Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Be A Piece of Our Puzzle!


Dear friends and family, 

We've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we are matched with a beautiful baby girl who is due in just a few weeks (if not sooner!) It's very exciting! The bad news is that we have hit a bump in the road and we now need your help.

When we started our adoption journey we worked tirelessly to save up the cash for the adoption. And you might remember my post about the moment we hit our goal and how excited we were! We were good to go with finances and feeling so blessed! Well... this week a new development has come, practically out of nowhere, and with just 3 weeks or less until baby's arrival we are now looking at a much longer stay out of state (away from our home for about a month which means more costs associated with travel) and thousands more in fees we must pay to an attorney to help us with this situation that we had no way to anticipate or be ready for.

We wanted to avoid having to ask our friends and family for money at all costs. So it is with very humble hearts that we are putting this out there. In case anyone would like to help us in this 11th hour. We have been doing all we can to take on extra photography work, to sell things we no longer need, to cut areas in our budget, but it's not going to be enough in such a short amount of time.

We need to raise $10,000.

We didn't want to just ask anyone for money and wanted to find a way to turn this rocky situation into something beautiful if we could. When we heard about this idea it instantly struck a chord in our hearts and we think it might be a powerful way to welcome this little girl to her forever family!

Let me explain how it's going to work and then read on if you want to hear the reasons why we chose this...

We have selected a beautiful puzzle with sentimental and personal meanings to our family (you can see it pictured above and again below) It has 500 pieces. We are going to basically auction each piece off at $20 a piece. When you contribute, by buying a piece or multiple pieces, we will write your name on the back of the pieces. We are going to assemble the puzzle and have it framed with both the front and back sides visible and it will hang in baby girl's room as a tangible reminder for her of all the people that love her and wanted her to come home! When we think about her having this keepsake as she gets older it makes our hearts swell a little bit! If you'd like to purchase a puzzle piece, just click the Donate button below. It will allow you to make your donation via Paypal. Please, in the "special instructions" section write your name as you want it on the puzzle piece!

Now a little bit about this puzzle....

When I was a little girl, my grandpa (who was a rose gardener) brought me these little books of illustrations based on the seasons showing different flowers that bloomed that season and the flower fairies that lived in them. There were little poems next to each vintage illustration. I was OBSESSED with them. In fact, I read the books so much that I still have some of the poems memorized! The artwork was done by artist, Cicely Mary Barker. She makes the most beautiful things if you want to look her up! When I first heard about the puzzle fundraiser I thought to myself, "only if I can find a puzzle with extra special meaning" and I stumbled upon this on on Amazon shortly after. These little flower fairies were so special to me as a little girl. PLUS, our daughter's name has a strong connection to the springtime, so I knew this blooming puzzle was meant to be!

Here is what the finished puzzle will look like hanging in her room:

Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts! We will continue to be hustling to raise funds over here and anything that you decide to contribute will be so much appreciated! Hopefully together we can make it happen in time! Anything that is raised that is above or beyond what we end up needing we will donate to another adopting family in need! Current puzzle status 217/500 pieces funded. 


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ultrasound Update!

We got updated ultrasounds and there are no scary notes anymore! YAY!

After the last ultrasound where there was a scary note written at the bottom we were really ancy to see a follow up with nothing noted on it. Because when you head to Dr. Google to look up notes written on ultrasound forms that you weren't there for, things get scary really quickly.

Luckily, (seriously, I'm so lucky!) I have a very sweet friend who is a high risk sonographer and she was able to look at some of the information and help me feel much better!

And now that we have an updated ultrasound with no scary notes we feel so much more at ease!

Hoping for a healthy baby girl! T-minus THREE WEEKS!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Adoption Nesting

I didn't think it would happen to be honest. I didn't get all that nest-y when I was pregnant last time so I figured this time around I wouldn't feel it at all and yet, here I am...

Googling how to have rugs professionally cleaned, wondering if I need to dust every light fixture, and trying to figure out how to ask our cleaning lady to only use our all natural cleaning supplies without offending her.

