Monday, October 28, 2013

Life Lately...

I have to admit... I'm kind of disappointed in myself right now.  I feel like there has been so much going on in our lives lately, but if you keep up with us here on the blog we probably seem pretty dull.  There are two reasons for this - 1) We've been very busy with no breaks to write a post and 2) In spite of our "busy-ness" I can't think of what to write.  So here I am, waiting on a load of laundry to finish, forcing myself to provide a much needed update that will probably read more like a check list.  I apologize in advance if this is the case...

So what have we been up to since my last post?

First, I've discovered that invoices are no longer exciting.  Remember how thrilled I was when we received the one that came with a letter informing us that our home study was approved and complete?  Well, we got another one in the mail for the next set of fees (for our match and 1/2 birth mother expense) and I didn't jump for joy.  Don't get me wrong, this invoice indicated MUCH more exciting progress for us but it happened to arrive the same week that the transmission in Nate's car decided to go out.  We faced quite the juggling act trying to figure out how to handle and afford both expenses.  It was definitely more stressful in the moment than it seems now that I'm looking back on it!

I've also learned that the further you get along in the adoption process, the more information you get (at least with the agency we're working with).  In the early days (when getting a bill was exciting) I had a hard time containing myself any time an envelope or e-mail arrived baring the agency's logo.  Now-a-days I look forward to text messages and phone calls, and even the rare face-to-face contact we occasionally have.  It's amazing to me how we have changed and learned so much in such a short amount of time!

One thing that hasn't changed, however is the fact that I prefer to hand deliver any paperwork or payment to our agency.  This is partly why we chose to go with a local agency.  So, when I went to drop off that not-so-exciting payment, I was also able to submit the requested paperwork to amend our home study.  I've mentioned this briefly before, but we need to have a foster care license due to a specific situation we have in our match.  This ended up being way simpler than I had anticipated.  We just had to submit two months proof of income and a copy of each of our utility bills.  The only slight snag we hit was that we needed to name an alternate caregiver, which involved that person having a background check and providing their drivers' license and car insurance.  It could also include the alternate caregiver having a fire and safety inspection done on their home, if the child would be watched there.  We opted to have any babysitting that may be necessary to be done inside our home, so really it was pretty simple.

I do feel guilty having to ask someone to provide their personal information on our behalf, though.  It’s one thing for us to have every aspect of our lives inspected, since we chose this path.  It’s another thing for me to ask that of someone who really had no say in the matter.  I totally understand WHY the information is required, and I know the person we asked didn’t mind, it’s just an inconvenience I wish I didn’t have to put on someone else, I guess…

While I was at the agency dropping off all of paperwork and the check, I was not-so-pleasantly surprised to learn that we also get to pay for any medical attention or prescriptions J receives that are not covered by her insurance.  I was hoping to get a statement showing a $0 balance, but instead saw yet another balance due.  I can’t get too worked up over this since I would be responsible to pay the same expenses if I were the one going through a pregnancy.  Plus it’s not a big deal at all when you consider what this is all for.  It was just another surprise to us, and maybe a heads up to anyone reading who may be considering adoption.

Alright, I think that about covers my feelings on invoices and paperwork – a recurring theme in this adoption.

In mid-September, Nate and I did go on a tour of a local day care.  We were still trying to decide if we can afford for me to stay home once the baby arrives, or if we will need to arrange for child care while we both work.  I’m not going to go too into detail about the facility we toured, mainly because we were both less-than-impressed but don’t want to bad-mouth a local business.  Maybe this particular day care was just not what we were looking for.  Maybe we need to tour a few more, or maybe we shouldn’t have toured at the end of a long day and at dinner time (grumpy kids)… For now we’re still considering other options…

Since my last update, we’ve also been able to attend two more doctor appointments and an unexpected ultrasound.  Doctor appointments are relatively uneventful these days, and for that we are thankful!  J did have to take her glucose challenge the last time we were there, and she was not at all excited.  Luckily she passed, so hopefully she won’t have to drink any more “Glucola.”  Even the name gives me chills, but if I could drink it in her place, I would.

The ultrasound was unexpected, only because we were told at J’s 20 week ultrasound that we probably won’t need any more ultrasounds unless any concerns arise.  At the 20 week appointment there was some slight concern over something the doctor saw on the screen, but said the blood work was normal so she could dismiss the ultrasound, basically.  We see a separate doctor for ultrasounds than we see for normal checkups, so when we went to a normal checkup a week later, I wanted to make sure that both doctors agreed about the ultrasound.  Thankfully they do, but decided to have a follow-up ultrasound just to make sure.  While making the two hour drive three out of four weeks made for a crazy schedule around here, I’m so thankful that we have the opportunity to attend appointments and get to know J more and more.  I’m also very thankful for the follow-up ultrasound, which showed “all clear” as far as what the doctor had been slightly concerned about before.  Hooray!

Our families also organized one last fundraiser for us last weekend.  Nate’s cousin is a Premier Designs consultant (and an excellent one, I might add), and asked Nate’s sister if she would be interested in hosting a jewelry party.  Together they came up with a plan to throw a benefit together with Thirty-One gifts, where the proceeds of any purchases would go toward our adoption fund.  I cannot express my gratitude enough for all of the hard work and thoughtfulness that went into this event.  So many people took time out of their day to prepare food, attend the event, and get some of the Christmas shopping done!  Thank you so much to everyone who participated!!  With your help we were able to raise enough funds to cover half of our expected legal fees!

