Thursday, October 28, 2010


The Waiting Game....part of adoption that most every adopting couple can commiserate with. "I can't imagine what that would be like." A statement I've heard from various people. It's really hard to explain what it's like. Some days are good...some days aren't so good. Though, a response like that is vague and doesn't really grasp what it's like. I contemplated how to explain the feelings associated with "waiting" and am going to go ahead and try to least from my point of view.

Imagine a clock and a calendar...sitting side by side. You'll notice that the clock is missing numbers; the calendar is missing days. Then, as if a cell replicating, the clock becomes two...the calendar as well. Except this time, one calendar is full and one clock is spinning. The other calendar is completely empty, the other clock is stopped.

I signify the full calendar and the spinning clock as one part of our lives. This calendar is full of work schedules, the gym, household chores, cooking, and spending time with friends.

The empty calendar and stopped clock signify the part of our lives that is uncertain, unknown, waiting to be filled.

Now imagine juggling the full calendar and the empty calendar. The full calendar keeps your mind off of the empty calendar....but then something triggers the empty calendar to fall....a young couple with a stroller, another holiday with the absence of a child's joyful squeals on Christmas morning, another birthday passed without being called mom or dad, the sound of a child's laughter. Suddenly, the only thing in your hands is the empty calendar and it seems that your full calendar exists without you...circling around is suddenly happening to everyone else but you.

This sometimes happens, where both the empty calendar and the full calendar are separated. But most of the time, the juggling subsides and we are able to exist in one calendar, one clock. But, like in the calendar and clock above, you'll notice that our calendar has some numbers that are missing. We continue our lives as it has always been....but something is missing in our lives...and we wait for it to be filled.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Positive Expectations

On Labor Day weekend, Bryan and I spent some time with our friends who have two little girls whom we adore. We met up with them in Maryland at a car show..and the first thing that our very intuitive friend asked us was, "You have good news, right?" And, I said..."Yes! We are expecting....we...are...paper pregnant!" One of her daughters looked up at us with a big smile, clapped her hands and said, "Baby!" and my response was "yes, we are praying for a baby". Her innocent and excited response is exactly how we feel at this point...except with a hint of surrealism as we don't have a definite time line.

The first time I heard the term "paper pregnant" was just a couple months ago and I had a mixed response as to what it really meant. Obviously it's not something we made's not a technical phrase, but it is something that has been used among other adopting parents at this stage in the adoption. It basically means that at this point our profile is posted on our agency's website and the profile pages we put together are available for potential birth parents to look at. (I also kind of think the term can apply to the many many papers we had to fill out to get here...but that's just me)

So we are expecting to get a phone call at some point. Yay! Granted it may be less than 9 months or it could be more than 9 months that we are matched and become parents, it is still a fun and exciting milestone for us. Don't forget the added bonuses of being paper pregnant: I don't have to take prenatal vitamins, worry about morning sickness, weight gain and I can enjoy the occasional glass of wine. (see...there's always a silver lining)

Similarly to a pregnancy - this time will be full of ups and downs emotionally for us, though for different reasons, so we will continue to ask for your prayers and support. It is also going to be a good time for us to get some more fundraisers and possibly grant applications underway so we can take care of the large placement and lawyer fees when the time comes (stay tuned!). We aren't sure if we'll be getting updates from the agency as to if anyone has looked at our profile as I think they avoid disappointments as much as possible. We will be sure to keep the blog updated if we hear anything...and please feel free to ask us if you wish.

As of now we have positive expectations - and our faith is strong. We are happy to be at this point in our adoption process. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Irony or Something Spiritual?

As a members of our church, Bryan and I have been participating in the service by periodically ushering and reading the lessons. This past Sunday, it was my turn to read the lessons and Psalms. I was given about a week to become comfortable with what I was going to read during the service, and when I began to read through the verses, I was hit with a moment of irony. Let me fill you in with what I was given to read:

First Lesson: Genesis 15:1-6 God promises childless Abram that a child of his own will be his heir and that his descendants will number as many as the stars. Abram trusts God's promise and through this faith, he is considered righteous.

