Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Birthday

I turned 27 on April 15th. It's still very young, I know. In February and March however, I was already trying to prepare myself for this day. More than Thanksgiving and Christmas, my birthday is a marker for the time we have been waiting to become parents. This is the 3rd birthday that I have celebrated (or just tried to get through) while on our journey to parenthood. I never dreamed that I would turn 27 and not be a mom. It probably sounds so weird to some, but I started my career at 19, got engaged at 21, married at 22, and always thought I would be a mom for the first time by 24... Now there's a real possibility that I might celebrate yet another birthday before becoming a mom for the first time. More than anything, I think that it just the realization (yet again) that sometimes the life you had planned for yourself takes a different course.

Despite the dread and many tears shed in February and March, my April, including the birthday, have been great. A new job that I love has definitely helped. This truly is my dream job and a perfect job for a working mother. Some realizations that I have had this month : had I gotten pregnant right away at 24, I would have likely never even considered taking this job; this incredible journey has helped me re-find my faith; I look at the children in our lives in a completely new way, knowing just how much of a miracle they really are; and so many of our friends and family members have been exposed to the beauty and joy of adoption through our journey. I hope this joy and feeling of hopefulness can carry me through a few more months and maybe even through the number 28!

In February, the Parrish family welcomed their second child - Gabriela. We have loved following them on their journey to, and in, Colombia. Their CaringBridge site is:
This week, to the surprise of many, there was another referral! The Galarneault family received news that they are parents to a 2nd boy! We can't wait to share their journey with them as they meet and welcome Baby Samuel. Their CaringBridge site is:

While the outlook for international adoption is still pretty grim in terms of waiting time, we are so happy that a least 2 FANA families have/will be welcoming babies into their lives. It's so hard to imagine right now, but one day, that will be us.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Reflections on Marriage

I don't pretend to be an expert on marriage. This past week Brandon and I celebrated our 4th anniversary and gasp(!) our 7th year together. It's the longest relationship - by far - that either of us has been a part of and we continue to learn what does, and doesn't, make it work for us.

During the first couple of years of our marriage, I looked on at other couples that were saying their vows with bittersweet feelings for them. It's no secret to Brandon that in the beginning, I struggled with the responsibilities and emotions of marriage. Even though we lived together prior to our marriage, marriage changed our relationship. I realized that the things we had once bickered about needed to get resolved once we were married because we were now bound to each other for life. I struggled with trying to be a super-wife - keeping a perfect house, cooking, baking, always entertaining and going out - all while starting my career. I'm not going to lie - those first couple of years were very hard. Hence, the bittersweet feelings in watching couples say "I do!"

However, my perspective has changed drastically in these past two years of marriage. Brandon and I have been through some really tough challenges in our 4 years of marriage. Challenges that I never dreamed we would face when I put on that white dress and walked down the aisle. Challenges that have made us stronger and better people. Challenges that have helped us to understand one another more. Challenges that have made us love and appreciate one another in a way we could never have imagined. In these 4 years, Brandon has helped and loved me through my 20s, years full of changes. He has given me room to blossom into the person I am today - a person that I like to be. He had loved me through Clomid rages, through hysterics when pregnancy test after pregnancy test revealed one line instead of two, through countless make-myself-feel-better shopping sprees, through fad diets and vegetarianism, through nights (and mornings after) of a few too many vodka red bulls, a house renovation (no small feat for those who have lived - and stayed married - through one) and a long, long, long wait for our baby.

So although not an expert by any means, here are my reflections on marriage thus far:
There will be hard times. They are not the same for any couple, but as a couple you will go through hardships that seem insurmountable at times. Be honest with one another about what you need to get through those hard times (space to breath, time to cry or just to be held). Find ways to quietly love each other through the hardships and you will likely be amazed at the couple you become on the other side. Yes, marriage takes work and can be hard, however, the person you fall asleep with each night will also be there each morning, ready to face the day with you and love you through that day - no matter what it holds.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Year, a New Beginning

I absolutely love the start of a new year. This year is especially exciting since we are also welcoming a new decade. On the surface it appears that I am starting out 2010 in the same way that 2009 began - still waiting to become a mom and still very much living in limbo. While those things are true, I am beginning 2010 in perhaps the happiest frame of mind since 2006. This fall will mark our fourth year of our journey to parenthood. It's really incredible to think about. In many ways it feels like yesterday that Brandon and I decided it was time to expand our family. The feelings of excitement and anticipation are still very much still there and continue to be a part of our daily lives. On the other hand, it feels like a lifetime ago that I was doing the daily ovulation tests and living with the devastation that came each month.

2009 was a year of renewed hope as we embarked - at full force - in the adoption process. From the homestudy in January, to our dossier being sent down to Colombia in June, this has been an incredible year. There have still been very hard days when the waiting feels never ending. I know that those days will continue to pepper my life until we receive that precious referral. Enough cannot be said about the salvation that my fellow waiting moms have been during this past year. We have cried together about the waiting, have spent countless hours analyzing the waiting and have rejoiced with one another as the waiting has finally ended for some. Without these women, I would be lost. It turns out that living in limbo is best spent with others. It makes the "limbo" part livable and the "living" part enjoyable.

