Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer, Summer, Summertime...

Despite the doom and gloom of my previous few posts, I really did enjoy my summer break:).

I went to the beach the first week.  Week 2 was spent doing virtually nothing that didn't involve the TV, my Nook and/or the couch.  Successfully completed about half a dozen books and a few seasons of the show Suits.

Week 3-4 I got my butt in gear and did a bunch of things around the house.  I always "spring clean" during summer break and finally found a checklist that I really liked from Imperfect Homemaking:


I also got to have dinner out with friends and spent a nice weekend with college roommates in PA.



Even though I went back to work last Monday, we have summer hours which are fantastic and should really be adopted for year round use:).  My mom and her best friend came down and spent the week with us last week.  I discovered a new favorite drink:)


We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary (6 years goes fast!) at the restaurant where we first met and enjoyed reminiscing.
  
Next up is working on my application for my doctorate.  I need to sign up for the Millers Analogy Test this week.  

So this summer has been the perfect blend of rest, fun and productivity and I'm super glad there are a few weeks left!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

1000 views

That is what my stats page is showing for the number of views my little blog has gotten so far.

I used to be really chatty.  I would talk, talk, talk and then afterwards wonder "Did I talk too much?", "Did I say the wrong thing?".  As I have gotten older I have become to learn from the adage "There is a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth-listen more than you talk.".  So I have shared pieces of our story with some people, but for the most part am pretty silent on the topic in real life.

It is interesting to think that our story has gotten 1000 views over the course of the last year or so.  I have only begun sharing the link with a handful of friends, and I hope to feel more comfortable doing so more often in the months to come.  Ultimately I would like for this blog to capture the "happy ending" to our story and the life that follows.

For now I write mainly for me, but it is nice to know that there are people out there reading my words and hopefully finding support in them or offering prayers on our behalf.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Loss (Part III)

With each of these two loses I experienced the stages of grief.  This is what my psychology courses taught me the stages of grief looked like:

the 5 stages of grief

However, I believe this depiction to be more accurate:


With my brother the first image is more accurate.  Acceptance came quickly, but continues to be painted with sadness.

Given that we are still not parents, do not know when we will become parents, and in fact still have a chance of becoming parents both through adoption and natural means, this grieving process looks much more like the second image.  

I thought I had reached the acceptance stage when we chose to adopt.  However, after 10 months of waiting (and watching our friends whose wait is reaching the 2 year mark) I think I am finding myself back in the thick of it.  Though this time around it is a feeling of numbness.  I almost think I would rather feel angry or sad or SOMETHING.  I feel like if I was feeling one of those two I could cry or rage and move past it somehow.

I don't know how to shake off numb.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Loss (Part II)

The second loss I encountered in my life is the loss of having any control in starting a family.  And within that large scope of loss are many smaller loses.

While our diagnosis is "unexplained" I can't help but feeling like our seemingly inability to have children is because my body has failed us in some way.  In fact I had a dream this summer where that exact scenario played out and the nurse told us out right that it "isn't his fault" (as she pointed in his direction), "it's yours" (and the finger pointed directly at me).  So there is a loss in confidence that my body works the way a woman's body is "supposed" to work.

While I recognize there are many couples who are not able to foresee when they will begin their family, once the train leaves the station it is pretty clear that within 9 months your life is going to change.  With us we make every decision knowing that there may have to be a plan B, C or Z because we have no idea when we may be blessed with a child.  For a natural born planner like me that was probably one of the biggest, if not THE biggest hurdle, to overcome.  So there is a loss in decision making and timing.

Superficial losses, while minor, still frankly suck.  There will be no cute way of surprising my husband we are expecting as accepting a match is a decision we must make together.  There will be no cute way of surprising our families.  In fact, I am pretty confident we will not tell anyone but my brother (who has agreed to watch the dogs if we can't take them with is) and our bosses (because we would like to keep our jobs) when baby is born so that if the birth mother decides to parent their hopes are dashed right along with ours.

Their sense of loss weighs on me too.  As our parents get older they are losing time with their future grandchild.  Our niece and nephew have lost the opportunity to see their cousins as playmates.

Their is the loss of a genetic bond with our child.  While in my heart this matters very little to us, it would have been interesting to see what our child would have looked like (my eyes?, his smile?) and what natural proclivities they may have had (natural aptitude for science?  musical ability?).  There is an excellent chance that we will never get to find out.

What weighs on me the most is that in order of us to become parents, there will be a birth family who will experience great loss.  We are 100% committed to open adoption and believe that it will be best for our child to continue to be a part of their lives through as many avenues as possible.  However, I am very much aware that this comes at a very high emotional price and that this loss will be felt by the birth family most likely forever.

Sigh.  As I said before life isn't fair.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Loss (Part 1)

As I was "spring" cleaning today, I came across a letter I was given in June of last year.  It is a letter that caused a waterfall of tears last year and upon stumbling across and re-reading it today the tears fall yet again.  Before I explain that contents of the letter, let me give a bit of background.

For the most part, I lead a very blessed life.  I grew up healthy, happy, and loved as the second of four children.  I live in a country that is not oppressive.  I have family and friends who I love me and who I love in return.  All in all I have been dealt a good hand.  However, I have not led a life completely free of pain and hurt.

