Saturday, September 25, 2010

in all of this, please...

don't make it about you.

i have to preface this by saying that most of the people who read this don't fall into any of the coming categories or statements. most of the people who read this have been in our shoes and understand our hurt or are learning to understand by experiencing it through our situation. most of the people who will read this already have learned or are doing a great job of learning along with us where the lines are drawn, what is appropriate, and how to encourage. we appreciate you so much, and i can't wait to give that part of the "thank yous" at the eventual baby or toddler shower.

but for the others, this is my plea: don't make it about you.

i say this to avoid hurt feelings and misinterpreted, misunderstood, mis-something-ed statements.

i understand that infertility hurts. you might not. if you make comments about it that are out of your grasp of reality, you will upset me, because i'm not to the being-ok-with-out-of-line-comments-about-infertility area of sanctification. and trust me, our definitions on out-of-line-comments might differ. sometimes holding your tongue is best, especially if the only thing you ever say is to reprimand an attitude that you probably can't understand my reason for having. believe me when i say that my attitude isn't about you. most of the time it is a result of my struggle with the things that are happening in my life. sometimes my attitude is ok, even if it seems negative to you. sometimes it my attitude is sin that i am trying to repent of. either way, harsh words don't help, no matter how valuable you think your opinion is.

i KNOW that when we adopt, there will be trials we face that someone who has never adopted will never know. i know that if we adopt a child from another country or from here but of another race, there will be things our family faces in the realm of hate, racism, bias, and discrimination that most families in our demographic will never know. these things might come from strangers, "friends," or even family members. this is a real thing to be aware of, and it is natural to fear the situation to an extent. it isn't just a worry - it will be a reality in a small town world too often wrapped in a rebel flag. i should be able to say this without someone taking personal offense. if you take offense because of racist tendencies, then that is your sin to repent of. if you take offense because you feel singled out, know that i singled no one out in this or any other writing about adoption. it might be a guilty conscience, or it might be an inflated ego, but either way, you need to step back and think, "realistically, this is not about ME. it is about God and sarah and justin and how they are going to have children."

overwhelmingly, people have been encouraging. overwhelmingly, people have been understanding. people find the time to write us and tell us about their adoption experiences, their infertility experiences, or just simply to encourage us and ask us questions about how things are going. people come out of the woodwork to encourage! people have adopted and shared it with me, and i had had no idea at all that their families were made through adoption. and we love that. we really do. we love making it about a community of adopted people - adopted by God as children - sharing love and encouragement.

i could spend an hour making potato soup - and let me tell you, my potato soup is awesome because it's filled with fat and calories and amazingness. if, at the end of that hour, the soup is done, it's delicious, and it has had all of these good, yummy things poured into it, i just pour in a little bit of arsenic, you have to throw the soup out.

don't be the arsenic. don't make it about you.

(thanks for the encouraging ones who read this anyway and listened to me vent.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

for the non-u.s. readers:

hook us up with a good adoption agency in your country! of course, we aren't both 30 yet, so that knocks out one country, but we are interested in international adoption still. :)

utter exhaustion.

that pretty much sums up the last two weeks of my life. i have been exhausted to the point of sitting with my head in my hands by the time it is 11:00 am. i'm tired. i wake up and feel like i didn't sleep, even if i go to bed at a decent hour. by the time i get home, i have a headache and i'm ready for bed, so i spend my evenings just laying around feeling useless.

my cyst, on the other hand, has stopped hurting so much. i am really glad of that. i imagine the number the birth control pill is doing on the rest of my body, it's doing on the endo, and that at least is a bonus.

the hip pain had also subsided for a day or so, and today there i stood, in front of my class, talking about repeating decimals, and the ache came back with a vengeance. i would have loved to sit down, but when 23 kids have questions - or even 13 kids with questions and lots of full moon energy - you can't really rest. it makes me really glad that i'm giving a test tomorrow afternoon, that is for sure.

i think i've gotten to the point of feeling pretty discouraged about IVF. i literally won't even think about it. i take the pills in the morning, the vitamins in the evening, get through the side effects of both, and ignore the rest. my brain can't think of injections, because inevitably i will wake up from dreams of needles and vials of medicine. so i don't get any farther than that. no procedures, no babies, no nothing. i just try not to think about it much at all.

my temps are still up, and that really, REALLY bothers me. the blood test came back negative on monday, but the nurse i had talked to would like me to take another before i start the lupron shots. i am also still having totally whacked-out blood pressure, still seeing the lights, etc.

