Sunday, February 24, 2013

CORE Training

CORE training classes made for a long couple of days. 13 hours each day to be exact.  Our poor pups! Thankfully on the first day my father in law was able to stop by on his way home from work and let them play for a bit.  The snow and traffic between here and Aurora didn't help either. We did however, learn some important things.

For one, parenting an adoptive child is just different.  Different from day one, different their whole life.  With that in mind, we did learn some helpful hints on just parenting in general.

We talked a lot, A LOT, A. LOT about attachment.  We learned some ways to promote bonding and attachment.  The first one is to get a comfy carrier that has nothing between you & the baby, and wear it as often as possible doing skin-to-skin as much as you can.  This way the baby can learn your smell, feel of your skin, and hear your heart beat.  I registered for one that I think is awesome!

She also said to get a good glider.  Then to do skin to skin and hold them close to us and spend a lot of time in the gliding motion.  Helps mimic the womb.

Before you bring the baby home, pick the same lotion, deodorant, laundry soap, etc. that you will use for the next year.  This way the baby can learn your specific smell.  Makes sense to me, it's just one of those little things I wouldn't have thought of.

The other thing, which does seem obvious, is to talk to the baby alllll the time.  Literally.  While you're doing the dishes, "Here's the purple plate, mommies putting it away." Most of you know, I love the sound of my own voice (ha,ha!) so I will have no problem jabbering away to our little munchkin.

I've touched on this before, but I learned more about this topic too.  Michael & I have to really be the ones holding/caring for our baby.  No one else is to rock to sleep, feed, change, etc. at least in the beginning.  She did tell me however, that I get to be a slight exception! She said with my husband being gone on a 48 hr shift, if I'm losing it I can call my mom or mom in law to come help :) Whew! Here's what our hand-out says, "And as hard as it will be, don't pass your newborn around to everyone who wants to hold him.  Be stingy, at least for the first couple of months.  Your baby needs to know and recognize you as his parents.  Being handled by different people can be confusing for your baby's growing attachment to you."  There mom and Sandy-I didn't say it, the professionals did!! :)  Michael and I did ask though, about meeting family.  We told them that our family is really close (both relationally and distance).  She said to have one set of grandparents, or aunt and uncle over at a time.  Cheri (the teacher) did tell us that people want to help.  They know you're tired and want to come take care of things.  She said the best way to help is to give them jobs that you can't do because you're with the baby.  Sounds good to me!

The other big thing she said to do is to have as much eye contact as possible, and usually within 12 inches of their face.

I did have some concerns about the baby and Michael bonding, since he will be at work for 48 hours shifts.  The plus side of that however, is that he'll be home for 4 days.  She said to wrap the baby in his shirt when he's gone, record his voice reading a story and play it at night, and whenever possible, go visit him. 

The last thing we touched on was if we adopt a child of a different race.  She said we will look at our baby and not even notice, but the rest of the world will.  We are lucky to have (at least as far as I know) a group of friends and family members who wouldn't care.  They'll love our little one just the same, no matter what they look like.  To me, it seemed silly.  Obviously our child will come from a different set of genes.  They aren't going to look like a Gabbert or a Matzke.  Everyone knows that and expects it, I would assume.  She did have us practice responding to others if they ask insensitive questions.  Actually, we practiced just answering insensitive questions about adoption in general.

There was a whole lot more, but at the moment those were the main things that stuck with me. 

Any other small parenting tips from moms or dads (adoptive or not) will be much appreciated!!

Now, to decide if we are powering through this snow storm out of our window to make it to church.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New look?

Ok, I updated the whole layout of the blog-what do ya think? 

Anyway, we have our CORE training class Friday & Saturday.  I AM SO EXCITED! I'll be sure to post after we're done and share all the details that I can.  I heard from Beth today, she said our Home Study is all written and her supervisor is just reviewing it.  In about a week or so, we will be able to look it over and it will be turned in! I still have a few odds and ends to finish up, like sending some paper work and our $5,000 but we are soooo close to being good to go.

I don't know what it is, but I sure have had some peace in my heart these last few weeks.  I just know that God is leading us and that is such a beautiful feeling.  It is hard when people ask how long until we are placed, when I just don't have an answer.  My response has been, "Anywhere from tomorrow til a year and a half from now." Of course, I am crossing my fingers for sooner rather than later. 

I am also so excited for our baby shower.  My sister (in law), with help from mine and Michael's moms, has been working hard.  She's making the invitations herself, so as soon as I get to see one I'll post it on here.  There's not a lot to chose from as far as an adoption baby shower invitation, so I am SO SO SO excited to see what they came up with! I found a couple of ideas on Pinterest that I passed along, so we'll see how it turns out! We went and registered at Babies-R-Us and Target.  I loved sharing that with my husband.  For the first time, it sort of hit us that all of this work will end up with a baby! Sometimes I feel like all of this has become such a business transaction, that it was really nice to be reminded that when this is all done, I'll be a mama.  It was also the first time that I really felt like I was preparing for my baby.  I just can't wait to find out who they are, and where they are coming from!!

That's all for now, I'll update it after our class this week :)


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Home Study Process

I've had many people ask what exactly the home study is.  While I do my best to answer this question on the spot, I thought it might be a good idea to take a few minutes to sit down and write what our home study entailed. 

I am by no means an expert, and technically our home study isn't complete yet.  Still, here's the general breakdown of what it took to get to this point.

First, we filled out a basic but somewhat lengthy application with our adoption agency.  It asked about how much money we make, debt, jobs, length of marriage, that sort of thing. 

