Oh boy…Life is an Adventure!

I am not sure how many of you follow me on Instagram – but I recently put a little update on what’s been going on at our house. Here’s a little recap….

On Saturday April 7, the plan was to take off the baseboard in our basement to pull up the carpet and put in a vinyl flooring [we have a toddler and dogs, carpet doesn’t make sense]. I started to remove the baseboard behind the bar – this way if anything went wrong it would be easier to either fix or hide – well….the very first piece I took off had mold spots on the back of it. So I decided to take off the ‘beautiful’ paneling to see if there was any mold on the back or if it was just on the baseboard since it was behind the bar area and could have gotten wet. Well….not only was there mold all the way up the wall where the paneling was behind the bar BUT it was on EVERY SINGLE WALL IN THE BASEMENT – including the inside walls!!

Mold 1

We just moved in on January 18 – we had an inspection and the inspector covered his butt by stating that it was a visual inspection and if we wanted further testing that we would need to expand the scope with them or hire someone else to come out. Yeah…so there’s that.

So as we are discovering this mess and figuring out who to reach out to so we can get it all taken care of, I receive an email from our adoption coordinator – we have been moved to the next step in the process — Home Study! This is VERY exciting news, they have reviewed all of our other paperwork and it was approved – we were assigned our social worker/adoption specialist to help navigate the next phase.

It broke my heart to let her know that we aren’t in any way set up for a home visit just yet. She has be amazing through all of this and will send an email checking in to see where we are at in the basement project process. It just feels like when you want something so bad you need to be tested to make sure that it is really the path you should be going down.

Since we can’t be in the basement until all the mold is mitigated we are back to one level living (which is why we moved to this house….to get away from the rambler style home). We are all back up stairs and it was fine for a while until the air scrubbers were brought in…they aren’t small…

We had an air quality test done to make sure we were still able to be in the house with the amount of mold they found in the basement and the basement bedroom, turns out that we have FIVE different types of mold festering in the basement. So we have these air scrubber things in the basement and in the living room. Unfortunate thing is that they need to be in the middle of the space, so there isn’t any running around upstairs. Needless to say Hunter is getting a little restless with not being able to act like a full on crazy toddler and the dogs are wanting/needing more space as well.

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The company we have been working with (24 Restore) has been amazing! We found everything on Saturday/Sunday and by Monday I already had our insurance guy out as well as 24 Restore. Everyone has been great but hats off to these guys. They had everything pretty much gutted by Thursday. They have been here every day since working on cleaning and making sure it won’t come back again and this week we will have another air quality test done to make sure we can go back into the basement. Once we have the all clear from them we will be moving on to the next phase….ripping out the basement bathroom to make room for drain tile to be in stalled so this NEVER happens again.

Oh and another really fun exciting event….our water heater died last Sunday night. I was starting to fill the tub to give Hunter and bath and ZERO hot water. Sure enough the one room in the basement that didn’t have any damage from the mold now has a leaking water heater (insert eye roll and head shake). Finally got that thing replaced on Wednesday after a HUGE argument with the Home Warranty company – tell ya all about it if you want to know more….Ugh, bottom line – I do NOT recommend HMS Home Warranty company. 

Anyways…once we get the all clear I’ll be reaching out to our adoption specialist to set up the home visits and interviews – there are three – 1:1 with Ryan 1:1 with myself and a meeting with both of us. Tonight I started filling more of the paperwork out and I am still amazed at how much paperwork goes into this whole process. Oh, we ALL [my two year old included] need to have physicals done for the adoption — why you may ask…I’m still not 100% sure why my two year old needs to have a physical done, I can understand myself and Ryan but not him. But never the less, tomorrow he will be going to see his pediatrician for his exam (lucky me, I had mine last week). I am also working on a few different questionnaires that need to be filled out and signing up for some of the webinar classes. We need 30 hours each of training during this phase — I’m thankful for the recorded class options as well as the webinars to be able to complete the required hours.

I am looking forward to working on completing the Home Study process, new projects and seeing what is next!

Until next time!

Children Book Question….

Hey everyone!

I am reaching out and asking what adoption books have you purchased and like for reading to your kids? We have Hunter who is two and he’s biological and now starting the adoption process we want to read him books about becoming a big brother and what that means through adoption.

Just picked up Rosie’s Family – An adoption story. Really cute book that talks about how different families are formed, how they may look different but they like the same things, how to talk to them about people bringing up their ‘real’ parents (meaning birth parents), how to keep the conversation open about birth parents “Dad says that my birth parents have a special place in my life because I was born to them. He thinks they were very brave to let me have a new family even though it probably made them sad.”

New Book

Also, quick update on where we are at – turned in our fingerprints and on Monday I’ll get assigned a social worker to start on the Home Study process. I have all the paperwork printed out and ready to go!

