Hey, Hey! It’s a Good Day!¬†

Things are looking up around these parts. I’ve been waiting for this glorious day, after a rather unfun winter and spring. Of course, it isn’t that the entirety of those seasons were a bummer, but you know what I mean. When I think back later, on the winter and spring of 2015, they will likely not receive any honorable mentions as particularly outstanding times in my life. And that’s okay, because life isn’t supposed to be a nonstop feel good session, and the cruddy times are undeniably essential to truly appreciating the good times. 

It’s just the little things. Work is about to finally let up for the hubs, as he emerges from his busiest, craziest time of year. I’m almost done with an editing project I’ve been doing from home for several months. While we are both certainly grateful for his job and my contract work, it is going to be AH-MAY-ZING to be finished right around the same time. Then…downtime. 

Our plans so far include spending time together as a family, and just being. We set up a play set in the backyard this year now that E is old enough to enjoy it, and well as a “construction site.”  The construction site was crucial because he kept going into the dog yard with his dump trucks and hauling out gravel to spread hither and yon. This included gravel in the grass and gravel in the flower beds and gravel sliding under my feet on the patio. It was only a matter of time before wayward gravel injured someone, probably me. 

Behold, the mighty construction site. To me it’s a pile of rocks, to E it’s a magical wonderland. Oh to live life through the eyes of a three-year old!

 E has provided us with his requests for summer activities:

  • find some tadpoles in the mountains
  • find a starfish at the beach, in a “water house” (tide pool) 
  • visit an elephant

My kid is easy to please. I fear for the day he starts hounding us for expensive toys and nonstop trips to cool places and the latest in footwear. I assume that’s all coming. But for now, I’m pretty psyched that his list is easy-peasy. Luckily, from where we live you could be in the mountains and at the beach, on the very same day, if you so desired. And elephants aren’t too hard to find when you have an excellent zoo 45 minutes away!  It isn’t as if we have to go on safari to find one. 

I know I’ve turned a corner because although there are no new adoption prospects in sight, I find that no longer fills me with sorrow or fear. Those feelings have been replaced with patience (gulp) and a kind of underlying excitement that it will happen eventually. I’ve gotta give all the props to God on this one, because I asked him to take this burden from me and allow me to just live life focusing on the things I can do something about. And He did!  You can’t beat the feeling of having your prayer answered before you’ve even said Amen!

Here’s to all of us hanging on through the tough stuff and choosing to revel in the beauty all around us, especially if you happen to find gravel beautiful. ūüėČ 

www.borrowedgenes.com




Sharing Another’s Joy

It’s been an interesting week. I got to prove my mettle to myself the past few days and I’m pretty proud of that. 

A lovely friend of mine, also on a long adoption journey, learned she and her husband had been chosen by a birthmother and the baby was coming soon!  She hesitated to tell me, afraid that it might be painful to hear that she had just be given the very thing I’ve been waiting for. 

When I heard the news, I took a quick inventory of my feelings. I didn’t want to offer a phony congratulations or say something nice, but with a deeply envious dead-giveaway-tone to my voice. And after a couple of minutes of reflection, I realized something:  I was truly, genuinely happy for her. I didn’t have that sickly jealous feeling at all. I was, and am, so excited that her dreams are coming true. She too has experienced infertility. She has experienced disappointment in adoption. She’s been discouraged and frustrated. And now, she and her husband are finally going to be blessed with the baby they’ve been waiting for, for a very long time. That’s a miracle, and they deserve to be blessed by this gift. They will be wonderful parents to this sweet little baby. 

It says a lot that I could cry tears of joy for someone else’s adoption success, and not throw even a little pity party. Those of us who have battled infertility or the purgatory of indeterminate adoption waiting, know it is hard to see other people finally get their baby while you’re still struggling. I didn’t feel that way when my friend shared her news. I was able to truly join in her joy. 

It’s a big deal people!  Maybe I’ve been at this too long.  Or maybe I’ve been at it long enough to realize that every time a woman that is longing for a child becomes a mother, that is always a cause for celebration. 

