Monthly Archives: March 2016

desparation then devastation

there is a time in my life where I need to realize some truths and accept them.  I am working on this – every day.  there is a long list and I don’t feel like this is the time to divulge that list in it’s entirety, but rather just glance at that list.

with the infertility journey and the adoption journey one of the truths that I have learned is that in the grand scheme of things I have no control.  I have no “real” say in my life.  yes I make decisions about what I am going to wear, what I am going to eat, what I am going to do, but this journey has opened my eyes that I can’t control everything, despite my best effort I just can’t.  I can make lists to control the happenings in my life (and the organization of my home), but in reality I don’t have control – just an illusion of control that I cling to with every breath.  if I had control I would have said “listen ovaries – you have one job – it is time to do it” and it would have worked.  if I had control I would have looked at my doctor and said “you have no option but to make this procedure succeed.”  but I don’t have control and I am learning – still – that there is nothing that I could have done differently or additionally to change the course of our journey.

this is where I feel like I should say “in reality we don’t have any control because God should be in control of our lives.”  whereas, yes I agree God should be the center of our lives and our decision making, this isn’t that type of post.

as stated in my last post we have been officially waiting for a year.  we have been passed over numerous times – for an entire year.  with that type of response or in this case lack there of,  I can’t help but think.  that thinking often leads me down a dark and narrow road full of doubt and sadness and longing.

a road that causes my imagination to run wild with “what ifs” and “what is.”

what if we are never placed?  what if I never get to be a mom and andy a dad?  what if I have robbed family of having the experience of us as parents?  what if andy will really one day regret not taking the “out” when he could?  what if he starts to resent me?  what if my life never feels complete?  what if that longing and desire never goes away?  what if I never get to experience all the things that fuel my fears?  what if I sink into misery and allow me not being a mother to destroy my soul?  what is so wrong with us that we haven’t been placed?  what is it that caused people to skip over our profiles?  what is the big picture and can I survive not having the control to understand right now?  what is the reason God gave me this desire to be a mother and paired that with bad ovaries?  what is the point – is there a point?  is this some sort of punishment from above?

that dark road is sometimes dotted with street lamps – glimpses of hope, answers, or things that get me back to the sunshine.  talking with other people that are waiting to be placed and hearing that they have the same fears – that I am truly not alone in some of those thoughts.  when andy tells me that he loves me and doesn’t resent me despite all the reasons that I have given him to feel the other way.  when I know someone looks at our profile and passes us by because they want a family that already has a child.  a beautiful sunset or sunrise over the mountains.  street lamps that brighten up my mind.

but sometimes the things on my road aren’t street lamps, but rather lanterns.  a little light that shines bright enough to tide me over.  not nearly as bright as the lamps, but still light enough to get me through.

these things usually show up right before I have a breakdown full of complete and total doubt and tears.  when I feel like I have come to the end of my road.  when i start to question why we are doing what we are doing.  when I am grasping at straws.  desperation for that normalcy and control.

desperation: a state of despair, typically one that results in rash or extreme behavior

synonyms: hopelessness, anguish, agony, distress

usually my desperation manifests in lists.  lots and lots of lists.  I clean things and organize things.  I constantly am trying to reorganize and make better.  trying to drown my thoughts with lists so that I can’t do anything but focus on what is in front of my face.  I write, take pictures, and create new projects around the house to occupy my mind.  it helps.  in the process of focusing on anything else, those doubts and sadness ebb away.  that longing is still there, but without the doubt it just turns back into “just waiting.”

once I realized that we had been waiting a year and that we had to update a bunch of our paperwork I started to feel overwhelmed and to be honest – sad and a little (ok a lot) mad.

**side “semi relevant” note**

there are times where I start to wonder if God is “doing” this to us because he thinks I would be a terrible mother.  or that other people think I would be a terrible mother so God is like “i agree.”  there was this time that I was with a group of people (and a young baby just a few months old) and everyone, except me, was being called away for just a moment.  the parents were trying to decide who would miss out and stay to give the baby the bottle.  I offered since I was not leaving and both of the parents looked at me like I was crazy.  like if God didn’t trust me with a baby, they weren’t going to either.  the parents exchanged looks and did let me feed their baby the bottle, but their looks and doubts just fueled that thought process.  it is possible that I was over sensitive to the situation and that I misread the looks and the hesitation, but in the moment those looks emphasized that God thought I would be a terrible mother and everyone agreed.

