A Little Bit of Balking

I was never really upset for myself with the possibility of infertility.  Yes, it’s disappointing to think about, but I have only been sad for my husband.  I have considered adoption for many years, and am kind of relieved at the thought of not having to endure the torture that can be pregnancy.  Not meaning to put myself up on any type of platform, I merely wanted to state that to help you understand the following story a little better.

A few weekends ago, I decided to go through what I call my “treasure trunk”  My mom has been working on filling this trunk most of my life, with the trunk itself arriving during my high school years.  Filled with old school papers, numerous pictures and awards, it is the trunk of me.  There were a few things I wanted to add to the already stuffed trunk, so I thought it was time to go through and weed a little bit.  While I ended up mostly embarrassed at my former self, I also experienced a bit of loss.  You see, my mother and I are almost mirror images of each other.  Even though we are 18 years apart, we could be mistaken as sisters (if only she would realize that she looks good in jeans and throw off those old track pants).  My middle brother and I share my father’s temperament, while my younger brother and I share the same dark hair and thin build.

People won’t say of my children, “She has your nose” or “She throws fits just like you and your brother.”  And yes, I understand this is completely narcissistic.  But I wouldn’t mind having a little girl that has adorable brown hair like I did, or a little pudgy boy like my husband used to be.  In exploring the possibility of infertility, I need to begin processing these facts and potentially beginning to mourn this loss.  Adoptive moms, did you go through a similar phase?  Am I just being completely selfish here?

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Laziness and Licensing

After deciding to move forward with the adoption, we were told that the first item of business was completing the PS-MAPP class through our agency.  Upon the completion of the class, we were given a licensing packet containing everything we needed to become a resource family.  This process is very tedious and requires a lot of busywork, copying and signing.  Initially, we were ready to get it all done and sent in.  Then the appellation happened.  Knowing we had more time than we thought we might have, I put the packet to the side and didn’t think too much about it.  I kept procrastinating and coming up with excuses to put it on hold.

Now I am at the point where I want to get it done.  I want to check everything off the list, turn it in to our agency and see what happens next.  We might very well get to meet the kiddos after that.  Oh wait, did I mention that?  The fact that we haven’t met them yet?

So, my readers, I am using you as my accountability tool.  Listed below are all the things that need to be compiled or acquired, with the ones crossed out already compiled or acquired.  Will you hold me to finishing this by the end of this month?  There it is, my personal goal out in the middle of the world wide web.

  • Foster home application completed and signed
  • Floor plan of all levels of home, including window dimensions and indices of who will live where
  • Menu form
  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Discipline agreement
  • Yearly mechanical safety check
  • Copy of all driver’s licenses
  • Copy of all vehicle insurance cards
  • Health assessments completed
  • Copy of proof of income
  • Emergency numbers posted
  • Emergency plans posted
  • Smoke detectors in each bedroom
  • Carbon monoxide detectors outside of bedrooms
  • Household cleaning supplies locked up
  • Sharp instruments locked or stored out of reach
  • Medications kept in a locked cabinet
  • Basic first AID completed

The House Tour (part 1)

After deciding to move forward with the adoption, we moved into an awesome 3-bedroom duplex.  As promised, this is the beginning of a series of posts featuring our new house.  I would love your feedback or advice on decorating or styling our house.  It is a rental, so we do have limitations, but I am excited at the prospect of the house reflecting the Keckles.  Let’s start with the main floor.

This is the view from our front door.  It opens into our living room, with an arched entryway to the dining area.  On the right side of the photo, you get a tiny glimpse of the beautiful hard wood flooring that is a part of the staircase and upper level.  Notice also that the dining area leads into the kitchen, my favorite room in the house.

Here you can see a better shot of the living room.  We love the huge windows and mantel, even if the fireplace is non-functioning.  I would love to say that there is a “theme” to this space, but unfortunately, we have to work with what we have, which includes 2 retro recliners and a lot of hand-me-down furniture.  The glass-topped coffee table will be a goner once the kiddos move in, creating more playspace, since this floor will be the main play area.

