Friday, October 19, 2007


In my last post, I referenced my "friend" April. Now that she has posted on her blog about our relationship, I can tell you that while she is most definitely my friend, she is oh-so-much-more. She is mother to Madison's sisters. She gave us a gift for which we will never be able to say a mere "thank you" or repay. Madison explains it best when she says she was “born in April’s tummy.”

April is our birthmom.

I call her “our” birthmom because while she physically gave life to Madison, she also gave new life to Tuck and me. We would not have become parents if she hadn’t trusted the Lord’s plan for her to place this angel into our arms.

There are still many people in our lives that have a tough time understanding how we can have such an open relationship with the person who gave birth to Madison.

How can we not?

decision to give life to the child in her womb was unbelievably challenging, took unexplainable courage and is the greatest gift of love imaginable. Then she chose to listen to her heart, where God was speaking, and place that tiny life into the arms of a family that she believed was chosen by Him. I can’t fathom trusting God that much, but she did. And now she and her girls are part of our family.

April’s love for Madison, Tucker and me is impossible for me to put into words. April, however, said it perfectly in a poem she wrote for our girl's birthday last year. I’ll leave it to her to show you why she is Family.

My precious child this simple rhyme is for you
Although you are not here, in my heart you remain
Dreams of your smile and laughter resonate in my soul
I carry you with me wherever I go
Sweet prayers I whisper to God up above
Over you I know He watches and guards
Now go my love for it is not with me that you were meant to be

Coincidence I do not believe this can be
Lovingly He whispers into my heart
All along this was His master plan
Into the world I would bring you to be
Ready for you they were waiting joyfully
Eager to make a home for you just as God designed it to be

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

10, 20, 30, 40....

My friend, April, got this idea from her friend and I enjoyed it so much I'm turning it into a tag-meme so I can hopefully see some other histories.

Where were you 10, 20, 30, 40+ years ago?

10 years ago, October 1997… I was 29 and about to celebrate my first wedding anniversary with my best co-captain (in Nov). We lived in our first home with our two dogs – a Sheltie and Shepherd mix. Our 60-year-old home had a third bedroom that was so tiny we called it the half-bedroom, a bath and half-bath that were back-to-back, no central air and a basement that flooded, had large roaches, mice and even had a bird flying around one time! But it also had a beautifully remodeled kitchen, textured walls painted like Pottery B@rn, hardwood floors throughout and it was ours. We loved it.

20 years ago, October 1987… I was 19 and in my first year at SMSU (now MO State). I had just completed a year and a half at the local junior college and decided to go out of state for my education degree. I was living in the dorms and making terrible choices in my first year away from home. Being lost as I was (I accepted Christ as my Savior in '98), I continued to make bad choices all 4 years in college and right up until I met my husband on my birthday in 1995.

30 years ago, October 1977… I was 9 and healing from 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my hands and arms. One month earlier, I’d been playing in my back yard’s weeping willow tree when a friend (higher in the tree) stepped on a live power line. I will never forget watching the sparks fly between my hands and the tree trunk. Also won't forget the smell. We'd been playing in the tree because we had school canceled for about a week. One of the worst floods in KC history had hit September 12 & 13, killing 20+ people, flooding the Plaza up to many businesses’ ceilings and flooding our basement up to the top step of the lower level of our home (our old neighborhood has since been converted to a park; 15-20 homes were torn down a few years ago due to repeated flooding).

40 years ago, October 1967… I was 3½ months in my mother’s womb! I have no memories of this (hee-hee) but it tells you that I’m coming upon a dreaded milestone birthday. The only other birthday that was tough for me was 35. I didn’t stress about 30 or any others, really, but 35 reminded me that I was close to 40. Remember the line from “When Harry Met Sally”?

Sally: And I'm gonna be forty.
Harry: When?
Sally: Someday. (she was wailing this!)

Harry: In eight years.
Sally: But it's there. It's just sitting there, like this big dead end. And it's not the same for men. Charlie Chaplin had babies when he was 73.

