Thursday, October 30, 2008

Smile for the camera!

Pictures, pictures, and more pictures...  Ben and I owe a HUGE thanks to Candice - THE GREATEST SISTER-IN-LAW IN THE WORLD!!!  Seriously.  She spent a good portion of her evening tonight trying to take "action" photos for Ben and I.  We needed a few more individual shots for our profiles that birthmothers will view and we are so thankful for her help (believe me, it was a painful process).  She got tons of Ben golfing, playing pool, working on his cars, me playing the piano, etc...  She even snuck in a few of us together - here are two of my favorites taken in our front yard:

Cheesy???...That'd be a BIG YES (but I liked it anyway)!

...And I just loved this picture of Ben =)

And I also want to give another HUGE SHOUT OUT to my dear friend, Heather (check out her blog called 'Welcome to the Edge of Insanity' -  so funny!).  She spent a good portion of her day on Tuesday sorting through the masses of pictures on our church servers taken during worship.  I needed a couple of me singing for some additional "action shots"...ugg... and she saved us so much time...THANK YOU!

So...tomorrow we ship all of the additional photos off and hope that they have enough this time!  If this covers it, then we are officially 3 weeks and counting until a potential birthmother could choose us...

Now for some exciting news for the day...  Our great friends, Candace & Josiah Reneau, welcomed little Adalyn Love into the world last night!  She weighs 4lbs and 15.5 ounces and is 18.5 inches long.  Both Mom and baby are doing wonderfully and we can't wait to go see them tomorrow!  It struck me today that Adalyn will most likely be one of Baby P's first friends since they will probably only be several months apart in age...  can't wait for them to meet!

I'm off to bed to get some rest...have a busy weekend ahead with good ol' Baylor Homecoming...Sick Em'!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home Study/FBI Paperwork Round #3 = DONE!!!

...And now we feel like it's time to PARTY!!!  (Almost)  

This morning we had not one...not two...but THREE rounds of fingerprinting for FBI Clearances, notary appointments, and physical exam appointments. (Yes...I chickened out of the flu shot...don't do needles.)  And...I just shipped off ALL of our Home Study paperwork (click here to see what all that included), AND overnighted our FBI Fingerprinting for expedited clearances.  Only TWO things left until potential birth mothers can start viewing our profiles:

1. Home Study Interview at our house (scheduled for next Thursday, November 6th, at 9am).  I have some baby-proofing to do!
2. Our second go at photos (scheduled for this Thursday, October 30th)...ugh.

And THEN, when these last two things are completed, I have a feeling we'll be throwing a party. (Literally...I'm trying to talk Ben into it!)

Sadly, I don't have any pictures to post of our extremely productive adoption day... But we did come up with a short list of "Things Not To Do When Working With The FBI" (all from our experience this morning, of course):

1. Do NOT allow your husband to joke around with FBI dude about your "past criminal history"... they don't really have a sense of humor about those things.

2. Under NO circumstances should you attempt to take FBI dude's picture while he's fingerprinting your husband.  

3. And last, but not least... Avoid stupid questions like "What!?!  I have to pay THAT MUCH for fingerprinting???  Can you wait several minutes while we go try to get arrested so this can all be done for free?"  (It might be best to just tell your husband that talking is off limits during this process.)

Hope you all are doing well... more updates soon!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Working from home...

In case you ever wonder what it's like working from's a good picture of my typical day:

Johnny and Fat Jack (aka "The Boys") take up a good two-thirds of my desk space.  Fat Jack thinks any stack of papers is laid out specifically for his comfort, and Johnny considers my inbox/basket his own personal bed.  They literally NEVER LEAVE MY SIDE.  Maybe it's because Ben locks them out of his office.  (He claims to be "allergic"...haha.) 

A bump in the road...