For the first 21 years of my life I was shielded from death.  Not intentionally.  I just personally did not know, on a personal level, anyone who died.  Five of my great-grandparents died before I was born and two died when I was in the baby/toddler stages.  Born in 1906, Grammie, as we lovingly called her, was my mother's paternal grandmother.   She was the friendliest, most talkative woman you had every met.  She lived a full, long life and died peacefully in July of 2000.  I remember having a difficult time at the viewing and refused to go up to the casket.  This was a first for me and as a person that has a difficult time processing and expressing emotions it was a lot to take in even though I was technically an adult.  Little did I know that this painful, though natural, part of life was just a hint of what laid before me just a few months later.

September 29, 2000 began as a typical fall day of my senior year.  My roommates and I were packing to visit a friend in Baltimore when our college's Dean of Students and our apartment's RA came to the door.  They explained that I needed to call home.  Clearly something was majorly wrong if my parents were not able to call me themselves (turns out they just wanted to ensure I wasn't alone when we spoke).  I don't remember much about the phone call, but I remember clearly hearing the words "Your brother died this morning.".  Having two brothers, one older, one younger, but both young and healthy, this was a massive shock.  After some frantic questioning on my part, I discovered my 29- year-old, former Army Captain, State Police cadet, fitness enthusiast, older brother had died of a heart attack during a 5k run early that morning.  The hours and days that followed were a blur, clouded by tears (tears that still fall as I type this almost 15 years later).

As I am sure is true in many families, we kids took after our parents in many respects.  What was interesting in our family though is that when it came to personality, temperament, and general outlook on life, the six of us can be easily divided into two camps.  My younger brother and sister take after my mom.  My older brother and I take after our dad.   Our personalities lean more toward the type A side of the spectrum.  Add to this strong opinions, passion for the things we believe in,  and the fact there was an 8 year age difference between us, these all-to-similar personalities led to quite a bit of discourse between us once I entered kindergarten and continued until I was in my later teen years.

When I went away to college, my brother was married and living with his wife outside of Washington DC, after years of being stationed in Texas and abroad.  Having them closer, plus the natural maturation of two people in their 20s, helped forge the gap that had been between us for so long.  Though we never spoke of it, we began to appreciate our similarities as well as our differences.  During my junior year I lived with my brother and sister-in-law for two brief time periods.  One of these times was for a week while I completed observation hours in DC Metro Public Schools.  The other time was for about four weeks so I could earn money and experience working as a substitute teacher in Fairfax Count Schools.  In hindsight, God did not put those experiences on my heart for the experience in teaching, rather He put those experiences on my heart to give me a chance to deepen my relationship with the brother that I would not have a lifetime to develop into the friendship I am blessed to have with my younger brother.

Life is not fair.  It is not fair that a 29-year-old married, father of a then 6 month old son (and at the time unknown daughter still in the womb), with no health concerns goes out for a morning run tand never comes back.  It is not fair that my parents lost a son.  It's not fair that my siblings and I lost a brother.  It is not fair that his wife and soulmate became a widow before she was 30.  And what is most unfair is that there are two wonderful, beautiful teenagers out there who never got to personally know what a wonderful man their father was.  Of course, they have heard stories since before they can remember, but it's not the same.  It's not even close.

The letter I found was just one example of such a story.  It was written by a fellow police cadet who was with him when he died.  It spoke of his talent, his humor, his leadership, and the encouragement & friendship he provided to everyone he met.  It spoke of this man's struggle with not being able to save my brother and his own struggle with grief.  From this man's struggle came advocacy for adding life saving measures to the police forces with whom he worked to ensure the acquisition and use of AED (automated external defibrillator) became a part of their standard practice.  His efforts resulted in saving the lives of four men who would have otherwise not be alive today without this device.

To be continued...


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Call me, maybe?

My iPhone ring tone is set to "old phone".  This was selected with a touch of nostalgia.  My parents are just about the last people to jump on board for any technological advancement.  They do have a cell phone of the pay-as-you-go, flip phone variety.  They got a cordless phone and answering machine sometime after I left for college.  This means that the only phone I had access to during my my formative phone using years looked like this:


It hung on the wall of our kitchen and it's only saving grace was the 6 feet long cord that allowed me a semblance of privacy when I could stretch it out to our back porch in warm weather and to the top of our basement steps when it was cold.

Growing up in a family of 6, the phone rang a lot.  As it rang you never knew who was on the other side or who it was for.  You never knew whether it was good news or bad news, gossip or essential information, friend or stranger.  I was never a sit-by-the-phone-and-wait-for-it-to-ring kind of girl, but a ringing phone can definitely perk me up.

It's 2015, so my phone is almost always with me and for the last 9.5 months each time the phone rings I wonder "Is this the call?".  The call that brings up one step closer to our baby.  The call that will take us from a family of two to a family of three (or four!).  The call that opens the door to a relationship with a family we don't yet know, but whose lives will be forever intertwined with ours moving forward.

Those are not the only thoughts I have about the call.  The call could also lead to a conversation that ultimately leads to an expectant parent choosing a different couple.  The call could lead us to caring for a baby for only a short time or not at all as the birth mother might choose to parent herself. However, I am an optimist at heart so most of my thoughts are of the former rather than latter nature.

I know it's important for us to be ready when the call comes, but the flip side of that is that every day in the back of my mind is a twinge of hope that today is the day.  So like it or not I have become a sit-by-the-phone-and-HOPE-for-ONE-ring-in-particular kind of girl.   Sigh--it's a catch 22 that is beginning to drive me more than just a little crazy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Waiting Place

I used to enjoy reading Oh, the Places You'll Go to my classes.  This part summarizes our life of late:



Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,or a plane to go or the mail to come,or the rain to go or the phone to ring,or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.
Image result for the waiting place dr. seuss

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.

Image result for the waiting place dr. seuss

Boom bands sound like fun!