Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Been thinkin'...

This whole process has taken such a dramatic turn in the last few weeks that sometimes I forget that we’re on a whole different path. I still think it’s so strange that possibly in a few short months we’ll have a baby screaming at us! I can’t think of anything more fantastic than a brand spankin’ new baby screaming for ME, not anyone else (well Tyler too but you know what I mean), just me, wanting to be soothed by their mama. So weird, so awesome.

I sometimes wonder why God changed our path. I'll probably ask him that when I get to heaven, wonder what kind of disaster he saved us from or maybe no disaster at all, he just has THE right child here for us in Florida. We were always so sure that international adoption was the way God wanted us to go with adoption...and I’m just so curious as to what He has in store for us through this domestic adoption process.

We’ve officially sent off our first grant application. We are so hoping that out of all the grants we’ll apply for that we’ll receive something towards our adoption fees, anything really at this point is worth the time it takes to put together all of the information for the grant packets! YIKES! For now, I’ll continue dreaming of my future screaming infant, the one who will be screaming for ME....

James 1:4-6 Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need. 5 But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. 6 But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No clever title here...

We received our actual paper home study in the mail on Monday! It was super sweet. I opened it with such care like it absolutely couldn’t be recreated if I ruined it! We had to sign one page of it and send it back to our social worker but the rest was ours to keep. It looks so fancy. It’s still kinda bizarre though that a 10 page paper could make or break us you know? Whatever, it’s a go and we couldn’t be MORE THRILLED!

Last Friday we got an email from our social worker telling us about a biracial girl who was due in March. She specifically said DO NOT GET EXCITED, to which I informed Tyler is the most ridiculous thing anyone could say. It’s like saying “Don’t look over here” or “Don’t freak out when I tell you this”...impossible! She wanted Tyler and I to call her when we both were home at the same time so we could discuss birth mom details. Turns out the birth mom is 36, has already had a heart attack due to heart disease, her mother passed away at 43 from a heart attack due to heart disease AND she wants to be compensated an additional $2800 on top of our normal fees. We decided due to the heart disease and the additional fee we were going to pass. Now, don’t be fooled we weren’t the only people that were being considered so it’s not like it was a given. She did, however, want her child to be placed with a Christian family that’s very involved in their church so I think we may have had a little bit of a leg up in that department. So, it’s a pass for now. We prayed a different kind of prayer that night. It wasn’t “Lord help us make the right decision with this”, it was “Lord help us know that the decision we already made is the right decision”. So for now, I’m really focusing on taking a true break over the Christmas holiday. Just kind of get my bearings and then next week be firing with all cylinders.

Friday, December 18, 2009

*WARNING* it's a sappy post...

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep, just couldn’t get comfortable and I must not have been tired enough. Anywho, I just started thinking about how life will be changing soon and how much I really will miss it being just Tyler and I. Being able to pick up and go whenever we want, being able to lounge and be unscheduled every once in a while, it’s a nice life I’m not gonna lie. Then I started to think about my new little guy or gal. I imagined them all tiny and warm snuggled up and smelling like a million bucks. I imagined the bassinet set up by our bed and our little one in it. I fast forwarded to when they’re talking and walking and so excited to see us, and sad to see us go. I imagined them being three or four and saying hilarious things and asking TONS of questions...I did a lot of thinking last night and then I fell asleep.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Home study APPROVED!

Well we just received an email from our social worker Jan that we are officially, the most official of officialness approved for our home study. Its been signed and notarized and now we’ll get a copy of our very own to have and to hold!!!!! Its been weird because we’ve transitioned so drastically from international adoption to domestic adoption. With our original path, after our home study would have been approved we had about 3 or 4 major steps to complete before baby. Now with domestic it’s like after the home study...that’s it! We wait for the call. However, we have to raise the money so there’s a little bit of a cushion when it comes to that, but still it’s weird to me that we’re pretty much done with all of the paperwork and such.

We are excited, we are freaked out but totally stoked to be parents. I can’t believe that it’s just around the corner. Sometimes I just look at Tyler and I’m like... “WE’RE HAVING A BABY SOON!”

Keep praying that the grants we’ll be applying for in the next couple weeks will have successful outcomes. Psalm 90:17 “Lord our God, treat us well. Give us success in what we do; yes, give us success in what we do.”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My cup runneth over...

Well today didn’t start out like any other day I’ll assure you of that one thing. My Saturday’s generally don’t begin with a 4:30 wake up call, but this Saturday we were doing this garage sale come hell or high water, it was going down today. Last week we were totally rained out, not torrential rain but constant, drizzling, cold rain for about 48 hours before and during our sale. I had taken the day off of work at the defunct garage sale so I was pretty bummed about not being able to be there this weekend. Anywho, after I wrestled a futon mattress in the backseat of our loaner truck, and tripped over the piano bench and landed on my knee cap I was ready and raring to go for this thing!!!! I could only be there for the nitty gritty where you drag all the stuff out and set up the signs but had to be at work by 8:30. We had SO MUCH STUFF! I mean seriously, just a ton of stuff, we looked like the best garage sale on the block! We had five televisions, a lawn mower, two couches, bookcases, more children’s and women’s clothing than Target could ever have, we were fully stocked with the most magnificent garage sale items. When I left at 8:15 I was a little worried, I’ve heard horror stories about crazy garage salers who basically pound your door down until you’re ready to start so when I left and only about seven people had come through I was like, oh boy this is no good. Then around 10ish Tyler text me that we were rockin‘ and a rollin’! The sun came out and so did the people, it was awesome! We had some real “professional’s” in our midst, who would offer us $2 for something that was $10 and would roll their eyes like we were crazy for not giving it to them, but overall it turned out FANTASTIC! When all is said and done we made a little over $600 in about six hours.

We advertised our cause for raising this money and had quite a few donations from people just wanting to give something a little extra...I love it. I love that so many people will play a part in this child’s life before they’re even here. I love that we’ll get to tell those stories to them when they’re old enough to understand, I love that our baby will be part of a big adoption family from the start. I’ll point out someone at church and say “That person helped bring you to us, that person loved you before they met you”. That is the truth, that is our journey. The journey of people giving to this great cause.

Isaiah 61:11 “The earth causes plants to grow,and a garden causes the seeds planted in it to grow.In the same way the Lord God will make goodness and praise come from all the nations.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

This is just how I feel...

So it’s been 24 hours since we received the shocking, unexpected news that our home study was approved for domestic adoption (if you’re feeling a little lost read the previous two posts). We began our Financial Peace University study a couple days ago and have seen immediate blessings in just these last couple days. The principles in that study are so basic and it’s not a get rich quick scam either, it’s making commitments and decisions together and choosing to stick with them, that’s when you become successful. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out! Dave Ramsey is an amazing teacher and was someone who suffered EXTREME financial stress but came out of that learning something and then wanting to teach others.

