Thursday, November 9, 2017

matched

We are thrilled to announce that we have been matched!  Baby girl is due to arrive December 23rd.


The adoption process, though emotionally bumpy, has gone quite smoothly for us.  We feel very blessed that things have fallen into place so beautifully.

We started our adoption journey in February when we signed on with the Adoption Center for Family Building {ACFB} located near Chicago.  After several months of online training, medical appointments, and loads of paperwork our profile went live on the agency website in August.  Exactly 3 months later, we received amazing news: a birth mom wanted to meet with us.

Before our meeting we learned some general information about the expectant mom: 19-year-old woman from South Bend, African American, no drug/alcohol use, expecting a baby in December.

WHERE DO WE SIGN UP?

Just a few short days later we had the pleasure of meeting our birth mom.  We had an instant connection and everything just felt right.  Even as I'm typing this it sounds crazy, but to me it's proof that God is in the details.  We adore her and admire her maturity and wisdom.

You may be wondering what this "meeting" entailed.  Well, it was basically lunch with a whole lot of adoption talk.
  • Why did you choose us? You're experienced parents who aren't afraid to have a black baby.
  • Do you want us at the hospital? Yes!
  • How does your family feel about your decision? They're mostly supportive.
  • Are you OK with phone calls/text messages? Yes.
  • Do you want to name the baby?  No, you're her parents.  You should name her. {Oh, bless her!}
Before meeting our expectant mom {EM} I thought that it would probably take quite a while before she would make a decision as to whether or not we could be her baby's parents.  But before we left the restaurant she made it clear that she didn't want our profile shown to anyone else. I can't even begin to explain how incredibly awesome and humbling that felt.

So... it looks like we're having a baby!  And just in time for Christmas.  We couldn't have asked for a better gift.

The question that we get asked the most is "When is the baby officially yours?"  If everything goes as planned, the EM will sign the papers 48 hours after birth.  At that point, the baby will officially be ours and we will head home with our little girl.  Our EM seems adamant that adoption is the way to go, but she could shift gears and decide to parent anytime between now and the 48 hours after birth.  Yes, that thought is absolutely terrifying, but we have faith that everything happens for a reason and we were meant to go down this path.  We're confident that there will be a happy ending to this story!

A few weeks after we're home, our social worker will meet with us to make sure everyone has transitioned smoothly, and then we'll set a court date to make everything official.

We are so very grateful for your prayers and positive vibes.  We have felt them!  Keep those prayers coming; they're bringing about miracles.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

october wrap up

October was seeeeriously busy.  See all that clutter on my desk?  It pretty much lived there for a month.  And this blog {among other things} was put on the back burner.  But things have calmed down and I can finally share what we've been up to.


The beginning of October blessed us with sunny days and warm nights.  The end?  Not so much.  Fall is officially here.

Typically I only decorate my house for fall rather than specific holidays, but I went out on a limb this year.  I had even bought decorations for my front porch but they involved some crafting, which I didn't have time for.  


I chaperoned Jackson's preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch.  I figured out pretty quick that he's one of those kids that does worse when there's a parent around.  Bummer.  

But for the most part, we had a good time.  I wish that kids had more time to just PLAY than be herded from one activity to the next.





He and I experienced a first: story time at Barnes and Noble.  It's pretty tough to get him away from the train table but it was nothing that a few Starbursts couldn't handle.  He sat through the stories and even made the craft.


I'm reminded daily just how different girls and boys are.  Kylie and Summer have loved books since infancy.  We even made a special effort to visit the school book fair this year.


Jackson only likes a handful of books.  I mean, why would you read when you've got a perfectly good TV mounted to the wall?  And yes, those are his toy cars in my decorative lantern, and pretzels in his dump truck.  At least he puts stuff away??



Jackson had a few rough days at preschool because he had a hard time using scissors.  We're trying a few activities at home to build up his hand strength.  Using the spray bottle in the bath tub is his favorite :)


When Jack is at school, my time belongs to me.  My house is clean and quiet for a solid 4 hours.  It's heavenly.  I spent more than a few mornings watching photography webinars.


And I love that I can have random lunch dates too.


While the kids were on Fall Break, Kylie, Jackson, and I all got the stomach flu.  It was pretty vicious.  Thankfully the kids only had a 24 hour bug rather than the 3 day virus I had.  Yuck. 



It was a pretty lame Fall Break but I think the kids enjoyed playing outside and spending time with friends.  Kylie had a play date with a girl from her class.  Such intellectuals.


One night I volunteered to watch my friend's baby so she and her husband could go out for dinner while her older boys were at soccer practice.  It rained all day so soccer practice got cancelled, but I know hard it can be to schedule date nights so I offered to watch everyone.  The kids had the best time jumping on the trampoline and having Nerf gun wars in the basement.


A couple of nights later it was our turn for a date night.  We had a delicious dinner at Logan's and a beautiful scenic walk.


I loved that park so much I went back a few days later with the kids.  Note to self: photo shoots with your own children are 10x harder than with other people's kids.



Summer finally lost her other front tooth.  She was extra proud of that because she pulled it out herself.  Her friend lost the exact same tooth just days before she did and got $5 from the Tooth Fairy.  She felt a little gypped with her $1 bill.


Bless her heart.  Fortunately, it doesn't take much to cheer her up.


