Saturday, December 19, 2015

Our Adoption Journey: The Loneliness of Waiting




We have been on this roller coaster journey, called infertility, for five years now.  I know some might think that's long, and some might think that's short. For us...it's life.  Our life. We mastered every aspect of our infertility we could-- the ultrasounds, doctors, procedures, and drugs/shots--bravelle, menopur, lupron, hcg, endometrin, all of it. When something didn't work, we pumped more drugs into my body, did more ultrasounds, and then more treatments. We'd done it all and it still wasn't enough. We whole-heartedly decided to move forward with adoption and thus have begun this journey to find our baby, or even babies. Surprising to say, it may just be a little harder than all those fertility treatments. Here's why...

I was told by many experienced with adoption, "Good luck, it'll be a long wait." I was grateful for their honest words of advice, yet now, I wonder why no one mentioned how lonely it would be.  I thought I would feel satisfied with my efforts.  Once our adoption profile was posted, what more could I do but sit and wait patiently? 
(Here's that link again if you were wondering...)

http://adoption.com/profiles/MariOto-6385

Our profile has now been posted for almost 6 weeks and we're still waiting to even be contacted. It's been lonely to say the least. Every day that passes, I think about, pray for, and wonder where is our baby? I CAN'T take more drugs, do more treatments, or even see a different doctor.  This is it.  

Which just isn't good enough for me.  I believe, NO ONE will fight for our baby to join our family more than us and our birth family.  When I'm at my loneliest each day, I think to myself, "Somewhere out there, there is a birth mom praying for us just as much as we are praying for her.  Somewhere out there, our birth mom needs us just as much as we need her."  And then I gain strength to do MORE.  

We are constantly spreading the word to everyone we know, through email, Facebook, instagram, adoption pass along cards, and word of mouth. Although we think about and pray for our birth family and baby every single day, I know there are days when I don't do enough to find our baby. I don't open my mouth enough and I don't give out that pass-along card, even though I thought of it. Today, I decided I'd fight, and fight hard. 

This morning, I gave out our adoption pass along cards to ladies in my gym class. Women that I see just about every week, but have never even talked to.  Then on my way out the door, I felt extra bold.  I marched straight over to the sweet-bro sitting behind the check in desk at VASA gym and gave him a card. I explained our situation and with it, our hopes and dreams. Some of you might think, that is totally Mari...but let me tell you, this is HARD. Even for me. Who wants to share the most intimate details of their life with a complete stranger?  He responded, "Well, I don't know of anyone now, but I can keep an ear out. I can do that for you." Who knew my exercise for the day would be not only physically satisfying, but also mentally and emotionally encouraging. 

So, it's been lonely, but to our birth family and baby-- WE ARE FIGHTING TO FIND YOU. AND WE WILL. 

Lots of love to you wherever you are right now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Our Journey to Adoption

Although we just recently posted our profile on adoption.com, our adoption journey really started a few years ago. There was a time before Winston, when we contemplated quite seriously about adoption. We were struggling with our fertility treatments, and after another failed IUI, I told Richard I needed a break. We stopped our treatments and decided to pursue another path. We did the paperwork, and met with a caseworker for LDS Family Services. I still remember the day so clearly. 

We sat in our appointment, answering question and after question, trying to prove that we were decent people with a sincere desire. At the end of the interview, she said we passed and the next step would be to put down the first payment of money. Wow...we were really doing this. My eyes actually welled up with tears thinking that we were one step closer to our baby. It was late afternoon on a Friday and so the department we were to pay, was already closed. They gave us the contact information and we said we'd call on Monday morning. We walked out and I turned to Richard and said, "Can you believe we're doing this?" His quick, yet sincere response was, "We're not doing this. I cannot give up on our own baby. We need to do IVF." In that parking lot, I realized this great man I had married, was going to fight for our baby to come to Earth. We proceeded with our first IVF treatment and it was a success. Nine months later, we welcomed Winston Kaimana Naotaka Oto into our lives. I still look back on that D.I. parking lot with a sense of gratitude for Richard who pushed us forward in our fertility journey.

In January of this year, we decided to move forward with another IVF cycle. From our previous fertility treatments, we learned that I have a very low number of eggs left. Officially, my Doctor called it, "Diminishing Ovarian Reserve".  Although Win was barely one, we knew we couldn't wait longer on the off chance that my eggs might be gone. We started our IVF cycle-- more shots, ultrasounds, blood work and it all payed off. We got pregnant. Sadly, we miscarried at 8 weeks. It was devastating that after all our hard work, we had lost our baby. In that same cycle, my Doctor discovered that I had Endometriosis. He suggested that I go on a shot (Depot Lupron) for a few months to help get rid of the Endometriosis. Essentially, this shut shut down my reproductive system sending my body into menopause. It sounds glamorous to not have any periods right?  But, let me tell you, it was anything but that. Intense weight gain (yep, I still feel super fat) and crazy hot flashes. After three months of this, they jumpstarted my body and we went straight into another IVF. 

I had so much hope this time around. I honestly thought, "We've been through so much heartache and now God would bless us for remaining faithful." Silly me. One of the greatest lessons I've learned through all of this is that God doesn't grant us blessings because WE think we're done with our trial. Only He can decide that. And, He knew we still had and still have so much to learn and grow. Our IVF cycle was a success, but once again we miscarried at eight weeks. 

