Monday, May 21, 2012

A Little Chinese

Over a year ago K was born and what a year it has been. As her birth mom's graduation from high school began to near, I tried to think of what to get her as a gift. I asked my husband and we could not come up with anything that we felt would be special enough. Then it came to my attention that over the past year, we have been able to share in so many memories with K and we should share more of those with others. I have a share site for K that we post pictures and milestones on, but I wanted K's birth mom to have something all her own. Something she could take to college with her and look at on days that were hard or days that she missed her family and friends. I remember having a few of those types of days in college and thought that K's cute little sweet face in pictures might just do the trick to make those long, hard days just a little bit easier. I took some of our favorite pictures from across the year and turned them into a book for her. I added special quotes about children and babies that I had found, as well as a few songs lyrics that relate to our unique situation. I had just finished K's baby book from her first year of life and so I used some of the ideas that I put in our own book into her birth mom's book as well. When it arrived in the mail, all bound together as a book, I could hardly wait to open the package. When I did, I realized what a difference a year makes! Never in a million years would I ever have thought that we would have the type of relationship with a birth family like we have. I remember when we first started talking about adoption, I didn't know if I could handle an open adoption. It just seemed odd and not realistic. It sounded painful and full of emotions. But over time, as I learned more about what an open adoption entailed, I figured out that any type of adoption would be painful for all involved and always would be full of emotions, so why not do what research says is best for children and have it be open? The number one question we get about adoption from people is if we ever see or talk to K's birth parents. You can see their faces change to a puzzled look when we tell them that yes, we see them every couple of months and we have been at some pretty major events together as one big extended family. I think some people think it's odd or weird, but to us it has become our new normal. Never, ever will I be sorry or apologize for forming a bond with them because the one who will really benefit from that relationship will be K. She will never have to wonder where she came from, if her birth parents loved her, and she will get to see that we were all there for the most important events in our family's lives, all together as one unit. I am proud to say that her birth mom and I have a bond. I know that things will change as we all grow and time passes, but I am happy to call her my friend. I don't expect people to understand that. I wouldn't have gotten it and really understood what it was like before our adoption either. I get why people are curious and I love to brag about K and her birth mom to anyone that will listen! When thinking about the past year and making the graduation gift, I remembered something interesting that happen almost a year ago. I don't really ever believe in those silly fortunes that come in the cookies at all Chinese places, but last summer we took K out to eat very early on after she was born. My fortune in my cookie that night said "The current year will bring you much happiness". I kept that little slip in my billfold all year and pulled it out on K's birthday to show to my husband. Pretty darn accurate if you ask me! The slip is a little dirty and worn, just like me, but still says the wonderful happy words that it did a year ago. Everytime I've had a bad day, I pull that little slip out and look at it to remind me of all good that has happened. Hopefully K's birth mom will use the book we made her in the very same way and she will have lots to smile about too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pumpkins & Peanuts

Why has it been 8 months since I have posted on this blog? Well too many reasons to explain here, but mostly because our little peanut has been keeping us quite busy.

Being the parent of a 9 month old is all I expected it to be and more. While most days I truly feel blessed for all that I have in my life, there are definitely days that I am exhausted and wonder what happened to my previous life. Where did the days go that I felt sure of myself and knew what each day would bring? What happened to the girl who had time to fix her hair and who didn't forget simple everyday things like mailing in the bills on time? I love being a mom so very much, but there is still part of me that wasn't quite prepared for the role and wasn't ready to give up adult Melissa to become mommy Melissa.

Our little pumpkin brings so much joy to our lives, something that we will forever be grateful for. She also brings a whole new aspect to things like not having any time to ourselves to just be a married couple or time to focus on our own adult lives. While it comes with the territory and we welcome all that comes with being a parent, part of us (or me at least) is sad to leave some things behind.

