Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No News

Today we met our new social worker and the woman responsible for child search. The meeting went well and I feel confident in their abilities. We learned a few things such as we'll be provided with an end of month report on each referral we have been sent. It will have info on if we submitted our home study and what the outcome was if known. It will help show us and our social worker trends on what we are interested in and help identify things we had said were ok but maybe we've been passing when actually presented it. I love stats so I'm excited to be getting this.

The other thing I shared with them was we quickly learned how exciting and hard it can be to see the referrals and then wait. I've realized while I want well wishes and prayers, I won't be telling anyone when we submit our home study any longer. It's really hard on us to be asked by well meaning people about it...often several times a day. It makes it nearly impossible to distract ourselves and just wait it out. I also feel I'm almost letting people down when I have to report day after day "no update!". So please keep us in your thoughts and try to understand why we'll be quiet about this.

I'm sure I'll share from time to time how many we're seeing but from the sounds of it we could have several pending at any given time. Back in March there was a flood of referrals and they thought we would be placed quickly. It's reduced quite a bit in April and May but there's just no telling when we'll get picked. The when isn't so important, it really comes down to the right match.

For now I'm feeling much better by having some things in the house that were given to us by friends (THANK YOU!). It puts my mind at ease knowing I have more than just a crib since I know kids do more than sleep.

Thanks again for everyone's love and support through this process. We couldn't do it without you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pins & Needles!

So things are a little more excitable now that we're active in the child search process than I expected. We've been told over and over to enjoy phase 1 because things are in our control as far as timing and phase two means a lot of waiting and not much going on. I expected to have the question of "when?" ever present in the back of my mind and maybe to get a little frustrated that it was taking so long with nothing else "to do".

Now that I've spent 4 days in this phase I have to say it's way more exciting than I expected. We've had two kids meeting our criteria (for the most part) presented to us. The first we passed on and the second, which was today, is something we're hopeful about. Our agency contacted us to let us know they submitted our homestudy which was a little surprising but I know they need to move quickly. We also had the option to pull out but it became real when I was sitting at work and read "Your home study HAS been submitted". I won't made my heart skip a beat.

My mind begins to race with the possibilities of this placement and wondering if this will be "the one". I'm just praying with all my being that we will only be selected if it is what is meant to be. I also have to wonder if I'll be feeling this way every week for months or even a year! That's the reality of what a lot of people go through. They submit their info and for whatever reason they might not be picked. I thought I knew excitement but this is giving me a new definition. I'm not sure my heart is cut out to go through this on a regular basis.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Welcome to Phase 2!

Today we got our official letter welcoming us to "Phase 2" which means the child search is on. We expected to be here about 6-8 weeks ago but alas we are here now. There were some last minute complications with our heritage to clear up and a heavy workload for our social worker so things became delayed. All that was wrapped up on Friday afternoon and we're ready to roll.

Our license request has been shipped off to Snohomish County and we're being placed with a new social worker who can better handle us since she has a little more time. We won't meet her until next Wednesday but I can't lie...I'm a little nervous. We've been with Gretchen since last fall and really feel a strong connection with her. She knows everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about us. We'll give this new girl a shot and pray for the best.

Our agency has also recently changed the way they do matches. Now instead of each social worker looking at all the referrals finding that perfect match for their clients they have one person looking at them all. Before it would distract the workers and cause delays in their work, as we saw with ours. It seems pretty overwhelming to me to have just one person do this but I hear it's working much better. They took someone who really had a knack for matching and let her take it over full time. We'll be meeting with her next week too. I'm thinking about bringing her cookies or something ;)

I'd say after next week it really could be any day but if I had to guess I'd say I don't think we'll have a placement for at least a few more months. We will still be the only family they are working with in Snohomish County which places us at the top of the list for most of the referrals out of Everett. I really don't care how long it takes as long as the right match is the end that is what matters. Even so I'm sure I'll get impatient which is when I'll re-read this.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rules of Engagement

I have a group of about 20 or so women I talk with often who have all been impacted by infertility. There's this unwritten code we all abide by, a way of communicating with each other that makes our feelings safe. Next to the pain of dealing with infertility the most popular topic we all can relate to is "crap people say/do". All most all of the things said or done that hurt happen with the best intentions but totally miss the mark. I could easily do a full blog post on each of the items I'll mention but I do want you to actually read it so I promise to keep it brief.I want to share on behalf of all those who can't or don't know how to. Here's my attempt at translating the language of our secret society.

