Fertility Journey · Uncategorized

We’re ADOPTING!

Jake and I have decided to move forward with the adoption process. ❤️

Adoption has always been part of our heartbeat – we just didn’t think it was going to be our first step towards a family. We envisioned having biological children early in our marriage and then beginning the adoption process later as our children grew older… BUT God had different plans for us!

We know this journey can be challenging and emotional in and of itself, but my goodness we are excited! Emotions have been all over the place, but it feels so good to know that we are ready for a child – who was not born from us, but is already a part of our hearts.

I am sure there will be so many questions that you have for us, so let me start by answering a few basic ones here first.

Do you already have a child that is waiting for you to adopt them?:

No, we do not. A while back we were approached about an independent adoption of a young girl’s child, but that journey has stopped and at this time we are no longer pursuing that route. (That was a VERY difficult and emotional few weeks for us as we thought this door had been opened only to find it closed so abruptly.)

We will be going through an Adoption Agency called: Adoptions From the Heart. They have an office here in Lancaster. Our desire is for a newborn (from the hospital). We would so greatly love to have an Open Adoption as we know this can be healing for all individuals involved: birth parents, child(ren), and adoptive parents.

What does the process look like?:

GREAT question! We don’t totally know yet. We will be sending our application in soon (as soon as we get it filled out and ready to go). Once the application is in, we will wait to hear from them and prepare for the next steps: educational courses, home study, etc.

What if you get pregnant while going through the adoption process?:

We will continue the process! God obviously placed this on our hearts for a reason, and we aren’t going to stop that process unless a door is completely shut for us. If that means we have two children around the same age, then what an exciting and eventful journey!

Jake and I are committing to adopting a precious child, and a pregnancy will not stop the process. We just may need a few extra hands of help, ❤️.

What is the cost?:

Nearly $40,000.

Let me break that down:

Application Process: $500

Educational Courses: $600

Home Study: $1,600

Program Fee: $6,500

Pre-placement Meeting: $100/hour

Placement Fee: $23,000 (additional $11,500 for twins)

Post-placement Report: $2,000 ($3000 for twins)

Medical Expenses: total of costs not covered by birth mother’s insurance

PA Legal Fees to Lawyer: approx $2,000-$2,500

You can check out the full breakdown of the fees HERE.

Jake and I have some pretty amazing family members, friends, and business friends (who are like a family). The outpouring of love, prayers, support, and encouragement is hard to fully take in and comprehend. We have been blessed by so many who want to support us financially in some way or another. We will keep you updated on ways you can help, as they arise.

Someone just called me today to offer to pay for our application fee. I AM SPEECHLESS. It’s hard to have the words to truly express how we are feeling right now. I’ve cried many times as the calls keep coming in about ways to love us and support us through this journey.

We love you all so deeply, and we are so excited to finally start our family. Thanks to each and every one of you.

Uncategorized

Unfortunately, we did not receive the scholarship again this time around. Although it’s a tough one to swallow as we hoped to move forward in that direction, we now continue to pray harder towards the route of IVF or Adoption.

Our hearts are torn as we long for our sweet family to grow.

To those who continue to pour in to us, love us, pray for us, encourage us, and ask us how we’re doing: THANK YOU!

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year!

It sure

Fertility Journey

Next Steps.

While we wait to hear back from the grant organization (AGC Foundation), we are moving forward in prayer over adoption, fostering, and IVF. They should be making the decisions this week on who they are selecting for the grant. Patiently waiting a response. This grant would go towards a few rounds of medicated fertility treatments (preferably the Pure FSH rounds with ultrasounds). If you remember from previous posts, my body did not handle the Clomid (extremely moody) or Letrozole (intense migraine 24/7).

It is recommended for a few rounds (4-6 cycles) to conceive. Statistically it does not happen the first few times so I factored that when I applied for the grant. Each cycle is approximately $1500.00, so funding through AGC Foundation (or another organization) to be able to do this would be a blessing.

 

If we do not receive the grant, what are our next steps?:

Jake and I have gone to a few meetings/events about adoption and fostering recently. The most recent event at our church was pretty amazing. They had a panel from various Lancaster County organizations, adoptive parents, foster parents, a birth mother, and an adopted child (now an adult). It was so beautiful to hear from all those different perspectives and to give us a better direction on where we are feeling led.

