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Letters To My Baby

A little over a year ago I bought a paper time capsule that holds envelopes with specific titles for each letter. The title of the time capsule is, Letters to My Baby. I’ve been holding on to it, not writing in it because some of the envelopes I can’t fill yet. Ones that have titles like, “On The Day You Were Born”, or “Things You Do That Make Me Laugh”. However as I took a look back through this capsule I found things I could answer now. Things like:
Your First Home Was Like This,
Well my darling I can’t tell you exactly what our house will be like because I don’t know where we will be when you come along. I can’t tell you the color of the outside of the house or the color of your first room. I can’t tell you if we will still be in the house we are in now or if we have moved on. What I can tell you is that the house does not make the home. I want you to know that a house is just a house. Some are big and full of fancy things. Some are small and bare. None of that matters, what matters and what makes a home is the people who live there. So I can tell you what it will be like in our home. Home is where love is. It’s where people love you and protect you. They care about you and you share the good times and the bad. That my darling is what you will have. Your home will be filled with love. Your good times will be our good times and your bad times will be shared. Home is where you can dream safely and we will tend to your dreams and wishes with care. Houses are replaceable. The love you feel at home is not.

What I Want You To Know About Me,
When I first read this one part of me thought of all the things I regret. The things that I don’t want to share with anyone, much less you my darling. There are things I can’t wait to share with you. I can’t wait to share my love of books, music and so many other things that are a huge part of my life. I want to show you pictures of things me and your daddy have done. I want to show you places we have been and I want to take you there too. I want to share the world with you. In all of this there are two things I want you to know about me. 1) I want you to know that there is nothing you can’t tell me. No matter how embarrassing. No matter how dark. No matter how terrible. There is nothing in this world that could make my love for you change. If you ever feel alone and like you can’t share your load with anyone know I am here and that I love you. 2) I have always wanted you. There has never been a time and there will never be a time that I do not want you. Adoption is hard. I understand that and I can only assure you that you, my darling, have been my life long dream. You are what I have prayed for. You are what I have cried for. You are every wish I’ve made. You are and always will be enough for me.

All The Things I Hope You’ll Try Someday,
Whatever you dream. I want you to dream. If you want to travel the world than I’ll help you buy the ticket. If you want to be a great inventor, a master pianist, a writer, or a doctor I’ll do everything to help you get there. If you don’t want to ever leave our small town and your dreams are of a family of your own I’ll enjoy every moment of you being close. So what I want you to try is to simply be you.
My Wishes For You,
There are a million things I could list. There are so many wonderful wishes I hold for you that I wouldn’t know where to start or how to finish so I’ll try to keep it simple. My wish for you is that you love God with all your heart. That you’ll know His grace and love. That by knowing those you’ll know that you’re never alone. My wish for you is that you know how much love surrounds you every day. Before you were even here we have prayed for you. We have loved you before you were born. My wish for you is that your life is full of joy and happiness. That you will dream and that you will embrace life. My wish for you is that overcome your fears. That you won’t let the cares and hardships of this life take away the light in you. My wish for you is that you be who you are. That you don’t compare yourself to the people around you and find yourself short. My darling, God gave me His perfect love wrapped up in you. My wishes for you are for everything good, full, pure and full of life.

Something Special About You,
I’m not sure that you’ll ever know just how special you are. As I have told you, you have been prayed for, dreamed of and waited on for years. Some couples decide to have a baby by choice. For some it’s a surprise or an accident. You my darling were chosen. We have prayed that God would send us the perfect baby for us and He sent us you. How can you ever doubt that you’re special? Out of all 7 billion people in the world He picked you. Through everything that might have come up to try to keep us apart we have held on to the hope for you. Me and Daddy talk about you everyday. We pray for you everyday. What we ever did to deserve His love we won’t know but He showed it to us when He gave us the promise of you. You’re worth is beyond measure.

All my love,
Mommy.

