We have been home with our precious "Baby Dash" since August 2010! Now, we are embarking on a new and very different journey as we pursue the domestic adoption route!

To keep up on the most recent family happenings - check out our family blog - www.thekeyserfamily.blogspot.com!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Finishing the Journey

4 weeks ago we were on our way to Florida.  It is hard to believe time has flown that fast.  So much was in the balance 4 weeks ago but now here we are home where things are going splendid with our little love who is growing more each day and her siblings just adore her. Malachi keeps saying "I think we should keep her forever."  We keep reassuring him that she is here to stay. This adjustment to baby #4 has gone great, even though we're very tired and busier than ever.  She is a very laid back baby and as soon as we can get bedtime moved up an hour or so for her things will be even better!

This past week we had our first social worker visit.  We need to have 2 social worker visits before we can finalize her adoption.   We also know there are some important court hearings coming up in the next week that will also pave the way to finalization.  Our goal is to finalize by the end of October or early November!  

It is hard to believe this adoption journey is coming to an end.  It is also amazing to see how God is in the details.  When we felt God leading us to adopt Malachi, it ended up being right around the exact time he was being conceived.  In a similar manner, we felt God leading us to this adoption around the same time this little Miss was coming into conception.  From start to finish this process took just about as long as a typical pregnancy.  

We're still learning to navigate the complexities of birth parent relationships. Watching the grief and loss unfold right in front of us is not easy.  If I can take anything away from this journey I fully understand that adoption is an act of love, especially with how readily available abortions are.  L is our only child who's life very well could have been ended before she was even born and the gravity of that reality isn't lost on us. The fact that so many would find that acceptable is disgusting to me.  I am so thankful her first mommy chose life!   Our little girl was very much loved from the beginning. Adoption is not the easy choice. I've also learned that sometimes circumstances are not fair and nobody should judge others based on preconceived notions about their situation.  My heart has learned many lessons through these adoption journey's and for that I am very grateful.  It gives me a whole new perspective on the world around me.
 

Adoption is not an easy journey. In fact, both times it was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. It was not easy to wait and know Malachi was growing up on the other side of the world without me. My heart longed so much to hold him and have him with us.  It was not easy to hit multiple delays in getting him home with us.  It was so hard to watch L's mom make this choice. It was hard to watch family drama unfold when she was already suffering enough. It was not easy to sit and wait in a nursery for 48 hours, falling in love with a baby and knowing there was always a possibility she wouldn't be leaving with us.  Adoption is tough, but I assure you the joy at the finish line is worth it.  Coming up with the funds for an adoption makes me cringe and I know the number one reason I hear people say they won't adopt is the cost.  I assure you, God will provide.  Even today, I don't know how we funded 2 adoptions, and while we still have a pretty large balance we need to come up with to finish off L's adoption. She was and is worth it!  If God is calling you, please listen. There are so many kids this whole world round who need a loving family and I know God will guide your journey every step of the way. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

The DAY!


Peter and I got to bed really late as the anticipation of the coming day was bugging us a bit. It also didn't help that we were in a different time zone and our clocks were still on the west coast. Finally we settled in and slept good.  We got up and got ready for the day at 6:30 and slowly got ready. Knowing the induction was supposed to start at 8, we figured we wouldn't hear anything for awhile beyond that, so we might as well just take our time.  We went into the lobby and ate a relaxing breakfast.  Surprisingly I woke up with total peace but I could tell Peter was a little bit nervous.

After eating we came back to the room and waited.  Just as I started to doze off (around 9:30) my phone rang and it was our attorney telling us the birth mother was at the hospital for the induction and for us to just hang tight as she requested us to not come to the hospital.  The number one rule for adoption I feel like is to roll with the changes and be flexible.  So we prepared to wait it out.  We went and did a little bit of shopping and then started to drive around and explore the area.  Around 11:30 my phone rang again and it was our attorney.  To our surprise, she said the birth mother had now requested that we come and meet her at the hospital now.  We had to wait and coordinate things with the hospital social worker at so we decided to head back to the room and grab our stuff and go and find some flowers.  We had no expectation (as this was not part of our birth mother's plan) of meeting her today so needless to say we were caught a little off guard and wanted to make sure we gave her a good impression.

