Finding JOY in the Journey…

CA Trip

Do you find it easy to find joy in the journey? I used to struggle with this, there was a time when I was angry, depressed and didn’t understand why things were going the way they were even though I was putting in 110% of myself….well guess what….I wasn’t putting myself and trust in the right place. Ryan and I have talked about this sooooo many times and looking back now and seeing how much we’ve grown in our faith, our own personal development and as husband and wife – kinda makes us kick ourselves for not figuring it out sooner! We’re not in control.

We have been on a crazy ride together, we haven’t always leaned on Christ to help us through and it shows! But everything changed in an instant, like a light was turned on once we started going to church regularly, attended a small group, growing more in our own faith and then together as a couple. Infertility is no joke, and it will test you in ways you never could imagine. It breaks up couples, it causes depression, anxiety and anger, it makes you think things you’ve never wanted, you learn things that you never knew you needed to know; and with it usually comes loss…Loss of a relationship, loss of a child, loss of part of yourself, loss of the hope you’ve been clinging to…

I am here to tell you…you can get through it and come out stronger than you’ve ever been before! Ryan and I agree that if we didn’t have a relationship with Christ, we wouldn’t have made it through all of this. Yes, it still hurt. Yes, part of us feels like it’s missing. Yes, we still think and cry about the babies we’ve loss.

BUT…

Without the loss we wouldn’t have the AMAZING little family we are blessed with. We have two CRAZY little monsters who keep us on our toes daily! To the point where we no longer have chairs around our table because Wyatt kept climbing them and climbing onto the table. Baby gates are going to be something of the past real quick too…he’s learning how to climb those right now (big brothers are so much fun!).

Anyways…in other news…we will be celebrating a HUGE event at the end of this month….Jonah Wyatt’s adoption day!!!!! Yup….one year ago on May 31, 2019 we stood before a judge and our family and friends to finalize his adoption, officially becoming a Paddock. Can you believe it?!?! So much has happened over the last year – 2019 was fully of adventures as a family of four.

2020 has gotten a little strange with COVID-19 going on right now. This has kinda put a bit of a damper on the celebration we had planned at the end of the month. We were hoping to have all the family and friends over to celebrate his one year birthday and one year adoption day. But, we are needing to do things a little differently. Not what I had hoped for, planned for, wished for – but guess what….that’s life! You can’t plan everything out, as much as I’d love to be able to do that, it has taken a lot to finally get it though my head that I’m not in control.

Working from home COVID-19 style…

So this year we will be splitting his celebration into two days for those who are comfortable gathering together. We will grill hot dogs/burgers, play on the ninja course, play set, hang out and just visit with each other here at the house. Being away from other people starts to mess with your head after a while, I’m the kind of person who needs interaction with my family – I miss them and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone as socially acceptable as possible to celebrate Wyatt.

In conclusion of my initial thought…

Our family is beautiful, our family was chosen for us before we even knew what it would look like, without loss we wouldn’t have Hunter, without loss we wouldn’t have met the most amazing birth mom and adopted a beautiful little boy, without loss we wouldn’t  have the relationship we have with each other or Christ. Also, without loss we wouldn’t be able to witness to so many other couples going through infertility, loss or adoption.

JoyJames 1:2-3Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 12:12 – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 17:22 – A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones

 

Everything happens for a reason, it’s up to us to Find JOY in the Journey where ever it ends up taking us.

 

 

~ Saying Hello & Goodbye ~

Today is a HUGE mix of emotions – both happy and sad, excited and heartbroken. I know sounds a little confusing but let me explain…

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Happy & Excited: Today we meet with our adoption coordinator for our first Home Study interview! The house is somewhat in order as much as possible 🙂 I’ve started redoing the nursery and putting things away to be somewhat organized and starting to do a little more painting and finishing up other projects. The basement is still in the works and we have met with contractors on the bathroom and also plumbers on what we need to move. We are making slow progress but it’s still progress.

 

 

Sad & Heartbroken: Last night I packed up all my IVF needles and got rid of them. The trash came this morning and they are gone forever. It’s hard to still wrap my head around being done with that adventure. I cried a little, not as much as I thought I would but I’m still not done processing it. Now when I look in the closet I see an open space where they used to be, that was a little hard this morning.

