Tuesday, February 11, 2014

One Day At A Time

If you would have told me ten years ago that I would actually be considering homeschool, I would have told you that you were nuts. I was very pro-public school, and didn't think it was a good idea for anyone to homeschool.

Even five years ago, I would have still thought you were nuts as Emily attended Kindergarten. Then, life happened. I began to meet new people, see new opportunities, and understand that there is more than one way to parent. I began having a desire for a more rounded, stronger education than what the public school offered. I met some "normal" homeschool kids, and noticed that many of the kids who were homeschooled had a much broader, richer education than those who went to public school. They also had a lot more opportunities open up to them.

So, two years ago, I brought up homeschool to Kevin, and there was no discussion about it, it was no!

The year past, and Emily made new friends, many whom were homeschooled. As we made these new friends, I began to see how there were classes they could go to, there were clubs, there were a lot of things that would socialize them. It wasn't necessarily solely schooling at home.

This year, Emily still mentioned homeschool again and again. Her reasons would range from things she must have heard from other people like, "I could be challenged more at home, I'm not challenged enough at school," to, "I want to be able to get my school work done and play at home, rather than get my school work done and stare at the wall waiting for everyone else to be done." Then there are some really ridiculous reasons to.

These are not necessarily my reasons, but I want to open doors for her. I want her to be able to excel at sports and focus on her education, without missing out on downtime too. I want her to love learning and learn to be a lifelong learner. I want her to stay focused on what's important, not what others think is important.

Then there are the fears, she will miss out on school assemblies, school dances, school functions, the camaraderie of being a graduate of a particular school. There are things we would have to sacrifice if we were to homeschool all the way through. That's when I realized, just because homeschooling is the right option right now, doesn't mean it has to be the right option all the way through.

I have a tendency to try to plan my whole life, but since I have been trying to build a large family for ten plus years, get a degree for fourteen, and have managed to have one child with no degree in sight shows that my ability to plan my future is severely lacking. So I need to relax, plan one year at a time, maybe not that, one day at a time.

Next year, I am leaning towards homeschool, but because I never know what lies around the corner, I have to keep open the idea that public school might be the best option as well.

Well, then there was tonight. A friend who I had not seen in fifteen years, invited me to check out the local homeschooling group. It was so comforting to see what I found. There were all different type of people, not the long dressed Amish looking women, but ranging from sweats to fashionable but all had a joy for family and learning.

They shared their stories of frustration and encouraged one another. They talked about their field trips as a group, which sound absolutely amazing. Field trips that would truly prepare a child to know what they actually want to do for the rest of their life, rather than just reading about careers in a book. They swapped materials, shared info about events going on. There was a lot more available than I realized.

I came home, shared about my experience, only to find out that Kevin has been doing his own research. He shared curriculum advice he got from a friend and his thoughts and feelings towards certain things, and even told me about a homeschool convention I should look into.

What I realized is, we are going to keep going forward, preparing ourselves to start homeschooling next year. Life may drastically change between now and then, because if anything, life has taught me is that it has a way of happening while you're busy planning it.

I understand not all will agree with our decision. Some may not understand it. Some will be adamantly against it, but we have my daughter's best interest at heart, and at any time we feel that it is not the best option, we will change course. Her education is extremely important to me, and I truly feel that she would get a better one using the resources we have around our community than the ones found in our local schools.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Decisions, Decisions: God Seems to Be Speaking

Well, it looks like we will be going forward and doing in vitro.... maybe. I have one last test on Tuesday, once we get the results back, we'll be setting the month start date. The money is in fact coming. Last week, we had $0.00 saved, today we have... well... more. Enough to make it seem realistic to be ready in May or June.

The other reason I feel in vitro is in our future is we have not gotten a single call for foster care. Since we have to put a payment down in March, if we are going to start in May, then, pretty soon we will have a financial commitment. As I've seen in the past, it only takes one day for our lives to be flipped upside down, so who knows what will happen before March gets here.

We're just slowly going forward. Taking one step at a time. By Friday, we should have the results and we should know if we are proceeding forward.

The other decision is that I am definitely leaning towards home-school... leaning, not deciding on. I know that people are probably wondering if I am going out of my mind, but too much has happened over the past three years. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with public school. Even if we do pull her, we very well might put Little Miss back in later, especially during the high school years. There are just some strong reasons that have caused me to consider alternative education options.

I can definitely give her a better education than she is getting at school. I'm not worried there. There are so many resources around here that any of the areas I don't feel equipped to teach, I know who does. I do have many concerns though. Unfortunately, my concerns in the public schools are currently outweighing my concerns with home-school. Even Kevin who is for the most part against home-school is beginning to believe that we might be making the best decision.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Infertility to IVF to Adoption

It's funny how things seem to find you right when you need them. I was looking at articles on homeschooling and instead of finding answers to my question on how to school Little Miss, I came across a blog of a homeschooling mom that was called, "God's Grace In Infertility."

For obvious reasons, this caught my interest, and I decided to read more. I discovered that this woman did five cycles of IVF. Each cycle ended with an unwanted visitor. I loved that she referred to her period as this because that is exactly what we have always referred to it as well.

After her five cycles, she found adoption as the path for her.

As we venture forward with in vitro, it occurred to me why I have been averse to doing IVF all along. There is a very good possibility we could go forward, spend the money, with no results.

The thing is, I've been there, done that. Maybe I didn't spend fifteen thousand dollars, but in all reality, it's just money. I'd rather pay thousands of dollars than to experience the sense of loss and frustration that infertility often brings. This has caused me to retrace my steps during the early days when we truly started trying to get pregnant.

