Thursday, May 7, 2015

wonderland

You know those songs that you listen to while you're going through a breakup that totally speak to you?  Like, "Omg, this was totally written about me!" There's this song by Taylor Swift called Wonderland, and it's totally a "S song." It's about falling in love too quickly and then going mad when it ends. Everyone warned us to not fall in love too fast, to take it slow. That's just not my game. I tried, I really tried. I almost went crazy doing it, but then I received a Priesthood blessing and I was told to be myself, so I went full-tilt Chelsi and loved with everything I had. Do I regret it? Yes and no. Can you ever regret loving someone, though? I think love is always good. Even if you do lose your mind.

Flashing lights and we, took a wrong turn and we
Fell down the rabbit hole
You held on tight to me
'Cause nothing's as it seems
Spinning out of control
Didn't they tell us don't rush into things
Didn't you flash your green eyes at me
Haven't you heard what becomes of curious minds
Ooh didn't it all seem new and exciting
I felt your arms twisting around me
I should've slept with one eye opened at night
We found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And we pretended it could last forever,
We found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And life was never worse but never better,
In wonderland,
In wonderland,
In wonderland,
In wonderland
So we went on our way
Too in love to think straight
All alone or so it seemed
But there were strangers watching
And whispers turned to talking
And talking turned to screams
Didn't they tell us don't rush into things
Didn't you flash your green eyes at me
Didn't you call my fears with the treacherous cat's smile
Ooh didn't it all seem new and exciting
I felt your arms twisting around me
It's all fun and games, still somebody loses their mind
Oh darling, we found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And we pretended it could last forever,
We found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And life was never worse but never better,
In wonderland,
In wonderland,
In wonderland,
In wonderland
I reach for you
But you were gone
I knew I had to go back home
You searched the world for something else
To make you feel like what we had
And in the end in wonderland we both went mad
Oh, we found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And we pretended it could last forever,
We found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And life was never worse but never better,
We found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And we pretended it could last forever,
We found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And life was never worse but never better
In wonderland
I'm saying, now, that if we get a little girl, her first birthday will be a Wonderland Birthday, because we went mad getting her.  We did go mad for a little while.  It really broke us.  It shattered me.    I didn't know if I'd ever be ok. I didn't think I'd ever be able to see another baby or talk to S without something inside of me screaming in pain.  But guess what?  I can.  I'm not shattered anymore.  There are scars, but they'll fade, and I am ok.  There is a level of acceptance that I thought I would NEVER reach.  Ever.

Remember part 3 of this post? I did it.  I immersed myself in the gospel.

I made a goal to get my Young Women's medallion again as a leader.  In the LDS church there is a program for Young Women called Personal Progress.  There are eight sections and each one contains 10-12 "experiences" that foster self improvement and spiritual strength, as well as one ten-hour project pertaining to the specific value of each section; the values being faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue.  The girls are given 6 years to complete it and are awarded a beautiful medallion.  It's designed to prepare the girls to be a smart, independent, spiritual,  and strong woman, and eventually wife and mother.  The requirements for the leaders are 4 experiences in each value and three ten-hour projects.  I've got two more values to go and I'm done!  It has helped me so much in my adult life, as it did when I was a Young Woman.  It has given me something else to focus on besides adoption.  

I've been really READING my scriptures, not just going through the motions.  I'm taking notes again, making timelines, cross-referencing...really getting in there.  I have a goal to finish the Book of Mormon by September, but finish with a deeper understanding, not finish it quickly.  

I've been trying harder to fulfill my calling as a YW leader and attend church consistently...even if it hurts.  Mother's Day is Sunday and I never go, but this year I am.  I'm teaching in YWs, so I can't bail either.  ;)  I know Heavenly Father has given me this calling to help me in my own life, not so I can help the girls, though I hope I do a little.  They are amazing girls, and brighten my day twice a week.  I love them more than I can say.  

I'm working hard at maintaining a successful and very happy marriage; again, focusing on something other than adoption.  I feel like we are even stronger than before and are falling in love all over again on an even deeper level.  

I am praying like I never have before.  All day, every day.  Always.  

