Friday, December 28, 2012

Peace

To say this week has been emotional would be the understatement of the century for me.  If you are reading this, you probably already know that Putin (the president of Russia) signed a bill this morning that bans all US adoptions from Russia.  We have known for at least a week that it was probably coming as the other governmental bodies had passed it pretty overwhelmingly, but when I read that he had actually put pen to paper to sign it, I kind of lost it.  It's been looming, but this really makes it real.  Even to write this, it hurts my heart.  We are most definitely not the only family caught in the middle of this, and to be honest, I'm glad we aren't in the situation that 46 other families are it.  Those families are either waiting to get their court date, or have already had and are just waiting the 30 day period to bring their children home.  Those people have all met their children, held them, played with them, probably sang them songs and told them they loved them.  They also probably left them with pictures of the family they would be coming back to and told them that they would be back to get them as soon as they could.  Many of these children are old enough to understand that they didn't come back and it's another loss for a child who has no doubt suffered so much loss already.  These are also most likely children who have been passed over by Russian families for adoption.  I read in one article that one of the families who was part of this 46 was adopting a boy who had been passed over by 22 Russian families before they were given the opportunity to give him a family.  What does this ban do for him?  I shudder to think....

At this point, we are kind of in limbo.  This has happened in the past where Russia has put a ban on adoptions only to lift it 6 months later.  We are hoping and praying that it will be lifted again when they realize what a horribly childish decision this was in retaliation of the US government.  I just have a hard time figuring out how any logical person could think it was reasonable to punish these children...let's really show the US, let's steal the chance for a family from the most unfortunate beings in our country...makes absolutely no sense.  Jeremy and I both so strongly believe that our daughter is in Russia that right now, we wait.  I have done some research on other programs and countries, but they just don't feel right to me.  We both agree that this is where we have been led, and that until we get other instructions, this is where we will stay.  It is devastating to think of what might happen, but we cannot give up on her, or our chance to be her parents.

Thank you for all of the prayers and support you have given me during this time.  I truly, truly can feel them.  I'm certain that is the only reason that I'm not completely breaking down.  I have a sense of peace that this is going to work.  Of course, my heart is breaking over the fact that we are going to have to spend even more time away from our daughter and she will be spending more time away from the love of a family.  But, I believe that my God has led me to this exact point, and I trust that he will lead me out of this.  If anyone can change the hearts of the people making these decisions, it's Him, and Him alone.  There is nothing that I can do to change anyone's mind.  I've written to the president, secretary of state, my congressmen, and signed petitions, and I believe that anything I can do is something, but I also know that for things to change is going to have to come from Him.  So, I will continue to get on my knees and pray.  I ask that you will continue to pray for all of this, and most importantly, pray for our little girl somewhere and that she is safe and can somehow know that someone very far away loves her more than she can know.  This is truly my "mantra" for the past week or so:
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and I will listen to you"
Jeremiah 29:11-12

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Believe it or not, I have been trying to write a post since shortly after the tragedy in CT, but have started at least three times and just couldn't put into words what what going through my heart and mind.  It's been an very emotional couple of weeks with that and the possibility of Russia signing a bill that will ban all adoptions to the US.  I told my mom that I just didn't feel like my heart could handle anything else.  I don't think that anyone will ever get over the extreme evil that has occurred, but right now I can think and write about it without breaking down in tears over it.  The only peace I can have about it is knowing that they are peaceful in heaven, and aren't hurting, scared, or traumatized.  I read another blog that a woman said she thought it hit her so hard is because she "knows what six looks like".  I think that is so true.  I know that when I heard the ages of those children, all I could think was, Noah is almost 6...and then couldn't make it much past that.  Then they released the names, and one of the children was a Noah...it really hit me hard to see his name, and see his picture of his sweet face.  The night that it happened I sat on the floor in the boys' room and cried and prayed, and just couldn't think of anything else to do.  Since then I have prayed, cried, and tried to explain to the boys what happened without making them scared themselves to go to school.  Before they even knew about it, Gavin was telling me how they do "lockdown" drills at school, and while he was telling me, I couldn't hold back the tears.  The thought of our children even having to know how to do that, and having the need to do that is truly heartbreaking, and as much as I try not to, I get a little pang of fear now every time I put them on the bus in the morning, and breathe a sigh of relief when I see their smiling faces get off the bus in the afternoon.  As parents, our top priority is keeping them safe, but there is no way to keep them safe every minute, even if they are with us.

I realize that this is not really a happy Merry Christmas post, but I am having a bit of a hard time this Christmas also with the thought that all of our family is not here.  I have said before that we feel like Lainey is part of our family even though we don't even know who she is.  Santa must think so too, because he brought presents for her this year too!  I am trying to trust and be positive about the ruling that is looming that may ban all adoptions from Russia to the US, but it is so hard.  After much prayer (and tears), I truly feel like we are still on the right path, and this will pass and we will get our daughter home in 2013!

I have to say that normally Christmas morning is my favorite day of the entire year since we have had kids.  I absolutely love when they open those presents and they get that look of sheer joy when they get something they want.  I love watching them at the computer trailing Santa on Norad, and I love listening to them talking to Santa over an email that he sent to them.  It's all so magical, and it is so amazing to watch them realize the true meaning of Christmas.  Noah found things in his room yesterday and wrapped gifts for each of us and was so excited to see us open them.  I was so proud of a  5 year old to realize how great it is to give!  They have already been outside to bounce on new pogo sticks and have been playing together with a new Nintendo DS, and are now working on puzzles together.  The puppies are laying in piles of torn up toys (they don't last long here), and just looking so happy.  This year Santa was especially nice to me too!  He brought me a very nice camera that I have been wanting, and Jeremy must have known since he got me a bag to go with it :)  We got some great pictures this morning of boys on pogo sticks with just a pj shirt, undies, and tennis shoes (I"m sure those will go a long way for blackmail in a few years!).

I hope that everyone has a truly wonderful Christmas, and that you get to spend some time with family and friends.  We are going to have a lazy day with no cooking or cleaning allowed (Jeremy's rule), and will be heading out for Chinese tonight!  Fa ra ra ra ra....

Monday, December 3, 2012

Helpless

I think that as a mother, the worst feeling in the world is when you can't do anything to help your child when they are sick, or sad, or just need help.  Right now, I feel like that times about 10.  We have all of our paperwork sitting over in Russia, and are just waiting for a call for them to tell us to come meet our daughter (how strange is that??).  A few weeks ago when I had mountains of paperwork to do, it kept me busy and at least I could feel like I had something that I could do to get things going faster.  Now, I'm working on a couple of last pieces of paper for court when it happens and doing some added training, but none of that makes her get home faster.  It's so hard to feel so helpless and so out of control.  I do know that I'm not the one who is supposed to control, but I don't think I have ever had a harder time waiting for something!

I have been in touch with a woman from WV that is also adopting from the same region and using the same agency that we are using, and they have been to Russia for their first trip and have met their son and then had to leave him after spending time with him for six days.  It's been so amazing to hear about the area and what to expect and how their meetings went with their son.  It has also been really hard to hear about the orphanage and how the kids live and know that our daughter is probably in that same place with the same situation.  She said that the babies get only one diaper a day ( I have no idea how that even works without them having a very serious diaper rash), and that they sleep on a vinyl mattress without sheets or blankets on it.  It's so hard to walk past her room and see that she has so much warmth here, and love her, and honestly, as many diapers as she wants!!  It's been great to hear what we need to make sure we have so that things can go more smoothly there, but it's just so different that it's still even hard to imagine. 

