Saturday, December 27, 2008

the day after Christmas.....

Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you've had a wonderful time with family and friends. We've enjoyed our time with family. My family got together last Saturday. And we were with Ron's family on Christmas day. This year Ron and I had Christmas Eve to ourselves. It was a little strange not to get together with my family that evening since that has been our tradition for many years but with one sister living out of town it doesn't always work out best to get together on Christmas Eve now. So Ron and I ordered a pizza and had our own little movie marathon. We had fun watching the movies: The Christmas Story; Miracle on 34th Street; National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation; and the Family Stone. We had planned to go to a friend's party and then to the 11 pm service at church but the weather was not all that great so we just stayed home.
The winter so far has been rather strange at times. We have had an ice storm. We've been having freezing rain, sleet, and rain. Yesterday, Christmas Day, was a beautiful day. The roads were not all so great and probably won't be for a while. Most of the main roads have been cleared off but the county roads and side streets are covered in ice yet. And now the temps are rising with it supposed to get up to 58 degrees tomorrow and some more rain. So with melting snow and falling rain we are likely to have flooding in certain areas. Today since it was so icy, our county was under a state of emergency urging people to stay off the roads unless it was absolutely necessary to go out. So we spent the day inside.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

waiting 28 months....

Here it is December again. Each year I keep thinking this will be the year we have our little girl with us at Christmas, but it's not to be yet. 28 months so far and still waiting. Referrals came in this month but the cut off date for referrals was Feb. 23, 2006 and so the next group from our agency didn't receive any referrals since their date is Feb. 28, 2006. So we did not move up this month. We still have 24 groups of people waiting ahead of us.
Today is quite a windy and dreary day. All the snow that we had has melted. It was raining some today so it's damp and cold. Not a nice combination. Doesn't quite seem like winter except for the cold weather. I am hoping for a white Christmas even though I don't care for a lot of snow. If I can stay in all the time I don't mind snow at all!
Today at church during the 10 am service the kids put on a Christmas program. They did a nice job. It didn't seem like any of them were nervous and that they really enjoyed doing it.
Ron and I have been with a group that started our service at church. There was a group of us that were meeting together and we were introduced to another group from this church that were basically looking for the same things in a church. So we are now working together and have been for about a year. We have the early service at church -- 8:30 am. Yes, it's rather early and hard to get up that early on a Sunday morning but it has definitely been worth it. Our service is a contemporary worship service with contemporary praise singing. We focus on relevant messages to reach people who don't go to church or haven't been in a church for a while or are looking for something different. It has been a great experience to be involved the way we have been and to get to know some great people. We are really enjoying it. Not to say there are difficult times to work through but that's all the process of developing this service and finding what God wants us to do.
This church is a small church. We hope to help bring more people in and help them find joy in living a life for Christ.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An update....

Well, as you can see by the counter at the top of this page we have been waiting for 27 months now -- 28 months on Dec. 3. It's sometimes hard to believe that we have actually been waiting this long. In some ways it seems forever that we've been waiting and in other ways it doesn't seem that long. Of course, life doesn't stop and we can't put our life on hold till we have our daughter. We have to keep living our lives and going on with things. That probably does help the time to pass quickly. Referrals continue to come in for groups, but we still have 24 groups ahead of us. Part of the slowness of the process is that our agency doesn't always get referrals every month because the cut off date for China's matching was earlier than what the next LID was for our agency. So that means we don't move up that month. So we wait and hope that before our paperwork expires again we will be on our way to China to pick up Marisa. Our paperwork expires again in July. We can renew it but it just means filling out more forms, being fingerprinted AGAIN!, and having more expense to have everything processed. And of course, we will renew it when the time comes but we're really hoping that things speed up here soon so that we won't need to.

So our lives continue. We have been busy. Ron's work continues to be busy which we're so thankful for. With so many places shutting down or laying people off, it's a scary time. I continue to babysit for our neighbor's little girl. It is fun to watch her development. Kids are so amazing and how quickly they learn and grow! She turned a year old in October. I also continue to work for MDC Goldenrod and provide respite care for a mother of a 7 year old and fill in to work with the adults from time to time. I have also taken on another babysitting job for a friend that works one day a week. She has two children. One is 4 years old and the other will turn a year old this week. So having three at one time is a challenge at times, but gives me lots of good experience!

