Monday, January 23, 2017

Adoption Update!

So we've been on this whirlwind for the last 4 months, and I'm so proud of how far we've come:

1. Pray and decision to follow adoption path- check!
2. Find an agency- check!
3. Announce to our friends- check!
4. Work on profile- check!
5. Work on home study- check!
6. Save/fundraise- still in progress, but a huge check!
7. Complete profile- check!
8. Receive home study approval- check!

So now we're what my caseworker calls the "waiting" phase.  And as I'm sure you know if you know me at all, patience and waiting is not my strong suit.  So, thankfully we do have a few little things taking up some of our time:
1. Work- I don't know what's in the water, but January so far has been one of the busiest work months for me to date.  It also didn't help that I was in NYC for a business trip all of last week (although being in NYC was completely wonderful so I'm not complaining).  I can't figure it out.  Work is completely nuts right now and showing no signs of letting up.
2. Home- We are still trying to finish up some last minute projects in case we get the baby call anytime soon.  Of course it did not help that in the last week, we had a sink explosion in our guest bathroom (think exploding fire hydrant... it was not pretty) and part of our fence blew away thanks to the current Texas weather we've been experiencing.  It seems like every time we turn around there's something to be done on top of the extra projects we've been planning.
3. Life- Mr. A and I are really trying to spend as much time together as possible.  Date nights, clean the house nights, turning off the TV and paying attention to each other- you name it, we're working on it.  We know this non-child life we're living has an expiration date and so we're cherishing every minute of time with each other.  It's rough as we are both really being pulled by work, but we're managing...even if our "together time" is spent mopping up water from our busted sink.  Super romantic, right?!?!

The social worker also sent a lovely "What to Expect" packet that discusses some of the things we can do now while we are in the waiting phase.  I was very excited because, you know, Ms. Impatient here so are some of the extra things we are looking at:
1. Baby registry.  I talked about this in a previous blog, but it's more than just registering.  It's really about learning what all of these gadgets and gizmos do.  And of course, tons of my mama-friends have offered to help with the registry to make sure we've got everything we need.
2. Applying for grants.  This is a harder one as I've never applied for grants before so it's a bit like taking a brand new class and I'm a little lost right now.  We are doing GREAT with our fundraising and saving, but it doesn't hurt to see what's out there.  I don't know what is out there for us, but I'm going to use my free time (ha) to see what we can do.  If anyone out there has any experience with adoption grants or funding, please shoot over any information you can!
3. Working on a jewelry fundraiser!  That's right, one of my amazing vendors that I work with has donated over 30 pieces of sterling silver jewelry towards our cause.  I'm thinking sometime around Valentine's Day so watch the blog and my Facebook page for more information.

I can't believe we're almost finished with this month.  Time has FLOWN, but what's stayed constant is the prayers, well wishes and support from all of you.  Mr. A's mom sent us a box this week filled with all sorts of stuff for baby C. and it just makes me giddy.  I'm so excited to see what's around the corner!

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Where to Prepare vs. When to Wait

In the words of Chip Gaines, "We're rockin' and a rollin' here at the Baby project!"  Now that we are Home Study approved and our Profile is live, I've been really trying to process what we can do while we're in this waiting stage.

This comes with a big question- how much do we want to do while we wait?  There are obvious pro's and con's on how to approach this piece:

1. Pro- the more prepared the better off we'll be if we are matched quickly.
2. Pro- once something happens, it's going to be quick- better to already have things checked off the list.

1. Con- what if we aren't matched quickly?  Then we're just looking at all this baby stuff every day.
2. Con- what if we are matched but it ends up failing?  Won't it hurt to be ready for a baby that's not coming yet?

At the end of the day, I'm a planner.  So, regardless of the timing and worrying about when something is or isn't going to happen, I know I'll feel better having done as much as possible to prepare for baby. Then I can just close the nursery door and be ready to open it whenever something happens.  So in that spirit, we've tried to focus on areas where we knew we could go ahead and get ahead of the game without taking away any personal preparations we'd need to do once we found out more about our match.

