Saturday, October 11, 2014

Still Waiting!!!

Still Waiting To Be Matched

I apologize that our updates have been few and far between lately. There are a few reasons for that, but mainly when you are waiting to be matched with a birth mom, there isn’t much to report. We just simply wait.

Over the past couple of months, we have had several potential situations presented to us. We put a lot of thought and prayer as a family into each of these situations. Unfortunately, we have chosen to pass on being presented to several birth moms for various reasons. So far, we have only chosen to be presented to two birth moms (meaning the birth mom looks over the profile book about our family along with other families books to help her decide which family to choose). Both of the birth moms that we presented to decided to keep their baby in the end.

Recently, I have started to become really anxious about the whole process. As you wait, you wonder things like: Will we come across a situation that it is actually one we can realistically handle and nurture? Will we ever be matched? Can we afford this? Will the “right” situation for our family come along?

Without getting into too many details (because the situation for each birth mom is private), drugs seem to be a common factor in the majority of these situations. I share this example because it’s a pretty common and well-known example in the adoption world. In an open adoption, which is what we would like, the birth mother would hopefully be a part of our lives if they choose to be. We, however, are not willing to have Jacob and the baby be around a birth mom (or anyone for that matter) who is under the influence of drugs. If the birth mom is in and out of jail, that is another factor that would need to be explained to the kids. Because we have more than ourselves to worry about, we are hesitant when presented with these situations. We always have to think in the long term. How will this choice affect our family in the long run? This may offend people, but this is our reality. Either God needs to open our hearts to situations we don’t feel we can take on, or we just have to wait for potentially a very long time until we are presented with a situation that feels “right.” I was recently told that Ryan and I should open our heart to a drug-exposed child. The conversation was long, but they went on to say in a nutshell that if I’m not able to have a baby, then I should be open to any situation presented to me. Maybe that is true, however, just because I can’t have a baby doesn’t mean that my family isn’t deserving of a situation that feels right for each of us (drug exposed or not).  I know that God already has this baby picked out for us. Ryan, Jacob, and I will continue to practice patience and faith until we meet our little one. As always, we appreciate your support, kind words, and encouragement.

Below is a picture of the FINISHED puzzle!

I’m still in shock that you all helped us raise over $10,000
You will never know how much your generosity will forever mean to us.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Long Overdue Update

Long Overdue Update

The past month has been BUSY and I apologize for not posting an update sooner. Adoption paperwork, phone calls, and tons of little tasks here and there can seriously take all day and every second of your time if you let it. As I approached the last two weeks of school in June, I wanted 100% of my focus to be with my students. They deserved for me to be completely focused on them before they walked out my classroom for summer. Right when school got out, I immediately hopped a flight to visit my sister’s family in California and when I came back, I decided to take a week to myself and relax. Basically, after devoting all of my spare time to our adoption since the beginning of February, I needed a small break. I have had many people call and send messages this past week asking for an update.

Here it is:
We got our home study report back about 3 weeks ago and it was approved!!! This means we are ready to move forward with attempting to be “matched” with a birth mom. We can be matched next week or we can be matched a year from now. The time frame is uncertain, but we know and pray that whatever plan God has in store for us will be perfect. Waiting is hard and patience runs deep in this process. I’m sure our family will be presented to several birth moms and we will face rejection along the way. We know that we can be matched & a birth mom can change her mind. We know that we might be in the room while our baby is born and in the end, the birth mom chooses to parent the baby. The “what ifs” can damage us through this process and that’s why we are relying on a lot HOPE and a tremendous amount FAITH. The path for our journey has already been paved for us, so we will just continue to follow it until we have our baby in our arms. The next couple of weeks will consist of applying to multiple agencies (this is what you do when you work with a consultant like we are) and search for birth moms that we would like our family to be presented to. The birth mom would then look at our profile book, along with several other families profile books, and pick the family they want for their baby. Wish us luck, send prayers, keep us in your thoughts, whatever you do, as we begin the process we have been working months and months toward beginning.   

