Today we met our son’s birth mom.

Ryan and I are sitting in a hotel room, after a much-too-long nap in Arkansas.  The past week and a half have been an absolute whirlwind that has brought us through many (happy) teary phone calls,lots of sleepless nights, and several states to meet the beautiful woman who is carrying our child. Dax’s birth mom.  I wake up every morning wondering if someone needs to pinch me because it still doesn’t feel real.  Our son is on his way and will be here in 89 short days.  I have prayed for this moment to come for longer than I can remember.  Now that it’s here, I don’t really know how to adequately put what I’m feeling in to words.

Last week we received the phone call that we had been waiting for.  I was sitting beside my best friend and the phone rang- it was Abba.  My hands were wet and I didn’t get them dried off in time to answer the phone, but my heart knew that this was the phone call we’d been waiting for.  I hurriedly called back and got Kandi’s voice mail… so I told Whitney that I wasn’t moving until the phone rang again.  Thankfully,  it was only a few minutes and it rang.  We were matched.  I cried through the whole phone call. Ryan came and was able to listen in on some of the details.  He wouldn’t admit it, but I think he cried a little too!  

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Dax Elias

We sat in shock for a few minutes and just looked at each other.  We are going to be parents!  We have a son!  Our son is due in 3 months.  There were so many thoughts and emotions all at once.  I imagine this is how a couple feels when they first find out that they’re pregnant.  We’d been waiting for years.  Now it’s happening- and happening quickly! 

Yesterday we left as soon as I got off work and headed to Arkansas to meet our birth mom.  If there was a hidden camera in our car for that drive, you all would have been in for a treat!  We went from giddy excitement to overwhelming anxiety in very short bursts.  I mean, how do you prepare for a meeting like this? We had no idea.  What would we ask? How would we say hello?  How do you say thank you for such a priceless gift?  We were a. HOT.mess. We drove until we got into Arkansas and stopped to sleep for the night. 

Our sleep was restless, and short, and we were back on the road at 7am for our 11:30 lunch date. We arrived a little late after making a few pit stops along the way. I was so nervous I thought I would pass out.  Would she like us?  Would she change her mind?  Would she question her decision? I’ve been open about being self-conscious about my weight through this journey and it certainly crossed my mind more than a few times. A few deeeeep breaths, a quick prayer- and we walked in.

I’m trying to find a balance between what we want to share, and what we need to hold close to our hearts and keep just for us.  I want to share, but I also want to protect our privacy,  our son’s privacy and the privacy of the young woman who has chosen us to parent the baby she is carrying.  So, I won’t be sharing the details or particulars.  There were some awkward silences, some sweet moments and some laughter.  I feel like we got to know her a little bit more and will have some things to share with Dax as he grows up about who his birth mother is and the selfless choice she made for him. Her strength and outlook is so admirable.  Today was difficult, and fun, and exciting and nerve-wracking…but above all, today was beautiful. I don’t really know how else to describe it.

When we left I asked if I could give her a hug.  I hugged her and we said our goodbye’s for now.  I teared up as we walked away. It seemed so surreal.  I just met the woman who would help make my biggest dream come true.  I just spent an afternoon with the woman who was carrying our baby boy. Not only is she giving us this incredible gift- but I genuinely liked her as a person. She was so sweet!  It was all too much.  I held it together through lunch and didn’t act COMPLETELY goofy (which is typically how I act when I’m this nervous. Thanks, God for helping me hold it together!)  So,  humor would have it that we were greeted at our car….

with a parking ticket.  HAHA! 

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This past week and a half have been incredible. Our friends and family have rallied around us in HUGE ways.  We have a big goal to meet in a short amount of time.  We’re nervous. But at this point what choice do we have but to trust that God will provide? He has already done so much! Thank you for your love,support and financial donations. We really couldn’t be here without each and every person who has helped us along the way.

https://www.youcaring.com/ryan-cera-wymer-366061

All I can say is thank you Lord. Thank you for writing such an incredible story for our family.  My heart is full.

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When everyone around you is having babies. (Just tell me where you’re drinking the water!)