That’s totally me. And now that “someday” is just 5+ short months away.

So that’s my history in 10-year-highlight-fasion. Now I tag Marie, Michele, Addie and Sarah. I hope you have as much fun as I did… and NONE of you will get to go back as far as I did. Hey, now that I think about it, what am I doing hanging out with such nubile, hot, young moms?!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


For those who have listened to my cries and worried for my heart in our battle to grow our family, please know how much I love and appreciate you.

While it's still a challenge at times (rightfully so), I would like you to know that my perspective has changed. I fully realize how blessed I am to have my family... to be a mom no matter how God chose to make that so. I no longer NEED to give physical birth to a child. I don't NEED that to complete me as a woman, as a person, as a mom.

I have read countless blogs, news articles, emails about adoption, infertility, loss of infants, multiple miscarriages, etc, etc... but none has touched my soul as this one. And this incredible video in honor of a little guy who lived just 99 days gives one real perspective.

Think I'll go kiss my sleeping girl.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Update on our boat...

I’m Wife to a warm, hilarious, incredible man who tolerates my moods and who has been my very best friend for 12½ years. I’m Mom to an intelligent, loving, girly, strong-willed, beautiful little human being who edifies and challenges me daily. I am a child of God who desires nothing more than trusting His plan for my life. And I am a woman who has never given physical life to a child.

I started this blog as a way to journal about our infertility trial – the boat we’re in, so to speak. I figured it would be a way to help my friends and family understand me, a way to help me process my thoughts and feelings and a way to track the ups and downs of our journey in growing our family. My prayer has always been that our trial could help someone in the same boat; maybe this blog will help.

We’ve been trying to have a baby since January 1998. After 16 IUI’s, 5 surgeries, countless drugs, one miscarriage, one perfect adoption and one failed IVF, we are again playing the waiting game.

For the past 16 months we’ve been trying to adopt a sibling for Madison. Initially we had a long dry spell, which was followed by several situations that have not resulted in a baby for us. While it’s been tough to not be chosen, we have the utmost faith in God’s plan and the baby He has for us.

Prior to Madison joining our family, we had 2 adoptions fall through at the last minute. Those were horribly painful and terribly tough to get through. We both began doubting that God had plans for us to ever be parents, but it wasn’t long before He heard our pleas and brought our daughter home to us. Once Madison was in our arms, there was no doubt that she was chosen for us long before we had even considered adoption.

We rest in the knowledge that while Madison’s sibling is not here YET, he/she will be here at the right time.

All of that said: if anyone reading this post knows of any birth parents who are looking for a strong Christian family to parent their baby, we would be forever grateful if you would pass along our information. We have an online portfolio which can be found at our agency’s website here.

We currently have an extremely open situation with Madison’s birthmother and birth sisters. While that works beautifully for us, we want future birth families to know we will do whatever they feel most comfortable doing.

Believe it or not, more important than telling us of any potential adoptions is prayer. Please pray for God’s will in our situation: that He makes perfectly clear to us the direction we are to go and how we are to get there. Please pray for our girl – who asks all the time, “when am I going to get a baby?” Please pray that the wait will be over soon.

Thank you so much.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

And so it begins...

Today was the first day of school; for both Madison and me. Wow -- who would've thought I'd be teaching preschool?!

After 11 years in elementary and plenty of years in Sunday School, I know all about the honeymoon phase of a new classroom of kids. Everyone is shell-shocked to be back in the walls of a classroom after days at the pool, etc. So they're generally silent and tired and pretty well-behaved.

Today was no different, but I have to say that I think I'm gonna like this gig quite a bit! Huge hugs, adorable speech patterns, a sucker from one, a sticker from another, a hand-drawn card from yet another.... and soooooo sweet. Maybe it's been so long I'm being fooled, but I really think I am blessed with the best bunch of kids -- both in the morning and afternoon.

