Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Bribe

We bribed Griffin to be a good boy during the interview.  It's true.  And he was so, so good.  And we told him so, many times.  And he said, "I know."  I love that kid.

He wanted a beyblade like Hunter and Matt.  So, after the interview I drove him straight to Target.  He picked out his beyblade and showed me a cool toy thing that they can "battle" in.  Then he turned to leave.  I asked if he wanted that, too.  He couldn't believe it!  He asked if I was going to use my own money because he didn't have any more money.  Yes, I was.  Wow.  He was thrilled.  Then he saw a "Helk" (Hulk).  Could he get that, too?  Was tempted, but asked him if he was OK with just getting the two toys, he was.  He proudly walked through Target and couldn't believe that we didn't have to look for anything else.  :)  He verified that I had enough money to pay for both.  Good news, I did. 

He wanted to go to McDonald's for lunch.  He played with his beyblade and we talked on the way to lunch.  He said, "Mom, they didn't even ask me about the adoption."  I asked him what he would have said if they asked him about it.  He said, "I'm gonna get a baby!"  Maybe it's better they didn't ask.

We got our lunch and sat at one of the tiny kid's tables with McDonald's figurines on the chairs.  Yes, WE sat in them.

He brought his beyblade into daycare to show his friends.

He was so happy. 

So was I.

The Interview

The house was clean, and the coffee was on.  All we had to do was tell our story.  The reporter (John) and cameraman (David) showed up and we were playing bocce ball in the front yard.  They were going to film us doing that, I am thankful that Griffin wanted to play on the swingset.  Could you imagine seeing us on the news playing bocce ball??  Talk about looking like dorks!  :)  They filmed us playing.  They made us feel comfortable.  Griffin was great, his smile lit up as we gave him underdogs.  John and David raved about our lot--it is truly beautiful and today it was especially beautiful with the sun glistening on the lake.
We went inside and were interviewed on our red couch, one of my favorite places in our home.  We told our story.  I was reminded of how tough the journey was, but what it did for us.  We have grown closer, we're a team, even when we disagree.  We've learned to grieve with each other, we shared the same pain, and we worked through it together.  We appreciate our miracle.  We want to grow our family, together, in a unique way. 
I got a little choked up when I talked about our babies that I never got to meet.  But, I did OK.  I felt strong.  It felt right, sharing our story with a total stranger so that it could be on television.  I prefer being under the radar, but this felt right.  John was so genuine and caring.  He felt bad asking the tough questions, but I was glad he asked them.  The tough questions are the ones that help us tell our story.
Griffin showed them his new room, the room he will move into when the baby arrives.  He showed them photos of his cousins, his books, his bad.  It was so cute to see him give a tour of his big boy, big brother bedroom.  We looked at each other and I know we were thinking the same thing.  We are so proud. 
I was interviewed while I was on Facebook.  I showed them our site and talked about the support we've received. 
Typically after an interview or conversation, I mull it over and think, "I wish I said this" or "I shouldn't have said this."  I'm not really doing that (much) this time.  Maybe it's because only 60 seconds will be on TV and I can't control what is chosen to play.  Or, maybe it's because I'm just thankful my living room was clean.  Wouldn't you be?

Jamie and I talked this afternoon, this interview was therapeutic for us.  Sharing our story and hoping that it helps others. 

Someone is splicing and piecing together our interview right now.  Crazy. 

I feel so uplifted, like maybe our difficult journey can help someone else.  And, it makes it all seem worth it.

Here's a photo that our little man took of us today:

The Thompsons are Flying Above the Radar!

Our house has been especially messy lately.  We were super busy last week, I had a terrible cold and we went out of town last weekend.  So, OF COURSE, this would happen.  We got a call from WCCO on Wednesday around noonish asking it we'd be willing to do an interview on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
Jamie called me and asked me my thoughts, we decided to call our social worker.  We're in a tough spot.  Not matched, but meeting with someone.  We don't want to offend her, but don't want to close doors.  We know that we want to help others struggling with infertility and adoption and we know that we can do that by sharing our story.  I called our social worker.  She was out of the office for the day.  Yep.  Then I tried her boss, she was out for the day, too!  So I called a very helpful and insightful adoptive mother.  Her comment...of course you should do it.  It's an opportunity to educate about open adoption, to share the positive side of open adoption from a family that truly believes in it.  I called Jamie and we discussed this.  It's National Infertility Week, what amazing timing.  What if our story inspires someone that just had a miscarriage?  Or someone that is pregnant and doesn't know what to do?  Or a nurse in a hospital that didn't know about LSS?

