Tuesday, December 30, 2014

We Three and the Insanity of 3

We hosted another successful, albeit small, Thanksgiving at our little house. It was really great having a little bit of my family in town and it turned out that my nephew Easa and J hit it off really well.

It somehow turned out that J wasn't told that he'd be living with us forever until a couple hours before we went to pick him up. That's a lot to process! So on top of the all-autonomy-all-the-time attitude of a 3.5 year old, we're also dealing with some pretty big displaced feels.

It has been a pretty stressful couple of days for everyone. J is trying to figure out how this new mom and dad plan to keep him safe and we're left deciphering what is attachment/loss issues and  what is normal 3 year old behavior.

It was a little nostalgic driving out to pick him up. We listened to a CD that was the anthem of our 2 month long road trip....a time where we had no responsibilities, no plan, no itinerary and no structure. Just us, some mini bagels and our little blue kia. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Day We Met Our Son.

We drove to a park on the outskirts of Phoenix and began to walk around. I couldn't bring myself to let go of Russell's hand or to venture far from him. I was so nervous and excited and anxious.
I turned to Russ and asked him;

"How crazy would it be if they just walked around the corner?"

Russ looked up and saw a lady walking with a little boy and a wagon and said

That's them. That's them!"

We said hello to his foster mom and then introduced ourselves to him. He was extremely shy and didn't quite want to make eye contact with us. 

His foster mom kept telling him, "remember, these are your new friends we were going to meet."
But he stayed to himself. She then laughed and told us, "well he has to be somewhat relieved! On the way here he was worried that you guys were tigers!"

The first hour or so that we walked around the grounds of the park, he kept his distance. He clung to his foster mom and, when he did venture a little ways away, he kept sneaking glances over his shoulder to make sure we weren't getting too close. 

He found a couple of oranges on the ground beneath a tree and collected them into his wagon and had his foster mom hold one. After walking through a couple of gates, a couple of times, he began tossing the orange and running after it. I asked if he wanted to race, and he gave me a firm 'NO'. He threw the orange at a palm tree and nailed it from at least 6 feet away, which we were impressed with for a 3 year old!

He then proceeded to chuck the orange at us and yell "WATCH OUT". 
In that order.

I couldn't help but laugh and think about telling him the story of the day we met, when he is much older, and telling him "yeaa, you chucked oranges at us." haha. 

It took about an hour or so for him to warm up and then we began playing on the playground. We played tag and hide and go seek. We built sand castles around the orange and pushed him on the swings for a little bit. 

We found a sprinkler box with a hole in it and he told us there was a snake living in there. I had goldfish in my purse so I asked if we should feed the snake. He decided we should and made quick pokes at the goldfish until it went down the hole. He was nervous there was a snake and that it would get him. As we sat there, he finally relaxed a bit and snuggled close to me as I showed him pictures of our house and videos of our puppy and nephew. He thought Echo was just the funniest thing and wanted to watch the videos over and over again.

Before we headed back to the car, we gave his foster mom some pictures of us for J. to hold on to. The change from our first seeing him, to us walking him back to his car was huge. We walked out of the park with him riding high atop Russell's shoulders and wanting to touch every leaf we walked by. He gave us huge hugs and just about burst my heart as he reached up and touched the side of Russell's face before laying his head on Russell's chest.

He gave us the biggest, squeeziest hugs I've ever received. We walked back to our car on cloud nine talking about all the things we were going to do on Sunday when we took him out for the day.


We just can't believe that he's ours. He's smart and funny. As well mannered as any 3 year old comes and wants so earnestly and completely to be loved.

He looked at Russell while Russell held him and said 
"Hey, I have blue eyes just like you!"

Foster mom sent me pictures throughout the day today. He is inseparable from the orange that "his friends gave him" and she sent a picture of him showing one of his foster brothers all the pictures we sent home with him. 

I really didn't think I would fall in love this quickly. I was prepared, realistically I thought, for this to take time. To even feel a little guarded but I find myself missing him already. Which feels crazy to say, but...its true...as scary and beautiful as it is.

My heart is officially his.

Friday, November 14, 2014

6 hours...

We are meeting J. at a park with his foster mom and case worker in 6 hours.

I've been all excitement until about 2 days ago and now I am...


I have a million things to get done but all I can seem to do is pace around the house, exhale and be surprised at how hard my heart is beating. 

How does anyone keep their wits about them in this situation?


In so many ways it feels like the beginning. The beginning of growing our family. The beginning of actually parenting a child. The beginning of all of our lives together.