Oh, to update the other: one family has chosen another couple; we're still waiting to hear on the second family. You can add the little guy to your prayers as he's struggling with feeding and is losing instead of gaining weight. Thank you!!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Please pray

We are currenly being "shown" to two birth families. That means that our portfolio is one of several in their hands. They will read through all of the portfolios, then each will choose a forever family for their child.

One family has a baby boy that was born last Monday. The other has a baby boy born yesterday. Both are local.

Please pray for these tiny, helpless, perfect little boys.
Please pray for the hearts of each family member as they make this excruciating decision.
Please pray that if it's God's will, one of these boys will be entrusted to our care.

Please pray.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


As with most of us, I have a wide range of girlfriends… each of which is unique and touches a different part of my life / personality.

Erica is one of my closest friends and my spiritual mentor. Her husband and mine are tight. Their kids called me their Summer Mom because I watched them from the time they were 4 and 6 (they are now 13 & 15). They often joke that their daughter is half mine and half theirs. To Madison, their family is an extension of ours.

Erica and her family moved 4 hours away from us almost 2 years ago. Initially when they moved, we kept in touch regularly and I always knew what was happening with her and her family. I was reminded this week how that has lapsed and how much I have taken our relationship for granted recently.

Over this last weekend, Erica had a headache that was not only excruciating but caused vomiting. Erica is not a person to complain. Me? If I have a headache, everyone around me likely has one, too, from my whining. But she is the toughest person I know. So when I heard she had voluntarily gone to the ER for her headache, it floored me.

For three days they ran tests on her to rule out every horrendous possibility. In the meantime we prayed and wondered how she was really doing… so far away from us. Madison’s prayers were so earnest: “God, please just make Erica’s head stop hurting so she can go home with (her kids).”

Today, we heard the news for which we prayed. Erica has NOTHING seriously wrong; everything is healthy in her brain! She was diagnosed with her first migraine ever and is on medication that seems to be controlling it.

This incident was clearly not about me, but I can't tell you how eye-opening it was for me. It made me really realize how much I take some of my friends for granted… how out of touch I've gotten with others… how I’ve been too "busy" to stop and make an effort… how much I couldn't imagine losing those friends.

The best news is that we already had a visit to Erica’s family planned and we are on our way to see them tomorrow! My plan is to get reconnected and not let so much time go between our visits. Not only that, but my other girlfriends with whom I have lost touch: watch out! You will be hearing from me…

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back on my Highway

Once again I have not done so well in bloggedy-ville. How do you people keep up on this with “so much” going on?! I seriously need to figure out a better time management method… which brings me to my post today.

In exactly 16 days, I am officially stepping back into the workforce as a classroom teacher. With a load of prayers and discussions, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it. Knowing that Tuck is behind the decision 110% makes it even more right.

Those of you who know me might be shocked by this decision, as determined as I’ve always been about staying home with Madison. You may be remembering how thrilled I was to be done with the headaches that came along with being a teacher; though I’ve always loved the teaching part of it. You may even be questioning how adding “one more thing to my plate” is exciting to me; I can seemingly not keep up as it is.

But that’s the jewel of this situation. My new job is not at another elementary school, but at a preschool. I’m going from teaching 4th grade to teaching 4-year-olds!

I will still be at home with my girl – she will be at school the same hours that I am, tuition-free, nonetheless. Those teaching headaches (grading countless papers, taking work home with me, etc) are a thing of the past – I will actually get to enjoy teaching! And finally, that part about adding one more thing to my plate, that’s the best part – for the first time in 5+ years I will be on a daily schedule again.

Think about it: when you’re in elementary, middle and high school, you are given a schedule and a plan. When you go to college, you get to pick your schedule and you have somewhat of a plan. When you have a job, especially as a teacher, you create a schedule and a plan to be even remotely successful.

When you become a SAHM, that all goes out the window. Your schedule is determined by your child/ren and his/her/their needs, whims, emotions, naps, etc, etc, etc. There is no way to realistically say: “I will get this done at 10:00, finish this by 11:00 and finalize that at 3:00.” Because you will probably be changing a blown-out diaper at 10, wiping crayon off the wall at 11 and picking playdoh out of the carpet at 3.

