Thursday, December 30, 2010

3 Months...

It has been 3 months since we were officially approved for our adoption. Well, it's only been 2 months since we knew we were approved, which seems strange that it took them an entire month to let us know that we were approved. That's a tad irritating. But, alas, we were approved on September 14th. Although 2010 has flown by, the past 3 months have seemed like an entire year on their own. I didn't expect waiting to be this hard. If the past 3 months have gone by this slowly, what will the next 2-3 years be like? I dread finding out. Christmas was agonizing, and I am praying we don't have to go through that yet again next year.

2010 has been a crazy year. A good one for the most part, but a good one. With the exception of 2 car accidents and some crazy emotions, I don't have much to complain about. It's crazy to think that a year ago, we had no clue that we would be adopting.

I talked a little bit in my previous blog about some plans for 2011. This is going to be a long year, I believe, but I am bound and determined to make it a good one. I am just about ready to start painting the baby's room. I'm pretty sure I've got the paint colors/style picked out. I'm also starting the "Read the Bible in one year" thing. I have a One Year Bible devotional that makes it pretty simple. I'm excited about that. I want to take this crazy, exciting, scary, sad, and stressful journey and use it to draw closer to God. I've never had to cling to Christ more than I do now. He is the only one with the strength to carry me through this.

So, here's to a new year, and a new start! Let's hope we end 2011 with a bright-eyed blessing in our arms!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Goodbye, Christmas!

We ended up having a pretty good Christmas, but boy was I glad to see it end. I've just really felt like Scruge this year. I think it's a culmination of no baby, no money, and family stress. Completely out of character for me, I had all our decorations torn down by 8am the day after Christmas. But, overall, we have so much to be grateful for.

We spent Christmas eve evening with Brandon's parents and sister, Brandi, and her husband, Josh. We really enjoyed our time with them. Brandon got a new drill and I got a gift certificate to the salon to have my hair cut and colored, and boy am I excited about that!

We spent all of Christmas Day at my parents' house. where I lost 2 games of "Sorry" to Brandon and my mom. My sis, Kristy, and her husband, Darrin, were there, and Darrin's parents and brother came over for dinner. I loved spending the whole day with my family. I still really miss living at home from time to time.

I am really excited about the upcoming year. I am planning several changes for myself. I typically don't make New Years Resolutions because we all know no one ever keeps them, and I guess I'm not really thinking of it as a New Years Resolution, but I am bound and determined to get this weight off once and for all! I'm trying to encourage Brandon to join me. I'll be blogging my journey on my other blog, A Couple Of Losers. Follow if you wish. It's less about weight loss and more about making healthy changes, in hopes that my weight will follow. I don't want to be so focused on numbers that I get discouraged too easily.

I'm also really excited about 2011 because I have some fun projects planned, including working on the baby's nursery! It's torturing me! I can't wait to get in there and make it look like a baby's room! :-)

What are your goals for 2011?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Contemporary Christmas


Ya know what makes me sad? How secular Christmas has become. Brandon and I were talking about it as we drove around the neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights last night. People put up lights, decorate the tree, make all sorts of Christmas goodies, we spend time with family, spend a ridiculous amount of money on gifts we don't really need, and watch many a Christmas movie.


Don't get me wrong. I LOVE all of these things about Christmas! I turn into a little kid at Christmas. But, it seems like people talk more about lights, traditions, gifts, and what their holiday plans are than they do about Jesus.


Is it just me, or has Jesus been uninvited to his own birthday party? I've even heard non believers say that they like to celebrate "Christmas," they just don't do the "Jesus part." Really? How can you celebrate someone's birthday without acknowledging the guest of honor?


So, I am challenging myself this season, and I want to challenge you as well. I know how easy it is to get sidetracked with the busy schedules and long to-do lists. But this year, I want to spend a little more time with God.


Starting today, I am going to start reading the Christmas story from the Bible. I'm going to try to break it down piece by piece. Every day, I will spend some time reflecting on the story of our Savior's birth, and drawing closer to him this season. Will you join me? Let's not forget why we have Christmas to celebrate in the first place!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Twenty Things" #7

I know, I'm posting these back to back....my apologies...


"I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family."



This chapter echoes the previous one. We as parents must make the effort to keep an open dialect. The adoptee is a victim. She didn't choose this. It isn't her fault. She didn't deserve such a loss. There are 3 aspects to the victim mind-set:

  1. Innocence- it wasn't her fault
  2. Defenselessness- she was powerless to stop it
  3. Helplessness- she cannot change the past

We need to be confident in our parental role, and avoid trying to be parents of the year. Life is messy. It is nowhere near perfect. And that's ok! As I said earlier, I always want my child to feel free to discuss his/her past, because without the past, there would be no future! (obviously...)

"Twenty Things" #6

"Just Because I don't talk about my birth family doesn't mean I don't think about them."



I really like that this book is written from the viewpoint of the adoptee. This chapter talks mostly about how children view their birth parents. As adoptive parents, we have to set aside our fears. We're not keeping up with the Jones' here, pardon the expression. We don't need to feel like we are in competition with the birth parents, trying to win the child's love. The adoptee already loves his adoptive parents! But, reality is, he does have 2 sets of parents, and there's nothing we can do to change that. It is only natural that adoptees think and dream about their birth family, especially if it is a closed adoption. What I got out of this chapter: it's OK for them to wonder about their birth family!

If you have an adopted child, you should make sure your child knows that it's ok to talk about her birth family, and that there is no reason for her to feel guilty or bad about it. The birth parents will always be a part of her life! Personally, I don't WANT my child to "forget" her birth family. After all, these are the people who will give my child life, and I will be eternally grateful! So, I desire to always make an effort to include my child's birth parents in our conversations.

"Twenty Things" #5

I know...I've gotten off track with these. But, I have NOT forgotten about this! I am still reading the book, and I will continue my chapter-by-chapter review :-)

"I need your help in grieving my loss. Teach me how to get in touch with my feelings about my adoption, then validate them."



I think I have mentioned in previous posts that one of the things that I have learned so far is that no matter how much we desire our child, no matter how much we love her, and no matter how much she means to us, we can not change her circumstances. We can not change the fact that she will have suffered such a great loss before she was even born. This is astounding (and hurtful) to me. Oh, how I wish I could make it better! But, since I can't remove the hurt, I must help my child grieve and deal with their circumstances. The first key to this is to help her verbalize her feelings. We, as adoptive parents, must make absolutely certain that we provide a safe place for our children to share with us their feelings...regardless of what those feelings might be. Adopted children need to know that we love them just the way they are, and that there is nothing that they need to do to "deserve" our love.

We need to be in tune to our children, and take their ques. We need to know when to talk with them about their adoption, and to let them know that we are here for them whenever they want to talk. But what about the kids who don't know how to put their feelings into words? One of the book's suggestions is to help your child work through their feelings through play. It can be acting out stories like what it was like at the hospital on adoption day, or playing with dolls or barbies and pretending one of the dolls is adopted, or even writing a story together about it. I really liked those ideas. I think those are some creative ways to help a child walk through their grief.

Some other suggestions to help the child work through his grief in the book are:

  • Create a Lifebook
  • Let her write letters to her birthmom. If you can't mail them to her, keep them in a box or a scrapbook.
  • Give your child privacy. He may want to work through it alone at times.
  • Expose him to other adoptees.
  • Always remind your child of his strengths.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Overload!

I started this season in a depressed state, not thankful for much. I was so disappointed that we had to spend yet another holiday without children. And, while I do grieve that we can't yet share our traditions with our kids, I have realized that I really do have SOOOO much to be thankful for! In perfect Type A Personality fashion, here is a list :)

  • My amazing, supportive, and loving husband
  • The fact that we made it through the adoption process and are just waiting for the call
  • The peace that God has granted us throughout our infertility/adoption journey
  • The fact that my husband miraculously got today OFF!
  • My wonderful family
  • My amazing friends. Especially grateful for Jennifer, who has become one of my main support systems. So glad we have grown so close! Thankful for reconnections with old friends, too.
  • And so much more!
We are spending the day just the 2 of us, being thankful for what is hopefully one of our last Thanksgivings just the 2 of us. As much as I look forward to sharing our traditions with our kids, I am not going to take this time for granted. Brandon cooked breakfast this morning, and I'm cooking dinner. We're watching the parade now, and we're about to whip out the board games and movies! I can't think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Insert Witty Christmas Related Title Here


We've finally got it looking like Christmas around our house! Those of you who know me know that I normally have my tree up 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. I know...ridiculous. BUT, we finally got our decorations out last night and started putting them up. We haven't put up the tree yet, though. Here's a funny story about that....