Ron and I have been very active in starting a new service at the church we are attending. With change comes many challenges but we are really enjoying getting to know new people and making new friends. It is really interesting to be involved in starting something like this. We have never been a part of something like this. We are also teaching Sunday school. Ron teaches the high school class and I teach the middle school class. It has been fun getting to know the kids. And there is Bible Study once a week. So we keep busy. With the challenges we've faced, comes many rewards. We feel like we are where God wants us to be. I know that if we had Marisa right now it would be hard to be giving so much time to this new service that is needed. So I'm sure this is all in God's plan for us and things are all happening in God's time.

So that's a little update on what's happening with us. I know it's been a long time since my last post. Like I've said before, it's hard to post when nothing is really happening with the adoption. We just continue to ask for your prayers as we continue on this adoption journey.

Monday, August 11, 2008

still waiting at 24 months....

Well, our 2 year anniversary date of waiting for our adoption was on Aug. 3. Which is also our wedding anniversary -- now 6 years. So we continue to wait with changes happening in paperwork that needs to filed, etc. As I posted earlier some of our paperwork expired (yes, some of these things actually expire) and we had to refile some things and have finger prints redone as well. The paperwork we refiled will expire in July of 2009. If we have not completed our adoption by then, we will have to refile our paperwork again but this time with the new forms and I'm not sure what all of that will mean. I've read that some people are saying it could mean having to resubmit all of our paperwork (our complete dossier) and that would mean completely starting over and losing our place in line. So we would be back to square one. I cannot imagine after waiting for over 2 years and not even completing an adoption, having to start over completely! I just don't see how the government can do that! It just doesn't make any sense to me. But I have asked these questions of our agency and am waiting to hear back from them.
This waiting really does take it's toll. To see referrals come in so slowly and barely moving up the line to be closer to completing our adoption is so hard. I just can't even explain the mixture of emotions I've experienced through this time. It continues to be difficult to explain to people. We can't explain why it is taking so long. There is only so much the Chinese officials share with our agency and our agency shares those things with us. It sounds like China is trying to remedy the issues but who knows when we'll feel the effect of it. And we can't contact someone to make the process go any faster. We've done all we can and now it's in the hands of the Chinese. There's nothing more we can do but wait.
We just continue to ask for your prayers for us during this difficult time of waiting, and trying to understand why it is taking so long. We realize God's timing is perfect but our human minds don't understand why His timing is so far into the future.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My 44th Birthday

I can't believe I'm 44 today!! You know 44 doesn't feel that old but now I'm on my way to 50! Wow! Where does the time go?! What a great birthday present it would be to hear that we have a daughter. But that's not going to happen today. The last set of referrals came in earlier this month and now we have 26 groups of people ahead of us. In a few weeks we'll have been waiting for 24 months! I never would have thought that we would still be waiting at this time when we submitted our paperwork. Sometimes it seems like we've been waiting forever and other times it seems like it couldn't be that long already. I guess we just go on with our daily lives and time does pass fairly quickly.
So today being my birthday and still not being a mother makes me long for it even more, and wondering how many more birthdays, mother's days, father's days, and Christmases will go by before we have our little girl. It's so hard for me not to buy things for Marisa. My best friend, Brenda, will give us things for Marisa periodically and it is so much fun to get those things but it makes me miss Marisa even more. Can you miss someone you haven't met yet? Marisa has been growing in my heart for over 2 years now, so I guess until I hold that little girl in my arms I guess I can miss her.
This summer I am not babysitting for the neighbor's little girl, since our neighbor is a teacher and off for the summer. I think it really helped to watch her little girl because it occupied my time and I was learning about a little one. Now I seem to think about Marisa more since I don't have a little one to keep me so occupied.
So how am I spending my day today....I did some laundry and hung it out on the line, I spent some time in my flower beds and garden, pulled weeds, picked beans and peas (from my garden), pulled up some onions, spent some time going through past emails, and plan to do some scrapbooking and reading later today. Ron and I are going to go to Cook's Pizza for dinner -- one of my favorite little diners. Love their pizza!! Last night we went to Ron's parents and his mom made me a yummy dinner. I ate too much because it was all so good!