So right now, really all we can do is pray.  When we were saying prayers at bedtime the other night, Gavin prayed for patience while we were waiting for her (he is SOO my child, needing to pray for patience).  I sat on the floor in her room last night and prayed and cried thinking about what she was feeling, or not feeling and  how each day longer she spent there, what it would do to her little heart.    So, if you see me and I'm looking a little crazy, that's probably why....

On a happy note, I worked on her room this weekend and actually got lots of it done, so I thought I would share some pictures:




The curtains were sewn by one of my good friend's moms, and she did an amazing job!  The dust ruffle of the crib also matches!  The flowers under the window and the flamingos are actually metal, and I just thought they were cute.  She already has a bunch of hair bows, so I had to find somewhere to put those already!  We are planning a couple of other things, and would like to use some of our pictures from our first trip to do something on one of the walls.  So, this is what is keeping me busy as least a little while I wait.  Please keep praying for us, and more importantly, for her.  I can't be there with her, but I know that God is with her and I just pray that he keeps her safe not only physically, but emotionally too.  I pray that he protects her heart and that he can somehow let her know that someone loves her and can't wait to have her home.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Already crazy...

I want to go ahead and apologize to everyone who knows me.  I already can see that this waiting thing with the adoption is not going to go well for me.  If you know me, you know that patience isn't my strongest quality, and this is the biggest test I think I have ever had.  This is also a lesson that I've been smacked with on several occasions...you would think I would have learned by now...but no luck there!  I really thought with as busy as I am that time would just sail by and that I would look up one day  and say, "wow, it's been a few months, hope that referral comes soon for the adoption"....right.....who was I kidding??  I find myself sitting at my computer for work and getting anxious with every phone call and email that I get thinking, "this could be it".  Did I mention that our paperwork has only been registered in Russia for a month?  Yeah, from what I have heard/read it normally takes a couple of months even to get a referral so I'm sure we have some waiting to do.  I really am trying to trust that the plan He has for us is perfect, and that his timing is perfect, but I can't help but think that my plan is pretty good too :)  I have been reading blogs all night in hopes that I could find one with a time line for the process that is closer to what I think it should be.  Guess what, doesn't look like it happens that fast for anyone...no matter how much they want it to!

I am excited for Christmas coming, and am hoping that a short break from school and getting ready for Christmas will take my mind off of things.  Santa is planning to bring her a gift, and I'm sure that will feel a little bittersweet on Christmas morning.  I know that the boys are excited too, a parent of a child from Gavin's class asked the other day if we were adopting because her son came home saying that Gavin had been talking about it.  I love that he is so excited about it!  Noah doesn't talk about it much, except that he's sure they will have to watch "girl shows" when she gets here and he's not really happy about that!  We did find out that one of Noah's classmates is Russian and her mom is from Russia, and they only speak Russian in their house.  I contacted her and we are going to try to get together.  I can't wait to get some insight into the life and culture that comes from another human being instead of from a book! 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I am overwhelmed by how much we have to be thankful for.  I just look around and listen in my house as the boys are playing and laughing, as Jeremy is playing with them, or as we are just laying on the couch watching cartoons.  It is so incredible to look at the life I have been given.  Amazing family, amazing friends, amazing community.  I could not ask for more...well, except for a short wait to meet our baby girl!!  I found this tonight on a blog I was reading and had to borrow it.  For anyone who has or who is adopting, I think this will really hit your heart.



A letter to you
Once there were two women who never knew each other, One you do not remember, the other you call Mother, Two different lives shaped to make you one, One became your guiding star, the other became your sun, The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it, The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it, One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a nameOne gave you a talent, the other gave you aim, One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears, One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried you tears, One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do, The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you. Now, which of these two women, Are you the product of? Both, my darling, Both, Just two different types of love.---- Unknown 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Small world

So yes, I should be doing homework, but just had to write a short post.  It has been a little rough the past couple of days for me.  The parents and babies went home last night back to Holland.  It has been so great that they have been here for 6 weeks and we got to see them and really get to see the babies before they left.  We even got to meet grandparents!  I feel so lucky and so blessed to have a small part of such an amazing family.  It's really incredible just how small this world really is.  I know that it's halfway around the world, but I still feel like I'll get to see them grow up in other ways.  We have talked so much through email, facebook, skype, and even texting that it really doesn't seem so far away.....well, it does feel like far away, but at least it makes it a little easier.

People always ask me how I'm able to carry babies and then just give them away.  I really do not have a problem with giving them to the parents that they belong to.  I have found that my biggest problem is seeing this part of what has been about a year long journey coming to an end.  When you do this, you can't help but have a very unique bond with the parents that are entrusting you with their children.  It's something that is hard to describe.  You not only are helping them add to or start their family, but in a small way you become part of their family.  So, it's hard when the pregnancy is over because you all go back to normal life and of course there is a little less talking and there's not visits for the most part, and truly that is what is supposed to happen.  But I would be lying if I said that it wasn't a little hard.  So, it's not so much that I miss the babies that I had with me for so long, but it's kind of like when a family member or best friend moves away....

I'm so thankful for the time that we had together for these last 6 weeks and I will never forget how great it was.  I'm so thankful that my kids got to see them and get to know them and I think one day it will help them realize what surrogacy really is and how great it can be.  I'm so thankful for being able to spend time with the babies and I have to say seeing Lola actually looking for me becuase she recognized my voice makes me think about how amazing pregnancy really is.  I am so thankful that after everything I made it through my last pregnancy healthy, and and certain that this was my last time.  Can't lie about that either, it's kind of bittersweet.  I know I was miserable at the end, but there is something about being able to do that that makes me proud to be a woman!!  I think that's why I've always done women's health in my career, I just think that it is incredible what women can do....we just rock I guess!!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Amazing

Again my good plans for doing one thing turned into writing this blog.  I had good intentions of going to bed, but just couldn't stop thinking about what I saw this weekend.  First, on Saturday, friends of ours from church came home with their beautiful new daughter from Ecuador.  We weren't able to make it to the airport to welcome them home, but the pictures I saw online were incredible.  Of course it made me think of the day that we will get to do that with our daughter and it really is overwhelming to think about.  This afternoon, we had a little baby shower for the parents of the beautiful babies I carried and I saw two new parents who have settled into this incredible new life as parents so well that it really is amazing to see.  Talk about a change in life.  From no children to newborn twins....so awesome.  I also saw amazing women and mothers that started as my friends, have now become friends of theirs too, so there is an international connection now between the Carolinas and Holland, also awesome!  Girls, I do see a Flamingos take Europe trip!!!

That was not the end of my amazing sights this weekend!  We headed to trunks and treats tonight and more awesome things.  I saw the newest adopted daughter of our friends dressed up and having fun with her new family and many other kids.  I know that obviously she is not totally adjusted in one day, but how incredible to see her having fun in this totally new place with all new people and all new words and just new life in general.  As I looked around, I noticed another friend with her adopted daughter from Ecuador also, and another church member with an adopted son from the US, and yet another church member with her two adopted children.  I also saw another family that is in the process of adopting and know who their daughter is, but haven't been able to bring her home yet just because of the long process with their country.  Not only are there so many stories like this, but there are also many that I don't know.  I know there are other families in the process of adopting, and I'm sure even more that are thinking and praying about it, and that is also so incredible to me.