I feel like I should be taking a huge sigh of relief since I made it through Mother’s Day without a major breakdown. (Insert a celebratory fist pump in the air!)  I know one day that Mother’s Day will bring so much happiness and joy into my heart, but I think that I will always remember that it isn’t so easy for other people because I have been one of those people.  Last year, we announced our adoption several weeks before mother’s day.  On Mother’s Day 2015 everyone told me “next year you’ll be a mom!  How exciting!”  Now that next year is here..I had to get away.   My heart just couldn’t handle year 2 of  well-meaning comments without any hope or promise that it will be true.

Ryan and I left Saturday after he got off work and went to a Cincinnati Reds game and had dinner at our new favorite- City Barbecue.  It was Star Wars night at Great American Ballpark so we got there early enough to get our awesome bobbleheads and enjoy the perfect baseball weather.   Unfortunately, the Reds got stomped in the 10th inning.  We stayed in Cincinnati that night and then headed home Sunday morning.  We made a pit stop at Jungle Jim’s on the way home,  and then made our way to my mom’s house.

It was great spending the day with my mom, my sister Amy, Isabelle and my Nanny.  Ryan of course was with us and we just spent the day playing cards and enjoying each other’s company.  I tried my very best to remember that it wasn’t about me.  It was about my amazing mom and the other amazing mom’s in my life.  One day I have hope that it will be about me, but for now I’ll enjoy spending time with my momma!   At one point in the day my beautiful 3 year old niece crawled up on my lap, let me cradle her in my arms and she fell asleep.  For those of you who know 3 year olds- that NEVER HAPPENS.  I felt like it was a gift from God (and Isabella)  to remind me of what’s to come in my life.  I so enjoyed those snuggles.  Having Amy and Isabella back in Ohio has brought me SO MUCH JOY!

I’ve thought about taking a break from social media for awhile, but at the same time it’s my best means of communication to let everyone know what’s happening in our story.  However, my feed is FULL of newly expectant momma’s,  brand new babies,  and completed adoptions.  All of these stories bring me a mixed bag of emotions.  I’ve had people tiptoe around telling me their exciting news- unsure of how I would react heartor feel.  So, maybe now is a good time to address it.  I feel like new announcements are coming soon for babies to come. .. *wink, wink*

First,  let me be clear-  a new baby is ALWAYS a blessing.  They always bring joy!  Whether they are a surprise baby or a baby that has been prayed for and planned for.  I’m genuinely excited that you have the opportunity to experience the joy of life growing inside of you and becoming a parent.  I’ll be anxious to find out what you’re having and excited to buy a gift (or two) for the child you are going to absolutely love!  It makes it 100% easier when I know that this new life is going to parents and family who will love them.

If I’m being completely honest,  throughout the entire process there will be moments when I question “why not me?” or “How can people seriously get pregnant accidently for the 2+ time?”  I wrestle with jealousy.  I’ll wonder why I’m not good enough, etc.  It’s all things that I have to work through and deal with.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear you chatter excitedly about your future as a family.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see pictures of your ultrasound or that I will get bitter when you complain about morning sickness.  Honey,  complain away!  If it were me…  I’d feel lucky to experience it but I’d be complaining too. Who likes to puke? Nobody.

The point is, please don’t hide your joy from me.  I may hurt for a moment but I am genuinely excited for you.  I hope that I’ll be joining you soon in this beautifully crazy journey of parenthood.  Maybe tell me in private so I can process.  Send me a text so if I’m in a bad place I can process and then celebrate with you.  The point is-  I want to celebrate!  I want to love this new baby too!

The hardest stories are the ones when people don’t want their babies.  The stories when the babies are born addicted and left laying in the hospital.  Or, the stories of the grandparents who are overwhelmed with raising grandchildren.  The stories of abortions because the mom doesn’t want to raise another baby.  Those are the ones that break my heart to the core.  I want to jump up and down and wave my hands and say, “pick me! I will love that baby with every ounce in my body! Ryan will be the best daddy ever!  Just give us a chance!” or  “choose life!  Even if you don’t pick me there are so many people who would love that baby you carry inside of you!”  These are the stories that have me questioning “Why God?!” the most… Why them and not me? I’m completely at peace with never carrying a child and knowing what it’s like to give birth.  I have confidence that God has called me to parent through adoption.  I’m excited about that.

