Friday, November 25, 2016

Home Study Visits - Check. Check. Check.

Well, I'm not 100% sure what I expected the home study to be like - but it was totally not that.

Friday evening was our first visit - 5 p.m.  I had planned things all day to keep us busy so we wouldn't be twiddling our thumbs and the kids were going to spend the night with my mom.  (YES - and miss out on the first visit - because we wanted to appear like we have it (mostly) together, duh.)  My mom came to get Wyatt in the morning - and Skylar had a doctors appointment and gymnastics - which basically took all day - because hello - doctors office during sick season -- is there anywhere that any mom wants to be LESS than the doctor's office with a well child during sick season?  I think not.  I literally saw germs on everyone as they walk through the door.  Don't touch the books in the waiting room - don't touch the doors - don't touch the counter-thingy you are supposed to sit on - basically, if there is a way to hoover in a plastic bubble that'd be great.  We finally left the petri dish - doctor's office, and made through gymnastics and by the time I dropped Skylar off with my mom it was 4:00.  I ran home (prepared to shower and get myself together) when I realized I had a project for work that was requested to be done by 5.  I scrambled to get that done - and boom - 5:00 was here and I cringed as I heard a knock on the door and realized I was still in jeans with holes and a t-shirt that said "Momma" across the front of it.  A SHIRT THAT SAID MOMMA!!!!  How much harder could I possibly have tried?  Pick me! I'm a "Momma" - even my shirt says it.  Aye aye aye.

Anyway, thankfully Nichol was so sweet and SO laid back - she instantly put me at ease.  Basically, to spare the details, a home study is very much not a study of our physical house - it is a study of the things that go on in our house - and our life in general from birth until now.  We have been asked several times what it was like - or how we feel now that it is over -- and the best way I can think to describe it is - we invited a total stranger in to our home - pointed out the highlights of our house (as seen by a toddler - since Skylar and Wyatt gave the actual tour when it was their day to be interviewed) and then we opened every closet - ever - in our entire life, and released every skeleton in those closets out into the wild to roam the halls of our home and written about by someone who has to figure out who we (and the skeletons) are in a matter of 10-12 hours.  So, at this point, I think the only thing in my life that Nichol probably doesn't know about - is that one time in high school, when my brother decided to very disrespectfully demand that I make him a sandwich, and I did - but instead of crunchy peanut butter I filled that sucker up with hamster food and gave it to him.  And then I did it again when he told me how delicious it was and that I should make him another one.  Yes. I confess.  But seriously - she asked us all the questions we never wanted to answer (and some that weren't so bad) and then patiently waited for an answer.  Questions about how we were raised, how we met, how we handle our kids, what our relationships with family look like, what type of support systems we have.....this is just the tip of the ice burg....some stuff was fun and easy to talk about (who doesn't like to talk about their kids?) and some of it was tricky and not so fun.   And you know what, she was WONDERFUL at her job - because not ONE time did I feel that she felt any kind of way about any of our answers, and for that I am grateful. She answered every question we could think of about the process, the babies she has seen first hand adopted, adjustment periods after coming home and really helped facilitate our thought process.  We have a lot of things to think about and pray about from here.

Over the holidays we will finish our training (we have 2 hours left), and begin to make some contacts at Wolfson and other area doctor offices to start building a team of physicians and support that we can call on when we get home to help with whatever potential needs our new baby might have.

We are anxious, but really can see God's hand through this entire process.

This is how we felt on Wednesday after three days of being together (that is Nichol) - like sweet friends taking a goofy pic. (Wyatt really was using his sad face for his "silly" face).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Homestudy, Here We Come! (Ready OR NOT!)

Well, I can say one thing, you don't have time to worry about things when you have a packed calendar! When we scheduled our home study, we were over a month out and I thought, oh my word - it's probably going to drag getting here -- we are going to have this 10 hours of training done in no time - I'm going to be so bored --- neeerrrrp! Not at all.

We had a hurricane, Nate's 30th birthday, a bridal shower for by best-oldest-childhood-friend, a yard sale fundraiser, a stomach bug from you-know-where that canceled our sweet 5 year old's party - and now viola! here we are! Two days away from our first home study visit.

Let me back up the train a little and say this - we have been BLOWN away during this past month by the amount of people who have crossed our paths that have been affected by adoption one way or the other.  They were adopted - their spouses we adopted - their siblings - someone in their family adopted someone - it has been CRAZY - and SO encouraging.

Our yard sale fundraiser was a day that would not have been a success without so many people loving on us.  I will share my journal entry from the next day...

God was so very sweet to us that day.  Nate even sent me a text (he kept the sale going when I had to leave to be with my sister while she found and bought the most Ah-MAZING wedding dress) that said - someone saw our yard sale sign - and when they stopped and saw we were raising money for our adoption (we put out a "thank-you for supporting our adoption" sign at the sale) they didn't buy anything, but donated the cash they had because of how much adoption meant to them.  Nate was also able to meet their daughter - who was adopted from China.  Crazy, right?

I wish I could say that the mountain top experience of "God has totally go this" and "He is going to rock this - and we are just going to sit back and watch His hand work and give Him all the glory" feeling lasted forever.  But, total mom honesty - it didn't - as fast as that feeling of emotional high got here - it went out the door with the stomach bug.  Seriously, life happens, I get that.  But I distinctly remember in that moment at 3 a.m. exhausted, tired, with a husband who was now sick too - feeling like "you can't do this" - "you can't even cheerfully take care of two people in your family after you have been healthy for most of the year" "How in the WORLD do you think you can add someone else to the mix."  Y'all.  The struggle is real.  And somehow - I feel like it is even more real when you KNOW what you are doing is the right thing.  But you know, in the middle of that big mess - the day I was feeling way less than capable - I received a handwritten card in the mail from a sweet couple whom I haven't spoken to in person in YEARS.  And she encouraged me for my faith - encouraged us - and reminded us that people were praying for us.  Her words felt like a big huge hug in that moment - and yet another reminder that God sees - and cares - that we are not in this alone. And while we aren't capable in our own strength - His power is made PERFECT in weakness - and that His grace is enough.  

So where are we now?  We have three visits scheduled within the next week.  Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  I wish I could say i felt "prepared" - but I don't.  I wish I could say I will feel prepared - but I'm sure I won't.  There are closets that I wish were cleaner.  There are walls I wish weren't scuffed.  There are places (you know, the junk drawer) I wish would be organized before then.  But truthfully, they won't be.  And yes, the home study (from what we gather) is much more about HOW you live - than where you live - doesn't everyone get a little nervous about the thought of someone coming in and possibly looking in the closets??  It is much more about how you raise kids/plan to raise kids/were raised yourself - than the WHERE you are raising them - but still. We are just going to invite them in to our big, beautiful(ish), chaotic mess where the junk drawer(s) overflow and the kids crafts adorn every wall of the house, and pray for the best. (a.k.a. - Pray that we can all act semi-functional for 3 half days.)

So, would you pray with us?  That our nerves would be calm (mainly mine, let's be honest - Nate has no nerves - and could talk to a complete stranger about ANYTHING for ANY length of time - so he needs a lot less prayer than I do).  For open, honest, clear conversations and that we would be able to listen with open hearts. One of the big things we will discuss in further detail - will be what types of special needs our family feels equipped to handle.  Thankfully, Nate and I have been on almost the exact same page regarding this through the process so far, and I would just ask that you would pray that we receive the information we need, have truthful discussions, and that whatever path God lays before us, that we would be willing to walk it.