Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6th 2013 a family is made.

It's official! We have a beautiful son named Stefan. The ceremony took place today. The people from his social center gave us flowers, and a shirt and sippy cup for Stefan. It's hard to believe it's over and we are officially his parents. So many emotions right now, but most of them are super happy.

We love you all and will write more soon!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day 8 in Serbia

Oh my gosh everyone is happier! Eric was able to get the little man to bed last night, with out me. What's even better? Little man stayed there! Until about 3 am, which is livable. Eric has adjusted his sleeping schedule so I can sleep at night. He goes to bed in the afternoon and then gets up about the time little man goes to bed. Hopefully we will only have to do this for a few more days. 

What's even better than that you ask? Eric stopped the whining. I don't know how he did it, but little man no longer whines. If he starts to whine Eric looks at him and says "Neh" (pronunciation of the Serbian word for no) and little man stops. Now we only get cries when strangers approach, or people who he knows from the center try to play with him, although he spoke to a few of them today. I think the hard part for him is still missing his foster mom, he brings her up to anyone who will listen, and well the locals listen, are sad for him and then he gets sad, although a few have said what I assumeare nice   things about his mommy and daddy. 

This morning we went out to the nearby market and got some sort of "meat pretzel" I guess. It was super good! 

It sounds like the adoption ceremony should be this week, and the we can tell you his name and his face, and we can go back to Belgrade! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Day 7? In Serbia

So, I was going to keep up with this, but our opportunities for wifi were not always the best. Once we met our son, my hands have been full. Daddy is trying to comfort him to sleep, so I can get a much needed break, and they can get some much needed bonding. Our little guy is not so fond of daddy, because when they met, Eric had a beard. The beard is since gone, and they get along slightly better now. Eric is trying his best, I know it will come in time.

As for bonding, it has been going much easier than we thought it would, however little man misses is foster mother. Though the serious crying has stopped, he whines a lot. The first day we got him alone, I spent hours walking black and forth through the hall. I'm pretty sure there is a permanent track where we walked, unfortunately, not he thinks I should carry him constantly, which is a nice feeling, but my body can't physically do it. We are staying at a daily care center, which I would say is basically an orphanage for older kids. I like the set up, but it gets loud here. I think maybe that is part of our guys problem is all the noise. Everything echoes, the nice thing is, no one here cares if the little guy is screaming. 

We like the town we are in, it's very small. Love the foster family our child came from, even if they did spoil him ;-) but we know he was well loved. It's humbling to know what we are up against as parents. He really loves them, and misses them terribly, but he loves us now too. He was even telling people today, that I am his mommy. When he is mad at me, he just calls me Katie. 

It amazes me how easily he is learning English, we work on it daily, he says hello, good bye, good morning, I lob you, up, come on, banana (it's the same here lol), good job, he says the pict part of picture, and will occasionally repeat things we say when we don't expect it. I can't wait to see how fast he learns when he is emersed in English. I do hope we can mew some of his Serbian phases and songs going though. 

Yesterday morning I must have done something to please him because he said, "good job mommy".
That was a big moment for us. He was also singing and dancing today, so I'm glad he's getting back to normal. 

It's late and he gets up multiple times in the night, and also very early, so that's all for now. Hope I can write soon! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 1 in Serbia

Today we met with the ministry, the group from the social center where our child is from and our child's foster mother. We basically went over the basics of what the next few weeks will be like. Our child's foster mother is super sweet, you can tell how much she loves our child. She has a sweet soft voice, and has really helped our child become a fighter.

We got a lot more information on our child, which can't be shared yet, but things are looking good. We get to meet our child tomorrow, we are very excited. Although Eric may have to shave, since we were told today that our child is leery of men with beards. We are going to try the first day with the beard, just because we sent pictures for our child to look at, and Eric had a beard in the pictures. If it doesn't go well, then Eric will be shaving, and then he will look like a bald 16 year old! He looks so young when he shaves.

Anyway, we get to meet our child tomorrow, so we are super excited for that. We'll be staying just outside of Nis for about a week. Maybe longer, we just will see how things go.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The real adventure begins.

We have arrived to the Vienna airport. It's been a long ride so far, but we are so close now, just one more flight to go. We've had very little time to do updates until now, and now we are just too tired to do much. The plane was hot and cramped. The cramped part wasn't too bad, it was the heat that was terrible. It was like camping in July with out the Mosquitos. Right now we are laying on some couch type things, it's quiet here, kinda nice to be someplace peaceful for a moment. Eric is getting a little nap in. I think that since he's finally expressing his emotions, he's a little tired, that and we've been awake for a long time. I guess that's the good thing about working rotating shifts though, you learn how to function on little to no sleep. All I know is on the way home I'm wearing a skirt to get airflow, or we are getting a business class ticket for the long flight. Here's my sleeping beauty. I'm too tired to get a better picture sorry!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The time has come.