All of these things have healed me through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I never understood how it worked before.  But thanks to the counsel of Elder Scott, it was made simple to me.  And by small and simple things, great things come to pass, like the healing of a heart that was absolutely disintegrated.  It happened so much faster than I expected.  I am happy.  It only took four months, and each day got better and better.  There are still hard days, but because I want to be a mother, not because of what happened to me.  Through the Atonement of Christ, he has taken my burden and I am healed.

I am not saying I can look at S's baby pictures or that I want to hang out any time soon.  There is still some level of hurt, but it's more caution than pain.  I still miss her.  A lot.  I wish I could just hate her and cut off all ties.  But I can't.  I miss her separately than baby stuff.  She was someone we fell in love with and I miss speaking to her every day, planning outings, sending her things that remind me of her.  I just miss HER. 

I don't think there is anyone I've loved that I don't still loved on some level.  I still care about my ex's and wish them all the joy life can give them.  I still love friends who have gone.  I think I will always love S and I know someday I can love her without a twitch of pain.

As for the adoption process, it continues on.  We had a girl at Child Services who was interested in us and another family.  We were really stoked and were set to meet her on Monday two weeks ago.  I felt so good about it.  We went out and got her a present on Saturday and I wasn't even nervous.  But, on Sunday I felt uneasy all day long.  I figured it was just nerves and continued along my day.  I had a meeting and one of my YW had one of those home ec. dolls.  She was feeding it a bottle and for a spilt second, I wanted to feed it for her.  I kept thinking to myself, "You have reached a new level of crazy.  You want to play with dolls now."  That's how bad I want a baby.  It kind of freaked me out and made me realize how badly I wanted Monday to work out.  I got home from my meeting and I asked for a Priesthood blessing, but before I even got one, Child Services called and said she had picked someone else and the meeting was cancelled.  I cried so hard.  But the next day, we went miniature golfing and picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and continued on.  

We received an e-mail yesterday from an expectant couple who is considering placing a baby girl.  We are, of course, super excited, but are trying to keep it cool.  Cause I'm good at that.  #eyeroll 
We know whatever happens will be meant to be.  It's not in our hands, but The Lord's.  I'm trying to give it to God.  Life is all about playing your cards right, and someday, I'll find an ace up my sleeve.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

the enchilada alternative

S had her baby.  This weekend has not been great.  Friday I didn't feel well so I slept all night, Saturday we helped at a ward party, which we fought (secretly) at.  Then we went to visit my grandmother's grave for her birthday and I lost it.  It was the first time I've been back since the funeral...and it was just so hard.  Today was a hard day at church that ended with someone telling me that there were good things about not having kids, incase I didn't know.

As I was eating my girl scout cookies, S messaged me.  The baby came a month early via C-section and he weighs 5 pounds and is doing well.  He's not even on oxygen.  That is all I know.  I cannot, cannot look at her pictures.  Can-NOT.  

S had her baby.  Her baby. He's not my baby.  He's not my baby.  He's not my baby.  He's not my baby.  He's not my baby.  He's not my baby.  He's not my baby.  Repeat.  

I just made enchiladas for dinner.  I was supposed to be in Cabo when this happened, or Disneyland, or Lava Hotsprings!  Anywhere but standing in my kitchen making enchiladas.  I just kept stirring with my heart-shaped wooden spoon in disbelief as to what I was doing.  Why am I making enchiladas? He's not my baby.  

Luckily, I'm all stocked up on Phish Food thanks to a birthday present from my Visiting Teacher, and we just happen to have a great friend who snuck over and delivered a pint along with some flowers.  People are good.  He's not my baby.

