Friday, July 2, 2010

I can't *not* do anything

For the last 2 months I've tried living with the fact that we're done having children.  We put it out of our minds.  We focused on paying down debt some, and splurged and bought the kids a swing set.  Life went back to "normal".

It just doesn't feel right.  I am not happy, because I feel pulled to add to our family and I can't do it.  We're literally working as hard as we can and haven't really made much headway to getting all of the money together.

I gave away our crib.  I packed away the profile books.  I stopped daydreaming in the baby aisle at Target and have tried to distance myself from anything baby related, except for my new nieces (who are absolutely perfect) and only my closest friends/family who are expecting.

I still can't shake the feeling that we're making a huge mistake.  I feel like if we had more faith in God we could just move forward, trusting that He will provide when the time comes.  Instead, I'm stuck in limbo trying to find a different path that feels as right as adoption felt.  We've discussed changing jobs, moving, getting a puppy....those are all obviously not what God has planned for my family because none of it fills the hole.        

So what do we do?  We've considered foster-to-adopt.  That would certainly be less expensive.  But I can't seem to reconcile the fact that the goal of foster care is to eventually return the children to their biological parents.  I've done a lot of contemplating that, and I don't know that I can ever be in that place, where I would not feel bitter in the end when the child is reunited with his/her parents.  And I don't want to even start down that path with the wrong attitude.

So now I'm stuck.  I just don't know what to do.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our dreams have crumbled before our eyes....

We're not adopting anytime soon.   After the potential situation a week ago Friday, we have done a lot of soul searching.  We just can't move forward until we have ALL of the money available.  It is just too hard to turn down a baby because we can't pay the fees.

We've checked into borrowing.  It's not gonna happen.  We can max out our credit cards, take a personal loan, and spend everything in savings.  It still won't be enough, especially when you consider the 6 weeks I'll have to take UNPAID from work.

The only way we can do this is to put everything on hold for now and wait until we save up enough money.  Paying for it as we go, as we have been, just isn't working.  We pay the entrance fee now, and then what?  Turn down every potential match for the next year while we wait to earn enough for the next fee?  I can't put myself through that.

It will take at least 2 years to get enough money.  I don't know if I can wait two years, and then start over.  By the time we start over, go through the process, and get a baby Kaylee will be  around 9  and Kera will be 7/8.  Can I really start over with a newborn then?  Even if I can, is it fair to the child?  How hard would it be to be the only adopted child in a family, potentially be of a different race, AND to be 8 years younger than your siblings?  Would the child ever feel like he/she fits into our family?

So, now I am crushed and completely lost.  I don't know what to do with myself.   I feel like an idiot.  We realized when we got into this that it is expensive (hence the second job) and we knew that it would be hard.  what we didn't anticipate is that our fund raising efforts really did very little, cutting back our household expenses just got taken right back out by lack of raises at work and rising daycare fees, and banks have severely dropped the amount they are willing to lend in personal loans because of the economy. 

I'm trying to look on the bright side, really.  We're going to get ourselves out of debt completely since Eric already has the second job.  We have 2 beautiful girls.  They can have their own rooms again.  We'll be done with daycare in a few more years.  We have a 1:1 child to parent ratio, which is easier.

But I can't seem to shake the feeling like I've been punched really hard in the chest.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

Now what?

The profile books are done!  I've spent weeks making  5 exact duplicate copies of scrapbook profiles.  It was a somewhat tedious, much more expensive than I anticipated, and stressful task.  But now that it's done, I'm a little sad.   Working on the books gave me an excuse to think about our adoption every day.  It gave me a reason to feel connected to this whole process and like I had  some  semblance of control over it.

I'm glad they're done, because it is another milestone behind us.  Maybe I just feel sad about it because we don't yet have the money to move forward.  We're soooo close, but it will likely be another 3 weeks or so until we can officially submit the next set of fees.

Yesterday at church there was a baby dedication ceremony.  I had forgotten that it was scheduled, so I was completely mentally unprepared.  I cried through the whole thing.  I feel bad, because it's not like I'm not  happy for the other families; I'm just sad that  pregnancy and childbirth can't be easy for us.  It was worse because the events of Friday were so fresh in my mind.

I'm also feeling a little guilty about Eric.  He's working so hard  to make this adoption happen.  We're talking 2 jobs, 70 hour work weeks.  He is getting worn out.  I just wish I could make it easier for him.  I'm trying to manage stuff at  home, but with my job and two kiddos something's gotta give.  I'm proud of us though; we're not fighting or arguing.  We're just too tired!  ;o)  Seriously, we've come a long way in our relationship over the last couple of years and we are 100% in this together.  That's a reassuring feeling.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Adoption is Hard.

I think today was one of the toughest days we've had in this whole adoption process.    This afternoon I got  an e-mail from our  social worker (who is awesome, by the way) about a "potential situation".  That's what they call it when there is a birth mother about to view profiles and yours could be one they show her, if you choose to be shown.  Since we haven't even officially joined the program, this was out of courtesy to us. 

My first reaction was, "Wow, that was fast."  then it was, "Wait a minute, we're not ready!"  I spent a few minutes reading the details, then called Eric to get his opinion.  We really wanted to be shown, but we had some serious concerns, the main one being money.  Basically, if we were to be matched with this situation, we would need to come up with five figures  by MONDAY.  yeah.  *SO* not happening.  So we passed.