Some stories keep me up at night… because there is hope that just maybe that story will turn into my story. I know I need to hear those stories.  I WANT to hear those stories.  Eventually one of those stories WILL be my story. In the meantime, waiting for the “yes” story means heartache over the no’s.  It means questioning why you aren’t good enough or what we could do to improve our profile.  It means that I’ve learned to protect my heart as best I can because the no’s could destroy me before we make it to a yes. So, I build a wall- and try to think with my head and only let what’s necessary into my heart. Don’t be afraid to share those stories. I need to hear them.  Maybe your story will be our yes?

But honestly, how can you not let any baby into your heart?5ae015ec6292419a2c8c2dabc90f5806

That includes the babies that my friends and family are having while we’re waiting.  It may hurt from time to time but please don’t be afraid to share your joy with me.  God has a plan for my family.  He also has a plan for yours.  It just happens that your story is unfolding a little quicker than mine!  I can wait.  Little T-bird is so worth the wait…no matter how long.  (But please, God… don’t let it be too much longer!)

 

 

 

To make a donation to Ryan and Cera’s adoption fund, you can do so through our paypal link below!  Money donated into this link go directly into our adoption fund to help cover the costs associated with our adoption-  estimated at $30,000. 

Donate Securely through Paypal to Ryan and Cera’s Adoption!

11 things I’ve learned about myself through infertility

April 24-30th is recognized as National Infertility week.  I’m pretty positive most people who know this don’t “celebrate” this week. Instead, it’s a time to reflect on their individual journey and raise awareness.  It’s not something I ever thought I’d be familiar with, but here I am.  We are 5 years into our journey with no end in sight.   I have certainly learned many things about myself, and I thought maybe some of them would interest you.


 11 Things I’ve learned about myself through our journey with infertility

  1. Don’t let your heart root in bitterness. There was certainly a point in this journey that I let bitterness seep into my heart.  Each time someone announced an “oops” pregnancy I wondered why it wasn’t me.  How could it be so easy for some people and yet so incredibly impossible for me to have a baby?  Every story about an abused or neglected child made me question God- why give those people a baby when I would certainly love that child and take care of them.  I’ve learned that there will always be times when grief hits me and causes my eyes to well up with tears, but I can’t stay there and let my grief turn to bitterness.  I have to trust in the story God is writing for my life and believe that His plan and His purpose is so much better than my own.

 

  1. God is good, even when life is not. It’s not promised anywhere in the bible that life would be easy. Actually, it’s not even promised that God wouldn’t give us more than we can handle.  Life can be really hard and painful sometimes.  However,  I know ultimately that God is good and again, He has a plan and cause use my story for a purpose. I just have to trust Him.  (Easier said than done…

 

  1. My husband really is my best friend. Throughout this journey I have seen some of my darkest moments.  I have not been my “prettiest” self and through it all, Ryan has stood by my side and loved me- unconditionally.  Friends, marriage can be hard.  Throwing something like infertility into the picture can make it even more difficult. We’ve had our times of frustration with each other, but it’s strengthened our marriage.  It’s brought us close together.  Hard times can push couples away from each other if you aren’t careful.  We’re purposeful about doing things to stay connected: Praying together, hanging out together, talking to each other even when we’re mad, having fun together, etc.

 

  1. Being a mother won’t “complete” me. There have been times I have felt incomplete because I can’t carry a child.  I have felt like less-than around other women and wondered if I would ever get to experience the joys of motherhood.  It would be easy to get lost in the feelings of being incomplete. But, just like marriage couldn’t complete me- neither will being a mother.  I have to find my “completion” in Christ.  He’s the only one who can fill the voids in my heart.  Being a mom is going to be AMAZING.  But it won’t complete me.

 

  1. There can be beauty in brokenness. I recently heard someone say, “Infertility is brokenness.  Ainfertility2doption is brokenness.  God is using brokenness to build my family.”  This really stuck with me.  It’s true.  A woman’s body was designed to carry children.  Mine can’t.  In reality, I’m broken.  A baby is supposed to stay with their birth mother and birth family.  For whatever reasons, sometimes that can happen.  That brokenness woven together with my brokenness will undoubtedly create something beautiful beyond comprehension.  I could look at it in a negative light, but I choose to see the positive of what God is doing.

