Saturday, April 30, 2011

home study part I

(snapshot of us at my cousin's wedding last weekend.)

friday we headed to the local Bethany office for part one of our three part home study.  like i can somtimes do, i had worked myself up into nervousness (knowing a lot is riding on these interviews).  i could not sleep the night before, gave myself a stomach ache, and overreacted when the check engine light came on AGAIN on the way to the meeting.  thankfully will was driving ahead of me, and for once in our lives he was the calm one - the voice of reason - the one to talk me down.  we arrived to the parking lot early, and by then i was fine.  just being in the car with him, instead of following him gave me the confidence boost i needed to "settle down".

we entered the office and were seated in our social worker's office.  she got us cups of water and we all made small talk before we began the actual interview.  other wise friends who've previously adopted told us that these interviews were just like talking to old friends.  we wanted to believe them - really we did - but we were nervous for some reason that our situation would be the odd ball.  however, they were completely right.  after talking with our social worker for only a little over an hour and a half, we were done.  we'd chatted about our infertility, how we grieved, will's surgery and its impact, how we decided to adopt transracially, how our extended families felt about that, and how we were prepared to integrate the child back into their culture.  all of the conversation - was just that - conversation.  we chatted freely and poured our hearts out, knowing that this path is the right one. 

the second segment of the meeting was the discussion of the "service contract" which is what i had been fearing.  i feel called by God to adopt as many children into my home as we possibly can, but i do not feel led to handle every single possible situation.  we had intense conversations over what we felt we could handle physically, emotionally, and financially.  we tried to be logical in saying "no" now to a situation that we could be unprepared for, rather than having to say "no" to a living breathing baby, a birthmother, and our social worker after a baby was born.  i still have some reservation and feelings of guilt over some of the boxes i marked "no" to, but i felt it was the right thing to do for our first adoption experience - praying that there will be more to come after this chapter is complete.

so dready mcdreaderton has packed up her suitcase and is putting it away for now.  right now i am going to focus on wrapping up a few documents that have been placed in our portal, cleaning our our closets to be better organized, locating the perfect glider rocker, and filtering through thousands of photos for just the right ones to create our profile book.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


a year ago today marks the day that will had his decompression surgery.  this day is a day that forever changed our lives.  the night before will's surgery we were both nervous and anxious about where our lives were headed.  we had faith that God would protect us through will's surgery, but we did not know how long the road would be, or where it would lead.  we could never imagine we'd be where we are now.

yesterday we attended the second (final) portion of our informational seminar with Bethany.  this segment of the required classroom time focused on awareness of openness, birthmother medical conditions, birthmother drug exposure, and transracial placements.  we were glad to have the information on some of the possibilities that could be presented to us, so we can be prepared for what to expect.  every meeting with Bethany reconfirms our knowing that we are on God's path to build our family through adoption.  we feel overwhelmingly assured that God will build our family with a transracial placement.  i feel emotionally overwhelmed when i think about how perfect, how wonderful, how right this all feels.

about a half an hour of the seminar was focused on creating a profile book.  everyone was curious about what they should and should not do.  while there are some general guidelines, it really is up to the adoptive parents to choose the print company, how many pages they will include, and what the pages will contain.  creating the profile book has always been something i've been excited for, but something that has generated a great deal of anxiousness.  anyone who knows me knows that i love to take pictures (too many pictures to select from), love to have something to work on (just ask my daddy), and love a creative project.  however, feeling the importance of this task, and having the loose parameters can sometimes seem a little daunting.  however, seeing the books that the agency felt were good representations of the past adoptive families helped to ease some of my worries in knowing that my gut instincts on creating our book were on target.

friday morning we have the first of three home study meetings with our social worker.  we are eager to begin the process and excited to start this chapter of our journey.  the main focus of this meeting is completing our "service plan".  the service plan requires us to confirm our search parameters.  will and i have made copies of the plan so that we can each check off what we feel comfortable saying "yes", "no", or "will consider" to.  after we're done filling out the worksheets on our own, we can then discuss the answers we have, so that we are not swaying each other's heart - so we will know exactly what page each one of us is on.  we've struggled with this throughout the journey, feeling that God is leading us down this path and that he will bring the RIGHT baby to our family - and knowing that we are not controlling this process - which makes it hard for us to fill out this type of worksheet.  however, we know it has to happen and we've prayed to God for his guidance and strength in completing this segment of the journey.