I keep thinking about the roller coaster ride we’ve been on the last week. I keep thinking about our plans for Ethiopia and how they aren’t for right now but they are definitely for the future. I’m glad that we have a God who can point us in the right direction by closing doors and opening new ones, challenging us to be better than we think we can be. As our social worker said in an email to me yesterday...”Onward and upward!”.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I can honestly say I didn't expect this to happen Part Two...

Ok so here’s the deal. If you’ve ready my other post (Part One), then you’ll know all the details necessary to follow Part Two. We had a phone conference scheduled for 10am with our social worker to, in our opinion, get some questions answered in regards to how we proceed with an unapproved home study and even see if there was refund in order. We received the call from her a little after 10 and she went on to discuss what our plan would be if anything financially catastrophic happened after we brought the baby home. We told her we don’t have any millionaire relatives that would be able to bale us out and that our current saving’s only allowed for minor emergencies (thanks to Dave Ramsey’s teaching’s). She said to us “well would you guys be homeless then?”, I was so confused at this point that Tyler stepped in and said we would absolutely not become homeless that if something terrible happened we had plenty of family that we could stay with until we got back on our feet (which is silly because we would do a million things before it ever got to that point). She indicated that her supervisor would approve the home study if that was the case. I was so confused, she told us on Monday that she would need to see additional income in order to approve it. I vocalized my confusion to which she replied “That is what I wanted, but in talking with my supervisor and working through this over the last couple of days we decided we are going to approve the home study anyway”, “I think you guys are going to be great parents, I’ve loved getting to know you and I don’t want to lose you as a potential adoptive family for an infant that needs a home.” WHAT???!!!!!! We were ecstatic! We just looked at each other with our mouths wide open...just staring, and staring and more staring. She even said that because we paid for some parenting classes (which were required for international adoption and not domestic) that they are going to waive the additional $100 we would have needed to pay for our domestic adoption application! Praise God! What is awesome to me is that this was NOT an answer to a prayer I had been praying this week. I was sure that we were through with it and was only praying for faithfulness in some new financial decisions we were making. I never once prayed for God to change His mind. I never once asked Him to make an exception which is weird because I am, by nature of my dad’s gene’s, a negotiator.

So what I’m saying is, it’s on like Donkey Kong. We will have an approved home study in a few days and we are going to continue with our fundraising efforts. Our garage sale is rescheduled for this Saturday (rain or shine), I won’t be able to be there because of work but they’ll be other people there driving hard bargains and helping us bring this baby home. This process only moves as fast as the money comes in, our next fee is for hiring a lawyer and that’s around $1800. Once they match us with a child we owe Children’s Home Society $4300, $4300 when we pick our child up, then another $4300 after parental rights have been terminated which happens about 30 days after we bring our baby home and everything is finalized. So PLEASE faithful blog readers, help promote our coffee sales at www.justlovecoffee.com/zielasko, send any additional fundraising ideas my way!

Thanks for the prayers that have truly helped sustain us in the last few days...Hebrews 11:40 “God planned to give us something better so that they would be made perfect, but only together with us.


Monday, December 7, 2009

I can honestly say I didn't expect this to happen Part One...

I can’t even express what this last week has been like. When I began the first week of December I certainly did not expect to start the second week like this.

On Friday we received an email from our social worker who wanted to ask a few questions because she had over the previous few days began writing our home study. She informed us that because we didn’t have enough assets (i.e. own a home or have any real investments), that the chances of us being able to adopt internationally would probably not happen. However she did indicate that we would be approved for a domestic adoption pending additional fees that we’d have to pay in order to modify that on our home study. I was crushed but resilient. I thought to myself, it doesn’t matter where are our child comes from with adoption the end result is always the same. We help a child have a promising future and we have the blessing of being their parents...whether they came from Africa or Alabama. We decided to find out more about domestic adoption (laws, cost, placement times etc.). We spent this past weekend going through different plans of action. We were supposed to have a fundraising garage sale on Saturday in hopes that we might be able to cover our dossier fee, but it rained for 48 hours straight and we had to reschedule for this coming weekend. We knew that we would have to wait until Monday to see if Jan was able to get in contact with anyone from immigration in regards to our assets vs. liability issue. (As a side note, in the beginning when we did some research we were of the understanding, and obviously an extremely false understanding, that we only had to be a certain percentage over the poverty level of whatever country it was that we were adopting from). I received an email from Jan today stating that as of the way things were looking we weren’t even going to be approved for a domestic adoption unless we could come up with some other form of income or even maybe something we forgot to include in our original paperwork that we filed. Suffice it to say....nothing as of right now is going to change with that. We don’t have some rich long lost Uncle that can buy us a house and fix our student loans. There are many frustrations all of which I’m not going to discuss because they would be more complaints and I’m trying to lay off my complaining. Instead I will share with you all the things that God prevented us from doing that saved us some serious heartache.

  1. He didn’t allow us to send out our support letters. We’ve had our letter completed for over a month but haven’t found the time to sit down together, print them out, and then mail them. This would have been awful if we had sent it out. We would have wasted money on postage and supplies not to mention we would have to send back any donations we did receive.
  2. He didn’t allow our home study agency to approve a home study that wouldn’t pass immigration. That alone saved us about an additional $700.
  3. He didn’t allow us to hold a garage sale to raise funds for our adoption and we’re still trying to decide what to do with all the stuff and also what we’ll do with the money that we raise. We intend on contacting the individuals who donated items and ask them if they’d be ok if we donated the funds raised to another couple who is adopting from Ethiopia.

So....where do we go from here? Well friends, we’re going to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts and continue our journey towards adoption. It may take a little while, and it’s going to be very hard to explain along the way but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have been tried and tested and we know what us Zielasko’s are capable of. We know that God knows what we’re capable of. We know that when we resume our adoption process again because we ABSOLUTELY will, that we will be able to bring a child to a more financially viable situation. We have made promises to each other in the last few days to take our finances more seriously. We have said from the very beginning that we were following God’s lead wholeheartedly and we are not going to continue on a path that He does not want us on. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve cried every day for the last three days, snot, swollen eyes...the whole bit. I mourned the loss of the idea of us bringing our child home this coming year, of becoming a mother for the first time, and seeing Tyler as a dad RIGHT NOW, but I know it’s not forever. Please continue to pray for us as we let people know that this process has come to a screeching halt. Please pray that we will be vigilant in our efforts to better ourselves physically, spiritually, and financially. Obviously the format of this blog will change considerably but I’ll still be using it as an outlet for other things, so I insist that you please....read on.

Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not those who turn back and are lost. We are people who have faith and are saved.”

Hebrews 11:1 “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Change...

We were challenged this week to ease up on complaining and every time we allowed ourselves to complain we had to put a dollar in the jar. On that note... Tyler and I have been hit hard this week. On all fronts. Work fronts. Personal fronts. Relationship fronts. Adoption fronts. Health fronts. Like I said ALL FRONTS. It seems funny to me that on the week where we are consciously making more of an effort to not complain, well a lot of things happen that make not complaining very very difficult.