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Wonder Woman

My mom is my wonder woman. She has been my superhero for as long as I can remember. She stayed home with me and my brothers, even when it would have been more financially helpful for her to work, my parents made the decision that it was more important for her to be home with us. She was my hero when she would build us a blanket fort in the living room and serve us lunch under it. She was my hero when she would let us stay up late to read just one more chapter out of whatever the book of the week was.  Those early years shaped me and gave me values, faith, and a security that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.  She taught me to read and gave me the love for reading that has carried through my life. She encouraged our imagination and our dreams. She isn’t one to say that something is impossible.  For that alone she is my hero.

She was my hero when she stayed up holding me while I cried all night after my first big heartbreak. She was my hero when she championed my case to doctor after doctor never giving up. She was my hero when she went through a thyroid storm that almost killed her and yet she never questioned God or lost her faith.

Life hasn’t always been nice to my mom. She’s been through things that would break most people. She’s known heartache and loss. She’s known sickness in a way that a lot of people can’t imagine. She has had everything thrown at her and still she is one of the happiest, loving and kind people I have ever known. You hear the expression “they would give you the shirt off their back.”, for my mom that is not just a saying it’s an action. She has given to strangers when she didn’t have hardly anything herself. She radiates love and to everyone around her and I think that’s one of the things I love about her the most. It doesn’t matter if it is a stranger or family, my mom radiates an unguarded, unconditional love that I’ve never known anyone else to have. She inspires me to be better; to love harder.

My mom has set the bar of being a mother for me. The bar is set high, but if I can be half of the mother she has been to me I will have done something. I know I haven’t always done all that I should for her, as a teenager I put her through so much that I regret. Without her I wouldn’t be here. Without her love and support, her prayers and her grace I wouldn’t be who I am. She is my best friend and my guide.

Mom,

One of the greatest and most comforting things about having children will be knowing they will have you for a grandmother.

 

Rachel

Like My Mother Does

 

The Struggle

So it’s been almost a month since I posted. A LOT has been going on, we have been redoing some things in our house. One of the things I’m doing is getting our spare room ready to be a nursery! I’m getting a crib this weekend so I have to paint this week. (I can hear Joe groaning in dread.) Our lives have been extremely busy and sometimes it feels like I barely get the time to breathe much less sit down and write a post for you guys.
However, I’m going to be open and raw with you guys. I’ve avoided sitting down and writing in the few minutes I’ve had free. Not because I don’t have things to say or things I want to talk about but because of how I have been the past month personally. Please don’t take what I’m going to confess here the wrong way or think that I’m whining. I’m simply sharing our lives and I have to be completely honest to do that. I’ve been avoiding writing because all the posts I have wanted to write just didn’t feel right. I felt like I couldn’t put all of me into them because I’ve been struggling so much this month. It’s spring time, and it seems like every time I get on any social media someone is announcing they are pregnant. I am thrilled for every one of the sweet couples I know that are getting this miracle. I don’t want this to come out like I am jealous and not happy for anyone who is pregnant. If you are pregnant I am absolutely over the moon for you!
When you can’t have children there is a roller coaster of emotions that you go through. You can be up one moment and perfectly fine and the next you can be crying your eyes out over the simplest thing. Over painting a room, getting a crib and thinking how long is it going to be before this room is filled with the joy we’re waiting on. Now I’ve had people tell me I shouldn’t be doing a nursery. They say it will make it worse, but here’s the thing. How can I say I believe with all my heart that God has a baby for us when I don’t act on that belief? How can I say it could be today when He brings us our miracle if I don’t act like it IS going to happen today? It might be hard on me. I may close the door and not look in that room for months. But it’s something I have to do. I have to act on my belief. If I don’t, do I really believe it?
So that’s the honest truth. I’m struggling. I want a baby so much that my heart aches. I want the joy that I see in everyone else around me. I want to hold that sweet miracle and be a mom. I want to see Joe be a dad. I want to see my mom be a grandmother and my brothers be uncles. I want the life I’ve been dreaming about. My life as it is, it is wonderful. I have an amazing husband who shows me love like I didn’t know was possible. I have a wonderful family who love me and support me. I have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful but I’m also struggling. We’ve been waiting on our miracle one way or another for almost four years now. I know that is nothing compared to some who have waited and are still waiting for much longer. It doesn’t get easier. In fact, I think it gets harder. There are moments of desperation. There are moments of anger, doubt, frustration and grief. There are moments when you feel like it will never happen. A lot of my doubt and anger is directed toward myself. It’s self-doubt, it’s anger at myself. It’s that, “I should have been stronger. I should have done more.” Kind of anger. As much as I would like to believe I had that kind of control I didn’t. Not really. My body took that decision from me. Honestly though, we never really are in control are we?
So there it is, laid out in all the ugly raw truth. If you take the time to come read about our journey I feel like I owe you the raw truth. The raw truth right now is simple, it hurts. Sometimes more than others and right now it’s worse.
But we keep on. We will paint the nursery this week. We will set up the crib this weekend. We will keep believing and acting on the belief that it could happen today no matter what. I refuse to let what I see around me dictate what I know I will have.
If you have stuck around this long, Thank you. I promise not to be such a downer next time. Thank you for your love, your support and your prayers. We appreciate each and every one of you.