Now please don’t read this wrong. I have LOVED these times with my daughter more than anything else I’ve done in my life (btw: those times are not going away). But I’ve also learned a lot about myself in the time I’ve been home.

While I’ve always seen myself as someone who thrives on being busy, at heart I have the tendency to be lazy. I don’t have an internal motivation to get things done. I do have a lot of things in my life or “on my plate,” but I am apt to ignore the responsibilities until the very last minute. Then I do them halfway. Or not at all.

There’s a verse in Proverbs that talks about when laziness is prominent, your path is full of thorns, but when you’re doing the right thing your path is like a highway. How true this is for me! When I allow the lazy part of me to take over, I am stressed all the time and feel like I have “so much to do.”

As I’ve been attending meetings and working in my classroom to get things ready for the school year, I’ve been amazed with how much is getting done at home, too. I’ve come home from my classroom and just kept on moving to get this and that done, without one iota of stress or feeling overwhelmed at how much I need to get done.

Clearly, that highway mentioned in Proverbs – for me – is being on a schedule. I have high hopes (though no illusions of perfection!) for this school year, for renewed friendships, for my relationship with my girl, for my relationship with my husband… and I hope to record a lot of that here. On my blog. More regularly. See ya.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Summer so far...

Okay, so it’s taking me a while to get back into the swing of blogging…actually I was just learning how to get into the swing when I lost my computer. It’s a whole lot easier to think of blog topics when I’m busy doing other things… but it’s tough to make the time to post.

What have I been so busy doing? I love Addie’s and Michele’s blogs about summer – both of which hit the nail on the head – but I’ve also been busy with my favorite summertime activity: SBO.

SBO is an acronym for Summer Breakout, which is our church’s version of Vacation Bible School. We’ve had a Bible school for 9 years but this was the first year we personalized an event for the preschool / kindergarten set. We just completed our first annual SBO Junior – and what a terrific time we had! Of course it helps that my angel was part of the week. And she got to perform on stage today… twice (her favorite part, she says). That's her on the far right.

We had an awesome group of volunteers that pulled the whole thing off. Thank you to everyone for your heart and passion for our kiddos… did you know we have another event in July?! :O)

Another big happening in June was that my girl cut 10” off her hair for Locks of Love. Yes, Mommy actually made the cut! If you ask her, she’ll tell you that a “little girl who doesn’t have any hair” will get her old ponytail. She is quite the big girl with this short cut.

I've also had two of my closest friends give birth this month - one more little boy & little girl to love on! And another pair of close friends came to town from waaayyy too far away!

So you can see we've had a great start to our summer. Hope you have, too!

5 weird habits...

You've heard of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven Covey... I'm certain these won't be listed there. :O)

Long ago, prior to my crashed computer, I was tagged by my friend Michele for a meme. I’m supposed to list 5 weird habits that I have. Hmmm… only five?

  1. I use … and – a LOT in my writing (see above if you need proof!!). Neither is particularly necessary, grammatically speaking, but they are fun to me. Weird.
  2. I'm the opposite of Michele – I don’t frequently clean my home thoroughly but I always pick up the “stuff.” Stuff drives me nuts… dust I can ignore. (did you notice the … and the – in that short answer?!)
  3. I sleep with ear plugs, eye mask and a fan for white noise. And yes, I can still hear every sound Madison makes… ugh.
  4. As organized as I like to think I am, I have a tough time finishing what I start. Have you ever seen that email about the woman who is cleaning her house and comes across the mail key… she gets the mail and sees a bill that is late… she sits down to pay the bill and notices that she has a new email… she reads and responds to that email and remembers she needs to... and nothing ever gets completed? That’s my life.
  5. I like to eat my M&Ms or Skittles in order of color: I eat all the green ones, then red ones, brown ones, yellow ones… mmmm I think I need something sweet…

Now I’ll tag my five friends… Marie, Kristy, Addie, Bekah and the honorary guy - Ben. I do expect replies, my friends.

