Thursday, September 6, 2012

20 weeks!

Well of course I've been behind on blogging about our baby boy ... what's new?!?

So today we are 22 weeks and 1 day - time is FLYING BY! Well we found out that our lil one is a baby boy. This is something he was NOT shy about showing us. We also had a scare at 16 weeks that he may be born with Spina Bifida but thankfully at 19 weeks we found out he is perfectly healthy and happy.

In week 20 I began to feel him move a little. I swore he was moving way before that, but I may have been just dreaming it up, because those movements were NOTHING like those I'm feeling now ... but hey I could just say he was moving (because I was seeing it on an ultrasound) but he was so small and I didn't know those little flutters were really him, LOL.

During our 21st week we took a cruise to Nassau, Bahamas and that's when we REALLY felt him move. Even John could hold my tummy and feel his baby boy in there. Let me stop here to say how awesome it is to have a hubby that is so interested in this baby boy. He's so lovey with us both, and so protective. I see now, even with his baby "cooking" that he is such a great daddy - I can't wait to see how great he's going to be once our lil guy is here!

Well here's our first belly picture, I had to make sure to document his 20th week ... I've not been the best at documenting these things.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Struggles with fertility

God DEFINITELY works in the best possible ways ever! 

We've had our struggles with infertility that we weren't so quick to share with the world, because honestly we were scared we could never have a baby. We have been so happy for our friends who are having babies, but the constant questioning of when we'll be ready to have one was breaking our hearts. We wanted to shout from the rooftops that we WERE TRYING ... but were having trouble ... and were terrified we couldn't conceive. 

We tried for a little less than 18 months before we were referred out to a fertility specialist and began the process of testing. John was tested first ... and let's just say there was CLEARLY nothing wrong with him. In an effort to not share too many details, I'll just say there was no question when the doctor read the results that he was well over the limit of capable. 

We then started researching me. After multiple tests, there was nothing more scary and wonderful to hear at the same time than hearing, "We can't find anything wrong." This was great to hear, well because of the obvious. But also very scary, because if there was nothing wrong - why was it not working for so long? 

Our doctor put me on Clomid and told me we had only 6 rounds before we had to move up to the next step of fertility treatment. Let me just say, Clomid ... that makes you have CRAZY hot flashes. At one point I had our thermostat at 65 and told John we needed to lower it. This was in April. I also should stop here to say that my comfort level is around 74 ... and John's is 68. Well he promptly told me (in the kindest way possible) that he *thought* I was having a hot flash ... because he was freezing. POOR THING! But I have to say he was such a good sport. 

Well to make a long story short ... our round of Clomid worked :)  
God is so good!!! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Well this is us ...

My dear child, I don't know you yet or when you will come home, but I thought I'd take a few moments to tell you what to expect so you have a little insight on this crazy family we call the Haines.

About your Dad: Your Dad has gone bonkers safety checking everything in our home, our cars, and seeks out the dangers of every place we visit with a battle ready plan for ensuring he can protect you. I watch your Daddy as he plays with kids we know, he has such a big heart and loves all of them so much (even the annoying ones he doesn't seem to be bothered by, he he he). I can't believe how much I've fallen in love with him over the last year, I truly cherish him and all he's done for me and will do for you one day too. You're very lucky to belong to him. I can't wait till he sneaks in your room at night just to make sure you're breathing. He'll act like he's just making his rounds, but I promise you - he doesn't do this for anyone else (but we'll keep his softy side a secret between us).

About your siblings: You have a sister and a brother that both have 4 legs each. They think they are people, and we don't tell them any different. The both love cookies that we spell K-U-K-I (we are not sure if they know how to spell, so we aren't taking any chances). Kisses from them are always free and in abundance. I honestly haven't figured out a way to make them stop once the get on a roll - it's best you just give in and let them take their course. I promise if they tag team you I'll save you (but I won't do it for your dad, and you shouldn't either ... its very funny watching them attack him with kisses).

