This post covers a bit more than a month, but there is a reason I put off posting 🙂 This “month” covers June 29th through August 6th!
Want to get caught up on our entire adoption journey or know someone who is considering adopting who’d like to know more about the process? You can see every post related to our adoption on our adoption page here!
I’ve just contacted The Lemon Treehouse again about making more cards as these stop at 18 months!
Things Learned and Accomplished This Month:
Whew. This month was CRAZY. Last month was the first month that we didn’t present to any birth mamas. This month? Was the MOST we presented/gave out books/had contacts. I MUCH prefer months with lots of situations as there is HOPE there. Months with nothing? Those are hard because it feels like it’s never going to happen. Months with presenting are hard too (especially that rejection that comes when it’s a “no”) BUT at least we feel like we’re doing something and that we’re getting a chance to be chosen rather than just sitting twiddling our thumbs waiting for a situation to come along.
We had several things happen this month that were not related to our consultant! Usually we see situations from Casey Z but we aren’t limited to only working with her or her contacts. So the past few months I’ve been doing all I can to spread the word and to make connections. I appreciate SO MUCH all the names and contacts people have sent my way and I have a list of them as I get them and then take the time to reach out and see if we’re a good fit or if they have any recommendations. I just keeping thinking of Mrs Charlotte and how she says “if you throw enough mud on the wall something will stick” And I feel like that’s how this process is. The more people know we are looking to adopt, the more opportunities we have to be connected with “the one.”
I’m thankful for sweet friends who are lifting us up in prayer and spreading the word about our family! This month I had SEVERAL connections made from word of mouth 🙂
Lindsay contacted me about a situation she knew of and I gave her a couple of books, Courtney contacted me about a co-worker of hers who thought of us about a potential situation. I even had a completely random person message me on FB because they looked at my profile in a group we’re both members of and saw my public post on my page and had a connection she wanted to put me in touch with. You just NEVER know and even though none of these situations have panned out, they might lead to future connections that could!
Speaking of random connections when my FB Post was first published it got shared many times. Through that sharing I had a stranger reach out and suggest some names that I should contact. They were both lawyers and I called them and sent them our info and got put on their lists. I’ve been receiving email blasts from one of them and this month I had not one but TWO expectant mother situations come to me through that source. Zach and I both are so impressed with how this particular lawyer does things. He gives SO much detail on each situation and even has his own ranking system on how confident he feels regarding potential risk factors in each situation.
In order to present to the birth moms he sent us, we did not send our profile books and instead sent 4×6 photos and had to fill out a detailed questionnaire.
The first birth mama we got from him was set to meet with him on Tess’s birthday. The baby is due in December and when I read his email I instantly felt this peace about me. I just felt calm and like “this is it.” I didn’t feel nervous or worried. Even when filling out all the questions, I just felt like it was going to be the one. I loved that it was questions to answer rather than our book. I’m not hating on our book, it’s beautiful! But I liked that we didn’t see photos of this birth mom. I liked that she wasn’t going to see our photos unless she requested them. I liked that we could express ourselves through writing and I liked that the list of questions was very in-depth as I felt like it’d give her the best chance to truly know US and would make it easier for her to compare between us and other families.
Here’s just an example of some of the questions to give y’all an idea of what that looks like. I told you, pretty hardcore!!!
I felt so sure that we’d be having another December baby that I snatched up this deal on a cute Santa hat for him that night. I felt like it was a good sign that this happened to come up on my deals page 😉
Got our photos printed! They asked for 3 photos so I did one of just Z and I, one of our whole family, and one of our whole family at Disney 🙂
The second birth mom that came from the same lawyer also seemed like a great fit for our family. He was set to present to her on the very same day as the first one (also on Tess’s birthday). The date ended up changing and he presented to her two days later (Wednesday Aug 2nd). I contacted him to make sure we’d be allowed to present to both and he was fine with that! Which we appreciated a lot. I understand why people don’t want families presenting to multiple birth moms around the same time period, but I also think there is SO MUCH waiting and usually so much time between deciding to present, getting all the info to the agency/lawyer, the birth moms getting packets and then them making a decision that it’s also kinda unfair to ask families to spend all that time waiting on just ONE situation. Especially when it’s more likely than not going to result in a “no” for that family anyway. What are the chances that you present to two birth moms around the same time…that the times of them being shown packets overlap perfectly…and they BOTH choose you?!?! So unlikely right? I feel like usually there is time that if one chooses you, you can contact anyone else who you may be presenting to and let them know without the birth mama having to have any hurt feelings over it?
