Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Best Day Ever!

I haven't posted here since I found out I was pregnant. Mostly, I've been up to my eyeballs in new motherhood (and moving-holy cow, don't move in the first year of having a baby. Trust me. Just don't do it). Some days I wondered if I would ever come back here and some days I just assumed I was finished because I finally had my baby.  But, here I am. My daughter is almost nine months old and I'm the happiest I've ever been. Sure, my marriage is swimming in new parenthood chaos, but who cares? Adam and I had a very long time together, longer than a lot of couples, before Brooklynn arrived. We had time to love, to learn, to fight, to work things out, to figure things out, to better ourselves, and to mend our wounds. We had time to create the foundation we really wanted for our family. God knew what we needed to survive parenthood-to THRIVE in parenthood-and he allowed the necessary time for that to take place. Some days I feel like we barely connect with each other after "daddy time*" (*that's a thing!), dinner time, and bedtime. Other days I feel like I couldn't be closer to anyone in the world than I am to my husband and my baby. It's life. This is what we have always wanted. What better reason in the world to be sure we make each other a priority? We've had work, school, and a whole lot of other crap in the middle of us before. Now, we have our sweet baby girl. She needs 100% of us all the time. Okay, she probably needs like 70% of us all the time, but we want to give her a minimum of 100% because she's all we've ever dreamed of and more. Bottomline-she needs us both, a lot. We need each other. But, we need her just as much. Figuring out the first year as a family is incredible. It's incredibly life giving, perspective offering, and life changing. It means figuring out how to budget your time, energy, and emotions for everyone in the family (it's about budgeting dollars, too, but let's not go there). Now that there are three of us, the two adults in the situation have to provide for each other, support each other, be an example for the dependent of us, and decide what really is most important in each day because somehow, the days magically end quicker than ever before. Our time with our tiny little girl will be gone before we know it. She's only this little for so long and we strive for so much all at once. This whole post is a mess of thoughts in my head but, hello motherhood (I may or may not have just spelled "hello" with a "w" and had to fix it). 

A friend gifted us an outfit for Brooklynn awhile back. It was a one piece outfit with the phrase, "best day ever!" on the front. She said, "you're always so excited about everything and this was just so 'you', I had to get it for you!" It was one of the most thoughtful gifts we had received for our "angel straight from heaven." (Unfortunately, our little angel is growing ridiculously fast and by the time we received this gift it was long gone in the way of snapping onesies). I wanted to keep it because it was perfect but my friend insisted on returning it for something else. I let her. But anyway, the original gift...the phrase..it's true. Every day with Brooklynn is the best day ever. It's the best because she is the epitome of God's faithfulness and love. If my house is a mess, I haven't showered in days, and dinner is so far from my mind the only person on speed dial is Jimmy Johns, it's still the best day ever. I married the love of my life, and it was a perfect day. But, we married each other because we wanted to build a family together and grow old together and leave some kind of legacy. That day was leading up to the day we created our daughter and learned that we would be parents. Our marriage will always come first in the grand scheme of things. Always. But we have had time to build a solid foundation, an unshakeable foundation, that allows us to pour our hearts and our souls into our little miracle. We love her every day with all that we have and we strive to leave enough at the end of the night for the other to know it's all worth it and it's all the same and it's all so amazingly different all at once.

I guess I just needed to "verbalize" that regardless of the new trials we face, my husband is still my favorite person in the world-second to none. We've been married 10 years and they have been the BEST 10 years of my life. Even the hard ones.

Brooklynn will be 9 months old this Saturday. NINE! That's technically old enough to start planning her first birthday party. I don't even know what to do with myself. She needs to stop. Like yesterday. Gosh, she's so amazing. Every single day I'm beyond grateful for her and I constantly pinch myself, afraid that it will finally wake me up.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for our sweet sweet baby. Thank you for loving us and for teaching us how to love. Some days love is effortless. Some days it's really hard. But everyday it's a testament to perspective. If we are grateful for what we have, loving who we have it with just falls into place.

