Thanks to Lemon Treehouse for the adorable "months waiting" cards
Things Learned and Accomplished This Month:
It was a BIG month in this process!
First of all our profile books were completed and I ordered 35 of them. Since we are applying to so many agencies each one requests a certain number of books. Then you also want to have plenty of extras in case we have a situation come up where we want to present and it's not with an agency we're already working with.
We have everything 100% READY. We are able to work with ANY agency (we have no restrictions at all) or even go without an agency if the situation were to arise. If you know of a potential situation or have an agency you recommend for us to reach out to please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are asking that our blog NOT be shared with any potential birth mothers. If you know of a possible birth mother that may be a good fit for our family, please contact us but please do not show them our blog.
Casey Z did a FABULOUS job putting together our adoption profile books! These are what potential birth mamas will see when we are presenting to them. I LOVE the colors she chose and how you can really get a feel for how much FUN we like to have as a family! Zach and I filled out questionnaires for the wording used in the book. I especially adore the photos she used for the kids pages as they are just exactly what I would have chosen too! You can see our full book here!
My main goal for this month was to get everything together for the agencies. When people think of adoption they traditionally think of a one agency approach. You work with ONE agency and wait until they find the birth mama meant for you. By working with Christian Adoption Consultants we're taking a multi-agency approach. Which is awesome because it means our profile book is sent to several agencies rather than just one. It gives us a wider range of potential birth mamas and, typically, a shorter wait time until we are matched. However, the multi-agency approach also means a LOT of extra work for me! Each agency has different requirements. Some just want profile books and home study copies. Others want online course completions, original certified copies of our marriage license, etc etc. It's quite a bit of work getting it all together! We decided on 6 agencies that would be a good fit for our family and of those 1 isn't currently accepting new applicants so I spent this month working on the other 5 and gathering everything they required.
I also really wanted to get rolling on the nursery. We could potentially have a baby in our home in June (that's when we have said is the earliest we'd be able to bring a baby home) and if I was pregnant and due in June then yall know that nursery would be DONE already! It's time to get ON IT people!!! We got all of Britt's stuff down and out as well as her old bed put into storage. I've been pinning ideas like a mad woman and Zach and I both agreed pretty quickly on the theme we want to go with :)
Crib is up!
My dad and step-mom found this as Tab's very first gift! We have a certain Mickey we would like for the nursery and we shared that plan with them when they came for a visit this month and they sent us this a few days after as a gift and a "placeholder" until the perfect Mickey can be found ;) SO thoughtful and it meant the WORLD to me!
Since we first told the kids we were adopting Kye has been DYING to go through all of his baby clothes for his little brother. We made a night of it and he and Britt helped me go through everything. I was shocked by how AWESOME of shape it is all still in! It brought back memories of baby Kye and made me sentimental thinking about this being our last baby. The emotions are gonna be intense for sure! We did an assembly line where Kye inspected for stains (which there were NONE!), then I decided if the item was keep or sell (very few things went into that sell pile haha) and then Britt folded and put it in the tub to take to Tab's room.
On Wednesday March 15th I told Casey Z that I had everything ready to submit to the agencies on our list. She officially moved our file to the "in waiting" pile which means she'll now send us any possible situations that may be a good fit for us. The very next day I got my first email from her! The birth mama was seriously perfection. Every single box for us was checked!!! I got chills and cried when reading through everything. It was the moment that it all felt so real for me and showed me that this process WILL work for us. It IS the right path for our family. It was an awesome moment.
It was also great to see how the processed works. I knew right off the bat that the birth mama wouldn't be one we'd want to present to because the gender of the baby was unknown. But within the email we got TONS of info. A picture of the birth mom, her back story, drug testing, personal interview (with things like her interests and everything), medical history, birth father info, arrest record, etc. It was a LOT more info than I thought we'd be getting.
That night I met with Robyn and Katie to see Beauty and the Beast (and omg it's PHENOMENAL)
When I got home from the movie I was joking with Zach that I just kept obsessively checking my email expecting to see more potential birth mamas from Casey Z. When I joked I then realized I had THREE emails from her. One of which said that the perfect situation for us from earlier DID know the gender of the baby and that it was a BOY.
I freaked out yall. Like couldn't sleep! It all just felt SO RIGHT. I never in my wildest DREAMS thought it'd be possible to have such a perfect-for-us situation. I was nervous that it was so soon, so easy. But at the same time anything is possible and maybe this was meant to be!