so all in all, i feel like a medical freakshow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

just some more stuff.

today i talked to the doctor, who honestly seemed to think my question about my cyst was totally needless. for $14,000 i think you can fake it. ahem. anyway, she said it wasn't a big deal and that they do it all the time.

we are still reading the adoption book but we won't even be able to get more information from the one agency until december. i am not sure as to what steps we are going to take, whether we will do domestic or international, and how we will finance it.

one argument against doing IVF is that it costs just as much to do it as to adopt, but my insurance covers one round of IVF so it costs WAY more to adopt than to do IVF. just in case people thought we were complaining about finances and spending money on IVF - we aren't.

i had a blood test done yesterday and it was negative. my temperature still hasn't dropped. my blood pressure is VERY low and i get dizzy and tired all the time. my cyst has been hurting a LOT more.

i am taking my pills still, which make me feel desperately sad. i hate it. i will be glad to get them finished. i also get nauseous frequently, and the hip pain is still often there. i am really grumpy, and my patience feels like each second might be the last one that i have any patience left at all.

i have an overwhelming feeling that God has a baby for us soon. i never can tell what "soon" means, or how the baby will come about, but i have this feeling. i hope i am not wrong.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

another weird thing.

i'm kind of worried because my temperature has yet to drop. it's the chart i always dreamed of - 21 high temps in a row. but three pregnancy tests say no, and the doctor doesn't seem to think it's a big deal. the nurse said too many things can affect the temperature. it's just never happened before and i don't like taking medicine that changes the environment of my body without knowing more about what is going on.

i have been hurting daily. my cyst was hurting so bad last night that i woke myself up whimpering. my hips have hurt, just this general ache, that isn't enough to be debilitating, but it's enough to ruin the day.

and i also want to know what is going to happen if they stick a big needle in an ovary with a cyst to harvest eggs. what will it do to the cyst? and if it does something to the cyst, what will it do to me? that's actually a pretty realistic and important question.

i am going to spend the morning on the couch by myself, hurting from my belly button to my knees. UGH.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

upcoming events:

tomorrow, i take one last pregnancy test (dr.'s orders...i had some weirdnesses this time around and we have to make sure i'm not pregnant before we continue). if that comes up negative, which i'm sure it will, i start taking pills. i take those for 3 weeks.

on october 4, i begin lupron shots. those don't hurt - they are the little needles. justin is going to give me the shots so i don't have the psychological battle that comes with sticking a needle in yourself. if he isn't gentle, i might give him a lupron shot. i don't really want to know what that would do. probably nothing, if you think about it.

around a week later, i have an appointment in st. louis to get bloodwork and an ultrasound to make sure everything is shut down. if it is, then on october 15 i start stimulating shots. those don't hurt either.

that is all of the schedule i have so far. they have mailed one out to me, and hopefully i get it in time (not like the parking pass that came the day after our appointment).

i assume near the end of october will be the retrieval surgery, the attempt at fertilization, and further news on proceeding. obviously if neither fertilizes and grows, we can't proceed. if they do, then we wait for the doctor to decide when to transfer one or both of them back, depending on whether both of them fertilized.

if they do transfer one or both of them, then i will test around november 10. that's just a guess, but it's similar to my old schedule, so i think it's accurate.

my biggest fear is that we will get all the way to the retrieval and fertilization and that nothing will fertilize. i dread the phone call (probably while i'm at work) that says that i have nothing. i really hope that doesn't happen, but it's hard to NOT think about it.

i want to stay positive, but i know the odds are against us - especially since my endometriosis is really growing. my stomach hurts to the touch, and i have been walking around like i'm 90, slightly bent with my hand on my back, because i'm in so much pain. tuesday night, i laid on the couch writhing in pain and crying my eyes out. justin wanted to take me to the hospital. it's never been that bad before. it was a miserable 20 minutes, and then it gradually went away.

we are still looking at adoption, of course. i got some more information from the catholic social services place, but i don't know that we will choose that agency or not. it's so expensive, and when i think about how much student loan debt i have from following God's call to go back to school, how we need to get a new heating and air conditioning system (seriously, NEED - we have our thermostat set on 80 and are spending $250 a month on electricity, not to mention the house is unbearable in the winter without a space heater and blanket), and how justin still has a lot of school to finish before he can get a job, it is really frustrating.

so that's what's going on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

the plans

i start pills for ivf this week. i am assuming i will start shots before october or around the beginning, but i will get my official schedule tomorrow.

