June 13, 2016

The Wait Begins

So, funny story.  Remember when I wrote a post over a month ago and said we were almost home study approve and our profile was almost done?  Yeah, those last couple steps took a little longer and a lot more work than anticipated.

With the home study, we actual got a draft of the report sooner than anticipated, after about 1 week instead of 2-3 weeks.  There were a few minor corrections that needed to be made to the draft, but other than that it was great.  Things were just about wrapped up, when we were asked when our last reference would be sending in their recommendation.  Except he had told us he had sent it in weeks ago.  I guess it got lost somewhere along the way, and there was no option but for the poor guy to fill out the form again.  Of course we discovered this right before he went on vacation, then we went on a business trip/vacation, and then he had some family issues come up, so we had to wait another 3 weeks after all. Things did finally worked out, and he did send in another recommendation. We were finally officially approved last week, and got the final report yesterday, just about two an a half months after we started.

Finishing our profile was quite an undertaking too.  It turns out that submitting the text and pictures wasn't one of the last steps, but just the beginning.  We sent the text back and forth with the editor a million (or at least five) times.  Then the words got put together with the pictures for the first proof of our profile.  Then we went through at least 3 more rounds of editing the text and switching up pictures and backgrounds.  After so many weeks and emails and drafts I was worn down and ready to sign off on anything, and gave the final approval.  I couldn't read our story one more time, lol. But the our editor decided to make a few more tweaks, and it turned out pretty good.  So early last week we agreed to the final final profile, and some time last week it was put up on our facilitator's website.  Today I sent checks for our facilitators fee and the printing of our profile booklets.

Long story short, after a little more work and time than anticipated,  as of todayish we are officially approved and waiting to be matched.  Its seems like it should feel like a big milestone, but it feels...anticlimactic? It could be that it just hasn't sunk in yet that it looks like we're actually officially on the road to becoming parents. Our facilitator assures us its really only a matter of time.  Then again, maybe its the fact that there's probably a good amount of time from here to us being parents that makes it feel so anticlimactic?

I don't mind it though, I'll take anticlimactic over a roller coaster any day.  Things have definitely been more calm than when we were in medical treatment.  I haven't had a big emotional breakdown for a few months now, and its been nice to be mostly even keeled on the emotions front. The little set back and delays aren't driving me crazy either.  Don't get me wrong, they definitely bug me, but I'm not going into an anxious tailspin over them like I would over a set back in treatment.  I really feel a sense of peace covering the process so far, and it feels like an indicator that we're on the right path, finally.

Now I just have to keep that same attitude for the next 6 -12 months.... Shouldn't be a problem at all, right?

May 7, 2016

A Busy Month (With Lots of Paperwork)

This past month or so has been a non stop flurry of activity on the adoption front as we tried to get our home study complete and get our profile ready.

On the home study front, we completed tons of paperwork, wrote autobiographies, got fingerprinted, had doctors appointments, took online CPR and First Aid classes, took an in person all day class on adoption, and gathered a bunch of important documents.  Then we had two visits with our social worker at our home.  She interviewed us together, then separately, checked out or home, and gave us a lot of good insight on adoption.  I think we were originally supposed to have three visits, but since we had finished all of our paperwork ahead of time, our social worker decided we could cover everything in two.  That was a big relief, we'd already taken a good chunk of time off work for other appointments and visits, I was glad we didn't need to take more.  Our social worker explained that it wasn't a pass/fail process, but that she would've brought any concerns to our attention and there weren't any.  Now we wait 2-3 weeks to get the report, and hopefully it will be final and we will be approved soon after that!

On the profile (basically a booklet all about us and our life) front, it at least sounds less complicated.  Our facilitator has people who put together the profile for us, so we just had to write the text and gather our pictures.  Much easier said than done.  As for the text, we had a guide on what to topics to cover and took a couple days to get it all written out.  Then came about 5 rounds of sending it back and forth for proofreading and edits. That took a couple weeks.  At the same time we were trying to find pictures that portrayed us and our life accurately.  I thought we had enough, but it turned out that a bunch of our pictures were too low quality to use.  Way to fail me, front facing camera on my phone, lol. So, last weekend we dusted off the good old digital camera that we hadn't used in years and ran around trying to fill in the gaps.  We also had previously scheduled a horseback trail ride for that weekend (birthday present from the Hubs that was about to expire), so we got some pretty fun pictures in. We finally submitted everything early this week.  Now we wait for a proof of the profile to make any changes we want and the approve the final version.

