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Never Be Ashamed of Your Story

Year after year I would read posts on Facebook each April of brave women sharing their story and experience with infertility. I would often sit in silence, reading their stories, with tears streaming down my face and millions of questions. “How can these women so openly share their story? What do other people think? What would they think of me?”

Three years ago, I took a leap of faith and shared my infertility in a Facebook post. I publicly shared that I was one of the 1:8 women that face infertility. Was I scared? Absolutely! However, the outpouring of love and support I received from my family and friends was something I never expected. They didn’t judge me or think less of me, they supported me and many shared their own story.

Why is it that as women, we are ashamed and embarrassed of our infertility? When a woman conceives naturally, we talk about it; we celebrate it. We talk about morning sickness, cravings, swollen ankles, and the list continues. But when a woman is experiencing infertility, it’s less talked about. We don’t talk about what it’s like meeting with a Reproductive Endocrinologist for the first time, the millions of questions, the tests, blood work, etc. We also don’t talk about the fear, the sick pit in your stomach, the sadness, guilt and shame that many women facing infertility experience.

I’ll be honest; I was ashamed of my story and outside of my husband, did not share what we were going through. No one knew the highs and lows that we were facing, the struggles it created in our marriage, our friendships and in our finances. Looking back I realize how supportive my family and friends wanted to be, if only I had given them the chance.

Last week was National Infertility Awareness Week and I again saw post after post of brave women sharing their story. I am so grateful that I broke my silence two years ago and shared that I was 1:8. I was the face of infertility. I am so lucky to have a husband who has been by my side throughout my entire infertility journey. He’s seen me at my best, my worst and loves me just the same.

Many reading this may think that our decision to adopt is connected to our infertility and in a way, you’re right. Adoption has been in my heart since I was a little girl and something that I shared with Joe very early on in our relationship. We both knew that we were planning to grow our family through adoption, but had no idea what that would look like. Would we adopt through foster care, would we adopt an infant or would we adopt internationally?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

God has a bigger, greater plan for our life than we can ever imagine. He knows the plans of our future and we trust in Him as we continue through our adoption journey.

Infertility is part of our story and for that, I am grateful. It is no longer something that I am ashamed of. Infertility gave me the strength to be who I am today. I am blessed to have an incredible and loving husband, a marriage that many dream of, and faith in the beauty of the future. Whether it’s infertility or something unrelated, never be ashamed of your story. It’s yours and only yours.

ScriptureNIAW

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Baseball and Me

Hello all, in honor of the baseball season starting I thought I would let you all know a little about me and my love of baseball.  I have loved baseball since I can remember, playing catch in the front yard, years of going to the local little league fields to practice, and watching my favorite team the Minnesota Twins try to win every season.

I spent many summers of my youth practicing and playing games with my teammates.  Those summers were some of the best days of my life.  I can remember the smell of the concession stand food that was dinner on late nights at the fields, and the long days helping maintain them.  Many people don’t know this but I spent a whole summer building a new baseball field at my local Little League.  I was also fortunate enough to continue to play in college and impress my girlfriend at the time (Erin).

As you may already know Erin and I have a tradition of going to every Opening Day Minnesota Twins game but you may not know that I have been a Twins fan my whole life.  Football teams may come and go but the Twins will forever be my team.  I remember when they won the World Series in 1991 and “may” have a box of unopened Wheaties at my parents house.

I love baseball and all of the wonderful life lessons that it has taught me over the years and hope to one day my love of the game with a child.

-Joe

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National Puppy Day: Brooklyn’s Story

In honor of National Puppy Day we knew that we had to share photos of your favorite (ok, our favorite) dog as a puppy! As many of you know, Joe and I have a little Maltese, Brooklyn, lovingly called Brooker. He is 11 years old and has been with through moves, job changes, the loss of loved ones and the list continues. He is the sweetest member of our family and will make the very best big brother.

The Story of Brooker:

Joe and I graduated from college, were engaged and living in Bismarck, ND. One afternoon I was online looking at a local classifieds website and saw the cutest ad on the side of my screen. It was a fluffy little white dog, “for sale!” I clicked on it and couldn’t resist. Before I knew it I was showing Joe and calling the phone number to go look at puppies. Keep in mind; we had not previously talked about getting a dog. I called the number and set up a time to visit the puppies later that day. It was about a 20 minute drive from our house and as we were driving Joe kept saying, “we’re just looking.” I smiled and nodded, not really sure what I was getting us into. We arrived at the home and met the breeders, Tim and Deb. They introduced us to the puppies and we even got to meet Brooklyn’s Mom and Dad, which was neat. I really wanted a girl dog and was sad when Deb shared that the only girl they had was already sold. I was ready to leave when she started to share….”we do have this one puppy. He’s the runt of the litter. He’s going to be smaller than the rest and need a little extra love and attention.” That was it, I was sold! I couldn’t say no. Brooker and his siblings were so small that day that we couldn’t hold him, but Deb was very thorough in explaining information about the breed and also shared that we could come out on the weekends and visit him.

