Hi Everyone! I'm attempting to stick my head out of this thick newborn fog I'm totally immersed in. Leading up to the birth of Charley there was so much going on -- workshops, weddings, and more -- but I could not find the energy to blog much when so much was happening at home. Now that our secret is out I feel as if I have SO much I want to catch my faithful readers up on, but my time is no longer. Butterbean is an incredible eater and sleeper at night. During the day she's more of a party animal and only sleeps soundly in my arms or wrapped in my Moby. And, good grief ... she's such a miracle and such a small baby (who is already a MONTH old) so I am totally fine carrying her around everywhere I go. (Not to mention I am completely, madly, over-the-moon in love and miss her when she's riding in her car seat in the back!) So all that to say my 8-10 hours on the computer a day has turned in to about 30 minutes every 3-4 days.
Nevertheless, I have been working on this post (starting below) for over a week now. It's probably terribly written (remember ... not much sleep for me), but I am so eager to get our story out there. I feel confident it will be helpful for others to read. Others ... struggling with infertility, too or others considering adoption themselves ... or others who just simply care about us. So, here goes ...
p.s. I miss you all so much!
Have I ever mentioned that doctors have never found anything wrong with either of us? Maybe it could be this .. or this they'd say, but definitively nothing has ever been found wrong. And yet, three and a half years later I am not pregnant.
It was last fall when I photographed the bike tour. (The tour goes across the state of Tennessee (434 miles in 5 days) to promote adoption.) It was my second year and I think since I wasn't quite as freaked out/overwhelmed like I was the first year I had the mental room to enjoy the week. The week brought incredible thrills and sobering moments. I loved hearing all the stories of adoption - people who had adopted and people who were adoptees - but always in the back of my mind was the thought ... the fear if I can be totally honest ... that adoption would be the only way we would be able to build a family.
Nevertheless, time was ticking and my passion and desire to be a mom was a raging fire in my soul. I longed nothing more than to play a role I've wanted to play since I was a child.
When I returned home I shared the stories and my heart with Corey - leaving out my fears for the most part and instead only sharing my enthusiasm for what adoption could mean for us. He reluctantly agreed that I could contact an agency that week only to see what the process would entail. "Babe, you know it takes MONTHS of paperwork and classes and such and then years to be placed. This does not mean we can't continue with the fertility treatments. It just means we're opening up another door." (I must add that this was possibly the 100th conversation we had had about adoption over the course of about 6+ months.)
That night I laid in bed and researched adoption agencies in the city on my iPhone. I found one whose website seemed simple and the number easy to find. It didn't intimidate me like the others so I bookmarked it and drifted off to sleep waiting for the morning to arrive. The following day (October 12, 2009) I made coffee and tried to work a bit. I think I got about an hours worth of work done before I eagerly dialed the number. She answered and although I totally fumbled over all of my words our conversation flowed effortlessly. She, too, had battled infertility, she too is married to a doctor and she has two adopted daughters whom she adores. So much so she started a small agency in the city to pair up birthmoms with adoptive parents. Only in Cincinnati though. It seemed strange to limit ourselves so much to just one city, but it also seemed safe and easy and ultimately it simply felt right. She told me she'd send me the initial paperwork and I finished the day with my heart fluttering away.
Three home meetings with a social worker, paperwork, one class on cultural differences (which was a waste of time), background checks, medical reports and a home-safety check and we were done. The brunt of it was done by Christmas with the last few homestudy meetings done in January. As we waited for our "approval" letter (which came in February) all that was left was for me to design our profile book. It took several weeks, but finally one late night the inspiration hit and I spent just about the remainder of the dark hours designing it.
On our very long journey home I resolved to the fact that God was being very obvious that he had different intentions for us. This did not mean that our journey was going to unfold without pain, but I started to truly believe that the pain would one day flourish into incredibly joy. A joy that was a bit of a beacon to all the others (!!!) who also struggle with infertility. The loneliness, the pain, the lies as a woman you begin to believe when your body fails you, the empty longings, the confusion ... I know some of you understand all too well.
As for Corey he was still very much struggling with the inability to have a child biologically. I do not fault him for this. I believe strongly that God made men to be this way. To pass on their genes. For us women it's different. God made us maternal. Give us a breathing soul and we will care for it with all of our energy.
In early April through a crazy series of events the lady who coordinated Boho Girls' adoption emailed me to see if we would be interested in sharing our book to a birthmom. The baby was a Puerto Rican boy. I was already in love. I excitedly told Corey the news when he got home from work only to meet resistance. I was so frustrated and saddened. We left for a week of travels -- including a few days we spent with friends at my parent's cabin in Banner Elk -- to interview for his fellowship. It seemed we spent most of our free time talking about it. The long car rides gave us both the time and freedom to be honest about how we were truly feeling about all sorts of things. It became a bit more obvious to me that the biggest reason Corey hadn't done this before was because of me. I wouldn't let him. I was broken and I needed him to be strong. I couldn't be broken and have him be broken, too. I know it's selfish, but it's the truth.
When we returned home I sadly called and said that we did not feel a peace about it and would be proceeding on with the adoption agency we were already working with.
That weekend we were invited to come to our agency here in Cinci and hear an adoptive family share their journey to adopting their two children. Somewhere in the midst of the hour talking he said, "When you're in the process it seems so overwhelming and difficult, but I promise it's worth it. That's all I can say. I hope you believe me."
That was enough for Corey. For the first time he was on-board and hopeful. That was April 11th, 2010.
Only one week later we received a call that a birthmom had chosen our book and wanted to meet us. "Don't get your hopes up. She's in Cleveland and it sounds like she's talking to other agencies as well. You could very well be one of a dozen she's interviewing. Honestly, to me, it seems a bit far-fetched."
Although my head believed that, my heart felt different. My heart felt hope like I had never felt before. I can't even explain it. It was the scariest, most liberating thing I'd felt in a long time.
At the time, Corey was practicing medicine in Honduras. I patiently waited for his call that evening to let him know the news. "A birthmom has some questions for us. I'm going to type those up this week and send them along. I have no idea what this could mean, but it's a positive step in the right direction. That's at least something to celebrate." Corey was just as excited as I was.
And, I leave you here ... I'll be back soon with part 2.
Hang tight ....
p.s. Remember when I said in a few posts this past Spring that I had exciting news to share? Yea ... it was that we were adopting! Now you know. : )
p.p.s. Do you wanna see an updated picture of Charley? Of course you do!
****** part 2 can be read here.*****