My heart is still set on adoption of a newborn, but we are becoming more and more open and excited for a future adoption of an older child (age 6+). We understand that is where the biggest need is right now.

After reviewing a few of the organizations and options, it has come to our attention that in this moment – fostering is not our path. We both feel this may be a good fit for us later in life, but I don’t know that my heart could handle such loss after attachment.

Jake and I have also been able to narrow the organization down to Adoptions From The Heart (at this time). They have Open Infant Domestic Adoption (newborn from the hospital) with the opportunity to meet the birth parent(s) and great minimum standards for contact after placement.

If you would like to know how to best pray for us in this moment, we are praying and deciding between IVF or newborn Adoption – if we do not receive the grant. However, we also continue to pray for wisdom and connections with a young girl/couple who is choosing to not abort, but are wanting to put their sweet child up for adoption after birth. I feel led to continue mentioning this, as perhaps someone reading this will know of someone in this type of situation.

 

What’s the cost for the Adoption?

After calculating the cost, it seems to come in just under $40,000. While this number may seem daunting, we have a great God who can do amazing things. If this is the path the Lord leads us down, He will provide.

 

What’s the cost for IVF?

I don’t have an exact number for this, but if I remember the numbers correctly it will be between $20,000-$30,000. Although we have tried to avoid lots of medications throughout this process, we may need to go this route.

 

How will you raise the funds?

Great question! Again, God will provide. We’ll most likely get creative with fun/interactive ways for our friends, family, and acquaintances to help us reach the goals along the way, as they feel led. We will probably do this for either of the two options.

If you have any great ideas for fundraisers, or ones that would inspire you to give to a loved one – let us know! We are excited about this part of the journey!

 

Here are a few fundraising ideas I have:

  1. Sell puzzle pieces of an image we choose. Each person that purchases one writes their name on the back. We will frame this, and hang in the nursery.
  2. Jake (and maybe my Dad & Brother) will build an item (bench, picnic table, etc.) to sell to raise funds.
  3. Painting gourd birdhouses, slate pieces, wood, etc. to sell.
  4. Make fudge, homemade hard candy, or other great food items to sell.
  5. Ordering bracelets
  6. T-shirt orders
  7. Crowdfunding (need to do some more research on this)
  8. Hand out jars with a special note to friends/family who want to participate – and have them fill with spare change. Fun family activity.
  9. Yard Sale (people can donate items to be sold)
  10. Flock-A-Friend: look it up! HAHA!
  11. Set-up a photo shoot, and either pay a photographer or find someone to donate their time – families would pay by donations towards our adoption/IVF.

Which one is your favorite?

 

Thank you for all your continued prayers and encouragement. We love you all!

 

Fertility Journey

I pray we never forget our journey.

I have grown to realize that many don’t know/understand the hurt behind their words. Although a simple phrase can be so hurtful, I truly believe they just don’t understand.

Phrases NOT to say to someone struggling with fertility:

“you will be a Mommy/Daddy someday…”
“you’d be great parents…”
“you’ve just gotta keep practicing…”
“have you thought about adoption?…”
“just stop thinking about it, it’ll happen…”
“ugh, kids are such a pain – be glad you don’t have any…”
“have fun with it…”
“want to borrow my child?…”
“oh, my friend struggled with fertility… they did this…”
“just adopt a kid, then you’ll get pregnant…”
“stop being so upset/depressed…”
“you really should be happy with what you’ve been blessed with in life already…”
“enjoy just the two of you…”
“oh, I bet that’s great birth control for you…” (when changing a diaper, hearing a kid throwing a fit, etc. – FYI, none of that turns me away from being a Mommy)

We’ve heard them all, and more. These statements have stung (some pretty deep) over the years. Many of them come from a pure heart and from someone who wants to love, encourage, and give us advice. While we love you, please think through your words before speaking to someone hurting (whether fertility or another situation in their life).

