Thursday, December 30, 2010

the last bit from the hospital

wow....where to start....

right now, at about 2pm, is the first time riley layne has not been in our arms since we got home :). she's asleep in the other room...though we're checkin on her ever 2 minutes...

our lives will never be the same. in so many ways....

and like i said, i'm not sure where to start. i hope to have some time to unwind this crazy story of ours a little bit. those last couple hours at the hospital...the first few hours here at home...and what it's been like to have a baby :)

i can't go on, though, w/o tryin to express our deep and profound gratitude for yall's enduring prayers and presence w/us. whether you've been trekkin w/us for years or just a few months, this isn't a road we could have gone down alone....certainly not the last bend or two. from the farthest reaches of our hearts, thank you. our joy is greater b/c you've shared in the struggle.

the few hours following the last hospital post, life was a whirlwind of emotions. our families waited downstairs in the waitin room while josh and i paced back and forth in the hospital room. we could heard the door open and close next door...we'd look at the clock every couple minutes. we'd stop, try to talk a little...though our talkin was whispery and tearful. then we'd pace some more. the first knock on our door was a little bit before 2pm. the hospital's social worker came in and told us the birthmother had signed the papers givin us permission to have the baby on discharge. i really thought the social worker could hear my heart poundin in my chest :). she left, then we went back to pacin....barely breathin.

we looked out the window of that hospital room. it was one of those times that you think "i'll remember every single detail of this entire thing for the rest of my life - right down to the color of the house across the street." of course that isn't the case...but the hypervigilance in which we were existin made me think so. meanwhile, the door to the birthmother's room kept openin and closin...

then, at 2:10pm, the agency's social worker walked in and said, "congratulations! yall are parents." we paused, looked at each other, teared up a little, and breathed deeply. she explained how the next few minutes would play out - we'd sign our share of the paperwork, the birthgrandmother would bring riley to us, and we'd wait for the birthmother to leave the hospital first (per her request). as we moved to the other side of the room to work on the paperwork, we realized our families were downstairs...and we didn't want the birthmother to have to walk past them on our way out. turns out, the birthgrandmother had the same thought. so our families came up to the room. i was still feelin pretty fragile...and when they came into the room, the women teary-eyed and the men w/softened faces, my own tears began wellin up again.

we signed probably 1/2 dozen pieces of paper. then the social worker left, we gave our families hugs and cried... then the social worker came back in and said the birthmother wanted us to come into her room to get riley. we looked at each other, took a deep breath, and made the long, dazed walk next door.

when we walked in, the birthmother had riley in her arms, talkin to her and swayin back and forth. the birthgrandmother was warm and smiled gently when we walked in. we talked for a couple of minutes. the birthmother told us she had told riley to be a good girl for us. josh again assured her that we'd send pictures and letters as often as they wanted. i hugged the birthgrandmother and managed, through tears and breathlessness, a "thank you." then the birthmother looked at me and handed riley layne into my arms. the tears rolled down my face. we told the birthmother we hoped she rested...and told them to take care. we turned and walked out of the room. a few steps later, w/riley tucked snuggly against me, i buried my face in josh's chest and cried and cried....

we walked back into the room where our families were waitin...josh spoke for us since words were nowhere to be found by me, and announced that riley layne was ours....

Monday, December 27, 2010


we're home w/miss riley layne in our arms.

sorry it took so long to share the good news. i hope to give a fuller report soon.

for now....we're home...w/a baby. our baby. our first baby. she's absolutely perfect.

other than that, i'm really at a loss for words.

count down begins

so i just sat here for about 20min describin life the last hour or so....then the stupid hospital wifi knocked me off. i'm not gonna try to recreate what i was workin on, so forgive the brevity...

we had riley for about an hour. the birth-aunt and her husband came in and said goodbye. a while later, the birthgrandmother came back in cryin..."this is gettin harder." i teared up, too. not b/c i'm nervous or afraid, i don't think....i really don't think the birthmother will change her mind. this is just a scarey place to be.

like i was sayin earlier....all the necessary folks will gather about 1:30. the birthmother will start signin her papers about 1:45. every deal she signs has to be witnessed (by an uninvolved third party) and notarized. so it could take a while. after that, the nurse will come give us the discharge instructions, and we'll take riley layne home w/us.

so we're gettin close. we knew this part of it was comin. it had to come. the hardest part...or at least one of the top 3 hardest parts of this whole deal. so we're hunkerin down (as jim bob carver would say)....

monday mornin

well, we kinda slept last nite. josh slept better than i. i woke up about every hour...and when riley was cryin from about 3-4, i was wide awake...wonderin what was goin on. i drifted back to sleep when the cryin stopped...then went back to the wakin-up-every-hour routine. we were eatin breakfast w/the grandparents and aunt mendi a little while ago and tellin them about it. i said, "i just woke up every hour for no reason." kay smiled, and mama said, "no. not for no reason. that's the mama in you." :)

we haven't had her in our arms since last nite. honestly, i'm a little edgy. not worried or scared, i don't think....just really wantin her here w/us.

we had the oppportunity to meet the birthgrandfather. big, thick, rough-lookin farmer....but just as nice and friendly and encouraging as he could be. we talked to him and his wife (birthgrandmother) for probably 20 minutes....laughed and swapped stories...and we listened gratefully as they told us of their experiences w/babies.

josh as the car seat strapped in. formula's bought. we've called and scheduled the appt w/the pediatrician in the mornin. our stuff here in the room is packed.

oh - pediatrician. we got the meet the pediatrician here who's been seein riley. he was wonderful. smart, gentle, soft-spoken, funny in a quirky way, and honest. he said, "well, this baby's perfect. a little piglet, maybe, but perfect." so that was all reassuring.

so we're here at the hospital....just waitin. i texted w/the birthmother a little last nite. (yes, texted...even though there's nothin but a thin wall b/w us). haven't seen her this morning. the plan is for all the necessary folks (social workers, notaries, birthmother, witnesses) to be here about 1:40..

oh got to go! baby's comin in. more later

Sunday, December 26, 2010

not quite over...

i love that josh posted a slew of pictures and about 1/2 dozen words. in all my wordy posts, i haven't managed one picture :)

so it's a little after 11pm. josh is snorin...i'm tired but can't sleep. is this how this goes? tired and sleepy....but when she's w/us, i can't not look at her...when she's next door w/the birthmother, i can't not think about her, listenin for her cry.

i haven't been terribly wordy today - as i'm sure few of you believe based on the verbose nature of this blog :). it's been quite a trip the last couple days....i can at least report a few things.

today has gone really well. though we wanted to be here yesterday, i think given the birthmother some space did a world of good. we hadn't been here 1/2 an hr when there was a knock at the door and in came the birth-grandmother, aunt, and the baby. the birth-grandmother was very friendly and warm and inviting....and before i knew it, handed that beautiful girl over to me. pretty sure miss priss was the only one who wasn't cryin at that point. i held her while the 4 of us talked for a few minutes and then gave her back.

a little later, we had a face to face w/the birthmother. it went well, too. durin that visit, josh held the baby for the first time. i cried again. after a few minutes, we left.

about 1ish, the birthgrandmother rolled that sweet baby into our room, told us a few things, and said, "alright. birthmother's asleep. i'm leavin for a little bit. i'll be back in a while." and out she went. we were w/the baby alone for the first time. this bein our 3rd time to look at her sweet little face, we decided on the name - much to many folks' surprise, as we had decided a while back that her name would be lyla dae. only when we saw her, she didn't look like lyla - our parents and the birthmother and her family agreed. so riley layne it is :)

we had her for a good couple of hours....long enough for the grandparents and aunt mendi to meet her. then she went back next door for the rest of the afternoon and into the evenin. they let us have her again about 8, and we took her back about an hr ago. they'll keep her through the nite. gettin back to the title of this post :) .... although all has gone really well today, it's not quite over. since bein here, we've seen/heard/picked up on no signs of the birthmother changin her mind or wafflin. her mom's stayed w/her, which has helped, i think. tomorrow about 1:40-1:45 will be the earliest that she can legally relinquish her rights to riley and sign the papers. the social worker will be here....and the plan is for all of this to take place at that time.