1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." 2 But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir." 4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." 5 He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Second Lesson: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 Abraham and Sarah exemplify the vision of faith that people of God need in every age. Their hope and trust in God's promise allowed them to face an unknown future.

1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. 8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing whither he went. 9By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old - and Sarah herself was barren - because he considered him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, "as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore." 13 All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

I have been praying and praying about my questions of infertility and adoption and in the moment that I was reading these lessons aloud, what I once took as irony, became a conversation. I know sometimes God answers prayers in a whisper, but this was a direct statement. Have faith even with an unknown future, and God will provide.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

3rd and Final Home Study - - Check!

Our 3rd Home Study took place yesterday at 4:30 p.m. EST. Our social worker C came over and did a safety check on our house - but no worries, I didn't clean the house like a mad woman like I initially wanted to, and it was fine. After the safety check, we sat down and got to business. She began by asking what each of us does for fun. I actually had to think about this one for a minute or two. I personally had spent the last month grieving my infertility, and reading about many of the different emotional challenges we will be faced with in the future and I kind of had forgotten...what is fun for me? to me lately is being able to eat cereal for dinner and go to bed early - - but I couldn't tell her that! Since Monday, though, coincidentally I made a choice to refocus on what brings me enjoyment or makes me truly happy. But since I've just started my soul search, I only was able to come up with a few things: reading, scrapbooking, cooking dinner for Bryan, and going for walks. Bryan liked working on cars, traveling, sports, going for drives in his car, Sunday mornings with Sarah (reading the paper with coffee, church and breakfast), and movies.

C, or social worker, always has a great way of easing into our sessions with the fun stuff, because our next topics of discussion were much more serious: finances, what are thoughts were about discipline, and our plans for infant care. Thankfully, Bryan and I are on the same page about all of the above topics. The only question up in the air at this point is what we'll do about daycare, which I'm not worried about. Our final task: the openness questionnaire - the packet of questions that Bryan and I thought over and over about, was reviewed and completed. Huge sigh of relief!

What's next? C has to get our paperwork for adoption approved by her supervisor, and then she has 4 weeks to write up our formal Home Study paperwork. Our job in the next 4 weeks is to write a general letter to our potential birth parents. (that's gonna take some thought) We also have to put together some photos and stories about us, so that the birth parents can get an idea of what kind of people we are. If you have any input on what to include or pictures, please leave a comment or email us some ideas.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The last couple of weeks at the Barts Household have been a bit tough - those adoption books, as necessary as they are, deal with the worst case scenarios and the endless amounts of self-reflection associated make it somewhat difficult to get excited about the big picture. Regardless, we are nearing the end of this chapter as we prepare and get our last minute details ready for our final home study tomorrow. We just wanted to thank some of our friends and family (you know who you are) for taking the time to come to our house or call us on the phone and offer a listening ear, share funny stories to lift us up, provide a trip to the shore to reflect and relax, or provide helpful websites so we don't feel alone. Besides God, you get by with a little help from your friends and family and we want to let you know that we appreciate it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Infertility Etiquette

This Etiquette is taken/adapted from RESOLVE National Infertility Association.

I am posting this because I myself over the years have encountered insensitive comments and rude jokes, some by individuals whom I wouldn't have even expected. Though Bryan and I are full speed ahead into our adoption process, infertility will ALWAYS be a part of our lives and it will always be a sensitive subject. For tips on helping friends or family cope with infertility, please see their website.

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.


Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don't Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.

People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents

One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. This is the method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, "Why don't you just try IVF?" in the same casual tone they would use to ask, "Why don't you try shopping at another store?"

Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy

This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant

For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Let Them Know That You Care

The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother's Day

With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them.

Stay tuned as we plan on posting adoption etiquette as well down the road. Learning all of the ins and outs of adoption has really opened our eyes, even to the ignorance that we once had ourselves. Please know that we are not pointing fingers, but helping to open others' eyes as well.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Postponed homestudy - - required homework in progress.

We've had to postpone our 3rd Home study for the time being - - between travels home and events already planned with friends, we haven't been able to focus on the daunting task of homework needed to be done prior to the actual home study. Yes - homework...things that many of our friends say ALL parents should do before having a child. Don't get me wrong, Bryan and I do realize the necessity of the process - - it just can be overwhelming. Alas, tonight is the beginning of the end of homework - infant care class.