Just our personal take on it, but at any rate it made Zach and I like this particular lawyer even more because he agrees with our stance on presenting and said he would make sure to only present to the 2nd one if the 1st one was a “no” on our family.
Again, I just felt so confident. This baby is due in November and this situation was actually even “better” than the 1st in this birth mama just placed a baby last year for adoption and doesn’t have any currently known drug use. I was even able to see photos of the baby she had placed and oh my goodness my heart about burst with hope.
I felt like either one of these birth mamas would be such a wonderful fit. And that we would love to work with that particular lawyer. And I felt so sure that we’d be hearing a YES on one of them!
If you’re adopting one of the best tips I can give is to make a file on your computer of all your adoption stuff. I have a PDF of our profile book, home study, any agency apps we fill out, and even save every single birth mom letter we send. It’s SO handy! I can easily attach them to any email as needed. I even went ahead when we decided to present to the first mom and saved the photos to a folder in my adoption file and bam! just easily had them printed again for the 2nd presentation 🙂 We did tweak our answers some from the first set of questions but even those I had saved and it made it much less stressful to fill out.
This whole stack had to be mailed off for each birth mom presentation!
I swear I’m keeping the UPS Store in business 😉
During the wait this time around I didn’t feel anxious or nervous or anything. I just felt SO GOOD. I felt like it was all SO RIGHT and I didn’t have any hesitations. Tess had her birthday party and we wanted the nursery in a good spot to be able to show people so it was good motivation to get things more organized and finished in that space. Going through baby things is so fun and exciting 🙂
I found the one Tess wore and am so hopeful to have Casey’s new baby a “bff cousin” too 🙂
Britt LOVES Tab’s room and loves to help sort through everything!
It’s getting there! We are loving how it’s all coming together!
Zach and I went to Atlanta for his infusion and on the way we talked about future plans. It’s hard for me because I can’t plan much right now. We don’t know when a baby will be ours and that makes plans tricky until we’re matched and, really, until we have a baby in our arms. Y’all know me and some planning and that’s a TOUGH part of the wait for me! We talked about some things we’d like to do next year and some things we’d like to do this year too. We actually decided that the chances of us having a baby in our arms by Labor Day are SUPER slim (both birth mamas we were presenting to were due in Nov and Dec and most of the ones we’ve been seeing lately have been in fall/winter months). We talked about it and figured why waste this time? Why just sit around? We decided to book a family trip to Savannah for Labor Day! Spam me with your family friendly Savannah tips 😉 We are excited and think it’s the perfect place to go with all of our children being “older.” They are at easy ages, why not fully enjoy that until we have a baby again? It def makes me excited to have a trip on the books to look forward to!
(His infusion went great…more on that in future posts!)
On Saturday July 22nd Casey gave birth to the most perfect, precious baby boy! Camden! I will also talk a LOT more about him in a future post and want to keep this post strictly related to adoption things. Meeting Cam was quite an experience. With Carter I was pregnant with Tess. With Cam we’re waiting for our baby through adoption. Seeing Casey fresh after delivery brought back all of those feelings and emotions and seeing her nurse him and watching her adapt to having a new baby in her life did give me so many feelings. I won’t experience labor again. I most likely won’t breastfeed again. It made me physically ache and just filled with a lot of emotions. While I feel so sure of God’s plan for our family, it’s hard not to question that at the same time.
Seeing my kids with Cam brought out emotions too! They are all so eager for a baby brother and who knows how long that wait may be. And who knows what their first meeting with him will look like. Will they be allowed at the hospital? Will it have to wait until after the baby is discharged? There is simply no way to know or even prepare them for what to expect whenever that time does come.