News About Pregnancy
With my close group of couples we quickly established a rule of communicating this news only by email and always a day or so before we'd meet next. This allows everyone to process the information in private with no expectation of reaction. Sometimes you just need a minute to process it on your own. I also beg of those who have no trouble with infertility to follow this same practice. I've had lots of people hold off sharing the news with me to spare my feelings. This hurts and trust me...we know. We want the chance to be happy for you so please include us, just allow us some space to do so.

Invites to Kid/Family Events
A few years ago we went through some painful friend losses because people around us had kids and we did not. They avoided inviting us to events that were just for kids or families because we didn't meet their life circumstance. The lack of invites was often to "spare" us from feeling obligated to go to a potentially emotionally painful event. The way this really feels is that we're being punished further for not having kids. We want the option to come and your understanding if we don't feel up to it. We began having this conversation with our friends which was hard and awkward but not everyone may be up for that talk yet. I really encourage those dealing with infertility to tell their friends and family what they need.

I Could Never...
One of the biggest punches to the gut is comments about how someone couldn't imagine doing "x". This came up often when I was going through IVF and mentioned the shots. I hate needles and still can't even look when they draw blood. None of that matters when you really want something and you just don't have another option. When people say they couldn't do that it's almost like hearing "thank God it's you dealing with this because I couldn't". The same is when people say things like you must have been given this challenge because you have a big heart. The truth is you can't judge what anyone will do until you're in it. I'm really conscious of this now and try to never make comments like this. Instead I will say "I admire your courage and perseverance".

These are just a few of them but pretty major rules. This is all my personal opinion and experience. I hope more women can talk about their needs with those they love. If they can't do that, I hope this helps.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

Oh...where to start. I've been thinking about writing my thoughts on Mother's Day for about two weeks as it approached and I could never really pin point what I wanted my message to be. How do I express my feelings without it sounding like a pity party and how to I resolve my inner conflict of the meaning of the day? I sit here the day after still not knowing the answers to these questions but allowing myself to just write.

As a person who has struggled to become a mother of a living breathing child for 6 years now, Mother's Day is one of the hardest of the year for me to face. It's a day I wrestle with the demons of depression and grieve all over again for every time I was disappointed in this battle. Another day to ask why I've been given this challenge in life. To remember that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your dreams can't be realized in the way you've always envisioned.

This coupled with a day set aside to honor the women out there who are amazing Mothers. Including my own, and believe me she deserves a day just in honor of her. I want to embrace that and honor my own mother as well as every woman I know that has, is, or will be a mother in what ever form it may take. I want to be the first to stand up and applaud them.

It's an amazing internal battle that plays out in my head. Even though I'm so close to being a mother at long last, this continues to be a very real struggle. I allow myself this day to have whatever feelings I may. I think it's important to grant myself permission to feel any way I want with no apology. It might sound strange but I almost relish in these feeling and the ability I now how to feel them and move on. There was a time not too long ago with these feelings were part of my daily reality and I wasn't sure I'd ever feel better. I am very aware there are countless women in that same position today and by allowing myself to remember and feel this I pray and hope they too will find peace.

As I left work on Friday I had someone comment to me that this would me my last Mother's Day without a child. Even though this may be true I hope I never forget what it is like to be a hopeful Mother and the very real struggle they face day in and out. I will be saying a prayer for them every Mother's Day for the rest of my life. I am so grateful for those that have known this struggle first hand and come through to the other side that continue to comfort those of use who are still on the road to fulfilling a life long dream.

I give my deepest appreciation to all of the Mothers (in whatever form it may be) and applaud those who are fighting so hard for this role.