April 21, 2017

The Adoption Story (Part 2)

To pick up where I left off, on March 8, we flew to Wisconsin.  "We" being me, the Hubs, and my Mom.  She really wanted to come and I figured in a normal birth situation I would have my Mom to help me, and if things fell through I would want her there even more, so the three of us travelled together :).  It all went pretty well!

We got into Wisconsin late at night, so we just got our rental car (which turned out to be the same make and model as my car, but a newer year, so luxurious :) ) and headed to our hotel.  We stayed at a Residence Inn that was brand new, and it was great! We had a nice bathroom, bed, living room, and kitchen! There was free breakfast every day too! My mom got the room right next to ours, perfect!

On March 9th, we decided to try to get a little tourism in.  My Mom went to mass in the morning, but me and the Hubs took our last opportunity to sleep in.  Then we joined up, stocked up on groceries and what baby essentials we hadn't brought with us,  and then went on a drive through Milwaukee, which is beautiful! I have to say, I love driving in the midwest too, traffic was so great, nothing like the crazy aggressive drivers in California! We were on our way to visit a church when we got a call from our California agency, that casually mentioned a complication we weren't aware of.  We called the Wisconsin lawyer to get more information, and it sounded like things would be ok, just require a little more legal work that we had expected.  Of course we were a little nervous, so that was the perfect time for some prayer!

We walked in the Basilica of St. Josephat, and I was immediately in awe of how beautiful it was! Really, I don't think I've seen a church of that beauty outside of Rome!

I started noticing beautiful stained glass images, one of the first being of St. Junipero Serra!

As I walked along I saw so many faces of the saints that we had asked for help along this long journey to grow our family! Then I saw an image of our Lady of Guadalupe, and was immediately drawn over.  In front of her was a beautiful bouquet of multicolored roses, and a table nearby explained the meaning of each Rose, with corresponding prayers, put out by the Elizabeth Ministry.  There were prayers for infertility, hoping to adopt, and in thanksgiving for adoption! I was so overwhelmed, it seemed like all the saints and our lady were all there in one place, and letting us know that everything would be ok.  How could it not be with everyone we had rooting for us! That was such a beautiful experience!

After that, we went to a nice dinner and went back to the hotel to get some good sleep while we still could!

The next day March 10th, was the induction day. Every birth is different, so we didn't know what to expect, or when the baby would be born, but we were told we would get a call when it was our time to go to the hospital. So in the morning we went to Mass with my mom, who had already made friends the day before :).  They came up to us to say hi, and asked the Hubs and I to bring up the gifts!  It was a beautiful mass! A we walked around the church (there are so many beautiful churches in Milwaukee!) I got a call from the social worker saying we could head over to the hospital to wait, although we probably had some time.

We went back to the hotel, grabbed some breakfast, packed our bags, and headed to the hospital.  Around 9 a.m., my Mom dropped us off, and knew it might be a while before the birth, and a while after that before she could visit.

As the adoption would be closed, we would not meet the birth mother, but she wished for us to take care of the baby after birth. So we were given our own room to wait in (and stay in after the baby was born) and were told a nurse would call us with updates. All of the staff and nurses were very friendly and helpful! Our room was great too! There was a bed, a comfy couch, a recliner, a bathroom, and plenty of space!

We settled in, got comfy, watched some movies, did some reading, took some naps (the lullaby station on pandora is also effective on adults) and took turns going to the hospital cafeteria for food. It was a friday in lent, so that meant tuna sandwiches, cheese pizza, and grilled cheese sandwiches, they weren't bad at all! At around noon and 3 we got some updates, but it didn't seem like things were very far along in, so we expected to be in for a long wait, possibly overnight...

To be continued... 

April 20, 2017

The Adoption Story (Part 1)

I think I'll start at the beginning of the year. For the New Years holiday, the Hubs and I went on a roadtrip to northern California. It's become a little tradition of ours, so there years in a row now we've roadtripped to northern California, and visited the Carmel mission on the way, which is where St. Junipero Serra is buried. It's such a beautiful place, we love it there!

Now for the last... good while, maybe months or year, I've been in such a spiritually dry place. But as we were touring the mission, and then in Mass on New Years Eve (at another church), I felt God's presence and so much love. And I started to have hope that this would be a good year, and that this might just be the year our family would grow!