The next morning I rushed to UPS store to overnight all of us stuff to the birth mama's agency. I had not yet sent out any of our agency applications (I had planned on doing it that morning!) so I waited on them because there is a small fee to apply to each agency and why spend that money if this birth mama picked us, right?
It was my first time talking to Casey Z on the phone and she was AWESOME. The whole experience has made me so thankful we went this route as having her in our corner is HUGE.
So I know lots of people have no clue how all of this works. I mean, up until recently I was one of them ;)
We got the email from Casey Z. She had received all that info from the birth mama's agency. Casey screened it and thought it'd be a good fit for us and sent it our way. The info in the email was ALL we'd know about the birth mom. We talked it over and had to decide if we were a YES or NO. In this situation we were a YES (the two other emails I got from her that night were about another situation...in comparing the two it was just CLEAR that this one was potentially "the one" and the other was def not so we said NO right off the bat to that one).
Since we said YES to the situation that meant the birth mom would get our profile book. She also got others to look over as well. ALL of the books she saw were a YES from those families. She looks through the books...picks a family she feels a connection with and says YES to them. Then bam! If she picks you then you are considered matched! Being matched means that you have a commitment to that birth mama and her baby and she has one to you. SHE can back out (and if she does there is a set amount of money that you're OUT. Like in this case if we matched and she decided to parent we would be out $10,000. Yes. All those zeros haha) and I guess technically you could probably back out too? Although I can't imagine doing so!
We knew she was supposed to look through the books on Monday (March 20th). I wore a shirt I bought from another adoption fundraiser for good luck that day and I spread the word to TONS of people in our circle to be praying!
It was a TOUGH day. Having been now both a mama waiting in adoption AND a mama who has experienced pregnancy I can relate this time of waiting to when you're trying to conceive and it's too soon to take a pregnancy test. I know for us we try REALLY hard not to think about the potential positive pregnancy test. We don't talk about it. We don't tell others about it. We try to stay busy as to not think about it. But you also can't help but to be OBSESSIVELY thinking about it while trying SO hard NOT to think about it haha.
I'd go from thinking up cute "we're matched" announcements to thinking "no, don't think that way yet."
10 minutes would go by and I'd think "Man, I'm doing SO good not checking my phone...let me check my phone..."
We're going to Disney next week...I love something like this as a Disney "we're matched!"
Good books help to pass the time...if you haven't read Luckiest Girl Alive then you NEED to. It's a MUST READ and I did hear it's being made into a movie :)
Day 1 was a struggle haha
Day 2 of waiting I got BUSY. The first day I just had too much downtime. I needed to stay busy to keep my mind off things.
My plan prior to learning of this birth mom was to mail in the applications to agencies and then start stocking UP for baby. I planned to start doing all the things I normally do while pregnant: buy diapers, freeze meals, prepare the nursery. Part of me felt like doing those things would jinx the birth mom's decision but the other part of me needed to be busy and didn't want to delay what I'd planned on doing anyway that week (especially with a diaper deal going on at Target!).
I'm an emotional eater. Duh ;)
I did get some fun mail while waiting! I love a DEAL and got these from a group I'm in on FB. Yes. Under $1 for 6 adorable bibs!!!
My mind had a hard time shutting off so naps were a good way to make time pass quicker while I waited!
Of course I had this super hard time waiting and then got news that the birth mom didn't even pick up the books on Monday. Haha. She waited to get them until THURSDAY. So all that worrying? All that checking my phone? For. Nothing.
After that news on Tuesday I felt WAY better. The pressure was off and I feel like that two days of waiting will not be the same in the future. I experience all that stress for NO REASON and I was thankful that she hadn't gotten the books yet. It helped me to decompress from all those emotions and take a much needed chill pill about it all.
I knew she picked up the books on Thursday but even then I didn't stress. I knew we wouldn't hear until early in the following week (as in this current week we're now in) so I didn't check my phone as obsessively ;) I filled the weekend with a combo of getting things done, relaxing, and making fun memories as a family.
The kids knew of everything happening and we all prayed together about it a LOT during this past week. We prayed for the birth mom, for her hard decision, for her baby to be healthy and for God's will to be done. Of course we prayed that she felt as much of a connection to us as we did to her but we made sure God knows we trust HIM and that HIS timing and HIS plan is perfect!
