Saturday, February 27, 2010

...Because I need to write it down.

Be prepared for a long post. Most arguably the longest blog post in the history of long blog posts. You may want to just not read this. It's all about the craziness that led us to adopt Megan. I'm not offended if you stop here. I just have to write this down so I don't forget. And I am no elephant.

Dear Journal (or anyone else who is crazy enough to read this),

One year ago today- Feb 27, 2009- was a begninning for us. It was the real beginning of all the joy and pain of adoption. By this point, we already had our papers in with Agency #1 for one year (and we were told it would only take 3-5 months to have a baby in our arms), and hadn't heard from them in a while. The evening on Feb 27, we got an unexpected phone call from Agency #1, telling us we had been "chosen" to be birthparents. They told us a little about the birthmom. She was 18 and had just graduated high school and her parents didn't want to end up raising her baby, and they were encouraging her to make an adoption plan. We were her chosen couple and so we arranged to meet with her & her boyfriend (birthdad) that next week.

When we met with them, it seemed superficial. It didn't seem to us that they were convinced they were going to give up this baby (which wasn't due until September.... she was only 3 months along). Anyway, long story short, we met with them 3 more times through April, and they strung us along, until finally they stopped returning calls from the agency in May. Birthmom was going to keep the baby. We never even knew the gender. We were, of couse, upset and disappointed, though we never had really felt strongly that we would receive that child. It was just a chance, a hope, really. We didn't even tell anyone except immediate family. We had kept our wall up in order to stay unemotionally involved.

Come August, we've had our papers in with Agency #1 for 1.5 years and we're fed up. We call the Agency and they say we don't have enough money because the cost of adoptions has risen, and that's why we haven't been chosen. (side note: you don't even want to know how much money was already going into the adoption. To say it wasn't enough was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard). Even though Agency #1 was nationally ranked very high, our chances of ever getting a baby through them were slim. So, we looked elsewhere.

In August I started researching adoption agencies again. What a horrendous process. I had already done this once, and now I was starting all over again. For sure it would be another year at least before we could be parents. Oh well. You have to start or you'll never finish. After weeks of research and talking to people and praying, we settled on Heart & Soul Adoptions in Farmington, Utah. I called them on a Thursday, and the lady I talked to mentioned that they needed an adoptive family for a baby in Mississippi. It was amazing that it could happen so fast! We talked to the birthmom on Friday, and by Saturday we were all set to go. I spoke to the birthmom several times over the next couple weeks, and this baby boy was supposed to be born around August 24th. In those 3 short weeks we had to prepare, I was thrown 2 "baby boy" showers, and we even had a few names picked out for him. We planned which airline we would use, and which hotel we would stay in. We told everyone we knew. We felt so strongly that he was meant for us, and we were sure everything had led to this child. There were no doubts.

Until birthmother stopped returning calls, that is. It was really hard on us, and I cried so many hours of tears when we got the official call from Heart & Soul that we would not receive this child. I didn't want to go anywhere. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to bury my face in my pillow and cry. And that's precisely what I did. When I sent out thank-you cards for all the generous gifts we had received, I had to put a note inside that said we weren't getting the baby. It was heart-wrenching, and I wondered how the Lord could do this to us. This boy was meant for us. And that's all there was to it. And I knew it. And then he was taken away, and I could not deal with it.

But, deal I did. Because life goes on.

Well, 2 days after we received the dreadful news of Mississippi boy, Heart & Soul called us and told us they had a baby girl for us! (but this is not Megan... don't get excited). This baby girl was from Vegas, and she was already 4 months old, and we were going to receive her in 2 days! Her birthmother just couldn't handle having another child and needed to have someone else take care of her. So.... we emailed our families again and told them the exciting news. My mother-in-law helped me paint the baby's room, and we bought some baby girl clothes. Sigh. Life would change in 2 days. It was such a whirlwind. Well, 2 days came and went, and the birthmom really wanted to give us her baby, but she couldn't get the birthdad to sign. She could have, by law, given the baby up anyway, but she didn't feel comfortable unless the birthdad would sign (she wanted there to be NO chance that he could ever get the baby). But, alas, birthdad wouldn't sign, so we were left with no baby- for a third time.

We knew our Agency was working hard for us to receive a child, so we waited some more.