What Dreams May Come: Part II 

If you’ve already read my post about how I dreamed of my son, the relevance of this next story will make a lot more sense.

Again, I’m not a big analyzer of dreams and their deeper Freudian meaning or what they say about the bigger picture of life as it exists at that time. I’m not against that school of thought in any way, I just have always been rather matter of fact about the dreams I remember; hopefully they are pleasant, and I wake up happy. ¬†Simple pleasures. I remember very few dreams. This is likely because since I rarely reach restful levels of sleep, there probably isn’t a whole lot of dreaming going on up in my noggin.

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Just about one year ago this month, after my very last IVF but a couple of months before I began to feel the tug of adoption, I had another dream. ¬†It was much like the one I had about E fifteen years before, in terms of feeling sweet contented bliss in the simplest, most fulfilling context possible. I had lay down for a quick nap right after I put E down, exhausted after a busy morning playing outside on a hot day. I slept for around an hour or so, but I didn’t want to wake up because I was living the sweetest dream and it felt blessedly real. This one featured me with a child just like in my dream about E, but the details were a bit fuzzier for some reason. ¬†Here is what I remember; I was cradling the sweetest little baby girl. She was an infant, and I remember knowing that she was mine. I was just walking around my home, holding this peaceful little baby girl. She was too young to smile, but she was blowing spit bubbles like brand new babies will do, and I was charmed and delighted.

Here is what made this dream such a unique experience…she was a beautiful little brown baby girl! ¬†Since the details aren’t crystal clear, I cannot remember if she was African-American, Hispanic, Indian, Native American, etc. She had large black eyes with long lashes and short, wispy black baby hair.

Rewind: This was before we had started to think about adoption, much less discuss it. We were in the stage at the time where the doctors were saying I might be able to become pregnant again using donor eggs.  Generally in that process, you choose a donor who matches as many of your own characteristics as possible. So this dream came out of nowhere, no subliminal longing, no subconscious-beneath-the-surface-realizing-of-what-might-be, nothing but a completely random dream dropped into my peaceful slumber like ice into a glass.

I told the hubs about it, and he laughed, thinking it would be quite the trick to pull off giving birth to a dark-skinned baby with our genes. ¬†He’s right about that. But I can’t help but wonder, much like my dream with E, if I was given the gift of a tiny glimpse of what the future holds. We may not have been thinking about adoption yet at that point, but it’s safe to say God was, and He was way ahead of us!

I am too cynical to say that since I had this dream, I am firmly committed to the belief that we will one day adopt a baby girl of color. I have no clue what will happen. ¬†The hubs and I do believe that God already knows our children, and we don’t want to put boundaries around that. We communicated to our agency (such as it is) way back in the beginning that we had no gender or racial preference. ¬†We didn’t say, “Girl only. Must be non-Caucasian.” ¬†We left it all open.

We actually have been presented for two different adoption situations very recently, both baby girls, one Hispanic, one African-American. We weren’t chosen as the family for either of the babies, so maybe my dream was just that: a dream that was nothing more than a dream. It’s impossible to say. ¬†We were a “second choice” for one of the girls, so that’s good, I guess. Right? ¬†Okay, so I know that it most definitely is not, but I’m trying to keep things positive these days. Work with me here!

If we do end up adopting a dark-skinned baby girl someday, you can bet I will start paying a lot more attention to the significance of my dreams! ¬†Maybe there is something to it. After all, I do have a friend with a proven track record of predicting future events through her dreams, or even just strong feelings that overtake her and don’t let go until she communicates the message to her friend or loved one. I was on the receiving end of this once, much to my delight. ¬†And she was right! Absolutely true story…perhaps a future blog post?


 

If you are following from a smart phone, first of all, thank you! ¬†Secondly, if you haven’t¬†already done so, keep scrolling down¬†until you come to a box where you can enter your email¬†to subscribe to my blog, so you get email¬†notifications when I have published a new post. ¬†Scroll down some more and click to join my supporters and friends over at Facebook! ¬†If you are¬†following on a laptop or a tablet, those same boxes should be available to you on the top right hand of your screen. ¬†Formally following my blog benefits me in one way only: ¬†the more people who see the Borrowed Genes posts, the more people who get the word out that we are¬†trying to¬†adopt. ¬†Everyone knows it take s a village; I have learned that it takes a village to adopt, as well!

