What’s in a Name

Andy and I have already picked out names that we like and want to use once we adopt. However, we also know that the name could slightly change depending on incorporating some of the birth families’ wishes into the name. The names we have picked out currently are Zoe Dawn for a girl and Ethan Andrew for a boy. Also, if we adopt a child that is closer to one we might not want to change a first name that they have become familiar with already so there are all kinds of pieces to think of when deciding on a name when adopting. Below are the names we have come up with so far though:


Hinze: Originated in the German state of Saxony and originated as a short form of the first name Heinrich. Heinrich comes from a meaning of “home rule”.

Zoe Dawn: Zoe means “life” in Greek and Dawn comes from the English word dawn which means “awakening”.

For fun I did an online meaning of your name and it came back with Honesty and Openness.

Ethan Andrew: Ethan means solid/enduring in Hebrew and Andrew comes from a Greek name derived from the term for “of a man”.

The same app gave the definition of Mystery and Wonder.

What the names mean to us:

Zoe Dawn: The middle name is Stephanie’s middle name and she has always loved the first name Zoe since she read it in a book when she was in elementary school.

Ethan Andrew: It took us a lot longer to come up with a boys’ name but we used Andy’s first name for the middle like his is his dad’s. Then we had to try to find a first name that no one in either of our extended families had and that we also liked with the last name Hinze.


Sixth Wedding Anniversary

Over the weekend was our 6th anniversary and we both just can’t believe it has already been that many years. We spent the day pretty low key. We had celebrated back in August with a dinner out to Melting Pot right before our failed placement since we assumed we would be busy with other things at this point in the year. No worries though it was still great. We went out to dinner at Red Robin (I know gourmet food for us) on Friday night after an evening at the gym. Andy loves Red Robin so to him it is a great anniversary dinner and I like it enough that I don’t mind it being our dinner out.

Then on our actual anniversary, Saturday, I went out to the Yellow Daisy Festival with my mom and started doing more Christmas shopping.  Followed that up with a baby shower party for a good friend that is due in a couple weeks and finally went home to check in on Andy’s day. He got to relax and watch some college football while he wasn’t working on a project of shooting some glass awards. All in all we both enjoyed the day even if most of it wasn’t together. We did get to spend the evening together though and were happy with how we spent our anniversary.

Finally, on Sunday we spent a great breakfast with some friends who were in from out of town for the weekend and got to catch up with them for a little while. We love their daughter and them. Can’t believe that it has only been like 2 years since we first met them online. We already have both traveled to visit each other a couple times and always look forward to the next trip. Hoping to see them again soon and spend some time hanging out again. After we saw them off on their drive home it was time to go to the late church service. We typically go to the 8 am service so the 11 am service was definitely different for us and there were a lot more people there at the later service.

All in all as you can see the weekend didn’t hold anything super special but it was how we love spending our weekends together so it was a great way to celebrate an anniversary. Plus with Andy’s photography schedule starting this coming weekend for Lacrosse it will be harder to have those weekends for a couple months.

Thanks to all those who wished us a happy anniversary and for all those who were able to celebrate with us 6 years ago when we officially became family!

