Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Walk Down Memory Lane Part 6

A tough year of marriage had ended on a positive note. But we knew we might still have a tough year ahead of us!  I was quite naive to believe that our adoption process would be simple and easy.  I was naive to believe that I would be able to handle the waiting well.  While I had struggled to be patient in the year previous, the hardest part of our journey to parenthood was still ahead of us.  

I was determined to finish the paperwork and home study process as fast as humanly possible.  I was determined to get on the wait list in record time!  If it wasn't for just one darn delay in the fact that my fingerprints would not go through the system and kept coming back unreadable!  It took 3 times to get our state to accept my prints and every time, we lost weeks of time in the process. In my heart I understood it would all work out in the exact time necessary to match us with our child, but in that moment it was making me very angry! 

Fortunately we had a fun vacation to distract me from the process! We headed off to Disneyland with my family for a little vacation away. Hopefully the last one before we would have a baby joining us!  I continued to fall more and more in love with my husband as we were growing closer together through the wait to become parents. This time was not easy on either one of us but a new passion was growing in our hearts and bringing us even closer together in the process!  

The fall was a very busy time in the adoption process as we tried to pull all the paperwork together, but we still tried to enjoy the time we had left as a family of two. Yes, I was quite distracted with wanting our baby home, but we still had fun times as a couple to enjoy together. We knew our lives and our marriage were about to be changed considerably and while we longed to finally be parents, we took advantage of the time we had just the two of us! 

And finally, come late October we were paperwork ready! It took a lot of waiting for the components to come together and that was frustrating as it felt like one more aspect of becoming parents that was completely out of our control, The paper chase was finally over and the official wait to meet our child was ahead of us!  

 We received our very first wait list numbers and ironically the waiting just became harder and harder the closer we got. The timeline we were told to expect was 1-3 months before our match. This would end up being a bit more optimistic than it should have been. As someone who had already waited years to get my husband to agree to start our family and then a year of trying to get pregnant with no success, and then 6 months in the adoption process, I was completely over waiting! 

I will forever be grateful to our families for how they helped us out and were there for us. It's silly to think back on now, but while Peter and I were 100% into adopting, I expected there to be some level of disappointment or time needed for our families to come on board with the idea. We understood the typical announcement would be a pregnancy announcement, not an adoption announcement. But our families were right there with us through the whole process and were falling in love with our baby half a world away right along side us! 

As the new year approached, I was just thrilled to know I was going to become a mom sometime in 2010!  As our wait passed the 2 month mark, I still expected the call to be coming soon. You'd think by now I would have guarded my heart a little bit better, but I was so eager to be a mommy that I wasn't exactly thinking through things logically. 

And the wait did indeed continue and continue.  Referrals were steady but things were moving slower than we anticipated.  The wait passed 3 months, then 4 months, then 5 months. 

We tried to enjoy the moments, we really did.  We spent lots of time praying for our baby.  We did the usual tasks of preparing a room and arguing over baby name suggestions.  I couldn't wait to know the age and gender so I could finally go shop!  It was a very exciting time in our lives as we finally got to prepare a room for the little one who would soon be joining our home. We couldn't wait to get the call telling us all about this little person as we wondered about when we would be traveling to get him or her! 

And then the wait passed 6 months. I was getting REALLY tired of waiting to become a mother by this point in time.  I knew it would happen and I knew that there was a reason for the wait but those facts did not make the wait any easier.  I was completely frustrated with the fact that my phone just would not ring with news for me. It is so silly, but so true and I know other adoptive mom's get it too! Having experienced pregnancy and adoption a few times, that open ended wait of adoption is just really, really hard to deal with! 

Then the wait was over!  And that was the most amazing day of my life and words couldn't even describe how it felt after waiting so long to be a mom! Years of longing ended in that single moment! My prayers had been answered with a few simple words on the other end of the phone "I have a baby boy I would like to talk to you about."  That was a moment I will never, ever forget. I couldn't hold back the tears!  He finally had a name, he finally had a birth date, and as I raced home as fast as possible to check my email, I saw the most beautiful little face I had ever seen. All those years of waiting and I was finally a mommy!  It was love at first sight and I loved him in a way I had never ever loved another person! In a matter of seconds we had become parents! 