A few weeks later, on September 17 (a Thursday), we got yet another call from Heart & Soul. A baby boy had been born in Virginia on September 15 and they asked us if we wanted to fly out that day and get him. Apparently, H & S had an adoptive couple there already, but the couple was at the hospital and for some reason the adoptive mother freaked out and said she couldn't take the baby; that the baby wasn't hers. So, they left, and Jared & I flew out, because the birthmom "LaRae" absolutely needed to give up this baby boy. We spoke to her on the phone, and she was supposed to sign the papers before we even landed foot in Virginia. We took a red-eye flight and arrived around 8am on Friday. From the airport, we rented a car and drove 2 hours to the hospital, all sweaty and greasy in day-old clothes. We fixed ourselves up a bit and went inside to meet with LaRae. We held our baby boy and talked with LaRae, and she said we should go to lunch and then come back at 12:30 to sign papers with the lawyer. When we came back at 12:30, the nurses wouldn't let us back to see her. They said LaRae didn't want to see anyone; not the lawyer and not us. So we went into the waiting room and I was beside myself. I just couldn't believe it. We spoke with the lawyer and found out that, yes, LaRae had changed her mind. She was going to keep the baby. Her reason? If Jared & Harmony could find so much joy in my baby, why can't I find joy in him? If they can be happy, I want to be happy instead. Of course, I blamed myself. Did I act too happy? Was I too excited? What did I say that made her change her mind? She seemed so confident that she'd give him to us. She made us fly all the way out here- the second family to fly out here- because she couldn't take care of the baby! Anyway, we were both so exhausted mentally and physically, and I just sat in the waiting room and cried for... I don't know how long, while Jared held me. Finally, the laywer and social worker left the waiting room, but I wanted to stay in there, just in case she changed her mind. She didn't.

Jared & I went back to the hotel, took a nap, and then Jared held me as I cried for probably hours. I just couldn't believe what had happened. It was so horrible. More horrible than I can ever explain. We cancelled our hotel reservation for the next week and decided to go back and stay by the airport. This was a Friday, but I didn't want to go back home until Sunday, because I didn't want to go to church. I couldn't face everyone. (only a couple people knew we had gone, but I still just couldn't go to church and pretend everything was okay). So, we bummed around Raleigh, NC (the closest airport) and waited to go home on Sunday.

Well, Saturday, around 4:00 pm, we got a call from our social worker just as we were about to go into a movie. She told us to gather our things from the hotel and travel back the 2-hour trek to LaRae. She absolutely, positively, could not take care of this baby and her other son. She, with 100% certainty, was going to sign him over to us that night and she knew without a doubt that it was the right thing to do. So, we went back to the hotel, grabbed our luggage, and traveled 2 hours again to the small town LaRae was living in. The plan was to pick her up from her homeless shelter, and we'd travel 1 more hour to meet the lawyer who was going to handle all the paperwork. Well, before we even got out of the town, LaRae freaked out and made us pull over. She said she couldn't do it. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! After speaking with her counselor at the Agency, it was decided LaRae had a serious issue she needed to deal with before she could feel comfortable going through with the adoption.

We agreed that LaRae would have a few more sessions with the counselor, that we would spend as much time with her as possible over the next day or two, and we would try signing again on Monday. And, the Agency was sure they could get LaRae ready to sign these papers. (disclaimer: LaRae had many previous counseling sessions, but never told the Agency about her serious issue, until the night she freaked out in the car. Had the agency known about this issue, things would have been run differently).

So, on Sunday we spent several hours with LaRae & the baby, and her other son. We went to the park, took her out to lunch and dinner, and had some good visiting time. The whole idea was for her to feel comfortable with us, to make it easier for her to make the right decision. We hung out with her more on Monday as well. We were supposed to be a support system for her, and to let her see that we could provide the baby with everything he needed. Every day it seemed she was making progress, and every day she assured us she would sign the papers "tomorrow." Meanwhile, all this time we are spending with her brings us closer to our baby boy. We give him a name and he hold him, we feed him, we love him, and long for him to come home with us. I can't tell you hard this was.

Finally, on Tuesday night, we were told that for sure LaRae was going to keep her baby. Jared & I were numb by this time, and we weren't even surprised. We had to laugh it off. I still feel so bad for baby Jack, and I wonder how he is doing. LaRae had no job, had no place to live, had no family support, and had no money. It's so obvious that we could have given him all those things. I still think about baby Jack. In fact, I still think about Utah baby, Mississippi boy, & Vegas baby girl as well. All 4 of these babies were going to be ours. All 4 of them, it seemed at the time, were supposed to be ours, and yet they weren't. Instead, their lives are much different now. I am still getting over this loss, and even though we now have sweet Megan, I still feel pain for these babies. I feel pain for them for the lives they might lead, and I feel pain in my heat- residual pain from all the heartache that I felt through all these times.

