Archive | March, 2015

pursuing parenthood part 2

31 Mar

So, let me start with the fertility piece since that is where we got started.

Arturo and I have never thought that we would ever consider IVF. The biggest reason was always the cost. We never even gave it much room as a topic of conversation. It was not going to be an option for us. Also, we didn’t think that we would have to go this route. We didn’t know what the problem was, or if there was a problem, but we didn’t think we would be told IVF was our only option for conception.

Surprisingly when we attended Dr. Magarelli’s seminar on November 14th,  we left with a very different perspective.

First of all, he made it clear that anyone who became a patient of his would undergo thorough and extensive testing to diagnose any problems that may be keeping us from conceiving. He wouldn’t just weigh me and say, “Sorry. You’re too fat. That’s the only problem.”   So, that was a positive right away from the start.

Also, he said the whole testing process would only take about 6 weeks and then we would be given a treatment plan. We liked that too.

He spent a lot of time talking about IVF and his fees versus other clinic’s fees. He only charges $4800 for basic IVF and $8000 for IVF with comprehensive chromosomal screening. That is a lot of money, sure. But, when you look at other clinics charging $20,000 for basic and $40,000-$60,000 for CCS, it seems cheap. There would still be fees for medications, but he said he had a pharmacy that had agreed to cut their costs as well so that patients weren’t paying more for medications than they were paying for the actual procedure.

He was very straightforward and we liked that. The basic  message we took from him was this. “I’m rich. I don’t need anymore money. I would rather be able to help 18/20 people than 2/20 people and I will still make more money that way.”

We left there feeling very encouraged and agreed that if IVF was our only option, we would at least be able to consider it. We had never felt that way before. We still had no idea where the money would come from, but his fees seemed a lot more attainable.

We began testing the very next week and were all finished up just before Christmas. The testing consisted of physicals and blood work for both of us. Arturo had to do a semen analysis and I had to have a couple of procedures to check my fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. Nothing too painful or difficult.

I remained nervous through all the tests. I was so scared what they would find, what they would say.

His office was closed for two weeks for Christmas, so we had to wait until the middle of January to hear what the treatment plan would be. In some ways I was glad for the waiting period, but in other ways, it was rough. I thought about it all the time. It was impossible not to.

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pursuing parenthood part 1

30 Mar

Once it became absolutely clear that my friend was not going to follow through with us adopting her unborn baby,  we knew it was time to keep moving.

Well, Arturo knew this more than I did. See, for me, it just felt easier to not face anything. I felt like I couldn’t be an active participant in us becoming parents. Instead, I wanted to sit around and whine and cry and have a pity party.

Not Arturo. He said, “You want kids in this house? Then, let’s DO something about it.”

Ugh. I knew he was right. But I just wanted to sit and wait for something to happen. Even though it wasn’t.

I guess I was still waiting for God to open up the heavens,  come down, look me in the face and say, “This is what you should do.”

But, that wasn’t happening either . He doesn’t always operate like that. So, I was stuck. Thank goodness for a husband who was unstuck.

So, after some nudging and encouragement, he helped me move forward and we took action.

A friend had told me about a fertility Doctor in Colorado Springs. I was really scared to go. The last advice I had gotten from our Doctor in South Dakota was that I was too fat. She said if I didn’t lose 5-10% of my body weight, I would never have anymore babies. So, I lost the weight. I kept it off for six months. And I still wasn’t pregnant. I didn’t want to hear that advice from another Doctor. I also didn’t want to hear anything worse than that. I didn’t want to know that there was a problem that had no solution.

On November 14th, we attended a free fertility seminar with Dr. Magarelli in Colorado Springs.

We also started talking about doing more research on adopting through the foster care system.

On December 2nd, we attended an orientation with Project 1.27 in Denver.

We decided to get the ball rolling in as many directions as possible and see what God would do.

4 years and counting

23 Mar

For those that don’t know me, I like to be in control of my life and everything in it. I struggle very much with giving up control. I need to have a plan of attack and be able to see what the outcome will be in every situation.

That is what I thought marriage would look like. Funny,  right? Well, I honestly thought that I knew exactly what our marriage would be like and that I would be able to control every aspect of it.

Now, four years in, I realize how glad I am that I was wrong. God’s plan for our marriage has been ten times better than mine and could have ever been.

If I had been in control, we would have had at least two kids by now. We probably would still be living in South Dakota. And, I probably wouldn’t have gotten  to spend as much time getting to know Arturo. We have had an amazing four years together, just us two. And I love him now so much more than I ever thought possible. We have been through the fire together and we came out alive. There were days when I wouldn’t have survived without his support. I would have given up.

I am so glad that God is smarter than me. I think that is the biggest lesson I have learned from my marriage. I  will try not to forget it.

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change of heart

17 Mar

I have had a desire to adopt for as long as I can remember. I literally cannot remember a time, even in my childhood, that I didn’t hope to adopt someday. I always knew I wanted to have biological children, but I wanted to adopt as well. As a child, my dream was to adopt a baby from Africa.

