In honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month, I just wanted to take a minute to address those who have been in this situation. They say there are no words to describe this type of loss "“ no term to give those it has happened to "“ but I think that there is a term for those who have been through this and made it through to the other side, with child now or not. I think you're warriors "“ you're strong and you're healthier now. Although I am not a fan of the saying "Things happen for a reason," but as I've moved forward from my loss, I realize that this does have a bit of truth to it. Noah was waiting for us to find him and we would have never searched for him had we not miscarried. So for us, things happened for a reason even though it sure as hell didn't feel like it at the time.
However, this month isn't just about pregnancy loss "“ it's about infant loss as well & so many other causes. For those of you who have lost anyone to cancer or any other disease, or for those who may have one of these causes close to your heart, I commend you for being so strong. I may not understand the loss that you feel, or what you are personally going through, but please know that you are a stronger person because you are still standing today...and you've helped make others aware of things they may have never known about.
I'm very much for awareness of every subject matter. I like to participate in events that surround causes to help spread the word. These next few weeks, on my 31 website, CARE RIBBONS are available on any product that can be PERSONALIZED. I normally wouldn't post this on here, but I have decided to donate ALL of my commissions from each product purchased to the cause of the ribbon that you choose to add to your item, whether that be for Breast Cancer, Autism, Infertility, etc. The investment is in knowledge. Please consider helping spread the word through the power of social media, networking, marketing & word-of-mouth.
It's been awhile since I've given an update so I thought today would be a good day to share some things!
About two plus weeks ago, Bryan and I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Channel 3 News anchor, Stephanie Coueignoux. And yes, she is more beautiful in person! She was awesome and came out to our home to talk to us about our GO FUND ME page and social media. The story is set to AIR tomorrow between 5Am "“ 7AM on channel 3 (that is, if the Indians don't win"¦WHICH THEY BETTER so I will keep you posted)!!
She asked us a lot of questions while Noah made his way around the house making noises and causing havoc! One of the questions that stuck out to me was if we had received any negative feedback by doing this. On initial thought, my response was "only one" However, I then learned that there was more feedback I wasn't privy to at the time. Normally I do not care what anyone thinks about my life, but this isn't about Bryan or me, it's about Noah, so I feel the need to voice my opinion.
Here's the thing, it's absolutely ok if you don't like that we are trying to raise funds to adopt another child. I can see why people would think it may be silly, but then again, they have never gone through it so it makes me angry that anyone would judge us and what we are trying to do. If you have negative things to say, or think that this fundraiser is ridiculous, feel free to jet. I'm not trying to be mean, but the last thing we need is negativity surrounding us. We've had a rough go at it as it is & we've worked hard for everything we have. Adoption isn't a simple thing and it infuriates me that people can judge at all. You have no idea until you go through it "“ And honestly, I HOPE you don't have to. I knew that by opening up and going outside of my comfort zone that there would be backlash, and I am actually fine with it because I find that people who are narrow minded don't go very far in life, but I really just don't want to be a part of it.
This isn't a negative post "“ it's just to say that it's NOT ok to judge if you have NO idea what you are talking about. In terms of being thankful, Bryan and I have thanked everyone countless times "“ we are so appreciative of all the support that we have received. If you didn't get a personal thank you, stop taking it personally. This isn't about anyone but Noah and our quest to get him a sibling. I'm actually appalled that anyone would make this blog about them instead of recognizing the struggle and journey we have gone through. I'm sorry if that offends you but this isn't about anything other than trying to make a family and if you don't want to be a part of our journey, great! Glad we got that covered "“ Time to move on!
Ok "“ opinion done!
In other news, we haven't really shared the story much in the past month only because of the test we had given ourselves. When Stephanie interviewed us, she talked about the power of the Internet and social websites and it's absolutely true: If you utilize these sites for what they are actually for (Twitter, FB, Linked In) then you really can make waves, get people's attention and find support in strangers. Without the power of SHARING, you cannot reach the amount of people that you wish to"¦Think about it: If we wanted to share this story 15 years ago, we would have to PAGE everyone we knew for them to CALL us back and tell them about it. Today, the Internet has allowed us such an amazing way to get things out there & it's not to be taken for granted. With that, and not sharing the site, it lays dormant and non-moving in funds which is not what we really want! We want to share with the world what we've gone through in hopes of helping other people find comfort in their journey"¦
On that note, please share our story today! Please watch our interview on Channel 3 tomorrow between 5-7AM, or look for the link that will posted online.
