Tuesday, May 27, 2014


The birth mother we met with decided to not place the baby due in July up for adoption. The baby is a girl. We are obviously sad about it. She did not go with another family but decided to try and parent. The more heart breaking thing about it is that the baby girl will probably go into foster care/dcfs custody once she is born and not stay with the birth mother. There is nothing we can do about it except pray. There are some other heart breaking and weird circumstances about this case but I don't think I should go into any further details. I got the call on Friday afternoon as I was working on last minute details for the infertility/miscarriage retreat that I was leading the next day. I told JJ when he got home from work and I could see the disappointment in his eyes. This journey is hard, not just adoption but infertility. I haven't had much time to process it all because of a busy weekend we had which was a blessing. The retreat went really well and I am so thankful that it all came together, more on that in a other post.  

I saw my AFGM at the retreat and she could identify with the pain that I was feeling. I was trying not to say what it felt like but she said it out loud and that made feel better about sharing it. This failed adoption feels like a miscarriage. The feelings about it are very similar but not the same amount of intensity. When I shared it with JJ he agreed that his feelings were similar to what he experienced when we lost Cecilia. It's like you got the positive pregnancy test but you are not going to get to meet or hold this baby. Sorry if this doesn't make sense, it's just how it makes sense to me. 

We went to a baptism on Monday and I was fine until they did the blessing of the mother and father at the end. That part gets me every.single.time. The last song at the baptism was Blessed Be your Name which is one of my favorite praise and worship songs. At that point I just wanted to crawl into a hole  and just wallow. The other part of me just wanted to be there and see all of our friends and have fun. I tried my best to not be so down but I don't think I was fooling anyone, ha! One of our priest friends who was there told me that I could call/text him anytime to let him know how things were going and that he is praying for us. We have such a supportive group of family, friends and church family or "churchies" as we like to call them. A lot of them let us know they are praying for us, that they are sorry to hear what happened and gave us some encouraging words. In this respect we are very blessed, I know of many other couples who don't feel supported by their friends and family. We are so grateful for the prayers and love, I know they are giving us strength and grace for this road. 

So that is where we are. Our next step is to do things in normal order like start our home study and all that. I think we are going to start the home study after our vacation in June or right before it, we haven't decided yet. Thank you for all the prayers we really appreciate it! Please continue to pray for us. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

How to Meet a Birth Mother w/out Going Insane!

So our adoption facilitators told us early last week that they were going to show our profile to a new birth mother. The one from a couple weeks ago they hadn't heard from again so we are pretty sure she chose to parent. They showed the birth mother 6 profiles and we were the couple that she wanted to meet, the one she liked the most. I was in shock and I was amazed she wanted to meet us considering I put the profile together in only a couple hours. They let us know late afternoon on Friday that she wanted to meet us on Sunday if we were available. I believe the words from the facilitator were "what does your Sunday look like?" My response was "whatever you want it to look like? Tell us when and where, we will be there." I am glad they told us only two days before so I didn't have too much time to agonize over the meeting. We were going to meet the facilitators on Saturday anyway so that put us more at ease so we could ask them a lot of our questions. So here are my tips that may help you get through what could be the most awkward, nervous, exciting and uncomfortable meeting of your life! 

1. Pray, pray and pray some more!

Start praying right away for peace, whatever may come. Pray for the birth mother and her discernment and for the baby who could potentially become your child. Get others to pray for you, gather up your prayer warriors so that you know you will be surrounded in prayer. Knowing that we had the support of our friends and family through prayer was such a huge relief. Pray a rosary on the way to the meeting! My DH suggested we pray a rosary while we were on the freeway and although I was a ball of nerves and didn't want to I went with it. It was so good for me to focus on prayer and ask Our Lady to intercede for us, it really calmed my nerves. 

2. Do your hair and make-up

Now I am not saying this for vanity's sake or trying to sell yourself to the birth mother. It is more so that you feel more at ease. Let's face it when we feel beautiful we feel more confident in who we are. Plus I find doing my hair and make-up pretty relaxing because I put on my favorite music to get ready to and just concentrate on getting ready. 

3. Be Comfortable

Do things and surround yourself with what gives you comfort. Listen to your favorite music on the way there, wear a favorite bracelet or pair of earrings. If you have a favorite rosary bring it with you in your purse. Being comfortable will make you more relaxed and more yourself which is who the birth mother wants to get to know. 