we are fertilizing two eggs and hopefully that works. they will use ICSI for that, which is where they fertilize by injection. there is a general 50-100% success rate with fertilization for that, but we are still in the dark about that process with us and about my egg quality (though the doctor doesn't think mine is really compromised). then we will freeze the rest of the eggs for additional cycles or to throw away if the first round works. and i have peace about it, actually. i KNOW this is the way we are supposed to do it, and if it doesn't work, God will give us a baby in another way.

we are still working on adoption. even if the ivf works, we are planning to adopt in the near future, or at least prepare to so that when there is a baby for us, we can adopt. we have to get a home study done, decide on an agency, and make all the right contacts and legal moves, and still find some way to finance it.

i keep having korea in the back of my mind, like we are supposed to adopt from there, but i really have no idea how we can realistically spend 60% of my yearly salary on an adoption. we don't have the money to pay for a domestic adoption, let alone international.

we can't apply for any grants until we have completed a home study, and each organization/agency makes you pay for a separate home study with THEM (why it isn't standardized i don't know, probably to make money), so we pretty much have to pick an agency and stick with them. yes, that does mean that if one organization has a baby in a week and another has a baby in three years and we are with the three-year one, we wait three years. so i worry. of course.

we are reading "adopted for life" right now, by russell moore. it is incredible and i think it is changing my life. it is so much more than a book about adoption. if you ever questioned your relationship with God, ever considered adoption, or both, you need to read this book. it would be beneficial to people who will never adopt simply to read it and learn about how we are adopted by God. i seriously cry reading this book. it is incredible.

Friday, September 10, 2010


i feel at this point that i should say that the differentiation for us between domestic and international adoption is this: cost and legalities.

international adoption is drastically more expensive, and there are a lot more legal hoops to jump through.

a baby is a baby is a baby. the baby might be born in korea, ethiopia, or illinois, but it is a baby. it is a baby that needs a loving home. it is not about having a match to my skin color. it is not about having the same national origin. i mean for heaven's sake, what does citizenship even matter in the big scheme of things?

citizenship. it determines your rights and how much taxes you pay and that's about it. i am a citizen of the world, just like any of the babies out there waiting to be adopted.

human beings are created in the image of God. when we look at citizenship above all else, we fail to see the image of God, and instead we see the "otherness" of someone not like us. we value someone more because they are like us. and in the meantime, we do just the opposite thing of what we are supposed to be doing.

remember that whatever we do to the least of these - the young, the helpless, even the orphaned - we do to Jesus.

anybody have $26,000?

that's how much it can cost to adopt a child from korea. ethiopia? $33,000. and to adopt from colombia, you have to stay in colombia for six weeks, which i'm sure would not be a good thing for my job - and let's face it, you need a job to feed a baby.

so i'm thinking that the right choice for us right now, and justin agrees, is to try domestic adoption. it's a fraction of the cost, though still upwards of $10,000, but it still doesn't almost take up a year's salary. and it won't require a whole lot of travel, which would be hard for us with work and school.

i think we may even consider embryo adoption. yes, i said embryo adoption. you can actually adopt embryos made during ivf cycles that people would otherwise discard or simply not "use," take medicine, thaw them out, and have them transferred. it's definitely an exciting option that saves a life and allows for pregnancy to be part of the adoption process.

so anyway, we will be looking into that more soon, and hopefully getting some information about different local agencies that can help us.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

a little bit about a few things.

my doctor says no more clomid for me (i was on my second to last month of ever even having it have an effect anyway, so no big deal) and that i need to see my eye doctor about the funny lights. she doesn't think it's the clomid. i think it was at first, but now it seems like it's blood pressure related. i just know for sure that it's weird, but it's nothing that interferes with my vision.

i have some time before i can test again, but it would be a know the story by now.

we also decided that even if i do get pregnant before december, we are still filling out the adoption papers so that we can adopt. i figure if God has had a reason to keep us waiting 14+ months, then He will have His timing with that too, and if that means two at once, then it does. so i am really excited about that. i don't know if we will do domestic or international or both, but i seriously can't wait. :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

the importance of neat handwriting, volume 2

yesterday we were at the fair and a lady came up and asked us to sign the giant poster for veterans. of course i obviously have a soft spot for stuff like that because of justin and seth and jami and a few years back ryan and jason, all the way back to both of my grandpas being korean war veterans.

