Monday, December 8, 2014

A test of patience

Merry early Christmas All!

First of all Jason and I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas!  We hope and pray that throughout this holiday season you will be richly blessed with God's blessings.  While we have yet again had a difficult year, we believe in the power of Jesus Christ and will continue to believe in the hope, peace, love and joy that he brought to our world!  

While counting how many days we have until Christmas...which normally leads to a conversation about Santa... one of my students shouted out on the top of his lungs "The real reason of the season is Jesus Christ!  We don't need presents we need his love!"  PREACH IT BOY, PREACH IT:)  Loved this great reminder from the mouth of a babe!  Be sure to find time to celebrate the real reason for the season! 

I'm sure by now many of you have been wondering where we are with our foster care process...I apologize for the delay of this post, God has really been testing our patience over here!  This has been a month of many emotions!  Of all things that could be holding up our opportunity to welcome a child into our home, we are waiting on our finger prints to be cleared. Yes...finger prints of a teacher and public safety officer!!!  We have been waiting now for over a month:(   This month has been filled with excitement, anxiousness, nervousness, frustration and confusion!  We have on several occasions wondered why we yet once again are in a holding period.  There have been times of great frustration where we shout out to God in pure wonder.  We continue to trust in God's plan and understand that there is a reason for everything. (You all know me though and I am a planner...the agency said 3-4 when we are approaching month 5 you can only imagine the impatience that I am beginning to feel!!)   We know that God will bless our family with a foster care child or child of our own (through fertility assistance or adoption) in his due time.  There is no reason to rush this huge life style change...but we are so excited!  Maybe his plan was to allow us just one more stress free vacation to Florida and start our new year with a bang!

Please continue to pray that these finger prints are cleared so that the rest of our application can be processed by the new year!  As 2015 quickly approaches we wish you all good health and happiness.  We will keep you posted as we hear more!


Jason and Allyson

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Foster Care is Becoming a TRUE reality!

Foster Care is Becoming a True Reality!!!

WOW!  It is hard to believe but something is finally going in the right direction for our home:)

First and foremost we cannot begin to THANK YOU enough for all of the phone calls, e-mails, messages and words of encouragement as we embark on this journey.  We do not know what God has in store but have faith that he will lead us to a fulfilled path of with this process!

 Our foster care application has been accepted, we have been assigned a licenser and our background check forms have been sent!  (Those of you kind people who have agreed to be our background check informants best say what you need to say!  J/K)  Yes, this foster care idea is becoming a true reality!

On Tuesday we met with our licenser to go over many legalistic details that foster care entails.  I have a stack of paperwork about 9 inches think that I have been reading for the last few weeks.  I have to say that after today I am up to date on any and all information you might need to know about foster care!!  After a quick home visit our wonderful licenser has approved out home for 5 children...YIKES...yes I said 5:)  Don't any of you be getting your hopes up...we are keeping our application to 1 child for now, with the possibility of a sibling group if the timing is right!  We have signed up for the classes we need to take and are in the process of getting documentation to DA Blodgett.  Once all of our i's and t's have been dotted and checked we will be good to go.

Hopeful for a child in our home by the beginning of the year!

With that being said I know there have been many questions about our decision so we have decided to answer a few:)

Why Foster Care?

As many of you know we have struggled with infertility for the last two years.  After month after month of disappointment we are ready to some exciting changes.  Foster care has been on both of our hearts for the last year but we were always waiting for the "its the right time" call.  Well, as we all know there never is going to be a right time to do something like why not now?  We are excited to bring love, hope and joy to a child's life.  Hoping to change that child's life matter if they return back to their parents or remain with us!

You both work...what will you do with the child while you are at work?

Just as if we had a child of our own, our foster care kiddo will be welcomed into a safe/loving day care facility.  I have already been doing my research on day care facilities in the area and have our name on a few waiting lists.  There are even a few day cares that have openings for our foster care kiddo when they get here should we choose them!  To help our foster care kiddo become adjusted to our home both Jason and I plan to take some time off from work (2 weeks combined) to help with this transition.