It all happened so fast, but it was a gut-wrenching and heartbreaking decision nonetheless.  Who wants to say no to a baby who could potentially be your child?  It was so tough to say no, because there were a lot of things about the situation that were appealing to us, and if money weren't an issue I would probably be posting right now about the first time we would be shown to a birth mother.  But, money is a HUGE issue in adoption and we just didn't feel comfortable with it.

So, we said no.  We cried a few tears over what might have been.  And now what?  Nothing really.  We just try to keep moving forward and find the child that was meant for our family.

In the midst of all of this chaos I paused and said a quick prayer.  I prayed for wisdom to do what was right and to choose the path that God intends for me.  I was  filled with peace then  and heard a small voice in  my head saying "This is not the child for you." That's not really the answer I wanted, or the answer I would have made for myself, but it gave me a little peace with the decision, which is what I needed.

All of the research and reading about adoption that I have done could never have prepared me for this.  This is HARD.  Much harder then  having a biological child, at least it seems that way right now. 

After feeling so torn over this, I wonder how I will deal when we are shown to a birth mother and then  she chooses a different family?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Garage Sale Day!

Today was the much anticipated garage sale.  It was so much work to put this together.  Luckily the members of my Life Group really gave us a lot of help.  We had a pre-garage sale party last night and everyone help to carry things, organize them, price them, clean them, etc.  A few people donated items to be sold, so we ended up with a pretty good haul.

Our morning started out bright and early today.  The garage was full of lots of stuff.


We had a slow but steady stream of people all day.  It was cool out, but at least it didn't rain.  I guess this would classify as a success.  We raised about $220.  Those familiar with the adoption world know that this is less than a typical application fee, much less a significant chunk of the total fees.  But, it is what it is, right?  It helps.

I don't understand how people can do these things all the time -- it just doesn't really seem worth the effort to me.  I spent hours preparing, organizing, pricing, etc. not to mention the 10 hours today the garage sale was actually open.  I don't think we'll be doing another garage sale as a fundraiser, but at least we know now.

Today was also Kaylee's very first dance performance!  Two of my good friends came over and babysat my garage sale while I took Kaylee -- Eric was at Carmax today.

I can't say that the performance itself was great, but Kaylee did rather well considering it was her first time.  She was nervous, but she conquered her fear and got out there and danced!  A few pictures:

Hanging out in her tap costume (She's supposed to be a bunny)

Nerves hit when it's time to get on "stage"

One of the older girls who helps out at the studio helped them all get in their places.  This was a first performance for almost all of the girls.

A little bit of dancing.  The girls were all pretty timid.  Their big recital is in a couple of more weeks, so there's still time to get the number down a little better.

It looks kind of like Kaylee is just standing there, but I promise she's moving!  Her movements were kind of "smaller" than they usually are, but now that her first ever performance is behind her, she'll have more confidence next time.

All in all, it was a very busy  day today.  Tomorrow is going to be just as bad because we have church, Eric's working at Carmax again, and I have to do all of the chores and shopping that I should have started on today.  And then it will be Monday and I'll be counting down the days until the weekend all over again!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Home Assessment Report!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a completed home assessment report!  Hot off the presses, our social worker e-mailed it to us today.  Talk about bizarre, this 13 page document has all of the nitty-gritty details of who we are.  No, I won't let you read it!  ;o)

Everything is getting so close, I can taste it.  All we have to do is finish the profile books and pay the entrance fee, and then we'll be officially waiting to adopt our baby!!!!  It still doesn't feel real, but at least we're making progress.

I asked the social worker about the current situation at our agency, to figure out the timing of paying the entrance fee.  This is the 3rd biggest fee in the whole process, no small chunk of change.  We don't really have all of the cash needed yet, but our social worker said not to worry because there aren't any birth mothers who are close to looking at profiles yet.  This is a mixed blessing.  It relieves some of the pressure to get the bill paid now, but worries me some that there aren't any birth mothers.  I need to prepare myself for a wait.  We're looking at a year, AFTER we pay this fee.  It could be much sooner, but likely it will be a long while.

The good news is that we are officially recommend to adopt a baby (or 2!) now.  The girls are starting to get excited too.  In her prayer yesterday, Kera asked Jesus to bring us a baby to adopt.  I've told the girls that we have to wait for God to show us which baby we're supposed to get.  I'm glad they actually listen to me, whether they will admit it at the time or not 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Busy, Busy Day

I don't have the energy to come up with a witty, insightful post.  So here's a rundown of my day.

Wake up, get ready for work.
Get the girls, who slept in, ready for  school
Drop the kids off at daycare, Kera cries that she just wants to stay with me.  I feel like crying too.
Go to work, work really hard.
Take a 20 minute break and scarf down some lunch, and read my Bible to keep my sanity
Work some more
Pick up the kids
Home for homework, pop  dinner in the oven
Get Kera changed, head off to dance
During Kera's dance lesson, help Kaylee finish up her homework
Come home, get dinner out of the oven, get the girls fed
While the girls are having their Easter bunnies for dessert, make lunches for the next day
get the girls in their jammies, lay out clothes for tomorrow
help the girls brush their teeth, etc.
tuck the girls in
take care of a load of laundry
take out the trash
tell the girls to be quiet and go to sleep at least 10 times
balance the checkbook, have a mini-meltdown because money is coming out of savings instead of going in
finally change out of my work clothes, wash my face, and take medicine for my pounding headache
sit down to check my e-mail and  type up this quick post.....