So, we agreed to do the interview.  I emailed the expecting mother that we've been meeting with to let her know that we were doing the interview and if she was comfortable with us mentioning that we met with someone twice and are waiting to see where that goes.  I'm sure it's not what she wanted to hear, but it's important for us to be open and honest.  I'm sure it's hard for others to understand....but we really respect and care for her.  She's doing what she can to make the best life she can for her baby. 

I am not going to lie, I cried a lot on Wednesday.  Are we doing the right thing?  Is there something we hadn't thought of?  Will we destroy the relationship we've developed with the expecting mother?  Will this create way more stress in our life?  Will the story be positive?  Will we communicate our journey effectively?  Will we be able to have the living room look acceptable by the time they arrive?  :)  Anyway, I had plenty of things to cry about.

Our social worker called me, she was concerned about what this may do with our relationship with the expecting mother we met with.  But, then we talked it through.  We weren't going on TV to tell people to please call us and give us a baby.  We were going on TV to share our story, and hopefully the right person will hear it--maybe that means one more baby in a positive adoptive situation, even if it's not our home, or maybe that means one more infertile family feeling like they will be OK someday because we are. 

So, we trudged forward, cleaned up the mess, dried off the tears and embraced the interview. 

Good thing my running buddy was free on Wednesday night because I needed some stress relief!

At the Park

The other night I took Griffin to the park.  I noticed that everyone there had two or more children with them, even the pregnant woman.  I also noticed that one of the men kept watching Griffin and I (not in a creepy way, just in a trying to figure it out kinda way).  Finally he asked, "Did you only bring one with you tonight?"  WHAT?  My response, "We only have one child, but we're in the process of trying to adopt a baby."  I followed Griffin through the maze of play equipment and noticed him still staring, I'm guessing he was trying to figure out if Griffin was adopted!
I don't know why I had to add the "we're trying to adopt a baby" statement, maybe so that he knows how lucky he is that he came to the park with 3 little girls in tow? 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Math Equations

Jamie has a great way of putting a little humor into our daily lives.  This one struck me as funny, and smart at the same time.

Obviously people know that we met with an expecting mother twice.  Most reactions = EXCITEMENT!  But see it's not all that easy.  Remember we are dealing with PEOPLE and LIVES and want to make sure that the best decision is made for the baby (HUGE in our eyes), for the biological mother and our family.  And, the truth is we're a small part (although in some ways a HUGE part) of that equation!

I was telling Jamie that I received an email from someone that was excited about our potential situation and was  wondering if we were a match.

This is how Jamie described it.  It's like a math equation.  Math equations with one variable can be a little challenging to solve, but math equations with lots of variables are a whole lot harder to solve.  We have one of those math equations with lots (and lots) of variables.

Then he asked if I'd like him to respond to my emails.  Maybe I'll take him up on that offer.  Gotta love that guy!

An Adoption Story

We heard another uplifting family building story from a volunteer.  Soon after being at a Resolve conference, someone contacted her to see if her family would be interested in adoption.  That wasn't on their radar at the time, they had other "plans" of how to build their family, but they decided to follow up on the lead.  The contact connected her to a potential adoptive situation in another state, and sure enough, the situation worked out.  She commented that the minute she had her baby in her arms, she let go of the dream of being pregnant, and never had the desire to be pregnant again.  They have a great open adoption situation, and she said she couldn't imagine life any other way. I love happy endings. She encouraged us to tell everyone we know that we want to adopt, because you never know when a situation could arise.  Pretty soon I'll be at the gas station telling the people pumping gas next to me that we'd hoping to adopt.  Great.

Keynote Speaker

We had a break between our volunteer duties at the Resolve conference (see the last post), so we were able toe catch the keynote speaker.  I noticed that the speaker happened to be the volunteer coordinator for the event and thought that was great--I had been communicating with her about our volunteer shifts, she was down to earth and appreciative.

