Sunday, July 31, 2016

Fundraiser Updates

First, thank you all so much for the love and kind words you sent our way about our adoption profile book. It was really exciting sharing it with all of you! AND, I just have to keep saying how blown away we are by everyone who is helping us meet our fundraising goals. It has been so humbling and heart warming and I just can't thank everyone enough.  

Puzzle Fundraiser Update

We have had 190 pieces of our puzzle sponsored so far!!! I can't believe we are actually almost done with this 252 piece puzzle! There are still 62 pieces left if anyone else is interested in helping us complete the puzzle. It is $25 to sponsor 1 puzzle piece. (You can donate via our YouCaring page here or Paypal, or if you aren't comfortable with YouCaring or Paypal, you can send us a check or use Chase Quickpay too, just email me at and I'll send you info).  It is so much fun to write names down on the puzzle and watch it come together. I can't wait to hang it in the nursery:) If you want to go back to our original puzzle post for more details on how you can be a part of this click here
190 pieces claimed so far, only 62 pieces left!!
Puzzle fundraiser
Do you see these 7 names across the top? My nephews and nieces have pooled together their babysitting money to sponsor a piece for each kid in their family. I CRIED when my sister in law told me they were doing this for us.


Puzzle fundraiser

Jewelry Fundraiser Update

I am still making jewelry to sell in my Etsy shop. Slowly but surely I'm adding new pieces here and there. BY FAR the love knot bracelet has been the most popular item, so much so that I've even calling it our adoption bracelet. I can make these bracelets in lots of color combinations and I might go get more bead colors so there is more variation. So far the white and gold has been everyone's favorite. I am selling these for $15 and 100% goes towards our adoption! So if you are interested in having one of our adoption bracelets then check it out here
Love knot bracelet
This is our love knot "adoption bracelet"
Adoption bracelet
Our adoption bracelet being modeled from across the country!
  Some of the other items that people have loved are my tassel necklaces and beaded hoop earrings. I've been trying to come up with some unique pieces that are trendy and stylish. Most of these I only have beads to make one necklace so they are totally one of a kind and once gone I can't make another. So if you like something, don't wait because there won't be another one later. Here are some of my favorites that are in my Etsy shop right now. 
Beaded hoop earrings
Beaded hoop earrings
Thank you again everyone for all of your support whether financially, in prayer, or in encouragement. It all means so much to us. This is a time we are never going to forget. Have a great week!!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Our Adoption Profile Book

I've been promising to show details of our adoption profile book. It's a vulnerable thing, to post this on the Internet for the world to see. I didn't really think about it because I was so excited about getting the books, but I actually feel slightly nervous and embarrassed putting so much of ourselves out there for everyone to see. But I think it's good. I think it's great to share what it's like and what we have to do to make this adoption happen. When I was researching how to make a good profile book I was SO thankful when other adoptive families shared theirs, so I want to share ours too. I spent hours upon hours making this book, like probably over 24 hours collectively. I typed and retyped, and then retyped again. How do you explain to someone who you are and how great of a family you will provide for their child? It's impossible I think. And we wanted to be real and honest but not too braggy, but not too humble and plain either. And to find the right balance between photos and text, not enough information and too much unimportant information. So I would erase and retype again, and find a new picture. We really bared our hearts in this book, and I am SO proud of it. I love our life together and I love our families. I love how the book turned out. It is so..."US".  So here it is. Our adoption profile book. Leave me a comment letting me know what you think to help ease some of this embarrassment of baring my soul to the world:) PS. If anyone is wondering why we have so many copies of our book, it is because we are working with consultants and signing up wth 5 agencies and each agency requires 2-5 books. 
Adoption Profile Book
Our adoption profile book
Birth mother letter, dear birth mother
Adoption profile book
Adoption profile book
Adoption profile book

Our Home Study is Finished!

We are finished with our home study!! YAY!!! 

