Cold dark mornings….

Somebody’s sorrow is making me weep: I know not her name, but I echo her cry, 

For the dearly sought baby she longed so to keep,

 The baby that rode to its long-lasting sleep 

In the little white hearse that went rumbling by. 

I know not her name, but her sorrow I know; 
 While I paused on the crossing I lived it once more, 

And back to my heart surged that river of woe 

 That but in the breast of a mother can flow; 

For the little white hearse has been, too, at my door.

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Little White Hearse



I am in a weird spot. Transfixed by grief and the hope of hope. Does that make sense? The hope of hope. I’m not all the way there yet and this holiday season will be one where I wade through the fog, try to find simple joys as a balm for my achey heart. But it’s also a season of already but not yet…hope personified and waiting. Here I am, once again, waiting. 

I had a dream last week. In this dream, by a weird set of circumstances, a friend of a family member had a brown baby boy with some health issues and she wanted us to adopt her son. In the dream, we did. 

On Tuesday of THIS week, after our agency seems to only bepresenting us with situations where would have to come up with a whole lot more money-yes we have suffered financial loss with our two failed placements this year but all of the agency and lawyer and finalization legal fees have been paid and are secure (equaling about $18k). OR, they have been silent. They know where we are financially and that we don’t want to get into a situation where are waiting 6+ more months with an expectant mother. That feels too risky. So, we’ve asked them to only present situations that we could manage financially and time wise, and are the lowest risk possible. Because well, my heart. 

I’m oversharing all of this because, A. that’s what I do and B. on Tuesday we got a phone call from the agency about an expectant mother and a brown baby boy due right before Christmas. We said yes, put our name in. It felt right. Our agency lawyer and social worker both agreed and made us feel like it was pretty much a done deal. The only caviat was that this expectant mother preferred a family who had no children. 

We were all presented yesterday, hope rose, giddiness, glee, planning, dreaming…like I said they really made us think that this was our situation. And the dream, the dream and these past 18 months are making me question everything and realize that we really open to anything.  And honestly, in adoption, anytime your “throw your name in the hat” you kind of have to get your head/mind/heart completely in, especially when the baby is due in 12 days.

Around lunch time, we found out that the expectant mother did not choose us. 

It’s all okay. Brandon and I had a good cry about it yesterday  afternoon, I will likely continue to and it will all be fine. 

We knew she preferred a family without kids and that’s what she chose. So a sweet couple who was probably just like me and B before Canaan are getting a Christmas miracle. That’s beautiful.
But here we are again. Our homestudy has to be renewed asap, we thought it was January, it expires on December 18th. These past 18 months, in regards to our adoption process this time around, has felt like 18 months worth of every single infertility shot. 18 months of hoping and peeing on a stick just to loose a baby over and over. 18 months of waiting and hoping and prepping just to have achey empty arms. And yesterday we hoped and believed that …the stick might say yes. It didn’t. This is not a new feeling. Not a new reality for us. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
Canaans birth mother and I communicate pretty frequently when things are going good with her, I continue communicating but when she is struggling, but we don’t hear from her during those times. She and I were laughing over a doppelgänger model in the pottery barn kids holiday magazine. It seriously looked like Canaan. So much so, that I sent it to her, she asked what toy he was playing and I said “that’s not our son” 😂. It was hilarious. Then I told her about the new situation and that we were being presented. She responded with this, and I do have permission to use this btw  “I wish I could speak with her and let her know that no one in this world would be better for her son than you and Brandon. Canaans gonna be a great big brother. I’ll say a million prayers for all of you. I love you guys whole heart whole world. My ring never leaves my finger I’ve worn it every day since the day you gave it to me”. Those words, our friendship, the redemption and healing that she is fighting for, is worth all of this. I wish I could tell you how much it means to read this from the only other person in this world who loves our son as much as we do.

I wasn’t going to share this new news, lack of news? Because it’s just one more hard thing. But, this is real life, our very real life. Its what adoption looks like sometimes, and maybe, our story and experience will help you feel like you’re not alone. 
We are starting to investigate/pursue other avenues. I can’t share details “publicly” like on a blog that possibly gets read by at least my momma 😳😜, but this situation has reminded me, we are still in this. Hope is flickering. 
In so many ways…a baby will come. 

And sometimes rising before the sun so you can sit in a cold, dark room and drink a hot, hot coffee is as healing as anything. 

Love and hugs. And coffee. Always coffee.

hope…the tricky thing with the feathers

I’m the bird in Emily Dickinson’s poem about hope. I can not sing while being “bashed” by the storm. But I hope to wait out the fierceness of this struggle and see the sun shining. I’m also nobody, who are you, are you nobody too?