Rachel

Even More

April 28th was mine and Joe’s 5th anniversary. In one way it seems like it was just yesterday but also when you step back and look at all we’ve went through it seems much longer. This post is not only a way to celebrate our 5 years but also his birthday that is coming up on the 12th. I want to celebrate him and all that he is to me, but I want to give you guys a window into what our lives have been like for the past 5 years and where we are today. I started jotting down some of the major events in our lives and I realized how hard this was going to be. To lay some of these things out for the world to see is not going to be easy for me, however I believe that to be open and honest about our desire to adopt we also have to be open and honest about ourselves and our lives.

If you have read the welcome page on our blog you know how we met. What you might not know that I fell in love with him after one date. I know that sounds crazy but it’s true. I knew I was going to marry him. I knew because he healed parts of my heart that had been damaged and for the first time in a long time I could look forward instead of backwards. Through the months that we dated and then were engaged there were a million moments I fell in love with him, each new part of our relationship was exciting and made me even more sure of my future with him.

After we were married was the hard part. In the two years after our wedding we went through more than we ever imagined. There are specific times I remember when I asked myself why he stayed. Moments when others would have walked away. Four months after our wedding I had my sixth surgery to treat my ongoing sickness. After that surgery we needed a more aggressive treatment. I went on treatments that were equivalent to chemotherapy. My hair fell out, I was always sick, I was in pain and had horrible mood swings. I remember having to leave my nephew’s first birthday party because I was in so much pain. I was devastated not only to have to leave but for taking Joe away from a family event that had it not been for me he could have enjoyed. He lovingly took me home, tucked me into bed and sat with me all evening. He didn’t complain about being pulled away from his family. He didn’t complain about how bad it was to be stuck with someone who made his life so much more complicated. He kissed me on the forehead, told me he loved me and I fell in love with him even more.

One side effect of the treatments were panic attacks. Something I had never really dealt with until then. One evening the worst one I remember ever having, hit me as I was getting out of the shower. Over an hour and a half later Joe came home from work where he found me curled up on the tile bathroom floor where I had been paralyzed with fear. He didn’t tell me I was crazy, even though I honestly felt like it. He didn’t tell me to get up and get over it. He didn’t make me feel any less. He helped me up, he held me until I stopped sobbing and could move again. He stayed close to me, never leaving me alone. I loved him even more.

He kept his sanity when we started infertility treatments when I felt like I was going crazy. The medications and hormones you are on throw you into a chaos. He held me when I cried after ever negative pregnancy test. He would hold me and say, “Next time.” and I loved him even more.

Then came that September, sitting in the doctor’s office, when he put his love for me above all else. When he held my hand when I signed the papers. He never complained about what were were losing. He focused on the fact that I would get better. That this surgery would help me live life. He didn’t ask me to wait and try one more round of infertility treatments, even though I would have and talked about it. He put me above every other dream and desire. He gave me hope and made me feel like I was enough. For that, I loved him even more.