Take a deep breath, let it out slowly. We are leaving tomorrow so meet our child for the very first time. (Eric still wants to keep it a secret, so it's killing me that I can't shout to the world if we have a son or a daughter)
First comes the plane ride, the long plane ride to half way around the world. Then the adventure begins. My heart is bursting with joy. Even Eric, who rarely shows emotion, finally admitted he was excited. He even told me to send the pictures we got of our child to him, so he could have them on his phone. 

After 6 long years I can say I'm a mother, and without the weird looks. (I've been a mother for a little while, but that child didn't make it into this world) 

I can't wait. I'm so scatter brained with excitement that I can barely function. 

We have finally made it. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Less than a week!

In less than a week, we will be boarding a plane and traveling 1/2 way around the world to meet a little child. A little child, who we know very little about, in the grand scheme of things. A child, who will not understand when us when we speak, at least until someone teaches us a few Serbian words, and we teach that child a few English words. In a little more than a week 3 lives will change forever. Well, a few more than 3 lives, but ours will be more drastic. 

What are we feeling? Excitement, joy, anxiety, fear, gratitude, humility, a plethora of emotions. There is so much going through our minds, I don't think I could ever convey it properly.

Will we love this child on sight? I hope so, but in reality it will probably take time for us to love each other. We feel like we love our child now, and we do and will when we finally meet him or her, but we need time to bond, that precious time that we lost, by not being biologically connected. Right now, our love is abstract and faraway, 1/2 way around the world.

It's still hard to imagine that in a few short days, we will become parents of a beautiful little 2 year old child. In a way, our child is still abstract. Right now our child, though very much a real child, is just words in an e-mail. We haven't seen a picture, we've just seen the beautiful words used to describe him or her. No, the words were not poetically put together, they were "matter of fact", but because they "are our child" they are beautiful words.

So, what's left to do? Pack, arrange our time off from work, BUY PLANE TICKETS, dig out our passports, make arrangements to exchange our monies, buy dog food, set up a skype account, I have a few appointments I have to set up yet... There is a lot left to do in a short amount of time, BUT, it WILL all get done, by the grace of God.

In short, we can't wait, even though we are nervous, because we want to be the absolute best parents we can be, we just can't wait. The waiting and the anticipation is killing us. :-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Why?

Adoption is an emotional process. Try as we may, sometimes those of us who are adopting, can't keep our emmotions in check when we are speaking with people. Our entire lives are in a mircroscope for the duration of the process. I LOVE to talk about our adoption, I could do it all day long. I've wanted to write this post for a while. When you are adopting you get asked "why?" a lot! Sometimes it's innocent, sometimes its malicious, sometimes it's asked out of ignorance. Sometimes you feel like explaining it and sometimes you don't, mostly because you've already answered the same question about five thousand times.

So, here are my reasons:

Why are we adopting?

1. My husband and I are adopting, because God called us to do so.

2. My grandmother was an orphan, so adoption was always part of my plan. I know I have mentioned it earlier, but it really is a big part of why I was always open to adoption.

3. There are millions of orphans all over the world, Eric and I are very fortunate to have a good stable home, with stable jobs. Why not open our hearts and our homes to a child who needs a home that we can provide.

4. Fertility. I've known for a while that I am not a very fertile person. We have done everything we feel we could within our moral code, and still have not gotten pregnant. This ties in with number 1. I really feel that if we are going to have a biological child, it will be after adopting. I think God knows that it would have been harder for my husband to decide to adopt, after being able to have a biological child. He worries about money and being a good father. I think God wants us to adopt first. I will add here, that I DO NOT expect to get pregnant after adopting. We fully intend and expect that we will be adopting a second child once we as a family are all settled, and our son or daughter (not sharing the sex of our child until we are traveling) is adjusted.

5. Why not?

Why are we adopting a child with special needs?

I've been asked this question many times. I've even been asked in rather rude terms like "Why wouldn't you want a normal child?" Sometimes I've been able to answer this question with grace and love, and sometimes, the mama bear claws have come out.

1. We didn't chose this child. God lead us to adopting, because he had us picked out for a very special child. If that child has extra needs, then who are we to say no to God? I TRULY BELIEVE God is 100% behind this adoption. I truely believe that God arranged everything. Sure, technically you can say that Eric and I "made" choices, but that choice was to follow God to our child.

2. Why not? If I got pregnant it could be with a child with special needs. Is it a little scary? Sure. It's a big committment to adopt a child with special needs, especially as a first time parent. BUT children with special needs, need a home just as  much as the "normal" kids.

3. What is normal? I don't believe in normal. It's a swear word in my family. I don't feel like I should discriminate against an innocent child, based on his or her abilities.

Why are we adopting internationally? Or Why aren't we adopting from the states? 

This is a very common question asked in a variety of ways. I have actually had gotten into arguments about it. EVERYONE seems to have an opinion on which form of adoption we should have chosen.