Changes on the adoption front: Without going in to great detail, because the greatest of all details has not been finalized, we would just ask if you all could pray for this process to continue as it has in the last few months. We’ll know some other details after the weekend is through and I’m not trying to be cryptic it’s just new information that we’re processing.

I’m wore out. I’m sad. I’m afraid. I’m stressed. I’m tired.

“You helped the prisoners. You even had joy when all that you owned was taken from you, because you knew you had something better and more lasting. So do not lose the courage you had in the past, which has a great reward. You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:34-36

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's done is done...

Well it’s official! We’ve finished our final home study visit, and it honestly couldn’t have gone any better. I know I’ve mentioned before how fantastic our social worker Jan is but really this visit just felt like we had a friend coming over to chat...and then walk around our house with a clipboard noting things. =0) The longest part of the whole 90 minute visit was her going over our course homework and asking us to clarify some things, tell us that our answers were good and just give us general information. Our dogs were well behaved which believe it or not was a huge concern of mine, I had nightmares of Guster knocking her to the ground when she came in the door and then Rowdy humping her leg! They did neither of those things, and it turns out she’s a dog person anyway which is another reason why I knew I liked her. SO what’s next? Well she now has to take a couple weeks and incorporate all of our paperwork and forms and what she noted at our home visit and compile it and write our actual home study. She informed me that it would probably be around 10 pages and would take her a couple weeks to complete and that’s IF it stays quiet on her end before the holiday’s. Once she’s done with that she’ll send it to us and we’ll look it over to make sure all the information is correct (i.e. our birthday’s, family names, places we’ve lived, just factual stuff), after we look it over and approve it she’ll submit it to Holt and they’ll make sure the wording is copacetic to what the Ethiopian government is looking for and if there are any changes that need to be made, we’ll make them, Jan will have her supervisor approve it, notarize it and it’ll be official! Now we have to work on raising $3,000 for our dossier so we can submit our completed home study with a bunch of other paperwork.

We’re getting more and more excited every day, I feel like after today my excitement level increased a little because it’s another milestone we’ve completed. The more I think about how fun and different our life will be with someone to share it with, the more impatient I get! I had the unbelievable opportunity to meet a couple who have adopted two sibling sets from Ethiopia. I was able to meet the children and they were HILARIOUS and well behaved to boot. I got a lot of great info from her and it was just nice to be in the company of someone who has experienced what we’re about to experience.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I wish I was a millionaire...

Yesterday I received an email from Holt updating all of the families in process about some changes. They were basically just letting everyone know that they are still matching families who haven’t even finished their dossier yet SO that means there is a possibility that we would be invoiced for both the dossier fee and the country fee ($3,000 & $9890). Then they informed us that if we weren’t financially or emotionally ready top accept those double invoices then we needed to inform them to NOT put us on the wait list. When I got this email I was crushed. This whole time I’ve been excited at how quickly things are moving when in reality they can only move as quickly as our bank account will allow. I never imagined that things would move this quickly and I always expected to raise the country fee while we were waiting for our referral (which was supposed to be anywhere from 3-5 months). I internalize everything, which as a general rule isn’t a great quality and in a marriage is a TERRIBLE quality. I sat there yesterday afternoon torturing myself with this information and didn’t share it with Tyler. It had nothing to do with the fact that I didn’t want him to know it’s just a bad habit of mine and it took over in full force yesterday. I was so sad. I was discouraged. I felt so helpless. I can’t imagine the issue of money keeping me from my child but in adoption it absolutely does. When we decided to follow God’s choice for our family through adoption we knew we were stepping out in faith, we knew that there would be road blocks and that the cost would be immense. The truth is that if money were no object we would probably bring our baby home by spring but alas money is always the issue. God continue’s to bless us with people donating for our garage sale, friends of friends of friends who are giving us their stuff to help raise money for this adoption and for that we are truly grateful. We’ve had people purchase 10 bags of coffee for Christmas gifts and another person randomly give us $100. Its been neat to see who this adoption is touching and what they have been willing to sacrifice in order to help bring this child from a potentially life threatening existence to a country where clean running water is never out of reach, and preventable diseases are just that...preventable.

Anywho, please continue to pray for us, that we’ll be able to raise the funds necessary to bring our little one home. Pray for patience and perseverance. Pray for good ideas on raising money. Pray that once our home study is finished that the grants we apply for will find favor with us and we’ll receive grant money. Pray for our little one...that they will remain safe and know that soon they’ll be home with us.

Hebrews 10:36 “You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what he has promised.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wildly normal thoughts?...

So in the beginning when I had my major “Am I ready to be a parent?” freak out moment I was also thinking a few other things, that I had to work through by myself. I’m afraid of being annoyed by my baby, I mean I know that I’m going to be annoyed by my adolescent child but really...annoyed at an infant? They can’t help that they’re totally helpless without me, or that their tummy hurts or they’re teething. It’s just weird to think that my infant child is going to get on my nerves. Anyone else ever felt that way about their newborn? I guess I just think to myself....self you just saved and raised a ton of money to travel 7,000 miles across the country to rescue a kid from a no good life to bring them home to NOT BE ANNOYED WITH THEM. Unrealistic I know. I’ll get over it but the truth is I don’t WANT to be annoyed with them, I love them (already and we’ve not even met), oh well I’ll get over it I suppose.

Still looking for donations for our garage sale! Hoping to collect a lot of junk for this sale so we can raise some serious $$$ for our dossier fee! My parents cleaned out their garage tonight so I can’t even imagine what they’ll be donating, I know one thing that’s going to turn some heads a sweet little moped that my dad bought my mom over a year ago during the gas crisis. Its name is McFly because it looks like a flippin’ space machine!

Keep praying we raise the funds we need to bring this baby home. We’re sending out support letters soon and raising money with our coffee. Don’t forget to visit our store at www.justlovecoffee.com/zielasko .

Monday, November 16, 2009

Two more weeks...

Today means that we only have 2 weeks until our final home study visit. Our list of things to get is not that big, a fire extinguisher, cabinet locks, and outlet covers. I’m still deciding what the world we’re going to do with our dogs...I’m afraid Gus is going to launch himself at her and scratch her face. That will mean great things, since we plan on having an infant. It was kind of weird to make that list the other day, you know? To actually hear Tyler say “Ok I’ll go to Lowe’s and pick up some of those outlet covers...” Also if I’m being totally honest I hate the idea of installing cabinet locks. Our kid isn’t even going to be able to move around by the cabinets when we bring them home. I’m opposed to it, but I don’t have a choice, they’ll just annoy me after the social worker is gone! HA! I’m not nervous about her coming here. She is seriously such a cool cat and the last two meetings we’ve had with her have been super chill. In fact sometimes I think that our home study experience is very different from other people’s that I’ve heard of. The whole idea of this home study is just bizarre anyway, the fact that someone we’ve only known for two months is going to write a few page document that is our green light for being great parents is so strange to me. Anywho, we’re SO EXCITED! This is one step closer, and I know that once this is completed this process is really going to speed up QUITE A BIT! Essentially we’ll start dealing with Holt exclusively which up until this point we haven’t really dealt with them at all.