When people started finding out about the upcoming surgery they weren’t always kind. Some were rude and harsh, saying things to me that sent me home crying. He was my champion. He stood between me and anyone who had a negative word to say. He protected me from their words and for that I loved him even more.

On that October morning I woke up with my hands shaking. He woke up beside me, hugged me close and told me he loved me. That’s how I got up and got ready to spend the next couple of days in the hospital. When they took me back to prep me, he stayed by my side. He helped me change. He tucked me into the hospital bed and sat by my side. He held my hand and told me I looked beautiful, even though I knew I didn’t. My doctor came by to see me and go over the plans for the hysterectomy one more time. When she asked if I was ready, I nodded because my voice was shaking. He squeezed my hand to let me know everything would be okay. When I was taken up to a room after the surgery he settled into a chair beside my bed and didn’t leave my side. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and there he was, sleeping in a hard hospital chair beside me. I loved him even more in that moment than I thought possible.

If you know Joe then none of this probably surprises you. You know what a great man he is. He has a caring heart that makes him easy to talk to. He loves people and they can feel it. He has the greatest sense of humor. He makes me laugh all the time even if it is the goofiest thing I’ve ever heard. He sees things in a way that is different and amazing. He has so much drive, passion and stubbornness. Just this year he has started his own company and I couldn’t be prouder. He works so hard and gives 100% into whatever he is doing. He gives his all. He keeps me smiling, he keeps me laughing and he loves me more than I ever deserve.

Nothing about life or marriage is easy. There have been times of great hardship. There have been many arguments. There have been times when I honestly didn’t know if we would make it.  There have been more surgeries and treatments. There have been times we drew lines in the ground and stood on opposite sides. But I can honestly say that I have never loved him more. Each day he amazes me. He loves me in a way that leaves me speechless. We celebrated our anniversary by taking a little weekend trip not far from home. We walked around an art museum. We explored book shops. We ate some great food. We talked about our future family and dreamed of our baby. We took the time to enjoy each other and not rush around with a lot of plans and site seeing. We simply enjoyed each other and it was wonderful. Our lives are not perfect, far from it. But we love each other. We have grown and learned and made the choice to stay. That’s what I think is important you know about us. We truly love each other and, “Love conquers all.”

Rachel

 

The Next Best Thing

When I married Joe I gained 7 nephews and nieces. Right away they completely stole my heart. We now have 9, 3 girls and 6 boys. I’m hoping for at least one more to make it an even 10. *Hint Hint* 😉 When we first got married we lived near Joe’s family in TN. We were near all of the kids and able to be around for birthdays and sports events. Now we live 4 hours away and miss a lot. We miss them terribly. Nothing will melt your heart like walking into a room and have little people throw themselves at you.

There was a time right after all the failed infertility treatments and then hysterectomy that being around all the babies made the ache inside worse. It made me cry because I couldn’t have that. Because me and Joe were the only ones left without a baby. Slowly it became bitter sweet, with every hug, kiss and “I love you” they lessened the ache. Now more than ever the love I have for these kids is enough to take my breathe away. The desire to be a mom isn’t lessened but the ache I had for a while is lessened by being the next best thing, being an aunt. Never could I have imagined loving being an aunt this much.

Because each of these kids are so special I want to share a little bit about each one with you.

Brandon-(Blue shirt on the left) Brandon is the oldest. Honestly he’s so close to my age that I feel like he’s more of a younger brother most of the time instead of a nephew. There is no one I enjoy watching sports with more than him. I enjoy watching him more than whatever is playing because you’ll never meet anyone more animated or completely invested in the game.  Brandon is one of the kindest people you’ll meet. He has a huge heart! You only have to be around him for a few minutes to know that regardless of what life has thrown at him, he has risen above it and became a great man.

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Bethany- Bethany is the oldest of our girls. It amazes me that the young girl I first met when I started dating Joe is about to graduate! Bethany has such a tender heart. She loves people freely and openly. She truly wears her heart on her sleeve but in the best way possible. She never fails to make me laugh and her deep caring of people always leaves me in awe. I’m not sure that she knows how special she is or how much potential she has yet, but I am proud of the woman she is becoming and can’t wait to see where the next part of her journey will take her.

