Sunday, May 22, 2011

Exciting times...

OH it has been entirely too long since I have posted...shame on me.  The good news is it's because I have been so dang busy!  Let me give you a quick overview:  Easter, my birthday weekend, end of the school year, finishing up class, graduating, going to other's graduations, finishing up our adoption classes, starting summer, four year anniversary and alumni weekend....whew! 

But this blog is not about my day planner now is it?  It's about this wonderful little journey we are on that most days feels like it is taking forever to go a mile...

-  we finished up our education classes!  Our class on infant care was very interesting.  Let me put it this way...there was a whole slide devoted to colors of poop!  Who knew??  We talked about the basics:  crying, sleeping and eating.  The funny thing is when we left I was starving, tired and could have possibly cried if I really wanted to.  We got a lot of helpful tid-bits from the physician and it was definitely one of my favorite classes.  My favorite part was the next morning actually...Nathan came in from work and he said "guess what?  I bought my first baby gift!"  I was so proud and suprised all at the same time.  All I could think was how thoughtful...I wonder what sweet gift he got?  Then out of his back he pulls out this package and says so enthusiastically, "It's a  rectal thermometer!"   Haha...he was so proud.  He told me that the doctor had highly recommended it last night during the class and he remembered that they had one on sale!  I love that about him...always practical and savvy.  Too funny don't you think?

- We went to our joint interview!  I was SO nervous but it wasn't bad at all.  Catie, our social worker, is phenominal and I was amazed at how relaxed and comfortable she makes you feel.  The interview was more like an overview of everything we need to do in the next two months.  Talk about overwhelming!  The check list is a page long and we have a lot to do.  The biggest thing coming up are our individual interviews.  We each have to answer questions about ourselves (by ourselves) and then you go over them with your social worker.  The questions are pretty significant  like "what was it like being a kid in your family?"  What made you fall in love with your spouse?"  "What keeps you in love with your spouse?"  "How were you disciplined as a child"...our interviews are in a little over two weeks so I will defintely let you know how that goes.

-  Finally, I have been around two couples in the past three weeks who have had a baby placed in their home.  The first was a couple we met at one of our classes.  We had a potluck dinner and sat beside them.  They had been waiting for two years and got to bring their baby boy home the VERY next day...what an amazing story and I was so happy for them.  Additionally, one of my co-workers and her husband had been thinking about adoption and started the process independently (they didn't use an agency)...they spread the word that they were wanting to adopt and they just brought home baby Charlotte...she is so beautiful in her pictures! They had only started the process a few months ago...unbelieveable.  A friend of mine asked me why we were using an agency and I said because I can't just put an ad in the paper that says WANTED: beautiful baby to be the center of my world for all the days of my life.  OR....AVAILABLE:  loving family to love and raise your child.  It just doesn't work that way :)  Whether, we end up having an independent adoption or one through our agency...I know that they will be the perfect child for us.

Thank you for all of your support...I will post much sooner this next time.

Much love,

Filling out LOTS of paper work but its worth it mom-to-be

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yard Sailing & Birthmothers

I can honestly say that I had a BLAST yard sailing this past Saturday!  For those of you who do not know, I love yard sales, flea markets, vintage shops, antiques and the in-between.  My mom came up this weekend and she, Lindsey and myself headed out on our sales adventure.  We first stopped at starbucks to get our go-go juice and then headed out to find the hidden treasures.  Some of the treasures were more hidden than others...but I did find some great things.  I got an awesome old camera, a fall wreath, some vintage material, some never-worn baby booties, a cute pair of baby overalls, a vintage salt & pepper set, a three-drawer side table and the greatest find.......a jenny lind high chair! I paid $5 for it!  My mom says it's exactly like the one that I had as a baby and I am very excited about it.  It looks just like this one but is painted white..
I haven't bought a lot of things by the way but who can turn down a $5 high chair in great condition??  NOT ME.  I have put it in storage for now but wanted to share my awesome find with you guys!

In addition to my yard sailing adventures, I have decided to start an herb garden this year.  I planted basil, lemon balm, rosemary and oregano in terra-cotta pots in my kitchen cute.  I also planted tomatoes and bell pepper in two large pots on my front porch.  My grandmother and my cousin  both have green thumbs so I am hoping that they will rub off on me a little.  :)  Ill let you know how it all turns out!

Nathan and I went to our first class last night.  They brought in a adoption lawyer as the speaker and the class was very informative.  The law part was a little overwhelming for me but Nathan seemed to have a better handle on it.  The second part of the class we watched a video by birthmothers and discussed our book Dear Birthmother.  The book is about open adoption and dispelling some of the myths out there about adoption.  Additionally, the book is filled with letters from birthmothers to adoptive mothers, birthmothers to their children and vice-versa.  The one thing I have taken away from the book is that every woman (no matter what they say) loves the child they have decided to place in adoption.  If they didn't love them then they wouldn't have carried them.  There are plenty of options out there:  the morning-after pill, abortion, etc. and yet these women chose not only to carry their beautiful children but deny any selfish desires in order to give them a better life.  I think that is remarkable.  

