Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Overjoyed!

This is going to be a lengthy one, so consider yourself warned!

Today was our 3rd and final interview with Beth.  In a couple of weeks after the home study is written and has been approved we will have one last meeting just so we can read over what all will be submitted.  She said she has no concerns and expects it will all go smoothly.  This is a huge weight off of our shoulders! Our next few things to work on is to take our CORE class, put together the nursery, and make our adoption-birthmom portfolio.  Then...we wait!

The meeting tonight was my favorite one so far.  At dinner Michael said how amazing it feels to have someone from the outside looking in say how wonderful our relationship is.  She complimented us so many times and said the love we share is obvious and that she can't wait to see us with a baby! Besides talking about our marriage, we went over some parenting topics and learned a little bit about attachment disorders.  I guess since we are adopting a newborn I didn't pay much attention to attachment issues, but now I realize it is something we really need to be aware of.  Basically, for 9 months the baby is bonding with the birthmom, and then all of the sudden it's born and he/she doesn't just automatically know that we are the parents.  I am praying that even though the adoption won't be final, that maybe the birthmom will let me do some skin to skin contact right after they are born.  Another big difference about an adoptive baby is that we have to build that attachment more so then biological relationships, because they don't know who we are.  They have to learn the sounds of our voices, our smells, etc.  So, as part of this, the baby should really only be with us.  Now, this does NOT mean that people cannot come over and see the baby, we really hope lots of people will! But, it does mean that the majority of the time Michael and I will be holding him/her, we will do all the feeding, changing, napping etc.  I'm excited to have a good excuse to hog the baby all to myself :) In all seriousness though, I know this won't be the easiest thing.  For example, we really won't be leaving the house beyond what is necessary for awhile.  (Besides going to the station.  It's important that the baby bonds with Michael too, so we will be there a lot at first so the baby can be with him too!) We had originally hoped to have a big baptism/meet the baby/etc party after we bring the baby home, but that won't happen right away.  We are going to wait awhile to have the baby baptized, because it is important to us to have the family involved.  We just aren't really suppose to pass the baby around.  We also will get a small bassinet because initially he/she will be sleeping in our bedroom, to help with the attachment. 

This whole idea will on one hand be amazing.  I've waited so long to be a mom that when that baby is here I won't want to be away from it.  On the opposite hand though, bringing this baby home has most definitely been a group effort.  We would not be where we are without the help, support, and prayers from each of you.  That is what will make it difficult, because I will want to share our baby with all the people that helped bring them home.  We will still be able to do so, and be able to have lots of visitors, it will just be a little different.  People can still most definitely hold the baby, just not a big group all at once. 

On another note, we just ordered our crib/changing table!!! Thanks to my parents for splitting it with us! My sister (in law) Whitney is going to help us and make a valence and crib skirt too!! My friend Christi offered to make our baby blanket.  We already picked out the sheets that we are basing the nursery off of.  I am excited because we aren't buying a set, our nursery will be unique!!! Once we get the items here and start setting things up, I will post pictures.

I also need to say thank you again for the continued prayers, as well as financial support.  Money that we never expected just keeps coming in.  We've continued to get donations, the football squares fundraiser is doing well, and another friend offered to do a scrapbooking night fundraiser for us too! (As soon as I get those details, I'll post the flier on here as well.)

Well, I warned you this would be a long one.  My heart is just so overjoyed and filled with love for my wonderful husband, thankfulness for the ongoing support, and gratitude to Jesus for putting all of this in place for us.  About a year ago, our hearts were aching after failed infertility treatments.  Tonight they are filled with excitement over what God has in the works for our future.

Goodnight!!
xoxo
The Matzkes

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Football Fundraiser & other news!


Here is our latest fundraiser.  It's fun, easy and affordable! One square is only $5! Here's how Michael explains it:


 ADOPTION FUNDRAISER!!
Help support our adoption by participating in a Super Bowl Square Pool!!! Here are the rules:
We are betting on the last number of each score. For example, if you think the game will be tied at 21-21 you'd buy box 1-1. Or, if you think it will be 49ers 28, Ravens 21 you'd buy box 8-1.
...
Squares are $5 each.
Winner of game final score will get 30% (If all squares sell that's $150)
Winners of 1st, 2nd & 3rd quarter scores will get 5% ( If all squares sell that's $25 each)
All money is due by Thursday, Jan. 30th (but earlier is better!) All unpaid squares will be re-released.
Here is the most up to date spread sheet!
BUY A SQUARE TO HELP US BUY A BABY!