so thank you - a hundred times over - to all who are prayin. we appreciate all of the concern and love.....and would be ever-so-grateful for just a little bit more over the next few hours.

alright. i really should try to sleep. might read a couple more chapters of "james and the giant peach" to wind down a little. of course, every time i close my eyes, all i can see is that sweet, precious face . . . and the head full of hair :)

A few pictures for everyone. I will let Lindsey write more later. Oh Yeah, her name is Riley Layne McCrary.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


she's here :)

she's a big girl...and according to the birthmother, she has big feet :). eight pounds, eleven ounces - twenty inches. we've seen on picture, and she's got a full head of brown hair :)

we're still in seymour. the plan is still for us to go down in the mornin.

since this mornin, quite a bit has happened. the social worker from the agency called and talked to the birthmother before the baby was born. she asked her pointblank, "are you still gonna place this baby for adoption?" the birthmother's response was, "yes. absolutely. i just need some time w/her." josh talked to monica (social worker) and felt a whole lot better. monica was very encouraging and yet realistic. she instructed us to stay home so that the birthmother doesn't feel crowded or pressured. she also said that, in her experience, a birthmother askin for time w/the baby prior to the adoptive family seeing her isn't as threatening or ominous as it seems. that often times, it's the birthmother's recognition of what's fixin to happen.

and actually, prior to josh's conversation w/monica, josh voiced a similar perspective. he said he was encouraged by the birthmother's continued dialogue about "these first 2 days." in all of her texts, she never once said anything about changin her mind about the adoption itself...just these first few hours. so the fact that she was (and is) talkin about the significance of these first few hours tells us she's lookin at that time in light of NOT havin the baby after 48hrs.

i don't know if that's clear at all. my mind's a little scrambled.

but we're okay tonite. we're a little encouraged. the birthmother is the one who texted us that the baby had been born. she's texted us a few times since then. just that she continues to initiate conversation w/us is good.

and we're also on edge. the house is just about clean :) i've hardly been able to sit still.

we just keep lookin at the sweetest picture of the sweetest little girl....a tiny picture on josh's phone.... how we're longin to hold her

the day has come

about 10 this mornin, our hearts stopped and stomachs fell. we got the text: "hey - i'm in the hospital."

a few days ago, the plan was for us to be there for the birth....according to the agency, "you'll have the baby as if you had given birth." a dream come true. all those things you hear and read about bonding and the importance of those first few minutes and hours...some of the things that seem too good to be true in adoption were actually gonna happen!

but last nite, the birthmother and i were textin back and forth, and she changed her mind - not about the whole thing, but about those first 48 hrs. (48 is the new magic number around here...she can't sign her relinquishment papers until at least 48hrs after the birth). she told me she wants to be alone with the baby those first 2 days.

yes - all those things you're we feel _______, or are we afraid of __________. yes. probably to anything you can fill into those blanks. i cried. we went to bed. while josh was snorin, i was readin "calvin and hobbs" so that i wouldn't sob myself to sleep.

the house somehow turned into a wreck the past few days, so i figured i'd busy myself w/pickin up and cleanin today. i was just gettin started when we heard the phone and read the text. but in light of last nite's texted conversation, we didn't know what to do. do we grab the bag and head to the hospital? do we wait for the birthmother to tell us what she wants? do we ask her? do we risk goin and makin the whole thing worse? do we stay here, riskin her interpreting our physical distance as emotional if we're not invested, concerned.... turned inside out?

josh called the agency. they told him no one from the agency would be at the hospital until the 48hrs arrived. very politely, josh responded, "i'm not goin down there and gettin in the middle of this by myself. it's yall's job to work this out." so they contacted the social worker who said she'd be at the hospital first thing tomorrow mornin.

so here we are....swingin from tears to disbelief....brushin past hope and trembling as we go.

the plan at the moment is to go to the hospital tomorrow.

oh - we just got another text. she's dilated to a 5

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2 week window

2 weeks before....2 weeks after.... right? isn't that the rule? 2 weeks on either side of the due date is fair game. guess where we are? :)

for some reason, i'm super sleepy at 9:21pm...and i figure i better take full advantage of the few nights of "i get to choose when i go to sleep" that i have left...but i feel blog-back-logged, so i wanted to write a quick one. we'll keep it light :)

i've become one of of those who reason has always told me not to become. one who has taken off all clothes tags, washed all clothes, and already put them into drawers. yeah yeah yeah...she'll probably never wear some of what's been washed and put away. but i couldn't resist.

and since my dear friend shasta thought it was so funny, i thought i'd share my dietary habits w/yall. lately, i have no sugar filter. i generally drink maybe one coke a day. max. lately? well, let's just say that the 12 packs of coke i recently bought on sale, thinkin they'd last me till the end of january, are almost gone. gummy bears...cookies...chocolate.... now safely residin in my food pyramid. who needs greens and grains and dairy when high fructose corn syrup, carbonation, and caffeine are available? yep. pretty sure i'll be a diabetic by the time i'm 31.

healthy coping mechanisms are overrated.

as is acne-free skin.

ah, stress....what would i do w/you?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

breathe....just breathe...

our trip to the dr's office went well. the baby's doin great....birthmom's doin well. she's gettin pretty good and miserable at this point, as all of you who have been pregnant know happens at this stage in the game.

mama and i sat w/her and her mom in the waitin room about a good hr and a half...then she and i had about 4 1/2 min w/the dr. typical, i suppose. afterward, we all went and ate lunch together, along w/her older sister and my grandma. it was quite a mix of people. except for the birthmother and me, everyone else at the table was or had been a public school teacher, so they all had plenty to talk about. the birthmother ate a big, fat chicken fried steak, which we loved! hopefully this baby will have her appetite :) and then we all went to the boutique where the birthmom works. if you know me, you know i'm not a boutique kinda i was by far the most uncomfortable one. mama and grandma loved it, though, and the birthmother was totally in her element there. it was good to see her so relaxed and enjoyin herself. she introduced us to her boss, who seemed sweet. when went to shake hands w/her, she loudly proclaimed, "oh, no, honey. that won't do!" as she swarmed in for a hug. we looked around for a good while before sayin our goodbyes and thank yous and gettin back on the road.

it was a really good trip.

and it was a needed trip, i think. a couple weeks ago, the birthmother began talkin to us a little about the questions and looks she's gettin from other people - you know, the folks who don't agree w/her decision to place the baby for adoption. i told her there were very few people who understood her situation....and a whole lot of people who are just flat nosey! so in light of her strugglin some, we felt it was really important to go see her keep us and this situation real and personable.

she hasn't talked about changin her mind....but she's strugglin w/the weight of the decision. now...before you start to panic :), let me explain how we see all of this. of course it makes us nervous to know she's strugglin and has people (however peripheral) questionin her decisions...BUT we'd MUCH rather she think about these things and wrestle through some of these things NOW as opposed to 24hrs after the birth...when she's exhausted and hormonally spinnin. afterall, she SHOULD be feelin the weight of what's comin up. it's normal and healthy and necessary. so as best we can, we try to give her the space to talk about as much as she needs to....we don't overreact or freak out....we just give her room. each time i've found myself in this type of conversation w/her and given her the space to feel whatever she's feelin , we eventually end up talkin about the baby and the adoption and all the cute stuff fillin our house in anticipation of that sweet baby's arrival. so it's good....scary, but good. and in light of such conversations, goin to see her was important.

