chronic illnessmarriage

Love is the Best Medicine


When my husband and I said our vows six and a half years ago, we did not realize that there would be more sickness than health. We also didn’t realize that we would spend our first three anniversaries either recovering from surgery or preparing for one. Chronic illness has definitely challenged our relationship as well as our faith. There are days where one or both of us are frustrated, or even angry, at our situation. We have had to relearn how to communicate. We have also had to relearn how to plan (or unplan) our schedules to accommodate flares.  We have had to relearn how to make intimacy work in our relationship because of pain. We have had to change, relearn, and reevaluate many things in our lives during the last six and a half years but the one thing that has never changed is my husband’s love and support.


One of the writing prompts for this week was to write about a situation where you feel loved. Of course it would be natural to say I feel loved every day because I do. Not a day goes by where my husband doesn’t tell me that he loves me or that I am beautiful (I am a really lucky girl, I know!). But there are moments that show his love for me beyond words. Each time he alters his schedule so that he can be sure to go to my doctors’ appointment, I am reminded of his love for me. Each time he speaks up at an appointment to be my advocate, I am reminded of his concern for my well-being. Each time he reminds me that I am more than my illness, I am reminded of his commitment to our marriage.


The perfect illustration of this love and concern occurred several weeks ago.  I had been back to work but a couple weeks following my surgery and I was still getting adjusted to my new treatment. I was still dealing with quite a bit of pain and work had been stressful.  I was so tired – physically and mentally – so he planned an evening of relaxation. When I arrived home from work, he had candles lit in our bedroom, the covers turned down, and NCIS in the DVD player. He planned to take Abby out so I could have some quite time. Its the little moments like this that mean the world to me.


So this Thanksgiving – and everyday – I am incredibly thankful for my husband who makes me feel so loved and so cherished. We have just celebrated ten years together and I cannot wait for the years to come as I know he will be by my side!


A Blessing In Disguise

This week I’ll be linking up over a Lil’ Kid Things for a series called “A Week of Thanksgiving!” She has shared awesome writing prompts as well as a daily link-up where you can share what you are thankful for as well as read other bloggers share their gratitude! If you are looking for some good reading for your time off this week, definitely head over & check it out!


November is National Adoption Awareness Month and I could spend days sharing how our lives have been changed and incredibly blessed by the miracle of adoption of our daughter Abby! I cannot imagine our lives without her. She has truly taught us more about the love of God in the last 2 1/2 years than I could have learned in a lifetime without her. We are extremely thankful for our agency for guiding us through the process as well as her birthmother giving us the honor of parenting such an amazing little girl and showing what unconditional and selfless love really means. Our adoption story has a happy ending but there was a time when we wondered if our dream was ever going to come true.


Just shy of two months before we were matched with Abby, we got a call from our agency to meet a potential birthmom (who I will refer to as T). We were so excited. It was John’s birthday so we were hoping for a special gift! We had gotten a call shortly after our profile went active but it did not work out so this was the first time we were actually going to meet with someone with our social worker. We had an hour drive to get to the town where we would be meeting our social workers and T but it seemed like 10. We were both nervous. I was hoping I looked ok (I’m sure I tried on at least three outfits before we left).


When we arrived in town, our social workers let us know that we would be meeting T in the hospital not a restaurant like we expected. It seemed that the baby was ready to make an early appearance! Our social workers gave us some background information and gave us an idea of what the meeting would look like and then we were off to the hospital! The initial meeting was very positive and she told us that she would like us to parent her baby girl! When we left the hospital on cloud nine!

Two days later we got a call during one of our adoption classes to come to the hospital. When we arrived we were told that baby girl (who I will call M) had arrived! She was roughly five weeks premature so she was in the NICU but was doing well! The only issue she seemed to be having what feeding as she hadn’t developed the sucking reflex yet so she was being fed via feeding tube. We were smitten the moment we laid eyes on her. She was so tiny and had a head full of hair! Then it happened. The nurse called me Mommy as she handed me our baby girl. I thought, “So this is what this feels like. I’ve been waiting 3 1/2 years to hear those words.”


Everything was going smoothly. The adoption papers were signed. John and I split time at the hospital so that one of us was there with M as much as possible. We got to do all the firsts. First diaper change. First bottle. The doctors called us Mom & Dad. The nurses were getting things ready for our baby to come home. Then it happened.


The phone call that made our dreams come crashing down. In the state of NC, a birthmother has seven days to change her mind once adoption papers are signed. On day four, T changed her mind and just like that, we were no longer parents. On Wednesday, we had a baby girl we held in our arms who we smothered with snuggles and kisses. On Thursday, our arms were empty.


I’m not sure how many nights I cried myself to sleep after that night. My heart was broken into a thousand pieces. My faith was shaken as I did not understand how God would allow this to happen. I was hurt. I was angry. I was mourning not a physical death but an emotional, mental, and spiritual one. When M was placed in our arms, we immediately had so many hopes, dreams, and wishes for her and our family. After that phone call, all of those hopes, dreams, and wishes were gone.


I never thought that anything good could ever come from this situation. It was a dark moment where I felt very little light shine in. Where we go from here? How can we heal and move on when we were so hurt?


M was born on March 7th and one month and 20 days later, Abby was born. Eight weeks later, on June 22nd, we officially became a family of three and we couldn’t have been more blessed.


Looking back at our adoption journey, while this failed match was painful, we can now acknowledge that it was a blessing in disguise. We can see how Abby was a perfect fit for our family. We can see how aspects of an open adoption would have been stressful and difficult with T versus Abby’s birthmother which is relaxed and comfortable. We can see how God can take something ugly (like a failed match) and turn it into something beautiful (Abby). We can see how this experience strengthened our marriage and our faith.


The words of Steven Curtis Chapman say it best:

This is not where we planned to be

When we started this journey

but this is where we are

And our God is in control

Though the first taste is bitter

There will be sweetness forever

When we finally taste and see

That our God is in control

I am so thankful today and every day for the miracle that God has given our family and I pray every day to be the best mother I can be to the precious gift He has given!

chronic style

What I Wore Wednesday

Its time for another round of What I Wore Wednesday!  I actually caught 2 outfits on camera this week! I’m improving! I’ve realized that my camera-camera takes better pictures and I should stick to using that versus my phone but anywho, I’m going to share them anyways! I felt very put together most days so I definitely think taking the extra effort to create outfits, including accessories, has been really beneficial to my overall well-being!


Outfit #1:

WIWW Outfit #1

White button-up & vest: Maurices

Black Trouser Jeans: Old Navy

Pink Shoes: Ebay (believe it or not!)

The coloring of this shot isn’t the greatest but I really liked the outfit & layering! However I think my favorite part of the outfit is the pink shoes! I definitely need to add some accessories to this outfit!


Outfit #2:

WIWW Outfit 2

White Shirt: Maurices

Black Dress: Ross

Jeans: Maurices

Shoes: Shoe Show

I am definitely in love with this outfit! I was inspired by this pin on Pinterest! The dress in the photo was way out of my price range so when I saw this dress at Ross I snatched it up! I think I paid $12 for it! The only thing I think is missing from this outfit is a cute pair of earrings!

I promise to do a better job taking pictures this week!

I am linking up:

pleated poppy
iPhone Photo Phun