Friday, October 26, 2012

Volunteers?! Anyone?! Beuller?!

November is National Adoption Awareness Month....
So it's one of my favorites :-)
We have been asked to guest post on a few other blogs and also write reviews on 2 adoption-related books in the month of November... I am so honored to do both! (And it will be a MIRACLE, in itself, if I make my deadlines.... for real.)
We will continue telling the story of our second adoption journey but I thought it would be amazing if some of YOU would take the load off ME! HA! ...
If you have any experience with adoption; foster care, international, domestic, bi-racial...
Maybe you're a birth-parent...
Maybe you're an adoptee....

Maybe you've struggled with infertility and are trying to decide if adoption is right for your family...
Maybe you have absolutely NO experience with adoption outside of what you've read on blogs or heard in friends' stories...

Maybe your thoughts about adoption have changed based on the experiences of someone you know...
Maybe you don't have your own blog but you just have something to say....
If you're any of those and you'd like to write a guest post for On Loan From Heaven in the month of November, would you email me by October 31?
OnLoanFromHeaven (at) yahoo (dot) com
Let me know what the topic of your post would be (or throw around some ideas) and about how long you need to write it and I'll give you a 'due-date'... and since I'm praying that people are flexible with me, I'll be flexible with you ;-)
Be sure to give me the link to your blog, if you have one... if you don't, that's ok... and if you'd like your post to be anonymous, let me know that, too!
I'm excited to hear from you and to have your help in bringing awareness to the huge world of adoption... my perspective is limited and i have lots to learn, too!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Miracle #2; "Jesus Lives in His Heart..."

At almost 30 weeks gestation, Hunter was delivered by emergency C-Section. I'm not quite sure (yet) on the exact timing of events but here's the way we've come to understand it from his many nurses and specialists...
Hunter was diagnosed in utero with a rare and life-threatening heart condition.  Along with that, he had an erratic heartbeat. His crazy heartbeat was affecting his First Mama's heartbeat and she was put on a certain medication to control HER heartbeat. This medication sometimes causes a baby to develop another potentially fatal condition called Hydrops, in utero.
At almost 30 weeks gestation, Hunter had developed Hydrops.
In short, his body was filling with fluid... and the fluid was crushing his organs.
He had to come out.
We weren't there when he was delivered... but we've heard about it... many times. From the pediatrician who delivered him. From the nurses who were in the OR. From the charge nurse. From the janitor....
Yep. Even the janitor told me about the first time she laid eyes on my baby boy.

His First Mama has sent us pictures, too... pictures we held on to for months before we could find the strength to look at them.

They are brutal pictures. He was so tiny... and black and blue... and swollen... and his eyes....

those eyes.

They spoke volumes... they still speak volumes.

"I am strong. I'm going to fight this. And I'm going to win."

"Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you, Lord walk at my side."
Psalm 23:3 (The Message)

He has wisdom in his eyes.

The NICU team was in the OR and were ready should Baby Boy need them but they were not expecting to have a baby to help.... he just wasn't supposed to make it through delivery.

He did. His Apgars continued to rise, the delivery team shocked his heart...

(writing this story, remembering, is harder than I thought it would be....once in a while I need a minute to breath...)....

They shocked his heart.

(Every time I see his tiny chest, I cringe....Deep breath. )

They intubated him.

They did all they could to help him fight.

They knew that his chances of surviving were low... not only because of the Hydrops but because of his heart condition, his prematurity, kidney and liver damage due to the pressure of the fluid, and more they didn't know about yet.

One of the first things Hunter's doctor's wanted us to understand before we committed to him (like we hadn't already!) was that he would require open heart surgery sometime in the next few years... and probably another one before he was a teenager. His heart condition would limit his activities as he got older and would always be there.... it couldn't be 'fixed' and it would never go away. He had made it this far so the assumption was that he would make it further... we just didn't know how much further and it seems to be a doctor's job to give worst case scenarios... quite often :-/

We had researched this condition AND Fetal Hydrops  (I won't include a picture but you are welcome to Google Image Search if you'd like... and if you have a strong stomach) before we made the drive to meet Hunter... we were warned by our agency NOT to research them because of how scary they are.... and their prognosis, especially combined, is almost always death.