so it is with joyful hearts that we celebrate this one year anniversary after will's surgery.  we know that God's plan for our family included us finding out about will's chiari malformation before children were part of our lives.  we know that God's plan four our family included us experiencing many medical challenges which brought us closer than we've ever been.  we know that God's plan for our family included us growing spiritually, emotionally, and together in our plans for openness throughout this adoption journey.  we know that we are more ready than ever before to become parents.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

stormy afternoon

you think about your life a little differently when you have a child to protect.

there were some major storms in the raleigh area this afternoon.  we'd planned to be at the local fair grounds at the arena today for a roller derby bout after we purchased a living social deal several months ago.  when the weather forecasted strong/severe storms today i thought it would be fun to hear the rain on the roof of the arena, and possibly see some lightning in the large windows.  i had no idea how severe the storms would be.

when we were seated at the arena the announcer explained the emergency procedures in case they'd have to sound the storm sirens.  everyone listened, but sort of brushed off the procedures and was ready for some roller derby action.  about 10 to 15 minutes into the first bout the sirens went off.  my heart skipped a little beat and we jumped into action.  we calmly went downstairs (into what i called the bunker) which was the basement under the arena.  it all seemed sort of silly since we did not really know what was going on outside.  will checked his droid and pulled up the weather, but aside from a tornado warning, we really did not know the full extent of what was happening.

after about 30 minutes of waiting it seemed to just be annoying to be trapped in the humid bunker waiting to be let back upstairs.  then - out of nowhere - a man came through the hallway yelling:  "if/when we tell you to get down and face the well, you'll need to get down on your knees, face the wall, and tuck your head!"  things started getting a little more real at this point.  before we knew it, he was coming back down the hall telling everyone to get down and get into position.  while i was nervous, i was not really scared and felt a sense of calm come over me.

however, what i was scared for was a couple that was crouched down beside us with their infant son.  the mother laid him on his blanket, pressed against the cinder blocks, covered him with another blanket, and held her husband's hand as they pressed their bodies as protection over his.  you never really value your own life like you value it when you're caring for another living being.  i prayed that God would protect this little baby, and protect this family.

luckily, after 50 minutes of time spent in the basement the storms had passed and we were allowed back up into the arena.  our nerves were rattled, but the roller derby went on, and everyone in the arena appeared to be unscathed.  however, many other people on the south east coast were affected by these extreme storms today, and we offer up prayers for all of those who have suffered and continue to suffer the effects of this severe weather.

so be sure to kiss your little ones tonight, and be thankful for every single precious moment.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

oh yeah - bargain!

i love a bargain.  i love being prepared.  so, when i find a bargain item that is on the list that helps me work towards being prepared for the arrival of the baby - i am on cloud 9.

today we had to stop at our local harris teeter to pick up some prescriptions.  since this store opened, they've opened a store that is even closer to our house, but it does not have a pharmacy - so we no longer shop in this grocery store itself, but just stop here to get the meds on our way to and fro.  this afternoon i decided i would just check for earth's best size 1 diapers while we were in the store because i had not previously looked at this specific store location.

i am pretty good at knowing when i see a "clearance" tag at ht, and i knew from the moment i saw the tag on the shelf that we were on to something good.  sure enough, the size 1 earth's best diapers were clearanced from $11.99 to $5.99 per package!  i looked at husband, he looked at me, and he said - "i'll go get a cart!"  i stood there and put the stock pile i had started to grab back on the shelf and waited for him to return with the cart.  he got there and we wiped out the shelf. 

7 packs of 44 diapers is 308 diapers for $42, which works out to about .14 cents per diaper!  we know all of these diapers will come into use when we're working with a newborn until they are out of that meconium stage before we pull out the cloth diaper arsenal!

(amelia is amazed at the leaning tower of diapers)

Monday, April 4, 2011

celebrate good times

we're all about the celebrating!  we just got word tonight that ALL of our paperwork has been received for our profile and that we are set for our first home assessment appointment for april 29th at 9am!  we are so excited to be moving on to the next phase of our adoption journey and cannot wait to see what God has in store for us next!

we feel it's really important to celebrate every milestone along our adoption journey.  we've waited so long to build our family that we get excited about every stage.  we purchased the champagne to have when we completed our paperwork and mailed it in, but never got around to opening it.  tonight when i told husband what the agency said, he said "can we open our champagne"?  gotta love him!

Friday, April 1, 2011

a peacefulness

we are so excited.

we knew this Bethany seminar today was something we were looking forward to, and for a month we've had it on the calendar - and were getting excited about it. we drove into asheville last night and arrived around 1am. at one point i swore that i looked over at will and he had his eyes closed, but he promises he did not - keep in mind he was driving. at the next exit he got off the interstate and i drove the rest of the way into town. the dogs were excited to be out of their crates, and we were excited to try and get some rest. neither one of us could sleep. the doggies settled in and iliana snored, like usual, for the entire night (laying right in between will and i with her head on my pillow). we both felt like a kid the night before Christmas, full of anticipation about what was about to occur the next morning.

