Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Miracle

Now that Madelyn is here and we finally have internet in our hotel room I thought I'd share some details about our miracle in between feedings and muddy diapers. I'm going to try my best to do a condensed version but be prepared for a novel.

It all starts with our move to Connecticut last summer and having dinner one Sunday afternoon with our bishop's family, a family who's two youngest are adopted through the state, when a thought crossed our mind "mmm maybe that's why we moved to Connecticut... to adopt!'.  Months went by and the day we were set apart as ordinance workers for the LDS Boston Temple in February we met a woman who had adopted all four of her children. I don't know if we both knew at that moment, but I knew that adoption would be in our life after talking with this woman for over an hour. We just weren't sure how or when. However, both of us did know if we began serving in the temple, we would be blessed with a child. Part of me thought it would mean we'd get pregnant. Everyone told me if we adopted or started the process we would get pregnant but that just started messing with my thought process. So I have a word of advice: don't give that counsel to anyone who is thinking about adopting and struggling with infertility. It's not very nice for various reasons. 

The month of May came around and we contacted LDS Services to see what our options were and we heard back from the NYC office since CT was now in that "district". They were understaffed and wouldn't be able to help us unless we had another agency do the home-study for us. At the time that wasn't an option. So off to the state we went and thought it would work well for us, but after taking the first class Cony felt very strongly the foster system was NOT for us. I was hesitant at first because I felt if we didn't do anything- our chances of adopting or getting pregnant would cease. However, the second we made the decision not to go through the state, a weight lifted off my shoulders. This was around July/ August. So back to the doctor we went and the date was the anniversary my dad passed. The same day we were at the doctors we get a phone call from our bishop's wife asking us if we would be upset that she gave our names to a family who's daughter was considering placing her baby. Of course we didn't mind but quickly forgot about it since we didn't hear anything for weeks. Until the very last week of September when the birth mom contacted Kim (bishop's wife) and told her she was considering us but needed to talk it over with family during the weekend. The following Monday while I was buying pumpkins, Kim called us and said the birth mom had made her decision and wanted to place with us! There were so many emotions/thoughts going through our minds we were left speechless. The following week I've never made so many phone calls in my life and I hate the phone. The circumstances were still the same with LDS Services so we were on the manhunt for another agency that would be willing to do just the home-study and do it quickly. I'm not sure how many phone calls I made, but one agent was kind enough to say she was really expensive and knew someone who could probably help us. It was an answer to a prayer and we LOVE the agency she recommended. Lori with Rainbow Adoptions was exactly the person we needed to help us move forward.

At this point we still weren't 100% sure if we would be working with LDS Services at all, but we needed to attend a workshop in order to meet a training requirement they have and there just by chance happened to be one the following weekend in Boston. That was a miracle within it self because they aren't always in one location and could have been as far away as Ohio or earlier in the year. We learned so much that weekend and it was exactly what we needed to move forward with our relationship with Devon, our birth mom. That weekend was also special because we were able to get to know a birth mom who happens to be in our ward (church congregation) that had just placed her baby 8 weeks prior. Sophia's emotions were so raw and moving it lit a lightbulb in us that helped us understand the other perspective and that it was ok to show our excitement and trust Devon. The workshop was very magical not just because of the knowledge we gained but because the people we met. People who understood exactly the challenge(s) we were experiencing.

Some thing's are too special to share but after that weekend we felt very impressed to write an email to Devon and later we found out that our words were an answer to her prayer. Her parents too. That same Sunday while trying to listen in church, a name popped into my head for baby girl and I KNEW that was her name. We weren't agreeing on names up to that point but once I whispered it to Cony, he knew it was perfect too. Shortly after he checked my email to see if Devon had written back, she had and in return answered our prayers with her words and we had a moment between us that I'll never forget that was filled with tears. (Like I said, that weekend was magical.)

After that magical weekend, the race was on to get things done and ready but most importantly let Devon get to know us. Modern technology is a huge blessing in times like this and we were able to talk with her and meet her family. I need a whole other post to describe Devon and her amazingness. She is the most easy going, thoughtful, considerate person I know. Because adoption includes so many people and backgrounds, I've learned that adoption is the most beautiful thing on earth. And if you try to argue with me that it's not, I will fight you to the death. I'm 100% ok if I never get pregnant and have the opportunity to adopt all my children. It encompasses everything good in life... faith, hope, love, sacrifice, happiness and peace. Our hope in the next few months is to become huge advocates for adoption in one way or another. Please realize our silence on the good news was because we wanted to respect Devon's sacrifice and her personal journey, along with our journey. 

There are many more wonderful things to share but for now, this will have to do. We seriously count ourselves the luckiest people in the world because of the people we share it with. Thank you for all your prayers and service. It means the world to us. Fairytales do exist and it's the heartache we have to experience that makes life that much sweeter. God is good. God knows us and loves us and that's the sweetest gift we have....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jam Packed

This weekend was jam packed with events, mostly which we (the YW) were in charge of. It started with Friday night Fall Festival. Lots of people showed up with amazing soups and the kids really enjoyed the games we set up for them in different rooms. We had- Donut Strings, Mummy Wrap, Bean Bag Toss, Pumpkin Bowling and a Cupcake Walk.