Things are changing. My thoughts are a little different. Each holiday or birthday brings the thoughts of “This time next year, I’ll be toting a baby around with me on my birthday”, “this time next year I’ll be telling a little guy/girl to not touch the ornaments on the tree”...this time next year we’ll be a family of three.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In the spirit of true honesty...

Yesterday I had a break down...not the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest kind of break down, but I met my limit for the day emotionally which allowed me to self assess and I didn’t like what I found. My last post really focused on the need to keep these children in Ethiopia with their true families, and how that can’t happen if all their extended families are dying because of HIV/AIDS. Another major threat that people have in Ethiopia is poverty, which leads to hunger, which leads to starvation which leads to death. My breakdown began when I read this sentence in “There’s No Me Without You”... “America wrestles with its obesity crisis to such an extent that American’s forget there are worse weight problems on earth than obesity”. It’s no secret that I have a weight problem. I mean to take one look at me you can see it, I’m not talking about a few extra pounds....I’m talking about a considerable amount of extra weight that I’ve managed to pack on the last 7 years. I’ve started and stopped more diets and exercise regimens than I can count on my hands. I start on it and follow through for a few weeks and then go right back into my bad habits. I can’t be overweight when I go to pick up my child. I just can’t. On a daily basis I’m embarrassed about being overweight here in America when like 5 out of 10 people are at least 30 pounds heavier than they should be, but over there? Where people are starving and poor, where they beg you for food? I won’t do it. I’m not saying that I want to starve myself so I can feel what life is like as a starving person but I need to reevaluate needs. What I would LOVE is prayer! Pray that I’ll stay true to my word and myself, and wish me luck and for goodness sakes don’t bake me any cakes!!!

Psalm 23:3 “He gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right for the good of his name.”


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Unacceptable...

The last week or so I’ve really had a burden to pray for Ethiopia as a country. This country is in crisis, like other African nations Ethiopia suffers from a huge HIV/AIDS epidemic, an epidemic that causes parents to be put in a situation where they cannot care for their children. I’ve been reading a book by Melissa Fay Green called “There’s no me without you”. I’m telling you, if you read this book and don’t cry your freakin’ eyes out then you have to be a robot. Plain and simple. Here are some quotes from the book that really got me thinking very differently about this adoption and the people of Ethiopia and my child’s birth parents.

“I am deeply respectful of the families who care for our children,” he said. “But I am so very interested in any help that can be given to us to keep the children’s first parents alive. Adoption is good, but children, naturally, would prefer not to see their parents die.” This struck me to the core. I thought to myself OF COURSE! I’m an idiot for never thinking that way. These parents have two choices....either keep their child in their care where they will eventually contract the virus and even possibly die before their child does or give their child up for adoption where they have a slim chance they can have a semi-normal life. Normal life of course would mean the constant reminder that your parents had to abandon you. That’s a horrible norm in my opinion. Adoption is a fantastic option, an undeniably character building self assessment gut check option, but obviously I’d rather my child be with their mother and father in their home country, healthy, happy and safe. On the same token another quote from the book. “Adoption is not the answer to HIV/AIDS in Africa. Adoption rescues few. Adoption illuminates by example: these few once-loved children who lost their parents to preventable diseases have been offered a second chance at family life in foreign countries; like young ambassadors, they instruct us. For every orphan turning up in a northern-hemisphere household-winning the spelling bee, winning the cross-country race, joining the Boy Scouts, learning to rollerblade, playing the trumpet or the violin---ten thousand African children remain behind...alone.

I guess all of this to say in the beginning of this whole adoption process people would ask me “why not here in America?”. “Don’t we have plenty of children here that you can adopt without having to go clear across the world?”. My answer then was just that the need was huge in Ethiopia, but until I started doing some research I didn’t realize how great the need actually was. It’s not just the need for providing homes for millions of homeless children, it’s also getting some help to the adults that are suffering from a very treatable disease. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about this. I don’t know what my little hands can do to help. I do know that my God is big....bigger than HIV/AIDS, I know that my prayers go to someone whose hands are truly bigger than anyones.

Psalm 48:10 “God, your name is known everywhere;all over the earth people praise you.Your right hand is full of goodness.”

Monday, November 9, 2009

GIVE US YOUR JUNK IT'S TIME TO BRING THIS BABY HOME!

So its taken some time to get the date squared away but it’s officially scheduled for Saturday, December 5th starting in the earliest hours of the morning! Here’s the deal...we need some serious amount of stuff to fill an entire driveway and beyond. I have read a lot of blogs where people use this as a way to raise money for their dossier fee and I personally think that WE CAN DO IT! Our dossier fee is $3,000 and if we collect enough stuff combined with selling some baked goods and such, I know God can provide! So spread the word...if you’re local and have some junk you’d like to get rid of just contact me and we’ll come by and even pick it up for ya! Furniture, electronics, clothes, trinkets, really anything. We’re just going to donate any leftovers to someone else who is having a garage sale to raise money for an adoption or have Salvation Army come by and get it. If you’re up to donating your time the Friday before to help price, and make some signs just email karizielasko@me.com.

In other good news we’ve received a few donations towards the adoption in the last few weeks. I can’t even tell you how much it means to us for someone to care that much about this child, a child we don’t even know, to give towards this adoption there are no other words, except thank you. Thank you for helping us change one child’s life and thank you for helping to bring them home.

James 1:27 Religion that God accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

To our future child...I'm sorry in advance...

So far nothing new in adoption land. Just waiting for our final home study visit and of course that’s going to be exciting! I really can say that I learned a lot from our online course with the National Council for Adoption. They had a lot of really useful and great information on how to deal with things as an adoptive parent. They had a lot of video insights from couples who had adopted from all different places. They talked about the travel and the adjustment when they returned home. There are so many things that I don’t even think of because all I’m seeing is our baby. I joked with my mother in law that I’d probably get all the way across the world and realize I forgot the baby formula! Poor kid. They’re in for a real treat.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I wonder...

I had a fantastic weekend with my bestie Leanne! She flew in on Friday afternoon and was outta here early this morning and while it was a short visit....it was a great visit. She is a very insightful human and full of great stories and advice. She is also one of my only friends that does NOT have any babies yet so that makes for a little more freedom on her end. We carved pumpkins, ate great food, watched ridiculous reality television and talked a lot. It’s always so great to to have someone visit you that represents a different time in your life!

Today seemed like a huge waste of time but it actually was strangely productive. We finished our online courses needed for our home study, drafted our support letter (it’s weird to actually see the costs written down and totaled...YOWZA), finalized some things in regards to our upcoming garage sale (more details soon!), and just overall relaxed.