Sophie will be loud, so I'm sorry in advance when she scares you - it's only her way of talking. She has this whip of a tail, so here's your warning. There may never be a time you see her without a toy in her mouth - keep a good inventory of what is yours.

Ranger is more reserved and our "old man" around the house. He's a lover but doesn't like his hands messed with or his tail pulled. If you rub his belly he will love you forever. Two of his favorite foods are potato soup and peanut butter. He's the mooch of our family so I'm sure he'll find his favorite spot to be under your highchair.

About your Grandmother: First of all you probably never want to call her grandma. She's Grammy and feels more hip with that name. She may drive you bonkers and make up silly songs, but she has a heart of gold and will always hold you when you cry - even if you're 26. I promise you I will never ever ever ever let her cut your hair - I once was walking proof her ability, trust me you don't want to find out the hard way - take my word for it. But she's the pigtail, cheerleader curls, and ruffle queen - get ready princess she's going to spoil you rotten. Don't take her for granted, she's loved you as long as I have. She won't be here forever, cherish any moment you get with her.

You have another Grandmother, I'm not sure what you'll call her, so for now she'll be Grandma Sally. You aren't her first grand baby, but I know she will love you with all she has. She's a great cook, so don't hesitate to chow down. Maybe the best thing about her is that she puts your Grandpa in his place. Grandma Sally is one strong woman - you're lucky to have her in your life as a role model.

About your Grandpa's: Yes you have 4 of them. In no specific order ...

Grandpa #1 - Grandpa Doug (your cousin Riley calls him Pappy). He's one tough guy, don't be intimidated though, he's as soft as your dad is on the inside. Your cousin Riley has softened him up for you. We don't see him as much as we'd like, but I know we'll get him away from work when you finally come home.

Grandpa #2 - Grandpa Keith. Yes, he's loud and snores like a bear. But he has a heart of gold and can't wait to scare the boys away from you. I'm sure he'll have you hunting before too long, and eating blue crabs with the best of them.

Grandpa #3 - Papaw. You will never have another grandpa named Papaw ... the mold was broken with this guy. Right now he's 94 years old. I know he won't be around for long, so I hope you come home soon so you can meet him. Papaw is a true American hero. He fought in WWII and the Korean War. He taught me what it means to love someone and what a marriage is supposed to be like. I honestly can tell you that you are blessed to be part of his family. There is no one in this world more generous and kind than this one. He can't always hear you, so speak up around him. Papaw is a gift from God, he is going to love you so much.

You have one more Grandpa. Grandpa Jim. Unfortunately God called him to heaven before you came home, but I know he's watching over you. He's the creator of Daddy sandwiches, you must try one. I miss him very much - so much more than I realized I would. I pray your Daddy loves you just as my Daddy did me. One day I'll take you to his favorite place in the world - and we'll rock hop like he taught me. I know your Daddy will teach you to fish, but he's got nothing on the Troutman peanut butter ball.

We're a oddball bunch, but we know what love is and how to share it. You're lucky to be part of this group. We pray for you every day, and can't wait to bring you home forever.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Letter to our Adoption Agent

I know it's been fovever since I've posted on here. I know I'm a total slacker ... but my to job is just soooo busy that I hardly have time to get my nails done much less blog!

I wanted to catch everyone up on the whole adoption process. Since March (my last post 6 months ago) we've had a lot of things and also nothing really going on with our adoption. I felt the best way to sum it up was to share an email I sent to the lady in charge of our adoption process. I must note here that the lady we started our process with was PHENOMINAL! She was truly a God send us in this whole crazy process and we feel as though we're stuck without her. She's become a great friend to us and we're so blessed to have known her. Unfortunatley she has transitioned to another position within that agency and the main case worker at that office is now the person we are being contacted by. I also want to note that this blog post is in NO WAY a means to bash the organization we are affiliated with. Because of this I will not accept anyone speaking negatively on that organization, I will only accept the common understanding that our situation just plain sucks right now.

