Monday, December 3, 2012


We have received such wonderful support from family and friends. 
Visits, cards, calls, texts, emails, blog comments, hugs, tears, concern, questions, kind words, thoughts, prayers, and space when needed too. 
It's really helped us so much.  We are doing well.
Thank you!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Many of you already know of the devastation we've suffered these last few days.
After 48 hours of caring for and loving on baby girl as though she would be ours, the birth family changed their minds.  We had to pack up and travel home, the most shocking and painful experience ever.
It has been truly awful.  Adoption's worst nightmare come true.  But we'll be ok.  We're getting through and feeling a little more solid every day, much to do with the support of our amazing family. 
We haven't been able to bear to communicate much with friends.  We are sorry for that and hope you understand.  We do feel your thoughts and prayers, though.  Thank you so much.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Time!...

Our bags are packed and flights are booked. 
Little girl has her own suitcase, while mom and dad have to share.
We're flying to Vegas today, and our amazing birth mom is being induced at midnight.  Baby girl will (likely) be born sometime tomorrow--Wednesday, November 21, 2012.  It's happening!!!
We are so, so excited... Although, we will miss this little pup...
(Gotta love that underbite!)

Friday, November 16, 2012


No signs of labor yet!  If there's still not any action by Monday, they'll induce on Tuesday or Wednesday.
We're keeping busy with baby preparations and packing.  We've also been scrambling to get our work life to a place where we can feel comfortable about going on leave.  And, I've been finishing up on a few special knitting projects.
All in all, we're just enjoying the anticipation!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

National Adoption Month...

In honor of November being National Adoption Month, here's a link to Haley's story, one of many wonderful adoption stories.  Enjoy.


Here's what we can expect, logistically, over the next couple of weeks.  The emotions are another story, and something I can hardly fathom.  But, this is a quick run-through of the basic timeline to come. 
Right now, we are waiting for birth mother to go into labor.  Her due date is November 14th.  She called yesterday, after her appointment, to report that there are no new signs, just the low back pain that she's been feeling for a few days now. 
Once we get word that she's officially gone into labor, we'll hop on the first plane we can.  We'll probably book one-way flights, as we have no idea of our return date.  Oftentimes, first-time deliveries take awhile, so hopefully we'll make it there by the birth.  The birth parents have expressed that they want us very involved in all of the moments just after she's born.
In Nevada, the birth parents must wait 72 hours before signing the relinquishment papers.  They want them to be of sound mind following the delivery, plus give them the time they need with the baby.  We are very grateful that the birth parents want Ross and me involved during that 72 hour period. 
Assuming a healthy delivery, the birth mom will be released from the hospital at around 48 hours.  The baby remains in the hospital, boarded, as they put it.  We, fortunately, are allowed to remain and care for her.  We have been told that this hospital sees quite a few adoption situations and they are wonderful to work with.   
After the relinquishment papers are signed, the baby will be released to our care.  In Nevada, the decision is irrevocable once the papers are signed.  The adoption will be officially finalized through the court systems, however, in the coming months.   
Our homecoming, initially, will be to a hotel in Las Vegas.  A friend of mine set us up with a discounted rate at a pretty swanky place.  (Thanks, Jilien!)  We'll have a full kitchen, which is important for washing and preparing bottles!  A kitchen will also be nice, so that we don't have to eat every meal out.   
Because it's an out of state adoption, the ICPC paperwork (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) must process before we can leave the state of Nevada with our daughter.  We've been told that this can take anywhere from four to ten days, on top of the first 72 hours.  Of course, we're hoping for closer to four, but we'll make the most of our time together as a family, just the three of us.
Once we get the OK, we'll book flights and head back to Minnesota.  We're a bit nervous about flying with a newborn, but so excited to arrive back home.  The real homecoming.  We can't wait for friends and family to meet our little one.    
Praying for things to go smoothly!      

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Car seat purchased, bottles sterilized, tons of tiny pink outfits washed and ready to pack.  The list goes on and on.  But the list is done!  I've had a lot of things ready for months, but suddenly there seemed to be a million additional little (and big) things yet to do.  My mom and I spent all day Saturday and Sunday running around, and now I feel really ready.  I have everything set, including the birth parent gift basket.  I even have my Christmas shopping one hundred percent done.  Impressive, right?!  We are ready for our daughter's arrival.  Our daughter.  Now just counting the days. 