it's a crazy thing we're in here, ya know? even to sit and tell yall about what's been goin on gets my heart pumpin a little faster. there's this part of us that can't seem to not think about the inherent risk....the fact that the birthmother can change her mind. knowin that so much of what our life is becomin could absolutely fall apart.... so i find myself sayin, "well, we're tryin not to put all our eggs in one basket." but...and it's a big but.... we're too far in at this point. we can't not hope and plan and talk and dream and laugh. and it's not so much the diapers and the wipes and the clothes...any baby will need those things....but our hearts are set.

i've read lots of things - articles, stories from adoptive parents, advice from professional counselors, suggestions from the agency - that you can't completely emotionally invest before it's final. it's not wise or healthy or fair. after all, the baby's not yours, so you can't start plannin your life (emotionally or physically) as if she is. but i just don't know how not to do that. not really. not way down deep. i can say it in casual conversation....but when i'm sittin in this rockin chair next to a box of diapers and a coupon for boudreaux's butt paste, just almost able to feel that sweet baby's breath against my cheek....or when i find myself wantin to make our home as warm and quiet as possible, w/o intentionally choosin to think about such things....i just don't know how to turn it off.

when women are pregnant, there are abundant risks involved....but most, especially after those first few weeks, don't look back. family and friends and doctors and magazines don't tell pregnant women to reign in their mothering hearts in case somethin unforeseen happens. they don't tell them to keep livin as if their entire worlds aren't fixin to be rocked. they encourage and exhort them to prepare their hearts and homes and lives. that's b/c it's natural and necessary. but adoption is's a pretty unnatural situation that stirs up all sorts of natural longings. and the things necessary to know and get ready for when you're pregnant are the same things necessary to know and get ready for when you're adoptin. but the obvious differences don't come w/obvious answers. it's easy to say "don't become emotionally connected to the unborn baby you hope to adopt." it's seems reasonable and protective. but it's not a simple thing to do.

while in the boutique a few days ago, i whispered to mama, "i think i like that purse. but mama, i hate purses. what's happenin to me?" she smiled gently, knowingly and said, "you're becomin a mom."

purse or no purse (hopin for the latter!)...somethin's been growin and changin in me for years...and it's surfaced more since heart's transformin to love a child...i don't think that's somethin i can put the brakes on.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

doctors and more

november has held up it's end of the deal and been ridiculously busy! i can't believe thanksgivin's almost here. i'm turnin into one of those old folks who talks about how quickly time passes...

onto the baby stuff...since i know that's what you're all interested in anyway :)

first of all, the timeline: if the birthmother goes to term, we're 5wks and 3 days out. if they induce her before christmas like they're talkin about doin, we're around 4ish wks out. WHAT?!?!? i think it's safe to say we're nearin the freaki-out zone.

just about all of my household/rearrangin/make room for the baby projects are complete. can you believe it? those of you familiar w/my tendencies to procrastinate and not develop sound strategies should be proud of me!

we met w/the pediatrician here in town and really liked her. she was frank and candid and friendly...she had a few opinions about diapers and formula and bottles but wasn't hard-nosed about any of it. we thought we'd have a week or two before havin to take little-bit into see her, but the dr wants to see her w/in about 48hrs of us comin home. since we're not sure how much contact we'll have w/the baby in the hospital, we're not opposed to havin her in our arms and talkin to a dr ourselves within such a short period of time.

speakin of drs....i'm goin to a dr's appt this week w/the birthmother. josh can't make the trip, as the days surrounding thanksgivin are some of his busiest of the year. plus, he's workin while he can since he'll be home for a while after the baby's here. anyway...mama's gonna go w/me, which i'm excited about. when i finally got up the nerve to ask the birthmother about comin to an appt, i was relieved by her immediate reception to the idea. "oh yeah. that'd be great!" lots of good things about goin to a dr's appt at this stage in the game.... get to hear the heartbeat, meet her dr...see her (the birthmother) again...continue to work to solidify the reality of all of this - for both of us. there's just somethin about seein somebody face-to-face that helps keep you grounded, ya know?

so there we are....right in the middle of it. my stars . . .

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

time's flyin

november promises to be a very busy month, especially w/several papers and projects due for class as the semester begins to wind down. deer season opens this comin weekend, so josh will be super busy pretty much until the baby comes. for a while now, i've been makin a mental (and tentative literal) list of the things to do before the baby comes.... rearranging things around the house, for example...or doin some research into formula and bottles and diapers... all the while, i've thought "oh, i can wait to do a lot of that for when i get out of school. i'll have almost a month before the baby comes."

well, i tend to be a rather literal until VERY recently, i've considered the due date of december 30th as THE day. but really? how many babies are actually born ON their due dates? furthermore, a recent conversation w/the birthmom revealed her dr's intent to induce her before christmas, assumin all is goin well. so....i don't finish school until the first week of december...and doin some very simple math has startled me into realizin i won't, as i have been plannin, have a month of free-er time to prepare.


one of the things i've decided to jump on pretty quickly is talkin to the local pediatrician. who would've thought the little town of seymour would have had a resident little people's doctor?! anyway, i scheduled an appt today, and we'll go in and talk to her in about a week and a half. after a rather instructional conversation w/mama, i have a list of questions to ask.

so now it's your turn - any questions/concerns/issues you think we need to address w/the dr before the baby comes? we're flyin pretty blind here, so we welcome any suggestions!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

rearrangin... the name of the game these days. as most of yall have probably experienced yourselves - we tend to fill the space we have. so needless to say, every closet and shelf and nook in this farm house are occupied by josh and lindsey stuff.

we've waited a long time to make room for a this current wave of sortin thru clothes and cleanin our drawers is such a joy! the usual burdens and frustrations and embarrassments of havin way too much stuff are bein overshadowed by the delight of the very reason we're doin all of this in the first place. how can i be annoyed by shufflin thru t-shirts we haven't worn in 3 years when onsies and and footsie-pajamas and diapers will soon take up residence in that drawer? let me assure you, it's quite impossible.

thus far, the livin room furniture has been moved around to fit a rockin chair near the shoes are now hangin out in one of those over-the-door clothes are in the yaffa blocks my shoes used to be in (wanna give a quick shout-out to yaffa blocks! whoop!!)...and various not-worn-very-often-clothes are now in plastic tubs under the bed rather than a few necessary drawers.

i'm quite proud of i'm sure my organizationally-minded and more strategic friends will appreciate.

and that's the weekend update. next on the list: closets.

Friday, October 22, 2010

to the store...and beyond....

we went to the dreaded wal-mart the other day, needin to return a couple the package of white t-shirts i had bought josh. i was so proud of my cheaper-than-usual price...until i got home and realized they were so cheap b/c they were boys shirts...not mens. so much for my frugality! anyway, we went to wal-mart and got our money back in cash and decided we'd go look at baby stuff w/the possibility of actually buyin somethin.

eek! our first trip to the baby section w/money in hand. glad it was only about $13.

we looked and oohed and awwed....touchin all the soft, cuddly stuffed animals...holdin up the tiny little shirts that hardly cover the palm of josh' hand... and then josh convinced me to try to squeeze my big noggin into a kid's baklava w/bunny ears on top. i acquiesced of course, and he took a picture and sent it to my mom. can't beat technology.

i must confess at this point - an almost constant dilemma in me these days... figurin out how to smart shop. i want to lessen my contribution to this world's environmentally downward even bein IN wal-mart is a bit contradictory...but we also live in rural texas, so local-anything isn't prolific...and then you throw in there the whole cost of it all...the cheaper diapers are probably the most non-biodegradable item in the store, but who knows if the "green ones" are really any better? and again, i'm in wal-mart.

so even though the cute little beanies and two washrags we bought are probably synthetic and made in mass quantities overseas, we've officially made our first baby purchases. if i knew how to load a picture onto the blog, i would. maybe i'll get josh to help me :)

Monday, October 11, 2010


we're gettin lots of questions these the adoption's goin...if we're excited...what we've bought...what news do we have.... and really, i don't feel like we have very succinct answers.

