Our Infertile Road to Adoption

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eight years ago I got pregnant for the first time.  Nathan and I were so excited, and immediately started planning that child's future.  We were thinking of names... wondering if it would be a girl or a boy... hoping its due date of December 26th would not make it a Christmas baby.

But just a few days later I started bleeding heavily, and knew in an instant that that baby was gone.

We had only just begun trying to get pregnant, but I had so many friends experiencing infertility and I begged God to spare us from that roller coaster.

Our doctor told us that since we were so early in the pregnancy I would not need a D & C, and that technically I could get pregnant as soon as my next cycle. 

Which I did.

That pregnancy was such a relief, and I vividly remember thanking God that I was never going to have to walk the long and painful road of infertility.

A year after Beau was born we decided to start trying for a second baby.  We wanted four, so it seemed to us like we better whip 'em out!

God had different plans for our family.

The next six years were spent going from one doctor's appointment to the next... from one surgery to the next... all in an effort to figure out why my young and seemingly healthy body was not working.

About a year and a half ago I went in for another laparoscopy, with hopes that my doctor could remove one diseased fallopian tube in order to increase the chance of success with my third and final IVF treatment.
{If none of this terminology is familiar to you... thank God right now that you have not had to walk this road.}

During the surgery my doctor had to make the painful decision to remove both of my fallopian tubes.  It turned out that they were both so severely diseased, that not only were they non-functioning, but my doctor believed they were actually preventing the embryos we were implanting through IVF from nestling into my uterus.

The next month we had our last IVF treatment with our last two remaining embryos.

It was unsuccessful.

We were done.

We had always hoped to adopt a baby, even before we knew it would be our only option.  But at that point we were out of money, out of energy, and ready to close the door.

Then I met an amazing woman that has four biological children and eleven adopted children.  Yes, I typed that correctly... eleven... which makes fifteen {in case math is not your strong suit}.

Several months ago, as she was getting ready to adopt number fifteen, we were lounging by the pool talking adoption stories. 

Long story short... she offered to pay for us to adopt a baby.

There is so much more to the story that I will share with you in the months to come, but the bottom line is that this friend and her husband are covering all of our adoption costs except for the cost of the Home Study, traveling expenses to pick up our baby, and a few other odds and ends.

Unfortunately, before we could even begin the process, we needed to come up with the $2000 for the Home Study fee.

With encouragement from blog readers and friends I devised a plan to try to raise our funds, and sent out an email asking for my friends and sponsors to partner with me.  Their response blew me away.

With their help, I put together three prize baskets valued at over $3,000 to raffle off on my blog. Then, a friend of ours heard what we were doing, heard about my raffle, and felt moved to help.

She gave us $2,000 in cash so that we could begin our Home Study. After six years of waiting patiently {although admittedly not-so-patiently at times} we began our adoption two weeks ago.  

We are so thankful that God has seen us fit to receive this blessing.  We take the stewardship of this blessing very seriously.

We still need to raise approximately $3,000 {from what we can figure}, and that is why we decided to go ahead with the raffle. All of the funds raised from this raffle are going into a designated bank account and will be used only for adoption-related expenses.

It is our hope and prayer that there will be money left over in the end to share with another family awaiting a baby. I would also love to make this an annual event on my blog.  The financial costs associated with infertility and adoption are the salt in the wounds of a painful, painful experience.  It would be a blessing to be able to ease that burden for others, as our friends have for us.

Thank you so much for considering participating in our raffle.

The other day when my sister asked Beau how he was feeling about all this his response was It's like every one of my penny wishes is coming true.  Thank you for helping my little 7 year old see that God hears every prayer... even the penny wishes.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Dear Baby Blakely,

I cannot wait until you are old enough for me to tell you the story of how you came to be a part of our family.  I cannot wait until you will understand how many people loved you, prayed for you, and cared enough to want to be a part of your adoption.

I am praying for you tonight, thanking God for our amazing friends and family, and anxiously awaiting the day that we will bring you home.

Love forever,

Wow... how can I possibly express how grateful I am to each one of you that participated in this raffle? 
My cup runneth over today.

