Tuesday, April 29

Clarity to Complexity

I enjoy the excitement and peace over knowing what I'm working towards in life right now.  The chance to become a mommy, to a little girl named Grace.

Though I do have to say that it's also made some things less clear.  Not that I control how long things take anways, but there's the not knowing of how long it may take to get to her.  Meaning outside of the time that it takes to get through a homestudy, be approved by the agency, approved by our government, approved by China, approved to travel to go do the actual adoption portion.  How long will it be to get to that point of actually getting to hold her?

Plus there's the whole how will I "find" her?  Will I see her face on an advocate's blog?  Will she be with a particular agency and that's the one I will choose (agency)?  Will I find an agency and then find she is listed with a partnership orphanage/SWI (social welfare institute)?  Will I choose an agency and then they will find her once the shared lists come out?

I could sort of picture what a biological child would look like, granted there are many wild cards there as well.  The only thing I know is that she will be a girl.  Will she have dark black hair, or will her "special need" be albinism and her hair without any pigmentation?  Will she have two eyes?  Will they be able to see me visually or will she "see" through touch?  Will her need be something obvious to the world, or will it be internal?  Will she be a year old, four or somewhere between, or none of the above?  What province will she be in?

Will she be in a SWI, with a foster family, or a care center (like Maria's Big House of Hope)?  What will her given name be, what will her middle name be?  What will her sweet face look like?

There's also the unknowns that we will most likely never know, she and I.  Was she truly unwanted?  Or was she loved, but her parents/mother could not take care of her/afford the care she needed?  Was it like this for her birth family to leave her?  Did they travel far to get her somewhere "safe" enough that someone would find her relatively quickly?  Does she have any biological siblings?  Did her China family name her?  How long did they keep her with them?  What is her birthday (other than the one that is estimated for her at intake/dr review)?  What does her biological family do to make a living and where do they live?

What I do know is that there is a lot more for me to learn, books to read, and classes to eventually take.  Keeping faith in Him and asking Him to break my heart for what breaks His.

One step at a time.  Keeping on with getting debt paid off!

Saturday, April 26

God Moment

This one was with mom on Thursday night.  We were talking in her bedroom as she was folding laundry, and Elementary was on TV as background noise.

We talked about the "timeline" again, about how long it would be before I could begin the adoption process. Two years.  Mom asked, "Not to say this will happen or that I would ever want it to happen, but what if China decides to shut down adoptions to the US in that time?"

I responded saying that, "God has put this on my heart.  I have to trust Him.  I have had the same thought too.  I have to. . ."

And at that very moment the Sherlock character on Elementary finishes my sentence with, ". . .trust in God."
I had stopped talking.  Looked at mom and asked if she had heard the same thing.

She did.  "Well that was weird," she says.  I tell her that now we know we just have to trust Him.  I mean who else could have orchestrated that perfect timing?

Cool, huh?!

Tuesday, April 22

What I've Been Wearing

It's been a bit of time since I've really wore jewelry.  Since my fingers have gone from slender to sausage-ish, my nice rings I've gotten through the years no longer fit.  I  haven't really wore earrings in, oh probably a decade.  To be honest I'm not sure I could poke through the holes anymore.  Necklaces I wear on a rare occasion.  Once again my neck grew along with the fingers and those delicate shorter chains look more like a choker than a dainty piece to be displayed on my decolletage.  I do have some bracelets that I purchased when Friend first started as a stylist with Stella and Dot.  I figured bracelets were a "wear at any size" kind of jewelry.  On me though I find if I go chunky the little indention of a wrist I have that shows separation between my hands and arm, disappears.  Thinner bracelets almost look sad on that larger wrist.  Of course I say these things because it's my body, and how I perceive things.
I know that when I'm finally ready, whether it be when I start the adoption process or not until I'm actually matched, I want to be sporting a cute necklace.  Most likely purchased from Etsy, and similar to these styles:

These are only a few in a sea of gorgeous necklaces to choose from.  I know it will be hard to decide on once the time finally arrives :)

I wanted something for now though.  Something to get me through until I'm at the "necklace stage."  Something that would probably look like just another piece of pretty jewelry, but has meaning to me.  I looked back at my jewelry I have.  I found the two found bracelets I had purchased from Friend at another time, and knew there was another bracelet I would need to get but these would satisfy that need I had.