Through the holidays and this past week we've:
1. Painted the nursery (shades of neutral gray to compliment the white built-ins.  We got lucky here as the built-ins were already a piece of the room)

2. Painted the nursery furniture (Annie Sloan did WONDERS with this old furniture- no final pics yet as I'm still deciding on hardware, but it's a thousand times prettier)

3. Put together a crib (Mr. A calls it a jail, but it's super cute, promise.  Traditional Jenny Lind crib and the white looks really nice against the wall colors)

4. Registered at Buy Buy Baby

The last piece has definitely been the more fun of all of the "to do's" on my list, yet it came with it's own set of challenges as well.  The first being the due date.  See, when you register, you need to provide a due date.  We don't have one so we just picked a date (June 1st) as a placeholder.  The sweet gal at BBB was a little confused (I think we were her first adoptive couple) so we had to go into a little more detail than I would have liked (see previous post) on getting her on board with what we were trying to do. But after some explanation, questions and more explanations, we got our scanner and were off and running.

Mamas-to-be- a piece of advice.  Let your hubbies handle the scanner.  Mr. A. was thrilled and immediately started scanning everything in site.  Now, full disclosure- I went online later and did a little "editing" but it helped him stay into the process and watching him try to figure out what all the gadgets and gizmos were about was extremely entertaining!

For us, we concentrated on the "must have" pieces of the registry and really did not try to add on anything that would be specific to gender or age.   Yes we needed a changing pad.  Yes, we would need burp clothes.  Everything is in shades of green, gray and yellow as I'm sure once we know what's what we'll have plenty of pink or blue options to choose from.

There were a couple of pieces I wasn't sure about-
1. Diaper Genie- really?  Is a trash can not up to the job?  Please advise!
2. Travel System vs. Car Seat?  We registered for both as we had 2 different associates sell us on the merits of them.  Not sure how we feel.
3. Rocking Chair vs. Rocker vs. Glider.  Help!

Yes there are still things we could do, but for the most part, having these projects and items to work on really has helped me stay calm about the whole process.  I knew the waiting would be what drove me crazy, so I'm sure there will be more projects to come.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mama to be or Adoptive Mama to be? Is there a difference?

I've personally watched friends make their pregnancy announcements and (especially for a first child) it can resemble a middle schooler's reaction to running into One Direction on the street.  There is cheering, squealing, excitement, tears, hugs... you get the picture.  And there SHOULD be.  Anytime there is an announcement of new life, it's cause for a big celebration.

Adoption announcements (in my limited experience) come across a little differently.  For the most part, people- especially those close to you- are excited but in many cases, I've noticed that the "congratulations" also come with warnings and questions and the dreaded recommendations that start with, "Well, have you tried....".  I'd say at least 50% of our initial adoption announcements usually ends up being a conversation and explanation about what we've tried and haven't tried, listening to how we need to relax and lose our stress and we'll just get pregnant on our own, and warnings from Lifetime specials or urban adoption myths where there are biological parents lurking in the bushes ready to steal a child away so we should always be on guard.  There are home remedies to be given and passive-aggressive statements on how they feel regarding open adoptions and getting to know birth parents.

Lately, because of the responses above, I sometimes find myself hesitating over sharing adoption news- sometimes it almost comes across as a guilty confession- we can announce, but also have to rush into our reasons, my medical history and our challenges- like we have to validate our choice.  And I'll be honest, that is frustrating because once in awhile, all a girl really wants is some squealing and hugging.  And really, who wants to drag up their medical history and it's failures time and time again?!

Last week, I had my first appointment with a new lady doctor who is also an OBGYN.  I was a little nervous, but this dr. came highly recommended and I am so glad now I followed this recommendation because when we first sat down and adoption came up, she immediately had the most excited reaction.  She hugged me, sat me down and said, "You're going to be a mother soon, so I'm going to treat you just like I treat all my other patients."  With that, we proceeded to talk about my diet, the rest I'm getting, stress and I left not only with a completed physical but list of pediatricians and peace of mind that physically I had some care during this process.  The only thing missing was an  ultrasound.

I couldn't believe it and walked out of there shell-shocked.  Then it occurred to me- this was the first time someone out of my close circle actually treated me like a mama-to-be, not an adoptive mama-to-be.  And I'll be honest, it sparked something in me- a sweet positive emotional high that I'm still feeling 2 weeks later.

So, for those of you who know people who are planning to adopt, please take this friendly advice:  Be EXCITED for your friends!  Yes, it's scary and yes there are unknowns, but these mamas and daddies-to-be want to experience the giddiness and excitement and planning and prepping that comes with the territory of preparing for baby.  They don't necessarily want to feel like they have to defend or explain their journey to everyone every time.  Because here's the deal;  we ARE parents-to-be.  We just don't have the due date yet.

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