Now for the news that you are all waiting for.

First of all... how much we raised.  I believe that we need at least $3,000 to finish covering our adoption costs.  Because I want to be able to pass some money on to another family, I had a goal in my head of raising $5,000.

We raised $6,085!
Six thousand eighty five dollars!!!

I am absolutely, positively blown away.

God is so faithful.

Thank you all again so very, very much for your support. We had so much fun running this raffle.

I got a call this morning from our Social Worker and our Home Inspection is scheduled!  I promise to keep you updated on our journey, and I promise to let you know when we are ready to pass on our "leftovers" to the next family.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting."
 -Dr. Suess, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

In the last six years I have gotten really good at waiting.

When we first started trying for a second baby, I thought for sure it was going to be a piece of cake... just like it had been the first time.  But after just a few months with no results... I was tired of waiting.

Then many more months passed.  And years.  And we were still waiting.

Only at some point in my waiting process I stopped waiting for what I wanted, and learned to wait on the Lord.

Have you ever heard the song While I'm Waiting by John Waller?

I really love this song.  The lyrics go like this:
I'm waiting 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
And I am hopeful 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
Though it is painful 
But patiently, I will wait 
I will move ahead, bold and confident 
Taking every step in obedience 
While I'm waiting I will serve You 
While I'm waiting I will worship 
While I'm waiting I will not faint 
I'll be running the race 
Even while I wait 
I'm waiting 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
And I am peaceful 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
Though it's not easy 
But faithfully, I will wait 
Yes, I will wait 
I will serve You while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting 
I will serve you while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord
I love this song because first of all, it acknowledges that waiting is painful.  

It is painful.  And frustrating.  And scary.

But it is also a great reminder that sometimes while we are waiting, we get so caught up in the waiting that we forget that our first calling is to be worshiping.  We were made to worship, not wait.  Worship and serve.  When we selfishly focus on our own desires, we neglect our calling as worshipers and servers.
You know what is funny?  I started this blog entry because today I am waiting again, but for something really silly.

Today I am waiting for packages to arrive.  

Packages full of fun things like supplies for my new line of calendars.

And I am reminded that while I am still waiting for a baby, God has provided so much to fulfill my days.

I'm not stuck in the Waiting Place.

That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing."

Well Dr. Seuss... in the midst of my waiting today, I have found my bright places.  My family.  My home.  My friends.  My neighborhood.  My business.  My church family.  My packages that are beginning to arrive.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010 

It has been a while since I have updated you all on our adoption process.  It's not because I didn't want to share, but just because I have been stuck in a Birth Mother Letter Rut.

The last step of the process on our part was to write a letter to the birth mother, and make a scrapbook bio of our family.

I have sat down to write this letter many, many times.

I have stared at the keyboard many, many times.

I have typed and erased sentences many, many times.

And I have decided that this is the most difficult part of the adoption process.

How do you summarize in one short letter six years of yearning?  How do you explain what great opportunities you can offer a child, without sounding elitist and entitled?

How do you ask someone to give you their baby?

This was hard for me.

But today... it is finished.

Somewhere out there right now there is a young woman pregnant with my baby, and soon she will read my letter and choose me to be her baby's mama.

Today is a good day.

Tomorrow I will start the scrapbook.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Last week I finally sent all of my paperwork off to the Adoption Agency.  Whew!

As I walked the box out to my doorstep for the Postman to pick up I felt like I was at the top of a roller coaster.  You know... that part where you have finished the big, tedious, slow climb up the hill, and you are paused just for a moment looking at the giant adrenaline rush that is coming your way.  That's what it felt like.

This baby is coming soon.  I feel it.  Which made me start to think about all the things that are going to change in my life.

And all the baby items that I need to purchase.

It has been a long time since we have needed a carseat, or a stroller, or a diaper bag, or a Pack 'n Play, or bottles... or anything infant related... in this house.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011
This week has been an emotional roller coaster.

On Wednesday afternoon as I packed to come to my cousin's funeral, I got a call from our adoption agency saying that they would like to present us to a birth mom.