Today, is the best day ever. It's the best day because I have my husband and my baby and we have God as the foundation of our family, holding us all together. We are embracing the chaos of parenthood and have yet to feel "we're doing it right" but continue to press on because it's all we've ever wanted.

My everyday reminder that Jesus loves me.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seven Years in the Desert. Check.

Our adoption paperwork put us on hold almost three months ago, right before Christmas.  We were crushed.  We knew God had a plan, but that didn't make the pain any less excruciating and certainly didn't keep the holidays from being the darkest I've ever experienced.  I'm the girl who put her Christmas tree up the week of Halloween our first year married....and on Thanksgiving every year after that.  Last year we didn't have one at all. I cried more days than not.  But this year.  This year will be an entirely new experience.  As vaguely mentioned, in our last post, we sought out the guidance of a Reproductive Endocrinologist (aka fertility doctor).  Dr. Meghan has been amazing and was the best fit for us in the medical world.  From my first meeting with her, I knew she would be good to us.  Through heartbreaking test results and into each infertility procedure, she was an Godsend. Our first cycle didn't work.  I was ready to give up.  I wanted to undo the nursery and rid myself of the reminder.  I was making plans for the rest of my life and teaching myself to be content without babies, without children or grandchildren.  The grandchildren part made me cringe.  I didn't want to go through two generations of heartbreak, but I didn't know how much longer I could keep up with our current way of life.  

Adoption paperwork came back after the first "miss".  We wondered if God was just taking us on a random joy ride...that wasn't so joyful.  After deciding to move forward with finishing our Home Study update, our local agent went out of town.  She conveniently seems to go out of town for two weeks right when we need paperwork to meet a deadline.  While she was out, we went into the RE for cycle number two.  We knew we couldn't pursue adoption and infertility treatment at the same time.  Our adoption counselor warned us that we were treading a fine line...but as long as the Home Study wasn't in the hands of LB, we were technically only on one road.  She was an amazing support, she has been since I found her in August 2012.  

While our agent was on vacation, we endured our second "two week wait".  This was the time between our procedure and the day we could take a pregnancy test.  Our test was taken at 5am because a positive meant an immediate trip to the RE for a blood draw to confirm.  They only do these appointments between 7 and 9 with an emphasis on the 7.  So...I took my test.

Adam was still in bed, waiting for my phone timer to go off.  For the record, last month that timer was set for 10 minutes.  God gave us grace this time...the instructions (on the same kind of test) said only three minutes.  Longest. three. minutes...ofmylife. No line.  Damn it. (enter Baby Mama scene of Tina Fey in the bathroom by the mirror, surrounded by optimistic notes about getting pregnant and "this is is!", Tina drops negative test in trash can, head down, kicks the can and leaves the bathroom.  My heart sinks every.time. I see that scene.)  Wait.  THIS picture on the instructions says positive..."Adam (ever so cautiously)....I think it's positive."  He comes into the bathroom, puts on his "boss" face ("I got this....") and looks at the test.  Then looks at the instructions.  Then looks at the test.  "Just kidding." I say.  "I looked at the pictures wrong....this matches that...it's negative. Why can't we read picture instructions?!"  To which Adam says, "but it looks like...yeah...it does look like that one..." Me: "WAIT! Do you see that? I'm not making this up.  That's a pink line!  That a vertical pink line!!! "ANY vertical line is a positive.  It may be very faint." I read aloud.  Adam gets closer to the test...his boss face fading.  "I mean. Maybe.  But man...it's barely there!  This would make you crazy!" "Yeah...it DOES make women crazy!  I took 7 last month. But I've NEVER seen a line.  Never." Adam says, "I think that's a line.  That might be a line.  Now what?" "Well, now we call the doctor....at 7 when they open." Adam: "I think that's a line." Me: "It's a line!!! It's a line.  It's invisible...but it's a line." No one gets excited.  We know we see it.  But we know how badly we WANT to see it.  So I hop in the shower and we get ready for our visit to the doctor.  Here's the test.  Tell me this wouldn't make you crazy. I'll even give you a giant sized photo:
So we head to the doctor.  They draw blood, send me home, and I go to my friend A's house with my test.  No validation from the Dr. yet.  A answers the door and I say, "Game over." hand her my test and relief immediately washes over her face.  She gives me the best hug I've had in my life from a friend and hasn't even looked at the test yet.  Once the tears are wiped away, she looks at it in her dark kitchen by the back door and says, "I SEE IT!  EVEN IN THE DARK, I CAN SEE IT! YOU'RE HAVING A BABY!"  We celebrate like little girls and tell her little boy, who joins in.  Then it was on to the phone calls and announcements for our parents and my lifeline/support group/mommy chain.  Meanwhile, I'm chomping at the bit hoping I don't have to call them all back if the doctor ever calls...and gives bad news.