Thanks again for being there with us, following us and supporting us. We couldn't have got this far without you all. XOXO
In honor of #tbt (Throw Back Thursday), I took this picture of Bryan on January 1, 2012. Inside this envelope is our application for adoption. When we went to our 1st seminar in November to gather information, we came home later that night and decided that we weren't going to make any decisions until January 1, 2012. And we didn't. We didn't even talk about it. We needed a break from it all and we took that month and a half to breathe and just be us and enjoy the holidays.
On January 1, we filled out the application, wrote our $500 check and stuck it in the mail (not before kissing the envelope)! We high fived (like we did on our courthouse wedding day) and walked back into the house, only to move forward with our lives.
Remembering January 1, 2012 today and reminding ourselves how grateful we were to have such a LUCKY process, even though it had it's bumps.
Just wanted to remind you again how thankful we are for your support and sharing of our story! We were about 73% toward our initial goal (because we thought it was a long shot, but clearly you proved us wrong) so we went ahead and updated it to our 2nd goal total.
Honestly, we didn't even think we'd raise $1,000, and now, you've helped us get started on our journey of being able to adopt again in the future. Although we've got some way to go and the timing has to be exactly right, there is so much hope for our adopting another little person :)
No amount of words is going to ever really explain our gratitude, but just know, we are so thankful for everyone who has crossed our path through this.
It's like non-stop. Today I am having a moment where I am frustrated with the System, adoption process and fees incurred. 15 months later, today, Bryan and I get a bill for Noah's birth because Medicaid didn't pick it up (I assume the birth mother didn't have insurance at the time). How is this our responsibility? Noah technically didn't even legally become ours until 6 months after his birth and even though they signed their rights away 72 hours later, we weren't there for the birth, we didn't stay in the hospital and I surely didn't have him. These are the random fees no one tells you about. Just like when we found out we were going to be parents and had to provide a nursery, clothing, diapers, formula, a crib, car seats, bottles, bibs, toys, etc., prior to even bringing Noah home, which meant that we technically couldn't have a baby shower until we really knew if he was coming home. (I'm not really mad about this, just explaining the expenses that you don't realize are separate from the actual adoption fees). I'm just frustrated. Here we are trying to save money for a new addition and we are getting bills for something we were unaware of from 15 months ago.
I'm just having a moment. It's part of what happens when you go through something like infertility. Every day is a challenge. Just when I think I am past the whole miscarriage, it creeps back in and I get completely sad again. Today is one of those days. And in this moment, I try to remember what I have and who I got out of this but it doesn't always take away the hurt.
I don't know that this ever gets easier, and though I block it out most of the time, I absolutely hate getting overwhelmed with these feelings again. I love my little man. He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us, but I also feel a tremendous amount of guilt at times that I cannot make go away.
I know most of you won't agree when you read this, but again, try to understand what we've been through, but I feel completely selfish sometimes for adopting. I wanted to be a mother so badly that I drained Bryan & I's savings account, took a 3-month unpaid maternity leave to attempt to bond with the son I didn't carry (one week after I started it Bryan's job was eliminated), and here we were, with a house, whatever food we could find and bills to pay. I wanted to give Noah this amazing life that we had created, and had until he was a week old, and was I putting him in a bad situation? I blame myself for Bryan and I having to give barely anything to our friends and family for Christmas, for not being able to do things as a couple, like going out to dinner like we used to or the movies, and all because I desperately had to have a baby and couldn't live a life without one.
Does that make any sense?
Although we are in a better place and things are back to normal, it took me a really long time to get over what I had felt I'd done. That was only a small part of what I was going through at the time.
Remember when I said Bryan thought he'd have an issue falling in love with Noah? And how I said that would never happen? Well, it did happen, to me. Only I didn't struggle to fall in love with Noah, I felt he didn't love me"¦and that he knew I was a stranger. All of my life I dreamt of being a mother. I didn't care how, I just had to be. Here I was, going through crying fits, being depressed because Noah seemed like he didn't like me and just lying in bed all day long because I couldn't move. I was depressed and didn't even know it really. I went through months of this"¦I let Bryan do everything and not because he didn't want to, because he volunteered all of the time, but I never stopped him. I let Bryan feed him, change him, bathe him, get up in the middle of the night, comfort him, play with him"¦I watched for a really long time. And it wasn't that I didn't love him"¦I truly did from the moment I saw him, but for what I went through, we went through, I felt like I was living an out of body experience. I realize how embarrassed I am as I write this but I'm just going to put it out there because I know I'm not the only one who has been through this.