I’m Back, and I’m Reclaiming My Joy

I took a little break last week on account of great sadness at the loss of this adoption. I was really grieving the loss of this baby I never even met because we thought we had made our way to The One. And when I heard we hadn’t, it was very hard to accept that. On Friday morning, I woke up and decided I was reclaiming my joy. I can’t live in this hypothetical “what if” world anymore. Anyone who has experienced similar issues knows what I’m talking about, whether it is infertility or the adoption wait, or even the adoption wait after you have allegedly been matched.

An example of the hypothetical world is where even though you need a new single stroller, you decide not to buy one; after all, why spend the money when you will need a double stroller any day now!

The sorrow I felt last week at yet another failure to grow our family was like a gray, gloomy stalker cloud that followed me around and made it very hard to remember to be grateful for every miraculous blessing in my life. And I’m an extremely happy person! I irritate the hubs with my optimism on a regular basis. It has been hard on him to see me suffer the past couple of weeks, but he has been my big strong rock to lean on during the worst of it, despite his own pain. Just another reason why I’m grateful to travel this oft-painful road with a man who (usually) knows just what to say or do to snap me back into annoying optimistic mode again!

It took three years to become Mama and Dada when we welcomed our son, E, into this great big world. Since he was 18 months old, we have been trying for #2. Over half his life, to put it into stark terms. The hubs and I both have been extremely careful to protect him from feeling any second-hand stress, and I think we did a good job despite having several incidents where stress and grief were certainly warranted. But I learned something sombering this week: My son, the sweet, deeply empathetic lovebug that I have tried to shield from my aching heart, told my mom while they were playing, “Mama still doesn’t feel well.” Well, I haven’t been sick. And that means that I haven’t been as clever about hiding my emotions from him as I thought I had. I was horrified, horrified. Hearing that he said those words was like getting punched in the ovaries. AND that’s the moment I decided enough was enough. It’s one thing for the hubs and I to struggle with our feelings about the fall-through, but I will not allow that to spill over into my son’s world. He’s three. Our problems are not his problems. I absolutely decided in that moment that he would never again have to worry that, “Mama isn’t feeling well,” along with the added burden of wondering why.

For those of you who have adopted, are in the adoption process, or are thinking about adopting, please take note: Our adoption situation has been atypical. I will be discussing that more in my next post. I know of many people who have adopted seamlessly, no muss no fuss, and the common denominator seems to be the quality of the agency you work with as well as the competence of your adoption coordinator.

I reclaimed my joy this weekend by spending time with family in the beautiful sunshine. I spent lots of cuddle time with my little man and taught him how to do Eskimo kisses. I worked on my “big” project, my pond and the waterfall; it’s just never quite the way I want it to look, so I took it apart and built it up once again, after looting all kinds of tips and ideas from Pinterest. It looks fab. I did not clean the house, because cleaning the house is not joy-giving.  It’s joy-thieving.

Most importantly, I asked God to carry this burden for me. I have prayed this before, but this time it was more of an impassioned plea. And wouldn’t you know it, before I even opened my eyes I felt like some of the weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and replaced with a feeling of calm that seemed to whisper, “Isn’t this better? Let’s stay in this emotional space, shall we?”

Thank you for following my journey, friends. Here’s to hoping the baby that’s meant for us makes an appearance soon!

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Pondering an Alternate Universe 

Part of the struggle of infertility/adoption can be the toll it takes on a marriage. In fact, couples who suffer from infertility are three times more likely to end up divorced. The flip side of this is that couples who cling to one another through the highs and lows are amazingly strong because of it. I imagine this is true for any adversity that befalls a couple. 

The way I see it, you’ve got to be a rock solid team in order to survive the heartbreak that comes with infertility. I’m learning each day that this is is even more true with the adoption process. The uncertainty, the waiting, the hurting, all are easily capable of compromising a marriage. I’m exceptionally lucky that I just happened to be married to a man that is both strong enough to handle the unpredictability and heartache and also shares my “whatever it takes” attitude. He also happens to love me a whole bunch, and I am also rather fond of him. 

