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??!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Summer of George

So I just watched that Seinfeld and thought it would be a funny title. I love Seinfeld. It is the show that brings Brandon and I together. We typically have very different tastes in TV shows - Brandon could literally watch hours of Macum's auto show (yes, that's right a show where they auction off cars) and I prefer TruBlood. But on these shows we agree: Arrested Development, Seinfeld and News Radio. That was a random tangent...

July and August were very busy and fun months. The week of July 17th we attended our very first large-scale FANA gala. The week consisted of a waiting families dinner (Thursday), a golf tournament, dinner and auction (Friday) a pic-nic (Saturday) and a special FANA mass (Sunday). We were able to meet the founder of FANA, Mercedes, her husband Arturo and heard their daughter, Elena speak on Friday evening. They are a truly amazing family. We also witnessed our first "in-person" referral at the dinner and auction on Friday evening. A couple received news that they were parents to twin boys - very exciting! Overall, the weekend was exciting and emotional.

On August 1st, my brother married his long-time girlfriend, Teegan. It was a beautiful outdoor wedding. Both Brandon and I were honored to be members of the wedding party as we witnessed my day chocking up as he performed the wedding ceremony. It feels like just yesterday that John-Ben and I were playing Ninja Turtles together - and now he is a married man. Where does the time go?

Things have continued to progress well on the adoption front. We will soon be setting up a CaringBridge site that will be more publicized than my blog, which has been more for those of you closest to me. I'll post a link as soon as we have it set up.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Buddy Couple!

We just received word this morning that we have been assigned a buddy couple! Their names are Helene and Paul and we are so very grateful that they requested to be our buddy couple! We feel very honored that they will be our mentors through the rest of our journey to parenthood. The role of the buddy couple is really one of support through the waiting process, to give us the excellent and amazing news that we are parents (!!!!!!) and to provide us with guidance as we travel to, and are in, Colombia. I can think of no better news on a Tuesday!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Future Nursery

Brandon bought our house in 1999 as a duplex. Until a couple of months ago, we have always used it as a duplex. We lived in the larger, 2-bedroom downstairs portion of the duplex and rented out the upstairs. It was a nice income stream and we didn't need the space. Now, with our growing family (I love saying that), we are reconverting the house back into a single family home. It's a lot of work but has given us something to do while we are waiting. Here are some pictures of the future nursery! Stayed tuned for pictures of the re-painted and furnished nursery (be patient, it may be a while)!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


So I have not been all that great at staying on top of my blog. It seems that when summer finally arrives, that my already too-crazy life just gets all that much crazier. This summer my brother John-Ben is getting married and I am fairly heavily involved in FANA's annual golf and dinner fundraiser that takes place in July. To top things off, we are in the midst of a huge construction project at our house - reconverting our duplex back into a single family home... So to say the least, things are a little crazy right now!
Adoption update - our dossier is in Colombia! Yay! It went with another couple - Ben and Deana who were united with their baby boy Carlos a couple of weeks ago. It is very exciting to have the dossier in FANA's hands and no longer in our own. A lot of couples have indicated that this is/was the hardest part of the process for them - when all the paperwork is done and the "real" waiting begins. I feel the exact opposite. I am thrilled to not be keeping tabs on the progress of various documents in various states and to no longer be making appointments with doctors (both the medical and the head type), adoption counselors, and the Secretary of State. This new kind of waiting feels more secure to me. I have finally allowed myself to relax and start registering for baby things and envisioning a beautiful nursery. I am very, very excited most days. My waiting moms group is an amazing and consistent support group. I have grown quite close to a couple of the waiting moms and love getting together with them on a weekly basis for dinner and the occasional glass of wine. We talk excitedly about adoption, recent referrals, what to do while we are waiting, ect. We "ooohhhhh" and "ahhhhh" over each other nurseries (or plans for nurseries) and share feelings about everything adoption. They are amazing women who I am so grateful to have in my life.
The most frequent question we get about the adoption is "What's the next step?" Well, we now wait for formal approval from FANA (although apparently this sometimes happens after the referral, so it's a little confusing), we get a buddy couple (another lifeline while waiting) and wait for that precious referral. We hope to be parents before the end of next year, but nothing is certain. Right now we just take things day-by-day and try to enjoy living in the moment. We are taking a Spanish class to hopefully help us get by while we are in Colombia and are looking at places to stay both in Bogota (the capital and city in which FANA is located) and on the coast. It's so exciting!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