The one I'm wearing right now (though, not wearing jewelry in a long time I actually forgot to slip on Easter--urgh!) is the "Light Bracelet."

It's tagline is, "Sparkle from the light within."  I love it because it's pretty little stones, almost like dirty diamonds, do sparkle.  It (and all the "friendship ties" bracelets) adjust in the back, so it can fit any size wrist with room to spare.  I will need to look to the Light of the World, as I make my way through this wait time filled with paying off my debt.

Once debt is done and I move onto the adoption world, I will need courage.  Here is where the other bracelet I have will come into play.  I will either add or switch to this one once I start the adoption process.

This one reads, "From caring comes strength."  And I will be looking for Him to give me the strength and courage at this time in my journey to G.

Once G and I are matched, I will add in the Love Bracelet.  This one I need to buy still.  With the "red thread" I'm sure you can see why I would choose it for this special time.

I went to the website to see if this one was still available, and found one more sweet "Friendship Ties" bracelet as well.  I thought it would work perfectly once I'm in China and with Her.  It has little pearls on it, which China is known for, as well as rest of the bracelet looking much the same as my Light one.  It would be a nice bookend, especially if I wore all four bracelets together.  The best part, it's called the Wisdom Bracelet.  I know I will be needing all the wisdom I can get once I'm actually parenting my little girl, and just trying to help her transition at first.

It's fun to have something pretty on, that also serves a special purpose of being a reminder of what is happening in my life right now. 

Do you wear any "ordinary" jewelry that you have assigned an extraordinary meaning to?  

Tuesday, April 15

Him and I

Though trusting is hard, being at peace is nice.  Trusting Him shouldn't be so hard, but I let it be.  I'd like to say "I" made this decision, but I actually arrived at it by finally listening and not just to the part I wanted to hear.  While I could be thinking how I've lost years, I know I'm right on track.  He knew it woud take me this long, and He patiently waited for me.  Not a virtue that I come by easily, but am trying to learn.  What greater teacher than God to help me with this lesson.  I'm ready to share here.  I actually worked through it on the ride home, that tonight I would type it up and press "Publish."  I feel it's my final step in this part to the journey, and soon after I got home I feel I have the confirmation* that this is right.

***Fair warning as I think this post may run long (so if I'm saying it's going to be long. . .) and will also contain some TMI.  No more than I've shared before, and probably the last one for a long while (of TMI, not blogging.)***

I'm going to adopt.  Yes, I know I've said that before.  Yes, I know that was the reason for the start of this blog.  Yes, I know that was darn near three years ago.  But remember, I'm not as worried about time as I have been.  I just wanted to put that out there, just in case you may have been worried where this post was going.  I didn't want you to start skimming ahead to find out what the heck I was trying to say.  After all I did start out saying this could run a bit long.  No, I'm not in the process as we speak.  I can give you my timeline of how I think things may work out, but we all know how my timelines can go, and that He is ultimately in charge of the timeline.  And as of right now, I'm good with letting Him be.

  So as you know I've been waffling back and forth.  I was going down the pathway of my life when after my conversation with Friend led me to the "Mother" fork in the road.  Since there was no fella in my life, of whom I was a blushing bride to, I headed down the "Choice Mom/Single Mother by Choice" pathway.  Now the next (simplified for this story) fork in the road was how this child of mine would come into my life, how would I obtain that "mommy" status, "Adoption" or "Biological."  As you all know I started skipping on down the "Biological" path.  Then about two years later God told me, "Adopt" and that "your daughter is in China."  I ran back to the fork in the road and this time started dancing down the "Adoption" path.  After some decisions were made and I sold my house I backed myself to the fork and headed back down "Biological."

Last year I got further than ever, as close as I could without actually getting there (again simplified version) and had my first and only IUI.  Then it didn't happen, as it doesn't most first times, and I wasn't pregnant.  I got a little sad there about it not happening and then worried about monies and how I would be able to actually make it happen, and a little scared that I wasn't listening to Him and that whole adoption thing.  Before I pulled out the Christmas decorations I put most of the newborn things. . .clothes, onsies, swaddlers, cloth diapers into plastic storage containers and under the stairs.  I brought up G's things and put them in the nursery.  Once New Year's came around I couldn't get the thought of those adorable newborn cloth diapers and all the teeny tiny things I had just waiting for a little bundle of my own.  But I wanted to stay true to my goal, and be open to adoption or biological.