The first speaker welcomed everyone to the conference.  She talked about the benefits of the conference, what it meant to her, and clearly could relate to all of us.  She commented that the volunteers were all in lime green shirts, and that hopefully some of them would be in lime green shirts volunteering someday....the volunteers were the people that :resolved" their infertility journey and were giving back.  Interesting.  I guess in a way, we feel "resolved", not finished, but resolved.

The keynote speaker got up and told her story.  I had tears streaming down my face, so did many others in the room.  Jamie was choked up.  Probably because many parts of her story were OUR story.  The ultrasounds, the bad, bad ultrasounds of babies that are no longer living.  Hearing people tell you "It's probably for the best" when you can't even defend yourself because you are overcome with grief.  Finding out that the baby you miscarried is perfectly healthy.  Knowing that your body somehow failed your baby, even though you want nothing more than to carry your baby to full term.  Scared to try to get pregnant, scared to try not to.

She had three miscarriages.  All were very similar situations to ours.  She did IVF 6 times.  I can't even imagine.

She had the same blood work done that I did after my third miscarriage.  It came back with the same results.  Nothing wrong.  But like me, she KNEW something had to be wrong.  Why else would you not be able to carry multiple pregnancies to term?  She ended up working with a Reproductive Endocrinologist in Chicago.  One easy blood test showed that she had an elusive autoimmune disease.  It was challenging, but through IVF she carried two children to term.

Don't panic, people, we aren't rushing out to do IVF again!  But, someday I do want to talk with the RE that specializes in autoimmune disorders in Chicago.  It does bother me that I don't know why we've had the losses, but also important is that I think that something isn't right with my body and I think it's important to do what I can to make sure I stay as healthy as possible.  I owe it to Jamie, our little man and any future kiddos we are blessed with.  With her disorder, she needs to take an aspirin daily to help prevent blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.  So simple, but it could save her life.

After the session the conference attendees went to their breakout sessions.  I was helping to track how many  attendees were at each session, when I got done I found Jamie visiting with the keynote speaker.  It was so nice to visit with her one on one.  Very inspirational.

When I was listening to her speech, I thought that maybe one day I'd take the time to write out our whole story (of course without the grandiose ending that I'll have to add in later).

Resolve Conference, from a Different Perspective

Last year we attended a Family Building Conference through Resolve, it was a turning point with our journey, you can read about it here.  We divided up the breakout sessions and soaked up as much information as we could.  We left feeling less alone and hopeless.  It was a powerful day.

This year I spent a little time helping with the conference, with our outreach and follow up, I've had less time to volunteer that I had hoped.  But, I'm hoping that next year I'll be able to devote more time (hopefully between changing diapers!!).

We had a good friend's wedding in the afternoon, so we volunteered in the morning.  Jamie was in charge of greeting attendees and I was helping in the kitchen and running errands.  I got into the kitchen and soon after meeting one another, we started swapping family building stories.  Stories of IVF, IUIs, donor sperm, foster care, adoption filled the room.  Two of the other volunteers came from farther away than we did, they stayed in hotel rooms.  What a group of dedicated people!

I headed out to go pick up more coffee and Jamie commented that he felt so bad for people that were walking in with the same look on their faces that we had last year...despair, hopelessness, grief.  He pointed out that we walked in with much different feeling this year--positive, happy to be helping, hopeful.  But, that our circumstances hadn't changed.  We still don't have a baby.  But, we are OK.  We have hope and faith that the right baby will join our family some day, some how.  And, we know that if it doesn't happen, we will still be OK.  (BUT I really want to just focus on that sentence about the hope and faith that it WILL happen, thanks!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rambling about Outreach and Waiting

As we wait for more information, I struggle a bit with what to do about adoption outreach.  Do we post things on our Facebook adoption page and ask people to keep sharing?  Do we wait it out?  I don't want to hurt the expecting mother we met with, but at the same time, we know that nothing is "for sure" at this point.  I've heard from many adoptive parents that things can change so being open is good.

Today I added a few more photos to our Facebook page, and will update the our website at some point.  That all seems safe, from both points of view.

I am friends with other hopeful adoptive parents on Facebook and see their posts about adoption t-shirts, window decals, posters, etc. to spread the word.  Kudos to those families that are using unique methods of outreach to share their story!  At this point, that's not for us.  Actually, at any point I don't think that's for us.

