“Even When It Hurts” (An adoption story – learning to trust God’s will)

1 Corinthians 2:9 – “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…”

This verse takes me back to a church service a few weeks back where the message’s theme centered around the need to focus on desiring Christ’s presence in our lives. You see – about 3.5 years ago, my husband and I began trying to conceive our first child – after over a year of failed attempts, month after month, we began exploring other options. Eventually, after coming to the option of adoption- our conversations came to sudden hault. It was as if we both knew this was the path for us yet we were so uncertain about it that neither one of us was really jumping for the reigns to take charge. We had countless discussions surrounding IVF, IUI, surgeries, and more – and each and every time we landed back at adoption.

Life got stressful. Things didn’t seem to be falling in place and and it really seemed like we were going to hit rock bottom.

One day – after the dust had settled – and a church service message relayed the thought about following God’s plan for your life and allowing him to control – we surrendered our hearts to the calling of adoption and began to research the process.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your way’s acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

I sang a song in church called “even when it hurts” by Hillsong – the lyrics go like this:

Take this fainted heart
Take these tainted hands
Wash me in your love
Come like grace again

Even when my strength is lost
I’ll praise you
Even when I have no song
I’ll praise you
Even when it’s hard to find the words
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise

Take this mountain weight
Take these ocean tears
Hold me through the trial
Come like hope again

Even when the fight seems lost
I’ll praise you
Even when it hurts like hell
I’ll praise you
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise

And my heart burns only for you
You are all you are all I want
And my soul waits only for you
And I will sing till the morning has come

Lord my heart burns only for you
You are all you are all I want
And my soul waits only for you
And I will sing till the miracle comes

I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise

Even when the morning comes
I’ll praise you
Even when the fight is won
I’ll praise you
Even when my time on earth is done
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise

I rehearsed this song in the car over and over again – often with my eyes closed as to keep myself from crying. “God, I am at the end of the road – please take this where we need to go” – I prayed on repeat for what seemed like ages.

This song became my anthem – no matter how long or hard this journey has been – I will sing your praise. I will keep fighting for your presence. This was October 2016 – We had been anxiously waiting for an adoption match for over 9 months and had been waiting over 2 years for that precious baby in our family.

About 2 weeks later – after leading this song in church – we got that phone call – a birth mother had requested to speak with us.

My emotions were going haywire and I had no idea how to proceed in this uncharted territory – but that was it. We were matched.

I had no idea that those conversations so early on would set our family on such a miraculous journey but I am so glad it did.  The sermon I mentioned at the very beginning of this post reflected on the idea of needing to focus on desiring Christ’s presence in our lives.

I am here to tell you that the journey of infertility can be long and the journey through adoption can be long – lifelong!  However, if that is you, and you are navigating this part of your life. Know there are people to speak to, know you are not alone, draw closer to our heavenly father and ask for him to take charge.

Even when the fight seems lost
I’ll praise you
Even when it hurts like hell
I’ll praise you
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I’ll sing your praise.

-xoxo

 

 

 

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Spring Cleaning Challenge – Essential Oils

Alright – so lots of you asked for information on how to use essential oils around the house. I am participating in a “SPRING CLEANING CHALLENGE” – and I thought I would share how it goes with you!

In 1976, Congress passed the Toxic Substance Control Act which grandfather in between 63,000 – 100,000 chemicals that were on the market. These chemicals were grandfathered in, without any testing, and are simply unregulated. Today, only about 50% of the chemicals on the market have been subject to any chemical testing at all. Under this act, manufacturers are protected by trade secret laws, so that they do not even have to post what ingredients are in their products. If you go look at a bottle of household cleaner, you may be surprised to see that they only list a small percentage of the ingredients in the bottle.
There are so many ingredients to be aware of due to carcinogenic properties: Alcohol, Aluminum, DEA/TEA, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, TALC, Parabens and more. These are found in so many common household products and should be avoided as much as possible for more healthful alternatives.
“Fun Facts”
– Quality of air inside homes is 5-7 times more toxic than outdoor air quality.
– It takes 26 seconds for chemicals in your personal products to enter your bloodstream.
– Consumer Householding Cleaning Product Sales was over $7.3 Billion in 2007
– Thanks to consumer awareness, the sales growth is slowing down! – This could be due to the push in chemical free cleaning, and DIY, natural cleaning, like Essential Oils!
Scary, huh?