I think that the most amazing thing to me is that there are so many ways to make a family.   And, there are so many kinds of families.  I feel like I have been so blessed to be able to help add to and start families with being a surrogate.  What an amazing thing to be able to do....I honestly just can't explain how that feels.  But, I also feel like I have been a part of creating a family of friends as well and connecting the US and Holland.  Now, we get a chance to add again to our family but in a very different way than we have before.  It's still very surreal to me, but we have our paperwork in Russia as I type and are being registered in the region we are adopting from.  Once we are regiestered, they are saying we should have our referrral and travel on our first trip within 6 months.  When that day comes, I'm not even sure what we will do!!  So amazing....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Courageous

I had good intentions of sitting here during the boys' Tae Kwon Do class and doing my school work.  Unfortunately I forgot the ear buds to listen to lectures and I forgot my notes to do my assignment.  Apparently I wasn't meant to do that here tonight.  So, I figured since I had some extra time I would write here.  I have been thinking about this post for a week or two after hearing a song on the radio.  I honestly don't know who sings it, but in the song they sing, "we were meant to be courageous".  I started thinking about that a little.  I have had a few people tell me that I was courageous in doing the surrogacy, but I never really thought of it that way.  I've said before that I really just feel like I was doing what I was supposed to do.  I think that there are so many people in my life that I look at as being so courageous.  I personally think that the "normal" things in life really take more courage than we ever really think about.
   I think of two of my closest friends who have chosen to be a stay at home mom (you know who you are), and I really think they is amazing.  The choice to stay home is not an easy one when you consider having to make sacrifices because of money, time and everything else that being home with your children involves.  I have said before that I know I couldn't be a stay at home mom, but I think that it really takes a huge amount of courage to trust that is the right decision for your family.  It also takes a huge amount of courage to handle criticism that may come from different places about being a stay at home mom.  I don't think that anyone can argue that raising children is the most important job that there is.
    On the flip side of that, I have very close friends that have chosen to be working moms, and I know how much courage that takes as well.  The balance between having a family and a career is very delicate, and most days you feel like you are constantly neglecting something.  When you are at work, you worry about what the kids are doing, and when you are with the kids, you are thinking about work that needs to be done.  But, I know that for many women, it's the right decision to work, and it takes courage to follow that decision.  There is also criticism that comes with this decision, from many places, and there is guilt that comes with being a working mom. 
   I see courage in so many places, every day.  I see it in my kids when they go to school, make new friends, try new things, and learn new things everyday.  I look at Noah who just started kindergarten, and how many new things that happen everyday and how he handles it with courage, even though I know he was scared.  I see it in my parents who have been through so much with illnesses and just life in general but still have so much faith and trust that everything is as it should be.  The courage is amazing to make marriage and life work for so long.  I see it in the parents of the beautiful babies I had the privledge to carry.  To be able to trust someone who is pretty much a stranger with their most precious gift they have ever had is incredible.  What amazing courage to know that someone is carrying your children thousands of miles away and not completely losing your mind!  I had a hard time leaving the boys at daycare, so I can't imagine what kind of courage that must have taken.  Not to mention the courage that so many of my friends have had to make the decision to have children.  Talk about scary...to be responsible for these amazing little lives takes more courge than I think any of us ever thought we had! It's the courage to be willing to make mistakes, and to make hard and even seemingly impossible decisions, never knowing if what you are doing is right, or if it is something they will talk about in therapy one day!
   Regular real life takes courage every day.  It takes courage to trust that what you are doing and what direction you are going is the right way.  It takes courage to take a chance and try something new, to start a new job, to accept a promotion, and to make those hard decisions.  I am amaazed every day at the courage that I have around me and try to remember how much courage "normal" life takes!
   

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What a difference a day makes!

Wow...what  a crazy 36 hours it has been!  Yesterday morning I was seriously on edge and worried for my mental health!  I was feeling pretty bad with high blood pressure and swelling unlike anything I had ever seen.  To say I was miserable was the understatement of the year.  Not to metion the fact that anyone who came into contact with me was pretty much doomed to be miserable too.  So let me just say to anyone that happened to cross my path...I'm sorry....I have no good excuse, so I'll just say sorry and leave it at that. 
Anyway, today is a new day, and the babies are here and beautiful and doing well.  As miserable as I was, it is so worth it in the end to be able to help them become parents.  I ended up with a c-section, which was not my first choice, but I can't lie...it wasn't as horrible as I thought it was going to be.  I feel pretty good already.  The best part is, I've lost 18 pounds already!! Now, granted, it's a different scale, but even so, that's pretty good!  I'm moving around better than I thought I would be, but I'm more tired than I thought I would be.  Guess all of this stuff takes it out of you!  I have to give kudos to all of the staff here at CMC-Pineville, they have been awesome and really could not have taken better care of me. 
So, fingers crossed I may get to go home tomorrow, assuming that my blood pressure behaves!  I'm ready to get back to normal life (well, normal for us anyway).  I'm most excited that I can now actually reach my feet again...pretty exciting after the last few weeks!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

This was not my plan....

Well, things don't always seem to go as planned, no matter how much I fight for them to!  I was 33 weeks and 6 days pregant yesterday and started having some pretty decent contractions and had a Dr appt scheduled anyway, so went in for that around lunch.  The first bad news came before I even saw the doctor...high blood pressure and protein in my urine (which shouldn't be there).  Then came the ultrasound...baby A (the girl) has decided to flip around and be breech.  That means they get to come out via c-section....my worst nightmare....so, I had a bit of a freak out in the Dr office, but have come to terms with it and realize that I just have to deal with it.  So, from the Dr office, I headed to the hospital for labs and monitoring... and here I sit a day later on mag sulfate (for the BP), bedrest for the most part, and after no food all day yesterday I did get to have some oatmeal and coffee this morning.   I've had the pleasure of a shot to hopefully stop contractions (which burns, and didn't work), and then the first of the steroid shots (which do more than burn...ouch) that will help the babies' lung mature.  I'll get another this afternoon and then the plan is that 24 hours after that they will do the c-section to deliver. 

So....that's my plan for the next two days....not at all what I thought I would be doing...but then when is it ever??  My parents have come up to stay with the boys, so I know they are in good hands, so that's one less thing to worry about!  I know that I need to be here and getting the meds for all of us to be as healthy and safe as possible, but it does suck...no other way around that.  Good news is that the parents are on the way and should be here by tonight and hopefully the plan continues and they will be here when the babies' arrive.  So, all is good, but I would ask for prayers for a c-section which is honestly terrifying for me, and that the babies are as healthy as can be.  I know we are all in good hands, and feel very safe being here where we need to be.  And, prayers for the parents for safe travels as they are on their way over right now.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How did I end up here?

To me, my life is completely normal, but I do realize that from the outside our family is fairly unique and our situation is probably one that most people wouldn't understand or maybe even want.  So, I've started thinking, how did I end up here, in this situation, in this moment in time?  I've always believed that there are no accidents and that EVERYTHING happens for a reason.  And, of course, like most of us, I have that 20/20 hindsight to be able to look back and say, thank you God for making that happen, even if at the time it was devastating.  So many things I have been through have been life changing and I am so thankful for that. 

So many years ago in college, I really thought that I could see the path I was on, from the guy I was dating to the things I was studying.  After making a huge move, everything changed, and my life was never the same again.  At the time I was devastated and thought that my life would never recover.  Amazingly, and with some time and prayers from many people, I of course did recover and moved past it and was able to put things back together.  This was when I think my real life really started.  I started nursing school, met Jeremy and started "trying" to act like a grown up!