BUT Big Changes are headed this way! Last night my devotional was about the Home Study and writing a Profile — new challenges. How do I ‘sell’ our family to a prospective birth family? How do I show them the love that we have to give their child in a book or an online profile? Hoping to get a few answers today while meeting with Stephanie. Looking forward to the next steps and moving along!

Wish us luck and to calm our hearts today!

Paperwork Deadline…..TOMORROW

Well hello everyone! I know that I said I was going to give an update after the all day adoption class a few weeks ago….sorry about that — life happens and we got busy.

So here is a recap of that day, it was truly educational and some parts were really interesting and others we feel that we could have done without. The meeting was for anyone using the agency: Domestic Infant, International, Foster to Adopt or Foster — we had a really nice mix of everything with this group. It was really neat to hear what everyone was doing and to connect with others who are on the same path as we are, it was reassuring that we aren’t alone in the process and the speaker mentioned a few times about creating our ‘tribe’ and that the people in the room are the beginning steps to creating that tribe.

Our first speaker talked about Trauma, Brain Development and Attachment. The last one ‘Attachment’ was the MOST interesting topic of the day. I didn’t realize how important it is in the first month of adopting a baby to really set the attachment. I never thought that there could be issues with the baby attaching to Ryan and I when we bring them home. I’ve given birth – Hunter knew our voices from day one in the womb, he knew who I was when he was evicted (c-section). But to think that this new baby won’t know who I am, won’t know our voices, won’t know the sounds of our daily lives is a lot scarier than I thought any of it would be. Our speaker STRESSED the importance of the attachment period and told us for the first month to limit passing the baby around to family and friends. The first month it should only be Ryan and I holding and taking care of them so that we are able to form that attachment together.

THIS IS HUGE – something that I do not want to get wrong, kinda stresses me out a bit. Like I said, this was the most interesting topic of the day for me and I want to do more research on the topic. There have been suggestions out there if you have a good relationship with the birth mom while she is pregnant, to record your voice talking, singing or laughing and have her play it for the baby, it may help with attachment in the early stages of the relationship.

Since this class was for everyone using the agency she didn’t spend a lot of time talking about the attachment with infants more so for fostering families and international adoption. We will have another class solely dedicated to the Domestic Infant process and what to expect — I am really looking forward to that class.


Continuing on with our day we also talked about Trans-Cultural Parenting, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Mental Health. It was a day FULL of information and we also were able to bring home  all the the presentations as well as other articles and resources to read through at home.

On the way home there was a lot of discussion of the day, our thoughts and added fears. It was a really great day and I am ready to see what the Lord has in store for us down this path.


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So….where are we at now in the process??? Well tonight we had our tax appointment (I know, I know crazy exciting – right?!?), anyways we needed our return for the Formal Paperwork packet, which I will be turning in TOMORROW! Yup, tomorrow we will hand over our envelope that has:

  • MN Application
  • Background Study info & Fingerprints
  • Financial Statements
  • 3 years of tax returns
  • Statement of Faith
  • Individual Fact Sheets
  • and MUCH more

I’m nervous, stressed, excited and hopeful. I’m also not sure what happens next….do we move on to the Home Study portion or do I make our look book (if so I need to schedule family pictures – gotta look nice or and put the nursery together), are we able to look at waiting families or do we just sit tight for a bit….I have NO idea and it’s driving me a little crazy. I’m a planner and I need to know these things, but again this isn’t in our hands – It’s in Gods hands and he knows what the next steps are and where to go from there.


Side note: To be completely honest, I still struggle almost daily with knowing that we are not going to get pregnant. Every day I walk into my closet and see this: and yes – that’s two gallon size bags of IVF needles, I still can’t part with them. They are apart of our story and one Blog Post 2

day I’m going to be able to get rid of them but it’s not going to happen today. I still struggle when people tell me they are having a baby. Happened just yesterday I had someone I work with come up to me, pull me aside to let me know she is 11 weeks pregnant and wanted to let me know before I heard it from anyone else because she knows the struggles we’ve had – as much as I really do appreciate her telling me and taking my feelings into consideration it is still hard to hear. And then there are others who have struggled to have a family and unfortunately know the feeling of loss who are now having a new little one who I am truly excited and happy for. It’s all a bunch of crazy feelings all balled up that I deal with.

Poor Ryan has to deal with me and all my craziness – bless him 🙂 I will say, that he is the best partner to be on this adventure with though. He supports my crazy and also calms my crazy. He helps keep me on the ground, he’s a pretty amazing person.

