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adoption

pulse, papers, adoption

It’s been a week here, especially for those of us in Orlando. I switched the tidy challenge schedule up and let last week be. We spent time with each other and gave everything else a break. Many, many others have done more justice to the sentiments of my city on the Pulse shooting. I will not pretend to match those. This was one of my favorites, if you’re so inclined to read more. 

In reading account after account of survivors from tragic events all over the world, one thing seems to stand out. People who have lost greatly implore the rest of us to live fully. Appreciate what we have, who we have, and be mindful of what we do with our lives. In that spirit, I am choosing to continue on with the tidy challenge. It may seem trivial, but it is a part of opening our family up and creating space for others. I feel that is important.

So this week we move on to papers. The best I’ve been able to do with my papers in recent years was contain them to one spot.

Paper-Overflow-224x300

It works right?

I feel it could still use some improvement.

Marie’s approach to papers is very limited, shocked aren’t you. She doesn’t recommend separate files. She has a small box with everything she absolutely needs, period. She says it is quicker to go through a small amount of papers to find what you need, than a large “well organized” filling system.

I see her point. I’m keeping my files. I am planning to pare down! I know the first thing that’s going to go are all the manuals, but from there who knows!

Honestly, this one is daunting. My inbox has been something I avoid even looking at.I relegated it to a closet. It elicits mountains of guilt by its very existence. I realize those are things we are trying to rid our home of. I will try again! Maybe even re-purpose the inbox so it can’t fill back up…ack…I don’t know if I can do that. I’m trying!

Small adoption update. Our home-study renewal was just approved. So we continue on. Please continue to pray for us as we wait. It is so easy to lose hope and disengage from the process. If I’m honest, that’s where I’ve been for months. I don’t want to be there anymore. We do greatly appreciate all your prayers and support in this long journey we’ve embarked on. Will let you know when we hear more. It could happen any day, it could.

Go off and live fully!

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clothes clothes and lots of books

We passed our one year “in waiting” anniversary last week. Not super excited about that anniversary. Hoping to not celebrate another one. Honestly still in distraction mode. It’s easier to wait when you don’t think about the fact that you are waiting every minute of every day. Though admittedly, the distractions are becoming less and less effective. But onto the current distraction.

The tidy challenge continues! It ended up taking us two weeks to go through our clothes and pass the joy on to someone else. Which by the way is super fun, passing on joy. I’m still not entirely done with the baby clothes, but I got through the first few sizes and found a few gems along the way!

They’re just too cute!

I’ve been loving the margin in the closet and drawers in the morning. Actually liking everything in there makes it so much easier to get dressed everyday. Who knew!?

This week the challenge moves on to books. We got a bit of a head start. My two oldest were chomping at the bit yesterday. Me, not so much, sorting through books is like sorting through friends. It’s emotional and difficult, but we did it (except for a small pile of about a dozen I need to finish). Apparently I sell ideas better to my kids, they are ready to do the whole house. They want to be surrounded by things that are their favorites. I’m getting more sold as we go on.

So your mission this week is to take all your books, all of them, from everywhere, and put them in a giant pile on the floor. We choose the living room. Here’s our giant pile.

IMG_1383The object is too see how many you actually have. Mission accomplished. It didn’t look like that many on all the random bookshelves.

We all sat down in a giant circle and passed around books for hours (with breaks of course). If anyone got a book they loved, the put it in their keep pile. If they got a book they didn’t they passed it to the right and if Bycemaster or I got a book twice we put it aside to pass on. No reading, just holding and looking and if it sparks joy, it stays. This, of course, is easier said than done, but practice makes perfect!

Here’s our end results.

IMG_1390This is all our keep. Sorry it’s so blurry, but you get the idea. Today we are going to start putting away.IMG_1389These are our books to pass on. For a family of book lovers, this is a lot of books. I purge books a lot, and we’ve never passed this many on before. But it’s different when you think of what books you want to keep. Gather all your favorites first!

It’s your turn! Looking forward to hearing your book stories!

lucky 13

It’s national women’s day today. We did not know when we picked a wedding date, whose only qualification was to match our spring break, that we picked National women’s day.

I, personally, find it fitting. It’s not often talked about, accepted, or PC to talk about the way a husband supports and maintains a strong woman. There are so many examples of how abusive men hold women down, push women down, and try to strip us of our strength.

But that isn’t the whole story. Those negative examples do exist, but so do the positives. There are men in relationships with women who support them and build them up. Men who compound our inner strength by combining it with their own. Some men know a strong man does not need a weak woman to ‘balance’ them. They know two strong partners make a partnership stronger.

Today marks 13 years since Bycemaster and I began the process of learning how to pour our strength together. It took many years from the day we walked down the aisle promising to love each other through sickness and health, richer or poorer, and all of the in-between, to even begin to figure out how to be strong together. I am also certain we’ve more to learn.

We started deep in the poorer, two college students making no money and have travelled to the bills get paid and there’s some savings! We’ve had many years of health and are now walking through a season of sickness. There are some serious health concerns going on with Bycemaster’s family of origin right now. Things I don’t feel are my place to share here (but we’d still love prayer!)

But the sickness is also within our own family. It started last Saturday with what we now believe was a massive panic attack. It unfortunately did not stop there. Bycemaster has continued to have weakness and shaking as well as continuing attacks almost everyday, many days more than one. He is moving forward, but it’s been a 2 steps forward 1 step back kind of dance, and treatment feels slow to take affect.