As for the puzzle, I am finishing putting names on the last of the pieces. We still had donations coming in until recently, so I wanted to include everybody who donated. I will post pictures of the finished product soon. I’m having a hard time finding the right size double-sided glass frame for the puzzle. My search will continue for that as well. Thank you all for your well wishes along the way.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

We Reached our $10,000 Goal!!!!

Week 9 Puzzle Update
We’ve Reached our $10,000 Goal!!!

We are so grateful for each of you. Many of you donated, many of you shared our link, many of you kept us in your thoughts and prayers, and each of you played a role in becoming a “piece(s)” of our puzzle. We have reached yet another milestone in our adoption journey and it feels incredible to know that so many of you support us. When we began this fundraiser, I never in my wildest dreams thought we would actually reach our goal. NEVER thought the puzzle would be complete. We thought we would be buying the pieces as a family to complete the puzzle. The words “Thank You” don’t feel like enough. Those words can’t ever express the amount of gratitude we feel. For lack of better words, THANK YOU ALL…from the bottom of our heart.

Now that the above (important) information has been shared, it’s time to come clean about another issue. I need to preface this story by letting you all know that I have never been good at math. Yes, I’m a teacher, but the important thing to remember in the story is that I had many math tutors throughout my own educational experience. Now that that’s cleared up, here’s the story. I sat down tonight and began writing the names on puzzle pieces of the families that donated to our puzzle this past week. I was so excited because the names that I added would be the names that fill our puzzle and make it COMPLETE! When I finished writing the names of the last family to donate (The Boni Family), I sat looking at two large empty sections of our puzzle. At first, I was completely stumped. After that, I went into freak out mode. Ryan was sitting on the couch during all of this and got a front row viewing of the madness. I thought, “maybe I forgot to add a week’s worth of names.” I went back and matched every single donation to the matching name on the puzzle. Not the issue. Then I though, “maybe I miscounted the amount of donations we’ve received.” I counted the pieces and they were spot on. At this point I went and grabbed the puzzle box. In my mind, I had been building a 500-piece puzzle (which equals $10K). In tiny writing on the bottom of the box, it says 550-piece puzzle!!! WHaaaaaT!!!!??? Are you kidding me!?!?!!? I started to freak out even more! How am I supposed to post a picture of our completed puzzle that shows that we reached our goal!?!? Keep in mind that Ryan is still watching all of this unfold, while shaking his head and LAUGING at me. I immediately texted my sister and called my best friend because I needed advice as to what to do and Ryan was too busy belly laughing to help. My best friend also laughed at me, but also helped me come up with a few scenarios (make up fake names for the rest (LOL), leave it blank, put a picture on the back…none of these seemed right). Needless to say, because of my poor math skills (and unawareness), we have empty space on our puzzle (pictured below). We do have a few people’s donation that are currently en route in the mail still and one more that came in tonight on paypal (thanks Tuomi family), so those names will be added this week. We have also received a lot of anonymous donations (money on our desks at work, money on our doorstep, etc). We have decided to wait for the remaining donations to arrive throughout this week and then write ANONYMOUS on the remaining puzzle pieces. This will honor the generous souls that wanted to keep themselves a secret.
Seriously, this is absolutely something that would happen to me. I am so embarrassed, but nonetheless this makes for yet another “story” on our journey. My next post will be of a completely filled in puzzle.

Thank you all!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Home Study Visit...Check!!!

Home Study Visit…Check!!!

Today was a big day. Our social worker came to our house and did our home study visit. This is a HUGE milestone in our adoption journey. In case you aren’t familiar with what this is, a social worker comes to your house with a big long checklist of things you need to have in your home and makes sure your living environment is suitable to welcome a baby into. Some things on the list are: working fire alarms/carbon monoxide detectors, locked up medication, first aid kit, all cleaning supplies moved to a location that a child can’t reach, fire drill evacuation practiced, evacuation plan posted in the house, etc (the list is 2 pages long). The social worker also interviews the family and stays for a good portion of the day to watch your family in action. After the visit, they write a detailed report that decided if you are approved for adoption or not. A home study report is the foundation of an adoption. This is the cliff note version of what a home study visit is.

