If you'd like to order your shirts you can do so here: https://www.bonfire.com/team-parker-adopts/
Be sure to check out all the available styles and colors! Britt is rocking a youth small...
And Z is wearing the long sleeve t :)
This post is a summary of our 10th month into the adoption process. It covers the time period from January 13th - February 28th. You can go back and read all of the posts related to our adoption on our Adoption Page here :)
Thanks to Lemon Treehouse for the adorable "in waiting" cards!
Things Learned and Accomplished This Month:
This month was all about making decisions on agencies! We had a packet of recommended ones that Christian Adoption Consultants work with and who give discounts (meaning little or no application fee). We read through all 10 and felt really good about majority of them. We discussed it with Casey Z and decided to apply to 6 of them. Because we do have specifications regarding race and gender, we feel the more agencies we are working with the better shot we have at getting matched.
I'm beginning the application process for the agencies! It's crazy because every part of adoption just TAKES FOREVER. One of the agencies require original certified copies of our marriage license and both of our birth certificates. I have to mail in forms for mine and our marriage license and wait for them to mail them back to me. Another agency requires 10 hours of online training so I have to squeeze that in at some point. They all require copies of our home study as well as our profile book.
We had to get a letter from Zach's dr at Shepherd Center now that he's been officially diagnosed with MS. I have that mailed into our case worker who will then have to write up something to add to the official home study before I'm able to submit that to any agencies.
Casey Z put together our profile book for us! I'm excited to share it with everyone! I just got it from her a couple of days ago and it's VERY US! Lots of fun bright colors and the photos she chose for each of the kids pages are seriously perfection. We have a few minor things we want her to change with it and then I'll order all of the copies needed for the agencies. I had assumed an adoption profile book would be like a typical Shutterfly book and cost like $40...thankfully it's more of a magazine style thing and is only $5.99 each. Of course we need around 12-15 of them so that's not cheap by any means...but better than $40 each would be for sure!!!
I imagine gathering everything needed to submit to the agencies will probably take a few more weeks so we should be good to go within the month and ready to sit and wait on a match ;)
We are still working through finishing touches on the girl's rooms and haven't yet started on the nursery. Shockingly I super easily came up with a theme though and Zach loves it and we're rolling with it. We went to Ikea while in Atlanta for Zach's appointment and actually went ahead and got a bookshelf for his closet, a clock for his room, and his bedroom chair! We already have all the furniture from Tess's room for him to use so we really don't have much more to get for the space!
Tab's chair! I love the modern look of it :)
And his clock! Fun and modern and a pop of yellow for the room!
It's been tricky for me with this baby! I know I need to prep and prepare but it's hard to do that when you're not physically pregnant. As your tummy grows, you realize you gotta get rolling on things. I haven't even started to buy diapers yet which I typically start doing early on in pregnancy. I keep waiting for a good diaper deal to pop up so I can stock up! If anyone sees one let me know (I'm a Pampers girl when it comes to baby diapers).
Aside from stocking up on diapers I also always like to deep clean my home and make lots of frozen meals while pregnant. I've slowly been working on cleaning the house and especially PURGING. Since we are having a garage sale for a fundraiser I want to get rid of as much stuff as possible!!! I also have purchased ingredients to start making freezer meals this month (what I do is cook a meal and just buy double ingredients for that meal and combine those ingredients and freeze them when I cook the meal for us for dinner).
Something else that I think is important is to remember that when we add a baby to our home...our family dynamic will change. Again, while pregnant it's easy to be cognizant of the big change that is coming! It's hard for me to remember that a little baby means big sacrifices for the kids and it means a lot more time at home rather than going and doing. It's important for us to go and do and have as many experiences as we can before the baby arrives and while we are at the most flexible stage we'll be in for a long time!
Of course I say all of that and then watch us wait a year or something to have a baby in our arms haha I guess we'll just get a lot of time to have a lot of experiences ;)
One thing that was big on my list of "Must Do Before Baby" items was to visit Zoo Atlanta and Georgia Aquarium. We didn't go last summer and Tess is my biggest animal lover out of all of our kids. I knew she'd LOVE them both and I really wanted Zach to go with us and experience them as a family since it's something she'd enjoy so much. We went a couple weekends ago and it was a great trip and one that really did take advantage of not having a baby at home who has a specific, set schedule. We skipped naps both days, woke up early, stayed up late, just rolled with it and had a blast!
I am more eager to get rolling on the nursery because I'm SO READY to get down all of Kye's baby boy items and fill that room up with them. I've never been able to put baby clothes in an empty nursery because we've never known the sex of the baby so I'm excited for that and Kye is super thrilled to go through everything for Tab. I have been picking up little clothing items here and there when things are a good deal and catch my eye. I mean $3 for this? Could not pass it up!!!
Financial: I've asked Zach to dig into our options for adoption loans. I'm hoping to begin that application process within the next week or so. So many of the agencies require you to have funds up front which is pretty stressful! It's all so tricky. You are required to have funds up front but then so many of the funds you can receive aren't given until after the adoption is finalized.
