Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!

Ahhh... It's here, Soli-boy-- Your first birthday! This year has been a blast and a blur. And every morning, I pinch myself because I still feel like I'm in a dream!

You, my dear sweet boy, have been the easiest Bee Baby yet! You are so laid back and happy. You laugh and smile easily, go with the flow and in general are just so mellow. You are the longest "mama holdout" too. You still prefer mama to daddy although I cherish each moment that you prefer me because I know soon the pendelum is going to swing towards Daddy hard! Then I'll only be good enough if you are hungry or hurt, if Daddy is home.

But I'll always get to brag that you are the first Baby Bee to say "Mama" before "Dada." Attaboy!

All of us are shocked when we compare how much you look like your big sister, Julianne. She is thrilled that you look so much like her. Although she says that your hair is "totally, totally differwent!" *giggle*

Lainey loves to help me feed you baby food even though she says she has "No idea!" how you can stomach your veggies mixed with your fruits. We whisper that when you are around because you think you don't like veggies, my dear. Yup... Mama has tricked you but it is for you own good.

Xander loves to bring you toys and pat your head. One day you'll be best friends and thick as thieves. We often joke around about how much mischief you'll get into together. Oh the stories I'm sure I'll get to tell!

I love to hear you clap when we get excited about something. Know that I'll always be in your corner clapping for you! I pray special blessings over you. I pray you grow up to be a wonderful man. If you are half the man that your Daddy is, you'll make a young lady very happy one day. You are SO much like your Daddy, sometimes I make sure that there isn't a cord attaching you to him.

I pray you continue to show such amazing patience, that you always laugh and smile easily and that you always have a place in your heart for your family... especially your Mama!

I've loved learning your habits and your likes and dislikes. Can't wait to see who you turn into!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

NOT According to Plan...


This past weekend we were supposed to go out of town.

BUT, last Sunday as Brandon was collecting the boys from the church nursery he overheard one of the workers telling a parent that they may want to visit the doctor because the child had thick, green mucus coming from their nose and they felt warm.


Guess what? Wednesday, Xander started with a runny nose. But it was clear and after consulting a dear friend (who is also a Nurse Practitioner) she said clear was most likely allergies since something had just bloomed here. So we kept our Wednesday plans.

Thursday morning, Solomon was congested and sneezing. By Thursday afternoon, the girls were coughing, sounded congested and were sneezing. By Thursday evening, I had a sore throat and felt warm.

To put it simply, we were dropping like flies.

Thursday night Brandon made the executive decision that we weren't going out of town. Friday we were supposed to go to the National Zoo and Saturday and Sunday we were going to be in Lancaster, Pennsylvania visiting with fellow M.O.M.Y.S. and enjoying Amish country. Thankfully, the man at the hotel took pity on us and waived the cancellation fee given the circumstances. (They will remain on our list for future trips!)

The girls and I cried. :( It was terrible. I've been taking garlic, zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 and I still feel kind of puny. (Have I mentioned I have no spleen?)

Sooooooooooooooo... instead of our exciting vacation, we hung picture frames. Yup.. 14 months after moving in and we finally have pictures hung.

Seriously.. NOT according to plan.

The only positive thing I've been able to find is that we can move the funds that were supposed to go to our fun weekend, to the adoption fund.

That is my attempt at making lemonade out of a bunch of lemons. Still tastes sour to me. Bleh.

PS: Would you pray for me this week as we wait for news on Friday about my brother's sentencing?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

First Homestudy Appointment

Today we had our first homestudy appointment. It went smoothly and I had all of our paperwork that was requested. We still have to do our physicals. Oh and we signed a release of information for the agency to send off to Georgia to request our CPS registry check paperwork.

Afterwards, we went to the VA State Police office for fingerprinting. The picture (above) is the bottom half of my fingerprinting card. When I sent a picture to my aunt, she said "Have fun getting the ink off of your hands." I got to explain to her that it is all done electronically now. It looks like a photocopier that you put your fingers on and then another screen shows your fingerprints and says whether or not they are "acceptable." All of mine went smoothly except for 2 fingers that we did a few times.

Then they printed them onto my card and I went back into the lobby where Brandon was waiting. After a bit, they called Brandon to do his.

We went to pick up the children and then raced to Walmart to buy two $50 money orders to accompany our fingerprints for our VA background checks. Then we raced off to the adoption agency to turn them in so they can be mailed off. Our next appointment is June 8th and that is for the home visit portion of our homestudy.

Then we went to the post office (4 minutes before close!) and then the chiropractor.

After dinner, I filled out our application for the agency we are hoping to use for matching and placement.

