Aug 10, 2015

Say 'What' Again

I thought that after we finished our home study and had nothing productive left to do with regard to the adoption that I'd struggle with our wait to be matched with a potential birthmother. Truly, I think the worst part of trying to get pregnant was all of the waiting. It really was, simply put, two weeks of waiting to ovulate followed by two weeks of waiting to see if I was pregnant, on repeat for years on end. This time, however, the waiting was easy.

Jamie and I decided to pursue adoption in December of 2013, however, due to our being in the middle of buying new construction, we didn't sign on with our adoption facilitator until July of 2014. Then, we didn't even complete our profile book until late in the year, and didn't receive our home study approval until January of this year.

Now everything has been complete for a good six-ish months and the time has surprisingly flown by quite quickly. I really expected to live day by day agonizing over when we were going to get 'the call', but that hasn't been the case. Jamie and I have been using this waiting period to continue enjoying life as kidless folks. I've said this a number of times, but I think the difference here is that once we gave up fertility treatments and decided on adoption, our 'ifs' turned into 'whens'. There were so many unknowns for us while trying to get pregnant that we weren't ever really sure that it was going to happen. With adoption, we know that it will happen at some point. Maybe it would take more time and money and there's still a possibility of a bumpy road, but it can be made to happen. We no longer had to worry.

So the waiting wasn't a problem for us anymore. What started to bother me, though, was that we're often asked things like, "So what's going on with that?" or "Any news?". It's become exhausting for me to answer these questions and I've had an increasingly more difficult time trying to hide my annoyance with them. Those asking aren't prying; they're just people that we've shared our story with who are interested and curious, but I even began feeling annoyed toward our closest friends who really, deeply care and were just asking for an update.

Me, on the inside. Apologies if my inner Sam Jackson surfaced at all.

I feel badly for how annoyed I've become. It's just gotten really difficult to keep giving the same answer: no. With this wait, there's nothing to do and no news to be had. The only news that can come is the big news: the news that we've been matched with a potential birthmother. So, being asked about it was just a reminder to me that we still hadn't been picked. In summation, the wait wasn't an issue, but being regularly reminded of it was.

If you've read carefully thus far, you may have noticed an inconsistency in my writing. Have you found it? It happened pretty quickly, the way I switched from writing in present tense to past tense, much like how quickly the answer to that question changed.

"Any news?"

Yes.

We've been matched and she's due in January!



(Story developing.)

Jan 20, 2015

Officially Paper Pregnant

Six-ish months ago we announced having officially embarked on our adoption journey. We were a little slow in getting our profile book (what gets sent out to potential birth mothers) and our home study (what ensures that we are neither terrorists or Heisenbergesque in our lifestyle) completed. Our profile book has been going out for a few months now, which is good, but because we hadn't completed our home study yet, it was only going out to women earlier on in their pregnancy. This way, if we were to be chosen, we'd have some time still to finish up that home study... but it also meant that we weren't quite getting complete exposure.

Well, finally, we've been given the verbal approval by our social worker! Now our book can start going out to all of the interested pregnant women. This includes women who are due, like, right now.

Yes.

This means that we could become parents at ANY time. We could get a call that says "You've been picked. She's in labor. Can you be in Idaho tomorrow?"

My sister in law, Renata, bought us the print I featured in my Adoption Journey FAQs!
The charcoal drawing is one Jamie did in high school. They'll both probably go in the nursery.

Up until this point, we haven't done much in preparation for Maybe Baby aside from the above. Now that we could be called to action at any time, though, we need to be prepared. Now I'm spending my couch time reading blog posts outlining that mommy blogger's newborn essential's list to try and get a good idea of what we need as well as what we don't need.

One thing I do know I need is some help from my new momma friends. I'm going to focus on researching one item at a time. Right now: car seat. So, friends, which infant car seat did you use? What did you love and hate about it?


Jul 27, 2014

Build Your Own Crate Furniture in Two Easy Steps

Like everyone else who has spent hours upon hours looking at home decor on Pinterest, I pinned about 800 crate or pallet DIYs. The below image was the one that stuck in my brain, though. I can't seem to find that it's an actual DIY anywhere on the internet; I think it's just linked up to spam mostly, so I don't feel bad for not crediting the image. But anyway, I loved it.


After glancing at a few other tutorials, however, I decided that I could probably pull off something similar. Jamie and I had been having trouble finding a media console that we both liked and was narrow enough for the low-profile look we were going for, so ta-da, let's make one!

Back in May, my mom's trip out to visit just happened to coincide with our finally moving into our new house. Being the crafty birch that she is, I knew she'd be down for helping me figure out how to execute the project. 

Step 1: Get yer shit and figure out how to put it together.

First thing's first, we needed crates. I found 'em at Michael's for about 14 bucks each and bought 8. I felt like maybe I could have searched really hard on the internet and found a better deal, but I'm impulsive and I wanted to this like, right now. 

Now that we had our crates, we had to figure out how to fasten them together. They're all a little irregular, so they're not at all stable when stacked up. They needed reinforcement. After brainstorming a few different methods of bracing, we settled on using three 1x4 boards that we screwed on the back.

I'm getting ahead of myself. First we had to sand the shit out of these 8 crates. For as not-cheap as they are, they sure are shittily made. We sanded for what seemed like forever and they still have more rough spots than not, but we at least reduced the splinter risk by about 85%, so that was good enough. 