Today, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy as we wait for “The Call.”  Then I started having a movie montage of our lives running through my head, and I have to write it out of there or it will keep playing on a loop. Is this normal behavior or do most people experience montages from time to time?  Hmmm. 

Seven years of our nine year marriage has involved the struggle to build a family one way or another. From day one, we decided to go after our dreams together.  It wasn’t hard to agree on a game plan; we both wanted children above all else, and couldn’t imagine our lives without them. So while other couples were buying new cars, or traveling, or spending money on things other than the pursuit of children, we banked all our extra nickels and dimes for the next fertility treatment. When we decided my body had been through enough, we started putting whatever extra we had away for adoption.  I’m definitely not complaining; I’m grateful we have had a little extra to squirrel away a bit at a time. The Internet is full of couples trying to fund their adoptions using “Go Fund Me” or other methods of crowd sourcing, because it’s their only hope. 

I wouldn’t change a thing about our life, the good or the bad. But I can’t help but wonder what our lives would have looked like if we hadn’t been an infertile couple. I think it would be pretty cool to see our lives in an “alternate universe” like tv shows do sometimes, where the main character sees how desperately unhappy they would have been if the biggest burden they carried in real life had never existed, or if it had been someone else’s problem. The point of course, is that the main character always realizes at the end that they are so much richer in character and happier in their situation than they ever could have been in the alternate universe. I already know that’s true for the hubs and I, I just think it would be interesting to see what it would have looked like. I think we probably wouldn’t have E, and I don’t want anything to do with a world that’s missing our sweetest miracle. 

Right now though, I could definitely live without the anxiety that comes with waiting for this phone call. I really could. 

Frenzied Cleaning is the New Xanax

This morning when I arose, my sweet husband asked me how I wanted to spend the day. Perhaps AgFest with the whole family? Or maybe a nice lunch out just the two of us, if we could round up one of the grandmas to watch E (never a problem). I thought this over and told him what I really wanted to do. “Oh, yeah?” he said, a little too eagerly. Only my husband would think nookie is on the table on one of the most anxious days of our lives.

“Yeah,” I said. “I’m going to clean this house. Top to bottom, until it’s all shiny and sparkly. That’s what I’m going to do today.” The hubs briefly looked at me like I was fit for the loony-bin, but I guarantee that man knew exactly the crazy that set up shop in my brain today. We’ve been together a long time, married almost nine years, and we can read each others’ body language and predict each others’ next move with sometimes extraordinarily freaky accuracy. It’s a marvelous gift to be able to share that with your spouse; I’m sure many of you can relate. It’s like having your personal radio tuned to the same station as your spouse.

I cleaned our home with fervor today, because the only thing worse than receiving soul-crushing news, is receiving soul-crushing news when your house is a giant mess.

It’s kind of like when you feel really sick but you still have to go to work, so you take extra care to wear your favorite, most flattering clothes, blow your hair all the way dry and style it just so, and put your makeup on like you mean it. Psychologically, it does seem to make you feel a little better if you have a bad cold or similar. I’ll let you know how “the clean house theory” works, should I need to find out for myself tomorrow.

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Testing out the “House Cleaning Theory” of stress management.

Tomorrow we are going to receive a phone call telling us that our sweet expectant mother is going through with this adoption, or we’re going to receive a call telling us that she was unable to convey to her husband how important this is to her, and so the adoption will not be going through. Whatever decision that call brings, I will either celebrate or cry for hours, but I will be experiencing those emotions in a freshly cleaned house. The little things matter my friends! Some people think my ritual of cleaning, during or leading up to an extremely stressful situation, is a gosh-darn weird way to cope with the stress. I disagree. I think it’s a healthy way to deal with stress. Plus I get a shimmering clean house out of the deal. Seriously, if the alternative is drinking the stress away or going on a very expensive therapy shopping trip, I say house cleaning is a pretty risk-free choice.

