Thursday, December 27, 2012

Got Breastmilk?

Hope everyone had a great Christmas! Ryan and I celebrated our anniversary, we have been able to catch up with old friends, and of course spend time with our families. It's been a wonderful week. :) Anyway, on to adoption things! 

The short answer to that short question is "no"! ;) I strongly considered breastfeeding when I found out that it is possible to stimulate lactation even if a woman is not pregnant. I started researching on my own, so that I would be somewhat educated on the subject before I spoke to a lactation consultant (Are you surprised? lol). Without getting into too much detail, the methods involve a combination of pumping,  physical stimulation from the baby once they're born, and hormones. I was ok with pumping and physical stimulation, but neither of those seemed to be productive without taking hormones to help things along. That was a red flag for me. I was on hormones for more than a year, and I'm simply not going to take them any more. So breastfeeding was bound to be more of a challenge as a result of that stance. Then I had the meltdown a couple weeks ago about adoption being hard. That sealed the deal the for me. :) I am going to have a lot of adoption-related things on my mind and heart when Elliana is born, on top of the natural whirlwind that comes with being a first time mom. Breastfeeding for someone who has been pregnant is difficult as it is (so I hear), and I don't even have milk ready to give! I would be setting myself up for a lot of stress, and it is not the road we want to go down. I am so happy with that decision and glad that I have one less thing to think about now. whew! :)

A positive aspect of not breastfeeding is that Ryan gets the experience of feeding her too. We're both looking forward to this, for one-on-one bonding purposes and also the sheer practicality of it. During his two weeks off, we will be able to split the night shifts and get more sleep as a result. No complaints here! ;)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hospital Planning

Last Thursday I did the hospital tour with Q, which was really nice. She tends to leave the talking to others in group settings, so it was great to get some solid one-on-one time with her. And getting a tour of the hospital allowed me to visualize the setting and meet some of the staff that will be taking care of us when Ellie comes. They seem to be very helpful, and adoption friendly. :) The only somewhat odd thing is that there isn't a nursery at the hospital. Which means that baby is with mom during the entire hospital stay. That set up works fine for typical births, but it makes things a little complicated for adoptions. Our social worker, Anita, said that it is not uncommon for the hospital to give the adopting family a room of their own. This provides privacy for both the couple and the birthmom, while still allowing them to be close to each other and the baby. Assuming that the hospital is making an effort to accommodate the adoption as much as possible, it will still depend on room availability. This is something that you can be praying for as we approach the due date. Q has asked that I take care of Elliana during her 1-2 night stay at the hospital. The ideal scenario is that Ryan and I would be able to have a room, so that Elliana could be with us during that time. We want to be able to share that first night together, learning how to feed her and change her diaper, and just start the bonding process. However, if we are not given a room, the alternative is that I stay overnight in Q's room and care for Ellie there. That would make my first overnight "mommy experience" with Q, and without Ryan. Obviously, we will be going with the flow and doing whatever we need to do at that point. But as you can imagine, the latter scenario is not nearly as appealing as the first, for all parties involved. :/

In other news, although Q hasn't worked on an official birth plan quite yet, she said that she wants Ryan and I to be in the room with her during delivery. We're going to be taking Lamaze classes together in February and I will get to be her labor coach! :) woohoo!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nursery Progress

Let's move on to happier things, shall we? :) I'm adding to Elliana's room little by little, and I'm really getting excited about the progress. Even though I have known for a while what I was going for with the theme and  colors, I was having a hard time finding a central piece of the room to pull it all together. I came across a photo on etsy that I felt did the job. But instead of just purchasing a print, I thought maybe we could do something extra special and personal. Tracy Watson is not only a dear, tried and true friend, but (luckily for me!) a wonderful artist as well. :) We commissioned her to turn the photo into a large canvas painting and could not be happier with the how it turned out! The picture doesn't do it justice. (I love it Trac, thank you so much! <3)


You may have already seen the little elephant on Facebook, but I'll put a picture of that as well. :)


I have had my eye out for an elephant that was more like a modern, cartoon style than an actual gray elephant. I happened to stumble across this little guy at Target, and it was just perfect! :) I also found an adorable canopy for her crib at Ikea. I love that it gives the room a nice feminine, circusy feel. :) 


The simple latch hook rug I started turned into the DIY project that wouldn't end. lol. But I only have about three more inches to go, so I want to finally finish that this week. Then I will move on to making the crib bumpers. You may have noticed that they are kind of bunchy in the picture above. ;) I just propped the fabric up so you can see what it will look like. *teehee* I ordered fabric for the crib skirt and closet valance, which I should receive tomorrow. So, yes, there will be more things to work on in the coming weeks. :) This room has been so much for to work on! I can't wait to see how it all turns out! :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dear Baby

Dear Baby, 

Today was going to be our due date. A lot has changed since we lost you. Your daddy and I decided to stop seeing Dr. Q, and to try to find a baby who is growing in someone else's tummy. Looks like we found her! Her name is Elliana and she is supposed to make her arrival in a few months. We are so excited! But don't worry, we have not forgotten you. You are still the only one to have ever occupied my ute and that makes you very special. :) I've been thinking about what things would have been like if God would have allowed you to come home with us. I had a good cry last night because I remembered how heartbroken we were when you left. But you know what? Our heavenly Father has such a big plan for all of us! You were part of it, and this new baby is part of it too. You were, and she is, just what we need at just the right time. Isn't it wonderful that we have such a loving God to trust when things get confusing?

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you today. I will never stop loving you sweetheart. 

Cuddles and kisses, 

Mommy

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm emotional. Bleh.

It's been an interesting couple of weeks for me. On the surface, there is not much going on. We've been matched, we are trying to develop a relationship with Q, we've got some new items on the to-do list, and we're just waiting for the due date to roll around. Under the surface is a different story. It's kind of confusing to tell you the truth, and I'm not sure if it will make sense, but I'm going to take a stab at it anyway. 