What can we do?

As always please PRAY for peace and guidance as this process progresses...especially when we are placed with a foster care kiddo.  For those of you who feel the need to "get" or "do" something for us here is a suggestion list from a foster care blog (referenced below)

  • Gift cards to a variety of retail stores (Foster families often take children in a “moment’s notice”, and may need to run out and grab a car seat, clothing, and other essentials for taking care of children.)
  • Gender neutral items (A child of any gender could walk through our door at any moment)
  • Gift cards to restaurants, zoo passes, movie tickets, or other entertainment venues.  Sometimes, actually often, a two parent home with no children instantly turns into a two parent home with three children.  Eating out, going to the movies and other forms of family entertainment can get expensive with a large family.
  • Children’s hygiene necessities (Often, families are bombarded with clothing, toys, and other nice gifts, but they may not have a supply of pediatric fever reducers, pain medicines, toothbrushes/toothpaste, or other hygiene products.)
  • Photography Packages (Professional photography can get expensive.  Consider going in with other friends/family members and purchasing a photography session.  
We also would encourage you to all check out this website as it has a lot of great information for how to support those who are on the foster care journey.  This woman is an amazing writer and shares her TRUE story with a heartfelt approach!

Again, THANK YOU all for your support and encouragement...looking forward to embarking on this journey with ALL of you!

Blessings to you all!

Jason and Allyson

Friday, August 22, 2014

Its has been WAY to long

Hello Friends!

Last January I vowed to you all that I was going to write more...well look what!  I seemed to be so absorbed with school, doctor appointments and then summer vacation that I left you all hanging! 

Sooo what has the Bradley household been up to the last few months!?!?  Two words...Doctor Appointments!  UHG! Since February of this year I have had at least two appointments a month :/ 

 We are approaching two years since I had my miscarriage and not a day has gone by that we don't think about, hope/pray or even dream about our future family.   This has not come easy for us...actually has been extremely difficult and heartbreaking at times for us!  

October 18 2012- Miscarriage

November 2012- A large dermoid cyst was discovered on my right ovary.

February 2013- Cyst was removed and we were encouraged to begin trying to expand our family right away.

One Year Later....

February 2014- After a year of trying on our own with no intervention I went into the doctor to see what kind of assistance they could provide for us.  At this time I chose to stay with my regular OBGY as opposed to the fertility clinic.

March 8 2014- Infertility testing for both Jason and Allyson.  Thankfully all tests came back normal; however, this was also frustrating because it just made no sense as to why we were not getting pregnant.  With much prayer and consideration of our options we chose to pursue Clomid, which is a strong, highly used fertility medication.

March 2014- Round #1 Clomid = Negative Pregnancy Test

April 2014- Round # 2 Clomid = Negative Pregnancy Test

May 2014- Round #3 Clomid = Negative Pregnancy Test

June 2014- Decided to stop the climid treatment and seek assistance from the Grand Rapids fertility center.  We were diagnosed with Unidentified Infertility.

July 2014- Round #1 Fermara with a trigger shot mid cycle = Negative Pregnancy Test

August 2014- Round # 2 Fermara with trigger shot mid cycle AND IUI= Negative Pregnancy Test

Needless to say we are tired.  We are frustrated.  We are confused as to why nothing seems to be working; however we do have faith and strongly believe that God WILL provide us with a little child...maybe just not now...on his timing not our timing.  

As hard as these words are to swallow we have also been considering other options along this entire journey.  We have looked into adoption, foster care and even further fertility center treatments such as injectable shots and IVF.  

As much as I thought my heart was going to lean towards adoption, we quickly discovered that this is not the right option for our family.  

Injectables and IVF is still on the table, should it need to be an option, FINGERS CROSSED THAT GOD HAS ANOTHER PLAN:)  We are going to proceed with other treatment options for now.   

However, foster care...well that one got us both thinking!