Also resisting the urge to BUY ALL THE THINGS because adoptions aren't final till they are final and there's a very tricky balance between feeling adequately prepared (which I still don't) and also not having more things than we actually need in the first month because if we come home without a baby to a house full of baby things, that will just add to the heartache.

I decided to make a baby registry today. I'm not sure if anyone will even ask for it. I'm not sure if we'll have a shower. In fact, I'm not even sure how that works with adoption since nothing is final till you are coming home with a baby. But at least it gives me an outlet for organizing all my lists, thoughts, and adorable tiny knit rompers I've found.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Most Impossible Conversation

When a birth family asks to speak with you, you say absolutely yes. And then, if you're me, you chew off all your fingernails that afternoon in a cloud of anxiety over how the heck do you even begin to have a conversation with this woman who is making the most impossible decision anyone can make?

A. Ball. Of. Nerves. You guys. I feel like on the outside I kept it together pretty well but I was so nervous. I already don't feel very good at talking to strangers, no less being charming while doing so, so to say that I was outside of my comfort zone would be the understatement of the year.

And to be honest, I just didn't really expect that they'd want to talk to us. I don't know why. I mean, I've read blog after blog about people who met up with the couple they were matched with or got lunch or skyped, or whatever. I guess I just hadn't really thought it out that far since every potential match we've had this far fell through before we ever got to the point where speaking with the birth family would even be a thing to be considered.

Anyway, all that to say, it was much worse before the call than actually on it (as so many things that we anticipate to be scary in life are!) Once we were on it, I was melting like a snowman in July. I felt so instantly connected to them. I felt honored that they were so open and vulnerable with was a really special surprise to me (especially after we'd been advised that this call was all supposed to be casual chit chat). I felt heartbroken hearing the emotion in their voices and the weight of the responsibility of what they are potentially entrusting to us. I felt like I learned so much about adoption and that it really opened my eyes even wider to the scope of the complete mess adoption is. And, honestly, as someone who was not sure how she'd feel about any of this (I had only considered international adoption for so long that the idea of connecting with birth parents and families was a bit new to me when we chose this path!) it was something that truly drove home the gravity and beauty and risk that is adoption. It was all more than I could have asked for, honestly.

So all this to say, if you're about to have a conversation or meeting with the birth parents you are matched with, take a deep breath and be ready to have your heart stolen in the best of ways. Don't be afraid, remember that everyone coming to the conversation are just people and try to find some common ground or interests to connect over, that's always a good way to break the ice! Also, most likely you'll have your case worker or attorney or someone with you that can help make sure that things stay on course so don't worry too much about that. Let them set the tone and the pace and make sure to come with a few question ideas in mind in case there's an awkward lull. For example we talked about music, favorite holiday's, heritage, and favorite foods/recipes and those were easy ice breakers that actually gave us some laughs and some deeper insight into their family history!

Good luck!

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Very Exciting and Very Scary CLICK

Well... this is EXCITING. And terrifying. And hopeful. And scary. So much so that neither of us wanted to be the one to click the SEND button on our own so we decided to do it together. We just sent the first installment of fees, and signed documents to our birth family's attorney. I figured I'd take this time to answer some of the common questions we've been getting when we share this news in hopes that it helps someone else out there who just might not know how all this stuff works (because I surely didn't before we got into it!)

Remember, we are doing a domestic adoption through private attorney, not through an agency.

When you're matched, it means that a birth family chose you (and you also chose them back). They get to see your profile (the photo book you put together that shows a potential birth family who you are) and you have gotten to see a form with some information about them and their situation. The amount of information you get varies from situation to situation. We've seen ones with tons and tons of details (down to the handedness of each parent) and forms with practically nothing on them leaving the birth family a relative mystery.

When you're matched, it is not a guarantee or a contract. It just means that you've chosen each other.

After you are matched you basically enter into an agreement. It's not a binding contract about whether or not you will get to keep the baby. Rather, it's a binding contract about you paying the birth family's attorneys through the upcoming time you are working together.