Now, I'm off  to start pricing things for the garage sale until Eric gets home in about 30 minutes.  Then I'll get  him fed and give him his medication, crash in bed, and do it all again tomorrow.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Super Saturday

So yesterday's mini pity party is over.  Nothing has really changed, except the girls let me sleep in until 8 this morning!  Wahoo!  I can't even remember the last time I slept in that late.  It was very nice, and much needed. 

I feel like I should clarify a couple of things from yesterday.  First, I realize that we are pursuing this option by choice.  No one is forcing us to embark on this emotional roller coaster and to devote the majority of our energy and finances to adding to our family.  We have struggled with this decision for a long time, and wavered back and forth.  We both strongly feel that this is what God has called us to do.  So there's really no turning back.

Second, Eric's 2nd job isn't bad.  It's actually a pretty good place to work, and he's not taking it too seriously and he's enjoying it.  It's the time management part that gets us.  I have never been stretched so thin, and it is taking some serious adjustment.

Okay, so now that that's out of the way, on to other items.  Today was an absolutely gorgeous day.  I didn't clean the house and I didn't prepare for the garage sale, both things that desperately needed to be done.   Instead  I played with the girls, polished our nails, and watched Cars.  again.  Kaylee loves that movie.

I did manage to get the shopping  done and the bulk of the laundry done  plus I worked on the profile books during nap time.  So it was a slightly productive  day.   Really, it was a good balance of work and play.  I wish every day could be this way.

I'm fighting the urge to start buying baby things.  We so don't have the money.  But I wish I could somehow make this adoption feel real.  Kaylee and Kera will sometimes randomly ask me when the baby will get here.  I just tell them the truth - that I have no idea.  They seem to be okay with that answer for now.  Kaylee remarked today, "God must be having a hard time finding a lady who doesn't want her baby."  Wow.  From a 5 year old.  It's either black or white at that age.  It's very interesting to watch her develop her understanding of the adoption process. 

Kera gets it in her own 4 year old way too.  She mostly thinks we're getting more than one.  It's either that, or she's talking about when she  has a baby one day LOL.  She wants a girl and wants to name her Emma.  Not sure if that's my baby or her baby though. ;o)  She is very excited, but I think it will be hard on her to not be the baby anymore.  She is such a spoiled little  girl right now!

So for now I'm not  buying baby things.  We didn't buy any baby things when we were trying to get pregnant with Kaylee and Kera and for me, it  feels  like that it about equivalent to where we are now.   Maybe my feelings will change once  we get further into the process and get a match.  But for now, it will have to stay abstract.  That's the best I can manage for now.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A change in perspective

Today has been a day of reflection.   This occurred for several reasons.  I had the day off from work today for Good Friday  so my brain had time to slow down.  Kera had a second set of tubes placed, so there was a lot of cuddling on the sofa this afternoon,  which I completely and thoroughly enjoyed.  I also spent a lot of time working on the profile books, which lends plenty of time while cutting, gluing, etc. for my mind to wander.

Reading back to the first posts in the blog, it all seems so superficial and shallow.  I don't know who I'm writing to,  but it seems like I'm writing to some audience that I do not want to let in or offend.   I'm going to try to change that.  My goal is to honestly reflect  how I'm feeling through this adoption process, and life in general being a busy working mom.    Part of the reason I haven't gotten this to come across in my blog so far is just a simple lack of time; by the time I get home from work, get the kids fed, bathed, homework done, and put to bed, then prepare everything for the next day I'm just completely....exhausted.

I don't have time to breathe, let alone manage a blog post.  But I need something.  Anything to not feel so  alone right now.  I have such a mixed bag of emotions lately regarding the adoption, work, Eric's work, the's just so much.  And I feel like no one understands,  because a lot of people just can't understand why we're adopting a baby.  It's like just because we already have  2 biological children it should be good enough. "They", whoever "they" are, are probably right.  I feel so selfish.  I am incredibly blessed in my life.  Kaylee is a wonderful brilliant child and Kera's birth is nothing short  of a miracle.  Believe me, I have tried for the last 4 years to pretend that it's enough.  But I still  feel compelled to adopt.  I can't really explain why; it's God's still  voice in my heart.  For some reason that I don't fully understand, this is the path that we're supposed to be on right now.  Eric and I have talked and prayed about this a lot, and he feels the same way. 

Since I am being perfectly honest tonight,  let me just say this:  Eric's working 2 jobs sucks.  It's hard.  He goes days without seeing the girls, he's exhausted, I'm exhausted and we STILL don't have enough money to move forward yet.  Granted it's only been a few weeks and the pay hasn't fully started coming in from the second job, but that thought is of little comfort to me tonight.  I just feel spread so thin right now.  I'm working 45-50 hours a week, taking care of the girls, taking care of the house, trying to work on the profile books, and I need to  get  ready for our garage sale.  

We are literally doing the very best we can, we're working as hard  as physically possible and it is hard.   If our home study report was completed today we still wouldn't have enough money to pay the activation fee.  Not to mention the attorney fees, birth mother expenses, agency fees, etc. etc. etc.

At the same time, I worry that it's unfair to  Kaylee and Kera.  We can't get them a swing set for another year  or more and we can't take a vacation to Disney World because all of our efforts and our finances  are being dedicated to  this adoption.   I know that  those are just material things are they're not important in the grand scheme, but that doesn't make me second  guess myself any less.