the adoption is goin as well as can be hoped for at this point, but there's not a whole lot actually happenin. the baby is due december 30 (although josh is absolutely certain she's comin on the 22nd), and b/w now and then, there's not a whole lot to do but wait. we wait and hope and hold our breath and then keep goin.

i'm not sure if i've explained this yet or not...if i have, skip this paragraph and go onto the next... in the state of texas, birthmother's cannot sign their relinquishment of rights papers until at least 48hrs after the birth. it makes sense, really - it ensures that a pregnant woman isn't making decisions about her unborn child until that child is born. unfortunately in adoption, this is where so much of the risk lingers. until the baby's born, and until the mom signs the papers, it's simply not a done deal. we sit in october...w/a birthmother who verbalizes clearly her intentions and her wishes...but there's not a single final, legal thing in place until at least 2 days after the birth.

so we wait.

are we excited? of course we're excited... we talk about the baby girl we so hope will be ours...we laugh and get teary and talk about the color pink. josh can see himself carryin her around in one of those pack things while he's walkin thru academy....i can feel her against my chest...we're eager for the mornin we get to take her to church for the first time. and in the very same breath, we're hesitant...we're hesitant to talk too plan too buy too much...

as for family's bought us a stroller and a pack-n-play and a few pink odds and ends... josh and i have actually not bought a single thing yet. there have been talks of showers and gifts, but we've opted to wait until after we're home w/her to have such celebrations.

so that's where we we are....

and, as always, we are grateful for yall's prayers and words of encouragement and hope....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

can't help but smile to see this

look what i found! (when you're on the new page, scroll down to the bottom)

in case you're wonderin what the big deal's the 7-letter word following our name. i hadn't seen it until just a few minutes ago. even in the midst of such an emotional ride, seein this immediately swept a wave of anticipation through me.

and as it turns out, the pink shirt i wore the day we met the birthmother was an omen... yep :) if everything works out, we'll be bringin a sweet little girl home in december.

Friday, September 24, 2010

book review

i hope to have some time this weekend to catch up on the 'ol bloggin....the last month has been crazy nuts w/school and work and life. i thought i'd start w/a quick book review...especially for anyone who might be in the adoption process themselves.

first, the book i haven't read :) "adoption parenting: creating a toolbox, building connections" by jean macleod and sheena macrae, phd. sounds like a riveting experience, doesn't it? as is evident by the title, this isn't a book designed to be read while cuddled up in a chair on a rainy day. it's a guide, a helpful and informational book about the nuts-and-bolts of the adoption process...learnin to be parents to children to whom you didn't give birth. some have described it as the "what to expect when you're expecting" equivalent for those of us whose hips aren't shifting. i think this will be a helpful source for both the days and the years ahead.

"secret thoughts of an adoptive mother" by jana wolff. have you read any of anne lamott's hilarious and heart-wrenching memoirs? if not, you should. if you have, this author is like the anne lamott of adoptive parents. i took the book along to my last ob/gyn appointment...which seemed like a bittersweet fit. i sat in the waiting room w/all sorts of pregnancy magazines spread across the tables and read about 1/3 of this woman's honest telling of the awkward and unnatural and rewarding journey we call adoption. i couldn't decide if i wanted to laugh or i just kept readin. i read until i reached the chapter on the hospital experience, and i sensed the need to close the book. i haven't thought much about the hospital deal yet...and i don't think lookin or feelin that far ahead is the grandest of ideas, so i'll wait. for now, i can't not leave yall w/o a taste of this consoling gift:

"my mother tells me that, as a little girl, i used to give birth to my doll kate several times a day as i let her fall out from under my t-shirt. careful to support the baby's head, i'd pick her up and stick a little plastic bottled filled w/pretend juice or milk to her lips. i was a very good mother. thirty-something years later, i realize that delivering kate was the closest i ever got to giving birth. many little girls play 'mommy' just like i did, but none of us dreams of becoming an adoptive mother. adoption is not in the repertoire of child's play. it is nothing to which children aspire and a process for which we, as adults, are woefully unprepared" (p.17).

onto the children's books...we shot 2/3, which isn't too bad. i've been sorely disappointed in the unavailability of adoption-related children's books in local stores, even chain stores have had either one or none to look at. i knew buyin any children's book online was gonna be risky since i couldn't read every word, look at every illustration....

"little miss spider" by david kirk was the disappointment of the three. it's a cute book, and the illustrations are wonderful. this book was not written w/the idea of adoption guiding its storyline, so you can't really fault the author. some of the reviews i read said that it was a great story about a baby spider finding a mama in a non-spider bug...which is exactly what happens in the end. however, the book begins under the premise that the baby spider's biological mother has abandoned her and her un-presence in baby spider's current life is evidence of her unwillingness to look for her. that's simply not true of most adopted children....birthparents most often realize they cannot provide for the child (financially, emotionally, relationally) as he/she deserves, so they place the baby into the arms of someone who can. whether our sweet little baby would ever read this book and connect it to abandonment, i don't know....nonetheless, this one will probably be shelved or sold.

"God found us you" by lisa bergren is exactly what it sounds like...only told through the eyes and hearts of a mama fox and her adopted baby fox. baby fox asks "mama, tell me again about the day i came home." mama fox gently tells baby fox about waitin for a long, long time for him...and how when baby fox finally came home to mama fox, mama knew that she knew that she knew that God had found baby fox just for her. "little fox smiled and then thought for a moment. 'mama, will you be my forever mama?' 'always and forever...(and) i will always celebrate the day that God found us you.'" it is the sweetest book. i can see this one turnin into the book w/wrinkled pages and turned corners and some supper-stain on page 13.

finally, jamie lee curtis' "tell me again about the night i was born." this is a really popular book, written by the famous adoptive mother...and as it turns out, it's really good. it's told from the perspective of the adopted child. every page asks a question that begins with "tell me again about...." as the kid asks about the night the phone rang, the day the mama and daddy held her in their arms, the first time her diaper was changed, the first time the mama sang to her... i think it's written pretty the voice of a child...but the child's using words that she's obviously heard from her parents - "tell me again how you carried me like a china doll all the way home and how you glared at anyone who sneezed." it's a short, honest, funny, sweet telling of those momentous happenings...some of them known only by adoptive parents...and some known by all first-time parents.

and there you have it. my opinion. just what you were lookin for today :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

books, of course

one of my earliest grandma memories is sittin on her floral couch, learnin how to read a book about a little sailboat. literary affection was planted early and planted deep. not surprisingly, reading material has been a frequently visited companion through these years of infertility and adoption. subscribing to an adoption magazine felt so monumental at the was one of the first tangible expressions of our pursuit. the magazine has proven to be one of the most helpful guides around...and its accompanying website and online community have provided relief during those "we're the only ones goin thru this" days.

naturally, i've been lookin for a few specific adoption books....especially those that would help our kids (and any of our friends' kids or nieces and nephews) understand this crazy way of becoming a family. fortunately, the adoptive families magazine offers a yearly reading guide for us, so those reviews served as great starting blocks. i finally had time today to sit and read through those reviews, do some online shopping, and purchased a few:

a memoir written by an adoptive mother
an official parenting guide....eek!
a cute book about a spider lookin for her mama
one of the more popular children's book on adoption
and finally, a surprisingly sweet find about a mama fox and her baby fox

so...slowly but surely, we're truckin along...still guarding our hearts in light of the innate risk...but havin a hard time persuading ourselves to be patient...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

i wore a pink shirt

yes, you read the title correctly - a pink shirt was on my torso intentionally...and stayed there for several hours.... what's more, the unfamiliar color was worn during our visit w/the birthmom. yep - i ventured into two foreign lands in one day....the land of pink shirts...and the land of meeting birthparents. admittedly almost too much for one day.

