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It's been a while.

Adoption update. Shortly after we were approved, LDS family services made an announcement that they are no longer offering adoption services. We had a tiny heads up from our case worker when we first went in to talk about adoption that some changes were coming. Good or bad, she wasn't sure. Unfortunately, it was bad. And we found out the same way everyone else did. Through the news, on the day of the announcement, which made me a little angry. There is some fine print with the changes apparently, but we have YET to learn them because we have not yet heard from our caseworker. It sounds like family services has been busy figuring these changes out as well, so things keep changing and we keep hearing lots of different stories.

This turn of events has bewildered us. Total confusion. Totally numb. Kind of sick and tired of being sick and tired...and sad. So when people ask how the adoption process is going...honestly, I hate that question. I know everyone means well by it and I'm not upset that they are being thoughtful. But there is only one obvious answer. We don't have a baby yet. There is never going to be a happy answer to that question. Because when we do have a baby one day, that question will no longer be relevant. It will be happy questions pertaining to our success like, "how's the baby doing?" or "how is Oak as a big brother?". That question to me is just a reminder of how sad I am and how awful this whole thing feels. The question isn't asking me if I'm still emotionally stable. Or offering me a hug. It's putting me back in that dark place, each and every time, forcing me to pretend to sound happy and try to give people answers that I myself can't find.

My point is, I know others are asking if there is any progress. But by golly, it sure would be nice if someone threw their arm around my shoulders and told me to keep up the good work, you know what I'm saying?!

How's the adoption process going?

It's still going. And we aren't sure if it will ever actually go anywhere. We are exhausted, confused, still looking for directions but have decided to focus on our family, especially Oak, and getting happy again. We thought we were here, but found out we were there. And then over there and then there and got lost. We're still hopeful for a family of four but right now we're also hopeful for Oak liking wrestling practice. And my new calling at church. And for Straton possibly getting a fun little side job that is more play than work for him. We're never going to stop hoping and wishing for our newest family member. We've just decided to think a little more about what's right in front of us and not let a moment pass by that we aren't filling with happy thoughts.

we're approved!


I can't tell you how long I've been wanting to spill this little secret of ours. Probably almost as long as it took me to make this stinking video. And then sadly my computer broke and I had to record a video on my phone of this video, which is why it's horrible quality (like super bad, you guys), I apologize. But until I can get the real video uploaded this will just have to do because it's 6 in the morning, I have yet to sleep and because I have to tell everyone, finally!


we're adopting! from Lauren Gerber on Vimeo.

Papers are in!


Our work is done! We've completed all our steps in order to be approved for adoption! Our case worker called last Friday to let us know that everything looked great and she was going to work hard and get us approved soon. When I asked how long she thought it might be, I thought for sure no less than a month. Tears filled my eyes when she said it would hopefully only take a week to a week and a half! I couldn't believe it. It was amazing to see things just fall into place. I couldn't have asked for an easier, faster process. People had us scared with all their "beware the paperwork!" comments but it was a breeze. Maybe we got lucky? Maybe it was supposed to work this way for us? Maybe it really is a whole lot easier than everyone thinks and says? Either way, it worked. We did it. We're so close to the light at the end of the tunnel. It feels so good. Now we wait for the news that we're approved and our profile goes live!



I found this in my drafts, unfinished, but  thought I might as well publish it. I might have to do these more often. It's fun being reminded of just how I was feeling, even a few months ago.

Making : plans. And ideas about plans.
Cooking : pork tacos and green beans.
Drinking : San Pellegrino, by the case.
Reading: books I can't seem to finish.
Wanting: energy. I have absolutely none these days.
Looking: at Oak's baby pictures and wanting to squeeze that little baby body of his again.
Playing: forty thieves. A card game on my phone. Someone make me stop!
Wasting: my gym membership. It's not easy when 11 p.m. is your only available time to go.
Sewing: unfortunately my sewing machine has been collecting dust for a while now.
Wishing: I could restart my wardrobe. How can clothing trends fade out so quickly?
Enjoying: the river in my backyard. It's truly something.
Waiting: for the fourth member of our family to show up!
Liking: this weather we've been having! 70 degrees is alright by me Logan, keep it coming!
Wondering: about what Harley's been up to in heaven lately.
Loving: my neighbors. It's nice to have some that I can communicate with. Our last neighbors all spoke Spanish.
Hoping: to make lots of fun memories this summer.
Marvelling: nature. It's incredible what animals survive through.
Needing: to start eating better. Popcorn and goldfish every night aren't cutting it anymore.
Smelling: fresh laundry.
Wearing: my pajamas, of course.
Noticing: how green all the trees are getting.