 

  1. People will say the wrong things. I can’t tell you how many times someone with beautiful intentions has said something to me about our journey that has cut me to the core.  Their intentions were pure, but as they wrangle their 3 children running around the house, they can’t possibly understand my story.  There have also been those who for whatever reasons have said things bluntly and seemingly set out to hurt me. I can’t possible understand the journey of using a surrogate or IVF or pregnancy complications.  People generally have good intentions, sometimes they have no idea what they say hurts. Even if their intentions aren’t pure:  Be forgiving.  Be gracious.

 

  1. Our Adoption Journey isn’t the only “right” way to adopt.. Ryan and I set out on this adoption journey knowing that not everyone would understand it or support it. We’ve had people judge our every move since we opened up about our adoption plans.  “Why don’t you adopt from foster care?  Are those kids not good enough for you?”   “Why are you adopting here in the United States?  Kids overseas need you more than kids here in the US.”  “Why are you adopting an infant?  Why not adopt a teenager. Nobody wants the teenagers.”  “Why would you possibly say no to a child with special needs? “.. the list goes on.  Those questions can be painful, and so extremely invasive. We have prayerfully considered every single step in this journey.  Our steps aren’t for everyone.  Some people are called to adopt from foster care.  Some people are called to adopt overseas. Some people are called to support others who are adopting and cheer from the sidelines.  We are confident that this is the path God has placed us on.  If you have questions, we’d love to talk.  But know that we have researched and prayed about every possible scenario. We know the pros and cons of every Adoption possibility. This is the journey God has placed us on. We’re good with it.
  2. Face your fears. Infertility is scary.  Growing up, I knew there were issues.  My cycle was always extremely irregular and often times, non-existent.  I was terrified to go to the doctor because I was afraid they would tell me what I already knew deep in my heart: I’m broken.  I knew there was something wrong.  I often questioned what exactly my issues were and if they were fixable.  Instead of facing my fears and finding out, I hid.  I ran. I avoided.  I made up excuses and refused to face whatever my reality was.  Maybe things would be different if I had addressed it from the beginning.  Maybe they would be exactly the same.  The point is, I took a risk. I’ll always question if my story would have turned out differently had I faced my fears. (FYI… I go to the doctor now, I know my issues. No lectures needed! 😉 )
  3. It’s ok to not be ok. This past week has been extremely painful. I feel as though I’m walking around with a broken heart.  Things have been happening that we’ve been public about and things that we’ve been not so public about.  I’ve cried… a lot.  Actually, I’ve cried a lot over the last few years about our infertility. It’s ok to grieve.  It’s ok to cry. It’s completely normal.  It’s ok to not be ok… for a while.  I can’t let myself stay here though.  I have to find joy in the everyday and trust that God is writing my story.  I may not understand some of the chapters, but I know that the ending will be beautiful.
  4. I’m stronger than I ever knew. I have faced fears.  I have faced uncertainty.  I have held it together when everything else was falling apart.  I have stepped out in faith.  I have asked for help when it’s been REALLY hard.  I have worked an incredibly stressful job and then started a new job. I finished my first college degree and we have walked through every hoop and obstacle adoption could throw our way.  I never would have believed I could do everything I’ve done.  I certainly don’t give all of the credit to myself.  Again, God has been beside me.  Ryan has been beside me and I have some incredible family and friends who have cheered for me and loved me every step of the way.  But I am strong. I CAN do this.  I might cry about it and whine from time to time… but every step forward is a step closer to becoming a mom.  It’s worth it.
  5. Sometimes it’s ok to run away- but you have to come back. There have been times that this journey has been so hard that I have wanted to give up. When your life is completely consumed with questions and you are all out of answers, it lays heavy on your heart. Instead of giving up or self-imploding Ryan and I choose to run away.  Sometimes we run away to our house and lock the doors and turn off our phones and veg out for a day or two and try to forget that the world outside exists.  Sometimes, we load the car for a mini road trip.  Sometimes we just need to run away and leave the pain and heartache here.  We’ll come back to it.  We know that we can’t run away forever.  Sometimes you just need some respite from the hard stuff so that you can think clearly and come up with a game plan

    YES

Sometimes the Answer is No….