Leaving things behind seems to be the theme of many things in my life. I have such a hard time with it and it's something that just never gets any easier. When we decided to adopt, I was happy to have something positive to focus on. I didn't want to think about our failed IVF procedures anymore and was looking forward to having something happy come into our lives. When we met our birthfamily and everything seemed to click in place so naturally, it was a dream come true. We had been through so much at that point and the tide started to turn. I was ready to leave all the pain of infertility behind and move on.

Moving on is not always so easy though. Peanut is the best thing to happen to us and never once has our adopting her felt unnatural. It feels as though she is our child and belongs in our family. The past 9 months have just been plain magical and so much more than I would have ever expected. Pumpkin is such a joy, our relationship with our birthfamily has continued to be wonderful, and our family finally feels whole.

So now when the old feelings of grief and frustration about our infertility diagnosis creep up I feel super guilty. I thought I had let all of that go until everyone around me started to get pregnant AGAIN! As anyone that has dealt with infertility or has had trouble getting pregnant can tell you, there is this weird phenomenon that happens to you. Just as you are struggling with your feelings and emotions about all you are going through, suddenly everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) around you starts to announce they are pregnant.

Now that we have our little peanut, I don't mind as much when people tell me they are expecting a baby. I can finally share in their joy and all that is to come for them. I can finally relate to them and can sometimes even give baby advice. Lately though, I have found myself getting upset and emotional again when I am around the friends and coworkers that are currently pregnant. Discussions about ultrasounds, breastfeeding, babies kicking or moving around, etc. seem to be all that I hear. I try to focus on everything positive in my life and of course I feel so lucky to have been able to adopt, but once again, I find myself grieving the things that I did not get to experience with Pumpkin. I did not get to feel her kick inside me or bond with her while breastfeeding. I did not get to experience what it feels like to be in labor with her or feel what it's like to have your body change when a life is growing inside of you.

All of those things I hope to someday still experience, but I don't know that I ever will. Will I ever feel like I measure up to other moms and women in my life that did give birth to their own children? Probably not. Do I feel like less of a mom because we adopted and my friends and coworkers did not? Yes, every day. Do I think these are things that are normal to feel? Yes, but it still is very hard.

While many things in life are hard and I know that, one thing I know that is easy is loving our little peanut. While I may not have given birth to her and now have to deal with the feelings that come post adoption, that doesn't change how much I love her. I love her more than I ever thought humanly possible. She has changed my life and made it so much more meaningful. While I am still sad about what we went through on our journey to becoming parents, I honestly wouldn't change any of it because if I did then we wouldn't have Pumpkin in our life now.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kennedy Elizabeth

When we arrived at the hospital, we went to the room where our birth mom was staying. She had some pain medication and was doing well. Her family was there with her and it was great to know that they were so supportive of her. What a special family they were!

Our room wasn't cleaned and ready yet, so they were nice enough to let us be in their room with them. We talked and chatted while we waited for it to be time for the baby to actually come. Everyone at the hospital was so nice and the nurses were great. They were all so respectful of us as the adoptive parents and I was really impressed with how the hospital was so sensitive with everything since they knew an adoption was taking place.

After several hours of waiting, it was time for the pushing to begin. We were not in the room when our baby was born, but we were right outside the door with some of the birth mom's family. We heard it when the baby came out screaming and everyone that was waiting in the hallway started crying. It was one big emotional mess out there!

Our baby girl Kennedy Elizabeth arrived at 3:48 PM on May 3. She was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen! We knew that our baby girl would be pretty since both of her birth parents were good looking people, but never thought she would be as beautiful as she was! What a blessing to have a healthy baby arrive and be able to experience it all with her birth family.

After a few days in the hospital, Kennedy was ready to go home with us. We had spent the entire hospital visit with the birth family and got to know them so much better. They got to meet some of our family as well and everyone seemed to really get along. There was nothing weird or uncomfortable about the situation. We wanted to be really respectful of our birth family and make sure that they got to have lots of private time with Kennedy. We exchanged special gifts with them and decided together that when we left the hospital, we would not say goodbye. We would just say "see you later" as we knew that we wanted to have visits with them in the future.