Don’t worry! We are going to show you how to replace household conventional cleaning products with scary ingredient lists with DIY, natural, products, using essential oils!
Join me, won’t you, in replacing this toxic crap little by little, month by month, step by step – either with ready-made YL products or with things we can make ourselves with oils. Things that are not only NOT HARMFUL for our babies, but BENEFICIAL FOR THEM. We have that option!

Come on, y’all. Instead of $100 at Target on things that poison our families, let’s spend that money on good things that we know is right for our tiny people!

Our team had an idea to encourage each other to get our homes in tip-top condition this Spring… Naturally, we will be doing it completely toxin free. I can’t wait to share with you all.

Here’s what I’ll be using for the challenge:

Thieves Household Cleaner (stocking up – we use this ALOT!)
Lemon Essential Oil
Purification Essential Oil
Rubbing Alcohol
White Vinegar
Baking Soda
Castille Soap
Glass/Stainless Spray Bottles
Your favorite YL Oils to diffuse!
Thieves Laundry Soap
Wool Dryer Balls & Lavender

Let’s do this, people!

Interested in joining the challenge? Shoot me an email at Happyoilerhaines@gmail.com and I will get you started!

I will post the updates as they come here:

 

(stay tuned!)

 

spring cleaning

 

Finding God’s Plan through Infertility

Today I write this post as a way of recollecting the memories, trials, and triumphs of our journey to growing our family. I write this not out of any need for pity but more out of the desire to journal our path and in hopes that it might provide hope to someone else embarking on a similar one. This post may be tough to read for some and may resonate perfectly with others. So here it goes…

To be completely comprehensive – we would have to back up to childhood – I have always known since I was a very little girl that I wanted to be a mother. I knew to my vary core that I would be a mom and I would have children of my own one day. It wasn’t something that was up for negotiation – motherhood was in my DNA and all parts of my life would fall into place to make that happen. When it would happen? no idea. Although growing up, as many little girls do, I always said I wanted to be married and having kids by the time I was 27. When you are a kid- 27 seems so “adult”.  When you are 27, you just feel like a kid that is pretending to “adult”.  Nevertheless- the goal line was 27. If you know me, I am a serious ‘goal’ follower – goal lines are the minimum to me and I run as hard and fast as I can until its achieved. So let’s start off with that as a base line. A determined, hard fast desire to bring to life the very essence of my being – motherhood (plus all the other stuff that comes with life 😉 ).

At 15 I met the love of my life. We met in high school as friends and over a casual lunch table conversation decided to make those “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” titles official. I will admit that at the young age of 15, when my mom told me I couldn’t have a boyfriend yet, I had know idea I was answering “sure” to the man that would stand by my side through so much, become my husband and ultimately the father-to-be our children. We talked and dreamed about one day starting a family – how we would want to parent, the things we wanted for our children and when we would ultimately start on that path. At 23 we got married and I will never forget the feeling of pure joy, happiness, and just feeling invincible to what the world had to offer. My wedding day was the happiest day of my life – at the top of the mountain – with nothing to lose. We made it. We were married and our life together was starting. Now for the fun part…. building a marriage and children.

Many people say the first year of marriage is hard and undoubtedly it is. Learning to make decisions not for how they will only benefit you but ultimately how they benefit your spouse is a tough lesson to learn. Thinking for a unit and a family vs thinking for selfish desires is not always second nature. Nevertheless, we adjusted well and life was grand. We had a solid foundation, a solid marriage, and love for each other that made our transition into married life virtually seamless. We had nothing but joy and the world at our feet. The future looked bright and we had every reason to be happy.

In March 2014 – a devastating loss impacted our family. A beloved uncle, brother, son, friend and all around incredible human being passed away suddenly. My relationship with my uncle was closer than many and I looked up to him for career advice, life advice, and just family companionship. He taught me to view life with gratitude and to never settle for less than you can dream for. I spiraled into depression and into a realm of emotional unsettlement that I did not know was possible.  Remember that mountain I was on top of on my wedding day?  Well the way I envision it is those cartoon scenes where someone stands on the ledge and the whole things cracks and they fall straight down to the bottom of the ravine. I had a whole lot of climbing to do to get back to where I was. All our life plans were put on hold as we worked to navigate through this period of grief.

Luckily for me, I have the world’s greatest husband and even through the countless nights of hysterical tears, emotional outbursts and nights where the only sensible things to do was hide on the floor in the closet crying – he stood by my side and we pressed on.