We researched anyway... we poured over our computers for hours.

The agency was right.

Scary doesn't even describe what we saw and learned.

But there was still 'something'... some reason why we knew it would be ok... that even if the worst should happen, we still needed to meet this baby boy and he still needed a family.

We know now what that reason was... God. He had told Hannah's heart... and it would be so.

It turns out that hearing about his conditions from his doctors was a lot less scary than reading about it online. Yes, open heart surgery is serious. Yes, limited activities for a boy would be tough. Yes, the future of our family would be uncertain...

but when hasn't it been?!

He was ours.

Hunter remained in the NICU where he was born for a full 6 weeks after we met him. Due to a series of events, we made the decision to have Hunter flown by medical jet to our new home, where we would be moving as soon as possible.... or as soon as Joey could pack up our other house ;-)

We weren't able to fly to the new NICU with Hunter and saying goodbye to him was so hard... but his medical transport team (6 of them) was so amazing; they loved on him, they fed him, they even sang to him on his way to the ambulance that would take them to their plane.

It was also on this day that Hannah got to meet her Baby Brother for the first time... more on that another time ;-)

Joey, Hannah, my Mom, Joey's Mom and I got in our 3 cars as soon as Hunter left for his new NICU and drove several hours to our new home. Joey and I weren't able to get to Hunter's new hospital until late that night and we were met right away by his new Neonatologist in the NICU. Hunter's records had been sent over and they were a mess... all his doctor could tell was that this baby was very complex and he was completely amazed that Hunter had come so far. We did our best to fill in the blanks of the past 8 weeks. The Neonatologist had copies of every one of Hunter's medical records, including his original ultra sounds of his heart, abdomen, and brain, blood work results, etc.

He also had copies of the heart and abdomen ultra sounds that were done that same morning, right before Hunter boarded his plane.

Our new hospital had more cutting-edge technology than the previous so it was decided that they would re-do all of the vital ultra sounds and scans in order to know how to proceed with him under their care.

The next morning we met our Mom's and grandparents at the NICU... Hunter's great-grandparents were anxious to meet him!

Only Joey or I and one other family member could go back into the NICU at a time and we decided my mom would come back with me first since she hadn't been able to hold Hunter at all before he boarded his plane. She asked if Joey and I wanted to go back together first and we both said no.... we had been there only hours before... surely nothing had changed....

It was Saturday morning...A new Neonatologist met me and my mom as we were approaching Hunter's bed... he was practically running... he was doing that awkward "I wanna run but I'm a doctor in the NICU and it would be ridiculous if I ran" walk). A tech was just finishing up Hunter's abdominal ultra sound as we all walked in.

The Neonatologist was holding ultra sound films and a stack of papers. He told me that they had done Hunter's heart ultra-sound late last night, right after Joey and I left.... he said that the results of the scans were so shocking that he called in one of their best Pediatric Cardiologists.

And he was so shocked that he called in one of his associate Pediatric Cardiologists to review the scans for a second opinion.

And they were all so shocked together that they called in their best Adult Cardiologist.

And Hunter's heart condition was gone.

It wasn't there.

It HAD BEEN there... no one argued with that. Previous scans verified it.

But it WAS NO LONGER there.

The heart condition that would require open heart surgery... the one that would limit his activities... the one that we researched and poured over so we could understand what his future might be... or how long he might live.

THAT heart condition.... was gone.

I remember silence ... it felt like forever silence. I couldn't talk. I'm not quite sure what I did ... but I remember my Mom hurrying out of the NICU, saying something about getting Joey.

Joey came in.... the doctor said it again.

"Hunter doesn't have this condition."

More silence; we didn't know what to say...

So he put the scans in front of the black-light and showed us Hunter's healthy heart... one with a few minor differences than your's or mine... differences that he could and would live with... live a long life with.