**end semi relevant side note**

so in my sad and a lot mad state I found myself thinking back to those events, of possibly not being trusted to give a baby a bottle, and to the thought process that God thinks  I would be a terrible mother.  my thoughts are fueled by fear of the unknown and once it takes root desperation sets in.  hopelessness overcomes rational thought and where my behavior isn’t always rash or extreme my thoughts tend to become that way.  I found myself on my dark narrow road, running.  running into the darkness looking for a street lamp to ease off the desperation.  I found a lantern.

at dinner saturday night dad told me that he was going back to the farm.  there was a calf down and he was going to have to bottle feed it.  I had been a hermit in my house working on various projects and told him I would be glad to go with him.  andy ended up getting home before we left to go to the farm and he joined in with us.  we loaded up our gear and headed into the muddy abyss.  the calf had gotten stuck in the mud and was weak but drank the bottle (and a little more).  dad made sure that it was in a nice bed of hay and warm and we left.

mudpie

sunday after church, dad, mom, and I gathered our gear and went back to check on the little calf.  as we drove up he was stretched out and his head was semi back  I leaned forward and said – “doesn’t look like good news,”  dad agreed.  as we got a tad closer he blinked.  I was ecstatic – he was alive.  we gave him another bottle and repositioned him to be more comfortable and in more warm hay.  dad decided that the little guy needed to be moved to the barn.  later sunday gene (live in farm hand/manager) was able to take the tractor and get the little calf to the barn; however, his mother was no longer interested in following her baby or the tractor to the barn.  it was left to us humans to nurse him back to health.  after youth on sunday andy and I headed to the farm to check on the little guy.  he was in the stall with his legs tucked under him and he was dry and warm in his bed of hay.  I sat on a bucket and fed him his bottle and he was my little “mud pie.”  cows normally moo but a little cow with pneumonia purrs like a little kitten.  he was given several shots to make him feel better.  I rubbed his fluffy little head and ears and told him that I loved him.  I put my hand under his chin and lifted his head up and made eye contact with him and told him to have a good night and that I would see him Monday.  dad sent me a message Monday morning that he drank his bottle and that he wanted to stand up but was still too weak.  he was still purring a little bit too.

I told andy that mud pie had to live.  he became my desperation.  I didn’t have a list this time, I had mud pie.  he had to live.  he was my way of proving to God and to the rest of the world that I can take care of a living thing.  that I could give a bottle and love.  that I could be passionate and that I could be the role of a mother.

Monday night after work I went to the farm and got there before my dad got back.  I went into the stall and mud pie was in a weird sling that dad and gene strung up to help insure that his legs were getting blood flow.  I grabbed my bucket and sat down in front of him and rubbed his head and said hello.  when I was rubbing his neck he leaned into my hand like a dog would do.  I told him about my day and he listened – he is after all a cow that couldn’t go anywhere even if he wanted to.  I noticed he wasn’t purring as much and was tap dancing with his front legs.  I informed him that he had to get better.  he had to at least try.  he mooed at me.  it was a moo filled with passion and anger and rebellion.  a moo that told me that he was a fighter.  after that I talked to him about my desperation and I rubbed his ears and he semi mooed in understanding.  dad showed up and we gave him his bottle and he drank most of it, but it was too early to let him out of the sling.  so we came back a few hours later and freed him and propped him up in his bed of hay.  I told him good night and we turned the light off bathing the stall in darkness.  my Tuesday morning update was about the same as the morning before.  Tuesday after work we went to check on him and dad said that he had been in his sling but was out for the night.  I walked into the stall and found little mud pie snuggled in his hay.  he tried to stand.  I tucked his feet under him and held his head up and talked to him while he drank his bottle.  we made eye contact and I told him how much I loved him and what a good and handsome boy he was.  we had to go to a meeting and I knew we wouldn’t be back Tuesday night so right before we left I went in and rubbed his head, told him good night and sweet dreams and walked away from my little mud pie.

