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Showing posts from 2014

Our First No

We had our first ‘official’ no this week. It’s a strange feeling – knowing that someone is looking at our profile information, reading our words, pouring over our pictures, analyzing the details and trying to decide if they think WE could parent their unborn child. While we may have been presented to several birth families through our initial agency, we were never told about it. They like to prevent the heartache of knowing you’ve received a ‘no’ and only contact you if you’ve got a birth family seriously looking to choose you. It has its pros and cons. Signing up with the adoption consultant, I knew we’d have more involvement in the process. We are actually provided details of situations and decide IF we want to be presented. Then we actually know they are looking. I was looking forward to this ‘knowing’. But last week, as we waited, wondering, praying, hoping that they see some sort of connection and decide we are the ones I was torn about how I felt about the ‘knowing’. All week, in…

Thankful Heart

Last weekend Matt and I were able to spend the long holiday weekend with my parents in Oklahoma. We enjoyed long, lazy days watching football, dining on wonderful homemade food, shopping around town, putting up Christmas decorations and just spending quality time together. Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad's has become a family tradition over the past few years and one that I treasure. I simply love everything about the weekend; putting on aprons and helping Mom in the kitchen, setting a pretty table, watching Dad carve the turkey, helping Mom decorate her Christmas tree, and helping Dad put up Christmas lights, watching football, football, football, eating leftovers, and exploring the Atwoods store for goodies. No matter how old I get - it's like I'm a kid again!

This year, two of my dearest friends' fathers have struggled with life altering and debilitating illnesses. My heart aches for them as they watch their fathers weaken and watch their mothers take on new roles as ca…

The Next Chapter in our Adoption Journey

Last week Matt and I hired an adoption consultant to help us in our adoption journey. We had been feeling that our exposure to potential birth families was pretty narrow (just central Iowa) and since we are a unique situation we started to worry that it may take a good long while to be chosen. 
We weren't really looking to change our approach, it just sort of landed in our laps through a friend of a friend. I can't help but think it was God working out more of the details for us. 
This adoption consultant will help get us more exposure to potential birth families in various locations throughout the US. While this will hopefully speed up the process, it will increase our costs...quite a bit. We have raised enough to cover the costs of an adoption through our original agency - however these other agencies have higher fees and we'll also need to incorporate travel expenses into the equation. Things we hadn't contemplated before. We have been praying and thinking this over..…

Time Keeps on Slipping, Slipping, Slipping...

Happy November!
It's hard to believe that October has come and gone and here we are on the edge of the holiday season. Good grief! Life has been busy and good and really I should focus on that but today, I am feeling a bit... impatient. It's been nearly 6 months since we were officially approved to adopt and while a lot has happened to keep us busy and help pass the time - I can't help but feel the itch to know WHEN will our dream finally come true?
Every family I know who has gone through an adoption journey ended up with a child at some point. None of them gave up and walked away childless. However, somewhere deep down inside, I still carry a little fear that we will. As the waiting family profiles pile up on the website I can't help from checking out the 'competition'...and isn't it terrible to view them as such? It is, I know...but I can't help trying to rationalize how someone might choose us over another. I find myself compartmentalizing the other…

Nine and Counting

Yesterday - September 14th - marked the 9th anniversary of Matt's stroke. It's really hard to fathom...nine years. Of course the years fade some of the memories and it does seem like forever ago (a lifetime, really) and yet...
Can it really be nine YEARS!?! It's so incredible to me that time is marching on and we find ourselves nearing the golden years of our 30's.It's really crazy to me...and yet...
I feel like our 30's have been amazing - our best years. While they have brought us unimaginable changes and challenges - they have also brought us indescribable blessings. I look back over these past 9 years and I’m amazed at how wonderful they have been – despite all we’ve endured. We have traveled to many fantastic places; we have spent countless evenings laughing through tears with loving friends; we have shared meals and holidays surrounded by the loving warmth of our families; we have exchanged heartfelt hugs with our church family; we’ve seen the birth of spe…

Mixed Emotions

A friend of mine who has gone through infertility and adoption told me about a series of articles being published in the Des Moines Register this week – chronicling the story of a couple on their own infertility journey. I tend to avoid reading these sorts of stories, and brushed it aside for a few days. But last night, as I was waiting for Matt to finish getting ready for bed, I sat down with the iPad to check it out. Of course it brought back a great big wave of emotions, and as I grappled with them, I couldn't help but wish I hadn't read the story. Like most couples struggling with infertility their story was wrought with ups and downs, miscarriages, disappointment, heartache, self-doubt, resilience, love, fear…rinse and repeat. And, like many stories you hear about, theirs is ultimately winding up with a crazy happy ending. This is where I struggle. Where the deep recesses of my heart cry out…why.not.us? Reading the story, seeing the pictures and names of the nurses and doc…