We chose to adopt internationally because that's where we were led.
1. Foster adoption in the United states is a totally different process than what people think. It's a very long process and very involved with Social Services. We don't have anything to hide, but we also didn't feel like having a government agency that involved in our lives. We actually started out a few years ago looking into foster adoption, we even knew which boy we wanted to persue. He was perfect for our family. When we called to find out about him, and to see what we needed to do to adopt him, we were turned away. The person we spoke to, told us that if we wanted to adopting a waiting child we had to be open to teenagers. The boy was 10 at the time, he is now 12 and still waiting. I pray for him often. Obviously I know now that the person gave us the wrong information, but it stung just the same.

2.We decided though we wanted a young child, we didn't need to go through the baby stage. We would love to, but we didn't need to. We didn't want to wait and wait and wait some more for a baby. It works for some families, not for ours.

3. Foster care, it's not ideal, but it's still better than an orphange. Many people do no understand how terrible an orphange can be. Sure there are some that are pretty good, but it's no the same as having one on one care in a family setting.

More specifically, why are we adopting from Serbia?

1. Late at night I was researching Ukraine and ended up on a blog about Serbia. After researching it, and speaking to others who have adopted from Serbia, it seemed very clear that God wanted us to adopt from Serbia. It's been a wonderful experience so far. We also like that Serbia really cares about what happens to the children. They are trying to make things better for the children, and are also very protective of the children's information.

2. I didn't want to work with an agency. We've checked out several agencies over the years and never really found one that we liked. I don't like the philosophies agencies have about adoption, and I didn't want want to lie about how I felt. Eric was more indifferent than I was, but I think he feels the same way I do now. I also don't understand why agencies charge so much for what they do. Oh they will tell you it's for providing "services", and that works for some families. It doesn't work for me. I want to know why, when I do it by myself it costs $13,500 TOTAL and with an agency it costs $27,000 or more and I still have to come up with travel money. (These costs vary from country to country, but there is an agency that says Serbian adoptions cost $27,000 so that's what I used as an example.)

I think that's all the big "why's" for now. We get asked a ton of strange questions, I know that most of them are innocent, but I do intend on writing down some of them in the future. Some are actually really funny.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Update

So ... I've been lacking in the writing department a lot. I apologize. I feel like we've been in a whirl wind, time has been FLYING.

Now, what's been going on? Well, work for one. We tried to get some overtime in, so we have a little extra money while I'm on maternity leave (and not getting paid). I'm hoping while I'm out, we will figure out a way where I can say home FOREVER! Or at least only work part time. We are working on it, I'm hoping God will give us some ideas. He's been helping us out a lot lately, so *fingers crossed*.

What else has happened? BIG News! We have a potential match! We are waiting to find out more, and obviously for that reason, can't say anything. Actually we can't until the child is legally ours, which works because we were planning on keeping it a secret anyway, because it's more fun to watch people guess.

Our dossier is in Serbia, being translated ... YAY! And we are hoping to hear this week when we will do our fingerprints so we can get that pesky USCIS approval out of the way.

We are SO close! It sounds like we should be home well before Christmas. We can't wait. We are so, so excited.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

WOOHOO!

Well, it's been a while, so I should really write something. This has been a big week for us. We FINALLY got all of our documents together. We FINALLY got our apostilles. We FINALLY sent our dossier! We are so excited to have made it this far. There were times when I wasn't so sure we would get it all done. Especially when we were waiting on other people to do things (like the doctors who wouldn't send our letters, and then didn't have them notarized.)

Now what do we do? Well, we will patiently wait to hear from Serbia and US Immigration. I imagine we will hear from them around the same time. It's such a relief to have made it this far!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fully Funded.

It's been very busy around here, so I apologize for the lack of posts. I think we have almost everything in order. I have a few things to mail off to the home study agency and we are only waiting for 1 letter from the doctor that did Eric's physical, and for our loan to be put in the account. I'm trying to get ready for the whirlwind that is about to hit us! I hear everything is about to go by very fast!

For anyone who would like t-shirts, now is the time to order. I will be making our order Oct. 1st. Also, check out our thermometer!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Good things

Well, I think our home visit went really well, much better than I anticipated. The nerves calmed down very quickly. Although, Maple (our black lab) could have been a little more calm. She really liked our social worker! All in all, we are through the hard part for right now and are breathing easily again. Now it's back to finishing the last of the paperwork and the training.

We are very close to being fully funded, which is also a HUGE relief. I won't update the thermometer until everything comes in, but we will have it all very soon. Thank you so much to those of you who've helped us along the way. Your prayers, emotional and financial support mean the world to us.

Now we patiently wait. Praying every night that, who ever our child is, they are safe ... Hold on little one, mommy and daddy are coming for you!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Home visit today!

Well, today we have our home visit. Everyone I know is trying to keep me calm. I'm so nervous and I know I shouldn't be!

Last night I got to bed around 11. I have been up since 6 this morning, with nothing to do. Eric is taking a nap, he worked from Midnight to 6, so he's trying to get rested up.

