Our Adoption Shower

One event that many expectant parents look forward to while waiting for their child is the baby shower. Adopting couples are no different - we want to celebrate the impending changes in our life with our closest family and friends. There is some debate and controversy over whether one should have a shower before or after a match or placement occurs, but ultimately people agree that the couple adopting should be the ones to decide when they would like any shower that may be offered for them to occur.

As I’ve discussed on the blog before, there are a lot of emotions that go into the adoption journey. While you are waiting to be matched with an expectant family, there is a lot of impatience, worry, fear, and wondering. People ask you if you’ve heard anything regularly, which is great - people are keeping us in their thoughts and prayers, and that means a lot to us! But those other emotions can sometimes overshadow the joyful anticipation that is also part of the wait. Even though we aren’t matched, I know that once we ARE, I will still experience fear and worry - will the mother change her mind before she gives birth, after, or not at all? It’s a constant battle to trust the Lord and His plan.

Because of these conflicting thoughts and emotions, thinking about a shower helped me feel a sense of normalcy as I wait to become a mother. Because there is always the possibility an expectant/birth mother may change her mind before she relinquishes her parental rights, I didn’t want to associate any baby items I receive or purchase before bringing MY baby home with a specific situation, in case it doesn’t work out. That is why I decided that if we were offered a shower, I would like it to happen either before we are matched or after the baby comes home with us. My mom and a dear friend offered to throw us a shower, and we decided to go ahead and do it before the holidays, since we don’t know how long we’ll be waiting and the timing could get tricky. The date was set for November 17, 2013.

As the date of the shower drew closer, I began to worry - what if our friends don’t understand having a shower for a baby that’s not even identified yet? What if they judge us for wanting to celebrate and prepare for something that is so uncertain? What if I become too emotional at the shower, or afterward, or whatever?!? All of these worries began to overshadow my excitement once more. Once my family arrived from out of state, and Tyler’s from out of town, I began to settle and just enjoy their company. They are all as excited as we are to welcome this unknown child, and they know our thoughts, anxieties, and why we were having the shower, so that is what mattered the most.

This weekend was the big event, and it was absolutely wonderful! We loved getting to visit with our families before the shower, and seeing many of our close friends’ excitement for us to become parents was great. We had a wonderful time at the shower and were very blessed - there is not much more that we *need* before Baby Dawson makes his or her entrance into our lives. We are so appreciative of everyone’s support - material and emotional. It means the world to us that everyone is rooting for us to become parents, and our child is blessed by your anticipation!


It's fall!

It has been over a month since we became “active” with our agency! We haven’t heard anything from them, so it’s safe to assume that our profile hasn’t been shown to any expectant mothers yet. It is finally fall here in Texas, and we're actually having more fall-like weather than normal, which has been wonderful! The leaves aren't changing much yet, so there's still a little while before winter comes.
Mainly we have been acting like we’re not really “expecting” at all, which is in keeping with advice I have read many places online – to live your life as normally as possible, not putting off any plans because you *might* have a baby at some undetermined time in the future. We are being given a shower by a friend and my mom next month, so that we will be prepared with all the necessary (and unnecessary!) gear that you need to raise a baby, and we are looking forward to that. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned before that we were hoping to have a shower before we were matched with an expectant mother so that the gifts are not “attached” to a child which may or may not come home with us. We are looking forward to celebrating with our family and friends the fact that we WILL be parents in the future, and that future is hopefully not too far away.
I have also been reading some books on parenting and baby care & development, such as The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears & his wife, Martha, an R.N. I have also been reading a book on attachment parenting, as well as The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. These are all giving me some good things to think about, and I’m hoping Tyler will peruse them a bit, too, so that we can both know what to expect and fill in the knowledge gaps of the other parent a bit. ;)
I might get down to business and *finally* finish painting the dresser for Baby Dawson’s nursery this weekend, and we might paint the room, as well. If we get around to it, I will definitely post pictures!
Until next time, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, as well as all the mothers out there deciding whether to parent their baby or to choose an adoptive family!