Our hearts have been created to love children. We know the challenges of parenthood (and I know we’ll understand them fully when we are parents), but that does NOT deter us from wanting sweet children. Any chance I get, I will change both of my nieces’ diapers. If one is fussy/crying I’ll snatch them up and attempt to calm them. I thoroughly enjoy walking through the door or in to a room and being greeted by their sweet smiles and pure joy. God has designed my heart as a Mommy, and Jake’s heart as a Daddy.

What are some phrases you can use instead?:

“We love you.”
“Our hearts and our prayers are with you both.”
“How are you doing?”
“How can I help carry your burdens?”
“Want to meet up for coffee or a game night?”
“Been thinking about you…”
“I don’t understand all that you’re going through, but if you ever want to talk I am here…”

Guess what? We’re still humans who thrive on human interaction. We have bad days and sometimes need time alone, but most we still enjoy normal activities. You can simply let us know you love us and are praying for us – as we are ready we will share more. When we do share, listen. Your suggestions may be great ones, but we usually aren’t ready to hear them (and most likely have heard them before and/or tried them already).

 

Do you know what can hurt the most?

When someone who has been through their own fertility journey (recently or years ago) truly forgets the pain, fear, frustrations, hurt, emotional roller coasters each month and so forth. They say just as hurtful of statements, and try to downplay parenthood to make you feel better. “We didn’t realize kids would be this difficult…” “I wish we would have spent more time as just the two of us before kids…” I pray that Jake and I never forget our journey. That we never forget our joys, sorrows, and pain through these many years – and that we always love and encourage others who also struggle.

May we use this pain to show others love.

May we use this pain to show others love..png

 

Fertility Journey

“God, just give us a baby.”

It’s been a rough few months.

Still no baby. Lots of heartache. Continuing to hold on to hope, even as it seems to fade.

It’s difficult to keep posting as there is no exciting updates on our journey, but I know our difficult times are just as important to post.

As I lay in bed this evening weeping, Jake held me and cried out to God: “God, just give us a baby!” That prayer was healing tonight. A simple cry out to the Lord – one I’ve often prayed myself, but sunk in more as I heard it escape his lungs. We cried together.

We are broken. In our brokenness we cry out for healing, comfort, answers, and our yearning to be parents.

Our hearts ache. Daily, hourly, and sometimes as each minute passes.

I had been writing affirmations every morning as I woke, and evening before bed (started them again this evening). Here is an excerpt from them: “I love being an influential Aunt and an amazing Mommy.” I may not be a Mommy yet (nor Jake a Daddy), but Lord willing we will be parents some day.

We covet your prayers.

Fertility Journey

It’s been a while.

Sorry our posts have been so few and far between!

We have had a very active and great summer, and I haven’t set aside much time to sit down and really write.  What a blessing to have the summer to spend more time together as a couple and TRAVEL! We’ve been traveling for missions, family vacation, business, and weddings. I think our big travels are complete for the summer, but we had such a wonderful time. Here is a brief overview of our summer:

Andover, NY – Bachelorette/Bridal Shower for my (Shelly) cousin, Patty!:
Such a blessing to shower her with love that weekend! The Bachelorette consisted of a painting party and then checking out a few bars – favorite being Cider Creek Hard Cider. I highly recommend making your way there if you’re up that way!

It was so wonderful to catch up with my sweet cousins, cry, and laugh. These women are near and dear to my heart. ❤

 

Washington, DC – Missions trip with our youth through Experience Mission:
Jake and I served in the mission field for our very first time TOGETHER. We have both gone on missions trip in the past, but never together. It was such a joy to serve alongside of each other for a week in Washington, DC. We painted, ran a kid’s club, yard work, cleaned the streets, fed the homeless, and so much more. 

Cape May, NJ – Family VACATION for a week! 
First time in a while we’ve gone on a long family vacation. It was such a wonderful time spending quality time with our precious niece for her first experience at the beach/bay. She bonded a lot with Jake over this trip – what a joy to watch that unfold. Each morning we would wake up to her coming out in to the living room and squealing at us, <3.

We went to the bay and beach, learned new games, checked out local antique shops, enjoyed crabbing (caught 30 crabs), walked around at the Cape May Zoo, played mini golf at an awesome location, and so much more!

I could not just pick a few photos from our trip, so enjoy!