Soon before this cycle started, I started really looking into bio baby again.  I pulled out all my prescription receipts and billing statements from the clinic.  I looked up the current prices for the genetic material that would be required--the cryobanks' prices usually go up every year.  I crunched numbers, I even posted them here, and I reworked my budget sheets for each check.  I then made a decision.  I would go forward with trying IUIs again this summer.  I came up with the number of times I would try (3 if you were wondering) and if it didn't work then I would move on to adoption.  I figured I could sock enough away to get the process started, and then depending on how long it took/if I could acheive pregnancy I would then continue to taking that money (which I tried to figure would work out to be insurance costs, child care and daily needs monies that I would need monthly and start using that as the "baby fund") to pay for the prenatal and birth.

I read that book, Making Babies A Proven 3-Month Program, and using that and the fertility smoothie to get ideas for how to make eggs good canidates.  I started buying some supplements and the ingredients for that darned smoothie.  I started eating organic and even not worrying as much about the grocery budget if I could buy "healthy" enough foods to create the best environment for baby to start off in.  Plus, I would be needing those three months to lose weight, because I just knew they'd weigh me when I did come back to the clinic.

There's the set up to the beginnning of this cycle.  Now I can walk you through how I got back to adoption.
*This marks the end of this side of the cassette.  Please turn over to continue with side B.*  (That's right.  Tapes!)

This cycle began February 27th.  I began forcing down those fertility smoothies and temping first thing in the morning.  I got back into my Fertility Friend account that I had put on hold.  I started popping prenatal pills and slowing working maca back into my life to see if I could handle it in a powder form vs. the capsule form I had last year.  I was glad I had checked and saw I had plenty of internet cheapie and smiley face ovulation predictor strips before making that purchase.  When I knew it should be about that time I started testing.  Then I got that dang horrid cold followed by back to back break outs/flare ups of my skin issue/hive deals/bubblies.  Still no double solid lines or smiley face.  Though I'm pretty sure I got pretty close to the double solid lines, but no smiley to back it up with.  Pretty soon I had gone through the whole stash of sticks I had.  Which easily should have taken me to the summer.  No spike in temperature.  When Aunt Flo should be paying her visit, she didn't.  I had no symptoms and no clue as to what was going on.  It's almost as if my body said, "Well, she's 35 now.  She obviously not using this baby making factory.  Let's shut her down!"  Seriously, I wonder.

Then April came.  March and April seem to be my months to when I make/arrive at these decisions, don't they?  As I had said in my update I was being open in my way to becming a mom, and I was.  While I was making plans for the summer, I still found myself watching "gotcha day" youtube videos and pinning.  That niggling in the back of my head about adoting my daughter from China was there every step of the way too.  I didn't want to come forward with my plans, in case I changed my mind again.  Who want's to hear about that ;)  LOL!

In my monthly update I also made it my mission in April to read the Bible for ten minutes a day.  And so I did.  I'm reading the Joyce Meyer's version that has some places where she writes about what's going on and applying it to our lives today.  I was reading about Abram and Sarai and how God promised them a son together.  Then, as Joyce helps to explain, Sarai probably starts thinking she needs to help God along with his promise (you know since it's taking quite awhile to get to) and has her husband lie with her handmaiden, Hagar.  He did and had a son with her, Ishmael.  But that was not God's promise.  He had promised a son between husband and wife.  He fulfilled that promise to (now) Abraham and Sarah, with a son called Isaac.  Joyce tells about how when God promises us something in our lives it's easy to be excited, and then when it doesn't happen on our timeline we sometimes want to help Him out to deliver that promise.  That it's easier to do what we want and then have God bless it, when He doesn't have to bless anything.  That an Ishmael can make things a bit harder, but if we wait for our Isaac it will be easier, because it's God's plan, His promise to us.