Okay, back to the story. It's Tuesday, Sept 23rd. We're sitting in a mall parking lot in the small town, when we get the news that we're not bringing home baby Jack. However, they tell us they have another baby lined up for us (is this agency amazing or what?) and that this one should be a sure thing. This birthmom is already in Utah, which shows dedication to the adoption. This birthmom doesn't even want to know the gender of the baby, and this birthmom doesn't want to meet us. She is 38 years old and can't handle another baby in poverty. Nobody in her family knows she is pregnant, and she came out to Utah to have the baby, and then to leave. The Agency has been saving this particular birthmother for an adoptive couple who has had a failed adoption. (that's us... 4 so far)... While we're in Virginia, we find out the baby is a girl, and we have to chuckle a little bit. She's due in 3 weeks, and we only have boy clothes. Ha ha. The joke's on us.

Well, you probably know the rest of the story, or at least you know the fact that now we have that beautiful little girl and she's the joy of our life. Everything in me tells me that this is how it was meant to work out. From the moment of Utah baby, to the grueling days in Virginia, it all had to play out that way. If we didn't have all those failed adoptions, we never would have gotten Megan. And, if we never would have gotten Megan, then our friends never would have gotten their little girl (another amazing story you can read if you desire).

I still feel so much pain from the entire experience. I wish the pain were all gone, but it's not. Every time I think of our trip to Virginia, my heart wrenches and I have a tear in my eye. It was so painful. I know I've said that 5 times. But, it was. I never want anyone else to go through that. I wish I never had to think of it again. I wish the memories would just go away. It probably doesn't sound too horrible, but, trust me, it was. It was worse than any infertility treatment losses we ever had. All the memories, of all those babies. It's just too hard to think about it. I know we all have our trials, and everyone's trials are horrible in their own way. I just hope I never have to go through this trial again.

But, on the other hand, I try to think of it all as a blessing, because, obviously, it was. We never know what is in store for us. We just have to have faith that the Lord knows what He is doing, even when we think He must not care. And, most importantly, we must never give up. We love our little Megan more than words can tell. If you're a mother, then you know. All the love I had or all those babies is now directed at our sweet little spirit, and she has more love than anyone in the world. I hope she grows us knowing how much we wanted her, and how hard we worked to get her. There are many other things I hope for her, but that's for another post...

For now, I just have to end the post with a picture. Because I'm obsessed. And, if you got this far, I want to thank you by showing you a picture of the most beautiful baby in the world. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Too Precious Not to Share

Remember how Megan & her best friend Evie were both adopted? Remember how they are both from Louisiana and were born 15 minutes apart? Remember how Megan's best friend Evie lives in our neighborhood? Remember how Evie's parents are our friends? Do you remember this amazing story?

(If you don't know this story, or, for some reason, want to read it again, you can read it here.)

Anyway, Megan & Evie got together tonight, and boy (oh girl), was it cute! They stared at each other and poked each other, and stared at each other some more. I just have to share this one picture, because it, as stated in the title, is Too Precious Not to Share. Here they are, our little beauties, Evie & Megan:


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pet Peeve-ilicious

Pet Peeve. Who decided that if something annoys you more than it should, it's called a "Pet Peeve"? Did someone have a pet dog named Peeve that they found very annoying, and they coined the term? I'm sure if I looked it up on Wikipedia I could find out for sure (because we all know Wikipedia is the place of all correct information).

Um, okay. I just looked it up.
It's first usage was around 1919. The term is a back-formation from the 14th-century word 'peevish,' meaning ornery or ill-tempered.
So there you have it. But I digress.

I have always been 'peeved' when businesses misspell words, use incorrect phrasing or punctuation, or butcher sentence structure. Drives me crazy! Come on, people! You're not writing in your journal, or an e-mail, or a blog post! You're a business!! Whether it's in a memo to the employees or in a sign on the door, just get it right! For the love, people: PROOFREAD!

How hard is it to hire someone who just happens to have a degree in English, or someone who has excellent writing skills? Isn't that important to you? Isn't it important for you to have a good image to anyone who might stumble upon your business? Everything your clients (or potential clients) read is a reflection upon the merit of your company!

Case in point:

Jared & I went to an undisclosed resaturant for a celebration recently. At this Italian restaurant, where they advertise endless-soup,-salad,-and-breadsticks (which company I refuse to name), we took our meals to go. When we came home, we found this printed on the bottom of the take-out container:

(In case the picture isn't working for you, it says "Microwavable Safe")

Are you kidding me? Did the executives of this restaurant graduate from High School? Do they know how to speak? Obviously, the big-wigs didn't print that on the bottom of the container, but I'll bet they okay'd it! Or, they delegated the intelligent task of writing two words to a recent 8th-grade graduate. HELLO!

The other thing that peeves me about this is, haven't they noticed their mistake? I assume that our 2 take-out containers were not the first two take-out containers to ever leave their establishment. Hasn't anyone noticed? If they haven't, they're retarted, and if they have noticed, they should have done something about it!

