One night I was up late while my mind just exploded with ideas and thoughts. I kept thinking about all the women in my life who have inspired and up lifted me through their trials, challenges, and happiness. Each month throughout 2014 I will be doing a segment on women in my life that are pretty much kick a** women.
The first lady that came to my mind was my amazing sister Hillary. She has been through a lot. She is a military wife who has spent many months without her husband, gone through infertility, the adoption process, and she is currently dealing with raising a son who is on the autism spectrum. Through it all she has found strength and great blessings. She has taught me how to make the most of your struggles and deal with life one step at a time. Through all of her challenges she has managed to find such great happiness in the world around her. Love you Hill!
Q & A
Q: What did you experience/learn while Brett was deployed? What has the military done to your relationship with Brett and your kiddos?
A: While Brett was deployed to Iraq for 18 months I learned a lot. The most important thing was never taking each other for granted and that has really helped our marriage over the last 12 years. I learned that I am very strong, I'm thankful for his service and I'm especially thankful for what it prepared me for. I've had a lot of trials but I know I can handle them because I handled my husband being in harms way everyday.
Brett gave me a puppy before he left named Liberty and I'm so thankful for her. She really helped keep the loneliness away and she slept with me on Brett's side of the bed...where we slept until he came home. I don't want to go into details but there were phone calls where I hung up bawling because I knew Heavenly Father had protected my husband from certain death, and there were times I got no calls for days because the phones were shut off due to deaths and it was horrible wondering if I would ever hear his voice again. My faith was tested and magnified.
It's a lot harder having your husband in the military when you have kids. I love the example Brett is setting for them but it's also hard on them. They don't understand the separation. They love face-timing him when he is gone and kissing the phone. I'm proud to be a military wife and am really thankful that our kids have that example of service in their lives!
Q: How did infertility affect your marriage? How did Brett handle it?
A: Infertility was definitely our next big trial, but it was also a huge blessing. It was hard and emotional when everyone around us was having babies and it was especially hard on Brett because he felt like he had let me down. But I never felt that way because I had always wanted to adopt. It was still hard on me but I wouldn't change our fertility problems because I have the cutest boys that were placed in our arms by the two most beautiful and amazing "tummy mommies"!
Q: Tell me about the adoption process. How long did it take? Was it difficult? What was the most emotional thing about it?
A: The process of adoption can be quite lengthy I've heard... but it wasn't too bad for us. We zipped through the paper work and had it turned in faster then anyone they'd had before! I think just because we knew it was our family plan! It took 6 months for us to get our first son, Raife and then 2 1/2 years to get our youngest, Taevin. Taevin's adoption was a lot harder because it's really hard to get babies through LDS Family Services... apparently we were really lucky to get Raife! So after 2 years we decided to list with two private agencies, we had a better experience with private but you pay the price for it! With Raife we had five birth mothers pick us and unpick us. With Taevin we were shown 2 times with one birth mom deciding between us and someone else, after talking to us she picked the other family:( You don't realize when you start the process that you are putting yourself on display to be judged and the rejection is VERY hard. About a month after that we got the call that Taevins mom had picked us! It was beyond hard being told 27 times that we were not the parents for those babies but it all went out the window when we were finally picked! Both our boys were worth the wait. When we first saw them both it was like, "hey, I know you!" Immediate recognition, I knew they were supposed to come to us!
Q: Tell me about Raife (5 years old). Tell me about Taevin (2 years old).
A:Both of our kids have their own set of challenges. Raife is on the autism spectrum, so each day is emotional and hard for me, and him. He is struggling a lot right now, mostly in social situations because he doesn't understand whats socially appropriate. But, he is so loving, sweet, and thoughtful. He is very funny and loyal; he loves his family and Jesus.
Taevin was premature and born with a breathing problem that he is still struggling with. He's not been a very good baby, he cries all the time and doesn't sleep well. But when he is happy his eyes twinkle and his smile lights up his entire face. He is my cuddler, he's stubborn and loves to jump on and off everything! I'm surprised he hasn't broken his leg yet! He is in speech because at 2 he doesn't say a single word...I can't wait to hear his voice! He has such a cute tone to his laughs and grunts!
Both our adoptions are considered open but Taes is more closed in my opinion. We really wish both our boys had open adoptions. Raifes has been wide open since the beginning, we see both his parents and talk to them on a regular basis! We love it and love them; we consider them a part of our family! Taevins mom only wanted pictures and letters...I wish it was more like Raifes because we enjoy knowing them and think it's been good for Raife. I worry Taevin will be sad he doesn't have the same type of adoption.
Q: Looking back over your life thus far, what stands out the most?
A: Trials stand out the most for me because they always represent a turning point for us...where things seemed so terribly hopeless but some how they were turned into our most precious blessings!
Q: What advice would you give to someone planning to adopt? What advice would you give to families considering joining the military?
A: When adopting I would tell someone to always think of the Birth Mom and the sacrifice she is making for you. Don't turn your back on her once the baby is here. Adoption is hard but it has the most amazing reward. I don't think you can witness a truer act of love or selflessness on this earth then adoption.
I am a big advocate of the military so I'd tell anyone to join...you receive amazing blessings through service!
I am so grateful that Hill wanted to be apart of this little series on my blog. She is such an amazing person who has found things to be grateful for even in the darkest times. If any of you are struggling with fertility problems, military problems, or raising children on the autism spectrum feel free to contact Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is someone who will be able to relate with you and give great advice!
Hill, Raife, & Taevin...