Benjamin-( Blue shirt on the right.) Little BenBen is not so little anymore. He is now taller than me and is in high school. When you are having a bad day no one can hug you like Ben. I love watching him play with all the younger kids. He is one of the few that has enough energy to keep up with them all but he truly enjoys it. He isn’t afraid to act silly or take a tumble for a laugh. Everyone that knows him loves him. I’ve watched him focus playing basketball and show a determination and drive that I hope he holds on to. Above all I pray the world never robs him of the joy and love for people he openly displays.

Kasen- (The little one) I know for small kids having someone new around is hard but when me and Joe were dating, Kasen gave me my “aunt” title. Auntie RayRay was established by him months before Joe ever proposed. His energy knows no limits, and his adventurous spirit is always fun.  It has been the sweetest thing to watch him take on the role of big brother this year. He’s protective and loving. . He stands up a little taller and holds his head up a little higher at being called “big brother.” I can’t wait for the adventures ahead with this one!

Declan- This is the newest member of the family! This is the most cuddly baby I have ever been around. When you hold him he snuggles into you and you feel like time just stops. I could sit there and hold him for hours. Actually…I have! 🙂  He’s beautiful and perfect. 17499586_690407257740_7591670085479583604_n (2)

 

Kahlan- (on the left) Kahlan is the big sister. As she has gotten older she embodies that title more and more. You can watch all the kids play and see her watching out for them and being the big sister to them all.  She always wants to help do something to make you proud of her. She is driven in a way that makes her seem older than her age. The way she thinks about things leaves me speechless. I have no doubts that whatever she decides she wants out of life she can get.  This girl is going to make an impact.

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Keirah- (On the right) I call her my little shadow. When I come into town if you want to find Keirah usually you just have to look beside me. There is a quote I think that perfectly describes her. “Though she may be but little she is fierce.” -Shakspeare.  She is all things girly. Her laugh and smile are contagious. She walks on her tiptoes constantly and is one of the toughest little girls I’ve ever seen. She isn’t afraid to play rough with the boys and is content to sit in my lap for hours. She tiptoed in and quietly stole my heart.

Gavin- (In the back) If you say the name “Gavin” around anyone who knows him they smile. This little boy will keep you laughing and completely astonish you with the things he says. He became a big brother last year and it was so sweet to see. There is a picture I love of him sitting next to his little brother showing him everything there is about Lego’s. I love it because it shows the kind of little boy he is. He’s sweet, and truly cares about people. I can’t wait to see what else he is going to be teaching Myles!

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Myles- (the baby)  Myles is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever seen. He laughs and smiles at everyone. He’s beautiful and sweet. He hardly ever stops moving and I have a feeling once he hits the floor running he will be unstoppable!

So this is our crew. These are the kids that I didn’t know I needed before I had them and now that I do, I can’t imagine life without them. All of them are beautiful and perfect. I wouldn’t change one thing about any of them. There aren’t words to describe how much I love them and how much they have blessed my life.

To my sister-in-laws,

Thank you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful perfect children with me. Thank you for welcoming me into the family 5 years ago. Thank you for being there through the hardest times. I can’t tell you how much I love your children. There are truly no words to describe it. Just know that I will forever be thankful to you and to God for blessing me with them. At the lowest point I didn’t know if that hole in my heart would ever heal. But those beautiful perfect children have shown me what the next best thing is. If they are all the children I ever have in my life, they are enough.

I love you all!

 

Rachel

An Open Letter to Birth Mothers

This is to all birth mothers. All the ones who have given up or plan to give up their child so someone else can be a parent.

I know you get a bad reputation. You get looked at as less because you have or are going to give up up your child. You should know that you are not. You are brave. You have made a choice that I can’t imagine making. I don’t know what has happened to you to get you this point. There are countless reasons and I’m not here to judge you for whatever that reason may be. That’s not the point. The point is that you are brave enough to carry a child for 9 months and give it up to give someone like me a chance to be a mother.