Monday, October 29, 2012


I've been waiting a long time to write this post.
We just learned that we've been matched! The birth parents that we’ve been communicating with for a week and a half let us know of their final decision today. They have chosen us to parent their baby. They are wonderful, and we feel beyond blessed!
Thank you to everyone for your support and prayers.
Oh yeah, it’s a baby GIRL and she's due NOVEMBER FOURTEENTH.  That’s two weeks!
More details soon... J

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Madeline Island...

Madeline Island is located in Lake Superior just off Wisconsin’s north coast near Bayfield.  It’s about a 3 ½ hour drive to Bayfield, WI, then a 20 minute ferry ride to the island (I love riding the ferry!).  We spent a long weekend there with friends.  It was such a perfect escape from the realities and stresses of the adoption process. 
The leaves were at their color peak, and even the drive was delightful. 
Our cabin couldn't have been better.  It was tucked in the woods and overlooked Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. 
The weather was cool and crisp, so we kept a fire going nearly all the time—thanks to Ross. 
We spent time by the outdoor fire too, and in the hammock.  The early mornings were especially peaceful.  On the first morning, while in the hammock by myself, I watched a bald eagle soar right by.  Amazing.      
We had a contest of who could take the best ‘senior pic.’  I’m pretty sure I won with the leaf prop! ;)
Ross throwing leaves.  WOW is all there is to say.    
Lots of hiking and exploring.  The Madeline Island Lagoon was one of our destinations. 
Of course stops at the local bars to warm up (hot cider and rum-yum!).  Here we are at Tommy’s Burn Down.  Notice the tarps—it’s burned down so many times, they don’t even bother to rebuild. 
To our pleasant surprise, we discovered it was Apple Fest weekend in Bayfield!  We took a ride back across the water and kept warm on an old bus that was parked on the ferry. 
What a perfect trip.  Fall in the Midwest—there's nothing like it!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Becoming an Advocate...

I travel throughout the country quite a bit for work.  I'm always meeting new people and engaging in getting-to-know-you conversations during dinners or other events.  Those conversations inevitably lead to the do-you-have-kids question.  During a recent trip to Orlando, the questions still came, but my reaction was different.  I didn't shy away or give some dismissive one-word answer, as I have in years past.  In fact, I found myself actually waiting and hoping that someone would ask me.  And when they did (because people always do), I was open and enthusiastic.  Wow, what a switch!  I talked about our adoption, and I loved it!  I think maybe I even lit up, because the people around me lit up.  They asked questions and I answered, stealthily correcting common misconceptions and unwitting negative language.  People, some I knew very little or not at all prior, became invested and asked to be informed of updates.  During one of my conversations, someone never having considered adoption before, exclaimed, “That could be an option for me!”  I felt peaceful and proud, and, dare I say, special.  That sounds a little self serving, but it’s true, it is special.  Adoption is special.  I am blessed to be part of it.  And, even though we’re not yet on the other side and there are still major struggles, I’m enjoying becoming an advocate.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Some Activity...

Over the last two months, we’ve had some activity, but, unfortunately, nothing has panned out.  While we’re grateful to have activity so soon, it’s challenging to reconcile the feelings of being so close, but yet so far.  I do try and remind myself that maybe we’re not so far.  I know that things could happen at any time.  I wake up each day and think, today could be the day.  The part I need to do better with is the closing of the day when I realize, alas, it was not the day, after all.  Note to self… Resolve to resume focus on new day (and hope for end to merciless repeat)!  A slight wallow, I know, but I say it’s allowed once in a while.  Feel it, then move on; an emotional skill that I’m getting good at.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I recently picked up two books on adoption.  The first, Secret Thoughts, was a good read.  Some sections don’t directly apply to us, but most of it was quite apt for what I’ve been feeling lately.  The second, In On It, is meant for the family and friends of those who are adopting.  We gave a copy to our parents, and they’ve all started reading.  I’m anxious to hear what they think.  Below are the online descriptions of each book.  If anyone has any other book suggestions, please let me know!     

Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff
While books about adoption proliferate, none of them addresses the subject of open and interracial adoption like Jana Wolff's personal and frank account does in Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother. Often irreverent, always insightful, surprisingly funny and stunningly honest, Secret Thoughts tells it like it is: How it feels for a woman to look nothing like her child and to know the woman who does. This fiercely honest and funny book answers questions no one dares to ask: What if I don't like the child I get? Will she want the baby back? If this is the happiest day of my life, why am I so sad? Am I too white for a kid this black? Chapter titles include: "The Myth of Bliss," Friendly Racism," "Meeting Your Child's Mother," and "Adopted Poop Doesn't Smell Any Different."Show More Show Less

In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You To Know About Adoption by Elizabeth O’Toole
 One adoption social worker called In On It "the adoption book for everyone else": the grandparents and friends, neighbors and colleagues, aunts and uncles, teachers and caregivers of adoptive families. In On It contains helpful advice and instructive anecdotes from adoptive parents, adult adoptees, adoption professionals, and the friends and relatives of already established adoptive families. The author, an adoptive parent herself, has written an informative, friendly and very useful adoption guide that informs and enlightens readers even as it offers them a warm welcome into adoption.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Faith vs. Fear...

My words of faith are strong and clear.  But that's not to say they aren't challenged by fear.  Because they are, and often. 

I want my messages to be positive, but, at the same time, I think it's important that I'm real.  I’ve gained so much comfort from the honesty of other mothers and waiting mothers in the infertility/adoption community.  They've helped me to feel that I’m not alone in some of the fears and doubts that I battle.  This journey can be so isolating.  I think it’s important to share feelings, both positive and sometimes not-so-positive. 

At the most recent infertility retreat I attended, the topic was about the journey and how it’s transformed us.  One of the exercises was to view our own childhood photos, while our leader, Nicole, led us in a meditation.  She guided us to think about our young selves compared to our today selves: what brought us joy then vs now, our strengths then vs now, what we might say to ourselves then vs now.  Like most of my meditation attempts, I drifted from the goal.  I didn’t think of the little girl in the photos as me.  I thought of her as the daughter I always dreamed I'd have.  The daughter who would look like me.  And then… I thought of the loss of that exact dream.  I cried in group that day.  But like Nicole says, it’s not a successful class until someone cries! ;)   

While I’m confident that adoption is right for us, I still grieve.  And, while I strive to stay positive and focused on the excitement of everything, I still fight fears and doubts…  

Are we doing the right thing?  Is this what we really want?  Is our profile good enough?  Will we be chosen?  What if the birth family isn’t great?  What if the baby isn't healthy?  What if the baby isn't cute? (I know, terrible to say out loud.)  What if I don't bond?  Will I love the same?  Will I still feel a void?  Do we want a lifelong relationship with a birth family?  Can we handle the potential challenges of raising a child who was adopted?

I have to acknowledge these fears.  And maybe it’s ok to have them.  Maybe it means that I’m in a place of risk and challenge, rather than hiding and avoiding. 

A recent service at our church was on making courageous choices and having faith at life’s river crossings.  Our Pastor spoke of how nothing really happens while standing safely on the river bank.  Nothing exciting, no miracles, no memories made, and no way for God to show up and do something spectacular.  The miracles are in the river, not safely on the shore! 

Our journey has led me to this edge, and I am fearful, but I can’t let the fear hold me back.  I am stepping into the river.  There may be trouble, but I have faith that there will also be a miracle.  I know I will end up safely on the other side, where adoption's wonderful and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sugie and me, late '70s / early '80s

Thursday, July 12, 2012

About Waiting...

You know, I'm actually pretty content with the waiting so far.

I'm surprised. Maybe because I only have the IUIs and IVFs and TWWs to compare it to. I was a completely consumed mess during the infertility treatment cycles. My work suffered, I wasn't able to sleep, my heart raced all the time, I literally struggled to catch a breath most days. But it's no wonder, is it. The treatments don't allow you to forget or to be contented.  Supplements, acupuncture, daily self-administered injections, constant doctor's appointments complete with blood draws and invasive ultra sounds, inconceivable financial stresses, obsessing over every symptom, and the reality of knowing it might all be a waste.

With this adoption, though, I can breathe more easily, knowing, at least, that I've done all that I can do. I'm done… Paperwork, home study, background checks, references, profile,… And God knows the desires of my heart (I’ve made it very clear!).  Now I (try to) spend my energy (most of it) thanking Him for what I know is to come... The blessings.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The nursery is finished!  I had always dreamed of doing a nursery.  My mom helped with much of it, and we had so much fun.  I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I think it’s soft and cozy and sweet.  Enjoy the photos!    
View from the door.

