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!

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Summer Update

Well as the summer is starting to come to a close with the weather changing and schools back in session we are looking back at our summer adventures. We had a hiatus from the blog this summer during our match with an expectant mom. There just wasn’t much time to keep the blog updated while navigating the new relationship. Now it is time to get back into the swing of things though and keep our followers up to date on what we have been up to.

We Finished the Nursery

The reason was due to the match although a majority of the room was completed already. It was great to put the finishing touches on it though. We bought the custom sheets we wanted, made a custom ruler to measure our future child’s growth, created a keepsake box, and hung some custom art work. It is great to know that the room is done and ready for an adoption. Luckily we don’t have to pass the room or go anywhere near it if we are having a rough week with the wait.

We Visited Family for a Reunion

millersburgWe have fun visiting family whenever we can but since it is an odd year this summer brought about my side of the family reunion. We were originally planning a week long journey to visit parts of Pennsylvania and some other family but ended up cutting that part out of our plans because of the match and not wanting to waste what little vacation time I have to take off then. We had a lot of fun with the activities that we did get to do though and I am already looking forward to the reunion in 2 years.

 

 

We Visited Friends in Asheville

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Through this wonderful but sometimes trying adoption journey we met some friends of friends that have been so supportive of us. We met them a little over a year ago only but have already visited them twice and they are getting ready to come for their second visit in a couple weeks! While visiting we got to tour around the Biltmore estate and eat some delicious food. Their daughter is also awesome to play with while visiting and she is always excited to see us!

 

We saw my Sister’s Family Twice

HoustonThe upside of having a match in Houston was that we got to visit my sister and our nephews. We don’t see them as often as we would like usually but this summer we saw them three times (two times in Houston and once at the family reunion). While visiting them we got to go to the Lacrosse All Star Game and go with the boys when they got to meet their teachers for the new school year. The next several months will go by fast hopefully when we get to see them again at Thanksgiving!

 

Stephanie Went to Vegas for Work

vegasMy current company has an annual conference that we host and this year it was in Las Vegas. It was five days of lots of work but also lots of fun networking and getting to know so many new people at my company and with some of our partners. Originally Andy was planning on coming with but we will just have to hope that the conference is in Vegas another year for him to join me out there. Luckily he doesn’t enjoy gambling really so even with kids in tow (hopefully in the near future) he will still be able to enjoy the pool and walk the strip taking pictures.

 

 

 

 

Andy Worked on some New Projects

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In addition to a couple Lacrosse tournaments this summer Andy also shot a summer camp for children with disabilities and custom photos for a landscape company in the area. He has a couple other potential projects coming up soon too that will be great to keep him busy. Plus, Lacrosse fall league will give him lots of teams to shoot again and have full weekends running around to the games.

 

In Addition

We also had fun celebrating with local friends and family for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and my birthday. Spending time with friends and meeting new additions to their family has been great too. It is exciting that so many of our friends are growing their families and hopefully we will soon too so that we will have kids of similar ages to grow up together.

 

Coping With the Wait

From the beginning of the adoption process we knew we would need to do things to help make the time go by while we were waiting to adopt. There are people that adopt fast (less than a couple months) and those that take years to adopt so we tried to prepare for any situation to lessen the amount of stress we might feel. As the wait continued on farther than either of us thought would happen (past 2 years) we found ourselves looking for other ways to keep busy and feel like we were still accomplishing goals in different areas of our life. Below is a list of some of the things we have been doing this year and hope to continue doing not only through the rest of our wait but after the wait is over too!

1. Started a daily list/note of something good that happened or that we are thankful for:

This list is not something that we post anywhere or for anyone specifically to read but it is a way to focus on something each day that makes us happy or that is going well in our lives. It can be something small such as having a great time watching a new movie or it can be something bigger like buying a new car that will come in handy once we adopt. Once we do finally adopt maybe I will take a top 10 or so from the list and put it in the baby book to show some of the great things that happened while we were waiting.

2. Take trips and have visitors:

We have taken multiple trips during the wait and this has helped us to stay busy and not feel like we are putting our lives on hold while waiting. This summer we already had one trip and have 2 more to still come this summer. The next one is for my family reunion in Pennsylvania and a short road trip leading up to the reunion. We are really looking forward to it though since we will get to see some friends and family on our way up the east coast as well as do some fun things like visit Biltmore Estate. The second trip is mostly work for me but it is hard to be in Vegas for work and not have fun too! Hopefully this will be our last party vacation before becoming parents.

