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Friday, April 28, 2017

12 Months Waiting

April 25th marked a YEAR y'all! One year since we made the decision to adopt. So, so much has happened in that one year. Things that we know were Satan's way of trying to stop this adoption from happening. Yet here we are. Continuing to step out in faith and continuing to wait on God's perfect timing for the baby boy who is meant to complete our family!

This post covers March 29th - April 28th

You can read ALL the details of our adoption journey here!

As always, thanks to Lemon Treehouse for our "months waiting" cards!

Things Learned and Accomplished This Month:

This month was HARD. It wasn't adoption related hard, it was LIFE related hard. Zach was out of town three of the work weeks this month which was rough on him, on me and on our family unit. Plus two of the weeks we were dealing with a LOT of emotionally draining and highly stressful extended family related issues so we really weren't able to be connected as a family the way we normally are.

I didn't get everything accomplished this month that I was hoping to. But that's okay! We did get pretty far with the nursery. We figured out a good bit of the theming but are still deciding on specifics. Zach painted and we love the color!


He also started on a project for one of the nursery walls that we're both excited about!


Kye is seriously such a precious child. We took Britt to gymnastics and ran to Hobby Lobby to look for some lettering and he was AWESOME. So helpful and he enjoyed helping. I'm so thankful for him and I'm so glad I decided to take him with me to run that errand :) We debated on some letter sizes and waited to buy anything until they are on sale!


Bigger is always better, duh ;)


Britt got to help paint too! Tab is one loved little boy by his siblings already!


I did also start knocking out some freezer meals. Only got a couple going but hey it's a start!




And I got super lucky with a HUGE deal on diapers! I think I bought too many size 1s. I feel like my current kids were in size 1 forever? But I guess not?!?! Should I just keep them all and then trade 'em for larger sizes as needed? 


I got everything sent off for another agency. So we are officially working with 4 agencies. We decided to hold off on the 5th one. All 4 of the ones we're with right now are based in Florida and the 5th one is out in Utah and it is the most expensive ($650 to apply) and it is the most involved with requirements (10 hours of online training!). 


The longer it takes for us to get matched, the more baby items I'm going to own haha. Y'all know I love a deal and all three of the big kids have PLENTY of clothes so I just keep an eye out for baby items :) Dad and Audrey got us a sleeper like this for Tess and I loved the open bottom for changing diapers during the night so I thought Tab had to have this!


And, duh, he needed this too!


We were due for phone upgrades this month and I went ahead and got the 128 gb storage. I know with a new baby I will need the space for ALL those pics y'all know I'll be taking!


We celebrated Easter and it was SO SWEET that G-Mama got Tab a card and little gifts too :)


The Easter Bunny also brought our first Doc McStuffins DVD. We've never watched the show but the Easter Bunny knew that this dvd has an episode about adoption on it! 


Waiting to wait is a tough part of the process. Waiting for an answer from a potential birth mom is also super hard. But both waits are different. In the waiting to wait stage I am checking my emails constantly waiting for something from Casey Z with news about an expectant mother. It's hard because the fear comes over me that we won't see another situation. Or that it'll be a long, long time before this happens for us. I get anxious because y'all know how I love to plan and I literally cannot plan ANYTHING until we are matched (or have to make loose plans that I can cancel if needed). 

We had our first presentation to an expectant mother last month, which resulted in our first "no." Immediately after that "no" Casey Z sent us another expectant mama. We decided not to present to her because she was due April 20th. We can't get a refund on our anniversary trip so we have a set timeline of a due date after June 1st!

After that we just waited. Waited to wait! I got an email of a situation from Casey Z on April 12th and this time gender was unknown. She knows we want a boy but I appreciate her still sending me the situations like these because it reminds me that this WILL happen and it's an opportunity to read over situations and each one is a learning experience for us. 

Much like the birth mama last month, I got a text from Casey Z a few days later (April 14th) letting me know it was a BOY! I was at Friday Frolic with the girls and some friends from Britt's class when I got the text. I had to rush from gymnastics to take Britt to get evaluated for speech. I literally got home from speech and got hit with some of the crazy dramatic stuff I mentioned earlier. So literally I couldn't even process this birth mom or this situation properly. I tried to clear my head and sit down and re-read over the email and all the details and it was just hard. My heart and my head were both so clouded by everything else going on. Plus combined with the exhaustion I had from Zach traveling so much. 



Zach and I both read over everything and he felt very good about it. I truly didn't have the same gut feeling I had the first time around. But I had NO CLUE what was causing me to feel the way I did. Was it all the drama going on around us? Was it that this baby would for sure need a minimum stay of 5 days in the NICU and I was scared? Was it that I had been let down from the last situation and I was just afraid to be hurt again? 

I debated a lot about whether or not to present. This situation fit our criteria and the birth mama said she wanted a family with other children and with a Catholic background (we have three kids and I was raised Catholic) so I should have felt great about it. But I just didn't for some reason. 