I should have posted this two weeks ago, since it's been two weeks already, but I've been SO busy!! Having the home study done is a huge, tremendous relief. We are approved and licensed to parent now! The home study went ok, but we weren't thrilled with it. Our case worker was really difficult and gave us a really hard time about adopting a child of a different race. It was almost like she was trying to scare us out of it. We weren't quite sure what was happening because we kept saying YES we are open to any race and then she would say "but you just don't get it" and we were left confused and you want us to say no? Ultimately we are approved after HOURS upon hours of discussion and additional education and us still saying YES!!! I'm not sure why she gave us such a hard time. I've talked to other people who said it was not like this with them so I'm not sure if it was her or us, but either way it's over now and only God knows who our child is going to be, and that's the way it should be!

Here are some thoughts on the home study process: 

It was hard. It was invasive and a bit demoralizing. I'm an open book and probably over share details of my life most of the time. But HAVING to give so many details to someone who HAS THE POWER to tell you that you are not worthy of being parents is HARD. And we know we are worthy. But just accepting that we cannot get pregnant and have our own children is hard enough, having to put ourselves up on a stand and say go ahead "look us over, up and down, poke and prod and dig out our secrets, judge us as hard as you want" so that YOU can decide if we are good enough to be parents. I just don't know what to think about that. I think I started feeling like it's just so unfair that everyone else has a right to get pregnant whether they are fit to parent or not. There are HORRIBLE parents out there and they don't have to go through this rigorous investigation. It's humbling I guess. Actually, humbling is a really good word. 

So what's next? 

The case worker has 30 days to write up our home study. I think I talked about this before that the home study is a document. I never knew that. She has to write up a very detailed report about us and this document is what will be sent to agencies and it's basically our "license" if you will. Once the home study document is finished then we will have it sent to the agencies along with our profile books (which are done!!) and we will start showing our books to expectant mothers. We could be chosen at any time and the baby could be born already or there could be a due date in the near future. We have NO IDEA. I feel like I am pregnant but I do not know when my due date is. It's a really crazy feeling, and to say I feel panicked is an understatement. Everyone says you don't really need much for a newborn, and yea yea I know that. But I'm one of those people that NEEDS to be prepared and ready. And right now I'm not ready, so I'm going into panic mode wanting to read baby books on sleep habits and I'm researching and registering for baby items like its my JOB. I always hear women talk about that nesting phase before the baby comes where they clean and prepare like crazy. I remember watching my sister in law nest before each baby and it was like whoa! I think I'm doing the equivalent. And it's kind of nice! I feel like things are getting real, this is actually going to happen. I am going to be a mother....SOON! 
Trying on our new baby carrier! It's a dream!
Starting to collect things slowly
I was at a friends house last night and she was giving me some baby things and her two year old was asking about it and she said "Charlotte's going to get a baby soon" and hearing someone else say that out loud took my breath away. It felt amazing.  I will post about our profile book soon. It's done and delivered and I'm dying to share it, but I just haven't had time to write out the post yet. 


Please pray with us for our precious baby and the mother carrying our child. The realization that our baby is most likely already conceived and growing along is starting to hit hard and I can't stop thinking about it. Our baby is out there. Please pray with us that we find him or her soon and that the mother is filled with so much peace and love and that she has the strength to take care of herself and baby. We love you so much already sweet baby. 

Puzzle Fundraiser

We still have puzzle pieces left for our puzzle fundraiser. If you feel called to help us financially we would love to include your name on our puzzle! Info is here

Friday, July 1, 2016

Checking things off our list!

Hey everyone! June was a really busy month for us and it seems like everyday more things are checked off our list and we are getting closer and closer! If you want to see our actual home checklist with my updated checks click here
This is how blog writing looks around here, 
we are all cuddling on the front porch

Home Study
Our home study is getting close to the end!! We worked so hard to get all of our documents in so we could start the meetings and I was frustrated when it took over 2 weeks for the agency to assign us a social worker. Wes has a huge board exam (Step 2) on July 15 and after that he starts his next internal medicine rotation. I was calling every few days and they kept saying "yes we have your papers and they are on the directors desk". We finally got a social worker and she actually lives in Naperville (about 20 mins away) and she is originally from Michigan!!! AND she is a BIRTHMOM!! AND SHE HAS A BENGAL CAT!! She was like "yea let's get these meetings done"!!! Originally we were told that our meetings would have to be done at their office an hour away, but since she lives so close to us we are doing all the meetings at our house which is SUPER nice!! So here is the breakdown and details of the meetings:

Meeting 1 (last tuesday)
This meeting lasted 3.5 hours! Our brains were fried by the time it was over. It was mostly a meeting for her to get to know us and start explaining more in depth about the process, and we had some really deep, lengthy conversations about trans-racial adoption (adopting a baby that is any different race that us), drug and alcohol exposure, and open adoptions. She also answered my question about What actually is a home study? It's a document, usually around 14 pages long, that shows exactly who we are past and present, and certifies that we have been thoroughly investigated and are licensed to be parents. The social worker actually writes the home study and she will say what kind of child we qualify for (so hopefully she writes YES we can handle a child of any race and YES we could handle a child with drug exposure Etc).

We talked about things like what we can expect if we get a baby that has a different skin color than us and what that would be like for our family. Like the fact that we will be looked at and noticed wherever we go, people will make comments (good or bad) frequently. People will say things like "oh you are so good for adopting a kid that's xyz race" and we will have to respond with something like "no, WE are the lucky ones!" etc etc. And then of course the big things like how do we raise a child with darker skin in a white family/community. Maybe one day we will live in a more diverse neighborhood but where we are now is pretty mostly white, so how do we help our child to feel like he/she belongs and help them to figure out their identity? We talked a lot about mental illness history and drug/alcohol exposure and the long-term effects that we can expect, and we have to decide what types of situations we feel will be right for our family. This is really tricky because it feels so wrong to turn down a baby for any reason, but some of these can bring serious complications so we have to be able to make an informed decision either way.

We also talked a lot about open adoption and how GOOD it is! I feel like I should write a whole post about this since so many people ask me about it and are shocked that we are okay with it. But in short, it's really really good and we are hoping we can have a relationship with the birth parents and maybe family. If a child can grow up knowing who the birth family is and where he/she came from then there doesn't have to be any dreaming and fantasizing about what their bio family would be like. And I'm sure you can imagine how it could be so much better and healthier for a birth mom to know that she can still watch her child grow up from afar.

Meeting 2 scheduled for July 11 - this meeting will be all about our biography and lives.

Meeting 3 scheduled for July 15 - this will mostly be our home inspection and signing lots of papers.

Then we are done!! And she just has to write our home study.

We signed up with Christian Adoption Consultants!
We got lots more paperwork to go through but the most important was the list of agencies to choose from. We narrowed it down to 4 agencies to sign up with right away. The reason for going about it this way verses working with one agency is that we get way more exposure so hopefully we can match quicker, and we don't put any money down up front. Most agencies make you pay a sign on fee that's anywhere from $5,000-$15,000 and it's nonrefundable. These agencies waive their sign on fees for CAC families. Also we KNOW that these are ethical agencies that aren't exploiting expectant mothers (which is apparently not uncommon). The agencies we are starting with are in Florida and Texas. We can't wait to start waiting. lol.

Our Profile Book is DONE!
I spent probably 20 hours designing and writing it. It was HARD, but very fun. The big dilemma that I ran into was I made a landscape 11x8.5 book and I wanted it to be softcover (less $), but when I went to order the book I found out that they only do landscape books with hardcovers. Hardcover books are almost twice as much and we need 20 books so that makes a big difference. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what to do and ended up deciding it's not worth my time to re-design it just to save $150 bucks. The book will be delivering in the next 2 weeks and I can't wait to show you all.

Puzzle Fundraiser Update! 
We are more than halfway done with our puzzle fundraiser! Again, I can't thank you all enough for helping us. This adoption would literally not be possible without all of your help! If you missed our original post about our puzzle you can find it here 

I will have more updates coming soon. Thanks so much for following along with us! Please pray for us to continue to get through this homestudy quickly, and also please pray for someone that I met this week who has been on my heart. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!!!