Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Neighborhood Bloggers

In the hopes of making some friends in the blogging world, I am participating in a fun "getting to know you" game on a fellow blogger's blog. It seems like fun and if you have a blog and want more visitors you can join in as well. Look on my sidebar to find the getting to know you button and follow the instrutions. Maybe I'll be chosen as the featured blogger soon! :)


Monday, April 27, 2009

Figuring It all Out

So here we were...with a 5 month old baby, a beautiful happy baby. I remember it feeling a little bit awkward when C left. We had been working so hard to support her and teach her how to mother. We had been to court just a few days before where I told the judge what a wonderful job she was doing. Still to this day, I can tell you that was the truth.

C was so easy to have around. She got herself up for school every morning, was respectful and eager to please. She and I (even though it was only 3 weeks) became close. She was my shadow. She watched me like a hawk and rarely left my side. I remember being a little annoyed at the time. Suddenly all my alone time was gone.

The truth is I loved, and still love C. I have this earning need to scoop her up and save her from the system and family that was failing her. It was heartbreaking to watch. She was just as much of a victim as The Bug, if not more. All we wanted at the time was to find C, make sure she was safe and bring her back home.

That however, wouldn't be the case. C was gone and very soon The Bug would begin calling us Mommy and Daddy. If only the story were to end there...


A Little Housekeeping...

Ok, here's where I need your help...

I just moved my blog here from a private blog to Blogger. I am hoping to reach out to people who may be suffering from infertility and/or considering adoption.

My problem, I have no idea how to do that. I don't even know if anyone at all is reading this. Please pass my blog along to anyone you know that might benefit from my experiences and also those who may just enjoy reading our story and learning more about adoption, the foster care system, or the crazy life of parenting. :)

If you stop by and like or dislike something about my blog, please leave a comment or send me an email and let me know you stopped by.

I would really appreciate all your support!

~ Katie
"Feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly."
B. Andreas

Baby Bam

My sweet little Baby Bam is sick. We had a very rough night last night. He cried in and whined in his sleep all night. This morning he seemed fine so we all went to work and school. The daycare called about lunchtime and said that he had a fever of 101. I picked him up and we went to the Doc. By the time we got there his fever was 103. POOR BABY! The Doc said he just had a virus and to treat his fever with Tylenol. He is sleeping now and I think his fever has broken b/c he is sweating up a storm in his crib. I just hate to see my kids sick. I just wish there was something else I could do or something I could give him to make him feel better. :(

My Sweet Baby Bam on a Healthier Day


Friday, April 24, 2009

The Bug

I have really been wanting to sit down and post for the last day but couldn't seem to find the time. Seth has been out of town A LOT latley so I don't seem to have any time at all. He is home (for now), thank goodness.

On with the story...

The few days after The Bug's arrival was a blur. Seth had to leave town almost immediatley for work after they arrived. So there I was, a new mom to these two girls, on my own, in just a matter of hours notice. This is not a complaint. This is what we signed up for. We were told that their placement with us would be about 6 months, so at this point I realzied my mission, and it was to simply teach C how to be a mother to The Bug. This was our opportunity to help, yet it was still overwhelming.

I had a lot of ground to cover. I needed to get some baby stuff first. We are so blessed and family and neighbors dug into their attics to get the very basic necessities for the first night. C came with only one or two outfits. Both girls reaked of cigarette smoke. What baby things The Bug did come with, I had to throw away due to the smell. When I think of the smoke infested bottle nipples she was drinking out of now, I just want to cry.

I had to get C enrolled in high school and The Bug enrolled in daycare. I had to get WIC services set up for them and sort out insurance information. Since we were brand new to our foster care agency, we still had paperwork to officially get finished and so on. They came to us on a Friday night so it was going to take some patience until Monday morning to get all the details sorted out. It was a crazy couple of first days and I remember calling my mom on my way to work that Wednesday morning after I had gotten them both off to their respective schools saying, "I was never so happy to say good-bye to two people for the day in all my life." I was exhausted. This was the first moment I had to myself and the first time to stop and reflect on what had truly just taken place in my home. :)

C was such a sweet girl. She was pleasant and funny. The kind of kid you enjoyed being around and spending time with. But she was also quite timid and shy when it came to caring for The Bug. She was uncomfortable and unsure of herself. Well, OF COURSE she was...she was barely 15 years old. Hell, I was uncomfortable and I was 30 something and on my own home turf. I remember feeling so sorry for her. She didn't take on the attitude of feeling sorry for herself though.

