More on the Process

               I will come back to Part 3 and Part 4 of why we chose embryos in the future but I would like to digress to part of the process for just a little while if it is ok. As I said in a previous post- October 1st 2012 we found a match with 5 embryos. Prior to this however we were matched with a family that had 2 embryos. They were a wonderful family and Paul and I struggled and struggled praying over if this was “the one” for our family. There were several things that we looked at. Some of them were not, in hindsight, issues at all. At the time though, they mattered. For example, this family had two wonderful boys. We worried “What if we have a girl and they haven’t had a girl?” How would that be for them? Would they be sad that we were able to have a girl and they could not? Our social worker assured us that the family was very pleased with their current family and that their family was complete- they would be delighted whether we had boys or girls. I am not even sure why that mattered. I wonder however if it was just a cover because my real underlying concern was “If they had two boys maybe both of the embryos are boys and we have no chance at a girl”- Isn’t that silly! We are thankful for life, and life in general- why would it matter what sex the child is. As I have said before- this is something I am still in process of working out. Maybe it is because Lexi is so wonderful, but yet, we have not hit the tweens or the teens yet. I know ultimately, whatever we are given we will love and enjoy. I also pray even now for my future son in laws and daughter in laws. I think that is one of my bigger concerns with boys- you lose them to their wives. People always say that girls stick closer to home. I know it is true in our family. That being said, I have the BEST mother in law- a mother in law that Lexi takes after exactly. I am so blessed that she does! The second and probably largest reason that we did not adopt the first set of embryos that we matched with was because they were Jewish. I really thought that it would be an honor, a joy to have a child who was Jewish. Since we are Christian we have a great respect for the Jewish faith. One is Jewish by blood and heritage not because of a decision they make. Paul and I would want this child to go through all the rights, the rituals, the sacred ceremonies of a Jewish child. We would owe that to that child to honor his origin as well as his birthright. Paul and I just didn’t think that we had the ability to make sure that all of those activities were met by us. It would have been an honor and privilege to be a part of that community and it was very attractive to us- part of what made us want to adopt those 2 children but ultimately we felt that God had something else for us.

Because that was our first match, I cannot tell you how hard it was to let go. Would someone else want us? We know that this is a match- would we match again? What would our next match be like? Saying no to those embryos was very hard. I guess it is important for me to write about saying no because I want to make sure that people know that it is ok. The perfect match is out there. The right one is there, it is ok if there is a diffuse feeling of “this just isn’t right and I don’t know why”. We didn’t have very good reasons for saying no, it just wasn’t right.

We are excited about this Easter. We attended and LOVED the UMHB Easter pageant yesterday. This was Luke’s first time to really sort of understand. He just kept saying “Mommy hold me” and “when are the bad guys coming”. Then at the very end he was upset and hurt at what they were doing to Jesus, then joyful over him coming back from the tomb, and then cried (hard) when he didn’t get to high five Jesus. It was one of those contorted ugly cries- I think more from the heavy emotion of it all not so much from the high five but I am not sure. Either way, it was my first time to attend however Lexi’s 4th. I think it will need to be a new tradition.  Reverent Maundy Thursday to you- Sunday is coming!

Why adopt embryos? Part 1- The Loss of KK

With so many children in America and around the world why would you adopt an embryo?

GREAT QUESTION

To explain why embryo adoption was attractive you must understand the back story that included the loss of a little girl we were in process of adopting. Please understand that this story only represents the Dillon’s feelings, events, and the side of the story that we see. We cannot see the other side of the story. We also love and respect the family involved and wish them the very best and we continue to pray for them. Many facts have been left out in order to protect privacy and to make sure that we remain edifying to all parties. That said, no question about it, this was a loss for us and factored into the decision for embryo adoption.

So, here goes:

3 years ago we met a young high school girl who was looking to put the daughter that she was currently pregnant with up for adoption. I was actually visiting with this young lady’s mother who was grieving the placement of this baby but felt like it would be a good thing-she just was having a difficult time with losing her grandchild. At the time, my friend did not know that we were looking to adopt in the future. When I told her that she went home to her daughter and asked her daughter what she thought about allowing us to adopt the baby. I don’t want to say too much here but there was not a very good situation in the young girl’s life at the time and there were complications to her parenting KK with the father or alone. We met the birthmom, she liked us and was happy to have us adopt the baby although she didn’t say a lot- you know it has to be excruciating to think about giving up your life, the life inside you. She wanted her baby to have a strong loving home though.