We will get a decent sized tax credit that will help in a big way to offset the costs of adoption, but it's not granted until the tax season following finalization. We will get some money from our insurance company (isn't that awesome of them?) but that isn't awarded until after finalization. Same with our credit union that gives a small grant. Even though all of those items wouldn't nearly add up to cover the full cost of the adoption, it will help!
We don't like the idea of taking out loans (it's a very anti-Dave Ramsey thing to do) but we really don't have any other option but to do so. It's not like we have $40,000 just laying around haha!
So far the t-shirts have been wonderful and the campaign is going great! Be sure to place your orders before tomorrow night at midnight!!! You can do so here: https://www.bonfire.com/team-parker-adopts/
I LOVE my hoodie (size small)
Aside from the t-shirts we plan to do the garage sale (again if you're local we're taking donations for items to sell!!! Just let me know!) and I worked HARD this month at getting all of the spring/summer items priced for the kids sale. We have two local kids sales each season and the second one for spring/summer is currently running so I don't know my total earnings yet from both sales combined but just from the first alone I earned more than $400! Such a blessing and totally made the work worth it!!!
I'm not joking about my hardcore purging right now...some of the toys I sold were gifts from this Christmas haha
Encouragement: It has been an emotional month. I feel like I've had my fair share of emotional months in the past year or so and it's really starting to take a toll on me. I had some anxiety issues in high school (living alone at that young of an age it made sense haha). I saw a counselor for a bit and learned strategies to help myself work through it. I've never had any anxiety meds or anything close to that level but I do have a physical reaction to stress and I've felt it more often lately than I'd prefer. I've always been HARDCORE about managing my plate. I'm careful about my commitments (you'll notice I'm never room mom nor did I accept offers to be on the HOA board in our neighborhood or sign up to sub in my kids classrooms) and I've been in a great place for a LONG TIME.
But sometimes we have too much on our plates that simply can't be managed. And that's how I've been feeling. Like so much is going on that I don't have a say in or control over and I have three kids to still parent and the commitments that come with being a mom and wife! It's been a lot physically and emotionally and I don't like how that anxiety makes me feel. Not just the physical response I have (like I feel a pain in my chest and literally can't catch my breath in moments when it's overwhelming) but in the joy it steals from me and how it affects my attitude.
So I've evaluated my plate. And it's OK if things take a little longer to get rolling with the adoption. It's OKAY that our agency applications aren't in the mail on March 1st like I had originally planned. It's okay. I have said from day 1 of this process that I was going to let GOD GUIDE and I wasn't going to let it be something that causes me stress or overwhelms me. This is my last baby. I want to ENJOY each stage of the process just like I'd want to ENJOY each stage of the pregnancy.
I appreciate Zach for having a tough/honest conversation with me about my stress and being so understanding. He offered to handle the loans for me and that's such a weight off my shoulders and something I no longer have to worry about. Y'all he's a keeper ;)
Britt has been such a huge source of encouragement for me. That girl and her precious heart! Kye has always been very excited about Tab...but Britt has started to get more and more into the idea of a baby joining our home. For Valentine's Day she made Tab SEVERAL Valentine's and wants to have them all set up in his room for when he gets here so he will know how loved he is. I mean really? Does it get any more precious than that? He is already so loved!
Britt really wanted to name him Light for awhile ;) She gave him a special glow star from her room that "lights up"
Last year I attended a Ladies Tea at church and it was actually a big part of our decision to adopt...I attended again this year and yet again it was such a place of support and comfort for me. Every verse on each table I visited talked about tough times and keeping faith and not letting fear rule. Adoption is scary. It's hard and it's scary. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid. But I continue to have that full faith that God has called us for this purpose and that He has prepared us for this path! I loved that each verse spoke to me personally and reminded me of His unwavering love and support for me!
Goals for the Coming Month:
For the month ahead here's what I'd like to achieve:
- Send off applications to all 6 agencies
- Review other possible agencies to apply to
- Apply for adoption loans
- Speak with local adoption attorney
- Begin gathering more things for garage sale fundraiser
- Start nursery (have bed moved out and crib together, paint?)
- Start stocking diapers
- Sign up for formula coupons
How You Can Help/Prayer Requests:
As I've mentioned before we aren't doing a lot of fundraising for our adoption. We aren't applying for grants and we just feel like we are called to do this so we need to figure out how to fund it mostly on our own. But I love that so many want to be part of our journey with us and we appreciate it SO MUCH! If you feel called to help you can donate directly through PayPal (my email is email@example.com...if you select friends and family then there is no fee) or you can order a shirt! Our shirt campaign ends TOMORROW and you can order them here (have I mentioned this already? haha!): https://www.bonfire.com/team-parker-adopts/
- I've had one sweet friend already reach out about potential breastmilk donation! Still very open and hoping to have some donor milk for him if at all possible!
- I've also had a friend recommend an agency and another recommend a local lawyer...any recommendations on either are great and can be ANY STATE :)
- Please, of course, keep us and Tab's birth mom in your prayers too!
And sidenote but I'm totally on current time with these posts now ;) Whoop!