I’ll admit that at one point I was angry with women like you. Women who seemed to be able to get pregnant even though you didn’t want it. Women who had what I so desperately wanted and couldn’t have. I was angry because I wanted it to be me. It seemed like a cruel joke that as someone who has dreamed about having a family their whole life couldn’t, while someone who hadn’t planned for it could. I was angry and I was bitter. For that I want to apologize. Nature isn’t something you can control any more than I can.

Now I want to say thank you. Thank you for being brave enough to decide to give your child life. Thank you for choosing to let that little life inside of you to grow and have a chance. Who knows, maybe you are carrying the one who will cure cancer or become president. If you had chosen to end your pregnancy we would never know. So thank you.

Thank you for knowing, that for whatever reason, you want better for your child than what you currently have. Thank you for wanting to give them more. I think it’s a misconception that giving up your child means you don’t love them. And I know there are cases where that is true. But I also know that to me, that’s the ultimate act of love.

So as a future-adopted-mother to a birth mother, I want you to know. I want you to know that the child you are carrying is already adored. That it has been prayed for, and talked about for years. That the excitement and anticipation runs through not only me and Joe but our whole families as well. I can’t explain how we can be in love with a child we have never seen, never heard the heartbeat, or even know when they are coming, but we do. We have names picked out. We have nursery ideas all ready. We wander through baby stores picking out things as we dream about what our baby will be like. We have places we want to take them, things we want to teach them. We want everything possible for them. The one thing I want you to know beyond everything else is this, your child, our child, will be so loved. Never will they doubt or be unsure of our love, never will they not know how much we care. This is a promise I can easily make, because I know how much we already love our baby. I know that love will only grow with every moment that brings us closer together.

So again, Thank you. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for giving us a chance. Thank you for giving us the greatest gift. Thank you.

Rachel

Why I Can’t Wait to See Joe be a Dad

For me being a mom has always been very high on my priority list. That has always been my ultimate dream. While I played with my dolls and made my younger brother play house with me I always knew I wanted to be a mommy. What I didn’t think about at the time was what the daddy of my children would be like. As I grew up and started dating I knew in the back of my mind the man I ended up with would be the father of my children but as with any young girl it wasn’t what I was concerned with. After meeting Joe,  I vividly remember the first time I saw him with a little kid. Who just happened to be my youngest brother. Adam was 5 at the time and was at the stage where running around in your underwear and a t-shirt was pretty normal. Joe came to visit us and I can honestly say I’ve never seen him look so uncomfortable and out of place, even to this day, as he did sitting on the couch that night with Adam crawling up into his lap in his underwear and t-shirt, looking up at him, smiling his huge sweet smile and saying, “Hi!”. I couldn’t help but laugh inside as I gave it 10 minutes before Joe made up a reason to leave. He looked THAT uncomfortable. Thankfully he didn’t! And since that time he has gotten much more comfortable with kids of all ages. Now when I see him playing and holding our nieces and nephews I can’t help but fall more in love with him when I think about what an amazing dad he is going to be.

So here are some random reasons why I think Joe is going to be an amazing dad.

  1. He is so much fun.
  2. He keeps everyone laughing. No matter what he can always get me to smile.
  3. Because when he sings I can’t breathe, or think because I’m in awe of his voice. I can’t wait for him to sing lullabies.
  4. He gives the best hugs.
  5. He loves Toys’R’Us and wants to buy everything.
  6. He’s always up to do anything.
  7. His laugh is contagious.
  8. He is loyal beyond what many people (myself included) could ever deserve.
  9. He sees the best in people and has a way of bringing it out of them.
  10. Being loved by him is beyond what words can describe.  There is no way express how fully he loves. How completely he gives himself . All I know is that the child that is lucky enough to call him daddy will be blessed beyond measure to feel a love like his.

The reasons go on and on but I will stop here. I can’t wait to see the look of amazement in his face when he holds his own child for the first time. I know the picture I have in my head won’t do the real thing justice. Until that day comes I’ll hold on to that picture and know that for all the reasons above and beyond he will be an amazing daddy.

Love to you all, Rachel