Well. I'm all nerves and don't know what else to say really ... so I'm just going to leave it at that for now. Please say a few extra prayers for us today!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Blogs of Friends

So, there have been some people who have helped us in this journey so far so I would like to take the time to list their blogs, one I have already, but I'm going to do it again. I also have a new friend, whom I met today. God brings people together in the darnedest ways!

Anyway the first blog I am going to link is for Ted and Jodi. I knew Jodi through school. We never really hung out, but we were nice to each other when we were together. Now that Eric and I are adopting too, Jodi helps keep me sane. She also lets me talk about adoption constantly (which no one else in my life will so that in itself is huge for me)

They adopted a beautiful little girl from Columbia, and are in the process of  adopting a beautiful little boy from Hong Kong. (Well I hear he's beautiful, they aren't allowed to share the pictures yet) Please check out her blog, buy her t-shirt, donate some money. To do so click here: Ted and Jodi


Next, the woman who "brought" us to Serbia, Leah. Her blog is so informative, and she is so helpful. I would literally be lost with out her. Please check her blog out here: Leah

Lastly, I met a beautiful woman today. We happen to be selling the same shirts! I almost think God had me write the quote on our shirts for her. I'm very flattered that she loved my quote so much. It really means the world to me that my words have moved other people in the same way they move me. In any case, I think we will be able to become pretty good friends. If you would like to check out her blog, donate to her adoption, or buy her version of the shirt (They really are cool enough to have one of each! I know I'm thinking about it!) please click here: Lollygag and Dawdle

Adoption is stressful and costly, and the adoptive world is a small one. We stick together, but we really need the help from people outside the circle too. Please consider helping any family that may be adopting. You might only have a dollar, or some items to give to a garage sale or an auction, or maybe, just maybe the only thing you can give is the most important thing of all: a little prayer that their child is at least halfway safe, and their adoption goes smoothly. As someone going through this, and having only a matter of months to find $11,000 more, I can tell you ANYTHING helps. Don't feel like your gift is too small, because it's huge in our eyes!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Home Visit on Monday.

So, like all parents going through adoption, we are having our home visit done. It's going to be done on Monday. So, like my normal self what am I doing to prepare? Procrastinating and then stressing out ... because I'm procrastinating.

It's so dumb, but I just can't bring myself to sort out the last of the things that need to be sorted. One room, the computer room. Should be an easy 1/2 hour job and I just don't want to do it. Not to mention, I have a garage sale to put together. I had some dear friends that drop off about a truck load full of stuff, yep it's still not priced, not unboxed, or sorted. Who's getting up at 5:30 am to do it? This girl right here.

I'm trying not to think about the home visit. I know it will go just fine, but it still makes me nervous, even though I know it shouldn't. I just want it to be over, so I can say, "see that wasn't so bad was it?" I feel like that is a big hurdle for us, and I feel like if we could just get through that part of it, the rest will go by fast. I could be wrong I guess.

Well, I suppose I should get off the computer and try to get a good nights sleep, so... Goodnight!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

31!

Well, even more good things have happened in the wake of our sadness over Grandma. A wonderful woman by the name of Jessica is a consultant for 31. I never really knew much about 31, but she has offered to give us 20% of the sales from our upcoming party to go toward our adoption!

It just makes my heart sing to know so many people are coming together to help us bring our little one home! Even more so that it's complete strangers. God must really want us to adopt from Serbia. There have been hardly any bumps in the road so far. (Not that I want to jinx myself!)

Anyway back to the party. We are having the party on Sept. 15th. I'm still trying to decide where we are having it, but for those who want to order online, or live far away, click here: 31 Adoption Event

A BIG BIG thank you to Jessica, may God bless you for your very kind gift to us!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thermometer

As you can see, I've added a thermometer to our page. Because Eric is typically shy, and indifferent, I felt I should point out that he named the thermometer. He was so proud of himself too! He's such a goof ball, but that's why I love him.

I will update "the kiddie pool" as the funds come in, sometimes it's hard for me to keep all the fundraisers straight, but it will be close to accurate.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped us, whether with money, and more importantly emotional support. I don't think there will ever be a way I can repay you!

Missed the announcement!

I was looking through my other blog posts, and I realized in the very first post, I said we were adopting from Ukraine. Which when I wrote it, was correct. What I failed to mention on every post since then, is that we've switched countries, which I am sure all of you know already, especially if you've seen our t-shirt.

That being said, I was up really late one night researching for our Ukrainian adoption, and ended up on a blog about Serbia. It was totally random that this particular blog should have shown up in front of me, I took it as a sign from God, e-mailed to find out some more information, and here we are adopting from Serbia.

Leah has been such a great help, and what once looked like a gigantic mountain we could never climb, is now a much smaller, gigantic mountain, that we are on our way up!