After we were approved, we were quickly matched with our social worker, Beth, who did our home study.  Now, I just have to throw this out there one more time: She. Is. Awesome.  I believe a big reason why our process has gone so smoothly this far, is because of her.  So, we had our first meeting with Beth in our home.  She walked around the house, got a feel for the floor plan, checked out the future nursery, met the dogs, that sort of thing.   Then we all sat at the dining room table and she quickly got us to talking.  She didn't waste a second.  It started with our infertility treatments and asking what all we did.  The thing that sort of caught me off guard is she asked what we are doing to heal, and pointed out that it will be a life-long process.  Then we went into discussing why we chose adoption.  One thing that God just sort of popped into my brain and heart was, "I am healing from a loss of carrying a child, not a loss of being a mom.  I in no way need to HEAL with our decision to adopt.  It's the best and most courageous choice we've ever made."  She then asked about our families, A LOT. Immediate family, extended family, our upbringings, etc. 

The 2nd meeting she met with Michael & I individually.  She asked us both pretty much about every aspect of our lives from our first memories until today.  We touched on our childhoods, how our relationships with our parents, siblings and grandparents have changed throughout our lives.

The 3rd meeting was about our marriage. This one was by far my favorite.  Maybe because I no longer worried about our meetings or because I just adore my husband so much.  Whatever the case, we actually enjoyed it.  We didn't just touch on the basic how we met stuff, but what first drew us to each other.  I laughed when Mike said, "Well, since I was 19, I just thought she was hot.." Clearly, by this point we were so comfortable, Beth felt like a friend, and we had no problem just blurting out exactly how we were feeling. This was the final interview.

Our 4th meeting is still pending.  All it will be is a chance for Michael and I to read the home study before it is turned in. 

The other parts of our home study are that we are both CPR & 1st Aide certified, and that we attended some classes.  One class is in just a couple of weeks. 

Now, although there were tons of phone calls, emails, and paperwork-that was pretty much the whole home study.  Time consuming, yes, but scary? Not at all.  I wish I could go back a month and a half and tell my scared little self not to worry about a thing.

The only other update is that I've spoken with Renee, who is the birthmom counselor and Night Light.  We will meet with her in the next 2 weeks to talk about our portfolio and our birthparent letter. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

More Baby Stuff!

Well, thanks to our family our baby storage is growing! We have some gender neutral and a lot of boy clothes. If you know of anyone getting rid of baby girl clothes (0-9 months) let us know! We don't need/want too much, just enough to get us by the first couple of weeks. We realize that the more avenues we pursue, the bigger chance there is of us not having a whole lot of notice. Which is just dandy by us! Whether it is just getting prepared or over-excitment, I love seeing that empty room slowly evolve into a nursery!

 Here's a couple pictures of soon-to-be (hopefully!) daddy Mike setting up the crib...

Here is our sweet pup Halli.  She will be so great when that baby comes.  She loves checking out the new baby things that we are getting!

Here is our nursery closet (currently storing all of our baby stuff)...
Sometimes this doesn't all seem quite real to me, maybe because we have no idea how long it could be, maybe a month, maybe a year only God knows.  Regardless, I am feeling so blessed to be surrrounded by people who are just so excited to stand with us as we pray, wait, and prepare for our little bundle of joy. 
I was reading another blog that an adopting family had started, and while they were waiting for placement they made a list of things they'd like to do to keep busy.  I think Michael and I might work on something like that. 
Just a quick update on where we are...the end of February we will be taking our CORE training classes.  Sometime between now and then we are meeting with the birth mom counselor from NightLight.  I spoke with her on the phone and she is so friendly and encouraging, I am excited to get to know her.  Hopefully by the first week of March all of our classes and Home Study will be done, and then we pray and wait to be matched with a little sweetie.  In the meantime we'll keep working on the nursery, and start on our portfolio for birth parents. 
That's all from here for now.   Thanks for the ongoing encouragement, I know I say that often, but it means to world to us.


Monday, February 4, 2013

It Just Keeps Getting Better

Things just keep looking up!

First things first: THANK YOU for participating in our Superbowl football squares fundraiser! We raised just about $350, and it was so easy.  We are just about done with our Home Study, and thanking God for blessing us through all of you.  We needed $5,000 to complete it, and we basically have it (only about $600 short)! We were a little stressed because my car was having some major troubles.  Luckily, we've got some great friends who were able to fix my car at WAY less than we had anticipated.  Because the car was more affordable to fix, we have enough of our saved money to complete the Home Study! The final paperwork should all be good to go by the beginning of March.

Now we are on to saving up the next $6,000 for when we are matched!  

We've got another exciting prospect to share.  We are somewhat pursing the option of adopting a baby from the foster care system.  Our agency recently got their foster license, so this is now a possibility for us.  It is, much like everything else, a long shot.  Never-the-less, we are thankful that we now have a couple of different avenues to pursue.  Whichever way get us our family, we know that God is in control.  We are just feeling blessed that He continues to show us ideas and options that we would never have known about. 

Speaking of things falling into our laps, a good friend of ours, Sandi is putting on a fundraiser for us! She co-owns a scrapbooking company called Memories Unlimited.  They are putting on a 'crop night' for us at the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland.  You can come work on a scrapbook, make cards, crochet, knit, whatever! It's just a great excuse to get together and craft while having food and fun with others! Please feel free to pass this information along, the more we get the better.  Plus- 100% of the proceeds go to our adoption. 

Again, we continue to be 'blessed beyond expectation' as my Grandpa Spiva would say.  It is just so clear to us to see how God has His hand in literally everything we are doing.  With all the uncertainty that surrounds adoption, and not having answers to some of the hard questions, I have never in my life been more certain that we are right where God wants us to be.  It is quite an amazing feeling and I hope and pray that we continue to move forward with this kind of faith. 

Thanks! MUCH love to you all! Goodnight!