So here's my last (as in most recent not as in final) email to the lady in charge of our adoption process. All names have been removed for privacy. Also, as a background, this email follows up on a placment call that occured a few days prior. I was having issues replying to her through my Yahoo email and also needed a day or two to sort my thoughts out on the issue.

Good Evening ____,

I’m sorry I’ve been trying to respond to you, but have been experiencing issues. So I'm glad I'm now able to get this email to go through.

Thank you for considering our home for _____. She seems like a very sweet girl.

I spoke with ____and she suggested I try to connect with you just to make sure we’re all on the same page with our placement through ____. However, my current workload at the office is providing little time for me to step away at all right now. In hopes to clear up some concerns we have I’m sending this email. I hate to have to email you, I’d love to talk on the phone or in person, but it appears my only free time is after office hours.

First and foremost I want to make sure that everyone in our ____ “family” knows how much we appreciate the prayers and support through this process. We’d be completely lost without the help of everyone in your office. I want to stress this because I do not want for one moment for anyone to think we’re ungrateful for everything everyone has done for us.

With that being said we have some concerns regarding our placement and just want to make sure we’re all on the same page.

We were under the impression that although we were approved up to 8 years old by the state our agreement with _____ would be that we're not contacted about children over 4. So far, we've been informed about:
· the sibling group of the 1 & 2 year old girls (that we didn't get unfortunately)
· the sibling group of the 2, 3 and 4 year old girls (that we couldn't take due to the amount of children)
· the sibling group of a 5 year old little girl and a 2 year old little boy (which we only have one bedroom for)
· the sibling group of a 6 year old little girl and 4 year old little girl (that we had to say no b/c of John leaving two days after we were informed of them)
· Now we've been contacted about a 9 year old girl

Our concern here is that we have a room set up for a child from birth to 4 years old. At this time we do not have the resources available (as in furniture readily in our home) or financially to at the drop of a hat outfit a room with a bed and appropriate needs for a child over 4. I know that we agreed to consider children close to our age bracket and that’s why the last two sibling groups were so hard to decline, but a five year gap is very large when considering children out of our age bracket.

In addition as long as John is gone we cannot accept a child that would be school aged because I do not have a power of attorney to enroll children into DEERS and school on post at all. Either the Soldier must be present or the spouse must have a POA to do so (b/c of the state and post regulations for foster children), neither of which I have at this time due to John being at Ranger school. I want to be clear that because of this we do not want to be on hold whatsoever as you offered before, our time here at Fort Benning is beginning to tick away and we do not want to delay this process any further, we just simply do not have the ability to take in a child that is above 4 years old.

I do not mean to be picky, I want so badly to bring a child into our home that needs loving parents but I feel like we're being offered children that are far out of our sheet and this is really putting us both in a place of feeling terrible because we're having to say no.

We've also both stressed to _____ that in the coming year John and I are planning on expanding our family both through adoption and biologically and from reading this little girl's bio, I see that she is suggested to be the only child or youngest child. Neither of which will be the case in our family. We don't want to do a disservice to this little girl by taking her into a home that will not fit her. This isn't about just us and our wants, but we're not going to stop our family plans either, that would be unfair to both parties. I know _____ needs a family, but it feels like something as important as the child in question needs to be an only child or youngest child would be considered seriously if John and I are an appropriate family for her. In reality, we are not.

We come back every time to the fact that we’re not “outfitted” for a child over the age of 4. I know younger children are harder to “get” (I hate that term so very much but I can’t think of a better one), but we know what we’re prepared for and that is a younger child. This isn’t only just the “stuff” we have but also the fact that we want to have our own children and having a 9 year old and a baby in the next two years (if we’re blessed to have a baby so soon) would put us with an 11 year old and an infant. Right now, a 9 year old wouldn’t be that bad, but we’re both looking down the road, not just at this moment - because to us this child is forever, not just right now. We have to look at our forever commitment and if we’re the best parents for a child at that age, and we know we’re not.