Here is a link to the first post I read, the one that changed everything.
http://gardenofeagan.blogspot.com/2012/01/serbian-adoptions-411.html

With death, comes new life.

My Grandma died on Sunday. It was perfect for her, sad as it is. She was 88 and had failing kidneys. She got to see most of the family first and she got to die exactly how she wanted to; in her sleep, in her own house. Despite the family feud that's been going on for years, we all came together to help her stay in that house until her dying day.

I think my dad and his sister are having a pretty hard time with everything, you can tell it's wearing on my dad. He's doing a fantastic job keeping things together so far though, all things considering. And really, how do you just pack up 88 years of stuff? How do you decide who gets what? All I know is Grandma is in a better place, with no pain or suffering.

A week before she died, I got to sit down with Grandma and tell her we were adopting. She's been waiting to find out that I'm pregnant. Holding on to one last baby quilt that she made eons ago. Go figure that no one can find it now! I think she was excited for us.

A midst all the sad chaos, good things have been happening with our adoption. Aside from a little bump with the finger prints (the officer forgot to sign the sheets), things have been moving along. We finally got a date for our home visit. Eric finally got some paneling so we can finish one of the rooms in the basement (so we can move other stuff down there and have our child upstairs next to our room). I feel really good about our timeline. The t-shirts are done (previous post) and I've been selling puzzle pieces like CRAZY at work! Most of all, for once in my life I feel really supported by everyone in my life. It's a good feeling. I'm glad everyone is just as excited as I am.

It's hard to be sad when the adoption things are going so well, but then I don't think Grandma would want us to be too sad either. They always say, "With death, comes new life"...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

T-Shirts!

We are selling t-shirts to help us with funding. I have added a "buy now" button to right margin. The price is $20.00 for youth sizes and $25.00 for adult sizes. Shipping is already included in that. We also have to collect all the orders before we can actually order the shirts, so keep that in mind. Starting today, we will sell until Sept. 30th. I will place our order on October 1st, and then as soon as they arrive I will ship them out to everyone. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts!
Thank you for your support!

Just an added note, the Quote on the front: "A mother and a father's love knows no boundaries, Not Blood, Nor Distance, Nor Governments, Nor Money. We will cross oceans and move mountains, to bring you home."  is my original work and is protected under the copyright law.
You need my permission to use is, so please ask before you do. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

God does answer!

So, for a little while, especially last night, I was thinking to myself, I wish I knew someone who  would be willing to donate a portion of their earnings from their sales. (From something like Pampered Chef or Sentsy or any of those home based businesses) I see it all the time for other families adopting. I wanted to ask, because we all know someone who has a home business, but having been that person in the past, I didn't feel right asking, I just wanted someone to be moved to do it on their own.

So, I wake up this morning, check on our auctions that we are having. Spend some time with my mom and my youngest niece and nephew. As we are walking to JC Penney I get a notification on my phone for the auction page. I stop and open it and here, a wonderful young woman has invited us to be a part of her mission. She has an Etsy store and is giving 50% of the sale price to families who are adopting! For those of you who doubt, God really does answer, and He really does open doors. I never specifically prayed for this to happen. So yes, God answers our prayers, even when we don't know we asked for something!

If you want to help us out, when you order please put our blog name in the message area during check out. If you are an adoptive family in need of another form of fundraising, check out the page and send her a message.

Here is her Etsy store
http://www.etsy.com/shop/GINGERONAMISSION

and here is the Facebook link

https://www.facebook.com/Gingeronamission1206


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Exciting!

Today is an exciting day! Our puzzle fundraiser is slowly taking off, and we got an e-mail from our social worker! She is ready to start our home visit, we however are not.

We have a little bit of sorting left to do, and we want to get rid of the garage sale stuff. I figure we can be ready in about 3 weeks. There is also the fact that we are currently $600 shy of what we need to start this step. When my next paycheck comes we will only be $200 short, so that's my fundraising goal for the next few weeks. $200 is a nice small number and I know we can find it!

At this point in the process we are trying to avoid credit cards and loans, I know it will come to that eventually, but for now we want to have the money we need upfront.

I'm actually just so excited. So far everything is going so well right now.

Thank you God for making this easy this time, it really just must be the right time now. I just can't wait to bring our little one home!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another fundraiser

We decided we would try having auctions on Facebook to raise funds.

Here is the link:
https://www.facebook.com/olsonadoptionauction

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fundraising!

As I am sure you can imagine, once you commit to adopting, you tend to think about it A LOT! This tends to make you spend a ton of time on the internet researching, joining different groups, planning what the child's room is going to look like, looking at photo-listings (even if you know that you won't be adopting one of the children on the photo-listings), learning more about the country you are adopting from etc. At least that's what it's done for me. My poor husband has to deal with a slightly obsessed woman right now!

Anyway, while spending all this extra time on the internet as I have been, I found out about Puzzle Fundraising, and I thought to my self, "Self, that's a pretty cool idea!" So that's what we are going to do!