On that positive note, I'm  going to call it a night.   It's been a long, emotional  day and my brain needs to shut down for a while.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday

Why are Mondays always so hard?  Today was no exception.  I was out sick on Friday so I started off the day Way, way behind at work.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that I have a week's worth of stuff that needs to be done, like yesterday.  And to top it off I'm now at NEGATIVE 20 sick hours, and I'm really scared for my job.  I just can't keep up.  It seems like no one  else in my department has to deal with what I do -  2 working parents and young children.  It's just so hard.

*If* I were to lose my job, it may be a blessing in disguise for family time, but it would be a disaster for our adoption plans.  I'm trying not to dwell on it, because I really am doing the best job that I can, but I am worried.

In other news, Kera gets to have surgery again.  She needs another set of tubes put in her ears.  It's just a minor procedure, really, but of course I'm worried.  I'm mom, that's my job.  I know that she'll be able to hear better and won't get ear infections.  I know keeping her well keeps her appetite up and helps her gain weight.  But I still worry.  When I look at her I still see my tiny little fragile baby.

I scheduled the surgery for April 2nd since I already have the day off of work.  That means I'll have to post pone the garage sale.  I'm bummed because now we'll potentially have to wait even longer to pay our program entrance fee but what else can we do?  Eric's already working 2 jobs, I'm working as hard as I can, we're cutting expenses where we can....we are already planning on taking out a loan for the match/placement fees, but we need to pay cash for the entrance fee, birth mother expenses, and legal fees.

 To put the icing on my Monday cake, Kera busted her lip open at her dance lesson tonight.  She was running around with her friends playing tag before class started and one of the big girls knocked her over.  Not a major deal, but seeing her bleeding and crying made me sad.  She's fine; it's nothing a popsicle wouldn't fix, but again, mom's job is to worry. I'm beginning to see a theme here.

As if all of this excitement isn't enough, we're adding a third child to the mix!  Then things will really start to get interesting....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Not much news to report.  We got our fingerprints done today.  I felt a little like a criminal!   It's one more step complete, though.  All we have left is to finish the profile books, wait for our home study report, and come up with the program entrance fee and we'll be OFFICIALLY waiting to adopt.  We're still short.  I'm hoping our garage sale in a couple of weeks will help out. 

Eric's second job is going alright, I suppose.  He's doing a pretty good job at it.  The only hard part is the time factor.   It's impacting all of us.  Definitely not easy, but worth it.   Unfortunately, it's not going to be enough.  We'll likely end up taking out a loan for part of it.  We could use prayers that everything works out okay.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another step complete!

Today we had our final in-home meeting for the home assessment.  It went well, and now all we have to do is get our fingerprints, wait for our social worker to write the reports, and finish our profile books and we'll be officially waiting to adopt!  Oh, and find some way to come up with the money that we need.  We still don't have quite enough, but we'll get there.

It's getting kind of exciting to think that we could be close to becoming parents again.  I've been thinking a lot lately about what we'll do when we get a match.  Will we tell everyone, or keep it a secret?  What will we tell the girls?  Will we get the nursery ready or wait, afraid that the birthmother might change her mind?  I don't think we'll really know the answers to these questions until we are matched and see how it feels.  That's not really stopping me from obsessing about it though.

I also need to start looking for an adoption attorney.  That's something I am waiting for next week to even think about because I am just too overwhelmed right now.  Work is crazy busy, Eric's just getting started with his second job, the kids still have dance until May, and I'm just a little over stressed.  It's weird though, because usually stress makes me feel sad, but this time it just makes me tired - I'm very happy right now and I feel confident that things will work out the way they are supposed to.  I suppose  that's because I have more faith in God now than I ever have had at any previous point in my life.  It's a very good feeling.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's the End of the World as We Know It....

That's the song that's been stuck in my head for the last week.  I have no idea why.  I was a huge R.E.M. fan way back when, so maybe that's why.  Or maybe it's my subconscious telling me that my life is changing.  Could be that too, I suppose.

Tonight was Eric's first night at the second job, but he only stayed for an hour.  It was orientation and paperwork, and for some reason the room he needed to be in was going to be occupied for a while and they told him to go home and come back Wednesday.  So, day one was a success, if you can call it that.  I handled it fairly well.  I managed to cook dinner, help the kids with their homework (yes, preschoolers get homework too!), do dishes, make lunches, lay out clothes, and shower the kids.  Eric came home in the middle of all that, but he was having a late dinner and I wanted to do it all anyway to see how it's going to be.  I'm tired!

We have another little snafu in our plans to be a three-income household.  Today I found out that I may have to go to Houston for work next week.  Nothing is definite yet, but now that my boss knows about my having to leave by 5:15 every night (official work hours are only until 4:45 but no one usually leaves until at least 5:30 or 6)  I am afraid to say no, because it will come back to haunt me.  I hope if I do end up having to go, I can go down for a day only and not have to stay the night.  That would be a long day though, but better than the alternative. I'm trying not to stress about it too much though, because it's in God's hands.  I am only one person and can only do what I can do, but God can do anything and will guide me to the right path.

On the adoption front, we are now well into the home assessment.  It should be finished in a couple more weeks.  The only hold up right now are the fingerprints that Eric and I just haven't had time to go get yet, and the written report which the social worker will do.  That will take an extra week with Spring break coming up, but I'm okay with that since we don't have enough money to pay the activation fee anyway.