When we got pregnant, my due date was on December 8, just a couple days from now. I've been a little emotional as I think about what life would have been like if that baby would have made it. As I attempt to prepare for all of the unique challenges that we will experience as transracial adoptive parents, I admit that I envy the lack of complexity that comes with a biological family. Wouldn't it be easier to be pregnant myself than to be a third wheel alongside Q's pregnancy? Wouldn't it be easier if I could bring our baby home and not have to think about the birthmom's grief? Wouldn't it be easier if our baby had hair like mine? Wouldn't it be easier if I could just breastfeed and not have to figure out how to stimulate my body to produce milk or spend money on formula? Wouldn't it be easier if I didn't have to think about the potential obstacles in being a multi racial family? Wouldn't it be easier if I could actually let myself fall in love with this baby, than to feel the need to protect my heart in the event that this adoption doesn't actually happen? Perhaps I over-glamorize the ease of getting pregnant and having a biological child. But at this point in time...I just feel like adoption is hard. I feel like I've lossed a sense of normalcy. Please understand that I don't regret adoption at all! I'm happy to be where we are at, with this specific birthmom and baby. I love adoption, and I'm very glad that we decided to do this instead of more treatment. But at the same time, I'm sad that so far, none of this journey has been easy for us, and the future is intimidating as well. 
;) I know that God will continue to supply grace to get through whatever challenges arise. I'm thankful that I have time to work through all of these thoughts and feelings before the baby comes. It's a season of processing and preparing, and even if that makes me emotional from time to time, it's a good thing. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

This past Sunday I was blessed to speak at our church's Thanksgiving service. Eight testimonies were given answering the question, "What are you thankful to God for?".  Since I had to write mine out to stay within the time frame allotted to me anyway, I thought I would share it on the blog as well. :) You will notice links scattered throughout the post. This is for those of you who have not been along for the whole ride, and would like to go back and read posts and/or watch video associated with the respective parts in our journey. :) It was definitely good for me to remember all that has happened and what brought us to the point that we are at today. <3
I have only ever wanted to be a wife and mom. God blessed me with a husband who loves children, and wanted them just as quickly as I did. We started trying to add to our family a few short months after we were married in 2009. Month after month went by, and I could not help but feel discouraged that getting pregnant was not as easy as I thought it would be. After the recommended year of trying on our own, we met with a fertility specialist and decided to start on a minimal form of medication to help things along. When that didn’t work, we went to the next step of treatment, and the next. We did this for another year. My life included various daily medications, weekly doctor appointments, physical discomfort, and invasive procedures. But the worst part was the continued cycle of ups and downs. We hoped and prayed that each attempt would work, and were always let down. This past March we moved forward with another extensive procedure, and to our incredible surprise, it worked. I finally got to see those two little pink lines on a pregnancy test. Bloodwork confirmed that my levels were increasing as they should, and we even got to see our little one before our doctor thought we would be able to. But a few weeks later I started bleeding. A lot. We went to our doctor’s office, and he confirmed with heartfelt sadness that my uterus was indeed empty. We have never cried as hard as we did that day.

At some point during this trial of infertility, I forgot that God loves me. Heartache after heartache, I would pray and felt that He was just so distant and beyond my reach. Hard times often make people ask God why He is doing what He is doing. But God in His mercy did not let me think those thoughts for very long. I was reassured by the fact that my heavenly Father loves me with the same intensity today as He did when Christ died on the cross to redeem my soul. And though I had moments where I fell short of completely trusting the Lord, I was able to get through those difficult months with a sincere peace in my heart because I knew why He was leading me in this trial. Scripture makes it clear that all the things I may go through in this life are for my good and His glory. He does not sacrifice one purpose for the other. In His perfect plan, He always accomplishes both. He was not withholding something good from me; He was giving me something better! He was somehow using this trial to mold and shape my heart to look more like His. In His graciousness, He was simultaneously bringing Himself glory, and allowing me to be a part of that.  All because I’m His girl and He loves me. As a follower of Christ, what more could I ask Him for?

At each new phase in treatment, Ryan and I would talk about whether we should continue seeing our doctor or switch gears and pursue adoption. Adoption was something that we have both had a heart for. We had talked about it since we were dating as something that we would love to do. We did not expect to take this road to get here, but God had other plans for us. After the miscarriage, we decided to leave the world of treatment behind, and pursue domestic infant adoption full force. We haven’t looked back! We have since been matched with a wonderful young woman, who is due in March. We are expectant parents through the beautiful gift of adoption, and could not be happier.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I’m thankful that God can turn our broken bodies and circumstances into something beautiful. I’m thankful that my heavenly Father is all for diversity in His family. He has made me His daughter through the gift of adoption, regardless of what color I am. And I’m so thankful that He is giving me a true life picture of His fatherly love, by allowing me to adopt a child of my own.

Valley of Vision is a collection of puritan poetry and prayers. There is one snippet that I continued going back to over the last few years, and I’d just like to close with that-

Thou hast led me on and I have found Thy promises true,
I have been sorrowful, but Thou hast been my help,
Fearful, but Thou hast delivered me
Despairing, but Thou hast lifted me up.
Thy vows are ever upon me, and I praise Thee, O God.


Monday, November 19, 2012

And her name is...

Obviously, Ryan and I have had a lot of time to talk about names for Baby Miller. We have a couple boy names and a couple girl names that we both really like. But once we got matched and met Q, the names we had in mind didn't seem to fit. We realized that we wanted the name to really mean something special, not just sound nice. So I spent some time looking up names and meanings, and showed my new list to Ryan to see if anything stood out to him. One did. Hands down, no questions asked. A name that is meaningful, feminine and unique. We fell in love with it. 

The first name means "my God has answered me". I mean, could it be any more fitting??? This little one is the answer to our prayers, and the prayers of so many others who have come alongside us. 

The middle name is characteristic of our whole journey of waiting. But also carries weight as the reassurance that I have in the Lord that He loves me and is using all things for my good and His glory.

Ready? Her name is Elliana Hope Miller. :)


Well...it could be Elianna, Eliana, or Elliana. lol. We're currently debating our spelling options so that we pick the one that makes the most sense. It's pronounced eh-lee-au-nuh. Feel free to give feedback on which spelling you like best! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Lied

I have a confession to make. I lied. 
Oh yes. It's true. I lied to a lot of people. But the results turned out to be well worth it so I don't feel that bad about it. lol. Here's the truth - We didn't have to wait till next week to find out the gender. We actually did the ultrasound with Q yesterday. :) Both sides of our family had planned to get together today to celebrate the match and we decided that we could not pass up the opportunity to do a surprise gender reveal with them. :: mischievous grin:: We took a quiet moment to thank our families for being so supportive, and gave our parents "just a little something to show our appreciation" - the ultrasound picture!