mud2

Wednesday morning I got my morning update.  the subject of the e mail was mud pie.  I opened my e mail and read “I am sorry!  We tried.”

devastation: severe and overwhelming shock or grief

I sat facing my computer and silent tears escaped the rims of my eyes rolled down my face.  I reminded myself to breathe and stared at the words.  mud pie was gone.  my lantern burned out.  my desperation morphed into devastation.  I was devastated that he was gone and that my attempts failed.  I couldn’t even do right by a cow.  I couldn’t save him.  my thoughts quickly went down the road that maybe God is right, maybe I am not fit to be a mother.

Wednesday night, with those thoughts circling in my head, I curled up in bed and cried.  my eyes filled with tears that rolled down my face and puddled on my pillow, followed by choking sobs.  a soul drenching cry.

I woke up Thursday morning with a throbbing headache – remnant of my tears from the night before.  as we drove to work I watched the clouds play on the tops of the mountains and with no other rational thought – other than it made me smile, I had found my street lamp and was finding my way back to the main road.

it was during this time of desperation that I realized a few things.  one is that I have no control.  I can cling to the illusion as much as I want, but it will always just be an illusion I create for my peace of mind.  another is that this process, from start until present, is just a constant ride of ups and downs: the waiting, the emotions of being rejected, the unknown, the way a person will walk by with a stroller and my heart almost leaps out of my chest, the looks of pity from other people, the hope that we will be the family that we always envisioned.  something that is difficult to explain and difficult for people to understand is that sometimes there are no words to make me feel better about this stressful time of just waiting and of the unknown.  that sometimes even the most rational comments and insight will not sound rational to me.  this time, my little mud pie, taught me that in my times of desperation, stick to the lists.

benched

growing up i was a bit of a tom boy.  i played outside a lot – my summers were spent playing in the creek or the woods behind our house.  we spent hours rolling around in the grass and playing hide and seek.  there were games of whiffle ball and kick ball.  i enjoyed it.  one year in P.E. i was the first to climb the rope and ring the bell.  but i hated running on command.  it was selective athleticism, at least i think it was.

in middle school i tried out for soccer and did great in the scrimmage game to test our skills and i didn’t mind running during the game or practice (as long as the ball was involved), but after we did that, the coach looked at us and said ok start running laps.  i laughed.  i quit.  i guess i wasn’t disciplined enough to care about running laps.  i didn’t see that as something to make me better at the game ( i get it, but not for me).  that ended my school sports team tryouts – did you know that you have to run laps with every sport?

in high school they implemented the mile run rule – finish under 16 minutes or fail.  one of the teachers told us it was because the first mile run of the year, a group of us walked it and took our sweet time because we were talking and laughing.  to encourage us to care more and talk less they made the rule.  we still talked but walked a tad faster and we all passed.

also i wasn’t always the most coordinated person.  in middle school during the football rotation i didn’t catch the football, but rather allowed it to bounce off my middle finger and bend it backwards.  i cried.  the teacher let me walk laps the rest of the football rotation because anytime the ball came my way i moved out of the way.  it hurt me once before – i learned my lesson, so i moved.  the teacher decided i would get more from walking laps and would be less of a tripping hazard for the other people actually playing football.

in high school during the hockey rotation, someone hit the “puck” under my feet and i fell.  bruised my backside and ego.  tripped and messed up my knee during the flag football rotation.  i got hit in the face with a ball during the ping pong rotation.  went under the hurdles during track – those things are scary.  i found excuses to sit out and just read, study, or talk to my friends.  i was fine not playing.  i was fine riding the bench.