i have a closet full of shirts that are green and brown w/splashes of orange and an occasional drop of red...but somehow, they were all dirty....nearly a literal "all"...which i did not discover until the mornin of our which time it was too late to wash anything. don't think less (or more) of me yet - the new pink shirt was not my first choice. i tried a comfortably familiar shirt w/stripes of brown and green and hidden strips of pink...but w/the pants i wanted to wear, i just wasn't feelin it, ya know? w/all the swirly weight blowin this way and that, i wanted to wear somethin i was really comfortable in...not just ride-in-the-car-comfortable, but have-big-conversations comfortable...somethin that i wouldn't think about all day, wonderin if it looked ok....oh! and have i mentioned that the birthmom is really into fashion? yep. she wants to be a buyer...maybe some of yall know what that is w/o explanation....i didn't....but i've since been educated. so even though i'm not much of a change-17-times-kinda girl, it seemed unavoidable on that thursday mornin. different pants and different shirts and different after havin 'pink shirt' float around in the back of my mind for a while, i finally pulled it out and put it on. for whatever reason, that was it.... it was hard to accept....but it did have some green and brown in the argyle, it's super the decision was made. i was wearin a pink shirt.

we left on time...which we were quite proud of...we're both at-home in the clothes adorning our bodies...and off we wasn't until about 12 minutes later, when i was sheepishly baskin in i-can't-believe-i'm-wearin-pink thoughts that i looked over and realized josh was wearin a very red, very plaid starched shirt. WHAT?!?! after all my changin and worryin and bein proud of tryin somethin new, i completely forgot to think about what he was wearin. so we clashed. pretty bad actually.

fortunately, the birthmom didn't gag when she saw our pink and red shirts...she didn't even stare maybe she was as unconcerned about our attire as we were about hers.

so that's all for this evenin. it just somehow seemed blog worthy....and i think this is a great place to stop....before i find another superfluous use for hyphens :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

an important timeline

friday, july 30th
- josh gets a call, tellin him to check his email
- josh checks his email, then returns the call
- josh then calls me...while i'm sittin on a broken down train at six flags
- we got "the Call"...a birthmother had selected us and wanted to meet

thursday, august 5
- 0800 - we left (on time!) for a most significant, most unnatural meeting
- 1200 - we meet her and her mother over lunch
- 1530 - we meet the birthfather
- after dark - finally get home....wiped out...

saturday, august 7 - thru - thursday, august 12
- enjoyin the kool mountain weather, mid-afternoon showers of mountain rain

friday, august 13
- received the written agreement from the agency....agreein to the real-life expenses of this whole thing, agreein to pay the figures on the paper, agreein that....if everything goes well....we'll be adopting a baby in december

tuesday, august 17
- finally deciding to just bite the bullet and find a way to blog about this
- so much as happened in the last two seems as if every moment could have been an entire post....

and yes, of course we're excited....but we're also holdin our's not over until the t's are crossed, the i's are dotted, and a sweet baby is in our arms. i'll have some more time to write tomorrow...i just couldn't wait another day.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


there are various organizations around the country that offer grants to help folks like us off-set the costs of adoption. we looked into these a couple months ago, but a completed homestudy is required for the application and subsequent consideration. the paperwork from our completed homestudy has officially been filed w/the agency, and we've received a copy as well. now that we've reached this point, we can begin applying for grants.

as with all grant money, the "granting" organization sets all sorts of criteria....for some, it's very specific to religious beliefs, financial income, and even the adoptive family's ethnic heritage. some differentiate b/w domestic and international adoption. some focus on older children or foster care kids or special needs situations. so the first round of grant applications is to find those that we'll qualify for...which is a little overwhelming for me. i'm not a natural researcher like my husband...or like some of yall readin this. the seemingly endless lists of links and numbers and details threatens my mind to explode and make a mess all over this computer. however, i don't really have the luxury of avoidance right now - josh is pretty busy, huntin season's right around the corner, and school's fixin to start up we're sharin this responsibility as best we can...josh will do most of the research, findin grants we would qualify for, and i'll mostly work on fillin 'em out.

that's about it for now. just felt the need to "AAAAHHHH" on the blog in an effort to keep goin :)

other things have been happenin, too...hope to write more about that soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010


i think most everyone light of this and my own experience, i'm startin to think that there's a sort of dream-continuum. one end of the continuum is made of statements like "my dream car would be..." or "if i could have my dream house...." the other end is weightier - things that have eternal purpose, legacy-kinda impact...dreams of global proportion.

some could argue that the former end of the continuum consists of those that aren't really dreams....they're more like wishes and wants, and 99% of the time, i'd agree. afterall, wantin a slick car isn't quite equivalent to all nations worshipping The Lord. however, for the sake of this post, i'm groupin them all together in a general pile of "things that are not yet so."

from the time we're little, we're asked to answer all sorts of dream questions - if you could have a pet, what would you have? what do you want to be when you grow up? if you could live anywhere in the world, where you live? if you could sit down w/one person in all of history, who would that be? if you could do one adventurous thing, what would it be? if you could be good at one thing/have one superhero ability/speak any language/be in any movie/dream vacation nauseum? and how many times do these things actually come to fruition? not often. sometimes it's b/c we change...sometimes it's b/c The Lord changes can be things we've done or things done to us... etc etc etc.... there are lots of people and lots of books out there discussing the need for big dreams and chasin after them w/all you've got - folks much more qualified and articulate than i....which is why that's not the trail i'm takin here.

the reason for these ramblings this mornin is this -- whether we want to admit it or not, i think most of us have lists of things we'd rather have....things that comprise our own dream continuums...and then we live w/o them. we just learn to live w/what we've got and keep goin. sometimes this is good, i think...even best. we learn to appreciate Grace and Life in ways we previously couldn't even recognize. other times, it's b/c we've sold ourselves short...settled...given into normalcy. still other times, i don't know if it's good or bad or neither...but it's kinda the way it is. you want somethin for so long and then learn to live w/o it for so long that it eventually gets shelved on the things-i'll-want-but-never-have.

and that's how havin children feels to me right now.

we keep pluggin along....talkin about it from time to time...readin our adoption magazine...answerin questions from folks who know about it...plannin things financially in light of adoption costs....but when it comes right down to it, it's hard for me to fully believe it will actually happen. as best i can tell, i'm not angry or hopeless or full of despair.....i simply don't have any real-life, tangible experience to tell me anything different will happen than what's happened thus far. talkin about kids and envisioning a house full of little feet and little clothes and big messes feels as realistically possible as...well...anything else on my dream continuum.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

learnin and money

now that the homestudy is over, we're tryin to work on a few other things...

the state of texas requires at least 8hrs of adoption education. most agencies require adoptive couples to attend an 8hr orientation seminar. these seminars qualify as the required education. adoption covenant, however, allows adoptive parents to complete the 8hrs on their own via the online route. there are numerous websites offering such education....and if you google 'adoption education,' a lot of what you'll find has to do w/the hague requirements. when folks adopt internationally, a whole other set of rules apply, among them the education mandates - and that's what the hague convention is about. however, since we're adopting domestically, state law governs.

we searched around a little, tryin to find the most affordable options...some places charge b/w $30-50/class per person. other places would let us both take the class for about $35/class. after all our searchin, we decided to go thru adoption learning partners, which was the site the adoption agency referred us to in the first place :). so we bought about 9hrs worth of classes and will start goin thru 'em today. i've heard good reports about some of these classes, and they seem worthwhile, so we're eager to start.

now that we've turned in an application, completed the homestudy, and paid a little bit of money, we're also startin to look into financial options. it's no secret that adoption is expensive. although josh and i have both been fortunate to complete our college educations debt-free (much thanks to mama and daddy on both sides!), and we've tried to work hard to be financially responsible, we simply don't have the thousands of dollars lyin around to foot this bill. we've worked really hard for probably...2-3 years now, to put back as much as we can for an adoption.... but 2-3 years isn't long enough to save enough w/everything else that's happened (a move, job changes, me goin back to school, etc).