4. Embrace the Situation and Be Random

Now don't be all random and all over the place when you are meeting with her, do that before. When I found out she wanted to meet us I had all these thoughts and feelings that were jumbled together. I embraced my crazy and just let it happen. There would be times where I would just shout "Ahhhhh!" when JJ and I were home or in the car on the way there. I cried because I was overwhelmed by the supportive response we got from family and friends who were surrounding us in prayer. I even cried on the way there because it gave me hope which is hard to come by when you have been dealing with infertility. 

5. Bring a Small Gift 

This may sound a little odd but I think it's a nice ice breaker. Ask your agency or facilitator a little about her so you know what may be appropriate. We found out she likes candy so we got her some of our favorite candies and it turned out her and I both love the savory and sweet combination which was one of the candies we got her. This helped us to break the ice a bit and made it feel a little less awkward. 

6. Remember You Are Both Human

This may sound obvious but I think we can forget this as you and the birth mother are in opposite situations, she is pregnant and you desperately want to have a child. You feel judged because you think she is critiquing your every move and she feels judged for being in the situation that brought her to choose adoption. JJ and I really tried to treat this as if we were meeting any new person for the first time. We allowed her to control the conversation so she could feel comfortable asking us questions which wasn't that difficult because she was naturally extroverted and we are naturally introverted. I tried to be a little more extroverted so that I was consciously not drawing too inward which I tend to do around new strangers. Be honest with your answers because you are not perfect and she should get to know the real you, she is trying to make the best decision for the baby that she can and I am sure it is not easy. 

7. Celebrate

When it's all said and done whether or not you find out if you are a match that day go out and celebrate in a small way. This helped us to feel good about the accomplishment that we had done, it was one more thing on the adoption journey that we had experienced. Even if she doesn't choose us we now know what happens at a meeting with a birth mother so we have some experience under our belts. JJ and I went out for frozen yogurt afterwards and it was just what we needed! 

So those are my tips for meeting with a birth mother. All in all we had a great experience! We will find out this week if she chooses us so please keep us in your prayers! Our facilitators said 90% of the time if a birth mother has chosen to meet with you it's usually a match but the melancholic in me is thinking about the other 10% of the time. I have a pretty busy week ahead with clients and the retreat coming up on Saturday so I won't have too much time to agonize about it but let's be real I will be thinking about it a lot. Please keep her, our facilitators and us in your prayers this week, thank you! St. Joseph, pray for us! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Adoption Whirlwind

It has been interesting what my brain is doing lately. It has had to switch from practitioner/CrMS to retreat/infertility to adoption to wife all at a moments notice. I can be in the middle of a phone conversation with a friend and answer my call waiting to someone wanting to learn CrMS or I can be emailing the adoption facilitator and get an email about the retreat at the same time. Phew, my brain is tired! This recent situation I am sharing definitely made my brain switch to adoption fast...

So it was not but a month ago that I announced here on ye' old blog that we were really moving forward with adoption. We thought we had narrowed it down to one agency or one private law group that we would work with. I called the law group over 3 weeks ago and they still haven't called me back plus the receptionist who answered didn't seem to know who to refer us to when I told her "I am looking into some information about adopting through your law group." Maybe that's a bad sign? I just know that this law group is pretty experienced with handling adoptions so I was pretty puzzled. We haven't registered for the one day training class with the agency we wanted to go with although they sent us the preliminary application approval weeks ago. I have no idea why we haven't registered because we are pretty motivated to get the process started. We know that after the home study the wait could be as long as 2 years for an infant although since we are so open most agencies assured us our wait would be less time. 

So back in December we got a call from a friend, let's just call her our "adoption fairy godmother" or our AFGM for short, and she said there was a baby girl in need of being placed by tomorrow as she was going to be discharged from the hospital. It was our close call and it gave us the push to keep discerning whether or not adoption is what we should be pursuing. My conversation with our AFGM was so fruitful because her exact words were "no one is going to hand you a baby and say 'here you go here is your baby.' You have to put yourself out there and it's tough." At first her words may seem a bit harsh but she was pushing me to take action because she could hear in my voice how much I wanted this. She herself has adopted and known the pain of infertility so she had to come to the same reality of how hard we have to work to become parents. She "gets it" which most people don't so it is so nice having someone like her in our corner. 