We completed the paperwork with the lawyer for a private adoption and began the joy of going through the appointments, ultrasound, and ultimately birth with her. What joy to hear KK’s heart beat for the first time, to meet with the OB and to text with her and hear about her contractions as each day we were closer and closer to meeting our little KK.

We got out the crib, set up the baby room (in Lexi’s room) and got all of the fun baby things out. We tried to love on everyone and I remember comforting the birth grandma and letting her know how much I wanted her to be involved with the baby- we will call her KK to protect her identity. We kept part of the name from the birth mom and changed only a little bit of it. It actually is a name we really really love and may use in the future. I even was able to relactate! My son was almost a year old and I had recently weaned him. With the help of a lactation medication I was able to restore a supply of mild in the 3 months leading up to KK’s birth.

KK’s birthday came and we were blessed to be with her mom, grandma, grandpa, at her birth. I remember holding KKs mom’s hand and arm while she labored and she was so strong as she beautifully delivered this amazing little girl.Birth (38) Birth (31) Birth (29) Birth (12)Birth (35)

 The nurse showed her to mom and family but KK was hungry so she gave her to me to nurse. She took to me perfectly, naturally, easily. I felt like that was my child. The fact that she was not my genetics never even came to my mind. My body responded properly and I was making as much as she needed. I apologize in advance if this picture below is offensive. I love breast feeding and part of the preparation for KK was an intensive amount of pumping so I could feed my adopted child. This bonding made her feel like she was mine!Luke and Lexi

Looking back on it, I cannot imagine the pain and torment KK’s birthmom was in as I was feeding comforting loving her child. Or, was she trying to block it all out, was it ok- she knew the baby would have a good home, she knew we could give her a sister, brother, love and support in every way. We wanted her to be part of the family too. This would be a very Open adoption. I had brought the baby bag to the hospital, I had brought her going home outfit, her bows, her diapers, her blankets, her embroidered bibs, burbs, and bags all with her name.

The kids came up to see her and take pictures with her as did many friends! From these next few pictures you can see the joy on my daughter’s face- she was just glowing- she had a sister!

Luke and Lexi (17)Luke and Lexi (16)

Seeing KK for the first time hands to her face and then over her mouth and then on her heart.  Luke and Lexi (15)

One Proud Big Sister! Luke and Lexi (29) Proud Little Brother Too- He was even so excited for his sister!Luke and Lexi (28) Luke and Lexi (23)

Mom and her Girls!

Luke and Lexi (34)

We stayed in rooms next to each other in the hospital. KK stayed with me mostly and some of the time stayed with mom. When she was hungry I fed her and I cannot tell you how well my body responded. I made more and more and more milk because of the connection with KK (remember I had been pumping for 3 months to get ready and very little was made every day). Now I was flowing and she was eating, I remember holding that precious baby and loving it and I absolutely felt like she was mine. It was as if she had come out of my very own body. She was mine! The whole time we were in the hospital we knew that mom couldn’t sign away rights until 48  hours after birth. I wish I could say that was an easy time but we were kind of in a wait and see attitude. Would we get to keep this precious one as we had been told? Could birth mom really do it? Or would she decide she can’t live without KK. Papers were signed allowing us to take KK home for the social worker.

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The second night in the hospital the birth mom asked if she could keep KK that night. Something grew in the pit of my stomach, something I had probably been ignoring for a long time. I remember hearing KK cry that night through the hospital wall and my heart just broke. I knew she wanted me and would be comforted. Then, just before discharge from the hospital, the news arrived that the birth mom was going to take KK home. I was not going to have the privilege of mothering this child.

It is a tough thing to explain, I had been very public about all of this adoption. That taught me a lesson for the future opportunities to keep them very quiet until they are absolutely going to happen. Then to leave the hospital without a child in hand was crushing. My mom was at home ready to meet her new granddaughter. I couldn’t go directly home to the kids as broken as I was. I ended up going to Patty Lynn Weber’s home and just cried and she kindly held me and cried with me. (For some reason Paul and I had two cars at the hospital.) I am so honored that she took time out to comfort me at that hour. I really needed her. When we did get home we had to tell Lexi and Luke that KK was not going to be ours after all. I was sort of numb for a few days. I had booked a photographer to take her pictures (newborn pictures) when she was only a few days old. This photographer also had an adopted daughter so she wanted to love on the birthmom as well as me. She took some gorgeous pictures (I took the clothes I had picked out for her and a beautiful headband to the photog prior to the session).  KK is an absolutely beautiful baby. That day the photog offered to help the birthmom if she ever needed anything.  It was arranged that the photog would keep KK the next day so birthmom could go see her boyfriend who had not been able to see his daughter yet. He lived a few hours away.  She would have the baby for the whole day so she asked if I would like to come over and love on her and take care of her. I said yes absolutely and spent several hours that day with KK. In those hours I was able to say good bye to this little girl, only 72 hours old (and already with a baby sitter for the entire day) that I had prayed for, loved, prepared for and thought was mine. I don’t think anything can prepare you for that kind of loss.