That's it.

What the doctor said next is what snapped me out of my shock....

"I came in early this morning and was caught up by Hunter's admitting doctor. There's no doubt that this baby's life itself is incredible. We know what was done to save his life when he was born but this, there's no medical explanation for this. He truly is a miracle." I asked him to explain it again and he said that sometimes doctors can't explain it away.

And we broke.

We had cried so many tears over this baby. We had been prepared a couple times for his death, we had envisioned a future that was much different than we had ever considered that it might be, and we had spent hours and hours on our knees begging God to keep him strong... to help him fight... to guide his doctors....

to perform a miracle in Hunter's life.

And like so many other times, when we've been on our knees, desperate to hear His voice...

He did. He heard our prayers and answered them mightily.

Hunter will always have a Cardiologist. Always. His name will always be associated with that heart condition... because he had it. We have regular routine visits, do regular 24 hour events recorder monitors, and regular ultra-sounds .. but there is absolutely no reason to believe that there will ever be surgery or cause to worry in his future.

I still hold my breath during every one of those appointments.

And I still cry every time his doctor tells me how happy she is with his progress... and what a miracle he is.

More than once over the past few months, Hannah has seen Joey and I cry or jump for joy or express any other number of emotions related to her little brother. I'm pretty picky about what appointments, if any she comes to with us (and there are many appointments each week). We do what we can to be honest with her and tell her in words she'll understand how God is working in Hunter's life... and in turn, in ours.

Hannah came to Hunter's last Cardio visit with me and it was one of the times when they put a 24 hour monitor on him. Hannah was 'admiring' him when we got home and asked me what all of the cords were for...

"Hunter's heart was sick for a long time and the monitor will tell the doctor if it's getting better."

Hannah replied...

"Hunter's heart is all better, Mommy because Jesus lives in his heart."

Faith like a child. Faith like Hannah's.

"That Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love,  you'll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.   God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us."
Ephesians 3:17-20 (The Message)

Hunter will meet his big sister next... ;-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our Home Away From Home....

Hunter entered our lives very quickly...
and we thought Hannah's entrance was fast!!
What do we know?! ;-)
I got off the phone with D, in our hotel room in Florida, just as Joey was getting out of the shower. I didn't know much but I told him what I did know.
Then I texted my mom....
"Just talked to D. Told me about a baby boy born at 30 weeks. Heart condition. Brain bleed. TINY. Breathing on his own. Needs a family ASAP. She thinks it might be us!"
Mom's reply...
"Duh! Of COURSE she does! When can you meet him?!"
My mom's always had an amazing intuition... and an excellent use of the word 'duh' :-)
We got in the car, called Joey's mom and asked her if she could make the trip with us the next day and help us with Hannah, got home, unpacked, packed, told Hannah we were going on a vacation with Ghee (Joey's mom), slept (or not), got back in the car, met Joey's mom on the side of the interstate, checked into our hotel late Sunday night, slept (or not), and woke up early Monday morning....
We were going to meet our son... or maybe not. Or maybe we were.
We didn't know.

All we knew was that we were there... in the same town as a sweet baby boy who needed a family.
And well, to be quite honest.... we needed our baby desperately, too.
A match made in Heaven, huh?!
We spent about 3 hours at the hospital in a haze... snuggling that sweet boy, learning all we could about him, talking to any doctor who walked by, crying with the nurses who had been his family for the past 3 weeks (women who would soon become my friends), and naming him... that took a while :-)
We had to leave.... to pry ourselves away from him.... so we could check OUT of one hotel and try to find another for that night. There was a convention in town and there were 'no rooms at the inns.' We didn't have a plan...

Just to be safe, we had packed enough to get us through about 6 days away from home.

Not 6 weeks away from home.