 
Feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested.  Even if you don't live close, you can still participate and just send us the money.
 
In other news... We rescheduled our meeting with Beth for Wednesday.  She said this is the last meeting where she gathers more information, and that it will be primarily about our marriage.  I'm not nervous for this one at all! She said after this meeting we have the final meeting after she has written up our home study, and that at the final meeting she just goes over what she wrote!  We are moving right along. 
 
Over the next couple weeks I plan to work on our parent portfolio (the book given to the birthmoms when they are making some tough decisions) and to get the ball rolling with the nursery! Both of those tasks sound quite appealing :)   We had some big car troubles last night (as in, my car can no longer be driven) so we are waiting to see the cost of fixing that before we move on to the nursery.
 
The final thought that has been on my mind, is our future birthmom.  Although we don't know her yet, I just ask that people start praying for her.  Whether she is pregnant yet or not, I can't imagine being in her shoes.  When I stop and think about what a self-less act it will be in giving us her own biological flesh and blood, I am overwhelmed with respect and admiration.  Whoever and wherever she is, I am praying for her, since she will significantly change our lives.
 
Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks for the continued support! 
Love,
Sara & Michael

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh Money

Back to back posts?  That's what happens when I'm stuck at home, sick with the stomach flu and bored!

Anyway, we need some suggestions.  We are still about $2,000 short from being able to finalize the Home Study.  I know we aren't quite finished with the home study yet, but we are confident that this is all working out beautifully.  So, we need some fundraising ideas.  Although $2,000 may not seem like a lot of money to some, for us it is.  Especially because we have (with lots of help) paid for everything up to this point without any debt. Let me just break this down a bit:

Application: $1,000 paid & approved!

Upon Start of home study visits: $1,500 paid & going strong!

CORE Training classes: $400 paid & signed up! (Feb 22 &23)

Upon approval and ready to be matched w/birth mother: $5,000 eeek! We're at $3,000 saved so far

Upon Match/Prior to Birth: $6,000

Upon relinquishment and placement: $10,000

Prior to finalization : $500

Finalization costs depend on courts/lawyers fees

So, without the finalization costs or possibility of travel costs, that brings us to $24,000.

I was not sure if I should share this, and up until this point Michael & I have been somewhat vague when fundraising, and when people ask where this money is going.  So, there you have it.  Keep in mind, this does not include getting our home ready for baby, but that is something Michael and I are saving to do on our ownish too. :)

We are working hard.  Really, really hard.  My fear (to God's dismay, I'm sure) is that we will finish something but then not be able to complete a step because of the financial aspect.  That is why we'd love some fundraising ideas!

Here are a couple things I've been told about/read.  A baby bottle fundraiser.  We provide baby bottles and people keep them and fill them up with change.  Whenever it is full, they return it to us.  One cute thing about this is that I just mentioned this to Grandma P (Mike's gma) and her, my mother in law, and our aunt have already done this! I think this would be a great and easy fundraiser to do, ongoing.  In fact, the more I think about this the more it seems like a no brainer.  Easy for us, easy for others.  All we need to do is buy baby bottles, although I would really like to include a note from the 2 of us inside each one.  I guess the question is, who and where do we give them too?

Another idea someone told me about is to have a party.  You can imagine, that instantly after hearing the word 'party' my husband was on board!  How I think it works: we'd have a party with food & drinks provided, and people could either buy a ticket or have a suggested donation for dinner.  On top of that we could ask friends, family and the community to donate items or services (ideas on who to ask and what for?) and either raffle them off or do a silent auction (any preferences or ideas?).  This is the other one I love, partly because it has sort of just fallen into place already.  One of the Chiefs at the fire department already offered to donate as much bbq as we need! *See, God works through people and ways that we would have never thought!*  We just aren't sure about where or when to have it (big issues!), since I think our house would be too small.  Funny side note: My hubby and I wanted to call this an adoptionpalozza, clever I think ;)

That is where we are at and what he have in the works. I vowed to always be honest through this process and honestly our biggest challenge right now, thankfully, is financially. (Yes I am thankful that everything else is so great that money is the only current issue!)  I also was told by a coworker a couple of months ago that I need to put our needs out there in order to hope to succeed with help! So, here I am somewhat recluctantly putting it all out there.  I'd love advice, suggestions, help, etc.