what's been hard financially is that no one gets married and thinks "we may not be able to give birth to our children one day, so we better start savin like crazy so that we can adopt." most of us get married and just worry about the bills and puttin food on the table....and then cashin in the coin jar to go on vacation :). then you get out of school and get higher than minimum wage jobs and get another vehicle or buy your first house....then you start thinkin about havin babies, and you think about affording life post-birth - the diapers and clothes, etc....even in the midst of dreamin about kids, you don't think about the cost of adoption.

so it's only been in the last couple years that we've had to adjust ourselves around the idea of adoption...and only in the last couple months, adjust ourselves around the reality of adoption. and we're not complaining - the baby in our arms will be worth far more than the money spent....and at the same time, it doesn't come w/o some serious changes, delays in some of our dreams....

fortunately, there are various ways to afford the costs. lots of places offer interest-free loans...others offer grants....still others encourage adoptive couples to have fundraisers.... josh and i decided long ago that we won't go into debt for an adoption...even if that meant waitin longer to sign up w/an agency, we wouldn't negate our years of hard work to turn around and take out a loan....but we have been lookin into some of the grants available. thus far, however, they all require a homestudy to be completed...along w/the documents to prove it. so as soon as we get a copy of the homestudy, we'll start fillin out applications and paperwork to see if we qualify for any grant money.

adoption covenant has put our picture and information on their website. josh isn't happy about the picture...but it's b/c we took them an actual picture, and they scanned it in...rather than havin a digital version. maybe we can work on that. anyway, if you want to look at, you can go here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

1047 - 1404

sorry it's taken so long to get this blog posted...lots of work, school deadlines, and a 10 year high school reunion have kept me busy...josh's last couple weeks have been busy preparing for, going to, and recovering from a long work weekend at possum kingdom lake over the holiday. glad we're both back home and in the routines of normal life.

so on w/the reporting....

if you haven't put 2 and 2 together yet, the title of the blog is the time frame during which the social worker was here. yep - 3hrs, 17min. let me assure you - there were no awkward silences, no bathroom breaks, and no time for relaxin. he walked in the front door talkin, and the last we heard his voice, he was closin his car door to head back to the city. the flow of the visit went somethin like this:

social worker introduction. josh and lindsey introduction. josh and lindsey answer the "how did yall arrive at the decision to adopt" question. the three of us discuss a few directly-adoption-related topics....such as how josh and i plan to handle the adoption story w/our kids...and the social worker (his name was brad, though he looked like russell campbell) would talk to us a little about the various decisions/behaviors/pursuits he's seen work and not, readin books and educatin ourselves about age-appropriate disclosures...and the importance of an adoption-related scrapbook...and the availability and benefits of story books that talk about adoption. it was encouraging to talk about things like this....b/c the discussion was in the context of reality, of the recognition that this is actually's not just an idea or a theory anymore...we're actually on the road toward adoption.

then the discussion headed into a more question and answer our families and friends feel about our decision to adopt...what our beliefs are about discipline...what our academic expectations will be of our children...our financial stability (both in proportion to the adoption and in regard to our capability to afford children)...our expectations of parenthood - to which i responded, w/affection and longing delight streaming, "it'll ruin everything. we won't sleep. everything will be a mess." i then had to explain this a little, as brad seemed to be a rather literal person.

all of the above took about an hr and a half. straight thru. he kept askin questions, we kept answerin, and he filled several pages of yellow legal paper with thick, smeary blue ink.

he then directed one of us to leave....physically leave the room....out of ear shot....while the other stayed at the table and answered more questions. josh left first and went and drove around. i was nervous at first....but really, the questions he asked were mostly off the application...he just asked questions that expounded on those we'd already answered on paper - how we met, how i feel about josh, what i think about our marriage, how mama and daddy disciplined me, what my relationship was and is like w/my immediate family... then josh came back, i went into the back room, laid on the bed, and read the sunday paper.... each of these individual sessions took about half an hr.

then brad was ready to inspect the house. 'bout time! after all that time i spent straightenin up and wipin down! the inspection portion took about 30-45 min. he didn't comb thru everything w/a fine tooth comb...and he never whipped out a white glove... i was relieved to be over-prepared, though, rather than under-prepared. he asked about the guns and the ammo, and we told them where it all was, and that seemed to suffice. the dried bug skeletons were scarce...the mousetraps had been transferred to a locked cabinet.

then he headed outside....and he eventually made his way out to the barn. my heart quickened.... oh no!'s not just hazardous back there - that whole place IS a hazard! kids, adults, pets beware. fortunately, he only looked around briefly and didn't seem overly concerned. he took a few pictures of the outside of the house, gathered his brief case, and got back in his gps-guided volvo and left.

we were exhausted. shoot....i'm kinda tired all over again, just writin about it.

the plan from here: it'll take him about 30 days-ish to write everything up. he'll send a copy to the agency, and then we'll get a copy (which should prove to be interesting). in the meantime, we do a couple more things here.... we need to complete our 8hrs of adoption education. we've bought about 9hrs of online seminars, so it's just a matter of sittin down and listenin to 'em. the other thing we do? wait.... wait for a phone call or an email....tellin us there's a young woman who's interested in meetin us.

to end on a lighter are a couple of homestudy funnies that happened...enjoy!

- less than 5 minutes before brad arrived, i was rinsin out a cup in the kitchen...only to find the water pourin from the faucet was a cloudy yellow color. potability questionable.
- when asked what our beliefs were on discipline, josh joked, "we believe in electrocution." that didn't go over very well....brad just looked at him, blankly.
- so he decided to try again when asked how his parents disciplined him, "i was beaten severely." another blank stare. no laughter. no chucklin....except from me :)
- while brad was lookin around the entry way, josh went to open the cabinet door...behind which are various chemicals....and to which are attached those blasted kid-proof safety know - the ones that you can't see until you've jerked on the door, had your entire body jolted forward 1/2", and found yourself using inappropriate expletives to express your frustration? anyway...when josh went to open the cabinet door, the safety latch didn't catch...the door just swung wide open...josh's eyes about popped out of his head....fortunately, brad had his back turned and didn't see our faulty, non-kid-proof latch.

think that's all....

thanks for all your thoughts and prayers and well-wishes. it went well.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

real quick

i'm sorry it's taken so long to let yall know how sunday went....and unfortunately, i don't have enough time to go into all the details this mornin. however, i can say briefly that it went well...not major hiccups, which was (and continues to be) relieving! we have a couple funny stories to share as well, of course! hopefully i'll have time to write more in the next couple days.

thanks for all the prayers!

Friday, June 25, 2010

40ish hours to go...

...before the social worker comes a-knockin...

it's a guy out of the fort worth area, which doesn't do a whole lot to allay our anxieties of the aforementioned country-ness of our house. we're curious as to what he'll say about the old deerborne stoves we have to heat the house. oh well. we called our wonderful landlords about the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors needed, and they brought them over w/in a few hours. we just love them....our landlords, that is. josh made a trip to the hardware store today and stocked up on outlet covers and cabinet door fasteners. he'll be busy tomorrow securing all guns and ammo...both of which have to be locked up....separately. if you know josh, you won't be surprised by the magnitude of this task. meanwhile, i'll be cleanin away...just normal cleanin stuff,'s just all gonna happen over the course of a few hours rather than my preferred method of a little here, a little there.

we have no idea what we'll talk about for three hours....but the more we think about it, the more anxious we get....both of us playin out what-if scenarios....makin a list of either things to not talk about, or tryin to figure out a way to talk about them truthfully and plainly.... for instance, josh is a game warden....he carries a loaded gun all the time. the potential (however slight) exists that a disgruntled ticket-recipient would show up at the house, so josh believes it's prudent to keep a weapon close by. we also live in the texas. maybe it's not like this if you live in the country in....say....vermont....but in texas, you keep a gun handy for...well....any number of things....snakes and hogs....or bad guys. however, we get the feelin that our reasonings and cultural influences won't be received very well by the guy inspecting the safety and suitability of our home.