3. Joined a church:

This is a more recent development but we have really enjoyed the church we found in our community. It is exactly what we were looking for and have already met some great people there that we love seeing every Sunday. We are hopefully going to become official members of the church later this month or early next month. The church back great memories for Andy when we first started attending of the church he grew up in and we love our pastor there.

4. Exercise:

Over the last several years we have both gotten a little out of shape and we decided that this was the year to turn that around. Not only are we getting in better shape to be healthy or keep up with an eventual toddler running around, we are also working out some of our frustrations. After a couple months of a few days a week working out we can both already tell a difference in our energy and how we feel. Another added bonus is that any weight we have put on from extra stress during the adoption wait is getting under control.

5. Allow ourselves to be upset and to talk about the feelings we are having:

Holding it all in and not talking about the wait and the struggles/frustrations just tends to make us even more upset and frustrated. We have really been leaning more on our support network of friends/family/adoption support group/counselor/etc. more in recent months but it has definitely helped to have such great support. Although we sometimes don’t talk to people about what is going on we always talk to each other and through this we both know that as a couple we are strong and that we can deal with so much.

6. Stay Busy:

Whether it is going outside and enjoying the warm weather in the pool, having dinner with friends, or going to different events around town we have always enjoyed staying busy. During the wait it has been even more important to stay busy and keep our minds thinking about other things besides the adoption. Surprisingly most of our summer is starting to get booked up with different things so if you want to try and get together we will find a way it just might take a couple different dates before we find one that will work for everyone :).

7. Work on projects for the house or baby room:

The house has a never ending list of projects that we want to get done and accomplish so whenever we have a little spare money we are finding different things we can work on there. On the other hand, the nursery is getting close to being completed. We are working on a couple small projects over the next couple weeks and then the room decorations and furniture will all be completed and ready for a baby to arrive!

8. Work Work and more Work:

It’s hard to stress about the wait if you are so busy working all week long. Plus both Andy and I love our jobs which makes the work not seem painful and like the weeks never end. I stressed over changing jobs during the middle of the wait and although it will mean that I won’t get as much time off post adoption as I was going to get before it means on a week by week basis I am happier.

9. Work on adoption networking:

No matter how much networking we do it still feels like there are other things we could try. We try to add new things every once in a while to see if something different might bring us closer to being parents. New ideas and things that we have either done recently or might be doing in the near future are: pass along cards, redo website, update pictures, work on our blog, take pictures for instagram, work on an adoption video, etc.

10. Go to support group:

Even if we have been to the topic before it helps to socialize with those going through the same thing and to validate that how we are feeling is totally normal. Having people to talk to that know the pain and heartache makes venting so much easier. You don’t feel like they might be judging you for having your thoughts and feelings and they can agree that they have been in the same place.

Recent Updates and Activities

So this month has been a little crazy and busy as I alluded to in one of our earlier posts. Keeping busy and accomplishing goals has helped make the adoption wait go by smoother even though we still have difficult days to get through here and there.

We had an awesome support group earlier in the month. The topic was infertility and adoption and although we did talk a lot about that topic the group in general just had a lot of great topics to talk about. We met several new couples that have recently started the process or the wait too which was great. I think this was our third time going to this specific topic at support group and it has never been the same. Andy and I love the conversation and support that we get by going to these meetings and even when we are not sure about the topic we always find that we were happy to have gone.

We also replaced my old Saturn car this month. I have had it since college and it lasted me well over the years but it was finally time to move onto something better. We got the new VW Golf Sportwagon Diesel and I love it (so does Andy but it is my primary car)! We got the hand controls put on without too much issue although a few of the places I called were annoying about not answering my questions and just asking me a bunch of stuff instead. We bought this car specifically since I am not into SUVs or vans and with our hope to be adopting sooner than later we wanted a vehicle with more storage for my chair, a stroller, a car seat, and everything else we need.  We will be going on a road trip this summer for my family reunion and we can’t wait to take the new car!

A had a girls night out at Eclipse for some delicious Tapas a week or so ago which was a blast and so much good food. They are all small plates at the restaurant so you can order multiple things (which is a good thing because you want to order everything off the menu). I stopped myself at 4 different plates and after stuffing myself and having some girl talk I was so happy to have the chance to hang out with the girls! We always have a blast together even if all we do is eat good food and talk. Now to figure out when to have the next one!