I'll keep doing what I feel somewhat uncomfortable with, flying just above the radar so the word gets out, but I don't feel like our family is being marketed in a way that I don't feel like we are being ourselves.

We've had a busy week and I came down with the crud--UGH!  Tomorrow will be a good day--Jamie and I are volunteering at Resolve's family building conference in Golden Valley in the morning and are attending a wedding of some of our good friends in the afternoon--whoo-hoo!  It will be good to have the focus be on helping and celebrating with others!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where are we at?

We're waiting.  I've heard from one adoptive mother that the waiting never ends.  :)  The expecting mother that we met with called LSS and will be completing paperwork (LOTS) and meeting with a social worker.  What then?  We'll most likely be looking at the paperwork and meeting with her again.  But, as we know, everything can change.  Quickly.  So, we are patiently waiting (that's the truth, not sarcasm) for the next steps and are trusting that the right baby will join our family, one way or another. 

How can you help during this time?  Pray that the right baby joins our family.  And, if you are really want to step up to the plate, pray for peace and strength for us, other adoptive families and expecting parents that are making difficult decisions.  

The Adoptive Family Network

The other day we got a new "like" on our Facebook Page:!/ThompsonFamilyAdoption.  I don't know her personally, but I knew exactly who she is.  She was in the waiting families book and recently was placed with a baby.  Do I sound like a crazy woman?  Probably.  Anyway, she has a unique name and their profile struck a chord with me because they also have a biological son.  They've suffered devastating losses, it truly broke my heart when I read their profile.  I noticed when they moved to the "congratulations" section of the list and was so happy for them!  In fact, I think I may have referenced it on this blog.

She read the article about us in the Fargo/Moorhead newspaper and wanted to reach out to us.  Amazing.

Over the past two weeks Jamie and I have been in contact with many adoptive families, their stories are all so different, but all have shared a similar ending: IT WAS WORTH IT!

When we had our miscarriages I felt like I was initiated into a club that I never wanted to join.  Now I feel like I've been blessed to join a new club, one with hope, possibilities, understanding and support.  It's like a group of kindred spirits.  Good stuff.

Wishing Things were Easier

It's April 15th and I am pulling together our information for our taxes.  Yes, I know, ridiculous.  I work at a CPA firm.  My husband printed his W-2s months ago.  But here I am at the last minute trying to pull everything together.  We have a cubby for tax info, the only problem is a bunch of other paperwork has been shoved in it. That's because we've been busy.  Busy trying to raise a child, keep up at work, maintain relationships and of course, spend countless hours trying to grow our family.  Filling out paperwork, going to meetings, reading books, updating our website, promoting ourselves (gross), and blogging so that I stay sane through the process.  I decided that the best thing to do would be to go through the paperwork rather than let it keep piling up.  So, I started sorting, recycling and shredding.  There were lots and lots of medical bills.  Lots of medical bills for three healthy people.  I kept reading the dates to make sure we saved all the 2011 bills in case we were ever audited (they year of our IVF expenses).  I noticed the items on the bills "first trimester appointment", "thyroid testing", "sperm analysis" (sorry if that embarrasses you Jamie).  The weight of the last few years kept piling up.  We've been through so much.  So much that I feel like things should be easy now, but they aren't.  We're still waiting and hoping and processing.  

I sat in church today and looked around at all the young families, so many have grown over the last few years.  Ours hasn't.  There was a very pregnant woman with a pew full of beautiful children, some of which she was yelling at, at least as much as you can yell in church.  And I thought to myself that I hope she realizes how blessed she is.  As I looked through the church I also spotted three women that I know that are going through painful divorces.  Yes, I have a lot to be thankful for.  And, the nice young man that always comes to church alone or with his grandma.  I'm assuming, but I think he'd like to meet a special someone.   Maybe they are looking at me with my husband's arm around me and our beautiful healthy boy thinking, "I wonder if she realizes how blessed she is?"

I brought the pile of paperwork upstairs to shred and filled up the bin.  I emptied it and brought it back upstairs and started it up again.  Within minutes it stopped.  The new $60 shredder just went kuput on me.  Seriously?  

It's one of those days where things just don't feel like they are going my way.  I just want things to be easier.  I want the dream of getting the random afternoon call that a baby was born and is waiting for us to parent him or her.  Or better yet, twins!  