Fast forward to February 1st. As I left home to head to work, I spotted two roses on my favorite rose bush. Now this is California, so it's not like it was blooming in the snow, but it still made me smile and think that God was at work in something. As I drove into work as I get a call from our facilitator. She informed me that we've been picked by a birth mother due March 10th, and tears streamed down my face as she told me all the details that sound too good to be true. She would email me more information as we decided whether we want to move forward (of course!). I call the Hubs, who answers "what's wrong?", we never call each other that early unless there's a problem haha. Oh the excitement in his voice as I told him! And of course he wanted to move forward too! So we look over the paper work, and call the facilitator to officially say yes. There were so many little coincidences we noticed even in the paperwork that seemed to show God was in the details of this, but we tried to stay as guarded as we could, just in case.

That night we told my parents, and my mom had started planning a baby shower by the next morning! We then told our friends and coworkers, while of course being cautious that things could change and nothing was certain, but everyone was excited and supportive.  In the end, there were three baby showers thrown for us!

We started cleaning out the spare room that was always supposed to be the nursery, although I had doubted its day would ever come. My friends who had recently had babies took me around the baby stores and helped me gather or borrow all the necessities in case we got the call early. Baby stuff started to pile up and take over our house! We were reluctant at first to unpack boxes and wash clothes, but in the end we decided we'd rather plan for the best instead of the worst, and be ready for the baby we could bring home! We started reading books on taking care of babies, and took a class too!

Life was a blur of phone calls and preparations and so much excitement and worry. The birth mother wanted a pretty closed adoption, so we weren't in contact with her, which was a little nerve wracking, and a little sad that we couldn't get to know her, but of course we wanted to respect her wishes. The people that were in contact with her said she was strong in her plan, and she sounded like such an amazing woman who really just wanted to provide the best life for her child. I'm still in awe of the trust placed in us. Still, we were on edge, not knowing what would happen, and having no control. I'm a little bit of a control freak, so this was a learning experience for sure! All along the way though, God sent us so much comfort, reassurance, and peace. So many little things reminded us that God would take care of us, no matter what happened. The Hubs was pretty calm too, he has always been my rock in everything, and this was no different!

I checked in weekly with the social worker who was coordinating with the birth mother. She was so sweet, and was very positive about everything. She sent along updates, and even ultrasounds that the birth mother wanted us to have. Oh it was so surreal to see the little baby that could be joining our family! We hugged and stared in silence at the little girl that could be our daughter!

An induction date was scheduled, and we started to decided how we would travel and stay there. Although we initially wanted to drive, the weather in between didn't look so conducive, so we decided to fly. We finally booked tickets, a hotel room, and a car rental the week before. Then, sooner than we knew it, it was time to go! We packed our bags, including one for the baby, and headed to Wisconsin!

To be continued!

April 4, 2017

She's Here!

Sorry for the delay, life has been a bit of a whirlwind, but I didn't want to leave everyone in suspense. Our daughter was born on March 10, 2017!  She is wonderful and perfect, and we are loving getting to know her!

It was crazy getting ready with so little time to prepare, but our friends and family really helped us out and we were prepared as we could be! One of these days I'll put the finishing touches on our nursery and get some pictures up lol. Life with a baby is so different, and a little exhausting, but in such a good way!

I definitely want to tell the adoption story in more detail later, but everything went pretty smoothly! There were a few little bumps in the road, but nothing too material, and God gave us peace and reassurances along the way. There are a few more legal steps to go in the the process, but we're hopeful that things will go well. The biggest is a hearing on April 14, please keep us in your prayers!

February 21, 2017

A Match

Hi there! I know, it's been quite a while.  Over the last, oh, half a year or so, there's been both a lot and not much going on.  On the adoption front, there wasn't much going on. While finishing the home study and having our profile go live were exciting, it was easy to settle back into the routine of things. Then things got crazy in August when we went on vacation (for our 5th anniversary!), had a bunch of big house repairs all at once, and I got a new job. It was a little hectic, to say the least.

On the adoption front, not much was going on.  In the fall there were a couple expectant mothers that inquired about us, but nothing came of that. At the same time, we were told wait times were going up. So we basically settled into the idea that we would be in for a long wait.  While on the one hand it was frustrating, on the other, at least it would give us more time to prepare.