We are very happy to let you all know that we have submitted our foster care application with DA Blodgett and have begun the three month licensing process!  We will anxiously await a child (6 months-5 years old) to walk through our door step sometime in December or there after.  Jason and I have both seen a lot of neglect and abuse in our careers and we really feel compelled to try to make a difference in some of these kids lives...even if it is for only two weeks...or a year.  We will welcome any one of these kiddos into our home, treat them as our own but pray for reconciliation with their own birth parents.  

In the mean time we are asking that all of your PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for our family.  This is a huge decision but we feel very positive and strong about it.  No decisions like this are easy...or smooth.  There will be bumps in the road, but we have a strong support network and trust in the lord to help us get through this time in our life.  

So there you have it:)   The Bradley's are continuing on the journey to becoming parents, throwing a little twist in there as well!  No one ever said the straight and narrow road was the best traveled...we like things a little different!  Can't wait to share more about our journey with you all!

God Bless,

Jason and Allyson

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How Much Hurt Can One's Heart Take??

How much hurt can a heart take? 

 I come to you today with this exact question...a question that weighs very heavy on my heart today.  I am going to try to keep this post as positive as I can, but want you to know what is going on in our lives today!  As you all know we have had a really rough 18 months and were VERY hopeful for a HAPPY and HEALTHY 2014...  

Unfortunately, God had different plans and we have found ourselves falling to our knees in much needed prayer this week!

On Sunday February 9th, just a little over a week ago, Grandpa Bradley was admitted to the hospital for what we were hoping was going to be a quick stay for some hydration and a blood transfusion.  We had known that these were some of the possible side effects of the chemo and radiation.  

Unfortunately, with a shock to the system, these hopes and dreams were quickly squashed as we were informed on Monday that the lymphoma in Grandpa's knee was progressing quicker than any doctors would be able to treat for a man of his age.  Basically the lymphoma was causing his body to reject much of the progress that the chemo and radiation were doing.  His body had become very weak, tired and VERY sick. 

At that point Doctors were saying that we had a few months of time to treasure with our precious Grandfather, Dad (Denise's father) and Husband (Grandma and Grandpa have been married for 60 years!).  Obviously this was a hard pill to swallow!  We had found ourselves in this exact same situation just a year ago with Uncle Denny.   We were devastated, hurt and even a little angry!  It felt like our hearts had broken into a million pieces.  Why God, Why! 

 We had known all along that while this was a "treatable" cancer this could be the end result....but you don't want to think of this until you have to!  As the week progressed we all were able to see that this statement of a few months was probably not realistic...we were looking at more like a month; however, we are not God and cannot begin to predict how much time we have here on earth.  GOD HAS A PLAN!  Much of this weekend was spent making decisions as to where Grandpa would go after the hospital.  Our options were going home with home care or hospice care or a hospice facility.  These again were very difficult decisions as all parties involved had different opinions of what was best...but Grandpa wanted to go home so that is where he is going.  Today he is will be transported back home for what could be the last few days, weeks or months of his life.  He will have hospice care.

  We will see how this goes and re-evaluate as needed.

At this time I am asking, no who am I kidding... BEGGING, my prayer warriors to cover our home and family in a blanket of prayer.  No, this is nothing something that can be changed but we have many difficult weeks, months and even years ahead as we prepare to loose our Grandpa.  Grandpa Bradley has always been a father figure to Jason so this is extremely hard for him.  (Not to mention that this will be the 3rd major death in a year for us)  I am trying to be the best support system that I can be to him, but I too will need prayers for strength and courage as we embark on this upcoming journey.   I am continually comforted by the scripture in Matthew 5:4 that states "God blesses those people who grieve!  He will comfort them all!"    I ask and pray that God provides comfort to our hearts and minds as we prepare to grieve.
Praise God Almighty for his loving arms!   I will continue to update you all as things change with Grandpa Bradley for now... 

Let your prayers arise...we love you all!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I believe...