Thanks & God Bless!

Sara

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stupid Flu!

Well, we finally got slightly off track.  We were suppose to have our 3rd meeting with Beth this evening, but I am stuck home sick with the stomach flu.  Michael and I both had it, but he didn't have it as severely and was up and at it a lot sooner than I was.

We haven't rescheduled the meeting yet.  I'm waiting until I am back to normal for a couple days before we make a plan.

Also-we got our first check from our Just Love Coffee fundraiser! At the end of each month they send us our portion of the proceeds!!  It is ongoing, so if you're a coffee drinker or need a good gift check out our website: https://justlovecoffee.com/babymatzke

Sorry this is short! There's not much to say & I'm ready to crawl back into bed!

Thanks for the well wishes!

Sara
Oh wait, any thoughts on these color choices for the nursery? We're having a hard time deciding on a gender neutral theme...I know it's hard to tell what it'd look like in a baby room.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Round Two, Complete!

Today was our individual meetings with Beth.  Again, I have no idea why I worry everything went smoothly.  She met with each of us alone for about an hour.  We discussed our childhoods, relationships with siblings, extended families and our circle of friends.  SO-THANKS for being so wonderful.  She said it is quite clear that we have an awesome support system and I loved being able to share how great our relationships with everyone are.

We chatted a bit about making our birth-parent portfolio.  It is a letter and little book we'll make about ourselves that the agency will show to birth moms.  I am so excited to make it!  She did mention that it would be nice if we could have a picture of the nursery, so we will have to see if we can get that together more before we complete our home study. 

Our next meeting is next Tuesday. We'll talk about our marriage and future parenting plans at that one.  After that is just a wrap up meeting where we go over what she is putting in our home study.  Then we have our 2 day class and we're done. :) All of this hurrying up so we can wait! (but hopefully not too long.)  I am hoping to have the baby shower in the somewhat near future, so we can have all of that together and good to go for when we get that exciting phone call!  I think I mentioned this before, but just in case: The agency general waits to place birth moms & adoptive families until she is about 7 months pregnant.  Of course if we find a birth mom on our own, it would be a little different.  Either way we need to get everything together because we don't know exactly how long or short this time could be.

I am so excited for what God has in store for us, and I am thankful for the support and understanding we get during both the joys and hardships of all of this.  When that sweet little baby becomes a Matzke, we will be sure to share with them how many people rallied around us to help bring our little miracle home.

That's it for now.  As always, thanks for the prayers and love it is all very appreciated!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Let's Get Real...

I've spent the better part of Michael's shift at the fire dept. (48 hours) sort of lost. Lost in prayers, worries, hopeful moments, etc. I have spent this evening and last reading other blogs, posts, articles and stories from other adopting hopefuls and already together forever families and I noticed they all have the same theme: joy.

  Now, don't get me wrong, this has been a very joyful journey. Too be honest, almost all of the time I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I'm grateful for a husband who believes in adoption with his whole heart and for two sides of one wonderful family that support us with everything they can. We've been surrounded at work, church, home, friends literally every aspect of our life with people who support, pray and hope for us. Most importantly I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is leading us in a way that I have never been led before. (Probably because I've been too busy making my own plans over following His.) And as much as I have learned and experienced through this process, it has been far from easy. Yes there is joy in the journey, but there is also a lot of frustrations and heartache.

I am so happy we are adopting. I always ALWAYS wanted to adopt and people who have known me my whole life can confirm it. This is what God wants from me, from us. I know that God led me to my husband because we are meant to grow our family through adoption. But again, this isn't always sunshine and gummy bears. In fact, some days it is just plain hard. This all gets me back to my original point. Everything I've read is all happy-go-lucky. While it is SO SO important to love this process and be hopeful for the outcome, I think it is also important to shed light on the truth that this isn't easy.

  Too be honest, I am tired. We've been trying to grow our family for 3 years. As much as I am happy to see loved ones have children, it isn't always easy. It's tough to watch other people, in whatever manner, get something you have been trying to get. It is hard to see people promote abortion, when couples like us are doing everything we can for a baby. It's tiring to hear people complain about little things when we are praying for those things. I cannot wait for the day that I am exhausted because my little one isn't sleeping, instead of being exhausted from navigating this path, explaining, coping, learning and understanding the mounds of paper work, meetings, crunching budgets and numbers to make ends meet so we can go on to the next step and classes. I think about the first night with our baby when I am awake at all hours caring for this child of God, instead of losing sleep wondering if I turned everything in, how long the CBI will take, and how long really honestly we will be waiting to be matched with our birthmom.