All we knew was that we had just met our baby boy; a baby boy who's future was uncertain, one who had been without his family for 3 weeks, one who was still so tiny and so sick.... and we would not leave until he could come with us.
On our way out of the hospital, one of their 2 social workers... 2 women who would later become my confidantes and friends... mentioned to us that she would try and get us in to the local Ronald McDonald House. There was almost always a wait-list but they gave priority to families who had to travel the greatest distance.... we were 6 hours from home and praying that that was far enough.
Now, I was familiar with Ronald McDonald Houses.... I volunteered at one with my church youth group in high school, I remember donating food one Thanksgiving, and I have read many many blogs from families of very sick children who had stayed at them...
But I never imagined we'd be one of those families.
We were.

We had a very sick child.

But we had him. And we would make it... we would more than make it.
We hotel hopped for 3 days with Hannah and Joey's mom until the RMD had a room for us.

(Hannah... at 10pm... checking in to our 3rd hotel)
That room became our home for the next 6 weeks.
We ate there.... the meals that volunteers made for us.
We slept there... showered there... made friends there.... and shared one of the hardest times of our lives with families who were going through the hardest time of their's.
We didn't have internet in our room... or TV... or ... anything, really.

Just us.

During the week, it was just me and Hannah... Joey came when he could but still had to work...
it was tough on everyone.
To make it worse... very few people knew where we were... or why.
We had literally packed up one night and never went back.
I ignored so many texts... and messages... and emails...and calls....
It was lonely.
And then I would get on the elevator with another Mama....

and I'd realize that I wasn't alone. I was surrounded by families who were all trying to hold it together but went to bed at night full of fear at what news they might wake up to.

Leaving your child in the NICU for any reason was scary... and leaving to get some sleep felt like the most selfish thing in the world, at times.
6 weeks in the RMH... only feet away from the hospital... from our baby boy.
Joey's mom stayed with us for a few days... she had disappeared with us, too.
My mom came for a week.
Hannah and I were on our own for a while. That was the hardest time for me... trying so desperately to enjoy every single moment with my oldest, with my first in her last few weeks as my only... and trying desperately to bond with my youngest, with my newest, who was still so sick.

Because we were in the middle of RSV and flu season, siblings under the age of 13 weren't allowed into the NICU.

It would be weeks before Hannah could meet her Baby Brother for the first time.


During the days when Hannah and I were alone at our home away from home, I had 2 hours each day when I could leave her at a Mom's Morning Out-type of program and be able to visit with Hunter... it was tough.
Joey eventually took Hannah to St. Louis where she stayed for 2 weeks with my family... she was spoiled and loved on and the center of attention for 2 full weeks... which was exactly what she needed. And it's exactly what I needed to know when I couldn't be the one spoiling her and loving on her.

Those were the 2 most lonely, depressing, awful weeks of my life.
My baby in the NICU. My older baby far away from me.

And my husband was packing up our house by himself because we would be moving as soon as Hunter was released from the hospital.

We needed to be in a city where we could be near all of Hunter's specialists.... the city Hannah was born in. They have the most cutting edge NICU and Children's Hospital and they were the only one's we wanted to be caring for our son. There was no other choice.

We had to move.

That's another story ;-)

The RMH was more of a blessing to us than I can describe. I will never forget the families we met there... many whom we continue to keep in touch with. No matter how scary the day was, no matter what happened in our little NICU room, no matter what information the doctor's gave us (good or bad), no matter what.... every time we walked in those doors, we looked into dozens of faces that shared our fear and excitement and desperation and joy and stress and relief... it just depended on the day. We were all in different seats on the same boat.

If you would like to bless a family this Thanksgiving or Christmas, please consider looking up your local RMH... make a meal, put together a game or movie night, donate toys for siblings of those sick babies, or clothes or diapers or... anything. The families living within those walls are scared and desperate, their babies are sick, and their families are being pulled apart by distance in one of the most difficult and uncertain times of their lives... you won't find anyone who would appreciate you more.

And you would become one of the most important parts of their story.

(Hannah and Nee (my mom) were the grand-prize winners at BINGO-night ;-))

(Coming up next.... Hunter's life itself is Miracle #1 but we have yet to tell you about Miracle #2!)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hunter.... Our 2 Pound 13 Ounce Miracle!

