Tuesday, June 30, 2009
From what I've read, deciding to set up a nursery for an adoptive couple is a very personal choice. On one hand, having a nursery with no baby in sight is like buying a lawn mower for a yard with no grass. Some women can't bear the thought of having to see the nursery and not know when a baby might be there to fill it. For others, it gives hope. For a while, there was no way you could get me to think about setting up a nursery. But the idea of it grew on me, so finally a few weeks ago we set up a pack and play that has a bassinet attached to it. We put the few baby items we have in the room, and cleaned the room out of anything non-baby. So we have wipes, bottles, a couple cans of formula, and one baby blanket to not-so-fill the cabinets.
The morning after we set up the room, I woke up and passed by the room only to notice the bassinet had an occupant--our cat, Phoebe! It was the cutest thing! So if nothing else, at least she is able to use it!
I say we emptied the room of all non-baby items. That was true, until yesterday. David decided he wanted to learn how to play the drums so he bought a drum set, and decided the nursery was a good place for it. Ha! I was talking to Cara online yesterday and she said, "Well what nursery wouldn't be complete without a drum set?" Double Ha!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Seize the day, seize whatever you can
'Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day, pray for grace from God's hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day
I was thinking that I need to remember that I have favorite things that can help me seize the day. Lately all I can think about is doom and gloom! It consumes my mind. When it's not consuming my mind then my mind is just on mundane things, like going to work or getting the kitchen counter cleaned. I was suddenly inspired while swimming to write a list of my favorite things I can remember I have when my mind is consumed by gloom. I easily forget that there are things that make me smile!
Sarah's Favorite Things (in no particular order):
1. Baskin Robbins' chocolate peanut butter ice cream
2. Indoor rock climbing
3. Taking the dogs to the dog park
4. My rose garden
5. Swimming in my pool when it's really hot outside (like today)
Since I went swimming this afternoon, I guess I better go clean the kitchen counter...
Monday, June 22, 2009
I was also told today I had to censor some of what I say in this blog. That frustrated me, because this blog is all about honesty and openness. I want to be completely transparent. I want to be transparent for my friends, so they can see what I'm going through. I want to be transparent to people who are thinking about adoption, because I think shared experiences are important. And I even want to be transparent for birth moms who might read this, because there are so many facets to adoption. It's one of those things that even though I understand where the censorship is coming from, it's not a good feeling to know that I can't write about everything the way that I think is best and honest.
On top of all that of course I've been feeling discouraged about not having a baby yet. I'm not actually discouraged about the time it's taken so far for the adoption. I think I'm more discouraged about the time it possibly could take. I'm discouraged for David, that he is almost 37 and has waited even longer than I have for this.
My co-worker let me go home early today because she knew I was having a hard day. I came home feeling very, very discouraged. But David and I talked about how important it is for us to really "live life" right now. We don't really know what that means, but we're praying that we'll find out soon!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I guess I have to take back all the bad things I said about blogging; this blogging is fun. I think next, I'll twitter, whenever I figure out what that is...
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
About the first two weeks after we finished our interviews, David and I were on pins and needles wondering when we might get a phone call from our agency. As I mentioned before our case worker said it would "probably happen pretty fast." We met a couple in our class who had switched agencies so they already had all their paperwork finished. I think it only took them a month or two before they got their baby. So because of that we were thinking it would also take a month or two. Well, it's been a little over two months of waiting, so obviously our timing wasn't quite right! I heard somewhere that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. God must be laughing a lot because of us!
We did get a phone call on Memorial Day weekend that our profile was being shown to a birth mother who had just given birth and was in the hospital. We got the phone call from our case worker at about 7:30 pm and were told that she was planning on making a decision that night. If we were chose, we would be picking up the baby girl from the hospital the next day. We didn't get a call that night, so we assumed we weren't chosen. The next day at about 1 pm our case worker called and said we weren't chosen. The birth mother chose a couple who already had a child--I'm not sure if the first child was adopted or "homemade." Anyways, we were a little bummed of course but not as much as I imagined we'd be when we got into this. It just wasn't "our" baby.
After that phone call our case worker told us she wouldn't call to let us know if we were being shown anymore, she would just call us when we were chosen. I'm not sure that I like that idea. I think I'd rather at least know that our profile is out there. So David and I decided we'd email her every week or two to find out if we had been shown. We've only done that once since Memorial Day weekend, and our case worker told us that they are expecting a couple of babies later on in the year but nothing else going on right now. Apparently there are 10 couples waiting now.