The day that Kennedy was being released from the hospital was an emotional day. I was so excited to take her home, but scared at the same time. I was also very emotional thinking about our birth family and knowing how hard it would be for them to watch us leave with Kennedy. It was a very smooth process and when we left the hospital and loaded Kennedy into our car, we all hugged and cried. We reminded each other that we would not be saying good bye. My heart broke for them as we were getting ready to leave, but I also knew that they were strong people and would be okay. Kennedy's birth mom had a look on her face that I will never forget and we asked her if she wanted to get in the car and give Kennedy one last kiss. She did and I'm so glad she did because I wouldn't have wanted our hospital stay to end any other way.

It's been 7 weeks since that day and our story in no way, shape, or form ends here. Over the past 7 weeks, we have formed such a great relationship with both birth parents and their families. Each are very different and special in their own way. Open adoptions often seem odd to people on the outside and until you have experienced one first hand, you really don't know what they are like.

We think that our situation is so special and when people ask us about visiting with our birth family and communicating with them often, they think it's odd that we are so open with them. People don't understand our relationship and that's okay. The relationship we have with them is private and our own to hold on to and we don't expect people to get what it's all about. They are like an extension of our own family and I'm sure the relationship will change and grow over the years.

We've always said that a child can't have too many people that love them, so to include Kennedy's two birth families in her life just seems like the right thing to do. She will never have to wonder where she came from or if her birth mom and dad loved her. She will always be able to get answers to questions about her adoption from us and that will make her a happier, healthier child as she grows up. We can't wait to share her with her birth parents as she grows because if it weren't for them, she wouldn't even be here. They have given us a gift that we couldn't give ourselves and for that, we will always be grateful.

I pray for Kennedy's birth parents each and every night. I pray that they someday know what a special thing they did for us. I pray that they will someday have families of their own and be able to reach all their goals and fulfill all of their dreams. I pray that they forever hold Kennedy Elizabeth in their hearts, as we hold them in ours. I thank God for bringing them & Kennedy into our lives for our lives are better now that they are all in it.

Anxiously Waiting

At the end of our dinner with our birth mom and her parents, they asked us if we would like to come to her next ultrasound. I personally was so excited to go because the only ultrasounds I had ever had were for things having to do with our IVF procedures and I really wanted to see the other side of things not dealing with infertility. We were very taken aback that they even wanted to include us in that experience and it just showed us once again what nice people they were.

The day of the ultrasound I left work early and Eric skipped out on track practice to be there. It was really important to us that we be there to support the birth family because we knew that it was just as hard for them to be in this situation as it was for us. They too had been on a difficult journey to get to this point...a very different journey then us, but a difficult one no less.

The ultra sound went really well. It was fun to see our baby on the screen, but I teared up a bit just out of wanting it to be me on the table, not our birth mom. It was just one more thing that I wasn't going to be able to do. I wanted more than anything to be at an ultrasound because I was carrying our own child and I was surprised at the emotions that came up again being in those offices. I felt guilty having tears rolling down my face knowing that I should be really excited and happy that our birth family was even allowing us to be at the appointment with them.

At the end of the appointment, the birth family let us have the ultra sound pictures to keep. I felt bad taking them because it all still felt surreal and didn't quite feel like our baby yet. It was like taking something important away from them and I didn't want to do that at all! We did end up taking the pictures and now I am glad we did because we will have them forever and can share them in the future with our baby.

As we were talking and getting ready to leave, we decided that we wanted to tell them the name we had chosen. They told us at our initial meeting what the sex of the baby was, but we had decided to keep it a secret from our family and friends. We wanted to surprise them at the birth and wanted to have something to hang on to as our own until the baby was born. I remember telling our birth family the baby's name and seeing the smile on our birthmom's face made me know that we had chosen a good one! They really liked the name and that made us feel good. We felt like we were all on the same page and could continue to move forward with the process.