Last year, Brandon's grandparents gave us their HUGE 8 foot tree for the new house. They had used it for several years, but it was a really, really nice prelit one. They came down one day while I was working and helped Brandon put the tree up. They told him whatever he did NOT to take it apart! They told him to make sure and put it in the attic as one piece or we'd never get it back together. I know what you're thinking...he took it down. Wrong! He just forgot one small detail. He forgot to tell ME not to take it down! So, I started taking it down thinking it wouldn't take very long. "Not very long" turned into an all day chore. I fought and fought with that tree, and in the end...I won. Or so I thought. I got it all stuffed into 2 ginormous tree bags and had them ready to go into the attic when Brandon got home. I was so proud of myself! I just knew Brandon would be proud of me, and happy that he didn't have to fool with it after working all day. Little did I know, the look on his face when he walked in was more....horrified...than proud. He instantly realized that he forgot to tell me not to take it apart. You see, this tree is not in 3 sections like most trees (I learned this as I was fighting Mr. Tree). It's one HUGE pole, and each pre-lit branch attaches seperately and connects to the next branch. So now, we have 2 huge tree bags full of branches and a big pole. Luckily, his Grandparents are coming down Saturday to help us get it back up. Woops!

We did start a new Christmas tradition this year I think. While we decorated, we watched the cartoon version of "The Grinch" and all 3 of the Holiday episodes of Garfield on DVD (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). I think this tradition should stick. I can't wait to watch those with our kids!

I am really looking forward to this weekend. Brandon somehow managed to get Thursday, Saturday, AND Sunday off! Tomorrow, we are staying home, just the 2 of us. I'm cooking a small meal for us and we are going to stay in our jammies, watch movies, and play board games. And probably take a nap or 2. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to this! We're eating at my parents' on Friday, and going out with his parents on Saturday.

Oh! One other thing we are doing this weekend...we decided we wanted to do something baby related, but buying gifts seemed a little over the top, and I'm afraid it would depress me to wrap toys and have no one to open them. So, we decided instead to go pick out a stocking for the baby and fill it with some little baby items. This will be our baby tribute this year, and we can use that stocking for years to come. Last year we bought a cute angel ornament for the tree that says "Already in our hearts."

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I love girl time!

This weekend has been a pretty good one. I haven't gotten much house cleaning done at all, but it has been well worth it! I hate how fast the weekends go by, but I am very much looking forward to the short 3 day work week!! YAY for Holidays!

Today, I went wedding dress shopping with my BEST friend in the whole wide world :) We had a blast! Oh how I LOVE LOVE LOVE weddings! I get so excited! And I am so honored to get to walk through the process with Jennifer! She must've tried on at least 10 dresses today, and she was stunning in every single one of them! I think she has decided on the 2nd one she tried on. It was the only one that actually made her gasp and made her jaw drop. Oh, how I remember that feeling of trying on dresses and feeling so beautiful! I wish I could post a pic of her in her dress, but we wouldn't want the Mr. to go snooping around! ;)

I also get to plan her bridal shower (if you know me at all, you know how happy this makes me!). Not only do I love planning parties, but it makes it that much better when it's for someone I care about. I am so glad to have something to keep me busy for the next few months. Hopefully it will keep my mind off of the baby for a bit.

Speaking of which, this year the holidays are somewhat drab for me. I just haven't been able to get into the spirit yet. It is almost depressing in a way. Every year I think, "maybe next year we'll have a baby to buy Christmas gifts for!" So, as each year comes and goes, it gets harder and harder to see a tree with no toys underneath it. It gets harder and harder not to hear that little bitty laugh to bring joy to the season. But, I know that we should treasure these last Christmases together alone. So, that's what we will attempt to do. Not sure how that will work, though.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Alone in a Crowded Room

Wow...I have been crazy busy lately! My new job keeps my days filled, which I really like. I don't have time to get bored. Before, I sat at my desk answering phones, which left me with a lot of time to stare at the wall and watch the clock. So, I am loving how quickly my days pass now. Hopefully it will stay that way after the new wears off.

I had a pretty good weekend. Saturday, I got to go visit my best friend Jennifer at her new apartment. We didn't do a lot...just hung out. But it was a really good time :) I love my friends!

Yesterday I had a hard day, though. We went to Target to pick up some contact solution, and, as always, I had to stroll through the baby department. I really wanted to buy something, but Brandon gave me that "Oh please...can we leave now?" look. I get that a lot. I ended up being really sad the rest of the day. It is so hard to explain. I know those days will come and go, and that they are a part of this journey, but they are so hard. A lot of the time I feel like NO ONE understands...not even Brandon. I came to the realization yesterday that Brandon and I are both dealing with the wait time very differently. I daydream, shop, and plan. I talk about the baby. I think about it all the time. Brandon on the other hand, finds it easier to just ignore it all and pretend it isn't happening. He changes the subject. He finds it too hard to look at baby stuff or be around kids. Neither way is necessarily wrong by any means, it just makes it even harder when the one person who is supposed to understand....doesn't.

Anytime I mention baby anything to family, I get the response, "we'll get it when it's time. We'll buy a crib when it's time. Your baby will come home when it's the right time." I get so tired of hearing "when it's time!" To me, when someone says that, they may as well say, "Don't forget...you'll have to wait 3 years...don't forget about the looooooong wait." That's what I hear. That feels hopeless to me. That makes me feel like there's nothing to look forward to. No one gets that it isn't about the crib...it isn't about the stroller. It's about feeling like there WILL be a baby in our house. For me, it's therapy. It makes me happy to buy baby things. It makes me feel like I have a reason to be excited. But everytime I get excited, I get shot down. I know that people mean well. I can't expect them to understand. But it is still incredibly frustrating. I have all these people around me who love us, but NO ONE gets it. I can't talk about it because no one else wants to talk about it. If I am sad, no one gets that I'm just sad...they want to bug me about why I'm sad and give me advice that makes me feel no better. So, 90% of the time I just keep my thoughts to myself. I'm afraid that the people around me will think I'm silly if I cry at the mention of a baby. And trust me, talk to me about it for more than 5 seconds and I'm guaranteed to at least tear up. Not always sad tears, though...sometimes excited tears.

I know this post was a *smidge* depressing, but, again, that's part of this journey. I want to share my journey openly on here so that other people who are having these same feelings will know that they are not alone. Thanks for listening to my ranting :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Woohoo! Promoted!

I finally got a promotion! I'm pretty excited. It isn't really much more pay, but every little bit helps! And the best (and most exciting) part is, I am no longer tied down to the front desk! YAY me! I used to be the secretary, so I was tied to the phone ALL day long...such a drag. It was a good job, don't get me wrong, and I had a great boss, but it is so irritating not being able to get up and walk away for a minute. I'm still working in the same office, but not at the front desk anymore. It is sooo nice to be able to go to the little ladies' room without permission :-)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Twenty Things" #4

"My unresolved grief may surface in anger toward you."



This chapter was a little difficult for me. The last thing I want to think about is my child be angry at me for any reason, much less their adoption, and I surely don't want to consider the thought that they may act out or even become violent. This chapter goes over many of the reasons that a child might become angry, how that anger may be presented, and how to handle it.

Not all adoptees will experience anger, and those who do will not display those feelings in the same fashion. However, it is very common for adoptees to be angry, sometimes subconsciously, and to inflict that anger in other areas of his life. Some thoughts an adoptee may have are:

  • "I'm mad that she gave me up."
  • "I'm mad that she didn't love me enough to keep me."
  • "I'm mad at my adoptive parents for taking me away."
  • "I'm lonely."
  • "I'm different than everyone else."
  • "I must protect myself from further abandonment/rejection."

The child may not be able to verbally tell you these thoughts, because they themselves may not understand exactly why they feel angry. Here are some things this chapter suggests adoptive parents can do to help their child sort through anger:

  • ALLOW them to be angry. Create a safe haven for your child to be angry, and don't talk them out of it. If your child expresses his anger toward his birthmom, instead of saying, "But that's not true...she loved you. You shouldn't be angry," tell him, "That must really hurt to feel that way. I can see why you're mad."
  • Reassure them. Although you don't want to talk their feelings down or try to change their mind, you do need to let them know that you love them and that you aren't going to leave them. Adoptees need to know that they weren't placed for adoption because something was wrong with them.
  • Find a good adoption counselor. Make sure it is someone that has experience with adoption issues. It is a good idea for all adoptees to have regular counseling during these periods in their life.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Twenty Things" #3

"If I don't grieve my loss, my ability to receive love from you and others will be hindered."



Whenever we experince a loss, whether it be death, divorce, someone moving far away, infertility, or adoption, we must grieve. It sounds so trivial...so simple...but sometimes it's just easier to pretend everything is normal, and try to forget it. But that doesn't work. If we don't complete the process of grieving, we cannot move on to more positive things in life. I have had to begin to attempt to mentally prepare myself for the fact that my child will have suffered a major loss, and that he/she will need to grieve that loss. Even harder to come to terms with is the fact that I am going to have to be ok with the grieving. It hurts to even think about watching my child hurt and being able to do nothing about it. But, I realize that grieving is necessary for my child to heal.

I am aboslutely loving what I am learning about adoption. Even though some of it is hard to swallow, I am hoping it will make me a better adoptive mom in the long run. I don't believe that reading books can MAKE me a good mom or prepare me 100% for every challenge I might face, but I do feel like I will have a better understanding of my child's loss and grieving process.

"Twenty Things" #2

"I need to be taught that I have special needs arising from adoption loss, of which I need not be ashamed."