Well...we hit our first bump in the road this morning with the whole adoption process.  And, I'm sure it won't be the last.  Thankfully it's not a huge deal, but it is pushing us back several weeks.  Long story short, we are having to schedule another photo session to get some additional "action shots" of us separately and together for our profiles that potential birth mothers can view.  Pictures of Ben playing golf and working on of me playing the piano or playing of the two of us playing a sport or doing something active together.  (The lady who was telling us this over the phone mentioned getting shots of us kayaking... at which Ben and I both cracked up laughing.  If you know us at all, you would know how often we go do that...NEVER.)  And...we have to be wearing different clothes in each shot and make sure that they don't look "canned".  Ugg.  I know this seems dumb, but it's actually a lot harder than it sounds and escalated my frustration this morning to a whole new level.  IF we can manage to get everything in by the end of this week, then the earliest that potential birthmothers can start viewing our profile is the week of Thanksgiving.  Ugg, again.  I was very disappointed, to say the least.  We're just so ready to meet Baby P!

We couldn't work in another photo shoot until Thursday evening because we both have extremely busy work weeks this week..and we're already booked in the evenings with physicals, FBI Fingerprinting, police fingerprinting for the state of TX, notary appointments, you name it.  Last night, Ben and I were talking and realized that we have already spent over 40 hours filling out all of this paperwork.  That's mind-blowing.  Not to mention all the hours of work we have left ahead of us before we're done.  We know that it will all be worth it in the end...but right now we're feeling very overwhelmed and stretched thin.  

Just a little bit ago, I had to pause in the middle of my crazy day and read this always helps to calm me down and I will definitely be camping out on this thought for today... But any prayers you could throw our way this week would be greatly appreciated =)

Matthew 6:34 - "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of it's own."

Ahhh....that's always good for me to hear!

On a more positive note, we did have a great weekend at the Tapestry Adoption Conference 2008.  I won't go into too much detail, but the most interesting session we sat in on was called "An Adoptee Panel: A look Ahead."  It was a panel of adult adoptees sharing their different life struggles in dealing with adoption.  They shared their personal adoption stories and how they dealt with the different challenges and blessings that being adopted brought into their life.  It was really great to hear them share about their adoptive parents and about things they did or didn't do well to communicate adoption with them.  We truly enjoyed it!

Also...our great friends Michael & Tiffany McDaniel had their baby this weekend...YAY!!!  We were so excited to finally meet little Brielle and so thankful that she is healthy and doing well.  We went up to the hospital on Saturday evening with Grant & Jayme and all just had a great time hanging out.

That's it for today... more to come later this week, I'm sure... Thanks again for all of your prayers and support!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Home Study / FBI Clearance - PAPERWORK ROUND #3

Hello to blog world... I've been MIA this week because I've been down at our WeAreTeachers board meetings in Austin.  What a great week!  It's always refreshing to meet with the entire many new ideas are always generated, and we all just have a blast hanging out.  Now, I'm back home and just trying to catch up from being gone for a week.

Baby P Update: We are ALMOST done with our enormous stack of Paperwork Round #3...YEA!!!  We each have to complete our autobiographies (which we are doing this weekend), we have our physical exams scheduled for Monday evening, our FBI Fingerprinting appointments scheduled for Tuesday morning, our references are all almost in...and then we FINALLY get to ship everything...PAR-TAY TIME!

Once all of the paperwork is in, our home visit and interviews will be scheduled within a week or two - then WE ARE DONE!  Oh!  And did I mention that potential birth mothers start viewing our profile/info in about a week???  So exciting!!!  We will be officially "waiting"...

This weekend we are headed to the Tapestry Adoption Conference at Irving Bible Church.  It should be interesting and we're looking forward to learning a lot more and meeting some other adoptive families.  We'll fill you in on all of that very soon!

And, are a few pics from our WeAreTeachers dinner that Sandy Fivecoat (our CEO and fearless leader) hosted at her house in Austin on Wednesday evening...(pictures courtesy of John Costilla).

William Goodwin (our tech genius), myself, and Sandy (our CEO)...  Drinking some homemade wine that William good!

Sandy is a singer/ we definitely had the "Fivecoat Piano Bar Sing-A-Long" for a little bit of evening entertainment =)  

John always thinks it's funny to take pictures of me eating (which is quite often).  This one he posted to my Fb page with the caption "She don't shy away from the buffet!"...  all in good fun, all in good fun =)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Paperwork Part #2 = DONE!