To sum that all up, we spent most of our nights and weekends, and a good part of our weekdays, over the last month-ish doing everything that we could do to complete our home study and profile. I might have been a little pushy about doing it all...  It felt good for once to have something that I could do to affirmatively move us forward in this journey to become parent.  Now it's all in other peoples' hands and, other than proof reading and approving a couple things, I'm not exactly sure what we do next.  For now, I have a stack of books to make my way through.  Any recommendations for adoption related books would be appreciated!

April 21, 2016

That Time The Home Study Saved Our Lives

In case you're unfamiliar with the adoption process, it involves a lot of things, but pretty much starts with the home study.  The home study is basically a background check, on steroids. It involves approximately 5 million forms, visits with a social worker, interviews, an inspection of our home, fingerprinting, references, classes, and more.  Right now we're in the thick of it, about half way through, and meeting with our social worker for the first time this Saturday.  The meeting with the social worker was previously scheduled for last Sunday, so we had plans to get the house all ready for it last week.

We live in a small condo, you wouldn't think there would be much to do, but you would be wrong.  What with our busy work schedules and... penchant for ignoring problems until we really really have to do something about them, we had quite a few little projects that needed to be taken care of before our home could be inspected by the social worker.  That translated into us scheduling a cleaner, gardener, plumber, and electrician all to come on the same day to address all of our little issues.  We don't really deal in half measures over here, its all or nothing!

Anyways, one of those pesky little issues was a light fixture that kept burning out light bulbs abnormally fast.  The thing has 8 bulbs, and I was replacing them all about every 3-6 months.  I didn't really think of it as more than annoying, but figured we might as well get it fixed.  We first had a handyman come over, but he was clueless and wanted to charge super high fees (bad combo if you ask me) so the Hubs (who was managing everything while I was at work) sent him on his way.  Then we were out an electrician.  I stared looking up electricians on yelp because... why not.  I called several but no one was even picking up to tell me if they were available.  I told the hubs, who called the first number that popped p on google, and scheduled them to come over right away.  Go figure!

Now, I don't speak electrician, and really have only a cursory understanding of how it all works, so please forgive my ignorant retelling that follows.  Once the electrician arrived, he got to work on the light fixture in question... and realized there was a much bigger problem.  He opened up an outlet or light switch (wasn't there so I'm not sure) in front of the Hubs, and the Hubs saw charred wire and could smell smoke.  Not a good thing at all.  They then went to check out the breaker, and found more charred wires... some of those connecting to wiring in our bedroom!  After admonishing the Hubs that this was a major hazard (i.e. house in imminent danger of fire) the electrician figured out what was wrong (something to do with how the breaker box was hooked up I think?) and was able to fix it (yay) at a sum several times over our original budget (boo).  But the important thing is that our house is safe now!

When I was talking to my parents about it, they pointed out that I probably wouldn't have gotten the light fixture checked out had it not been for the home study. So, in a pretty real way, the home study process probably save our lives, or at least our home from burning down!  So... even in the worst case scenario where everything else goes wrong.... at least we are still alive!

Just as I side note, once I got home (after the electrician was gone I changed all the light bulbs in the light fixture.... only to have one immediately burn out :(.  Guess its time to replace that thing, but at least it served a purpose.

April 18, 2016

A New Journey

I know my latest posts have been, well, downers. Sorry about that.  I wasn't fun on my end either, but there have been some more positive things going on in my little world that I should probably clue you in on.  Things have actually been better since getting off the treatment bandwagon.  It was a tough adjustment at first, but getting off the roller coaster of hope and disappointment has been really good for me, and the Hubs too.  It's nice to just be us and not worry about medication, timing, and whatever else all the time.  More importantly, its made room for an even better new adventure for us.

We've started the adoption process, and we're really excited about it!  We actually decided that we would like to grow our family through adoption before we were even married, but with money being a big concern, the "old fashioned way" made the most sense to try first.  We checked in every year or so since we were married on where we thought we were on heading towards adoption, but usually agreed we needed more time to get ourselves more stable, financially and otherwise.