Adoptees need to know that although they might be different from the other children, they are not less worthy. Even if your child is biological, it is important to teach them that everyone has differences, and that no one person is better than the other because of them. No two people are exactly alike. My child's difference will be that he/she was adopted.

The book breaks some of the special needs down into emotional needs, educational needs, validation needs, etc. These are just a few of those needs:

  • I need help recognizing my adoption loss.
  • I need to be prepared for hurtful things others may say about my being adopted.
  • I need validation of my dual heritage
  • I need you to delight in my bioloical differences (don't pretend that I am just like you)
  • I need to be taught that my life is not a mistake.
  • I need to be taught that I have immutable value as a human being.

How can you meet the needs of your child? Educate yourself. Talk to them. LISTEN to them. Love them unconditionally. Read adoption books with them/to them. Be sensitive to them. And, cheer them on!

"Twenty Things" Chapter 3

#1: "I suffered a profound loss before I was born. You are not responsible."

It is easy to pretend everything is fine, especially if your child isn't showing any signs of being sad or angry. But (once again) it is VITAL to be sensitive to the fact that they have lost something so important, and they will want to know why. Your child knows it's not your fault, even if sometimes they might seem angry with you. Don't blame yourself for your child's struggles. This does not mean you have failed as an adoptive parent. If your child is talking to you, in my opinion, you are doing a great job! Parents in general sometimes feel that they should be able to wipe away anything that makes their child hurt, because none of us want to see our children suffer. Understand before you adopt that your child will more than likely at some point have negative feelings toward their adoption, and that it's ok. It is not YOU!

"The most important thing adoptees need is the freedom to express their conflicting emotions without fear of judgement."

Let your child know that even though you can't fix things or change the past, that you love them and are willing to hear them out, and that you love them unconditionally, no matter what they say.

"Twenty Things" Chapter 2

"Entering Your Child's World"

It is so important to be focused on what your child thinks and feels. Although we will never fully comprehend what our child is feeling unless we were adopted ourselves, we can still pay attention to the signs of sadness and frustration. Even when a child is adopted at birth, they immediately grieve. I know, I know. A baby? Grieving? But they won't remember! All they want is food! Quite the contrary. They won't be able to recall what happened that day, what their birthmom looked or sounded like, or how things played out, but infants can and will grieve. For 9 months they have been in a womb. They have heard their mother's voice. Felt her emotions. And now, all the sudden, she is nowhere around. Sherrie talks about how when she first was separated from her mother and brought home to her adoptive family, they couldn't get her to take a bottle. She just didn't want to eat. They couldn't find anything wrong with her, though. That's because she was grieving.

Not all infants will grieve outwardly the way she did, but they will grieve. There are some really good pointers in this chapter on understanding your child, but I'll just give you the ones that really struck me.
  • Initiate Conversation with your child!
  • Create a safe, nonjudgemental environment where your child can freely express his feelings and thoughts about his adoption and his birth family.
  • Talk about your child's adoption from day one.

Now for the things your child wants you to know....

Twenty Things

I have been really busy educating myself about adoption. I'm taking advantage of our long expected waiting time, and trying to learn as much as I can. I know adoption is beautiful, but it also brings heartache, frustration, and anger along with it, for both us and the adoptee. So, I want to be prepared for some of the challenges we may be presented with along the way.

I've finished reading "Dear Birthmother," which was a fantastic book and gave great insight into the heart and mind of birthmothers. I have since started reading "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew," by Sherrie Eldridge. FAN-TAS-TIC! This book is completely loaded with great information! Sherrie was adopted herself, so she is able to inject her own personal experiences into the book. I am finding this book so helpful, so I thought I would share my learning experience with you, in case you want to learn along with me ;)

I'm on chapter 6 right now, so I'll have to back track a little. Let's start at the beginning....

Chapter 1: Hidden Losses
This chapter just touches on the many losses involved with adoption. So often we think of adoption as a positive, happy thing, and it is! But it is also filled with loss. Loss on the adoptive couple's part, especially if they have struggled with infertility. The birthfamily's loss, which is pretty self explanatory. And, mostly, the adoptee's loss. The adoptee has lost the single most important person in his life...the person who GAVE him life...his mother. The most natural bond in the world has been diminshed.

The book states, "To deny adoption loss is to deny the emotional reality of everyone involved." While every child will not experience loss in the same way, all adoptees must grieve. Just like Brandon and I are still grieving the loss of our biological child, our adopted child will grieve the loss of his or her birth family. It's painful to think that my child will be hurt or saddened by their story, but this is reality. The last thing I want to do is pretend it didn't happen and negate his/her emotions. Some adoptees will show their grief through anger, frustration, or depression. Others grieve silently. Some will talk. Some won't. But it is crucial to keep the lines of communication open, and to let them know that it is ok to feel...no matter what the feeling may be.

Although adoption brings a sense of loss and rejection with it, that does not mean that your child's life is doomed to be miserable. There will be times when he or she will grieve...times when they will ask questions or want to talk, and there will be times that they don't even think about it. But it is so important to be in tune to what your child is feeling so that you can be prepared to help him/her.

On to Chapter 2....

"Adopted" the movie

Last weekend, while I was stuck inside sick, I took the opportunity to watch "Adopted." In short, this movie is mainly about a girl, Jen, who is an adult Korean adoptee. This movie actually brought tears to my eyes. It was a documentary of her journey to explore her past, and who she is. She was raised in a white family and a white neighborhood, and she was the only colored child in her school. She discusses all of the trials and struggles she has endured, and the effect those have had on her and her family. She admits that her adoptive parents did the best they could, because there were few resources available on interracial adoption back then. Her parents were "color blind."

Interracial adoption is a heavy topic, and I have struggled with it. I have constantly felt the need to justify myself when someone asks if we are open to all races. This movie in a way validated our reasons for choosing against interracial adoption.

I was raised to be colorblind. I was taught that we are all equal...the same...no differences. And, in a way, that's all good and well. It was my parents way of teaching us not to be racist. But when it comes to adoption, the worst thing you can do is pretend your child is the same as everyone else. They aren't! If we did adopt interracially, Brandon and I would not see the child's color. They would be our child, plain and simple. However, that child, as they grow, would have a constant reminder that they don't belong. That they were abandoned. That no one around them looks like them.

I think interracial adoption and culture acceptance is an amazing, beautiful thing. IF you are prepared for that. There is so much more to interracial adoption than some people realize.

Anyway, I thought I would share my measly 2 cents, so if you're thinking about interracial adoption (or adoption in general), or have adopted, you might want to check it out. It has some really good information.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where to start?

My mind is going in circles! It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that there is going to be a baby in my house. The other night I sat in the baby's room, and tried to imagine what it would be like to see a baby sleeping in there, and what it would be like for a baby to be crying in my house. So weird.

Problem is...I have NO clue where to start in preparing! We don't want to get WAY ahead of ourselves, but we do need to start buying things and getting the room ready, so that we'll be prepared when we do get that call. We went to Babies R Us the other night. Let me tell ya- that place can be overwhelming!! My head is spinning trying to decide what to buy first!

So, for all you mommies out there...where did you start when you were expecting?

Friday, October 15, 2010

"My Husband Rocks" Fridays

Last week, we had a little extra cash. Since we haven't gotten to go on a date in a while because our wallets have been so tight, Brandon surprised me. He made me get all dressed up (in an actual dress), and he put on a tie. He took me to Mikado, a wonderful Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse. He usually doesn't care for those places, but he took me anyway. I love them! Luckily, he really liked this place better than Kobe, so we'll be going back :) I just thought it was so sweet.

Want to know more about "My Husband Rocks" Fridays??
http://honestandlasting.blogspot.com/2008/06/my-husband-rocks-friday.html

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PAPER PREGNANT!

Wow! I thought this post would never come! We are officially paper pregnant! That is what the agency calls it. That means we are officially approved! That's right! We are now just waiting for a baby! It's almost surreal. We've spent 10 months getting to this point, and there were times when I honestly didn't think today would come. But it did!!

While I am so incredibly excited, happy, and relieved, I am also sad. There are SO many people who have loved and supported us, and I know they will continue to do so, and those people are sharing in our excitement, which makes me even happier! Unfortunately, though, some people, including some family members, seem as though they could care less. That breaks my heart. Some just say, "ok." Some don't respond at all. And some change the subject when we talk about the baby. I think some of them haven't yet accepted that we are doing things the unconventional way. I really hope and pray they become more open to it soon. I did call my mom, and she was very excited for us.

Some family members (and other random people) have said some not-so-nice things about our journey, and that really hurts. But, what I say to those people is that whether this is the decision you would have made or not, keep your opinions to yourself. If you love us, you will support us, encourage us, and share our happiness. You don't have to agree with us. You don't even have to like our decision. But you do need to support us. That's what family is supposed to do, right? I thought so. I don't know, maybe I was raised weird.