2010 holds so much excitement. I know that many, if not all, of my fellow waiting moms will add children to their lives this year. Five of my close friends are currently pregnant, and two little ones were delivered in late 2009. Even if I do not become a mom this year, I will certainly get my baby fix! Some other things that I am looking forward to in 2010: a triathlon (providing that I am not in Colombia in July), the completion of our house renovations (phase I, at least) and the 2010 FANA events. It's going to be a great year!

My parents started revived a great tradition in 2009 - the return of the family vacation! I realize now that I never treasured or appreciated them enough when I was younger. In fact, I'm ashamed to say that I skipped the last 2 family vacations my family took together, opting instead to go on my own vacations with friends... I'm so glad they are back. I've posted some pictures at the beginning of this blog entry.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And the wait goes on...

It's been a little over a month since my last entry and my emotions feel like they are on an extended roller coaster. Mid-August through mid-October was the hardest time period I have faced since starting the adoption process a year ago this month. Like most things in life, the adoption world faces ebs and flows and right now we are in a valley. Last year there were 12 babies from FANA who were joined with their families from Minnesota - so far this year there have been only 6. The waiting families were called in for a meeting a couple of weeks ago where we learned that our wait would likely be longer than expected. Although this was not the best news, since the meeting there has been a referral (a family learned that they were adding a son to their family) and another family became parents through domestic adoption. This type of news shortly before the holidays renews the hopes of all waiting families as we face another holiday season without children. We continue to hope and pray that we will be parents some time next year, but the reality is that it might not happen until 2011. Although I think that it's hard to understand, we have become so close with our fellow waiting families and so invested in their lives, in their desire to become parents that we just hope that they all become parents next year. We've all waited for so long and been on such difficult and unexpected journeys that there is just so much joy each time a family becomes a forever family. So - for now at least - I am riding the high of celebrating with the Ryan family as they will soon be reunited in Colombia with precious baby Andres and the Schemmel family as they fall a little more in love each day with baby Nora. The formation of these families through adoption are what make the waiting bearable.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Today is a hard day. They creep up unexpectedly now and take me completely off guard. Today is a closed office door day as I try to get my emotions under control. I am toying with the idea of going home, crawling into my bed and spending the day there.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

CaringBridge Site!

It's amazing that in one year, Brandon and I have come so far in our journey to parenthood. I cringe thinking about this time last year when we were only a couple of months into Clomid, facing heartbreak after heartbreak each month. Now, a year later, we are so very very grateful to be in a much happier place in our lives and looking forward to becoming parents through adoption. Although last year was a much darker time in my life, I know that it was the journey that ultimately led me to where I am today.

When we first began exploring adoption through FANA, Marcia - the adoption coordinator, sent us a packet of information. The cover letter included the names of couples whom had recently returned from Colombia. These couples all had blogs or CaringBridge sites that detailed their adoption journey, their trip to Colombia and very precious insights about becoming parents for the first (second and third) time. At that time it seemed impossibly far away to think about creating our very own CaringBridge website. There was so much paperwork to complete, so many approvals to get and so many appointments to attend. We took Marcia's early advice however, and tried to rejoice at each small step we made in this journey. Learning to live for each day after living for tomorrow during infertility was a hard lesson to re-learn. Personally, I also had to re-learn how to have hope after so much heartbreak. Perhaps that was the worst thing about infertility to me - not that we were unable to conceive a biological child - but that our hope was robbed for so long. Now, however, I feel like a giddy child pretty much everyday - so thankful that we have the opportunity to become parents to a precious baby. I also feel hopeful everyday - which is an amazing feeling. With each approval and each small step completed, my hope grew a little bit more. So, now that the paperwork portion (well most of it : ) is complete, the appointments have been attended and the approvals received, we have created our very own CaringBridge site. Please take a look at it:
The CaringBridge site was created for a much wider audience compared to this blog, which really details some of my most intimate feelings about our journey. I will still continue to update my blog throughout our journey - which is far from complete. It's so exciting to think that one day, another couple just beginning their adoptive journey will follow our blog, entranced as we were, with every word, every picture and every feeling about becoming a parent.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Feeling of Connection

It's to be expected that we would feel connected to our fellow FANA families. Some of them have been with us since the start - guiding and supporting us through each step of our adoption process. What amazes me is the special connection that we share with the adoption community as a whole. For example, last night I registered at Baby on Grand. It was an amazing experience as I learned how different devices worked and truly was able to imagine our little baby in the stroller we chose, the carseat, eating on the cute little dishes and sitting in the carseat. While I was there, another "non-traditional" family came in. They were from Israel, tried to unsuccessfully adopt from Guatemala, tried surrogacy 5 times in India before successfully finding a surrogate mother here, in Minnesota. They are the proud parents of newborn twins - after 5 long years of waiting. Their eyes welled up as they listened to our adoption story. They know what it's like to wait, anticipate and often ache for parenthood. As we hugged our goodbyes, knowing that we would never see each other again (they are soon returning to Israel with their boys), they looked into my eyes and told me that they wished me the best of luck and that they would be praying for us. It's such an overwhelming and deeply emotional feeling to know the sincerity of families such as the ones I met last night.

Have I mentioned how EXCITED we are??!!