PHEW! What a day! But it feels SO good to have everything going. Praying our paperwork comes back quickly!


PS: Now I'm off to pack for the weekend!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spinning Plates...

WOW! I've been walking in quicksand this week! Brandon had a special training he had to attend this week, so he changed shifts. This changed his days off and had him going into the office more than 3 days a week. I was reminded why I love his three day a week schedule. It is ROUGH. (And I've only done 3 of the days, two more to go!)

Tuesday I spent time trying to find a family doctor. We would like to see a family practice that can treat ALL of us. Several offices only see patients over 2. That means we can all be seen except Solomon. Since we've not had any luck finding a pediatrician that we can tolerate, that wasn't going to fly.

I got desperate and called a pediatrician an hour away that came highly recommended. She isn't taking new patients.

And then I remembered that my homeschool email group had recently discussed docs. I found the message about a dad of 6, family practitioner, and his kids are homeschooled. So I called.. and he treats patients from newborn on up. I made two new patient appointments for the girls. We ALL need physicals for the homestudy. I hope his office works out!

The rest of the day was spent filling out homestudy paperwork.. I have an exploding file folder of documents that I've collected so that the social worker can verify the things we've put on the forms. I still have lots of blanks to fill out but I've done a ton. The TO DO LIST is still growing on my white board though.

Tuesday, we will go to the DMV to get a 5 year driving record. Not sure what exactly I need but when I tried the website it was $8 to look at it... and I wasn't sure if I could print it from there or not, so we'll just go pull a number and camp out.

I need to buy some money orders for some of our fees (CPS registry check for VA.) I have some papers that need notarized. Brandon has to write his autobiography. I cheated and found my old one and just added the last 2 years to it. (Ahhh the joys of being organized!)

Wednesday is our homestudy appt and then fingerprinting at the Virginia State Police Office.

For DeLainey's adoption, I have to have a paper notarized with both of our signatures which means bringing The Bunch to the bank. Maybe I can bribe them with lollipops!

Homeschooling: We've been done with the 2nd grade curriculum for a few weeks. We started 3rd grade and kindergarten since we intend to school year round. The only thing Lainey has left for this year is her standardized testing which I'll order when I get a moment to breathe.

Side Job: An amazing side job fell into my lap a few weeks ago. I do my work at night after the children are sleeping/naptime/etc. It's amazing and it is where our adoption fund is coming from. I had a HUGE assignment and it's taken me about a week to finish it. But as of tonight it is DONE!

House: I've ALSO been bitten by the nesting bug. I've done the nursery, the linen closet, the kids' closet, and the basket in the foyer. The nesting will get more furious as the date of our home visit portion of the homestudy comes closer.

The Name Discussion: It's always hard here. Brandon always has some story about the little boy in 3rd grade that picked his nose that had that name, or whatever. It's tough. We were one of thousands of Brandons and Stephanies in the 80's so we like things a bit different. We went back and forth and FINALLY found names. Stay tuned!

Shopping: I've been looking at carseats. Julianne's is about to expire and Solomon needs to move up... especially if we are going to use the carseat for our new wee one. We also will max out the seats in our van with a new addition.

Diet: We've cleaned up our eating ALOT in the last few weeks. It all started when I stopped drinking Pepsi/Sweet Tea. It's getting a little redundant so I really should sit down and write out all the meals that we eat now and so I have a cheat sheet.

Maybe when some of the plates slow down.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Tiny Update...

Our first homestudy appointment is going to be on May 25th. Not exactly the day we hoped for but I'm hopeful that we can get our fingerprinting done after our appointment. Also, we only have to complete two visits for this homestudy instead of three like last time. The 1st appointment last time was really adoption education about the process and our options. We get to skip that this time.

This meeting will be our interviews. The next meeting will be our home visit.

You might have noticed that on the right side of my blog I've added a timeline. Last time it was a bit of a blur trying to remember when each step was completed.

I have a pile of paperwork in my email inbox to fill out and get completed for our appointment on Tuesday!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I can tell you about ONE thing..

You have no idea how hard it is for me to hold a secret. One corner of my lip always curls upwards when I know something and I'm trying to play "dumb." I'd be a horrible poker player.

Anywho, I got word first thing this morning that it happened. My ex-husband signed the paperwork we sent him asking him to terminate his parental rights so that Brandon can adopt DeLainey. It was recieved by our attorney and was notarized.

We filed paperwork this morning for Brandon to adopt DeLainey. The petition was sent and by now it should be sitting on a judge's desk.