One of our things we wanted to work on this year was our health and while our diet is going well we decided to join a gym and get a trainer as well. Andy’s blood work a couple weeks ago showed that his levels are so much better in just the last 3 months and with adding in the gym they will hopefully be back to where they should be soon. I am already excited to be back in the pool swimming after almost a decade off, even if it is just swimming a few laps. My goal is to be able to swim a mile straight and build back up some of my strength (those nephews of ours are still growing and still insisting that they should be on my lap).

Another thing we ‘accomplished’ this month was finding a church. We have been talking about it for a while now and a couple weekends ago we had done our research and found a church to try. We love the church that we found and are excited to get up on Sunday mornings and go to service. Living in the south there are a lot of churches everywhere you turn however a majority of them are baptist or non-denominational and we were looking for a Lutheran church to attend. We both like the more traditional services and were lucky enough to find a church that holds both contemporary and traditional services.

Finally, Andy has had Lacrosse, Lacrosse, and more Lacrosse photos! He is staying so busy with his shooting schedule this spring that I am sure he is looking forward to the summer when things slow back down for him.

Update on Life in General

So it has been a little while since we have written a blog post, it has been a little crazy around here for us though. I started my new job a couple weeks ago and have been busy going through training. I have a couple more weeks left of training until I become certified though. Andy too has started one of his busy seasons. He has several potential things that he is working on in addition to the lacrosse photo schedule he already has over the next couple months.

On top of starting out a new job Andy and I have been hanging out with lots of friends and family for dinners. It has been great to eat some awesome food and catch up with some people that we don’t get to see often enough. We even got to meet Andy’s cousin’s newest daughter last month. Even though she slept 90% of the time we were together it was great to finally meet her and give them the baby gift we got them too. We really wish there was more time to see friends and family and hope that with me not traveling for work as often it might be easier in the future.

Our schedule is just going to get busier over the coming months though as we setup more and more things with friends and family. We are babysitting this whole weekend for some friends of ours (their daughter is adorable and awesome!), have friends visiting, going on a trip to Houston to visit my sister’s family, and making plans with some friends in Atlanta all over the next month or so from now.

Staying busy is helping us not stress too often over our upcoming 2 year anniversary of being a waiting family with our agency. At 2 years 80% of families have usually adopted with our agency so to not be one of those families is starting to become a reality and makes it hard to stay positive at times. We know that when the right situation is here it will be terrific but the not knowing the time line is stressful and we can’t wait for that to be over for us and to finally have a child in our family.

The next couple of posts should be coming pretty soon and hopefully we will have lots of pictures to share too!

December in Review

The month of December went by fast just like the rest of the year has. It was a lot of fun spending so much time with friends and family. Over the course of the month we held or went to 5 Christmas parties, attended a New Years Eve party, watched several movies at the theater (both old and new), had a quick trip to Michigan (see the earlier blog on that :)), decorated for Christmas, and spent some time relaxing at home.

We both really enjoyed our white elephant gifts and our personal gifts that we got throughout the season, and hope that everyone else got some great gifts as well! We did pick up a couple new things for the baby/nursery this month as well. We got the Velveteen Rabbit to add to the book collection that is always growing, a couple of wall hangings that were Andy’s as a child to use in the toy room, two pieces of a toy kitchen from Andy’s parents house that has been in the family for years, and a knit hat that looks like Yoda for the baby.

Andy and I loved having so many fun activities to do this month, however, we are looking forward to a calmer January to come. Luckily for half of the month we were off of work on vacation, so it allowed us the relaxing time that we wouldn’t have had if we were both working the whole month.

Happy New Years Eve

Happy New Years Eve

At my parent's Christmas party

At my parent’s Christmas party

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Toy Kitchen

New Toy Kitchen

Michigan with friends

Michigan with friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Ugly Sweater Party