the best morning


Often times Oaklen wakes up early in the morning and crawls in bed with us to sleep a little while longer. Lately he's been waking up when Straton goes to work and promptly comes in to wake me up. It's usually to ask me for dinner (breakfast. He labels every meal as dinner) and he'll whine and complain until he can drag me out of bed.

Yesterday he woke me up and I swear, it was something straight out of a fairytale book. Rainbows and unicorns were flying around my room. It was special, you guys. I woke up to his hands constantly cupping and stroking my face while he repeatedly called me his sweetyheart. "Wake up sweetyheart! Oh sweetyheart, it's time to get up!" And this was also going on while he kissed my forehead and cheeks. After opening and then closing my eyes, he said "oh hunny, I know you want to sleep but that's a problem. Come on, let's go have some dinner". I opened my eyes again, trying so hard not to laugh and he said "there you are, sweetyheart!".
Then he flipped my hand over and started slowly tickling my palm and fingers, just like his daddy does to him. Then he kissed each finger, snuggled me, called me sweetyheart a few more times and then I forced myself out of bed. It was the sweetest moment I think I've had with him yet. I'm telling you, this boy is made to love. He is the sweetest, most caring child. I wish everyone could start their days just like that.

He's a sweetyheart, that little boy.



A few days ago we spent the day out in the sun and getting our front yard together. We ripped out old bushes and plants and planted new flowers, plants and grapes! It'll take a few years before the grapes really take off but we're excited to try them! My neighbor made pure grape juice with no sugars or anything and brought it over for us to try. It was so good and I can't wait to try some of our own.

Oak of course insisted on helping us out in the yard although there wasn't much he was old enough to do. But he picked a few weeds for me and raked the backyard. I'm just glad he finds this stuff fun because I know it won't last long at all. He really enjoyed playing in dad's wheelbarrow of dirt. He was so cute out there in his t shirt, undies and rain boots. Towards the end of the day Straton dug up a hole and found some worms. Of course I couldn't say no to Oak when he asked if he could hold them, even though I really wanted to. He was gentle and so excited to watch them wiggle in his hands. A little while later he found a night crawler and just had to get his hands on this huge thing. I again told him that he had to be gentle and just hold him, which he did. Until I went to the backyard for a few minutes. When I came back around he had the saddest, guiltiest and ashamed face. After asking what was wrong he told me, with tears in his eyes and a quiver to his lip, that he swung the worm around like a helicopter and he "broke into pieces". After explaining to him that it was okay and he needs to only hold them and be gentle, he lost it. He was so sad and wanted him back. I told him that he went to heaven and Harley would take care of him.

The next day on Sunday, guess what he learns about in primary? Being kind to animals. Go figure.

Lesson learned.

Step 2: fee and Bluestep


Today we paid our adoption fee which really made it real for me. Like I said, it's been a mixture of emotions for me, usually all at once. But we're happy to get started. We can now officially get the real paperwork done. It's all online and has us answer tons of questions including a lot of random ones like, what our siblings do or what is our favorite car. Everyone always talks about how much paperwork you need to fill out but if it's questions like these I don't think I'll have too hard a time with that.
We also have to take our online classes and get medical and criminal background information completed. Once that's finished I think all we'll have left is our interviews and home study and then we wait to be approved! I'm excited to let people know what's happening. It'll feel like that second pregnancy announcement that I've longed for all this time. And I hate holding such big secrets.
We're halfway there!

Happy 4th Birthday!


Oakie boy! You did it! WE did it! You're alive and well and thriving. I almost didn't think we'd get past the terrific three's without one, or both, of us losing our minds, but we did it! Thank heavens!

