Well, Hello There!

Long time, no see!

I want to take a second to just say THANK YOU.  To all of you that have unconditionally supported – and continue to support – us through all the trials we’ve faced in the last 4-5 years.  It’s certainly been a roller coaster and we could NOT have made it through without the love, prayers, and encouragement that we have received.

I’ve not shared much of what happened on our adoption journey and I guess it was mostly because – for a while – we were just waiting.  While we were waiting, one of my tasks was to create a book that our adoption agent could use to show to prospective birth families.  It was supposed to have pictures of us, stories about us, where we live, grew up, what we like to do for fun, etc.

Folks, let me tell you – that book was HARD.

You know how movies have previews?  And it’s basically the highest/funniest points of the movie shown?  The ones that really sell you on the movie and make you say ” I HAVE to see that!”?  I kinda felt like that’s what we were doing.  I know it sounds a little taboo to say that we were ‘selling’ ourselves, but it felt that way.  I felt like we needed to find the best pictures and the best stories so that we’d really catch someone’s eye.  And the more I worked on the book, the more my emotions started building.

My emotions were already crazy heightened (I’m sure my husband would be happy to vouch for that), but this seemed to tip me right over the edge.  Aside from all of the obvious unfairness about adoption – birthmothers placing their children, adoption agencies making so much dang money, etc. – it did NOT feel fair that someone else got to choose if and when we got to be parents based on whether or not they liked our book.

If you know me, you know that I’ve struggled with deep, dark depression for many years.  I fought that darkness for so long while dealing with treatments and miscarriages, but all of a sudden, the perfect storm converged and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

Being a mother is something that I have longed for as far back as I can remember.  And after getting married, being a parent became a shared dream.  Never would I have thought it would stay a dream.

We fought long and hard to reach our goal.  We gladly gave up a lot of things and cut back on so many more to save everything we could.  We were asked by so many amazing people how they could help, so we reached out to all of you and you stepped up in ways we never could have imagined.  All of your donations got us SO MUCH FURTHER than we ever could have gotten alone.  And we could never fully thank all of you properly.

But as I started looking at our life, I realized that – even though the cost of adoption was high, the price we were paying through health and our marriage was even higher.

J was working two jobs (still is) and I was stretched so thin emotionally, that it started manifesting itself physically.  After talking (A LOT), praying (A LOT), crying (just me but A LOT), and realizing that we’d exhausted our donations and funds towards the adoption, we decided that we were going to just take a step back.

From the day we got married, we were so focused on starting a family that we forgot to recognize that we already WERE one.

So, that’s where we are now.  We’ve put adoption on hold and are spending time learning how to just be who we are instead of stressing over who we could be.

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FroYo, Pancakes & Puzzles! Oh My!

Wow.

It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted anything.  Time sure does fly!

It’s been a combination of crazy busyness from the adoption process and all that’s going on with that and a lot of other things that are going on in our lives right now!

We are excited to be moving along pretty quickly in the process!  There is really SO MUCH to do!  But I wouldn’t change any of it, since it puts us one step closer to being parents!!!

We’ve done most of the required background checks.  Thank goodness they didn’t find that one thing from that one time!  (Totally just kidding.  You should know that by now.)  FBI fingerprinting, state background checks, home study.  Still LOTS more to do!!

Now, we are into the fun part…  FUNDRAISING!!

We had a fundraiser today at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt here in our town and the response that we got from it was absolutely humbling.  Orange Leaf has a program in place that allows people who are raising money for causes to choose a certain day, create a flyer and then when friends and family and whoever else comes in and shows the flyer, 25% of all the sales will go to that cause!!  Which is seriously generous considering most of the other places that I’d contacted were only allowing 10%!

People at work rallied together to make sure that every one knew about it and had access to a flyer.  Friends and family shared it repeatedly on their Facebook pages.  People made multiple trips to get FroYo!

Seriously.  Humbled.  A SINCERE THANK YOU to those of you that went today!  Your support means the WORLD!

We have a few more fundraisers in the planning stages at this time (like Yard Sales, Pancake Breakfasts, etc), buuuuuuuut – here’s the next one!

I’ve seen all kinds of awesome ideas on the internet about ways to raise money for adoption, but one really caught my eye!

I’ve always felt like a piece of our family is missing…  SO!  In an attempt to raise money to FIND our missing piece, I have created a puzzle, had it printed and shipped and it’s just WAITING to be put together!!

The puzzle is 500 pieces and we are going to sell each piece for $5 – for you math whizzes like me, that’s $2,500.  When you purchase a piece, we will write your name on the back of the piece and then when all the pieces have been purchased, we will glue it together, frame it and hang it in the nursery!!  You can purchase just one piece, more than one piece or even just throw a little extra in for good measure!