When our social worker arrived, she immediately complimented our flowers in our flowerpots (which I appreciated LOL), so we stood outside talking about flowers for a little bit. I would imagine that this is the equivalent of discussing the weather. Either way, I liked the compliment and it started some good conversation. We invited her in, had a little bit of small talk, and then jumped right in to the home study. We started out by giving her a tour of our house and showing her many items on the checklist. Once the tour was done, she met with all of us as a family for about 30 minutes. Then she asked Jacob if he would be okay to go play in his room while she talked to Ryan and I together. By this time, many of our nerves had subsided. We realized that this situation wasn’t nearly as intense as we thought it would be. She talked to Ryan and I for about 45 minutes and then asked to talk to me alone. We talked and I answered questions for a little while. Then, she met individually with Ryan and Jacob and they did the same. Conversation flowed easily with her and I was so thankful for that. I don’t think any of us felt nervous or put on the spot when talking to her. After she met with each of us, we came back together as a family. We filled out paperwork and signed a bunch of documents. Our social worker went on to tell us that she is only requiring us to have this one home visit. SO AWESOME! She said we should have our home study report within a couple of weeks (this can sometimes take a month or longer to get, so this was amazing news). Once we have our home study report and once our funding is in place, we can start applying to agencies to be matched! This portion is all happening a lot faster than we expected, which is wonderful.

There was a moment today when Ryan, Jacob, and I were sitting on the couch together and I was listening to them talk about our life and our family and I just couldn’t have been more proud of the two of them. Proud of their confidence, love, and devotion to our little family. It’s not everyday that we get to stop everything and reflect on what an amazing life we have. Today we got that chance. As the day winds down, my heart is full. We are one step closer to bringing our baby home.

Puzzle Update
Week 8
We are almost to our $10,000 goal
I promise to post pictures soon of our added puzzle pieces. This has been a very busy week. Pictures will be in the next update.

(if you would like to make a donation, click the “donate” button on the top right hand corner of our blog. If you would like to learn more about our fundraiser, see our March 30th post “Adoption Announcement”)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Home Study #1 is Scheduled

Home Study Scheduled

Just wanted to give a quick update that our home study has been scheduled for this upcoming Thursday. This is one of two that our social worker will do before she writes her report. We will keep you all posted as to how it goes. We are nervous and excited, so keep us in your thoughts this week. I usually update our blog on Sundays, but I will probably post an update as to how our home study went on Thursday evening. Stay Tuned!

Puzzle Update
Week 7 Update
$9, 080
We are so close to our $10,000 goal
Pictures of puzzle pieces from this week will be posted next week
(if you would like to make a donation, click the donate button at the upper right hand corner of our blog. To learn more about our fundraiser, see our March 30th post “Adoption Announcement”)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is always a little bit bittersweet for me. On the positive side, I am beyond blessed to have the most incredible mom in the world. She has always been an example of what selfless and unconditional love looks like. She is courageous, an absolute inspiration, and is easily the best grandma to her grandkids (in our biased opinion). I am so lucky to be able to hug her, spend time with her, talk to her on the phone almost every day, and laugh with her. I also have been blessed beyond words with a little boy that has changed every aspect of how I live my life. He isn’t my biological son, but I sure love him like he is. I love being Jacob’s step mom. He brings so much joy to my life and I can only hope that I make him feel the same. Mother’s Day is also, however, a day that I am reminded of the struggles I have faced in becoming a mom. I hope and pray that I get to look back on this post next Mother’s Day with a baby in my arms that calls me “mom.”  Until then, I will continue to focus on the many many MANY blessings in my life.

We are still “anxiously” waiting for our home study date.

Puzzle Update
Week 6

(If you would like to make a donation, click the donate button on the top right side of our blog. If you would like to learn more about our fundraiser and our adoption story, please see our March 30 post)