Additionally, the book has us considering our level of openness...back in the day "closed" adoptions were really the only option.  I would understand if the birthmother requested a closed adoption but I think some level of openness is best.  I want to share pictures and letters if possible...I think it gives an opportunity for communication and honesty instead of assumptions.  I also think some level of openness gives opportunity for closer for everyone.  Most importantly, I care about our future child.  Having an explanation from their birthmother will help them understand that they weren't just discarded or not wanted but that someone cared immensely for them.  Going through their life with answers can only be beneficial...

Ultimately, I walked away last night knowing that this is a faith journey.  There are so many unknowns and so many things that I could sit around and worry or think about but the truth is that God already has our child picked out.  They may make their way into this world differently but He has given them to us to parent, love and raise.  I pray for that wonderful baby every day and that God continues to prepare us in this journey.  We have another class next Tuesday so I will bring you all up to speed then!  

Much love, 

Natalie (yard-sailing mother-to-be)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The tag line: our miracle in waiting.

When deciding on what to title this blog I immediately thought of a facebook message that I received from my mother-in-law.  Right after we made our adoption news public she sent me a facebook message titled "baby bates" and it warmed my heart.  I love being able to refer to baby bates because it gives me a sense of ownership...even though I don't have a little jelly bean in my stomach, I still have the feelings of preparation, anticipation, excitement and ownership that I will be a mother. 

I spent a good bit of time thinking about what to write as the tag line and I thought of a chapter that I read in my Joyce Meyer book, The Confident Woman.  Joyce talks about being in times of waiting throughout our life and waiting= preparation.  Isn't this what pregnancy is all about?  As a result, I decided to title the tag line "our miracle in waiting." 

Coincidentally, "waiting" and "God's will" is a constant in a lot of different areas of my life recently.  My dear friend and co-worker sent me this devotional excerpt today...I hope it blesses you as it did me.


Natalie (in waiting mother-to-be)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011     
Wait Expectantly for God to Answer
by Rick Warren
"When you wait to hear from God, expect him to give you a dream, an insight; this is the faith factor where you wait expectantly."

Rick Warren
“…I will station myself…” Habakkuk 2:1 (NIV)

If you want to get God’s vision for you life, you must want to hear it, you must withdraw to hear it, and then you must wait to hear it. To get God’s dream for my life, for my career, for my family, for my relationships, I’ve got to withdraw and then wait to hear from God.

The New International Version says, “…I will station myself…” (NIV) What does it mean to station yourself before God? It means stay put. It means, ‘I'm not moving.’ It means, ‘I’m going to be still.’ ‘I’m going to sit here and I am not going to move until I hear from you, God.’

Hurry is the death of prayer. The reason you never hear God speak to you may be because you don't wait long enough, and God won’t speak to you as you run out the door. He wants you to care enough to listen.

Most of the time we’re running so revved up, we can't get slowed down enough to tune into God.  So, how do you slow down? You calm your mind by relaxing your body. You take deep breaths and you relax your muscles and let the tension drain out.

The Bible says David sat before the Lord. Some people think you have to kneel in prayer and that is one of many appropriate ways to pray, but it's not the most common way of praying in the Bible. The most common form of praying in the Bible is standing with your eyes wide open looking up to heaven and talking out loud to God.

You don't have to have a speech. You don’t have to be poetic. You don’t even have to speak in complete sentences. Just talk to God like you’d would normally talk, but then, like any conversation, stop talking and listen – wait to hear from God.

David says there are three things to do as you wait –

Wait quietly -- “I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” (Psalm 62:5 NLT)
Wait patiently -- “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 37:7 NLT)
Wait expectantly -- “I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for he has promised.” (Psalm 105:5 LB)

And this is so important: you must expect to hear from God. Expect for him to give you a dream, an insight; this is the faith factor where you wait expectantly. Waiting on God is never a waste of time. In fact, it's some of the best time you are ever going to invest in your life.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Our first gift...:)

Just a quick note...first of all, I had a wonderful weekend visiting with friends and family.  Friday night we spent the evening with our friends Rhett and Abbi and admired their new home...Abbi will be the ultimate stay-at-home mom one day!  If you need to be convinced just go stay one night with them's better than the Hilton :)  Additionally, they gave us some pictures for our profile thoughtful!

Saturday we headed to Monroe to see my new cousin Mallory.  I like to call her Mallie...she was born on Tuesday and she is beautiful...see pictures below.  She weighs a little over 5 pounds...just precious!

