Thursday, March 9, 2017

Luci Faith

It has been far too long since I have blogged and I have been itching to do it again. I have so much I want to write down. Our experience of getting Luci, my health updates, etc. I always intended to blog about when Luci came into our lives, but life is pretty crazy when you have a one year old, a book business, and 2 chronic health conditions. I did write all about it and my feelings in my journal, but still want to update here. I have also missed writing about the progress (or setbacks) of my health. Which may sound really weird but I have found that talking about it (or writing about it) is very therapeutic for me. I have friends I know in real life, and friends online that I can talk to, as well as my mom and husband, but there is something about writing out the whole story that really helps me. I actually would probably make some Youtube videos if I wasn’t scared of putting myself out there for strangers to see. It also really helps that I can go back and read past posts, to remember what happened exactly, and to sometimes to find comfort-that things turned out all right back then, and they will now as well. So it’s my goal to catch up to the present time, and continue it. I think I may have to give up some other things, at least for awhile, but that is ok.

I just read my last blog post, from last summer when I had a fever for 3 weeks for no apparent reason. To fill in on that, basically we never found the cause and eventually it went away. We were able to continue TPN till I reached my goal weight, which was the end of July. Right after that we left on our cruise that I earned for free through Usborne Books and More. That definitely deserves a blog post of it's own but I have it documented somewhat in a chat book so I'm going to skip it and head straight to Luci. :) Here are some cute pics of us on the cruise though. 

 Last summer we also enjoyed going to my niece Jenna's wedding in July and Chris' brother Robby's wedding in August.

Ok now let's cut to the chase. I’m going to go way back to the Fall of 2015. We had been trying to have a baby for over a year (in addition to not being able to try to have a baby before that, because of my health, we had been wanting a baby for at least 3 or 4 years). In that time, we had been seeing a fertility doctor and done lots of tests. We were told that we both had some problems that were preventing us from becoming pregnant. The doctor said that the only way we would get pregnant was through IVF, and that other fertility treatments wouldn’t even be worth trying. This of course was not guaranteed either, but he seemed optimistic.

From there we needed to decide if we wanted to pursue that, or adoption. At one point a couple years before that, we had our papers ready to turn in to LDS Family Services, but then they announced they would not be doing adoptions anymore. So I was pretty open to adoption because we had already talked about it a lot in the past. However, my patriarchal blessing says that I will have the opportunity to bring spirits into the world. I felt like a terrible mother if I didn’t even try to get them here. So I really wanted to try IVF. However, about that time, my health was worse again and I was back on TPN. We had finally pursued getting pregnant because my health was in a good place. But with the way it was then, we didn’t know if I would be able to handle being pregnant. Especially so far from home and family. After a couple of months of fasting and praying and going to the temple and doing that all over again and again, we decided adoption was the best option for us at that time. I wanted a baby so bad, so I was so anxious to get started and felt at peace with our decision.

We were researching agencies in Utah and really had no idea who to go with. We had found one online that I had talked to on the phone a couple times, and we were leaning towards going with them. However, Chris’ boss said she had a couple neighbors who had adopted through a different agency in Utah, and offered to put us in contact so we could ask them some questions. It was so helpful to go and talk to them and hear exactly how the process was for them with this agency. They actually told us that they had started with the agency we were leaning towards, but because of how slow they were, they ended up switching. After 6 months of classes and paperwork, they still didn’t have their papers in and still did not have their profile being shown to any birth parents. Once they switched to the other agency, they had a baby in 2 months.

After praying some more, we decided that would be the agency we would go with. It took us about a month to get all the papers and documents in to them that they needed. Then we had a home study and we were finally being presented to birth families. This was at the end of April, 2016.

The agency had a process. They would email us about different situations, tell us about the birth mom and baby, and price. We would reply back whether we wanted our profile shown to the birth mom or not. One thing about the agency is that most of the situations they sent us were far more expensive than what we had been told. That was the frustrating part. We were prepared for up to a certain amount, so we had to say no to many, many situations. Through the summer we probably only said yes to 2 or 3 situations. That meant that they showed our profile to the birth mom, along with just 2 or 3 other families. This is what makes the process faster. The birth mom is not looking through dozens or even hundreds of profiles to choose from. She is choosing between 3. Sadly we got our hopes up a couple of times, and in the end, the birth moms chose other families. However we realize that that is really lucky. The process seemed hard and was like a roller coaster, but I know it could have gone on for far longer and been much harder than it already was.

The Friday before Labor Day, the social worker at the agency called me on the phone and told me she was emailing us a situation, and pretty much needed to know right then whether we wanted our profile shown. I told her I would check my email right away. I read about this sweet little 9 month old girl, and as I scrolled to the bottom, my heart caught in my throat as I saw a picture of her. She was adorable and I was in love right away. The price was exactly what we had planned on spending (which sounds bad, but that meant that this was a definite possibility for us, and that was exciting). I told the social worker yes without even asking Chris first. Of course I forwarded him the email and as soon as he saw it, he agreed too!