Don’t you love our dining table?  We had that passed on from my parents and it is quite possibly my favorite piece of furniture.  I have no intentions of covering up those gorgeous windows, because they brighten this space a lot.  What you can’t see in this photo is the corner on the right side, which is currently filled with stacks of books and random toys.  We would like to make this a play area as well, but have not quite figured out where to move the books.  The bookcase you see used to be 6 feet tall, but was not sturdy and could have toppled over easily in the reach of toddlers, so we cut it down to the 3 shelves you see.

The whole house is a work in progress, but do you see anything we should move to the top of our list?  Any brilliant ideas for making it kid-friendly yet beautiful?

The House Hunt

Mr. Keckles and I pride ourselves on living simply.  Since being married, we have lived in 2 small(ish) apartments.  We probably could have afforded renting a house or a larger apartment, but it just seemed silly since my parents live 20 minutes away and could store a lot of the stuff we didn’t need right at this moment in our lives.  Because we have paid next to nothing for rent, we have enjoyed paying off my $20,000 in student loans in 2 years and have almost cut his in half in less than 1 year.  However, when we found out about the kids and decided to move forward, the first thing on the agenda was to find a house.

We debated for a few days on buying a house, and then decided to forgo that option in order to calm the churning that happened in my mind and belly at the thought of being that far in debt.  Can you tell we have issues with debt?  In deciding to continue to rent, we realized that we would have to compromise on some things we wanted in order to find a place in time.  You see, the town we live in is terrible for renters.  The only option you have is to rent from June 1- June 1 or August 1- August 1.  If the lease is broken, there are major financial setbacks and a tarnished leasing record.  As it was March/April when we made our decision, we had to find a place quickly.

We were picky at the beginning, wanting 3-4 bedrooms, no basement, no hard wood floors and a few preferences on neighborhoods.  After viewing four or five places in our price range, we realized there was going to have to be some compromising.  The sacrifice we just couldn’t make was living too far away from Mr. Keckles’ workplace and our cluster of close friends.  In the end, we moved into a beautiful 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom duplex with an unfinished basement (only for storage) and hard wood floors in the upper level.  Amazingly enough, the hard wood flooring is my favorite part of the house.

After finding out about the appellation, it has been hard living in this huge place all by ourselves.  Yes, there are signs that kiddos are on the way (a toddler bed, books, Diaper Champ, booster seat, etc.), but it is still quiet and seemingly empty.  My frugal self has to keep being reminded that it is okay to pay so much in rent and not necessarily use the space we are paying for.  It will all be worth it in the end.  Stay tuned for a picture tour of the house and updates on how we are transforming it to be kid-friendly.

The Appellation

Originally when we decided to move forward with the adoption, we were told that once we were licensed, the kiddos would move in and it would be all legalities after that point.  We were informed that their biological parents’ rights had been terminated by the state of Kansas and everything was a go.  About a month later, we found out that both biological parents had appealed the termination.  We processed through a few different emotions after learning this information.

At first, we were devastated.  When you have this picture in your head of how things will go (especially when you have a type A personality like myself), it is too much to bear when that picture changes drastically.  Adoption is not like pregnancy in which you have a pretty good idea how things will turn out.

We had been telling friends and family the time-frame of August/September, knowing we could move into our new house by then and be licensed.  To have to go back and tell them it would actually be more like spring 2012 was rather embarrassing.  We are well-informed to know that adoption is a long process and apt to change at any time, but we weren’t sure if that was the case with the people in our lives.  Why we ever doubted them is a mystery to us now.  Our news was received well, with offers of encouragement and emotional support.  Our friends and family grieved with us and helped us to keep pressing forward.