I can’t explain to you how my heart is just crushed when we have to say no. I feel like the most undeserving person of a child if I can look at my family and say, “no this one isn’t a fit.” I wish I could explain to you how angry I am with myself when I turn a child down. A child is a gift from God and deserves loving parents and I look at myself as a poor excuse for a parent when I say no. But I have to be honest with myself, because when we are placed I don’t want to call you and tell you they have to go back. In the long run, I think that would be more harmful to both us and the child than good.

Because this kills us so badly to decline a placement I need your help. Is there a way that we can only be informed of children that meet our sheet? We can’t keep getting our hopes up when we see your emails to only be deflated by the info to follow. John and I want a placement so badly, but saying no when the children are far beyond our requests is killing us. We do not for one moment want to stop or delay our process, but we feel like failures. That’s why I need your help and guidance.

Again, please don’t think we’re ungrateful or picky. We are so grateful for everything that’s been done for us. We just don’t know where to turn or what to do at this point. I also know that I don’t have to say this, but I look up to you and value your guidance and for that I hope that you know how much we do not want to disappoint you. You wouldn’t have been praying for us this long if you didn’t see something in us. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you are not losing faith in us as parents because we have said no in the past. We never want to make anyone think less of us or ever second guess our intentions.

I’m sorry this email is so long. I hope to hear from you soon. Please, if you think we should discuss further please let me know and I will do everything in my power to get away from this crazy office.

Hoping you understand,

Dana Haines

Well the next day I recieved a pretty "cool" (as in lacking much warmth and compassion) email from this lady. She pretty much told us that being placed with a child can happen but she can't tell us if it'll happen in our time here at Benning. She also coldy told us that the state sends our homestudy to other case workers and they contact our adoption agency to offer us said child. She said nothing about our question to not be contacted for children outisde of our age range, and nothing about our concern for disappointing her or anyone at her office. She only ended her short message with "If you wish to discuss further I will make time to meet after office hours."
So where do we stand now? When John came home we discussed this and he was pretty disappointed too. We're pretty heartbroken because we feel like we're just waiting for nothing to happen. We don't mean to sound negative about the situation but this is just very discouraging.
We talked to someone from the state agency b/c many people are placed through the state MUCH quicker than through an adoption agency. The state gave us worse news: to take our homestudy from the adoption agency and place it with the state agency we would face heafty fees from the adoption agency which John and I just can't afford to spend with no guarantee our financial investment would place a child in our home before we leave Ft Benning next August :(
So out of stinky news comes some good news. John and I have decided that we are no longer putting off our biological children any longer. We have let the Army and this adoption put off our plans long enough so although we don't have any news of a baby Haines to announce, we certainliy are on that road and hope to announce a baby "Sharkfin" (for those of you that know John's nickname) on the way soon :)
Although we're no longer actively seeking an adoption we know that God works in many crazy ways and are hopeful that our adoption will happen when we stop looking for it. Please, if I may ask, keep praying for our adoptive child and for him or her to come home soon. This is still our prayer everyday in hopes that God will bring the child we're meant to be parents to.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sexual Abuse

I don't know how to title this blog any other way. As you can probably guess, I'm going to be talking about sexual abuse, specifically that of children in state's custody.

So in our second week of IMPACT classes, we discussed all the different types of abuse that a child can endure that takes them out of their birth parents home and places them into custody and the challenges that children in care must endure for the rest of their lives after they are removed from that unsafe place. Two of the biggest reasons that children are children are taken from their homes are sexual abuse and sexual assault. The differences in the two are very clear: Abuse is anything without penetration, Assault is penetration. Here's where it gets scary ... 1 in 4 girls in state's custody are sexually abused by the time they are 18 .... 1 in 3 are sexually ASSAULTED by the time they're 18!!