The first year was no biggie, we were in the camp of annoying people who say, "I'm not trying to get pregnant, I'm just not not trying to get pregnant." In other words, we were trying to get pregnant, but not doing ovulation kits. We would have been shocked to actually get pregnant, despite the fact that we understood biological functions and the way they work. I am sure I would have made it even more annoying by saying as many other women do, "Oh my gosh, can't believe I actually got pregnant." Being a semi-bitter infertile woman, I have often wanted to point out that if you have unprotected sex, there should be no surprise when you find yourself pregnant.

Fortunately, despite my semi-bitterness, I also have a love for new life, even if I can't create it, and usually will enjoy celebrating with them. I'm not going to lie, tears sometimes are part of that celebration and not the happy ones. It's not exactly jealousy, but more of a reminder of the loss I have experienced.

Oh yeah, I was telling my story, after a year had passed with little results, we began to actively try. You know with ovulation tests, temperature tracking etc.

That was the worst. Each month, we would try, we would hope, then it was like three days of torture. I would count down to the day of my period. I inevitably would begin to feel cramps, have mood swings and would know pretty certainly that my visitor was on the way. Yet, no matter how certain I was, no matter how much evidence there was to its arrival when it came, it would be as if I had just lost this non-existent child.

Infertility is weird that way. You grieve over a child that never truly existed. People understand miscarriage because there was a child, infertility is harder to understand unless you have walked that path. It seems like any other disappointment, but only those who have truly experienced it can relate. The pain of the unwanted visitor's arrival is always a letdown, no matter how sure you are that it will come.

So why am I reminiscing the old torture, you ask?

Because soon I am expecting to embark on the same journey. I am beginning to realize my biggest aversion to IVF is that I've been through the ups and downs of trying to get pregnant.

I didn't like it.

We actively pursued pregnancy for five years, before we hung up that pursuit and pursued adoption. The path proved a positive one with the adoption of our daughter and our eventual meeting of many foster children. Yet, we're chugging forward with the IVF train again.

I'm glad for the change for many reasons, but I have to admit, there is a part of me that does not want to do it. Afraid of that three-day wait fearful of the visitor's arrival. The worst is when there are no PMS symptoms or when the visitor arrives late. How will I handle this? Do I really want to go through the pain all over again? What if I miscarry?

For now, I am going to hold my head up high with my eyes to the Lord. I am going to pray and hope. Just as I still am in hope that we will get a foster child that we will someday adopt. Only God knows what our future will bring.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle

Did you know that the phrase, "God will never give you more than you can handle," was actually stated from Mother Theresa, not the Bible? Okay, those weren't her exact words, but the fact that this saying is not even biblical, fills me up with so much relief.

So many times when people have said this to me, I sometimes feel like I must be weak. 

Yes, I always manage my way through the day, week, month, year, lifetime that I thought was so intolerable, but I never make it through alone. I always, always, need help from my friends, my husband, my family, and of course my God. Sometimes life is more than I can handle alone. 

Then I realized, God may not have said that he wouldn't give you more than you could bear, but he does often give us enough where we have to rely on other people. God does not want us to handle this stuff alone.

Proverbs 18:24 There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

A friend of mine has been going through a really hard time. She ended up spending some time in the hospital due to a nervous breakdown. This was not because she is weak or because she didn't have enough faith. She just has too much on her plate. Essentially a nervous breakdown means we have more on our plate than we can handle alone. She needed the help from doctor's to make it through.

God gives us stuff so we rely on other people. He wants us to need the fellowship of others. If it wasn't so, then he wouldn't have said that his two greatest commandments were loving Him and loving others. Oh and let's not forget:
1 Corinthians 13:13, "Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love."  
Through my fertility issues, I've clung to the hope that we will have a big family. Quite recently, I went through a bad patch of feelings I didn't know existed within me anymore.

My hope was gone.

My faith in God allowed me to acknowledge this was not because he didn't love me, or had forgotten me, my faith was not shaken, but even through my faith I was broken and depressed. It was not my faith that got me through it. It was the love. The love I got from friends, family, scripture. I reached out to many and a few reached back. I believe this is what God wants.

I think instead of teaching people that God will never give us more than we can bear, we should say, "Share your burden, it will lighten your load." Because sometimes, we do have more than we can bear alone. It's not because we are weak or faithless, we are created to need people. We are created to need Him. Love may not heal all things, but it makes the worst of the stuff much more bearable.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Grief is the Ultimate Pain

Last year, something happened that really shook me. It's one of those things that will probably stick with me forever. I spent a long period of time uncovering the truth, by the time the truth was uncovered for me many lies were revealed and I realized that I needed to move on. Part of me wanted to expose the truth, but by then my voice was no longer heard. I prayed for direction and discernment and found peace.

The thing that saddens me most is that even though I have uncovered the truth, the damage is done. There is no way to fix the problem, because even with the truth it's still a big uncomfortable mess.

Sometimes I wish you could put a band-aide over life. You could make things heal, without leaving scars. You could right the wrongs.

But that is life. You cannot change the past just as much as you cannot change other people. You can change the direction of your future, learn from mistakes, but ultimately there are somethings you just have to grieve, say goodbye to, and move on. Personally, I think the last three things are the hardest part of life. I can handle illness, I can handle pain, I can even handle disappointments, but loss is a different kind of pain that I just don't do well with.