Updates: Basement & Adoption

Hello faithful readers, I hope and trust that you had a wonderful Christmas!

Basement:

We’ve finished tiling the bathroom, now all I have to do is clean up the grout lines, add grout, seal the stone and grout, add the shower fixtures, toilet, vanity, lights and doors. Ryan’s dad will help with finishing the electrical that needs to be done (switches, outlets, lights). I love having talented parents who are able to help near by 🙂 Still feels like we are far away from the finish line with all the little things left – Oh and we need to actually buy a door, but it’s looking awesome and I am very happy with how it’s all coming together.

Family room flooring…my knees and back hurt but it’s coming along! We were able to get two days in with finishing the tiling and starting the flooring. We are using a vinyl plank floating floor for the entire basement (family room, bathroom, hallway, 4th bedroom, stairs and entry landing), right now we are almost done with the family room. We need to add treated 2x4s to where we will put the bar and also put in the cabinets and sink before we can finish laying the flooring. Menards and Home Depot are our best friends lately. I will say I’m LOVING the look of the new floor and I can’t wait to have all the trim and doors done. Hunter already loves being able to run around down there and he’s been very ‘helpful‘ during the floor install. We will need to stain the bathroom door, molding, bar and cabinets to match the existing woodwork because I’m not redoing all of that, so still lots to do, but we are getting closer.

I have to say I have some pretty amazing parents! While dad and I were finishing up in the bathroom for tile, mom was cleaning up the family room and starting to paint! And then once dad and I were done with the bathroom mom was pretty much done painting the family room 🙂 Like I said….I have pretty amazing parents and I am SOOOOOO thankful that they’ve been able to come over and help get things finished. Yesterday while dad and I were working on the floor mom was upstairs getting the nursery ready….

Adoption:

So yes, you read that last sentence correctly. BUT please don’t get overly excited just yet. I know you are asking why? Why can’t I jump up and down and get crazy excited…well, lets go back a week or so and give an update on how things have been going 🙂

OK so on December 20th we had the chance to meet an amazing birth mom through our agency. She is wonderful and she is someone I connected with back in October after reading about her in our adoption month end newsletter. At that time she hadn’t decided if she was going to parent of create an adoption plan. On Wednesday, December 19 she was looking through a lot of different family profile books, and she wanted to meet two families. We were one of them (read my last post, more details). We met with her on the 20th and I feel like we all connected right away, our social worker said that she’s never laughed so much in a first meeting — which we took as a good sign.

After our meeting we weren’t sure what to expect or how soon she might be making a decision. A week went by and during that time baby was born, December 26!! Baby is doing wonderfully and is happy and healthy. We found out on Thursday (12/27) that she picked us! How amazingly wonderful is that!!!!!!! We are beyond excited but still guarded — why you may be asking…well we still aren’t sure who the father is, and until then we won’t know if we are able to bring this beautiful child into our home and love them unconditionally as our baby.

Right now we continue to wait, continue to search for bottles, diapers and other essentials that are packed away. (I want to do a little clothes shopping but I’m not going to – as hard as it is.) We hope and pray that the DNA tests comes back quickly but we aren’t sure how long it will take because of the new year holiday coming up. So for right now baby is in a Gentle Transition Home.

We met with the birth mom today, we also met her mom and her two boys. They were able to meet Hunter today as well and we let the boys play and wear each other out — went to the indoor playground in Maple Grove. FYI that place is AWESOME, I see future birthday parties there.  It was a really great meeting and again Ryan and I felt a calmness around us and we didn’t feel stressed out about meeting everyone or seeing the birth mom again. Honestly it’s all about making sure that the baby is taken care of, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us all. It’s really hard not to get excited and start planning things, but then we also don’t want to get too excited because we still aren’t sure how this will all end up.

Continued prayers for our birth mom as this is not an easy decision for her, continued prayers for baby and continued prayers for Ryan and I. God already has this little person’s life planned out, we jut don’t know if it is with us or not.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.

Isaiah 43:5

Holy Cow — We’re OFFICIALLY on the waiting family list!!!

adoption_roadmap_04_find_birthmothers-791x1024Yup that’s right! We are officially a waiting family!!!! I can’t believe it and we are SOOO excited! I know, I know, I know…it can take YEARS to be picked by a birth family BUT this means that we CAN be picked and all the stress of filling out piles of paperwork and getting our finger prints and health physicals and interviews with social workers and everything else has been signed off on and we are OFFICIALLY APPROVED!