We've heard horror stories from others adopting who have attended an infant care class - - sitting in a room full of happily expecting parents, listening to all of the things one might encounter during a delivery, and finally asked "how far long" they are. I'm sure not all infant care classes are insensitive to the adopting parents out there, but Bryan and I wanted to avoid this if possible. So we have found an infant care class personalized for adoption and we are looking forward to it as a result.

We also have to attend an infant CPR class, finalize our will, read our intense, overwhelming books about how to react to ignorant comments by others, how to establish a relationship with birth parents and how to raise a child who has been adopted. Finally, we have to finish our openness questionnaire - a.k.a. what characteristics of the birthparents and potentially the baby are we open to, in regards to mental, medical and physical attributes. Such an easy task! (sarcasm lost in typing)

Regardless, we are nearing the end of our homework and look forward to when we can get our 3rd home study completed. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Everyone buy a Wendy's Frosty this weekend - Every Frosty purchase donates 50 cents towards the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Monday, June 14, 2010

2nd done - 1 to go

Bryan and I participated in our 2nd of 3 home studies recently, which brings us closer to getting on the waiting list. At the beginning of the meeting our social worker gave us a heads up that many questions would be intrusive, so Bryan and I were both a little hesitant as to what we would be talking about. Through this meeting we had to discuss how Bryan and I met, dated, became engaged and finally married - an easy subject to start the meeting off with. It reminded us of the journey that we have already taken together. The conversation and questions ask, though very personal, were necessary for us to see and talk about how we relate to each other - - in particular, how we get through stressful situations together. Thinking about all of the things we have already experienced together made us realize how strong of a couple we are and exactly why we will be able to handle all of the ups and downs throughout this process. But, we also realized that sometimes we are strong for each other, when it might be ok to let our guard down. The meeting was a very good way for us to mentally prepare ourselves for the process to becoming parents. It made us think...every expecting parent should go through this, what a way to strengthen a marriage and prepare for a family! Next up...3rd and final home study...tentative date: July 7th. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How did you come to adoption?

This was the question that was first asked of us in our first home study. How did you come to adopt? We sat there and thought of our previous year...

We had started to think about how we could have a family. For those of you who don't know, we aren't able to conceive a biological child through traditional other words, our pathway to making a family does not cross with pregnancy. Our two options were to use in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with a surrogate mother or adoption. When weighing both options, ultimately we knew that adoption was for us. With so many newborns and children needing loving and nurturing homes, it is only fitting that we could provide this.

Was it an easy decision? Definitely not. For anyone who has the desire to start a family, you go into it with many hopes and dreams. What would the baby look like? Would the baby have my hair or his smile? IVF and Surrogacy could have possibly provided this for us. But at what cost? Hormone injections, medications for weeks only to have a next to no chance of success. It's truly disheartening to discover how difficult it is to start a family for those who have difficulties conceiving. It can also be very hard to let go of previous plans and visions of how your family would be. However, in retrospect, adoption seems like the only answer.

Thus, after asked the question in our first home study, Bryan and I were able to reassure each other and our story of how we came to choose adoption. We are very excited, though apprehensive, to take the not so traveled road to becoming parents.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

One persons junk is another persons....


Yeah, kind of cheesy I suppose, but we have been reading up on this fun stuff for quite some time. Raising money for adoption is, or seems to be, fundamental because, well, it is REALLY costly, but completely worth it. So...

Sarah and I had an idea to invite friends and family of ours (probably most of our readership - yeah YOU) to get rid of their household stuff by doing a combined multi-family sale. We thought it would be a good way to get people together and also get rid of stuff they have been meaning to - while also making some money. We also thought to include some fun games and prizes along with a lemonade stand and bake sale. Needless to say it went over really, really well and we have to thank everyone involved for their tremendous support and care. When we presented the total at the end of the day it was hard not to get choked up, but I managed pretty well. In total we raised just under 1500 dollars and well on our way to making our first payment.

We are planning some more interesting fund raisers, so stay close. See more pictures of the event below. Sorry if the pictures are small..