If It’s Not Broken…Still Fix It.

wedding cake photo

When you’re sick, you go to the doctor right? I mean, I know we don’t all go to the doctor because there are some people who get super skeeved out by medical professionals and would rather just die, but you get the point.

We also know that we should go to the doctor every once in a while for a check-up. Especially as you get older. Which I am in denial about for myself but have zero problem enforcing on my husband who has a tendency to get sick All. The. Time. 

What I’m getting at is that we should treat our marriage the same way, especially as it gets older. 

In the beginning is when it seems roughest. We’re figuring each other out. How the other lives, joint conflict styles, communication in general. A lot of this is hashed out in engagement and especially and HOPEFULLY in premarital counseling (Go to it, do it, learn from it. It’s soooooo important.) Plus, we all know how the first year goes. Can we skip talking about it? K thanks. Moving on.

Right now I am past the blissful second year and into my third year of marriage, which has also been fantastically blissful. I love my husband more than words can describe, I think he’s awesome, and we have so much fun together. He’s truly my best friend. It’s in all of this that we recently went to marriage counseling for the second time since we’ve been married.

Why?

Because we are about to undergo a ginormous change in our lives: starting a family…and more than doubling it.

#lilfitt2

project zero logo

Change can be a stresser for many people, and we all know how tightly wound I am soooo… it just makes sense that preparation is much needed. I truly believe that bracing yourself and your marriage for any known change is so important to its health.

One of my biggest worries in having a baby and starting a family is the impact that it will have on my marriage. I love being married and unless things are going to change for the better, I’d like them to not change at all. I hear horror stories of how marriages become kid-centered and unhealthy and it scares me.

This is why Bryan and I chose to sit down with the same couple who did our pre-marital counseling and chat about the changes we can anticipate and how we can make parenting something that brings us together.

It’s hard to have your crap aired out in front of people, but it’s so worth it in the end. We talked through some decisions that we had already made as a team and ones that we hadn’t even thought about. Best of all, because they know us and our marriage and how we work so well, we were able to ask them what they thought that we personally would struggle with in parenting and our marriage… and they told us. Point-blank. As much as it stings, it’s so good to be able to prepare yourself for problems and try to avoid them.

Having a third party present changes the dynamic. It allows us to be honest with each other without the fear of the other not listening, it forces us to be calmer toward the other person than we might have been in private, and best of all, it forces us to hear how stupid we sound sometimes. A trusted counselor is able to see things in us that we may have missed in ourselves. They change our perspective and can call us out for being douches.

But we have to let them.

As we and our marriages get older, things have a tendency to become stagnant and we have the tendency to become avoiders. Even if there is no problem in sight, a healthy check-up never hurt anyone.

wedding blog photo

So here’s to sucking up our pride, finding a pastor, a trusted couple who has been married longer than you and who knows you and your marriage WELL, or hey, if you need it, pay a professional. Whatever it takes. I know my marriage is too good to let my pride ruin it and I hope more people start feeling that way too.

Love, Alex

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Too Excited to Post…Except for This.

the call logo

So I sat down at my computer…no, you know what? I did more than that. I drove to ANOTHER LOCATION to write in peace and then sat down at my computer, intending to crank out a few blog posts that have been rolling around in my brain, not to mention a What We’re wearing Wednesday because I know you’re all dying to see what maternity gear I’m wearing today. But you know what? I’m a little too excited right now because WE JUST GOT THE CALL FOR OUR HOME STUDY!

YES! We’ve been waiting since we finished training for this call, which finally gets the ball rolling on our final little bit of the process before we can finally be an open home and hopefully get our boys. The problem: Bryan’s out of town and that leaves 8-month pregnant me to clean my messy house and finish off our safety checklist. AAAAAH!

I’m a little overwhelmed/excited/in hyperdrive.

Light some candles for me folks, I’m going in.

The Secret We’ve Been Keeping

Remember all those times when I alluded to something that was going on with me and Bryan that I couldn’t really share yet?

Well, If you follow me or Bryan on Facebook or Instagram, you may have gotten a clue when he posted this: adoption

With this caption–> “Adoption Training Day 1! Wish us luck!”

Yeah.

So on top of everything else we have going on what with HAVING A BABY and all, we’ve made the decision as a family to start our adoption process earlier than we had originally intended.