I've waited 8 years for this day. Brandon has always wanted to adopt DeLainey. It's caused strife between the inlaws and I because they didn't believe that I had tried to make it happen. They wanted to make sure that Brandon's rights to DeLainey are legally recongized. I get it. But we've tried for years to convince him to sign and he said that he would never do it. I think the exact words were "over my dead, cold body."

I believe that my incredible prayer warriors had something to do with this (you didn't think I kept it completely quiet did you?) and I know that God has given me one of the greatest desires of my heart.

I can't describe the weight that has been lifted now that I know we are so close to legally making it where DeLainey would stay with the one daddy she knows if something were to happen to me.

I can't wait to change her social security card and such... She'll finally OFFICIALLY have our last name. The name that she has always wanted (and even uses in unofficial situations.)


PS: Lainey thinks it is REALLY cool that she will be "adopted" like Xander even though we've tried to explain that the two situations are somewhat different. Still she is excited! :)

Baby/Children Love is Contagious

So Julianne has prayed for a little sister since we started our first adoption in 2009.

Enter Xander.

She continued to pray for a little sister when I found I was pregnant.

Enter Solomon.

When we told the girls that we are going to start the process to adopt again, Julianne asked "Mommy, are we going to get a girl this time?"

I explained that I didn't know and that we might get a boy (we don't plan to specify gender this time either). Then I told her no matter if our baby is a girl or a boy, we will most certainly get the child God intends for our family.

Her response was:

"Well, Mommy, we could get a girl AND a boy at the same time. I know that is called twins. Wouldn't that be SO much fun? What would we name the little boy?"

I just had to laugh.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Something I can be open about...

May 10th, we (as in all six of us) took an update to our adoption agency for Xander's birthmother. It included pictures from our studio session and just a general letter about Xander's birthday and our spring and Easter.

Our socialworker happened to be in, so the receptionist called down to her office and she met us in the lobby to pick up the pictures. While we were there, she asked if we were still wanting to adopt again. We said "YES!" Then we asked if we would have the agency's blessing to start another homestudy. She said "YES!" We clarified and reminded her that Solomon is not quite one yet.. she said it didn't matter.

WHAT? I know! I've said before on the blog here that we were told that our youngest had to be one in order to start another homestudy. I have no idea what changed (or when it changed) but after hearing we had her blessing we thanked God.

You see... MONTHS ago, I was cruising around some adoption sites I follow and a little baby boy's situation was posted. My heart flip flopped when I saw him. I told Brandon about him. And I've watched him sit there... week after week. Other babies have joined him on the page and then they were matched with their forever families so they were removed. He's still there. His information has been updated... and he still waits.

Brandon and I have been fervently praying for this little one. We pray that his family comes forward. That someone's heart is pricked to his situation. He does have special needs and it will take a special family. But do you know what his greatest need is? A FAMILY. Love. Someone in his corner. Someone who relentlessly advocates for him so he can reach his fullest potential.

I think about him often and pray for him everytime I do.

Are we that family?

I don't know. But I know this. If God has planned for us to be his family, when our homestudy is ready, he will still be waiting for us. Do I want him to have to wait? I don't want him to wait a single day longer than what it takes for his family to come forward.

Each night I pray, "God, if it is YOUR will for us to be his family..." with a lump in my throat.

We hope to get an appointment for May 24th when we call this Monday to start our homestudy. Our old homestudy agency is telling us that they think they could have our homestudy done in 6 weeks. A first meeting of May 24th would allow us to do some paperchasing on May 25th right before we go out of town. It will allow us time to go to the state police office for our fingerprinting and send other forms out. We have to do alot of the paperwork that we did for our first homestudy over again. Would you pray that date works out?

There are moments that I feel frantic to get this all done... But I know from our past adoption, that God has our child picked. He knows what gender our child will be. He knows that child's story. So I just walk a step at a time, faithfully following what He has called us to...


PS: During our last adoption, we faced the strongest spiritual warfare we have ever experienced. Would you also pray a hedge of protection over our family as we start this process?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Struggling with a lack of transparency...

I'm an all or nothing kind of person. And there are TWO major parts of my life that I can't openly blog about, so I struggle with sharing anything at all.

One I should be able to share soon but the other will take quite some time. Both items have kept me on my knees in prayer. Both have caused massive panic attacks and loss of sleep. Both have brought up painful experiences from my past.

I'm not who I once was. I'm stronger than I once was because I now call upon Jesus Christ in times of need and I lean upon Him for my strength. I will not disobey God even though I can't see what He is doing. It's scary for someone as uptight as me to not know what the outcomes will be. But I trust that God is good and loves me. And I know that He will never leave me.

(I'm sure this sounds like a bit of rambling without knowing the issues. As soon as I can share, I will. I just wanted to explain the sudden inactivity on my blog.)