2012 Adoption Blogger Interview Project

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 
I feel so honored to have gotten the chance to interview my friend Amber at Ala Carte Baby through Production, Not Reproduction.  We are not friends in real life (yet) but we are deeply bonded internet friends. Unfortunately, our bonding experience is based on both recently going through failed matches. I've admired Amber's attitude and appreciated her encouragement. She lives one short state away and we almost had an Omaha date night in the books. It will happen soon!

She records her journey in detail and with little filter (which I love). After reading her interview, please check out her blog. Her, her husband and son are super excited to add a little one to their family. Can't wait until that day!!!

1. You've been through a long road to baby #2. I'm familiar with your journey but do you want to summarize it for my readers?

The shortest version I can give :)  I was able to get pregnant within our first two months of trying.  When we went into the doctor we discovered I had very large (biggest the doctor had / still has ever seen) fibroid tumors.  The baby did not look good so he wanted me to come back in two weeks but said I would probably miscarry before then.  I did.  Going home to wait for a miscarriage was not easy.  We loved our doctor and completely trusted his plan for us.  He wanted us to try and get one healthy baby before we messed with the fibroids.  I got pregnant within two months again after our miscarriage and we now have our wonderful son who is almost 8.  Although I was on bed rest for my pregnancy, he is healthy as can be and absolutely amazing! I was under general anesthetic during my planned c-section so the doctors would have a chance to view the fibroids first hand.

I had a myomectomy 6 months later to try to remov
e the fibroids and the surgery did not go well.  I lost over half my blood and they had to quit early.  They removed the large fibroid but found several smaller ones underneath.  After healing from this surgery, we had six months of trying to get pregnant again naturally.  I had a prescription for Clomid but did not ever fill it.  I figured that if I was to get pregnant, it would happen.  This is my one regret.  I don't know why I didn't take it.  At the end of the six months, my fibroids had grown so rapidly to a large size again and the doctor wanted them out.  The ones that can turn cancerous are the ones that are fast growning and large in size- mine were both.  (Ended up they tested fine, thankfully) 

I went in for a second myomectomy but this time possibly hysterectomy.  
I knew in my heart how it was going to end. The doctor had his partner going in with him to assist due to how things went with the last surgery.  I lost a large amount of blood again this time as well.  I remember the first words when I woke up from surgery were asking if I still had my uterus.  The doctor we loved so much stroked my arm and said we would talk about it up in the room (I was still in recovery).  I knew the answer when he said that.

About a year or
so later, we started looking into adoption.  We went to an informational meeting at Bethany and were planning to move forward with this.  We had not turned in the application when a family member came to us about gestational surrogacy.  We decided we couldn't pass up the opportunity.  We did two attempts of IVF with 2 embryos each and they both failed.  This was heartbreaking.  We spent so much money on that and now what were we supposed to do?  Bethany was too much now with the money we had already invested.  We took a few years off to heal and tried to be happy with just being parents to our son.  As he got older  we longed to see him with a sibling and it was on our minds more and more.

I called back to Bethany and they had actually gone up a
nother $5,000.  I knew we could not afford this after all of the surgeries/ bed rest/ recoveries I had had in just a few short years plus the surrogacy expenses.  I had been reading your blog for a while and had seen some stuff you had posted about the cost of your adoption.  I contacted you for the name of your agency since we are so close in location.  Since we are across state lines however, they are not licensed for my state but were able to give me some other recommendations.  One of the two they gave me is the agency we are currently working with.  Lots of things went right for us to get in with them and the price is much more affordable. 

About 6 weeks after our profile was active, we were selected by an expecting mother about 2 months before her due date.  I spent 1-2 days a week with her for doctors visits, play dates with our son and her 2 year old, dinner with extended family etc.  The day of her induction, we were so excited.  My husband and I were both in the delivery room, I cut the cord, and we named the sweet baby girl Jolie.  We spent the entire hospital stay in her room and we had an amazing time together.  She had told us before delivery she wanted to take the baby home for a few days and I was fine with this.  Days before delivery she changed it from a few days to 2 weeks.  I struggled with this and spent lots of time crying.  We saw them every day or every other day after leaving the hospital.  When sweet baby was nine days old, her mom told the case worker that she wanted to parent her. 

We were able to go in for a meeting to tell them both goodbye.  We held that sweet baby, told her how much we loved her and would miss her more than words.  We told her how we would pray for her and wish her all the happiness in the world.  We told her to be a good girl and we will never forget her.  I handed her back into her mother's armsMy husband I told her that we were not angry with her and thanked her for choosing us.  Being able to tell her that we are not angry was so good for us.  Sweet baby was never our baby and having anger towards her (mom) was not the way to leave this situation.

Now, we are back in and actively waiting for our call.  Whew... I'm not good at summarizing!  I hope everyone is still reading....not bored to death!