Sometimes the Answer is No.

Over the last 5 days,  our lives have been in a whirlwind.  An unexpected situation arose concerning a very special baby who has some pretty intensive medical needs.  We saw pictures of this baby and watched videos of them laughing and smiling.  We instantly fell in love with that little laugh and that precious smile.  Their chubby cheeks were perfectly pinch-able and I felt a longing in my heart to rescue and love this little baby who hasn’t really had a fair shake at life.

When I think about this situation with my heart, it’s overwhelming.  For the baby’s privacy, I can’t share any details regarding the situation.  I know that I could fight for this child. I have no doubt that this child would have a family who loved them unconditionally.   When I think about this child with my heart, I consider the fact that I would be a mother and celebrate my first mother’s day in a few short weeks. I think about cuddling this baby and falling asleep, and seeing Ryan love on this baby and embrace the daddy role that I know he will just effortlessly fall in love with.   My heart wants to say yes.  My heart wants to save and rescue. My heart wants to love.  My heart longs to love on our baby.

When I think about this situation with my brain, it’s overwhelming.  Ryan and I both have to work in order to make ends meet and provide for our family both now and in the future.  Unfortunately we aren’t independently wealthy, nor are we called to be doctors or investment bankers or some other career that would provide enough money for us to have a stay at home parent.  I love working in human services, but trust me there isn’t big money here. Ryan loves barbering and he is awesome at it!  Again, a great career, but haircuts don’t bring in millions either. We’re happy with our careers and we’re comfortable with the freedom that our jobs give us.   But my brain tells me that if we consider loving this child that one of us needs to stay home full-time.  One of us needs to be able to advocate for the needs of this child and make sure they are receiving the therapies and early interventions so that they can reach their full potential.

In this particular case, it’s impossible to tell us what “full potential” would be.  This baby could already be meeting all of the milestones that they will meet for a lifetime, or they could surpass every expectation and lead a fairly typical life with proper intervention.  They will face surgeries and a lifetime of medical professionals. Even still, my heart longs to love this baby that nobody else seems to want to love.

When we have prayed about this situation, and let me tell you guys, we have prayed, my heart feels overwhelmed.   We have cried out to God in a big way to give us an answer.  My heart prayed for a miracle for this baby W, for a sign that we could do the impossible and that this baby would have some sort of miraculous recovery.  But, sometimes the answer is “no”.  We really feel like we have gotten the confirmation we need to say with confidence that this isn’t our baby.  It’s probably the hardest no we’ve ever had to say. I’ve cried and dnooubted and cried even more.  But, underneath of this fresh layer of grief , there is a peace that surpasses understanding and a continued hope that our story isn’t over yet. 

I’ll be honest.  I’m wrestling with feelings of selfishness and self-doubt.  I feel horrible that we are yet another family who says no to a baby that God loves just as much as any “typical” baby.  My heart is broken, but I know that it will heal.  I know that there has to be another family out there for this baby who can give them everything they need.  As much as I want to be that family, we just aren’t. We could choose to say yes, but it would be for all of the wrong reasons.  This baby deserves a yes from someone who can give them the world.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from this process is that we are now at the point in this journey where things can move very, very quickly.  Things can happen unexpectedly and a situation that screams “YES!”  in our hearts could fall into our laps just as easily as this “no” situation.  We want to be ready.  At times through the decision process, we would panic because we really havegood NOTHING other than a crib, a car seat, a blanket and a few (like 3) outfits that we have seen along the way and couldn’t say no to. We didn’t know how we would possibly get everything done in time to travel early next week to meet this baby and bring them home. The items we do have are tucked neatly in a closet…waiting. I wonder if it’s time for us to start picking up a few more items here and there that we’ll have just in case a whirlwind “yes” comes waltzing into our lives without warning.