It’s been debilitating to watch, I can only imagine what’s its been to experience. Life has been slower since. Most everything outside our home has been cut. There’s been lots of sitting, lots of holding hands, lots of breathing together as we wait for the anxiety to lesson and his heart rate to drop back down.

These past few years especially, as we’ve walked this adoption road (more than 2 years since we started researching agencies) I’ve rested on, relied on and channeled his strength for my own. Through my identity crisis leaving the office to come home and our homeschooling transition (and continuing journey!) I’ve relied on him to hold up my arms when I could not go on. I would often hear top executives at work talk about how they never could do it without their wives there to support them. To be honest, it felt like lip service at the time. But I’ve felt it in action. I know, my greater strength comes not from me, but from us. As I’ve watched him ‘down’ this past week I almost didn’t remember how to go on, on my own.

I know I’m never truly alone. I know God is always there for me. Even know He’s given me little reminders lest I forget. I also believe he’s given me this partnership. Functioning without it’s strength has been a stumbling, draining process, but it is one I feel honored to do.

This man has been my rock through so many break downs, family drama, work insecurities, baby struggles and a whole host of anxious thoughts. He’s been there for me to lean on and cry on. He’s prayed for me and leant me his strength so I could go on. There’s been relatively little in comparison where the roles have been reversed. So even though it has been so hard to see him ‘down,’ and even though it’s been hard to single parent and take care of him for the last 11 days. Even though I’ve had my own moments of breakdown and fear, I am honored to be able to lend him my strength as we lean on God together.

We promised lots of things on this day 13 years ago. Things neither of us knew much about. Life has a way of teaching, if you let it. It has imparted much wisdom and much love.

I would marry him again in a regular or racing heartbeat. Here’s to lucky 13!

baby update

So it’s the last week of February. We have infant carrier installed and bouncy seat washed, even the highchair cleaned up (gross) and reclined for a newborn. We are more set up and prepared than we were before, to now continue waiting again.

Our meeting with the birth mother never materialized and after a long period of radio silence from her the agency called last night to tell us they are considering the match off and putting us back in waiting.

We want to thank all of you who were excited with us and supported us financially and in prayer for this match. Because our match meeting never even happened we are actually able to move ALL the funds forward for the next one, so we are still close to our goal. With just a little more we will be full funded before the baby actually arrives, which would be fantastic.

Click here if you’d still like to contribute 🙂

We heard from the agency last week that the mother had stopped contacting and even though we hoped, we kinda knew what that meant. I tend to live a step ahead (live in the present, I know, I know, I do what I can), so my grieving has happened. Last night was quite honestly a relief. I am sure there will still be patches of grief, but for the moment, we are relieved to know where we stand again and ready to solider on with waiting. We know God has his plan and we do not want what he does not want.

The children took it well. As always, they add perspective to life.

Whew, that’s not the worst that could happen mom, the worst is she would NEVER get here.

Can we still have our sleepover at Papa and Nana’s?

Yes! I can have more screen time. I was going to be so busy taking care of my little sister I wouldn’t have had much. Oh but don’t worry I still want her to come mom!

Please continue to pray for birth mom. We don’t know much about what’s going on, but the situation the lead her to consider adoption at all was not the best. Please pray for peace and safety and support for her. Please also pray for continued patience and peace and joy while we wait. We are in a much better spot waiting now than we were before the failed match, so that is good. As always we appreciate all of you.

We are over here finding ways to enjoy our current stage for as long as it lasts, anticipating it’s happy end, someday.

 

always darkest before dawn

Just yesterday I was planning a post. I was planning to tell you I just can’t keep writing right now. It’s too hard, I’m in a dark place, please pray. But I couldn’t even do that. I took the pack n’ play down last night, I couldn’t see it open and empty anymore. Once the holiday rush was over everything just came crashing down and it was hard, so hard.

Then this afternoon happened. The phone started ringing, again (did some law change in the new year, I have gotten a ton of sales calls in the last few weeks!) “ITS JUST A NUMBER MOM, WE DIDN’T ANSWER IT” was screamed at me. Then I hear “it’s a 407 number, those are local numbers…blah blah blah.”

And I froze. Now as soon as I heard 407 I thought THIS IS IT! But I will also say I thought that when my sister called two hours before and just about every other phone call I’d received since Christmas. So yeah, there’s that.

But this time I was right! They wanted to have both Bycemaster and I on the phone at the same time to tell us, so we had to finagle around and get logistics going for a bit since he was at work AND in a meeting. But we got it worked out and they told us we’ve been picked 🙂

I will admit I started crying and maybe shaking, just a little!

Our little girl should be here by the end of the month! Our whole little family is thrilled.

We are not at liberty to share too many more details as she is not legally ours yet, we have just taken the next step on the journey to that day.

Please continue to pray for all of us as we meet birth mom and plan arrangements to bring home our little girl. Pray that things continue to go smoothly until things are legally complete.

And if you are able to give, we still have some money left to raise. We’ve gotten most of our support in person, but you are more than welcome to use the fundly as well! We are so very close, any help would be appreciated, no matter how small.

https://fundly.com/neil-joy-s-adoption-fund

As always we, especially me, so value your support and prayers. We are praying, hoping, and expecting things to go all the way to completion with this match. But even if they don’t I know will be happy to have shared knowing you all will support us through either outcome.

More to come, but I need to go set back up that pack n’ play 🙂

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