Around 12:30 we got a call from the social worker and headed up to the hospital.  The social worker took us in and introduced us and then left.  Here we were, alone with the woman who was going to give us her most precious gift.  The flowers were a great icebreaker and she was thrilled to have them.  She was very easy to talk to and conversation went so smooth.  We found out at this point she was still waiting for the induction to start.  Eventually, the doctor came in to administer the epidural and we offered to leave but she assured me that she wanted me to stay (Peter left).  Thus began the journey of our bonding.  The induction finally started and she was on her way.  The poor thing started getting really sick and I felt horrible for her.  It was so weird to be on the OTHER side of the delivery room. We wanted to be totally respectful of her and I knew she was getting tired so we let her have a little break. She assured us that she wanted us to come back and be with her.

We were told the induction would move slowly and if all went well, we would have a baby before midnight.  So we ate some lunch and then hung back out around the hotel room. We told the birth mother to let us know when she was ready for us to come back so I assumed she must have still been resting. After a few hours of waiting though, we decided we would head back over there and if the nurses said she was resting then we would just wait in the waiting room until she was ready for us. This was around 4PM.  We got up to the hospital and I buzzed the nurses where they asked if we wouldn't mind waiting in the waiting room and they would let us know when we could go in.  We just figured she was still resting. After about 5 minutes of waiting, my phone rang and it was the birth mother.  I will never forget what she had to say, as I said hello she responded with "She's Here!".  Um what?  We were only gone 2 hours and the birth mother was only 1cm when we left!  I was in total shock that we had another baby girl.  I also thought it was really special that one of her first things she wanted was to let me know that the baby was born!

We waited a few more minutes before we were able to go back and meet our little girl!  It was love at first sight, all 5 lbs 6 ounces of her! After a little bit of time they put a baby wristband on me and moved us and our little love  off to the nursery.  We learned at this point that it had been determined that our birth mother was actually due on August 10th not August 21st and the baby had been diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction as she only weighed in the 3rd percentile for 38 weeks gestation.  Hence why they decided to induce.  Typically the same level of complications that a preemie has are possible with an IUGR baby.  So she required a little bit of extra monitoring and blood sugar tests at the beginning but she was perfect in every way!

We hung out in the nursery for several hours before we were asked to take the baby back to the room with the birth mother.  We spent hours and were up far to late visiting and getting to know our baby and her first mama!  It was something I never expected to happen but it was such an incredible time that I will never forget.  I know it will serve L well in life to have both of her mommy's involved in her life and I am thrilled it has developed the way it has.

Over the next 2 days, our time was rotated back in forth from the nursery to rolling on down to the birth mother's room when she wanted company. We spent hours upon hours with her and got to know a lot about her life and what has brought her to the choice of adoption.  Those are sacred moments I will never forget.  Having no details to share with Malachi, I felt like it was such a gift to see her sense of humor and strength in person and to know she loves the color pink and enjoys singing and writing and playing piano.  We truly became family in this time as our hearts connected over a mutual interest of doing what we all felt like was best for this sweet baby girl.  She wanted a better life for her daughter and we know having a connection and staying in touch with her birth mother is in her best interest too.  She was able to ask us everything she wondered about and said she had complete peace about giving L to us and knew we would do a good job.  My prayer all along has been that the birthmother we chose would have complete peace and I feel like God answered that prayer.

 We had to wait 2 days before papers could be signed making L officially our daughter.  That time was stressful. Even when you are as sure as you can be, there is still a chance she could change her mind and that is totally within her rights. I won't even get into all the details because it is private but there was some serious family drama that happened over these 2 days that put us on edge and continued to show us just what level of strength our birth mother has.  She never faltered in her plan and always made me feel like I was L's mommy.  Finally the moment of truth came and we were asked to go wait in the nursery while the attorney signed the papers.  That was another strange mix of emotions.  One person had to lose, in order for us to gain.  This was not an easy moment for any of us.  After what felt like an eternity of waiting, we were told we could go back in the room.  The consents were signed.  L was ours.  We spent about another 30 minutes in the room with our birth mother as she said her goodbyes and whispered a million "I love you's" and "I'm going to miss you" in her ears.  I vowed to our birth mother that this was not the end.  In fact, we plan on getting together with her again before we leave and told her she will always have my phone number to call and text to stay in touch.  And then it was over.  Our birth mother parted one way  and we parted the other way as a new family.