FINALLY at 3pm (I went in at SEVEN!), the nurse calls and confirms our fabulous news.  "It's a good, strong positive.  You are pregnant!"  Oh good, because I told half the world while I was waiting on you.  

I confirmed with Adam who celebrated briefly at work with a coworker who heard our phone conversation.

Once we both made it home at the end of the day, (Thank you A for letting me crash in your living room all day to make phone calls and to celebrate with you in between announcements and for helping me come up with all the ways to tell everyone!!! You and O are the best!) I walked into the bedroom and Adam was sitting in the floor.  He had showered after work, but that was as far as he made it.  We never really hang out in our bedroom floor so I sat next to him and asked what he was thinking about. "I don't know." And then we sat.  And stared. For about 20 minutes.  Finally, Adam says, "I think we're supposed to do something." "I don't know what to do.  What should we do?" "Well, I'm hungry.  We could eat." "That's a good idea.  Something normal.  Let's eat and then we can figure out what to do next." And then we sat.  And stared.  For about 15 minutes until Adam said, "I think we're supposed to do something." and I said, "Ok. We said we were gonna eat.  Let's go eat." So we decide to go out to celebrate and then come home.  And we sat.  And stared.  This went on for two days.  Sit. Stare. Eat. Work. Sit. Stare. Sleep. Repeat.  I made more phone calls on Friday and spent the day doing absolutely nothing productive and ate maybe half a meal all day because I was stuck in the chair.  Just sitting.  And staring.  And answering excited text messages and phone calls, mostly from all the same people who were told on Wednesday.

Enter Saturday.  7:20am.  I'm up with no alarm and Adam has been working for two hours already, in the dining room.  "Good morning, honey...I think we should just tell everybody." Adam:"shouldn't we...wait? Until it's more official?" Me: "It's as official as it's gonna get.  SO many people have been waiting with us, I want to share it.  If anything is going to happen, we will need every bit of support we can get.  But hopefully, nothing happens and we can all celebrate together that much longer.  I can't keep it in anymore."  Adam: "you can do whatever you want.  You have a good point.  Let's make a list so we don't forget anyone."  So I made our list and worked my way down from 7:30-11:30.  I finally stopped, made sure all family knew, and told Adam, "it's going on Facebook.  I'll be on the phone all day if I call everyone." So there you have it.  It's on Facebook.  So it's official. (oy...facebook...):

 "And then there were three...."

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Christmas Phone Call We Weren't Expecting

I was finishing up my shopping and talking to my cousin on the phone while driving to my next destination for Christmas gifts.  Mid-sentence I interrupted here with, "Our agency is calling!  Hang on!  They showed our profile yesterday.  I'll call you back!"

Me: Hello?

LB: Hi!  This is S from Love Basket, is this Nichole?!
Me: Yes, it is.  Hi, S! (She never calls, it's always L.  Oh my gosh.  Is this actually happening right now?  Am I actually getting my match phone call at Christmas?!)
LB: Hi Nichole!  How are you doing today?
Me: I'm good...and you? (I hope you're fine so we can move on already... why are you calling?  Did she pick us?! Oh gosh.  This is happening.")