For the duration of the time you are matched you are paying the legal fees for the birth family's attorney, their medical care fees, and living expenses plus possibly counseling and other extra legal fees incurred on a situation by situation basis. These are pretty much set by the attorney based on what they expect the financial need to be. They aren't negotiable. And you have to pay this no matter what happens later.

Then you wait. (Waiting is a theme here on this blog if you haven't picked up on that yet, haha!)

After the baby is born, there is a wait (there's that word again!) before the birth mother is legally allowed to sign the papers finalizing things. This window of time varies from state to state but is usually 48-72 hours. During that time, nothing is finalized, no matter who is physically with the child. And at any point during that time, the birth mother can choose to not finalize the adoption and can choose to parent the child. As you can imagine, it is a highly emotional time for everyone involved and this is no small decision for the birth mother. If the birth mother does not go through the with adoption, you return home without a child and start the process over if you wish to try again. But you don't recoup any of the money that had already been paid. This is where adoption is so risky both emotionally and financially. There's no guarantees. There can't be. And there's a lot of money on the line. And a lot of emotions on the line. It's scary to take a risk like that. If it falls apart, you basically start over and so do all the fees.

So... right now... that's where we are. We are matched and we have signed the documents that let our birth family's attorney know we intend to move forward with this adoption and have started the financial process for that. Now we just wait.

When I explain this to people, they are usually shocked and ask me how this could be possible. How there can be no protection for people who are hoping to adopt. How can it really be so risky and what happens if it doesn't work out?

Well, my answer is that this is just how adoption is. And when you stop to think about it, it really couldn't be any other way. It's a risky thing to do. It's beautiful and joyful yes, but adoption grows out of a trauma. It grows out a situation that, in a perfect world, would never exist in the first place.

So... we are all in. All our chips were just slid them out across the table of the Universe. I've never had a very good poker face. Let's see how this hand plays out...


Matched!!!!! (Again)

Got the call yesterday that a little girl's first mama chose our family. Lot's of unknown details. The emotional rollercoaster is real.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Not Us

Early in the morning, just a day before the big annual conference that we were traveling to New Orleans for was scheduled to begin, we got an email and a call about a baby born situation. That means a baby was born at the hospital and the birth mother didn't already have an adoption plan in place but she decided not to parent. Sometimes these situations are called "stork drops" but I read once online that phrase was not the best one to use. So I stick with "baby born" just to be safe and not offend anyone. (Adoption language is so tricky!)

The birth mother had already been discharged and an adoption agency was now working overtime to find a family.

Baby born situations are tricky because as an adoptive family you get very little information. Like zero information. No medical history. No medical records. No info on the health of the child (other than yes they are okay, or no they are receiving this care currently) And you really don't have the opportunity to request any of that info before you are expected to make a decision about if you want your name thrown in the hat. It's super stressful.

The other side of that coin is that the child has already been born. And you know they are doing okay (or being cared for) and that the birth mom has decided to move forward with adoption and is wanting to sign papers. So the inherent risk of a birth mother changing her mind isn't really there in this situation... you trade that uncertainty for the uncertainty of walking into a situation you have very little backstory on and might never get.

We decided to present.

The next day, as I was working on my laptop in a house full of friends we get an email saying the birth mom didn't choose us. Not only that, she didn't really choose anyone. She chose a family member.

And even though I hadn't really gotten my hopes up, it still hit me hard and I was on the verge of tears all morning.

Baby born situations are highly emotionally taxing because you are given very limited information and expected to make a decision instantly. I was calling adoption friends, googling, researching some of the risks and specific things about this particular case. I spent hours that morning invested in it.

Then nothing. I don't know why it stung so much but it did. It is virtually impossible not to get emotionally connected to each opportunity. Because what if that is our daughter? But then when you find out it isn't, you almost feel silly for having put your heart out there. Maybe it's just me. I've always been a pretty sensitive person.

Well... onward. Courage, dear heart.

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