Everything to me just kept pointing to a “yes” around the corner for us. The contentment I felt, the little Christmas hat I found, Zach’s birthday with his family being planned at just the right time to announce “we’re matched” to them, then even our family pictures had to be rescheduled due to weather and I wasn’t even upset! I thought even THAT was a good sign because we’d know about the birth mom’s decisions prior to the reschedule date and I thought our photo shoot could also include “we’re matched” pics.
Another thing that made me think our “yes” was coming? We got ANOTHER birth mom. Who was presenting the day after Tess birthday. So we literally had Mon-Tues-Wed birth mom presentations. This was the least “best fit for us” of the three and I snapped this pic of Zach as THIS is what it looks like when we read over these situations. Most of them include a list of substances the birth mom may be using while pregnant and we literally have to google so much to figure out what things even are and what, if any, affect they could have on the baby.
We are learning a LOT about substances. It is really awesome to me how protected these sweet babies are. When I’m pregnant I stress over what I eat and how it could affect my unborn child but babies are often born addicted to some heavy drugs and it’s just simply amazing to hear how they overcome being addicted at birth. I’m so thankful I’m in a great FB group of adoptive parents who share their experiences with their babies who were born addicted. Things that sound SO SCARY to us, really have very minor, if any, long term effects on the child. We still try to read through details and have full understanding before deciding to present to any situation!
Tess’s birthday party gave me a lot to focus on and the day after her party, which was the day prior to her real birthday, I took a day away. I actually thought of the idea back on our beach trip. I loved the beach trip and thought a girl’s day at the beach would be SO FUN. Zach was supposed to go on a weekend long work meeting thing the weekend of July 21st so I thought I’d go on July 23rd for the day as a break after having the kids solo for the majority of the weekend. Instead Cam was born! So Zach missed most of the work meeting and I missed the beach! We rescheduled for the following week (July 30th) and it was just a cluster. Most people who I’d talked to about it couldn’t go AND it ended up raining. BUT it was still such a great day just Keeli and I and we had fun shopping it up in Gainesville 😉 She’s my NEW NEIGHBOR and I’m so pumped and excited and thankful for her friendship. It was a great day and so good to have some ME TIME leading up to a really crazy week.
I knew going into the week that it’d be either super mega exciting with our YES or really, really depressing to hear three NOs.
The lawyer for the Monday and Wednesday birth moms (the first two) is SO great about communicating. He updated us with a list of how many people were presenting (first time we’ve had that kind of knowledge) as well as their ages, state, and number of children. The Monday birth mama had 12 couples present to her. Which wasn’t too bad? He said the max he’s ever seen for one birth mom was 60 applicants (insane!) but that usually it’s in the teens.
I was at Casey’s house, literally taking this photo of all the cousins together for the first time, when I got the email from him that we weren’t chosen. She narrowed down to two families and neither of them had any children.
We went home soon after and it was a BEAUTIFUL day outside. I knew I needed to be in a positive headspace to be able to celebrate Tess on her birthday and not let it get me down. So I spent about 30 min or so just sitting on the porch. I was really sad. This first mama was the one I did feel THE most confident about. But it was a good feeling to know there were still two more to come. Our “yes” could still be there.
5th “no” we’ve had!
Quality time with my sweet boy and some green tea helped 😉
On Tuesday we didn’t hear anything. Which I had expected. The Tuesday birth mom was the only one not with that lawyer and that lawyer is AMAZING with his communication but most of the time it’s not like that. I figured we’d hear from him about the 2nd birth mom on Wednesday and that we probably wouldn’t hear about the Tuesday birth mom for several days.
Britt spoke at our church Tuesday for a ladies bible class and did beautifully. She talked about fears and how God is always with us and it was an encouragement to me to keep trusting HIM!
Wednesday I tried to stay busy. Y’all when I’m waiting on news from a birth mom presentation? My phone goes dead by lunch time. I’m CONSTANTLY updating my email inbox. It’s hard to focus on anything else. But we had to get school supplies and we had a playdate so it helped!