As I have shared with all of you, over one year ago on September 18th 2012  Jason and I experienced a miscarriage of our first child.  I was 11 weeks along and as expected this rocked our world.  All of our hopes and dreams seemed to come crashing down in a matter of two hours in the Emergency Room.  It took many, many months for us to be able to come to terms with the reality of the situation and face the rest of the world....and we still have no child so that has created a whole new journey:)  I am finally now able to sit here and share our story with you, not because we want sympathy or even prayers but becuase we KNOW there are others out there that have been in this situation or are going through this situation and feel the pain and hurt that we felt.  We didn't have the support network that we now have becuase we were unwilling to share our story.  I want others to know that all of those feelings that you might be feeling or have felt are ever so normal, real and TRUE but I am here for ANYONE that needs a listening ear.

I also just came home from an amazing woman's retreat at Camp Geneva, THANK YOU JULIE for inviting me, that has re-ignited my fire and flame to keep moving forward and put all of my hope, fears and faith in God and God alone!  He has a plan for our lives and unfortunately we do not have a right to plan our own path or a say in these plans....but he does!  Sure, it is easy to say these words but I am truly going to try to live by these words for the next months to come.  I do not know the path that God is going to place our family on; however, I do trust that if my faith is in him and I can believe in his miraculous powers that he WILL get us through these trials and tribulation!  

Of course, THANK YOU GOD, I then see a post from a friend of mine entitle 15 Lessons Learned from a Misscarriage :)  Funny how God puts things that are on your heart in front of you at the same time!  For those of you who are interested I highly suggest that you read the is empowering and SO REAL!  I appreciate real talk as opposed to those that tip toe around such real issues!

On another note...

Tomorrow is Grandpa Bradley's last day of radiation; however, his leg continues to be in a lot of pain so please pray for this to pass.  Also, I am off to the doctor tomorrow afternoon for further wisdom and guidance as to what our next steps in expanding our family will be.   Please pray for wisdom on their behalf and understanding on my behalf.  We do not know what path they will send us on but we are ready to embark a new journey:)

Have a BLESSED week my friends!

Monday, January 27, 2014

I USED to think....NOW I think...

Last year created a lot of changes in our lives, but most importantly it changed our thinking on many things that you don't even think about until you HAVE to think about it!  It took a long time to knowledge this but we have come to the conclusion that positive thinking is the only thing that is going to move us forward.  Negative thoughts just boggle your mind and confuse important decisions that you need to make!

 So here you have it....

I used to think...

  • Dirty dishes in the sink HAD to be clean before I went to bed.

  • I would be done having children by the time I was 30.

  • Having three boys would be a dream come true.

  • I didn't need to loose weight, I would just get pregnant.

  • Having a miscarriage was unheard of.

  • Sleeping in the same bed with your husband seven days a week was CRAZY!

  • If I surrender all my worries and fears to God, he will take care of us.

  • Getting pregnant was as easy as 1, 2, 3...

I Now Know...

  • Dirty dishes in the sink are not only normal but completely acceptable.  Life happens and if this is the biggest problem happening in our house I think we will be OK!  I even let the decorative throw pillows lay on the floor OVER NIGHT if I don't have time!  Jason LOVES to throw them all over the house just to see what I will do...ugh he is just like a child

  • Thirty is NOT that old and I will have children when it is my time.  We shouldn't put timelines on things that are outside of our only leads to heartache and frustration.

  • Three kids....let alone three boys...what was I thinking!  Boys are dirty, smelly, play contact sports that would probably give me an ulcer and take many more risks!  (Ok who am I kidding...I'd take a boy if that was what God provided us with) However, I would be SOOO thankful and blessed if God provided us with one child...but my heart would REALLY like at least one girl in my life:)

  • If only loosing weight and changing your diet was as easy as getting pregnant.  I have recently started a Beach Body Challenge group and I cannot tell you how happy I am that I made this decision. It is hard to step out of the box and do something that you know is going to be hard...but in just three weeks I have lost 10 pounds and several inches!  This has been a HUGE lifestyle change but I can already tell that I am happier, healthier and sleep SO much better.  My new motto is...If I'm not going to be pregnant than I'm going to at least have a rocking body!

