Monday, October 19, 2015

"Because there are kids who need homes. Tonight. In our city."

I wanted to write and update everyone on our latest adoption changes!  We have been officially waiting with our domestic adoption agency for almost a year.  In that year we have had two exciting calls telling us that we were picked by a birth mother.  But so were 2-3 more couples.  We all met with the birth mom, she asked us questions, we asked her questions and we went home and waited to hear if we were matched.  Both times we got the disappointing call that the birth mom did not choose us.  It's a very emotional rollercoaster but our perspective in all of this is that adoption is not about us.  It's about what is best for the child.  So as much as we want to add to our family and wanted those babies, we were happy that these birth mom's were brave enough to choose life for them and the best family that they thought for their unborn babies, even if that family wasn't ours.

But through this whole past year, foster care has been brought to our attention more and more.  I've met tons of families who are foster parents, read so many blog posts about families who have fostered/adopted and their experiences, done tons of research and through it all, God hasn't left me alone about it.  

So we have decided to change directions with our adoption.  We are going to do foster to adopt.  We have started the 9 days (12 classes, 36 hours) of classes and training.  We have completed the first class and we will get the 8 that are left, done in the next 3 weeks.  We also have to have another home study done (our current one doesn't transfer even though it hasn't expired yet) and will hopefully be licensed soon!  

We are very, VERY excited about this change and can't wait to start.

On our mark.....get set.....GO!

But wait Marie, I have so many questions!

Ask away!  Feel free to ask me in person or just keep reading because I've answered some FAQ's down below.....because I'm a mind reader ;) and I know what most of you might be thinking since I had some of these same questions.

Why in the world would you do foster care?

We, as Christians, are told to "look after orphans and widows in their distress" James 1:27.  That looks different for every family.  Some sponsor orphans, some adopt, some financially support those adopting, some do foster care and still some support foster families.
For our family that looked like adopting an orphan.  To give a child a home who needs it.  To help a hurting child.  We initially pursued international adoption but the doors were closed with every country we looked at.  Either we were too young, already had too many children, or because of Tyler's job, we couldn't travel to certain countries.  So then foster care came to mind briefly but I was scared.  We had had a bad experience with not being able to adopt Baby J almost 4 years ago and I made up excuses about why we couldn't do foster care.  So we decided on Domestic Infant adoption.  And as I wrote up above, we've gotten really good at being "rejected." Haha.  We got "rejected" again and again and to us it started to feel like God was closing this door.  We began praying about if we were supposed to change directions and do foster care.  And once we started praying about it, God just kept opening door after door.  I would randomly talk to a friend who was also considering foster care, or stumble upon a blog on foster care, or hear an interview on the radio with social workers in our own COUNTY.  And with the more I talked to people and the more I read the less scary it seemed and the more doable it became.  And the more excited about it I became.

While I was reading all those blog posts I came across one that really stuck with me.  We were passionate about domestic adoption because it was a way to give pregnant women another option instead of abortion.  And it absolutely is but there are also lots of women who chose life for their babies and decide to try and parent that child.  And sometimes that decision doesn't turn out the way she had hoped and her precious babies need to spend some time in a safe foster home while she tries to get her life back to how she had planned.  This particular statement stuck with me, "BE THE SAFETY NET these kids need when their mother's decision to choose life doesn't go the way she hoped it would.  We can't just ring our hands about how our society is going to hell in a handbasket based on the latest revelation from Planned Parenthood.  People, GO GET THE HANDBASKET, THERE'S A CHILD IN IT."  -A Musing Maralee   And the need for foster parents has become greater.  In the past 5 years the number of kids in foster care, in our county alone, has more than doubled.

Are you going to be able to handle it?  Getting emotionally attached and then have to give the child back to their birth parents?

That's a very valid question because yes it will be hard to get attached to a sweet child and then have to let them go back to their parents or relatives.  I know people will tell me that they could never do it because they would get too attached, but that's the point.  These kiddos need someone to attach to them.  In order for them to learn to attach to someone, they have to learn what healthy attachment is.  The reality is, the hard life that these children have had so far is much worse than any grief I will have to work through when they leave.  So I'm not afraid to grieve.  I'm afraid of what would happen to these children if no one took the risk to love them.  So we are willing to take that risk.  :)

But the system is so broken, there's no way I could deal with it.