So, it’s been a while. A friend recently said to me that I have said immense and profound monologues in my silence. I don’t know if that is true, but this year…it’s been a lot, too much.

This may be a bit more ramble-y than normal, but I’m craving something fresh. I need to get things off my chest. I need to chronicle this journey. I have a very real need to help myself realize the “realness” of this last year. And, since this is the first day of the last month in the year, and because it’s typically my favorite month, birthday, advent, christmas, everyone putting up lights to decorate for my birthday ;)….I am not aiming for hope, I am not aiming for joy. Those are too lofty right now, and thats me being dead honest. I’m just aiming to be decent-ish. 

I didn’t speak of it on my blog but I had cancer this year. I faced it with humor and trust and tried very hard to be very brave and now it’s all catching up to me. The trauma of all of these things.

Over the last two years I have done some very hard work in myself and my inner struggle. Fighting against a victim mentality, facing anxiety and depression, seeking help, trying to love and accept my body (still working on that one), figuring out faith stuff. So, I want to be very careful  that I’m not using victim speech. I’m very aware that it could be worse. I live in fear of that. That’s new from all of this, a general sense of fear.

This year man. It’s been one hit after the next. When I was a girl I loved this book called Pollyanna. In it, this scrappy and quirky girl fights for joy. She plays a glad game. I had a friend during all my cancer stuff say that I was defiantly optimistic. And, I want to live up to that, I really do. But I haven’t been. I need to say this. I have been worried about myself. That’s a funny thing to say, but it’s true. I have pretty much always been able to find the silver lining, to play the glad game, to see the beauty through the ick, and if I couldn’t, I would fight for it. Well friends, that’s gone right now. I can’t do it. I’m not saying this to ask for help. I don’t know what will help. I think saying it might help? But, I think that I might have too many sad anniversaries on my calendar. Death of loved ones, Cash, baby two, Canada, leaving our church here, July 12th baby, Cancer, November 30th baby. And that’s just the biggish stuff thats happening with me. Not even talking about whats going on in the world, because yes, I do accidentally take all that on too. This is just life though, and life is hard because it’s hard. It’s hard for everyone in their own way, I’m not unique or special in my hardness.

Yesterday was a due date. Yesterday was another day that we were supposed to have arms full. Yesterday was the snubbing out of my last glimmer of hope. That sounds dramatic, maybe it is. But I was secretly holding on. Both baby girls we were matched with this year had special needs. And, please don’t be upset with the mothers. I have a lot of achiness about  the July baby just because it was all so mysterious and seemed like we had been scammed, i’ll never know. But with yesterdays baby, I reached out to that mother and I have great sympathy. I can’t imagine even considering placing a child voluntarily, even if it means they would not be with you involuntarily (likely in foster care) or that you couldn’t really meet their needs. So, in that I don’t blame them. It’s all messed up, this imperfect world. I am thinking of and holding two girls who I will always dream of..are they warm, are their tummies full, are they clean and dry and do they know how loved and wanted they are and were. It’s harder in a way to know that two children who you wanted are out there and you’ll never know them. At least with the babies I lost from my body, I had some closure in the physical reaction my body had to it.

Here I am, cancer free, it’s december, my 30th and most hellish year is almost over, there are things to look forward to. I’m just having a harder time finding them.

We have been in this adoption journey for 18 months, we have to renew our home study in January because it’s been that long. Many have wondered why we are being more specific about wanting a biracial or african american girl, instead of just getting what we get, because in biological situations, thats how it is, right? Well, with adoption  you really get no say in anything. I don’t get to make sure that prenatal vitamins are being taken, that doctors visits are happening, that good nutrition is being met, that drugs or alcohol are not being consumed, and that’s all okay with us. We knowingly and gladly want to adopt a child who is considered by a messed up system “special needs”. But, in that, we really feel like we would like to complete our family, and that means a daughter. We really can’t afford to do this again, and we really can’t imagine not having a daughter. Now, thats a rant. And I honestly don’t feel like I owe anyone that explanation, but it’s a source of hurt for me and I want to at least get my heart across. Also, we are kind of stuck with our agency or risk having a major financial loss. There are also other things we are rolling around in our heads and hearts in regards to all of this…But for now, it feels pretty dang hopeless.

I wish I could be the Pollyanna Leah. I wish I could make this all flowery and beautiful and disney-pixar it where you laugh and then you boo-boo. But I can’t.