So, if you have any children’s book recommendations or any tips for the Home Study process please leave a comment! Excited to be moving forward!

One more thing, I want to say THANK YOU to The EcoFeminist for the Mixbook recommendation – SOOOOOOO much easier to use than Shutterfly!

 

Ever have one of those days…

Howdy everyone! Have you ever had one of those days / weeks where things just go a little hinky? Well this is how last week into today has been.

Great news is that our paperwork was accepted by the adoption agency [WHOOHOOOOOOO] – I just had to bring in our fingerprints and I was going to do that on Thursday…left work and got to the agency a few minutes too late – they were closed. Ok, that happens – no big deal. So I went back on Friday morning on my way into work…yeah they were closed again (Good Friday – Christian organization…) oops – my fault for not asking what their hours were. I did reach out later on to see when our coordinator will be in on Monday – 7:00am – once again I’ll try and drop off our fingerprints before work.

Next adventure: So on Saturday I was scheduled to get a new tattoo, I’ve had the appointment since the beginning of March – confirmed with the shop that they received the image and we were set to go….I go in at my scheduled time and it turns out that the shop fired the artist I was scheduled with the week before and they forgot to call his appointments to let them know…well ok then. Irritated I left, picked up Hunter and we headed home. He went down for a nap and I got to painting the kitchen 🙂

Successful Saturday in the paint and decorating aspect of the day! I’m in LOVE with the new color in the kitchen!! I love it so much I decided to also remove the wall paper in the entry closet and paint that as well. Like I said successful Saturday. Now just figuring out what pictures, sayings, mirror…..you know a little decorating.

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So that brings us to today! Easter Sunday! It’s a beautiful sunny day, a little chilly but really beautiful. We started off the morning with some snuggles, Hunter helped me make some chip dip to bring to Aunties house for Easter lunch. He also helped me make breakfast for everyone – eggs – he also learned how to see if eggs are still good, a little science in the morning never hurts 🙂

Headed off to church, had the perfect Easter service, the sermon was on point, the music was amazing and the atmosphere was buzzing with the Lord’s presence. Then headed home to let the dogs our before heading to lunch….well….once we were home Ryan went to shut the garage door and there was a HUGE crash. Yup, turns out that the spring on the opener broke. Oy (insert eye roll). This house has been one thing after another and I really REALLY hate reaching out the the home warranty company to get things fixed – it’s been a fight for the last two months to get our ice maker fixed…

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Anywho…claim has been sent, now waiting to see when someone can come out and fix the door. Always an adventure at the Paddock house – I wouldn’t really have it any other way though. So what’s on the list:

  • Garage Door
  • Ripping out basement carpet
  • Installing new flooring in the basement – NOT carpet, some sort of vinyl flooring that will stand up to dog nails and toddlers
  • Finishing painting Hunters room (should be working on this right now…)
  • Start | Finish nursery
  • Hanging pictures and artwork through out the house – my walls are too blank

That’s that! A few things going on – but tomorrow I WILL get those fingerprints dropped off and talk to our coordinator to figure out what our next steps are.

Until next time! Have a great week!!!

 

Paperwork Deadline…..TOMORROW

Well hello everyone! I know that I said I was going to give an update after the all day adoption class a few weeks ago….sorry about that — life happens and we got busy.

So here is a recap of that day, it was truly educational and some parts were really interesting and others we feel that we could have done without. The meeting was for anyone using the agency: Domestic Infant, International, Foster to Adopt or Foster — we had a really nice mix of everything with this group. It was really neat to hear what everyone was doing and to connect with others who are on the same path as we are, it was reassuring that we aren’t alone in the process and the speaker mentioned a few times about creating our ‘tribe’ and that the people in the room are the beginning steps to creating that tribe.

Our first speaker talked about Trauma, Brain Development and Attachment. The last one ‘Attachment’ was the MOST interesting topic of the day. I didn’t realize how important it is in the first month of adopting a baby to really set the attachment. I never thought that there could be issues with the baby attaching to Ryan and I when we bring them home. I’ve given birth – Hunter knew our voices from day one in the womb, he knew who I was when he was evicted (c-section). But to think that this new baby won’t know who I am, won’t know our voices, won’t know the sounds of our daily lives is a lot scarier than I thought any of it would be. Our speaker STRESSED the importance of the attachment period and told us for the first month to limit passing the baby around to family and friends. The first month it should only be Ryan and I holding and taking care of them so that we are able to form that attachment together.

THIS IS HUGE – something that I do not want to get wrong, kinda stresses me out a bit. Like I said, this was the most interesting topic of the day for me and I want to do more research on the topic. There have been suggestions out there if you have a good relationship with the birth mom while she is pregnant, to record your voice talking, singing or laughing and have her play it for the baby, it may help with attachment in the early stages of the relationship.