Somehow this miscarriage was different than the first. I knew, our baby was out there waiting for us, and if we sat by idly, we'd miss their entrance into the world. I felt a sense of urgency to quickly move forward with our hopeful adoption. I was grateful Richard felt the same way. We began contacting agencies for a home study and then shortly after started the process. Every completed background check, child abuse clearance, FBI check, etc. felt like one step closer to our baby. Within one month, we had a home study complete and our profile posted on adoption.com. I feel so much better knowing that we have done all within our power to bring our baby to us.  Now, we wait. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What We've Been Up To...



It's been exactly three years since the last time I posted anything on our blog. In the beginning the sole purpose was to update family and friends about the progress of our home being built. Once it was done, I gave up blogging all together! Well, I'm back! A lot has happened since then, and I've decided to start this up again.  Here is a short synopsis of our lives over the past three years..


We moved into our home on October 3, 2012 and to say that we loved being homeowners in the beginning would be a generous statement. We've officially learned that being "grown-ups" isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Yet some how we've managed, and now we love it.  We completed our yard earlier this year, and now our half acre, is filled with a basketball half court, a bike path for Winston to ride on, a garden, a pergola/patio and a fire pit. We have loved having family and friends over to play in the backyard on those perfect summer nights. Winston especially loves roaming his yard as if he is a king perusing his country. Richard and I are his servants-- pushing him around in his Tikes car, and we are more than okay with that. 


On January 11, 2014, after a year and a half of fertility treatments, we successfully got pregnant, had a decently healthy pregnancy and Winston Kaimana Naotaka Oto joined our family. His conception, labor and delivery is a post all on it's own, so I'll save that one. He is the love of our lives and makes us laugh and smile everyday. 


After having Winston, I decided to leave my job as a History and Student Council Advisor at Centennial Middle School in Provo. Although I miss teaching greatly, being at home with Winston is one of the best decisions I've ever made. After fighting so hard for him to join our family, it seemed silly to let another person raise him during the day, just so I could work. And while we do not judge others who decide to work while raising kids, we knew it was unacceptable for us. I happily packed up my classroom, said goodbye to my students and teacher friends, and began my life as a stay-at-home mommy. I wake up just about every morning thinking I'm living a dream... the best kind of dream where you don't want to wake up from. To say I love my life, would be an understatement. 


Richard is still working at Adobe and loves the life style his job provides. Although he recently took a role-change that has him traveling more, his favorite moments are being with Winston. Watching my two boys cuddle and watch Jeopardy makes me think that life couldn't get better. And yet, I know it can.  Which is why we're hoping to expand our family through the blessing of adoption. 


With our adoption profile going public, I've had many of you express love, concern, and even curiosity. So, I thought I'd start this up again to give you an insider's look into what we've been going through with our infertility and where we are in our adoption process. 



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Paint, Floors, Carpet and Fixtures...this is it!!!


So...the update is, we are about two weeks away from closing on our house!  Right now, Lehi is a happening city and so we are waiting on a gas line to be installed.  It is taking longer than it should.  Other than that, it is ready to be lived in!  And we are anxiously waiting!  Here is what has happened since our last post...

THE OUTSIDE OF OUR HOME!



The finished product.  If you can't tell, it's green with white trim and a black roof.


Here's a close up of the lamps outside of the garage.

The INSIDE!   

Here's the finished staircase!

 Our doors and closets were also put in and here it is from start to finish!






Our white kitchen cabinets, waiting to be installed! 


Our empty kitchen and dinning room waiting to be worked on. 

Wood Floors put in.

Cabinets and back splash put in. 
At night, with the lights on. 

Our completed white cabinets kitchen! We love it!  
With family for Conference weekend.  Our small outdoor porch.  Eventually we want to extend it to a deck! 

Carpet is in! 
Finished bathrooms! 
 Although we have tons and tons of pictures, we'll stop here...
This is it!!!  We love it!  And although we are soooo scared and overwhelmed to be home-owners, we're also very excited.  Thank you for your constant love and support through this big decision.  We look forward to lots of visits (from all of you) and great memories in our new home! 
























Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Walls, Walls, Walls

First off, I am sorry it has taken me so long to update our blog.  I'm sure you've all been waiting!  So, this is what has happened since our last post.

On September 16, we showed up and found our bath tubs in place

Our master bath tub! We didn't do the Grand Master Bath, and we actually regret it now...but, oh well!
Our front door.  
     
The basement was completely insulated and they were working on insulating the main floor. 



















Starting insulation on the main floor.  The picture to the right is the door into the house from the garage.


Here is the view from the street side.


On September 19, my 28th birthday, we celebrated by going to dinner at The Olive Garden, and then having cake and ice cream with Matt, Mel and my dear friend, Christin Buck.  We decided on no birthday gifts this year, since our big gift is our beautiful brand new home!  It was a sweet and simple birthday with family and friends!

And of course, here's the delicious cake Richard made for me and my birthday flowers! Yes, I know, I'm spoiled! 




On September 21, two days later, we stopped by and this is what it looked like from the streets' view.  


They were getting ready to stucco the outside and the walls on the inside were up!





Walls, walls, walls!!!







To celebrate Richard's 32nd birthday, on September 24, we went to dinner with friends.




We also stopped by our house and found that they had stucco-ed the outside and were painting the inside walls.
I love that swoop over the door!

Hard at work..they wouldn't even look at us!  
This is the view of our great room off the kitchen.  

RICHARD'S 32 YEARS OLD!  He's sad, obviously!


Here's just some fun pictures of the fall colors here in Utah!  I love the changing seasons!