I got in the car after the playdate to an email that I hadn’t expected: it was about the Tuesday birth mom. I figured I’d hear about Mon and Wed before Tues but, nope, it was Tuesday and it was a “NO”
Make that 6 total birth moms we’ve presented to with 6 “nos” so far.
I did come home to Tab’s crib sheets!!! While normally I’d be pumped, I was a little bummed. Really though? I felt this surge of encouragement. Like getting the no Monday and Tuesday opened us up to be FULLY ready for that YES I still felt so sure had to be coming from the birth mom Wednesday!
All day Wednesday. No email from the lawyer who is ALWAYS SO GOOD at emailing. My “refresh” was on overdrive at that point. Thursday I’d planned the morning to get things done around the house so the free time wasn’t helpful either. Basically this was me:
Birth mom from Wednesday presented to 8 families. Of those 4 had kids already and 4 didn’t. Pretty good odds I felt like for us. I got the email at 9:30 that morning. She’d chosen a family with no children.
I posted some VERY raw and emotional videos on IG. I just was hurting and so, so discouraged. I cried literally all day long. Just tears flowing.
I am big about that. Letting myself feel. It’s important to get those emotions OUT. Even when you know they aren’t rational. It’s okay to feel like “I can’t do this.” We need to be weak sometimes. And it was my day to just be weak. My faith felt so small. I felt frustrated. I felt sad. I felt defeated and rejected.
The reality is anytime we present to a birth mom we will be in a “pool” amongst families who don’t have children. It’s crazy to me out of ALL the reasons a birth mom may not feel connected with us (and oh there are many reasons we’ve heard of behind why birth moms choose the family they choose) that us having children is probably the #1 thing most likely to give us an instant “no.”
I know all the right things to think: it’s about God’s time. It’s His plan. It’ll be the most perfect YES when it happens. There will be a birth mama who loves that we have kids. It WILL happen.
But on that day? I couldn’t focus on those things. I just kept thinking about how hard it was to wait. How SURE I FELT and how much of a blow it was to have an 8th NO. It was my first time in this process where I felt conflicted if we should keep going. I’m blessed with the ability to give birth to biological children. Maybe it’s a slap in the face to that blessing to be adopting? I felt SO CALLED to do this. So SURE that it was God’s path for our family. But maybe adopting should only be for families who can’t have bio kids. Maybe some of the “haters” we’ve had are right: maybe we aren’t being fair by “taking” a baby from a family who can’t have one biologically.
I had promised Britt we’d do some hairstyles that day and I had promised Kye we’d work on his blog that day too. I did my best to focus on those tasks with them and through tears we got them done.
And when the tears would get harder to contain I’d go out on the back porch and just let it out. I cried and cried all morning and I had to force myself to get ready for Open House that afternoon for the big kids.
With it being a crazy day I didn’t really have time to FULLY cry the way I needed to. To FULLY get it all out of my system. I went to run a few errands that afternoon after Open House and just sat in the Target parking lot for awhile before going in. I had over 40 texts and even more than that in my IG private messages. I took the time to respond to everyone and read all the encouraging words. Then I shopped. Then I got back in the car and blasted my “God Songs” (as Britt calls them) and just SOBBED. Sobbed and sobbed the whole way home and sat in my driveway and sobbed some more. And whew, I felt SO MUCH BETTER.
Dinner 😉 Not a Mickey pretzel but also not bad!
This song. SO many tears!!!
I woke up the next morning (August 4th) feeling better. I mean my eyes were swollen practically shut from all the crying. But I felt renewed. Ready to keep trusting. Ready to keep stepping out in that faith. Ready for many more “nos” if it means our “yes” is coming.