Thursday, July 31, 2014

The day before!

Today we are 36 weeks 3 days. If all goes as scheduled we will be holding our 4th baby in our arms in less than 24 hours.  The anxious anticipation we are feeling tonight is unreal.  We are so excited and eager to meet our baby, but at the same time my heart is heavy for our birth mother who I can't help but wonder how she must be feeling tonight. We had a quick chat with our attorney tonight just to confirm we are here and chatted a bit about how  our birth mother is feeling. Of course nothing is for sure tomorrow and we have to roll with the punches.  We have a loose idea of what our birth mother would like to see happen but in the moment she may want something different.  In the back of my mind I think what is on the mind of every adoptive parent is feeling - will she sign the consents?  This is going to be a long 2-3 days and we know that going into this.  I think this is the riskiest decision we have ever made but this little one is well worth the risk and potential pain.

Today we slept in for as long as we could, knowing this would be our last chance to do so for awhile.  Then we got ready and went and got our rental car.  We went to Target and got the last few things we needed then wandered the mall for a few hours.  We bought our birth mother a necklace with various pendants. We originally bought her one with an August birthstone so we needed to find a pendant with a July birthstone.  After the mall we headed over to Chili's to eat lunch!  We love Chili's and there aren't any in Oregon so we pigged out a little bit!  We kind of treated today like our anniversary since we are only 2 days away from our 8th anniversary!  We also did everything in our power to not dwell on the what ifs of tomorrow.  After lunch we took a short little drive around the surrounding area and learned a bit more about Pensacola.  We drove through the hospital and found out where the maternity ward is. I am glad we did that today because it was a little bit confusing.  It was almost surreal to think we are here and tomorrow we will be in there meeting our son or daughter!


All in all, I feel our birth mother is as sure as she can be tonight that she wants to proceed with her adoption plan, and that is all we can ask for at this point.  I pray for a quick and easy delivery for our birth mother and a healthy little baby!  Another life begins.....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Roller Coaster

Adoption IS a roller coaster.  For real!  As if the paperchase and fundraising and waiting for a match aren't hard enough, then the real fun starts after that as you wait and wonder what the coming weeks will mean.  We were matched with our birth mother right as she entered her 30th week of pregnancy. At the time, I felt like it was going to be an eternal wait until the end of August, but we soon learned our birth mother had delivered previously around the 36th week and that it was likely to occur again.  Since we've walked the road of a 36 weeker before, we weren't overly concerned about that gestation but we just hoped she would bake at least that long again.

The weeks actually went pretty quick as summer just generally happens that way.  We had birthdays and holidays and weekend projects to keep us busy.  Home study updates and paperwork to sign and files to review and updates and all that fun stuff. before we knew it we entered what I liked to refer as the "yellow zone" of 34-36 weeks of pregnancy. I felt like that was a phase where things "might" get exciting but we were still probably pretty safe.  I figured the "red zone" would start around week 36.

Actually, as it turned out, things started changing rapidly right around week 35 and we entered what I would like to call the "roller coaster" of this whole process.  Here is how it played out:

34 Weeks 4 Days:  We get an update saying our birth mother was trying to get in to see her doctor earlier than her scheduled appointment in 5 days. We get no explanation as to why she needs to be seen but in my experience, that must mean something is up.

35 weeks 1 day:  This was a big day of waiting as I hadn't heard anything all week beyond that our birth mother was trying to get in to see the doctor..  She had an appointment scheduled for this day all along and I was hopeful that we would hear something since this was a Friday before going into the weekend. To my dismay, no update.