also when i was in high school our church decided to have a co-ed softball team.  they asked me to play because we had a lack of females.  i told them i would come to practices and show up to the games so they didn’t have to forfeit (they had to have so many females present to play).  my only rule was that i wanted a position that i didn’t have to do anything.  they put me in right field.  i wore the uniform and the glove (usually on my head or on the ground at my feet).  i was safe most of the time, but there were a few people that could aim the ball – and they did right for me.  this softball team was before andy and i started dating and he played center field which also meant that when those people aimed the ball towards me he also played right field.  i knew enough to get out of the way and watch him play.  it was a great chance to flirt, because he was my hero (swoon).  once a ground ball came my way and i had the thought that i could handle that…as i bent down with my glove the ball hit a hole in the field and popped up and almost got me in the face. so it was determined that ground balls weren’t safe either.  i would bat – most of the time they told me to just stand there.  in all of our games i remember actually hitting the ball 4 times and i made it to first 1 time.  the other 3 i hit it right back to the pitcher and got out.

(two photos i will share only because it proves my point)

softball doing absolutely nothing and the second a football game (i don’t know why i was clapping – yay football maybe?  i don’t know…)

i was in elementary school and there was an allison b (with two L’s), an alicia, and myself (alison g).  we all looked similar and people would mix us up.  i remember one time when we were playing kickball at recess: there were two captains and with the first pick they said alison.  i was startled and started to walk forward and the kid laughed and was like not you, allison b.  i have a ton of memories watching them play kickball while i sat with other friends making flower necklaces (out of the white flower weeds), shooting the tops of other weeds at each other, and trying to whistle using an acorn lid or grass.

i make the above statements to say this.  i went to school with most of the same people from k-12th grade.  when it was time to pick teams – i wasn’t usually first.  i was usually picked towards the end.  if there was an odd number of people i got benched. there was no shame in being looked over when the teams were picked.  there was no shame in not getting picked.  there was no shame in being benched.  when it came to athletics i knew my place.

years later and i am not dealing with athletics but this adoption process.  i have mentioned that it is a weird process and i never thought that the adoption process would conjure up so many memories of me sitting on the bench all those years ago.  i never would have imagined that i would be walking to my mailbox, thinking about the adoption, and get a whiff of cut grass and honeysuckle and be transported back to that grassy hill in elementary school watching my classmates play kickball.  or be at work and hit my shin on the desk drawer and be taken back to a time of clumsiness and avoidance.  i have gone down memory lane of all the times i was looked over and not chosen.

we are up for a home study update.  which means that we have been officially waiting for a year.  since a year has come and gone we have to update certain forms and have another home visit.  since we have gotten to this time of officially waiting for a year i have been met with a lot of mixed emotion.  first, still very excited to see what is in store for us this year.  nervous about what will happen this next year and of the unknown.  sad that it has been a year already and we are still waiting.  our waiting feels a lot like being benched.

we do not get a call whenever someone looks at our profile, but sometimes i ask our case worker if anyone has viewed it.  she doesn’t give me specific numbers, but we communicate about it.  i will ask her how maybe birth mothers are about to pick and she gives me the numbers.  i know one time i asked and she did tell me that someone was looking at our profile in the next few days and so i held my breath for an entire week.  each time my phone rang i prayed it was the agency.  each time my e mail beeped, i hoped that it was an email to make my dreams come true.  but a week came and went and i couldn’t handle not knowing anymore.  i sent an email and asked if she made her decision and our case worker stated she had – that the mother wanted a family that already had siblings (adopted ones to be specific) because she grew up in a large family and wanted her child to have siblings that were adopted too, to have that in common.  i was sad, but i  understood.  we have met several people in our waiting families meetings and we know that several have been placed.  we also got an end of the year newsletter with statistics of how many people had been placed in our area for the entire year that we have been officially waiting.  the way i figure is we have been passed over 32 times (plus or minus some).

i find myself as an adult, years beyond my schooling days, and still i am being benched.  it isn’t like before where i was still part of the team, just not in the game.  it is like i am sitting on the bench watching people rush by to new adventures in their lives.  we updated our paperwork and are waiting for the home visit.  once that is completed we will still be officially waiting, hoping, praying, and dreaming that our time will come.  waiting is hard.  so while the world rushes around us and people continue on with their lives, we sit, back against the wall, my head on andy’s shoulder, fingers intertwined, benched.