Anyway, regardless of those who discourage us, we refuse to allow them to steal our joy! We are elated! We are going to be parents! To us, this is NOT a last resort. It is not second best. This child will be just as loved as if I were carrying them myself. So, join in our excitement if you wish. If not, well then just sit on the sidelines and watch :)

Thanks to all our friends who have been so incredibly supportive and loving! We love you SO much!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to Write A "Dear Bithmother" Letter

Pen and Paper Pictures, Images and Photos



If you have ever been through the process of domestic adoption (within the U.S), you probably know what a "Dear Birthmother" letter is, and you know how difficult it is. If you ever plan to adopt domestically, you will one day learn how to write one. And let me tell you, it is a lot harder than it sounds. I did a lot of research while writing my letter, and I wrote and re-wrote it many many times.

A "Dear Birthmother" letter is just what it sounds like. It's a letter that you write to potential birthmoms. It goes into your family profile that the birthmoms view while choosing which family they want to parent their child. It tells them who you are and what you're about. With our agency, Brandon and I each write our own letter, trying to keep it at a page's length. Trust me, it is no easy task! I spent MONTHS (off and on) working on mine. How in the world do you sum everything about yourself up into one page? Even harder, how can I be loving and accepting of someone when I have NO idea what they are thinking or feeling??? Through my journey of writing my letter, these are some tips that I gathered and liked. I got them from different places, and some came from friends, and even a birthmother herself. So, here are my tips for writing your "Dear Birthmother" letter.



  • Don't immediately choose "Dear Birthmother" as your introduction. While that is the standard intro, I personally chose "Dear Expectant Parent." Why? Because for one, she isn't a birthmother until she relinquishes her rights. Right now, she is just an expectant mother trying to make a decision for her baby. Second, don't forget the father! A lot of times, the father isn't in the picture, but sometimes he is, and we don't want to exclude him. It isn't WRONG to choose the standard intro, but do it for the right reasons.
  • It is common in the first paragraph to ramble about how you idolize her, how thankful you are for her choice, or how you know this must be a hard decision. Do yourself a favor. Don't. No matter how hard you may try, you can never even begin to know what she is feeling or thinking. You have NO clue. So don't pretend to. It's insulting.
  • Don't tell her how heroic she is. She probably doesn't feel heroic.
  • Keep the first paragraph simple. Don't overdo it. I started by thanking her for reading my letter, let her know I was praying for her, and whatever decision she makes is ok. Even if she decides to parent.
  • In the following paragraphs, tell her who you are. What you're about. What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun alone and as a couple? What do you do for a living? What is your family like? What's important to you? Tell her about your childhood. Tell her what kind of parent you want to be. Pets? Other children? Tell her.
  • Be honest. Be you. My final letter took the shortest time to write, because I stopped overthinking and just wrote from the heart. She knows you aren't perfect so don't pretend to be.
  • Every birthmom is different, and they are each looking for something different. You can't possibly know what she will want, so don't try to make up an image of what she wants and pretend to be that. Just be YOU. God has a baby out there for you, and regardless of your letter, he will make sure to grab her attention! It's ok to present yourself in "your best light." She expects that. Just don't sugarcoat it.
  • This isn't a sales pitch. Don't pressure her, or tell her what she'll get if she gives you her baby. We want our children to come to us, but for the right reasons. I want our birthmom to choose us because she feels it is the best choice for her child, not because it's the only choice. And definitely not because she feels sorry for us!
  • Stay away from saying "our child," or "my child." At the time that she reads the letter, it's not your child. It's still hers.

There is no certain format that will guarantee a referral within 30 days, so to speak. Just be respectful of this woman who is faced with such a decision. Love her.

Most importantly, PRAY for your birthmom, and for each mom who reads your letter. More than likely, there will be many. Pray that they have the peace and guidance they need to make the right decision for their child. Let God handle the rest.

Feel free to ask me questions! I am no professional, I am just learning this journey for myself, and thought I would share what I am learning with you!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Profiles In!

I finally turned our profiles into the agency today! That is a major sense of accomplishment! We had to make 4 profiles with our Dear Birthmother letters and pictures and information about us. This is what the birthmothers will look at when choosing a family for their child. I'll be writing a post later about writing a Dear Birthmother letter (trust me...it's harder than it sounds!).

We haven't gotten our final approval yet, but we are expecting it any day now! Well, next week actually since our social worker is out of town this week. Once we are approved, they will start showing our profiles to birthmoms!!!! WAHOOO!!!!!!!! Thought this day would never come.

Brandon and I have decided that on the day we get our official approval, we're going to celebrate. Not sure how yet, but I know that we are going to buy the baby something that day. I am SUPER excited for that day. I will probably cry like a baby :)

I'm planning to make a video later about our profiles and how we put them together, so keep an eye out if you're needing some tips! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

No news is good news...right?

I hope so, because that's pretty much what we have. Nothing. We are STILL waiting on approval from the agency. They had to request a report from Brandon's counselor, who said he was sending it out on Monday, but our social worker responded to an email of mine yesterday and said they still hadn't gotten it. In case you don't know me that well, I can't stand relying on other people to get things done. If I could, I would drive alllllll the way to the counselor's office, pick up the report, and drive allllll the way back downtown to drop it off at the agency. At least then I'd know they have it! Our SW did say that the homestudy is done and ready for review, they're just waiting on that stinkin report. So frustrating.

My husband really does rock!

I know, I know. I've been a terrible blogger. But, in my defense, work has been crazy busy lately (and I kinda like it that way!), and we have been completely consumed by dealing with insurance companies since Brandon's car wreck last Friday. Most of you are on my Facebook, but if you aren't, he was t-boned on his way home from work last week. He's fine, but it sure has created a big mess! 2 wrecks in 1 year is more than enough for me! Unfortunately the other driver, who was at fault, doesn't have State Farm, and working with a different insurance company is a PAIN! Brandon was on vacation this week, and, bless his heart, he's spent the entire week fighting with insurance companies and getting things done! :( I feel so bad for him. But, in the midst of all the junk going on, he has managed to keep the house clean, do most of the cooking, AND he even went to the grocery store for me yesterday! What a man, right? I think so. :) Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have him. It's so easy to look at the faults. Not so easy to pay more attention to the positives. And there are plenty of positives!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Inspiration

I found this website through my friend Alison. She has begun losing weight, and it has really inspired me. You've got to check this guy out. He lost 120 lbs in less than a year, and he documented the entire journey. It amazes me that he had the guts to video himself. Why does that amaze me? Because I know how embarrassing it is to know that others notice your obesity. Anyway, this guy is so inspiring! I want to lose weight. I want to be healthy. I want to look good. I want to have a second wedding, and be the bride I wish I was the first time around. I want to raise healthy kids, and I want to be there for them when they are grown. I don't want diabetes. Or heart disease. Or high blood pressure. But I'm scared.

How many times have I said "this is it"? And I meant it, too. I've failed time and time again, and I'm afraid to try because I'm afraid of failing. I've felt determination before. I've felt motivation. I've tried everything. Small changes. Drastic changes. Cutting out fat, cutting out sugars, calories...one at a time and all at the same time. Weight Watchers, calorie counting, just "being careful." I've tried giving myself a free day. I've done it ALL. It's never worked. What would make this time different? What must I feel to make sure that I stick with it this time?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How can you have faith in God after he let you down?

I'm not really sure what made me think of this, but as I was drying my hair this morning I started thinking about why I still believe in God after all He has done "to" me.

I've been thinking a LOT lately. I have several friends who are non Christians, and God has really forced me to look in my Christian mirror. I've been asking myself, "are you really helping lead others to Christ? Are you doing what he wants you to? Or are you pushing people away?" That is a hard question to answer. Not because I don't know the answer, but because I do know the answer. I know I will never be perfect, but I also know that I have NOT been the Christian I should be. But, one thing people have asked me is how I can believe in God after he has made me go through infertility. He let me down. "Ask and you shall receive" didn't seem to work. Where was God? I pondered this this morning, and this is the best answer I can give.

1) I didn't become a Christian because of what I might get from it. I became a Christian because I love God, and I want to please Him, and I know what he did FOR me.
2)I KNOW (1000%) that God loves me, and He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11)
3) Becoming a Christian does not guarantee happiness, and it definitely doesn't guarantee a perfect life. It simply means that when I go through the hard times, I have a much stronger hand holding me up.
4) I know that God uses bad situations for good. How, you ask? I'm not sure how he will use me yet, but I know that He will. The best way to help someone is to go through what they are going through. Maybe he'll use me to help someone who is struggling with infertility. Maybe he'll use me to minister to adoptees, or adoptive families, or simply to reflect the adoption that we have in him.
5) I know that God has a plan for me to be a mom. He might plan for us to have biological children later, he may not. Maybe I will be a mom through adoption. And, I don't know when I'll become a mom, or how. But I will. Just because I had a different idea of motherhood than He does, doesn't mean he left me.
6) God loves me. He took the time to create me. He knows everything about me. How can I not love that? I love God, not because he blesses me, but just because of who HE is.

I don't have it all figured out, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves me, and you. Even when it doesn't always feel like it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mila's Daydreams


You have got to check out this blog! I think this is the cutest thing I have ever seen! These pictures of her baby girl are so incredibly creative, and she makes them out of blankets and other things she finds around the house. I love it!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Home Visit COMPLETE!