(close up of the bracelet my mom mailed me last week to remind us that my family was thinking of us today.  just so happened that it is "Bethany" green.)

i jumped out of bed at 6:40 this morning, which if you know me is VERY early for me. i am not a morning person. but, just like on Christmas, i was ready to go. we showered and primped and made it out of the house by our targeted 8am. my allergies were atrocious and we had to stop and pick up some allegra, then will needed a coffee, and then he was afraid we'd run out of gas. the garmin told us we'd be at the church the seminar was located at around 8:46 when we first got into the car, and by the time we conducted our pit stops it was telling us 9:00. the seminar started at 9:00.

i am not a person who is early to visit friends and we are rarely on time, but if we have something important to tend to we like to be early. very early. this was not happening today. however, we did accomplish all of those tasks and still manage to make it to the church by 9:00. when we arrived we were not sure which door we should enter. another couple was looking for the seminar and we all made our way through the doors at the same time to be greeted by our intake coordinator and found our seats in the room with the 20 other couples of adoptive hopefuls.

most all of the employees of Bethany of NC were at the meeting. it was great to put a face with everyone's emails, and to get to know some of these people we've been going back and forth with for months. everyone was friendly, warm, and welcoming. we knew before we got there that we'd made the right decision, but this meeting reconfirmed everything. we watched some videos about adoption, listened to a slide show presentation, and chatted about openness (and it's advantages), and we listened to the area social workers tell us personal stories about placements they'd been involved with and one social worker's own adoption journey. everyone is involved to "find families for babies, not to find babies for families". we'd never really thought about adoption this way, at least not in those exact words, and it really helps to focus your perspective on things.

a break for lunch happened around 11:30 and we headed out to find some food and discuss everything that we'd been informed of to this point. we found a restaurant "tupelo honey cafe" (which i'd read about previously on yelp) and settled in for some chatting and some good southern food. we talked about how right everything felt, and how i just wanted to bust into tears because i could hardly contain my excitement. at one point in the presentation we were shown a real tear jerking video, and they warned us that we'd all be crying before it was over. they were right. i handed will the tissue box that was on our table before the video began, just in case he needed it - and he did. we felt so comfortable, so sure, so right. we've said it a million times throughout our ginormous set of profile paperwork, but it took us a long time to see God's path to building our family, but we know more and more every single day, every single hour, every single minute, every single second - that this is the path that God has laid before us. we left lunch happier than we were when we even began.

after lunch we went back into the same room and were eager to listen to the adoption journeys of 7 people (or families) who'd been involved with adoption. one couple had just received placement of their newborn son just 2 months ago, one mother had adopted her two sons via embryo adoption, another couple had adopted domestically and transracially, another mother had a painful failed adoption before her final adoption match, another couple had adopted internationally, another lady had been the "interim" caregiver for over 60 infants in her 12 years of working with Bethany, and the person who impacted our day the most was a birthmother who'd placed her child in an open adoption less than a year ago. each of these people (or couples) were so excited about sharing their journeys and telling us how they got to "the other side of the table". their emotions were fresh and raw, if they felt like crying - they cried.  if they felt like joking - they joked.  it was helpful to see the reality of the process and feel how other people felt before, during, and after.  you often think of what it will be like to be on the completed end of the adoption journey, but it's another thing to hear about it from so many angles, vantage points, time frames, and from so many perspectives.

after listening to all of the journeys we participated in a question and answer session. this was the time to ask any question that you could think of to try and get more information. each couple had one of their questions written on a white board and the social workers took time to carefully answer everyone's questions, and left no stone unturned. the seminar was supposed to wrap up at 4:00, but some couples still had questions, and the social workers stayed until everyone was satisfied. we stayed after questions were answered and the couples planning on pursuing international adoptions broke off into a separate group. we met up with the social worker that handles our "zone" and introduced ourselves. we're excited to be working with someone who is so knowledgeable, so skilled, and so passionate about finding families for babies.

we exchanged contact information with the couples on either side of us and hope to walk with them on their adoption journeys. both couples are also pursuing domestic infant adoption, and we're excited to meet up with anyone we can in this process. our next seminar is april 26th and will be held at our local office, instead of the arden area. at this seminar we will learn more about transracial adoption and creating our profile book. we hope to have more one on one time with these and other couples who were there from durham, raleigh, and cary to have more people to partner with on this journey.  we are eager for this next phase and enter it with a sense of peacefulness like neither of us has ever known.