Still super pumped about our final home study meeting. Now I have to go to the store and purchase outlet covers and cabinet locks. That’s going to be super surreal, and in my mind I’m still buying them for someone else’s child. It will probably be that way for me until we get our referral, I won’t be able to visualize I don’t think. For a mom that’s pregnant they’re sick, or craving weird things...their belly is getting bigger, the baby kicks and they may even know the sex of the child but with me so far I can buy as many things that say I am in fact going to be a mom soon but until I see that tiny little face it won’t be real to me. Until I can read their file, and maybe even watch a video....it will be hard for me to visualize what he/she will look like. I’M DYING TO SEE THEM...I’M DYING TO MEET THEM....I’m dying to hold them, soothe them, provide for them...love them. I feel like I can’t get things done fast enough to get me to that point. If money were no object that baby would be in my arms in no time. It’s strange to know that our child is probably alive right now, living somewhere else. I wonder a lot.

Psalm 57:9-11 “Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing songs of praise about you to all the nations. Your great love reaches to the skies,your truth to the clouds. God, you are supreme above the skies.Let your glory be over all the earth.”

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Truckin' along...

Yesterday we drove to Rockledge which was only about an hour and change instead of over two hours like the last time, for our meeting with our social worker. It was good meeting, she was praising us for how fast we were completing our paperwork and we’re going to be done one whole month earlier then originally planned! YIPPEE! Our final visit will be at our home on 11/30 at 11am, she’ll make sure we have child locks in place and fire extinguishers, and that our dogs aren’t going to kill our new child.

This week I’ve really tried to gain a little more knowledge on the country of Ethiopia. Our classes we’ve been taking have talked about the importance of preserving our child’s culture and so I’ve really kind of tried to make a lot more of an effort to check out the country as a whole. Hopefully some books that I’ve ordered will be here soon! I’m also going to head to the library and see if they have a good selection because Barne’s & Noble certainly did not. So I’ll update you a little later on what I’ve learned...I got nothin’ right now.

In other great news one of my most fantastic friends Leanne is coming to visit me for the weekend. I am so excited! She is hilarious, and laughs SO LOUD it makes people turn their heads...love it. We don’t have set plans, just want to enjoy some uninterrupted time together on my turf.

Well, there’s nothing profound for me to share today...just little nonsensical things. Still brainstorming in a major way for fundraising ideas, and I believe we are going to really try to do a garage sale. I’ve heard from a few people that they were able to raise enough to pay for a small chunk of their program fee or even paid completely for submitting their dossier. More on that later!

Isaiah 65:23 “I will provide for their needs before they ask,
and I will help them while they are still asking for help.”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cute...

Tonight…Tyler prayed out loud for our future child. We were on our way home from a party and decided that we should use the car ride time to pray instead of waiting until we’re both too exhausted when we go to bed. We always pray for the process of adoption and our home study and I’ve prayed for our future guy or gal before, but he never has. He prayed to keep them safe, and healthy, it was cool to hear him say it and strange too. Look out little one this guy is going to be an amazing dad…YOUR amazing dad.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My soapbox...

There are a few soapboxes that are close to my heart and ones that I rarely get on unless I’m feisty enough and am faced with that soapbox directly. Today my soapbox strangely enough happened at the tire place (I had a leak in my tire and I go to this SUPER shady place on the other side of town where the tires are cheap and almost brand new). This neighborhood is no good, low income, high crime but like I said cheap tires. While I’m waiting there watching this dude fix my tire, my soapbox arrives in the form of 2 dudes, probably early twenties, screaming up in their car and park me in (thanks), they get out of the car smoking cigarettes (this is important later in the story) and clearly know the guy who owns the tire place. One dude who is hanging back a little says “oh yeah man, I have a baby”….he opens up the back door and sure enough there she is. Little girl, probably 5 months old, stuck in a seat, with two dudes tooling around town enjoying their cigarettes while little girl is stuck in her seat! The dad starts saying something to her like “the octopus is going to get you, watch out”…wow…as we’re leaving the dad hops into the passenger seat and turns up his music and increases the bass thump. Fantastic. Is this a normal afternoon for her? In her seat in the car with her dad and his irresponsible friend? Does she get read to or played with, fed on time or bathed regularly? Does he hug her and kiss her or just stick her in the seat and pass time until her mom gets home? What is her life going to be like? I felt sad, and felt like I needed to do something. I always feel this way when I see children in situations like that, it sucks, just plain sucks. How is it that I just spent my day answering questions about my health, getting blood work done, and blood pressure taken but all that dude had to do was have sex and get his girl pregnant…no questions asked. Don’t get me wrong, Tyler and I CHOSE this way, God chose this way for Tyler and I, as far as we know the ability for us to have children biologically is still there. I have not been faced with the harsh reality that I am in fact, infertile. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever want to know if I am. I don’t think we’ll ever make that appointment with the fertility specialist and hear the words that it CAN’T happen…I’m good with the fact that adoption is our option unless otherwise noted. I got to thinking as I watched little girl in the car, at some point in time me and this dude shared an equal lack of experience, but I still am broken in situations like this. I wanted to go over to him and smash his cigarette in the ground and scream and yell that it’s not a great idea to blow smoke in your babies face while she’s sitting in the car!!!! I want to say that she probably should have been taking a nap or having a little snack at home!!!! Do you really think it’s a fantastic idea to make your horrifying music louder?!!! I wanted to say just give her to me!!! I think I missed my calling in life when I didn’t go the route of being in children’s advocacy or something because I literally could tear people’s heads off sometimes when I see or hear what they’re doing to their children. I know I’m not going to be the perfect parent, I know I’ll make a thousand mistakes and probably lose my temper more times than I can count, I know that I’ll hurt their feelings sometimes but I can guarantee that I will give my child a chance to be someone great.

1 John 3:18 ”My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring”.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thoughts...

So I was thinking today…what am I going to tell my child when they’re old enough to understand it? I mean we are definitely adopting more than one child in fact it’s safe to say we’ll adopt at least a few. The actual concept of adoption won’t be foreign to them, I mean that will be obvious. When they’re old enough to understand and retain information to form their own opinions on things, what exactly will I say? I won’t be able to offer them any “Honey I know what this feels like” because I don’t know what “it” feels like. Abandonment, living 7,000 miles away from your original home, truly probably never ever being able to see or meet your birth parents because they’ll probably be dead already (average age in Ethiopia is only 52). ”It’s” such a huge responsibility this whole adoption commitment, we’re committing to raising a child whose heart will be broken from the very beginning. I completed a module or two of required education for our home study, and one of the required readings was this amazing article…http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=428.html (just copy and paste it into your browser). So I still after all my thinking today have not come up with anything on what I’ll actually say to my little one. If I’m being totally honest I’m not going to really make myself come to conclusions right now. Just thoughts really. ”It” will be different.

As a side note, I am in no way, shape or form trying to say that what Tyler and I are doing is noble, deserves accolades, or is even better than having biological children. I hope that anyone that enjoys reading this already knows that but I felt like I needed to clarify.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Exciting news...