This past fall we finally started looking at adoption more seriously, and started weighing our options. After several conversations, we realized we were on the same page and wanted to move forward. Around January, we requested information from a bunch of agencies and facilitators (kind of like agencies, but less full service) in my area.  We heard back from most, and talked with a few, but nothing was really clicking.  Finally, in March, we heard back from one facilitator we had inquired to back in January and things started to fall together.  Before the end of March, we had officially signed up with our facilitator, and had started the home study process (basically a background check on steroids).

Right now, we're still in the early stages, and there is a lot more to do,and plenty of time to go, but it's exciting to have gotten the ball rolling.  There are a lot of uncertainties in our future, but we have started to let ourselves be hopeful, and it's a nice feeling.  So, that's what's new in my world! I'll probably be writing more about the whole journey here, so I've created a new tab/page for adoption up at the top. Hope all is going well with you!

March 19, 2016

Letting Go For Lent

First of all, let me just say, I'm awful at lent.  If I figure out what to give up in advance, I inevitably fail.  If I don't, I never figure it out.  So this year, I went into lent with lofty plans. I was going to say the Rosary every day, go paleo give up gluten, stop being distracted at work, try to go to adoration weekly, and more.  I figured if I went in with a lot of plans, at least I would make it out of lent having done... some of them at least.  Yeah.... I only even kept one the first day, and that didn't even make it into the next day.  Have I ever mentioned that I have horrible will power? And that I'm bad at lent?

However, something else was going on as I entered into lent.  I just so happened to be at the end of one cycle, heading into another.  My cycle hadn't been a failure (on the ovulation front), but it hadn't been great either.  I felt like I was fighting a never ending battle to try to keep my hormones in a good range and with no results.

For the last couple years I always felt like I had to keep fighting.  I couldn't stop.  I had to make it to the end of the journey, one way or another.  I needed to know definitively whether I could or could not conceive, and if I could, I would keep fighting until it happened.  I was largely motivated by the fear of regret later in life. Knowing I missed my chance by giving up too early.  And I didn't want to take a break.  The thought of just putting things on pause just to pick then back up seemed overwhelming.  I had to keep the momentum going in order to keep going on. I was also motivated by the fact that I'm incredibly stubborn. The Hubs can verify that.

However, as time went on, it started to become clear that I wouldn't be getting my definitive answer.  Everything was working on paper, but nothing was happening in reality.  Month after month I would get my hopes up, only to have them dashed again and again.  We added more medicines every month.  More shots, more side effects, less energy for anything else, every month. It came to a point where there were no more answers we could find, we were just playing a guessing game. I also started to bury myself in my work.  The more I could bury myself in achievements at work, the less I could think about what I wasn't able to achieve in my personal life.  So... that was a healthy state of existence.  Yet every time I thought about taking a break or stopping for good, I felt to anxious too even really consider it.

So, back to lent.  Like I said, lent started at the tail end of once cycle.  A few days after it started I got some mediocre blood test results.  Oh and my doctor had gone on maternity leave (along with her nurse, and her receptionist went on grandma leave... couldn't they share the wealth?). So I had two options, and I had to make the decision myself: I could keep up with what we'd been doing... or I could stop. And for the first time, rather than feeling anxiety about the latter choice, peace started to sink in instead.  A peace I couldn't shake when I thought about it. So I told the Hubs I was thinking about stopping, maybe just for now, maybe for good,and he was on board. He'd been suggesting I take a break for a while, but I had kept resisting.

Actually following though wasn't too difficult, when the time came or me to take medications for the next cycle... I just didn't. I still had peace, but it wasn't particularly easy either. Believe me, I thought about running down to the pharmacy and renewing my prescriptions last second... but I didn't.  There has been a good amount of adjusting, physically and mentally.  My hormones have been very unhappy, and lashing out, mostly with nonstop breakouts.  There have been some tears too.  It's not an easy process to finally accept that I might never conceive, when I've been fighting against that idea for so long. It isn't all bad of course, there are just tough parts to this process.

All that it to say, I had my plans for lent, but I think that God had his own.  Maybe its a cop out, maybe its just me being lazy, but for whatever reason, this lent, instead of making up my own plans, I'm letting go of trying to conceive instead.