Josh spent several late nights tackling work issues.  At least he had someone to keep him company.


The main source of my accidental blogging hiatus was my photography business.  I spent countless hours revamping my website, doing photo shoots, and learning everything I can.  Funny story: after finally finishing my website I casually mentioned to a friend at church that I started a photography business.  He said, "That's awesome!  Let me know if you need a website done.  I'd be happy to do one for you."  Turns out that's what he does for a living.  #facepalm


Sprucing up my photography skills is a lot of work, but I'd say it's time well wasted.




October really was crazy.  Happenings that receive Honorable Mention: Parent Teacher conferences, classroom helper x3, Primary Program at church, chiropractor appointments, doctors appointments, vet appointment, trip to Michigan, and Halloween.  Fingers crossed that I can blog at least one more time before December!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

halloween 2017

Happy Halloween!

Can you guess what the kids dressed up as this year?


If you guessed a watermelon, Merida, and Martian Mickey, then you get some serious props.

Kylie decided to be a watermelon because her friend from school was dressing up as a pineapple and they planned on trick-or-treating together.  It was the first year that we went without our oldest.  So weird.  But she had a great time.



Summer decided weeks ago that she wanted to dress up as Merida because then she would get to carry a bow and arrows.  In the end, she really didn't feel like lugging around a huge bow.  Or an itchy red wig for that matter.

And whenever I asked Jackson what costume he wanted to wear, he gave me a different answer every time.  It was kind of impressive, actually.  Finally, I had to go with the last answer he gave me, which was Martian Mickey.  There is an episode where Mickey Mouse goes to Mars and he meets the Martian version of himself, who happens to be green.

Anyway... here they are, all ready to collect some candy.  It was pretty chilly out so the coats had to come with us.


We're really fortunate to have a great group of friends from our church that we hang out with often.  We had a delicious chili dinner, put the finishing touches on costumes, then snapped a quick group picture of the kiddos before everyone went their separate ways. 


I thought it was so interesting that out of the 5 girls in the group that are Summer's age, she was the only one who wasn't a witch. But honestly, that dress made her fit right in.


Martian Mickey had a great time collecting candy, especially when he happened upon a house that had Skittles.


Our friends were pet-sitting someone's Beagle, and somehow Josh ended up taking her trick-or-treating.

Monday, October 30, 2017

go blue

A good friend of mine married into a family of die-hard University of Michigan fans.  His wife, who was raised in Ann Arbor, is currently working on a graduate degree there.  Her dad - a professor.  So, of course, they are football season ticket holders.  Imagine my surprise when I got a text from him a couple weeks ago saying that they had a couple extra tickets to a game...

Seriously?!

We quickly made arrangements and began planning for a trip to the Big House.

Our trip ended up being suuuper quick, but we made every minute count.  We arrived in Michigan around lunch time on Friday, so we made plans to meet Josh's brother and his family for lunch.

 

Our sweet nephew, Mykah.  We all pretty much adore him.



After lunch, we drove to my parents' house.  The kids were SO excited.  In no time at all Kylie whipped out the chess board and located her first victim.



 Jackson tried on Kylie's "fashion glasses."  He reminded me of someone....


The next morning Josh and I left the kids in the very capable hands of my parents and made our way to Ann Arbor.  We met up with our friends {Jeff and Jasmine}, who drove us to the golf course near the stadium where all the tailgating happens.  Some people go all out!  We were camped out next to this ambulance-turned-fan bus.


Pretty soon it was time to go in.  And that was the moment that this boy's dream came true!


What an experience!  Words can't describe the feeling of being surrounded by sooo many people.  We were fortunate enough to be a part of the student section.


Because the game took place the weekend before Halloween {or simply because it was a college football game}, we saw quite a few costumes. "Jim Harbaugh" was in the row in front of us.  But we also saw Minions, a waffle, a unicorn, and a Storm Trooper.  Oh, and we spotted Waldo!


There were some pretty amazing things to watch besides just the game.  At one point 50+ alumni band members joined the current marching band, which even included alumni baton twirlers and color guard members.  There were also a few former cheerleaders from like 1950 who performed.  They were doing handstands and splits like it was no big deal.  Crazy!


I think one of the best parts, though, was when everyone did the Wave.  It went around the stadium several times {which was impressive enough considering the size of that stadium} but then the student section started another round in slow motion... and everyone caught on!  It was the sloooowest wave I have ever seen.  Then, as soon as it finished, it went super fast... and everyone caught onto that too.  In a way, it was kind of beautiful!

 

We are so grateful for such amazing friends who scored us tickets and showed us such a great time!


The next day was a long one.  We stayed up until 11:00 the night before talking to my parents because we hadn't seen them all day, and then hit the road just before 7:30 the next morning.  We made the 4 hour drive home, ate a quick lunch and changed clothes, then spent 5 hours at church!  {We had choir practice, our usual 3-hour church service which included a special children's program, then a potluck dinner}.  It was a crazy day and we were all exhausted by the time we came home.

But it was all totally worth it.  And we're so grateful to the many people who stepped up to help make this experience possible: our friends, our family, even our neighbors who took care of our fur baby while we were gone.


We came home to the sweetest note from Summer's friend, Alice.


It feels good to be home, especially since we were able to bring such wonderful memories with us.