Friends and Family~
 Our journey to Baby Smith #2 has been long, tiring, and difficult... and oh-so-worth-it!

There were times we thought this day would never come... those times are still fresh in my mind.

To say that we are excited... is an understatement.
To say that we have waited for this day for so long... is an understatement.
To say that the story we are about to tell you is miraculous... is an understatement.
Because it will take time for us to unfold our story... this miraculous, perfect story... we'll start simply...
Our last adoption update was back in April (if you haven't read it, or if you need a refresher, click here to catch up). And that's where we'll pick up...
It wasn't 5 minutes after hanging up with the adoption attorney in Florida that I picked up my own phone... I was feeling panicked, slightly crazy, and like I was on a downward spiral... desperate. I called the agency that helped us bring Hannah home. We hadn't spoken to them in a while and hadn't even told them that we had moved and were only a couple hours away from them. I didn't think it would hurt to let them know... and plug in the fact that we were more than ready for our family to grow.
We had just said "no"... again. I was desperate for direction... for something.
D, the director, answered her phone on the first ring...
"Lindsay! How are you?!"
"It's so good to hear your voice! We're good... we live a couple hours away now and I thought I'd let you know that we're ready to make Hannah a big sister. We've tried persuing private adoption but it's bee tough. You'll be hearing from us soon, I'm sure. How are you?!"
"I think I know why you're calling me...."
And she proceeded to tell me a story... a story that will change our lives forever.
In late March, a baby was born... he was delivered by emergency C-Section because the doctors were having trouble keeping his heart-beat stable and rhythmic. As a result of the efforts they made to control his heart-beat in utero, he developed Fetal Hydrops (his body began to swell with fluid and that fluid was pressing on his organs).  He was delivered at 30 weeks gestation... delivery was more of a precaution for his mom because of how his conditions were affecting her. Baby boy wasn't expected to live through delivery.
Baby boy's mama had planned to place him for adoption.... but thought she had 10 more weeks to plan.
She didn't.
The hospital social worker contacted the agency and they began working with her to make a plan for him. Her plans were put on hold because day after day, doctor's would prepare his mama and the agency for his death... his conditions continued to be compounded by complications and at 2 pounds 13 ounces, there wasn't much hope for his future.
His mama signed her papers the day she was released, she said goodbye to him, and promised to visit him on Easter Sunday... knowing there was a good chance he wouldn't live that long.
He did.
And when he was 3 weeks old, just one day before my phone call to D from a hotel room in Florida, the hospital had called her...
"Baby boy is stable. He's breathing on his own, tolerating his feeds through his NG tube, and he's keeping his temperatures up. His future is complex and we're not sure all that it will entail. What h needs most right now is someone to bond to. He needs a family here... by Monday."
The agency hadn't put any effort into matching Baby boy with a family... how can you when his chances of survival are so small?! D said she had spent hours the night before pouring over the agency's family profiles... she needed to find a family who was 'open' to heart problems, prematurity, low birth-weight, a condition as complex as Hydrops, and the list was growing and would just continue to grow. She also needed to find a stay-at-home mom... it was stressed that Baby boy would need continuous medical care and constant stimulation to ensure as much of a future as possible for him.
She had no families that fit the bill.
I interrupted her...
"D... what if...."
Her turn to interrupt...
" I think he might be your son."
I can't remember much of what followed... packing, driving, praying...
We went home to Hannah, unpacked, packed again, picked up Joey's mom, and drove several hours. We had plans to meet with Baby boy's team of specialists on Monday morning. We needed a good picture of this baby, of his possible future, and Hannah was at the fore-front of our minds, too.
We met our social worker in the hospital parking lot on Monday. She walked us into the NICU. The doctor's weren't ready... We were early.
"Do you want to see him?"
And we did.
He was 3 pounds 5 ounces the day we met him.
He was tiny. Almost invisible.
He was beautiful. Perfectly made.
Joey asked to hold him. He was the first person besides the nurse to hold him...
Baby boy opened his eyes and looked right into Joey's.