So remember how I said I wanted to find a way to blog our “paper pregnancy”, since so many bloggers follow a weekly update template when expecting their little bundles of joy?  I have spent the last week or so brainstorming ways that I could simulate that for an adoption wait, and yesterday I finally came to a conclusion.  Waiting for a baby to come home via adoption is NOTHING LIKE waiting for a baby to be born.  There is no timeline in which this may or may not happen, unlike in a pregnancy, where 99% of the time you can know within a few weeks when your baby will be born.  You also know that when you give birth to that child, it is 100% yours, no matter what.

In an open adoption, you first must wait for a birth mother to be interested in your profile.  Then you will meet in person (which I’m guessing is more awkward than any blind date in history).  Then you will wait on pins and needles to hear if she has chosen you to parent her baby.  Then you have to wait for the baby to be born, and finally for the birth mother (and possibly the birth father) to sign their relinquishment of parental rights, which will occur no sooner than 48 hours after the birth of the baby.  Sometimes, the birth family decides to parent their child rather than placing him or her with an adoptive family.  Nothing is certain in adoption until those papers are signed, and things still aren’t legally finalized until at least 6 months from the date of placement.

As you can see, there is a lot of uncertainty and very little control for prospective adoptive parents until the child comes home with them.  This is the reality I am facing, and it is not one I would have ever dreamed of 5 years ago when Tyler and I decided to expand our family.  I longed for a positive pregnancy test, the physical changes that accompany impending motherhood, birth, and breastfeeding.  Instead I will continue to pray for my future child, as well as for the woman who will make his or her existence possible.  I can only hope that our day to be parents will come soon, but I also know that when that moment comes, it will be tinged with sadness for the birth family as they go home with empty arms.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”. - Jeremiah 29:11


Updates galore!

It is shameful that it’s been nearly 6 months since I’ve updated our blog.  There has been a lot going on, so I’ll try to hit the highlights!

1.  I finally graduated with my Master’s degree in Library Science on May 10.  I also started a job as a library services representative at a public library about 40 minutes from our house.  I’ve been at my job 5 months as of today, and I enjoy it, for the most part.  The commute eats up a lot of time I could be spending doing other things, but it’s just for the short term, as I’m planning to stay at home with our child once we adopt.

2.  We celebrated our 7th anniversary in May!  We went to Salt Lake City for a vacation, and we loved it there.  Ate lots of good food, saw amazing scenery, and visited a really cool library.

3.  We attended our adoption seminar at the agency in July.  There were 3 other couples in attendance.  We also found out that it was the main infant adoption social worker’s last day with the agency, so we would be working with someone totally new (to us, not to adoption or the agency even) on our homestudy, placement, etc.

4.  Sadly, Tyler’s father lost his nearly 4 year battle with prostate cancer at the beginning of August.  We were lucky to be there when he passed and had a week and a few days to spend with family before returning to our lives.  We miss him very much!

5.  We had our 3 home study interviews (2 individual and 1 couple) plus our home visit in August.

6.  We have done more work on the nursery!  We finally finished sanding my childhood dresser and are in the process of repainting it and replacing the hardware.  We have also purchased the paint for the walls, as well as an amazing upholstered glider, which was a gift from my mom!  I’ll post pictures once we are a little further along with that project.

7.  Tuesday we received word from our social worker that we are officially home study approved and in the pool of waiting families at our agency!  That means we could become parents tomorrow, in 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years.  At this point we have no control over how fast that happens, as the prospective birth mother (and father, if he’s in the picture) choose which families they want to meet and then who they want to match with.  We pray every day for any mother who is considering adoption for her child, and are very excited to meet the one that God has chosen for us!

So, that is what has been happening the past 5 months or so.  I’m hoping to start posting weekly as we wait for our child to find us and come home, chronicling our “paper pregnancy” - as many pregnant bloggers have done before me.  Who knows if I’ll get the 36+ weeks that most expectant parents do, but I’ll do my best to share our wait with the 3 or so people who read our blog. ;-)



We have been doing a terrible job of updating the blog lately, so sorry!  Things have been kind of crazy with school, work, and life in general, so some things have been put on the back burner.