You're the greatest thing, Oak. We love you immensely. We are so proud of you. You are so smart, funny, kind, loving, strong willed, feisty, thoughtful and friendly. You will talk to anyone, about anything and everything, for as long as possible. You love babies and children. You are so incredibly sweet with me. You always need a connection with me when you sleep, like touching my face or holding me. You're definitely a lover. And as much as I get bothered with you still sleeping in our bed every now and then, I need that connection with you too. You are my son, my first born! You made me a mother! Thanks for choosing us as your parents.

Today we woke up and opened a ninja turtle present and got ready. We went to the mall for pretzels and your very first Nintendo 2DS! What a lucky boy! We watched you play in the play area and you loved it. Then we went to the fun park where you played in the jungle gym for the longest time. You were so sweaty and happy. After that we played arcade games where we won lots of tickets and got lots of little prizes! Next we went to our friend and neighbor's house for dinner and games and you got to play with your buddy Boston. Again, so sweaty and happy. (And they sang happy birthday with a cake and candles!)  Finally, we went to Texas roadhouse with grandma and Papa Gerber where you got to open some presents and sit on the saddle! You got ninja turtle bad guys and trucks. You stayed up until after midnight once we got home which shocked me. I thought you would pass out from all the fun from today.

Tomorrow we have another turtle present that we didn't have time for and your birthday cake with family! I can't believe my baby is 4! I love you so much, bub. Forever and ever.

**in the car you said that when you turn five, you can finally chew gum, "huh mom?"

3 was the year for ninja turtles, especially Donatello, long hair, books and books and books, Jack Frost movie (rise of the guardians), big boy booster car seat, learning to swim and ride a bike with training wheels, and learning to write your name! We're excited to see what 4 has in store. 

Step 1: basic paperwork


The very first leg of the adoption process is complete! We had to fill out a few quick and basic papers like our names, address, health insurance, references. Then we had to have our Bishop fill out a couple sheets of information regarding our social and financial standing, from his perspective. Once he mailed that in we get to move forward but we were worried he wasn't going to get it in as soon as we'd liked. But he did it and he deserves a pat on the back, just like the employees said at LDSFS.
For some reason this was a much bigger step for me. I think it made it real for me. We're doing this. We're actually adopting! It's such a strange, sad, yet exciting feeling. I never thought we'd be here under these circumstances. We'd always hoped to adopt later in the future because we just wanted to and felt good about it, but never did it cross our minds that we'd be adopting because of infertility.
Straton and I were happily driving along on our little scenic journey, thinking we knew exactly where we were going, so why need a road map? Why ask for directions?  Even through infertility and questioning, "why is this happening?" or, "where is the destination?" we were still confident we could figure out the way all by ourselves, thank you very much.
Turns out Heavenly Father needed us to do just that. Ask Him for directions. It's a reminder that He is the destination, and He knows the way much better than we do. So why not ask for some guidance?
We're still asking for direction through this bumpy, windy road but we feel happy with where we're headed.
Now we wait for a call from our case worker on step 2 instructions which should be the biggest step in the process.
Getting close!



This vacation was long overdue. Strat and I haven't been on a real vacation since our honeymoon 5 years ago. It was perfect timing and so much fun. Gaylan and Debbie surprised us all (their kids and their spouses) with this trip for Christmas. No kids! Well, except for little 3 month old Owen but his bald head and chubby body is too irresistible to care.

We stayed at hotel Catalonia in Puerto Aventuras which was a beautiful resort. We did too many things to talk about them all but we did go to church with the locals in Playa del Carmen on Sunday and it was awesome. Not too different than here in the states! Although we did have to walk and catch a local bus there. So hot. That was not fun.

Some things we did were: riding bikes around the resort and marina, watching monkeys, dolphins, manatees and the cutest sea Lion I ever did see. I so would have payed the money to kiss his big whisker loving face. We played lots of games, danced, Strat played soccer and ping pong, did archery, went kayaking, went to Tulum, took a ride on a hobie, drank smoothies til the sun went down and ate three course meals, every meal, not including all the snacks and the crepes, oh the crepes, at night. I truly did not experience hunger the entire week.
It was beautiful, fun and so relaxing.