I know that I have to accept this and just move forward and be the best mommy to her that I can be. But to be honest, I'm having a very hard time with this whole situation. I mean, I went home that night and had a seriously emotional breakdown. I keep thinking my daughter is out there somewhere and I can't protect her. She could be living in her birth family's home or in a foster home and being abused everyday. I know it's not possible for me to know her now and where she is so I can keep my eye on her, and I understand that, but I worry about her like she's already mine.

I worry in the morning if someone put a dry diaper on her and fed her breakfast. Did she get to nap today or did she get beaten for crying when she was just sleepy and needed someone to comfort her until she fell asleep? Does she get enough milk and have strong bones or is she malnutritioned and is very sick all of the time?

I constantly worry about her and pray that she's safe. I know that people say you are in love with your child the moment you find out you're pregnant, but I truly am in love with this little girl that I don't even know. This really sucks sometimes because so many people look at you like you don't know what it feels like to be a mom because you're not pregnant. Yes, I know I'm not pregnant, but you can't mistake the love that adoptive parents have for their children as not being "real parent" love. It just really hurts sometimes to know that people don't see you as real parents.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Impact Classes

Okay I'm not even going to act like I'm diligent at this blogging thing. I need to get on it ... but man there's not enough hours in the day.

So we have now completed all of our IMPACT classes (the state mandated training for all foster/adoptive parents in the state of Georgia). I had my ups and downs with this class, but all in all, I swear I would have never been prepared for this unless I took these classes. I learned so much about children in state's custody.

Here are some things we've learned during our classes:
1. There are only really two reasons that children are taken out of their birth family's home - Abuse and Neglect. Now there are some instances when a child is abandoned at birth but these situations are much less frequent than situations of abuse and neglect.
2. When abuse happens, the child's developement stops at the age the child was abused. So let's say that a child is 7 and does well in school, but she was physically abused by her father when she was 3. Her physical and cognitive development are at an age 7, but her emotional development is at age 3 still (how old she was when he was abused) and she has trouble trusting men. And rightfully so.
3. There's a HUGE chance that our child will come from a home that she was sexually abused. I will touch on this in another blog as this was very hard for me to take and has had a bit of a lasting impression on me.

At the end of the day, I'm very happy we finished this course and I look forward to our next steps in our adoption process.

Soon I'll be posting more about the adoption, so keep posted :)

Monday, February 14, 2011


My dearest blog, I'm sorry that I've left you for a while. It's been a crazy insane month since I've visited you last. I have some fantastic news, John and I are adopting!! We actually planned on trying to get pregnant this spring and had been praying for God to expand our family, but we never knew his plan was in this way instead.

I've actually wanted to adopt a child for a long time now, probably since I was in college. I went to Africa while in college and spent some time at an AIDS orphanage and my heart shattered for these children. I decided then that I would do this, but always thought it would be a long time down the road. Just about a month ago, we went to church and heard from a military couple that lost their baby and have decided to adopt one possibly two children from Africa. Our church collected a donation for them and started an initiative called "One Less Child" where we are trying to get all the children in our city into a forever home. John and I left church and before we got 5 miles down the road (which I wasn't counting but the church is 5 miles from the interstate exchange to go home) we had decided we wanted to possibly foster a child. By the end of the day, we decided we really felt God calling us to be a forever home for a child, so we stumbled upon full adoption.

We did our research and decided to go with the adoption agency, Bethany Christian Services. Which turned out to be a blessing in desiguse because our adoption agent is a lady we go to church with. What a small world!

We've started our pocess which is very overwhelming and emotional. We have quite literally a book to fill out about ourselves in order to get the state approval, and we've started our IMPACT classes. This class is all day every Saturday for 3 weeks to help us be prepared to adopt a child out of the state's custody.

We're taking one day at a time, but so anxious for our child to come home to us. Please keep our family in your prayers.