Since this class was for everyone using the agency she didn’t spend a lot of time talking about the attachment with infants more so for fostering families and international adoption. We will have another class solely dedicated to the Domestic Infant process and what to expect — I am really looking forward to that class.


Continuing on with our day we also talked about Trans-Cultural Parenting, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Mental Health. It was a day FULL of information and we also were able to bring home  all the the presentations as well as other articles and resources to read through at home.

On the way home there was a lot of discussion of the day, our thoughts and added fears. It was a really great day and I am ready to see what the Lord has in store for us down this path.


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So….where are we at now in the process??? Well tonight we had our tax appointment (I know, I know crazy exciting – right?!?), anyways we needed our return for the Formal Paperwork packet, which I will be turning in TOMORROW! Yup, tomorrow we will hand over our envelope that has:

  • MN Application
  • Background Study info & Fingerprints
  • Financial Statements
  • 3 years of tax returns
  • Statement of Faith
  • Individual Fact Sheets
  • and MUCH more

I’m nervous, stressed, excited and hopeful. I’m also not sure what happens next….do we move on to the Home Study portion or do I make our look book (if so I need to schedule family pictures – gotta look nice or and put the nursery together), are we able to look at waiting families or do we just sit tight for a bit….I have NO idea and it’s driving me a little crazy. I’m a planner and I need to know these things, but again this isn’t in our hands – It’s in Gods hands and he knows what the next steps are and where to go from there.


Side note: To be completely honest, I still struggle almost daily with knowing that we are not going to get pregnant. Every day I walk into my closet and see this: and yes – that’s two gallon size bags of IVF needles, I still can’t part with them. They are apart of our story and one Blog Post 2

day I’m going to be able to get rid of them but it’s not going to happen today. I still struggle when people tell me they are having a baby. Happened just yesterday I had someone I work with come up to me, pull me aside to let me know she is 11 weeks pregnant and wanted to let me know before I heard it from anyone else because she knows the struggles we’ve had – as much as I really do appreciate her telling me and taking my feelings into consideration it is still hard to hear. And then there are others who have struggled to have a family and unfortunately know the feeling of loss who are now having a new little one who I am truly excited and happy for. It’s all a bunch of crazy feelings all balled up that I deal with.

Poor Ryan has to deal with me and all my craziness – bless him 🙂 I will say, that he is the best partner to be on this adventure with though. He supports my crazy and also calms my crazy. He helps keep me on the ground, he’s a pretty amazing person.

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Well that’s all for now….

 

 

Getting closer…

picSo tonight’s project was to go through the Formal Paperwork Checklist – we only need a few more things and we can turn it all in!! We were given 30 days from the time our Formal Application was accepted to have all of this turned in — this is all due by March 23 (no pressure).

So what’s left you may be asking…

  1. Heading to the police station to get our fingerprints done (I know right…we will need to do this every year that we aren’t able to adopt – not sure if your finger prints change or why we would need to do this again, but it is what it is and we will do what we need to do)
  2. Have our tax appointment and turn in the last THREE years of our taxes (oy…along with taxes we also need to write down all of our debt, assets and anything else you can think of that deals with money). This part is really stressful because we will be having someone go over our finances and then they will come to the house to check that out as well, along with interviewing Ryan and I alone and then together. It’s all a little overwhelming. What if they don’t like us on the paperwork and haven’t met us yet? What if they don’t think I keep a clean enough house? What if they see our debt to income ratio and think that we aren’t fit/able to care for another child? These are the things that keep me up at night.
  3. Still need to take the 2 day training classes (first one is this Saturday — so stay tuned for a recap of that class. From what I’ve heard it will be a very emotional class, especially since we’ve gone through so many issues with infertility. I was told to bring tissues)
  4. Waiting on our official background checks to come back so we can turn those in with the other paperwork

Once everything is turned in we will need to complete the remaining hours of training, put together our look book and pray that there is a birth family out there that is searching for a family like ours. This is something that we pray for every night – with Hunter he will bless his baby brother or baby sister and then go to bed.

Speaking of Hunter…we’ve started purchasing some children’s books about adoption to read with him. Right now one of his favorites is How I Became a Big Brother – it talks about international adoption (which we aren’t doing) but it is a really cute story. He is only two but it’s never too early in our minds to start talking to him about being a big brother and what that means.

Big Brother Book

Right now I feel like we are one step closer but still so far away. I have a few ‘draft’ ideas for our look book but even thinking about that is overwhelming. I keep running into road blocks: what needs to be highlighted, what are birth families looking for when they look through these books, what if I have too much information or not enough – will we be passed up, do we need to get professional family pictures (of everyone or just us…) My mind never stops.