You can either go to our YouCaring account and donate, or you can email me at munchkinmcnabb@gmail.com and I will give you an address to mail your payment to! (Just make sure if you do it through YouCaring, to mention ‘puzzle’ in the comments!)

Just like we don’t know yet what our child is going to look like, we are going to leave it a mystery as to what the finished puzzle will look like!!

Puzzle 1

Has your curiosity been peaked yet?  Are you excited to see what the end result is?!

SO ARE WE!!!!!!

Possibilities and Prayers

The last blog I wrote was before we had our first meeting with an adoption agent…  And then I left you all hanging.  I’m SORRY!!

I was VERY emotional for about a week afterwards.  It’s a whole new set of emotions that accompany this journey…

There is SO much involved in the process of adoption.  Paperwork, background checks, home study.

But it will all be so worth it in the end.

born not of our flesh

Adoption is one of those things a lot of people talk about, but I don’t think everyone actually understands.

Some people adopt because they can never have children.  Some people adopt because they feel like God is putting it on their hearts to do so.

And then there’s the birth mother.

What a painful, heartbreaking, emotional decision.

Yet one that is so completely selfless that it just astounds me.

It takes a strong woman to realize that they may not be capable of giving their child the life that they deserve and then trusting – often total strangers – to raise that child.

For us to be chosen by one of those women would be simply amazing.

Our faith is completely in God through all of this.

He knows the ending.  And He knows everything in between.

Awhile ago I wrote about how God Never Wastes a Hurt and it still holds so true.

There are some VERY exciting possibilities happening in the next few months and we are fully aware that this process can be frustrating and often heartbreaking.  But just like every thing else that we’ve done on this journey, we are trusting it to God.

We are praying for our child, wherever they are and whatever stage in life they may be.  We are praying for their biological parents that will entrust them to our care – for comfort and peace.  We will be forever thankful to them whenever they choose us.

thank-you

And we will take any and all prayers and good thoughts that you want to send our way!!

God Knows

Last week, I wrote a blog about how J & I feel like God is leading us down the path of adoption. The amount of support, encouragement and love I got from that post was overwhelming! As tough of a decision as it was, we feel peaceful about it.  Which is a sure sign that we are doing what God wants us to do… Lately, I’ve felt the need to clarify that through this entire journey, J & I have trusted God to work things out to His will.  We know that God’s ways are not our ways and that sometimes, He doesn’t answer our prayers the way that we ask Him to, but that doesn’t mean our prayers have gone unanswered. God's Plans A couple of years ago we went to a church when we lived in Louisville that we always felt so comfortable at.  We’ve been searching for a church home for a while and now that we are back in Louisville, decided to go back. The preacher that was there before is no longer there, but we still very much enjoyed it.  A very friendly man came and introduced himself to us.  He’d only been with the church for about 3 weeks but was a new ministry partner and was trying to meet as many new people as possible. The gentleman that usually does the music ministry for the church was the guest preacher on Sunday.  He spoke of avoiding distractions and using interruptions as opportunities to grow closer to God. And then…  he began to speak about how him and his wife are in the process of adopting a child.  They have grown children of their own, but they feel that God is leading them to be a miracle to a child that needs it. **Cue the waterworks** I feel that God knew we needed to be there and hear what this man had to say as a way of encouraging us. I filled out a “Visitor Card” and dropped it in the offering plate, and received the pleasant surprise of an email today from the man who introduced himself to us on Sunday.  He spoke of finding time to get together to speak of connection opportunities, learning more about the church and possibly finding a church home.  He even mentioned coming and having dinner with his family!  It was really nice to have someone reach out to us so warmly and quickly! On the adoption front…  I was disappointed to learn that the agency we’d chosen to pursue adoption with wasn’t accepting adoptive families at the time. It was hard to not be discouraged and feel completely deflated.  But I’m no quitter! I asked the woman at that agency if she had any suggestions of other agencies in the area and she gave me about 6 or 7 names.  I went online and perused through a few of them and one kind of stood out. I sent an email and received a VERY prompt reply!  I was able to talk to a woman from the agency today and we have a consultation on Thursday night!!! She works in a city that is about an hour away and is even driving here to Louisville to meet us and talk with us!  I was very impressed with her as she was so patient and personable with me as I was asking questions.  She made me feel very comfortable and I am VERY excited to meet with her and learn more! I asked her if she was ok with J’s mom joining us, because I know that we all have questions and I want to make sure that our bases are covered…  She seemed so truly excited that I had asked her that.  She said that she LOVES when whole families are involved in this process and feels like it’s so important. Today, I feel more at peace about all of this than I think I really have since we made the decision. I’m not going to get too excited, just because …  well, because I’m probably more of a realist than I should be and always feel the need to keep the “what-if’s” in mind so that my heart is protected. But at the same time, my heart is absolutely flip-flopping with joy, excitement and anticipation!! We are truly on our way to building our family!!! And it is so comforting to know that, above all else, GOD KNOWS. Blessed-By-Adoption

One Day At A Time

Families are funny things.