I am so incredibly happy to announce that the home visit is DONE! In fact, the homestudy altogether is DONE. At least our part. What a relief! Now, we just have to wait for the call from our social worker stating that we are approved and on the list! YAY!!!

The meeting was pleasant. Carolyn is very sweet and laid back. She walked around and looked at the house, checked for fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, and then asked a ton of questions about the house, our community, and we went over our service plan (which we created at the beginning of the process) to make sure nothing had changed. She was there only an hour and a half, so less time than I thought! After she left, we celebrated with lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Brandon's Nana and Pop met us there since they were coming down to see his Dad in the hospital. After lunch, we all went to visit Jeff. I'm glad to say he's doing MUCH better. They finally figured everything out, and hopefully he'll get to come home today.

Downside of the home visit: we had to pay $3,000 which we had to put on a credit card. So, we still need lots of help! We still have t-shirts on sale! Just click on the adoption bug widget on the right side of the screen! You can also make a donation to our Paypal account!

Thank you!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wild Weekend

I had planned to spend the entire weekend cleaning and preparing for our home visit on Thursday. But, as we all know, plans rarely go as planned. I got up bright and early Saturday morning and started ripping the house apart. I'm talking scrubbing floors, dusting ceiling fans and vents, and wiping baseboards...and much, much more. Then I got a call from Brandon. His dad had gone to the hospital on Friday (which we already knew), but it was worse than they thought. They originally thought it was just a kidney infection. But after some tests, they found out he was septic, which means he has a massive infection that has gotten into the bloodstream and has moved throughout the body. He had some injections in his back a month ago, and they think it's from that. So, I decided to go up to the hospital yesterday so Brandon's mom wouldn't have to sit there alone, and to give her a break. I ended up staying all day. Brandon came up there after work, and we went to Logan's for dinner before we came home and crashed. Needless to say, I didn't finish everything. I did get the most important things done, though. And today I haven't felt too great so I've been working on laundry and laying on the couch most of the day. I'm hoping it's just stress and nerves about the home visit. I know there's nothing to worry about, but I guess it's just hard not to stress about it. It kind of makes it all official. And, once we complete the home visit, we officially start the waiting game, which is not going to be easy for me. But, I am sure it will all work out. Please say a prayer for my father-in-law if you think about it.

Oh yeah, and I'm blogging on Brandon's Grandmother's laptop that she let him borrow (well, rather, she needed him to fix some things on it), and let me just say....I need one of these! There's nothing like blogging while laying on the couch with my blankie! :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Husband ROCKS!

My husband rocks because he respects me. Lately, I've come to see just how truly blessed I am with Brandon. I've been having to watch some of my best friends go through some things a woman should never have to go through, including divorce, abuse, and just plain misery.

I am so incredibly thankful that God gave me a husband that truly loves and respects me. He has never once said a harsh word to me (that doesn't mean he's never hurt my feelings, but he has never raised his voice AT me), he has never put me down and made me feel less than beautiful, and he most certainly has never laid an unloving hand on me. Don't get me wrong, our actions toward each other aren't always loving, but I am one lucky girl to not have to worry about being abused or mistreated. Talk about something I take for granted!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Love Dare Day 3

Love is Not Selfish
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor." -Romans 12:10
You cannot love someone if you have selfish motives. We are born selfish. It's a natural sin, because we are human. It doesn't make us bad people, but it takes a lot of effort to not be selfish in our thinking. I know it does for me. We should always put the needs and desires of the other person before our own. Ideally, if both parties are putting the other first, think about the blessings that would come!
Today's Dare:
Purchase something for your spouse out of kindness; something to let them know you were thinking of them.

Love Dare Day 2

Love is Kind
"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." -Ephesians 4:32
Love is an action, not a feeling. There are 4 parts to kindness.
1.Gentleness. Speak the truth in love. Be sensitive and forgiving.
2. Helpfulness. Always put the other first, making sure their needs are met before your own. Always.
3. Willingness. Always listen. Be agreeable. "A kind husband ends thousands of prospective arguments by his willingness to listen first rather than demand his way."
4. Initiative. Always take the first step...whether it's apologizing, or doing something without being asked. Never wait on the other person to get things done or say, "I'm sorry."
Always be kind, even when there seems to be no reward. Don't do something kind in hopes of getting something in return. Do it because it's right.
Today's Dare:
Do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

Love Dare Day 1

I've decided to do "The Love Dare." I started it once before, right after Fireproof came out, but didn't finish (typical of me). It's no secret that this infertility journey has not been easy on our marriage. In fact, it has put a strain on it. I hear that that is completely normal. Nonetheless, Brandon and I want our adoption/infertility/parenting/life journey to bring us closer together, not force us farther apart. That, I believe, is a choice. Marriage takes a lot of hard work and effort, and I am so incredibly blessed to have a husband that cares enough about our marriage to acknowledge the hard times, and to take the steps necessary to make a negative situation into a positive testimony. So, I'll be journaling my "Love Dare" journey on here. I'm on day 3, so I've got to catch up! Here we go.....

Day 1
Love is Patient
"Be completely humble and gentle' be patient, bearing with one another in love." -Ephesians 4:2
The title for day 1 is pretty self-explanatory. Yet so complex. And definitely something I need to work on. I have a tendency to nag. I nag if I come home and the house is a mess. I nag if Brandon waits until the last second to get ready and we're late. I nag if he takes too long to do something. Nag nag nag. Yikes! I never thought I would be the nagging type! But as they say...never say never!
"Patience helps you give your spouse permission to be human."
My husband is far from perfect. Then again, so am I. So, I am honestly working on my reactions. When I feel that aggravation welling up, and I want to nag, I'll stop, take a breath, and ask myself, "is it really that big of a deal?"
Today's Dare:
"Resolve to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose to say nothing at all."
That's harder than it sounds folks!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Becoming Frugal!

Brandon and I have never been that great with money. Neither of us. That's a BAD combination! Neither of us are savers. We're both spenders. But, with a baby on the way (even if it will be 2-3 years), it's time to change all of that! There are so many things that need to be done around the house, and I'm tired of wasting all of our money on eating out and random expenses. I'm tired of asking," Where did the money go?" So, here are few goals I've got for us to work toward. These are in no particular order.

1. Paying off debt, including a set of mattresses and the $3,000 we're about to rack up during our home visit.

2. Cutting out the eating out. We eat out 2+ times a week, and it's eating us alive! No pun intended.

3. Take Dave Ramsey's FPU classes online when we get the money. (Am I the only one that finds it ironic that it costs over $100 to take classes online that are supposed to help you STOP spending money?)

4. Get back into couponing! I keep getting off track because of the time it takes to do it.

5. Brandon's looking for a part time job.

6. Babysitting on evenings and weekends. Need a babysitter?

7. Create a complete budget and STICK TO IT!

8. No more buying crafting supplies unless it's budgeted :( That's a hard one.

9. Cook more. I've been making a long list of quick and easy meals that I can cook during the week. I'm also looking for recipes that I can make 2-3x of and freeze for later, or use leftovers for lunches. That's hard for me. By the time I get home, I rarely feel like cooking. So, I'm hoping that a long list of ideas that I can rotate will be helpful.

10. Emergency fund. We had one. We spent it. (Stupid, stupid, stupid.) That happened last winter when our electric bill shot up to over $300 for 3 months straight, and then I had a wreck and had to buy a new car. Bye-bye savings. It's time to meet again.

Tips? Advice? Donations? (Kidding! About the donations, anyway!)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wedding Daze

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at my sister-in-law's (Brandi) wedding. It was such an incredibly long day, and everyone was exhausted, but it was a beautiful wedding. I didn't get many pictures because the lighting wasn't very good. The bride got a case of cold feet right before the ceremony, and for about 20 minutes we weren't sure if there would be a wedding or not, and we all started thinking we were going to see one of "those" weddings! It was almost like a real sitcom! Luckily, her feet warmed back up and she was fine. Then, just before the grand exit, it started storming like crazy! We didn't get to blow bubbles, but that's ok. Oh, and we musn't forget about the fact that for about 15 minutes while the bride was dressing, they thought they forgot her veil! Minor meltdown, but they found it. What's a wedding without a few mishaps anyway, huh? We wish Brandi and Josh all the happiness in the world!

We thought Brandon was adorable holding Brandi's bouquet ;)



Speaking of wedding mishaps, that reminds me of our wedding. When I got my dress on, I must have bumped up against the furniture, and they use Old English on their furniture. I didn't know it, but FYI Old English will put a huge black stain on a wedding dress! We didn't get a pic of the huge black mark because we were in freakout mode, but this is a picture of Aunt Judy saving the day with the Tide pen! We were all singing the song from the commercials, "Na na na na...na na na na...hey hey hey, goodbye!" It was quite comical. Good times!

Friday, August 13, 2010

"My Husband ROCKS" Friday!

So, I've not been very faithful with the "My Husband Rocks" posts, but I need to pick them back up. If for no other reason than to remind myself how blessed I really am. :)

It's hard to pick just 1 thing today. This week...and the past 6 months in general...have been full of ups, downs, twists, and turns. Not only with the adoption, but in married life as well. No one can prepare you for the strain that infertility can place on your marriage. But in the midst of the hard times, I am still very much aware of how wonderful he is. So, I suppose today's bragging will be focused on last night.

