Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Italy vs. Holland and How do I get to Australia

Welcome to Holland
(c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved)
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability- to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip -to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans.. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt's. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ....about Holland.
Dear Abby: A few years ago, you printed an essay titled “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley. The subject was having a child with Down Syndrome. Enclosed is an article my daughter, Diane Armitage, wrote, inspired by “Welcome to Holland.” Her message is directed to childless couples who are considering adoption. (Diane and her husband are the parents of two adopted children.) Perhaps you will consider it worth publishing.–Kathryn Relnalda, Blairstown, NJ
Dear Kathryn: I’m delighted to share what your daughter wrote, and I’m sure many readers will appreciate its insight:
Different Trips to the Same Place
Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You’ve heard it’s a wonderful place, you’ve read many guidebooks and feel certain you’re ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.
So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you; you’ll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait–and wait–and wait.
Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, “Relax. You’ll get on a flight soon.” Other people actually get on the plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, “It’s not fair!”
After a long time the ticket agent tells you, “I’m sorry, we’re not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat.”
“By BOAT!” you say. “Going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane.” So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally decide to travel by boat.
It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip.
Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.
People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, “Oh, be glad you didn’t fly. My flight was horrible; traveling by sea is so easy.”
You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you get there, but in the place itself.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I feel...HAPPY

I noticed sometime last week that I feel happy. I'm sure for some people that is hard to understand; how can a person not be happy? I had finally reached the point where I wasn't depressed anymore, but then I felt the crunch because we have been approved for almost a year and no one has looked at us. But then I just woke up one morning and I was...Happy. It's been a while since I felt happy for no particular reason.
It could be the Christmas season, but I don't think that's it. I was a little scared with the Christmas season coming up (I DID NOT enjoy Christmas last year or really the year before that), but then I decided to not get all hyped up about it. My Christmas shopping isn't as extravagant this year and Josh and I each picked out our own presents so no surprises there. We have no Christmas tree this year and I haven't even bothered to get out my winter decorations. I enjoy watching Josh play Santa Claus so I don't think I am a Grinch. It just seems easier to not stress over the holiday's. I have tried to be more giving this year and I have enjoyed that. I bought some clothes and donated them to the community for their angel tree and tomorrow I am going to buy some things for a family who lost their house to fire this week.
I have even tried to "test out" this happiness to make sure it was real. I have thought back to things in the past that used to upset me or bring me to tears and now I feel nothing when I look back. I finally feel like I have come to terms with everything and everyone and that I truly hold no hard feelings anymore. I am finally starting to truly enjoy being an aunt and I hope that I will soon have another niece or nephew.
I think I was finally tired of not being happy that I just decided to be happy. It has been so nice. I feel like a more pleasant person and I hope people think I am easier to be around now.



So Barren said...

I am glad you're doing well. I hope you guys will get your baby soon. It's all about timing. I know how you feel about Christmas. Good for you for doing so much service!
Meka from 2ofus4now

Monday, December 1, 2008

Josh's Infertility Story

Hello everyone, I am trying my hand at this blogging thing. I'm pretty technology resistant but after Savannah posted her Infertility journal I felt that I needed to be part of this thing too. I will start off by saying that I am very excited to adopt, maybe even more so than Savannah, I just don't always show emotion as well. That being said let me tell you all my story of our infertility.
In 2005 we decide we are ready to start a family. In my mind I picture myself being the first one in the family to make my parents grandparents. I could see myself holding a newborn in the hospital, grinning ear to ear, lightly kissing my beautiful wife on the head and beaming with joy. That didn't happen. We tried and nothing, tried again and nothing. I have never done anything harder in the world than to look in Savannah's eyes after a failed pregnancy test; the hurt that was there was slowly killing me. I think deep down I was worried that it was all my fault for not being able to give her children, I felt like a failure as a husband, after every failed test I just wanted to die.
February 2007, I spent my anniversary getting tested, by far the worst test I have ever taken. Savannah took me to Cabela's but deep down I already knew the results and I felt like less of a man at that point in my life. I knew I would fail and that meant that I was a failure as a husband.
March 2007, While driving home from work one night I heard a Hallmark card commercial on the radio about a woman getting a card for her sister who had just adopted a child. It was like I had finally woken up; I knew without a doubt at that point that we would adopt, and all my feelings of being a failure went away. The painful aching hole in my chest didn't hurt quite as bad and I didn't feel like any less of a man. In fact I felt excited, I would get to adopt and that would make our child very special.
Later in March 2007, Test results came back and confirmed what I already knew in my heart, we were going to adopt. I was very excited I couldn't wait and I still can't.
Summer 2007, We attended our very first Birth mother panel and like Savannah has already said it was AWESOME! I had an understanding of what adoption was all about and I could hardly contain myself, we were going to get the chance to have a birth mother of our own and I was very, very happy. Also we attended our first FSA conference, again AWESOME, I can't even put into words the happiness I felt.
Many things have followed since then, Paperwork, home study, and lots of waiting. I am trying to be patient but it is hard sometimes. I don't feel like a failure anymore, but the aching hole is still there in my chest. It will take a successful adoption and hopefully the acceptance of a few people to fill that void. I can't wait to get that call, the one that says we have a baby. I'll yell it out to all the world, grin from ear to ear, and kiss my beautiful wife on the head. I'll feel whole again and I can't wait for that. Anyone can be a parent but only the most special people can be adoptive parents, and only the very most special people can be the birth parents who will make their dreams come true.



Elizabeth and Brian said...

That was very brave of you Josh to say all that. I hope it was healing. Brian has never been able to write it all down. It is nice to have a male perspective on infertility. I hope it helps my husband. We were at that conferance too. It's a shame we didn't all meet up. It was a wonderful conferance. It was the AHA moment for us on adoption.

Ashley said...

To Josh,
I know that you and Savannah are very impatient to be chosen by a birth mother. You may have a long wait still but I know in my heart you both will be great parents! Try to remember that everything happens for a reason and your child will come to you when the time is right. I know I don't know you very well but I have seen the affect you have had on Savannah in all these years you two have been together. I couldn't have wished for a better man for one of the best friends I have ever had. You are an amazing person and one of the best men that I know! I love you both and good luck with your wait.

Mom (Tammy) said...

What a touching story. I knew much of it but reading it from your own words touched my heart!
You are a wonderful husband and I know that you will be an awesome father. You are a wonderful man and I couldn't have asked for a more special son.
Thanks for being you and be patient. It will all be worth it when we hold that special child that our Heavenly Father is preparing to send your way.
Love, Mom (Tammy)

Teah said...

Oh how I feel for you both. As I read this entry the tears were just streaming down my face. I hope you both know how incredibly amazing you both are. I remember the day we found out I had problems and then again when we found out that Donovan also had some also. I never had to suffer as you have though. Oh how I wish somehow I could take away your pain. I've been keeping my eyes and ears open for you both and if I come across any information or birth mothers I'll send it/her your way. love you both and praying for you. Teah