So on a Thursday I get a call from her while I am in a follow up with a client. I didn't recognize the number and I usually have my phone on silent but it was on vibrate this time. As the phone was buzzing away I turned it on silent so I could finish my follow up undistracted. I was very curious as to who left a message so immediately after my follow up I walked my clients out of the office and rushed back in to check the voice mail. It turns out it was our AFGM letting us know that there was a baby boy in need of being placed soon. I call her back immediately as I am almost running out of the office waving bye to the secretary instead of our usual chit chat before I go. She tells me all about the baby and who to call. I get home and see our car in the drive way which means JJ is home. I get off the phone with her and search frantically for JJ, he is not in the house which means he is at the church praying which is what he does every day after work. As I listen to the details about this precious baby boy JJ walks up so I mouth the words "pray" and "baby" and do the sign of the cross plus a rocking baby to sleep motion. My husband probably thought I was stark raving mad at this point as I kept doing those actions until he could get it, he just shrugged his shoulders at me. I guess we need to work on our silent communication and play some more charades. 

After I get off the phone with our AFGM and download all the info I was given to JJ I then proceeded to call the facilitator. The facilitator said that if we were interested that we would need to let her know asap as the birth mother was going to look at profiles for potential families the next day. JJ and I prayed and discussed it for about 20mins and decided to throw our hat in the ring. Not having a profile yet I threw together some pictures of us with some savvy words and made a mini-profile and sent it to the facilitator at around 10:30pm that night.

As of today it has been almost 2 weeks since this happened and we still haven't heard from the birth mother, the lawyer hasn't even heard back from her. If you could please pray for this birth mother that would be great, she did have a hard situation and I just pray for her and baby boy. I am 99.9% sure that this adoption is not going to happen. It was such an exciting rush to just be thrown into this situation! To have to act fast and just go with what was being put out in front of us at the time definitely got my energy up. Hmmm, maybe I am a little extroverted after all ;) Although the next day I was a bit exhausted from all the excitement. 

We will be meeting with the facilitators this weekend to talk about their contract and services. After that we will decide when to start everything as well as figure out the financial aspect of it all. I am loving what I am hearing about these facilitators so far and how they walk us through everything. They have been so great with answering our questions and decoding all the lingo for us. They are not an agency which means there is a little more work we have to do on our part as far as lawyers and such but they do so much for the adoptive family AND birth family. They started a non-profit to help their birth mothers with services they might need long after the adoption is final. As well as adoptive families being able to help out another adoptive family's birth mother if they want to donate to their adoption. I really love that about them! It makes it feel less like a business and more like a community. 

So that is where we are at with our adoption plans. It kind if feels like full speed ahead for now until we start the waiting. Oh the waiting...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Heaviest of Crosses...

I really struggle as I even type this to articulate what it is I am really trying to say. I know that it has been difficult lately to put into words about what I feel about infertility and miscarriage, not just for myself but for others who are struggling so much. Ever since taking over the infertility/miscarriage support group last September I have been doing a really bad job at advertising and getting people to the meetings. Some people who have come to the group have moved on with conceiving or adopting and the other part may be the meeting day and location. Some of it's been the fact that I am not sure what this group is really suppose to be. Some people who have come to the group have expressed wanting a speaker with info./resources every month and most have not really given an input. I have connected a lot of the group members to the face.book group so they can get support and resources there. There have been many people who are telling me that this is so needed and the retreat I am planning is so needed but yet are not coming to the group or the retreat. 

 It is so much work just to advertise in bulletins especially because the archdiocese is not really giving us much attention or help at this point, even though they say this group is needed and they approve of our group. They have put our advertisement in their archdiocesan wide bulletin which has been super helpful but as far as anything else, I am pretty much on my own. I have written a letter to Archbishop Gomez almost 2 years ago and to our regional "bishop" who is a Monsignor over a year ago. I have gotten no response whatsoever from them personally or their offices. I have done follow up calls and email with no response as well. It is so discouraging. Now most of you right now may be making up excuses/reasons in your head as to why the Archbishop and regional "bishop" have not gotten back to me or you are thinking "well you need to try again by doing XYX," please just don't go there. I just need you to listen to what I am saying, these couples are hurting and it seems that no one in the hierarchy cares about them!  Don't even get me started on the lack of pastoral care on the parish level where priests tell you to "stop creating your own misery and appreciate what you do have" in the confessional or think that the main reason you want to go to a woman's prayer/discussion group is so that you can "be with all the babies." Oh yes I am a baby crazed woman where I want to be around babies any chance I get because I am infertile, thanks for perpetuating the stereo type father if you were listening to me it's actually quite the opposite. 