i picked up the marker and neatly printed our "thank you" message, a generic one because i would have taken up the whole board if i let myself.

we stepped away and justin said, "yours is the neatest handwriting on this whole thing."


i said, "i write on boards for a living, justin. it better be neat." :)

some thoughts about adoption

obviously, you don't get this far into a struggle with infertility and NOT consider adoption as a good, viable option. before i even knew i was infertile, i knew i had a calling to adopt. it was just one of those things that didn't seem like it would be the only way (or perhaps the first way when God says "wait" on fertility instead of just "no").

in thinking about adoption, i have mourned for pregnancy, and yes, even childbirth. i have mourned for morning sickness. i have mourned for kicks and wiggles and round ligament pain and peeing constantly. it is not defeat; rather, it is just hard to consider adoption without mentally giving up pregnancy in some way, as i know that i would not have seriously considered adoption this early in my life and in my quest to have children if my physical problems were not present.

but i know how much we would love that child, and how it would be OURS, just as much as i am my own parents' child. i know God would have made that child just for us, though i wouldn't have been the vessel to bring it into this world.

i think another thing is the "i always wanted a child who looked like me" idea. (granted, you can give birth to your own biological child and have them look nothing like you at all). "he/she gets that from you," would be a different sort of phrase. i have recently had it impressed upon me that we are created in God's image, and that means justin and i are created in God's image, and that child would be too, and that is something we would have in common that goes beyond all other commonalities.

and obviously there is the fact that as christians, we are adopted into God's family in a most literal sense - though sometimes it is hard to think about it literally. i think adopting children illustrates that concept well, and i think that God had that in mind when He created situations and impressed upon hearts the need and desire to adopt children.

i do have some (hopefully irrational) fears about it. first, i worry that no one will be excited for us if we adopt, because "the child wouldn't really be ours." crazy, right? but it's there. i worry people will think we are some kind of fake, poser parents who had to cheat to get their baby. i know, it is totally nuts, and it isn't something that is at the front of my mind, but it is one of those thoughts from the enemy that are hard to shake.

i worry that our families will not accept the child as a "real" part of the family. it's not that our families are awful, horrendous, and exclusive. it just feels like i am somewhat of a black sheep in the realm of fertility - being the only one (so far and i pray forever) who can't have a child (yet or ever, whichever that may be). i should really say that i can't even think of one person who would actually not love our child, adopted or not, but this is just a fear i have that i wanted to express.

i worry that no one will throw us a shower and get us all of those fun, wonderful baby things and that we will go bankrupt paying for the adoption and all of the baby stuff ourselves. this is a silly fear, i know, but it comes with the territory - what happens when you get pregnant? people throw you an exciting, cute, adorable shower. and you get stuff that you need for taking care of your baby. and what happens when you don't get pregnant? i don't know.

i worry about international adoption. i know that children all over the world need parents, and i would definitely adopt internationally. my fear is that i would be severely lacking as a parent, living in a place where there are clusters of close-minded people who see skin color as a reason for hatred, and what does a white girl from a small town know about coping with racism? i can just hear it now..."mommy, why did you punch that man?" ahem. i wouldn't, but seriously...i would think about it.

so those are my thoughts, sitting here a week from testing and making other decisions and three months from being able to fill out an adoption application.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

winner, winner, chicken dinner.

my hot pockets student from a previous blog continues to crack me up with little comments about food. apparently he is very hungry by about 2:30 every day.

he asked me to go see another teacher to get some pork skins. i told him if the teacher sent him with a pass the next day, he could go. ;)

and another day -
student: do you like ramen noodles?
me: i've never had them.
student: do you live in (the town where i teach)? because everybody here likes ramen noodles.
me: no...

or when someone mentioned candy, he replied:
i don't like candy. i like real food, like chicken....and chicken....and hot wings.

Friday, September 3, 2010

another update.

well, the doctor said no to three. i don't guess she said NO, really, but she is VERY against transferring three. so we are right back where we were before. i don't know what to do. i'm not comfortable going through all of that and running out of money for nothing. it sucks. it sucks a lot.

we have barely discussed it here. justin won't budge. he thinks i should do exactly what he wants and be happy with it. that's pretty much it.

i threw up this morning, and i have felt sick all day. it's pretty early for any signs like that, but i haven't felt that way...ever. so i hope. but i always do, and nothing ever happens. i am also still seeing lights, and it feels like my blood pressure is really low. i get dizzy super easily.