Joey looked into my eyes...
He nodded.
I cried.
Our son.
Our 2 pound 13 ounce miracle.
His story is bigger and longer than he is.
The story of the next 5 months of our lives will take us almost that long to tell...
And it is full of miracles every step of the way.
For now, we are praising the Lord for the miracle that is our son...
the one we thought we were waiting for...
When the truth is...
He was waiting for us.
This second adoption is unique; because we lived away from home for quite a while in order to be close to Hunter's NICU, and because his hospital stay was so long, and medical conditions were so complex, our agency asked us to refrain from putting Hunter on any form of social media. If we know anything about our agency, it's that they always have our best interest in mind. Keeping Hunter a 'secret' from Facebook and from this blog... from all of YOU who have encouraged us, prayed for us, and waited with us for this long... was one of the hardest things we've ever had to do. We are completely overjoyed to finally be able to tell his story over the next few weeks and yes, even months... his story is still unfolding.
Today, Hunter is 7 months old. He has changed our family forever.... we are so so excited to continue telling his story; the ups and downs of life in the NICU, moving in order to be near him, being prepared (a couple times) for his death, the miracles in his life, meeting his big sister for the first time, moving AGAIN to be near his team of specialists, life with a preemie, the (overnight) transition from 1 child to 2... and so much more! Hunter is growing and thriving and Hannah is the most amazing big sister... God told her heart that she was a big sister long before we knew; we can't wait to tell that story, too!

We have finally found Baby Smith #2.... but our story is just beginning!

Remember this picture??

More SOON... for now, a smile

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Open Adoption Interview Project- Sign Ups Are Open!

I have written for Production Not Reproduction (The Open Adoption Blog) many times but missed out on their big Blogger Interview Project last year... well, I'm NOT missing it this year!
Registration for this year's project is open to anyone who has ever blogged about open adoption... your blog does not have to be dedicated to adoption but you can sign up if you have discussed any aspect of adoption at some point in your blog's existence.
Head over here to sign up... in the next few days you'll be matched with another blogger and will be given a few weeks to get to know one another. In that time span, you'll interview each other on your experience, thoughts, and feelings on adoption. National Adoption Awareness Month is November so on November 14, you'll post your interview and your partner will post her's.... and I'm so excited to not only get to know one of YOU but to continue expanding my blogroll!
HURRY, because registration ends TONIGHT, October 18! You have just a few hours to get signed up... it's quick and easy so GO! Lemme know if you sign up, too so I know if we're paired with one another ;-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

180 Movie

I saw a bill-board this week that mysteriously advertised for the movie/documentary 180... so I had to check it out.
I'm so so glad I did.
Watch this... it's short and it's powerful...
When you're done watching, please share.
And when you're done sharing, please make a note to check back here next week...

 I have something to tell you and I think it's pretty powerful, too.
And if you know someone who needs to read something powerful, please share our blog.
I promise it will be worth your 'share'!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Spoiler~ What To Expect When You're Expecting

I mentioned in my previous post (the one where I warned you to see the movie because I would soon spoil it for you ;-)) that What To Expect When You're Expecting brought out just about every emotion from me... as a mom, as an adoptive mom, as a woman, as a wife, as a friend. Joey and I both laughed hysterically and by the end, were a little more somber ... and I was bawling. Like, ugly cry, Joey's arm around me, sobbing. In my defense, he teared up, too (sorry, babe!).
I'll bullet point my thoughts...
~ I LOVE the cast!

~ I LOVE that this movie gives a voice to almost all scenarios dealing with pregnancy... unplanned pregnancies, infertility, adoption, abortion, miscarriage, one night stands, mixed race couples, couples of various ages in various stages of life and relationships. I love that each scenario has a voice!

~ I LOVE that each scenario was dealt with gently... I didn't feel threatened by any of the couple's situations; they were all realistic and believable.