We went home to Idaho for Labor Day Weekend. All weekend it was on my mind and I showed our close family members the picture of this sweet girl. Chris’ mom and grandma both cried as they saw the little girl who could be their new granddaughter. The agency had told us that the family was coming to Utah that weekend, and they would show them our profile.

Tuesday (the day after Labor Day), around noon, I got a phone call saying that the birth parents wanted to meet Chris and I ASAP, and wanted us to come to SL right away. I called Chris and he came home from work, we packed a bag to stay several days if needed, brought the car seat, pack n play, and diaper bag we had carefully picked out back in May, (you can ask Chris about my Diaper Bag Blues if you really want to) and went to meet the family. We first met with the agency and were told a few more details. The parents had a 3 year old son they were parenting. About a year before, they had placed another son for adoption through this agency when he was a few months old. At the time, she was pregnant with Luci and they were struggling a lot financially, so they decided to place him for adoption. Fast forward to Luci being 9 months old, and they still were struggling to make ends meet. They knew that they could not provide for her like they wanted. So they made the unselfish decision to place her with a family who could. They told us they wanted someone with no kids who could give her a lot of attention right now.

We went with the director of the agency to their hotel room to meet them. We sat and visited for a little over an hour. They asked us lots of questions and we asked them questions. They were so nice. We both held her for a little while. She spit up all over Chris and he didn’t even care. :) While visiting with them they asked us more about my Crohn’s disease. I had mentioned it in our profile, but didn’t go into a lot of detail. They said they liked that I was completely honest in the profile about it. It didn’t seem to phase them at all, they were very nice about it.

While we were in the room, the birth mom was texting someone on her phone. After we left the room, the agency director told us that the birth mom had been texting her and telling her that she really liked us! They were pretty sure they wanted to choose us, but wanted to meet us one more time to be sure. We went to bed very hopeful that night, but at the same time, trying not to get our hopes up too high.

The agency had said not to expect a phone call too early, because they tended to stay up late and wake up late. We waited all morning for a call, expecting to hear a time that we could go see them again. Chris had an audiology appointment first thing in the morning that we went to, and then I convinced him to go shopping. We went to Target and bought a few basic baby things (diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, soap, etc). We didn’t know if they would give us clothes or bottles, etc, so we just bought the very basics. And one outfit that said, “New Girl in Town.” We ate lunch and while we were eating (around noon) they called and said that the birth parents decided they for sure wanted to choose us. They would sign papers at 2 and we would sign at 4. We hung up and were SO excited!!

Carter’s was pretty much across the street and they were having a huge 40-60% off sale so I convinced Chris that we needed to go inside. Of course I couldn’t contain myself once we got in there. I picked out some onesies and pants, a couple pairs of pajamas, a hoodie zip up jacket, 2 dresses, and a couple outfits. When we went to check out, I told the girl helping us that we were on our way to adopt our little girl in like an hour. She rang us up and then told us that she gave us another 25% off, on top of the sales. When she told me that, I started to cry!

We went back to the agency and signed all the papers. I asked them how things would go, ie would I have to take the baby from the birth mom, etc. They assured me that the agency director would take her, and then we would leave the room and then she would be given to us. I just really didn’t want to have to be the one to take her from her birth mom. We went back to their hotel room and they had her dressed and ready to go. We talked a little bit more and then it came time to go. The birth parents took her and both said their goodbyes. The birth dad was crying. The agency director was trying to distract/play with their 3 year old. She wasn’t stopping so finally the dad just turned to me and put her in my arms. I lost it then. The agency director took a picture of all of us (which I have yet to see) and then we left. Just like that. She didn’t cry or anything (until we put her in the car). As we left we talked to the the agency director some more and she took this pic of us.

She did not like the car seat. She cried for a few minutes. Looking back she was probably really tired. Now I also know that she just hates the car seat, ha. They didn’t end up giving us anything so I was glad we had gone shopping and gotten the basics and some clothes. However, they had told us that she wore 9 month clothes, and once we had her I could tell that was definitely not the case. Every single thing we bought for her was far too big. It was about 7:30 by this time but we found another Carter’s and stopped there. She was tired so Chris held her while the nice lady there helped me find each thing we had bought, but in a smaller size, and exchanged them all. I changed her into pajamas in the car and gave her the soft pink blanket we had bought at Target. She loved it and cuddled up to it immediately. We drove home and she slept the whole way. We set up the Pack n Play in our bedroom and she went right to sleep again. She slept all night and woke up happy and smiling.

This pic was taken the very next morning

Sitting up by herself on September 10th-3 days after we brought her home!

First Sunday at church!

A lot of people ask me if it was a hard adjustment for her and/or for us. I really don’t think it was. Like I said, she woke up happy the next morning and it was like it was meant to be. We were able to get into a routine pretty easily. (Of course, we recognize that she did have her life turned upside down at 9 months, and we need to take care and remember that, and realize that she may be dealing with some effects of that).