We set rules and expectations for C. For the most part she followed them and made it easy to parent her. She was attending school and making good grades. She was even making a few friends. At night we would do homework. I would help her feed The Bug and we worked together on bathing her and getting her into a routine. It took some proding and lots of encouragment. C genuinly loves The Bug. There is no doubt about that. She simply didn't (and still doesn't) have the skills to care for her baby. She was so very young, had no motherly example of her own to live by, as hers was incarcerated. Functional family life was foreign to her and that's why what happened next shouldn't have surprised us, but it did.

Three short weeks after their September 8 arrival, C ran away. I remember it well and had a weird feeling all afternoon about her. I picked The Bug up from daycare on my way home from work. C was usually home by then. The school bus usually dropped her off by 3:00pm. I think I got home quickly thereafter but there was no C. I waited and I waited. I checked the schools website and some buses were running behind. Still, I had this awkward feeling that it wasn't hers. By 4:00 I called Seth at work. He came home. C rode the bus with some neighborhood kids so we went knocking on their door to see if they had made it home, they had. By this time, they had been home for a couple hours. They reported that C was not on the bus home.

We called our agency and DCS first, then the police. At least The Bug was safe at home.

The Bug's Baby Days...

"Feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly."
-B. Andreas

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And So The Ride Gets Fun...

September 8, 2006 was just like any other Friday, except that it was my niece, Haley's 8th birthday. And we had plans to meet the family at dinner to celebrate.

I remember the call like it was yesterday. It was just around 3:30 in the afternoon. I of course asked Hello and waited for a response. The other end was a young female voice, very sweetly asking to speak with me, Mrs... "This is Katie" I said indicating she didn't need to be so formal. She told me she was from the agency, the agency we had only switched to a couple weeks before. She said she had a situation...A young teenage mother and her baby. She gave no details except that the mother seemed very sweet but depressed. She was barely 15. She added that she had a young baby that would also need care and they desperately wanted them placed together.

Well, if you remember from my last post, Seth and I had an agreement that we felt like we couldn't accept teenagers into our home. So it's hard for me to explain why I didn't give it a moments hesitation. The next thing I knew I was calling Seth. "Are you ready to be a foster father?" I asked him. I still remember the excited but confused chuckle he let out. He was ready.

So that evening we quickly met my family at Logan's Steakhouse (for what we would later learn will be our last dinner as a family of 2) for Haley's birthday dinner and headed home. Then quietly about 8:30 that evening The Bug and her sweet and very young birth mother, "C" were on our doorstep.

Buckle your seat belts...The next 2 years was the roller coaster ride of our lives.

Only a few Short Days after The Bug
Arrived on our doorstep and in our Hearts!

"Feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just be life going absolutely perfectly."
B. Andreas

Monday, April 20, 2009

Open Doors

So, I need to back up just a bit.

Since I was a young child I always knew that God had given me a strong desire and need to help others, specifically families and children. This is why I chose my profession as a Social Worker.

At the time I was in graduate school finishing up my Masters degree in Social Work. It was late fall 2005, and we were in the thick of trying to have a baby. Much to our frustration, it wasn't happening; and the desire for small footsteps in our house was enormous. Well, also at a very young age I knew I wanted to be a foster parent. My parents were foster parents. I think they fostered close to 100 babies in a short time frame. I don't remember this experience because I was either not born yet or just a toddler when they stopped, but I have studied the photos and stories of these children all my life. So, fall 2005, it was time to open our doors to help others.

I remember the moment it hit me. I don't know why or how. I was sitting in what was then our office (it is now a playroom :) reading some boring journals for school and it just hit me. I remember thinking, "now is the time." So, I called Seth at work and said exactly that. "Now is the time. We have no kids of our own, which means we can take all kinds of children (abused, sexual predators, etc...) into our home." This is every DCS workers dream, a young couple, experienced with troubled kids, without kids of their own, willing to take children that many others sadly won't or couldn’t. Typically, once you have small children of your own it is very difficult to bring other kids in, out of birth order, who will most likely have some severe social/behavioral issues. My loving husband, who was scared to death, agreed without hesitation and so it was.

So, I signed us up for the state mandated foster parent training classes. It was a little ironic that I had taught these same classes several years back, as I worked as a Social Worker with medically fragile foster children and was responsible for supervising the foster parents. Even so, every Wednesday night for many weeks, Seth and I made our way to the local public library for the trainings. We passed, got our state certificate and the "right" to foster parent and we waited, and we waited, and we waited...