Pretty amazing that God picked out a husband for me who was himself adopted from a Guatemalan orphanage. And, for obvious reasons, he too has a strong desire to adopt a child in need. He was obsessed (well, still is) with Jackie Chan when he was a kid and so combine that obsession with his heart for adoption, and he wanted to adopt a boy from China.

So fast forward to our married life. Even before we conceived Angel, we talked about adoption. We both knew that we wanted to adopt and we had a strong desire to pursue international adoption. Our dream had changed slightly, though. We wanted to adopt from a Spanish speaking country. I thought I still wanted to adopt a baby, and Arturo still wanted to adopt an older child.

About a year after Angel’s death, we met with an adoption agency to discuss international adoption from a Latin American country. Guatemala is now a closed country, but there are some other options, and so we were considering those.

What we discovered was discouraging. First of all, the cost is anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000. Second of all, the process can take years. And, third, most of the countries have a requirement for at least one parent to stay in their country with the child for six months before you can go home to the United States. Some countries require both parents to be in their country for the whole time.

Umm…it seemed the only way we could move forward with this type of adoption would be if we became unexpectedly wealthy. Since we didn’t see that happening anytime soon, we put the idea on the backburner.

We discussed domestic adoption with the agency as well, but my heart simply was not ready. There are so many laws giving birth mothers the right to change their mind. I didn’t think I could stand it if a week after a baby was placed in my arms, the mother changed her mind, and they came and took the baby away.

For this same reason, I was 100% sure that I would never be interested in foster care. No way. Not gonna happen. You can never change my mind. I can’t do it. I won’t do it. Don’t ask again. MOVING ON.

I have this image of God when he hears me say NO to something. He is laughing. He thinks I am hilarious. And you know what He does next, right? He begins to work in my heart and prove to me that His ways are better than my ways.

Not long after we moved to Colorado, my heart started to soften towards the thought of foster care. Arturo and I discussed it some and we both agreed it would be something we should pursue. But, we didn’t. See, for myself, I knew God was leading me towards foster care, but I was still scared.

Maybe you wonder what my fears are with foster care. Well, there is only one.  I am not scared of what type of homes the children would come from. I am not scared of what abuse they may have suffered. I am not afraid of any health issues or emotional issues.

I am only afraid of loss. I know that there would be no way for me to not invest 100% of myself into a hurting child. I would be unable to protect my heart. AND, if they came and said I had to send that child back into the bad situation it came from, how would I deal with that? A heart can only stand so much loss, right?

Mine had already suffered the loss that no mother should have to bear.

But, with the loss of Angel, I at least knew that he was in heaven with Jesus. With the loss of a foster child, I would have no clue if the child was safe, or happy, or loved. It would just be loss.

I stayed stuck here for a couple months before I realized I could no longer deny what God was saying. He was telling me that I was right. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take it. I probably wouldn’t survive it. But, if I let Him help me, in His power, I could do all things.

I met a woman at church who was pursuing adoption through the state foster care program. She was working with a Christian organization called Project 1.27 that was based out of Denver. She said that had been her starting point and so I decided to do some research.

Arturo and I talked about going to their orientation to learn more about them and the process, but we couldn’t find time in our schedules. Well, we didn’t make time. Then, my friend had contacted me about the possible adoption of her baby and so we delayed the whole process yet again.

But, God wasn’t done working in me. I began to realize my adoption dream was changing into something I never imagined. I had wanted to adopt a baby ever since I was practically a baby myself. But, now, I realized I wanted to adopt older children. Actually, I wanted to adopt a sibling group of older children. I felt strongly that this is where the need was. Arturo agreed wholeheartedly. And, so this is where our heart is now.

This post has gotten long, so I’ll stop her for now. But, this dream and this journey are far from over. It’s just beginning. I’ll share more soon.

letter to my grief

12 Mar

Dear Grief,

Surprised to hear from me? I know you are aware I’ve been trying to avoid you lately. But, I am realizing, yet again, that no matter how hard I try to ignore you, you just won’t go away. You are like the uninvited house guest that has overstayed your welcome. I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s true.

Maybe you will always be near me. But, the hard part is that sometimes I think you’ve left and then BOOM you come out of nowhere and totally catch me off guard. That’s when I realize you never left at all.

Please just tell me one thing. Will it always be this way? Have I just been fooling myself into thinking I am moving forward? Isn’t it enough already? Okay. That’s more than one question. Sorry.

I know you are necessary. And, I know it’s better if I acknowledge you. It has always been my natural inclination to avoid pain, though. I mean, I DID allow you to walk hand in hand with me for a very long time. I had to. I guess I needed you then. But, I don’t feel like I do now. Am I wrong? Will I always need you? Because I don’t want you.

It has been almost three years since you came into my life in such a deeply personal way. I mean sure, I knew you before, but not like this. In the past when we met, you didn’t linger so long. You came and went and I found a way to move on. But, not now. You just won’t leave. One thing is for sure, our relationship has changed me.