My sweet husband :)
Monday came and went and no news. I kept my ringer on (usually I have my phone on vibrate) and was SUPER annoyed by the amount of sales calls I get. I don't really realize it b/c I never answer but I answered all the weird numbers just in case haha. I also checked my email a ton b/c I felt like a "YES" would be a phone call and a "NO" would be an email.
I also stocked up on some treats for the emotional eating moments ;)
I got an email from Casey Z at around nap time Tuesday that the birth mom HAD picked up the books Thursday and that she had narrowed it down to a few and hadn't decided yet but they expected a decision soon.
This made me feel like it wasn't going to be us. Having a few favorites made me think that a) she had a LOT she went through and b) that she's not sure and I felt like if it was US then she'd feel SURE like we did (which I know may not be reality...I can't fathom how HUGE and difficult of a decision it all is!).
At 4:45 I got a second email.
The birth mom hadn't yet decided but we were NOT among the books she was deciding between.
Zach and I have experienced the "trying to conceive" waiting game. We try not to get excited before taking that pregnancy test. But we've always been so blessed. Every time we've tried to conceive...we've gotten a positive pregnancy test on the first try. So while I was careful not to get excited about this baby...it was hard not to because I've always been careful not to get excited before a positive test but then the outcome is always positive. When you're used to being able to BE excited rather than having that let down it makes the let down a little harder.
I allowed myself some time to cry a bit for this baby. For that excitement. For the waiting we'd continue to have. (my back porch is my favorite cry spot...when I sit in this spot no one can see me from any windows and I can just have a moment).
I KNOW all the "things." I know it's just not God's plan. I know that HE has the PERFECT plan in store. But it's still okay to be a little sad. I know that this birth mama had a HUGE decision to make and that there is no way to know WHY she didn't choose us. Another book of another family just touched her in a way ours didn't. And that's okay! That's how it SHOULD be. I mean who knows maybe she dated a guy that looked like Zach. Maybe she hates Disney World (I mean that can't be possible, right? haha). Maybe another family had a dog that reminded her of hers from childhood. There are SO many variables in play. But it still does feel like a tinge of rejection. And it's okay to feel that rejected feeling too.
I came inside looking like this and right away Kye came up to me and said "what's wrong?" He pointed out how my face was red and patchy and that it means I've been crying (Kye's future wife: you have a GEM of a husband who notices these things!). I told him that yes, I'd been crying. And he immediately took the wrong read of the situation and jumped up and down and said "We are getting the baby! She picked us!" #momfail. I told him that, no, it was the exact opposite. He and Britt were a little let down but we've all prayed SO hard and SO much for God's plan that I was super proud in that moment of how quickly they rebounded from the hurt. They bounced back right away and said "God has a plan!" and kept moving on with their day.
SO I followed their lead :) I allowed myself my few minutes of sadness then I got up and kept on keeping on. I got everything ready for the four agencies I had everything together for and went first thing this morning to the UPS store to send them off! I have one more that I'm still gathering things on (I mean they need like our entire lives to apply to them haha) and another I plan to call to see about applying to. I also plan to reach out to a local adoption lawyer to get our names in with her as well. And I'm totally open to anything else anyone may recommend for us! I told Casey Z how much we appreciate her and how I'll still be obsessively checking that email ;)
An hour after she'd sent me the news that it was a "no" she also sent another birth mom situation. And yall. She was almost just as "perfect for us" as the first. But this time her due date was TOO soon. We have non-refundable flights booked for our 10 year anniversary and just can't have a baby before then. So this mama wasn't meant to be for us. BUT it gives me SUCH HOPE. Not only has a "perfect for us" situation happened once...but it's happened twice now. I feel like God sent us that situation so soon after our "no" as a reminder that He's here. He's got this. We have to keep having that faith and keep walking in it!
I've had a couple big takeaways from this situation:
1. We can be patient. I NEVER thought we'd get such a "perfect for us" situation. But we did. And we did SO quickly. Which shows us that it IS possible and that we just can be patient and it WILL happen for us!
2. I can't let the wait consume me. We'll have to wait again. And maybe again and maybe again! Who knows how many YESes will we give before we finally get a YES in return. I'm thankful for three babies who keep me BUSY but I also know now that next time I won't spend so much time waiting and waiting and eating and eating ;)
3. We trust God. This wait really showed me in a big way how faithful we are. I KNEW our little family had faith but waiting like this (and getting a NO) does put it to the test. We aren't just saying we trust God and His plan and His timing...we REALLY DO.
