Monday, June 27, 2016

A slight an even better destination (literally!)

We have a life update on something that's adoption-related but not "about" adopting: we are moving (again), this time to our own home! Yay!!

If you've read our "adoption timeline" page, you know that we moved to our current place because our previous home, a basement apartment, was sans windows in the bedrooms and thus not fire-inspection-approvable and thus not adoption-home-study-approvable (bummer). Our current home has been amazing for us! For the past two years we have rented from friends of ours who had to move out of town for work, and have shared a lovely home with two wonderful housemates and their dog. The rent is great for our area, allowing us to save and save and save toward our adoption and future life in general. And our housemates have been so supportive of our adoption plans, which involved them by way of background checks, TB tests, and vaccine records - even the dog had a role to play!

But now it's time to move on, literally. As our two-year lease drew to a close, we talked and prayed about whether we should stay or try to find a new place. For our future long-term home, we have wanted someplace a bit bigger (to adopt multiple children, God willing!) and also eventually someplace to ourselves. This home we thought would make us stronger adoption candidates as well because we will be able to share with birth mothers that we own our own home. So we decided to dip our toes in the house market pool and just see whether in fact there was anything we could afford (and liked) in our rather challenging and expensive area. To make a long and tedious story short, turns out there was! Further, just for transparency's sake, we wanted to tell everyone that (of course) we will not be touching any of the adoption fund savings or donations, so we won't be delaying our adoption plans too much.

Thanks be to God, we found a fantastic house that is just right for us and (God willing!) our growing family down the road. It is bigger than our current house and in a great, peaceful neighborhood with lots of nearby amenities: a pool, library, parks, churches, etc.

It has been a whirlwind getting everything figured out for the home purchase and move, while staying on top of adoption paperwork too! June is when three of our important forms come around for renewal: medical form, fingerprints (FBI background check) and child safety form (a state form showing that we have not been convicted of child abuse in the past year). One day at a time, and thanks to our adoption agency's amazing staff, we're staying on top of everything!

Once we move (July 16) we will need to update a number of other forms that are house-specific: our family safety plan in case of an emergency, the fire inspection, our family monthly budget and overall financial picture, and so on. Our social worker will come back for a walk-through of our new house, and then we will be good to go!

So the home-buying is a bit of a detour on our adoption process, and we are itching to get moved and back in the game so to speak. But the minor detour of a few weeks as we move will put us in a fantastic position for the next years and years of our lives. We will have the bedrooms now to welcome more than one child - maybe more than one at a time - and we will be more settled and ready to (hopefully) watch our family grow.

We'll leave you with a picture of our new home :) and an invitation to come visit next time you are in Maryland or DC!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

While We Wait: May 2016 (month #5)

Adoption related stuff:

It's been another slow month with no situations presented to us, with the exception of a sibling group of four our Maryland agency was trying to place. Unfortunately that's not something we feel equipped to do at the moment. Maybe some day! :) Believe it or not, we're actually coming up to the one-year mark of a few of our home study forms that need to be annually renewed: doctor's form, background check, and fingerprints - to make sure our health is still reasonably good and we haven't committed any crimes in the past year! (makes sense) So we'll be working on those in June to make sure we don't have a "gap" in our home study approval. The staff at our Maryland agency has been fantastic with giving us plenty of lead time for getting forms completed.

We also were offered the opportunity to sign up with another additional placement agency, in Georgia. They contacted our Maryland agency saying that they are seeing a lot of potential adoption situations and are looking for additional families to be in their waiting pool (!) Our Maryland agency asked if they would lower their entry fees for us, since we've already be paid to be on one placement agency's list, and they agreed. So we'll be working on paperwork for that agency soon. It won't be a lot - mainly having our home study shared with them, sending copies of our profile book, etc.

Finally, a note about our fundraising thermometer, which you may have noticed is gone from the side of our blog. For some reason, it kept getting hacked! We'd look at our blog and it would say something like "goal: $1,000; received: $324" - ummmm that's not accurate at all! It had a password to edit it but I guess you can get around that somehow. So now you can see just a very basic box with our fundraising information. You'll have to imagine a thermometer BASICALLY AT THE TOP thanks to the oh-so-generous people in our lives!! We are feeling very good about our financial foundation to adopt going forward.

Other stuff we did: 

May is always special to us because it's our anniversary month. And this was a nice one: five years of marriage! We celebrated by going on a mini-getaway to Richmond, VA, a few hours south of us. It was a lovely weekend with good food, interesting historical sites, and was just so great to get away from work, chores, etc. for a while and celebrate our marriage.

In the Capitol: Mr. Dan and Mr. George Washington

Enjoying the "Mellow Mushroom" - as trippy as it sounds

Fancy chocolate writing always makes the food taste better

The Jefferson Hotel: for some reason we were reminded of the Titanic

Back on the home front, we took advantage of the very limited good weather in May to go on a hike to Great Falls. The water was so high with all the rain we got!

Okay - to be honest since this blog is sharing our lives - the hike was intentionally planned for Mother's Day, which is a difficult day for Bethany (and Dan too). While we remain very hopeful that the gift of motherhood is in our family's future through the wonderful gift of adoption, it is tough to come around to this day another year without a child. It's a day in need of some major healthy distraction! And a relief to see it in the rear view mirror once more. We love our moms and the mom-friends in our lives but are happy to be past the weeks of ads leading up to Mother's Day and the deep aversion to being wished "happy Mother's Day" by strangers (as if it's like "Happy Thanksgiving" - for everyone) - now to do the same for Father's Day in a few weeks....! (we have plans already in place :))

Thanks for humoring that excursion! A final PSA: next Mother's Day, and Father's Day too, say a prayer for those you know for whom this day is hard - which is a lot of folks for one reason or another. It's a good chance to affirm the men and women who are fatherly and motherly, too, even if they haven't been blessed with children.

On to June! We hope and pray that everyone had a great month. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate it so very much.