Of course I applied it to my own life.  Well He told me to adopt, and promised me that my daughter was in China.  But actually that was two years in to my wanting to become a Choice Mom.  I mean it was originally going to be me becoming a mom to a biological child.  Then I thought some more.  Wait. . . Wasn't the catalyst into this whole single motherhood by choice thing a question from Friend.  "Would you adopt even if you were still single?"  Oh, yeah.  Details people, and God is in them.

So there I  have my solid base for my decision.  Number one, my period is no where on the horizon.  I'm usually, and had been for at least a year and half, like clock work.  And never have I had a cycle this long.  The very cycle that I was starting my planning for this summer, no less.  To me, that's Him talking to me.  Sending me the signs I so very much want and need.  Then there's the Bible, that's always a good place for him to talk to you, and that Ishmael story really hit home.  At this point I've told mom and dad that I've made my new decision.  Of course after telling them the weekend before that I was planning on doing three IUI's this summer.  Then I swore them to secrecy, lest anyone think I'm a loon.  Well, if they don't already.

Then I got a God Wink when talking to KK about it.  I was trying to spit out this story--just as long, if not longer in person ;)--and at the same time we were talking about what she would like for her Birthday dinner. I was still at the beginning of the story so when she said, "You know, I've really been liking Chinese a lot lately," I started to giggle.  I had got no where near China and adopting in my story yet, and just the way her sentence was phrased I took that as a little gift to me from God.

While I'm not quite ready to give away/up my newborn sized cloth diapers or the special onesie I bought at the beginning of this whole process for a coming home outfit (part of it is the hoarder in me), I am ok with perhaps not being a birth mom in my lifetime.  I am ready to become a mommy though, and I'd love to do it His way.

I did go through and put in some numbers into my debt snowball, and figure it will be two years until I'm debt free.  Of course anything can happen and He's in charge so it could take less or more.  Needless to say there will be less Whole Foods Hauls and more Budget Friendly Meal Ideas around here :)  One thing I've found that I'm strangely not worried about anymore is the cost of adoption.  That's not to say I'm not thinking about it, but I'm not worried about it.  I did read my book for the month in one night, Adopt Without Debt.  There were some neat ways to raise money to pay the ransom for your child in it.

Another thing I'm finding that I'm not freaking out over is how old I'll be.  How old will I be when I adopt?  How old will I be when my daughter learns to drive?  How old will I be when she graduates?  How old will I be if I become a grandma?  Perhaps it's the Promise sinking in, that I don't have to worry about that it will happen when it's supposed to.

OH, and to bring this story full circle.  *=My confirmation that today was the right day to tell of my news, I started a new cycle.  Finally.  Meaning that my now last cycle, the one that changed it all, was 47 days.  When I had been looking to see what cycle day I was on when I was like 43 days, I said to Him "It would be right if this cycle lasted 47 days."  It would be one more confirmation to me.  As the adoption community will tell you, there are 147 million orphans in the world.  47.  I'm pretty sure He could not make it more clearer if He hit me over the head.  Whew! Thanks for waiting for me :)

Well I need to be getting to bed now.  This took like two hours to type up, so I'll try to come back within the next few days and add some links and pictures if I can.  I'll write another post if I come with things I forgot to mention.  If you read this far, thanks!!!  And thanks for following along with me!

Friday, April 11

"Not in my wildest dreams. . ."

Okay, so maybe my dream this morning wasn't exactly "wild", I think it was more confusing.  I had woke up again, twenty minutes after my tv was programmed to come on.  I have done the same thing this whole week.  Tonight I'm starting the whole going to bed process an hour earlier!  (I actually did my bible reading time as soon as I came home from work today, instead of making sure I get it in right before bed.)  I'm not even sure how long this dream lasted in real time, it could have been during the time the tv came on to when I woke up.  And the TV was on an infomercial (before 6 am), so it had no influence on the dream.

The dream starts (or at least where I remember it starting) was me sitting on this small plane, getting ready to leave from China.  No way in real life would this "plane" (actually it was probably more like a bus on the inside--like yellow school bus!) be going across an ocean.  Anyways, that's when I was given my child.  I must not have ever seen her picture or recieved any information about her prior to meeting her.  The nanny (ayi) told me this was my daughter and she was five years old.  I don't remember details about her, but trust me-she was no five year old.  This daughter of mine was like 10-12 years old.  I don't even know what her special need was, why she was in the special focus program (which is the program single women can adopt from for China).  I just remember looking at her and thinking, "What?  She's five, no way.  I have niece that's five almost six and she looks so much younger and smaller.  I thought 'orphanage life and chinese she would maybe be smaller than Sue', but not the case here.