We grow up believing that they will always be there.  And sometimes they are.

But sometimes – they’re not.

Being the oldest of four, I was always the ‘little mommy’.  I always had extra responsibility.  (And blame.)

It took me until I was well into my 20’s to realize that I needed to start taking care of myself, because no one else was going to do it for me.

The rest of this blog is somewhat difficult to write, and even harder to share.  I won’t go into great detail of the pain & heartbreak, but it shows my raw underbelly and makes me feel seriously vulnerable.  Part of me worries about the reactions I may get, but it’s something I’ve been rolling around in my head and have to get it out…  So, here goes.

When I had just started my freshman year in high school, my mother and father decided to get a divorce.  My mother moved a couple of hours away up to this little mountain community that was BEAUTIFUL and took my 2 younger sisters and younger brother.  I stayed behind because I had already started a school year.

After they moved, my mother and some of her friends took a trip to the beach for her birthday weekend and as the story goes, she was roller skating and the wheels were loose and she fell and broke both arms – wrist on one arm, elbow on the other.

As you can imagine, trying to do ANYTHING with two broken arms is nearly impossible.  So, I packed up and moved to Big Bear with my mother and siblings to help (High School #2).  Little mommy to the rescue.

Cooking, cleaning, helping with homework.  All things I did.  Showering & bathroom trips were on the Top 5 list of “Things I Did But Did NOT Look Forward To”!  Needless to say, my mother and I got pretty close.

There were a lot of things that happened in the following years that forced me to grow up rather quickly.  All of them left memories I’ll never forget – good and bad.

Big Bear is an AMAZING town.  It’s charming and peaceful and enchanting.  It’s a great place for children to grow up.  But there’s a side to it that a lot of people don’t see.  Because there isn’t really much to do, sadly, a lot of people turn to drug use.  And it seems fairly easy to obtain those drugs.  I’m sure that’s the case in most towns, but only more recognizable there because of the size of the town.

I NEVER found drugs as a temptation.  I think after the first or second time someone asked me if I wanted to try them, word quickly spread that my answer was not one that people would willingly put themselves in a position to hear.

Unfortunately, the situation wasn’t the same for my younger sister.

I moved to Florida for my Junior Year (High School #3) and there is still a part of me that wonders if I hadn’t, how different things might have been.

Long story short: my younger sister became involved in a LOT of detrimental activities.  She went from an honor roll student to a high school dropout.  She got pregnant at a young age and straightened out – for a while.

But addiction is powerful.

She became involved in drugs again after having back surgery.  She had a doctor that prescribed pain pills like candy, until she was red-flagged at many pharmacies.  Apparently, the street price of prescription narcotics is MUCH higher than the more deadly drugs and they spun their web tightly.  I had tried to get the family to do an intervention YEARS before when I saw red flags waving strongly.  But for reasons I have never understood, my sister is quite good at convincing people to believe what she wants them to.  She quickly lost her footing on the slippery slope of serious drug use.

A few months after my miscarriage, I learned that she was pregnant.  The baby was born a few weeks before my husband and I would have been due and faced a rough road to get beyond the withdrawals.

A few months ago, I learned that she was trying to get custody of her daughter and I wrote a letter to the courts asking them to carefully consider all the facts.  When I wrote my blog about it,  I specifically said that I knew that what I’d done wouldn’t be received kindly by some.  And I was right.

My mother is the kind of person that is ALWAYS looking to help people.  To some, it could be perceived as a “fix-it” mentality.  She has a soft spot for those that are in a bad way and sometimes even puts herself in rough situations thinking that it will help that person come around.

I learned that my mother had been helping my sister with many things – including moving in with her and helping her try to get her daughter back.  When she found out that I’d written a letter to the courts, she took it pretty badly and I was accused of being bitter and jealous.  A lot of hurtful things were said.

And we haven’t really talked since.

It is so weird to me to have so many great things going on in my husband’s and my life and not be able to share it with her.  I know my mother loves me, but I feel like she’s chosen my sister over me.  And it hurts.

I know how short life is.  I know that not forgiving someone doesn’t hurt the offender.  In fact, it sets the offended free.  So, I’ve done that.

But I have to protect me and my husband and the family that we are trying so desperately to have.  So, I’ve chosen to let go of relationships that can feel unhealthy at times, regardless of how difficult that may be.