So, for those of you who don't know what this could possibly be, let me explain. What will happen is we will decide what price to put on the individual puzzle pieces. Then generous people like yourself will purchase said piece. You or my husband and I, will write your name on the back of the puzzle piece. When the puzzle is complete we will hang it in our child's room so they can see all the wonderful people who helped them come home!

When I found out about this, I thought it was a fantastic idea! I've seen a wide range in what people asked for each piece, but since our adoption will not cost as much as what other's have to come up with, we are just asking $5 per piece. The money we collect, if we sell all the pieces, will help us with 1/2 the cost of our home study. So roughly $1200.  As we sell pieces, I will post pictures of the puzzle being completed.

Thank you so much for your kind donations. If you personally know us, we can arrange a meeting where you can actually pick out your pieces, and if you don't know us, there is a donation button at the top of this page. Also for those who feel extra generous and give larger amounts, I will let you pick out extra pieces! Remember this is going to help us pay for 1/2 of our home study, and will bring us one step closer to holding our child in our arms for the first time!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Application Done!

Well, I mailed off our application finally. I feel like that was a big hurdle. Eric dragged his feet a little bit, but I understand why. We are both preoccupied with different aspects of the adoption. I am worried about getting the house ready, and figuring out who our child is, how we are going to get to him or her and what they will need. While Eric, at this point, is worried about how we are going to pay for everything. (Though secretly I can tell he's excited too, he just isn't ready to show it)

I feel like things are going well so far. We had a garage sale last weekend and made almost $500. I am hoping to have a repeat this weekend. If we make that every weekend, we will have this adoption paid for in no time! Realistically though, next weekend won't make as much. My lovely niece Katrina made cookies with her other grandma and then donated the proceeds to our adoption. I might make some goodies for this one too. It was a really good idea.

I am really proud of my young nieces and nephews for being so helpful with fund raising. My oldest niece has already offered to babysit, my other niece wants to help us name the child, and my oldest nephew just wants a boy to play with. We've been speaking about it a lot so they can be better prepared, but they are all excited to meet their new cousin.

I've also been busy reading. I have trouble staying focused enough to read non-fiction sometimes, but I'm trying to push through it. I would like to be as prepared as I can be.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Falling together

I feel like the broken pieces of my life are falling back into place. I am so excited for Eric and I to become parents again. We miss our little Gabriel knowing he/she is in heaven, but I am very hopeful for the future. 

I just pray that God watch over our other children until we find them, and finally bring them home. I wish they knew how much I loved them already. I wish I could make them feel it, and to feel safe. I wish more than everything that we were through all of the paperwork, interviews, and traveling so that I could see their little faces. I want to tell them, "it's ok, mommy and daddy are here now, and we are taking you home forever."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Demoralization of Infertility

I mentioned in the last post that I had an inkling about my infertility, so I will write about that today. If I get too detailed, I'm sorry in advance. In fact, if you don't want the details, you should probably just not read this post. Some of it will be graphic, but it's important to understand some of what women with fertility problems go through. It is demoralizing. I felt like a lab rat being poked and prodded, I have no shame left after all the embarrassing tests I've done.

PCOS. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This is the cause of my infertility. I've struggled with it since puberty, but I didn't know what I was fighting until I was 25.

While growing up, I knew I wasn't totally normal. Not just in my everyday life, but with my womanly functions. I very rarely had to deal with having a period, and when I did, it was very short. At the time, I thought it was a blessing, now I know better. Being young and idealistic, I figured it wouldn't be a problem. In these days they can fix almost anything by popping a few pills.

I tried to find out what was wrong a few times in high school, and the doctors I saw said, "Don't worry about it, you're young, you don't want to get pregnant. Here's some birth control. It will "normalize" you until you want to try to get pregnant. Then come back and we will figure it out." Even after high school, they just kept telling me, take birth control. Because I was young and foolish, I trusted these doctors, and against my religion, my morals and my upbringing, I tried to take the birth control. After all it was for medical purposes, I wasn't actively using it to prevent pregnancy, I was using it to regulate my body. I hated it. I hated how I felt on it, I hated what it did to my emotions. Each time I tried it, I turned into a basket case, so I never stayed on it for very long.

When Eric and I got married, I decided it was time for a real diagnosis. Late one night, I happened to be watching "Mystery Diagnosis". A woman on the program had a lot of the same things I had, irregular period, hair growth on her upper lips and chin, excess weight that was hard to get rid of. I thought, well maybe I have something like that. I went into the doctor determined to get a diagnosis, and sure enough, I finally found a doctor that would listen to me. A doctor who didn't think I was just a young girl looking for an excuse to get birth control. Unfortunately he moved to a different hospital before I could start treatments.