~ If you've ever been involved in a home study, you know why we CRACKED UP during Holly and Alex's home visit ;-)

~ I liked how Alex was embraced by the 'Dude Group' and treated like a soon-to-be-dad who was no different than any other dad just because he was becoming a father through adoption.
~ I loved how Alex's thoughts and feelings about becoming a dad were given credit... he was uncertain, then accepting, shocked, scared, excited, supportive, and everything in between; but we saw every emotion and every emotion was very real.

~ I loved the attention the movie gave to international adoption... but I wish the had explored domestic adoption, too; Rosie and Marco would have been the perfect couple to explore the other side of adoption.

~ I would loved if they explored the side of a birth-mom.
~ I just loved the "Dude Group." Period.

~ I liked how the five relationships intertwined (father/son, client/photographer, weight loss instructor/student).
~ I didn't like that Wendy, who struggled with infertility, was portrayed as the b****y, moody, ungrateful, miserable pregnant woman.

~ I wasn't crazy about Skyler's (Brooklyn Decker) flippant attitude about her pregnancy and how 'easy' it was... especially in scenes that included her daughter-in-law Wendy, who she knew had struggled with infertility. I know all to well that this scenario is very real... it just made my heart break for Wendy, even through the screen.

~ I don't think miscarriage is 'fair' for anyone... but it bothered me that Marco and Rosie~ the unmarried, one night stand couple were the one's who had the miscarriage. I felt that their situation had the potential to bring light to the reality of their all-to-real situation... it could have gone in so many (teachable) directions; coming together for the sake of a child, analyzing and thinking through real-life situations that involve making decisions that are best for a child, even though they aren't easy to make.

~ I didn't feel like the movie portrayed the grief and anguish that comes after a miscarriage. At all.

~ Of the couples in the movie who weren't married, I appreciated that none of the women were left hanging out to dry... the men were portrayed as supportive and involved, regardless of their situations; Jules and Evan hooking up while dancing partners and old flames Rosie and Marco.

(and really, who doesn't love Matthew Morrison?! ;-))
~ I loved the ending; I love love loved watching Holly and Alex get their baby! I loved that the tough guy, Davis, the one who all the 'Dude Group' Dads idolized for his single life-style, ended up in the 'Dude Group', too. Now I want to see the out-takes ;-)
So.... that's it in a nutshell; I thought it was a movie that is too relevant to my life (and many of your's!) and it deserved a review ;-) I need to watch it again but I'm pretty sure it will end up in my top 10 favorite movies, critiques and all!

Did you see it?! Weigh in... I wanna hear from you and know what you thought!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Art of Complaining... By, A Pro

About a year ago, Joey accepted a new job that moved us half way across the country... new job, new town, new friends... looking back now, I see how God has used even the seemingly small changes in our lives to bring us to where we are today.

 And today, we're in a good place ;-)
With Joey's new job came some pretty big life changes.... we were moving for the second time in 2 years (and that second move soon became a third), Joey's job required him to start travelling during the week (most weeks), and I struggled to make our new life fun and exciting and stress-free for Hannah...
I didn't handle it well.
We moved a lot when I was growing up... California to New York (3 different houses and then 1.5 years of college), New York to South Carolina, South Carolina to North Carolina.... you get the point. The most recent moves had us in Kansas, back in South Carolina, and again, back to North Carolina.
Moving didn't bother me. I make new friends fairly quickly, I'm not afraid to branch out in order to meet new people, and our family unit is strong so in the times when I could have felt alone, I felt surrounded.
But these last couple moves... they've changed me.
I don't know if it's my age... I'm more set in my ways and less able to tolerate change?
Maybe it's everything the past few years have brought us and my inability to leave those things behind... more infertility, numerous failed adoptions, difficult friendships, family members losing jobs.
It could be that I liked how our lives were turning out right before the big changes took place.... but I didn't.
So when I get right down to it, I know the truth in my heart...
I haven't been giving God the room He needs to show me His plan... his wonderful and perfect plan.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11
In the depths of the pain and stress we have endured over the past few years, I have allowed myself to 'take a vacation' from trusting the One who, sadly, I deem responsible for the losses and pain and changes...