 The moment was captured in the video below. :) Priceless.


WE'RE HAVING A GIRL!!! ahhhh! So exciting! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cast Your Vote

We were originally going to do the ultrasound tomorrow to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl. That didn't end up working out cause the place we were going to is closed on Fridays, so we will have to wait till next week. Which is really not a big deal. I would have had to wait a few months to find out the gender if I was pregnant, so a couple weeks after match is not the end of the world. lol. But since we still have a little bit of time, I figured I'd do a poll. :) Birthmom, Q, is convinced that it's a girl, her social worker is sure that it's a boy, and Chinese Gender Prediction Chart says girl. So what do you think? Is this precious baby we've been waiting for going to be a boy or a girl?? Cast your vote below! :)


Is Baby Miller a boy or a girl?
  
pollcode.com free polls 


P.S. In case you were wondering, yes, I tried to center the poll widget and it refuses to cooperate. Oh well.

A Note on Privacy

We've hit a bend in the road folks. Up to this point, I've been really transparent about everything that's going on in my heart and in my body. lol. I'm borderline, overly comfortable talking about my female biology. Comes with the territory of blogging about infertility I suppose. ;) But now there are another two characters who have joined our story - Baby and Baby's Mom. Because I want to respect their privacy, I am going to be intentionally vague on the information that I post about them. In person, I may be willing to share a little bit more than I would online, and I love being able to help people understand adoption in general, so you can always feel free to ask me questions if you have them. However, please know that there are some questions that I may choose not to answer. Fair enough? :) Going forward I will refer to the wonderful expectant mother we have been matched with as Q. :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's Official!

The meeting went wonderfully and we are officially matched!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The baby is due at the end of March and is 100% African American, which we are absolutely thrilled about. :) We are going to the ultrasound appointment with the birthmom next week to find out if it is a boy or a girl. Yeah, seriously, she wants us to be a part of that. Is this real life?? lol. More details to come in the next few days, but I just wanted to get a quick update posted. Thank you so much for all of the support and prayers. Our hearts are so blessed and full of joy! :)


Today's The Day!

I'm pretty sure everyone in the world as seen the movie Hitch with Will Smith. There's a part in the first scene when Hitch is in the car with one of his clients, giving him a pep talk for the first date he's about to have. It goes like this-
Tonight when you're trying to figure out what to say or wondering how you look, just remember that she is already out with you. That means she said yes when she could have said no. She made a plan when she could have just blown you off. So that means it is no longer your job to try to make her like you. It is your job NOT TO MESS IT UP!

Hahaha! I was thinking about that as I was getting ready this morning and it made me smile. :) We are not nervous yet. :) This meeting doesn't feel as much like a blind date, as it does the introduction of people who have mutual friends. Our social worker knows a LOT about us and we trust her. This potential birthmom's social worker knows a LOT about her, and they have built a relationship based on trust as well. Both social workers think this is a good match, so we expect this meeting to go well. It's so nice to work with people that we feel genuinely have our best interest at heart! :) Lunch is at noon today - keep us in your prayers if you think of us! I will try to post an update as soon as I can. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Breaking News!!

WE GOT THE CALL TONIGHT!!!!!!! The social worker called to let us know that an expectant mother really liked our profile book and wants to meet us to see if we are a good match for her and the baby. :) We are doing lunch with her on Friday! 


Auntie Love :)

I had the wonderful privilege of watching my nephew come into the world on Friday.  I will just say that childbirth is crazy, weird, and beautiful all at the same time. :) 
I'm so thankful for my brother and sister-in-law, who not only invited me to be a part of an incredible experience, but unknowingly helped me prepare for some aspects of the adoption as well. If (big If) we get to be in the room with Birthmom when she delivers, I think I will feel a little less intimidated now that I have seen someone that I'm very comfortable with go through labor. I got to see the process first hand, and watch a really great coach in action. :) Right after Austin was born, I also got to see him soothed by mommy and daddy's voices. I've known, in theory, that the baby has been hearing his parents' voices during the nine months of pregnancy. But to actually see him respond to them moments from being born was still somewhat surprising to me. Our baby is not going to know my voice, and I may not be able to soothe them the way Birthmom can. And that's ok; it's natural. But I know that this is something that I will need to prepare my heart for, as much as that is even possible...

I spent Friday night and Saturday watching my niece while mommy and daddy were at the hospital with baby brother. We "talked", we laughed, we danced, we played and cuddled. :) I treasure my time with her, and the relationship that we've been able to build. She is such a joy. :)

I don't know when Baby Miller is going to get here and make me a mommy, but in the meantime, it's pretty awesome to be Tia / Auntie. :)

 <3 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The New Phase

Now that we're approved, we've hit a new phase in our wait for Baby Miller. Many in the adoption world refer to it as being "Paper Pregnant." It really is just a matter of time before an expectant mother picks us, and we bring a baby home. :) Many of you have asked about how long this will take, and we really don't know. It depends on the potential birthmoms that are currently working with the agency, and what their criteria is for an adoptive couple. We were told that the couple that has been waiting the longest at our agency, has been waiting for a year. However, it could be up to two years, or it could happen next week! We just don't know.

I originally thought that this ambiguous waiting period would be incredibly difficult, but I don't think it will be that bad after all (although I reserve my right to change my mind and have a melt down at any given moment!). I still have a lot to do, learn, and prepare for. But these are things that I WANT to do, and that I find much more enjoyable than the paperwork and homestudy requirements. Below are the items on my new to-do list so you have an idea of what I'm working on now. :)
  • Find a pediatrician
  • Figure out benefits and steps needed to get baby on our insurance
  • Figure out how social security is handled for an adopted child
  • Read a few books regarding getting the baby on a sleeping/eating schedule, what to expect the first year, and parenting
  • Make crib bedding
  • Work on other nursery projects like making over an old glider chair, making a valance for the closet, and hanging up decorations
  • Take an infant care class with Ryan
  • Learn about all of the hootie falootie baby gadgets that are out there nowadays
  • Get more detailed information on my options for breastfeeding. This may be a shocker to some of you, but yes, breastfeeding is possible even though I am not pregnant. :) More to come on this topic soon!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Approved!!!