It’s also lit a fire under me to finish meeting our financial goals.  I don’t think it’s any secret that money is my biggest fear and my biggest wrestle with faith in this process.  I hope and pray that we don’t pester our friends and family for help.  That’s certainly not our intention.  However, we can’t make this happen on our own.  We are over
½ way to our final goal.  We know that with hard work, prayer, and determination we can meet the rest of our goal in the next few months.  I’m not sure my heart could handle saying “no”  when it was screaming YES because we didn’t have the money we needed to make it happen. Saying “no” when you feel like no is the right answer is painful enough.

So, that’s where we are today.  We’re broken, but not broken beyond repair.  We know that this is all a part of God’s master plan and that His story is being written into our lives. More importantly,  His story is being written into the life of a child that we love with all of our hearts and haven’t even met.

Things are HAPPENING! (and I’m not telling..)

Things have been happening.

.. Big, scary, exciting, stressful things.  Some things we can talk about, others we can’t.  We are asking you to pray big prayers for us right now! I know you’re all going to wonder about the things we can’t talk about, but trust me when I say we’ll share what we can share when we can share it…if in fact there are things we have to share. (Vague enough for you?!  HAHA!)

As many of you know from my facebook page, things went a little crazy with our home study.   The shorter version of a very long story is this:  The agency that completed our home study has decided to no longer do this part of the Adoption business.   This means that when they turn in their license they can no longer be the “holder” of our completed home study.   For us, that meant that we needed to have our completed home study transferred to another agency to hold for us.  By law, certain parts of the home study must be completed by the holding agency so we had a very short amount of time to re-do a few portions of our home study in order for it to remain active.   We were frazzled.  We were stressed and I was feeling a bit defeated.

However, I’m being reminded of the fact that God uses ALL things for our good and we are beyond confident that He has called us to add to our family through adoption.  This new agency that is/will be holding our home study has been phenomenal to work with.  They also advocate for and help place special needs children who are in need of a forever family.  If you know me, you know that this is very near and dear to my heart.  While the transition has been stressful, I think in the long run it’s another step in the right direction for us to be able to meet our baby!

We’ve had several people ask if switching home study agencies means that we have to start all over on the financial end of things.  Absolutely not!  While there was a small financial setback that occurred with the switch, the majority of what we’ve raised and paid towards our adoption so far is unaffected.  We are still fundraising and planning and working and dreaming up ideas to gather the rest of what we need to be fully funded.  The timeline is so unknown.  We are learning that things can move very quickly and then suddenly stop and back track a few steps and then take off in lightening speed again before we can catch our breath!  I’ll be honest, the fear remains in my heart that we’ll be matched and then not have the money that we need to make it happen. But at the same time I know that I have to trust God.  He’s already done so much. I know that He won’t fail us now.

Current Fundraisers:
1. Adopt an Envelope (Message me for details!)
2. Youcaring Site: https://www.youcaring.com/ryan-cera-wymer-366061
3. Paypal Donation:  https://paypal.me/wymerpartyof3

Upcoming Fundraisers:
1. Rummage Sale (July)
2. Pancake Breakfast
3. 5k Family Fun run/walk/stroll

 

Thank you so much for your prayers, your love and your financial support.  It means the absolute world to us.  We are so blessed to have such an amazing group of friends and family.

Adoption: Not for the faint of heart.

When I read that the adoption journey wasn’t for the faint of heart, I didn’t realize
just how true that statement was.   Guys, adoptionthis is really hard.  I know without a shadow of doubt that this is the journey God has called Ryan and I on, and in the end all of the ups and downs will be worth it.   I can’t imagine what it will be like to hold our baby for the first time and know that this was what all of our hard work, tears, stress, and exhaustion was for.

Every day someone asks me if there is any news or updates on our baby.  People are genuinely invested in our journey and are excited for us.  But right now we are in a season of waiting.  We’re waiting to get the rest of our money together.  We’re waiting to be matched.  We’re waiting to hear back from Grant organizations.  We’re waiting to shop and set up a nursery.  We’re just waiting…. And hoping and praying that everything lines up the way that it needs to.