Filling the voids with myself and not with Him; the only One who can fully fill them.
I read my Bible, we go to church, I surround myself with friends who uplift and encourage me... who don't judge.
But I have complained every. single. step. of. the. way.
"Our old house was way better than this house."
"I liked my friends... I don't want new ones."
"My Dad's job made him travel a ton while I was growing up... and now I have a husband who travels."
"We've been through so much... how much more are you going to throw at us, God?"
"I deserve better."
"I do so much every day, for so many people, and where has that gotten me?!"
The list goes on.

I have mastered the Art of Complaining....
and in my opinion, not much in this world, in my world, can separate me from God more than complaining.

So I've found myself here; In this place where I am surrounded by amazing, wonderful, miraculous things.... and I've spent so much time complaining that the only thing I can truly see and feel... is myself.
I feel those amazing, wonderful, miraculous things slipping away... disappearing under the weight of my complaints.
My husband was out of town last night and as I got into bed, I got this text from him...
"You're such a good mommy. We love you so much.... thank you for doing so much for us."
And it all faded away.
The 4 year old attitude, the stained carpet where the dog peed, the disaster of a playroom that has been staring me in the face for 2 weeks, the pile of dirty laundry that I've been clothing my family from because we're out of detergent and I keep forgetting to pick some up, the lousy frozen dinners we've eaten this week, the bill that was due yesterday but I haven't paid because I can't remember my stinking password (OR login name!), the chipped nail polish that drives me absolutely CRAZY, the dishwasher that smells like a skunk but I have ignored because I really don't want to know why it smells like skunk, running out of my favorite perfume and being in a terrible mood all day just because of it, missing my parents and feeling like we're missing out on each other's lives, completely losing it because my 4 year old just wanted to wear her see-thru princess dress to the store and didn't want to wear shorts under it, holding a grudge over one off-handed remark that I know was actually really funny...

A comment I didn't deserve.... but one that was so badly needed.
It was all gone.

I can't take any of it back.... but I can control when and if it all happens again.
I went to bed last night after reading my husbands sweet text and I promised myself that I will do everything in my power to enjoy each moment.... the lesson that life is fragile hits too close to home lately and there isn't a second that is worth wasting.

And when I got home from picking Hannah up from school this afternoon....

on the door step.

I'm done wasting those precious seconds on something like complaining.

And I'm relinquishing my title as a Pro Complainer...
 because when all is said and done, I wouldn't change one, single. thing about my life... about the plan God has made just for me.

God really does know what He's doing... I have to spend more time on the sidelines so I can see all that he's doing in the ring...

after all... He's proven time and time again to be much better at planning my life than me ;-)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Movie; What to Expect When You're Expecting

What to Expect When You're Expecting

A look at love through the eyes of five interconnected couples experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby, and ultimately coming to understand the universal truth that no matter what you plan for, life doesn't always deliver what's expected (imbd (dot) com).
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, Brooklyn Decker, etc.
Have you seen it?
If not, you should.
I haven't seen a 'new' movie in.... I just can't tell you how long! BUT, when a friend (one who knows our story well) told me and Joey about it this weekend, Joey and I watched it... that night.
I just can't think of a movie that has ever evoked so much emotion out of me....
As many of you know all to well, movies, books, and even simple conversations about pregnancy can sometimes spark an unexpected and extremely emotional reaction from those of us who have experienced pain in the process of growing our families.... in the process of becoming Mommies and Daddies. This movie touched on everything... infertility, abortion, adoption, pregnancy out of wedlock, pregnancy within marriage, twins, emergencies in pregnancy... all of it.
Joey and I laughed hysterically, I cried inconsolably, and we had lots to talk about when it was over... I'm not saying it was my favorite movie but I'm not saying I won't watch it again, either ;-)
I have SO much to say about this movie but I really want to see how many of you watch it or have already...
I'll give you a week ;-) If by next Monday you haven't watched it yet, I'll be the one to spoil it for you!
Be sure you leave a comment here or on Facebook after you've seen it... I wanna hear from you!