Category Archives: Family

Still a family of two.

I wrote a post a few years ago about not being pregnant. I am still not and we are still a family of two. Before I posted that blog, Scott and I had talked a lot about expanding our family but the blog post increased the intensity of our thinking and conversations in a good way. I think it helped us go from each having a position—I wanted kids and Scott wasn’t too sure—to starting an actual exploration.

We know now that for us to have a child sharing our DNA would truly take a miracle. I pray for that and part of me still expects it. Because I know that while God may choose to provide us with that miracle bio-baby and I also know that He may not, I have gone through waves of sadness related to that loss. I think a child with our DNA would be really great—with a huge dose of quirky and hard-headedness. I believe God can do this for us, and we would delight in having a miracle baby. But we are also seeking other ways to expand our family. And maybe through those other avenues, however undefined they might be, our miracle might come. But the “other ways” just don’t seem that clear.

Our exploration has been slow and disjointed. God knows the end of our story. Only He does. And I am fearful that we will be too lazy, too antsy, too blinded by our own desires, too “something” to see God’s plan. I do not have answers.

We have explored various forms of adoption, basically on a quest to find something that feels right to us. I have no idea what that might be, but I am certain it will come. We went to a weekend at Christian Homes in Abilene, an agency that does domestic adoptions. I know some really wonderful parents and kids who used them. We went to a fostering-to-adopt orientation. Whoa. We walked away overwhelmed. But strangely I keep coming back to fostering to adopt. We just visited with friends who are hosting Ukrainian orphans for the summer. I am also intrigued with what is out there that would allow for a private adoption without going through an agency. I have heard some success stories like that.

Through fertility stuff and adoption research and just circling around it all to figure out our next steps, the private adoption and fostering to adopt things keep coming up. On the private-adoption-without-and-agency thing, how does one find a dear, brave birth momma who is considering such a thing? I think God works stuff like that out, but I can’t help but wonder who may read this blog, who knows of someone trying to make that hard choice, who might want to meet us and see if we might be a worthy family for their child? It’s worth a shot.

On the foster to adopt front, I have rejected it as too chaotic, but is it? I think I need to figure that out.

In the meantime, we enjoy being the two of us. We take advantage of just being two. We vacation.

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We exercise on Saturday mornings, and sleep late on Sundays (you know, till like 8 am!). We have uninterrupted conversations. There’s more time to read. Scott can watch movies where people get blown up and not worry about traumatizing young eyes. But as time goes by, my heart continues to tug for a little person. I see people parent and dream of what a joy that would be. I want the honor of molding a heart and mind, and to point some little person to Christ, as their parents. What a big, dog deal.

Scott and I are together in our continued exploration. When fertility “stuff” did not work, I think being denied the choice caused desire to bubble up within him. In this regard, I see God answering our prayers to knit our hearts together. But he and I agree we are not getting any younger, and need to get going on whatever it is we are doing.

So I am casting questions to the blog world, and would love input on the following things.

Does fostering-to-adopt have to be as chaotic as I fear?

Has anyone used a faith-based agency in Austin that they recommend for fostering-to-adopt?

What agencies would you recommend for international adoptions? (I am intrigued but not sure it is for us, which is an about face from my thoughts last week.)

Does anybody have knowledge of an orphanage where we can adopt a child that is 2 or 3 years old?

Does anyone know of a brave woman considering her options with an unwanted pregnancy? I am interested but also scared of this. I am open to what God may have out there for us, but in reading about ethical adoption, I am struck by the need to keep my desperation for a family in check with a birth mother’s exploration toward adoption. I know, however, that God is big enough to orchestrate even something like this.

Thanks in advance for caring enough about our small lives to read and share. My email is chelseabuch at gmail dot com.

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Coming out of a cloud.

This has been a hard 12-14 months.  Full of blessings, lots of work, and now I am just ready to settle into a pace that is a little easier to manage.  With more days with my feet propped up next to Jane’s on my parents’ new boat.

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It all started at work. Last spring, our agency’s executive director announced his retirement after 18 months with the agency (3 year old agency and he was our second ED).  The chief of staff became interim ED while we looked for a permanent replacement.  At the same time, my boss, the general counsel, retired and I surprisingly became general counsel without time to wrap my brain around it.  Then the interim ED took a job in another city and by the beginning of last summer, we had another interim ED.  Without a chief of staff, the new interim ED and I became a solid team quite quickly and we both worked long, hard hours to keep our heads above water.

On the home front, we started our remodel in July and moved out of the house in August.  Scott’s mom was in France, so we moved into her house.  By the end of the summer, the interim ED decided he liked the job, and our board liked him.  He was named as permanent ED, and then he named me chief of staff.  With some quick organization changes to reflect his style, we hit the ground running to prepare for the legislative session, which in Texas occurs every other spring from January through May.