We both go back and forth on how anxious/disappointed we are during this waiting period. Sometimes we're totally ok with the time it's taking, and sometimes we are pretty down in the dumps about it. Right now what is scary for me is that David has orders to move to Maryland in September. We're hoping the assignment will get cancelled because we found out last week that David was promoted during the last promotion cycle. The job that is in Maryland is for someone in his current rank, but since he will be moving up a rank, he's been told that they wouldn't want him for that position anymore. If it doesn't get cancelled and if we haven't adopted by then, well, that just sucks. We'll have to start all over if we move and that means a longer wait. Plus, one of the reasons I like our agency so much is because of the open adoption. I don't know that I'd want to adopt a baby here and then leave for two years if the birth mother is wanting an open adoption. I also don't think I'd want to adopt a baby in Maryland and then move away for the rest of our lives once David retires. So basically, I don't know anything! I don't know what we'd do, we'll just cross that bridge when we come to it.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
She rang the doorbell and we sat down at the kitchen table. She asked us to describe the neighborhood and say if there were many kids around. She asked us about our house, including the year it was built, how many bedrooms, square footage, and what decorating style we had. She asked us if our dogs were good with kids and we said yes. Our dogs are actually much better with kids than they are with adults! When there are kids at the dog park they just go up to them and sniff or lick them. With adults, our dogs like to jump up to be at their level. With kids they don't have to, because they can stare them in the face.
After she asked us the questions we gave her a tour of the house, and that was it! She said it would take her about a week to get her report written to submit to the courts. She told us once our fingerprints came back and the courts signed off on us, we would get a letter of certification in the mail.
That night I think I finished our profile that the birth mother gets to see. The following is the information that is included. It is not in the best format here because it was in a table in a word document, but here is the best way I know how to post it...
FAMILY INFORMATION FOR BIRTH PARENTS
NAMES: David and Sarah
YEAR MARRIED: 2004
(There were a few items in the beginning of the profile that I did not include simply because they were in a table and I don't know how to post a table on here! Information included date of birth, race, height, weight, hair/skin/eye color, and religion)
Describe your personality
Husband: Very outgoing, friendly, charming, love to laugh and make others laugh
Wife: Caring, loyal, good listener, introspective
How do you express affection?
Physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service
Give the name(s), age(s), personality and physical description(s) of your children. Born to you or adopted?
If you do not have children in the home, what experiences have you had with children?
We have several nieces and nephews. We also have grade school age cousins that we hang out with at least monthly and baby sit occasionally. We also have several friends with infants/toddlers that we see weekly and baby sit occasionally.
Why do you want to adopt?
We want to welcome a child in our home that we can pour our love into!
How will you tell your child about his birth parents?
We will start from a young age and use materials such as children’s books or videos to help them understand who their birth family is and who their adopted family is. We will answer all questions honestly!
What goals do you have for your child?
We would love for our child to learn how to love God, him/herself, and others. We would love for our child to learn how to be generous, kind, and have fun!
How do you plan to discipline your child?
We plan to set and communicate boundaries, use lots of positive reinforcement/encouragement, and teach consequences for actions.
What is special about your family? What sets you apart?
We love God and we know we are loved by God. We are generous with our time and resources. We love meeting new people and welcoming them into our home. We love to laugh and joke and make others laugh as well.
What do you do with your free time, as a family (i.e., evenings, weekends, and vacations)?
In the evenings we like to have dinner together, relax, and talk about our day. On the weekends we like to have a good balance of going out and doing activities and staying at home and relaxing. We spend time together on the weekends watching movies, going out to dinner on occasion, or hanging out with friends. On Sundays we go to church and sometimes out to lunch after church with friends. In the summer we have a pool we use and enjoy inviting friends over for cookouts and pool parties. We travel usually twice a year to spend time with out-of-town family. We have also vacationed to such places as Hawaii, Las Vegas, San Diego, and New Mexico.
What makes your home distinctively yours?
Our door is always open for guests and friends! We love to have people over whether we just met or have known them for years.
Do you currently smoke?
What kind of pets do you have?
Two dogs and one cat.
What is your extended family’s involvement in your lives?
We visit David’s side of the family once a year and talk on the phone with them about twice per month. Sarah’s cousin lives in Tucson and we get together with her family about once per month. Sarah’s parents live in Florida and they visit twice per year and we visit them once per year. We talk to them on the phone several times per week. They are planning to move to Tucson in a few years and we are so excited to have them around to see their grandchildren as they grow up! We are very close with our extended family and they provide us with a great deal of support.
Are they aware of your plan to adopt? How do they feel about it?
Everyone is aware and everyone is excited for us! Sarah’s half sister recently adopted a toddler from Vietnam and it was a very exciting time for the family.
