Monday, April 20, 2015

Adoption Application is IN!

by Bethany

Today - April 20, 2015 - we are thrilled to share that we have mailed our adoption application!!

This is the first official step in becoming adoptive parents - and we're thrilled!

Glamorous parking-lot shot of us and our application - ready to be mailed!!

Over my lunch break, I drove to Dan's work (a few minutes down the road) and we went to Mass together, praying in thanksgiving to have arrived at this moment, and for the path ahead - for all the people that we'll meet along this journey, not least our child and his/her biological parents.

We also lit a candle in front of St. John Paul II's picture and asked for his intercession. And then I drove back to work and put the envelope in the mail. Wow! I don't think I've felt so jittery and excited about mailing something since we sent out our wedding invitations over four years ago!

About the application: it was 12 pages long, and covered basic information like our backgrounds, education, finances and health. We also had to provide four references (who our agency will contact), recent photos of each of us, and a big ol' fat check (first of many - yikes). We started filling it out on April 2nd, which has significance for us: it was Holy Thursday (our engagement anniversary) and also the 10th anniversary of St. John Paul II's death. We finished filling it out this past weekend.

Now, we wait to hear back from the agency. As long as we're approved, the next step is an intake meeting to get the many forms and instructions we need to start the home study, which will occupy us for the next several months. The intake also gives us a chance to meet the social workers and other personnel we'll be working with, and vice versa, and start building those relationships.

Ready, set, here we gooooooo!!!

Taken after mass, to remember what a beautiful Spring day it was

The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
"This is the way; walk in it."
- Isaiah 30:20-21

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"We're Adopting" Photo Shoot

by Bethany

To begin with, full credit goes to Dan for this idea! Back when we first started talking about adopting, he said that he really want to announce our adoption plans in a creative way. We've seen other people do this, and it seemed like a neat way to share such an important life step with "the world" - at least the small part of the world we know!

As Spring 2015 rolled around and we prepared our adoption application, we decided we wanted to do a photo shoot during our most favorite time of the year in DC, cherry blossom season.

We are blessed to live in a beautiful city, and Spring is arguably the most beautiful season here. After a dreary winter (sidenote for our Northern friends and family: yes, we have it easy compared to Erie and other points north!), it is oh-so-wonderful to see the first signs of Spring: flowers sprouting, and trees bursting into color everywhere you look. It even makes the work commute more bearable!

The shoot was Dan's idea; I was in charge of props.

In preparation of our shoot, I bought craft supplies from Michael's and fashioned a banner. My goal was to make it joyful and fun!

I also bought a fancy chalkboard and chalk, and after perusing Pinterest, I decided that the alphabet blocks from our toy box (for our visiting kid friends) would work great to spell out the name of our website. A nice tie-in with kids and playfulness!

We were blessed to have a perfect Spring day on a weekend for our photo shoot, and a willing photographer: our friend Ben, who Dan lived with before we got married, and who is now a seminarian studying to be a priest for our Archdiocese. (And who is going to Rome for 5 years of study!! Not that we're jealous...)

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - one of our spiritual homes
The location of our photo shoot also had meaning for us. Dan want to Catholic University as an undergrad, and we met on the CUA campus when I moved to DC to start grad school. He asked me to be his girlfriend, and on our first dinner date, in a lovely little spot called Mary's Garden:

And we have spent many hours studying on CUA's campus, attending Mass at the Basilica, and just being together here. So it was a natural fit for us to take our "announcement" photos here!

The whole afternoon was just wonderful: sunny, happy, fun. At one point, a woman nearby read our banner and said, "Congratulations! What are your names? I will pray for you!'

Here are a few more shots:

And here we are with our photographer, Ben:

Afterwards, the three of us enjoyed some beers and soft pretzels at a nearby pub - it was the least we could do to express our gratitude to Ben!

All in all, we're both really pleased with how the photos turned out, and excited to share them with others! It was fun to do something really concrete, and it made the adoption seem that much more real: we have photo evidence now: We're Adopting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Buying Fabric for our Baby's Quilt

by Bethany

Once I decided to make a quilt, and chose a pattern and colors (you can read about that here), the next step was to choose fabric. Over Thanksgiving 2014, we visited my parents in Mechanicsburg, PA. My mom and I spent a pleasant morning driving to Lancaster County and visiting three different fabric stores. None of them were chains; they were all family-owned, and catered to the Amish and other locals who not only quilt but also make most of their clothes by hand.

Choosing the fabric is definitely part of the fun of quilt-making! Even going into the store is a treat, seeing row upon row of fabric in every color imaginable.

It's a real feast for the eyes! And the fingers - many of the fabrics feel different, from plain cotton to suede or velvet, and everything in between. Even though we were only looking for quilting cotton, of course we needed to feel the other, softer fabrics, too...!

We enjoyed seeing the Amish wares for sale:

Ladies' bonnets and gents' hats

More colorful options
We took our time browsing through the fabric options. I knew I was looking for dark blue, light blue, gold, and white - but there were multiple options for each color! For example, the white could be just plain, flat white, or a shimmery white, or a white with a pattern. Same for the other colors. There were also plenty of fabrics that were predominately one color but had another color or colors incorporated. And the trick was to choose fabric that looked well together.

We ended up buying samples from three stores, and then purchasing our final material from two of the stores. We were very pleased with the results!

light blue close up: I love the swirls
All four colors together: I'm especially pleased with how gold the gold fabric is
Dark blue close up: leafy details
White close up: dandelion puffs

All in all, a very successful fabric-buying trip!

Me & Mom