Go ahead...LAUGH.  Ben did.  He even had the UPS guy giving me a hard time.  That's right, folks...I took a picture of Paperwork Round #2 as we were shipping it off because IT'S A HUGE DEAL!  This packet included all 80 of our pictures, our Dear BirthMother letter, write-ups about us, our home, our family...  This is all the information that potential birth moms will be viewing to decide if they choose us or not.  IT'S A BIG DEAL.  And it feels so good to have it completed =)  We haven't decided if we're going to share our Dear Birth Mother letter yet or not...we may leave that up to Baby P since it is so private, and he/she can share it with people if and when Baby P chooses.

Now we're on to Paperwork Round #3...THE HOME STUDY.  

This is a pic of the first packet of questions that we have to fill out (yep...over 50 pages of questions that require full essay answers).  Questions like... "What is our most rewarding and most tragic experiences thus far in life?"... "What religion do you practice and how does it fit in your life?"..."What are your positive and negative character qualities?"..."How do you express affection towards a child?"... "How do you plan on disciplining a child?"...  and the list goes on... and on... and on.  

On top of that, we also have to include the following for each of us:
- A full autobiography of our life from childhood through the present time.
- Marriage Certificate
- Tax returns
- Three personal references
- Physical examinations
- Birth Certificates
- Social Security Cards
- Driver's Licenses
- Floor plan of our home, complete with room dimensions and color photos.
- MORE pictures.
- FBI fingerprint clearances

Once all of this info is in, then the social service worker will begin our interviews and home visits.

We have our work cut out for us, that is for sure.  But, we're pushing through and so excited about the fact that potential birthmothers will start viewing our info in the next two weeks or so... one step closer to Baby P!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Paperwork Part #1 = DONE!!

We have FINALLY completed Paperwork Part #1 and all that goes with it...whew!   The courier just picked it up from the house this afternoon, so it will be in our attorney's hands by tomorrow morning.  And we are REALLY EXCITED!!!  Everything feels so "official" now.  Our adoption consultant told me today that we now need to consider ourselves as "EXPECTING" because potential birthmothers will be able to start viewing our portfolio VERY soon...

Which brings us to start working on our Baby P To-Do's for this week:

1. Get together approximately 80 pictures of professional quality (in 5x7's) of the two of us together, enjoying different activities/vacations, with our immediate families, pets, house, etc... (I'm never one to have a shortage of pictures, so this is already done and the pictures are here ready to go...YAY!!)

2.  Write our "Dear Birthmother" letter.  This will not be an easy task.  The Birthmother Letter is our opportunity to represent ourselves to potential birthparents.  Essentially, this is a one page letter that verbally paints a picture of our life, including basic information, our family philosophy, hopes and dreams for Baby P, etc... This will be the birthmother's first impression of us, so it's very important and will take a lot of time, I'm sure.

3. And finally, we have to write one paragraph of text for each of the following headings: About Us, Home, and Family.  

All of these elements will be combined and used in our portfolios (similar to a scrapbook) that are given for potential birthmothers to view and learn more about us and our family.

As soon as we get all of these things sent back to our attorney and adoption consultant (which will be in the next week or so), then birthmothers can start looking at our profiles and we could be "chosen" any day.  We also have to start the Home Study and FBI Fingerprint process within the next 30 days.  If, by chance, we are chosen by a birthmother before the Home Study is complete...then the state will "rush" the Home Study and turn it around as quickly as possible. 

Like I said, it's all very exciting but very overwhelming at the same time.  We can't wait to meet the baby that God has created for our family, but we're also nervous at the prospect of becoming parents for the first time and all of the responsibility that goes along with it.  Please continue praying for our family - specifically for the birthmother whom we know is out there.  I can't even imagine the things she must be going through and the difficult decisions she is having to make.  

Thank you, again, for all of your support and prayers.  We will keep you updated with any news on Baby P!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Update For The Week

I just realized a few minutes ago that I haven't written a single blog this week...time for an update!