After Joe and I got in the car he looked at me, not surprised, and said “we just bought a dog.” Yes, yes we did. And if I remember correctly my excitement drove us right to Pet Smart so that I could begin preparing to be the very best puppy Mom.

We visited Brooklyn a few times and before we knew it, he was 12 weeks old and we could bring him home. Our first visit was our apartment in Bismarck before we headed to my hometown for the weekend. There was one glitch in our plan to get a puppy, our apartment didn’t allow pets. Thankfully, Joe’s parents agreed to watch Brooklyn for a few weeks while we packed and moved to Billings, MT. He loved spending time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, along with their German Sheppard, Cassie. B and Cassie were quite the pair and loved playing together.

Before we knew it we had moved to Billings and Brooker was home. The rest is history and will be saved for another time. Stay tuned for more adventures of Brooker!

-Erin

adoption

Outreach Material

Hello everyone –

It’s been so exciting to see the traffic on our new website and the number of visitors that we have each day. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to look at our website and let us know what you think; we truly appreciate it! With our website up and running, we’ve been focusing on new outreach ideas to send to family and friends.

Although Joe and I live in Minnesota, we have family and friends throughout North Dakota, Montana and across the US; many of which have asked “how can we help?” Since we can adopt an infant from all 50 states, we have been trying to come up with ideas for them to help share our story. We decided to create business cards, magnets and flyers that we can send them to help share our story.

It sounds so simple to head downstairs to the computer and create a business card, but it proved much more difficult than I originally thought. There were so many options! Did we want horizontal or vertical? What colors did we want? Did we want a photo or no photo? One or two sided? What text do we include?  And the questions continued. Several versions and edits later, we were in agreement. We found a style that we both liked to represent our adoption journey. We were also able to carry the same design into our magnets and posters, which was great.

Our orders should arrive in the next week and then we’ll be busy putting together our mailings. If you’re interested in receiving adoption outreach materials, let us know and we’re happy to send you a packet.

Aside from working on outreach material, we have been enjoying having a few quiet nights at home. Last night one of my friends, Molly, had a launch party for her new Rodan & Fields business. It was great to be able to spend time with friends and co-workers, learn more about the products, and support a dear friend in her new business endeavor. Joe and Brooker ordered pizza and enjoyed a quiet night at home, just the guys.

Until next time….

-Erin

adoption

Welcome to our website!

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Hello and welcome to our website! By now I hope you’ve had a chance to look around and learn a bit more about me and Joe. I thought I would kick off our first blog post with a little bit of information about our adoption process and where we are as of today.

Joe and I officially started our adoption process in March 2017 and submitted our first application to our agency, Children’s Home & Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota. We attended several info sessions with different agencies before finding LSS and deciding to move forward. One of the things that we both really liked about LSS is the education and resources that they provide to us as future adoptive parents and also to expecting mothers considering creating an adoption plan.

After submitting our initial application we went on a wait list and completed various educational requirements, including a two day workshop at our agency. In October we reached the top of that wait list and were officially invited into the domestic infant adoption program. We then spent the next 6 weeks completing all of the necessary paperwork, including background checks, physicals and references. After everything was processed and approved we were assigned to our adoption worker, Jennifer. She will now remain with us throughout our adoption journey. We met with Jennifer 3 times throughout January and February as part of our home study. After several hours together, visiting our home and meeting Brooker, she was ready to present our home study to her team for approval. Last week we received a very exciting email from her, sharing her team approved her recommendation and we are officially home study approved!!

We are so excited to be at this point in our adoption journey. Although it was a lot of work to complete our home study, we enjoyed talking with Jennifer and sharing more about our families, who we are, how we met, what makes us unique and our hopes for the future. A home study is a requirement for all adoptions, both domestic and international, and helps to show that you are prepared and able to provide a suitable, safe home for a child.

With our home study complete, we are now focusing on our adoption outreach, such as our website and social media (if you don’t already follow us, please scroll down and find our Facebook & Instragram pages). Our agency shared that approximately 50% of infant adoptions happen through personal outreach. They encourage you to get creative and continue telling others your adoption story; you never know who it may reach. Part of our outreach will be a profile book at our agency that expecting parents can review. We are currently on a waitlist to be placed in that book and are hopeful to be in “the book” in 4-6 months.

If you or someone you know are interested in creating an adoption plan for your child or have any questions, please let us know. We’d love to talk with you!

Thank you so much for visiting our website. We are truly grateful to be on this journey and cannot wait to see where it will lead.

God bless,

-Erin