I stole this idea from my friend Elizabeth's blog and thought it was pretty cute.

When my parents first told me that we were moving to Minnesota, I could not believe they would have such horrific taste. My dad was considering churches in Florida and California, yet they chose Minnesota. My first winter here was hard - it was the coldest and snowiest place I'd ever lived...but then summer came along and it was the most beautiful summer I had ever experienced. Every summer I am reminded why I love living here.


It's graduation season! I am very proud that this year my brother graduated from Minneapolis Community and Technical College and will be going to the University of Minnesota this Fall. This time every year I marvel at how quickly the years have gone by... I used to be the one lifting him up and carrying him around. Now he towers over me and easily picks me up when we hug.


Every once in a while I am reminded of why I work with lawyers all day long and put up with their endless demands, unrealistic deadlines, short fuses and often over-inflated egos (sorry Jen and Tori - but sometimes it's true : ) At the end of the day, they are just people - scared of the power they have over people's lives and are just looking for a little reassurance.

Every weekend should be 3 days... I feel so much more rejuvenated after 3 days of rest rather than just 2.


I am amazed that my husband can work in the yard all weekend and love it. While he worked, I read 2 books and watched a couple of very long movies. Am I a lazy wife? If so, should I feel guilty about it? Why am I feeling guilty of not feeling guilty?


We have a lava rock planter from Reunion Island where I lived with my family as a child and teenager. It's a shallow planter, but no matter what we - and by we I mean Brandon - plant flourishes in it every year. It's weird.


I love country music but will never understand or relate to Gretchen Wilson's song "Redneck Woman." Probably a good thing.


Twilight (the series AND the movie) is one of the best things that has every happened to me. That's right - I'm not afraid to admit that I am completely and utterly obsessed with the book series originally created for teenage girls and now a worldwide sensation. I watch the movie once a week and am starting to read the 4-book series for the 3rd time. It's cruel and unusual that the 2nd movie does not come out until November. Needless to say, I will be premiering it and actually might be wearing some sort of logoed T-Shirt, despite my usual disdain for any T-Shirt, especially those with logos.


Until last week I had never even been a part of a jury trial. Now I have 2 in one month. It's far from the fun...

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Quick update - we will be handing over our dossier on Saturday, May 30th. It will likely go down to Colombia that next week. Yay!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Timeline Update

We are happy that steps 9 and 10 of our "Adoption Timeline" have been completed:

1. Submit adoption application to Crossroads- DONE
2. Receive approval from Crossroads - DONE
3. Attend education sessions at Crossroads - DONE
4. Homestudy evaluation - DONE
5. Homestudy completion - DONE
6. Forward documents to USCIS for approval - DONE
7. Receive receipt notice from USCIS - DONE
8. Get fingerprinted for USCIS - DONE
9. Receive approval from USCIS - DONE
10. Collect dossier for Colombia (birth certificates, marriage certificate, letter from Bank, evaluation from psychologist, evaluation from medical doctors, letters from employers, homestudy, tax return copies, ect.) - DONE
11. Forward dossier to Colombia via FANA
12. Receive approval from FANA (in Colombia)
13. Receive referral (notification that we have a baby!!!!!)
14. Seek and receive final approval from USCIS
15. Travel to Chicago for Colombian Consulate appointment (Visa)
16. Travel to Colombia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
17. Hold, love and cry when holding our baby for the first time. Become a family of 3!!!!18. Complete adoption process in Colombia
19. Come home

We are hopeful that our dossier will be able to go down to Colombia either later this month or in early June. I'll post again as soon as it goes down!