Thoughts about Adoptive Families While Waiting

I read this great article today that was written to friends of waiting adoptive mothers (in my opinion fathers too). Although in her situation it talked specifically about international adoption, a lot of the points carry over for domestic adoption or are similar at least. She listed 12 things you should know if you are a friend of someone waiting, and I wanted to share them here and kind of talk about what it has been like for us as a family. I also think that there are a couple other things to add to the list as well. Click here for original article
1. We are not crazy, we might act like it at times though. Adoption is a stressful process between finding and navigating an agency process at the beginning, getting your home study approved, dealing with updates to your home study every year, struggling through the waiting of getting a contact and making a match agreement with an expectant mom, waiting for a phone call once you are matched that it’s time to go to the hospital, and finally waiting for the adoption to be finalized. After all of that stress if we break down, or just get upset over something seemingly stupid there is a reason and it might have nothing to do with what is going on at that moment in life. Typically, Andy and I take the brunt of each others freak outs but it does still happen when we are with other people at times.  Try not to take it personally and realize that one day we won’t be so stressed out emotionally.
2. We love a child we have never met (or potentially hasn’t even been conceived/born yet). It is difficult to care so much about a child we know nothing about yet but we do. We also care about those children that have been born that have gone to different adoptive families or that have stayed with their birth parents. Getting a contact by an expecting mom is exciting but if it doesn’t end in a match or placement you still have feelings about the baby that won’t be our child; which can be hard to deal with. I still catch myself wondering what happened or how they are growing with their families for the contacts we had last year or earlier this year.
3. For an international adoption you get matched with a child and then you have the long process of more paperwork to do before you can go and finally bring them home. On the other hand domestic adoption we do all the paperwork upfront, then we wait to be matched with an expectant mom, and finally we wait for the baby to be born. In both cases we are parents without children though, and always feeling like we are missing something from our lives. It is hard to want something so bad and be so close to getting it but not knowing when it will finally happen.
4. We as a culture are addicted to phone and email already but it becomes even worse when you are waiting for an adoption. Frantically running to pick up the phone and see if it is a call from our agency or from our 800 telephone number setup for the adoption. When you pick it up though and it is a telemarketer call or not related to adoption at all it can get to be so disappointing. We don’t get excited as often now when it rings because we have had too many phone calls that were not contacts, but you still get that thought in your head maybe this one will be different and it will change our lives for the better forever.
5. Adopting a new born means that typically the child has not had trauma in their life so far. However, depending on how open the communication is after placement the child could experience a sense of loss later in their life still. It is one of the reasons we chose open adoption since there will be contact with the birth family and answers to questions such as where do they come from, what are their birth parents like, why they were placed for adoption, etc.
6. Adoption is definitely not the same as pregnancy. Once we adopt it is not going to be like we can commiserate with you over the difficulties of your pregnancy. Not that you shouldn’t have someone to complain to about what you are going through but someone with fertility issues is not the right person even if they have adopted a child. I wanted to be pregnant and experience all the joys and difficulties that come with it. Telling me that I am lucky that I don’t have to experience X from being pregnant is not helpful (and yes this has happened multiple times). Currently we don’t know when we will have a child in our arms to hold as it could be another month or 2 more years. While we hope it won’t take too much longer there just is no knowing at this point.
7. Questions about when we are going to adopt is not something we can answer other than giving average wait times. Those averages are just that though averages and it could be shorter or much longer since we are waiting to be chosen. While I don’t have a problem answering and talking about the wait there are those that do. I love it when our friends ask questions because it shows that they are thinking about us and the adoption.
8. Even once we are matched and have had a child placed with us it doesn’t mean that it is final. We could potentially lose the child if the birth family chooses to reclaim them. This reclaim period is different depending on what state the baby is born in and can be either short (no time once rights are signed away) to rather long (45 days in Rhode Island I believe). Preparing for this is hard to do and if we have to go through it then it will be gut wrenching. This is why we will not be introducing the baby to anyone, family or friend, until after the reclaim period is over for our placement.
9. I have definitely noticed that my mind does not work the way it once did. You can say that I am getting older and that is why my memory is not what it used to be but I know it is because my mind is never 100% involved on any task that I am working on. There is always a part of my brain thinking/worrying about something related to the adoption.
10. We have heard all the different horror stories about adoption, and we don’t need to hear them again (or the stories about how easy adoption was for someone else). These stories are not helpful or comforting to us as every situation is different and we don’t know what will happen for us. We are already worried enough about what might happen in the adoption process that we don’t need any more anxieties.
11. I have done so much research on the adoption process both before we chose the type of agency (international vs. domestic, open vs. closed, etc.), the actual agency we were going to use (there are a lot of them out there), and what we are open to in our adoption profile (race, gender, age, etc.) until now. There is always more information out there and although I don’t look as often at articles I still feel the need when I see something about adoption to read it. This is one of those times that the internet is both helpful and a hindrance as there is sometimes too much information and it can stress you out.
12. While I think we are brave for putting ourselves through the adoption process and wanting to do it again for a second child, I am also a complete and total mess inside a majority of the time. I am not one for big emotional break downs in public but sometimes it is all I can do to keep myself from losing control. We are choosing to adopt because for me I need to be a mom and Andy needs to be a dad, so while we are brave we are also a little crazy. Adoption is not for the faint of heart, it is hard and messy but in the end we will be parents and whatever we need to do to be that we will do it.
13. Just because we aren’t parents yet doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy being around our friends that are pregnant or already have children. This is something that is different for all waiting parents as some find it too difficult. We however, love to get time with children and play with them as often as possible while we are waiting for our family. Andy is always saying how we are available to baby sit if friends want and he isn’t lying. We have loved the opportunities we have had with friends and family that have taken us up on it.
14. While we wish we could have gotten pregnant we are happy when friends and family have children. We love to celebrate first children or growing families for friends and relatives, and we don’t want people to feel like they need to walk on eggshells to tell us. Even though at times it might be difficult for us to hear the news (because maybe we have been told 5 times in one week that someone else is expecting) we are still happy for all those people that are expecting. The difficult stories for us to hear are people in the news that hurt their own child when there are so many people out there that would have loved to be that child’s parent.