In February 2015 – 3 years ago today – we decided we were back in a place emotionally that we wanted to start growing our family. I remember it like it was yesterday. Driving home back from lunch we decided there was no time like the present and that having children was going to be scary no matter what age we were. So we decided. We were “trying”. Naturally, I read every blog, bought every book, and downloaded every app to make sure we were doing it the right way with the utmost efficiency. (as I write this I realize how absurd that sounds. ha!) Months went by, ovulation tests became obnoxious, temperatures  became obsolete, and yet.. no baby. Month after month pregnancy tests showed up negative. I began to dream what my reaction would be should one come up positive. Slowly I began to not even test – the thought of seeing another negative test would surely tear me apart. I was still rebuilding my emotions from losing someone so close to me – surely God wouldn’t be making me experience this kind of loss too. I wasn’t ready – I wasn’t strong enough.

12 months later – after watching everyone we knew get pregnant- I woke up one night in excruciating pain and was certain my appendix had burst. I couldn’t breath as every moment or thought of movement made it worse. I laid on the bed clasping my stomach fearing something terrible was happening. At this point, we decided it was time to visit the doctor and run some tests to see what was going on. Matt passed his tests with flying colors. However, for me, days and days of blood work, ultrasounds, drinking my weight in water only to sit in a Dr. office waiting room so they could view my pelvis for 30 seconds….  things looked normal, egg count was great, uterine lining was fine. So what was the issue?

Ultimately, the ultrasound revealed cysts in the ovaries and other growth tissue commonly associated with endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrial stroma and glands, which should only be located inside the uterus) is found elsewhere in the body. This can cause lesions, complications with fertility and ultimately a lot of pain on a regular basis. The cysts were small and probably only slightly decreasing our chances every month but hope was not lost. Our OB suggested that I have a hysterosalpingogram – which is fancy word for a test where they inject iodine based die into your uterus and fallopian tube and they take a million pictures to try to determine any blockage. If you google this test – its not a pretty picture. But I wanted a baby – so it was worth it and we went for it. As I laid on the table watching the monitors, watching the die float around, my stomach was cramping from the die and I had never felt so vulnerable. I laid there, alone, and watched what I hoped wouldn’t happen… there was tissue blockage in my fallopian tubes. There was no way for the egg to get where it needed to be and the chances of conception were extremely low. I held myself together as the technicians wrapped things up. I left the room with one of the most fake smiles on my face, met my husband in the waiting room, and broke down in the hallways of the hospital. My worst fear was coming true. Could I not have babies? Was my dream of motherhood a lie?  Why was God letting me feel such a feeling a happiness just a year prior to only let these life events kick me while I was down over and over again. Why couldn’t I have my happy ending? Why was this happening to me?

Again – the depression set in. I sat at the kitchen counter that night crying and apologizing to my husband for being “broken” – for not holding up my end of the bargain. For not being able to bear his children and making him go through this with me. As I write this, I am tearing up again, a part of me will always feel that pain. I wanted to be a mother – I wanted to have children. And now I wanted it more than ever.

The doctor called to discuss the test results and we began discussing various options- surgery to remove obstructions, IVF, IUI, artificial insemination. All of the above. I felt lost as to what I should do, what order I should do things in, and where in the world we would find money for something like that. It seemed easier to give up. None of these plans felt right for us. We spend the next few months trying to take things one step at a time and focus on us. The last couple of years had taken such a tole on us emotionally that it was time take a step back and focus on ourselves and our marriage. We needed to be healthy again. After many conversations and many discussions regarding our options – I finally realized one thing…. I wanted to be a mother. I have always wanted to be a mother. I have always wanted to have children. But you know what…. I have never expressed that desire as “I have always wanted to be pregnant.”  All this time- after all these years and all this pain – I thought God had abandoned me. I thought God had given me this false hope and instilled in me these false desires and false goals. I felt lost pining after pregnancy because no matter what way I looked – the doors were shut.

I realized that God never abandoned me. In fact, just as always – he plan for our lives is beautiful and one we won’t always understand. When I look back on the last three years- heck, the last 20 some odd years of my life – God gave me the strongest desire in the world to be a mother so that I wouldn’t give up when faced with infertility. He gave me the desire to be a mother so that I would know it was part of my identity. My desire has never to be pregnant. My desire has been to give my heart to my children. As my husband and I began to wrap our minds around our situation- we began to feel that calling. We began to see what door God had opened. Adoption.

