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.