 

Duluth, GA – trip with our company to our Home Office.
Such an incredible experience! Jake and I have been in the business since 2011, and had never made it down to our Home Office. We had the opportunity to meet many influential individuals, and learn from some of the best in our business. Opened our vision even wider – educating and helping more families around the US, Pennsylvania, and Lancaster!

We stayed with our great friends, Jason & Christi. Reconnecting with them was so wonderful! Our company does a weekly live broadcast, and we were able to be a part of it! 😀

Bliss, NY (and Rexville, NY) – Patty & Darren’s Wedding:
Oh what a joy to be with family! We love spending any chance we have to be with them. Laughing, dancing, and playing games. Such a great celebration of MARRIAGE!

…and any opportunity to hold a precious little one, I’ll take it! Lots of baby snuggles!

 

As you can see, it’s been a whirlwind of exciting adventures. Have we forgotten about our fertility journey? No. However, it was nice to have a healthy break from dwelling on it daily. Distractions can be good, at times – and this summer has been a healthy distraction.

Please pray for us as we make decisions on how to move forward in our journey.

Fertility Journey

Acupuncture: First Visit

Tuesday, January 9th Jake and I celebrated 14 years since we first started dating! How cool is that?! This year, today, I had my first acupuncture appointment and loved it. I was slightly nervous about it before arriving, but also very excited to start down our new path towards fertility health. I have heard many success stories with fertility, and I could not wait to get started.

I arrived at the location, took my shoes off, and filled out some paperwork. I sat with the Acupuncturist, Nick, for about 30 minutes to discuss my life, background, goals for acupuncture, etc. Nick was very kind, down to earth, and showed a caring spirit. Through talking he expressed his desire for me to begin exercising. He encouraged me to find something I’m passionate about to help with motivating me to exercise – that was a nice perspective (rather than just telling me to work out).

Then, it was time to begin! (Yay!)

Many people have wondered – “what should I expect at an appointment.” I suppose that depends on the Acupuncturist and the specific technique they are doing or area they are focusing on at that visit. For my first visit he needed my feet, and my entire back. The room was kept at a warm temperature, so that made it comfortable. Once he came back in, he began. I cannot even begin to explain how amazed I was that I didn’t even feel the needles! I truly thought he was just tapping on my back at first, until I realized he kept doing it so it must have been the needles. Nick started with my back, placed a few there. Then he placed one on the top of my head (was nervous about this one, but again felt nothing), and one on each of my ankles.

He made sure I was comfortable, and left the room for 5-10 minutes. He returned to check on me, and then left the room for another 10 minutes (or so) to allow me to continue relaxing. Trust me when I tell you, it was relaxing. On a side note, my face always has an itch when I’m getting a massage or now, Acupuncture. (haha!) After returning again, he removed the needles and let me get up in my own time. The most I felt the needles was when he removed them – however, that still was an incredibly minor twinge.

What have I noticed since the appointment?:

I really did not expect to notice anything immediately, but I did. It is amazing how you have a symptom in your life for so long that you seem to become blind towards it. I have regularly been getting headaches/migraines again. I really am not sure why. I know gluten is a main cause, but I have eliminated that from my diet. Stress is a leading factor as well, and Jake has honed in on his skills of massage to release the stress in my shoulders/neck. I am getting adjusted at the Chiropractor regularly and taking supplements from my Nutritionist (maybe not as well as I should be) – so those have helped. I didn’t notice how foggy my mind had been until today – when it finally cleared. About an hour after leaving the appointment my head felt less foggy – like I could focus more. My energy level had increased significantly – which has been pretty low lately. I had a minor headache before the appointment, that went away. I don’t even know how to explain it, really, but I did notice those few “symptoms” going away!

What is my follow-up?:

I have my next appointment on Tuesday, January 23rd. He recommended weekly for the first month and then bi-weekly following, but with our two schedules the 23rd was the earliest I was able to get in there. With Chinese Acupuncture it is recommended to do at least 3 months in a row for fertility.

I hope this post can bring some encouragement to someone who has been contemplating Acupuncture (for whatever reason). I am excited to see what is to come with this! I have linked Nick’s page up above in you live in the Lancaster, PA area!

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