If mother is employed out of the home:
How long will mother/father be off on maternity leave?
How many hours will mother work?
David will have three weeks of paternity leave and will take additional time off since he has two months of vacation time saved. Sarah will be off for at least the first three months and may stay home full-time after that as well. If Sarah goes back to work it would most likely be part time and in the evenings or weekends while David is home with the child.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Before my interview David and I were able to get our letter to the birth mother written and printed and our photo collage put together. I brought it with me to our interview and our case worker said that was all she needed to put us in the "Waiting Families" book. She said we were #7 in the book, which means there were 6 other couples in front of us. 3-5 couples that match birth mother/adoptive parent criteria are shown to a birth mother at one time.
Here is our letter to the birth mother:
Thank you so much for taking time to read our letter and considering us to be the parents for your child. We would like to start off by telling about how we met, our family dynamics, and our future plans.
In 2002, we were introduced by a mutual friend, began dating and a year and a half later (Jan 04) we married. Since being married, we have fallen in love with Tucson and have decided to make it our permanent home. Sarah’s cousin and her family live here and we get together as often as possible. Sarah’s parents plan to move here from Florida in a few years to be closer to us and their grandchildren. David’s parents are both deceased, but he maintains a strong relationship with his brothers and grandparents, who live in South Carolina.
David was born in 1972 and grew up in South Carolina with his parents and two older brothers. Shortly after graduating from high school, he joined the Air Force. It was one of the best decisions he ever made. The Air Force has given him a great career and plenty of opportunities to travel. He has completed 18 years of service and in that time has lived in Japan, Germany, Korea, Texas, and Arizona. He has had various job assignments during his enlisted career, but most recently was appointed as a Team Leader for the First Term Airmen Center, where he helps younger airmen who are new to the base get acquainted with what the Air Force has to offer. Once he completes his 20 years of service, he plans to retire and pursue a career in law enforcement. One thing that is unmistakable about David is his desire to laugh and make others feel comfortable and laugh along with him. David is a true Southern gentleman and shows it in his words and actions. His favorite thing to do is hang out with friends! He also likes playing cards, bowling or just working on things around the house.
Sarah was born in 1979 and grew up in Pennsylvania with her parents and her older sister. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of South Carolina. She graduated with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management and moved to Tucson to pursue her career. A couple years into her career she decided she wanted to be in a “caring” profession and chose to go back to college to become a nurse. She was accepted to the University of Wisconsin and graduated in 2007. Upon graduating she worked at a local hospital to gain experience and now works in an allergy clinic. Being a nurse is very natural for Sarah because she is a kind-hearted person. She has many activities that she enjoys doing including yoga, camping, hiking, and gardening. She also likes to go to the dog park with our two dogs, Chandler and Monica, or snuggle with our cat, Phoebe, and read a book.
We are Christians and are part of a group in our church called “Young Marrieds”. It is a group of married couples in their 20’s and 30’s who meet weekly to discuss a book or study the Bible. We also do many social events together including game nights, picnics in the park, “Rock Band” nights, camping, hiking…you name it! This group has been the biggest blessing of our marriage so far and we are thankful that God has blessed us with such a wonderful group of friends. We are all getting to the age where children are coming into the picture and it has been so much fun watching their kids enter the world and begin to grow up together.
We own a home with a pool located in a family-friendly neighborhood with lots of schools, playgrounds, and a park nearby.
Sarah plans to stay home full-time with the baby and will evaluate her job options after three months. Being a nurse is great because there are so many options and many jobs that offer flexibility in scheduling. We may decide it is best for Sarah to stay home full-time, otherwise she will probably work part time in the evenings or weekends when David will be home with the baby. David will be given at least three weeks of paternity leave from the military and will take additional time off the first few months since he has saved up almost two months of vacation time. We have always dreamed of being parents and are so excited to meet the child God has planned for us!
Thank you again for taking the time to read and learn about us. May God guide your path and bless you along the way.
These are the pictures we put in our photo collage. Walgreens.com lets you choose photos and puts it into a collage for you, so it was super easy.
We had to have 10 photos in our collage. We also had to choose a picture to put on the same page as our letter to the birth mother. It was kind of stressful picking out the photos, especially the profile picture. Of course we're scrutinizing every picture and wondering what people will think about when they look at each one. What we tried to do was choose pictures that showed our funny/playful side, because I think that's what makes us unique. We also wanted to include some family photos so the birth mother could envision their child with other family members as well, not just ours.
Here is the picture we used for the profile:
I wrote in my last blog that I would be writing about our home study this time, but I forgot that our individual interviews came first. So in the next blog I will post about the home study and I will post our profile information that the birth mother sees also.