Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Adoption Journey: Joseph Michael

I'm snuggling my little bug as I sit and write. I think it is really important to share how we were able to have this miracle, and what it was like for years waiting for him. We are forever grateful for his amazing birth mom Michaela who we love! She has given us the best gift, and I love this special boy.

 He has been prayed for for years, he is my whole world. I feel so blessed and so fulfilled.
( And don't even get me started on Ken, he LOVES his little son. He keeps telling me about how excited he is to teach him to cut wood, and go fishing and love spending time outdoors!)

When I was little, about 7, I decided that my beautiful blue baby blanket made by my aunt Tamara should be kept really nice and saved so that my baby could use it someday. Then I had this cute purple ABC blanket that had these cool half triangles as a border, about 2 inches at the peak, and so I used to suck on those instead of my thumb.
My blue blanket is waiting for Joseph at home!

I always played with dolls, and loved to dress them and change them and rock them- you get the idea. My mom made me a cute Raggedy Ann doll, a small soft bunny, and a huge bunny with little bunny babies. She also made all kinds of awesome outfits for them, and I loved to organize the outfits, and play dress up!

When I was 12, I read this book about a girl in Africa who didn't want to marry this old guy, so she ran away in search of some other family. In it she talked about how being malnourished she didn't start her menstrual cycle as normal, but when she ran away and was eating enough, it began. About a month later, I started mine! I was so happy, the first thing I said to my mom was, "Do you know what this means?! Now I get to have my own children. Yay!!" And I was super excited and dancing all around. That also meant I could start doing pointe in ballet.

Some of you may know that I began to get extremely sick when I was 14. I had endometriosis. But the doctors all told me that when I had a baby, it would get better and go away. I was told that for years. There was never a question that I could have a baby, it was WHEN you have a baby you will be better. I've had it half my life, and even though I recently had to have a hysterectomy, I still have endometriosis. Thankfully since surgery it has been much better, but this chronic disease is brutal.

When Ken and I were engaged we went to the fertility doctor together so I could get the Lupron shot. We both wanted to start our faily as soon as possible. Lupron would put me in menopause which would remove the estrogen and kill off the endometriosis. Many people use this treatment to help reduce pain, but also to prepare the womb to be viable for pregnancy.

My experience was not the desired outcome, and my pain actually got worse. If you are contemplating the Lupron shot, stay far away! Exhaust any and all other options before subjecting yourself to such horrible things!

We then went to the fertility doctor. I was given a medicine to help breast cancer patients in hopes of getting my body out of the Lupron induced menopause. This caused me to gain 30lbs in one weekend, and 70 over the course of 7 months. I have not been able to go back to my original weight, and because of the conditions I have, I probably never will. (Thankfully I still think I'm awesome and am loving writing my plus size fashion blog!)

We decided to stop fertility treatments for a while and give my body a break. That is when we were able to get pregnant. But my body has a really really hard time. I know I'm pregnant because I have severe bone pain, become crazy sick and nauseous right away, and have such severe reactions and pain that my body begins to shut down. So naturally it miscarries to save me.

IVF wasn't an option because I could get pregnant. And right before we would go in for our initial ultrasound I would lose the baby. Every time. When we moved to Show Low we lost our 3rd baby. She was due at the end of July. Right now!

I am 1/4 Cherokee, so my baby would be 1/8 native. Michaela is 1/4 Navajo, so our baby is 1/8 native! And Joseph came when our baby was supposed to! We have seen so many miracles and blessings. We will be forever grateful to our wonderful Michaela for the amazing blessing she has given us!

The other really difficult thing about this whole process was not only will I never be able to give birth, but my endometriosis will never go away. It was very difficult to grieve the loss of not only the opportunity to have my own baby, but promise of better health.

Once I came to terms with the knowledge of my lifelong struggle with endo, but also that I could never have a child, we opted for a hysterectomy. Being in menopause has definitely helped with my endo, but it is still there. And it is not good to be in menopause at 27, so we are trying different things to stay out of it. This means estrogen will be involved for at least 20 more years, so my battle with endo is anything but over.

But, discouragement cannot last in a happy soul. And obviously I am the most happy person ever. Seriously though, I have never met anyone as happy! I believe my joy comes from my knowledge and testimony that Jesus is the Christ, that this life is not the end, that families can be together forever, and that one day my body will be perfect.

We have fostered some amazing children, but none of them were meant to be forever ours. That was really hard, but we are so glad we listened to the promptings of the Lord, and now we have the most wonderful, beautiful, special baby we are blessed to call ours. I know that families can be together forever, and now we have our forever little one!

We will continue to foster, and are now on the foster to adopt track. This means that we will primarily get children who are already able to be adopted, or who will most likely be able to be adopted. But in all honesty, I am so thrilled to have our little Joseph Michael that if we aren't meant to adopt anymore, that is ok. He is so special and such a blessing.

Without the bad, we wouldn't truly enjoy or appreciate the good. I am so thankful I am here, that I stuck with it, that Ken and I didn't give up on our dream to have a family. I am overwhelmed by the blessings we have received, and this incredible gift and sacrifice to have Joseph here in my arms, and in our family.

I'm so grateful that I have relied on the Lord, and that I came to terms with things before my surgery. Because I had that closure and peace, it made pressing on endurable. And now we have had the surprise blessing to enter into a new season in our lives, which I cannot begin to describe our joy.

I know we all have trials, and that life is anything but easy. I am so grateful that I listened to the Lord's plan. Even though things did not work out like I had hoped when I was younger, and when I was 12, they have become more wonderful than I could have ever dreamed! I learned to really trust the Lord, that He knew what was best for me, that He would be here with me, and would and does help me through it all. When I gave up that control, I started to be free, to really enjoy the process, and have a more positive outlook on trials. I was able to endure the disappointments and difficulties better.

Whatever you may be facing, see my story, take what you need, and if you don't have the faith now, use mine. Look back and know that when I trusted the Lord, he was there for me, and I was ready to listen to what he would have me do. You can do it, although it may feel impossible now, you will make it. You will find happiness again. I know it!