Yes sometimes the system seems so broken and these kids are held hostage by it moving slowly.  We can use that as an excuse to not get involved or we can be a safe place these kids call home while they wait.

What about your boys? Won't they be exposed to these "damaged kids?"

Our boys are our top priority.  We have talked to them about Foster care and how it looks different then what a domestic adoption was going to be like.  And they are excited too.  As long as it's in the best interest of our boys, we will continue with foster care.  And for our family we have decided that we won't break the birth order.  So we will accept children younger than Dietrich.  I know that breaking the birth order works for some families but we have decided to not do it.

Why are children placed in foster care?

Children who are placed in foster care have either been abused or neglected in some way and foster care is a safe place for them to stay until their parents can make changes and get their life back on track.  If that doesn't happen then other options are explored.

How long will the foster child be in your home?  At what point are you able to adopt them?

I'm still learning it all but a general answer is that for 6 months, the child's case worker is working with mom or dad to get them back on the right track and at 6 months there is a meeting to decide whether or not they will still keep working on reunification with parents or if they are now going to be looking for permanency (meaning adoption)  And I think at that point even if permanency is the route they will be taking, it can take quite a few more months before adoption can be possible.  I think the average time it takes is 12-15 months.

Foster care is a switch in how we view adoption.  We've changed how we think about it.  Because right now as we become foster parents, our goal is to give a loving and safe home to a child for as long as they need it.  Whether that is a couple months or for forever.  We are willing :)

And one last quote to leave you with that hit me hard, "It's scary, right?  Scary to think about letting a child into your life that might leave you, or getting involved with some shady biological families, or letting "the state" into your home.  There are lots of reasons to be intimidated about foster care, but just one BIG reason to do it.

Because there are kids who need homes.  Tonight.  In your city."
-A Musing Maralee.

Here are some great blog posts to read:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Long Overdue Adoption Update!

We are still here!

We are DONE with lots of paperwork!

And we lived to tell about it! :)

It's true.  We are done with our home study.  Actually we've been done since the end of November.  We became "officially waiting" then but how our specific process works with domestic adoption is that once the home study is done, then you create a profile book.  This profile book is all that birth mothers will have to go off of when choosing a family to place their child with.  So no pressure at all to get this book PERFECT!  I may or may not have *freaked* out a little about this whole profile book thing.  It was just a lot of pressure to put the right things in there.  Ya know?  There were certain guidelines that our agency gave us.  Including things like, making it mostly about Tyler and I to begin with - how we met, our love story, when we got married, things we like to do, then just one page per child telling a little about each of the boys (you don't want a whole book about your kids), making sure that Tyler's voice is heard in the book.  A lot of the birth moms are looking for a family where the dad is very involved since that is something they most likely lacked growing up and want for their baby.  Other things to include are what a typical day looks like for our family, some of our traditions, our families (grandparents, aunt's/uncles, cousins) and then also writing a page to the birth mom.

So to get all this into a book that looks appealing and and shows our family without coming off as overwhelming.  Easy Peasy, right?  I had to stop trying to guess what the birth mom is going to be looking for and just write about us.  Our family.  What we are all about.  Needless to say it took me a LONG time to finish this book.

I got it done about 3 weeks ago, it took a little while to get it "approved" and then I got 3 books ordered from shutterfly and shipped to our agency.  EEK!

So in other words we are officially, official!  It's strange not knowing any kind of timeline.  This could literally happen tomorrow or 2 years from now.  We are assuming it'll be more of a longer wait since we have 3 kids and families with multiple kids usually don't get picked right away.  So just preparing our hearts for a longer wait.