When the next doctor came in, I went back. We started with clomid, progesterone to force a period and frequent transvaginal ultrasound  I was always uncomfortable during my pap smears, let me tell you, the ultrasounds were much worse. It wasn't that they were painful, because they weren't. It was the fact that they started on the heaviest day of my period. At 25, I still found it difficult to buy my feminine products without a cart and a bunch of stuff to throw on top of them so people didn't see what I was buying. So now, having a man I hardly knew probe me, while I was bleeding all over the exam table ... I was mortified. It was necessary though, we were tracking the growth of my follicles to see if I was ovulating. I was not. I stayed with that doctor until he felt he could do no more, then I moved on to the next.

The next "doctor" was going to get me to an endocrinologist. This was good a good thing, I would get to the bottom of the problem and then be able to have a baby. I wanted to do some of the treatments, but not IVF. Being Catholic, IVF was not an option for me. Believe me I considered it, at first I didn't know it was not a pro-life practice, and I didn't know it went against what the Church teaches. As it was being presented to me, I began to have this feeling in my gut, that I just couldn't go through with it. I couldn't see having a 30% chance of success to be worth the life of my children. I believe life begins at conception, when the sperm and the egg meet. It was too risky for my children. At the same time that I was having my own epiphany about it, my mom was watching a program on EWTN which explained why it went against church teaching. It was a little bit heart breaking, but there was always adoption. Also, I got into a big fight with the "doctor" that was suppose to refer me to the endocrinologist. She accused me of trying to convince her to commit insurance fraud, when all I wanted her to do, were the treatments that my insurance covers.

I left my fertility alone for a little while and started checking out adoption agencies. Eric wasn't ready for it yet, so for a while we just went on with our lives.

Eventually a friend told me about the Pope Paul VI Institute in Nebraska. I found a doctor that worked with them, but she was almost two hours away. I loved her and the clinic she worked in, it was pro-life, pro-faith. This particular clinic had a picture of the Pope, Crucifixes on the wall, and played Christian music in the waiting room. It was everything I could have asked for in a clinic. I felt like I was home.

We started getting some of the tests done. Because it was a small clinic I had to go to different hospitals to get some of the tests done. I was getting a complete work up done. Top to bottom. If you thought the transvaginal ultrasound was bad, the next test I had was worse. Again, it was necessary. This test was called a hysterosalpingogram. The purpose was to x-ray my uterus and Fallopian tubes to make sure everything was clear. This test also had to be done on the heaviest day of my period. First, I had to gown, and then I waited in the waiting room, in the gown and with no underwear... It was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. When they finally came to get me for the procedure I couldn't have been more relieved, until they started the procedure. The nurses I had were great and very comforting, but it was so embarrassing. They insert a catheter, fill you up with dye and then take the x-ray. The poor man doing this test had to insert the catheter twice, because it slipped out the first time. It looked like someone had died when I finally was able to get up from the x-ray table, because of all the iodine, water and bodily fluids that were pretty much everywhere. I'm so glad I only had to do that once, and the test came back perfect.

By this time though, the two hour drive was too much to coordinate with work, and we stopped treatment. I tried one more time at our local clinic with the new OBGYN. My track record with women OBGYN's was not good. This one especially rubbed me the wrong way. She tried to force several vaccinations on me, one being Gardasil. I remember when Gardasil came out. I don't trust vaccines that are that "young", also it's a vaccine that adds to the objectification of women. Not to mention, I was married, if I got HPV from Eric, I'd have bigger problems I had to deal with. I kept telling her no, and she kept telling me I needed it. I was in the age group that should have had it. I just got the feeling that she was this feminist with a chip on her shoulder. She was not respectful at all. She even told me that if I didn't do IVF I would never get pregnant. She told this to me AFTER I explained to her that I was morally opposed to it. I think by the time I left she tried to get me on four different vaccinations, I don't even remember what they were all for. I have never wanted to punch anyone so badly, than when I was in that office. I refrained obviously, but she was so rude and insensitive. Don't get me wrong, doctors need to be able to convey what's going on, but they also have to be smart enough to handle sensitive situations.

Infertility is a sensitive situation, it's something you can never understand unless you've lived it. I am a strong person, and my infertility has brought me sobbing to my knees. I've gotten what should have been fantastic news about friends and family having babies of their own, and it crushed me. I still feel guilty for my reaction to finding out about my second nephew. My mom warned me ahead of time so I could adjust. When she told me I went home and I bawled like someone had died. My poor husband ran to the door I was leaning against, not knowing at all what happened. He actually thought someone had died. When I told him I was going to be an aunt again, he looked at me very confused and asked "That's it? You should be happy for them" I cried for the rest of the day as he tried his very best to comfort me, even though he didn't know how to. He has only seen me cry a handful of times, so when I do cry, it's a big event in our house.