At the same time it feels like the end and the middle as well. We've wanted this for so long. It is an odd feeling to hold something so dear, yet so undefined, close to your heart and then one day have everything presented to you.  Here are the details of what/who you have been waiting for.

I'm nervous to meet my child and be introduced to him by a woman he calls mommy and who knows him better than I will for a long time.


How do I introduce myself to him? 

"Hi! I'm Cambra!"
"Hi J., I'm mommy Cambra"
"Hey stranger, I'm a stranger. Come live with us!"


Do I bring a toy?
Or will that set up expectations of gifts each time he sees us that we can't maintain forever?
Do I bring a snack?
When do we introduce our dog?


When will my heart come out of my throat and let me love you like I want to?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Little Boy J.

October. 28, 2014

We had been waiting for this day for months, and somehow we knew we'd be getting a call today. We just knew it would work out like that...because life can get pretty crazy at times, and that seems to be the norm around here.

So around 8:30 on this beautiful Tuesday morning, I heard my phone start to ring and immediately realized it was our case worker calling. (We have a special tone set for her calls). Before answering my phone, I woke Russ up.

"Russell...Roxie is calling..."
"We knew it would happen like this..we knew it! Hello?"

Roxie continued to tell us that our home study was being worked on to change our license from adoption to foster care. We had decided that we were going to change our license at the beginning of the year and she was calling to tell us that, 

"BUT" she said "I have a call for a little boy."

She proceeded to tell us what she knew about J. and I knew it was him. Russell was still half awake, although startled, so I asked her if I could have some time to relay the info to Russ and I'd text her back. We texted her within 5 minutes:

"Russ says 'well, that sounds pretty awesome' 
We'd love to get more info"


I remember sitting on the couch reading over the additional information, knowing and just thinking to myself...no way...we found him...

As soon as Russell walked through the door, I told him all about J. and he shook his head slightly and said something along the lines of 

"holy crap, this is totally him"


The meeting was all set to take place at 9:00 Wednesday morning, so I emailed our case worker around 8 saying "fingers crossed for today!"

at 9:00 she emailed back

"actually,  meeting is rescheduled for tomorrow"
"ok, well, fingers crossed for tomorrow then" 

Really? This could be listed as a form of torture. But, part of us also knew that it'd be pushed back to be on Thursday...because, like I said...sometimes life gets crazy and that really, really seems to be the norm around here.

We went to Target and Russell picked out a little shirt for J. 


So Thursday morning rolls around and we have no idea when the meeting for today is supposed to be. We cautiously hope its in the morning, but aren't expecting anything. The day before, we had learned that there were at least 4 families involved in the selection process...which is a ton. Part of us felt like we should feel nervous, but through this whole process, we just knew. 

Roxie called a little after 10:00. I stared at my phone for a second, took a deep breath and answered:

"Good news!"
"Oh my goodness, I'm so glad you led with that! I don't want to say we knew, but we knew!"

She told us that there was another family in the running who actually knew some of J's relations that he was still close to and she thought we were out for sure. But she really brought it home and the fact that we volunteer with kids at the crisis center along with our blip as 'safety monitors', swayed J's case worker in our favor.


Monday night we left 40 minutes early to get to the meeting and arrived 10 minutes late. I've never felt so anxious in traffic in my entire life.

We finally get to the meeting and, luckily, J's caseworker started with pictures.

I always get teary eyed when I think about big moments in my life. When Russell and I were preparing to get married, when meeting new nieces and nephews, seeing a picture of my 3 1/2 year old son for the first time...

But it never goes like that. I go into this surreal, try to listen, floaty mode. Where I just say, "ok" to all the things I thought I would cry and give emphatic yes!-es and of course!s.

At the close of the meeting we set a time for this friday (11/14/14) to meet J. Russell and I walked out to the parking lot where he kept hugging me and saying 

"I'm so excited!"


I can't believe we're meeting our son on Friday. We aren't sure if he'll have been told that he is being adopted or if we'll just be introduced as foster mom's friends...who will just keep showing up...

We bought a kite, just in case there is a breeze.

Monday, May 19, 2014

11 Things No One Told Me About Being "Pregnant"

11 Things Nobody Told Me About Being 'Pregnant":
An infertile/adoptive Mama-to-be's Two Cents.

Not being too technical with the timing, I just wanted to share my two cents on what I have learned in the past 29th months of my being 'pregnant'.