So now what…well we wait and continue to pray for our birth family and baby (or babies) to find us. We continue on house projects, adding to the nursery, finishing the basement, fencing in the backyard – there is always going to be an endless ‘to do list’ and I feel more comfortable waiting for our baby now. It was always a “hurry up and wait” feeling but I’m ok with it and I have a peace about it. We know that God always has our little one (ones) picked out for us and he is working in our hearts as well as the birth families heart – we will connect and click and it’s going to be an amazingly awesome adventure.

Speaking of the nursery and house projects…HUGE thank you to my older brother Nick for his help with creating my accent wall 🙂 I absolutely love the way it turned out! Dark walls with white furniture and a whitewashed wood plank wall, and as a fan of Harry Potter – a quote from Albus Dumbledore to add to the room. Right now it is being used at Hunter’s toy room while we finish the basement (it’s been a REALLY slow process waiting for people to come in and do their part). Hunter doesn’t call it his toy room he calls it the baby’s room. “Hold on mom, I need to go to the baby’s room” or “can I go play in the baby’s room” — I love it, he’s ready for a sibling – and if you ask him if he’d like to have a brother or sister, he’ll say sister.

Ryan and I are already going through names and talking about what their personality will be like. How Hunter will react and how awesome it’s going to be. The journey of infertility is not an easy road and for a lot of people it can really break up a marriage or it can bring you closer. I’ve said it before, for Ryan and I, it has only brought us closer. Now going through adoption and having social workers in our home and really deep diving into our financials, pasts and family dynamics it can be stressful and take it’s toll as well. But again, it’s only brought us closer together and both of us feel like this is where we are supposed do be and this is how our family is created. Not how we ever thought our family would be formed but it’s exciting and it’s been an adventure to get here and it will only continue to get better.

Pics of the nursery progress 🙂

If you are just starting out on the adoption adventure of if you have been waiting for a while, I really recommend reading Tandem: A Devotional for Adopting with God at the Lead. It is an amazing devotional and the way that Alison writes, I think she I could be great friends. PLUS she has a Facebook support group you can join and the families on there are truly, truly amazing. The stories that are shared and the different situations others have been in, it’s just really nice to know that you aren’t alone in this and that there are others in the same spot that you can lean on.

So if anyone has any other great options for devotionals to get through a waiting period in your life, I’m welcome to ALL suggestions! Or, if you have any tips on helping to not dwell on waiting let me know! I’ve started a Mary Kay business to help with financials as well as keep myself busy, plus I love meeting new people and sharing our story. There are so many out there who are on the same journey.

Until next time!

~ Saying Hello & Goodbye ~

Today is a HUGE mix of emotions – both happy and sad, excited and heartbroken. I know sounds a little confusing but let me explain…

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Happy & Excited: Today we meet with our adoption coordinator for our first Home Study interview! The house is somewhat in order as much as possible 🙂 I’ve started redoing the nursery and putting things away to be somewhat organized and starting to do a little more painting and finishing up other projects. The basement is still in the works and we have met with contractors on the bathroom and also plumbers on what we need to move. We are making slow progress but it’s still progress.

 

 

Sad & Heartbroken: Last night I packed up all my IVF needles and got rid of them. The trash came this morning and they are gone forever. It’s hard to still wrap my head around being done with that adventure. I cried a little, not as much as I thought I would but I’m still not done processing it. Now when I look in the closet I see an open space where they used to be, that was a little hard this morning.

BUT Big Changes are headed this way! Last night my devotional was about the Home Study and writing a Profile — new challenges. How do I ‘sell’ our family to a prospective birth family? How do I show them the love that we have to give their child in a book or an online profile? Hoping to get a few answers today while meeting with Stephanie. Looking forward to the next steps and moving along!

Wish us luck and to calm our hearts today!

Best thing to do is smile through it all…

Sometimes life just sucks but you have to keep smiling! We’ve all been there, you take two steps forward and then get sucker punched and end up fifteen steps back. Right now that is exactly how we feel with all of these house issues while also trying to navigate the adoption process. We get one thing figured out and in the process with the house end up finding that five other things now need to be fixed and updated to meet code regulations. But since we feel that we are nice people we are going to make sure that everything is done right, safe without future issues for us or anyone else who lives in this house.

So, what’s been going on since the last time I was on here?