This was the second such call that we have received.  We got the first one a few weeks ago, and after six long days we finally heard back that the birth mom had chosen another family.

So when I got this second call I quickly put it out of my mind, figuring that we wouldn't hear back right away, and preoccupied with the thought of heading to a funeral.

Thursday afternoon, when we were stopped in San Luis Obispo for lunch on our way to San Jose {yes, we know the way to San Jose... I couldn't resist} we got another call from the agency telling us that the birth mother had chosen us to be her baby's family.

*Did you hear that???*  Chosen us.

So in a parking structure in San Luis Obispo we got to tell Beau that he was going to have a baby sister.

{My sister took these pictures with her camera phone, so excuse the quality.}

Friday morning, while I was at my cousin's funeral, I got a voice message letting us know that we need to be in Salt Lake City by Thursday because they are inducing on Friday.  THIS FRIDAY.

So {no April Fool's here} our baby girl will be joining our family in just six short days, on April 1st.

Can I tell you that we serve a God of miracles?

And how nice it was to be able to share such wonderful news with our entire family.  It was a little something to rejoice about at a time when there would normally not be too much rejoicing.

Despite the circumstances, we have had a wonderful weekend with our family.

Today we spent the day watching old videos of past family reunions and making fun of ridiculously short shorts {on men}, big teeth and awkward stages.

We are heading home tomorrow.  I am anticipating an overwhelming week of trying to prepare a nursery, make travel arrangements, and shop for baby essentials.  All amazingly good things that I have been looking forward to for a long time.

Please pray that everything will go smoothly with our adoption.  Pray for this birth mom... that she would be blessed with a smooth delivery and confidence that she is making the right decision for her baby.  Pray that papers would be signed and processed quickly so that we can come home soon as a family of four.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Wow... where to begin??? This has been such a crazy, crazy, amazing week.

After arriving home from Justin's funeral, we spent three days cleaning, painting, shopping and preparing to come to Utah to meet our baby.

The plan was for us to arrive in Utah on Thursday morning, have lunch with the birth mom and our agency reps, and then for the birth mom to check into the hospital on Friday morning at 7:00am to be induced.

Late Wednesday night as we finished packing for our 8:00am flight, we got a call from the agency.  The birth mom's water had broken and she was on her way to the hospital!

We tried so hard to sleep, but only managed about three and a half hours.  Leaving for the airport Thursday morning was the most chaotic experience we have ever had leaving for a trip.  I cannot even tell you what a disaster we left behind!!!  I didn't even make my bed.

At 6:15am we realized that we were not all going to fit in my mom's car with the ridiculous parafenalia that we were taking along, so I frantically called Brooke's house to get another driver.  Darren was in our driveway in less than 3 minutes... thank goodness for good friends that live close!

We arrived at the airport in the nick of time, and as we checked in for our flight we received a text that our baby girl had been born.  At 8:12am our teeny, tiny, 5 pound, 7 ounce, 18 inch long little peanut was born.

We had to wait a whole day to meet her, but this afternoon we were finally introduced to our little  Penelope Susan Blakely.

She is perfect.

We have had an absolutely perfect trip. {Other than trying to upload photos for this blog, everything has gone well.  I cannot get a single picture of Penelope and me to upload.  Urgh!}

God has provided in so many big and small ways, and we have gotten confirmation after confirmation that this is our special little girl and the reason we have had to wait seven years for her to join our family. 

We got to meet the birth mom today, and that was perfect too.  She is amazing, and we are eternally grateful for her strength and courage in bringing Penelope into this world.

There is so much more to tell, but I am exhausted, and I need to go to sleep so that I can wake up and go get my baby.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

The God who provides.

That is who we serve.

 I could spend hours telling you all about this last week, but I would rather spend that time snuggling my little girl {or sleeping}, so instead I will just share with you all the ways that the Lord has provided for our family to bring this tiny little miracle into our lives.

*At a time of great mourning for our family, God provided a source of rejoicing when we received a phone call on the way to my cousin's funeral telling us that we had been chosen by a birth mom to raise her baby girl.

*My sister {who allowed me to be in the delivery room for the arrival of both of her children} was able to come to Utah with us to help us ease into a family of four.