Lately I've been reading more on "living green". We are such a wasteful society. We don't fix or have things fixed anymore because many times it's cheaper to buy another new. Well, I really feel like we aren't serving God by being so wasteful. I have become more conscious of the waste I do have and have really tried to minimize. I am careful about the paper products we use -- not using as much. We've recycled for a while now but being more aware and seeing what other things can be recycled or reusing things. The other thing I am looking at is all the "stuff" we have. Do we really need all of this "stuff"? And why is it so hard to get rid of the "stuff"? I really would like to minimize and not have so much stuff. I am trying to be aware of what we already have and when I come across something that I think I would like to have, I consider why I want it and do I really want to add it to our other accumulated "stuff". Maybe it is just getting older that makes me think this way, but I do want my daughter to grow up respecting her environment and taking steps to not add to the pollution and waste that are so much a part of our world. I want her to love this earth that God has given us and learn to do her part to take care of it. We are taking small steps. There is more that we can do and step by step we'll continue to do more. If everyone takes small steps it will make a huge impact, more than I think we realize.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Waiting and earthquakes...

Well, here we are waiting for almost 22 months already (it'll be 22 months on June 3). It's hard to believe sometimes that it has been that long and other times it seems like it has been much longer. I haven't been doing a very good job keeping up with posting but it is really hard to post when nothing is happening and there's nothing new to share.

I'm sure that you've heard about the earthquakes in China recently. As to how that will affect our adoption and the waiting....we don't know. I think there are a lot of unknowns since the Chinese are still just trying to get organized and figure out what to do next because of the damage. I've read that there are many children left orphaned due to the earthquakes. But now the Chinese people want to adopt those children, which I can't blame them and they should have first chance. So I don't know how that will work or what kind of policies the Chinese are going to have to put into place for that. So there is a lot going on right now in China that affects a lot of their people and we don't know how all of that is going to affect us here in the U.S.

The referrals continue to come in once a month but only for one group of people and so that makes it very slow. We have 28 groups of people ahead of us yet and I sure hope that they don't continue only doing one group per month because that will take another 2 years!!!

Ron turned 50 in April! I had a couple of surprise parties for him. I pretty much was able to pull them off without him being too suspicious. It was fun and I think he enjoyed the surprises and seeing people that we don't see a lot.

I'm just sad that it's taking so long to get Marisa. Another Mother's Day has gone by and I'm still not a mother. Another Father's Day will go by and Ron's still not a father. We'll each have another birthday and I'm afraid another Christmas will go by without our little girl. It's very frustrating but there's nothing we can do but wait and pray for things to speed along. With so many things beyond our control it is really hard because being a person that likes to have control of situations it is teaching me to give up that control and lean more heavily on God. God is in control of the situation I firmly believe. I know His timing is always better than what ours could possibly be so even though we want Marisa right now, I know God has something even better planned for the time when we are finally able to bring her home. Please continue praying for us as we wait because it isn't easy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Waiting 19 months and 3 weeks.....

Well, I don't think we ever thought we'd be waiting this long for our little girl. We just completed another update for our home study. Indiana law requires a home study to be updated every 12 months. So we had to be fingerprinted (again!), and have background checks done, a visit to the doctor for a letter saying we're still in good health and have a TB test done. Sometimes it just seems all we do is prepare for our little one and there is no progress toward getting her. I know that's not true but when the progress is so slow it makes for a very difficult wait.

Referrals seem to be coming in at the beginning of each month - which is great but they don't usually cover very many LID dates. At this point we have 29 LID groups ahead of us yet waiting for their referrals. The last group of people that received referrals waited 26 months. I wish the wait would stay at 26 months or less but I'm not sure that will happen. If the wait would stay at 26 months we would only have about 6 more months of waiting and after almost 20 months of waiting, waiting 6 more months would not seem that long. But there is no guarantee that that will be the case and it is just wishful thinking on my part.

I know it's hard for everyone to understand why it's taking so long and then people talk to other people about how long their wait was and it wasn't this long, etc. But every family has a unique situation they are going through. Right now China is still one of the more stable countries for adoption and has a good system in place -- even though it sounds like it needs to be updated and they are making changes to help improve their process so the wait isn't as long. But until we feel the effects of those changes no one knows. I am encouraged that they are still taking dossiers for adoptions which makes me believe there are still many children that are in need of families. Also, nothing is being said about closing the country to adoption. So I do know if we can just hang in there, we will have our little girl at the end of this very long wait.