WE'RE APPROVED!! Our homestudy is complete and we are officially approved as adoptive parents!


The final interview this morning was longer than I thought it would be. It took a little over three hours. My only regret was that I didn't eat breakfast before she came. haha. I honestly can't even remember at this point all the things we talked about, but some of the topics included our book reading, expectations of the relationship with the birthmom, what we anticipate our parenting style being like, how we plan on handling attention and intrusive commentary/questions from strangers who are uneducated about adoption, what changes and challenges we expect to have the hardest time adjusting to, etc. Lots of good conversation. It felt a bit more like a counseling session than an interview in some ways. She was really just trying to gauge where we are at, and gave us some advice throughout our time together based on her years of experience in adoption. We did a walk through of the house, which was very low key. And that was it!  It was actually a really nice time. 

Now we wait. :) Our profile book will be shown to birthmothers who are about 7 months along in their pregnancy. In a typical situation, we will get a call if/when one of them decides they would like to meet us.  We would have the time before the birth to get to know her and start developing a relationship. However, it's also possible to get a phone call about a "surprise baby". This is when the birthmother chooses us while she's in the hospital delivering the baby, or perhaps is already in postpartum recovery and painfully realizes that she is unable to parent the baby in her current circumstances. There are so many different scenarios that could play out. It will definitely be interesting to see how our story unfolds from here. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fully Funded

I have not talked much, if at all, about the financial aspect of adoption. But we just hit a big milestone, and I can't help but share it with you. :) Tonight we made the final transfer into our savings account to complete the total funds necessary for the adoption. We are officially, 100% funded. eeeeeeeee! :) Thank You Lord!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nesting :)

We have not been officially approved as adoptive parents yet. But...my birthday was earlier this month and I couldn't think of anything that I wanted more than stuff for the baby. :) With my homestudy to-do list complete, I am in total nesting mode! I did some prep work on the nursery this past week and Ryan and I were able to add some key items to it yesterday. :) 

Our crib! Straight edges, clean cut, and most importantly - Denay sized! ;) I am 5'1, so...shorter than most. :) Some of the cribs I've seen come up to my chest, which is just not practical for laying down and picking up a baby multiple times a day. This Ikea Sundvik crib hits just above my hips, and the shorter stature really works well in the small room, so it's perfect for us on multiple levels. :)


Next, we set up the dresser, which is also from Ikea because you just can't beat their prices for new furniture. I took the closet doors down and painted the inside so that I could add space to the room. I'm going to be working on a valance for the top part to make it less closet-y. I plan on putting a changing pad on the dresser to give it a dual purpose. And I'll add storage bins of some kind to the right of it. 


It also happened to be a good weekend for getting free stuff! lol. I was very blessed to add a pack n play, shoes, diapers, and various other items to my growing collection of baby stuff. My awesome sister in law even passed on the beloved "Current Family Favorite" t-shirt. :) It's so nice to have friends who lovingly hand their goodies off to me. It really makes me feel like a mommy-to-be. :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Almost done!

Ryan and I have both finished our second books! :) One of the chapters that stood out to me dealt with what typically happens before, during, and after the birth of the child. There was a ton of information, but my bottom line take-away was that I need to put others before myself. The delivery and birth are going to be about the birthmom and the baby, not me. I admit, I was a little overwhelmed and even sad as I was reading through all of the typical emotions, and possible scenarios that could play out at the hospital. What if the birth family is not supportive of her decision and they make things difficult at the hospital? How can we rejoice, when she is being struck with grief? What if she chooses not to sign the papers after she sees the baby? What if we don't get to walk away as parents???

Ay ay ay, So many things to trust the Lord about! But God is good, and I know that He will give us the grace and wisdom to get through that part in our journey, however difficult it may be. :)

On top of finishing our books last week, we also got our profile books in, and Ryan had his individual interview. So this is what we have left before approval-
  • Ryan's third book
  • Denay's third book
  • Physical exams and bloodwork, which is scheduled for next Monday
  • Final interview. I sent an email out to Anita this morning to see if we could do October 26, so hopefully that works for her.
We're getting so close! :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Review Video Blog

Just wanted to share some of the things I'm learning in my 2nd book, The Open Adoption Experience. :) It's been a great resource, I'm really enjoying it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Profile Book! :)

We finished our profile book today! eeeeee! ::grin:: Mixbook had a sale that ended tonight, so we took advantage of the opportunity to save a little money on our order. You can check it out HERE folks! Just click on the corners to flip the pages. :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Individual Interview Done

Well the interview didn't take quite three hours, but it was pretty close. :) I can't really share too much about it because Ryan still has to do his and she wants him to come into his meeting fresh, without being swayed by my answers. Makes sense. What I can tell you is that we dove into lots of aspect of my life including family, marriage, infertility and miscarriage. It went really well, and there weren't really any surprises. Most, if not all, of the topics had been touched on in either a survey or my autobiography. But talking it all out with her was really nice, and almost like a bonding experience as well. I feel like she really knows me and wants to help us through this adoption process. :)

I was sent a list of guidelines and instructions for our profile book last week. At that point I was already almost done with ours. ::blush:: Impatient? Overachiever? Psycho? I donno, call me what you will. lol. Anyway, I was hoping that what I had already put together would work, so I asked Anita to look over it with me and see if there was anything I should change. She loved it!! She said it was very well put together, and furthermore it was a unique style. She hadn't seen one quite like ours before. ::beams:: 
Her only recommendation was to trim out some of the wording, which I am more than happy to do! I didn't really want a whole lot of text anyway, but I felt like I might need more after I saw the instructions. So I have a couple pictures to add in, and then I will be ready to post it here so you can all see what the expectant mothers will be looking at. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

First Book Done!