BUT since we have a current home study done, we can take that in almost any other direction if something comes up.  Say a friend of a friend is unexpectedly pregnant and is wanting to place the child for adoption, we could pursue adopting that baby.  Or any waiting children here in the US or international (if we meet that countries "rules")  So our plan is to adoption through our agency BUT we are open to pursuing another route with our home study if something comes up that we feel is right for our family. :)

And where do we stand financially?  The total for our adoption is $23,000 and we only have $9,500 left to go until we meet that goal!  $9,500 is a LOT of money but compared to $23,000 it seems much more doable :)

If you are reading this and would like to partner with us to give a child a loving home, there are a couple ways you can help.  :)

I've had a couple people ask if they could donate directly to our adoption fund and yes that is possible!  We've set up an account at where people can donate through paypal.  Here is the link:


Are you a fan of both Coffee AND adoption?  Well you can get your coffee and help us out with our adoption at the same time!  How?  Well there's this really cool site that sells coffee and then a part of the proceeds come straight back to us for our adoption!  How awesome is that?!

Here is that link:

AND as always if you want to give a gift that gives twice you can shop my Origami Owl website!

It's so cool to have a front row seat to watch God working through this adoption so far.  Adoption has been on our hearts for so long and we put our "yes" on the table without knowing how in the world we were going to come up with such a huge amount of money.  And each step of the way He has provided and I know that He will continue to provide.

And right now I've traded in all the home study paperwork for Grant paperwork :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Garage Sale - Adoption Fundraiser

This past weekend we had an adoption fundraiser garage sale.  What's that, you ask?  Well it's a garage sale where friends donated things they were ready to get rid of but instead of just taking it all to Goodwill, they gave it to us and we sold it at our sale!  We had lots of great items donated!  So thankful to all our friends who dumped err gave us such great stuff to sell!  It was obviously great things because we sold about 90% of it!  We did the sale Thursday, Friday and Saturday and what I had been told about garage sales held true.  You most the most on day 1, then each day following is half of the day before.  Thursday morning was non stop people.  I'm extremely thankful for my friend Meredith and all her help with the boys that day.  Tyler had training at work so he couldn't take either day off of work so if she wouldn't have offered to help I would've been solo.  There's no way I would've been able to do it without her that day.  Day 1 we made $800!  I was blown away.  Day 2 was much, much slower.  My friend Megan was able to help me that morning, but I felt so bad because it was so dead.  Was very thankful for her great company though!  By the end of the day though we still ended up making another almost $400!  Then Saturday was a little busier than Friday but still nothing compared to Thursday.  We ended up at about $200 which put us at a total of $1400! 

Lincoln's first lemonade stand!  
Lucas showed him the ropes :)

I was so overwhelmed with how generous so many people were.  I'd say majority of the people that stopped at the sale said they stopped mostly because the sign said it was an adoption fundraiser.  Lots of people would over pay for their items telling me to just keep it as a donation.  One guy just walked up asked who was adopting, I told him we were and he handed me $10, didn't buy anything just wanted to donate.  My neighbor, who is hardly ever outside and so we haven't talked to her much, walked over to our sale and handed me $100.  Said she's never donated to anything before but really wanted to donate to our adoption.  I was so touched. 

Over and over again things like that happened and I was just blown away.  And I heard story after story of people who stopped by and they themselves have adopted, or they were adopted as a child. 

So we are now $1400 closer to that goal of $24,000.  So far we have raised right at $14,000 so ONLY (haha, only) $10,000 ish left to go!  It's such a great feeling to get over that half way mark.  Feels a little more reachable now. 

I also wanted to update you all where we are in the process.  We are now in the midst of all the homestudy paperwork.  Lots of it.  I remember it all from when we did our homestudy for foster care so at least it's not all new.  A little less confusing :)  This next week we will get fingerprinted, get things ready for the fire inspection and fill out the rest of the papers that are needed for our first homestudy visit.  This coming Friday we have an all day orientation at our adoption agency that will include 5 of the 12 hours of training that we need to complete.  The rest of the training will be completely with online courses. 

So we are little by little chipping away at all this paperwork and getting closer and closer with each day!  Just getting more and more excited about this whole journey to our next child. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Here we go, go, go, go!

....on an adventure! (yes I'm quoting Cat in the Hat) That is what my fills my days so that is what I have to draw from for inspiring titles for blog posts.  It's my fun filled life with preschool aged children.  I love it.  We love it.  We love it so much that we are adding another one to our family!  And I'm not pregnant :)  We are finally (you know, only 18 months and 1 baby later!) starting our adoption! 