I can't even begin to explain what meeting Jeremy did in my life.  Somehow this little Catholic girl ended up becoming a part of a Baptist church family and that has really made all the difference in my life.  That is what really started me on this crazy path that I am on.  I think that it doesn't seem so crazy because I can feel that all of this is what I'm supposed to be doing, and that is how I have managed to make it through everything without going crazy.  I feel at peace with things that many people see as strange and just don't understand.  I also know that most husbands wouldn't handle all of these things we have been through like Jeremy has.  I have said before that I know for a fact that he was put into my life for a reason, I couldn't do this with anyone else, and no one else would be as supportive as him in all of this. 

So I guess how I ended up here, pregnant with twins that aren't mine and about to deliver, in the process of trying to adopt a little girl from halfway around the world, working fulltime as a nurse, and going to graduate school fullt time, oh and taking care of two amazing and crazy little boys that are the most incredible kids I have even known, and trying to be a wife to the most amazing husband I have ever known....wow....this is where I am, and I couldn't have it any other way.  It's busy, it's crazy, and it's scary at times, but it couldn't be better.  I think I ended up here because I have been able to take a chance and say, okay, this is what I think I'm being called to do, so this is what I'm going to do!  It is truly amazing what can happen when you just decide to go with it and trust that it will work like its going to!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

This is the post I have been dying to be able to write!!  We have finally gotten the final home study done!!!!!  We just have to get the notarized copies from our social worker in the next couple of days, and then we can send everything to Columbia for them to "apostille", which pretty much means they will notarize our notarized stuff.  Then....off to our government to get our appt for the federal fingerprints, and at the same time...off to Russia to start going through al of the translation and government stuff over there.  It is so awesome to get to this point!!!!  We've been waiting for this that was supposed to take 1-3 months now for 5-6 months, and if you know me, you know that patience is not something that I have alot of most times! 
I think I'm kind of in shock right now with this....we have been waiting and waiting, and now this step is done.  I have all the other paperwork already done, it has just been sitting in my binder waiting for this day so that we can send it all...and here it is.  So, I'm glad we have made some progress on her room, the walls are painted, crib should be up tomorrow, the window stuff is being made, and the rest of the furniture should be done within a month or so.  I guess this is really going to happen after all!
This week has really been amazing all around.  I got to spend some great time with my boys on Monday and Tuesday, which unfortunately I don't usually get enough of, then Wednesday it was off  to school for them.  Of course they did great at school, and they both seem to have amazing teachers this year.  I feel certain that they are going to to great this year!  I had my first taste of working from home while the kids are in school and I am home to get them off the bus.  I was able to get my work hours in while they were at school so that when they got off the bus, I was done and could relax or start schoolwork or just sit on the porch with Audrey...which is so awesome!  Starting next week I'm cutting my hours by 8 so that I can start back to clinical and have some time to breathe!  I really feel like this is going to change my life and stress level, which will be incredible.  I can put them on the bus, work for 8 hours, and then get them off the bus and I'm done!  It's just amazing to have a few more hours to get schoolwork done earlier.  I can already feel my stress level coming down.  Granted, its only the first week of school, but I know this semester will be one week at a time like all the other ones, and it will be over before I know it like it always is!
I can't help but just be so thankful for everything going on right now.  We have had friends lately with tragedy in their lives, and it really just makes you want to hang on to the people you have in your life.  We have been so blessed in so many ways, and it truly is overwhelming sometimes to think about it.  I would have not made it this far with everything if it weren't for Jeremy keeping my sane and reasonable, and so many amazing friends listening to my craziness!  Everry night when I hear the boys say their prayers and they pray for Lainey and that she is safe (whether she is born yet or not), and that she would get to come home to be with us soon I get overwhelmed with how amazing life is all over again.  Life is not always easy, and there are for sure some rough times, but I couldn't ask for it to be better.  It just doesn't get much better than this!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A better perspective

As I've had a break from school for 2 weeks, I have really gotten into getting Lainey's room ready and getting more things done as far as education requirements for the agency and things.  I have been painting and planning and it really makes all of this so much more real for me.  I had my first dream about her last week, which was scary and exciting all at the same time.  Of course I can't even explain how excited I am to be able to bring her home, but at the same time, it's all so scary because we really don't know what to expect and there are so many unknowns at this point. 

I have been doing some required training for the past week, and it really has been great.  It gives good insight into things that could happen without making it too much more scary than it already is.  I am a huge believer that the more education  you can have, the easier it will make things, but this is just so huge that I'm sure years of education couldn't prepare us for it.  It does make me think though...when we had Gavin, we were young and had no idea what we were doing, but somehow we figured it out.  Then, we had Noah, and yeah we were a little older, but he is completely different than Gavin so it was pretty much like starting over.  Not to mention that trying to figure out how to manage two kids instead of one was a challenge!  Obviously we have managed to make it to this point with them...that's not to say that I feel like we know what we are doing even now though.  I think every day is full of decisions that you make and you keep wondering, is this going to be the one that totally screws them up?  So, I guess that gives me a little more peace about being able to parent a child that has no idea what a parent is and is also a girl (honestly, I'm probably most worried about that part!).

I was talking to a friend today (thanks Steph for being blog fodder) and she was talking about how amazing it was going to be that we can save this child from a life of who knows what to be a part of a loving, though crazy, family.  While I get a little overwhelmed to think of what would become of her if we decided now to not pursue this, I can't help but think it's almost the other way.  I can only think of the amazing joy that we are going to get by being able to be her parents.  We have been amazingly blessed with the biological children that we have, and I can only assume that she will bless us in those ways too.  I think about all of the ways we have already grown as a family in just going through this process by talking about things and making decisions about it together.  She has brought us joy already and she may not even be on this earth yet.  I feel every day that God is leading us to do this, and that the perfect child is going to be there waiting for us.  I know that it isn't going to be all roses and kittens, but then who said being a parent was??  I think you have to live for those moments when it is, and those take you through those moments when you want to just hide under the bed and say, "mommy is on vacation!"