LB: I'm good.  I'm calling about your profile.
Me: Yes...?! (bouncing in my seat now...thankfully I'm in a parking lot, not moving my car) 

LB: We've spoken with your home study agency and it looks like you're fingerprints and background clearances are backed up due to the government shut down and a change of policy there in Nebraska, is that right?
Me: Yes. E was supposed to contact L regarding the details.  There's a chance they can come back in a reasonable amount of time, but also a chance they could take longer. (deflated...she's calling about random paperwork issues)

LB: Yes. We spoke with E and it looks like we're looking at a pretty extensive wait time.  I'm sorry to tell you this, but we just can't show your profile without those clearances so we're going to have to put  you on hold here at LB.
Me: (defeated).

I have no idea what I said next.  Something about "Is there anything else we can do?" and "Could we get an extension of any sort on last year's clearances?" and random other grasping-at-straws sort of begging.  Nothing.  She couldn't do a thing for us. Both our state and federal criminal clearance was being held up due to the shut down, lay-offs, and backed-up files to process.  Without that clearance, our Home Study couldn't be updated, and we were out of time.  We had followed all instructions, all protocol, all deadlines.  For everything.  And now we're on hold for an indefinite amount of time.  No more situation emails.  No more potential birth mothers.  No more hoping they'll call this time and give us great news.  No more.  It's all on hold.

I called Adam in tears and updated him on the situation.  We were both disappointed and didn't want to talk about anything until we had time alone to think it through.

It's been a rough journey.  We were prepared for this experience to be difficult.  We weren't prepared for it to be excruciating.  Our relationship, our finances, and our emotions have all been tested.  Every slight setback cost hundreds of dollars.  Every new step cost thousands.  Every "annual" packet/update/study/report/anything else you please only lasted about 9 months...and cost hundreds to keep updated and on file.  Our entire lives were invaded, investigated, questioned.  

This time last year we were finishing up our profile book, excited for the possibility of becoming a family of three in 2013.  And four months before that, we were filling out our first packet of paperwork and planning our financial journey for this exciting endeavor.  We were all in.

After several days of thinking through our options, and praying for open doors and about what to do next, we've decided to take this as a closed door and move forward.

Our fingerprints and background clearances are still out there waiting for processing.  Once they come back, we'll tell our agency what we want to do about it.  But in the meantime, our adoption journey has been put on pause and we're going to pursue other options.

I've shared my few experiences with my doctor and my (failed) attempt at seeing a fertility specialist.  I don't plan to share much more than that because those encounters are just too personal for me to broadcast to everyone who has an internet connection and the ability to type.  But, I will say that we have options and we're moving forward with them.  If this adoption door opens back up in the future we will consider the details and go from there.  But, I don't see it going very far and am ready to turn my thoughts in a new direction.

We have hope for 2014 to be drastically different than 2013.  No one looking over our shoulders.  No one peering into every crevice and detail of our lives.  No sitting on pins and needles hoping someone will decide in her own mind that we will be great parents for her baby.  

We're closing the book on that chapter and choosing to write a new one.  

This blog was started for sharing our adoption journey.  That being said, it's coming to a close this year.  If our journey picks back up later, so will this story.  But for now, while everything is saying "Do Not Enter", we will be off the radar over here.

Thank you to all of our family and friends for your support on our adoption journey.  We have an interesting Winter ahead of us with the start of a new year that doesn't involve the roller coaster of emotions that is domestic adoption.  I'm looking forward to what Spring has in store whether we pick this back up or there's something more.

Please continue to pray for us as we earnestly pursue building our family.

Happy New Year to you and yours!
Adam and Nichole Lewis

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Refined In Fire

There's a maturity that's found in unconditional love, in a marriage that's remained unbroken.  As Adam and I have grown together, I've seen our marriage mature.  I've watched our love grow into something far more seasoned than flittering first dates and first kisses.  I know we have a long way to go and are still young.  I'm not saying, by any means, that we have "arrived".  I don't believe love ever "arrives", but either grows or dies.