I guess if I’m being honest, it hasn’t been all bad. I’ve become stronger because of you. I’m more compassionate. I love deeper. I cherish moments, family and friends in ways that I never did before. I try to live with no regrets and to take risks. I have learned to veer away from my planner and to just let life happen. And, most importantly, my faith has grown.

So, I guess you are gonna stay around huh? Well, I will work harder not to ignore you. I see now that you have made me a better person. I just wish it didn’t have to hurt so badly. I’m sick of the tears. I’m sick of the longing. But, I’m sure you know that.

We’ll talk soon.

A Grieving Mother,

Amanda

let the little ones come

9 Mar

It has been months since I have posted anything new.  I haven’t had any new insights or revelations and we have been going through some personal stuff that I have been trying to process and sort out, so I guess I have been keeping to myself.  But, I am ready to share about some of the things that have been going on with us and some events that are currently in process.

I posted last year about how God had taken me out of a place of restlessness and desperation for a baby and brought me instead to a feeling of complete peace and satisfaction with my current family.  This was in May of 2014.  I was feeling so content in knowing that if Arturo was the only family God would give me, that I could be completely okay with that.  I was still believing God to keep all His promises to us, I just didn’t feel this total overwhelming anxiety about not being pregnant.

Just two months later, In July, I got a phone call from a friend of mine who is a single mom to two beautiful kids.  She had gotten herself into some legal trouble and was facing prison time.  On top of that, she was pregnant again.  I hadn’t heard from her in months, which is pretty normal for our relationship.  Whenever things are going badly in her life, she pulls away from me and cuts off contact.  Those are the times I know it is important to be diligent to pray for her daily.  God has given me such a heart for this friend of mine and I love her dearly.  It has been very hard to watch her go through so many difficult situations and to know that I could do nothing to make her want a better life for herself and her kids.  So, I pray.

When she told me she was pregnant, I was shocked and a little upset.  But, what came next shook me to the core.  She told me that she knew she couldn’t have anymore kids and that she wanted Arturo and I to adopt her baby.  Also, she wanted us to take temporary custody of her two older children if she indeed did have to go to prison.  This was a lot to digest.  It was so hard to believe that two months prior, God had given me a revelation and peace about my current family situation, and NOW, I was being asked to take on three children.  It seemed too good to be true.

Arturo and I spent some time talking and praying over the decision, and in the end, even though we had some doubts and fears, we told her yes.  Ultimately, we knew that adoption could never be a bad decision.  Scary maybe, yes.  But, God tells us to take care of the orphans and so if that is what we were being asked to do, we would obey.

Members of our family and her family expressed concern that we should not get our hopes up and that we should not put our trust in her to follow-through with the adoption.  I understood them all feeling this way.  I wasn’t sure myself.  But, God had filled me with a great peace regarding the situation.  I just really believed, and still do, that God was going to honor my friend’s decision to carry her baby despite difficult circumstances.   And, that no matter what happened, He would bless my friend and take care of her baby.

And that is what has happened.

Over the next couple of months, I communicated with my friend often.  She mailed me a picture from the first ultrasound and even asked if she could come live with us until the baby was born.  Due to her legal situation being so up in the air, that didn’t end up happening, but during every conversation we had she continued to reassure me that, “This is not my baby.  This is your baby.  I’m not going to change my mind.”  And, I continued to feel at peace and tell her that we would be here for her no matter what and would not be mad at her if she did change her mind.

Some good things were happening in her life. She had moved near her family and had gotten involved with a great church. Also, by the grace of God, all of her criminal charges were dropped and she wasn’t going to have to serve any prison time. This was truly a miracle.

I started to sense a real shift in her around October. We were still talking, just not as often. And, she had stopped referring to the baby as being “your baby.” Then, she posted a pregnancy announcement on Facebook and I knew in my heart that even if she didn’t fully know it yet, she was keeping the baby.

Something my brother told me when I first discussed the possibility of adoption kept coming back to me. He told me that ultimately, the very best thing would be for my friend to become the mother God wanted her to be and for her to keep the baby. I knew that was exactly true and it seemed like it was just what was happening.

I also can’t imagine what it would be like to carry a baby and give it up for adoption. It would be such a sacrifice and I did not take that lightly at all. I did not blame her at all for changing her mind because that is ultimately what did happen.

It was a little hard for me when she eventually did communicate that she was going to keep the baby. But, God really did protect my heart from getting broken and it has since allowed us to move on to the pursuit of parenting through other avenues (which I will elaborate on in future posts).

My friend was pretty closed off from me for the last few months of her pregnancy. I did get a text from her when her baby was born in February. I believe her and the kids are doing well and I continue to keep her and her little ones in my prayers.

I wanted to share about this while it was happening, but I honestly didn’t know what was happening. And now, I share it just as a pretext to what comes next. I will post again real soon.

“Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world.”  James 1:27, The Voice

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