(if you're readin this is shocked and appalled by now.... well.... josh and i both grew up around a very healthy sort of way, actually. we were both taught from an early age about gun safety, etc.....and in retrospect, i appreciate that. daddy's guns were kept in the closet, and we watched him use they weren't big, mysterious things that continually tempted us...they were just guns. and really, i think this approach is the best...take away the mystery of firearms, and they're used safely....)

movin on...

the old farmer who takes care of the land surrounding our house was out plowin today. josh talked to him for a while and told him about the homestudy hooplah. his response: "that's a bunch of %$#&* %$^*!" they should be payin yall to take a kid!" ya gotta love local support :)

so here we go. the social worker's supposed to be here b/w 1030-1100 sunday mornin. oh - josh asked him if he'd like to eat lunch w/us...."no. i can't" was the blunt response. which is quite unfortunate....we like eatin lunch.

Monday, June 21, 2010

and the countdown begins...

our homestudy is right around the corner... it's been moved to sunday for some scheduling reasons on the part of the social worker. sundays are actually a little easier for us b/c of josh's work schedule. we'll hear from the guy sometime this week for the exact time.

the monday afternoon we turned in our application to the agency, the lawyer/director/adoptive mom said "so i guess yall have heard the horror stories about homestudies, right? the dreaded 'white glove' visit?" we had kinda brushed up against such stories....not any first-hand-account nightmares, really...just the tone of voice and facial expressions associated w/the word...

the anxiety is justified, i think.

a stranger comes into your home. he will be in your home for 2-3 hrs. his job is evaluate you and your home, determining the suitability of parenthood. first of all, that's a long time w/a stranger in a non-crowd-setting. all sorts of things swirl around our minds, wonderin what there is to talk about for 3 hrs....wonderin what exactly the "home evaluation" entails. i mean, are we openin up the closets and hopin the clothes and bags stuffed inside don't escape and attack this poor man? are we lookin under the bed and taking a census of dust bunnies? what about the stacks of books we've collected just since movin in a year ago? i meticulously filled our bookshelves with both practical and decorative the nursing texts i've bought since then don't fit...nor do any of the other books/magazines we've purchased or been now the bookshelves have neat little stacks of books and magazines serving as fences around the bottom. and we live in the a wonderful, old, rented farm house....emphasis on "old"...which means the windows are drafty, the wall paper in the bathroom is peelin due to the excessive humidity, bugs get in, and at the moment, we have a mousetrap on the kitchen counter. probably we'll get rid of that by sunday. oh, and i am married to a game warden who likes to, we have deer mounts in two different rooms of the house. let's hope this guy isn't a member of peta.

and let's really hope no white gloves are actually involved. even if i dust the mornin of his visit, if the wind blows, the plowed fields surrounding our house will completely negate my work.

since he'll be drivin such a long way, maybe i'll invite him to eat lunch w/us. there's somethin awkwardness-relieving when a table and food provide some casual distraction.

so even though we've been told not to worry, i don't know that i can stop entirely. i've already vacuumed the window sills and couches and emptied the crusty bug shells out of the light fixtures. when i realize the potential overreaction i'm exercising, i shrug it off by convincing myself a little late spring cleaning was in order anyway.

and you'll be shocked to know that josh is, at best i can tell, thoroughly un-worried.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


we've completed one and scheduled another.

we had to make arrangements to go into wichita falls and have special fingerprints completed. in this increasingly digital world we live in, the old fashioned sink-stained fingerprint cards we already had didn't cut it. so we made a trip into town yesterday and got that done.

and we finally heard from the social worker. he works for the adoption agency on the side...and has a full-time job during the week, so our homestudy has to be done on a saturday. if we lived in lubbock, we might have been able to set it up sooner...but since the guy will have 6hrs of travel time to account for too, a saturday was the best option. unfortunately (in this situation), josh works every weekend....some weekends he's more flexible than others....but b/w josh's work schedule and the social worker's availability, the soonest time we could agree on is june 26th.

it's a little longer wait than we thought it would be/prefer it to be....but three weeks really isn't all that long.

that's all for now. gotta get to work.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

so many options...

...for a good title. maybe "wreck"...and i'd talk about how i'm a wreck right now. or "interview and such"...and i'd tell you about the wonderful meeting we had monday....or "it just keeps comin"...and i'd try to explain the continued effort of gettin the right information to the right people....

hmmm....i always have a hard time decidin to write what i'm feelin/where we are in the moment vs. the events that are unfolding. the two are never mutually exclusive...but for the sake of time and blog space, it's better that i choose. i guess i'll start w/the reporting of events...

the interview monday went really well. i was anxious and stressed....josh was wound up and excited...and when we pulled into the parkin lot, we both got really quiet...and i think a little nauseated...kinda like we did the day we went to the dr's office for the fertility tx last summer...and like we did the moment before gettin out of the car to meet the birthmom back in january. fortunately, the waves of sickness passed quickly when we walked in and sat down.

there's really so much to tell from the hour and a half we were there....i could write individual blogs about all of it....the atmosphere and informality of it all....the wealth of information we obtained...the woman we talked we felt....the two year-old russion adoptee tryin to eat pizza...

as far as information goes, we didn't learn a whole lot that we didn't already know, really....we just learned about the particulars of this they do things, how they handle the money, how they meet the birthmoms, their history, etc.

mingled throughout all of the information, we learned about adoption...and we felt understood...maybe for the first time. the woman who is the executive director of the agency is also the lawyer...and she's also an adoptive mother of two. both of her little girls are from russia....the youngest was havin lunch when we showed up, so we sat at the table w/the mother/director/lawyer and the cutest 2 yr old little girl w/pizza sauce from head to toe. she told us a little about her experiences....about her beliefs about adoption....her philosophy in runnin an adoption agency. it was nice to be w/someone who understood, who has been here...someone w/whom we could converse unedited....

there are so many things we think and feel that seem....mean and rude and ungrateful to the outside world....and so many things that others say that are unintentionally awful.... so it was relieving to sit w/someone who was honest and unoffended and not at all confused by our conflicting emotions.

we both felt really good about the moment, sittin across the table from them...and afterward. so we handed over our manilla folder, bulging w/paper work and a check...a check that josh joked we should have put "arm and leg" in the memo line :)

so the process from there....

she goes thru the it to their social worker. the social worker contacts us to set up the homestudy...he comes to seymour and completes his part (another explanation for another blog)...then it's just a matter of time.

most of their birthmoms come in several months pregnant and eventually meet w/the adoptive couple. however, they sometimes get phone calls from hospitals sayin "we have a baby here available for adoption" really, we have no idea what our situation will look like.

so....yeah.... we've signed up w/an adoption agency. officially.

here we go....

Saturday, May 22, 2010


two blogs in one day? definitely a first....probably a last.

but at the moment, i'm sittin here, wonderin if i answered my questions "correctly." how do you answer adoption application questions "correctly" anyway? it's not a job application...but it's not a counseling session either....

questions like...."how did your parents influence your life?" WHAT? they're my parents, for cryin out loud! the question's probably not directed toward their genetic influence....but seriously....i doubt there are many places (if any at all) that haven't been in some way influenced by mama and daddy....for better or i talked very generally about mama's honesty and daddy's work ethic and how laughter sailed us all thru many a storm. but hours later, now i'm wonderin...would it have been more parental-sounding to talk about their determination to not live in debt, how they taught me financial responsibility? would it be better to sound explicitly grateful and talk about how they bent over backwards to send me to countless camps, traveled to all my games and tournaments, and how they scraped by for years so that my college would be paid for? what about the smaller how i sit on a couch just like mama and grandma i tend to use somethin until it's completely worn out like daddy... or maybe how i hope our family shares regular meals at a table rather than in the livin room like we did growin up? i think a better question would be "how have your parents NOT influenced your life?"