  • Most people don't think a lot about miscarriages or even talk about them until they have had once.  Since this devastating occurrence in our life I have learned that I am not alone in this journey, a matter of fact...Up to 25% of all normal pregnancy's end in a miscarriage and many reasons are unknown as to why this occurs.  Since then I have learned that it is no ones fault and there is nothing you can do...your body is such a mystery...we cannot begin to understand the reasoning for things such as these.  I do however believe in the medical community and fully rest assured that through their assistance and God's blessing normal pregnancies can happen in most people.  If you have been one of those people that have shared their pregnancy difficulties with me....THANK YOU.  Your words of encouragement and honesty have been more than appreciated. 

  • As of January 2014 Jason has been on a new shift at work.  He now works 12-8 with a change in the near future to 7-5.  I was used to sleeping in my king size bed ALONE...I was not ready for this change...I am a bed hog...especially the blankets!!  However, now that this change has happen I can't imagine it any different and even am a little sad that he is gone for two weeks at D.A.R.E. school and I don't have him home to snuggle up to!

  • Getting pregnant has been a journey for Jason and defiantly has not been as easy as 1, 2, 3.  We have had our up's and down's and each month hold onto the possibility of a positive pregnancy test or further testing/medications or more medical appointments.  Some months are hard and others are easy.  When others announce their pregnancy some are difficult some are joyful.   We would NEVER want someone to feel that they are not able to share this joyful and exciting news with us simply becuase we are struggling to get pregnant....we WANT to be apart of your journey just as we know you will be when it is our turn!    While there are months that we feel like pregnancy consumes our lives...we WILL NOT LET IT DESTROY US!!!   We continue to hang on to the fact that this is all in God's hands...he will provide for us if we trust in him.  We daily refer to this passage: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6)  God knows our hopes and dreams and has a plan for our family!  While it is extremely difficult to not be able to see the path he has paved for us...we continue to trust in him!  THANK YOU ALL for the continued prayers as continue to embark on this journey of life.  All things can, and will be done, in Christ who gives me strength!
Blessings my friends....we LOVE you all!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

In with the NEW and out with the OLD!

The Bradley home is finally in with the NEW and out with the OLD!  

2014 has already started on a good note for our home!

After twelve years, and very little convincing, Jason has traded in his 2000 Jeep Cherokee...

I think he was depressed....this is the best picture we had of the OLD Jeep!

... for a 2012 Jeep Liberty Jet!  

This is big news peeps!  

If you know Jason, his Jeep was his baby and very hard for him to get rid of:)  The beautiful, distinguishing, one of a kind humming sound that came loud and clear from the engine is finally gone.  My car was in the shop this week so I even got to drive the new Jeep...I think I could get used to that car... four wheel drive would come in handy on some of those snowy morning commutes to Greenville;)

I tell ya, Jason sure has it good around here, he gets a new car and I get T25X and Shakology...

...interesting!  (Totally kidding, we both have it VERY good)

I have decided that 2014 is the year for me!  

My New Year's resolution for 2014 is either to loose 15 pounds or gain 30. 

Gain 30...WHAT!?!?!  With the one exception that the "gain 30" MUST ACCOMPANY a growing baby!

Yep. My 2014 resolution is definitely begin a family in one way or another; however, that cannot consume all of my energy so I have joined a beach body challenge group and am working on becoming  positive, HEALTHY, and active!  For those of you that know me, this was a HUGE step outside of my box as I like to be private in my life...yup, that seems to be changing this year too as I'm quickly finding out that this journey called life requires A LOT of support and encouragement!  I'm excited to begin my "weight loss" journey with the hopes of becoming much happier/healthier/content with the way that God has made me! 

With that I leave you with my new mission in life...

Have a blessed week!