On that note, one last thing that has been on my mind about this whole thing....I can't stop thinking about this child's birth mother.  Of all people, I am probably one of the biggest supporters of the theory that just because you birth a child, doesn't make you a mother.  I honestly don't even like the term "surrogate mother" because I think that the term mother is so sacred (I think I've talked about that before).  But I think a birth mother gets a whole other part on her own.  We may never get to know why our child ended up where she is and why no one in her own family could take care of her, but I have to think that as a birth mother, there is nothing harder than to give up your child knowing that someone else could raise them better.  I can't even fathom the pain that must cause, and the amazing strenth it must take to be able to let them go.  So, even before we know she has even been born, I have been praying for that birth mother.  Her selflessness and strength is going to let us have a daughter that I believe has been planned by God.  There will never be words that could say thank you to her, and the only way I believe to repay her for this gift is to raise this little girl the best we know how and to let her know that we were not the only ones to love her.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm sitting here in my room at the B&B at Sunset Beach.....and I'm bored....I've learned in the past 24 hours that I don't know how to relax.  It's really a sad thing, but all I can think about is that I'm not really doing anything here that I couldn' do at home, and I'm irritated that I spent the money on this room!  I'm also thinking that if I had  stayed at home, I maybe could have finished my paiting in Lainey's room....but as it stands, I only got the one wall done, which is a little disappointing.  I realize that we have months until we need the room, but when I get going on a project I just want to get it done!!
I got here last night around 4 and pretty much as soon as I got here it started storming really bad so I hung out for a while for it to pass.  After that I did manage to get out and walk down to the beach, which was nice, it was only about 75 degrees and had a great breeze with some huge waves rolling in.  Really was great.  This morning I woke up to cloudy skies and while I was downstairs having breakfast with the old folks it started pouring.  Figured I would take advantage of the cruddy weather and head to the outlet mall in Myrtle.  Holy rain and storming, Batman....it was crazy!!  I did get a little shopping done before I drove back through the rain.  One nice part of the day is that I sat out on the porch and read a great book for a few hours, there was a deer and some other birds and things out on the waterway outside my porch.  It was really peaceful and quiet. 
We've gotten lots of pictures of the boys while they have been out in Texas with their grandparents.  They look like they are having an amazing time, and I'm not sure they will ever want to come home!  They've been to the natural history museum, the children's museum, in the pool every day, and climbing rock walls!  I can't lie, it does break my heart a little that they don't seem to be missing us at all.  They will probably be bored when they get home!  I am so happy that they are getting to spend this time with them, since they live so far away they don't get to see them so much.
The sun is finally starting to come out, so I may have to wander down to the beach for a walk in a bit.  I think I'm going to go look for some crab legs tonight, pretty sure that will make the whole trip worthwhile!  I'm heading home tomorrow, and I'm sure it will be good to sleep in my own bed, since last night in a strange place did not make for good sleeping!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Some Progress!!

We are finally making a little progress with the adoption!!! (baby steps, but steps nonetheless)  We have been having a really hard time even getting in touch with our social worker who is the one writing our home study.  Pretty much nothing moves until the home study is done, so it's a pretty important step in the process.  She's met with us twice, and we've sent her tons of info about us, but then every time I would email, we wouldn't hear anything back forever, if at all so we really had no idea where we were at or what kind of time we were looking at.  From what I know from other people, I had an idea of how long it should take, but not getting an answer from her was pretty frustrating!! 
They made some changes to our case worker (not the social worker...it's all hard to keep up with) at the agency so she had emailed to find out where we were in the process and how things were going.  I sent her a message back about our frustrations, and things seemed to move a little faster then...amazing how that happens.  Unfortunately, it took her even days to get in touch with the social worker.  That all being said, I got an email late Friday afternoon that said she was supposed to have the draft of our home study to review on Tuesday of next week!!!!!!  The agency has to review it to make sure that it has everything the Russian government is going to want, and we are still waiting for one more background check (which right now I'm assuming will be okay), and then it can all be sent for approval here in the US.   This is so amazingly exciting!!!!!!  After so long of just kind of waiting, this is a huge step in our process.  I was reading a forum last week that one couple got a referral for a 10 month old girl after just three months of waiting....I know that's not normal, but makes me excited, scared, and nervous that this is all really happening. 
I will try to keep you posted on the progress and where we are at, it's all so exciting!  I'm off to go work on the furniture for her room...seems like it is so much more urgent now!  I know we still have lots of time to wait, and things could still happen, but this just gets me excited like we were when we first started!! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Holy cow!!!

I knew it had been a while since I had posted anything here, but didn't realize that it was the middle of May!!  All I can say is, Biostats kind of took over my life for about 8 weeks and I barely had time to sleep, let alone blog!  So, in two months, what has happened....it's such a blur I can hardly remember!
To start, I'm still pregnant...which is probably not news to anyone.  We did find out that the parents are going to have one boy and one girl, which is pretty exciting.  It's kind of ironic to me since the first time I carried two girls, then two boys...so it seems right to have one of each for this last time.  We were all lucky enough to have them here for that ultrasound, and I think that overwhelming is an understatement when they got to see their babies for the first time and hear that they were perfect and healthy.  The look on their faces just tells it all for me and why I love to do this.  I have said it before and I will always believe that I am just as blessed in this journey as the parents are.  It is still incredible to see their faces, and I can't wait for a few more months to go by when I can see them lay eyes on their new children for the first time!!  I also can't wait for a few more months when the weather cools off a little.  100 degrees most days is a little rough even when you aren't pregnant, but when you are it is close to torture!!!
Moving on to the other big journey in our lives...the adoption.  I wish I could say we have made huge progress in this venture.  But, as most people know, this process is painfully slow.  I think (don't know for sure because our social worker is not the best at communication) that our home study should be done this month, which is pretty huge.  This is really the first big step.  Once it's done then we can apply for grants and things, and it gets sent off to be approved by our goverment and then after that's done (which could take 1-4 months) everything can be sent off to Russia.  So, once that is done, I think we will feel a little more like it's real.  Good news is that we have actually been able to raise about half of the money we need, which is really a miracle it seems like.  Once we got there, it really felt like we might actually be able to do this.  Pretty incredible really.  We still have a chunk to raise, but I know that it will work out and come from somewhere!!
We have plans for her room already, the challenge now is finding the time for all of the projects that need to be done to complete that!  I made a huge decision in figuring out what color/design I wanted.  If you have ever been around when I tryto pick a paint color, you know how huge this was for me!  I have started sanding furniture so that we can paint it, but it's also a slow process.  I'm really trying to do everything I can to make her room amazing without spending too much money, and I'm pretty excited with the ideas so far!
So...I wish I had something deep or insightful to write about this time, but I have to be honest...I'm so fried right now with school that my brain can hardly even form sentences at this point!  I should be done with school for the summer in about 3 weeks and will be taking my "me, myelf, and I" vacation at the end of the month, so maybe I will be inspired then!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