We decorated the cultural hall with a "wallpaper" of crate paper in 3 different colors.

The Mummy Wrap was the biggest hit with the little kids.


And the Cupcake Walk was the biggest hit with the bigger kids. Possibly because it was dark- we only had balloons with glow sticks for lighting. I thought it was a genius idea! 

Saturday I spent most of the day shopping with some girlfriends before we headed to the stake center for a youth activity. I've never had such a successful shopping trip in all my life! I feel blessed for this little gift especially because lately  I don't feel like trying on anything. 

Sunday we had our Young Women in Excellence Program and thought it turned out really lovely. I felt the Spirit really strongly and was a complete basket case when it was my time to talk. Hopefully the girls got the message we were trying to teach. The theme was "Your Happily Ever After" based on the talk given by President Uchtdorft. 

Here's a low-down of what we did.... 

We had a "real-life" fairy tale table that the leaders decorated with photos, albums, dresses, and memorabilia.  For the back drop Cony helped me cut out old maps so I could make a "life atlas". I should say the girls brought projects and items that represented them and displayed them on tables. From their tables we had little markings to look like a "foot trail" that lead to our "real life" fairy tale table. I wrote things like praying, scripture study, attend church meetings, etc. on the road map to represent the things that help us stay on the Lord's path. 


The center pieces were decorated by a different leader that represented fairy tale characters who had big trials in their journey that lead them to their happily ever after. There was....

Snow White

Little Red Riding Hood

Cinderella and 3 Little Pigs (which the picture was too blurry to show but is in the background)

Food Table (sooo bummed that some balloons popped!)

My favorite Alexis in the world made the cupcakes and I couldn't get over how beautiful they were. She decorated each flower in every value color- including gold! 


For my dear friends who have NO idea what all this is... we have a program at church called Young Women's for the girls that are ages 12-18. Each year we do a program that highlights any projects or activities they've been involved in and help them feel Heavenly Father's love for them as His daughters. We stand and recite a theme each week that states our willingness to follow these values:
Divine Nature
Individual Worth
Choice & Accountability
Good Works & 
Each value has a different color. Our hope is that the girls will carry these values with them the rest of their lives. And I can attest that these same values have helped me face certain trials in my life. I never dreamed that I would experience divorce, death or infertility. But I have and I'm stronger because of those trials. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

2nd roll of Film

I finally got around to developing some rolls of film the other night and seeing what was created, warmed my heart. Every time I upload photos from my digital SLR, I'm a little heartbroken with the results. So far, film as never let me down. Except for that one time I trusted CVS to develop and they ruined both rolls with too many chemicals. Live and learn. 








Saturday, 3 families let me take some photos of them on campus. I needed the practice and glad they were willing and able. 




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Uptown Girl

There have been many happy moments in our life in the last few weeks, I wish I could record them all. I'm sure y'all have heard that Connecticut got hit with a really bad snowstorm and some people I know just got power back yesterday! We are almost ashamed to say that we never lost power and feel very blessed. Thankfully friends came over to take advantage of our hot water and electricity! Gracie loved the snow and we're so looking forward to a wet dog in the dead of winter (please tell me you heard the sarcastic tone?).   



The Fall Festival the Young Women have been planning for months was postponed for this coming Friday. However, this did not stop the sisters from dressing up in their costumes. LOVE their creativity. 


For my birthday, we took the day off and drove into NYC. Yes, we drove and ended up loving the drive even with traffic. Spent the day shopping and window shopping. We spent a little time in Tiffany and Co. and it was crazy and full of people, which I didn't expect. The engagement ring floor was full of sparkly jewelry and I wanted it all. And I'm not a jewelry person. 

After taking the subway down to the 9/11 Memorial and only staying for 3.5 seconds (because of the madhouse caused by the "Occupy") we took the subway back up to 102nd Street thinking that's where our dinner reservations were. Ah! More like 102 5th Avenue between 16th & 17th Street! At least we enjoyed a nice cab ride and the manager of the restaurant got us right in and we felt like royalty. We went to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and it was out of this world delicious. We ordered 3 appetizers to share and it was plenty of food and they were very small in size but so full of flavor we found ourselves stuffed to the brim. However, that didn't stop us from ordering dessert- Deep Dish Banana Creme Pie. Yes, it was better than it sounds! 

After dinner we made our way to our show Rock of Ages. We weren't sure what to expect but the reviews all said it was awesome and we love us some 80's rock. Well, we stayed for about 20 minutes and left. We had some good seats too... but it was so vulgar we couldn't stay. The girls were in lingerie the entire time, they used the Lord's name in vain and used the F word a few times (all this in the 20 minutes we were there!). I felt so bad for Cony because he tried so hard to surprise me and we both thought we'd like the show. But I have to say, the second we walked out of that theater my heart swelled with so much gratitude that my husband was willing to walk out. I wish I could write into words how my love for him at that moment was so real, I couldn't help but shed a tear or two walking through Time Square. 

I saw this and had to take a photo immediately. Way to represent in NYC, Dawgs! 


Looking forward to the next few weeks spending time with family and enjoying some changes. God is good.