 

I can say that I’m so grateful for my family. My husband and my sweet baby-big boy Canaan. I’m thankful for pets-weird but legit I think my dogs might be emotional support animals. I’m thankful for my sweet little house and that we have collected sweet and quirky things and a rag tag crew of characters who show up on the regular with food and drink and merriment and sometimes tears. And..sometimes cursing (sorry momma). I’m thankful that I still believe in hope even if I’m having a hard time feeling it. I’m thankful that I have faith even if I’m confused with it all. I’m thankful that I can create things, like music and paint my face with makeup, those things help me feel like me-ish. I’m thankful that I’m trying to get back to living-get back to my precious music students, get back to caring about my body and like exercising and stuff. I’m thankful that I’m not in physical pain so much anymore. I’m thankful that I’m here, even when (like yesterday), I didn’t want to remember that I was…(that’s a weird thing to say, I know, don’t be scared by it). I’m thankful for 100 and 55 feet. I’m thankful for thursdays and couch snuggles and head rubs. I”m thankful that my momma cares enough to say hard things to me like, “i’m worried about you” and “please eat” and “go to the lake and walk the dogs, you’ll feel better”. I’m thankful that I can cry and cry and cry and cry until i throw up and no one has thrown me in the loony bin, yet. See, I can still play the glad game. I’ll be okay.

 

Thank you for reading and it’s okay to be a little worried about me, I am too.

 

Love and hugs.

A word from our heart, what happened and learning how to breathe again…

First off, I’m sorry we have been relatively silent on this blog after our fundraiser ended. We were blissfully waiting and preparing and changing our lives in hopes of a new little one. The months of May and June were CRAZY busy, and then, the baby was due the beginning of July, yesterday in fact.

I want and need to be very careful in how I explain what happened. I want to honor expectant mothers and birth mothers and their choices. It is ultimately their decision and sacrifice when they choose to place their children with an adoptive family. This is one of the hardest things a mother could ever possibly do. I cannot imagine the loss.

I also want to be very respectful to our agency; they are wonderful. They have been very reassuring throughout the whole process. And we were all blindsided by what transpired. They are considered to be a “low risk” agency, meaning: they work with expectant mothers who are very sure in their decision to place, and they do their best to protect the investments made by the adoptive families. I’ll speak more on that later.

The expectant mother we were matched with was very young. She has had a life of struggle and two young children at home. She has had some legal troubles and was placing because she wasn’t sure of the outcome of some of those troubles. The newest baby wasn’t fathered by the same man as her other two, and she didn’t think she could handle a third. The whole situation from the beginning really grieved me because I truly felt like she was in a system that had failed her from her childhood. But we felt so honored that she chose us. She is a lovely and sweet girl. There were a few red flags, mostly just my heart wanting a better life for this sweet girl, but our agency again and again reassured us of how “sure” she was in her decision to place with us. So many things, over and over again. She kept stating that “this was not her baby,” we would try to tell her that when the baby was born she would be “our” (collectively) baby, but our social worker who worked directly with this expectant mom just said that it seemed like she had disconnected, which is sometimes easier. Things were looking good. We were ready. Beyond ready. Car seat in the car, hotel booked, leaving on Thursday….ready.

The easiest way for me to describe what happened is to say that she just disappeared. There was a family crisis about 2 weeks ago and her family from up north came and got her and said that a grandmother was dying. The social worker, in trying to get some extra contact info from said family member, was met with some hostility. Then, expectant mom was gone. All was easily explainable, we weren’t hearing anything because perhaps the family member had died, then lots of flooding happened in the area and the power was out. Then, maybe her phone ran out of minutes. Until, on Wednesday, the day before we were supposed to leave, we got word that the expectant mother called and disconnected the phone that the agency set up. They basically said, this is a very bad sign. It’s over.

Here’s the thing you should know, if the expectant mom was surrounded by her family and they helped her change her mind and said they would support her, it would hurt us, but I would LOVE that for her and for her baby. If the baby had been born and she fell in love with her and just felt like she couldn’t place, it would hurt, but again, I completely support and love her through that situation.

But to just disappear. With no trace, no answers, nothing. Was this the plan all along? I genuinely hope not, but I will never know. Yesterday, a little girl might have been born. A little girl who was never mine, but my heart longed for so deeply. My heart was prepared for her to be mine. There are so many questions that will never be answered and once again, our story has a narrative of loss.

Now, in this super achey, fragile state, there is only so many cliches and well meaning things I can take. I LOVE YOU ALL. And your out pouring of love without even know what’s happening has been beautiful and overwhelming. Thank you.

But let me tell you a couple of things. I am not okay. We are not okay. But we will be. I know 100% that I can trust that God has us, He has this and He knows our story. I know 100% that someday soon we will be bringing a daughter home. I know 100% that I have forgiven this expectant mom and all the wishes and dreams I had for our girl, I am pouring over her. I might be a bit of a mess for a while, and that is okay too. I feel things so very deeply. I hurt and grieve when our trees fall…so stuff like this wrecks me beyond belief. I am thankful for a God who can take my “whys,” my anger and the fact that I am, in every way possible, just about the very worst christian. But I have hope that He’s holding us, and you too.