This journey has tested my faith.  I would be lying if I said I haven't doubted that God even exists.  And I know more than I know that I'm breathing, that He does.  I know He has a plan.  I just can't see it all. 

A few weeks ago, I learned a new fact about caterpillars and butterflies.  Science lends us the opportunity to listen to the sounds of a caterpillar inside its cocoon.  Studies have proven those sounds to be of pain and agony.  Not of rest and serenity as I've always imagined. 

I can feel God changing me.  I've had many moments in my life where I've stopped and thought, "This is it.  This is the end of this road.  I'm growing up and I'm moving on."  Every time I feel it, it's the same.  And it's happening again. I can feel maturity in my friendships.  I can feel it in my family.  I can feel it in my marriage. I have no idea what's coming next.  And I'm not saying I know a baby is coming tomorrow.  Because I don't.  And in a way...this has nothing to do with when a Baby will join our family.  But I feel like a caterpillar.  I've been in pain.  In darkness.  And really...all the while...wrapped so very tightly and held safely.  But the agony has overpowered the sense of snug, warm protection.  But some days, and more days now than I've had in awhile, there seems to be a ray of light that shines in...even if only for a moment.  But each day, I find something new that doesn't make this any easier, but helps me endure another day.  I don't know who God is making me.  But I know he's changing me.  And I don't know what our family will look like one day, or how it will all come together, but I know we will have a family.

I have no clue when I will finally meet and hold my sweet baby.  But I know that when I do, it will all be the way God designed it long before I was ever here myself.

Christmas this year has been hard for me.  It's been a season to endure.  I've had to celebrate on purpose and find joy in the season.  I've never had to work so hard to be in the mood for a holiday and it's been an interesting experience.  As the day draws closer, though, I'm able to focus more on Jesus and the celebration that He is here, and the reminder that God is in control of my life and the entire universe.  I may not be in the mood for trees and lights and cookies and Christmas movies...but the heart of the season is still something I'm celebrating in my own life, in my own way.  Maybe even appreciating a little more.  This year Christmas is a season of believing what I can't see and holding onto what I know is Truth.  No matter what.

And because I can't close this post without doing so, I want to remind myself, my husband, and anyone else on our journey, that I have a husband who loves me more than anyone else in my life.  I have a husband who has shown me unconditional love, patience, and pure joy.  I can't imagine being on this journey with anyone else and I love him as much as I feel loved...maybe even more than that. ;)  Adam, you're my best friend.  I'm honored to be your wife. 

Thank you for praying for us.  Please continue to do so.  Please continue prayers for our Birth Mother, whoever she is, that she has peace in her heart while making an adoption plan and that our Birth Father does as well.  Pray for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.  And as always, please continue to pray for peace in our home while we walk this path together and face new challenges.  We love our friends and family and are blessed to have so many of you on this journey with us.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Life On purpose

Everyday I am concious of my mood, my perspective, and every day has been a struggle. 

It's a dark place to reside. But I seek you anyway. I cry for you. And I yell at you. And I feel like you walked away and just decided I would be fine on my own. But I know that's doubt. And I know it's a lie. So I keep crying. And I keep seeking. And I know I will be at peace again. But for now, I hurt. I hurt and I place my trust in you that the hurt I feel is still in light of your love. I know you know what you're doing. I just have no frieking clue what's going on. And I guess that's okay. 

Love you. Thank you for leading me even if I can't see or feel you. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I've blogged our journey for the last year.  I'm taking a break.  I have every intention of picking back up, but for now, updates and public journal entries are on hold.  Please continue to pray for our family and for our Birth Mother, whoever she may be.  Pray that God uses the rest of our waiting to prepare to be the parents he has created us to be and to keep us in His perfect peace.

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Tactics

I may have mentioned quite awhile ago that I had an update pending.  I did.  I just didn't realize it would take me so long to get it posted. 