Friday, March 20, 2015

gotcha

31 days ago I was given the best birthday present I would ever be given.  A brave, beautiful 16-year-old girl signed a release of her parental rights, kissed me goodbye, and gave me a better life and an eternal family.  Today is my gotcha day.  :)  I imagine, from my birthmother's letters that it went something like this.
I think she held me in her arms after my birth-grandfather gave me a blessing, which was transcribed and given to me. I imagine she cried and my birthfather, who cried as well, asked if she was sure, and she said, "Yes.  They can give her more."  I imagine she called upon the Lord for strength and to help her remember the conformation that she had.  I imagine she thought about her life as well, and how this decision would benefit her, even though it hurt.  I imagine she told me she loved me and to never forget that.  I never did. Ever. 
I've always known she loved me more than anything in the world and THAT was why she placed me in the arms of her caseworker and said goodbye.   
Then, my mom and dad got the best call of their lives.  "You can pick her up in three hours," they said.  Mom and Dad called their families and then raced to the mall.  They picked up a crib, toys, a rocking chair, dresser, changing table, bassinet, swing, jumper, bike basket, a million clothes and every other thing you can imagine.  Then they sat in the food court for two hours.   
Meanwhile, Grandma, whose birthday is (was, would be) tomorrow, and my aunt Heidi, picked up diapers, wipes, formula, bathing supplies and all other groceries along with some pink balloons that blew out of the car window three times before they finally made it home.   
When my mom and dad finally were able to go to the agency, their caseworker said, "She's in there.  You can go take a look at her and see if you want her."  My dad looked at him, baffled, and said, "Are you crazy?  We want her."  They cried over me, held me close, reluctantly loaded me into my newly installed carseat, and took me home to pink balloons and my family waiting to meet me. 
That night, my mom cried for my birthmother, and prayed harder than she'd ever prayed before, for her to have strength and comfort, and peace.  She knew she did.  
My mom still prays for my birthmom, 31 years later, and so do I.  Thank you, dear Birthmother, for being brave enough and strong enough to give me my family.  You did good, Girl.  I love you.

Monday, March 2, 2015

LDSFS Partnership with Adoption.com and What it Means for Us

As most of you know, today the LDS church announced that in order to give adoptive couples more exposure, they are partnering with the #1 adoption website, adoption.com.  Many of you are wondering what this means for us.  We are so excited!  Currently, our profile is listed at LDSFS's website, which will soon be taken down due to the closing of their adoption services.  Now, we will be able to create a profile at adoption.com for free for one year!  That is a $2400 subscription that the church is picking up the tab for!  That's like a bajillion pass-along cards! SOOOO many more girls will see our profile now and be able to find us so much sooner!  The website is amazing and has so many great features!  It's no wonder it is number one. I can't wait to get started on building our profile.

Now, what does this mean for us cost-wise?  More than likely, she will already be a client of an agency so we will work with her preferred agency and the cost will still be between $30,000-$50,000  There is a chance, however that the birthmom who chooses us may want to work through a private attorney, which will cost us around $10,000.  We will also need to update our homestudy if we aren not matched by July, which will be around $500-$1000.   If, by some miracle S changes her mind, then the original plan will continue and everything will only cost around $5,000.

The bottom line is that financially, it might not change much for us in the long run, but the important thing is:  We KNOW this will help us find our birthmother so much sooner and we are THRILLED about that.  That is a gift that we could not be more grateful for.

As we have stated before, though we are saddened by the closing of LDSFS, we fully support their decision and know that they are guided by the Lord.  We know He has a very special plan for us and our eternal family.  We are so grateful for this gift and will utilize it to the best of our ability.  

As for some updates, Hati, Stork-Drop, and Kimberly didn't work out.  As for S, at this point, especially as of late, we aren't counting on her changing her mind.  However, we love S and wish her the very best and would gladly take her back into our lives and the baby into our arms.

As I said before, The Lord has a plan for us and we are just along for the ride.  We're so grateful for the gift He's given us of so much more exposure.  It won't be long now.  (Say it with me.)

Thank you for all of your love and support.

Our profile can be viewed and shared here for now: https://itsaboutlove.org/ial/profiles/31661226/ourMessage.jsf  Please share it.

You can donate here: http://www.gofundme.com/blv5w8

And your continued love, encouragement, prayers and support are so appreciated.  We were beyond touched by the amount of texts, posts, private messages, and sheer excitement for us upon the announcement.  We have such an incredible support network and I want you to know that I thank God for you each and every night. We are so blessed by YOU!  We love you.