Someone mentioned that this seems like our loss with our baby Cash, but Cash we got to hold him, see him. This baby, we were 5 days away from that and then the dream of her just disappeared. She mentioned it’s almost like a kidnapping….I don’t know because this baby was never fully mine. But, she will always, always, have  a huge piece of my heart. And, I am very brokenhearted. Thank you for walking through this with us. Thank for you kind words. Thank you for sitting with me when I’m just a blob or when I randomly burst into tears and almost puke. Thank you for forcing me to shower and eat, even though food seems gross.

And now, logistics…Our Agency has said that when a disruption like this happens, they do everything they can to make sure that we don’t have to pay another cent. So, we have a fully paid for adoption. Because we are so very open to situations, we just want a biracial or African American girl, and we are very open to special needs, they feel like we will be matched again quickly, could be weeks, could be months.

In the meantime, I need to figure out how to function, or at least…eat.

$9000 and 12 days…

I had a really big day today, I got to do makeup for my two favorite celebrities/friends, Jessica Bass with Dance Fitness with Jessica and Emily Ann Roberts Music, the runner up from the last season of the Voice! Both of these two sweet friends I have known for a while, and I was so excited to get to spend time with them today! They’re both major celebrities in their own rights, and it was huge to get to do a makeup tutorial for Jessica on her live feed, and to get to raise awareness about our adoption!  If you want to see that video, you can check it out here: themakeupmomma.org
  

So at this point, we need about $9000 by the end of April.  If you haven’t seen, we have a fundraiser this Saturday at the Vine of the Mountains, in Waynesville.  Of course, if you can’t make it, you can still give.  The best, quickest ways to donate are to send a payment to btmilan@gmail.com (either through paypal or google wallet) or to check out our Youcaring site. 

If you want to make a tax-deductible donation, you can use our Lifesong MyStory site.

Thank you so much to everyone who has given so far, but we still have a ways to go!

BLUEGRASS

$12,000 and 18 days

Just to get you up to speed, we have been matched with an expectant mother who is due July 11.  We got the chance to meet her last weekend and to spend some time with her and her young children.

At this point, we have 18 days to raise about $12,000 in order to pay for our adoption.  We are having a fundraiser on Saturday, April 23rd featuring Bluegrass and BBQ.  Our friends with the Maggie Valley Band are going to be doing a concert and we will have some incredible BBQ and a silent auction! Check the bottom of this post to see a flyer for the event.

Leah is also doing a separate fundraiser involving her incredible make-up skills.  Most of you have probably noticed how beautiful Leah is; one of the cool things about her is that she has incredible make-up skills that make her able to enhance those things that make her and other people naturally beautiful.  She is hoping to use her make-up skills for good, rather than evil, and to make a little more money to go towards our adoption.  She set up a separate website where you can see some samples of her work, so be sure to check out her website here!

 

We can’t impress enough how much we need all of your to help us out with bringing home our next baby! Because of the chance that this baby may be born significantly earlier than her due date, we need to raise the rest of our money ASAP!

The best, quickest ways to donate are to send a payment to btmilan@gmail.com or to check out our Youcaring site.

If you want to make a tax-deductible donation, you can use our Lifesong MyStory site.

BLUEGRASS

 

If you haven’t watched this video yet, you should do it:

 

Bluegrass and Barbecue: April 23rd

On our most recent post, we let you know that we have 25 days (now 24) to raise a HUGE sum of money to help bring home the baby girl that we have been matched with.

On April 23rd, we are having a fundraiser at Vine of the Mountains,our church here in Waynesville, featuring BBQ along with music from The Maggie Valley Band and a silent auction. It’s going to be an amazing event! Please mark your calendars and PLEASE come! I promise that I will drive you crazy so that you will remember!

BLUEGRASS

April 23rd, at 5pm.  Please email or send us a facebook message if you have any questions. We can NOT wait to see you there!

This will likely be our only “physical” fundraiser. It’s so hard to put ourselves out there and ask for help, but we would literally do anything to help bring home the baby girl we are matched with! You can be a part of this story and quite frankly, we need you to be! Give, Share, Pray, come to this fundraiser!

DSC_0079

 If you can’t make it, you can still give!

Here are our ways to give. We much prefer paypal and youcaring because they are more direct and have low/no fees on our end.

If you want to make a tax-deductible donation, you can use our Lifesong MyStory site.

Our You Caring Fundraiser -for a quicker, easier donation
Or if you want to do it a little more directly, and you already have a paypal account, then sign into paypal and send a “gift” to btmilan@gmail.com (there are no fees for us with that).