Something I started picturing a lot was our son. I think I grew a lot in this process when I started thinking more about the perspective of the birth mama. And I think in this hurt part of my healing was thinking about our future child. But not as a child. Up until now I’ve been picturing this sweet little baby. But y’all? Sweet little babies are HARD WORK too! And really a baby is a baby. Sure they have differences and develop their own little quirks and personalities and such, but most babies do the same basic things: eat, cry and sleep 😉
It’s SO much different for me to think about Tab as an older child and as an adult. It just broadens that perspective for me. This whole thing isn’t about gaining a baby in our family. It’s about adding a child to our lives. A real legit PERSON. Who we will help to shape into an adult. And when I think about that adult man whom I’ll have helped shape? I know that no matter how many nos we hear or how much that hurts that it’ll all be worth it for that baby who will grow into a child and who will become a man. I can just picture sitting with that man and telling him the story about how he entered our lives and explaining to him, with tears in my eyes, how much we waited for him and longed for him. And how God’s timing WAS perfect because He was exactly what we’d been waiting for. He will be! I have to trust that!!!
I had a mess of a time actually getting the adoption shirt fundraising money from the people who made the shirts. My email was wrong on the account so the PayPal wouldn’t work to send me the money. Whew. FINALLY got that handled so that money is where it needs to be!
I also got a check in the mail this month from a jewelry party event a friend hosted where they gave a portion of the money earned towards an adoption effort and she thought of us! How awesome is that???
I’m trying not to go overboard on shopping for things and am trying to be mindful not to over spend. But when you’re a Babywise Mom and these buckets are on clearance? You have to get one!
I could go on and on forever thanking each and every one of you who sent me a text or a message over the last few weeks. I am literally at a loss for words over how much it has meant to me and impacted my life in the most positive of ways.
I’ve read a lot of blog posts over the years about what “not to say” in certain situations. Advice not to give to a new mom, words not to say to someone who has cancer, how not to hurt someones feelings when grieving etc etc. So often we get caught up in the worry over saying the wrong thing that we instead say nothing at all. Sure, not EVERY single thing that was said to me was helpful or encouraging. Not everything made me “feel better” and some stuff could have even bothered me if I let it. But y’all, I’m a BIG believer in JUST REACH OUT. Don’t stress if it’s the right thing or right way or right words. Just do it. Speak from the heart, speak in love, and it will be well-received.
Every word spoken or written to me was special because you took the time to say it! My community is so vital to me. Y’all are MY PEOPLE and I am beyond thankful for that influence in my life. Y’all allow me to be real and get raw with emotions and you’re always there for me and offer such comfort and encouragement through all steps of life. Often times people say “I hope I don’t sound like a creeper” when they reach out and I promise you, I NEVER think anyone is a “creeper.” I love and appreciate each comment and to hear so many people are praying for us? That is HUGE!!! It is a reminder to me just how far spread the arms of Jesus are. He loves us and He’s there to comfort us and so are so many people around us, we just have to let them!
So thank you. There isn’t any better way to put it other than to just simply say “thank you.” Because I am just so, so thankful.
While I was in those tears. Just minutes after I had a pretty hard cry on my porch. I got this email. It’s the first random “reach out” email I’ve gotten from Casey Z in this process. Just a random email to check in on how we’re doing. Did God put that on her heart at JUST the right moment or whhhhhat?!?! It was such a blessing to me! A reminder that we have been lead to this path. We ARE called to it. And we are STRONG enough to keep going through it! As long as we keep our sights on the Lord and trust in Him we’re going to be okay!
Goals for the Month:
It’s time for us to renew our home study. A lot of my frustration over all the “nos” this month was about this too. To do everything all over again and not be matched? It feels discouraging and it’s hard for me to take those steps to get everything accomplished. So that’s my main goal this month (I mean it HAS TO BE b/c it all has to be done THIS month ha!). Knock it all out, get it sent to our social worker, and get that beast renewed for another year 🙂
I do also have some other contacts and such to explore and reach out to and I responded to Casey Z’s email asking her for more advice on broadening our reach too.
How You Can Help / Prayer Requests:
- Pray for my spirit. To stay positive and keep trusting God. Clearly this was a tough month for me and I’m still pretty raw from it and just appreciate all the encouragement SO MUCH.