I just finished my first book! Woohoo! This one is called Dear Birthmother, Thank You For Our Baby. I have to write a little bit about it, so I figured I may as well share a little bit here. :)

In a nutshell, the authors seek to tear down the four myths of adoption-
1) Birthmothers don't love their babies
2) Secrecy in every aspect of adoption in necessary
3) Birthparents will forget about the baby over time
4) If a child wants to know more about or meet his/her birthparents, they do not really love or appreciate their adoptive parents.

As proven by the experience of all parties in adoption, none of these ideas make sense. But they still impact the thoughts and actions of the general public today. As adoptive parents, we really need to evaluate ourselves to see if we are falling into the trap of believing these false ideas. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to raise our child(ren) in a manner that totally contradicts these myths. They need to know that their birthmother loves them and will never forget them. They should be able to know who she is, at a minimum through pictures, if not some level of face to face contact.  And we need to always encourage them to ask questions, and to speak openly of adoption in our home. God chose to form our family through adoption, and that is something to acknowledge and be happy about. :)

One down and two to go!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

1st Meeting Recap

Our first meeting went very well yesterday. :) Anita is very nice and easy to talk to. I'm really glad that we hit it off well, since we will be working with her for the next several months and she is actually the one approving us as adoptive parents. She really just asked us all kinds of questions about lots of aspects of our life - what does Ryan do for a living, how supportive are our families of the adoption, why did we choose adoption in the first place, what are our goals for the future, blah blah blah. It was very much a get-to-know-you meeting. The last bit of our time together consisted of a series of questions regarding what sort of birthparent history and situation we would be ok with. A couple of these questions I knew were coming, such as "What do see your relationship with the birthmom looking like?" and "To what degree are you comfortable with alcohol or drugs being used during the pregnancy?". But then there were others that we didn't even think about, such as incarceration, family history of severe mental illness, pregnancy from rape/incest, personal or family history of congenital disease, etc. 
Umm...yeah, we hadn't talked about those possibilities and ramifications at all. So those are some questions that Ryan and I will need to work through and decide on in the coming weeks. I will say upfront that we will be keeping our decisions on these topics confidential, since we definitely want to protect the privacy of our future child and the birthparents. But I did want to share some of the things we have to think about as prospective adoptive parents. 

Our next meeting with Anita will be individual interviews in two weeks. They are each three hours long. Yup, three HOURS. Yikes. We need to have our autobiographies turned in by then. After that will be the third and final interview, which we can schedule once we have three of our books read. I know the book reading is going to be the hardest thing to finish, especially for my working man. ::sigh:: I am going to see if any of them are available as audio books, cause I think that would really help. I'd hate to have the approval set back another few months just because we haven't finished reading. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A little of this and that

Just got off the phone with our official social worker, Anita! :) We are all set for our first meeting/interview with her on Monday afternoon! Yay! It's been quiet for a couple weeks now, so I'm excited about any sort of movement on the adoption front. :)

These days I've been working two projects-
1) Our profile book, which has been a lot of fun, but can also be kind of intimidating. I mean I'm trying to find the right pictures and say the right things to sum up our life together and describe who we are. This is what birthmothers are going to be looking through to figure out if we are the family they want to raise their child! I just want to make sure that we are representing ourselves well and accurately, you know? 

2) Cleaning out the baby room so that I can start decorating! :)
I've had ideas about this room for a long time. It's wonderful to actually be able to start looking at things I want to buy and figuring out how I'd like to set everything up. I'm going to be making some of my own things for the room (bedding, a mobile, curtains, etc.), so I have a handful of mini projects to do that will keep me busy in the coming months. There's nothing like a fun project or two to help pass the wait. :) Below are a couple prints that I ordered today, so you can see the direction the room is going in. :) They make me so happy. :) 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sterling Fundraisers

Hello friends, I will have an adoption update soon, but today I just wanted to let you know about little Sterling. She is my sister in law's cousin, and was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her brain at only two years old. You can follow along on their journey on their blog or on their Facebook page. Anyway, I just wanted to spread the word about some fundraising that the family is doing over the next couple weeks. 

Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 4th) 15% of your purchase at Chick-Fil-A in Chino Hills will go towards Sterling's cause between 4-8pm. Just make sure to mention "Team RockStar" when ordering (Dine in or Drive thru).

Also next Monday, September 10th, there will be another fundraiser at Vince's Spaghetti in Rancho Cucamonga. You must have this flyer when you go, and 15% of the purchase will go to Sterling. 

Feel free to spread the word!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Worth Watching :)

Back in this February post, I mentioned a upcoming movie called The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Ryan and I saw it over the weekend, and I am officially giving it my stamp of approval. :) It's got infertility, adoption, a good cast, and a cute storyline. Definitely worth watching, in my opinion. :) The trailer is below, if you've never seen it.


Friday, August 24, 2012

2nd Class Complete

Last night we went to our second and final adoption class, which was called Domestic Adoption Decisions. I think that perhaps our expectations were a little misguided. :) No need to go into wordy details, but let's just say that I must have looked like this during the whole thing-


In other news, we turned in most of our paperwork! woohoo! The last items on our checklist are medical exams, writing our autobiographies, and reading the required books. It seems like the book reading has a more flexible deadline than the other two items though. We need to have the autobiographies written by the second interview with our social worker, so that is going to be our top priority for right now. I plan to follow up next week (if I don't hear from them first) about scheduling our first interview. I'm really trying to get us through the interviews in September so that we will be approved and ready to be matched with a birthmother by October 1st (my birthday!). Here's hoping! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Baby E :)

There is nothing that warms my heart more than hearing of someone conquering infertility. And when that someone is a dear friend who has been there for most of our own journey, it's even more thrilling. :) Josh and Bran have been dealing with a double dose of infertility, and I am so happy to publicly congratulate them on their precious little miracle. :) What a blessing to finally see both of you on this new road of pregnancy and parenthood. Praise God for successful IVF cycles! :)


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

*check*

Our next class is a week from tomorrow and I am determined to get another several items checked off our homestudy list before then. Yesterday I bought three of the five books that we need to read so that we can at least get started on those. I am currently trying to get our financial statement together. We have our LiveScan (background screening and fingerprinting) set for Saturday and an child/infant CPR class on Monday. Little by little we're getting there! :) The next batch of stuff that we turn in should be enough checks off the list to allow us to schedule the first meeting with our social worker. Woohoo! :)


Friday, August 10, 2012

First Adoption Education Class


Ryan and I had a wonderful time at our first adoption education class last night. :) There were four other couples there, and the setting was more like a discussion group than an actual class. We broke into two groups and discussed several different adoption issues from the perspective of all three parties involved - birthparents, adoptive parents, and adoptee. Each person in this Adoption Triad experiences loss, which manifests itself in various ways like feeling rejected, guilty, grieved, etc. For example, the adoptive parents could feel rejection from society because their family does not all look alike, the birthparents could feel rejected from their peers who think they are not making the right decision, and the adopted child could feel a sense of rejection from their birthparents choice to make an adoption plan. We all feel it, so this should be something that binds us together, and makes us a more unified team. 