Here are the rules: The first player of this game starts with the topic ‘five weird habits’, and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says, “You are tagged” (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I'm back!

I never realized how much I relied on my computer until I was literally without one. My hard drive crashed in March for the 5th and final time, I got a new one with the Vista system that did NOT work, spent 6 hours on the phone trying to get it fixed, sent it back for a full refund and finally got my new one today! Woo hoo!

In the meantime I used computers when I could, but never had enough time to post a blog or read anyone else's... talk about withdrawal. Today I'm officially back and trying to catch up -- posting and reading other blogs.

While offline, I was blessed to be in a Bible study of the book "Lessons I Learned in the Dark: Steps to Walking by Faith, Not by Sight" by Jennifer Rothschild. She is an incredible gal who lost her sight in her teens and has since been teaching others how to stop searching for visible "proof" of God but to trust Him and walk by that faith in Him. What a timely book and such a great wake-up call for me. I am really, honestly, finally at peace with my station in life. I will no longer be seen as the "poor girl who can't get pregnant" or the "friend who needs to hear about pregnancies in private" or the girl who "spends so much time saying 'poor me'."

I have the most beautiful family, incredible friends, awesome ministries and most importantly a God who gives me peace beyond all understanding. I will never be perfect and am sure I will slip and moan/groan from time to time, but I am happy with who I am. I am the woman that God has created me to be. Just thought I'd let anyone who actually reads this know that it's all good. :O)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

my loooong day

Poor me. What a loooong day it becomes when you spend it saying "poor me."

One year ago today we found out that the 8 healthy-looking embryos created during our in-vitro process were, in fact, NOT healthy. Because of my age we'd had a test done prior to implanting any back into my uterus; this showed that not one of them was even viable.

While this did save us from going through the implantation, waiting for yet ANOTHER pregnancy test and getting yet ANOTHER negative result, it certainly didn't take the heartache away. In fact, in remembering that phone call, I get the same punch-in-the-stomach feeling I got a year ago. That call essentially ended our 9-year hope and belief that we could have a physical baby.

Here's the really crazy thing: a week ago I was feeling sickly, was having weird pains in my side and had a very sore chest. I thought maybe I was pregnant, so I took a test -- and started my period that same day.

Today I woke up to the verse John 7:38 on my verse-a-day calendar. Since last week's cycle barely lasted 2 days I started thinking "well, maybe I am pregnant and God is telling me that I tested too early... after all, when has my system EVER been normal?!" Luckily this time I didn't have a test in the house; I started my real period an hour later.

Do you realize how often this nearly-identical scene has played itself out in my house? Honestly, I wonder if this mind game I play with myself will quit. Will I ever be able to give up this obsession? This is FAR from the first time I've had a "verse promise" or weird physical symptoms that got my hopes soaring -- only to be dashed by the negative lines on those stinkin' sticks. If only we'd purchased stock in the "preganancy test" market years ago. We'd be zillionaires just from those I've bought.

I've said it before: my God has blessed me with a husband that is my best friend. For over a year now, we have reserved Tuesday nights for Date Night. I have no doubt God had this planned -- what a perfect ending to such a day as this.

God has also blessed me with a group of women friends and a Mom that help me hold my head above the water. None has gone through what I'm going through, but none judge me for my pity parties either. And each of them love me, listen to me, cry with me and simply remind me that they are there should I need them.

And then, of course, there is my Madison Claire. She saw me crying earlier and just came and put her little bitty arms around me. What more could a Mom ask than the unconditional, unquestioning love of her angel?

Today is over. Amen.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

my daughter's eyes

I have a close friend, Marie, who knows all songs and the artists who sing and/or wrote them! While I won’t even try to compare my abilities to hers, I do latch onto certain songs that touch me (hence my blog title), including this one that Claire told me about shortly after my Madison was born. Now when you play this song around Madison, sit back and enjoy her falsetto voice belting it out -- it's priceless!