1. 'Pregnancy' lasts longer than 9 months.
No, I'm not talking about the whole, 'didn't you know, pregnancy actually. like technically, lasts ten months??!". I'm talking about years. From that first hopeful pregnancy test, to a year later when you finally talk to a doctor, to three years later when the fifth doctor gives you that sympathetic look, shakes their head and says...'we just don't know whats wrong'. Anyone who dares tell you that you don't know what it's like to be pregnant, or to 'just wait till you're pregnant, you'll know', I give you full permission to punch them smack in the face.

(Not really though, because punching people is going to look
on your adoption home study.)

No, mama, you're pregnancy isn't the 'preggers, prego, pregpreg', stretchy pants (although, hell yea for stretchy pants) type of pregnancy. We're talking seperate but equal, and, my friend, it is surely just as tangible.

2. Your Hormones Will Go Crazy.
Clomid? Femara? hCG? FSH? hMG? GnRH?
Babe, you're hot flashing, night sweating, bloaty bloating, meltdown sobbing, craving binge-ing with the best of 'em.

3. People will give you really dumb advice.
No, like, REALLY dumb advice
"You've been trying for three years? Oh, I know how you feel. We tried for three whole months with our 5th and nothing worked! Until my aunt finally told me to just stay in bed for a little while, you know, *hehe* afterwards and BOOM! PREGGERS!" 

Oh em gee, if someone would have told me that BEFORE I went through a Hysterosalpingogram and polypectomy that.would've,been.RAD.


4. "Due Dates" are speculative.
Everyone knows someone who knows someone, who knows someone, who is infertile and/or has adopted and it happened like, so fast for them. So.Fast. They also know someone, who knows someone, who you get the idea, who got preggers RIGHT after they adopted.

There is no time frame for these things. Maybe it'll happen your first try, maybe it'll happen your seventh, maybe four years later, you'll get the call that your little's are waiting for you two states away.

Be strong mama. You can want to THIS-IS-SPARTA everyone who tells you to 'just enjoy this time' into a big black hole, but afterwards take their advice and feel the privilege that comes with getting to know your own heart in ways that only wanting and patience can make clear.

5. You can still get false negatives on an HPT.
Psh, they don't know you.
Throw those dollar store pee-oh-esses in the trash and spend your Washingtons on something for yourself.

6.  You're going to lose a LOT of sleep and have bat-poop crazy dreams.
Walk across the country barefoot with a boy scout group and you can have a baby?

Not to even talk about all the back lash from fertility medications, there are some long nights ahead of you. The discomfort of not know when they're baby will be home, if they're safe, where they are, if they know you love them, are enough to keep any mama awake at night.

7. There is really no excuse to gain extra weight
Go out with your girls, but just know, that food baby is allll you.

8. You have no idea what your little is going to look like.
Danger-Russ and I were both blonde-haired-SPF-lovers when we were little but we wouldn't be the least bit surprised to be tucking in little dark skinned beauties in each night.

9. You'll want to nest like crazy.
You'll peruse baby stores, craigslist, Ikea, anywhere really. But, not knowing who or when your little is going to get here makes nursery building pretty darn tough. You'll think about it though, and that's just fine. Pin those things you think are cute or helpful for your little miss or sir.

10. You really can't be sure just how big they are going to be.
My family has a pretty substantial history of big babies, my youngest brother was over 11 pounds. Just because you aren't pushing out that 30 lb toddler...or two, doesn't mean he didn't grow in you.

Sometimes babies are grown in mom's hearts, and not in their bellies.

11. All you will be able to think about is how badly you want to hold them in your arms and keep imagining the day when they finally get here.
You're a mama, that's just what mamas do.


So, Congrats, dear friend, on your pregnancy, be it 9 months or 90. Sometimes you'll feel so tired you want to give up and other times you'll feel on top of the world.
Enjoy it, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

You're an amazing mama, and your littles will love you for it.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Waiting for the BIG wait

This is Echo's 'meet the puppy' page from our photo book we made for our future kids...


Remember how my second to last post was about us STARTING foster care/adoption classes? oh, hi, Well, we had our final home visit on Wednesday.

I knew Roxie wasn't going to scour my house or anything of that sort, but we spent all day cleaning and dusting and mopping and re-cleaning, nonetheless. 

She told us she'd be here around 4, so I was horrified when Russ insisted he had to go to the post office at 3:40 and didn't get home until ten past. 

It was honestly painless, for the most part. 