This may sound DUMB but since we decided to adopt I get this vision in my head when I close my eyes to go to sleep. Every time I shut my eyes I see my arms reaching down and lifting a baby boy. And every single time he has dark curls. I think so much of the reason I thought the first expectant mother could be "it" is because she looked so, so much like what I see our baby looking like. This time this birth mama had all light features and said the birth father did too. But she was tall and he was tall so really this baby could look just like a Parker haha! Which would be an awesome thing too! But since it doesn't match with the vision I have in my head, maybe that's what was holding me back?

I told Zach I didn't want to tell anyone this time around. I did talk to a couple close friends about the decision on whether or not to present because I needed some guidance and help sorting through my emotions. But with everything going on in the family I didn't want to tell anyone. And we didn't end up telling the kids either (but really we didn't tell the kids just because Zach was gone so much we weren't all together to really tell them). 

I wrote on a FB group I'm in about adoption and asked if people went off a gut feeling when presenting or just presented to anyone that fit their criteria. I got one response and then deleted my question because her response helped me enough haha! She said that she worked with an agency who just presented her book to anyone who fit her criteria, without her even knowing. Then they'd get a call when they were matched. That made me feel better and went with what my friends were also saying about just sending our stuff in and presenting. Let the Lord decide and don't put so much pressure on myself to decide what to do or to try to figure out my emotions surrounding it. Just submit! (both physically and spiritually haha!)


The birth mom picked up the books on Thursday April 20th. I did call the NICU of the hospital she plans to deliver at to ask some questions and to help ease my mind about that. The waiting for an answer stage is hard in a different way than the waiting to wait stage. With waiting for an answer it's a mixture of worries that we won't get picked, excitement that "this might be it" and making mental plans for the future. This baby is due in mid Sept so I was already thinking about that NICU stay, how we'd work out childcare with the kids, if the school would allow absences related to adoption to be excused, if Kye would still play football, if we'd skip out on Hawaii in Oct. Etc etc. 

I got an email from Casey on Tuesday morning letting me know that the expectant mother had not felt a connection with any of the books she saw. So it was our second "no."


My first initial feeling was actually relief. This wasn't our baby. I knew it wasn't. And I just didn't fully realize how sure I was that it wasn't our baby until I got that "no" email. 

But even knowing it wasn't meant to be. Even being relieved, it was STILL hard. It still felt like rejection and it took all the little bits of mental excitement/planning I'd been thinking about and deflated it all in one swoop. Instantly you go from "maybe we have a baby!" to the worries of "what if we don't get another situation? what if no one picks us?" 

I treated myself to a small (ha!) handful of jellybeans but no other treats. I can't keep eating my way through all of these emotional ups and downs. Gotta get control over that!


So instead I broke my afternoon with the kids (Zach was out of town) into 3 30 min segments. It really made me feel SO much better! The first 30 min we spent relaxing. The kids totally and completely pampered me :) Britt did my nails and makeup while Kye brushed my hair. It was heavenly!





Sparkle nails from my girl!


Then we all spent 30 minutes hardcore cleaning the house (a clean house makes me HAPPY) and then I put on a movie for the kids and I spent 30 min working out. It was a great plan that really helped me feel better. I did NOT shed any tears this time. I'm not sure if it's b/c of the deep down feeling I had that this wasn't "it" or if it's b/c I've already been given a "no" once already and it didn't hurt as badly this time. I'm going more with that I just never felt SURE about this one. Honestly this situation and my feelings surrounding it made me more sad about the first situation. I thought maybe that one just felt so RIGHT because it was the first one we saw. But now I realize it felt right b/c I really think it could have been. 

Obviously it wasn't meant to be! We are back in the waiting to wait stage. Which y'all I can't fathom how families wait for YEARS. In the one month since we've been active we've been sent 4 situations! Which I think it awesome! And we've already presented to two! And none of those came from any of the agencies we've applied to either. So now that all those apps are in, I'm hoping it'll mean even more situations heading our way. I just keep obsessively checking my email ;) 

Financial: 

We didn't look into loans. It's something Zach is handling but when he's working prisons he's there from 4 am till 7:30 pm without the ability to use a phone and since he worked three prisons this month that are three days each...he def didn't get to it!

But we have been working hard on our upcoming yard sale! If you are local then it's not to late to donate items!!! We can pick up locally and the sale is next Saturday! I appreciate SO many of our sweet friends and neighbors who have already contributed some awesome stuff (and a sweet friend who contributed funds!) and we're hopeful for a very successful fundraiser :) If you have any must-do yard sale tips please let me know!



Encouragement:

As I mentioned earlier, this has been a difficult month for our family. But I am encouraged because GOD IS GOOD. Not just sometimes, but ALL of the time. I find so much peace when faced with trials by just finding the ways in which God's goodness is showing through those times. Sometimes it's harder to find that good, but it's there. It's ALWAYS there! And it's such a blessing to know that darkness always comes to light and there is such peace in knowing the truth and such strength in that knowledge. 