We had another decision to make when we brought her home, and that was what to call her. I won’t go into tons of detail, but they had named her Rooney Faith. They had asked us what we thought of the name, and we told them we thought it was unique, and that we like unique names (which was true). Even though I thought it was very interesting, I had somewhat gotten used to it because that is what I had been thinking of her as for the last 5 days. But the more I thought about, she just didn’t seem like a Rooney to me. I had also always loved the name Lucy, and especially liked it with an “i,” on the end. She seemed like a Luci to us, and so we decided to change her name. Her birth parents are aware and they seem ok with it. We kept her middle name, which is Faith.

We brought her home on Wednesday night, and Thursday night, had to go back to SL because I had a procedure early Friday morning at LDS Hospital. It had been scheduled for about 2 or 3 weeks and was kind of urgent. I had been having major bladder issued and so the urologist was going to do an Exam Under Anesthesia. Chris’ mom met us at our hotel on Thursday night, went to the hospital the next day and was there helping Chris with Luci while I was gone and recovering. Good thing too because he would have not had any idea on what to do with a baby for all that time, lol. His mom followed us home afterwards and stayed for the weekend. It was so nice to have her there to help us. Especially because I woke up in lots of pain, which was really unexpected. I’ll write about it in another post, but the exam caused me to have really bad bladder spasms, so I was given TONS of pain medicine. Good think Chris’ mom was there to help take care of there that night!

We had stopped at Target on Thursday night and bought a Bumbo to try and help her learn to sit up. I think it only took 3 days and she could pretty much do it on her own. She struggled with tummy time, and just got tired easily so she couldn’t hold her head up for long. As time went on though, she learned to sit up for longer, hold her head up for tummy time, roll over, scoot, and she crawled by herself for the first time on December 2nd, just a few days shy of being with us for 3 months, and a few days shy of her first birthday. Since then, she has learned to pull herself up to furniture and walk all around it, and can now stand by herself for a several of seconds. She can do many other things, such as play peek a boo (with only one hand most of the time, but still), say mama, dada, uh oh, and sign the word please, along with lots of other tricks. She had 4 teeth when we got her and now has 12. She weighed just under 16 pounds the beginning of September and now weighs 22 and is wearing mostly 9-12 month clothes.

Today marks 6 months since she came home with us, and she is now 15 months old. That also means that our adoption can be final. We have had all the post placement home studies and are now just waiting for a court date, which should be any day. After that, we can take her to the temple and be sealed to us! We really can barely remember what life was like without her and count our blessings every day.

Sometimes I wonder why Heavenly Father made me wait until she was 9 months old to bring her home. Why couldn’t her birth parents have decided to place her earlier? It would have been easier on both them and us. Why couldn’t he have sent her to us when we turned in our papers, 4 months earlier? As I was first wondering these things, my sister pointed some things out to me. If she had been presented to us very first, we would have said no because we wanted a newborn and we would have thought they all would be that price. When she was born, we were still deciding between adoption and IVF and even had we known about her then, I’m not sure we would have thought to take her. I think the Lord knew the timing with which it all needed to happen, and I’m so glad that He knows what is best, and not me. We have an open adoption, which means that once a month for the first year we send her birth parents pictures and a letter in the mail. We told them we would be open to visits and they already want to visit soon, along with her other biological brother they placed for adoption. It will be neat to see her with her brothers. I recently also started a FB group for her birth mom and dad and post pictures and videos there as well. They wanted to be able to see more of her and this was a good way to do it. They are going through a tough time, trying to get back on their feet, while missing her at the same time. We are thankful everyday for their sacrifice and for their love-so much that they wanted to give her a better life by placing her for adoption. We pray for them and will continue to pray for them with Luci so she can hear their names and know of them.

Here are some pics they sent us of her as a newborn. 

 Is she not just precious?! My heart aches when I think about not knowing her during that time, but I still believe Heavenly Father was right in his timing. 

Adoption is not how I imagined that I would bring a family into the world, and it is definitely not easy. But we are learning our way and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. We are so thankful for the all the prayers on our behalf, in helping us get her here. We have such great family and friends. The wonderful baby showers I was given helped us so much. The only things we had when we brought her home were a car seat/stroller, pack n play, diaper bag, and rocking chair, but after the baby showers, we had everything we needed. We have slowly got our office turned into her bedroom, and finally got everything hung on the wall. I will post pictures of that in the next few days. I have one more sign to put vinyl on.

We hope to not have to go through an agency in the future, for financial reasons. I would like to be able to try IVF in the future, if we live closer to family and if my health is better. Maybe we will do foster care, maybe we will do private adoption, I’m not sure. I’m thankful for the way we did it this time because it helped us get a baby quickly. I’m not sure how much longer my heart could have waited. Crying every time I went to church and walked by any baby items at the store was getting pretty old. I hated not feeling happy when my friends’ kids had birthdays, or when my friends were pregnant. It was so hard wondering when it would be my turn to be a mother. I wanted to see my husband be a father. Luckily we have the best family ever who helped make it possible to get her here. 


Linda Leiser said...

I love your blog. She will be so glad that you wrote her story. I love the newborn pictures...she is just as adorable then. I'm so glad that she is a part of our family....I love this sweet baby girl.

maria said...

Thank you for sharing Luci's story! She is so blessed to have you two for parents.