So I heard through the grapevine (ahem Joye Andrew) that Holt’s referral time was super short right now! (meaning, once we complete our home study and turn in our dossier, they match us with a child…OUR CHILD). Now let me say something, I am by nature an extremely impatient person. I always pay extra for faster shipping, I always leave in the first car load of people going on vacation, I’m not a huge fan of waiting. So when I first heard that our wait for a referral was going to be 6-9 months I was like, oh boy, I’m gonna die. I went back and forth with Holt today just asking more questions and specifically asking what the expected wait time was for a referral was to which she responded with… “We are matching families who have a home study done within a month or a few weeks”. CANNOT BELIEVE IT! I went from expecting 6-9 months waiting to one month? I mean even if it is double that by the time we get our home study done that’s still only 2 months, which is a breeze compared to 6-9. This happy news brings a lot of feelings one of which is, how is God going to provide us with the funds to bring this baby home? We officially can’t apply for any grants until our home study is completed, so now we’re trying to come up with some ideas. Mainly, trying to foot the $3,000 dossier fee that will be due upon completion of our home study before we can be on the wait list for a child. Anyone have any fundraising ideas? Do you know of anyone that has raised money for an adoption before that I could get in contact with? No idea is too big or too small at this point, we’re just looking to bring our little baby g, or baby b home and we’ll get there however we have to.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sometimes this doesn't seem real...

It’s times like these last couple weeks where I am able to go almost an entire day without thinking about adoption, that I forget this is real. I mean for anyone who has gone through the adoption process and even those women who are in their first trimester of pregnancy (and not experiencing morning sickness & their bellies aren’t growing yet), where you’re kinda like “OH YEAH, that’s right…I’m going to be a mom”. We’ve just been gathering little bits and pieces of paperwork the last couple weeks, getting our first round of fingerprinting done, waiting really to hear what else we need to be working on. There’s so much paperwork but there’s piles that can’t be done until our home study is completed, and other piles that I’m procrastinating because they aren’t as fun to work on. One thing I’ve done to help me stay in the adoption state of mind is watch adoption videos on youtube and read tons of adoption blogs too. I am an information junkie…anytime I get a new electronic, dog, or hobby I read a TON of stuff on it. I read the manual, I research the breed, I buy a book on it. You can’t do this with your individual child but you can do it with the processes of child rearing…I mean the basic things like how to change a diaper, to what to expect developmentally. I know this kind of information won’t help me a hundred percent of the time but at least I’ll be able to refer to my internal manual on certain things. Those videos and blogs will help me pack the right stuff, bring the right medications, help me understand the process once we get there, give me good restaurants to eat at, or the right airline to fly. I’ll be able to learn about Ethiopia, the people, the country, the languages, and the need. I still continue to have my days of I can’t believe I’m going to be a mom. When those freaky thoughts overcome me I immediately think of some positives. Oh right, and to let you know as a side note, I have to do this for my own well being because we’ll be married for 8 years when this little treasure makes it way home, 8 years folks. Some of you may not know but I come from a very large family, I am the second of seven children which means my baby experiences are a lot, I always babysat, I’ve worked at a preschool and also have been a nanny so overall I’m very comfortable with the know how but none of those experiences weren’t ever overnight for the rest of my life experiences. I’m anticipating that within the first day of being a mom I’ll have utilized all that I remember and just be a complete mess. I keep thinking we don’t even know how to deal with a baby together let alone travel across the entire country and bring one back. Talk about adjustment, I’d like to connect with a first time parent who became a first time parent through adoption. Back to the positives…

1. I can’t wait to be able to soothe a child in my own way, you know have them want ME to comfort them the way I still to this day want my own mother to comfort me.

2. I can’t wait to see Tyler as a dad. He is an amazing human, and will be an amazing dad with great insight and silliness, and I’m sure will immediately teach his child guitar, to hate all green vegetables, and that the steelers are the best team in all of the land.

3. The laundry….even the laundry is cuter. The little socks and shirts!

4. I can’t wait for funny stories! I get to read so many facebook status updates, or other people’s blogs where their kids say the most hilarious things ever!

I’ll save the rest for another freak out day.

Proverbs 2:6 ”Only the Lord gives wisdom; He gives knowledge and understanding”. Amen to that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

First baby purchase...

Target was desperately calling my name today…I have neglected my dear bullseye friend the last few weeks, and it needed some quality time from me…just to get a good browse in. I found the cutest little blanket, so I bought it. It’s green (which is my favorite color) but also happens to be pretty gender neutral, and it has owls on it. I love owls, and they tend to be a little trendy right now so I thought to myself, perhaps in 12-18 months when this is done this won’t be here. Thus my first baby purchase. I also started to realize that I’m more than likely going to skip a whole stage of life, the newborn stage. Which in my opinion will save us some dough, then I won’t need to waste time with a bassinet, breast pump, swing, or those little mitts you put on their hands to keep them from scratching themselves. It was weird shopping for MY future child though…I always ALWAYS shop for other people’s babies, I mean like browse and think of people I know who have babies or are having babies and then I just go hog wild! So today I bought something for my baby…didn’t go hog wild though, but still I bought something for MY baby.

In other news, the reference letters went out on Friday to our required list of personal/work references. I just had a friend notarize our CHS application and we’re getting our fingerprinting done on Monday. Then we’ll send off the fingerprints and the app back to CHS and work on more paperwork.

Thanks to everyone who reads this and likes it…and if you’re praying…that makes me smile.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

God is good...

This morning we….ahem…I woke up bright and early to shower and put my face on for our first home study visit. 2 hours away. We were running a little late due to Tyler’s incessant need to buy coffee from Starbucks when he has a perfectly brand new bag of coffee at home! So it was a teensy bit tense for a little while after we got on the road, moving on though. Our appointment went great! Jan at CHS was very friendly and super accommodating. She has just recently taken over this position as the other lady retired after many many years so she was a little out of sorts trying to sort through some things. She kept handing us more and more paperwork…and more paperwork, but was explaining everything in detail and was very helpful. Basically that was it! 30 minutes in her office, and that completed one out of three home visits. The next one we have scheduled is for October 28th at 10:30, and this time we only have to meet her in Melbourne which is only an hour and change away, and to tell you the truth I’m not sure what we’ll be doing for that one. In the meantime we have to each write a life story (by answering 55 questions they’ve picked out for us one of which is “Describe each of your siblings”…UMMM HELLO that’s going to take me FOREVER), get physicals, get fingerprinted, and continue to fill out more paperwork. We are more and more excited each day and we’ve started praying for our future little one, if they’re born yet or not, and praying for the parents and trying to understand the struggles they must be going through right now to try and decide to give their child up. We are praying for God to keep our child safe, and would love for you guys to do the same!

So people keep asking what timeline is after we complete the home study. We begin to wait for a referral which, according to our agency, could be 6-9 months. Once the agency refers us a child we look over their file, have a doctor take a peek at it, and then decide whether or not to accept the referral. After that I believe it goes to court in Ethiopia in a few weeks and then we begin making travel plans. So we’re looking at AT LEAST a solid year.

Off to bed…for anyone that truly knows me this is my favorite part of the day, 5:30 this morning came way too early and I’ve been dreaming about my head hitting this pillow all day….ahhhh life without a newborn. I have approximately 365 days before I can’t say that anymore and the best part about it is…I love that idea.