 

As of right now we’re about $12,500 away from what we hope will be our final goal.  It’s a big number, but when we think about where we started it doesn’t seem so difficult.  We can do this.  You guys have been so supportive and we are more than willing to put in the work to make it happen.   I just carry around this feeling of pressure and anxiety that we’ll get a phone call from Abba and there will be a match but we won’t financially be in the place that we need to be in to say “yes”.  I don’t really know what else we can do besides what we’ve been doing and keep praying and every day handing over that anxiety and pressure that I inevitably pick back up the following day.  We are really trying our best to honor God in every step of our journey and to trust and wait patiently on His timing, but it’s SO TOUGH some days.

As of now, there are babies being born who were conceived after we started this process. Adoptions started after our adoption will be final before we’re matched.   April will mark 1 year that we have seriously been on a mission to add to our family through adoption.  Had we announced our pregnancy we’d have a child who was a few months old. Had we been blessed with a child when we first started “trying” we’d probably have a few kids at this point.  One of the hardest parts is that we could still be waiting another year or longer before we’re matched.  There is no magic timeline for adoption.   We can’t start planning or decorating our nursery and it’s possible that our car seat could expire while still in the box. (Really, I had no idea car seats expire?!?!)  Our home study could expire and we would have to start that process again. We could be matched only to have the birth mother back out last minute and be left with the heartache of a failed placement and starting over again.  I try not to think about those things.  The “What-If’s” can steal me of the joy of being an expectant mother.   I seriously have to start my day by giving my worries and what-if’s to Jesus.

I know that I am incredibly blessed to be on this journey with Ryan.   I would never claim that we have the perfect relationship (contrary to what our small group thinks! Haha!) We have a strong relationship and we are focused on honoring God through our marriage.  People jokingly tell us that our relationship will change once we introduce kids to our family.  I believe them, but I also know that we’ve experienced our fair share of hardships and heartache in our marriage.  We’ve faced things that could tear us apart and cause rifts in our marriage. We have faced infertility, failed dreams and impossible schedules.  We’ve worked through them and came through the trying times stronger and closer than ever.  We work together as a team and when I’m down he helps me up.  When he’s down, I help him up.  Kids will offer a new exciting journey full of ups and down and good memories and difficulties.  I am SO excited that I get to share this journey with Ryan.  He is an amazing husband and I have no doubt that he will make the most incredible daddy.   I hope that day comes soon.

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For those of you who would like to support us in our most recent fundraiser, the details are posted below.   Please leave a comment or send an e-mail to Cera to request a number.   You can pay for your envelope or make a donation online by following the link to our Paypal account.  This account is directly connected to the bank account we have set up specifically for our Adoption expenses.  We are happy to mail “adopted envelopes” to our friends and family out of town if you’re interested in supporting us through this endeavor as well.

Click Here to Donate!

AdoptanEnvelope

Suicide. There, I said it.

Our community has been rocked by tragedy over the last several weeks.   Ryan and I live in a small town crippled by drugs, poverty and hopelessness. In our community, we are unfortunately not strangers to tragedy.   This week our community experienced the accidental drowning of a 4 year old girl and the suicide of a 15 year old boy.  That 15 year old boy attended our church and occassionaly the youth group that Ryan and I help lead.  Death is hard.  Death caused by suicide/mental illness is even harder.  Seeing teenagers mourn the loss of their friend and peer rips at your heart.  It makes my eyes well up with tears when they question the “why” or play the blame game.  This weekend was extremely difficult as we said goodbye to this young boy who barely even had a chance to start his life. 

It’s conjured up a lot of emotions in my own heart.  In some ways, I can relate to his journey.   At his age, I too thought about suicide.  I’ll never forget when my older sister found a notebook that I had written goodbye notes to my family in and gave it to my mom.  I tried to pass it off as creative writing.  The truth was, I wanted to give up because life was hard and depression was an overwhelming pit that I thought had no escape.  How I wish I could sit down and talk with my 15 year old self and tell her that she would rise out of the pit and life could (and would!) be good!  How I wish I would have known this boy’s struggle so I could have told him that life gets easier and more beautiful the longer I live. He had people who loved him and cared for him and were in the trenches fighting for him, and my heart breaks for what they are experiencing today.

There are things I have been able to experience since those dark times in my life that I can’t imagine never knowing or having the opportunity to experience.  I’m so glad I was wrong about life at 15.  I’m so thankful I had friends, confidants and spiritual leaders who I was able to talk to through those dark times and fought with me and for me. I’m thankful for my faith in God that ultimately was more than enough to keep me holding on through the storms.  I’m thankful that I was able to make a different choice. 