35 Weeks 4 Days:  Another day of waiting in silence.  Definitely feeling a bit stressed out as my mind began to wander.  Then an update arrives saying the attorney's were working hard to get in touch with our birth mother but were not having luck.  Since this is right around the stage our first match fell apart, I was more than a little concerned that this could not mean good news.  Typically this is around the time women back out of adoptions if they are going to.  I go to bed very scared of the news that might be coming our way.

35 weeks 5 Days:  After a long stressful morning of waiting, an update finally comes.  Our birth mother is not feeling well at all. She is very dizzy and can hardly get out of bed.  I am relieved to hear from her but also nervous at what this might mean for her health and the baby.  She has an appointment scheduled for tomorrow and I hope for an update that all is well.

35 weeks 6 Days: We get another update, but still a bit scary and not as informative as I might like. After receiving an ultrasound, our birth mother is sent over to the hospital for detailed testing because the baby might need to be delivered soon.  We have no idea what this means or what the concern is.  Another long evening of waiting and wondering what is going on.

36 Weeks:  We get an update first thing in the morning saying our birth mother was still getting further testing to check on the condition of the baby. They will update as they can.  Later we get an update saying the fluid levels are very low and that they might deliver on Monday (36 weeks 4 days) or depending on the results coming in tomorrow, possibly then.  We wonder if we should get on the next flight so we are there in case things happen quickly tomorrow but are encouraged to stay put since nothing is set in stone at this point. Another night of waiting and wondering what tomorrow will bring.  We get the rest of our bags packed.

36 Weeks 1 Day: We get an update midmorning that all went well at the hospital.  They filled her up with more fluids and sent her on her way.  The "rollercoaster" for this day, is that the birth mother says she was told to come in for an induction on Monday morning but the attorney's are unable to confirm this plan with the hospital social worker as she is not working today and won't be there until Monday morning.  Not the most helpful news as there is no guarantee of a plan without it being confirmed by the hospital. Our attorney's feel bad about not having something more set in stone for us, but we don't want to miss our baby's birthday so we decide to take birth mother's word start making travel arrangements to leave the next day!

36 Weeks 2 Days: Today was our traveling day and we were up at 4AM to try and get on the first flight.  My brother helped us use his buddy passes and we were able to save a lot of money by traveling this way, but it made our plans much more up in the air. Leaving the kids is always really hard for me and knowing this is going to probably be longer than I have ever been away from them it was extra hard.  However, I knew this journey would be totally worth it.  We were fortunate in that we caught the first flight we were trying to get on at 6:30 AM and started our 4 1/2 hour journey to Atlanta.  Once we arrived in Atlanta things got a little bit more tricky as we weren't able to get on the first 2 flights out of there.  We were beginning to wonder if we were going to get on any of the flights that night and might have to sleep over in Atlanta. As we waited those 6 hours out, we did some exploring of the airport and just enjoyed the time we had knowing alone time will be hard to come by here soon! With still a day to spare we knew it would all work out but we really wanted to get to Pensacola and were thrilled to finally get on the 3rd flight out! After a quick 45 minute flight we were there!  We were excited and exhausted after a long travel day!  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

breathing

Each passing week as we move closer and closer to the due date I feel like it is harder and harder to breathe.  My nerves increase with every update as I realize more and more that the moment of truth is coming.  I remember this feeling so well from Malachi's adoption.  Your heart is falling in love with a child you've never met, and you're putting yourself out there and filling your hearts with hope that someday this child will be in your arms and get to come home and be a part of your family.  I remember landing at home with Malachi and introducing all of our families to Malachi right there at the airport.  It was a sigh of relief and I felt like after months of waiting, I could finally breathe again!

Things are happening and while I can't go into great detail, it can be a bit nerve wracking to be on this side of things. I am fully aware that it is no picnic on the other side of the adoption triad either and my heart truly feels for the woman in an unbelievably difficult situation right now. On this side though, we get limited updates and limited information. As we've already had one match fall through, it can get scary to put our hearts on the line again.  Days or weeks go by with limited information and cryptic messages that can put me into a full on panic trying to decode. Medical issues are arising and it is hard when I am not there and not getting updates on what is going on. I want our dear birth mother to be okay and I want this sweet little one to stay safe. I just wish some part of adoption was easy and simple and not such a leap of faith.