Sometime between the ultrasound and the birth, we again met for dinner. This time we met our birthmom's aunt and uncle. It was great to meet more of their family and know that she had such a support system behind her. Every time we were around them, I was reminded that she was only 17. I kept thinking about what I was doing when I was her age and I'm not sure I could have handled this type of situation as well as she was. She seemed to be doing really well, but I know that going to school each day and being around her friends while pregnant could not have been easy. I wanted to reassure her that everything would be okay and we would be there to support her, but we didn't know her that well yet and I didn't want to overstep our boundaries. I so wanted to just hug her tight and tell her how proud I was of her for the decision she was making. I did finally hug her at one point (can't remember when) and told her some of the things I had been wanting to say for a long time.

There was only about a month or so between the time that we met the family and when the baby was due. We had just enough time to finish our nursery and begin to gather the things we would need to have for the baby when we came home from the hospital. At first I thought we wouldn't have enough time to get ready, but now looking back, it was the perfect amount of time. I don't think I could have waited much longer, so it worked out well!

With a social worker from our agency, the birth family made a hospital plan. They were kind enough to include us on the plan and we would be able to have our own room and be notified by a nurse when she went into labor. When the due date got close, we started taking our phones to bed with us and I kept my phone out on my desk at school. I always had it on vibrate so that it wouldn't disrupt my classroom. It was SO hard to not look at it every second to see if we had a message!

Then one day I was just teaching and going about my everyday classroom business when for some reason I decided to look at my phone. It had buzzed but I didn't hear it because my kindergarteners were loud and busy working. I didn't recognize the number, but there was a message so I checked it. It was a nurse from the hospital calling to say that our birthmom had gone into labor and that we could come to the hospital now. The birth was not imminent, but we needed to come as soon as we could.

I quickly tried to get a hold of my husband at his school, but didn't get an answer on his cell phone. I left my class with another teacher and ran down to my principal's office to see who could cover my class. She said she would call over to my husband's school for me. She called and we finally got a hold of him after several minutes of waiting. My principal told me not to worry about my class and to go ahead and leave. I was shaking, shaking, shaking. Here was the moment we had been waiting for and I was scared out of my mind! I met my husband at home, we quick threw some things in a bag, and headed up to the hospital. We tried to hurry, but also didn't want to get a speeding ticket! It seemed like the longest drive ever. I just wanted to get there before our baby was born.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Answering the Call

My last post was in mid March and since then so very much has happened. I have been asked soooo many times when I was going to update my blog and I have an extremely good reason why it's taken me so long. Read on and you will learn why...

After all we'd been through over the winter, Eric and I decided that over our spring break in March we would take a little trip to Chicago just to get away and have some quality time together. At the advice of a social worker from our adoption agency, we decided to take a weekend trip and do some things that wouldn't be as easy to do once we received a placement. It really gave us something to look forward to as well, so we booked a hotel right off of Michigan Ave. and planned to go see some of the things we didn't get to see on our last trip there like Navy Pier, the Hancock Building, and eating REAL deep dish pizza at Gino's East.

A few days before spring break, the phone rang and it was again our adoption agency. Every time I would see their number come up on my phone, I was nervous to answer because you just never knew what they were going to say or ask. This time it was a good thing I answered the phone because another expectant mother had looked at our book and wanted to meet us.

We were so excited to get another call, but knew that things may not work out like we wanted to like our last experience. The social worker gave us a little bit of information about the situation and then let us decide if we wanted to come to the offices to meet. We didn't really have to think long because we already knew that we did not want to throw away any opportunities.

We agreed on a day and time to meet at the agency and had a few days from the call until the meeting would occur. We again told our family what was happening and everyone started praying and hoping just like they always did for us. We were reluctant to tell too many people that someone had asked to meet us, so we did keep it pretty quiet. I didn't even tell my closest coworkers or friends for fear that I would jinx it!

