Wednesday, April 25, 2012

REACHing out

Yesterday, Jake and I ventured out to Charlotte (both having to take some time from work) to our first appointment in Charlotte at the REACH clinic for infertility. Just to make it seem more like a date, we took the bike, and it felt chilly, but nice.  My doctor, Dr. Crain was to see me that afternoon, but we had to come early to meet with the financial counselor who informed us  (what I had already feared) that my insurance (much to their surprise) did not cover infertility. Apparently all SC employees they have dealt with in the past have indeed had coverage, yet, I did not. It was a conundrum. Regardless, we visited with the calm, straight-forward, business-like doctor (whom Jake made crack a smile or two… despite being “older” and a bit cool, I instantly liked his knowledgeable approach) and discussed my menstrual history. We decided (it was truly a group decision) to do a transvaginal ultrasound and see how my eggs looked. If it looked promising, we’d work on a way to do injectables this cycle. We did, and I had 12 on one side and 10 on another. He didn’t actually diagnose me with PCOS, but said it was kind of suspected. I gather though that that is basically (another) diagnosis of exclusion. But, that’s kind of beside the point. So, the more we talk, the more the doctor and his team feel confidant about our chances and then, they proposed something AMAZING. They would “gift" the drugs for this cycle, and because of the fact that we met a very narrow criterion, we could possibly become a part of a drug company sponsored study for finding a cheaper way to do IVF. To make it more affordable, they are studying the success rates of couples doing an alternative IVF that includes less monitoring and less involvement, thus reducing the cost. To see if this new cheaper alternative is successful, they are doing this study, and you have met the criterion to even be considered to be invited in, and lo and behold, we did! We started the paperwork right then. Imagine! IVF… without the cost! I was near tears. And on top of the fact that they had enough samples to get me started right away on this cycle! I couldn’t believe how generous and eager they were to help us in whatever means they could. And then, even better, as we shared our story, we learned our nurse and financial counselor were both adoptees. The more we talked, the more shared God’s unbelievable love and blessings in our life. And they were soaking it up, especially as we described our view of biblical marriage, the spiritual warfare of the family, and our reasons for considering adoption and foster care despite or endeavors to conceive. It was one of those God moments. I felt like if nothing else, being there and ministering to those ladies, giving God ALL the glory, was worth it. It was so mindboggling to see the blessings, especially financially, billowing out of His hand and on to us, but the single best part was turning it right around and baring our hearts to point to Him. I’ve found myself sharing a lot lately. With strangers. With people at work. My blog. Really anyone who will listen! I want to share how WONDERFUL my Savior is, and how much the Father provides for us! It just kind of pours out of me because we are changing and going through so much change… I ‘m changing jobs (nerve-wracking and scary!), continuing to work on getting licensed as foster parents, and of course, the journey with our sweet Mak, infertility, and the hopes to move… it’s so much about TRUST. I have been begging God to use me in a mighty way, and to be loud and clear. I heard it loud and clear recently in a magazine article about adoption. The writer, a Christian musician roughly stated that we shouldn’t be praying for God to bless the endeavors we have planned, but be asking for blessings as we do the tasks He’s already commanded us to do! In other words, GO FOR IT! Do what He says! Romans 8 and James 1:27 just reverberate in my head… Anyways, if this cycle works, I should experience an LH surge in 10 days, and then 2 weeks later, I should test. So basically somewhere between Memorial Day and our anniversary, we’ll know if it stuck or not. If not, then we move on to the study. The whole process is though,time, and money-consuming, but it’s miraculous and giving us a great chance to share about Him. And that, not a pregnancy, is what it is really all about… HIM.
<3

Friday, April 13, 2012

Catching Up

I truly feel like it’s ages since I blogged.

I know, time stamps say it really hasn’t been that long. But life with a seven year old moves fast. God is moving fast.

I’m opting for a pictorial catch up sesh today: It’s Spring Break, so it’s probably my only opportunity to do this for a while, what with the end-of-school year blitz that will commence Monday and well, life’s general craziness!

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The last few months have been spent doing a lot of family things, naturally. Saturday basketball games (she played Upwards at our church… and grew exponentially!), afternoons at the park.

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Our Sunday school class got together with all our kiddos to bake, decorate, and deliver cookies to some of our church “shut-ins” just to remind them that they are not forgotten. A great experience! Not only did she see the church as a family, she saw ministry in action.  :)

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Our church family also gave us an adoption shower to help us finally get those much needed things that Moms/kids need. It was super thoughtful.


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Jake and I both got bit of a night out when our church had the annual Parade of Tables event. It’s a huge (like $23,000!) fundraiser for our church’s mission readiness fund- which makes it possible for members to go on trips to places like Honduras, Romania, Canada, and areas in need stateside through the NC Baptist Men. Our table was themed “Phantom of the Opera” and our friends Heather & Joy outdid themselves. Great food, great fun, great people, and a great cause. I look forward to this each year!

IMG_3132IMG_3118 We celebrated my birthday in March, and then Jake’s in April. We each felt this year was so much more special. Hearing your baby sing you happy birthday makes you just smile in the deepest part of your heart.