I don’t claim to be perfect.  I know I’ve said some hurtful things before.  And I can only hope that they can forgive me for them.

I firmly stand in my belief that tough love is often not only the right way but the BEST way.

So, while it’s difficult and often painful to not be able to pick up the phone and share my excitement over J’s and my new house with someone I used to be so close to, we are going to move on with our lives and thoroughly enjoy every moment.

One Day At a Time.

That Magical Day

From the time some little girls realize that boys don’t actually have cooties, they start dreaming of their wedding day.

It’s a magical day where they get to be the princess and everyone waits hand and foot on them.  Beautiful dress.  Gorgeous shoes.  Amazing Flowers.  And of course, Prince Charming.

They get to pick their favorite colors and flowers and people to create a fantasy moment.  I know, for some, simple is perfect.  And for others, extravagant isn’t enough.

But for me – I was somewhere right in between.

I still remember as a young girl (in fact, I’m certain I have pictures SOMEWHERE but I’ll probably never see them again) being decked out in a wedding gown that was far too big for me and having a mock wedding, with a little boy whose mother was my mother’s best friend.  I’m certain I was just as bossy possessed just as many leadership skills then as I do now.

Somewhere along the way, that dream day became just that – a dream.  I started focusing more on a career and less on finding Mr. Right.  Boy, am I glad that God had other plans for me.

J&D kissing

Our wedding wasn’t quite as big as I thought it was going to be.  If I’m being honest, there’s a few things I’d change about it.  But there is ONE THING I am absolutely, positively sure of.  And that’s my husband.

It hasn’t always felt that way.  We have our moments where I’d really just rather he leave me alone – forever.  He knows EXACTLY what buttons to push and I’d love nothing less than to physically harm him in some way.  (Relax.  I never would.  I don’t think.)  And I’m sure he’s thought the EXACT same about me!

The one thing about my dream day that had always remained the same was that I knew how I wanted it to look.  I had ALWAYS wanted everything to be black and white – with only red roses.  And I wanted an evening wedding with twinkle lights and candles.  It really did turn out BEAUTIFUL!

Wedding Program Wedding Eiffel Tower Wedding Tables Wedding Cake Wedding Rings

 

 

 

 

 

We picked out ALL of our own music.  J even remixed a song for our walk down the aisle as a married couple.  It started as the Wedding March, and then faded into ….. Ready for this?  “Another One Bites The Dust”.  Yup.  We were that couple.  I loved hearing the shocked gasps turn into laughter as people realized that it wasn’t just the music messing up, but rather us expressing our personalities the best way we knew how.

One of my very good friends from high school was the photographer.  We have some AMAZING pictures from the wedding.

You May Kiss The Bride

I had so many people tell me “Make SURE you video record the ceremony!!  Everything will go so fast that you won’t remember it and you will want to see it someday!!”  So, I checked many different places out.  In the end, I was convinced to let some very long-time family friends record it for us.  We’ve known them forever, what could go wrong?

Imagine my disappointment as we fast-forward (see what I did there?) two and a half years later and not only am I still without a wedding video but FINALLY received a response to my multiple requests stating that they don’t even own the camera anymore and that the video was on the internal memory and never saved to a disc……….  That’s earth-shattering stuff to me.  I’ve been sick to my stomach all day.

You know how when someone loses one of their senses, all of their other senses are heightened?  I kind of feel like that’s what infertility has been for me.

It’s a loss.  A devastating, emotional, heartbreaking, everyday loss.  That reminds me that life is precious.

While longing for what I don’t have and mourning it, it reminds me to look at what I DO have and be grateful for it.

While our friends and families attended the wedding (of which I have no recording),  we are attending the marriage.

He still dances with me in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner.

He still looks at me sometimes like I’m the prettiest girl he’s ever seen.

He still tells me he loves me at the most random moments of the day.

He still makes me laugh at some of the most inappropriate moments.

So while we may have empty arms, we have full hearts.  And it all started on that magical day.

J&D hugging

NOT the Best Day Ever

Well, the suspense was short-lived.

Patience not being my strong suit, I checked my email first thing upon waking up this morning only to find an email from the foundation we applied through. I found this…

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I know God knows. I know His plans are best. I know in my heart that we will be parents. I’m just not sure how.

Today will be hard – as will many days after – but thankfully I have an amazingly supportive husband and great friends that are feeling my pain with me and we will continue to be surrounded by encouragement and love.

I felt pretty peaceful after reading it. Then as I read my devotional this morning, I was reminded that God wants me to fully trust in Him. So, I’m going to do that. I just wish it didn’t so often feel like I’m being left behind…

So, it may not be the best day ever, but it’s not the worst either.

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