Friday, August 29, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Adoption Still on the Brain

When I first started this post I thought my "Quick Takes" would be all over the place. As I finished it's pretty evident adoption is on the brain. Also, thanks to Jen for hosting, more "Quick Takes" on her blog.

1. The homestudy continues...
We are half-way through our homestudy meetings. Two down. Two to go. The home visit from our social worker is late September. It is scary being this vulnerable. Hopefully all will go well and we will be approved to adopt. The next step then will be preparing a profile book to be shown to birthparents. I am counting down the days until our homestudy is done, and we can move forward.

2. Open adoption
We have also been attending various adoption training classes as part of the homestudy. This past Monday was a class on open adoption. The more I learn about open adoption the more excited about it I become. Especially when considering the best interests of our adopted child, and the gratitude we owe his or her birthparents for choosing life and choosing us. Lord-willing we will have a healthy open adoption that will be healing and enriching for all involved.

3. Preparing to raise money
I recently added a few fundraising links to this blog. As we continue in the adoption process I will be sharing the blog with our extended family, friends, and acquaintances. Hopefully it will be a way for more people to learn about us and follow our journey, and also help with financial support if desired.

4. Talking to my boss
Yesterday I told my boss about our plans to adopt. I needed to tell her because she has to complete a reference form for the homestudy. I was so n.e.r.v.o.u.s!!!! Mostly because there are so many unknowns regarding when adoption will actually happen. When you are pregnant you know your due date. Not so with adoption. Thankfully my boss was wonderful. Phew.

5. Flowers from hubby
I got flowers from my hubby at work this week! Lately it's been kind of crazy with adoption classes, CFP night classes three nights a week, lots to do at work, nerves about talking with my boss, and miscellaneous homestudy stuff to do. My sweet hubby could sense my stress and surprised me with these beauties. Definitely bringing them home for the weekend.

6. Manicure with my sista
A few weeks ago we were visiting family in Wisconsin. I took my little sister for a manicure at a local beauty school. Yay for fun sister time!

7. It's a loooooooong weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That pretty much sums it up. Can't wait.

God bless your weekend, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reading about Adoption #2

I'm excited to share my second set of adoption-related book reviews. My first set of reviews is here.

Called to Adoption: A Christian's Guide to Answering the Call, by Mardie Caldwell

I wish I would have read this book when Mike and I first began thinking of adoption. One of the agencies we were considering sent it to me last summer. It was written by the agency founder and is an excellent resource book and introduction to adoption. Also, it's written from a Christian perspective.

When we first started considering adoption I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. After our first orientation meeting three years ago I was in tears on the way home. There seemed to be endless ways to pursue adoption, and way too much information available on the internet. Plus everyone I knew had different tidbits of advice from their personal experiences, or from "friends of friends'" experiences. I loved all the info, but it felt like a tsunami was coming my way and I had no way of absorbing anything valuable. I felt lost in a foreign country without a map.

The book provides an excellent overview of the different types of adoption (domestic, international, foster care, special needs, agency, private, etc). It gives guidance on home-study paperwork, how to wait patiently, determining the level of openness you are comfortable with, what to do with things go wrong, coming to terms with infertility, and funding adoption. There are stories from the author's personal experience as an adoptive mother and agency director. Each chapter ends with a nugget of "adoption wisdom", a relevant scripture verse, and spiritual encouragement.

It was so helpful to have a book providing the "big picture" of the world of adoption, while also offering practical advice and encouragement.

Breastfeeding Without Birthing, by Alyssa Schnell

Did you know that it's possible for a woman to induce lactation, even if she's never been pregnant? Our bodies are amazing!

One of the most difficult aspects of infertility is the loss of not being able to nurse our baby. Since we started trying to conceive five years ago I've had dreams of giving birth and nursing. It's always hard to wake up from the nursing part of the dream and be plopped right back into my infertile reality.

Naturally when I first heard of induced lactation I was ecstatic! By taking certain steps such as hormone supplements, prescription medication, herbal supplements, dietary changes, and/or regular stimulation and pumping women can induce lactation and produce While most women who have never breastfed can't satisfy all of their baby's dietary needs, they can produce a substantial amount with dedicated effort.

Of course I needed details.This recently published book is the perfect resource. The author is a lactation consultant and has lots of experience. The book discusses creating a support network, successful latching and attachment, basic steps for inducting lactation, and tips for difficult situations. I was so excited while reading this book. While it will take lots of patience and perseverance, I really really really hope I can put the instructions into practice, and hopefully nurse our baby.

The Call to Adoption: Becoming Your Child's Family, by Jaymie Stuart Wolfe

As we've pursued adoption I've heard it said that adoption is a "calling." It makes sense that God may call some couples to adopt, but that it may not be everyone's vocation. Since our pursuing of adoption is almost entirely prompted by infertility, I wanted guidance in discerning if God was indeed calling us to adopt, or if we were plowing forward just because we wanted a family. I think it's actually a little bit of both. Thankfully God uses our desires to lead us where he wants us to be.

I ordered this book to help me reflect on adoption as a "call". The author and her husband had seven bio children and felt God calling them to adopt from Russia. They traveled to Russia and adopted a little girl. Throughout the book the author shared her own story. It was filled with personal examples of the ups and downs of the adoption process, waiting, paperwork, the adjustment period to bringing her daughter home, attachment, and helping her family become a unified body.

Each chapter starts with an inspiring scripture and closes with a meditation/prayer.