2. Being that your son is biologically yours, have you had fears about adopting your next child? Bonding? Etc?   Before sweet baby Jolie was born, I would say I was a little more worried about how I would feel about her right away.  I instantly fell in love with that baby girl! Hearing her cry that first time absolutely melted my heart and I thought that was the most amazing thing (her delivery) I had ever been a part of.  As far as bonding, when her mom said she was going to take her home for a few days, I was okay with that.   When she changed it to two weeks, I struggled.  That is a lot of time to miss out on bonding.  Quitting my job and going back to daycare helps me feel more comfortable for when we do get to bring a baby home.  Knowing I will be here with the baby to be the one to hold them, take care of them, etc. helps ease my fears since I know I will have plenty of time to focus on bonding.  I also went Moby crazy while waiting and bought three of them and planned on baby wearing as much as possible when the baby arrives to help with bonding as well.  Matt was a big fan of baby wearing when our son was born too.  I know he is looking forward to doing it again.  :)

3. We went through a failed match about the same time. You were very public with your match. I was jealous over your cute picture where you announced your matched and all your fun updates. BUT- curious if you'd do it different next time?    

Once we got accepted into our agency, we only told our close family and a couple of friends who we needed to write references for us.  After we were selected by Jolie's mom, we told everyone (isn't that what you call it when you put it on Facebook?!) the night of our first meeting with her.  When we put up the announcement about having the baby, people were so overjoyed! ( I attached the picture you are talking about if you want to share it too)  It was so touching to see the kind words that people wrote to us and how happy they were to hear the news.  Many people were so caught off guard since it had been a few years since we had worked on anything baby related.  Some people didn't even know we were not able to have any more biologically. 
I don't think we could have gotten through this so well with out the support and love of our friends and family.  I was so broken when we went through the change of heart and the people around us were amazing.  Knowing so many people were praying for us and that their hearts were hurting too helped to know we were not alone in the heart ache.  I don't regret it at all that we made it public right away. 

That being said, if we get a hospital call for example, we will probably tell people while at the hospital.  If we have to wait a few weeks/ months before the baby is born, we will probably wait.  I say probably because for one- Matt and I both have trouble keeping a secret like that.  Two- we live in a small town and if we are gone from work frequently etc. it will get out.  My theory is that I would rather friends and family find out from us than from someone posting something on FB or something similar. Since I have gone back to daycare, these parents know that if we get a hospital call I will be gone right away and they have a back up plan in mind.  If we were selected again and had time before the baby arrives, I would want to tell them so they can prepare for what they need to do. I just don't think Matt and I would be able to keep it quiet. We get too excited.  I have asked some people questions unrelated to anything baby and people think I'm asking because maybe we are meeting another expecting mom.  For example- I asked how far away a town was because I know a lady who moved there.  I knew it is a few hours away but didn't know if it was 3 or 7 hours.  The person I was asking said, why- are you meeting another expecting mom or something? 

4. It's so very hard to have pregnancies and new babies all around. How to you stay sane while you are waiting for your little one?  I never claimed to be sane!  This is something I really struggle with.   I actually started on an anti depressant / anti anxiety med during this because it has been such an emotional up and down experience.  I have a lot of sadness regarding to how unfair I feel life can be sometimes.  I try to remind myself that I am not in control and that God has a plan for everything.  I struggle to put 100% of my trust in him on this.  I have not gone to the past four baby showers I have been invited to and have a hard time being around my pregnant friends.  I have found that I pull away and avoid them.  I have also noticed that when I am around them I ignore their pregnancy and don't ask anything about it or look at their baby bump.  A few weeks ago, I had three pregnancy announcements in a week and we had just had our third "no" from the agency after our profile was shown.  Two of them really hurt by the way I found out but the third one was so kind.  She sent me such a sweet email telling me that they were expecting againShe conveyed to me how she wanted me to hear it from her first because she knew that our hearts were still mending and how we longed for another child.  That meant the world to me that she was so sensitive.   I feel like I am acting like such a spoiled bratIt's not that I expect the whole world to think about me during their moment of celebrating and happiness when they break the news (okay, maybe I do....).  I know I need to grow up and get over this.     So, to answer the question..... I don't really feel like I do good at this.  I really think I need a lot of work on this and pray about it frequently.  Matt says I need quit being so hateful every time I hear someone is having a baby.  It is just so hard to see it happen so easily for others and be wanting it for ourselves at the same time. 

5. In regards to your failed match, how has it changed your opinion (if at all) about the match/placement process moving forward?  Matt and I said during our training at the agency that we would be okay if a mother changed her mind/ heart and decided to parent.  We still support that but of course it hurt {really, really bad} when it actually happened to us.  We feel that since we are already parents to our son, we know the love that is there between a parent and child.  We don't ever want to take away someones desire to parent a child.  I don't feel that our opinion has changed on the process.  We know it (a change of heart) can still happen again and we will just have to get through it together if it does.  I think we both truly believe that there is a child for us out there.  One of the things I heard from someone at training was even though we didn't get to parent Jolie, we might have been in her/ her mom's life for a reason we will never understand.  We are trusting that God has a plan for us even on the days we don't agree with how things are goingWe still like the idea that the expecting mom's make the decision on what family they are choosing to place their child with.   As far as moving forward, I'll admit that our hearts are a little more guarded.  Since we had two months to get to know each other before Jolie was born, we really felt like we bonded with her mom and brother.  This time, we have said that we are okay with getting a hospital call and no notice.  If we are selected by a mother who isn't due very soon, we might just feel a little more reserved.  Not to them in particular but just in general trying to guard our hearts a little. 