Now, I realize it's possible they already found the mistake and are in the process of fixing it. But, in the meanwhile, nit-picky people like me are going to look at that container and think less of them.

Not that it's going to keep me from going back to Olive Garden that restaurant.

(Oh- feel free to go threw my post and correcxt my mistakes. I didn't proffread it. But, then again, it's just a blogg.(

Monday, February 15, 2010

Photo Shoot

A couple weeks ago (I think it was Jan. 30th) Megan and I took a walk down the street for her 4-month photo shoot. My friend Tami, over at Our Little Family, took some beautiful pictures of Megan.

I tried to plan it out really well- to take pictures when Megan was well rested and recently fed. Normally, she is smiley and happy at noon-o'clock, but on this particular day she decided to be very somber. Lucky for her, she is ridiculously adorable whether or not she is smiling. Maybe next time we'll get her in a better mood. In general, she is much more free with her smiles and personality when we're at home.

My plug: Tami's awesome and if you want her to take pictures of your little one just contact her on her blog :)

Here are some of my favorites in no particular order. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mr. Cold Sore

Mr. Cold Sore, you had better take note. I know how to kill you. In fact, I know how to stop you from even erupting on my lip. In fact, when I feel you start to tingle, I can zap you away with a little pill.

The weapon? L-Lysine. My powerful little pills.

Mr. Cold Sore, you have been the bane of my existence for 28 years, and your show is over. Mrs. Lysine is in charge now, and she's going to pound your face in any time you show up. Just try. Try and show up, and we'll see if you survive. Soon enough, you'll stop trying all together and you'll go bother someone else.

For the rest of you: I don't think L-Lysine works for evryone; it probably depends upon the severity of your cold sores. But, it's worth a shot, right? When I feel Mr. Cold Sore coming to town, I take 3-4 Lysines. Later that day, I take a few more, and a couple more before I go to bed. Then, I take a couple every morning for the next 4-5 days. For me, it has worked wonders and the cold sore has never even shown up (and if I start taking the pills too late, the sore just stops growing and goes away faster than normal).

If you're not into taking-pills-to-fix-every-ailment (like I am), then just don't do it. I won't be offended.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

For G & G "P"

Dear mom & dad,

I know it's not fair that Jared's parents get to have all the fun. They get to play with your first little granddaughter and watch her grow, and you're stuck in the other side of the country. If I could, I'd give you a pair of magic red shoes, let you tap them together saying "There's No Place Like Springville, There's no Place Like Springville" and POOF! you'd be here in a jiffy.

Or, maybe I should go to school and become a commercial airline pilot, just so you can fly here whenever you want free of charge.

But, I suppose I'll have to settle for sending you some cute pictures of Megan via Blogger. Last week, Megan was in a great mood and all smiley, so I grabbed the camera and shot a few pictures. The following pictures were taken in succession, and I think they're just adorable and capture her personality perfectly. I made the pictures extra big so you can enjoy them extra-much. (I know you already have the last picture, but I think all the pictures together are quite adorable!)

We love you!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

That darn wind

A couple Thursday nights ago, I seriously thought the wind was going to blow our house down. I kid you not. I do not exaggerate. In my head, I pictured Megan's window breaking apart, and her little body being sucked out the window and thrown into who-knows-what. I had a game plan in my head of exactly what I would do if certain things happened, and even contemplated moving her into our room. When I mentioned my worries to Jared, he simply replied, "The windows are fine. If the windows couldn't withstand the wind, the window companies would be sued all the time."

Why can't I just think of that?

Thankful for a level-headed husband, I said (another) quick prayer for little Megan and went to bed. I was sure I would wake up in Kansas.

The next morning, I picked up a wheelbarrow-full of shingles off the front lawn. Keep in mind, our house is only 10 years old; shingles should NOT have been flying off. Here are just a few lying on the grass:
We had a couple roofers come over to do bids on our roof. One bid $150 more than the other, which I thought was interesting. Anyway, our friend Eric came by and said he used to "roof" (as in the occupation, not as in the dog-sound), and that he'd get up on our roof to help us. We decided to do the job ourselves and save a bundle of cash.

Last week, here were 3 neighborhood guys trying to fix the roof (Jared included):
They labored for a while, and then called over 4 more guys (but I don't have a picture of that... sorry).

After several hours of getting nowhere, we decided it was better to have a professional do it. We called back our lowest bid and he came and fixed it. All by himself. Just ONE guy. (but he's been doing it for 20 years, so we didn't really feel bad).

Fixing a roof is like throwing your money in the garbage, but instead of a nasty smell, you just get some new shingles on your roof which shouldn't have had to be put on.

Uh, yeah. Sorry if this wasn't very interesting. I just wanted to remember what a pain it was.