The one agreement between Seth and I was that we were not in a position to accept teenagers. Seth travels a lot and neither of us thought it would be a good idea for me to try to parent adolescents who come with a lot of issues. So, here we were, every DCS workers dream, willing to take in almost any child or even children that needed us and the phone sat silently. It was so frustrating, months passed, no calls. I take that back, we did one call in the middle of the night about 3 girls (sisters) who had just come into care. Seth was out of town. They needed immediate placement and there was just no way of me handling that situation by myself. If I recall, the oldest was about 12 and the youngest was maybe 3. If Seth had been home, I am sure we would have decided differently. Or, if the call would have come in broad daylight, I may have said yes, who knows. Everything seems different when it's dark and you are awoken from a deep sleep. So, the decision was made. The timing was just not right for us and this placement. I was really sad about it.

So we waited and waited. We waited long enough for us to finally say enough is enough. I knew there were children out there that needed a loving home. I knew the issue wasn't a lack of foster children. I knew it just had to be a matter of confusion on the part of DCS (something we would later find all too common). Whatever the case, it had been months, 6 to be exact and we were ready to help, ready to be parents.

Back then I would tell myself what a great service we were providing the community. I was proud and allowed others to pat me on the back when I told them our plan. Now I am honest with myself and know that my need to mother was so strong that it was quite a selfish act. This was really about my need, not the children, not the community. Nonetheless, this was part of our journey and I now I have to believe that God will allow us to act selfishly at times if it means following his plan.

In late August of 2006 we made the decision to pull our home study with DCS and switch to a small, private agency across town in hopes that we would get the call we had been waiting for. Very shortly, we would find that this decision would change our lives forever.

**Sorry, I am exhausted and have to get up for work at 5:30 in the morning. Seth is out of town which makes for a super busy morning. I will continue the with our story tomorrow night.

Good night all...
The Bug had her first soccer game on Saturday!

We were so sad daddy couldn't be there.
"Feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly."
-B. Andreas

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Beginnings in the Blogger World!

For days I have been trying to decide how to introduce myself to you and the big wide world out there. Thankfully I have had some time to think about it given the complications (or perhaps my lack of IT skills) of how to create my blog and then make it look cute. There are so many adorable ones out there with all the bells and whistles, Jeez... I need help. I will get there. I figure out something new in the world of blogs everyday.

I am Katie. I am 30 something. I tend to read like an open book. I am outgoing, honest, and faithful. I work in a local school system with troubled youth. I LOVE my job and the kids I work with. As you will learn as we get to know one another, I have a passion for at-risk children. I love Vanderbilt sports and I always root for the underdog. I grew up in a Catholic family. I attended Catholic school all my life, as did my husband. I try everyday to remind myself that I am not in control, to trust in God, even when I don’t want to, even when it is hard and uncomfortable. I believe with all of my heart that his plan is better than mine, although there are many days I need constant reminders of that. I have been married to my husband Seth for 5 years. He is my soul mate and best friend. If he wasn't, there is no way we would have been able to stay together and stay in love given the incredible hardships we have been through in our short 5 years together. There is no doubt about it, infertility is HARD on a marriage. Seth is giving and kind. He is patient and loves me for who I am. If I never have anything more in my life, I have him, my babies and an awesome support system built of family and friends, and for that, I am forever blessed.

I have had a private blog for many years. It was private for several reasons, reasons that I will explain later in further posts. My blog has been about our journey to our children thus far. Our sails have shifted a bit now and we feel as though we can now help others with the wealth of knowledge we have due to our experiences in almost all arenas of adoption. I feel called to help others, as I would have given anything to know or be able to talk with someone who has our kind of experience. I will start at the beginning of our family building, 5 years ago.

In May 2004 Seth and I married in Las Vegas, NV. Neither of us wanted a big, fancy wedding. Something different, intimate and FUN was more like us. So we planned a small wedding and celebrated with about 50 family members and friends that had come out to join us. It was perfect.

We were both ready to start a family when we got married. We had been to college, enjoyed many crazy single years and it was time to add to our lives with babies. We started trying to conceive almost immediately. At first it was fun and the anticipation was exciting, but when month after month of not getting pregnant turned into almost a year, the fun was all but gone, and the excitement turned into frustration and concern.