So tomorrow is Mother's Day....a day to thank all of  those mothers, women who have acted like mothers to us, and really all of those women who have inspired us to become better people.  I truly cannot begin to name all of the amazing women who have touched my life, but as I look back, I can see that each one of them was different and each one of them was able to teach me something about who I want to be as a woman, wife, and mother.  I have had the amazing opportunity to have stay at home moms, working moms, overworking moms, going to school mom, overacheiving moms, and a little bit of everything in between.  How lucky have I been!!
So this week I had a little mom identity crisis.  I have chosen (for more than one reason) to be a working mom.  It is never an easy choice, but after some breakdown, I know it is the best thing for our family.  However, each time I hear of another mother making the decision to stay at home with her children, I have to wonder....am I doing the right thing?  Are my children going to feel the brunt of me wanting to work outside the house?  I struggle with that.  I also struggle with trying to balance work and kids and making sure that the right priorities are there.  I must say, I love the fact that I work, and I love the fact that I have something that I can call my own, and maybe that is selfish...I don't know.  I like that people know me as, Stacey, and not just Gavin and Noah's mom.  Dont get me wrong, I am amazingly proud to be called their mother and think of it as my greatest accomplishment that they have made it this far without any of us going crazy!!  But, I also like that I also have the title of RN, and that I can be looked at as also contributing that way. 
So...that's one reason I like to work outside the home....the other is that I'm fairly certain that I would be a terrible mother and frustrated beyond belief and would probably want to lose it on a daily basis if I was home with the boys all day.  I love them, but I know they learn so much more by going to daycare and spending time with other kids and with the teachers there that actually try to teach them something.  I'm also pretty convinced that they are smarter for that.  I know myself and know that I wouldn't teach them nearly as much as they do.  But...shouldn't I WANT to stay at home with my children???  That's the question I struggle with.  I guess that question doesn't matter as much at this point with Noah starting KG in the fall...but I will say that my job now is giving me a little more balance with all of it.  In the fall the boys should be able to ride the bus home and I will be here to meet them, which gives me a little piece of the stay at home mom thing.  I guess this is a question lots of women deal with, I'm sure I'm not the only one!
I suppose that I really  should consider myself lucky that I have the choice to do what I feel is best for our family.  I have so much respect for moms that do decide staying at home is right for them.  I know that I would probably go crazy, so I bow down to you and your awesome stay at home sanity!!  I also have so much respect for those working moms who keep everything balanced and manage so many things.  I am constantly amazed at what moms keep up with every day, you are AMAZING!!!  I am proud to group myself as a mom.  Some of the most incredible people I am privledged to know are the mothers I have known in the past and know now.  Thank you for being amazing and doing the most important job in the world.  Love you all!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wow!  What a great day it has been.  The boys had their first Tae Kwon Do tournament today and really their first real competition for anything...well, aside from soccer games!  This was an individual kind of thing, so they really couldn't rely on anyone but themselves.  I was trying to think of a way to describe how I feel about what they accomplished today, and "proud" just doesn't really seem to cover it.  It actually started last week when they were practicing.  Gavin had to learn a new form (which is a series of 16 steps with feet, leg, hand movements including kicks, blocks, etc), and he just started learning it two weeks ago.  Normally he would have about 2 months to learn the form before he would really have to know it and be proficient.  Not this time, not for his first really big competition!  He had two weeks.  And, instead of saying he didn't want to do it, he said, "can I practice on my own while Noah has class?"  And that's exactly what he did.  That was my first proud moment with this experience.  The fact that he knew it would be hard and that he took the road of working hard to get what he wanted.  I love it!!  Of course Noah wouldn't be shown up, so he took some time to practice on his own during Gavin's class too, although what he was competing in wasn't quite as hard and he had a lot more practice in already. 
So then comes the actual competition today.  We of course had the talk about no matter what happens, it only matters that you do your best, and that is exactly what we expect from you.  Now, when we get there, there are about 500 kids there competing, and then all of the parents, grandparents, volunteers, etc around this gym, and they have it broken up into smaller groups for them to compete.  They still have to do their events in front of the judges and probably about 100 pairs of eyes....which can be pretty nerve racking, especially to a 7 year old who has never competed and doesn't have the 100% confidence that I would like for him to have!!  He did great, did get a little mixed up, but finished strong.  In this competition, everyone got a medal...they had 1st, 2nd, and 2 3rd place and they were in groups of four.  Here's the most amazing part...Gavin has always been very sensitive and a perfectionist...which is a bad combination.  So, a few months ago when he would get something wrong or not do something quite perfectly, he would cry.  So, I was of course waiting for the tears when he came off the mat.  But, to my surprise I saw a great big smile!  He knew he made a few mistakes, and he did get 3rd place, but he also said he knew it was going to be hard because he didn't have much time to practice.  I know that probably sounds really stupid...I was proud that he didn't win, and more proud that he didnt' cry, but for that boy, I consider it a success!!  For the record, he did amazing at his board breaking and blew the other kids out and got first place...and yes, the smile was bigger that time!!
One of the most interesting things about all of this is watching the contrast in the two boys.  Gavin has always been more sensitive and a little unsure of himself.  Noah on the other hand just assumes he is cool s&&t and assumes everyone knows it!  He got out there and was confident and knew he was going to have first place!!  And he did.  There was a mix up with this scoring when he did board breaking and thanks to Jeremys video taping we figured out that they wrote his scores down wrong and he got to trade his 3rd place for a 1st place!  Good thing daddy was paying attention!!
I had a flash back today to when I was in dance and doing competitions every weekend and how exciting it is to win.  It does just feel good...and even though everyone got a medal today, I think more than that they were proud of themselves for giving it all out there today.  They both definitely have their own style and their own personality about it, but they were great winners and we couldn't be more proud.  And, in a few years when we watch them both get their black belts, I'm sure it will be much the same feeling!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Little time off...

Hello folks!  I"m back after a break for a bit to finish up my semester.  I wish I could say that I would be posting more in the next few weeks, but I start classes back up for the summer next week, so I'm going to be real and say I don't know when it will happen again.  So...guess I better make this one a good one!!
I guess first an update:  I'm now in the second trimester of pregnancy, and there are still two in there.  I am in that strange limbo between regular clothes and maternity clothes so if you see me wear the same thing everyday it's because it the only thing that fits me!!  As much as I hate to say it, I want to get bigger already so that I can wear something (won't hear a woman say that very often!)  We have the exciting "find out the sex of the baby assuming they cooperate" ultrasound coming up in a month, so that's very exciting.  The parents will be here a few days before and are staying for about two weeks, so it's always awesome to see them. 
Speaking of getting to see parents, we got to see the first parents that we matched with and had the baby girls with.  Well, I can't really call them baby girls anymore, that's for sure.  They are three now, and are happy and beautiful and just perfect.  It really is such a blessing to get to see them and know them as they grow up.  THAT is what makes you sure you are doing the right thing in all of this.  It is amazing to get to help someone have more children, and I am so lucky to see it.  I'm trying to get them to move this way too!!  I have said before that we really became good friends with them, and of course I would love to have all of our good friends closer.  We have a couple that are spread out (you know who you are), and we really need them closer...just sayin....
We have made a little progress with the adoption.  It's a slow process, which is okay since it's not like we can travel to Russia right now anyway.  We know that the government got our I-600 form, and we are waiting to get our appointments for fingerprints.  I got my passport, and Jeremy's is in process and we will hopefully have it soon.  There is just one question left on the huge autobiography that we need to finish and then send on to the social worker.  Then it will be just getting reference letters and a few other papers to her and we can officially send our "registration" packet to Russia and begin the wait for a referral.  Wow....still surreal to say that....I think that until we actually get a picture and something about her that it will be really hard to connect to all of this.  It's still just a lot of paperwork and a hypothetical as of now, but I'm sure that will change.  We have started figuring out her room and furniture and things, so that helps to keep me busy too.  (not that I need something else to keep me busy!)  So...that's where we are with that...
Maybe in my next 5 days of freedom from school I can manage one more post...we will have to see.  Between 4 nights of tae kwon do, one night at church, and a tae kwon do tournament this weekend, I think I will manage to stay pretty busy...oh, and I guess I should work in there too at some point!  Again, thanks for reading, hopefully next time I can post sooner and do something other than just a "State of the Tornado" address.  Maybe I can write something inspiring...hahaha....who am I kidding, my brains are fried and the odds of something inspiring coming out are pretty slim...but I'll see what I can do, I do have some ideas up there...just have to dig them out!!

Also, don't forget, one month until the next garage sale!  Lots of time to clean out lots of stuff!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

So sorry....

