Family in Frames

Hi! I'm so glad you decided to pay me a visit. I'm guessing if you've come to this page, you're interested in knowing more about me and my history!

My name is Lynn but online I tend to go by Wistfulgirl. I'm a 36-year-old Southern girl at heart with big city dreams! I spent all of my early life in the small town I was born in South Georgia. When I was 21-years-old I ventured onto the internet for the very first time on a hot August afternoon and ran into the man of my dreams. No, really! My very first time online I met Rich (aka Wistfulguy) and we fell into a close friendship. Despite being over 3,000 miles apart (me in the USA, he in the UK), we became best friends and confidants. In June 2001, he came to the USA for the very first time to visit me. Before the end of that visit we were both pretty sure this was a forever kind of thing. I visited him in the UK for Christmas that year and stayed into the New Year. He came back to the US in March 2002 and we started talking about how we could live in the same country. In June 2002, I once again flew to the UK to visit and, while I was there, my sly guy asked me to marry him! I ended up staying in the UK on a visa waiver until November 2002 when Wistfulguy and I returned to the USA together. We were married on November 23, 2002. For our honeymoon, we spent a 23 hour trip on a Greyhound bus to New York to get my visa to live in the UK, spent the night with my brother in Pennsylvania and then had a 26 hour trip back to Georgia on another Greyhound. That's a longer story, but one for another day. Then we returned to the UK to embark on married life. I had become a survivor of a long-distance relationship and was officially an Online Wife!

Sounds like an amazing story, right? Well, the adventure didn't stop there! Married life was great! On our first wedding anniversary, we decided it was time to add to our family, so we began trying to get pregnant. We stopped preventing and were very hopeful it would happen soon. We didn't panic though when nothing happened in the first couple of years of trying. We were living our lives and planning for when we would repatriate to the USA. In 2005, we were ready to apply for Wistfulguy's US visa. We filed the application and waited to hear back. Finally, after having to go back and file income tax for the years I'd been out of the US (who knew you had to file when you weren't earning in the US?!?!), Wistfulguy's harrowing medical physical (he had nodules on his lungs following chronic respiratory infections as a child, which led to worries but worked out for the best) and a fun but nerve-wracking interview at the US Embassy in London (nothing to worry about but, hey, who wouldn't worry when dealing with something like that?!), Wistfulguy was awarded his visa to enter the USA as a permanent resident! On January 11, 2006, we boarded a flight bound for Atlanta, Georgia (we had placed most of our earthly possessions in the hands of the moving company on January 5, 2006.....it would be April before we would see them again!) with our dog, Wistfulpup Isabel.

Our arrival in the States was timely. In May 2006, my dad became very sick. He spent 10 weeks in ICU following a perforated stomach ulcer and double pneumonia. For a long time, we didn't know if he was going to survive. The doctors told us to prepare ourselves for the worst. However, he made it through and was released in July 2006. Because my mom worked nights, it was decided my dad would move in with Wistfulguy and I while he recovered. Wistfulguy started his new job in the States in July and I started work in August. My mom stayed with my dad at my house during the day and at nights we were home with him. His recovery came along pretty well. In April 2007, my dad moved back in with my mom as he was doing much better.

Wistfulguy and I kept plugging along with the babymaking dreams. We were beginning to get concerned that nothing had happened, but life was still a little too unsettled for us to worry too much. We slowly settled into life in the US and by September 2008, we decided it was time to see my gynecologist about what our problems could be. At this point, we'd been trying to conceive (TTC) for nearly 5 years without any success (apart from a possible very early miscarriage whilst still in the UK). At my first visit, the gynecologist diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Type II Diabetes for which she prescribed Clomid (to assist in attaining pregnancy) and Metformin (for Diabetes). Four Clomid cycles, three Soy Isoflavone cycles and one Femara cycle later, still no baby. In April 2010, we moved onto an RE. We had been TTC for 6 years, 4 1/2 months by that point.

Our time with the RE can be looked at in two perspectives: the first view is that we became aware of several additional health problems for me that needed to be attended to, while the second view is that we didn't actually accomplish much because we had no further fertility treatment and still had no baby. The RE diagnosed me with hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, chronic complex endometrial hyperplasia, possible endometrial cancer (it turned out negative) amongst other things. He did do a D&C to clear hyperplasia and I had several biopsies done to give the all-clear for cancer. I was also prescribed lots of different medications. Still, the outcome we sought the RE out for didn't come about. He refused to do fertility treatment because I weighed more than he was comfortable with pursuing treatment with. He pushed me on several occasions to have gastric bypass surgery, but it wasn't something I was comfortable with. Despite much dieting and exercising, my weight never got to a place he was happy with, therefore, we decided to move forward with a different approach to parenthood. I still struggle with my weight now but I continue working on it. Maybe someday I'll decide weight loss surgery is the way to go for me, but for now I stay old school.

On August 16, 2011, an event took place that changed my life forever. Despite how well he had done following his illness in 2006, my dad never got completely back to normal. In May 2011, he had a hypoxic stroke and spent 8 weeks in the hospital. Four weeks to the day after he returned home, on August 16, he passed away from a massive heart attack. My world was shattered as I was a very definite Daddy's Girl. I didn't know how I could ever be happy again. My heart still breaks when I think of the loss of my dad and how very much I miss him, but one very good thing came from his loss: Wistfulguy and I realized how short life really is and decided we wanted to live for the day. We had wanted to be parents for a very long time and had made no progress. Now my dad was gone and would never know his grandchildren from our side (my siblings have children, but he'd never meet mine). It was a neon sign to us that it was time to move on from the dream of biological children and move forward to life as parents. We decided we would move onto adoption.