I don't really feel like we learned anything new necessarily, but we totally enjoyed spending time with other adoptive couples. I loved being able to discuss adoption with others who have been through infertility and even pregnancy loss. We're all coming from the same perspective, we have gone through the same heartache, and we all just want to be parents. It was neat. :) The next class is in two weeks with the same group of people and I am looking forward to spending more time with them. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm Still Infertile

I've been thinking a lot about infertility this week. I have reflected our IVF days and mentally relived finding out we were pregnant, and the devastation of losing our little baby two short weeks later. I had a good cry about it last night with Ryan. And this morning I looked at pictures of the little embryos that God blessed us with earlier this year. 
Babies 1 and 2
Babies 3 and 4
And Baby 5, the little trooper that hung on the longest  

Switching gears from treatment to adoption lifted so much stress and constant discouragement off of my heart. I am soooo excited to start actually moving forward now that we've picked an agency. But I'm also still infertile. And I think it's ok to be sad and cry about that from time to time, even if it springs up on me in the middle of adoption excitement.

I don't know how long our adoption process will take, but it could be another couple years before God gives us a baby to bring home. I am resting in the fact that He has given us strength thus far. I know that He will supply grace to us to get through whatever wait He has in mind for our family in the future. <3

Monday, July 23, 2012

And Our Agency is....

NightLight Christian Adoptions! :) We had a great meeting with Bethany Christian Services on Friday, and left feeling pretty confident that we would be happy with either agency. They have the same philosophy and values, including birthmother care which is important to Ryan and I. So it really just came down to smaller issues of preference. 

1) Ratio of birthmothers to adoptive couples - Bethany is a little bit larger than Nightlight, and the social worker said that they typically work with 23-25 birthmothers, and 35 adoptive couples annually. Nightlight works with an average of 15 birthmothers and 17 adoptive couples. Because there are not as many birthmothers to go around at Bethany, their estimated wait time was about a year longer than at NightLight.

2) Financial incentives - NightLight has their fee structure set up so that a portion of the cost is considered a donation, which will be tax deductible. NightLight will also lower the cost of the adoption by $6,000 if we are able to find a birthmother outside of the agency. Bethany does not offer either of these incentives.

3) Availability - I know that some of the availability issues we had with Bethany were circumstantial. She was on vacation, then she was sick, she is not in the office on Thursdays which is a good day for us, etc. Still, having to wait three weeks to meet with someone was not ideal, and it concerned us that the rest of the process might be similar. We showed up at the NightLight meeting at the wrong time, and they called someone to come out to see us on a Saturday when they were closed. She then called me the next day to apologize for the impromptu setting and asked if we had all of our questions answered. The director has also responded to my emails within a couple hours. She has definitely scored some points on the availability scale.

I spoke with Victory, the NightLight director, today and she was thrilled to have us on board. :) Next step is the official application and then we can move on to our home study! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meeting on Friday

We are finally meeting with Bethany Christian Services on Friday afternoon. :) This meeting will be a deciding factor between the two adoption agencies that we've narrowed it down to. Please pray for wisdom, and that we ask the right questions. I have a list already, but I welcome suggestions from anyone who has gone through the experience of picking an agency. We're hoping to have a decision this weekend! :) 


(the fact that this pic is from Inglorious Bastards, somehow makes it all the more ridiculous. *teehee*)

Monday, July 16, 2012

FAQ #3: Open or Closed adoption?

I think that our hearts toward the birthmother's side of things has been the biggest change in the adoption thought process so far. When asked if we will have an open adoption, I can now wholeheartedly say "Yes!" :) Providing, of course, that God matches us with someone who wants the same thing. YouTube has really helped me gain the birthmothers' perspective, and I hope that the occasional  posts about this topic has been helpful for my readers as well (such as this post, or that post). 

I don't know exactly what our relationship will look like, because we are people and all relationships are different. :) Not to mention, everyone involved in this adoption is going to be going through a lot of intense and dynamic emotions. The birthmother (as well as her support system, I hope) will be experiencing a huge loss, and the biggest heartache of her life. We will be blessed with the greatest joy at finally getting the baby that we've hoped and prayed for. How do these two parties interact? I have no idea! lol. But what I do know is that she's a person, not just a step in a process or a means to an end. Our prayer is that we have an immediate connection with the person we are matched with, and that we can shower her with the love of Christ. Who knows, she may want to include us at ultrasound appointments and, maybe even be in the delivery room with her when the baby is born. It would be completely contradictory to go through that with someone, and then once the baby is born to say "Goodbye, I never want to see you again!" That just wouldn't make sense!

What we have in mind is not co-parenting, and we don't expect to see her at every family function, but with technology these days, there is no reason that we couldn't keep in touch in a completely non-intrusive fashion. We would be happy to set up a website to upload pictures and videos of the baby, that she could see as often as she likes. Maybe even get together once or twice a year, it really just depends on how our relationship unfolds. But the agency will help us figure out our expectations and help us communicate, and set up boundaries prior to the finalization of the adoption so that both parties are happy with the arrangement.

You can definitely be praying for us about this. That there would be a mutual respect and love with the birthmother that we will get matched with. That both parties have wisdom as we decide what we want the relationship to look like, before and after the baby is born. That the agency would help us communicate our expectations to one another, and that we would be blessed with a great relationship for years to come. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

FAQ #2: How Long Will This Take?