With a marriage like ours, a husband like mine – strong, independent, compassionate, and devout – we had proven to each other over the last few years that our marriage can take it. We can take it. Just like I felt on our wedding day – we are invincible to what the world has to offer. We began to pursue the path of adoption and doors began opening wide. Swinging open left and right. I began to have thoughts envisioning our family – envisioning our children – and my heart warmed instantaneously. The world has so much to offer- both through struggles and through triumphs. We are matched for adoption expecting placement of a beautiful baby girl in June and we could not be more overjoyed. We are at the top of the mountain and this little girl has already shown us that there are more mountain to climb in the distance.

I recently heard a quote at a women’s retreat through our church that has stuck with me like crazy. “Everybody wants to reach the peak, but there is no growth on the top of a mountain.  It is in the valley that we slog through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life’s next peak.- Andy Andrews” . Don’t underestimate what God is doing during your time of waiting. One day and one day soon you will be back at the peak of that mountain – you will look behind you and see the beauty of God’s orchestration and you will look forward to see the vast horizon you have yet to conquer. And then you will look beside you and see with the utmost gratitude everything that defines your happiness today.

And you want to know a little secret?  One week ago today I turned 27 – expecting our adoption placement in June. Wouldn’t my younger self be so happy to know we hit our goal. Now for the fun part…..

xoxo

Chelsea

DIY: Whipped Sleepy Time Rub

DIY: Whipped Sleepy Time Rub

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**Always use proper dilution ratios when using around children/babies. You can dilute with a carrier oil**

Check out more: DIY Recipes for Essential Oils

Get your very own Essential Oils Kit here!

 

DIY: Massage Cream

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This recipe can be made with any of your favorite blends of oils – the picture below uses Brain Power and Common Sense which is a fantastic massage cream when you need to relieve tension and focus!

Check out more: DIY Recipes for Essential Oils

Get your very own Essential Oils Kit here!

0101stockoilimages

When your adoption is not a Plan B

GREEN- Hainesadoptionshoot-84.jpg

 

Let’s journey through a brief comparison for a moment:

SITUATION #1: 

“We’re expecting!” – we announced!

“Oh my! How wonderful and exciting! Congratulations!” – they exclaim!

… and the conversation continues through all the exciting questions- boy or girl, how far along, etc.

SITUATION #2:

“We’re Adopting!” – we announced!

“Really? Why?” – they shrug.

…. and the conversation continues as the hopeful adoptive parents struggle to have to validate their joy in the choice to pursue adoption.

———————————————————–

… Seems a bit off to me? Does it to you? Why is it anything different?

I am writing this post to hopefully share some insight to those who may not know what to say or may know someone going through adoption unexpectedly. Or perhaps – you are personally going through adoption and like me have been confused and bewildered by the large spectrum of responses given. The following are some of the responses my husband and I have received so far when announcing our adoption journey:

“Can you not make your own? “

“Congratulations! That’s amazing! When do you we do a baby shower? “

“Sounds hard- you guys must really want it”

“are you sure you haven’t tried on your own enough yet? “

“you can have my kids!”

“Why not IVF?”

“What if something is wrong with the baby?”

“I hope your marriage is strong enough to endure that.”

” Isn’t that expensive?”

” Well – I hope you have a good husband”

and my favorite…… “that’s nice – and don’t worry, I know someone who got pregnant after they adopted.”

As you can see from the various responses above – there is a wide spectrum of responses but only one of them really seemed to congratulate my husband and I on our journey or seemed to issue any support in our decision. I want the world to know that while there are many various reasons for a couple or individual to choose the route of adoption- it is not a Plan B.

Now .. in the spirit of honesty… yes, my husband and I have been struggling with infertility issues for a couple of years. And yes, we did all the tests and the consistent Dr. appointments and blood work. In fact, I was 2-days away from going through with our first round of IUI when we realized that God has something else in store for us and adoption was the way we wanted to ultimately choose to grow our family. You see – the plan is to have a happy family and to be a mother. The journey is a continuous journey. Yes, the emotional roller coaster up to the point of making a decision about moving forward with adoption was a long one and it definitely comes with the burden of making an emotional adjustment if you had envisioned pregnancy at first – but to assume that adoption is a Plan B is unfair.

If you are going through the adoption process yourself and find yourself hearing these similar comments- have confidence in the incredible journey ahead. Have confidence in your choices and the blessings you are bound to experience. When you hold that child in your arms – know that child grew in one mommy’s tummy so that they could find you. All children deserve a home and no child should ever been seen as a plan B.

Words can hurt – especially when they come from those you love. And so I urge you – If you know someone going through the journey of adoption choose your reaction carefully. A couple’s reason’s for journeying through the adoption process are their own- and if you are lucky enough for them to trust you with such delicate information – treat it with the same care and joy you would treat the news of any other child entering the family.