The day finally came for us to meet the expectant mother, her parents, the birth father, and his parents. Because of their young age, their families were very involved in the process. We were nervous to meet so many people for the first time. We knew that they had read our book and obviously liked us enough to want to meet with us, but we knew very little about them. It was almost like a blind date. We really didn't know what to expect, but walked into the meeting with confidence. We talked on the way up to the offices that we were going to just be ourselves and show them what we are really about. We wanted to make sure they knew how down to earth we are and how much we were looking forward to being parents someday.

I will never forget walking in to the room and they were all sitting around one big table. Eric and I sat at one end of the table where everyone could just stare at us if they wanted to. I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest, but then we all just starting talking. The expectant mom's parents had questions they had prepared to ask us and we answered all of them as best we could. As they were asking questions and we were answering, we felt the conversation turn from being sort of like an interview, to just talking to each other and getting to know more about everyone in the room.

The meeting lasted quite awhile and we were super impressed by both of the teenagers and their parents. It was quite evident that they came from good homes, were active in school and sports, and had plans and goals for their futures. Their families had thought through the option of adoption and knew that was the choice they wanted to make.

When the meeting was done and it was time to say goodbye, we all hugged each other. We had talked about so many things while in that room together and it felt almost like talking with our own families. I was so impressed by everyone that my heart was filled to the brim with hope that they would choose us. I will never ever forget walking out of the building to our jeep and looking at Eric. The smile on his face was unforgettable and he looked right at me and said, "This is it. I have a good feeling about this and this is meant to be."

All we could talk about on the ride home was the families and how much we had in common with them and what an ideal situation it was. It was almost too good to be true. We were crossing our fingers already that they would officially choose us to adopt their baby. We weren't even halfway home on the interstate when the social worker called to see how we thought it went. She told us that the families really liked us and asked how we felt about potentially moving forward with them. Of course we wanted to and we were thrilled that they liked us as much as we liked them!

Emails were exchanged and soon after the meeting we began communicating with them. The birth mother's parents wanted to meet with us for dinner so we could get to know each other better and we agreed that we would like to do the same. We set up a time to meet before we left for our trip to Chicago. When we did meet them for dinner, it was like we had known them forever. We talked for so long that our dinner lasted about 4 or 5 hours I think! When it was time to go, we again all hugged and talked about how this situation was working out well and how much we were glad to have found each other.

I could hardly believe that we were going to get a baby and I REALLY couldn't believe how nice the birth family was. It was like God made us wait because he knew all along that there was a family out there that would be perfect for us. He really couldn't have picked a better family to help us become our own little family as well.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How Time Flies

So someone asked me not that long ago if I was still writing on my blog. Well, as you can see, I haven't posted anything since last June. I guess the answer to that question would be a big fat no! I decided today though that I would write a little update since so much has happened.

I have to really think back to all that has happened since June. Let's see...we had a really fun, relaxing summer, full of good times. Then school started and we completed our home study with our adoption agency. That was quite a process, but we are really lucky to have a wonderful social worker (Amy) that is in charge of our case. After Amy came to do her last visit to our home, she told us we passed with flying colors. What a relief that was! The home study was finalized and signed off by the state in October. Then we began the dreaded waiting period.

Waiting for a placement was something neither one of us was really looking forward to. It's a time period where everyone and their dog asks you how the process is going, all of the people around you either get pregnant or give birth, and you just continue to smile, say everything is fine, and explain that you are still, still, still waiting, waiting, waiting. It's a time filled with hopefulness, nervousness, and a lot of patience, which I do not have a lot of. One would think that teaching kindergarten would have taught me how to be extremely patient, but not in this case. I found myself everyday checking my phone and my email for just one glimmer of hope or information.