She came in and we talked for a little bit, while Echo tried to lick every square inch of her shin, then she checked the house. It wasn't nearly as extensive as the foster care check. She made sure we had our smoke alarms in place, fire extinguisher (which we didn't have but ran out and got that night), made sure we had an extra bedroom and checked to see that we had locks on the cabinets and a lock for medicines. We don't own any fire arms (don't go robbing our house, now...you'll be disappointed anyway) so there was nothing to check there...and that's really it. 

We then went over...the list...you know, that dreaded adoption criteria list where you essentially feel like they are asking you just how good of a person you are. 

"Would you adopt a child with a developmental disability? Yes, No or Maybe?"
umm...we, uh, umm, no...
*notes: lacks compassion

"Would you adopt a child of an ethnicity other than your own? Yes, No or Maybe for each."
Yes, (double check with each other). Umm well that one might be a maybe...that ones a no...
*notes: racist

Granted, we know no notes were taken saying that we are un-compassionate racists, but gosh darn it! It was hard not to just stare at the ground when answering no to certain questions. All we can do is be honest with ourselves though...and sometimes honesty is hard.

We've been bouncing back and forth between if we are open to a sibling group of two, (and increased chance of bonding, but holy crow! Two kids right off the bat?? As well as a potentially shorter wait time...) or if we were going to hold out for a single child. It was a really hard decision and we're still reeling from the fact that we are now going to be listed on the registry as open to adopting two children. If it is a single kid, we want someone between 0-3 but for the sibling group...even though we hadn't really talked about going up to 4, we.just..did...so our age range for siblings is for them to both be between 0 - 4. 

Roxie has 7 days from last Monday to submit our licensing information and then like 40 days (I forget exactly) from there to submit our information to the state to get our certification to adopt...and then we're live. She said she was essentially finished with our home study (luckily, we thought all paperwork had to be DONE by paperwork night, so we had everything handed in and got scheduled for our home studies, etc, pretty early) and between now and when we are actually hanging out on the registry, 

you know...just waiting for the call that will change our lives forever...
in about a month.

I keep going back and forth between not letting myself get too excited, or excited at all really, to can't contain myself "I'VE WAITED SEVEN YEARS TO HAVE CHILDREN AND ITS GOING TO HAPPEN!" and back to meh, if it happens it happens but we've felt failure with this before and we survived...so, it'll all be okay....


I'm sure everyone feels this way, but I have this nagging little hope that it'll be soon, like within the next 3 months that we get our call. But again, my heart gets all worked up over that thought and my brain/experience/need for emotional self preservation shuts it down pretty hard.

Anywho, this is getting long. The last 12 weeks have been crazy, especially the last month...and between the safety monitor thing (oh yea, we have an adorable, but teething and very active, 11 month old living with us for the next little bit) finishing up adoption stuff, Russ studying for the GMAT and just...life in general...we don't see it slowing down anytime soon.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

On having things handed to me...

Tomorrow night is paper night...
You would think this whole past month has been paper night, but nay.

Tomorrow night we meet with all the anxious potential parents to be to go over our "personality profiles"...or the massive amount of overly personal questions that they only give two lines to answer.

We are definitely looking forward to it!


All sassy-mouthing aside.
 I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between being supported and having things handed to me and I'm realizing more and more that I am increasingly grateful for my whole life being supported but not being catered to or having things handed to me.

I am grateful that this opportunity hasn't come easy to us. In a way, and maybe just for this moment, and never again...I am grateful for all of it. The infertility, the heartache, the waiting, the intrusion, the waiting...looking back at it all and then looking forward to how amazing the reward will be (whenever it is that it finally comes)...I'm glad that I can take a step back, holding our little one and in that moment realize that nothing was handed to us, but every single paper, every failed doctor's visit, every home study, fingerprint, 3 hour class, and tear was worth it.

So very worth it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

For time and all eternity..

We were sealed this last weekend.

And all I can feel is how relieved I am that I will never have to live without him.


What a blessing to have eternal families.
My heart is full.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


 I'm not so sure when or where along the line my fabric stash accumulated so many nudes and peaches and lacey details (because obviously my stash accumulates things, and not me...ahem..)

But I'm very much diggin it!

I have a couple projects I'm working on right now (bad ADD seamstress, I know) that I'm really excited about. AND! Since picking up my new sewing machine, I'm able to actually make things in a reasonable amount of time with an almost saintly lack of swearing.


It has been really good to get some stuff finished and start on other things
...now to just finish the one thing I should actually be working on.

You know when you get halfway through with something (usually just before finishing neck edges and hemlines) and you look at it and think...from what 90's/40's/80's/early 2000's mangy love child did you come from? 