Every weekend we were doing things at the house.  Painting the whole exterior.  Painting cabinetry.  Scott completing plumbing work.  His hands were rough from hard labor.  We were constantly scrubbing paint from our fingernails.  The people at the Home Depot close to my office know me.  Several evenings a week, I would stop by to pick up Scott’s online orders on my way to the house to “work.”  At the end of October, Scott’s mom came home but we remained at her house until Christmas.  When we moved back in, we still didn’t have kitchen counters, or a sink, or a faucet until about New Year’s.

Session started in January.  My boss, the new executive director, was diagnosed with cancer and starting in February spent about 7 weeks at MD Anderson. He is back at work, but still recovering.  This is the first time in my six legislative sessions that it actually ate my lunch.  Late nights at the capitol.  Lots of worry.  Testifying before committees.  It was hard.

But the session ends Monday.  And summer is beginning.  I am envisioning June as my new start.  We still have projects at the house, but all are doable.  I have a list of books to read.  I have blogs to write.  People to see.  Meals to host.  More restful nights to enjoy.  Notes to write.  Mainly, this year of survival is now moving into a period of rest, enjoyment and getting back to a more balanced life.  And it is time to serve others and get over myself.  Survival is too self-consuming.  I need out of the cloud in which I have lived since last April.

I have really missed blogging.  In the next few days, I will start a recap of the home remodel.  Scott is the hero of that story.  I have a lot of bragging on him to do.

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Get ready.

France and paint colors.

We just returned from a trip to Southern France.  We went for my friend, Julie’s wedding.  And explored a little too.  The first few days were in Nice.

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Mom and Dad were with us–Dad did the wedding ceremony.  It was really fun to be with them.

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Next we went to Valbonne–to the Chateau Begude–for the wedding.  It is just 40 minutes outside of Nice.

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Back to Nice for the civil ceremony.  Don’t these two look happy?

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Then back to Valbonne for the pretty/spiritual ceremony.

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The cake was super cool–basically candied cream puffs, complete with a very dramatic presentation with sparklers.

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Next up we went to the “Haute Provence” region–basically in the foothills of the Alps.  We stayed here.

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It was perfect.  10 rooms.  Beautiful linens.  Clean and restful.  The town of Saint Laurent du Verdon was tiny–71 citizens.  One stop sign.  Quaint and lovely.  This was the yard of the hotel.

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We went to a really fun market in Reiz.

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Mom and I shopped.  These three hung out.  Bonnie joined us for this leg of the trip which was such a treat!  She had been traveling in Spain, and came to hang out!

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We drove to other neighboring towns, and saw some beautiful sites.

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Less Beautiful.

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We picked what was left of the lavender here.

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The town of Moustiers Ste Marie was beautiful–built on the side of a cliff.

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And on our drive back to Nice, we drove through some beautiful sights and saw the Gorge du Verdon.  Incredible.  Like the Grand Canyon of France.

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And then home.  We had a great time.  We were grateful to celebrate with Nick and Julie and to meet so many of their sweet friends.  And we loved the strange opportunity to travel with both sets of parents.  The trip was great, but we are happy to be back to do fun things like pick paint colors.  Help.

Below are two options for the door and two options for the siding.  I like the top siding color–more moody.  What do you think?  I am not sure I love either door color.

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I have read about Martha Stewart’s plumage and might go with something more like that.  I want there to be a contrast, but I don’t want it overly bright and whimsical.

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White framing around the door and windows of course.  Thoughts?

Siding and roofing continues this week.  Then electrical and insulation.  Then sheetrock.  Then flooring.  Then we move back to our house.  Hopefully.

I am not pregnant.

I am not pregnant.  Never have been.  And it looks like I might never be.  We have tried for a long time.  Several months ago, we starting going to doctors’ appointments to see if there were any hiccups.  There were.  And those are proving to be definitive.

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In the meantime, everyone I know is pregnant.  Okay.  Not everyone, but it seems that my world is really good at procreating.  It is just the stage of life I am in.  And with every person I love who gets to exclaim, “I’m pregnant!” I have two thoughts that seem to flow simultaneously. The first is a pang of envy, strong desire, and sadness in my gut that is wordless and more of a grunt.  The second is sincere joy that someone I love has something good happening in her life.  Yes, I want that goodness, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be sincerely delighted for them.

If you are reading this and need to tell me you are pregnant, don’t worry.  I don’t crumble.  I will be absolutely delighted for you.  I may want to help plan your shower.  I like parties.

On most days this struggle is a quite little part of life.  Other days it is bigger.  When our minister, Eddie, at church looked at me and said, “I know you want a baby,” I just leaned into him and cried.  I don’t know how he knew it.  I have gone on a few runs with friends, and as we talk about it, the grief makes it hard for me to breath.  The other day I went on a run alone and a Matt Maher’s, Lord I Need You, came on my shuffle.  I just cried.  I do need God to walk me through this, in a way I have never needed God.