Another frequently asked question is how long the process of adoption will take. Well, after we apply with an agency, it usually takes two to three months to complete the home study. The completion of the home study is the point when we would be eligible to get matched with a birthmother. However, after that, it really just depends on factors outside our control. What birthmothers are currently working with our agency? What criteria have they set for the family they want to adopt their baby? What criteria have we set for a birthmother/baby? As I explained in my previous post, we are open to race and gender, so hopefully that will work in our favor.

The agency will not match a birthmother up with an adopting couple until she is at least 6 months along in her pregnancy. That is nice because once we are actually matched, it should only be a couple short months until we get to bring our baby home. But it's the waiting in between home study and match that's going to be the killer. We will have done everything that we need to, and we literally just have to wait. ::sigh:: NightLight Christian Services said that they have never had a couple wait more than two years. However, I know a few families who only waited a few months, so it could happen that quickly as well. It's totally in God's hands. 

One way to potentially speed up the matching process, is to find a birthmother on our own, outside of the agency, and then refer her to the agency for counseling and all of the legalities. This will also bring the cost of adoption down pretty significantly. You can be a part of this! Many, if not most, couples find a birthmother through word of mouth. So consider this full license to talk about us with everyone you know! haha. ;) The plan is to do a widespread campaign once we finish our homestudy, utilizing the WheresBabyMiller facebook page. At that point, we will be ready to aggressively search for B-Ma and we will be calling on you to help us, so stay tuned. :) 

Monday, July 9, 2012

FAQ #1: Preferences on race or gender?

As Ryan and I have started talking to people about beginning the adoption process, we've both been asked the same handful of questions right off the bat. I thought it might be profitable to answer them on the blog to clear things up for the online world. :)

One of the first things that people have asked me is if we can pick the gender and race of our future child. Well, yes, through the agency we will have the ability to set criteria for what we might want. However, Ryan and I do not have too many restrictions in mind. :) We definitely do not have a gender preference, and we are totally open to white, brown, black, and yellow children. ;) lol. I think that local adoption without restrictions on gender or race is especially exciting, because we can't even begin to guess what Baby Miller will look like! 

I suppose that in one sense, it might be easier to be matched with a child that has similar coloring to Ryan and I. There would definitely be less weird looks and questions from random people when we are out as a family. :) But I am challenged by the fact that my heavenly Father has children from every tribe and nation. Who am I to choose otherwise? :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Praying for B-ma :)

One of the things that I've been able to do while we're in this slight holding pattern is pray for the birthmother that God will match us up with. I have officially nick named her B-ma. *teehee* I have so much respect for her, whoever she is. That she would choose to entrust her baby to us, and bless us with the very gift that we have been hoping and praying for. I don't know her name, how old she'll be, or what she'll be like, but I already love her. Yes, I am dying to meet Baby Miller, but the more I think about and pray for the person Baby Miller will come from, the more excited I am to meet her. I have been praying that God would comfort her in what must be the most difficult and heart-wrenching time her life. That He would lead her to the right people to help her through this. That Ryan and I would be an encouragement to her heart, and be a testimony of God's love. 

Below is another birthmother's story. I will never fully know what their side of the story feels like. But I hope that as I continue to listen to their perspectives, God will work a heart of understanding, compassion, and respect in me. I want to be a blessing to B-ma. :)


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

::twiddles thumbs::

I've been emailing the other adoption agency that we want to check out, but it doesn't look like the social worker is able to meet with us for another three weeks or so. We could do a phone conference but Ryan and I would much rather go to the office and really get a feel for the people we would potentially be working with. So yeah, I'm kind of annoyed with the delay. I had a mini melt down about it last night. I just feel like nothing is happening! I want to hurry up and get going with our application and home study. Apparently infertility hasn't cured me of impatience. ;) My husband has lovingly reminded me that we are not done waiting for a baby, and I need to be ok with that. We need to make a wise decision on our agency, and if that means waiting another three weeks to meet with the last one, then that's what we have to do. ::sigh::

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back and fully rested :)

Vacation was wonderful. :) The Flamingo Hotel gave us a free upgrade when we checked in last Monday. I thought it would be a better view of the strip or something small like that. But no, we ended up on the top floor in a full on double-door SUITE. We spazzed. Especially since the only reason we stayed at the Flamingo was because it had the best price. haha. :) Anyway, we saw Blue Man Group and Cirque Du Soleil's Mystere. Both were fun, but Blue Man Group was our favorite. The venues are pretty strict about their no photo policy, so I don't have any pictures from the show. Poo. We also cruised over to Hoover Dam while we were in town. Was I blown away by the size of the bridge? The beautiful water contrasted against the mountainous desert landscape? The incredible accomplishment of the engineers who built this historic landmark? Nope! I had a hard time taking my eyes off the electrical towers that were built at an angle on the hillside. lol. This is what happens when you, your dad, and your brother all work(ed) in the power industry. ;)


On Wednesday, we headed down to the San Diego bay area, which has officially become our favorite vacation spot. 


The weather was gorgeous, and we were able to do a lot while we were there. We went to Sea World, USS Midway, a Padres game, walked around Coronado Island, and did our usual movie watching and eating amazing food. :)

It was so nice to get away, just the two of us, for a whole week. We had the best time together. :) 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

::content sigh::

Kinda quiet around these parts lately huh? :) June is a very full month for us, so we will probably not have any solid progress on the adoption front until July. I have been doing a bit of research on various agencies, and I gotta say, I just haven't been taken with them. We have one more agency that we would like to meet with, and then we will probably choose between that one and NightLight. It is nice that we were able to narrow down our options quicker than we thought! :)

In other news, I am completely enjoying my new job as a full time homemaker. :) For those of you who don't know, things changed at the office and my last day was Friday. This week I started "sleeping in" till 6:30 (*teehee*), spending time in my Bible, exercising, cooking, cleaning, organizing, and all the other little things that I just did not have time for before. I feel totally rested and productive. It's been wonderful. :)