 *We prayed for a smooth and easy delivery for our birth mom, and God provided exactly that.

*Brooke specifically prayed for a little baby {to decrease the chances of a c-section, which would have cost us more money}, and God provided a teeny, tiny, vaginally-delivered 5 pound, 7 ounce baby.

*When we realized at the wee hour of 6:15am that we were not all going to fit in one car and be able to get our luggage to the airport, one desperate phone call resulted in Brooke's husband Darren pulling into our driveway within minutes.

*Worrying that we would then not be able to fit in our rental car, God provided an unexpected and free upgrade from Enterprise to a brand new Expedition that offered us just enough space for the five of us and all our paraphernalia.

*We randomly chose to stay at the Residence Inn, which turned out to be a wonderful home away from home, with an amazing staff that even brought us a gift for the baby... an adorable stuffed giraffe that sings lullabies.

*Part way through the week we found out that Darren had found a family in our church that owns a 7,000+ square foot luxury home in Park City that was offering for us to stay there for free, saving us about $600 in hotel fees.

There have been so many moments this week that have confirmed that Penelope is the baby that God has intended for our family... the reason that we have had to wait seven long years to meet her.

In case there was ever a doubt, let me tell you that certainly Jehovah-jirah exists.

Our God has  provided.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There's something that I've been wanting to share here, but it's a bit touchy and I know that I need to share carefully to be certain that you hear clearly the reason that I am sharing.

So let's just start with that - I am sharing this story today to give God the glory for all He has done for our family this year.  Period.  So please, please hear that.

Okay, so those of you that have been around here for any length of time know that almost 10 months ago our family was blessed with our precious baby girl, Penelope.

If you don't know our journey let me briefly sum it up: Two years ago I held a raffle on my blog to raise money for our adoption costs.  I mentioned at the time that we had some friends that had amazingly offered to pay for the majority of the adoption, but that we expected our portion to be about $5,000 or $6,000.  In one week we raised a whopping $6085!

It was overwhelming and touching and God's confirmation that He had a plan for our family that included adoption.

 This last March we were contacted by our agency about a potential match for us, and long story short... just 7 days later we held our baby girl in our arms.

I shared a lot about what happened that week, but one major thing, one really significant part of the story, I left out.

I want to tell you now.

I'm just going to kind of retell the story, so those of you who have not read it before will not be lost.  {It's a fun story, so even if you have read it... please read again.  You won't want to miss the new details.}

One Wednesday afternoon I was packing to leave for my cousin's funeral and I got a phone call from our agency that there was a potential match for us.  This was the second time we had gotten a phone call about a potential match, and the first time it took an agonizing week for them to call back and tell us that the birth mom had chosen another family. I called Nathan with the details and we decided that we did want to be presented to this birth mom, so I called the agency back and gave them the green light.  They said that they were going to be presenting her with three or four families that evening. I figured we would have to just put it out of our minds until we got home from the funeral, but I texted my friend that was planning to pay for the adoption, just to let her know that there was a possibility that we could be matched soon.

What I got back from her were several panic-stricken texts basically telling me that they did not have the money to give us at that time. 

I panicked myself, and called Nathan to find out what we should do.  He was right in the middle of something important at work and told me we would have to talk about it when he got home, but I was afraid that would be too late.  I knew that if this birth mother chose us and we had to back out it would kill me.  It wasn't fair to her, and it wasn't fair to my fragile heart that had already had too many no's over the last seven years.  But Nathan assured me that we would figure it out if this was our baby. I spent the next several hours panicking.  I finally got a hold of my mother who said to me,
"Emmy, there have been many delays in this process for you, but God's timing is perfect, and if this is your baby than He will provide the way."
I felt much better.

While I was still talking to my mom Nathan called to say he was on his way home.  He also said that he was confident that this was our baby, and that we would figure out the finances.  For my husband to say that was a miracle in itself.  He likes to have our financial ducks in a row.  The fact that he was at peace about this gave me the peace I needed.

So I went back to packing and tried to put the potential match out of my mind, since I figured it would be several days until we would hear anything.