  I know with my whole heart I will be a mom. I know that God knows exactly who that will be, when, and how my family will grow. But at this point in our life, God knows, not me and that is a hard thing to cope with at times. Yes, I trust Him with everything but I also feel like He hears my cries and feels my sorrow when my heart is heavy. And boy oh boy these last 2 days I have sure kept His ears full.

  The point of this post is to NOT gain sympathy. In fact, please don't be offended if next time we chat I sort of brush this whole post off. It is to be honest. Just to simply let it be known that while I trust God and celebrate with Him I also believe He mourns with me through the nights where I am here waiting. And to let people know that just like everyone else, we are just normal people. That if little fragile hearted me can walk blindly by faith that anyone can. You don't have to be strong, rich or have it all figured out to adopt. You just have to simply trust God and wait.

One last piece, this song really sums it all up. I know I've played it for several people already, but you might want to give it a listen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9DTwLOxzhE

Wait, I lied. One more last little piece. Thanks to my mother in law, Sandy for pushing me to start a blog. The more I do this to keep others in the loop and to help share adoption, the more I am learning that this is just another way for me to navigate my feelings and to someday be able to share them with our child. So, even though this started out for Sandy and the many others who wanted better updates, it has turned into a great resource for me.

  Lots and lots of love.
 Good night!
Sara

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A few pictures

My husband is too cute. He was excited to do a little baby proofing before the social worker came! A big thank you to both of our big brothers and sister in laws for baby proofing stuff! They gave us the baby gate and outlet covers.
Here's our 'designated space' which will become a nursery in the near future. After our home study is over we'll have a baby shower. I CAN'T WAIT for that! It's been fun collecting a few baby things here & there. Sometimes having that big empty room is hard and other times it is so promising. I found a cool quote on Pinterest: "trusting in God means trusting in His timing." Not always easy but we will get there!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ahh the stress...

Well, our little happy bubble wasn't completely popped, but sure got a little pushed around when we realized how all of these meetings will impact our work.  Don't get me wrong, I know this is SO totally completely worth it, but my husband and I really do love our jobs and the people we work with so it's a little hard knowing we'll be making things harder on everyone else.

We have 3 meetings left to go with Beth (remember-she's our super duper awesome social worker!) The only hard part is she works 9am-2pm Mondays-Fridays.  So that means I'll have to be missing work.  We're hoping we can schedule at least one meeting on an upcoming day off that I have but of course Michael is on shift that day so he'll have to miss!

After this there is a 2 day, 16 hours CORE training class we take.  It's a little expensive but we make it work! Of course, this class is offered on Fridays & Saturdays, so there goes another day.

Like I said, we know that it will all be worth it.  It's just a lot of work in a short amount of time. 

The other thing is that the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation, I think...) is SO backed up with background checks because everyone is trying to get guns these days that instead of the usual 8 weeks they said we are looking at about 16 weeks to get all of that information back.  Thankfully though we turned that paper work in about a month or so ago. 

So, it looks like we should have this whole home study all wrapped up by March (Lord willing).  I guess we just need some prayers for patience during this time. 

Another thing I wanted to touch on (simply because I have had several people ask) is that YES we can find a birthmom on our own!  We are open to newborn up to 6 months, any gender and any race.  If you know someone, or might know someone who knows someone (you get the picture...) please feel free to tell them about us, give our email addresses or phone numbers to them, etc.  We've heard several stories of people who found birthmoms just by word of mouth and we would love for something like that to happen for us!

Ok, my LAST subject for tonight (again only because people have asked...) is yes, we are still/will be for awhile, taking donations for our adoption.  We have set up a seperate accont specifically for the adoption and that money isn't used for anything else.  God has been so good to us and we have been able to come a long way without having to take our loans YET, but we still have about $17,000 to go.  We have our ongoing coffee fundraiser: www.justlovecoffee.com/babymatzke  or you can just send a check to us or we will let you know when we have another fundraiser.

That's it for now.

LOVE,
Sara (and our dog Halli, because she isn't leaving me alone while I type... :) )

Friday, January 4, 2013

If Monica & Chandler can do this, so can we..!!

