic thought is...if you wouldn't say it to someone who was just diagnosed with cancer or you wouldn't say it to someone who's spouse just probably should be cautious in saying it.

So, people ask me how our vacation in November went. My answer is "okay". Primarily because knowing all of the above I hoped that now that our "secret" (which never really was a secret) was out in the open (?) we'd have the opportunity to talk about it with them. Maybe? We were there for 10 days. Maybe we'd have the chance to sit down and talk about what's going on in our life? Maybe? With someone? At least once?

And so it never was... There were a couple times that appointments (yes, appts) were made for dinner and there were lots of "maybe we can get together...I'm so excited to see you guys"...but nothing came of it. And, in the few times we were together we might as well not have been. It was as if we didn't exist, or, at least that we weren't facing what we faced. I don't know how else to describe it. (By the way, I am overgeneralizing...very slightly). Nevertheless I was devastated after crushed me. I was really hoping I'd be able to find that all along people didn't know or that they didn't want to talk about it on the phone or email but would in person, or that although they didn't know what to say about infertility they'd be excited about the adoption (and they'd show some excitement, or even interest). I will say that I had one person who asked a couple questions and it was like drops of rain in parched soil...I soaked it up. But no more. I was SO excited to come home. I was so grateful for the people in my life that have reached out to show they care. And I was so happy to be here, at home, in Texas. Away from them. And I also hated that about myself...I swear.

Now, I will say there was a TON going on in for those folks in the last 6 months from several severe injuries, family member deaths, busy-ness at work, surgeries, you name it these folks experienced it and I imagine by the time November/December came around they were struggling to breathe as I was. There was work and stress on so many levels. And I tried to reach out and help as best as I could from here and send encouragement. And be patient and not bitter knowing what was going on in their lives. And, on top of that, I don't believe that they could possibly understand what we've faced over the past way. None of them have faced it and, even if they have none of them knew what we'd specifically gone through because we'd never talked about it. All to say that I don't have any hard feelings or bitterness toward anyone who hasn't supported us as we needed. I really don't have the desire to blame them at all. But I also struggled to see how much effort was being shown in their lives to lift up and support each other through that time while it felt we were left here alone to go through it on our own.

I will say that my flesh wanted to cut ties. well, not completely, but to stop trying to repair things. Accept them as they are and move on. But to me that would mean absolutely not trying to bring them along in this process. At all. Until things are stable and/or they have reached out to show that they want to be a part of it. Part of that would be for me and to protect and heal my heart, yes, no doubt. But in my mind although my husband and I can't take much more of that pain we feel when we put our hearts on the line with what feels like a disconnected call, the more important thing is introducing our new family into those relationships. No way. Our job will be to protect them to some degree from the kind of pain and rejection that we've experienced through this process. At least at first anyway. Once they are established in our family and us in theirs and once they know devoted love from those who show they care with actions, then of course we would want to teach them that to love others as they are. I'm not saying we shouldn't have a relationship with them, but that it should be really, really guarded.

I hate that though because I'm someone who wants to fix the problem. On one hand (one side of my flesh) wants to say "no more"...I can't take any more!, but on the other side of my flesh I believe that it can be fixed and that I/we/our future children deserve relationships in which active love is shown. In my spirit and through faith I know that it can be improved, that there is hope and that if I keep that hope alive and keep trying (no matter the response) that someday the relationships will be "perfect"...if not on Earth certainly in heaven. So I don't want to stop trying. I don't. I want to have a great relationship with them, with or without future children. But at the same time I just don't see that happening. And it's a struggle for me to put my flesh aside and keep trying.

Do they know that we are potentially oh...60 days or so from having our family? I know that's optimistic, but still...we could be that close to having our kids...and they haven't even acknowledged it at all. I mean...if I were pregnant (or, better yet, if one of them were pregnant as I fully expect in the next few months which would be PERFECT wouldn't it? Editors note: I left this in here because I really do mean that would be perfect...that we would be adding to our families at the same time and that would be totally awesome) surely 60 days from the due date they'd acknowledge what we'd be facing right? Surely there would be some excitement about the future children in our lives, our journey, my pregnancy, right? I mean, right?


THankfully, what I do know is that I can focus on those relationships that have been supportive and engaged and loving and encouraging. I'm not talking about "stupid encouragement"...I want to surround us with wise people...people who on one hand encourage and support and on the other hand making sure we're thinking through everything. We want that for sure. And we have that. Mostly with those of you who read this blog. And, although I spent a good deal of time thinking through a lot of this in late November/early December, I really don't think about it anymore. But I did want to get it out so its down on paper and I can move on.

SO thank you. I appreciate all of you for caring and loving us and sticking with us through this time. I hope, through my honest struggle, you can see a little glimpse into the hell of going through infertility and what a wretched mess it leaves you in...if you stop...but we didn't stop and haven't stopped...please see the two previous posts before this one to see where we are now.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Gettin' Excited

As the holidays came and especially started to come to a close I've started becoming REALLY excited about the new year and all I believe it will entail. We still have not sold our house but are still in a contract on the other with full belief (???) that we will sell ours and get into the other in a few months. So, that is super exciting. And, if not, the work we've been doing on our house has been fun (most of the time) and exciting and our house is 10X better for us than it was.

And, of course, there's the pregnancy. No, not that kind of pregnancy, but the one I feel in my heart. It's still hard to fully comprehend whether this will all turn out as we hope, but we're moving forward as if in the next few months we will either be praying over the decision on which children will be ours or, maybe even have them in our home. While we have not yet finished the homestudy and, actually haven't had them call us to schedule an appointment yet, we are moving forward as if that all will happen as soon as normalcy returns after the new year (i.e,. maybe this week) and then, 30 days after that we will be what they call "paper pregnant"...licensed and ready to accept children.

But for now, everything we do is tainted (that's not the right word...tainted in a good way) with our future children in mind. For example, we now have this bed:

I picked this up on the curb in EXCELLENT condition...I'm sure someone's little princess probably grew out of it. (Ours doesn't have the canopy...I'm going to have to look for that!). Anyway...I picked it up in the falling snow and ice, shoved it into my car, and brought it home...just in case one of our kids turns out to be an infant/toddler girl. I figure if we don't need it I know several people who have infant daughters, or, worse case scenario I'll stick it back out on the curb.

When I shopped at all the after Christmas sells I bought 4X the amount of things I would normally have bought for Logan. Lots of little presents, 4 things of play-doh, 4 books, and a few other things like that, plus extra wrapping paper, etc. On the other hand, we didn't buy new stocking holders (we've desperately needed for years) because we want to wait to get them matching for our whole family, if we can, next year.

See! So totally excited. I get a little discouraged because we still haven't had any movement on the house or we haven't moved at all with the agency since the beginning of December (as expected because of holiday schedules), but I know that we will be moving somewhere (figuratively, not literally) in 2010, and I can't WAIT!

and so I'm cleaning my house daily...trying to get into the habit of being a better homemaker both to sell my house and before the extra work from extra kids comes.