Team Johnston <3 p="">

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

irons in the fire

Our adoption journey continues on, despite both of us screaming that we need a break.  (Summary here: http://liljohnstons.blogspot.com/2014/12/how-to-deal-how-to-heal-and-how-to-help.html) It's been a busy week at our house.  We sent S some shoes for her birthday.  I saw them and I loved them, so I knew she would LOVE them.  It took some effort to find out her shoe size and I had to really take her from the back of my mind to the forefront.  It wasn't pretty.  There was a tsunami of tears as I searched her posts and pins to find her shoe size.  I messaged her family members and friends with no response besides someone who gave me an obviously fake shoe size.  I was convinced that she had told them all not to make contact with us and that she hated us.  Then she messaged me.  That little ping was the sweetest sound!  She thanked us for the "GORGEOUS" shoes and I don't think I've ever been so glad someone liked my gift.  They were even the right size, thanks to my mom who remembered it from the night we went shopping.

S and I chatted for about an hour, both crying our eyes out.  I miss her so much!!  I love her so much!  I wish I could stop, because it hurts so badly, but I can't.  She has moved out on her own and I am that much more worried about her.  What if her feet hurt?  Who will rub them?  What if she goes into early labor?  What if she can't pick something up off the ground?  What if someone tries to hurt her or rob her?  What if she's too tired to make dinner? I wish I could stop loving her.  If I'm being honest with myself, too, I still want her to place with us more than I want anything.  I've tried so hard to let that hope go, but it's still hanging on by its fingernails in the back of my mind.  Not only for me, but mostly for the baby and for her.  I want her to live in an apartment at SUU and become best friends with her roommates and chase her dreams and catch them.  Not this.  Not becoming best friends with that little boy and sacrificing her dreams for him.  I love her too much.  I want her to be the happiest she can ever possibly be.  I want to make her happy.  I would make sure she was.

A couple in our ward is from Haiti and has a family situation they told us about.  His aunt and uncle are considering placing a baby boy and girl, twins, are 4 months old. Typically, a Haiti adoption can take a lot of time and money and can be pretty complex but they are thinking that they can pull some strings since they're family.  They are over there right now for a visit and are getting some information for us.  I've been secretly reading articles about twins on sleep schedules.  I always wanted twins when I was little.  A boy and a girl.  We'd be done, too.  Never having to go through this ever again.  Plus their Aunt and Uncle would be a big part of their lives and we could even visit Haiti.  Stop me whenever you want.

We were also contacted by a K via our Instagram challenge.  She sent us a heart-wrenching e-mail last week and I responded the next day after some thought and prayer.  She never wrote back.  I'm thinking she is probably a scammer, or changed her mind.  She was only 8 weeks along, so there was a lot of time for her to waiver.  Perhaps she'll contact us again in 7 months...

Yesterday I was contacted by a friend in the adoption community about a "Stork Drop" situation.  That's where a baby is placed last-minute and needs parents pronto.  We're still gathering information and haven't been able to reach the agency. She is four weeks old and I am dreaming of cuddling her.  I woke up holding a pillow.  We need to come up with 30,000 dollars ASAP if we want her.  (Haha!  IF!) and if we pay, she's ours.

My Dad said that he was excited that we had "several irons in the fire."  It doesn't feel like it.  They don't feel real.  Maybe I am so broken that I don't dare feel anything anymore.  And even if I do feel a little pang, I don't know what Heavenly Father wants us to do.  How do I know which baby is mine?  If any?  All of my friends say that you know because everything just comes together.  They even tease that I might end up with 5 kids under one.  How crazy would that be.  I would do it in a heartbeat.

S said that she wished she could heal me.  How can I not love her.  I want to heal her too.  All of the articles say that adoption doesn't heal infertility.  Well, I'm not technically infertile, I just can't carry a baby safely...so all I want is a baby.  That's it.  That would heal me.  Maybe this break in my heart is so deep and so jagged that it would take five babies to heal it.  I don't know.  I really think just one would do it.  Just one.  Just one.  Just...I'm using that word a lot lately.  I just want to be a mom.  I'm just trying to breathe. Can't someone just call us and say, "I have your baby."  I just want to know.  I just want this to be over.  Just.  It isn't just.