Yes. It's been a hot minute since I've done an adoption update. I am so thankful for the Lord's timing in everything. We decided to go on break with Christian Adoption Consultants and literally a week later all of Zach's health concerns began. I'm so thankful it all happened during the time of break so we could focus on him, his needs, our concerns, and just deal with all of those emotions. We are a month away from coming off break and will then be starting to send out books in hopes of a match! That means this coming month will have a LOT going on and I wanted to go ahead and do a big update to get everyone up to current!
This post will cover our 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th month of waiting in the adoption process. It'll cover from September 24th - Jan 13th :)
Zach had his first episode of what we now know will most likely be eventually followed by a second episode and at that point he'll be diagnosed with MS. We're still waiting on an appointment with the specialists in Atlanta who will know SO MUCH more than we do now, but we're thankful to be in such a positive place now. Sometimes you don't realize that things are tougher than you even thought until you have some distance...and WHEW the past few months were SO ROUGH!
If you'd like to know more about what's been going on with Zach's health you can read these posts to get caught up: about the initial concerns, results from the MRI, results from the spinal tap (if you're a person who prefers good news before bad news then read them in reverse order haha)
During this time we had planned to do our shirt fundraisers for the adoption. We did a small order of shirts just to have some for our little family to take pics and such in order to help spread the word for the larger fundraiser. Those came and WE LOVE THEM!!! We decided to wait on the fundraising because, honestly, I couldn't mentally focus on both Zach's concerns AND adoption. I had to put my mind on break just like we were on physical break with it from CAC. So we waited and be on the look out for the fundraiser to be kicking off NEXT WEEK! Whoop whoop!
When we first found out about Zach's potential MS diagnosis we asked the dr if he'd recommend continuing with our plans to adopt and he said YES. We contacted both our social worker as well as Casey from CAC (our adoption consultant). Zach's biggest concern in regards to his health wasn't about himself at all...but about our ability to still be able to adopt.
It's interesting to me that a couple "waiting" posts ago I talked about how I was concerned about Zach's heart being fully into our decision to adopt. One of the ways this health stuff has been a blessing (yes, there are blessings in EVERYTHING yall!) is that it really made it concrete just how invested he is. His first fear when faced with a non-curable disease diagnosis was that it could possibly halt our ability to adopt. How devoted is that?
When our social worker responded to my email and said that we would totally still be completely fine to go forward with adoption Zach was SO relieved. As in tears of joy. It made my heart so happy and really connected us in a big way with this process. Since then we have learned that because Zach hasn't been diagnosed with anything we do NOT need to include the info AT ALL in our home study! Which is such a blessing as it's one less thing to be stressing about!!!
Our big goals during the break have been to work on our house. We needed to move Tess into a big kid bed, move her furniture into Britt's downstairs bedroom, move the guest furniture out of the guest room upstairs, move Britt into the guest room upstairs as her new room. In order to move the stuff out of the guest room we had to move my craft/party supplies out of the guest room closet. Zach built a small room off of our playroom in order to have as my craft/party area. I love having such a handy man!!! All of these transitions took TIME (we still aren't done with Britt's room and are no where CLOSE to even started on the nursery) but we slowly worked away at it all during the holidays.
New storage room!
Tess's big girl bed!
Britt moving upstairs...
and into her new bed :)
Financial: Funding the adoption is something I am more worried about than I was before. My plan prior to Zach's medical news was to take out a loan if needed to afford to adopt. Now we are looking at the world differently. Our plans differently. Our savings MUCH differently. I really want to avoid taking out a loan if at all possible because I don't want to add any extra stress onto Zach's plate.
My plan right now is:
Mid Jan - Mid Feb: t-shirt campaign
Feb: Kids sales (I made over $500 last time for adoption fund so I'm hoping to match that or get more!)
Present - whenever: accept any direct donations via paypal
Early April or May (whenever neighborhood has community yard sale): take donations for garage sale items as well as purge our house of everything possible...let the kids do a bake sale during the yard sale to really be part of the process and all wear our shirts while working it!
Maybe run another shirt campaign depending on success/remainder of needed funds?
I still don't feel comfortable with a lot of fundraising/asking for money from people. I also don't feel comfortable doing any grants as I don't want to take money from those who may be more limited with financial resources. I feel VERY comfortable with t-shirts (as I even buy fundraising shirts from complete strangers ha!) and LOVE the garage sale idea (props to Robyn). So we will see how those efforts go! If anyone has any other fundraising recommendations I'd love to hear them! I have had a few people contact me regarding various products/parties to help raise funds and I'm def open to that idea as well!
Thankfully we haven't had to spend any money while on the break either but it's getting close to being that time! As we apply to agencies many have upfront fees and such and once we get matched I know a LARGE portion is due upfront. I am needing to look into low interest/ no interest adoption loans as we may have to go that route...again any suggestions would be fabulous!
Encouragement: It's been a big time of such encouragement. I had a lot of fears about adoption to begin with but then to be faced with all this medical junk just overwhelmed me and put me in a lower place. I'm SO thankful that I have such a loving God who is there to comfort me. We continued to be reminded of His love for us and of His desires for us to continue down this path!
This is a blogger I follow and whose posts about adoption are actually what led us to work with CAC. Her journey has been so inspiring to me and her recent posts have given ME such comfort, hope and peace about our future baby :)
Fear of the unknown is normal and I def have my waves of fear about our baby. When will we get matched? Will we have a closed adoption? Open adoption? Where will he be born? Will we have time to prepare or will it be a "stork drop?" Will his birth mom be healthy? Will drugs be a concern? Will he be born near his due date? Will he be healthy? Will we have a NICU stay?
And those don't even cover the typical baby fears of how will the kids adjust? Will he be a good sleeper? How will I manage taking care of three kids AND a baby?
Just as it's scary and overwhelming it's also SO exciting. I'm so eager to see the baby God has planned to complete our family. I can't wait to see the love we all already have for him get to be poured all over him. I can't wait to have that feeling of completion for our family!
You can read more on my feelings about moving forward with the adoption process here :)
Goals for the Coming Month:
Big things are coming up which is why I cut this month a little shorter so next month will be more legit on the adoption progress :)
Here's my goals...
- Run shirt campaign
- Decide from agency lists which ones to apply to
- Get Casey Z the updated pics of our family so she can complete our book
- Put as much stuff in kids sales as possible/have it priced and ready so local friends can "shop" before the sale
- Get Britt's room finished up, begin ideas for nursery
How You Can Help/Prayer Requests:
We have appreciated ALL the prayers on the behalf of our family throughout all of Zach's situation these past several months! In related to the adoption I'd love help/insight into:
- Anything I should sign up for to get discounts on formula/if I should start stocking up on it?
- If anyone is nursing and has any breastmilk they'd like to donate to our baby we'd be so appreciative and will gladly cover all costs to get it to us (breastmilk is good in a deep freezer for a year so we'd like to go ahead and collect if at all possible...our goal is to have one bottle a day of that liquid gold)
- We are working with an adoption consultant (Casey Z) and she has given us a list of agencies that THEY have worked with. But we're totally free to use any agency we'd like to. Including not even going through an agency at all. If you have ANY connections to any sort of situation...please do let us know. We'd love to know more about our options out there/good agencies to work with/etc!
- Also insight into any other fundraising ideas / low interest adoption loans would be great!
- Of course please pray for Tab's birth mama. That she's healthy and taking care of that precious baby if she is already pregnant.