Not having any children and longing for them is really difficult for people to understand unless you've been through it yourself. There is a certain amount of grief you feel for the children you can't have, there's depression wondering what is wrong with me, there is such a feeling of aloneness and lack of understanding from people. People don't mean to be hurtful in what they say but many things that are said are very hurtful. It is hard to hear about another friend or person from church being pregnant or another invitation to a baby shower. It's not that I'm not happy for these people, but it just hits me like a ton of bricks that I can't have a child of my own and I'm still waiting. Until she's in my arms it will be difficult. Here are a couple of articles that may help explain how I and others who are longing for children feel and what we wish others knew.
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secret sorrow
by Donna Dunn

I knew I should have stayed home. A list of the names of more than a dozen babies and their parents appeared on a colorful insert in the church bulletin. I’d completely forgotten it was baby dedication day. Only a few friends knew my husband and I had undergone fertility testing with discouraging results. When my eyes began to fill with tears as parents made their way to the altar, I quietly slipped out so I could cry privately. I felt completely alone.

About six million people in the United States experience infertility. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, ten percent of the reproductive-age population is affected by infertility and childlessness, and they need your support.

Recognize the Reality
John Van Regenmorter, Director of Stepping Stones, a ministry for those experiencing infertility, and co-author of When the Cradle Is Empty, says the support of friends and family is essential. According to Van Regenmortor, “Of all the letters we receive, most [people] say something about how alone they feel. There’s a real need to find at least one other couple with whom they can share their infertility struggle.”

Infertility is often called a secret sorrow. It’s not discussed like other medical conditions. Couples experiencing infertility have depression rates equal to those experiencing cancer, according to the infertility support group Resolve. Understanding the pain of infertility is an important first step in supporting those in the midst of this struggle.

Listen With Your Heart
Blessing the infertile can sometimes come as much from what you do as what you say. “The most supportive thing was receiving cards and notes of encouragement,” Suzanne remembers. “Sometimes it’s nice to have friends communicate their love, encouragement, and prayer support without requiring any questions to be answered or any explanations given.” Suzanne knows friends and family mean well, but some days she just doesn’t feel like discussing the details of their family’s infertility journey. She says, “True friends…just walked with us.”

Van Regenmorter says friends and family members should also avoid pat answers. Some of the most common phrases heard about infertility are some of the least helpful.

“Relax and it’ll happen.” Not only is this statistically untrue, it makes the couple feel as if they’re doing something wrong. Those who say this would never say to a cancer patient, “Relax and it’ll go away.”

“My friend tried…” Success stories may seem encouraging, but it’s important to remember that no two situations are the same.

“If you adopt, you’ll get pregnant.” Again, statistics show that infertile couples who adopt are no more likely to get pregnant than infertile couples who do not. It makes adoption sound like a lesser choice. Adoptive parents, such as Cheri, know adoption is not a second best. “I wish someone would have told me (early on) that adoption is as great as it is and that God has other ways to give us children and can bless that.”

Extend Grace
The ache of childlessness is more acute at special events and during certain times of the year. Be considerate. Infertile couples appreciate sensitivity – whether it’s a private conversation, saying it’s okay to miss a baby shower, or a note of encouragement during a difficult holiday.

The Van Regenmorters experienced 14 years of infertility before adopting two children. Later, they also had a biological child. They encourage families, friends, and even ministers to think of the childless when celebrating holidays and special events. Baby showers, baby dedications, and child-centered holidays can be especially difficult.

“For a season, say, ‘No.’ It doesn’t mean it’s forever,” Van Regenmorter says. “Couples should not feel guilty and others should not make them feel guilty about not accepting invitations to baby showers and other similar events.”

Pray and Trust God
Befriending an infertile couple doesn’t mean fixing the situation. Only God can work out the plans He has for each family. Yet, giving the situation over to God in prayer is powerful.

Suzanne recalls one friend who let her know she was praying, and that helped Suzanne through an especially difficult day. “One card in particular appeared on our front door the day of our scheduled appointment to try artificial insemination,” Suzanne remembers. “Our friend knew we were scheduled for the appointment and wrote in her note that she’d be on her knees during the time of our doctor’s appointment. It still brings me to tears to think of that note.”

God’s plans for an infertile couple are often beyond our greatest expectations. This year, I’m celebrating with two children, brought into our lives in wonderful and unexpected ways. I’m eternally grateful for them and for the journey that brought me to them.