So most of you probably won't get this reference, but anyone watch the show 'Friends'?  There's an episode where Monica & Chandler are freaking out while waiting for their first home visit.  Of course, theirs was done and over within 30 minutes and they had Joey making them laugh...but still, if they can do it, so can we :)

Beth, our social worker, is awesome.  She just left after our first home study visit (it lasted exactly 2 hours!) and I really don't think it could have gone any better.  The dogs were little darlings, the house was spotless and within 10 minutes we were so comfortable chatting with her.  She asked about all sorts of things:infertility treatments we did, how each of us feel about deciding on adoption, our house, jobs, finances, support we get from others, how we're planning on paying for this, our roles now in our marriage, hobbies, etc.  You name it and she touched on it.  It was almost sort of cool to hear out loud exactly how blessed we are.  That's something you don't get to do everyday, although we all should. 

My husband is a champ.  He was so comfortable and easy going the whole time.  Hearing his answers to different questions made me fall in love with him all over again.  He is so confident in everything and wants to adopt so badly. 

Now-before she came I was a mess. Literally.  Michael said I was talking like I just had a stroke.  I couldn't get my words out, starting sweating, pacing, almost cried.  I don't know if everyone understands just how huge this whole thing is/was.  This lady literally holds the key to building our family through adoption.  A bad home study and you're out of the game (for awhile anyway.) That's a lot riding on this!  Man I am so RELIEVED and so THANKFUL that she is so amazing and that it all went so smoothly.

Here's Michael's take on the whole thing: (Yep, I am making him blog!)

.... Well I just learned what a blog was when  I heard of this one a few weeks back. As I'm finding out, adoption is quite the crazy process. In the beginning I was staying strong for Sara as I usually do and didn't really think I would get as emotionally involved as Sara. Now that we are well into the process I think it is having a bigger impact on my life. I found my self outside this morning re-shoveling the already shoveled sidewalk, sweeping a path way to our covered and frozen garden,  and scrubbing the ceiling in the shower all before the social worker showed up.  I know I make fun of Sara a lot but I'm pretty sure I was the nervous wreck this time. After meeting Beth, we both had peace with this part of the home study. It has reassured me even more that adoption is meant to be!

Our next meeting with her is on the 16th.  We meet with her individually then.  I think it's safe to say we are way less nervous for that than we were today. 

Thanks for the love, keep it coming!!

Sara & Michael

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Adoption Tax Credit Extended!!!

 
Happy New Year!!

It's only the 2nd day of 2013 and it's already off to a great start! Michael and I have had lots of family time these last few days and we've enjoyed every minute of it.

Well, in anticipation for our first home study visit we had a dog trainer come to the house to work with our pups for a bit. They are doing SO well. (It helps that I'm on break from work and school and have time to spare.) So, don't be mad next time you come to our house if it takes us an extra minute or two to answer the door, the doggies are learning nice door manners.

Anyway, the main point of this post, blog, whatever it's called, is that I just found out the Adoption Tax Credit has been extended. This is GREAT news for us, as well as many many other adopting families. Basically, we should get at least a $10,000 tax credit the year we finalize our adoption. This is what Nightlight just released:



Congress Extends Adoption Tax Credit

January 2, 2013 – Alexandria, VA – Late Tuesday night, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act which will become law upon President Obama’s signature. Amongst the provisions of this Act was an extension of the adoption tax credit.

Complete details of implementation are still to be seen, but the bill permanently extends the adoption tax credit which is set at $10,000, but may once again be scaled for inflation, potentially bringing it to near the 2012 amount of $12,650. Families with incomes under $150,000 will receive the full credit and it will gradually phase out for higher incomes.




We just feel like God is really laying out our path before us. Like I said last time, so many people have been so generous that between that and Michael working his 2nd job we are pretty close to having the money to complete our home study. The whole cost of this adoption will be around $25,000 and the home study is just a small part of that, but it is just nice to be moving ahead so quickly.

We'll post again on Friday after Beth (our social worker) leaves and let you know how it went. I'm ready to power through these next 48 hours and meet her. (Thank goodness for the people who've made plans with me to keep me sane while Michael is at the fire station. He gets off shift about 4 hours before Beth comes over...ahhh!!!) I have worked myself into quite a frenzy preparing for this, but I'm praying it will all pay off!    Love,Sara