This has been a big lesson for me in how deeply we tend to let things affect us. This stuff has been weighing Zach and I down in a big way for a long time and it's important to recognize that carrying others burdens only weighs you down with them, it doesn't help lighten their loads and only causes you to be robbed of your joy. So I'm working on loving others and being there for them in their times of need but separating myself enough where their paths don't derail mine. I'm an extremely empathetic person which I know can be a good thing, but it can also be a hard thing when your empathy isn't wanted/needed and you have to "shut it off" to be able to focus on your own life. It's possible to care too much, where you put others situations ahead of your family, your marriage, your whole life. I'm a work in progress on all of this and I am thankful for the opportunity of personal growth. We never want to be forced to grow, but it's tough times that allow us to become better versions of ourselves and deepen our bonds with the Lord. 

And I know this time of "waiting to wait" and "waiting to know" are both times of growth for me too. This month I aim to have no more emotional eating ;) I want to use this time of waiting to focus on learning better self control and trying to focus converting my worries into prayers. 

I'm SUPER thankful to Robyn for inspiring me to read more! She, Katie and I decided to start up a Book Club which I'm excited about. I think it's a great way for me to make some new friends too and to have a fun outing once a month. I know I def need some FUN! Katie and I went out to dinner and discussed Book Club plans...Mexican is always a winner for me!


I finished reading The Hypnotist's Love story and it was pretty good...but I did get a couple quotes from it that really spoke to me. When I was a teenager an aunt of mine actually gave me an adorable book of Buddhist quotes and there are so many good ones. Not saying I'm Buddhist, obviously, but the quotes are good!




 Zach got me some CSC, roses and a sweet card to remind me how much he appreciates me!


I had a sweet friend send me this quote :) 


So often Kye's lunch notes speak to me!


I have discovered that I love to be outside. Which I know may surprise people but I think I'm a Spring type of girl. I've been laying out (with tons of sunscreen) a couple days a week and it's been great for my spirit. I've found with all the stress of being "solo mom" that just going outside and SITTING has been amazing!


Step Out in Faith :) Keep reminding myself of this!!!


This is the seller I bought my bracelet from and she so often posts things that speak to me. I love this. 


If you haven't heard this song (by Mercy Me) then you HAVE TO: https://youtu.be/B6fA35Ved-Y


I have a few friends walking the walk of waiting. Even though our waits are all different types of waiting...we're all waiting together and there is such comfort in that. Robyn sent me both of these and they def fit us both right now!



While working on lighting my load from everything Z and I have been carrying these few months it's really allowed me to reconnect to myself and to some of the friends who I've been distanced from. It's been a blessing to reconnect and I'm so thankful for friends who never stop loving you! I'm thankful to be a friend and thankful for those who are a friend to me too :) I'm abundantly blessed!

I had a sweet blog friend reach out to send me a pic of her wearing one of the adoption shirts she got to a meeting about becoming foster parents. I mean how awesome is that?!?! I legit cried! I love that our adoption shirts, that mean so much to us, meant so much to someone else too!

I also have a wonderful friend who has adopted four babies and is SUCH a blessing and resource for me. She's a prayer warrior and is always there to talk and lift me up and give me SO much insight into this world I'm just entering into and have so much to learn about!

And I'm so thankful for my sweet friends who share God's Word with me and have so much spiritual knowledge. They help me have clarity in moments where Satan is trying to distract me and allow me to be reminded of God's Goodness in all things and at all times :) 

Goals for the Coming Month:
  • Phone consult with 5th agency so we can start working with them (we had it scheduled for the same day the expectant mom saw our book so we had to reschedule)
  • Reach out to local lawyer (I just keep forgetting!!!)
  • Successful Yard Sale!
  • Keep working to finish up Nursery (GOAL is to be DONE by our Mexico trip!)
  • More freezer meals
  • Focus on PRAYER life!!!
How You Can Help / Prayer Requests:

  • Local friends who may have anything to donate to sale please get with me ASAP!
  • If you have any breastmilk or know anyone who does who would like to donate please contact me at journeyofphood@gmail.com Of course we will pay any shipping and related costs!
  •  
  •  And that we will continue to trust God on our path! 
In an unrelated to adoption prayer request...please also keep my side of the extended family in your prayers. My second cousin (who is really more like a first cousin b/c so close in age) passed away in a car accident this past weekend. Amber was 25 years old. The funeral is today and it's hurting my heart so much that I can't be there to hug her mama and sister and all of her family who are hurting so much right now. She will be greatly missed and your prayers are very appreciated. 

Be sure to follow me on Facebook as well as Instagram (I love me some Stories!) and Pinterest (you know you wanna see my ideas for this nursery!). Thank you for all of your continued support! One year in and hopefully not too, too much longer to go ;) 

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