Ryan and I realized the other day that we have not thought about infertility in a while. Weeks. How awesome is that??! haha. Moving away from treatment and transitioning our attention to adoption has been such a relief - we're so happy with our decision! God has always been good and has continued to pour out His blessings on us, even through the hardships we've dealt with. But after struggling for what seems like such a long time, it's so nice to hit a point where it is actually quite easy to be content, thankful, and just plain happy. :) Thank You Lord!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Adoption seminar recap

I think in my mind, I kinda pictured the adoption seminar to be in a hotel conference room type atmosphere with anywhere from 25 to 75 people. It turned out to be much more laid back than we anticipated. Long story short, three couples missed the memo that the scheduled seminar time had switched from 2pm to 9am. Oopsie. :) They were very gracious with us, and did not turn us away. :) The director's name is Victory, and she has been involved in the adoption world for almost 50 years. She was very down to earth and the small setting allowed us to ask questions and have more of a conversation than a presentation. Here are a few of the key points that we walked away with-

The flow - In a nutshell this is how it all happens -  application, lots of paperwork, meeting with a social worker in our home, waiting to be matched, meeting with birthmother, baby is born, birthmother's rights relinquished once discharged from the hospital, take baby home, finalization in court a few months later. :)

The agency size - Perhaps it is because I understood this to be a well known and respected agency, but I assumed that there would be one to two hundred couples being matched every year. Not the case! On average, Night Light works with about 20 adoptive couples every year. It was comforting that we will not just be a number in a large organization. They are very personable and want to really know their adoptive families. I really liked that.

The compassion - NightLight Christian Adoptions helps women dealing with unplanned pregnancies to understand their options, and get counseling and support with the decision that they feel is best for them and the baby. They typically counsel about 75 girls a year, most of whom end up keeping and raising their child. The 15 or so who decide to give their babies to adopting couples have literally had their hand held through their pregnancy, and rarely change their mind at the last minute. Ryan and I both really appreciated the love that this organization has for the girls that they come in contact with.

The matching process - Birthmothers are able to narrow down their criteria for the couple that they would like to raise their baby. Adoptive couples are able to present their criteria for a baby/birthmother as well. NightLight takes those two lists and pairs up accordingly. Since the number of pregnant women and the number of adopting couples is fairly small, a birthmother will typically have 3-5 couples' profiles to look through and she will select one that she would like to meet from there. Profiles include a letter to her from us and information and pictures of us, our home, our families, church, etc.

The convenience- all of the legalities of this process are taken care of within the agency. It's a one stop shop. We do not need to find our own social worker or attorney. whew!

Overall, everything seems pretty straightforward even down to the schedule of payment. Although adoption is not a simple thing to go through, going over the order of events made it seem less daunting. Ryan and I have been a little unsure if we would be accepted by an agency, since we are younger than the typical adopting couple, and we have not been married for an extended amount of time. Would they take us seriously? We don't need to worry about that anymore. :) As we were walking out, Victory looked at us and said, "You seem like a very nice couple. You're going to do just fine." ::sigh of relief::

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Story of open adoption

I was YouTubing tonight. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. :) Anyway, I came across this testimony of domestic infant adoption. Ryan and I still have a lot to learn and think about in regards to how open/closed we would want our adoption to be, but I really appreciated the perspectives of all parties involved in this story. I love this couple's example of love and concern for the birthmother, not just the baby. It's a little long, but worth watching.


I'm so excited for the adoption seminar on Saturday! Can't wait to share all of the things we learn about the process of this new adventure. :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

More things to look forward to

Moving on to adoption instead of continuing IVF has allowed Ryan and I to start making decisions based on what we want to do instead of what we need to do in order to accommodate treatment. We are taking a week vacation in June, which I am absolutely thrilled about. Our little weekend trip after the miscarriage was very nice, but we have really been wanting to totally get away for a longer period of time. It'll be so wonderful to kick back and enjoy each other now that we're officially switching gears after the last two years of trying to get pregnant. 

Two weeks after we get back, I will be done working outside of home. yay!!! :) I'm going to come alongside Ryan and help him accomplish some of his goals, as well as finally being able to focus on the many things that I simply don't have time for with our current lifestyle. Ryan and I put a whole list together of things that I want to accomplish with the extra 40-50 hours a week I'll have. I am so excited to for the opportunity to be productive with the things that actually matter to me, like working on the house, financial efficiency, spiritual growth, church service, etc. And of course, it will be easier to tackle the mound of paperwork that will come with adoption. We think that this will be an excellent transition period for us to get used to the single income and get into a solid groove of time/financial efficiency before we bring our future baby home. My last day at work is July 6th. I may or may not be counting down weeks instead of days because it sounds like less time. *teehee*

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Now what?

Ok we've decided to pursue adoption - now what? So far the only real decision we've made is that we are going to pursue domestic infant adoption, instead of going the international or foster-to-adopt route. At face value, it just seems to make the most sense for Ryan and I. However, as you all know, none of our plans have worked out thus far. haha. So we are willing to be flexible if the Lord starts leading us in another direction. :) 

We are signed up for a introductory seminar on June 2nd with a local agency called NightLight Christian Adoptions. I am very excited to get there and hear what they have to say. I think it will provide a good overall picture of what adoption through an agency would look like, and will help us figure out where to start in this process. We are not necessarily going with NightLight, they just happen to be close enough to home and offer a free seminar in the near future. Works for us! :)

We are also very curious to learn more about independent / private adoption. In a nutshell, this form of adoption would mean finding a birthmother apart from an agency, and working with various adoption professionals such as an attorney and social worker(s) to fulfill the necessary legal requirements. In order to find a birthmother you would typically have to advertise yourselves, and utilize various networks to get the word out. This idea grabbed our attention because, surprise surprise, my husband's expertise happens to be internet marketing and we have developed a huge network of people who have joined us on the search for Baby Miller. Could God utilize these resources to help us find a baby? Maybe so! On the flip side, going through this process without an agency could also be incredibly daunting and put us in over our heads. Thankfully a few of the agencies that I've looked into offer modified packages if we were to find our own birthmother so we may be able to do a combination of private and agency adoption. There's just a lot of learning to do, so we're not taking any steps beyond research right now. 

I came across this beautiful slideshow on an online forum a few months back. It continues to bless my heart by giving me something tangible to hope for and look forward to as we head down this new road. Just wanted to share. :)