It rained yesterday. Now, that may not mean anything to most of you, but if you're working in Downtown Nashville, and have to take I-24 (the busiest interstate known to man I think) all the way to Smyrna, it means everything. It means it takes 3x as long to get home. And it means I arrive irritable, hungry, and tired. So as I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 1.5 hours yesterday, I was dreading having to go home, cook, and clean up the kitchen. Oh, the burden! Much to my surprise, when I got home, Brandon had dinner ready to go! And I'm not talking about take-out or a frozen pizza, either. He cooked pork chops, macaroni and cheese (he knows its my favorite) and HOMEMADE mashed potatoes!! Ok, I'm aware that that is a carb-loaded meal without veggies, but he worked hard and I appreciated it. He even made pound cake, but it didn't come out right and we had to throw it out. Nonetheless, he worked very hard, and it made my mood so much better to walk in the door and realize I didn't have to cook!! Woohoo!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Third Time's A Charm

We have FINALLY rescheduled our home visit (for the third time)! I promise, this is the LAST time! In case you forgot, we had to put the adoption on hold for a while since we had to get the A/C inspected, the roof repaired, and a few other things as well. Ahhh the responsibilities of life! But, we were able to lift the hold more quickly than we planned, so I am ecstatic about that! The home visit is scheduled for August 26 at 9:00 am! A few months ago, I cleaned the house from top to bottom, hoping we would have the home visit the end of June, so now that it's the middle of August, all my organizing is out of sorts again, so I must start all over! Ay-ay-ay!

Don't forget! We have T-shirts for sale! We have to pay $3,000 when she comes to the house, which we have to use a loan for! I'm not happy about that, but we are hoping that t-shirt sales will help pay it off quickly! I still have teddies if you want one!

www.adoptionbug.com/brandonandkelly

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Pink Loser!!

I am super excited about this site! Probably more excited than I should be, but that's ok. :)

Robyn from My Pink Stamper has re-started another blog, called The Pink Loser. I wasn't a follower the first time, but I am now! It's dedicated to her weight loss, and she is great motivation! She lost 50 lbs last year! Go, Robyn! Anyway, I really enjoy her blogs, and I'm hoping for some good inspiration from this one, too, so I figured I would share!

http://thepinkloser.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Comment Moderation

So, I've gotten some pretty ugly comments lately, so I felt the need to say that rude and hateful comments will NOT be approved for any reason. I realize that not everyone views adoption as a good thing, and that's ok...that's why we have the freedom to believe what we want to. While some may say that "God has nothing to do with adoption," or that, "the right thing for a child is to always leave them with their natural mother" and some may even say that I am "being selfish by ripping an innocent baby out of the arms of a poor, young, helpless girl who is being coerced in to selling her baby," that is not how I view adoption. I do not think that I am saving a child, and I do not think that I am doing something heroic, either. We desire to have a child, and have chosen adoption as our route to do so.

So, the opinions that I express here are just that...my opinions. Comments are welcome, but please be grown up and respectful about it. If you're not going to be respectful, then don't bother because I won't even think about approving it.

Please and Thank You :)

(Is it just me, or is it extremely sad that I have to ask this of grown ups?)

Friday, July 30, 2010

PS22 Chorus

You have got to check this out! I came across them while playing around on Youtube. This teacher, "Mr. B", started this chorus program in an inner city New York elementary school, and it is a perfect example of just how important the arts are to education. He has given these kids something to love and to pour their hearts into. He's encouraged them, and given them confidence and something to be proud of. And you can see it radiating on their faces. They LOVE it! This is what teaching is about, and that's what makes me want to work with kids. I have no doubt that we'll see some of these kids on the Billboards one day.

Check out their other videos, too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0FPZolbYns

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New fundraiser!

Check out our new adoption fundraiser! We're selling some adorable t-shirts through Adoption Bug! We get a great commission on each one sold, so hop on over to our site and purchase yours! And your mom's. And sister's. And your kids'. Well, you get the idea. :) Thank you in advance!

www.adoptionbug.com/brandonandkelly

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Going Home

Has your faith ever been tested? Like, truly tested, as in "why-do-I-need-God-when-He's-only-letting-me-down" kind of tested?



Mine has. I always thought of myself as having this unwaivering faith that could never be shaken. Not so. Infertility is one surefire way to have your faith all shaken up. Throughout the journey, I've tried to be faithful to God, but I have to admit, I get angry. I get sad. I get disappointed. And I feel like God has let me down. And I've let him know it, too. See, I believe that God is a big boy, and he can handle me being mad at him. Plus, it's not like He doesn't know what I'm feeling anyway, so why not let Him know it? I've had several moments where I've just all out screamed at Him for letting me down. And, I believe that it's ok to do that.



Lately, I've really struggled with my faith. So has Brandon. We've had so many questions, a lot of them being "why" questions. Why can't we have a baby? Why does He allow people to have babies that don't deserve them and don't even want them? What about the lady who left her 3-month-old in the car for 6 hours in 100 degree heat while she went into a bar? Or the lady whose 4 kids were taken away because they were covered in feces and living in a house with 3 dead dogs? Or the lady who just flat-out didn't feed her child, and starved him to death? When is it going to be MY turn? I would take much better care of those babies! Why is it so easy for some? Why does it seem like everyone EXCEPT me is pregnant? Why, God? WHY WHY WHY?



Needless to say, I've kind of turned my back on God. I haven't been to church in months. I haven't prayed (except when voicing my anger, or begging for a baby), and I certainly haven't been in His word. Don't get me wrong, I still love God...its just that my actions aren't showing it.



The thing that I adore about God is that sometimes he just sits, like a parent, and watches us have our temper tantrums....watches us make fools of ourselves. I can't help but to imagine him sitting there, smiling as if to say, "Are you done yet?" And then, when we are finally done kicking and screaming, he opens his arms and gives us a big hug. That's where I'm at now....falling back into His arms. And it's such a great feeling.

I've been doing a Bible study titled, "Lord, Change My Attitude." It's been a much needed kick in the pants. The entire first week focused on complaining. The main thing I realized is that complaining isn't always a verbal thing. We can complain through our attitudes and actions as well. Boy, have I been complaining! I also realized that my complaining is an insult to God. I've been telling Him that all of the blessings He's given me aren't enough....I want more. But, that's just not how God operates. So, in moving forward in the healing process, I am realizing that while it's ok to be angry, hurt, and confused, and while it's ok to talk to God about it and be honest, it's not OK to just walk out on Him. He wants me to trust Him, even when things don't make sense. I know, elementary stuff, huh?

Dear Lord,
I know that I have not been in your will lately. I have been so angry, and so caught up in what what I want, and in what I don't have, that I have forgotten all about the many blessings you have given me. Forgive me. Cleanse me. Give me a new heart, and a new faith. I am still hurting, but now I realize that I need YOUR peace and comfort to get me through. I literally can NOT do it without you. Help me to heal. Give me peace and comfort in your Word, and in your timing. I know that your plan is better than mine, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes. Thank you for loving me in the midst of my anguish. I'm not done being angry or hurt yet, but I know that if I lean on you, you will walk me through, and you and I will be so much stronger than we were before. I love you.
Amen.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DADDY!


Yesterday we celebrated my sweet Daddy's 71st birthday. We gave him his first birthday party EVER! I know, we couldn't believe he had never had a birthday party! But, I guess they just didn't do those things in the 30s-40s :) Anyway, happy birthday, Daddy! I love you!
Photobucket

Photobucket
Daddy playing with the pinata goodies! This family is a tad crazy. Just a tad, though.
Photobucket

Friday, July 16, 2010

The weekend is gone and it isn't even here yet!

That's how it always seems, doesn't it? Last weekend FLEW by, and I'm sure this one will, too.
Tomorrow, we're celebrating my sweet Daddy's 71st birthday! He has never ever had a birthday party (not ONE!), so we're throwing him a surprise one!! My Daddy is the best man that exists, and I hope he enjoys it :)

I'm hoping for some rest time Sunday. I am sure I'll find something that needs to be done, but I would love some quiet time to catch up on rest...haha.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This article just came to my attention:

I'm just wondering what others think of this new law? Should it be up to the government to decide what race your adopted child should be? Is this a good law? Is it good for the children involved?
Personally, I disagree with the law. Brandon and I have chosen to adopt within our race, and it isn't because we're racist. We simply don't feel that we can provide the complex diverse environment that an interracial family needs. I don't feel that we can give a child of another race what they need mentally and emotionally, and the last thing I want is for my child to feel out of place. And no, I don't believe that makes me less of a Christian.
What do you think?

New Reading Material

I just added 21 (yes, you read that right....21) new blogs to my reader. I am so excited to read these blogs! They are all blogs about adoption. I googled "adoption blogs" and found a list of the most popular ones. Some are by AP (Adoptive Parents), some by BP(Birthparents) and some are by adoptees themselves. Take a look at my list if you're interested in getting a full idea of adoption from all 3 sides of the spectrum.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A little of this and a little of that

This is kind of a random post, but I need to get back into blogging...I've neglected it lately. Since the adoption has taken over everything, it didn't fail to take over the blog, too....and I, for the most part, don't have much news about that. So, I'm turning it back into a life/adoption blog...I know, that entire paragraph is confusing!