Then I started going through my backpack (my carry-on), perhaps looking for snacks for my new child, and inside was a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.  No clue why I'd bring that on.  I started panicking thinking, "why did they let me bring this on, it's definitely more than 3 oz."  I couldn't remember even going through security--no wonder it was a dinky plane.  Then I unzipped another pocket and there was some cleaning stuff in a spray bottle.  What?!!!  I don't even use those types of products/buy them.  I looked in the seat across from me at mom, and was freaking out saying how I was going to get in such trouble for having this in my carry on.  I think it was then that my daughter started talking to me.  I don't remember what she said, if anything, but that she spoke plain old English, with no accent (just like her midwestern mama), and fluently.  She wasn't having any issues, it was as if I was always in her life.

Next we were in Grandma and Grandpa S's garage.  Aunt S and her girls (my cousins) had shown up.  My cousin G gave her (my daughter, I have no idea what her name was, if she had one--I never thought, oh "Grace" or any other name during the dream) a hug and then went into the house.  I introduced my daughter to G's older sister V, and said jokingly (though even in the dream I thought it was a bad joke), "Here's my 3 month old daughter."  Obviously still thinking that there was no way she was the age they told me she was.  V oohed and ahhhed over her and then said she was going to do the same thing in two years (adopt from China.)  She think skipped off into the house, with me calling after her, "You can't adopt from China yet, you'd only be 23, you have to be 30."

Then we were in "our house."  Actually there was some bit in between here, but it's very garbled and I can't remember enough to make sense of it.  Anyways, "our house" cause it's one of those times where it's not a house from real life.  I think it was supposed to be mom and dad's house and we  had two rooms that connected.  My bedroom seemed to be like an add-on to the original house (?) since you had to pass through daughter's room to get to mine, and there was a window in the wall between the two bedrooms that had blinds on them so you couldn't see into the next room.

Daughter was tired and was lying in her bed.  People (my sisters?) were coming in and out of the room.  There was a TV in daughter's room and she had it on a show, I don't remember what it was, but I remember thinking it may have been a little "old" for her.  Old for her as a twelve year old, way too old for a five year old.  I awkwardly told her that we had some rules we'd need to go over and that she wasn't to go to sleep watching tv (says her mother who has to have tv on in the background to sleep.)  And that we would have to discuss what shows she could watch.  I just remember that people were in her room and I was trying to tell her goodnight, and I just felt sooooo utterly confused as to who this child was.  That no way was she five, our weird introduction, how well she spoke english and understood me, and how I'm way more prepared for a toddler/preschooler than to jump into pre-teens.   Then I noticed that the TV was back on, my mom had turned it on. "Oh, I didn't know you wanted it off."  First of all she just magically appeared in the room, and all I could think is why everyone was in the bedroom.  Mom knows better in real life ;)

She had turned it on to Mary Poppins, and Mimi asked daughter if she had seen it before.  Apparently "Mary Pop Pop" as daughter called it was a favorite in the orphanage.  Um, not sure I've heard of many orphanages playing Mary Poppins, but then again I wasn't there ;)  As she was asking if I could leave it on for her to watch, I actually started to wake up.  All I could think was how crazy this dream was, and how utterly unreal any of it was.  Not sure what, if there was any, the meaning of it was, but it sure was a cray cray one :)

Off to bed earlier tonight and we'll see if I have any wonderful dreams that I can still remember in the morning :)

*Day 24/30 No buying fast food/drinking pop or coffee.  Still on target.  Doing well :)  Tried hot chocolate with creamer--um, freakin delicious!!!!*

*Day 11 of April Reading Bible for 10 mins/day.  Yeppers :)  I even feel I'm being spoke to through some parts.  Still in Genesis, but further than I've ever been just reading.  Passing a LOT of lessons I've taught numerous times in Sunday School though!*

Thursday, April 3

End of the Month-March 2014

Another page has flown off the calendar.  Alright, more like another page of the calendar has been flipped up to reveal April.  (Well, guess not.  Looking at my wall calendar now shows March still.  Ok, there we go, it's officially April in the Redhead's room.)  Let's see how the month of March went, goal wise.