In the end, the emotion we ended on was relief.  Our future Keckles (the sibling set we intend to adopt) will need to know that their parents did everything they could to make a safe home for them.  They need to have the reassurance that their parents loved them very much.  To be able to tell them about the appellation will hopefully bring closure and understanding to their little hearts and minds.  And in all honesty, we could use the few extra months to build our relationship and prepare (for lack of a better term) for how drastically our lives are about to change.

 

More on Fertility

If you have read our story, you know that we haven’t even been trying to get pregnant for 2 years yet.  I know that this is a fairly short time to have been trying  before inquiring into adoption.  However, there are a few reasons behind this.  First, I did speak with my gynecologist about possibly finding some answers to our infertility.  Of course, finding those answers require surgery, needles, and other things that I do not do well with.  If you do not know me personally, here’s a quick story to enlighten you:

Last winter, Mr. Keckles had to take a late night visit to the emergency room because he was having trouble breathing and had a tremendous amount of chest pain.  Our cousin Laura went with us because she is a doll like that.  Turns out he was having a panic attack, but before the doctors could figure that out and calm him down, they put him on a morphine drip.  I had to excuse myself from the room because of my needle-phobia and promptly passed out twice in the hallway thinking about it.  I was then admitted to my own room in the emergency area of our hospital and spent a good 2 hours being watched by nurses.  Thank God that Laura was there to help him through his much more traumatic night.

Needless to say, I do not feel mentally and emotionally stable enough to deliberately put myself in a situation like that again.  Hopefully, I will be in a more solid place in the future to submit myself to testing and fertility exploration.

Another possible outcome that has deterred us from fertility testing is the fact that it could be just one of our “faults” that we cannot get pregnant.  What if Mr. Keckles’ swimmers just aren’t strong enough?  What if my womb is just not stable enough?  Neither of us want the other to live with that for the rest of their life.  In our relationship and in this circumstance, ignorance is bliss.

The Beginning

My husband and I got married on November 21, 2009.  We had talked about children before we got married, deciding that we wanted a fairly large family and were possibly interested in adoption down the road.  We also talked about birth control, deciding that medicinal methods just weren’t for us, since I have a tendency towards mood swings and we didn’t want to exacerbate that with any unnecessary medicine.  We also just wanted to trust God to provide for us as he wishes, in the timing that he alone can choose.

However, my husband was still in school and we weren’t really financially stable, so we tried the Natural Family Planning method for a few months after our wedding (which I am a huge advocate of!).  After a few months, though, we gave in, knowing that we just wanted to start a family.  We reversed our NFP method to the side of trying to get pregnant.  Now, approaching our 2-year anniversary, we are still not pregnant.  There has not even been a blip on the screen.  I know this is a very long time to be trying, but more on that later.

About 5 months ago, however, Mr. Keckles (not our real name, in case you didn’t figure that out) was reaching the end of his rope with continuing to try to get pregnant and not really getting any answers.  He cried out to God, begging for an answer, not necessarily a solution or a missed period, but just an answer for our struggles.  Two days later, his friend approached him and asked him if we would be willing to adopt a sibling set of 3.  His friend knew that we had talked about adoption and just thought he would throw it out there, as his MIL is a social worker and was trying to find a permanent home for these children.  We talked about it and decided that, yes, we would love to pursue this and hopefully start our family through the method of foster-to-adopt.  After deciding to move forward, we found out that the kiddos are currently in foster care, 2 girls (ages 2 and 3) in one home and 1 boy (7-8 months old) in another home.  They are developing well and being loved tremendously by their foster families, but need a “forever” home, as it is so commonly called.

This summer, we began the process to become a resource family, meaning that we can foster children, as well as adopt them through the foster system.  We took our PS-MAPP classes and are now working on becoming licensed (more on that later as well).  Nailing down a time frame at this point is difficult, but we would love for you to follow us on this journey.  Stay tuned here for updates and more of our insight on the foster-to-adopt process and starting a family.