Less than 5 months before Noah, I was told I'd never have kids naturally. 2 years before that I miscarried. For the months in between the miscarriage and being told I had no eggs, I was injected, picked, probed, prodded, stuck with needles in my arms, belly and back, ultrasounds every other day, driving back and forth downtown every other day, exhausted physically and emotionally. Then, before I could recover, we finished our home study in 4 months and were told it would take roughly 2-5 years, if ever, to adopt. Within 48 hours of that statement, we were in an office meeting Noah's birth parents. Within 2 weeks of that, they chose us and within 1 week of that, Noah was here.
I never had time to grieve. I never had time to think. I was so so grateful but I was not mentally sure what the hell was going on. I hadn't talked to anyone about it except Nicole and my sister-in-law. I hadn't prepared. And I know they say that even when you are pregnant and you have 10 months to prepare that you still aren't prepared, but when I say we weren't prepared, I truly mean I was a mom overnight and I couldn't even see straight. Again, I will interject that we were grateful, absolutely, I was just confused and overwhelmed so fast.
About 7 months in, Bryan looked at me and told me I needed to figure it out. He gave me the "man up" speech, get off your ass and go talk to someone and figure it out. He told me that Noah adored me and I needed to stop being so unsure and insecure. And that was it"¦I was so insecure with the way he felt about me. It put a strain on my relationship with Bryan, a pause on my relationship with Noah and a halt to ever moving forward. I created this story about how my kid didn't like me when he had no idea that it wasn't me that held him securely inside for 10 months. It made me question the birth parents and our relationship with them. Made me insecure even though they didn't make it that way at our visits and I understood what Bryan was asking from me. So I did"¦and who knew you could have post-partum with an adoption? I didn't believe her when she told me, but she did and she said that it sometimes takes one year to heal from it depending on what form of therapy you use.
Needless to say, without going into further detail, I'm in a much better place and I can't believe I ever felt the way I did"¦I can't believe I lost time with the little man of my dreams and I can't believe my husband is so amazing. I can't believe I am so deserving. So"¦if you didn't understand why I feel guilt some days, this is why. This is also why I know that you are in charge of your life and emotions and you make decisions to affect that every single day. No more victim. No more tears. My kid loves me and I love him and nothing will change that.
At the end of the day, the moral of this entry is that it takes time to heal and sometimes you just don't have the time you need so you need to figure it out. It's ok to feel a certain way and I don't really care if I'm judged for it or not"¦it's me, my story & this is how it ended up"¦
You all have completely blown us away, once again....
Thank you thank you for continuing to support us. Though 10,000 is our initial goal, and there is still quite a way to go, you have given us such a great head start & have made us realize our dream is not impossible to achieve. A week ago we were pretty sure this was never going to happen...and here we are, looking at $6375.00 ! Amazing! We hope to be able to one day in the near future, share with you all the little person you helped us bring home. XOXO
I'm going to make this entry simple & sweet since I feel like I may be taking you all on a rollercoaster ride every time I post. The next entry will be a tear-jerker, promise, but for now I just want to share a sweet moment I caught between my husband & son this afternoon.
When we first realized we couldn't have children, and we started to discuss adoption casually, Bryan was really thrown-off. He wasn't sure he could handle that"¦handle not being the child's "real" father, the child not looking like either of us and he questioned whether or not he would be a good dad because he wasn't sure he would be able to love a child the same. Me, well, I just wanted to be a mom and I really didn't care how we got there. I was so desperate that I seriously considered looking for babies in places that people may leave them (don't laugh "“ dead serious). I thought about seeking out pregnant people that weren't sure they wanted to keep their kids and I definitely questioned everyone I knew and tried to see if they knew anyone who knew anyone who didn't want their kid. It was pretty pathetic but when you feel like you are out of options, and your focus is on one thing solely, you have tunnel vision. I couldn't see anything else but being a mom.
So my husband thought he wouldn't be any good at this adoption thing"¦who was he kidding? I've never seen a bond like theirs before. They have something special going on between them that I will probably never have with Noah"¦and that's ok; I love to watch them together. Bryan has grown so much and he is absolutely and madly in love with this little munchkin.
I look back and I think he was crazy for thinking he couldn't love a child the way he loves Noah. Bryan was the dad who wanted to do the middle-of-the-night feedings. He woke up with every noise. He wanted to feed Noah every time. He took on the role of neuroticism while I finally chilled out in life and became very laidback. I attribute Noah's calm and cool behavior to this. The boy is so damn chill about everything. He falls, he laughs. He scrapes his knee, he giggles. He slept through the night within 4 months. He ate food at 4 months and took it like a champ. He rarely cries, rarely fusses and is ALWAYS smiling. He loves the camera, the attention and he is a clown. He knows he is funny and he capitalizes on it. A little salesman already for sure.