On the kid front, we're doing well.  Kera went for her 4 year old checkup today and is 0% for weight and 2% for height.  But hey, at least she's on the chart!  She used to be wayyyyy below the chart.  She had to get shots, so her legs were too sore to go to dance tonight.  Poor baby.  She could barely get up and down from her dinner chair tonight.  I sure hope she feels better tomorrow!

Kaylee is just about ready for kindergarten now.  We got her health assessment filled out, so that just needs to be turned in.  She already had her 5 year old checkup so the doctor just signed the form.  Luckily we did all of the vaccinations early, at our pediatrician's suggestion, so she doesn't have to go through that particular kindergarten milestone.  The lottery for all day kindergarten is in a little over 2 weeks, so I am praying that she gets in.  I know it's not the end of the world if she doesn't.  It's something about my children's educations that makes me a little crazy.  I get really competitive and obsessive.  There's a rumor going around that due to budget cuts, the school district is considering 4 day school weeks.  If that happens, I will seriously consider putting my kids in private school.  There's just no way I would stand for that!  We bought our house in this school district specifically because it's supposed to be one of the best in the state.

Anyway, one sign of fatigue is rambling, so I think that's my cue that it's bedtime. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


It's been a whirlwind around here lately.  Our home study starts on Thursday!  I should be cleaning the house obsessively, but instead I'm curled up on the sofa making a blog post.  I will probably start freaking out about cleaning the house tomorrow, when there's not really enough time to do anything about it. 

On some level, I know that how clean the house is doesn't really matter.  It's a "home" study but it's really an in depth study of our family.  There will be some basic home inspecting things, but mostly it's about mine and Eric's backgrounds, how we were raised, our parenting philosophies, etc.  I feel very insecure that some little thing will somehow prevent us from adopting a baby.  I know this isn't a reasonable fear; we have nothing to hide and will surely be approved. 

We set the date for our garage sale, tentatively pending weather of course.  We're planning for Friday and Saturday April 2 and 3.  This is Good Friday and the day after.  I hope it turns out well because I've never held a garage sale before.  I have no idea how to price things or how much change I should have on hand, or even how to organize stuff so that it's easy for people to dig through.

Eric had the interview for the second job and got offered the job on the spot!  Yay!  He'll now be selling cars part time at Car Max.  I know it's going to be hard for all of us for him to do this, but the plan is for all of the extra income to go into the adoption budget.  I am so proud of him.  He is such  a hard worker and there is nothing he wouldn't do for his family.

We also enrolled Kaylee for Kindergarten today.  She's so excited.  I turned in an application for her to get all day kindergarten, which we have to pay for, but I really think it would benefit her.   It's decided on a lottery system, so I really hope that we get picked. 

All of this whirlwind lately!  And we're just hurrying up to wait.  Wait to find out if Kaylee gets all day Kindergarten, wait for school to start for her.  Then there is the wait for a match.  I'm sure with all of the other things we're doing the wait will go by sooner than we think!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moving on to the Home Assessment!

We met with our social worker today.   We're  making progress!  The application process is nearly complete, there are just a couple more pieces of paperwork left to get in and we'll be set.  We're moving on to the home assessment, which is like a more in depth application procedure and an extensive report about me, Eric, the kids, and our home.  Our first meeting for that is next Thursday, and it should be about a one month process, give or take.

It's time to get our fingerprints done for the extensive background check.  We also need to start looking for an adoption attorney.  It's also time to start working on our adoption profile, which we've kind of already started.  I need to start writing some of the verbiage but it's hard to get started.  Once I get started, I know that I'll find the words that I want to say, but getting started is the part that is a little intimidating.

In other news, Eric has an interview next week for a second job.  I'll give more details later, but I have mixed feelings.  I know that we really need the money, but it will be very hard on us to  add another responsibility to the list.  I think it is something that Eric might actually enjoy though, so we'll see where God leads us on the issue of finances and employment.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Today was a good day.

Today was all about family time.  It was nice to spend some time together just being a family.  Unfortunately, it seems like these days it's harder than it used to be to find time to all just be together and do whatever.  We went to the mall and ran a few errands.  Kera got her ears re-pierced today since her original piercing closed after a ear infection (we found out the hard way she's allergic to cheap earrings!  Anyway, we took the kids to get ice cream afterward to cheer Kera up.  We were in the middle of that, laughing and playing, and Eric paused, looked at me and said "Do you think we'll still be able to have days like this with a third child?" 

"Absolutely!  We'll just have to sit at a bigger table!" Was my response. I think what he was feeling is the typical fear of changing the family dynamic.  We went through the same thing when we were pregnant with Kera.  We wondered how life would be different with 2 versus 1 child, and hoped that our oldest wouldn't have her life ruined.  It turned out that our family ended up even better than we could've hoped. 

So I think that once we find our third child, and he/she finds us, we'll look back and think the same thing we thought after Kera finally got here and things settled down a bit:  "What were we so afraid of?  This is awesome!"  At the same time, I'm glad we're having these thoughts and discussions about the family dynamic.  It means 1.)  We're treating this adoption just like adding a biological child and 2.)  It makes the whole process seem more real, which is very exciting!

Other than the family time, Eric and I had another big discussion about finances.  We're trying to cut expenses as much as we can, but we don't want to make the girls sacrifice too much to finance our adoption.  For example, they are both still in dance lessons and Kera is about to have a birthday party next weekend (!)  (Note to self - get birthday cake ordered!)