But what we've found is that adoption isn't easy.  It's hard, for everyone involved.  There's grief and loss and sorrow and disappointment and trials and stress and drama.  Real drama, not high school drama.  Lives, we're dealing with the life of a child and the life of a mother and father that won't get to see the child grow up first hand.  And, there will be joy and happiness and dreams coming true and giggles and hearing "Ma Ma" least I think there will be.  I just didn't think it was going to take so long, hurt so much and be so exhausting.  

So there it is folks, the ranting of a waiting adoptive mother that wishes life could be easier.  It would be easier if having more children wasn't on my heart or if I could carry babies like most of my friends can, but those things aren't going to happen.  So, I'll keep trudging forward and keep praying that the right baby joins our family.  Soon, please.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Missing from the Blog Scene.

So, I haven't been on our blog much, although quite a bit has been happening. I mostly haven't been writing because we're processing things and I'm not quite sure what to actually post on the blog.  Some of it's confidential, a lot of it is emotional, and finally, we are uncertain as to where everything will go.  Based on visiting with lots of other adoptive parents, it sounds like this is all normal.  I decided it's important to me to write down all of our "baby story" so that one day our little one will know how he/she arrived to our family.  But, I think I'll be doing that in hidden posts until I feel ready and OK with posting everything "live".

So, let me talk about what I feel comfortable saying.  WCCO--where did that go?  We got a call last Thursday from the reporter saying he wanted to come out on Saturday.  Jamie called me to see what we should do, and in the mean time the reporter sent him a text that he needed to go on another assignment, but that he promised he'd get to our place soon.  We were pretty relieved.  We need some time to process some things.

We have met with an expecting mother (I met with her twice and Jamie met with her once).  There is a potential that this could be a match for us, but we still have a lot to learn and consider.  We also received a call yesterday from LSS about an expecting mother that would like to meet with us.  Today we found out that she needs more time to consider her adoption plans.  We knew she was meeting with another family, and it sounds like if she chooses adoption, she will match with them.

This experience has been an emotional roller coaster.

We've been very fortunate to have the support of other adoptive families and some close friends that have been on this entire journey with us, we are so thankful for that.

What we could use right now are prayers that the right baby joins our family--and that all of the babies in potential adoptive situations find the right families.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Social Media--Wow!

Here's a fun stats update!  Since launching our Thompson Family Adoption Facebook page two weeks ago:
* 243 people have "liked" the page (and more have stopped by to send us notes, too!)
* Our Facebook page has been "shared" over 40 times on friend's pages
* We have had over 250 more hits on our website:
* The article that Michelle Turnberg wrote for Inforum has been shared 290 time

It's amazing how quickly social media can spread the word!  We are really thankful to our friends and family for helping to get the word out about our desire to adopt!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Amazing Gift!

In a previous post I wrote about my heightened emotions lately--and the intensity I've been feeling since we started our outreach efforts.  Thursday was a down day for me.  I felt like we were at a standstill, the WCCO interview that was potentially going to be on Wednesday couldn't happen because they couldn't get the staff they needed to film.  If you've read my previous posts, you know how I feel about the interview--very mixed emotions.  SO very grateful for an amazing opportunity to share our story, very few people get a chance like that! SO very overwhelmed with the thought of cameras and a reporter in our home, for a variety of reasons.
Jamie was out of town and I called him to chat.  I told him that I felt emotionally exhausted and talked about my feelings of disappointment....the lull after the excitement.
I went online and posted our Facebook page and some questions about outreach on my online support group, I haven't posted anything for about six months, it was good to get back in contact with others that have been through this.  Then I hung out with our miracle, and started feeling much better.  I grabbed my phone to text Jamie to tell him that my mood hand turned around, and to thank him for listening.  As I was texting him, the phone rang, it was Jamie.  He told me that he just read an email from his friend, Michelle Turnberg.  She's a columnist for the Fargo/Moorhead Inforum, and her article on Sunday is about our adoption outreach efforts through Facebook!!  He forwarded me the article and I read it with tears streaming down my face.  It was great.  The timing couldn't have been better.  (Thank you, God!) We've had so many wonderful people help us on our journey to have another child.  I can't even begin to express my gratitude.  We're blessed.

Here's the article!

Because our sister-in-law, Jesi, shared our adoption Facebook page, Michelle saw it, which lead to the article. Isn't outreach amazing!?