Seriously, though, it seems Ms McBride wrote this song from MY heart, not her own. Have you had a chance to actually SEE my daughter’s eyes?! Each time I'm "enjoying" a pity party or feel ready to give up, her big brown eyes draw me back to reality: I AM BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE.

In My Daughter’s Eyes, Martina McBride
In my daughter's eyes, I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see:
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be in my daughter's eyes
In my daughter's eyes, everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me
Gives me strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe, in my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about:
It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up

I've seen the light: it's in my daughter's eyes
In my daughter's eyes, I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see
How happy she made me
For I'll be there… in my daughter's eyes

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

my boat is rocking

There are several pregnant gals at church, as usual; many of which are close friends. Anytime I hear of a new pregnancy the waves threaten to tip my boat over for good. The crest of the wave is the celebration; I couldn't be happier for the miracle of life, especially in those I love. But the bottom of the wave is Satan reminding me that, once again, it's not me that's pregnant. I recently heard of another pregnancy that rocked the boat big time.

My close friend and I went through the infertility battle and studied the 7 barren women of the Bible together. She adopted her beautiful daughter almost 2 years prior to our adopting Madison. She was blessed to go on to become pregnant while her daughter was only months old. When Tuck and I adopted Madison, everyone said: "oh, you know what will happen now...." which of course, didn't happen.

Recently I became friends with a new gal at church who was in the middle of the infertility ride. She and her husband decided last year to go the adoption route and adopted their beautiful daughter in November. This same friend is now 8-9 weeks pregnant. Please understand that I am truly and sincerely thrilled for my friend. In fact, in a lot of ways her pregnancy is easier to hear about than others because I KNOW her heart. I've lived there.

But her pregnancy also makes me want to scream: Okay, God, why do I get to hear a zillion stories of adoptive parents who've gotten pregnant -- and witnessed it in two good friends -- and yet this miracle eludes me? Do you remember, God, that all 7 of the barren women in the Bible were ultimately blessed with pregnancies? What am I doing WRONG?!

Then my boat gently sways the other way... and I am reminded by a little brown-headed angel what I am doing RIGHT. I am being Mom to the daughter that God has given me. How could I possibly ask for more?

Monday, March 5, 2007

Team in Training

One of my good friends, Kristy, is training with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for one of its Team in Training marathons. "The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education, and patient services. The Society's mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families."

The athletes who sign up for Team in Training collect pledges for their event, all of which goes to the LL Society. In fact, they use 75 cents of every dollar donated to support their missions. So you can see that no donation amount is too small... even a $1 (tax-deductible) donation is helpful.

Kristy has asked her friends to tell others about this, so here it is, my friends and visitors. You can read more about it on her blog as well as her Team in Training page. You can even make your tax-deductible
donation on that page. I hope you'll consider donating to Kristy's efforts -- she needs half of her total pledge by March 29.

Thanks so much!

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Do you ever feel taken aback by how blessed you are in your friendships?

I was at a wonderful event earlier: my city's annual all-day Creative Memories album-making event. As I worked on my family albums I listened to the conversations around me. Not in an eavesdropping way (honestly!), I was listening more to tones and feelings. I heard long-time friends catching up on life, compliments on creativity, stories about individual pictures, crying, laughing, smack-talk... and I was amused by the similarities of these conversations. This was a room full of girl friends hanging out, doing something they love!

On my hour-long drive home (alone in a rare, quiet moment) I thought of the girl friends that I love to hang out with. Sure, there are some friendships that are similar to others, but each of my friends reaches a different part of my heart; I need each one.

When I got home, my husband and his two closest friends were here hanging out & playing video games. These guys don't get to all 3 be together very often, but they've been friends since childhood. Though I'm not in the same room as them, the low rumble of their voices and bursts of frequent laughter tell me they haven't missed a beat since they last spent time together.

Here are some things I've learned about friends. Some of these are quotes I've copied; credit is given when I know who said it.