The walls are painted a rich cream.

My mom and I spray painted the wicker shelving unit.  It was in my room as a child.

The ceiling is painted a soft gray.

A beautiful quilt made by my talented mom!

I noticed these prints in a gallery in Wilmington, NC while on a beach trip last summer.  The Critter Series by digital artist John W. Golden. 
Each has a title... The Artful Raccoon, The Industrious Beaver, The Sensible Owl, The Persnickety Opossum, The Crooked Fox, and The Relentless Squirrel.  So cute!
The quilt makes the room! Thank you, Mom!  (I helped choose the fabrics. J)

A comfy glider chair and ottoman.

Photos of things from my childhood.  I will eventually change them out with new baby photos.

Adorable bear.

Cozy corner.

Ross got this rocking horse from an Amish builder on our last trip to Iowa.

My mom and I painted the frames.

How cute is this mobile?!

The cross stitch was made by a family friend and was in my room when I was little. 
(I suppose I should say that it was originally made for my brother.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Follow by email...

You can now receive email notification of new posts.  Just enter your email address at the FOLLOW BY EMAIL gadget, found on the right side under FOLLOWERS.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Some of the affiliate agencies, where our profiles were sent, require us to complete their own paperwork.  (Just when we thought we were done!)  We got all of that additional stuff turned in earlier this week.  So, after four months of seemingly constant paperwork, we are now officially WAITING!  We could get a call at any time.  The “call” could be one of many scenarios.  Some agencies call us to get permission to even show our profile.  Some agencies call only after we’ve been selected.  Some agencies call Crossroads, our local agency, rather than calling us directly.  And when there is a match, it may be with a child that was just born or one that is due in a couple of months.  There are many unknowns, but it’s very exciting!  Please pray for a speedy match, but, more than anything, the right match. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Our profile is finally finished!  Crossroads will now mail the booklets out to the other agencies across the country.  So, by the end of next week we should be officially “waiting”. 

Here are photos of the booklet.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Home Study Approved...

Our home study has been officially approved!  Now we just need to finish up our profile and complete the affiliate agency applications (more paperwork!).  Crossroads is like an intermediary, working with a variety of agencies throughout the United States.  Our profile will be going to five agencies: UT, FL, NV, AL, and TX.  We should have our profile and additional applications completed within the next couple of weeks.  So close!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Background checks...

We just learned today that our background checks got the all-clear on Friday!  I am so relieved.  It's a sensitive process, and things can get delayed or rejected for an i not being dotted or a t not being crossed.  We had been waiting for news for over 6 weeks, so I was getting concerned that my poor quality fingerprints were going to come back as rejected.  I feared needing to start over.  But we're good to go!  Our home study will be officially approved once we meet with Sheila on the 15th.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Class: Meet the Parents...

We completed our 10-hour training requirement on Saturday by attending a Meet the Parents class.  It was a discussion led by a panel of parents, all who had adopted recently through Crossroads.  In attendance, along with us, were some familiar faces of those from previous classes.  It's a bonus that we've met some cool people.  We picked up a lot of great tips from the panel, mostly to do with travel.  We'll need to travel to the birth state (likely FL, NV, UT) to pick up baby.  And we'll need to stay there until the legal requirements are met, typically 1-2 weeks.  Lots to plan for!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crib and dresser...

The adoption timeline (or lack of) is a difficult thing to get a grasp on.  Bringing a child into your life in the traditional way has a very definite timeline (give or take a few weeks).  You can pace yourself and do what’s appropriate at different stages of the game.  We don’t have that.  So what do we do?  Do we plan?  Do we buy things?  Some adoptive parents are comfortable with getting what they need on the fly, but I’m a planner.  I want everything to be organized and adorable in advance.  Ultimately, I decided to take the advice of a woman I met at church.  She said to treat this time like I’m “expecting”.  I am, just not in the same way.  And we don’t necessarily have plenty of time or even 9 months.  The way things are going, we will likely have all of the formalities completed and be officially “waiting” by mid March.  And then it could happen at any time.  We need to be ready!  So, after much internet browsing, Ross and I went shopping on Sunday and ordered a crib and dresser (from Baby on Grand).  Yea!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Home Study Guideline Questions...