Anyway, if you didn't notice, I changed the web address. It is now http://www.brandonandkellysadoption.blogspot.com/. Yes, I am aware that I was just now talking about how the adoption has taken over. I wasn't exaggerating! The reason I changed it was because I have been advertising the blog, as well as our Youtube channel. I'm really not that big into sharing my entire life on the internet, but if it helps our chances of finding a birthmom, I'm all systems go. It was a safety decision to change the web address since the old one had our last name in it. The agency has instructed us to be very careful about the information we offer...last names as well as any specifics about where we live.



As far as the adoption, I'm heartbroken right now. We have made the decision to put the process on hold for 3-4 months. I know to most people that doesn't sound like much, but to me, it's a lifetime. It was a financial decision. Since we have to pay $3K when they do the home visit, we wanted to get a couple of other things paid off first. We are having to "charge" ALL of the $3K, so the less payments we have when we do it, the faster we can pay it off. I feel peaceful about the decision, but I still don't like it!

On a positive note, I had an excellent weekend. On Saturday, I went to Nashville Shores with my best friend, Jennifer. I think it's so incredibly funny how God works. It's funny to me how he brought us across one another's paths again after so many years, and we've turned out to be the best of friends. I am so blessed to have her. (Love ya, Jennifer!) We had to leave Nashville Shores early due to a storm (booo!), so we met Brandon for dinner at Cheddar's, and then we went shopping at Target! I am so excited to have someone who shares my enthusiasm for Target (and their buggies!)! Needless to say, I was out before my head hit the pillow Saturday night.

On Sunday, I met my friend, Stephanie, for coffee. Stephanie and I met at our adoption training. I am so glad to have her to talk to. Some people try to understand, and then some are just ignorant, but it is so nice to have a fellow waiting adoptive Mommy who truly understands how I feel.

What did you do over the weekend?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bringing Vacation to an End

I am so sad to say our vacation has ended. :( Getting up this morning was terribly painful, considering I had to get ready for work, I had to get up at 6 am instead of sleeping til 8, AND I didn't get to wake up to the rolling waves of the ocean! Triple bummer!

Our trip was fantastic, though. Absolutely perfect. We managed to escape any signs of oil whatsoever. The water was crystal blue! Here's the play-by-play:

We left Friday around 11:30am and drove until about 9pm. Then we stopped and slept for the night. We finished the loooong journey Saturday morning.
We arrived at the resort around 11:30 am Saturday, but the room wasn't ready. That's when we decided to just grab some lunch and stretch our legs by shopping in some local souvenier shops.
After our room was ready, the bellman took our bags to our room, and we went exploring. We strolled on the beach and ran around the resort, before going to Fresh for dinner. FYI: if ever in Daytona, do NOT go there. I repeat...DO NOT GO THERE. Service was terrible! We were the only people there when we showed up, and we were there for 2 hours! Mom made sure they knew it, too. When we didn't leave a tip, the waitress actually had the courage to run after my mom and yell at her! HAHA! Don't worry...mom let her have it :) Quite a funny start, huh?
Sunday we spent the day at the beach/pool. Mom managed to spill her drink over the balcony, which just happened to land directly on a resort security guard who was on break. A few minutes later, another guard knocked on our door with a report that we were throwing drinks off the balcony.
Monday was another day at the pool. We actually managed to get into the frigid ocean water.
Tuesday was my birthday, and we spent it at Seaworld! It was amazing! I have informed Brandon that I want a killer whale, a dolphin, a beluga whale, AND a sea lion!
Wednesday we were super lazy. We didn't leave the condo til after lunch. It was nice to just wake up and lay around.
Thursday mom and dad left for home, and Brandon and I ventured to Ponce Inlet. It's a cute little town with a historical lighthouse that I bravely and patiently waited for Brandon to climb. Then we had lunch at the Marina. After lunch, we went back to the condo and took a nap...until 7pm.
Friday we spend 9 hours by the pool, which was heaven!
Now I must go begin planning next year's vacation!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Individual Interview

I had my individual interview at the agency today. I am SO glad that's over with. Actually, the interviews haven't been bad at all, and actually somewhat fun. But, still...I'm glad that part is over. All that's left now is Brandon's interview and the home visit! Woohoo!

The interview went well. Nothing exciting. She asked bunches of questions, all of them were about me. Me as a person, my habits, my hobbies, my personality, my family, my childhood, my goals, etc. It lasted over an hour.

Many people have been asking why we have had to go through all these interviews. The interviews are simply part of the process. If you ever adopt, you will do them as well. Basically, these interviews are how the social worker gets to know us. She's learning who we are and what we're about, so that when a birthmom comes along, they can tell her about us. Once the home visit is over, Carolyn (our social worker) will compile everything she's learned about us throughout the entire process and create our full profile. This is what the birthmom will see. It will tell her all about us. The finished product will be a completed (and hopefully approved) homestudy!

We've got lots going on right now. We leave for Florida this Friday! I can't wait! We're planning to drive to Orlando and go to Seaworld on my birthday! What better way to get older than to be a kid? :-) I'm excited about the penguins!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Will it ever end???

The process is moving along, but oh so slowly.

We had our first "official" couple's interview today. It went very, very well. We really like our social worker. She has put our minds at ease and made the process a little more comfortable. The interview lasted 2 hours, and she asked TONS of questions. She asked us about our jobs, our marriage, parenting styles, personalities, how we deal with disagreements, our families, and lots of other things I can't even remember now.

Next, we will each have an individual interview. Mine is scheduled for 6/15 and Brandon's is scheduled for 6/28. This is not the timeline I was hoping for, as I was really hoping to get all the interviews out of the way before vacation, but it's not a huge deal. She made me feel much better about the home visit. I really don't have much else to do, so there's not a lot to worry about. What a relief! It looks like it will be the first of July before the homestudy process is done, and it may be the end of July before we have an approved homestudy and are placed on the list of waiting families. But, the process does not end there!

We have a LOT to do once the process is done. We have to begin really preparing for the baby. Although we are expecting a 3 year wait, there is no guarantee of that...it could be 2 years...it could be 4...it could be 1. We just don't know! That makes it hard. But, I would much rather be prepared and ready than to not be.

Also, once the home study is approved, we must begin the stressful act of saving up a LOT (and I mean a LOT) of money. Not only are we trying to get a good emergency fund saved up, but we also have to save up $7,000 rather quickly (we will have to have this on hand when a birthmother chooses us, because we will have to pay it when the baby comes to us), not to mention, money for traveling if the baby is in another state, and money for our adoption attorney for the finalization. MY GOODNESS! I can't even begin to think of how much we need for all of that! It's a tad bit overwhelming! So, stay tuned for more fundraiser announcements!
We also still have plenty of Teddies for sale!

We have a LONG way to go until we bring our baby home, and we appreciate all your love and support! Thank you!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Da Funk

That's the mood I've been in lately...a funk. I think it's the full moon. I'm really starting to believe in that!

I was so irritable last weekend I don't think I got one thing done! Sheesh! So, I have that much more to do this weekend! I did buy the baby proofing items, but I'm hoping we won't have to actually install them. Since we'll possibly be waiting 3 years, I don't know why I need to have cabinet locks installed NOW.

I've got a fairly fun weekend planned. Well, aside from tomorrow. Nothing to do tomorrow. Sunday we are going to the Daughtry concert! I'm excited! I've loved him ever since Idol, and for Brandon's V-Day gift this year, I bought tickets. Should be a fun day. On Monday, we're cooking out at my parents' house. I'm looking forward to some family time, too.

What are your Memorial Day plans?

Friday, May 21, 2010

1,000,000 + 1

That's how many things I have to do this weekend! Or so it seems.

Our social worker called yesterday. Our next couple's interview is June 2 at 10am. Excited? Nervous? I don't know yet...probably some of both.

The way it looks, I'm thinking our home visit will be right AFTER we get back from vacation. (Which STINKS!) Therefore, I have to get everything ready before we leave...which is 4 weeks from today! Not a lot of time! YIKES! So, on my list for this weekend, (in case you were so incredibly bored that you just have to know what I'm doing) is the following:

Friday night:
Go grocery shopping
Go to Lowe's and purchase a fire extinguisher
Go to Walmart

Saturday/Sunday:
Patch holes in baby's closet
Try to paint baby's closet
Hang the curtains in the living room that have been laying in the floor for months
Install outlet covers
Install cabinet locks
Work on adoption profile
Test smoke alarms and change batteries

Think I can finish all that????