P.S. 9 more steps to go!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Great Day

It's a beautiful day in May and I just ran my first 5K, yes all the way! What could be better than running a 5K in May? Finally receiving approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to be adoptive parents - Yay!

We are so excited that another step in our journey has been accomplished! More updates to follow!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Psychology Appointment

Almost two months have passed since my last entry. I wish that I could say that we have made a lot of progress, that our dossier is in Colombia and that we are into the "real" waiting part of our journey, but things in the adoption world seem to move at their own pace, quietly and slowly. That's not to say that there has been NO progress, but just not as much progress as I hoped would be made in two months. Here's what has happened: our I800 is with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), we have been fingerprinted twice since February (once for the Department of Homeland Security to verify that we have no criminal records and and the other for USCIS to verify our identity), we meet with the psychologist today to make sure that we are sane enough (or crazy enough) to become parents. Instead of the days of running to the bathroom to pee on a stick, we now come home and run to the mailbox, hoping for approval from USCIS so that our dossier (file of documents) can be sent to Colombia. Not that our dossier is ready, but still, it would be nice to have the USCIS approval SOON so that the frantic running to the mailbox (for the time being at least) can be stopped. We barely even say hello to each other before checking the mail, and if I go to the gym after work, I make the hasty call to Brandon: "Have you checked the mail?" Our neighbors probably think we are crazy or that we have won the lottery and are waiting for the million dollar check in the mail. Little do they know that we are waiting for something much better than that...

Many of you have asked for a timeline of adoption events so that you know what's next... It's a little different for every family, but here's my best estimate:

1. Submit adoption application to Crossroads- DONE
2. Receive approval from Crossroads - DONE
3. Attend education sessions at Crossroads - DONE
4. Homestudy evaluation - DONE
5. Homestudy completion - DONE
6. Forward documents to USCIS for approval - DONE
7. Receive receipt notice from USCIS - DONE
8. Get fingerprinted for USCIS - DONE
9. Receive approval from USCIS
10. Collect dossier for Colombia (birth certificates, marriage certificate, letter from Bank, evaluation from psychologist, evaluation from medical doctors, letters from employers, homestudy, tax return copies, ect.)
11. Forward dossier to Colombia via FANA
12. Receive approval from FANA (in Colombia)
13. Receive referral (notification that we have a baby!!!!!)
14. Seek and receive final approval from USCIS
15. Travel to Chicago for Colombian Consulate appointment (Visa)
16. Travel to Colombia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
17. Hold, love and cry when holding our baby for the first time. Become a family of 3!!!!
18. Complete adoption process in Colombia
19. Come home

There are other steps once we come home, but I figure those can be explained later. Hopefully this helps a little. It's hard to really put in timeframes for each step because there really are none.

Overall, we are doing well. I say it each blog entry, but I will again here - there are good days and there are the very tired, I feel like we are never going to have a baby days. It's amazing, though, that God picks me right back up after the hard days - by either a chance encounter with another adoptive family (who has lived across the street from us for years), a very supportive waiting families group at FANA who know EXACTLY how we feel, or a note from a veteran adoptive mom to let me know that we will be parents one day... It's these little things that mean so much to me and confirm (even though there has never been a doubt) that this was always meant to be our journey to parenthood.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another Step Forward

To our amazement, our homestudy was approved last week and our paperwork in en route to the INS! Yay! What this means (I have to remind myself constantly that not everyone's daily life revolves around this process) is that our homestudy, along with several other very important pieces of paper, have been sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Department for our pre-approval as adoptive parents. This process takes anywhere from 60-90 days, although some other adoptive parents have received their "pre-approval" in less time. During our wait, we will be compiling another stack of paperwork to send to FANA. It's exciting that such a big step forward has been taken.