Our story is as unique as any other.  We started trying after lots of discussion about whether we wanted kids.  I do.  I think I was created to be a mom.  I know I would be good at it.  I dream of it.  I have wavered on the perfect timing of it all but I have always wanted to be a mother.

Scott would be an incredible father.  I think he was made for it.  It is one of my dreams to watch him become one.  I can picture him working on his bike in our yard with little people at his feet.

We talked about family when we were preparing to get married.  We would have two kids, we said.  But when it came down to beginning to try, he was petrified (me too!).  Turns out he isn’t sure he wants them.  We still tried, and went to some counseling, because seemingly, one of us would lose—I win and we have a kid; He wins and we don’t.  I didn’t like that and so we got some coaching on how to navigate.  We still tried for kids.  During that counseling, our counselor told us we were on different pages. But ultimately we decided we would try for a time and if it didn’t happen in time, then we would just stop.  So then we asked ourselves what it meant to try.  And that led us to the doctors’ offices to “get checked out.”  Which gave us some answers that we don’t like.  So we tried.  Is that it?  I don’t know.  I don’t want it to be it.  But it might just be.  There are still a few unanswered questions in the science department that through God’s grace may make it possible.  I pray for that and am trying to be patient with those answers.  I am not in control of the answers or the timing of the answers.

I went through a time when I did not buy clothes, thinking that any month now I would need to start buying maternity clothes.  It seems fun to me.  But after awhile I stopped.  It made me crazy.  And now I probably buy more clothes than ever, as a little reward for being okay about not being pregnant.  I am weird.

There are a lot of different ways to become parents.  Fostering.  Adopting in the US.  Adopting outside the US.  Engaging science.  Sperm donors.  IUI.  IVF.  Scott and I have an agreement that we would try for a time and then be done and we don’t yet know how far “trying” will take us.  But it leads to lots of discussions about what life is like without kids.

I find myself wanting to ask my 7-year-old niece, Jane, if she will take care of me when I am old.  I haven’t actually asked because what is the commitment of a seven year old anyway?  She would just look at me like I am nuts.  Plus, I am certain her tender heart will be soft towards her pathetic old aunt and she will—in fact—take care of me.  I shouldn’t worry her now.

Scott is certain he will die in his 60s, so that leaves a lot of life left for me.  By the way, I think differently.  My plan is for him to live a lot longer.  But beyond the “need kids so that someone will take care of us when we are old” argument, there is the feeling that we are being left behind.  We don’t eat out with our friends with kids very often, likely because they think we don’t want to hang out with their kids.  That is rarely the case.  And our friends with kids are making friends with their kids’ friends.  We don’t have that avenue and it gets a little lonely.  I think more in my head than in reality, because we have dear friends…but it is the same as when all my friends started getting married.  You just feel a little left behind.

God seems to be revealing to me a lot of sweet people who have simply chosen not to have kids.  This has been helpful to see how life could be…it looks happy.

I tend to have the idea that if I don’t have kids I am selfish.  Which could be true.  But it could also free me up for more giving.  I am trying to think about what that looks like for us.  We can travel more and spend money how we want.  We won’t have to save for a college fund.   But how can we really give of ourselves the way we would give to children without them?  Host a college group at our house?  Be a room mom to a kindergarten class in a less fortunate part of town?  Actually save a college fund and then give it to a kid in need?  Babysit regularly for a couple that needs to go out?  Host people more often?  Take our nieces and nephews on trips?

We borrow children, and enjoy doing that, but I am keenly aware of the connection between children and parents—I belong to that relationship with my own parents.  I go to them with troubles.  I crave their advice.  I need their approval.  I thrive on their praise and confidence in me.  I am so confident that Scott and I could be good at developing little people with that sweet connection.  I want it.

But more than anything, I want what God wants for me.  I just don’t know what that is yet.  And I want my heart to be knit to my husband’s so that we work towards the desires of our heart in a path that overlaps entirely.  God is working on us.  As hard as this time is, it may just be God’s way of revealing an entirely different plan for us.  I have honestly never loved my Scott more.  I appreciate his honestly, and his tenderness towards me.  I do not want to suck the life out of us, at the expense of wanting children so bad that there is nothing left for us.  I want us more than I have to have kids.  And Scott is making strides that surprise me and humble me.  I know it is because of my prayer—and that of dear friends—for our hearts to be knit together.   I see God’s provision in that.

I have no answers, but I know God has them and will reveal them in time.  Lately, we wonder whether there are some children near by that were meant for us.  Scott asked if we could just go to an orphanage and pick some out.  I know it isn’t like that, but I do wonder who is out there that may need us.  I don’t even know how to go about that.  Scott’s order is for some who are beyond diapers.  Mine is for kids that have not been hurt so bad that they can’t trust us to love them.  How do I find them?