We turned in our responses to the home study guideline questions yesterday.  Finally!  Our case worker, Sheila, uses our responses to write up her formal home study report.  In the end, it took us about three weeks, with some procrastinating, to get through it.  We put in a couple of hours every few days.  The final result totaled 18 typed pages, single spaced, and that was keeping it short and simple.  I have to say, we did not enjoy this portion of the journey, and the completion of these questions had been weighing on us for a while.  They ask every question you could ever think to ask a person, and then they ask it again in four different ways.  The redundancy was very frustrating.  At one point we complained to each other that it wasn’t fair; we shouldn’t have to do this when “normal” people don’t have to.  We quickly corrected ourselves and said that, actually, everyone should have to do this.  It does get you thinking and talking about things you otherwise probably wouldn’t, at least not with this amount of energy.  For that, I suppose I’ll concede that it was a good thing.  I can say that now because it’s over.  Or at least with any luck it’s over.  We suspect Sheila may come back to us for more detail in some areas—hope not, though.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Positive Adoption Language...

The words we choose can say a lot about what we think and value.  When writing about or discussing adoption, please consider using language from the right-hand column.

Negative Terms                                     Positive Terms
Giving up her child for adoption................ Placing her child for adoption
Real parent; natural parent...................... Birth parent, biological parent
Adoptive parent...................................... Parent
His adopted child.................................... His child
Illegitimate............................................. Born to unmarried parents
Adoptee................................................. Child who was adopted
To keep................................................. To parent
Adoptable child; available child................. Waiting child
Foreign adoption..................................... International adoption
Track down parents................................ Search
Unwanted child........................................ Child placed for adoption
Is adopted.............................................. Was adopted

Sunday, January 29, 2012

PACT Training...

The state of MN requires 10 hours of training as part of the home study. We accomplished 8 of the 10 hours yesterday by attending an all-day class called Parenting Adopted Children Today (PACT). We thought we’d be fighting to stay awake, but it was actually a good class. Among other things, we discussed how to help a child understand and accept adoption at each age and stage. It’s sad for me to think of a struggle that I can never resolve for my child, but it’s comforting to learn some strategies that will help.
In addition to the teachings, the class gave us the opportunity to connect with other adopting families who are at the same stage in the process. Support is so important! Oh, speaking of other adopting families… At the end of the class, the facilitators gave us a few sample profiles* to page through.  One of samples was of a couple that I know, and as I’m flipping through I realize that there’s a photo of me! It’s a group photo from a Twin’s game. Too funny. I’m sure that’s why they were matched so quickly! ;)
    (*A booklet designed to give a birthmother a glimpse into your life.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Church is definitely a place where I find strength and peace, but, with our church being so large, the barrage of babies and pregnant women can sometimes be difficult. It’s easier nowadays, now that our hearts are fixed on adoption, but it was particularly difficult in 2011. Instead of running from it, though, I decided to embrace it. A few months ago I became a regular volunteer within the children’s programming. I typically work in the “crawlers” room and I love it. It’s put a whole different spin on seeing those mothers and babies at churchI now have a personal relationship with many of them!J 
My volunteer t-shirt
I'm also including a song that I heard in church last year that has stuck with me…

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Home Visit...

We had our home visit yesterday!  Sheila came by in the morning and spent about an hour with us.  She was very relaxed and personable.  We sat down to review the paperwork we had completed thus far, and we got her the few things that were still missing, like a copy of our 10-40 tax form.  She then took a full tour of our home, to ensure it's a safe environment.  She also gave us our Home Study Guideline Questions.  These are the questions we have to answer before she can write up our official home study report.  The list of questions is extensive--every question you could ever think to ask a person, starting with how we were raised.  Other adoptive parents have told us that their answers came to 14 typed pages each.  We better get started!      

Saturday, January 14, 2012


We got our fingerprints done yesterday. It's required as part of the Adam Walsh background check. I had never been to a jail before!
I expected the old ink and stamp technique, but it was actually a fancy scanner. Ross's prints went fine, but mine did not turn out so well. The lady kept telling me that I had "bad fingers". What?! She must have said it 20 times, no kidding. I knew Ross was cracking up on the other side of the partition. It was comical, but actually frustrating too. The processing of background checks can take weeks, and if the prints get rejected, we'll be set back quite a bit. After talking to our worker, Sheila, I decided to go back and have them redone. This time I had a lovely, older man and he did a much better job. Praying they go through ok!