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Longing for a baby: what my life is like
By MaDonna Medley

(*I’ve added my own words in parentheses. -Mary)

For the past seven years, my husband and I have been trying to start a family. Infertility has been a struggle that I definitely did not ask for, but I am growing stronger because of it.

As a result of our difficult journey, God has led me to minister not only to those who struggle to become parents, but also those who have been blessed with children. My hope and prayer is that I can gently help those who have never experienced infertility to understand what life is like when you are longing for a baby.

To wake me up in the mornings, I need to set an alarm clock because there are no little ones to jump onto my bed urging me to wake up.

I take my time getting ready in the mornings because I don’t have anyone to dress but myself.

Instead of changing dirty diapers, I change a puppy pad. (I change the cat litter.)

Instead of preparing lunch for school, I pour fresh food and water for my dog. (I give my cat fresh food and water.)

Instead of tiny fingerprints on my front door, I have old stains because I haven’t cleaned the glass in a few months.

I have no clue what it’s like to have a dryer full of little clothes that are “so aggravating” to fold.

I don’t have a diaper genie, a changing table, or a crib – only a bunk bed that is filled with junk we pile up throughout the week. (I do have a changing table and crib but the nursery feels so empty without our little girl.)

My picture frames are filled with pictures of friends’ children because I haven’t had an opportunity to capture the beauty in the faces of my own.

My husband and I don’t have any family portraits because we don’t have a “family” (as defined by the world).

We haven’t had our picture taken in eight years because we feel incomplete.

There are no toys filling every area of my living room floor – only dirt dragged in by our shoes.

When I want to have a quiet moment, all I have to do is turn off the television.

The only birthday parties we celebrate are those of other children.

When we go to church, we feel like the “fairly odd couple” because everybody else has something in common.

No, I don’t know what labor pains feel like.

No, I don’t know what it feels like to carry your world in your womb for nine months.

And when I think I might be pregnant, I’m haunted by all of the “negatives” during the past eight years.

I can’t plan children, only “times” to try for them.

I have no more vacation/sick days left at work. (because I’ve used them to get things ready for the adoption, or I feel so down I can’t take a day at work.)

I never hear, “We’re praying for you and believing in you,” but rather “It’ll happen” or “Maybe if you adopt…”

I feel guilty every day. I feel like a failure to God, my husband, my parents, my church, and myself.

I’ve never heard “I love you, Mommy!”

If you have never experienced the pain of infertility, you can’t relate. However, you can pray for us. We long to have what you have. If we don’t congratulate you about your new baby or if we walk out of the room during a baby dedication or an infant baptism, please don’t be offended. These moments remind us of what’s missing in our lives.

Don’t miss an opportunity to hug, kiss, or play with your children. Take advantage of every moment you have with them. Take care of them and raise them to love the Lord. And never miss the opportunity to say to your children, “I love you!”

For those who know what I’m feeling right now, stay strong. Love those who have what you long for. Most important, pray for them. Be happy for them, even when it hurts the most. Trust in Jesus!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Enjoying my time

Well, I'm enjoying my time at home. It's nice to be able to get things done throughout the week and not having to leave everything till the weekend. I do have a "job". I am watching our neighbor's baby. Our neighbor is a teacher and she just started back to work this week after her maternity leave. So this was my first week with her little one. It's been enjoyable taking care of such a little one. Marisa won't be that little when we bring her home, but it does give me the chance to get used to having a little one around.

I'm not really missing teaching. The only thing I miss are my students. Some of them I'd been with since Kindergarten or First grade so it was hard to leave them behind. But it is also a good lesson in adapting to change and being flexible. Life is always bringing changes and we all need to learn to adapt and run with the changes and make the best out of them. I do enjoy being home and not feeling the stress that I felt with teaching.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A new year has begun.....

Well, here we are beginning a new year. Making resolutions to do things differently. Hoping this is the year we will bring our daughter home. The year seems to go by quickly but not when I think of my little girl. I don't want to wish time away but I do want time to pass quickly till she is at home with us. But I know time will not stand still when we have her at home, it will pass by way too quickly and we'll wonder where the time has gone. I look forward to the new year and what it will bring. Hopefully it will bring many wonderful things for many people. Happy New Year to all!!