Has anyone reading this been through the process? If so, I would LOVE to hear your story, advice or any information you’d be willing to share.

Thanks everyone! We would love continued prayers for this adventure

Ugh – Paperwork

Oh man, I feel like I’m going crazy trying to find all sorts of documentation needed for the adoption application. Total assets, total debt, total account balances, monthly payments, monthly income and on and on and on. We just moved and they want to know all sorts of stuff about our mortgage – that paperwork is easy to find, but everything else…oy. I think one of the hardest things is remembering a gazillion passwords to access the account information 🙂

Anyways, I filled out most of the ‘official’ application just needing the items listed above. Reached out to some amazing people and asked if they would be one of the five references needed. I’m not sure if the agency reaches out to all of them or if they kinda pick and choose who they call; it will be interesting to find out!

I feel like I’m on crunch time trying to get everything filled out and first payment made, all this has to happen before the March 10th required training class. If it doesn’t then we have to wait to for the end of May to take the class, which then just pushes everything else out. We will be required to have 30 hours of training for infant adoption, two all day classes (the one in March for Domestic Infant, the other isn’t scheduled yet but it will go over a lot of other adoption process information), as well as a few webinars to complete the 30 hours. I am looking forward to all of this, I enjoy learning new things and this will just be another feather in my cap for family planning.

During the time from when our application is accepted to when we have our home visit we will need to put together a ‘look book’ or scrapbook of some sorts telling our story. This will be about the three of us as well as our extended family and friends. It’s our way to show birth parents who we are, what we do, what’s important to us and also what we look like. I found out that Shutterfly has a template that you can use for adoption – how awesome is that! The hard part is going to be putting it all together and collecting pictures to ‘showcase’ in the book. It is strange to try and ‘sell’ yourself to someone else in hopes that they let you adopt their baby, I am still trying to wrap my head around that and what the birth family must be feeling when looking at these profile books.

But before we can create a book our application needs to be accepted and to be accepted it needs to be finished! So I’m off to hunt down more information – wish me luck…I may need it!

 

So many feelings….

Last night Ryan and I read over the adoption contract again — 15 pages plus disclosure forms — and signed on all of the dotted lines. Today, I sent it off to the agency and we are waiting to hear from them to set up our account and fill out the official application. I told Ryan the other day that all of our children have been under contract in one way or another. And when I say children we are parents to 4 – Hunter, Hunter’s twin and our miscarriage and our little emby-baby = 4 babies and we are truly blessed to have Hunter with us. Kiddo and contracts:

  • First round of IUIs – 3 failed, 1 worked = Hunter (all 4 under contract with one clinic)
  • Second round of IUIs – 5 failed (contracts with 2 different clinics, thank you insurance [insert eye roll])
  • Attempted IVF – 2 embryos, 1 miscarriage, 1 never set up camp (contracts with one clinic, again than you insurance for making me change clinics again)

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As I was saying a lot of mixed feelings today, no tears — well almost. Mixed feelings of knowing that this is another adventure to expand our family, mixed feelings of really putting an end to trying to get pregnant, mixed feelings of meeting a birth mom who will be in our lives for forever, mixed feelings about what if we don’t get picked, or what if she changes her mind at the last minute…the list can go on and on and on. It’s scary and exciting and stressful and hopeful.

There is birth mom out there who is making a huge amazing life changing decision (possibly at this moment, right now) to have her baby and to go the adoption route. It breaks my heart just thinking about it because it takes a very strong person and one who loves that baby so much to make this choice. And we want to be the family that takes that little one home and makes them our child and raises them in our house and loves that little person unconditionally.

This is not how I thought we would have a family — the ‘plan’ was (silly me for making a plan, I should know better — Gods plan is far better than my own). My ‘plan’ was: Married by 23, have 4 kids before 29, in my dream house. Well, reality is: Married at 27, had 1 kiddo at 30, still working on the dream house 🙂 I never imagined that it would take us almost 2 years to get pregnant with faith and science, finding out that your husband can’t have kids, finding a donor (online shopping – seriously, I’ll tell ya all about it if you want to know), then finding out that your eggs are that of a 50 year old and that they are of poor quality and that even IVF wasn’t a sure shot — it was a better shot than IUIs but still didn’t work.

But going through all of this I have learned a LOT about my faith, my husband (he’s amazingly supportive, he’s my rock and keeps me together when I get a little stress-crazy) and our family. Who cares if I don’t have a family the ‘conventional’ way – not many people do any more.

So welcome to my family — our expanding family, no matter how long that takes or how it happens. This is our adventure and we are scared, excited, nervous and hopeful!