how about this one: "what are three of your strengths and why?" again....seriously? when i apply for a nursing job, this is easy....organization, attention to detail, treating patients as people... but....this isn't really a job application. so what kinds of strengths are we talkin about here? office-oriented? career-focused? emotional strengths? spiritual gifts? my strengths as a wife? friend? daughter? sister? aaaahhhh.... of course, bein a parent (i think) will be all of this together and none of it at all... so....that still leaves me w/three blank lines.....

as a mother, i hope to let my kids be who they be gracious and wise....playful and safe...hopeful and enduring and tender.... to give them beautiful love and wild laughter....

but not everyone appreciates that kind of language....sometimes folks just want the nuts-and-bolts answers....those tend to be safer answers somehow....

so i don't questions are answered...and probably, i shouldn't worry about them...i could go back 12 times and change my answers and still wonder if my answers are "correct."

how do you apply for adoption? how do you apply to become a parent? such a strange place....

decisions decisions

the time that's passed since the last blog has passed quickly and busily. i had a test and a final...marsha's fiance' graduated from ac...i finally had time to clean the house (eek!)...josh has been busy busy workin the lake...and we've even squeezed in a fishin trip or two ourselves. oh - and we made a decision about an agency...just by the way :)

we've decided to go through the agency in lubbock --

so much has happened in light of our decision....lots of tangible stuff...and unexpected waves of emotion.

the tangible stuff is a lot of what has been so overwhelming to look at from a distance...the application itself is over 40 pages. what is it that they want to know that requires 40 pages? everything! financial history...marriage history...and a slew of personal questions...most of which many of us never intentionally think about. each of us has to individually answer several pages of questions about our lives up to now -- our childhoods, pleasant memories, unpleasant memories, discipline philosophies, our perspective re: adoption, conflict growin up, our relationships w/parents and sisters, dating ideas, etc etc etc... so it's a pretty intense evaluation of who we are now in light of where we've been.

then there's the list of things to do/documents to gather -- copies of everything under the sun...birth certificates, marriage certificates, transcripts, bills, bank statements, tax returns, proof of every kind of insurance you can think of, fingerprints, and a sketch of the floor plan of our house. we both had to get physicals, which we wrapped up monday. the doctor was great and really encouraging...which is always a nice surprise.

we also had to choose three references and get them the paperwork to fill out. each of them was wonderful when asked....and said things you hope real "references" would be able to say....encouraging and hopeful and honest and grateful to be able to help.

a funny of the things we're supposed to turn in is a rent receipt. josh and i laughed when we saw this. a rent receipt? oh yeah - folks who live in apt complexes or live in cities probably get these.... not here :). i generally give our rent check to betty when i meet w/this group of older women for lunch every month...and then the next time i see robert, he goes on and on about how he wants to take us out to dinner b/c he just got another rent check...and then he gives me a hug. but we talked to them about it robert - who has multiple rent houses in seymour and has been a landlord for 30 years - goes down to the newspaper office and asks for a receipt book. he then makes a special trip all the way out here...pulls out this brand new receipt book and tries to fill it out correctly. our names are on the line where the money amt is supposed to go, and you can barely read our names b/c his 80 year old hand doesn't write too well anymore...but he was pleased as punch to help us out. i thanked him...over and over again...and then a few hours later, realized we needed 2 months' worth of rent receipts. oh well...we'll just explain the situation in the interview :)

so our plan....the rushin around and various phone calls the last couple weeks have paid off...all we have left to do is copy a few more bills, organize all our stuff, and i need to answer my part of the questions...then the application will be complete. we'll go to lubbock sunday evenin sometime...and we have an appt w/the agency at 2:00 monday afternoon.

generally, adoptive parents complete the application and deliver it to the agency one day, and then several days later have an interview. however, since a single trip to lubbock would be so much easier, they're lettin us turn in the application and interview the same day. we're grateful for that.

so that's where we are....a trip to lubbock, a completed adoption application, a fat check for the application fee and homestudy, and an interview.... here we go . . .

oh - i mentioned the unexpected waves of emotion earlier...i'll have to write about those later.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

details details

computers and the internet, among other purposes, serve as constantly and easily available distractions from legitimately necessary tasks.....for instance, studyin...

i really don't have much of an idea as to who reads this blog or how often....but in case there's anyone out there reading this, who i don't talk to on a regular basis or who i don't frequently exchange emails with, i thought a quick 'detail blog' might be appreciated.

the intricacies of adoption and the process of deciding on an agency are pretty foreign details to most there may be someone who's wondering what it is exactly that we're sifting through, what kinds of questions we're asking of these agencies. so....

(in no particular order....)

state law requires (at least) two things before a family can adopt: at least 8hrs of adoption education and a home study. most agencies require the adoptive couple to attend an 8hr orientation class that they present. a few agencies allow the couple to complete 8hrs of approved education/training elsewhere - thru other agencies or thru online opportunities.

the home study is a pretty involved process. it entails a licensed social worker coming into your home and checkin things out. this involves an evaluation of the safety and suitability of the house itself. it also involves an extensive interview. all the agencies we've looked into require at least 2 visits -- either both visits prior to the adoption or a visit before the adoption and then a post-placement visit a few weeks after the make sure everything's goin okay.

our biggest concern in this facet of the process is proximity. if a particular educational class is required, we have to factor in the money and time necessary for us to attend. it should also be noted that these required classes are not offered terribly often. some agencies offer the class once a year....others it's once a quarter...and still others it's more on an as-needed basis. the home study isn't as difficult to consider in terms of scheduling, but there are some considerations....since we live in the middle of nowhere, we will incur additional expense for the social worker having to travel. some agencies also charge an "out of area fee" in addition to the traveling expenses.

this has led quite nicely into the money part of this decision :). adoption isn't cheap, needless to say. gosh...i could write an entire blog or more just on the details of fees and such....let me see if i can be brief....

every agency charges for their services -- these services are often broken down into the cost of the home study, legal fees, and placement fees (basically the leg work of connecting the birthmom to the adoptive parents). these costs are set and for the most part, don't seem to differ substantially among least not the ones we're lookin' at.

there is some variability, though. that variability lies within each birthmom's situation. if she's a teenager from a middle-class home and is still on her parents' insurance, then she doesn't need a lot of help from the agency. if, however, she isn't that fortunate, she may need some help through the pregnancy - everything from help w/the doctor's bills to utilities and food and rent. the way an agency decides to handle this variability seems to be what dictates the cost to the adoptive parent.

we've found agencies handle this in two ways:
1. take an average of the total cost of their adoptions and charge every adoptive couple the same amount, regardless of how much help your particular birthmom needs.
2. charge a minimum fee (their service fee) and then any additional fees the agency assumes responsibility for in helping the birthmom through the pregnancy. often times, the agency will have a maximum possible fee.

obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages to both ways.... for us, though, it's a question of risk. what was it daddy used to say? he wasn't made out of money? money didn't grow on trees? well that's for dang sure! with the minimum-maximum fee, for instance, i found an agency the other day that charged $15,000 min to....are you ready?...$37,000 maximum. yes - i meant to type all three zeroes. so figurin' out exactly how an agency handles the cost of their services is a big part of this sifting process for us. we simply cannot commit to an agency, hoping for $15,000 but risking $37,000. like daddy, neither we nor our plants are made out of money.

then there are all sorts of agency policies to consider and wade they require open adoptions? only closed adoptions? what about the dad factor? how do they manage those situations? do we get to meet the birthmom beforehand? how do they handle the birth itself - do we take the baby home from the hospital? or is the baby given to an agency representative until all the papers are signed? -- there are so many logistical angles to consider...

and finally....the part that's much more difficult to articulate...siftin thru how our hearts and spirits and minds respond to the information, the options, and the possibilities. we don't want this decision to be determined by mere convenience of location and cost...and we also realize there won't be a perfect agency w/which we agree on every detail... so we wait, as patiently as possible, and let the whirlwind of emails and questions and applications slow....and hopefully in a few days, the dust will settle, and we'll choose.