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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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!

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 homeΒ  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 πŸ™‚ 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….

 

 

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 πŸ™‚

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.Β 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 πŸ™‚ 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!

So a new adventure begins…

First I want to take a quick minute to introduce myself, my name is Marianne and I’m a wife and a mom (I love both of these titles). Anyways, I wanted to start this blog to capture our family adventures. There will be everything from our infertility journey, our adoption journey and family fun/trips/stories…

The title says it all “So a new adventure begins…” it covers a lot of different things going on in our life. Here are just a few:

  1. Starting this blog
  2. Just bought a new house (that’s a whole different blog..ugh…has not been smooth sailing)
  3. Filled out our preliminary application to start the adoption process

The biggest adventure is going to be the adoption (clearly, it’s bold)! I am nervous, excited, freaked out, hopeful…the feelings go on and on and on. This is also a very sad step for me at the same time – closing the chapter on being pregnant again [which I loved]. We struggled for two years with 3 failed IUIs, crazy fertility meds (crying in Menards because they didn’t have the door I wanted – my husband is a saint), donor swimmers and finally the 4th try we were pregnant.

Well our little monster is now two and we’ve been hopeful that another round of fertility meds and IUIs would work…they didn’t. We had to jump up to IVF after 5 failed IUIs and lots of changes to meds. Turns out we had a miracle baby with Hunter. After more testing we were now categorized as Male and Female factor on the infertility charts — whoohooo —- over achievers (or something like that). Turns out my body hates me and we ended up with two little embryos to use. Fingers crossed for the first transfer, which ended in a miscarriage at 6 weeks. The second emby-baby never set up camp, on to the next chapter of family planning…

With LOTS of praying, meeting with adoptive families, people from church, reading blogs, attending adoption events….we decided that there is a little baby out there who needs a family and that we are going to be their family. So here we are….we just sent in our first application step for this process!

Wish us luck…more to come!!!