Adoption has always been on our radar and an ultimate plan for our family. I think on like our second date I planted the “oh hey I hope you’re cool with adoption if this works out” seed. Thankfully, Bryan was super on board. On top of wanting to adopt in the first place, I’ve always had a heart for a certain type: taking in older kids and sibling groups. The ones who usually struggle the most. the ones who are hardest to get adopted and will likely age out of the foster care system with no forever family.

This is something Bryan was also on board with. However, I always prayed that Bryan would not just “be on board,” but that this would be his thing too. I mean, there is that whole “spiritual leader of our household” factor. I knew that this was the case when I came home from work one day (pre-pregnancy) and he had submitted our general inquiry and filled out some basic paperwork to get us started. Out of the blue. Yeah, God seems to have known what he was doing with us.

We did a lot of praying, talking, and driving other adopted families nuts with questions about birth order effect, what our timing should look like, and if we should adopt after or before our first biological child. Our answer was a lot of silence.

This is pretty common with me actually. God usually doesn’t speak to me in sweet whispers and precious moments like He does with some of my peers. I never “feel led” necessarily. What I do feel is an indescribable urgency and conviction to run full speed ahead at a goal or mission until God slams that door closed and (usually much later than I’d like) gives me a peace about standing still for a minute. Bryan loves this about me. You can ask him and he’ll tell you how adorable it is when my anal-retentive, logical mind turns into irrational mush when I “feel led.”

So in this silence, we “decided” (<–lol) to just wait it out until we felt like we weren’t supposed to wait anymore.

Flash-forward to pregnancy, where we were still just, you know, waiting and stuff, when I felt that familiar conviction and urgency.

I was scrolling through Facebook at work one day, and a photo listing for Project Zero rolled through my feed. If you’re not familiar with this awesome non-profit, then please click that link. They serve to bring awareness of waiting children, usually OLDER KIDS AND SIBLING GROUPS, to families in Arkansas. This was nothing new, I saw their stuff all the time. The smiling, heartbreaking faces of kids who desired deeply to be loved forever always move me. Always. But I always say to myself that we are waiting. Until this day, when a photo of two brothers popped up. They were different. They were important to me somehow. I took a screenshot of them and “jokingly” (<–not really) sent it to Bryan with the text “I want them.”

Bryan, the one of us who is rational in these situations and NEVER takes off running without carefully considering where he is going, replies “Let’s do it.”

Our next steps involved a whirlwind of emails and calls to Christie (the co-founder of Project Zero), the boys’ adoption specialist, DHS, and the directors of The CALL in NWA.

See? Full-speed.

Our next few months involved an initial home visit with our DCFS caseworker (Who we LOVE!), lots more emails and phone calls, filling out every form in the history of the world, becoming CPR certified, and most recently, the completion of 30 hours of training. Hence the photo and caption above. (Just to put things in perspective, this is about 85% of the process. We only have 2 steps left to complete.)

CPR Certification never looked so fun.

CPR Certification never looked so fun.

It also involved us learning a powerful lesson: Not everyone will be supportive of us and what we’re doing.

My first reaction to the comments that we received from our shocked friends and acquaintances was anger.

Why do they care anyway? This isn’t their family.

How could she say that to someone she doesn’t even know very well?

 What gives him the right to have an opinion about what we do?

Do they really believe that we are so naive to think that this will be a cake-walk?

I realized that this came from a place of hurt. As a person who too-deeply merits validation from others, I needed positive reinforcement that we were doing the right thing. It was hard not to get indignant and want to point all of them to the multitude of Bible verses commanding us as Christians to care for the least of these. How could they not see the need, and much worse, discourage us from looking at it too?

We stopped talking about it. We didn’t tell people unless they asked, and we certainly didn’t broadcast it on any social media.

I was tired of crossing names off the list of people we could depend on when the going was sure to get tough.

The best part of training to me was that no one seemed to think we were crazy. No one batted an eye to the fact that I am 7+ months pregnant and working toward opening our home for concurrent-planning foster care. As we introduced ourselves, we made a joke about how we were apparently crazy to be doing this, and to our delight, no one seemed to get the joke.

It validated us that we were following God’s lead here. The amount of encouragement and strengthening we received in those 30 hours is priceless. And having a ridiculously sore butt after 30 hours of sitting is worth it.

We might not get those boys I saw, and I’m finally ok with that. But for whatever reason, God used them to strike that ever-familiar fire under my feet and get me, and Bryan, running. I hope we can provide a forever home for them. We already love them so much. Whatever the case, I pray continually that God will give me a peace about whatever direction His opening and closing of doors leads us.