Our Ugly Sweater Party

Emotional at the Holidays

Well it is time for our busiest time of year and the typically wonderful holiday season. Lately, though, I have noticed that I seem to easily get annoyed or upset this holiday season. This is our second year going through Christmas and Thanksgiving while waiting to adopt. It is normally my favorite time of year with all of the decorations, movies, music, food, family, and friends. This year there have already been times that I wish I could just skip it all though and fast forward to the new year. I really want to enjoy the holidays with friends and family though at the same time.
There are so many traditions I want to share with our children and things I can’t wait to see them experience. Being around our family helps but we can’t be with each other through the entire holiday season since we don’t all live in Georgia. Plus at some point we all need to make money, go to work, and get things done, it can’t be all fun all the time.
This year we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house with my sister’s family visiting for the entire week. Hosting this year is at least giving me something to occupy part of my brain with planning events, finding new recipes for the turkeys, figuring out any projects I need to finish before then. We will have 14 people at our house for the day so there will be lots of prepping and cooking to do during that week as well as being busy with family activities. My nephews are great distractions!
I know technically we don’t know what will happen and maybe we will get a last minute call about a situation and be parents still before the holidays. However, that isn’t extremely frequent to have last minute situations through our agency. Also, I figure if I plan for it not to happen it might be easier to get through and enjoy the holidays than thinking that it could happen and be even more disappointed if it doesn’t happen.
Instead we are trying to plan out all of our free minutes between now and the end of the year. We have always had the motto during the wait that if we are busy with something else then we can’t dwell on what could be. Currently, we are planning on doing a holiday party for friends, going to our normal holiday parties, working on projects around the house, and attending any shows or events that we think might be entertaining. If you know of a fun event in the Atlanta area for during the holiday season let us know and maybe we will fit it in our schedule!

So what is it like to be a man during/in the adoption process?

In two words…shockingly difficult.

 The beginning…

Our adoption story started when I was 36 years old. That was the age that the adoption paper work began. However, for me, I wanted to be a dad in my late 20s, early 30s. I was ready. Maybe not professionally, or financially, but I wanted children long ago, only Stephanie was missing. Maybe it was babysitting neighborhood kids, maybe it was having so many cousins, I can’t put my finger on the moment it happened, but I have known I wanted to be a dad for a long time.

I realize growing up in Michigan, and then moving to Georgia during prime marriage/kid years and starting over took some wind out of that sail. But it was that move that set me on the path I needed to be on. It set me on a career path that would define me. It sent me down the path that lead me to marrying Stephanie, and ultimately where we are today. It was the right path.

Sure when I met Stephanie I immediately had questions about our ability to have children together, but we were told we had a good chance. We tried and tried. Nothing. This is where things got really tough…even for me, the man. Over there, she was now struggling on the fertility drugs, the testing, and the ups and downs of hormones coursing through her body. She had it rough, but it bothered us both a lot.

Because of the hormones she was hair-triggered sometimes, stressed beyond my calming etc., and I could do nothing to settle her nerves. Damn drugs. I struggled silently with ups and downs of her moods, and her false positives when she took pregnancy tests. We had a bunch of those, and I found out years later during the adoption process, she stopped telling me because she knew it killed us both a little each time. Knowing what I know now, I wish she would have just told me, it was only fair we face the negatives together.

Line in the sand…

We drew a line in the sand during all of the trying, for a place to just say enough is enough, and move on to something different. As the months drew on from fertility drugs, we began to talk more about adoption, and started researching agencies and collecting information. We reached the line.

It was really hard to “give up” on trying to have children of our own flesh and blood…but we’d talked about that possibility for a long time and there was nothing we could really do about it now.

I suppose I had a hard time mentally giving up the idea. I am the only son of my father, he too the only son. Without a blood son, my family name would end. But that is just emotions talking…and it’s stupid. Any son I have will have my name, blood or not. It became less and less important.

 Wheels start turning…

We jumped into open adoption and hit the ground running. You can read about all of that in past posts. Adoption was a simple choice; there are kids out there that need homes and moms sometimes want to know where and who their birth children are in the future…of course, why not? It was a simple choice and we’ve learned so much along the way.

The paperwork is crazy. The hoops are insane. Adoption is hard. But it’s not as hard as the fertility drugs where. Papers get turned in, and you get in “line” and you wait. Ahh the wait. For some people, it’s a month, for some year after year of nothing. In open adoption, we just don’t know when the checkered flag will wave. We are currently at 19 months.

To tell you that waiting 19 months for ANYTHING is easy, I’d be lying. I am a terrible waiter. I want, I want, I want…and I want it now. After all, most of our checks have been cashed; only after we match will we write even more checks. What does the wait feel like? You know those claws at the carnival where you try to get the amazing prize out of a glass box, and you get candy instead… well at least there is candy in that box.

So what does a man’s mind go through during adoption? Where do I start? Of course I think; when will this happen? Why has it NOT happened yet? What is wrong with us? Is it me that is holding us back? Is she really ok? How is she handling this? Did she just yell at me because I am an ass, or because she’s upset it has been 19 months?