If anyone was unable to attend or participate in the benefit party, we do still have our Amazon Associates account open.  If you access Amazon using this link, a portion of your sale will be direct deposited into our adoption savings.  It’s totally anonymous and there is no additional cost to you.  Just make sure to start with an empty cart!

The last adoption related update I have to share is that I officially (but not easily) scheduled our hospital tour/pre-registration.  I wasn’t sure if this was something I should do or J should do… J ended up asking if I would mind getting everything scheduled, and of course I didn’t mind!  It was SO awkward, though!  I simply (haha!) explained to the lady on the phone that my husband and I are currently matched with an expectant mom who has chosen us as adoptive parents for her baby due in January.  I have to admit; she was doing her best and kept telling me how exciting this all was.  I did end up on hold about three times, so that she could make sure she was scheduling everything correctly.  In the end it looks like J and Nate are married and I am some random support person, but whatever.  We’re officially scheduled and looking forward to getting some of our hospital-related questions answered!

On the non-adoption related front, we’ve been busy too!  I’m starting to realize that we’re going to have to start saying “no, thank you” to certain things in order to keep our sanity – especially when our weekly appointments begin.  I’m sure it’s just the beginning of how our lives will change as a family of three, and I’m enjoying every minute of it!

Anyway, in September and October we had several things going on.  We attended a wedding for a high school friend of Nate’s.  Nate was able to catch up with some of his friends he hasn’t seen in a long time, and I was able to meet some new people who I only knew by name.  All good things!

We also attended an annual pig roast at a co-worker of Nate’s, which is always a good time.  They have live music and good food, and it’s just the time of year when you can tell summer is coming to an end.  *sigh*

We were actually able to get away for our 5 year anniversary/delayed honeymoon, too!  We thought about cancelling the trip, considering our upcoming adoption expenses, but ultimately decided to go since we probably won’t have another opportunity to get away in a while (and that’s ok)!  I don’t regret taking the trip for one minute!  We didn’t leave the resort (or the pool, really) during our entire stay!  We made some new friends, who we’re emailing back and forth with now and had really delicious food!  We were spoiled… and we enjoyed it!

We were also able to attend a Cleveland Cavalier’s game, shortly after we got back from vacation.  Friends of ours had extra tickets and were kind enough to invite us to go!  It was great getting to catch up with them, and watch a Cavalier victory!

And the last update for this (probably boring by now) post… My sister came down and went to a Hanson concert with me at the Cleveland House of Blues.  Yes… Hanson, as in MMMBop!  I don’t even care if you judge me, we had a blast!  I have loved worshiped Hanson since their band was just starting out (I wonder what ever happened to that 3” binder shrine I had, bursting at the seams, full of Hanson trivia), and the concert did nothing but strengthen my commitment as a fan!!  They put on an amazing show!!

So…  I think that about covers the last two months of my slacking at updates.  I’m sorry for the time lapse, and I promise to try and post more (and better constructed) updates!

We have an exciting month ahead as we prepare for two extra special birthdays (our oldest niece will be 4 and our youngest will be 1), our anniversary, two baby showers, and an event I’ve been looking forward to since we attended last year – First Hand Views of Adoption at our agency.  I cannot wait!  Let’s not forget Nate and I are trying to make sure we’re all up to date on our once-a-year type appointments, still attending our adoption network group when we can, and then moving right on into the holidays.  For a second I thought things would slow down for us, but it seems like that might not happen until January… maybe!

Friday, October 18, 2013

It's a First - Five on Friday Link-Up!

Since I joined the blogging world, I've loved the idea of a Five on Friday linkup.  I haven't felt inspired to post one before now, but that's not to say I didn't have high fives for my previous Fridays!  I'm not committing to posting one of these every Friday just yet.  We'll just see what happens!

I recently discovered the super cute Good Life Blog and thought I would link up with Darci's Five on Friday.

1) THIS work week is finally over.  Normally I wouldn’t include this, but since this is my first Five for Friday I thought it would be okay.  Plus, this has been the absolute craziest work-related week I have had in the past year and a half.  The company I work for has several locations within the same city.  For some reason they like to move departments from place to place.  On Thursday of last week everyone in our building was told that we had to be out by Tuesday, and Monday was a holiday for us.  On top of the short notice, they also don’t have permanent homes for any of the people they “kicked out.”  Needless to say, I am about at my wits end between packing, cleaning, moving my desk and still trying to do my actual job.  SO – I’m thrilled to say so long to this work week!

2) We’re having company. My sister is on her way down from Michigan for a visit at this very moment!  

3) MMMBop!  Tomorrow night at 7:00 my sister and I will be in the crowd at the Cleveland House of Blues belting our hearts out to one of my favorite bands of all time – Hanson!  Yes, they are still around.  Yes, they are still making albums.  Yes, they are even better looking now.  And yes, they still tourIt’s been almost 10 years since I’ve seen them live, but they still have my heart.  I can’t wait!

4) Raising Funds. Nate’s sister is graciously hosting a Premier Designs and Thirty-One Gifts benefit party as a fundraiser for the adoption on Sunday!  Plus, Nate’s cousin is the Premier consultant who will be throwing the bash.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for their efforts to support our adoption, as well as everyone who has already participated or is planning to participate in one of our fundraisers.  I cannot thank you all enough!

5) Sugar Rush.  We attended J’s 26 week checkup with her on Tuesday afternoon.  As always we were excited to see and get to know her more.  Unfortunately she had to do her glucose challenge test, which she was not looking forward to.  We haven’t heard anything back from the doctor, so that means she passed!  No three hour test for her.

High Five!  Feel free to link up, too.