In any case, we have finally submitted the remainder of the paper work needed to start our home study - it was about 80 pages of questionnaires, forms, acknowledgements, etc.  The agency has also received all of our letters of recommendation, medical reports, etc., so now we're just waiting to hear from them!  We will be scheduling our seminar soon (along with two other couples), and then our home study interviews.

In other news, we have been slowing purchasing baby gear over the past few months.  We started out slowly with some cloth diapers (we now have about 2/3 of our stash completed!), then purchased a Pack n Play.  We have also bought most of the decor for the nursery, which is dinosaur themed.  Finally, we just ordered our crib and crib mattress yesterday, which are a generous gift from Tyler's parents, Gary & Kathy.  We can't wait to receive them!

This is the crib we chose (Graco Charleston):
Image credit: Target.com
I'm trying not to BUY ALL THE THINGS, but I'm getting pretty excited about the possibility that we may be parents in the not-too-distant future, so it's kind of hard.

I also have about 4.5 weeks of school left right now, which is beyond crazy.  I have three major assignments and a few weekly things left to finish up, and then I'll be done!

Finally, I have just accepted a full-time library services representative position at a public library about 40 minutes from here.  I am really looking forward to getting some experience working in a public library setting, since most of my work (aside from volunteering) has been in the academic library.  I will be starting my new job on April 22.

I'm a little nervous about all the changes that are coming up for our family, so any thoughts and prayers you can send our way will be greatly appreciated!


It begins.

If you've been reading this blog, or if you've talked to me or Tyler in person, you know that January 2nd, 2013 was the day.  The day that we would embark on our journey to become parents through adoption.  We were filled with anticipation in the weeks and days leading up to the new year, because we knew that it would be a year of change.

January 2nd finally rolled around, and we had everything ready to go - we had filled out our initial application (basic personal information, statement of assets, work and residence histories, etc.).  We had purchased our large manila mailing envelopes.  Tyler printed the application at work, and we signed it in the car before driving to the post office.

As you can see, we were very excited to get our application in the mail.  We sent it priority, so it would be delivered the next day.  Then we sat back and waited for contact from the agency.  The good news is they called Tyler on Friday morning.  The bad news?  They need ALL of our paperwork before we can go any further.  Cue a flurry of writing, collecting and copying.

There are a lot of waivers and agreements that had to be signed - firearms policies, waiver of confidentiality, agreement that we are never guaranteed a placement - the list goes on and on!  We also have to provide a floor plan of our house, photos of ourselves, our animals, and our house and yard.  We have to have physicals with blood work, urine samples, and TB tests, as well as information from our fertility doctors about our likelihood for conceiving and any infertility diagnoses we have received.  We have to provide copies of all our vital documents, including our insurance cards, driver's licenses, marriage licenses, and birth certificates.

Each of us also had to complete the home study questionnaire - the big kahuna!  This is presented as a simple Word document, 7 pages (single spaced) of questions about everything under the sun - how we were nurtured as children, the personalities of our parents, how we feel about ourselves, how we handle stress, loss, and grief, how we want our children to view sex, how we plan to handle discipline.  Basically any topic related to emotional development, there was a question about it.  The form clearly states that one or two word answers are not acceptable, so you really have to dig deep and go into detail about every aspect of your life.  In the end, I think we each ended up with a 20 page document, and that includes skipping about a page worth of the questions, which are only for those planning to adopt from foster care.  It took Tyler about 6 or 7 hours total to complete his questionnaire, which he did in two sittings on one day.  I worked on mine for a few hours for 3 or 4 days before reaching completion.

We have almost completed all of this paperwork - thank goodness!  We still need to schedule our physicals and take a few pictures, but otherwise we are pretty much done.  Once we mail in all of these materials, we will be connected with our social worker, who will get us scheduled for our two-day educational seminar and all of our home study interviews, in which we will discuss the contents of our questionnaires and anything else the social worker needs to know.

As always, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue our journey toward parenthood.  It isn't an easy road, but we know it will be 110% worth it when we finally hold our baby in our arms.


Update coming soon!

Just wanted to let everyone know that we'll be publishing an update soon - school just started so things are a little crazy right now, but we're excited to update on what's happened since January 2. :)  Stay tuned!