I always feel this way when God calls me to do something totally out of my comfort zone as he often likes to do.  I have moments of panic thinking there is no way I can do it!  I've put my heart on the line and if this doesn't work out, it's going to hurt.  And even if this does work out, that means someone loses and that somebody is going to be hurt  This is not going to be an easy journey to complete no matter the outcome but I know God will carry us all through this (so thankful our birth mother is also a Christian) and hopefully we will be able to all walk this journey together!  There is no doubt this baby is much loved by all and each step forward we take I am reminded that He is faithful and He will help us walk this road we're about to embark on.   

Friday, July 4, 2014

8 Months

Today marks 8 months in the adoption process!  Anticipation is building more each day and I'm definitely feeling like I'm in the 8th month of this pregnancy!  So ready to meet this sweet little one!

We continued on our average of presenting to 3 cases a month and MATCHED with our 10th presentation a few weeks ago!  Coincidently we matched on our 5th and 10th presentation.  We ended up presenting on 3 boys, 5 girls, and 2 unknown gender cases (one of the unknowns is our match).  Our profile was "active" for right at 2 months for our first match and 3 months for our second match so right at the front of CAC's 3-6 month window for match!

We have been immensely blessed financially and we certainly don't take that lightly moving forward. God moved big with friends and family who gave generously, we got a matching grant, and Peter got a new job that not only has an adoption benefit but also has allowed us to put away a lot more towards adoption fees!  In the end, we have also been blessed because our match came through an adoption attorney which puts the fees on the very low end of the scale!  So including travel and finalization fees, we are very close to being fully funded!

Emotionally we're doing pretty good. We are so excited to meet our baby and start our life as a family of 6!  I can't wait to get some newborn snuggles in!  This has also brought on a lot of difficult emotions as with Malachi's adoption we learned about his loss and his birth mother's loss AFTER the fact.  This time, we're building a relationship with a mother and a baby who we're anticipating that adoption loss happening to.  It is truly an awful feeling and while I will never have an idea of what that truly feels like, I do grieve to an extent.  It's just a crazy emotional rollercoaster right now and I just hope that we will establish a very open adoption because I truly think that will be best for everyone in this case.



Sweet baby,
To say we're thinking of you and excited to meet you is the biggest understatement right now.  I cannot wait to get to hold you and behold your precious little face.  I know you will be beautiful and we can't wait to meet you!  We pray for you often.  You are never far from our thoughts and we're getting the house more and more ready for you to join us.  We anticipate with great joy the phone call that will tell us that you're on the way but stay snug right where you are for a bit longer and keep growing strong!  We will race to get to you just as soon as we can! We love you!

 


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Life in between

Its been 3 weeks since we initially began moving forward with our match.  More and more information trickles in all the time and our anticipation and excitement for this new little life joining our family grows and grows.

Sometimes it is hard to live in the between times, especially as we've gotten new information that suggests this baby might be arrive early.  When I look at my calendar for the next several months it is easy to want to put life on hold.  No, we can't sign Malachi up for another round of swim lessons because the baby might come then. No, I can't buy those tickets because we might not be able to use them. Maybe we shouldn't start anymore yard projects because we might not be able to finish them.

 I had pretty much left our calendar blank, but I've decided enough is enough. I can't predict what the next couple months are going to look like, but we're going to make those plans and live our life in this in between. After all, Grandma can always take Mal to his swim lessons, tickets can be sold, and projects can always be put on pause.

I think "living" while adopting is one of the biggest challenges.  Things can always change at a moments notice and that makes planning difficult.  but you know what, our days as a family of 5 are limited and pretty soon we're going to have a newborn in tow so I want to soak up this summer and the precious moments that still remain for our family of 5 before we're blessed to grow to 6!  So here's to living in the "in between" times!