What a month it has been

Andy and I have been extra busy lately. Most of it has actually been fun activities with family and friends. After getting back from Houston at the beginning of the month I went to the Yellow Daisy festival with my mom, Aunts Pam and Katie, and cousins Brandice and Nicole. I bought some cute things (see pics below) and saw many more I plan on buying later too! Then we had my dad’s birthday party where he loved the planter box we bought him for outside of his warehouse. My mom gave him the flowers to go in it and he loves it!

The following weekend we got to celebrate 5 years of marriage together. It was nice to go out to eat and have some hibachi (which we both love!) and then do a little shopping for nothing in particular. It is hard to believe that 5 years have gone by already.

On Saturday we had a couple friends over and their kids. It was a full house which I of course loved every minute of! In total including us it was 6 adults and 4 kids. We watched some football, showed off our nursery so far, ate some good food, and just hung out. Can’t wait to do it again and we all agreed a Vegas trip should be in our futures…

This last week was the busiest yet for the month. We went to the gun range (for a very belated birthday event of Andy’s) on Thursday, the Braves game Friday night, dinner Saturday night with friends, and visited another set of friends on Sunday evening for dinner.

Andy of course loved the gun range and he is trying to convince me to let him get one still. Afterwards, I surprised him with dinner at Hungry Howies (a pizza place he grew up with that has come down to Atlanta).

Although the Braves lost on Friday we had a lot of fun tailgating with friends and playing with their girls (pics below). We even stayed afterwards to watch the fireworks from the stadium. Pretty awesome display since they put them on after Friday night games all the time. The only downside was traffic was horrible getting home since there was a big music festival happening all weekend long.

Dinner on Saturday we got to finally hang out with our friends who are renting a condo from us. She just moved down from Ohio a month ago and since he moved into the condo two months ago we haven’t seen much of him. We took them to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants by their place and hung out for a little while.

Sunday night we went over to our friend’s house to have dinner and hang out for a little while. Their daughter is just too cute and you can tell she is getting close to walking on her own now! The dinner they made was fabulous and after eating we stayed to watch the rest of the Denver vs. Seahawks game.

As far as work for both of us we are really busy. Andy’s schedule of photography has started to get in full swing. So far this month he has gone to a football game (high school) and 9 lacrosse games (boys 9 and under, boys 10-11, and girls 10-11). He still has another 5 lacrosse games and 4 little league baseball games to shoot this week! I have started at a new client for work in Atlanta. While it is nice to not be traveling with busy personal schedules this client is downtown Atlanta so I have been experiencing Atlanta traffic again. For those that live in the area you understand my pain!

We are definitely deserving our vacation coming up next month!

Andy and Kailyn

Andy and Kailyn

Cookie cutters from Yellow Daisy

Cookie cutters from Yellow Daisy

Garden Oarnament

Garden Oarnament

Andy and Caitlyn

Andy and Caitlyn

Let's play ball!

Let’s play ball!



Stephanie and Madison

Stephanie and Madison

Fourth of July 2014

Well we had a great but fast fourth of July holiday this weekend. We started the weekend with me getting in really late from a work trip on Thursday evening. There were crazy storms all up and down the eastern seaboard (except for Atlanta) and I was of course trying to leave New York La Guardia airport. After a couple of times trying to board and push back from the gate and get on the runway we finally got off the ground 4.5 hours late and got home safe in Atlanta without any other issues.

Then we woke up on Friday and spent lunch and the afternoon with my mom, sister (Jennifer), and nephews (Matt and Jacob). We then met up with my dad and brother-in-law Kyle to go to the newest Transformers movie together. The movie was great although it was quite long it was still a great movie and everyone seemed to enjoy it. By the time the movie was over we got to my parents house for a late dinner of pulled pork sandwiches (which were delicious). On our way home we got stopped at a road block going to our house where the cops were checking for drunk drivers and coming off of the lake.

Saturday was another fun filled day though with lots of family time together. We tried to go out boating but ended up having issues with it being so windy to get my parent’s boat out and instead went to the pool in their neighborhood instead. After spending time there with the family (all the extended family in the area on my side) we then went back to our neighborhood and to our pool to meet up a couple neighbors and visit with them. Finally, it was back to my parents house that night to celebrate my nephew (Matt’s) birthday.

It was a very busy time and we had a lot of fun with our family and relaxation for the weekend! Below are a couple pictures from our time together, although we didn’t get a lot of everyone together.