In November things started to turn around. We were very busy with work and then one day UIHC called to say that we were on the top of the donor embryo list. It was finally our turn! We made the required appointment at the clinic. During our appointment, I again had to get poked in all areas, we had to take a weird psychological test, and we also got to look at the donor profiles. It took about 4 hours in all and we came away with a lot of information about the procedure and even got to pick out what donors we wanted to use. We were so excited to finally be moving in the direction of possibly becoming parents. Sometime during that day, I turned to Eric and said that now that we were doing this procedure, of course the agency was going to call and tell us that a birthmom wanted to meet us. We laughed about how that would be just our luck and then what would we do?!

Well, literally one hour after returning home from the clinic, that is exactly what happened. We were standing in the living room of our neighbor's house when my phone rang and it was a social worker from our agency calling to say that a young teenage girl had looked at our profile and wanted to meet us in a few days. My mouth about fell to the floor! I turned to Eric and told him that he was not going to believe what just happened. Talk about shock!

After much thought, we decided to meet with the young couple who had requested to meet with us. We knew there was a chance that the embryo procedure might not work and we didn't want to turn away meeting a birthmom when we had already been waiting so long. We decided that if nothing else, we would get our first meeting out of the way. If she chose us, then we would deal with that when it happened.

A few days later we met with the young couple. It was an interesting meeting to say the least! Not knowing what that type of meeting would be like, we really didn't know what to expect. The young mom was due around Christmas and she was having a girl. The idea of having a little baby around for the holidays seemed like the best Christmas gift we could ever get! After talking for a little over an hour, we left not really knowing how we felt about the whole thing. We didn't really connect with the couple, but didn't know if we were really supposed to. Something in our gut told us that maybe this couple wasn't the right fit for us. We knew we would be connected for life to the couple since our adoption will be open and we were not super comfortable with the whole situation. It gave us a lot to think about, but we did feel like we were lucky to still have the option of the embryo transfer.

Thanksgiving was the following week and of course we talked a lot with our families about the meeting. Everyone agreed that maybe this wasn't the right situation and things would work out the way that God wanted them to. A couple of weeks later we found out that the young couple had decided to parent on their own and I often wonder how they are doing today.

Somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I got one of the most devastating phone calls. The clinic called and said that they had again spoken with our insurance and that we would be responsible for far more money then was previously told to us. The procedure was going to be extremely expensive and we would be expected to pay the money upfront before the embryo transfer was done. I was shopping at the time and immediately drove home and told Eric the news. All the money we had saved up towards an adoption would now have to be used for the embryo transfer. What if the procedure didn't work? Then we would not have any money to use to adopt. We had to have insurance money in order to move forward with the procedure and now that was gone. We cried and cried and cried. Why was everything always so hard for us? Why did it seem that just when good things were happening, everything had to come crashing down?

From the very beginning of our journey to becoming parents, Eric and I had always said that we never wanted money to be the reason to stop us. Now here we were, faced with the very thing we were the most afraid of. I was so pissed that someone sitting in an office somewhere at an insurance company was going to keep me from ever giving birth to a child. I couldn't believe that with everything we had already gone through that this was happening to us. I remember going to school the next day and crying with my coworkers. They hugged me and I cried more. I remember telling them that I just wanted to be a mom and I didn't understand why the world wasn't allowing me to do that.

For days I felt like the world was against us. Now not only did the young couple not choose us, but we didn't even have the embryo transfer to look forward to. Christmas was right around the corner and I was super grouchy. I felt like all I did was wear my crabby pants every single day. Winter break and a few days off of work couldn't
come fast enough.

While on Christmas break, I began to feel a little bit better. I decided to continue to have a positive attitude and thanks to Eric, I convinced myself that good things were to come. Then two people close to us announced they were pregnant and I was right back in my hole of depression. I hated being upset about it when I should be happy for them. Of course I was excited for their news, but I was also mad that it wasn't happening to us. It's so exhausting being happy and sad at the same time. I can't begin to explain how often that has happened to us and I was just tired of having to act like everything was okay. While at my in-laws for Christmas, I sat upstairs in the guest room crying by myself. It was just too much to take and I needed a break.