After a year of trying to conceive we made an appointment with my OBGYN who recommended a mild medication to ensure I was ovulating along with other popular techniques such as monitoring my temperature. I read every book I could find. I talked to anyone who knew anything about becoming pregnant. I searched the Internet on how to make our chances even higher, and I prayed and I prayed. I pleaded with God, "please God please, just let us have a baby."

Eventually we wound up at the local fertility clinic. We had test after test (I even had laproscopic surgery) only to find that we were both absolutely perfect. I will never forget the confusion on the doctors face when he said to us, "there is no medical reason that you shouldn't have had several kids by now." This was a relief, but also another frustration. How can we "fix" it if nothing is wrong? Nevertheless, in the spring of 2006 we had begun down the invasive and desperate, medical intervention path.

That road was brutal. Oh was it brutal... but not half as brutal as the road ahead of us that we were unknowingly yet to endure.

I was getting hormone shots (even though I was ovulating on my own just fine). This resulted in numerous eggs that were potentially to be fertilized. In fact, in the final, and last month of this trek I got a phone call from the fertility center. I had just been there that afternoon getting the normal ultrasound and tests run to make sure everything was a go for the scheduled insemination the next morning. There was a female voice on the other end of the line. "Katie, we just got your results back. You have 23 mature eggs this month. We really highly recommend you not be inseminated tomorrow. You will almost positively become pregnant with multiples...many multiples."

Are you kidding? Why would I sit on the bench? It was game time. I was EXCITED. I was ready. I called Seth with the good news. I just knew this was it. Not only would we have a baby but we could have several babies and I would never have to go through this again and our family would be complete. I wanted a big family anyway.

Ok, before you judge us or tell us how selfish we are for carrying on with the IUI I would encourage you to walk in our shoes. You will NEVER understand infertility unless you have experienced it yourself. You will never know the hurt, the longing, the absolute desperation, not to mention the physical exhaustion and invasion on what should be a very private, intimate experience that it all brings. After years of trying to become pregnant to tell me that I will "almost positively become pregnant with several babies" was music to my ears.

So I guess you can guess, we did the IUI and we didn't get pregnant. Even with 23 mature eggs, perfect sperm and all the odds on our side, this was not God's will. It was our will, but not God's. At the time I was angry. I was angry at life, angry that all my friends were suddenly coming out of the wood works pregnant, angry that I worked with KIDS who were getting pregnant by mistake...but without a doubt I was mostly angry with God. All my prayers, all my pleads, and all the deals I had made with him I felt were wasted, and unheard. I kept my end, and he wasn't keeping his, and I was PISSED! And I let him know exactly how I felt!

Of course in retrospect I realize this was good for me and my relationship with God. I think it's OK to be mad at God sometimes. I get mad at all the people I truly love in my life sometimes. This doesn't mean I don't love them. This means I have a true relationship with them. This means I trust them and I believe in them and when I am let down by them; sure, I get pissed!

The next few months were a blur. We were spent, literaly, we were spent! Our money was running out. My body, but mostly my soul was tired. Our marriage and faith were suffering. Literally, in almost all areas, we were spent!

The next step for us was IVF, a very invasive and very expensive fertility treatment. We had some soul searching to do. At this point we were not ready to waste more time, money or heart on something that simply just may not work. We needed some time to just think, reflect, pray and talk. We needed to begin heal from all the shattering disappointment. We needed to reconnect and work on us. So this is what we did.

We took a well deserved break on the conception front. We were starting to have fun as a couple again and our heads seem to be lifting from the fog. Once we were ready to face "it" all again, we started praying about it again. By now, for me, my prayers had changed. No longer was I begging for a baby and trying to make deals with God; rather I was asking him for clarification on HIS plan for us and our family. It's amazing how clear his plan came, not only to me but also to Seth. It's amazing to me that when we ready ourselves to listen and faithfully agree to follow him how things just begin to fall into place. That's not to say that's easy to do because it's NOT. It's hard. It's been some of the hardest times of my life, to give up that control (at least the control I stupidly thought I had) and follow.

At this time we decided to close the door of desperately trying to conceive, praying that God would open others. And he did just that.

Soooo much more to come. BUT, if you are needing a shoulder, advice or have questions about infertility and adoption.. PLEASE feel free to email me. I am not sure how all the comment stuff works out yet but, as I said, I am working on it. :)

"Feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly."
-B. Andreas