Thursday, May 20, 2010

1 Down, 3 To Go....

So we had our 1st interview with the adoption agency yesterday. I can't thank everyone enough for your thoughts and prayers! It was very nervewracking, but went well. This wasn't one of our "official" interviews, but they requested this one to clear up some things in Brandon's psychiatric evaluation. They basically asked him a million questions about his childhood, his family, etc. (I like the way one of the social workers put it...he has a "colorful" past). Basically, they just wanted to see how those things might affect his ability to father. Luckily, they could see that he has done the complete opposite and that his childhood has given him a million more reasons for wanting to be a parent. Now, we are waiting to hear from them (hopefully today or tomorrow) to schedule our other interviews. Many have asked about the process, and what we have left to do. Some people thought by "interview" I meant with a birthmom. Unfortunately, it will be a long time before that happens.

We will have at least 3 more interviews, and then the home visit. After that, it will take 3-4 weeks for them to write up the home study. Once that is complete, we will be in the waiting "pool" of families, waiting to be chosen. According to the adoption plan we have chosen (such as race, sex, etc), we could be waiting 2-3 years for a referral. I know, yikes. But, we are as prepared for the wait as we can be. I'm trying not to focus on the wait. I'm trying to get through week-by-week and month-by-month. It will be a long, painful wait, but I know it will be completely worth it in the end.

Now, for some random thoughts for the day:

  • I only have 4 weeks until vacation! In approximately 697.25 hours, we will be on our way to Daytona Beach!! I cannot wait!
  • I am so glad that my long awaited energy burst came back at 6:15pm last night. I spent the evening moving appliances and cleaning behind them. What fun!
  • I am SOOOO proud of my husband! He has been wonderful about keeping the house clean. He has even had dinner ready when I got home every night this week!
  • I'm debating between Subway and a Chicken Caesar salad from McD's for lunch...what do you suggest?

What have you been up to? :)

P.S. Thanks to Jennifer for the title! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Lord, Thank You for My Dirty Clothes..."

I know it's cliche, and people always say this after a disaster, but the TN flood has changed my thinking on some things. Things that I normally complain about and put off have now become blessings. I hope it stays that way. A few of those things include:

  • Thank you, Lord, for clothes that need washing, because that means I have clothes.
  • Thank you for the dirty floors because that means I have more than a concrete slab.
  • Thank you, Jesus, for my well insulated house.
  • Thank you, God, that my car needs washing, because that means I still have a car.
  • Thank you that we have not one, but 2 cars!
  • Thank you for the house that needs de-cluttering, because that means I still have all my belongings.
  • Thank you for the dishes that need washing and the dishwasher that will do said washing for me.
  • Thank you for my full pantry.
  • Thank you for the stove I need to clean and the fridge that needs wiping out, because that means I didn't have to throw mine away.
  • Thank you for the furniture that needs dusting.

I am sure this list will continue to grow. What's on your list?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Recap catch-up

I've been a slacker lately. My apologies. So, here's a little recap for you.



As far as the adoption, we've heard nothing. I am giving my best attempt at being patient. Also, due to the flooding in Nashville last weekend, the adoption agency was closed last week, which will only delay things further. Please pray that things will pick up.



Speaking of the flood, I'm assuming you've heard about the Nashville Flood? Well, unless you live out of state. Then you probably didn't hear about it because it only got 15 minutes of National news coverage. Which is funny considering this is being considered the most costly non-hurricane disaster in history. In TN, it is the biggest disaster since the Civil War. We have never had a flood like this in recorded TN history. THOUSANDS of homes were under several feet of water. People have lost literally everything. I haven't blogged about it until now because I didn't know what to say. Saturday, I had the opportunity to spend the day in the Pennington Bend neighborhood with our church helping clean out houses. I'm not sure what I was expecting to see, but it was NOT that. House after house after house being demolished. The entire streets were immersed in piles of drywall, flooring, insulation, furniture, and personal belongings. Piles that were taller than the houses themselves. Seeing it on the news is one thing. It's a completely different thing to actually see people's family photos laying in the trash pile; seeing childrens' paintings ruined; not to mention talking to the homeowners and helping them sort through their lives. There isn't a word to describe it. Please be praying for those who have been affected by the flood.

I've also been toying with the idea of going back to school...full time. Talk about an intimidating idea! I am terrified at the thought. I have talked myself out of it so many times before. Mainly because I can't afford to quit my job at all. With a new car payment, a mortgage, and a "baby on the way" quitting my job is out of the question. So, I would be working all day, doing school every evening and weekends, preparing for the baby and dealing with the adoption, AND juggling my marriage and home life. That's a little scary. So, we shall see. All I know is that I do NOT want to do this job forever. I want more out of life. And I know I'll never stop regretting it until I do it. So, say a prayer for clear guidance and an open window. Thanks. :)

Did you have a good Mother's Day? I hope so. Mine was....so so. It was great to spend time with the parentals. Saturday night we got to go out to eat with my parents, sister, bro-in-law and his family. Sunday we visited my mother-in-law. However, I couldn't help but throw a little pity party for myself. Pathetic, I know. But no one thinks about the Mommy wannabe's. It was a hard day. Here's hoping that was the last sad Mother's Day for me!

What have you been up to?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Home Study Anxiety

Ok, so we haven't even been scheduled for our first interview, and the emotions and stress of the impending home study are setting in. I've heard most adoptive parents talk about the stress and emotions of the home study, but I thought, "Well, you must be really emotional then, because I'm not very stressed about it at all!"

Well, that has all changed. I have what I hope are normal feelings and concerns...

Are we ready?
Is our house "safe" enough?
Are we good enough Christians to get that approval stamp?
Do we have enough in savings? (Easy answer...no)
What if they think we're financially irresponsible?
What if Brandon's diagnosed depression affects our results?
Are we ready enough for the home visit?
What if we get delayed?
What if they say we need to work on some things first and it takes a lot longer?

...and many other thoughts. Again, I need to be reminded that God doesn't need Bethany's approval to make us parents.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Lord, Change my Attitude"

I've started this Bible study called "Lord, Change My Attitude," hence the title in case you didn't catch that. :) I must admit that I am completely terrible at reading my Bible...I am the world's worst at being "too busy," or even just not wanting to. Does that make me a bad Christian? I hope not! Anywho, I've been doing it in the evenings when I get home, and I must say, I rather enjoy that time with God. And He knows I need it! The first week talks about complaining...seems like this was the perfect fit for me.

My heart is heavy right now. I know it's probably going to be a couple years down the road before the baby actually comes home, but I am wracking my brain trying to find a way to be able to stay home. My heart's desire is to stay home with my child and take care of the home, not to go through this adoption process, bring the baby home, and then leave them for 10 hours a day while I work, only to have to come home, cook, clean up, feed baby, bathe baby, and put baby to sleep with no quality time with him/her. That thought makes my heart hurt. I am terrified we won't be able to (or that my husband won't be willing to do without his many luxuries, because he has ALWAYS had everything he wanted and is a tad spoiled). However, God has been teaching me such a valuable lesson lately...to let go and let HIM. I shouldn't worry about "what I'll eat or wear" etc. So, I'm making it a point to simply pray that He will open that door, and that He will give me peace about whatever situation we are given. That's not easy to do, by the way.

I have a feeling God has a LOT of lessons in store for me on this journey.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another weekend has come and gone...

Lately it seems like there just aren't enough hours in the day to get anything done! Well, it always seems that way, but especially here lately! The week drags by and the weekend is gone before I even know it got here! We have been insanely busy. Between the adoption, fundraising, paperwork, normal housekeeping, family, and Spring Yardwork, we just haven't stopped!

The weekend was pretty good. I had a really long to-do list, and sadly, I only accomplished a few items on said list. Why you ask? Probably has something to do with spending 7 HOURS at the salon on Saturday. Yes, you read right. 7 (as in seven...between 6 and 8) HOURS! Ridiculous, I know. You would think they gave me all new hair for that amount of time, huh? I went to the Paul Mitchell Cosmetology school in Antioch. It's actually a really nice place. The students do all the work, so that's why it took so long. The guy that did my hair (whose name was Indigo, and he dressed in women's clothing...not that it's relevant, but still interesting) did a really good job but kind of took matters into his own hands and did what he wanted with my hair...which turned out to be a good thing. I love it :) I wouldn't do it again for 7 hours, but I love it nonetheless.

So, I lost my whole Saturday, which was when I was supposed to get things done! Oh well.

We are beginning to prepare for the homestudy, and I am quickly realizing just how much we have to do! Not only does my Type A personality think my house has to be pristine and without a flaw, but we also have to get the crib and childproof the house. I originally thought babyproofing the house would be no biggie...move the chemicals to a high cabinet and install some outlet covers....HA! I got to researching it, and my word! There is SO much to do! Granted, I think some of these babyproofing gadgets are just moneymakers (and silly ones at that)...like bumper pads for the tables. I bumped my head plenty of times as a kid, and I turned out just fine! On second thought...note to self: buy bumper pad.

I am itching to get to the fun stuff already! I am ready to start painting the baby's room soon! We are hoping to at least have that started by the home visit (in roughly 2 months). Ay-ay-ay...so much to do!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Want to help bring our baby home?

We still need your help to finish our homestudy fees! We still have candles for sale! We will only be selling them through April 30, so make sure to get one! They are fantastic! Click here to buy yours! (And yes, they can ship outside the US!)

We also have plenty of teddy bears who need homes! Click our "donate" button to the right to get yours for $8!