On the first of this month, on my way into work, I got a call that changed everything pretty quickly!  We were matched with an expectant mother, and due in early March!  All of the sudden, we had to start preparing, and quickly!

It's a strange position to be in, excited for a baby that isn't yours, and that could possibly never be.  Nothing will be certain for a while after the baby is born even. But we've come to the conclusion that we could either prepare for the best or prepare for the worst, and we might as well prepare for the best. So we're preparing away, and putting a nursery together, and hoping we won't have to pack it all away later, but prepared for the possibility that we might.  Its surreal, exhilarating, and terrifying, all at once!

Pleas keep us, the expectant mother, and baby in your prayers!

June 13, 2016

The Wait Begins

So, funny story.  Remember when I wrote a post over a month ago and said we were almost home study approve and our profile was almost done?  Yeah, those last couple steps took a little longer and a lot more work than anticipated.

With the home study, we actual got a draft of the report sooner than anticipated, after about 1 week instead of 2-3 weeks.  There were a few minor corrections that needed to be made to the draft, but other than that it was great.  Things were just about wrapped up, when we were asked when our last reference would be sending in their recommendation.  Except he had told us he had sent it in weeks ago.  I guess it got lost somewhere along the way, and there was no option but for the poor guy to fill out the form again.  Of course we discovered this right before he went on vacation, then we went on a business trip/vacation, and then he had some family issues come up, so we had to wait another 3 weeks after all. Things did finally worked out, and he did send in another recommendation. We were finally officially approved last week, and got the final report yesterday, just about two an a half months after we started.

Finishing our profile was quite an undertaking too.  It turns out that submitting the text and pictures wasn't one of the last steps, but just the beginning.  We sent the text back and forth with the editor a million (or at least five) times.  Then the words got put together with the pictures for the first proof of our profile.  Then we went through at least 3 more rounds of editing the text and switching up pictures and backgrounds.  After so many weeks and emails and drafts I was worn down and ready to sign off on anything, and gave the final approval.  I couldn't read our story one more time, lol. But the our editor decided to make a few more tweaks, and it turned out pretty good.  So early last week we agreed to the final final profile, and some time last week it was put up on our facilitator's website.  Today I sent checks for our facilitators fee and the printing of our profile booklets.

Long story short, after a little more work and time than anticipated,  as of todayish we are officially approved and waiting to be matched.  Its seems like it should feel like a big milestone, but it feels...anticlimactic? It could be that it just hasn't sunk in yet that it looks like we're actually officially on the road to becoming parents. Our facilitator assures us its really only a matter of time.  Then again, maybe its the fact that there's probably a good amount of time from here to us being parents that makes it feel so anticlimactic?

I don't mind it though, I'll take anticlimactic over a roller coaster any day.  Things have definitely been more calm than when we were in medical treatment.  I haven't had a big emotional breakdown for a few months now, and its been nice to be mostly even keeled on the emotions front. The little set back and delays aren't driving me crazy either.  Don't get me wrong, they definitely bug me, but I'm not going into an anxious tailspin over them like I would over a set back in treatment.  I really feel a sense of peace covering the process so far, and it feels like an indicator that we're on the right path, finally.

Now I just have to keep that same attitude for the next 6 -12 months.... Shouldn't be a problem at all, right?

May 7, 2016

A Busy Month (With Lots of Paperwork)

This past month or so has been a non stop flurry of activity on the adoption front as we tried to get our home study complete and get our profile ready.

On the home study front, we completed tons of paperwork, wrote autobiographies, got fingerprinted, had doctors appointments, took online CPR and First Aid classes, took an in person all day class on adoption, and gathered a bunch of important documents.  Then we had two visits with our social worker at our home.  She interviewed us together, then separately, checked out or home, and gave us a lot of good insight on adoption.  I think we were originally supposed to have three visits, but since we had finished all of our paperwork ahead of time, our social worker decided we could cover everything in two.  That was a big relief, we'd already taken a good chunk of time off work for other appointments and visits, I was glad we didn't need to take more.  Our social worker explained that it wasn't a pass/fail process, but that she would've brought any concerns to our attention and there weren't any.  Now we wait 2-3 weeks to get the report, and hopefully it will be final and we will be approved soon after that!