I really loved the spiritual aspect of the book, and it would make a great devotional. Personally I think it would be more helpful for someone adopting internationally, or in the midst of post-placement. The issues and experiences of the author were more related to adopting an older child, or helping her child adjust to life within her existing family. Those are circumstances that I am not preparing for just yet. I think this book will be more helpful in future years.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Secret Thoughts of a "Pre-Adoptive" Mother

I am currently reading, "Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother", by Jana Wolff. Can you tell where I got this post's title from? ;)

We are preparing to re-start our home-study. As the reality of a future adoption sinks in, I've been feeling apprehensive. I couldn't quite put my finger on the cause of this anxiety until a recent infertility support group meeting.

As I was sharing about our hopes to adopt, I realized that I'm afraid I won't be a good mom, especially to a newborn. Yet, I really want the experience of mothering our children as newborns.

With my nephew and newest niece.
Let me explain.

I've wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl. Growing up I dreamed of a big family and dreamed of how to incorporate faith and traditions into our family life. I've always wanted to be a mom, but I've never been a "newborn" or "baby" person.

Weird, I know.

I remember coffee and donuts after Mass when I was in middle school. My friends would take turns holding the newest babies of our moms' friends as we munched on donuts. I was never interested in the baby holding. I'm the oldest of seven, and never minded holding or caring for my little siblings, but I viewed coffee and donuts as social time, and a break from being a helpful big sister.

As a teenager I started babysitting. When babysitting a baby, it seemed like the minutes would i-n-c-h by. I felt trapped and anxious. Eventually I just stopped babysitting, unless it was for older kids.

During our infertility group a few weeks ago, one gal shared that she really enjoys holding newborns. Since infertility I've become even less interested in holding babies (am I a horrible person?).

Let me say that I do LOVE toddlers and older kiddos! For example, when my nieces and nephews start talking I really bond with them. We have lots of fun playing dolls, blowing bubbles, or gathering pine cones.

Gathering pine cones with my niece and nephew...a very important job!

Mike blowing bubbles with our super cute goddaughter.
I've had these fears on my mind for awhile. In my 20s, before we even started trying to conceive, I voiced these concerns to friends and family. They always assured me that it would be different "When I have my 'own'". I don't doubt them.

But....when we adopt, the little one won't be our "own" in the sense that he or she will have grown in my belly for nine months. I know for sure that I will love them, and that they will be our son or daughter, but I think it may take awhile for our adopted child to feel like our "own". Being a mom is one of the most important vocations I will have in life and I know it is not easy. There are lots of mundane days, sleepless nights, and challenging moments. I'm fearful that when we bring our baby home I won't be a good mom, or won't be able to bond with our newborn.

Thankfully my hubby is A-Mazing with babies. Much more of a pro than me. It makes me wonder, maybe he should be a stay-at-home dad for the first few years? Yet, I know mothers play a very important role in nurturing and loving their children, and I've always wanted to be home to care for them. I just wish I didn't feel so inadequate and overwhelmed when it comes to parenting a newborn.

I haven't quite resolved all of this. It might have to work itself out when our little one comes home. In the meantime I'm praying for grace, peace, and guidance as adoption gets closer.

God bless your week! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 1, 2014

7 Quick Takes - MN Edition

Last weekend took a roadtrip to the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. I wanted to share a few "Quick Takes" from our trip. Visit Jen's blog for more "Quick Takes".

1. Star Trek Exhibition
The initial purpose of the trip was to visit the Star Trek exhibit at the Mall of America. My hubby is a major "Trekkie" (as in 300 unopened Star Trek action figures in my MIL's basement). So cute! When he heard about the exhibit, we couldn't plan a trip soon enough.

Unfortunately the exhibit left a lot to be desired, but we had fun exploring anyway. We even got a picture on the "bridge" with hubby in the commander's chair (I need to digitize it somehow).

2. Seeing my sisters
Two of my sisters live in the Twin Cities area, so of course I was super excited to see them. It always seems like time with sisters is too short.

3. My first blogger meet up IRL
I've been actively blogging for about a year and been blessed to connect with truly wonderful women. We got to meet the lovely DM + AM before I started actively blogging. In MN I met two other bloggers IRL!!! What a treat to get together with Joy Beyond the Cross for coffee and Infertile Minnesota for brunch! Two delightful, amazing, and inspiring gals! Thank you ladies for making time.

4. Albino squirrels
Have you heard the song Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota (by Weird Al)? A few years ago hubby was giving the song a listen and heard mention of the mecca of albino squirrels in Olney, IL. Immediately he wanted to drive to Olney to see an albino squirrel. Never a dull moment in our home!!! We haven't made it there yet (it's four hours away), but while standing outside my sister's house in St. Paul, guess what we saw?!?!


5. Minnehaha Falls
I've been to the Twin Cities several times, but never heard of Minnehaha Falls. It is a beautiful waterfall, literally right in the middle of the city. Sooooooooooo pretty. Also, listening to the GPS try to say "Minnehaha" gave us a good laugh.

6. Coffee
We got coffee and croissants at a pretty little bakery down the road from my sister's. The chocolate croissant was A-Mazing, and one of the best I've had. Also my sister made us french press coffee in the mornings and it was soooooooo smooth. Inspired by her I bought my own french press. Looking forward to using it.


7. Basilica of Saint Mary
Minneapolis is home to America's first basilica. We stopped for a few minutes. It was the feastday of St. Anne so I lit a in the candle shrine dedicated to her.

It was such a nice weekend away, thanks for letting me share it with you.

God bless your weekend! Thanks for stopping by!