Work has been incredibly busy, but so much fun -  Our Facebook application, "I Am Teacher," is in full swing (over 200 teachers per day are joining...YAY!!); our business partnerships are really starting to take off (thanks to Jim Clor - our great new Director of Business Partnerships!); and our development team has completed several website updates that have generated a lot of new activity...  Busy, busy, busy - but I'm so thankful to have a job that I truly love and an incredible team of people to work with every day. 

To fill you in on last weekend...  Ben and I had an incredibly relaxing weekend away.  We did nothing...literally.  It was pure heaven to us!  Ben watched a lot of football and I think I read over 600 pages of books that have been stacking up in my "Need To Read" pile.  Loved it!   And by the way...those of you considering have to read 'The Complete Adoption Book: Everything You Need To Know To Adopt A Child (Third Edition)."  It's by Laura and Raymond Godwin and is an incredible source of information.

This upcoming weekend is sure to be lots of fun as well...  Keystone Church is celebrating our 4 year anniversary - so hard to believe four years have gone by since we started the church in an intermediate school cafeteria!  It's been amazing to be a part of this journey and to witness so many lives changed as a result of God's love and faithfulness.

Also on the itinerary for the weekend... Our great friends from BU, Billy & Angie McMahan, are coming in on Friday to spend the night.  We never see them as often as we would like, and we're looking so forward to hanging out and catching up!

And, finally, you know I had to add a few pictures...  We had a very impromptu dinner tonight at Brio in Southlake with some great friends.  It's rare that a night comes around where all six of us are in town, so we jumped at the chance to get together.  Fun times are always had with this crew!

Our dinner at Brio... Me, Ben, Grant, Jayme, Jill, & Shaun.

Shaun sportin' the Shoe Gypsy hat... (VERY cool store, by the way... An old friend of mine owns it, and you should definitely go spend some money in there!)

Myself sitting with Ben and Grant (of course they HAD to sit by each other...haha)

QUICK UPDATE ON 'BABY P':  We're still in the midst of Paperwork Round #1...taking a little longer to get everything together than I thought, but we're making good progress.  And (this may be jumping the gun a little, but I'm just too excited)...  I completely cleared out the room that will be Baby P's nursery this week.  The furniture, bookshelves, stuff piled in the closet...everything is gone and reorganized into a new room.  (And, yes, I had way too much fun reorganizing.)  Now it's just waiting for all of Baby P's stuff...can't wait to get everything set up!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekend Away...Take Two

We are FINALLY headed out this evening for our weekend away...YAY!!!  We're looking so forward to it!  We have dinner plans with some of our good friends from college (at Coal Vines, of course), then we're off...  Hope everyone has a great weekend and we'll see you when we get back...

Oh!  And these are way overdue, but had to post some pics of my father-in-law's 60th birthday =)

Ben and one of his brothers (Joe) in what appears to be a VERY serious discussion...

Happy 60th, Carl!!!

Sammy - He appears to be sweet and cute, but don't let him fool you...

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I know that a lot of people who follow/read our blog are also considering adoption or are currently going through the same process we are.   I was so excited to receive this info today and wanted to pass it along to you as well.

Tapestry is a ministry based out of Irving Bible Church - it's a community of families and individuals that are connected in some way or another by the common bonds of adoption or foster care.  Ben and I have received a lot of information about various groups such as Tapestry, but this is a true God-send for us.  My mother-in-law found the website and when she forwarded it to me, I honestly wasn't that excited.  But, when I went to the site to read about the ministry, I saw that two of my old friends from Keller High School and BU are helping to head up this ministry (Kristen & Anthony Violi - you can read their story here).  They even host a small group at their house once a month for "waiting" families of adoption.  

Ben and I have signed up for the (FREE) Tapestry Adoption Conference held at Irving Bible Church on October 25th.  We also might go check out one of the small groups.  If you have any questions, or if you'd like to go to the conference as well...please check out their website for more info or shoot me an email.

Hope your week is going well!