Reading the Old Testament:  Uhhhhhhhhh.  Nopers.

For  April:  Actually I am making it my month of April goal.  To read my bible for at least 10 minutes a day :)

Getting back to Church: I could give you excuses, but I wouldn't do that in front of Him, so I won't with you.  I did not go once in March.

For  April:  To get thineself to one service this month!

Read a book a month: I did.  I read Making Babies, by Sami S. David MD and Jill Blakeway LAc.  I learned that my feritlity type is Stuck and Tired.  That sounds right ;)  It was an interesting read, and I actually learned new info from it.  I even learned that if I take Vitex I can lower my Prolactin level naturally!

For  April:  I think this next book is going to be one of the books I received for Christmas :)

Journaling at least once a week:  Not once did I.

For  April:  To write one sentence a day.  (hopefully I don't have to go to "write one word a day" for may!)

Finish my quilt (work on other sewing projects): It wasn't a priority so I did not.

For  April:  Sew at least ten squares.

Hall Closet (scrapbooking/crafts):  Not a priority.

For  April:  Not a priority.

Try a new recipe and food item a pay period: Let's see I tried Kombucha, and liked some didn't like others.  Will continue drinking them for now.  I made and really liked the QUINOA WITH CARAMELZIED RED ONION, BELL PEPPERS AND GARLIC.  I would make it again.  Just not serve with tons of veggies on the side ;)
Well, I've never had protein powder before, and I used that for that yucky lovely smoothie.  I just couldn't do it anymore.  I'm trying to continue using that powder, cause it was so dang expensive, as well as the other superfoods, in my normal green smoothies.

For  April:  Again try one more new recipe and food item for the month.

Being active daily: Nopers.

For  April:  I think I may need to do a daily challenge that starts when the current "no buy fast food/no drink coffee and pop" challenge ends.  And ease into it with yoga and/or walking on the treadmill.  We'll see.

Eating less processed foods/Eating more organic, whole foods:  I would say, oh yes!  All my fruits and veggies I bought in March we're organic (as far as I can remember).  Still need to move more to the whole foods, and less processed.  But I'm working on it :)

For  April:  I want to work towards more recipes/made from scratch/home made/whole foods than pre packaged and processed foods.  We shall see!

Lose 10% of weight:  Yes, I obtained those 5 pounds :)

For  April:  Maintain the 5 pounds and work on 5 more!

Grow a veggie/fruit plant: Too cold!

For  April:  Not quite yet.

Circle + Bloom's mind-body program:  Another fail!

For  April:  Not a priority, unless I'm feeling it.

Come up with a nightly ritual:  It's not written down and it's not in practice, but I've got one floating around in that space between my ears.

For  April:  I'll be happy if I've got it all implemented (not even like it's some complex routine, but little bits at a time of goals at a time) by July.

Monthly Challenge:  I didn't have one for the month of March, but the middle of the month one I started has gone well so far.  I have bought no fast food, and I have drank neither pop nor coffee.  I have to say the easiest (execpt for today for some reason) has been pop.  It probably helps that half the people that live here can't have pop and the other one really doesn't drink pop.  I do miss the sound of the tab breaking into the can, and the bubbles from the first sip.  Otherwise, honestly for the most part the Kombucha has helped.  Fast food is nice to be able to pick up for days I want something my tastebuds think will taste good and I don't want to do anything, but it hasn't been too horrid, and probably much healthier.  Coffee, oh how I miss you most of all.  Just like a dessert.  The smell when dad makes his, or a co-worker walks past my cube and into hers next me.  The smell is maddening sometimes.  Then I think I could have made the challenge--no coffee creamer, and the results would have been the same ;)

For  April:  Read my bible at least ten minutes a day.

Staying open on how becoming a mommy:  Yes I am.  Whether I'm pinning things for a bio baby, or finding new china adoption blogs to devour :)

For  April:  Keep on, keepin' on!

I'll try to have April's at the end of the month, or May Day.  Here's to working on goals and commitments!