But, obviously some sacrifice is required.  We opted for a birthday party at home instead of  some outside venue, which can easily cost hundreds of dollars.  We're getting ready to cancel our dish network as soon as our contract is up.  We just sold the TV that we had in our bedroom (who really needs 3 TV's in one house anyway?!) and we may sell the one in the living room and just keep the one in the family room.  We're having our garage sale in April (!) (Note to self - get a date set!).  There are other things, but you get the idea.

Eric and I fear that these changes won't be enough.  We're seriously considering him getting a second job.  It's just hard to think about that since we are both so busy with full time jobs, the kids and their activities, church, etc.  But there may be no other choice.  But, with the economy as bad as it has been, it may not be as simple as decided to get a second job and then you automatically get one.  So, in a nutshell...we're torn.  For now, we're going to keep praying and look for some guidance on this issue at least until after a few weekend commitments that we've already made pass.  We've got some of the funds saved, and we have more time, but it's  not easy for us to come up with huge chunks of money all at once.  I don't know anyone who could do that easily!

Speaking of funds, the guy who bought our TV was one of Eric's co-workers.  They negotiated a fair price for the TV, and then when he came to pick it up today, he and Eric got to talking about why we were selling it and whatnot.  Without even saying anything, the coworker added an extra $25 more than the pre-negotiated price because he really wanted to help us out.  <3  I am so touched that someone we only know through work would be so thoughtful.  Every little penny helps.

I'm thinking of sewing a few things and attempting to sell them as a fund raiser as well.  It's between reusable shopping bags and string backpacks.  I'm leaning toward the string backpacks, because with the shopping bags, it would be harder to sell them for a fair price because they use more fabric and I have no source of cheap fabric.  My plan is to make some up and sell them at the garage sale.  I only have a few hours here and there that I can dedicate to it, so I'm not convinced that it will be worth the effort, but I want to give it a try just to see.  The more we can save, the less we have to stress.

I've also been putting a lot of though into our adoption profile book.  I've looked into digital scrap booking and real scrap booking.  I've opted for the "real" version since I think it will be harder for me to convey an accurate protrayal of our family digitally.  It's hard to explain, but I think it will be easier for us to make a connection with potential birth mothers with real scrap books that show a clear picture of who we are.  Tonight while I was at the store I picked up a cheap scrap booking starter kit to practice with.  I'll get the "real" scrap booking stuff later.  I have to make 5 (!) copies so I want to make sure I know what I'm doing before I spend any money on that!  Speaking of which, I have no idea why I need to make so many copies....I'll have to ask the social worker the next time I speak to her....

That's all for now.  We're meeting with the social worker again next week to go over some post-application but pre-home study things so I'm sure I will have an update then!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No news

I don't really have any adoption news to report.  It's really a painfully slow process.  The other day at work we were looking at some baby photos and one of my coworkers asked if seeing the pictures made me want another one.  I managed to say yes without crying so that's good.  Only a few people at work know about our adoption plans.  I told one of my friends at work, because I tell her everything and  she was one of my references.  I also told HR because I had benefits questions.  HR encouraged me to tell my boss, so I did.   He literally had no reaction, so I'm not sure what to make of that.   I just told him as a courtesy since I will need some time off from work and I do not know how much notice I will be able to give.

Why is it that now that we're starting the adoption process it seems like everyone we know is pregnant?  I seriously know at least 7 people who are pregnant or just had a baby.  Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly happy for each and every one of them.  I won't lie though - it's hard.   It helps somewhat that we have the process going to focus on, but sometimes I can feel the jealousy and bitterness try to start creeping in.

I'm trying to focus on the positive.  I am blessed to have 2 beautiful daughters and a wonderful husband who all love me very much.  We have good jobs in a shaky economy and have a nice, safe home to live in.  So this one little detail - the fact that our family is not complete yet - should be very minor.  It's minor like a splinter.  Really small, but it hurts a lot.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

We had a nice family day today.  Eric and I went on a date on Friday, which was really nice so today was spent all together as a family.  We opted not to go to church since I was too embarrassed.  I have to wear an eye patch on my eye for 24 hours before I go for an eye exam tomorrow.  I didn't really want all the extra attention and questions, so I made pancakes for the kids instead.

Then we went through the girls' stuff and started setting some things aside for the garage sale.  That was hard work, and the girls didn't take too keenly to the idea of getting rid of things.  We made them get rid of any toy that hasn't been played with for the last year.  You would think that those toys would be easy to get rid of, but no.  It was slightly traumatic for them.  We let them choose a few things that they really wanted to keep and that seemed to help.  They like having an organized room again!  Of course, they messed it up already ;o)

I have spent the evening going through all of my electronic photos, picking out the best ones for our profile.  That's hard!  I keep second guessing myself on which ones I should include.  I want to show plenty of them with the whole family so the expectant mother will see what loving parents Eric and I are, but I am afraid to show too many with us as a complete unit because I don't want to give the impression that we're a completed family and wouldn't have enough love to offer a new baby.  That is definitely not the case!  If anything, seeing all the photos of my girls as babies and growing up has just made me long for a new child all the more.

I still need to dig through my old pre-digital camera photos.  I want to include at least one photo from our wedding and one from when we were still in high school to show the history that Eric and I have.  Then it will be time to narrow the pictures down and get some printed off.  I think we'll head to the portrait studio soon too, since I do not have a recent photo of the four of us together or of Eric and I alone. 