I guess I didn't realize how busy things were going to get when I started this!  So sorry that this post has taken so long to make it!  Many of you already know this news, but in case there are a few out there who don't, I am 9 1/2 weeks pregnant with twins!!  They look great on the ultrasounds and I am officially done with all of the medications, so I am a happy girl!  I'm pretty sure that the parents are pretty happy too :)  They will get to come back in  just a couple of months when we do the fun 18-20 week ultrasound and hopefully find out what's in there.(and maybe call them something other than "thing 1 and thing 2")  It will be great to see them again!
Speaking of seeing parents again, I think we get to see the first parents that we carried for next weekend.  The girls are over 3 now, and I can't wait to see all of them again.  It's such a great thing to be able to see them throughout these years and know that they are doing so well.  That is something that really makes my heart happy.
In other news.....we haven't made a ton of progress with the adoption stuff as of right now.  I'm in  my last couple of weeks of school and that means finishing up projects and papers and things so it has taken a little bit of a back seat. Though really, we have been waiting on birth certificates to come in so we couldn't really do anything anyway.  So, this week we will finally send off our I-600 to the government and get our passport applications in.  We also have to fill out this monster autobiography for the home study, and we have been working on that together...but still have a way to go.  Part of me isn't worried about rushing becuase even though they told us it would be a long wait once we did submit our things, they have also said that you never know.  I have heard stories of getting a referral in 2 weeks!  The problem is that I can't travel until we are done with the babies that are already on board :)  So, timing is everything right now.  I know that it's all in His timing so I'm really trying to learn some patience.    I know that it will all work like it should!
Well, I hate to do it, but I have to run.  I had a few minutes between being in the office for clinical (which is awesome, by the way) and having to get the boys.  School is winding down, and I have a break for a week or so before I start up again for the summer so maybe I can get something done in that time...hahaha....sure!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Does it get any better than this?

Hello all!  So, life is good...no, life is REALLY good.  I just don't even know some days how we got to be so blessed and just so lucky.  First, everything is moving along very well with the pregnancy.  We have had our last bloodwork, and everything still looks great, so we can start to breathe again about that.  We are still waiting for the first ultrasound, which is next Wednesday afternoon...so less than a week now!  I'm so excited to get that over with becase then i can hopefully stop sticking myself with needles daily.  I am okay with doing it, but it is definitely not the highlight of my day and I will be more than happy to move past that!

Second, everything is starting to move along with the adoption.  We have been in touch with the agency after they got all of our paperwork and we are officially starting the very overwhelming task of home study and the dossier....we now have access to this planner online and it walks through step by step everything that we will need and have to do.  There is a note on the front page that says, "don't read this all at one time because it can be overwhelming"...perhaps I should listen!!  I was on there going through every tab on this page and by the time I got done my head was spinning!!  So, for now, I'm patiently (well, kind of patiently) waiting to be contacted by the case worker so that we can decide which region of Russia we want to work with.  Each region has their own special list of paperwork they want, so you have to know that before you start gathering.  We got a book (a 500 page book) from the agency that we have to read and take a test on...Jeremy asked if it came as a "book on tape"...that would be much easier!  So, for now I'm reading that to try to be doing something while waiting....if you know me, you know I hate waiting....but, as a good friend has told me more than once "wait is a verb"  So I'm trying to remember that!

Speaking of friends, I am really seeing these days how much our friends really bless our lives.  When I told my friends we were planning to do this, I got nothing but positive responses and I can't tell them how much that has meant to us.  I really do feel like it takes a village, and I really hope that I can take some of the amazing traits of my friends and become a better person by adding them into my lives.  When you have friends that will get up at 5am on a Saturday morning and come out in the rain to help you sell stuff to raise money to bring your child home and not get anything out of it themselves, THAT is true friendship.  I have had friends in my life, and just a handful that I would consider really true friends.  As I look back, I realize that as I have become an adult, friendship is so much deeper and so much needed.  There is something about being able to be completely real and screwed up, and vulnerable with your real friends that makes life so much better.  I have friends now that know the good, the bad, and the ugly about my life, and amazingly they still want to hang out with me.  I'm amazed to find that I'm not the only one with struggles in balancing mommy-life with work-life, and I'm not the only one who sometimes just wants to get away from my kids (for just a bit at least), and I'm not the only one whose house isn't constantly clean!  I really used to think that I was missing something...that all of these women that I see really had all of this together and that something was wrong with me.  Now I see that many women put on a really good show, but underneath they are just like me.  All I can say is thank goodness for friends who don't feel the need to put on that show!

Friends, you know who you are.  You are some of the most incredible women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  I know I have said it before, but I really don't think I could make it (or it at least wouldn't be nearly as much fun) without you.  I can have fun, act crazy, and be totally honest with you, and for that I say thank you.  You are amazing mothers, wives, and friends, and I count myself very lucky to have you in my life!!

Wow....guess it's time to dry up the mush fest!  Must be the hormones...anyway...ultrasound next week....and I will keep everyone up to date on where we are!  Don't forget to go to www.adoptionbug.com/asherussia to get your great tshirt!!  Also, i think we may have to do the garage sale again in April or May, so let me know if you have anything to donate!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What a week!!!

So I'm sure that everyone is anxiously awaiting the results we got on Tuesday....well, lets just say that as of now, I think I will get to be the designated driver for girl's night for the next several months!  We have more bloodwork Friday and Monday just to make sure everything is moving in the right direction, but I feel very comfortable that all will be good.  That mean ultrasound in just 2 weeks ot see how many are in there....always nerveracking to wait for that!  But for now, I feel good that things are looking good.  Talk about some pressure....I know that it wouldn't be my fault if it didn't work, but I know I would somehow feel like it was, and let me tell you, that's alot of pressure on yourself!!  So, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief for now....and get ready for the roller coaster of pregnancy!!!

On another amazingly happy note, we officially sent in all of our paperwork (and a rather substantial chunck of $$) in to really get our adoption process started.  Deep breath in, deep breath out.....I was shaking the whole time we were signing things and sending them off.  I feel like this is the point of no return in this giant leap....and I can't lie, it's pretty scary, but also pretty awesome at the same time.  It is really feeling like it might really happen now....a year from now we could have a daughter....wow....trying to let that sink in....just wow....so much has to happen before we can get to that point, but I still feel like we are on the track we should be, and it will happen just like it should!!

I had the awesome opportunity this weekend to give news to the parent's that I got a positive home pregnancy test last week (this was before the bloodwork).  As we were talking over Skype, it really hit me that we were so much in a similar place.  They are in this position of being so excited, but also still so nervous becuase so much can still happen and they don't want to let that guard down and get hurt if something does happen.  But at the same time, it really is starting to feel real for them that they may be parents for the first time this year, and it is next to impossible to not be ecstatic when you feel like you are one step closer to that!  I feel much the same way with the adoption.  We are one step closer, and I really do feel like it is going to happen, but I'm still worried that for whatever reason it won't happen and I don't want to get my hopes up too much.  Maybe that is why we get along so well, we can relate to each other so well! 

I still cannot figure out how to put into words how blessed I feel to have so many amazing things in my life.  I told my mom today that I guess I should be stressed with everything going on, but I just don't, and I guess it's because everything going on is so good, and I can't be stressed by that!!!  Family.....good, Friends....good, Surrogacy....good, Adoption....good, School....good (I've gotten to use a speculum for the past two weeks, which is so exciting for a dork like me!) .  It just is amazing how good life can be!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just a quick one...