* Friends will pull you out of your pity parties, even when others have written you off.
* "A friend is one who knows the song of your heart... and sings it back to you when you've forgotten the words."
* Friends never make you feel bad for whining about the same thing you whined about yesterday.
* "Similarities can create friendships; differences can sometimes hold them together."
* True friends don't need to fill silences with words. They can also say just one word that conjures a memory of laughter and unbelievable silliness.
* "Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away." (George Eliot)
* Friends don't judge your mistakes, but they lovingly let you know when you might have strayed.
* "Friendship doubles your joys, and divides your sorrows."
* When you're with true friends, you don't have to pretend you are something that you aren't.
* Friends can sometimes be more special and loving than family. The best friends become family.

Not a hugely original post, but I am feeling very blessed to be surrounded by such awesome, loving friends. Some have been here for a long, long time. Others are brand new but feel like they've been here as long. My friends who are reading this: please know that no matter how many days, months, years go by between our times together, I love you more than words can say.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

No more naps?

I'm realizing how spoiled I've been: my girl is a sleeper. She really has been since we switched her to soy formula at 3 months. At 4, she still sleeps 11+ hours at night and takes a 1-2 hour nap. That is until January 24, when our home was invaded.

Apparently, the builder of our subdivision (Pulte) came from the west coast. When they built in KS they didn't modify their building plan; therefore our homes weren't well-insulated or weather-proofed around the windows or doors. The word got out about 2 years ago (our home is only 6 years old) but I ignored the problem hoping it would just go away. That was fine until last summer when our back door leaked in a rainstorm for the bazillionth time.

We had the rep. come in August; he found enough damage to have the front and back insulation & siding replaced and the roof repaired (all on Pulte's bill). Five months later, the crew rolled in. We have an awesome crew -- Dave, Cody & Andy -- who've been great about trying to take late lunches for naptime, etc. But Madison has obsessed over all they are doing at all times. Just knowing they are here keeps her distracted almost all day! She wakes up at 7:00 asking, "Are our guys here yet, Mommy?" And the naps have stopped.

I realize most 4-year-olds are weaning off their naps anyway... but my issue is this: Madison is one who becomes a different child without sleep. We put her to bed at 7 on any night we don't have something going on and we put her down for naps on the weekends. She'll usually sleep one of the two days; the other day she just plays in her room and doesn't nap.

Even with those efforts, it's clear to anyone who knows her that Madison is just so tired. Even her teacher says she is spacy and detached. So my question is this: are we done with naps? Will her little body get used to it eventually? Or will we go back to napping, even occasionally, once the invasion is over? Only time will tell...

Monday, February 26, 2007

my boat, finale

Wow - the end of my last post sounds so drama. To offset that, I will point out that I finally figured out how to add photos to my blog. Isn't my family beautiful?!

In 2002 I became Mom for real. I won't lie and tell you that I've loved everything about the last four years. Come on: sleepless nights, soy formula, diapers, stinky attitude, whining…(okay, so the last two apply to me, too!). That said, I KNOW God has entrusted this beautiful little person to Tucker and me. Madison couldn’t be more "fit" to our family had I physically given birth to her. Believe me, most days I feel as though I did.

Which brings me to the fact that I didn't give birth to her and will likely never give birth to a biological child. In January 2006, we tried in-vitro for the first time. There were several healthy-looking embryos and we were hopeful. Because of my age they did a test on the chromosomes and it showed no viable embryos. Not one. They said that could explain the lack of full-term pregnancy in 9+ years.

We are fully aware that God could provide a miracle pregnancy. But the more I read and listen to what God is saying, the more I realize that isn't what He has for us. Believe me, there are days when it seems just fine that I've never been pregnant: when my sister's swollen legs/feet were killing her, when my friend's nausea makes her want to vomit, when my friend can't walk because of her sciatic nerve...

But more times than not, I long for those experiences. After all, God created woman to be a companion to man and the mother of his children. Not being able to physically birth a child makes me feel inadequate, broken. Being surrounded by pregnant friends isn't easy. While I am so incredibly happy for them, it's another reminder that I won't have the swollen ankles, nausea, weight to lose... how often do I want to hollar: I'll trade you!