Once I have all the photos ready to go, it will be time to start the verbiage of our profile book and the scrap booking.  The verbiage part will be the hardest, and its the part I'm dreading most.  How do I express into words how I feel about this adoption?  How do I convince  a mother to be that we are the right family to raise her child?  I want to avoid the cliche "You must be going through..." statements and the "this must be a difficult time in your life" junk.  It is obviously a hard time and not easy on anyone, ESPECIALLY the birth mother, and I think that seeing that stuff so much in profiles just makes it come off as insincere.

But, I also don't want to come off as insensitive either.  I keep thinking about how the birth mother must feel, and how hard it must be to be in her shoes.  There has to be a balance in communicating this empathy without sounding cheesy and / or patronizing.  This is the main reason I haven't started on the "Dear Birth Mother" letter.  I just don't know how to do it yet.  I don't even know how to start the blasted thing!  "Dear Birth Mother" sounds WAY too generic and to some, it can be considered insulting.  For one, the expectant mother is still pregnant, so she hasn't given birth yet, and she hasn't chosen to place the baby officially, so she's not a "birth mother" either. 

I feel like this profile is so important!  It's the main thing that will be the deciding factor in who chooses us to raise a baby.  It's the one little bit of control Eric and I have in this whole process, so I feel like it needs to be perfect.  I'm trying to avoid the mistake of trying to be all things to all people.  The main thing is that this profile needs to reflect the heart of our family so that we can communicate who we are, and find the perfect match for our family. 

This profile has been the most stressful thing about adoption so far.  Well, besides the money and the waiting....those are hard too.  Who am I kidding?!  This whole process is hard.  I long for the "easy" task of deciding to make a baby and BOOM you're pregnant.  Adoption is so very different from becoming a biological mother.  It will be worth it in the end, and I can't wait to tell my child as he/she grows up that Mommy and Daddy wanted him/her so badly that we did everything we could to find him/her and God brought him/her to us.  That is what makes all this process worth it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Inching forward

Our application has been received and things are now in motion.  Our references have received their letters from the agency, so in just a few more weeks we'll be ready to start the home study.

We are in the process of moving Kaylee and Kera into the same room.  Kera got her big girl bed today and both girls got new bedding.  They were both so excited, and Kera just beamed with pride as she saw her brand new bed.  I'm glad they're excited about sharing a room, I hope this lasts for a while!  I'll share some pictures after the room is done...we still need to paint and hang their new Roman shade.

We need  to start getting organized for a garage sale to raise some more adoption funds, but I just haven't had time yet.  We've all been sick, so between that, work, church, and dance there hasn't been a lot of time.  It's kind of a good thing though because otherwise I would be obsessing more than I already am.

I've also started thinking about what we need to include in our adoption profile - you know, the book that will be shown to expecting moms.  How do we convey who are family is in a little book?  I have started digging through old pictures and realize that there aren't many of Eric and even fewer of me.  I need to work on changing that!  If something were ever to happen to me or Eric  I want the kids to be able to look at photos and see how happy we all are.

Eric has started an outline of what to include in the profile.  It's nice that he's so willing to be a participant in this process.  It shows how much he loves this family and how much he's looking forward to this baby as much as I am.  I am truly blessed to have such a caring and wonderful husband.  And in case you're wondering, no, Eric didn't hack into my blogger account to write that himself - he really IS being awesome about this whole process!! :o)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

This is one of the many reasons I want to grow my family.

I awoke this morning at 6:30 am to the sound of giggling.  I thought to myself, "this can't be good." 

I got out of bed and made my way from my room towards the kids' rooms.  I hear Kaylee say, "Watch out for those sneaky parents, here comes one now!" She ran from the hall back into her bedroom.  Then, I saw Kera.

Kera was wearing her swimsuit.  This is the same girl who day after day refuses to get herself dressed for daycare, but she sure can wake up early on a Saturday to get her swimsuit on by herself.  That's not so bad, right?  Then I see it.  The bathroom floor.  Glistening.  Wet.  The entire bathroom was covered in water.  The first thing I thought was that she flushed something big down the toilet.  Nope, all clear.

Then I see a sponge on the counter.  I ask Kera what she was doing.  No response.  Then Kaylee, my ever so responsible 5 year old, says, "She was getting the sponge wet and dripping it on the floor.  She wanted to go swimming."

"I see," I said, barely containing the laughter.  I handed Kera a towel and told her to wipe up every drop.  I went back to my room, where Eric was slowly waking up.  I told him the story and all he could come up with was, "Why didn't she just use the bathtub?"

As if nearly 4 year olds ever use logic!

All I could do was think to myself how much fun it is to be a Mom!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The application is in the mail!

Well, step one is officially complete!  We dropped the application in the mail this evening!  It's just a tiny little step, but now we're one step closer to completing our family!  yay!!!!

Now comes the very first bout of waiting.  It should take 6-8 weeks to get all of the references back, background check, employment verification, etc.  THEN, we get to start our homestudy.  There will be more paperwork, visits with the social worker, inspection of our home, etc.

It's so exciting!  Eric and I are already starting to talk about baby names.  It's important to us to focus on the fun parts too, since the process is so long and daunting.  We're also redoing Kaylee's room.  The girls are going to move in together and share until they are old enough move to the bedrooms downstairs.  I have started a Roman shade, and we're going to paint.  Kera is going to move out of her toddler bed an into a big girl bed.  There's still discussion of whether or not bunk beds will be involved.  I'm leaning toward no, but mostly because I think Kera would sneak into the top bunk with Kaylee and then fall out.