In addition to our home being so clean you could eat off the bathtub, it also has the added benefit of keeping my hands busy.

Be prepared to have your mind blown with awesomeness. I discovered something today, so you probably want to write this down somewhere; in moments of stress and anxiety, the best thing anyone can do to work through it is to keep those hands busy. I’m pretty confident I am the first one to have that realization, ever, in the history of mankind.

My impromptu Spring Cleaning 2015 was exactly what I needed. It kept me from spending the entire day dwelling on the fact that I am less than 24 hours away from one of the most important decisions of my life. A decision I have no say or influence over, whatsoever.

Can I just say how much I hate the fact that major life decisions are being made for me and I’m not allowed to even chime in just a little? Of course I see this is the expectant mother’s decision, and I have no place interjecting my opinion. But my adoption coordinator would not even allow me to contact my expectant mother and she wasn’t very nice about it. I wanted to let her know I would support either choice, and she was a good mom regardless. Our coordinator metaphorically gag-ordered me from talking to Carrie (our emom) until after the weekend had passed. I was rather displeased; I don’t like being told what to do in those situations, especially when every fiber of my being is whispering, “Reach out. Show your support. Take away any guilty feelings she might be experiencing.” I have plenty to say about how that conversation with the coordinator went down, but I’ll save that for another post.

I generally pride myself on having a pretty solid instinct for how things will work out, but this one has me totally stymied. I’m sure it’s because I’m much too emotional about the situation and my wants and desires are clogging up my ability to even have any instinct right now. And that’s okay. If ever there were a situation I have zero control over, this is it. Trying to influence the outcome of this situation is possibly the most fruitless thing I could ever do with my time and energy.

I really do believe God is in the details and will compel the expectant parents to do what will be in the best interest of the baby. If He reveals the baby is better off not being adopted, I will accept that gracefully. That doesn’t mean I won’t cry or mourn or feel moments of despair, because I will. But most importantly, I will believe that things happen the way they are meant to.

Sidenote: God, I will most likely be super pissed at you for a period of time tomorrow if my dreams are dashed. I may blame it on you, temporarily. Thanks for being such a good sport and sticking with me, even when I accuse you of putting me on this earth solely for the purpose of robbing me of my happiness.

Oh, another odd quirk to this tale is that the due date is totally up in the air. Our coordinator said June 11; the expectant mother said it is actually two weeks earlier than that, and the baby registries I found online (created by someone other than the expectant parents) say the baby is due in the beginning of May. So, step one is the couple decides to proceed with adoption. Step two is to find out when we should really expect this baby.

Excited? It’s Complicated.

Tomorrow marks two weeks since we learned we had been chosen to adopt.¬†¬†The time since we heard those blessed words has been marked with enormous excitement tinged with guarded enthusiasm.¬† As with any adoption, there is always the possibility that the expectant mother may decide she wants to parent after all, after giving birth to the baby.¬† Although we have been told she is very committed to her adoption plan, I still have reserved a big ol’ chunk of my heart just in case. I will let it out of heart jail after she has made her decision and signed the papers.¬† The old me would have been shouting the news from the rooftops and moving forward emotionally sans hesitation, but experience has taught me to proceed with caution. I wish that wasn’t the way it was, but it is only temporary. Once I am free to rejoice, I plan to do so unabashedly!

We get to meet the expectant parents this week!¬† I am looking forward to the moment I get to meet them, but I am petrified with fear as well.¬† It will definitely be something to see this brave woman pregnant with the baby we have prayed for since we started infertility journey part deux.¬† Back then I could not have imagined that my first encounter with my future child would take place just a few short weeks before they were due to enter the world, growing comfortably in another woman’s body. I would not ever have considered that a negative, I just don’t think I would have thought of it at all. The fact that this is where we have circled around to now feels very natural and exactly the way it was meant to be.

Nonetheless,¬†when you ask me if I’m excited, don’t do a double take and grimace when I hesitate before finally saying, “I think so.” I realize that is a strange answer, but on the other hand, it’s an honest answer, and I am nothing if not honest.