On the profile (basically a booklet all about us and our life) front, it at least sounds less complicated.  Our facilitator has people who put together the profile for us, so we just had to write the text and gather our pictures.  Much easier said than done.  As for the text, we had a guide on what to topics to cover and took a couple days to get it all written out.  Then came about 5 rounds of sending it back and forth for proofreading and edits. That took a couple weeks.  At the same time we were trying to find pictures that portrayed us and our life accurately.  I thought we had enough, but it turned out that a bunch of our pictures were too low quality to use.  Way to fail me, front facing camera on my phone, lol. So, last weekend we dusted off the good old digital camera that we hadn't used in years and ran around trying to fill in the gaps.  We also had previously scheduled a horseback trail ride for that weekend (birthday present from the Hubs that was about to expire), so we got some pretty fun pictures in. We finally submitted everything early this week.  Now we wait for a proof of the profile to make any changes we want and the approve the final version.

To sum that all up, we spent most of our nights and weekends, and a good part of our weekdays, over the last month-ish doing everything that we could do to complete our home study and profile. I might have been a little pushy about doing it all...  It felt good for once to have something that I could do to affirmatively move us forward in this journey to become parent.  Now it's all in other peoples' hands and, other than proof reading and approving a couple things, I'm not exactly sure what we do next.  For now, I have a stack of books to make my way through.  Any recommendations for adoption related books would be appreciated!

April 21, 2016

That Time The Home Study Saved Our Lives

In case you're unfamiliar with the adoption process, it involves a lot of things, but pretty much starts with the home study.  The home study is basically a background check, on steroids. It involves approximately 5 million forms, visits with a social worker, interviews, an inspection of our home, fingerprinting, references, classes, and more.  Right now we're in the thick of it, about half way through, and meeting with our social worker for the first time this Saturday.  The meeting with the social worker was previously scheduled for last Sunday, so we had plans to get the house all ready for it last week.

We live in a small condo, you wouldn't think there would be much to do, but you would be wrong.  What with our busy work schedules and... penchant for ignoring problems until we really really have to do something about them, we had quite a few little projects that needed to be taken care of before our home could be inspected by the social worker.  That translated into us scheduling a cleaner, gardener, plumber, and electrician all to come on the same day to address all of our little issues.  We don't really deal in half measures over here, its all or nothing!

Anyways, one of those pesky little issues was a light fixture that kept burning out light bulbs abnormally fast.  The thing has 8 bulbs, and I was replacing them all about every 3-6 months.  I didn't really think of it as more than annoying, but figured we might as well get it fixed.  We first had a handyman come over, but he was clueless and wanted to charge super high fees (bad combo if you ask me) so the Hubs (who was managing everything while I was at work) sent him on his way.  Then we were out an electrician.  I stared looking up electricians on yelp because... why not.  I called several but no one was even picking up to tell me if they were available.  I told the hubs, who called the first number that popped p on google, and scheduled them to come over right away.  Go figure!

Now, I don't speak electrician, and really have only a cursory understanding of how it all works, so please forgive my ignorant retelling that follows.  Once the electrician arrived, he got to work on the light fixture in question... and realized there was a much bigger problem.  He opened up an outlet or light switch (wasn't there so I'm not sure) in front of the Hubs, and the Hubs saw charred wire and could smell smoke.  Not a good thing at all.  They then went to check out the breaker, and found more charred wires... some of those connecting to wiring in our bedroom!  After admonishing the Hubs that this was a major hazard (i.e. house in imminent danger of fire) the electrician figured out what was wrong (something to do with how the breaker box was hooked up I think?) and was able to fix it (yay) at a sum several times over our original budget (boo).  But the important thing is that our house is safe now!

When I was talking to my parents about it, they pointed out that I probably wouldn't have gotten the light fixture checked out had it not been for the home study. So, in a pretty real way, the home study process probably save our lives, or at least our home from burning down!  So... even in the worst case scenario where everything else goes wrong.... at least we are still alive!

Just as I side note, once I got home (after the electrician was gone I changed all the light bulbs in the light fixture.... only to have one immediately burn out :(.  Guess its time to replace that thing, but at least it served a purpose.