i'm probably just sick with something, but i guess you never know...even though i feel like i do already know, and it won't be good. i have been pleading with God for a miracle.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

dancing with two left feet

my grandparents had six daughters. i remember the day almost all of them went to the doctor with my aunt krissy. i remember i didn't think there would be any bad news. the bad news still came: cancer.

she and mom were best friends. ok, not always. once she almost threw mom out the window of my grandparents' house. once, mom and aunt kelly drew a picture of aunt krissy on her mirror, featuring a mole on her face that she had had removed. but as they got older, they became best friends.

i remember finding out first and having to tell my mom that her best friend's cancer was "everywhere."

aunt krissy was a very particular and sometimes peculiar woman. we said the word "fart." she said "fluffy" instead. "someone let a fluffy." she was always a coach - even at family whiffle ball games. i remember her telling me something about my form and how i was doing it wrong...i think we were bowling. i am the least coordinated person in my family aside from maybe a few that tie with me, and i have a big family. how she thought her coaching would help me in my sad athletic state, i'll never know.

once at our fourth of july, she salted her watermelon right over the whole bucket of watermelon. seth was little and he got so mad because he was getting ready to get a piece and he didn't like salt on his watermelon. i'm not sure anyone but aunt krissy liked salt on watermelon.

she would straighten anything that was crooked. we would laugh, because there would be a picture on the wall hanging ever-so-slightly crooked, and the person that would fix it? aunt krissy. i think that once she noticed, it would have driven her insane to NOT get up and straighten it.

once, mom hemmed some curtains for her. mom is a good seamstress, and she made them very even, but when she finished, she pinned one curtain up a few inches shorter. then they hung them up at aunt krissy's, and even though we knew it was driving her nuts, she wouldn't say anything about the short curtain since mom had done it for her. mom eventually told her it was only pinned.

and her made the rest of us look like hillbillies. that woman was a thesaurus, and a dictionary too. she was a language arts teacher. she had to be. her handwriting was meticulous, neat and even and exact.

the cancer changed her a lot. it was in her brain, so it affected a lot of things, from her movement to her eyesight to her personality.

the always-polite aunt krissy was no more; instead, she would call aunt julie, who lives next door to my grandparents' house where aunt krissy stayed, and act inconvenienced when she had to wait for aunt julie to finish cooking to get a haircut.

she hid her whoppers from delainey when she heard her come thumping up the stairs. once, grandma made aunt krissy some butterscotch pudding. delainey came up and asked for some, to which aunt krissy replied, "no, that's bad pudding!" because, of course, she wanted to keep her pudding.

she also accused someone of stealing her heath blizzard from the freezer. she sent me, jake, and aubrey to walmart to buy her some fruit popsicles: "the real ones, and get the good ones, not that off-brand stuff." i recite that quote every single time i look at the popsicles in walmart.

she was just so ridiculously funny - all the time. you never knew what she was going to say, and by golly if it came to her mind, it was coming out of her mouth. the cancer took the filters away, but filter-less aunt krissy was ok with me. she certainly didn't worry about saying "fluffy."

she loved sonic rootbeer floats. i remember they had free float night, so i got her one, and you would have thought i gave her a million bucks. and crab rangoon from panda garden. and the aforementioned whoppers, of course.

mom was one of several in a rotation who stayed with aunt krissy around the clock when she got worse. they put in so much time, effort, and emotion to take care of her. i know they would do it again in a heartbeat.

she needed help doing anything and everything. moving her to the toilet (she would be so embarrassed to know i am writing this) was a production. they wiggled back and forth and shifted their weight and her weight and inched and spun. they called it "dancing with two left feet" because it was such an uncoordinated event.

once, when they took her to northern illinois for her surgery, mom and aunt julie maneuvered her in a public restroom...and almost got her in the right place. let's just say that if aunt julie's foot had been the toilet, they would have been right on.

and when she was nearing the end, it was easy to see. i know we all hated it. i know she had to be in pain.

and yet, she never lost faith, and three years ago today, God took her home, and she is healed now.

i remember getting to the hospital that morning, practically the last one to arrive after getting the call that she was gone. mom asked if i wanted to go in, and i said, "no, she's not in there," as i squeezed a tearful jake against my ribs.

her funeral was PACKED. the impact she had on this earth in her short number of years was incredible. family, friends new and old, students, softball players, church family - everyone was there. the first baptist church was filled to bursting that day.

and we miss her still, and i know we always will. if i ever have a daughter, her middle name will be kristine, after aunt krissy's kristina.