House: mold has all been taken care of (thanks to 24 Restore), fully mitigated and we are able to move about the house 🙂 Whoohoo! Also had an additional air quality test done and we passed with flying colors – we had air scrubbers in the house for almost three weeks, worth it knowing that we don’t have mold floating around the house anymore. We also just had a drain tile system installed this week and had the ‘Cadillac’ of sump pumps installed, want to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. We are very happy with the company that we used and HIGHLY recommend them (Innovative Basement Systems). Drain Tile Progress

Sump Pump

Bathroom: the bathroom has been ‘fun’ to work through. The tub that was down was cast iron…If you’re not familiar what that it is….it pretty much just means it’s freak’n heavy!!! My dad came over to help me get it moved out into the dumpster. Now I’m not a tall person at all (5’0″) so trying to get this thing out and up the stairs to the front of the house was NO easy task. But with a little help and creative thinking (plus Ryan came home from work while we were doing this) we were all able to get it out! No more ugly black bath tub, black toilet and lovely black vanity and matching sink….I’m all for the color black, but even for me this was a little much in such a small space. Took up all the tile and ripped down walls. Goodbye bathroom…

Bathroom

Adoption: We’ve attended two webinars – these are part of the required hours that we need to have during the second phase of the process. I think that we need to have 30 hours of parenting classes. Seems a little silly to be taking all of these classes, but I’ve gained little nuggets from each one. This is what we’ve done so far:

  1. Trust Based Parenting – Behavior Matching
  2. Trust Based Parenting – Depression After Adoption

We have five other prerecorded classes that we need to take for credit as well as one more all day class specific to Domestic Infant Adoption. I’ve also continued with my devotional: Tandem a devotional for Adopting with God in the Lead this is a great devotional I really feel that Alison (author) and I could be great friends. I love the way that she wraps in scripture with her story, it has really helped me feel more relaxed and able to just ‘go with the flow’. Truly an amazing book.

Books

Also picked up The Connected Child – I haven’t started this book yet, but it was recommended by the class leaders as well as a couple from church who have adopted all of their children (domestic and international). I’m excited to read this one and learn a little more about the process and some things to expect.

All of us have had our physicals needed for the adoption, as well as filling out the remaining documents – I will be turning these in on Monday — excited to check one more step off the list!

Life: Life, life, life….well it’s always busy! I had a perfect Mother’s Day last weekend. Started of with ‘sleeping in’ — meaning I was able to lay in bed longer without being jumped on by a two year old monster 🙂 made breakfast, then went off to the Children’s Museum. We’ve never been there so this was a first for all of us. Hunter LOVED the little Mail Room that they have as well as the Fire Station. He was thrilled to play in the water table (good thing for extra clothes) and with some ping pong balls and air compressors. All in all it was a great day. Got some pretty sweet gifts too.

Hunter Worms

I absolutely love being a mom – Hunter keeps me on my toes but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Finished painting his room and adding some decorations, as well as started the upstairs bathroom – bright yellow and dinosaurs. Still working on that room — when I’m stressed I need to work on projects, I don’t like to sit still. I’ve pretty much finished the kitchen and living room. I was going to work on the nursery but that has a lot of stuff from the basement since we had to move everything up stairs. So the bathroom it is 🙂 Tomorrow I need to pick up small nails for some of the art work I’m adding.

What’s next on the to-do list?

Duct Work: waiting for an appointment with Innovative Basements (different division) to fill the duct lines that are UNDER the basement flooring — NO idea what they were thinking in the 70’s — they will fill them so they won’t fill with water any more and cause any other issues. Install new duct work via the ceiling (as it should be) in the basement family room, bedroom and bathroom.

Basement Bathroom: working with a contractor on getting things going in the bathroom — you have no idea how important it is having two toilets in the house until you’re back down to one! We are starting to move forward with this area, had the contractor out as well as a plumber out today. Waiting to hear back on costs.

Basement Bedroom: finish taking out the old carpet tack strips, rebuild a few walls

Basement Family Room: Rebuild, rebuild, rebuild….

Adoption: turn in our phase two paperwork and set up our interview times with our adoption specialist! Very excited about this — means we are getting one step closer 🙂

One thing at a time….when I feel like breaking down and giving up I’m reminded that I’m not alone in this adventure. All I need to do is look up, thank God that we are alive, healthy and able to enjoy the life that we have. It is hard to do this some days but whatever trials we are going through right now are for a reason — we don’t know what that is yet but in time we will. My mom made a pretty amazing observation the other day when I went to her work pissed off at the world and ready to cry (which I don’t do) because we found more issues with the basement once they started jack-hammering the concrete – she said that the baby God has planned for us isn’t here yet and that we need to get these things done before he will reveal who that baby is. I truly believe this – our hearts are ready but our house isn’t, but soon enough it will be done and we continue to pray that once it is we will be able to meet our newest little person.

 

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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!