Then we got to fill out the best kind of paperwork.  Paperwork saying YES, we wanted him to be our son! We wanted to get that turned around as fast as possible because there were policy changes happening that would require us to travel twice and the idea of meeting him and then having to leave him was far too much for my heart to handle! 

As joyful as we were on that day, the waiting just got harder. Now that we had seen his face and he was a REAL person, knowing he was in an orphanage and not with us was really difficult. There were many sleepless nights as I sat in his nursery rocking chair praying over him and wishing him home. The updates were basically non existent as we waited for our court date and I just longed to know anything about what was happening in his world. Fortunately there were a few families traveling over that got us pictures during this phase of the wait. 

 As our court date drew near, I did something I had been waiting a long time to do! Another dream of mine from the beginning of our marriage was coming true.  I was able to quit my job in anticipation of getting to be a stay at home mom!  The hard work in our early years of marriage had paid off.  We worked hard together to get Peter through college and build his career and now he was able to sustain us and allow me to pursue my dream of staying home and caring for our babies!

Yes, I said babies.  In late June something started to feel a bit "off" for me.  I had just quit my job a few weeks earlier, a job that forced me to get up at 4:30 every morning.  Now I had the ability to sleep as late as I wanted until Malachi came home, and yet I was more exhausted than I had ever felt before. I should also preface this to say that as part of our adoption agreement we had to agree to avoid pregnancy, so the idea of being pregnant was not even on our radar.   Taking a pregnancy test and seeing a negative had become quite routine for me, so I don't even know why, but I decided to take one anyway. By this point I was so used to taking them and seeing one line that I didn't even worry about checking them right away. So imagine my complete surprise when I took a test, sat it on the counter for hours, only to walk back by it and see two lines!  I had never seen THAT before!

After taking a few more tests, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face!  I was pregnant! We were going to have two babies! It was unbelievable but so, so wonderful! All my dreams were coming true at the same time!  Life could not have been any better!  I was so blessed! 

Unfortunately while we were overwhelmed with joy, the days were still hard. There was nothing more that we wanted than to have our son in our arms.Court was typically a smooth process, but for us it was a long process filled with many delays. After our 4th court date, I couldn't handle the bad news anymore. I broke down on the phone with our case worker. I just wanted my baby home!  I know they were doing everything they could over there to get our case cleared, but the delays were hard and they were for such silly things. A judge not being at court, power outages, an extra document that they never needed but wanted for our case.  It seemed ridiculous and the weeks of waiting just piled on! 

Finally the news came!  We had passed court and he was officially and legally our son, our first baby Keyser! I could let out my first sigh of relief in this entire process.  We would be traveling in about a month to bring him home!  That month was kind of a blur for me as I was miserably sick with morning sickness, to the point where I could hardly function.  As travel got closer and closer, I was really worried about how I would handle traveling for 32 hours with morning sickness!  

We took the opportunity we had to go away for a few days for a little "baby moon".  We celebrated Peter's birthday and our 4th anniversary all in one!  The trip is still kind of a blur being in my first trimester state and scrambling to prepare to go get our baby boy!  For some reason the only memories I have of this trip were drinking a lot of slushies from Dairy Queen to keep the sickness at bay. 

Before we left for Ethiopia, introductions to the littlest member of the family needed to be made.  Even though the pregnancy symptoms were very apparent, I was terrified that something would be wrong with the pregnancy.  I was so relieved to see a beautiful, tiny little heart beating away on that ultrasound machine! It felt like everything I ever wanted in life was coming true. I had an incredible, hard working and loving husband who was about to become a daddy! I was going to be a stay at home mom, my dream of adopting was coming true, and my dream of a sweet baby growing inside of me was coming true too. After a few tough years, we were on the mountain top and life couldn't have been any better! 

I got an official due date of March 4th and some tips from my doctor on how to handle the travel with the do's and the don'ts of taking care of myself and our little one in a 3rd world country. Things were about to get really interesting! 

The end of that year of marriage could not have ended on a better note!  On our 4th anniversary we were celebrating all of the good in our lives. Our marriage was going wonderful, we had weathered the storms and the waiting of the last couple years.  I had a precious life growing inside of me  and in just a few short days we would be traveling around the world together to meet our baby boy for the first time.  I knew the next year would be amazing! I didn't know how badly I would need my husband to be my rock and help me in the year ahead, but just as steadily as ever I knew he'd be there for me no matter what!