Psalm 18:30 ”God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some new developments...

Thanks to Jaci being here last week I was able to take my mind of things and really concentrate on relaxing and enjoying time with her. Like I said before, it was a welcome distraction.

Today I made a phone call to CHS…again…to see where they were at with our paperwork and when we could set up a meeting to fill out the app and get this home study cracka-lackin! Janet is new to this position and so I was a little leery but I told myself to get over it and just start over with her. Long story short we have a meeting on Wednesday morning, I’M PUMPED! The agency is in Fort Pierce so we’ve got about a 2 hour drive ahead but that gives us plenty of time to decompress and chat about our future little one which of course I never mind.

When we started this journey we knew there would be harder days, weeks or even months but last week we focused on some positives.

1. We received a refund on some concert tickets we had purchased a few months ago because the show was cancelled so that was a welcome little treat and we are about 1/3 of the way to being able to pay for our entire home study ($1,800).

2. I have been able to make some seriously great contacts with people who have adopted from Ethiopia recently and that my friend is priceless! I have been badgering them with questions and what’s even more fantastic is that they love answering them! These people either have a single adopted child or multiple adopted children and are so passionate about adopting it has been very refreshing.

SO, I’ll be post an update on Wednesday after our meeting with Janet at CHS! Keep the prayers coming…last week I had some other things going on that were draining my energy and trying to steal my focus but I’m pressing on!

Psalm 138:8 ”The Lord will work out His plans for my life-for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me for you made me”.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Welcome distraction...

So for the last 4 weeks its been adoption talk, at dinner, at bed time, at work, on my cell, everywhere. This week there’s a little lull in the action because we’re waiting to hear from our social worker at CHS to set up an appointment to go over paperwork. Normally in my every day life this would be torture, because then I wouldn’t have anything to do but wait, HOWEVER, my absolute favorite friend from college is visiting me for an entire week…without her two kids! YIPPEE! So our days have been filled with catching up, grocery shopping, tv watching, and facebook. Its been great.

I’ll tell you why Jaci is one of my favorites:

1. She thinks I’m funny, and laughs at nearly everything I say, this is great because I love making people laugh.

2. She’s a mother, and I admire mother’s. She has a 3 year old, and a 19 month old, THAT is hard work.

3. She’s a good listener & gives great advice.

4. She is a no drama kind of girl, this is important to me because I loathe drama and don’t want to be involved in it at all.

5. She is genuine. This is a hard and valuable character trait to find in a friend…I advise anyone who has found a friend with this character trait to clamp on with both hands and DO NOT LET GO.

Basically she’s a treasure. Someone who knows the good parts of me and the bad parts of me, and still loves me. She’s going to be a huge asset to me through this whole process and a source of great advice.

So we’re still waiting at this point to move on to the next big step in this process…the Home Study. We’re scrimping and saving every last dime to foot the bill for it, so really we can’t start it until we have that cash flow in the bank. What we can start is the application and getting some of the paperwork together for it. I find myself noticing African American children more…and one of my biggest concerns is…How the heck am I going to take care of their hair???? I don’t know the first thing about it, what to put in it or how to braid it even, and I most certainly don’t know how to do corn rows! Guess that’s what You Tube is for. HA! Continue to pray the process will move forward and that our saving every penny will pay off (literally). We believe this is what we’re supposed to be doing, and we believe this is how we’re supposed to start to build our family.

Proverbs 4:23-27 says:

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thoughts on today...

Today, at church, was the first time we’ve seen some of our friends since we decided to adopt. I can’t even begin to tell you how touched I was…everyone was so excited, people were offering their old baby clothes, their notary services, babysitting services, but most importantly their prayer support! We realize this is a huge undertaking with finances alone it’s going to be rough, but we absolutely could never ever make it through this process if we didn’t have our friends and family praying for us. God does amazing things through prayer and we know that and see it first hand in our lives every day, so please keep praying! Thanks to everyone who already has, and hopefully will continue to as well.

As for today, the parenthood thing isn’t bothering me, but that’s just today, hopefully my freak outs will be few and far between.

To answer some common ?'s...

Here are some questions that I’ve been asked frequently about adoption in relation to Tyler and I.

1. How long will it take? The whole process from applying to bring our child home is 12-18 months with Ethiopia depending on how quickly we get our paperwork finished up and our dossier sent over to Ethiopia. Home study is 3-4 months long, waiting for a referral (which means the agency to match us with a child) is 6-9 months. Once we’re matched, and our dossier is approved, our travel date is usually anywhere from 4-6 weeks after that depending on the season. Also, a dossier is a compilation of a lot of paperwork (i.e. doctors notes, work note, fingerprinting, and tons of other paperwork including our completed home study that is sent to Ethiopia as our FORMAL application to them as a country).

2. Are we adopting a boy or a girl? Infant or older child? The first time you adopt from Ethiopia you can only specify if you want a boy. They don’t allow you to choose a girl the first time around, we aren’t specifying anything accept age and the fact that our child will be 100% healthy. We are choosing to adopt an infant (0-12 months). The next time we adopt we’ll be more open to having an older (1-4years) child.

3. Why did we choose adoption as opposed to having biological children? We aren’t opposed to having biological children, we intend on that being a part of our life sometime if that’s what God wants for our family. Neither of us has any fertility issues that we know of but we both agreed that if it came down to us trying for a biological child and it not happening we are not taking an drastic measures to make that happen (i.e. IVF, fertility drugs). Do we have issues with people who aren’t adopting children? Are you kidding me, if we did we wouldn’t have any friends! Not only that, it’s just not important to either of us how you decide to make your family. Adoption is something that was always a part of our lives whether it’s through having a friend that is adopted, to babysitting for an entire family that was adopted, or even knowing clients at my work who have adopted children domestically and internationally.

4. Why Ethiopia? Ethiopia was always in our top 3 choices and here’s why. 7 million children are without families in Ethiopia…7 MILLION! Most of the time the woman is unmarried which doesn’t allow her enough money to have a job and pay for childcare so the need is great! It’s a smoother process, and a shorter wait. It seems weird to say out loud but I DON’T WANT TO WAIT 4 YEARS FOR A CHILD, if I have a choice of one in 12 months instead of 48, I’m going with the 12.

The truth is, we felt God calling us in this direction. True story.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Motherhood...

I was feeling a little…ok A LOT overwhelmed about this whole process and all the paperwork and notarizing and certifying that up until this point I hadn’t let my mind focus on being a mom, an actual mother, a provider of emotional support, a shoe lace tie-er, an aggravator, a companion. I’m completely freaked about it, seriously. I’m nervous, like I have an actual nervous feeling in my stomach over the reality of being a mother. A mother. Mama. Mommy. Is this normal first time mom jitters? Is there such a thing as first time mom jitters? Help a sister out!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Excitement doesn't begin to describe it...