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Well that’s all for now….

 

 

So many feelings….

Last night Ryan and I read over the adoption contract again — 15 pages plus disclosure forms — and signed on all of the dotted lines. Today, I sent it off to the agency and we are waiting to hear from them to set up our account and fill out the official application. I told Ryan the other day that all of our children have been under contract in one way or another. And when I say children we are parents to 4 – Hunter, Hunter’s twin and our miscarriage and our little emby-baby = 4 babies and we are truly blessed to have Hunter with us. Kiddo and contracts:

  • First round of IUIs – 3 failed, 1 worked = Hunter (all 4 under contract with one clinic)
  • Second round of IUIs – 5 failed (contracts with 2 different clinics, thank you insurance [insert eye roll])
  • Attempted IVF – 2 embryos, 1 miscarriage, 1 never set up camp (contracts with one clinic, again than you insurance for making me change clinics again)

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As I was saying a lot of mixed feelings today, no tears — well almost. Mixed feelings of knowing that this is another adventure to expand our family, mixed feelings of really putting an end to trying to get pregnant, mixed feelings of meeting a birth mom who will be in our lives for forever, mixed feelings about what if we don’t get picked, or what if she changes her mind at the last minute…the list can go on and on and on. It’s scary and exciting and stressful and hopeful.

There is birth mom out there who is making a huge amazing life changing decision (possibly at this moment, right now) to have her baby and to go the adoption route. It breaks my heart just thinking about it because it takes a very strong person and one who loves that baby so much to make this choice. And we want to be the family that takes that little one home and makes them our child and raises them in our house and loves that little person unconditionally.

This is not how I thought we would have a family — the ‘plan’ was (silly me for making a plan, I should know better — Gods plan is far better than my own). My ‘plan’ was: Married by 23, have 4 kids before 29, in my dream house. Well, reality is: Married at 27, had 1 kiddo at 30, still working on the dream house 🙂 I never imagined that it would take us almost 2 years to get pregnant with faith and science, finding out that your husband can’t have kids, finding a donor (online shopping – seriously, I’ll tell ya all about it if you want to know), then finding out that your eggs are that of a 50 year old and that they are of poor quality and that even IVF wasn’t a sure shot — it was a better shot than IUIs but still didn’t work.

But going through all of this I have learned a LOT about my faith, my husband (he’s amazingly supportive, he’s my rock and keeps me together when I get a little stress-crazy) and our family. Who cares if I don’t have a family the ‘conventional’ way – not many people do any more.

So welcome to my family — our expanding family, no matter how long that takes or how it happens. This is our adventure and we are scared, excited, nervous and hopeful!

So a new adventure begins…

First I want to take a quick minute to introduce myself, my name is Marianne and I’m a wife and a mom (I love both of these titles). Anyways, I wanted to start this blog to capture our family adventures. There will be everything from our infertility journey, our adoption journey and family fun/trips/stories…

The title says it all “So a new adventure begins…” it covers a lot of different things going on in our life. Here are just a few:

  1. Starting this blog
  2. Just bought a new house (that’s a whole different blog..ugh…has not been smooth sailing)
  3. Filled out our preliminary application to start the adoption process

The biggest adventure is going to be the adoption (clearly, it’s bold)! I am nervous, excited, freaked out, hopeful…the feelings go on and on and on. This is also a very sad step for me at the same time – closing the chapter on being pregnant again [which I loved]. We struggled for two years with 3 failed IUIs, crazy fertility meds (crying in Menards because they didn’t have the door I wanted – my husband is a saint), donor swimmers and finally the 4th try we were pregnant.

Well our little monster is now two and we’ve been hopeful that another round of fertility meds and IUIs would work…they didn’t. We had to jump up to IVF after 5 failed IUIs and lots of changes to meds. Turns out we had a miracle baby with Hunter. After more testing we were now categorized as Male and Female factor on the infertility charts — whoohooo —- over achievers (or something like that). Turns out my body hates me and we ended up with two little embryos to use. Fingers crossed for the first transfer, which ended in a miscarriage at 6 weeks. The second emby-baby never set up camp, on to the next chapter of family planning…

With LOTS of praying, meeting with adoptive families, people from church, reading blogs, attending adoption events….we decided that there is a little baby out there who needs a family and that we are going to be their family. So here we are….we just sent in our first application step for this process!

Wish us luck…more to come!!!