After much discussion, Wistfulguy and I decided the best route to adoption for us was through Foster Adoption. In September 2011, we made the first call to the State of Georgia Foster Parent Inquiry line. By November 2011, we'd heard nothing back, so we called again. Less than a week later, we received our invitation to Foster/Adoptive Parent Orientation! We attended orientation and returned our paperwork including our intent to proceed, then sat back and waited for our invite to IMPACT training classes. The invite came in early February and our classes started on February 10, 2012. Classes were informative and interesting and we completed them in April 2012, when, coincidentally, I also completed university and graduated with my BA in Social Sciences with an Education Concentration. (Did I forget to mention I also started back to college in January 2009? Oh, yeah.) We started our homestudy in June 2012. It took several months to complete (longer than normal) because we had to wait on a copy of Wistfulguy's birth certificate to arrive from the UK. But, on August 31, 2012, we had our final interview for our homestudy. Our caseworker told us she was satisfied with us and was sending our homestudy up to Atlanta for official State approval! We were told we should be approved and our home open within a month! On September 30, I received a call from our wonderful caseworker who told us we were approved and our home would be officially open as a foster/adoptive placement on October 1, 2012! We were on our way and were more than excited about the possibility that we may soon be parents!

Our story only got better from there. On October 9, 2012 - 9 days after our home opened - I received another call from our caseworker stating that they had a 2-year-old little boy they needed a temporary placement for, would we be willing to take him. I told her I was sure we would, but to let me call Wistfulguy and run it by him. Honestly, I just needed to tell him as quickly as possible that the years and years of dreaming were about to come to fruition! He was as excited as I was and I quickly called our caseworker back to confirm. She told us we could pick the little guy up at the local Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) office in an hour. An hour! Did I mention we had nothing in the house for a baby?!?! We were planning to adopt a teenager! Also, my mom was in New Jersey visiting my brother (who had moved from Pennsylvania in the years since Wistfulguy and I got married). So, we were pretty much on our own. I called my sister, who was at work at school two counties away. She was going to bring the baby bed she'd been saving for me over when she got off work. I called my mom, who said she'd see what she could do from afar. Then, Wistfulguy and I made our way to DFCS to pick up our new addition!

He was actually not quite 2 years old, with his birthday being in November, and was only the size of a 12-month-old but he was perfect! We were immediately lost in his beautiful little face. He was a medically fragile baby, having been born with a severe cleft lip and palette. It had been repaired, but he still suffered with chronic respiratory issues. We were told that he would initially be with us for 10 days until the first court hearing. I won't share the details of his placement in respect of privacy for both him and his birthmom, but we anxiously awaited what would be determined at the 10 day hearing. Finally, the hearing day arrived. We were unable to get off work to attend but had a meeting that evening with his caseworker - he would be remaining with us for 6 months while his birthmom worked on her caseplan! Visitation with birthmom would continue weekly. Life carried on like this for a couple of months. We celebrated his 2nd Halloween - he was a little monster :-) We celebrated his 2nd birthday in November with a Sesame Street party. We celebrated Christmas - he had the cheekiest smile. We were incredibly happy! At the meeting with his caseworker in December, she asked us, if it came to it, would we be willing to adopt him. There were no indications at that time that he would be eligible for adoption, but it had to be asked to go in his casefile. We said absolutely! More months passed. On May 14, 2013, his birthmom asked for a private meeting with us. We agreed to meet her the next day. Following a meeting with her and agreeing to maintain a semi-open adoption, his birthmom asked us to adopt him and she surrendered her parental rights on May 15, 2013. DFCS continued searching for his birthdad and finally found him. He also surrendered his parental rights and on October 18, 2013, all parental rights were officially terminated in court. On February 6, 2014, his placement was changed to an adoptive placement with us. On March 3, 2014 we finalized Wistfulmonk's (Monkey's) adoption! It was absolutely the best day of our lives!

As foster parents, we have had some other placements. We had a young sibling group (brother and sister) who were 3- and 4-years-old placed with us for 7 months from May 2013 until December 2013. It was an interesting experience having 3 young children under 5. After they moved and we finalized Wistfulmonk's adoption, we had another sibling group placed with us in May 2014. This was a pre-adoptive placement (the kids were placed with us with the intent that we were going to adopt them). This was a group of 3 children, aged 14, 10 and 9. Unfortunately, this placement disrupted after a year for the older child and after a year and a half for the younger two.

We are still an open foster/adoptive home and hope to have the opportunity to adopt another child (or 2). We would dearly love to have another young child (hopefully a girl!) placed with us and have the opportunity to adopt. However, with foster/adoption, it's never that straight-forward. We will - for the time being - continue to foster. We would never want to separate a family where the parents are getting their problems worked out, but we definitely want to be there if that's not possible and a child needs a home. I don't know what our future will hold, I'm just pretty sure our family isn't yet complete. We are currently fostering a sibling group of two beautiful little girls, 3-years-old and 11-months-old. This is currently a foster only placement. They have been a blessing to us, though, and we are fortunate to get to love them and enjoy them being with us for however long that may be.

So that's our history. I'm also a librarian by day and an avid crocheter and crafter in my spare time, so I will often post info about that on my blog. I hope you enjoy your visit with me! Be sure to say hi! I love meeting new people and hearing from old friends. Y'all come back now!

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