Saying Goodbye to the Wagon

Today we officially sold the wagon and it made its journey safe and sound to its new home in Missouri. We’ve been talking about selling the wagon for a few months now…sort of half-heartedly. In the beginning we had a little interest in it, but figured maybe it’d be ok not to sell it before the Good Guys car show, July 4th weekend, so we could enjoy it one last time. Matt has been going to the Good Guys for years – long before he had a car old enough to be IN the show. And we’ve been every summer in the wagon, since we got it. It was definitely a high point for us each summer. We both just love everything about it – the old cars cruising through the old fair grounds…the smells of exhaust mixed with fried fair food…the families and folks of all ages out enjoying the cars always touched our hearts. We would spend all day and all night there soaking it all in, even in crazy hot weather! This year my family came with us to enjoy our last Good Guys in the wagon, and we had such a great time.…

Web Profile!

So I've been waiting FOREVER patiently for our web profile to be loaded onto the Bethany website. It is the last piece of our profile to be completed and it's been driving me nuts waiting for it to be live...and I'm SO happy to finally have this completed. Now I can relax, right?
http://waitingfamilies.bethany.org/home/iowa/matt-and-emily

And wait, wait, wait for that one amazing phone call.


Dam to Dam

If you live in Central Iowa you are familiar with the ‘Iowa Distance Classic’ Dam to Dam 20K road race. If you’re not from around here – let’s just say it’s a big race with somewhat of a cult following here in the Des Moines metro. The race starts up on the Saylorville dam and makes its way through the IA countryside, eventually winding up downtown Des Moines.
In my early years of learning to run, I had grand ideas of someday running it. In 2010 I ran the 5K and hoped that the next year I’d be back to run the full 20K. For one reason or another each year I found myself unable to train for or run the big race…until 2014. Coincidentally, this year was the first time in the race’s 35 year history that it was expanded to be a full half marathon…I saw it as a sign – this would finally be my year.
It had been a few years since my last half marathon and I was excited to start training for another long distance run. However training in late winter/early spring was MUCH different than training…

Oh HI there!

Commence Paperwork…NOW!

Obviously we knew heading into this adoption that the paperwork would be extensive (and rightly so) but phew, it’s been a busy couple of weeks making our way through the mountain of questions, forms, and applications. It’s been ‘fun’ looking up financial information and discussing our childhoods, parents, and personalities. One thing we’ve taken away so far…how blessed we are with our loving and supportive families.
We giggled when going through the personality traits of our parents, and how we grew up. Trying to imagine our parents being violent or abusive…but in reality, we know there are so many who have had to cope with these types of unstable and scary home life situations. It didn’t take long for us to realize how good we’ve had it. Of course we’ve always known how lucky we were to have such supportive families – but to see their traits checked off on form really brought it home. Words like loving, kind, gentle, fun, compassionate (well, if you were bleeding or throwing up), encou…

WE'RE ADOPTING!!

Bah! I said it…er wrote it…out loud. There it is, in black and white for the world to see. (Pause for a drink and a breath)
Matt and I are in the very early stages of planning to adopt. We have had a few meetings with an adoption agency, we are gathering the necessary information, and we are making plans to get this ball officially rolling SOON. It has been a very long and winding road to get us to this point, and honestly I never thought we’d get here. Adoption isn’t what we started out hoping for. It isn’t where we thought we’d end up. But here we are – gearing up for what will surely be a life-changing experience for us with hearts full of hope and excitement.
The topic of adoption has come up in the past, but we quickly dismissed it for one reason or another. Matt and I have had our fair share of insecurities about whether or not adoption would be a good option for us. Who would look at our family profile and pick us?? It was a burning question that we probably still have …

China Reflections

This week we received word that one of the other stroke patients who was in China at the same time as Matt has passed away. This is the second passing from the group that we know of. All week I’ve been reflecting on our time in China, and thinking of the folks who were a part of that experience. We came from all walks of life, all stages and ages to a foreign place in search of healing and hope. While none of us came away with the miracle healings we had prayed for, I have no doubt we all came home changed.
It’s still strange and surreal for me to think about the fact that Matt spent 3 months in China. Looking back at pictures I can’t really believe we were actually there…in China. It was 6 years ago, nearly exactly, that we were preparing for Matt’s big trip. We were hopeful and excited, nervous and a bit scared. We had sacrificed so much to get there – as did our families. We were taking this great leap of faith in hopes of brighter days ahead.
And truly, our days have been brighter…