The next day, less than 24 hours later, in a parking garage in San Luis Obispo, we got the call. The baby girl, that they had originally told me was due in three weeks, would be arriving by induction in just 8 days.  Which meant that we now officially had less than a week to come up with about $20,000.

We put that aside for the time, and reveled in the excitement of the fact that the baby we had waited seven very long years for was on her way into our family.

The next two days we racked our brains trying to figure out how in the heck we were going to have $20,000 in just a few days.  I thought about having a calendar pre-sale, but realized that I would have to sell about 550 calendars in five days to make that work.  It wouldn't.  I thought maybe we could sell one of our cars, but they're old and not worth $20,000.  Plus then I wouldn't have a car.  That might be tough with an infant.

Saturday morning as we laid in my sister's hotel room trying desperately to find a solution, I suggested we try taking out a personal loan from our bank.  Nathan didn't think we would qualify, since we had pretty much just maxed ourselves out purchasing our home, but we decided it was worth a try. We called the bank {because our bank is a credit union and it is open on Saturday mornings}, and I spoke with a loan officer.  It took about five minutes to apply for $20,000.  She told me that they usually have an answer in 24 hours, but since it was the weekend I should expect to hear from them Monday or possibly Tuesday.  Which meant that if we didn't get the loan, we would have about 2 days to find another solution.

We left for breakfast with my whole family. An hour later, while we were still at the restaurant, I got a call from the bank.  We had been approved for the loan and could have the money by Monday morning.

 I called my friend to tell her that we had the funds taken care of, and she assured me that they should have the money before I even had to make my first loan payment.  Which was good since I had no idea where we were going to come up with an extra $450 a month.

A couple of days after we brought our baby home from Utah, my friend and her husband came over to meet her.  They again assured us that they would come through with the money within weeks.

I saw them a couple more times after that, by random coincidence, but that was basically the last we heard from those friends. Without sharing too much of their story I will just say that all hell broke loose in their lives.  They are currently separated, living several states apart, and completely broke.  And I know all this because she is a blogger, and for a brief stint a couple of months ago she made her blog public and I caught up.  I requested access to her blog long ago, but she has never granted it to me.

Now, I want to again be super, super clear here: I am not mad at my friend.  I harbor absolutely no bitterness.  I feel nothing but complete gratitude that God brought her into my life, even for a brief season.  If she had not offered to help us with this adoption we would never have met our Penelope.  We would never have thought that we could do this on our own.  I know that her friendship had purpose, and that God used her, even if it wasn't in the way that she had hoped.  I have tried to reach out to her.  I sent her an email explaining all of this, and telling her that I missed our friendship, but I'm afraid her embarrassment keeps her from responding.

And it's okay.  I get it.  But I miss her.

There are really two reasons that I felt I needed to share this here.

One, like I said, is to give God the glory for once again providing for our family in a way that only He could.  He performed a miracle that week in our lives.  A modern day miracle.  It would have been easy for the praise to be given to our friends instead of the Lord who provides all things.  Even the money they would have given us.

The other reason I wanted to share is that I want other families out there to know that adoption is possible.  In the end, we payed about $35,000 out of our pockets for this adoption.  The loan has been paid in full, and our tax return will pay the last of what we put on a credit card.  I am telling you this because I want you to see that out of the $6,000 that we had in savings, God paid a $35,000 bill.

Fishes and loaves.

If you are hesitating to start an adoption journey because you have no idea how you will come up with the money, please just put one foot in front of the other and start the process.  Don't let money be the thing that keeps you from getting a baby.  There are grants and funding available, and you will get a huge tax credit from Uncle Sam the year your adoption is finalized.

There are also people that are willing to help.  Ask.  And then accept their help.

Get creative.  Hold a raffle, have a bingo night, ask friends to donate items to a garage sale.

Maybe you could consider starting with Foster Care.

Just please don't let money be the thing that keeps you from getting a baby.

 I truly, truly hope that you have heard my heart here.  I love my friend and I pray for God's great provision in her life as well. I just felt like my readers, who have been so amazing and supportive throughout this journey needed to know the rest of the story.