So am I really trying to just complain in this post? No, like I said I am not even sure what I am trying to say. All I know is that lately this cross has been oh so heavy lately. Not just my cross of infertility but as I am getting inquiries from the retreat coming up I am hearing more stories of pain and loneliness. I am hearing of couples dealing with infertility for much longer than we have been and mamas losing their babies at the 5th month of pregnancy. I am hearing fathers who are devastated that they just lost a child due to miscarriage. I am dealing with clients who are having surgeries to find out why they keep having ectopic pregnancies or to find out if endometriosis or blocked tubes could be the reason for their infertility. I am working with clients who have tried IVF and it has failed them, fed them lies and took their money. I am listening as clients pour out their hearts to me because no one else has seemed to care that they haven't been able to have children or grieving with them as they come in post miscarriage. 

I told Jesus during my prayer time that "I can't do it anymore all of this suffering it's too much. Are you sure you want this of me?" It was all becoming just too much and JJ was noticing that I had been having a difficult time with the retreat and taking on clients when I said I would try and take a break. I originally said I wouldn't take on more clients until my intro session right before the retreat but when I get calls from people who are seeing our NaPro Dr. then I just can't say no because I remember what it was like to just want to get started to get some answers. I have a heart for the infertile ones I just can't help it, plus it's my job. So after some discernment I decided to leave the Catholic St. Gerard face.book group for a little while. JJ thought it was a good idea so as painful as it was to do that I left the group. I couldn't handle organizing an emotionally taxing retreat, wanting to take on more clients and being a part of the group to offer up prayers, support and give advice to those in the group. I was trying to do too much in the infertility world and I needed to take a step back. 

All of this suffering around me has been difficult because all I can really do is pray. I am not Christ, only He can actually take on the suffering to conquer it. I can only simply give it to Him. I am just part of the assembly line passing my prayers and compassion for the suffering to Him to be united to His cross. 
Compassion is not an easy trait to come by because it means to suffer with. It means to walk the road with the suffering and not try to fix their suffering or compete as to who has the worst of it because we ALL have a perfectly fitted and made for us cross. You don't have it worse than your neighbor and vice versa because CHRIST took it all on. Having compassion also takes humility because our pride will tell us "I am going through more than you are" or "I can make it better if you just take my advice." It takes real humility to know that the only person who can alleviate someone's suffering is Christ. Yup, God gave me a huge dose of humility the past couple weeks with this lesson! So anytime I am trying to do more than I know I can or take on too much I just say "I am not the Christ" and I give it to Him. He had the heaviest cross and can alleviate our burden when we unite ourselves to Him.

It is no coincidence that this week, the week leading up to Mother' Day I have gotten the most inquires about the retreat. This day is one of such pain for so many people. No, they can't get over it because it does not go away and their pain is very real. It is no coincidence that my period came two days before Mother's Day and a possible adoption for us looks like it is not happening (long story will explain in a different post). Yes I will be seeing my mom on Sunday and trying to focus on her but I will definitely be praying and keeping all those in pain close to my heart. I will also be honoring the ultimate Mother, Mary who carried Christ in her womb and knows what true compassion is. She is the one we should be honoring on Sunday for she is the conduit in which God became flesh. She walked the road of suffering with Christ and had perfect grace flowing through every step she took. She is the mama bear we run to and who prays for us when the enemy tries to attack us. She is the beauty to which the proverb says "many are the women of proven worth but you have excelled them all." 

 So happy Mother's Day to all mothers, godmothers, grandmothers, those who long to be mothers, those mothers whose children are in heaven, mothers whose children are in the NICU or are sick, big sisters who are like mothers, all women because you are called to be a mother and to Mary the beauty of Carmel, the mystical rose who is my Mama. You will all be in my heart this mother's day.