We finally received word about the last of September's back to back to back babies.  The third Birth Mother (for September) to view our profile is due on Halloween and she had asked for an extension on her appointment so she could think more about her adoption plan.  In the end, she chose to parent her baby herself.  We learned that she had made this same choice, with Love Basket, once before.  At the end of the day, it's easier for me to let go of a potential match when the Birth Mother chooses herself over someone else.  How can I feel sad that she didn't pick me...if she didn't pick anyone else?  It's just easier to process...because it's so natural and it just makes sense to me.  Regardless of her circumstances, it makes sense to me.

Our October update came a couple weeks ago while I was in Missouri for my grandmother's funeral.  I didn't get a good look at it because we were on our way to one of the services, but I noticed that the first new client mentioned would be looking at profiles fairly soon. She was scheduled to look at profiles near the end of October, but her appointment has since been moved to the beginning of November.  Appointments get moved now and then, so it's not usually a sign of anything specific.  This Birth Mother is in Kansas and will require a little more work on behalf of our agency since they do not place babies from Kansas.  Love Basket will contract a local agency to take care of state specifics and both agencies will work together.  This doesn't mean anymore paperwork (yay!) but may mean extra fees at placement.  I'm not holding my breath because it just seems a little on the complicated side.  And I'm tired.

I've been waiting for a baby for almost 11 months and in the meantime, have said goodbye to, and attended funerals for, two people very close to me.  It's a sad, sucky irony.  But I'm finding my way and pushing forward because it's the only thing there really is to do.

Adam and I have talked about me going back to work, just to stay busy.  But, I don't want to be busy "just because".  I can do that at home just fine and going back to work means commitment to another family and I just can't help anyone else raise their babies right now.  It's not an option for me.  I made my decision and we firmly believe we made the right one.  I've considered smaller, part-time jobs. But, the take home pay is so small after taxes that it's more frustrating than not working!  I'm loving my time at home and have found plenty to do.  At the end of the day, none of the jobs I've considered are really worth the trade off.  So, I'm staying put.  That being said, I have enrolled for two classes this Winter.  I'm just shy of my Associate's degree and I'm ready to go back to school.  I had taken a break so we could move and was quite enjoying the free time I had gained!  I also needed the time off for a little sanity check after hitting the books so hard and all of a sudden.  I've enjoyed my year off, was able to start the adoption process without worrying about homework or tests, and now it's calmed down enough that I can pick those academic stresses back up.  I'm not in a hurry and because my local college operates on quarters, I can take fewer classes at a time and still finish in one "semester."  Yippee!  I have two classes scheduled to start in December and Winter quarter will end in February.  This may shorten our potential travel time for Christmas, but otherwise, it couldn't be more perfect.  Once these are finished, I have three left that I plan to take in March and be able to graduate in May.  We will have to play the adoption thing by ear and see what's happening when it's time to register for Spring.  Because, of course, (maybe?!) Spring Quarter may be put on hold so I can travel to pickup my baby!

End of random tangent.

The rest of our October newsletter was full of more babies.  All of the Birth Mothers listed will be looking at profiles in November sometime.  Beyond that, I know nothing.  I don't remember the details of any particular situation and I'm trying to keep it that way.  I've gone into this whole thing with my eyes wide open, my heart on my sleeve, and allowing myself to feel every single second.  But, I need a break.  I need to not know what's happening at all so that I can't sit on pins and needles hoping.  I'm finding more to do to keep me busy and while I can't say yet that it's working...I've got the hope of (maybe) a change of pace.  We shall see.

Halloween will be quiet around here.  One day we'll be in full costume, parading around with our ridiculously,adorably dressed tots and collecting candy (that we may or may not use to teach valuable life lessons like sharing...with Mom and Dad).  But this year, we'll keep it low key and maybe find a scary movie to watch if I can get my husband to put his big boy pants on! (Love you, honey!)

Thank you for praying with us on our journey.  Your thoughts and prayers and support mean the world to us!  Please continue to pray for our Birth Mother to have peace in her planning.