We're moving the girls in together now, so they can get used to it and so they won't feel displaced by the new baby.  They seem pretty excited about the idea of sharing a room, for now.  I just don't know how to get them to sleep.  Kera is a very light sleeper and wakes Kaylee up whenever she wakes up.

Friday, January 29, 2010

We're knee-deep in application paperwork.  Is it odd that I'm happy to be filling in mine and Eric's social security numbers over and over?!  This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is coming with the homestudy, but it's a start.  It just feels really good to have a plan, and be acting on it.

We've started telling a few people here and there about our plans.  So far, people have been taking the news really well.  Not that I expected anything different, but it's good to get the initial awkwardness behind us.  The more we talk about it, the more excited we get.

We're hoping to finish up all of the application stuff by the end of next week.  Then it will take some processing time, and once our employment verifications and references are back we can start moving on to the home study!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pre-Application Meeting

I wish there were more to report!  The first meeting with the social worker went well.  Eric and I got a lot of answers for questions that we had, and we got the initial paperwork.  There are pages and pages of stuff for us to fill out.  There is so much involved.  I'm not really feeling overwhelmed by it - just excited to get moving. 

The social worker was so nice.  She was very patient with all of our questions that probably seemed pretty redundant and remedial to her. 

Now we need to get started on the application paperwork and come up with a financial plan.  That's the toughest part.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Tomorrow is our first visit with a social worker.  It's more like a pre-application meeting, a time for us to ask a lot of questions and get some more information to think about.  I'm pretty excited, since this will be the first "real" step we're taking toward adding to our family.  I have a list of questions ready to go and I'm sure I'll think of more as we talk.

I feel really calm about this whole process, which is odd for me.  I'm excited, but not afraid.  We still haven't figured out how to pay for everything, but we'll find a way.  We're going to start selling a few items that we don't need, and we're cutting back on some of our expenses.  It's not a lot, but every little thing adds up.  There's always the possibility that Eric could get a second job also.   I hope it doesn't come to that since we already both work all day, but we'll do what we need to do to make this happen.

Everything else is pretty typical around here lately.  Work, daycare, church, and dance lessons are taking up the majority of our time as usual.  The girls are really getting excited about getting their recital costumes.  They are going to look so adorable!  I'll probably go overboard with the pictures, but you only get your very first dance recital once!

This morning Kera wanted to take her sister's Leapster in the car.  I told her no, and then she stops her little foot and says "Ah, Barnacles!"  I about died laughing.  I think she's been watching too much Spongebob!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

So we've started introducing the idea of adoption to the girls.  They both seem very open to the idea of getting a little brother or sister.  Kaylee wants a brother, but Kera wants a sister.  Kaylee did have a little concern though.  Our conversation went something like this:

Me:  Are you excited about getting a new baby in the family?
Kaylee:  Yes, but what if our house gets too full?
Me:  What do you mean?
Kaylee:  Well, if we get a baby, then when I have a baby there won't be enough room for all of the babies.
Me:  But the new baby will grow up and be a big kid like you.
Kaylee:  But what if he doesn't?!
Me:  Don't worry.  We're getting a human baby that grows up just like you and Kera.
Kaylee:  Okay, then the new baby can help me take care of my babies when I'm a mom.

I could hardly hold the laughter back.  She is such a sweet girl.  When she's grown she'll be a great mother.  She's already a wonderful big sister!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baby Steps

Sometimes you reach a turning point in your life. You know the kind of thing I'm talking about, like when you are trying to make a decision and you know that whatever decision you make is going to impact the rest of your life. I've experienced this many times. When I decided where to go college, what to major in, when (and whom) to marry, when to have our first baby, our second, etc. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes, though, these moments pop out of nowhere. You're just cruising along in life, going about your business, and something stirs inside of you. Then before you know it, you're at a crossroads.

And sometimes, it's more than that. You feel the stir and you try to surpress it. The overwhelming responsibility to make a decision is too much to bear, so you ignore the thoughts and try to make it go away. That doesn't work so well.

I find myself currently in the last of these categories. For years now, I've been trying to walk around this world with a piece of my heart missing. I have a wonderful, amazing husband, two fabulous daughters, and good career, and a safe comfortable home to live in. What could be missing? Why do I still feel empty?

A lot of thought and prayer has gone into answering this question. Many discussions with my husband, many tears shed. Many times asking God, "Why can't I be happy? What is missing out of my life?"

It eventually become apparent to me that I have more love to give. I have many blessings in my life but when it comes down to it, there is one that stands out above all the rest - My family. I want to expand my family more than anything. To watch my children grow to be these wonderful little people that they're becoming, to love my husband and grow together spiritually and emotionally - these are life's greatest gifts.

It's with these thoughts in mind that Eric and I have decided that we are going to grow our family through adoption. We've been researching, praying, debating, you name it....pretty much since Kera was born. We have finally decided that our family is not complete and we're going to complete it with the child that God brings to us.

We're so excited. We never thought we'd be in this place - to be thinking of raising another tiny little baby. We know the path will be hard. Harder than having our biological children, for sure. We're finally ready though.

We have literally just made this decision. It's been a long time coming, but now that we've officially decided, it just feels different. We still have more questions than answers. How are we going to deal with with ups and downs of adoption? How are we going to pay for it? How are we going to deal with having three children?

I don't have all the answers but I have faith that everything will work out. I feel at peace with this path that we have chosen. I'm ready to get started!