Actually, there is one thing that can protect you from that loss- guarding your heart. I cried for days, we cried as a family, Lexi and Luke were a little younger so they were not as aware of everything. My mom was angry, angry because she felt like the birthmom had taken us on a ride. (I don’t think she did it intentionally.) We had to heal as a family and we went through many emotions of the pain and the loss and I learned that expectation means a lot. I continue to learn this about myself- I need to manage my expectations because if I can set out for others what I can and cannot do, and if I have clear ideas of how things are going to work than I am better able to operate.  Even then, we never know what tomorrow will hold. God is the only one there already.

2010-05-07 20.14.44

This was her crib all ready for her. The next Sunday was mother’s day and the dress in the crib was for her to wear to be dedicated. Her crib had actually been given to us by the birth family so we disassembled it and returned it to them. The linens were Lexi’s and I have them put up waiting on another little girl to join our family. Perhaps this is the hardest thing for me to submit to the Father- the desire for another little girl. Lexi wants a sister, I want another daughter. I wonder if some of that desire is placed by God or is some of that desire is due to this loss. I am not sure but I trust God to give us what we need not what we want. We are submitted to Him. As soon as I say that though I immediately think “OK, God- I am submitted to you …….but could you please do it my way?” Isn’t that crazy! We all have things that we need to constantly give back to the Father, for me the desire for a girl is one of them.

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And just like that May 6th, 2010 was over and we were moving on to all sorts of events- dance recitals, all of the end of the year things that I had problem solved how to do with our sweet little girl. Each event passed and it slowly became easier. I did not go to baby dedication that weekend. The loss was just days old at that point and I couldn’t do it!

Current Update!

We saw KK at the pool park last summer. She played with Luke and he has no idea that this cute curly haired girl was once to have been his sister. I smiled and waved at her mom. I wasn’t hurt or angry anymore. It was ok KK has a home, it just isn’t ours.

If you had lived through this experience then it would make an impression on you. The desire to not bond with a baby (even before it is born) and have a mom change their mind is a little like ripping your heart out. All we could do was pray that God would reveal himself to this child. I love this family- especially KK’s Grandma- and we still pray for that little girl!

This is one reason embryos were attractive- the genetic parents want their children to have homes. They are giving out of love. The gift is given and set in stone long before the baby arrives.

Link

Amanda Watson Caring Bridge

Lexi attends a private school about 30 minutes from her home. A 3rd grader at her school recently underwent a surgery to remove a tumor in her brain. She is just embarking on the journey through radiation, chemo, and countless therapy appointments. Could you all join me in prayers and encouragement for this sweet family! The have not announced the etiology of the cancer yet but would love any encouragement or love you can send her way. I follow their caringbridge and would be happy to repost at any time!

The Long Absence

For 8 months this blog has been silent. It is a funny thing how one feels that they have nothing worthy of saying or of someone else reading. That said, I have decided now, somewhat in hind sight to record the missing elements of the past 8 months. Over the next few weeks I may blog about current events, our past events and the lessons learned along our adoption journey coupled with the pain of its experiences. I have been private (that is highly unusual with me) in my interpersonal relationships when it came to this journey but now it is time to speak, to give a voice to the joys and the pain that are wrapped up in the journey. Where do we begin? Let’s start with our Oklahoma* babies.

DSC_6187

                                             Oklahoma* Babies
It was a joyful day on October 1st, 2012 when I received the following email:

“Congratulations, you have been selected! Your biography and photo collage were out for consideration by Danny and Krista* (names changed), who live in Oklahoma*. They have now contacted me and said that they would like for you to adopt their five (5) embryos. Accordingly, please find attached their family profile. The embryos were frozen in February of 2004; all 5 are at the 2PN stage. The eggs were retrieved from Krista when she was 36 years old.”

I can tell you exactly where I was when I opened the email. I was connected in my car via wireless card to my internet- I still remember the back street that I was going down when I received the email. I was in tears, I was over joyed, I loved this family immediately, after I called Paul to get his opinion on the potential match I was quick to place an over emotional phone call to Nightlight. I called our adoption agency- Nightlight Christian Adoptions and ask to speak with Kelly, I will never forget the sweet secretaries voice on the other end. “Is everything ok she asked?” I stated yes, yes, it was all just wonderful. Why I broke into tears I do not know (it would be consistent with who I am and how my emotions run).