In January we went to a couple of trainings with our agency. It was really great to be around other couples in the same situation as us. It made us feel a little more normal and we could talk about things and not feel like no one understood. Just being in the same room as other adoptive couples made me feel better because I knew that we were not alone.

In April it will have been a year since we started the adoption process and over 5 years that we have been trying to become parents. I have learned so much about myself, the strength of our marriage, and life in general during all of this. I can't say that I ever thought this would be the path we would be taking, but I can say that I am glad to be on this journey with such a strong, supportive husband. Eric is going to be one heck of a father someday and I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be an awesome mother as well. Our future baby is going to be pretty darn lucky to have us and we will have such a story to tell them about how they came to be part of our family!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tiny Shining Light

The end of the school year was so busy, that I didn't even have time for myself, let alone time to write on this blog. The month of June has been busy too, but busy in a much different way.

At the beginning of the month, my husband and I took a much needed vacation to the northwest US to visit his aunt in Vancouver, Washington. While we were there, we did so many fun things and saw so many great places. We visited Seattle, Portland, and the Oregon coast. It was a week full of early morning car rides and late evenings arriving back home, but well worth it. I got to cross a few things off of my bucket list like, visiting Oregon and Washington (two of the four states I have not visited & now I just have Alaska and Hawaii left), getting my husband to attend musical theatre (we saw Putnam County Spelling Bee & it was hilarious), and watching Cirque Du Soleil (we attended Kooza...SO AWESOME). It was sometime during our trip that I realized that we have a pretty awesome life together. Even though the past few years have been full of heartache and frustration, we are very lucky to have each other and are fortunate to be able to do such fun things together. I realized that not everyone gets to marry and spend their life with their best friend and that is not something that I should take for granted. My husband and I experienced so many new things together on our vacation, that it will be a hard trip to top in the future.

Soon after arriving home from our trip, I met my friend for lunch and shopping at the local outlet mall. It was so good to catch up with her and have a little girl time together. Of course the conversation turned to her son, which she lost last winter. I suddenly found myself giving her advice about dealing with loss based on what my family went through when my mom passed away. That was very odd for me, but it made me realize that it's okay to talk about my mom and it made me feel good to actually speak her name. Why in the world have I not done that before with my closet and dearest friends? Weird I know, but hopefully I will continue to do it in the future and soon maybe talking about my mom will get a little easier.

This month we also finally began to do some decorating around our house. My husband finally got to hang all of his Iowa wrestling stuff in our garage since we finally got around to painting the inside of it. He told me once it was all done that it was just like he wanted it and he had always dreamed of having a garage just like ours. Who knew that a garage would make him so happy! We also recently painted our livingroom/kitchen. I got the chance to decorate it just like I had always wanted and for days now, my husband has been complimenting it and telling me how nice it looks. Again, having our house turn into a real home makes me realize how lucky we are to even have our house. We have a wonderful home that we get to share together and hopefully fill with children someday.

Speaking of children, this month we also moved forward with the adoption process. We passed the informal stage with flying colors and moved on to the formal application stage. It took a few weeks to gather all of the information needed for our application, but we again passed it with flying colors. Now we are awaiting paperwork to begin our home study. So far it's been a smooth process and one that we are ready to take on full force. We are still on a waiting list at UIHC for embryo donation and recently we were told that we are now the 3rd name on list one. That is good news and it gives us hope that someday we WILL have a child of our very own.

The whole month of June has been a huge eye opener for me. This summer has been so much fun and VERY different then last summer, which was filled with horrible news and just plain sucked for us. This summer I have been keeping a positive attitude about whatever comes my way and it seems to be helping. I have been exercising 3 times a week and that has been helping too. I have been focusing on the more important things in life and that has REALLY been helping a lot! I can see a tiny little light at the end of the tunnel and I know for sure now that good things are definitely in store for us in the future.