6. Maybe this is just me, but I get more anxious as my son gets older and we are still waiting. What do you think of the age gap? Do you love it? Does it bother you? Just curious since this on my mind a lot!   Our son will be 8 in December.  I never pictured for my kids to be so far apart and it makes me kind of sad.  I think of ways that I see others who have kids a year or two apart and they play and have fun together.  I also see these same kids fight and argue with each other.  I think of how far apart mine will be and wonder if they will be close as they get older.  When our son leaves for college, the little one will only be 10 or so.  I have heard comments on "oops babies" in families (HATE that term!) and the older ones say things like, "I didn't really know my kid brother very well because I was so much older and left for school"  etc. 

My favorite thing about how old our son is now though is that he really truly wants a sibling.   He is in love with one of the daycare babies and loves to help take care of him.  He is always talking about things he wants to do for the baby or when our family has a new baby.  When he walks in the door from school he goes right to the baby and says the sweetest things.  I am always on the lookout for other families with a large age gap that I could talk too.  I would love to have some reassurance that it is going to be okay. 

I have asked Matt a time or two if we are ready to do this again now that our son is almost 8.  It is so easy to say, "let's go" and run to the store.  It's so easy to not have to worry about packing a diaper bag, loading up a car seat, not forgetting the pacifier, zipping up a coat.   If our son wakes up early on the weekend, we can lay in bed a little longer taking our time (do I sound like a total bad parent here??)  to get up for the day because he loves the time he gets to spend snuggled on the couch with cartoons.  When he leaves for college, we will have another 8 years of kid stuff vs. being empty nesters together.   All of these things weigh on my mind but I am ready for it.  I know once we have another baby in the house every single one of us will be head over heals in love and that we won't be able to imagine our life any other way!

7. What are you most excited about when you dream of #2?   What I am most excited for is seeing our son as a brother.  Not being able to give your child something they are longing for is hard when you have the same desires.  When he asks me with tears in his eyes why he doesn't have a brother or sister because so and so and so and so and so and so have one/ more it breaks my heart.  When we were trying for a biological child, I couldn't wait to look at the similarities and differences between them as siblings.  That was one of the hardest things for me when we came to the point of realizing that we were not going to have a biological child.  I wanted to notice things like the same nose, the same way they get a temper when they are waiting for a bottle, or whatever it may be.  I wanted to see if they have a matching birth mark on their arm like our son and my husband do.  I realized that I can still do those things.  I can still see that they both skipped walking and went right to running, they way they both loved peas as a baby, or the way they both fall asleep in their crib.  These things don't have to be biological to happen.  It just took me a little while to realize it.  :)


TTABaby said...

Amber first thank you for introducing me to the new blog!! (my mother wondered often if she would always just be a dog grandmother). Second I wanted to thank you for your honesty in your interview about needing to take antidepressants after baby J didn't come home with you. I think I touched on briefly my anxiety/depression and that was without a change of heart. Infertility didn't throw me into the same depression as waiting. I wish I had touched on it more during my blogging but I was embarrassed at how low I felt about something I didn't "need." So thank you for being so open and brave. I can't wait for your family to be complete and your son to be the brother he is meant to be.

Cat's Litterbox said...

GREAT questions Ashley!! I am a big fan of Amber and I'm so glad that you guys were connected with the interview project! I'm going to keep following your blog since I really have enjoyed reading your posts, and I loved your answers to the questions that Amber asked you!!

Rebecca T said...

Oh my gosh, I am one of you guys! What a comfort to read a situation so much like my own (but with differences of course). Now that my daughter is 8.5, I have plenty of questions about how we'd handle having another baby. Then again, we're intending to do foster care and might take in an older kid, but still, all these decisions feel very outside my realm of control. Thanks for sharing here. It's so good not to be alone in all this!

Courtney @ Neighborfood said...

Just found your blog via the Adoption Blogger Interview Project. I have never adopted...haven't even started the process, but my husband and I feel strongly about adopting one day so I've been soaking up all the info I can get. I just wanted to share one thing about my own sibling relationship. I was an "oops" baby, if you will, that came 16 years after my only brother. Of course, we weren't that close growing up, but he had kids when I was only 6 years old and I loved being able to grow up with my nieces and nephews. Now that I'm all grown up, my brother and I are good friends, but I also get to be a friend to my nieces and nephews, which is a pretty cool experience. All that to say, I think age gaps can be awesome! You never know how God may write the story to make it special just for you!