Eventually I found another doctor closer to where we live and started up treatments again. Once I was only dealing with people from PPVI, I felt loved and cared for. The demoralization of infertility began to fade. I felt like a human again, and not a lab rat. I learned to understand my body, and what my body is telling me, I'm still learning, but I am much more confident about it now. I began to love being a woman. I still don't like getting my period (what woman does), but there is a part of me that embraces my femininity, the gift that it is to be woman, the protector, and bringer of life. So many good things have come out of my treatments. Even though I've had only had one pregnancy, which the child did not survive, I feel like it was a success for the most part. Before PPVI, I wouldn't have even had that one pregnancy. They focus on fixing what is wrong, and not on shocking my system into having a baby. I still feel like there is hope, and that eventually we will get my body figured out and I will be able to become pregnant again. So, I guess I'm not really giving up on my fertility, I'm accepting that God just may want me to adopt first. Perhaps, if I have a biological child that survives, it would cause us not to adopt for some reason, even though I have always wanted to.

I'm going to add some links for PPVI and another site that's connected to it, to help find a doctor in your area. I really truly believe this is the BEST place for couples with fertility problems. They have a very good track record, and the best success record I have seen in terms of achieving pregnancy. They are also good for couples who are pro-life and don't want to achieve a pregnancy. I believe their system is 99.9% effective when done properly, but don't quote me on that, it should be listed on their site. I know it's as effective as main stream birth control options.

Pope Paul VI Institute
http://www.fertilitycare.org/
http://www.naprotechnology.com/

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Beginning

Greetings,
 My name is Katie. My husband, Eric, and I are going to adopt. We are just at the beginning. It's scary, overwhelming, and exciting all at once. We can't wait until it's over and we have our own family, but taking that first step, it feels like our feet are encased in cement...

A little about us.

My biggest reason for wanting to adopt? My Grandmother was an orphan. I never got the chance to meet her, but I've always felt very connected to her. I was named after her, and my mom says I am very much like her. My mom also tells me, all my grandma ever wanted was someone to bring her home. Parents to love her, and her siblings. She wanted a family.

This knowledge has always been with me, and it's been a driving force in my life. The first time I met Eric, when we just began tossing the idea of dating around, I made it very clear if he wouldn't adopt, we shouldn't start a relationship. (He was 18 at the time and I was 23) It was a condition of our relationship, though at the time, we didn't think I would have issues with my fertility. Though I had an inkling that there was something wrong.

Eric and I met in 2006. I had just come out of two very difficult relationships in a row, and was trying desperately to push him away. He also was fresh out of a relationship. We were each other's rebounds gone wrong. I really was just humoring a young, delusional kid who didn't know what he wanted ... or so I thought. I had no interest in staying with him, and was certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would only put up with my "crazy" for a few months. He sure showed me.

I remember we got into a fight about a month into our relationship. I secretly was thinking, "Good, now I can go back to my life of wallowing in my own self pity." I tried my best to ignore him, but he was persistent. Eventually he got me to talk to him about it. At the end of our fight he looked me square in the eye and said, "If we are still together in six months, I'm going to ask you to marry me."

Having my heart completely decimated not, but a few months earlier than this, I was freaking out inside. So, I did the one thing I knew would drive him away. I called his bluff and took him ring shopping that weekend. He was only 18, dreamer that he was, I knew if I showed him a gigantic diamond ring and focused solely on weddings for the next few weeks, he would certainly run in the opposite direction. Unbeknownst to me,  he picked out my engagement ring that weekend.

A few months later we purchased a house. I will be totally honest, I DO NOT suggest anyone move that quickly. My brother and I were in a very bad situation at a place we were renting, and we needed to get out. Eric was our saving grace.

Eric's persistence paid off, and I came to love the idea of staying with him forever. He was safe. My love for him, is like no other I have ever felt. We complete each other, and he is definitely my better half. I didn't get butterflies or feel the great lust I felt with others I had dated, I just felt safe and complete. That was enough for me, at that point in my life, passion was the least of my worries. However, I am very happily surprised to admit, that now, I do get butterflies when I'm with him. I am constantly amazed by his generosity and commitment to family. Eric is amazing.

Shortly after we were married, I went in to test my inkling about my fertility. I was officially diagnosed with Poly-Cyctic Ovarian Syndrome. We went back and forth between doctors and adopting after that. I finally got hooked up with the Pope Paul VI Institute, I couldn't be happier with the care I've received this far. I really suggest that anyone with fertility problems check them out. They really are amazing. I am still going through my treatments, and I am hoping that I am able to get pregnant again, (I've had one miscarriage, we've named that child Gabriel Leigh)

Despite how happy I am with my treatment and experience with PPVI, there is still a tug at my heart. There is a clarity around me and I really feel like God wants us to adopt. Maybe after adopting he will bless us with another biological child as well, but I know he wants us to adopt. God will give us the child or children he sees us worthy enough to be a parent for.

As for the adoption, we are currently planning on adopting from Ukraine. Right now we are shopping around for a home study, and figuring out where the money is going to come from. If any of you can find it in your heart to donate to our cause, I will be putting up a donation button soon. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts, you don't know what it means to us. There really are no words that do justice to what we feel for your support.