 

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Easter came! My favorite day! It was amazing to share with her the resurrection story. We went to an Easter brunch the Saturday before, attended two egg hunts, and spent the whole weekend with family and friends rejoicing that He’s risen. :) Mak got her very first Easter basket, and had a great, great day.

Now that Spring Break has finally arrived (and now, much to my dismay is already slipping through my fingers), we’ve had time to take our first vacation as a family, albeit short. We spent the first half of the week down on Pawleys, visiting Whitney and the Georgetown crew, catching up and spending quality time together. It was Mak’s first EVER beach trip, and her expression below pretty much sums up her reaction. Amazement! She had the time of her life and we all made memories to cherish.
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Loving every moment

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Catching up with Elizabeth =<3IMG_0345

Playing ball with the boys, She loved the attention! IMG_0419

Flying kites by the bay and playing with Daddy!IMG_0424IMG_0430

We spent the day visiting Front Street. It felt different, toting babies and kids and ice cream cones this time, but it was so… great.IMG_0443IMG_0462eIMG_0464e

Reunited and it feels so good!
Casie and her baby, Ellie, were in town, and so we got the chance to spend the day together and take this picture, which would normally be quite hard to do, since I’m in NC, Whit is in SC, and now Casie is in Mississippi. But it goes to show you, life may throw you curves… things change over time, you grow apart both in distance and circumstance, but friendship that is true endures even the most challenging situations. It was a blessing to be together, even if for a short time. It’s always great to know you can pick up where you left off.

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She even got to see the stars… an old tradition from those Spring Breaks during college. It felt so good to be with such awesome friends in such a beautiful place, and letting her experience that too. I felt like she got to see us in our entirety, you know. And I loved that she got to bond with my friends, and they with her. <3

IMG_0532eFamily photo op before departure.

On the way home, we stopped at a strawberry farm and Mak got to pick berries for the first time. It was great seeing her dirty feet running around and red-stained lips constantly curled up into grin. IMG_0586eIMG_0595e

As we spend time together and grow, I realize just how much I love my sweet girl's spark, intuition, and creativity. I love her mind- how she learns, imagines, and explores. Last night, she whispered to me as I tucked her in, “you’re the best mommy ever” and I melted. She knows she’s loved. She knows she’s accepted. Today, as we ran errands, a cashier said she had "such personality” (after she announced that they should not have those cigarettes behind the counter because they were bad and hurt people). People smiled at her dancing and singing, laughed at her wittiness everywhere we went. She bubbles over with childhood innocence. We were at lunch before we left Pawleys and sat near another family where the two kids sat silently with their parents the entire time, each of the four of them staring off in separate ways. No conversation, no prayer, no interaction. The glazed over look on the kids’ faces immediately reminded Jake and me of Mak when she first landed in our arms; a sad result of medicating for supposed attention/hyperactivity disorders that exist only through an easily attained diagnosis of exclusivity.  They were quiet and well behaved, yes, but as the Mad-Hatter pointed out once to Alice in Wonderland, they were completely lacking any muchness. No spark. No personality. No curiosity. It made me think about how many kids are robbed of their muchness due to adults’ inability or lack of a desire to discipline, shape, and mold children as they learn and explore.
As I brushed her hair tonight, she casually commented that she wished we had her as baby, and while I wish the same, I am thankful for who she is and who she will be regardless of when she became mine. I’m more and more confidant in the fact that she is indeed, my daughter, more and more by her own choice. She knows she belongs with us because we make a family. And, I know more and more that respecting her birth family, stories, and experiences is important because it is apart of her identity. God knew her in her first mother's womb, and had amazing plans for her, and I am so thankful for the chance to help her grow into the magnificent person He has designed her to be, and I am forever blessed by the fact that He included Jake and me in that design. ♥ Times for us will be changing as the legal processes of adoption begin this summer, and as we embark into foster parenting as well as more in depth fertility treatment. Why so much, you ask? Well, we have that burden. We know Mak needs (and often declares she wants) siblings. I know there is room in my heart to choose to be a mother to more, and with 170,000 waiting children in the US alone, there are certainly many in need. It is our intention to make ourselves available and ready, so God can work through us to make a difference for at least one of those children.
My OBGYN, after numerous failed cycles, has referred me to a fertility specialist, a reproductive endocrinologist, at a state-of-the-art office known for it’s incredible success stories. I’m not getting my hopes up, but willingly jumping on for the ride. I want to experience all the elements of motherhood, including the part that slipped away back in the fall when we were pregnant before. I just feel in my heart of hearts, it’s all going to be just fine. On top of it all, I know changes are coming in terms of my career. I am not saying I will stop teaching, but I do anticipate changes. We want to sell the house and move into a bigger place to accommodate the growth of our family, and it all seems so scary and unknown, but miraculously, I am still fearless. God’s got great things in store, and we are ready and waiting for Him to work. We are surrounded by great friends, a supportive church where we are continuously learning, and a loving family. We’re good. He’s got the wheel, and I’m buckled up, ready for the ride.