Those questions can drive a man or anyone insane. I think about adoption daily. I think about being a dad pretty much everyday. Over the last two years, I started to shoot a lot of youth sports with kids, and I absolutely love it. It’s my calling. What is better than using photography with kids AND sports. It’s a win-win-win deal for me. Watching kids play basketball or Lacrosse competitively hits me in the heart every time I get to do it. I don’t know if it’s watching the kids, or watching the parents watch the kids that get me, but I am a softy…I have sobbed on the sidelines. I have the images of those exact moments etched in my brain, and my hard drive.

Right in the chest…

Facebook is amazing. It is also soul crushing. On one hand, Facebook is how you are reading this. It is how we spread the word fast, and easy, and keep people informed. But it is soul crushing. Everyday I read about friends and family having babies. Being in photographer groups that are full of baby pictures does not help either. It is not so hard to deal with now, but in the beginning it was brutal.

How brutal? In the time that we have been working on adoption, some friends and family have had SEVERAL children. Soul crushing. It is just THAT hard for me. Honestly, I love all of you parents out there, because that is what I want to be. I envy you, I am jealous of you. I wont say I don’t throw my phone down, and walk away from your post about your second or third, I do, but I am happy for you, and it is my WANT to feel that way more than anything in the world.

I am interested in seeing how I am as a dad. I have always wondered how I would stack up. Will I be the best dad ever? No, clearly not. I don’t have the attention span or patience for that, but I will be the best dad I am capable of. I learned parenthood from my parents, and they raised me pretty well. Combined with Stephanie and her mad skills, our children will have a great home to grow up in.

So I sit here typing, pouring out my soul, letting you in, because it is easy, I love to talk. People tell me I could/should write a book about the adoption process…but it would not be that interesting. It would have 18 chapters of waiting. It is brutal.

Thanks to all who support us, it helps immensely.

-Andy

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.

Cancun Vacation/Work Trip

A view from our resort, this is going to be a great week!

A view from our resort, this is going to be a great week!

It was a wonderful vacation/work trip for us this year. Every year Stephanie’s company sends everyone on a training weekend event to team build, network, and learn about what is going on in the company. It is a blast every year and we are thankful that Andy is able to join. This year we also got the opportunity to extend the trip by a couple extra days to make a vacation out of it for us.

We spent the first couple days relaxing around the resort, laying in the pool, eating lots of food, and going kayaking. It was a great way to start off since we have both been so busy working the last couple months. We also met a couple of other guests from Brazil and had fun getting to know them. The kayaking was a bit of a struggle as I ended up in the water since the double kayak had very low back support and was a flat top.

Chichenitza was so amazing!

Chichen Itza was so amazing!

Selfie on our tour of the ruins

Selfie on our tour of the ruins

Cenote (sink hole)

Cenote (sink hole)

We then decided that it was time to see a little culture while in Mexico. We took a guided tour of Chichen Itza and a Cenote. It was amazing! Although it was hot outside and by the end of the day we were exhausted it was great to learn so much about the area and the Mayans. We were also lucky to have a couple helpful coworkers and other tourists that were willing to help us down and out of the Cenote. The water in the Cenote was so cold and refreshing to get into and we all were wishing we were able to go for another dip after walking around in the hot sun at Chichen Itza.

Team building and giving back. We built bikes for local children and gave them some school supplies.

Team building and giving back. We built bikes for local children and gave them some school supplies.

There were a couple of days of work meetings and events that came at the end of our trip. I won’t bore you with most of the details as it can be tiring to sit through if it isn’t your company. Andy was asked though to take photos for the company at all the events since we didn’t have a photographer. Everyone was so happy to see all the photos that he took and couldn’t wait for him to finish editing them!

Some of the best parts of the work days though are the team building (pictured above) and the dinners with coworkers. This year our team building activity included multiple events on the beach trying to complete challenges to ‘earn’ pieces of a bike. Afterwards, we all had to take our bike pieces and put them together. What made it even more fun was that the children we were donating the bikes to were there helping each team. It was so awesome to see them excited about the bikes and the supplies we gave them in new book bags. They were all showing off their gifts to their friends and seeing what they got!

All dressed up and excited to party!

All dressed up and excited to party!

Stephanie cutting up the rug on the dance floor with her coworkers!

Stephanie cutting up the rug on the dance floor with her coworkers!

Andy dancing at the banquet on Saturday

Andy dancing at the banquet on Saturday

The final part of our trip was Saturday evening when we had the company banquet. After handing out a few rewards and eating some good food it was time for the entertainment. There were many hilarious things happening on the dance floor but it was a lot of fun and everyone in attendance had a blast. I wasn’t able to include it in the blog but there was even a great video of Andy dancing because he happened to be standing in the wrong place trying to take pictures!