I have so many sweet friends who have been praying with us and I appreciate each prayer, each text, each smile! Robyn dropped this off today and I'm just so blessed with friendship in my life!
I do think my 4th takeaway from all of this though is that I WILL try to treat the next waiting period more like we do when trying to conceive. Zach and I are pretty hardcore about NOT TELLING ANYONE when we are trying to get pregnant. And then we keep the positive test a secret between us until we are ready to share the news with everyone via a cute announcement ;)
This is different than that, obviously. And I think prayer is such a crucial thing in all areas of life and I just naturally wanted everyone to share this journey with us and pray for us and for the birth mama involved. And I'm an extrovert and talking through it with people helps me feel better and process things better. BUT I think next time I'm going to try not to say anything to anyone. That way Zach and I can share the experience just us and can share the excitement of the YES with just our family until we do think up some cute "we're matched!" announcement ;)
THANK YOU! Thank you! To everyone who purchased a shirt!!! They were sent out super fast and I was shocked when I got mine in the mail so quickly! The quality is AMAZING and the company who made the shirts actually reached out to me about featuring the design on their site and in their social media campaigns! Such a big compliment and I hope everyone likes them as much as we do!
We raised a little over $1,000 from the campaign! Over 80 shirts were purchased (I think the final number was closer to 100!). And I want to mention that BOTH of my parents made financial contributions directly rather than purchasing shirts...which meant a lot to me. We MAY run another shirt campaign in the future as I've gotten a LOT of response from people who regret not buying them after seeing the finished results. Right now we're really focused on the yard sale but will see what happens after that!
I haven't gotten pics of everyone in their shirts but here are a few:
Doesn't get any sweeter than this!
My sweet friend Chelley!
I love it with a long cardigan! Thank you Lauren!
Megan and I went to high school together and have loved watching each other's families grow
Katie rocking her shirt too!
Kelly is a constant in my life...we have an always-going text convo that next stops! So thankful for her friendship and prayers :)
I also got the results in from the kids sales and TOTAL from both the fall and spring sales I made right at $1000!!! That brings our fundraising total to $2,000 so far which is pretty awesome if you ask me :)
We are preparing now for our yard sale fundraiser. It'll be the first weekend in May and we are collecting ANY donations to sell!!! If you are local we will pick up! Please contact me :)
Here's just a peek at some of the stuff I'm selling from Britt's old room!
I also realized Tess needed to move up in sizes (of course, right after the kids sales ended) so I gutted her closet and sold a bunch of stuff for $45 on fb!
If you are local and are wanting a piano we had some sweet friends offer to donate the piano to our fundraising! Local pickup is required but if you're interested and would like to make an offer please email me at email@example.com :)
Really I've been just so encouraged BY the entire waiting situation. Having such a "perfect for us" birth mama gives me such hope and such a peace about all of this working out. I feel good. I feel encouraged! The Lord has blessed us and reminded us of the path He desires for our family and He's shown us the way!
If you're needing some encouragement then THE SHACK is a GREAT movie! It's not Bible-based by any means but it's still got some killer golden nuggets in there. I've been struggling a lot with forgiveness. It's easy for me to forgive people who don't know the Lord or who don't know when choices they make are wrong. But it's a lot harder for me to forgive those in my life who KNOW better and CHOOSE wrong. Especially when it's a big "wrong" that will hurt many, many people. Forgiveness is a PATH and I'm walking it, but slowly. And this movie was HUGE in helping me on that journey.
Lots of "have HOPE" reminders this month which I love!!!
This was from Kye's lunch notes...
this was in my devo...
and this was post on IG :)
Goals for the Coming Month:
- Finish applying to 5th agency on list
- Call and possibly apply to Georgia agency
- Call and talk with local adoption lawyer
- Get nursery painted
- Decide on decor for nursery
- Make freezer meals
- Continue hunting diaper deals
- Apply for adoption loans
- Get ready for YARD SALE!!!
How You Can Help / Prayer Requests
- If you have any breastmilk or know anyone who does who would like to donate please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Of course we will pay any shipping and related costs!
- We're open to ANY situations in ANY states. If you have any agency recommendations please let me know as well!
- Pray for that first birth mama and that the family she choose will be the perfect fit for her precious baby.
- Pray for Tab and his health and the health of his birth mom. This month has shown me that he really may be WAITING for us NOW!
Excited to see what the coming month will bring!!! As always thank you SO MUCH for your support! The financial support was amazing but especially just loving us, our family, and praying for us through this process :)