While there are days I feel this to my core, I also have hope in my personal relationship with God; I can call on all He has taught me during this trial. My trial is just that -- mine. My friends have trials that I wouldn't want to trade. And I can see that God's plan is so much better than my own: if we'd become parents when we planned (1 year into our marriage), we would not have the marriage we have today.

I am blessed to have a husband who is my best friend and partner in this trial. Many couples split up over infertility. We are stronger because of it -- as individuals and as a couple. And on our schedule, we wouldn't have our Madison! So you see, there is no doubt that God has made me exactly this way for a reason. And I pray daily that God can use my trial to help someone in the same boat.

So to conclude this intro to my blogging world: I am at peace with my boat, knowing my God, my husband and my daughter are in it with me. And lest anyone doubt: I am head over heels in love with my daughter! And I can't wait to meet her sibling.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

my boat, part 2

By the spring of 2002, we'd had multiple procedures, loads of hormones, 3 surgeries, one miscarriage and had gotten to the point financially that we could either try in-vitro or adopt. We hadn't yet made a decision when we got a call from a friend who knew of a baby about to be born. We got the mass of paperwork, home visits, etc. done in ONE week (usually takes months) and sent them off to the birth family. The same day my friends threw a surprise shower for me, we found out that the family had selected a local adoptive couple.

Failed adoption #1.

After a sufficient time of mourning, we began to see this event as God helping us make the decision to go with adoption instead of IVF, so we moved forward. We passed out our photo portfolio to friends and adoption agencies. Just a month later, on Mother's Day, we were selected by a birth mother through another friend. For 3 months we met with this birthmother, went to her Dr appts and got a nursery ready. Shortly before the baby was born we were told that the birth father wanted to raise the little girl.

Failed adoption #2.

At this point we were beyond heart sick. We decided to take some time "off," we closed the nursery door, fasted every Sunday (a big food day for us!) and prayed for guidance. Literally 40 days later we got a voice mail from Steffany at the adoption agency that did our home study. She wanted to know if we wanted to use the agency to find a birth family, and that their fee had gone up. Since our first 2 attempts were private and would've been MUCH less expensive, I didn't call back.

Steffany called again the next day and told me the fee schedule. I called Tuck, who said that if it was God's will for us to find a baby through the agency, He would provide the financing. What faith he has. I called back and Steffany told me: "Well that's good news because you've been selected by a birthmom!"

Almost two months later, Madison was born and life changed, as all parents know. As I continue in the blog world, I hope to share the incredible-ness of our girl. :O) In my next post, however, I need to explain that the ache to give my husband a physical combination of us has not gone away. And probably never will.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

my boat

Well, here I am blogging. I've watched friends & strangers blog for 2+ years, and finally decided to join 'em.

So I'll start by explaining "this boat I'm in." I'm infertile, yet I'm also Mom to Madison: a beautiful, wise, strong, passionate, vocal, loving 4-year-old. My boat is comprised of all that those two things offer on a daily basis. My hope is that I can blog about my trials and joys in this rocking boat... and maybe help someone else in a similar boat (2 Corinthians 1:4).

I've wanted to be Mom ever since my baby brother came home from the hospital when I was almost 6 years old. I remember mothering him, then going on to "mother" my friends, other family members and my students that I taught. In my mind it was all practice until I found the perfect husband and became Mom for real.

Well, I did find the perfect husband! And after we'd been married for a year, Tucker and I started trying to have kids. That was in January of 1998. By Aug 2002, we'd had umpteen "procedures," suffered one miscarriage, had 2 adoptions fall through and had spent thousands of dollars trying to be Mom & Dad. We were DONE... but God wasn't!

We got a call in early Sept of that year that we'd been selected by a birthmom who wanted to meet us. That birthmom, April, has come to be such a blessing in our lives. She selected us to parent her unborn baby girl; that same 4-year-old that I mentioned earlier! In making that one decision, April has become part of our family along with her 2 daughters, Madison's sisters.

I'm looking forward to this blogging adventure. For now, my pillow is calling!