Here is part of Danny and Krista’s letter that gave a window into the heart of a family that loved their children and desired for their frozen embryos to have a family that would love them and as their letter to us states….

“Our prayer is that we may offer these precious little ones to you in hope that you may be able to give birth and enjoy the child of your dreams…..Our prayer is that they will be loved and brought to the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”

All I needed to know is that we had one common goal to introduce our children to the Savior in the prayer that they will one day trust him as their Lord. In this, we would agree and be aligned and over the next few months our lives would be intertwined from a distance.

Embryo

What I didn’t know at the time and really until I am researched to write this post today another amazing event happened on October 1st 2012 that I knew nothing about nor would we for months to come. As only God can today again I was brought to tears by the realization of the date OCTOBER 1st 2012 would soon become a large part of our family’s life…….apart from these sweet embryos.

More on that later.

Enjoy your Saturday- we are driving back from picking up the kids from “Grandma Camp”.

No Boys Allowed!

      “Please dear Lord, don’t let me have a boy!”    

These were the words I naïvely said when my little girl was two and I found out that I was pregnant with my second. Boys were never in our plans. Why you may ask?  Daughter in laws…. I didn’t want to fall in love with my little boy rear him to adulthood only to be surmounted by a young girl who now gets all his attention. Selfish huh? Yes, but absolutely true- we had planned to have all girls. Of course, God had other plans for us and His plans are perfect.

About 4 years ago I was working with Jr High Youth at my church. I was pregnant with a baby- about 14 weeks and I would find out that week what I was having. This baby too was a girl; I had fixed my mind that boys were not in the plans for us! I wanted sister dresses, girls to play together, everything in our house was pink, play kitchens, bunnies, dress up, flowers, pink cars, and pink toothbrushes. Pink Pink Pink Pink! Let me return to my morning in our youth building- we had a guest worship band that morning. They were high school students and really good. My eyes moved from the drummer to the lead singer to the bass player and the guitar. Each one of these boys, I’m sorry young men, was a Godly example to their peers. These boys were making good decisions, using their gifts to Praise the Lord and they were leading others, even though they were youth. I kept watching the drummer, the son of my physician, one of 7, he has the stature of someone years ahead of himself (maybe because of his older brothers, I don’t know). I don’t know him, I worked with the girls, however he was the example that God used in my heart to let me know it was all ok and his will is perfect. As I watched this drummer I held my growing tummy, closed my eyes to sing and I knew, in an instant, this child was a little boy. Not only did I know the sex of the child but I knew that it WOULD be just fine. Tears filled my eyes with thanksgiving for the work of the Lord. After church I told my husband that we would be having a boy and it was confirmed a few weeks later with an ultrasound that indeed it was a boy, and he was PROUD of it! From that moment on I was excited to have my boy.

This boy is definitely a world away from his sister- even if he did play with pink toys for the first year of his life. He acts nothing like her. He is grumpy, loud, busy, and amazingly gifted in electronics. Not only that, but he LOVES his mother. There is nothing like the love of a son, he wants to snuggle and cuddle and he is ALL about mommy! I am not sure where the next part of this story goes but for now my son is our DJ (with his Ipad) and he loves music. Every morning at church my son pulls and tugs my hand to go IN to the service. He is a 3 year old who is off the growth chart of a 5 year old and clearly cannot sit through a service but he wants to go.

What has this little boy mesmerized?

WORSHIP MUSIC

No lie, this little one has an affinity for music, he is constantly playing with his guitar, drumming on a drum pad or hitting anything and everything with his drumstick. He is even drawn to the piano. This mother’s day, as I sat with my big boy on my lap he intently watched the musicians, as he does every Sunday morning. I don’t have some big meaning to all of this except the wonder of our Savior- giving us exactly what we need when we need it. This little boy radically revolutionized my heart; he won it with his tenderness, his enthusiasm, and his loving spirit. I am SO THANKFUL that God had a plan to allow me to have this little boy. How silly I was to ever want to miss this blessing.

Baby dedication was also this morning and as I sit and watch the sweet babies, I cannot help but look to the future- what will it look like next year? Will we have another part of our family? Will we still be waiting? What will our home look like? One thing that I can tell you is I want more of both- boys and girls! Will God give us siblings? Who knows!  One other thing I know for sure is I trust the HIM who formed me in my mother’s womb and every day was written in His book before one of them came to be.

Praise Him From Whom All Blessings Flow.

Happy Mother’s Day!