I have found an enjoyment and fulfillment in life that I never dreamed possible at 15.   I have dug deep into my relationship with God.  I have fallen in love, accomplished goals, formed new relationships, and one day in the (near) future, I will have the privilege of being a mom.  I have a church family, nieces and nephews, in-laws, siblings, friends and pets that I never would have known.  I have spent time near the ocean, visited Manatee’s, learned to live on my own and bought my own car. You see, when I was 15 and felt that my life wasn’t worth living, I realize now that I didn’t even really know what life was. 

Let’s be honest, life since 15 hasn’t been all beautiful.  I’ve also experienced hard things.  I battled a 12 year addiction to cutting (thank you Lord for freedom!), I’ve experienced the death of my best friend and several family members, had my heart broken, and faced the heartache of infertility.  I’ve learned that the hard times will come and heartache will always be around the corner, but there is a purpose for my life.  I choose to follow Christ.  I choose to trust in the ups and downs…and His promise not to prevent the bad times from coming, but to use it for my good and for His glory. 

Statistically, 8 million people considered suicide in the United States last year.  Over 50% of college students consider suicide at some point during their college years.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and over 800,000 people die by suicide every single year.  Yet, the conversation about suicide and mental illness is usually held in whispers because people don’t want to talk about it.  Nobody likes to use the word.  It’s scary.  There’s an attitude of shame surrounding mental illness and it makes people uncomfortable.   We worry about obesity related deaths, cancer and heart attacks, but death because of mental illness/suicide is often considered selfish.  There’s a double standard, and I’m afraid that this double standard is causing more of those people who consider suicide each year to become part of the 800,000 who die because of suicide/mental illness.  

I keep thinking about the teens in my life today.   Working in youth ministry and having much younger siblings exposes me to some pretty great kids.  I’m learning more every day that the life they live at 15 is so much different than the life I lived at 15.  Things seem harder now.   The world, in all of its goodness… and in all of it’s darkness is at your fingertips.  It terrifies me.  I’ve spent my nights over the last week worrying and praying for these kids that I love, and kids that I only met this weekend.   Suicide and tragedy have wreaked havoc on our small community and the destruction and pain left in the aftermath of losing a loved one in this manner seems to have touched almost everyone I know.  Especially the kids in my life.

There needs to be more open conversation about mental health. I could write a book on my opinions on that particular subject, but I’ll save it for another day. (I know you’re all waiting with baited breath…lol)   Depression isn’t shameful, it’s an illness.   In some cases, I think it can also be a spiritual battle that a person faces.  Sometimes, I wonder if that’s what Paul talked about when he spoke of the thorn in his flesh. (2 Corinthians 12:7)  If you’re worried that someone in your life is struggling with depression,   don’t be afraid to ask them. Sometimes the questions are hard, and the answers are uncomfortable.  Sometimes it gets weird, but having people in my life who listened to their gut (and I believe were led by God) saved my life.

I know that the purpose of this blog is to write about our adoption journey, but I needed a place to write about what’s on my heart. I hope that Ryan and I are the kind of parents who talk to our T-bird openly about our struggles (in an appropriate way) so that he/she is comfortable talking to us about the struggles they are facing.

If I’m asking the tough questions or seeming to “be all up in your business” (I may have jokingly heard that phrase this week…lol)   it’s because I love you and I want you to know that I’m not afraid to ask the tough questions and listen to the tough responses.  I’m not going to judge you because if I haven’t been in your particular pit,  I’ve experienced some pretty deep pits of my own. Maybe you’re pit isn’t depression.  Maybe yours is bitterness, or anger, or porn or drugs.  It doesn’t matter, as long as there is breath, there is hope.   Maybe, just maybe this is the good that God us going to make out of my own pits  (Romans 8:28).  I want to point you in the right direction and lift your struggles up to Jesus.   I want you to know that there is someone in your corner and someone who understands.   I want to point you in the direction of HOPE.

and I never, ever want to attend another funeral like the one I attended this weekend.