Saturday night we had dinner with another cousin Rachel and her boyfriend.  We hung out and then I got to play with my 3 year old 'nephew' Aiden (okay technically he is not my actual nephew but by heart he is).  He was excited to see us and we had such a good time with them.

Rachel gave us our first baby gift!  First of all, she talked to my belly as if I were pregnant (she has decided to treat me as if I am with child...too funny)!  We watched the last Friends episode where Monica and Chandler adopt twins and then she gave us Johnson & Johnson baby cleanser, baby wash cloths with ducks and cheerios :)  Cheerios you might ask?  She said it's the only thing she could keep down while she was pregnant!  Haha...there are some great perks to being on this side of adoption I suppose.  Anyways, the gift was incredibly thoughtful and we are so thankful to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and family throughout this process.

We also ordered the book Dear Birthmother to read for our educational classes...the book looks like a good read.  I will post when we finish it and let you know!

One last thought to this rather random childhood friend Lauren is getting married this Saturday and is also an expectant mother.  I like to ask for your prayers in every post and today I ask that you pray for her special baby and for her marriage.  She is an incredible woman and I am so excited to be a part of her special day!

Many blessings my friends, 

Natalie (sincere mother-to-be)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Formal Application....APPROVED!

What sweet words to my ears....Yesterday, our adoption specialist (her name is Catie and I think she is going to be wonderful to work with!) left me a message that our formal application had been approved.  I received the letter today and we chatted on the phone for about 30 minutes discussing the next steps.  Let me break it down for you...

-  Educational classes:  we have to attend 12 hours of educational courses.  The have classes starting in May or we can start with some online classes and add and/or supplement the courses in Atlanta.  I am really excited!  There is also some reading involved...I'm headed to Barnes and Noble tonight!

-  Interviews.  Nathan and I will meet Catie in person (yay!) for a joint interview...we will then meet at a later date for individual interviews.  I think we do some assessments before the interviews that act as catalysts for conversation.

-  Actual home visit.  Catie will visit our home, inspect it I would imagine (anyone want to help clean??  haha..just kidding! I think we do a pretty good job a that!)  and ask further questions.

-  Fingerprints.  I don't suppose there is really much to say about this one :)

-  Profile book.  I think she may have called it something different but she did say to start gathering pictures of us and our friends and family.

I feel confident that I am forgetting something but maybe not.  Anyways, I wanted to share what the next few steps look like for us.  I also want to ask you to pray for Catie.  She has been great to work with so far and she will be a part of every step along the way.  Our relationship with her is crucial and I want that to be a great relationship.  I can't imagine the work load she has on her or how she keeps all of the different families and their information straight (and trust me...there is a TON of information).

I am so hopeful in this process and I cannot wait to check all of these things off (as most of you probably know I am a list kind of girl!).  Thank you all for reading...please pray for Catie and our future working relationship!

~Natalie (excited mom-to-be)

Side note #1:  is it just me or does it seem like people are popping up pregnant all over the place?? :)  I suppose it's like buying a see the one you want EVERYWHERE!

Side note #2:  my cousins have determined that they are going to treat me as if I were pregnant from here on out...I'm hoping this means dairyqueen turtle blizzards at any hour...or maybe I can even justify pajama jeans?  No?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cupid, Cancer and Choices: a little historical context

You'll have to forgive me because I just spent a weekend away with my hubby and our animals in the mountains and this post may be a little long :)  Our cabin was lovely and most of all we were smack-dab in the middle of nowhere...10 minutes from a paved road....just call me Annie Oakley.  The best part about the weekend was that I went completely cellphone, no email, no facebook, no news and it was incredible.  I even read a real not a kindle or some other book want-to-be but a nice paperback romance novel by Nicholas Sparks.  I tell you all of this to say that my world always seems a little clearer after I've re-charged my batteries and hopefully this historical context will help everyone have a good understanding to where we are today and how we got here.

Sometimes I sit and think about how amazing it is that we find ourselves where we are...deep I know :)  But think about you ever stop and think about all of the things that have helped you along the way to arrive at where you are currently?  Some of those things were choices you willingly made, others not so much but either way you are here...surrounded by certain people, in a certain place, at a certain time...I find that amazing!

I want to share with you (some who already know and some who don't) a condensed version of what has led us to our decision of adoption (note I said decision).

Nathan and I dated at Berry and enjoyed every minute...after a while it was apparent that "cupid" had done well and we both knew without a doubt that we were meant to be together.  We were married on May 19, 2007.  We bought a house, a dog and both had jobs...we were living the newlywed dream!  We knew we wanted a family one day but both agreed that we wanted several years of just us before we entertained those thoughts. The first few months of our marriage were incredible and filled with lots of love and lots of laughter...