Either way, Bryan & Noah are amazing together. I've captured many moments of the two of them on camera and the love between them radiates off the screen. It's incredible. He is an incredible hands-on father and Noah is so lucky to have him.
Today I watched Noah run around the park like a maniac. We had family pictures and Bryan took the reins with Noah while I mingled. Noah and Bryan were over in the back corner, by the lake, Noah playing on the log and Bryan just standing there, staring at him intensely. Noah wasn't even paying attention to Bryan "“ He was too enthralled with the stick he found. I looked at Noah, contently playing, then looked at Bryan, deep in stare with no one else around or paying attention and Bryan started smiling. My heart melted. My husband, non-emotional when I met him (and they say I'm heartless) gets choked up all of the time now"¦.Ever since Noah walked into our lives, Bryan has become a wreck. Kids will change you "“ they will do that to you. Even though Bryan and I didn't experience a pregnancy, a delivery, cutting the cord, seeing Noah in the hospital, there is a bond between them that I've never seen before. They are in love and Bryan is a sucker. His smile, when no one is watching, that smile that I know means he is so grateful and so appreciative that he gets to experience watching his kid play with sticks on a log, is one of the many reasons I fell in love with him. The two of them are truly meant to be.
After years of battling infertility, my husband, Bryan and I, decided to explore private adoption. In our ignorance, we assumed that since there were so many babies and young children waiting to find their forever homes, that it couldn't possibly be unaffordable. In our search, we found that adoption is not a possibility for everyone and the fees are high, not including the "extra" things like unpaid FMLA (adoption, not childbirth), purchasing an entire nursery prior to knowing if the child would actually come home with us, doctors appointments, classes, legal fees, and unexpected times when we needed to leave work. The unpredictability of adoption is scary in itself. Here we were, these two people willing to give up everything and do anything to be parents, and it seemed like such an unreachable goal.
Needless to say, we scraped together every last dime we had, emptied our savings account and enlisted the help of family and friends for donated strollers, cribs, clothing and car seats. We were extremely lucky to have such amazing people in our corner that were willing to step up and help us figure out a way to bring Noah home.
We had a very rare experience - and we are forever grateful - but it doesn't always go the way it did. The emotions were high in our house and Bryan & I did everything we could to stay strong and keep our heads up. We were lucky to have finished our home study, be approved and bring Noah home within a 6 month time frame.
We legally adopted Noah 6 months later, on December 10 (Gotchya-Day) and have lived every day since with such love and appreciation for our lives.
Since then, Bryan and I have flirted with the idea of giving Noah a sibling. For us, it isn't just something we can say we want to do and do it - We have to prepare in ways that others may not have to...and that's ok, however, we need to ask for your help.
Neither of us likes handouts. We've always been hard-working and have sacrificed a lot to get to where we are today - to have Noah. We have never wanted to have fundraisers or ask for donations - we wanted to do it on our own -but we have come to a point where it may be the only way to give Noah a sibling and help another child stuck within the system.
As of today, both of us are working multiple jobs to get to where we need to be before April 2014. In April, our home study expires and we, in a sense, have to start all over again - Classes for 8 weeks two times a week, extra fees, safety inspections, monthly visits from the social worker, fire inspections, drug tests, physicals, fingerprinting, etc. It is very time consuming to start over from scratch. Before, when Noah wasn't in our lives, it was ok - we were able to adjust our schedules. Now, to leave Noah a few nights a week and to complete everything again, it just seems so difficult to imagine.
Either way, we want to give Noah a sibling and we are asking for your help to do so in the form of a donation. We completely understand that money is important and tight for everyone, and that asking this of you is a lot, but, if it is something you can spare - $5, whatever the amount, we will be forever grateful to you for helping us on this journey.
Noah is, by far, the most amazing thing that has every happened to us and not just because he is a miracle in himself but because of the journey we went through to bring him home. Without support, it's unbearable and without help, it's impossible.
Please don't feel obligated to donate. Again, no hard feelings because we completely get it. However, if you have some spare change to donate, please take the time to submit anything that you can.
We love to share our story so if you know anyone struggling with infertility, or looking for guidance on the adoption process, please tell them to reach out. Since this miracle, I have spoken to over one dozen people looking for advice and insight. I love being there to help people who were just as confused and scared as we were. Please send them my way :)
Such an amazing couple who has created an amazing family! Noah such a beautiful little guy who is so blessed to have you two as parents, glad to help another lucky child have the same blessing!! xo Chad, Ryan & ALL our boys :)
I am not sure if you remember me....You were my New Member Coordinator when I pledged Alpha Gam in the Fall of 2001. I saw this info on Vanessa's page and was touched by your story!
Good luck...wish I could do more :)