Once we receive pre-approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Department, our FANA paperwork will be sent to Colombia for approval. At that point all the paperwork and evaluations will be done and the REAL waiting will begin. We are collecting ideas of some things we can do during that time. My friend Tori has been instrumental in coming up with some fabulous ideas for us. I only mentioned to her in an e-mail that I will need something, anything, to do while we are in the waiting process and Tori sent me about 20 articles and websites, with some really great ideas. Thanks Tori! If any of you have ideas about things we can do while waiting, please let me know!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Exciting Referral!

One of the couples we met through FANA - Rachel and Andy received a referral this week-end! It's very, very exciting since they are the first couple we know to have received a referral. For those of you who don't speak the adoptive language - receiving your referral goes something like this for FANA families: once your paperwork goes to Colombia (which is about 2 steps ahead of where we are at), you are paired with a "buddy couple" which is a couple that has already adopted from Colombia. The buddy couple can answer all your questions about adoption and live with you the experience of waiting for your baby. Once FANA pairs you with a baby, your buddy couple is given the picture of your baby and they present it to you, usually in some fun way. FANA and the buddy couple are pretty much real-life baby-delivering storks!
Congrats to Rachel and Andy on the adoption of their beautiful baby girl! We can't wait to meet her!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Adoption Journey has Begun!

I thought it was high time that I start blogging again. We have been completely wrapped up in getting the adoption process started and, to be honest, I just needed a little time to analyze and deal with my own feelings before I started to share them again. The adoption blogs will be so different than the infertility blogs. I want to be very respectful of the fact that this journey not only belongs to Brandon and me, but also to our child. There are some feelings about this process that I want to share only with Brandon and our child. I have started to keep a journal for him or her, which contains all of my deepest feelings and sentiments about our adoption journey. So, with this in mind, I envision my blog taking on a bit of a new direction - a little more procedural than emotional.

Last summer I attended an informational meeting at Crossroads Adoption. We had just begun our first month of Clomid, but had already been trying to conceive for a year. In my heart, I think I always knew that this would not be our time for a biological child. As a woman, I believe I just knew. However, since we had just started Clomid, we decided to put our our adoption journey on hold for a bit. I loved Lyla at Crossroads and knew that was the adoption agency for us, should our journey to parenthood take us there. After 6 months of Clomid, 1 1/2 years into trying to conceive, many tears and hot flashes, we took some time off. In December we attended another informational meeting with Lyla and filled out our adoption application. It was accepted shortly before Christmas, which was one of the best Christmas gifts I could have hoped for.

We chose Colombia as the country we hope to adopt from. The process for Colombian adoptions is a little different than with other countries. Not only do we work with Crossroads, but also with FANA (Fundación para la Asistencia de la Niñez Abandonada) which basically translates to the Foundation for the Assistance of Abandoned Children. FANA has a local chapter called Friends of FANA Minnesota. In basic terms, Crossroads takes care of most of our in-country adoption requirements and FANA is our liasion to Colombia. In reality, both Crossroads and FANA are so much more - a support system, a wealth of information, and a source of great comfort when living in limbo. Through Friends of FANA, Minnesota, I have met a wonderful group of other waiting moms, who no doubt will be an amazing support group on our adoption journey.

Our wait will be approximately 2 years. There are many days where that feels like an eternity, and some days where it feels more manageable. In the interim, we are hoping to become very involved with FANA and are doing all the reading we can on Colombia. We even purchased a Colombian cooking book. I have enough coconut rice and rice pudding to feed a small army! I truely hope to be fluent in Spanish by the time we travel to Colombia.

Right now, we have had our first homestudy visit and expect to have our second homestudy appointment in a few weeks. Tomorrow we have our first big Friends of FANA, Minnesota event - FANA's birthday party! I promise to write more frequently from now on... Maybe one of my blogs will even be in Spanish...