Matt riding in the car with us on Friday Jacob riding in the car with us on Friday Dessert for the boating trip Stephanie and Matt hanging out on the boatOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Home Study Renewal

It is official we have an approved Home Study for the next year while we wait for the child that will be a part of our family!

We got the hard copy of the letter and paperwork just last week that the renewal had been approved. It is great to have it in our hands now so that if we do place we have a copy in our records and can get it if we need it for any reason at any time. This also means that for at least the next several months we don’t have to worry about any paperwork that needs filled out (that is until the time for renewal comes up again).

The second round of paperwork took a lot less time but it still can be hard to organize all the things you need to fill out or get filled out. If we had to worry about the renewal process right now I might go a little crazy hunting down and getting all the forms filled out that we need since we have been so busy the last month or so. The rest of the summer is shaping up to being just as busy for us as well.

Look for another post (hopefully soon) about some of the things we have been up to and our adventures in waiting!

Last Minute Hospital List

Well we are officially on the last minute hospital list (LMHL) now after signing the paperwork earlier this morning!

For those that don’t know what that means it is a list our agency has that you can choose to be part of after waiting for at least a year for a placement. If a birth mother calls the agency during labor or after from the hospital then it becomes a last minute situation. The profiles that they show her then are only those from the last minute hospital list that live within four hours of driving. In our area that could mean greater odds of being chosen since there are fewer profiles to select from. It could also mean that we could get a call any day and be parents.

There are downsides to a match that is last minute as well since the birth mother has not had the same counseling that other birth mothers would have but it has the same chances of whether or not she will change her mind or not after relinquishment. If you have any questions about what this might mean please feel free to ask.  Here is to hoping that it won’t be much longer until we have a child to cuddle and love on!

Researching Birth Announcements

I am such a planner and really like to have things ready and done before they need to be, especially when it comes to things for the adoption it seems. I have been looking online and seeing all kinds of announcements for an adoption and I like so many of them that it is hard to decide what I will use when it comes time to make them.

I know a big part of it will be pictures of our little one and us but otherwise I am trying to think of sayings and what I want it to look like. Plus there is the ever important when should we send them out. We obviously will not send out birth announcements until at least after relinquishment but then there is also the option of waiting until after finalization to send out the announcement. Waiting for finalization might mean waiting a little longer but at that point the baby’s name on the birth certificate will be finished and we will legally be the parents finally. The only downside of waiting is that we would be waiting and neither Andy nor I are patient people, especially when we are excited about something.

Either way most people will definitely be seeing the first pictures of our family’s addition via Facebook since Andy and I will not be able to keep ourselves from sharing!

What are your preferences on when you want to see the announcement of our newest family member?

Here are some examples I have found on pinterest:

– Having an picture of us with him/her and the words It’s Official!

– He/She was already ours, we simply had to bring him/her home

– Born on XX/XX/XXXX, Matched on XX/XX/XXXX, Forever a Family XX/XX/XXXX with the dates all there

– So worth the wait!

Photo Shoot

While we are waiting we decided to take a couple pictures that we could hang. Andy and I went out and he took the photos himself (even the ones we are both in). I think they turned out great and now the task of choosing just one to hang on the wall in the baby room.

It ended up being harder than I think he was originally thinking to get the shots I wanted without someone taking the pictures of us. We went out a couple times to take the pictures and play with the shots that we wanted to get. Part of the problem being having a thought in our heads of what we wanted in the picture, they weren’t always the same, and then figuring out how to take that shot with a remote or timer on the camera instead of someone holding the camera and making adjustments.

For now the idea is to display one in the baby room we have been working on, have a couple to display in a frame down in the living room, and maybe use some of them for a baby book eventually. We would have loved to have gotten the dogs involved but that just wasn’t going to happen as Jasmine just wants to sleep and Etta can’t sit still for anything!

Here are our favorites and hope you all feel free to comment too!

AKH_9718 AKH_9728

Infant CPR Class

This past weekend Andy and I attended an Infant CPR class. It has been a really long time since I was certified in CPR and the rules and actions were not as clear as we would like if something were to ever happen so we decided it would be good to take a class so we know what to do first. It was really informative and while some of it was a review there was also some new information and rules on what you should be doing.

The class covered infant CPR, proper sleeping, and also choking. It was lead by a doctor who used to be an emergency pediatrician and even though there was a movie that we watched to give a lot of the information he also answered lots of questions and watched as we practiced to tell us if we were doing it right.

We are definitely glad that we were able to take this class and will probably look into some of the other infant care classes that are offered at Babies R Us (where we attended the class). With how much I enjoy being prepared and at times during the adoption process feeling like there is no control for us, it is another step that we have taken in the direction of having a child in our home to raise and care for.