Pinterest is weeping right now at some of the half started/half finished projects I have tucked away around our spare bedroom.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Growing a foot or two...

I've been experiencing an interesting phenomenon... 
Through the years of infertility, the gory treatments and the crazy hormonal swings, I had no problem opening up to people (fellow infertility sufferers, friends, curious bystanders, etc) about our journey with infertility.

A few months ago we decided to start looking at adoption. For some reason I was anxious to talk to anyone about it. There were a small number of people I had questions for and told, but for some reason adoption hasn't been something I have felt confident in confiding we are looking into.

Maybe it is all the uncertainty that comes with it...the lack of any sort of timeline guarantee.
Maybe its just being tired having so many people involved in my little family becoming a bigger family. (Who aren't already friends and family, ya follow?)

Or maybe it is all the negative rhetoric floating around between birth moms and adoptive moms...can't we all just be moms? 

I was so worried that people would judge me. I've had some (hopefully) unintentionally harsh experiences working in nursery where moms would 'joke' about me not pretending their kid was mine, after they found out I was struggling with infertility. What? Yea....I hope this was just poor comedic prowess on their part, but it hurt my feelings and it scared me. On discussion boards there were inevitable comments from birth mothers calling adoptive mothers 'baby snatchers' and making remarks about adoptive mothers pressuring birth mothers into giving up their babies. 

I'm sure there are truths and exaggerations to both sides of the story, but the idea of another woman thinking of me as someone who took her child and was now 'pretending' to be that child's mother weighed on my heart. (It's about time I stop being so caught up in what other people think of me, right? ugh, right.)

With all that flapping in the wind, I have reached my point of excitement and being truly able to invest my hopes in the adoption process as a way to add to our family.
So, I guess all that is left to do is wish us luck.

and patience...

cause we're going to need it.

But really guys...
really truly...

queue the never ending paperwork!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Growing and Growing

So, I'm back after last weeks kinda gloomy post! 
Russ and I have been presented, at this point in our lives, a huge gathering of doors to be opened.
Every.single.one of these doors holds absolutely amazing opportunities to potentially grow our family, secure better financial stability, help us grow closer together and help us grow as individuals.

Here's the catch, time frames are a little skewed. So, we can choose 3 of the 5 options if ordered one way and 2 of the 5 if ordered another and 4 of the five if ordered even another way! We can't choose all options and we can't exactly choose which order they come in...so there is still that crazy level of unpredictability that I'm trying to see around and not get grumpy haha. 

But! One of these options is for me to fully embrace that for here on out, as my career, I want to design and sew. (eventually for myself, but not RIGHT NOW). So in pulling up my big girl panties enough to commit to something, I'm bringing home this little gem:

Say whhaaatt??? Yes ma'am that is an industrial zigzag machine. IN.DUST.RI.AL. 
I'm going to lose a finger, I just know it. 

But after much deliberation and hemming and hawing (..that could almost be a seamstress pun) I've decided to stop being such a coward and do it. 

So, say hello to this gorgeous little blue number and watch as we start making the most of our talents!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fertility...everyday: When to call it quits

This picture has nothing to do with anything. 
Except that I like it. 
And I liked the moment.
And sometimes that just has to be enough.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what is enough. Good enough, fast enough, patient enough, hard enough, easy enough
...long enough.

It has been brewing in my mind and in my heart for the past several weeks, but I guess finding myself sobbing in our second bedroom melt-down-cleaning late last night is what it finally took for me to realize that. I've tried long enough.

I've been carrying this whole infertility bit for going on 7 years now.

7 years...

There were times when I felt that I was growing, times I felt like I was failing and times that I just felt like I was being left behind or forgotten. But worst of all...there were times that I just felt numb. Infertility didn't hurt anymore and I came to realize that infertility didn't hurt me anymore because it had entirely consumed me and there was little left of me to hurt. 

I've been fighting to see what me there is left and what parts there are, are all defined by my ability or lack of ability to have children. I've entirely lost who I am and have let a struggle define me instead of enrich me. And I can't do it anymore.

Well, that isn't necessarily true...because I can, and will, but not right now. Right now is about getting myself back to the girl Russ wanted to marry and still sees, but I'm sure misses most days.

This will be a big year for Russell and I and I so badly want to be fully present, so for the time being, for I'm not sure how long...for the first time in a really long time...

I'm letting the whole infertility thing go.


2014 is the year to like little things and just have moments that are happy but aren't on a checklist to getting closer to being pregnant.

Its the year of chickens in leaves and letting go of the weight.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


So this happened....