(The only issue I have with the rough texture now is that it's pretty impossible to wipe down when it's dusty without completely ruining my rag and getting fuzz stuck everywhere. So I'm open to cleaning suggestions.)

Okay, so now we build.

Step 2: Put it together.


We arranged the crates upright until we were happy with how they kind of fit together. Remember, they're irregular so this is a challenge. Then we laid them face down in that order and grabbed our first board to brace to sit across the center of the back to connect all eight crates. We pre-drilled the holes, then screwed the brace to the back of the crates. We did this two more times so that we had three braces on the back: top, middle, and bottom.

Then, once that was done, we finally found our orbital sander and spent even more time sanding.


Then we spent about 4 hours staining this shiz. Two of us, with even a little bit of help from Jamie for probably 20 minutes. FOUR HOURS. It could have gone faster if Jamie helped more, but to his credit, while we were doing this he was unloading our POD the whole time, so he was excused.

(For anyone curious, we used Varathane in Kona.)

Here's what we ended up with for about $200 and a coupla back aches:


It was pretty empty for a bit while we were still unpacking, but after finding my box full of framed photos, digging out some of our unimpressive book collection, and a trip to the thrift store, I'm pretty happy with how it looks so far.

Framed vintage sheet music from the thrift store on the left, goofy dramatic weddin' photo on the right.
Li'l suitcase which holds miscellaneous junk and red wicker box which holds 3D glasses for our TV: HomeGoods.
The sticker on the bottom of that blue candlestick tells me that I paid $10 for it at Big Lots. I must have been on drugs.

Vintage books hold up our cable box so that the cords fit through the crate crack.
It was a lot of work. I definitely wouldn't have actually done it had my ma not been down for the crafty adventure, so many thanks to her for helping me out. We get tons of compliments on it, so it was totally worth it.

Have you guys hopped on the crate/pallet trend?

Jul 21, 2014

Starting Our Adoption Journey: The FAQs

First thing's first: THANK YOU. Thank you to all of the support and well wishes we've received. The outpouring of love far exceeded anything that I may have sub-consciously expected. It all gave me furry insides.

After sharing our big news last week, we were understandably met with loads of questions from just about everyone we spoke with face-to-face. So, I thought I'd do my best to gather some of these here for any of you who may be interested.

Q: OMG ARE YOU PREGNANT!?

A: No. And I apologize for duping any of y'all with my intentionally tricky Facebook post seen below.

That's a heart, yo.

Q: Are you adopting a kid, or like, a fresh baby?

A: We're gettin' a fresh one! Also known as a newborn. We're not opposed to adopting an older child in the future, but we want to learn how to parent from the very beginning first before we dive into building a relationship and parenting a child who is already established as a human.


Q: So, like, what country are you adopting from?

A: 'Murica! Adoption already requires a crap-ton of money and red tape. International adoption is all that plusanotherguy. And by "plus another guy", I mean more money and red tape and time and stress and how about travel. Also, international adoption means bringing home an older baby. Once again, not against it, but we want our fresh baybeh.


Q: Do you have a preference of what kind of baby you want?

A: Nope! We're open to any gender and any race!


Q: So, you just got accepted; what's next?

A: We will spend the next couple weeks working on our profile book. This is a book full of photos and text that we put together that is all about us. Copies of this will be sent off to expectant mothers to try and sell ourselves as potential parents for their baby.


This photo is irrelevant.

Q: Wait -- so the birthmother chooses you?

A: Yep! She'll be presented with a number of profile books, so we will work hard to make ours really great.


Q: So, will it be a closed adoption? Even though she's the one that picks you?

A: Not likely. It's most common these days to have an open adoption on some kind of level. This can range from just a letter or a photo once a year to annual visits, or even so open that the birthmother is a regular part of our baby's life. We will likely be somewhere in the middle where we have contact with the birthmother and maybe at most have an annual visit.


Q: So wait, is this something that could, like, happen tomorrow? Like, you get a call and go get your baby?

A: It could! But not at first. We still have to complete our home study which can take a few months. Because of this, our book will only be submitted to women who are earlier on in their pregnancy so that if we happen to get chosen, we'll still have time to complete our home study before the baby is born. After our home study is complete and we begin to be submitted to birthmothers in all stages of pregnancy, we could be matched with a woman who is in labor RIGHT THIS SECOND. In this case, we'd up and leave to go get our baybeh!


Q: Home study. Is that where they, like, come to your house?

A: Yeah, we'll be working with a social worker who will visit and check out our pad, help us through background checks and other paperwork, and interview us both together and separately.

Photo & print by Congo Studio on Etsy -- (feel free to buy me this)

Q: So, what's the time frame? Don't they always say that adoption takes years and years?

A: It can, but in a lot of cases it doesn't. The company we are working with signs you on for a two year contract and currently boasts a 92% success rate within the 2 years. The likeliness of it happening sooner than later depends on any preferences adoptive parents may have. Anyone who is only interested in adopting a Caucasian girl will typically wait longer than anyone with fewer preferences. Being that we have no preferences, this plays in our favor!


Q: Wow! That's really exciting!

A: I know!


If any of ya have any questions that I didn't cover here, please feel free to ask! I'm an open book and even though I'm still learning, I am happy to help educate as we go along.