On January 8, 2008 I went to my childhood doctor because I had not been feeling well during the month prior. I felt lethargic, a little dizzy, loss of appetite and minor pains at different places throughout my body.  Nathan and I went together that day and Dr. Grey  decided to do a blood test.  When he came back into the room with the results I was oblivious...he said that I needed to be admitted to the hospital that he thought that I had lymphoma.  To be honest, I had NO idea what that was and so I shrugged it off as a major inconvenience until the doctor left the room and Nathan then explained the gravity of the situation.  Not only did I not believe it...I just knew they had made a horrible mistake.  I was admitted to the hospital and after more tests it was revealed that I actually had acute myloid leukemia....cancer.  The months following were full of some heartache, some hope, some laughter and lots of pain:  I lost my job, I was glad I didn't have to work, I despised my body, I was proud of my body, I was upset with God, I was thankful for my relationship with God, I was surrounded by incredible people, I lost amazing people, I couldn't pray, I had prayer-warriors praying for me, I was sick all the time,  I was grateful because I knew it could be a lot was the hardest and most precious time in my life.  I was eventually put on a trial drug at Emory in Atlanta and that drug worked (and still works) for me.  I started feeling better and even wanted to work again.  My new "normal" was starting to feel a little more comfortable and less dramatic and I was thankful.  I was deemed "cancer-free" or in-remission if you rather in September of 2008 and have been ever since.  I still go to the doctors for check-ups a few times a year and I take my chemo (oral) every night.  I feel great, my hubby says I look great :) and I have found that this "cancer" journey may have been the thing (besides my salvation) that altered the course of my life the greatest thus far....

There came a time for me a little over a year ago that I got my first major baby craving...every where I looked there were babies, my boss was preggers, Teen Mom played on MTV around the clock and I had the baby craving BIG time.  I was worrying Nathan to death and he finally told me to zip have to understand something...when Nathan is serious, the boy means business.  So I chilled out for a little while.  When I finally got my head on straight we started discussing our future family and decided that we would wait a few months and discuss it with my doctors when we went for my summer visit.  By the time that visit rolled around this past July we knew we were serious about continuing the conversation.  After meeting with my doctors we understood that we had 3 "choices"...

1.  Come off my medicine and have a baby the good ol' fashioned way.  Women who have had cancer do it all the time and my doctors flat out told me that it was my decision.  For blog purposes, I won't go into details of what all this deicsion would entail but you should know that it was and is an option. Nathan and I spent a lot of time talking about this option and finally decided that at this time in our life, this option is not for us.  We don't want to take any risks or chances with my health.  Afterall, I want to be a mom for a LONG, LONG time and to be the best mom that I can be, I have to be healthy.

2.  Gestational surrogacy.  I know, I sounds like something off of the movies.  Nathan and I were interested in learning more about this option so we spent the day at GA reproductive specialists in Atlanta.  This day was fascinating as we learned all about the cousin Rachel swears up and down that she wants to be our surrogate so we had already solved a big piece of the puzzle.  :)  We met with them and even though it was incredibly informative, we walked away with a little bit of sticker shock but more importantly, we weren't settled...we decided to put this decision on hold and research our third option...

3.  Adoption.  Well you have probably figured out which choice we went with but I want to tell you why and a little bit of how.  This choice was an interesting one for me personally because my mother is adopted.  She has a wonderful story and this played a big role in our decision.  I talked for hours with my mom and asked her a hundred differet questions...I didn't go easy on her either!  We also had dinner with my gradnparents to understand more about their side of the story.  Needless to say, they were incredibly supportive.  We were also researching adoption agencies and decided that we really like Bethany Christian Services.  We attended a informational meeting in January and it sealed the deal!  We knew where our hearts were at and we both walked away giddy our hearts atleast :)  We completed the preliminary application a few days later and now here we are...

Our preliminary application was approved and we have now submitted our formal application.  We are waiting to receive our formal acceptance and continue moving through this process...I will document all along the way here as well as share my thoughts, laughs, etc.

I hope today that you will look at all the decisions(good and bad) that you have made and the ones that have been made for you that have brought you to where you are today.  I believe every decision is a blessing or has/can be used for good...unfortunately, sometimes it's hard to see that until your in a different spot looking back.

To all the choices yet to come!

much love my friends,

Natalie (hopeful mom-to-be)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This blog was created to share our adoption journey with our friends and family.  As we prepare for the child God has planned for us, I wanted a forum to document this journey, get advice, ask questions and share the hopes and dreams of a hopeful mom-to-be.

Thanks for reading...please keep Nathan and I in your thoughts and prayers as we prepare for parenthood, please pray for the biological parents of our precious baby as I would imagine this has to be the hardest decision of their lives and finally, please pray for the beautiful child that God has planned for us.  Just think...there will come a day when we will all celebrate this journey together and oh what a day that will be!