Hello!  Just wanted to jump on here quick to give an update....well, an update to let you know that there isn't really anything to update unless you are interested in waiting....which is what we are doing.  We are in the dreaded "two week wait"  or TWW for those of you who have been on message boards and things about IVF or surrogacy.  That means, that between the IVF (we in the biz  call it the transfer) and the date of the first blood pregnancy test ( the beta), there is about 2 weeks to wait.  Luckily for us it's only 12 days instead of 14.  You wouldn't think that two days would be such a difference maker, but when it comes to this stuff, every minute seems like forever!  So, last thursday we had the transfer, and implanted 2-5 day blastocysts (I know, I'm going crazy with all the lingo, think of it as free education!), and they were AA and AB quality.  In english, that means that the retrieved eggs were fertilized and then they let them grow for 5 days and then they implanted them directly into my uterus ( I know that's where they went because I got to watch it all on the ultrasound, prety cool).  It really is pretty amazing when you think about all of it that they can even do this stuff, but it is such a miracle for some people that wouldn't otherwise have children!  So....back to the TWW (you remember, the two week wait) that ends on Tuesday when I got get bloodwork really early in the morning and they tell us what the "beta" number is.  The great advantage of the blood over the home urine test is that you get a number.  Now, everything you will read and everything the doctor will tell you is that you can't tell how many are in there with that number.  But you sure can do alot of guessing if it's high!!!

Normally there is a few days of bloodwork to make sure it's going up like it's suposed to, but technically anything over 25 is considered for real pregnant.  So, as you can imagine, this is some very stressful and exciting waiting time!  I know how excited I am, so I can only imagine that is just a fraction compared to what the parents are feeling.  You want to be optimistic and think everything wil be perfect, but you also don't want to get your hopes up too high and have them be diappointed.  So, right now......we wait.....and we hope....and we pray.....and there isn't much else to do. 

Well.....except for those crazy little home tests that actually can come back positive before you get the bloowork......

TO BE CONTINUED

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Big Day!!

So the day of the IVF is here....I'll be leaving in about 45 minutes to head up to REACH to get pregnant....haha, that's not a sentence you hear every day!  Unfortunately, the parents are heading back to Holland today too.  They are at the airport as I type and hate that they are missing this day.  Things took a little longer with the egg donor, and they thought that they would be able to be here for it, but it just didn't work out like that.  But, I know that even though they aren't here, their baby(ies) will be here! 

I have to say, the last couple of weeks have been really busy with work, school, kids, and getting to see the parents while they were here.  It's been so awesome to really get to spend time with them and get to really know them better.  We haven't gotten that much time with any of the other parents, and so I really look at it as a blessing!  Not only did we get to know them better, but some of our friends as well!  I can't believe that after a cookout at our house with what seemed like 100 kids running around that they still want to go through everything!  I think if that didn't scare them off, they should be fine.  I'm so ready for them to come back in a few months when its time for that mid-pregnancy ultrasound and we can see them again!  I'm also going to continue to work on getting them to move over here....always great to have more friends close by! 

So...we won't know anything really until after the dreaded "two week wait" for a pregnancy test.  Even then, we won't know much for sure for a bit after that.  But, I'm going to just go ahead and assume that all will be good and in about 9 months they will be parents!!!  How awesome to be able to give them that....it really is exciting and amazing to think about.....I just have such a hard time putting into words what this whole thing is like.  I'm also glad that I have this blog to be able to share this journey with so many other people, I think all of this can really make you realize how lucky you are to have your children, no matter how they get here!  And speaking of that, we are still working on the adoption stuff, just kind of in the holding pattern until we get the tax return and can send them some money to get started.  You know, working on that patience stuff....I think that will be a work in progress until I die!  I was trying to get the boys going this morning to get them to school, and Noah told me, "patience, patience, mommy"  at least they get it....

So, don't forget if you live around Fort Mill that we will be having the garage sale March 3rd and still need your stuff!  Also, we are still selling the tshirts and they are really good looking shirts!  Thanks again for reading!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Been a little while...

Hello again!  I've gotten a little busy and haven't gotten a chance to post anything new for a while...I actually started  a post about 2 weeks ago and got about 3 sentences in and got busy doing something else and never made it back!  I had two group projects due last week (which are 100 times harder when you've never met your group), and then was in Missippi for Jeremy's brother's wedding last weekend.  Needless to say, it's been a little crazy!!  So, this week I only have two tests and regular school, work and kids stuff...so I may actually have a few minutes to breathe!  Today I have a few minutes before I need to get Noah to school and head down to Columbia for a clinical lab at school, then back to Fort Mill to do my clinical from 1-9...busy busy busy!

Enough about that, here's what is really going on around here (well, the interesting stuff anyway)...The parents of the baby(ies) that I will carry are in town from the Netherlands.  They got here last week right before we left for MS, but I did get to spend a little time with them right before we left.  They also came to see the boys do karate and are coming for dinner tomorrow night at the house.  It's been really great to get to spend time with them like this.  I never really got to spend that much time with the other couples, and I feel like we are really getting to know each other, which is really great!  It's going to be sad when they have to go back home and we are back to just email and skype!  Why are they here, you may ask???  Well, sometime this weekend the egg donor will be ready to retrieve the eggs and then 5-6 days later we will have the IVF for me to get pregnant!!!  Woohoo!  I'm ready to be at that point so I'll be a little closer to being done with medications.  As of now, it's not too bad, just some shots, patches, and pills...but soon it will move into the bigger shots...which is never fun, but it has to be done.   So, hopefully within a couple of weeks, we should have a pretty good idea if it worked or not.  I'm just going to assume it's going to work (and that it will most likely be two babies :), and they will be parents somewhere around Halloween!!  Yes folks, do the time line...that will put me close to the end of pregnancy during the heat of the summer....awesome...great timing this time...so let me apologize in advance to those around me who will have to listen to me complain!!  I will definatly keep everyone posted on how things are going with all of this (well, once we know something for sure, I don't want to jinx it!)

In other areas...we have kind of been in a holding pattern for the adoption stuff because of the money.  We needed a chunk to send in with the contract and to get the home study started so we were waiting until we could do our taxes and get that back.  Good news!!  I did the taxes this week and we will have enough to get started.  So, I think we are going to try to get our stuff notorized this week so when we get our stuff back we can get everything sent it.  So....no turning back after that!!!  We are really going to do it!!  The boys have already moved into a room together and surprisingly they are actually sleeping, and they love it.  We have lots of work to do to get the room ready for a baby, but I think right now we will wait until we get a little closer.  It's pretty exciting that we are really starting!!  Keep praying for a smooth process for us!

So....that's where we are.  Seems like this post was a little boring...I am sorry for that and will try to do better next time...As a recap:  gotta get through two tests this week, work, kids stuff, then I get to have my last unpregnant girl's night (woohoo), last minute put together cookout on sunday, then gotta get pregnant next week, get paperwork in for the adoption, and whatever else gets thrown in there.  I have to say, I know it all looks crazy and overwhelming and trust me, some days it is.  But, it is all such awesomely good stuff, that it would be impossible to give up any of it!  It's probably a good thing that I don't have any extra time to sit and think about all of it because I would probably go nuts.  It's all about taking things one day at a time, and that's about what I can handle, so it works well.  I am so incredibly blessed with pregnancies, children, work, the opportunity to go to school that I can hardly stand it.  Does it get any better than this life in our little tornado?  Even if some days I do feel like that cow spinning in the wind??

One last thing, don't forget to get yourself a great tshirt!!!  Visit our site at www.adoptionbug.com/asherussia.  They are really great shirts!!!  Also, we are having our fuundraiser garage sale on March 3rd, so we need your stuff, and we need you to come shop!!!  Let me know if you are in the area and we will be happy to come pick stuff up from you.  Thank you for your prayers and support!  I will try not to wait so long to post next time, but I can't make any guarantees on that one...