“We’re adopting!” – we announced!

“Oh my! How wonderful and exciting! Congratulations!” – they exclaim!

… and the conversation continues through all the exciting questions- boy or girl, how far along, etc.

My family will be growing through adoption and I could not be more excited. When I hold my baby for the first time – I will be a mom and my husband will be a dad. They will be my baby and we will do right by our child for all of our days.

-Chelsea

Our Adoption Profile- Matt & Chelsea

This is one of my absolute favorite posts- our adoption profile was quite the journey to completion and Matt and I had an absolute ball putting it together. We also had wonderful family and friends help us through discounts and man power to put together all the tiny details. I put some of the pages below! Also – if you are on the journey of making your own adoption profile book. Check out the other posts on “How To” and “Things to Remember” when making an adoption profile.

PW is mattandchelsea

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/172520965″>Adoption Video- Matt &amp; Chelsea</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user53791267″>Chelsea Haines</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

 

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Strength in Vulnerability

  
When you think of success- what do think of first? Money, time, family, a nice home, nice cars, vacations, etc? Those items may be what our society deems as evidence of success- but the true question is what defines success for you on an individual level? 

During my time in college as I was looking into the world of teaching so many times we came across the idea that all children are unique in terms of potential, ability and talents yet all are capable of success in their own measures. As we grow and mature as part of the society around us we loose sight of those very differences that outline what ‘success’ means to each of us individually. Now, don’t get me wrong, I personally find a lot of motivation in seeing what opportunities others have opened up for themselves and desiring to obtain that opportunity too- however- I only strive for those that I know will bring joy and happiness to my quality of life. My view on obtaining those opportunities is simple. We each have a unique set of skills and by implementing them to the best of our ability we can push life to the next level. 

But what if while you are reading this you are saying to yourself- yah sure- that’s great and all, but if I only had the time I would make the changes needed to get myself to the next level. I would challenge you to think do you really not have the time or do you simple have a fear of vulnerability? It’s a brash question- but one I ask myself daily when faced with any fork in life’s road. Do I really have an obstacle in my way or am I just afraid of the risks involved with making it happen.

Human kind feels a natural tendency of threat when we are placed in a vulnerable position. But not al vulnerability is bad- on occasion it might just be the very place you find your strength. Think about it- how many great leaders has our world known- how many of them got where they were through struggle, adversity, discomfort, unease? It is through these feelings and positions of vulnerability that great strength and clarity of what our hearts want can be found. 

If you find yourself stuck at a fork in the road- I challenge you to define your own personal successes and allow the position of vulnerability to provide clarity to your hearts desires and your inner strength. When we are weak, so are we strong. 

Tidbit: when I need an extra pick me up of strength and encouragement I like to diffuse valor, grounding and clarity- you can find more info on oils here

-Chelsea 

Choose Gratitude 

  
Today is a day for gratitude. I woke this morning with a calm heart,  rolling over  to see my husband still fast asleep. As I got up to make a coffee I remembered our hotel room had a patio that looked out over the ocean. I grabbed a robe from the closet- my cup of coffee- and my phone and headed or to the patio to relax for the first few moments of the day. 

Sounds nice right? 

It was- but let me let you in on a secret. I skipped a few steps. You see- I woke this morning with a calm heart but also a headache from having wine too late the night before. I rolled over and my husband was fast asleep taking up most of the bed. I got up to make a cup of coffee, put in too much water and the cup was too smal which resulted in spilled coffee all over the counter. I grabbed a robe and went out to patio and listened to all sorts of noises as I attempted to relax viewing the ocean for the first few moments of the day. 

Interesting comparison huh? Same story- same morning. One that approaches the day with a perspective that allows the nuances from each day dictate the mood of the morning and cause frustration and the other approaches the morning from a perspective that chooses gratitude and openness allowing emotional stability and grounding throughout the afternoon. 

The truth? Both stories are real. After I finished my coffee, my husband and I applied some valor essential oil for focus and headed down to the beach for early morning meditation. My focus for the morning was gratitude. Despite how things may seem- whether or not you are where you planned to be or if things are going your way- there are moments in life where we must choose gratitude above all. If I were to tell you my life today is perfect- that would be far from true. However, if I were to tell you I had plenty to be greatful for- you couldn’t get closer to truth. 

Choose gratitude. In all things- every day- choose gratitude. Step back and look at your life from the side of the road- watch your loved ones, friends, family, successes and experiences and be greatful and count them as the blessings they are. 

-Chelsea