So we received the official acceptance letter from Holt today and we are SO PUMPED! Although if I’m being completely honest I know that what we’ve gone through in the last couple weeks from choosing a few different agencies and also choosing the country will be hands down the easiest thing out of the whole process. The next step is going to be the home study, we’ll be working with an agency called Children’s Home Society here in Florida, and it should take approximately 3-4 months.

In making the big announcement it was met with so many different comments, questions and reactions, as I expected. Given the fact that I’m a super private person at work, they were all REALLY stunned, like totally stunned…one guy just looked at me for like 5 minutes straight. My boss asked me “well who’s going to watch the baby?”…and “how long will you be taking off?”, to which I replied, “Tyler and I will be watching the baby, and I’ll be taking an equivalent of a normal maternity leave”, he responds “ok well, we’ve got to get this figured out, ’cause this could happen any minute right?”. wow. I wish.

Our immediate families are really excited which is awesome…which got me thinking. You know when a woman gets pregnant there’s an immediate connection with other women who have been pregnant or are pregnant, the ooey gooey stuff from mother’s talking about kicks and heartburn, and how many pushes it took to get the baby out. This is how people connect, I mean really strangers connect. I started to think, I’ve got to make this as much of a connecting process as possible without actually carrying the child in my belly, or passing on gene’s from our parents and grandparents. I guess initially the easiest way for me to do this is with sharing information. I’ve got to make sure I’m talking about the whole process a lot more with our parents and siblings, little insignificant details that I might not think are super important will act as yet another way for them to really feel like they’re with us and our new baby through this process. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions, it’s new to us so we might not know the answer yet but by the end we sure will.

My heart is full.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just some thoughts during my long shift...

Today I had some time to do a lot of thinking while I worked a double. Lots of time to peruse the internet, cry over adoption videos on you tube, and just try and get the ball rolling on some little things like our passports and copies of birth certificates. I was thinking today, what if I don’t feel connected to our new little one? What if I’m just not feelin’ it? I started to worry about that, I mean I know I love my dog so I’m OBVIOUSLY going to feel love for a child that technically I didn’t help create. I wonder if anyone in my family will feel the same way…I hope not. I spoke to Tyler about this via text while I was at work and he said to me “Kari, God would not have put this in our hearts only to have us NOT connect”. True story.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Slowly but surely...

Today I had to make a lot of first contacts with people to get the correct information as well as deadlines and everything too. I contacted Children’s Home Society of Florida to find out what we needed to do to get the ball rolling with the home study, and was only able to leave a message around lunch time. I didn’t hear back for the rest of the day, which was kind of a bummer. I emailed back and forth with Emily at Holt making sure she didn’t need any other information from me for the application we have to do with them, from what I can tell, and what I gathered from my conversations with her….our application looks great, once she receives our previous 3 years tax information she’ll forward our file to the Ethiopia program at Holt. Then I kinda hit a wall, where is all this money going to come from? What are we getting ourselves into with all this, as far as money goes? We don’t have a lot in saving’s, we aren’t millionaires. I scoured the internet for fundraising ideas, some are so cheesy. I looked at grant options as well, and most of those don’t give you any money until after you’ve completed the home study. We’re trying to decide, to we send out a letter to friends and family? Is that weird to ask other people to help pay for your child? We know this is right, we know we’re supposed to be doing this.

I happened to turn to James the other night when I was reading my Bible and the whole first chapter was perfect…it was titled “Faith and Endurance”. Seriously. ”God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”. James 1:12

Tomorrow afternoon we have a webinar, that focuses on adopting from Ethiopia. I’m so excited to hear what it’s all about!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

And then last night...

As I was struggling to shut my brain off to this whole new possibility, I thought…we’re going to have a child that looks substantially different then we do. This of course doesn’t bother me, but I wonder if I can tolerate the people who it does bother? How do we prepare ourselves for those future conversations with our little brown baby? Then I had an interesting conversation today with a lady at work who was “concerned” that I might not be fully prepared for the aesthetic differences (i.e. skin color because really that’s ALL IT IS), to which I assured her with these words, “our whole family is going to be different, every last child we adopt or have biologically, will be able to connect THROUGH their differences and not IN SPITE OF”…she said “ok”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have it in the bag, in fact I’m totally and completely inexperienced, this I know is true, our baby (no matter the color) will be loved, and fed, and have a roof over their head.

Where are we at in all this?...

It took us a few weeks to nail down an agency, which was strange to me I thought it would have been really easy. We really had our heart set on Asia, for some weird reason we always thought that would be where we adopted from first. As we continued looking on each adoption agency web site we discovered that Asia has some very strict requirements regarding age, and also the wait is excruciatingly long. Korea is pretty much stopping any adoptions except to Korean families here in the US, and Hong Kong is strictly special needs, so needless to say we’ve hit quite a few bumps in the road already. One night after we had an agency rep tell us that maybe we needed to expand our acceptance of special needs children, I had a MAJOR meltdown, PMS perhaps but also coming to this harsh realization. Turns out the 3 countries we chose (Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan) only have children available with special needs and I just don’t know if we’re ready for that or even if we’ll ever want that. Which seems completely selfish when I say it out loud, I mean these kids don’t have anyone, and they’re there and available because they look funny or have some sort of down syndrome or even CP. They didn’t have a choice to be born like that? It’s just the hand they were dealt which sucks and here I am turning them away because of something they can’t help. When I think about it too long I think, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, and then I think am I allowed to be choosy in this situation? We both have our minds really set on Asia and it seems like right now those are the hardest countries to adopt from. When I think about it, most of the time I start crying. How bad would it suck to not have anyone, to have the only people in your life get paid to spend time with you? I would die if my picture was up on a website and someone took one look at me or read my description and said no, what does that feel like? Some of these kids are older too, outgrowing the orphanage the only place they call home. It’s hard…a lot harder then I really ever thought it would be. I’m nervous, excited, apprehensive, emotional, scared, overwhelmed, and happy all at the same time. I always kinda felt like I was cut out for something like this but now I’m starting to second guess it a little, I know I’m tough but this will be a true test. The parallels between adoption and Christ’s love for us are undeniably identical and really humbling because the truth is I’m worse off then most of those kids when it comes to Christ loving me for me.

We’ve officially gone with Holt International, filled out the application online on Friday (9/11), and now are waiting to hear from them. We have a long way to go but we’re confident this is where God wants us to be and will welcome any personal refining along the way.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How it all began...

On a park bench, no joke, and definitely cliche I guess. Tyler and I were taking a walk at a park here in Altamonte called Crane’s Roost and we were people watching, which if you know me at all you know it’s my very favorite thing. I had been thinking for a little while that adoption would be an interesting journey and an awesome way to build our family, I had just never said it out loud, and then I did. What you need to understand is that I believe my husband is the most patient, understanding, and selfless person ever, he will no doubt be an AMAZING father to our children but I didn’t know that he had ever given something like this a second thought, and it turns out he had! We proceeded to talk about what countries we wanted to adopt from and how old and all those fun things…all on the park bench. So here we are, nearly 2 years after that conversation, beginning this strenuous and rewarding journey.