So since we are starting I thought I'd update you all on the progress and changes that we've made since announcing that we were adopting a year a a half ago.  Last January we had decided to move forward and start an international adoption.  Shortly after, surprise! I was pregnant with baby boy number 3 and so everything on the adoption front got put on hold.  We were originally going to adopt from the Philippines.  But after Dietrich joined our family we learned that because of the rules that the Philippines has in place, having 3 kiddos already was going to make that difficult.  So we started looking into other countries and agencies.  We didn't qualify for many (for example we both have to be over the age of 30 to adopt from China, and I'm only 28), or others Tyler couldn't go to because of certain long story short we are now moving ahead with a domestic adoption!

It's funny how God leads to to where you are supposed to be.  It was closed door after closed door until we finally found one open :)  Just like in other countries there is a huge need for adoption here in the US.  Domestic adoption, for those who aren't familiar means that we will be filling out a family profile for birth mothers to look at and will wait to be chosen by a birth mother. 

We chose an agency that's about 2 hours away from here, which was recommended by a friend and so far are really loving this agency.  We did our initial inquiry to be accepted by the agency and finished filling out the application last night and mailed it today with our first payment ($350), yikes!

At the post office, mailing our first round of paperwork!

That part of the process is going to be a real faith builder for both me and Tyler. Our mindset with money is if you don't have it all, don't spend it.  We save until we have the full amount before we buy something.  So to have this huge amount of money that we are going to need (at least $22,895) and we only have $7,000 of it saved/raised, is completely against what we are used to.  But I know my God and I know His heart for the fatherless and adoption.  And I've seen story after story of how He has provided money, sometimes no sooner than the night before it's needed to pay for the next step.  So I know He will provide, one way or another. 

So I'm starting to try and figure out ways I can make some extra income (I've taken a little break but am now starting up Origami Owl again, so if you want to help out and wear pretty jewelry at the same time go shop at and fund-raiser ideas.  My sister in law has offered to do a Pampered Chef fund-raiser and I'm going to get a garage sale put together to do before the end of the summer but any other ideas are welcome if you have ideas to share! :)

That's our quick update of where we are right now.  We are so excited to finally get started and really anxious to see how God builds our family through adoption! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

an oily post.

I've recently dove in head first to the world of essential oils.  And I've got to tell you all just how they've been working for our family.

I'll start with some background.  My boys have been battling cold after cold followed by asthma and coughing and days turn into weeks of breathing treatments and then a week of health before another round of it all!  Lincoln was prone to ear infections as an infant, got tubes put in when he was almost 2 and before that was on antibiotic after antibiotic until he started developing immunities to a couple of them.  Which scares the crap out of me.  And then recently has had two more ear infections and were treated with two more antibiotics and that's when I FINALLY was at the end of my rope.  My children's health is at stake here and I'm not going to keep pumping antibiotics into them until they are resistant to all of them.  So I started researching.  Researching ways to boost their (and mine!) immune systems.  After talking to a friend I started making elderberry syrup.  And now give my boys a tsp. of it every morning as an immune booster.  It's super easy to make and one batch of it last 3+ weeks.

After months of research, I started finding other people who use essential oils and I started asking questions, tons of questions.  Then my friend Katie told me about a class I could go to close by and after attending it and learning SO much about the oils I was ready to get some of my own.  I ordered about 11 oils and a diffuser from Young Living and got started!  That was the beginning of February and even though it's only been a little over 2 months, we have not made a single visit to the Doc's office.  Which is saying a LOT considering we were there at least once a week if not every other week all winter.

Since then Tyler and I have both started getting colds, started with my oils and we (or I at least) was over my cold in a DAY.  One day people.  No more suffering through weeks of a sore throat, cough, sinus pressure.  Tyler's took a little longer because he was skeptical and used Zicam for the first few days and when he saw I was feeling 100 times better and he was feeling worse, he gave in a used some theives oil and lavender :)

Since then we've treated the following with Essential Oils and NO trips to the Dr.'s office (besides well child check ups) and NO antibiotics and NO breathing treatments :

- Dietrich has been congested, teething - treated with lavender, cedarwood, tea tree and lemon

- Caedmon's asthma - treated with a combination of cedarwood, frankincense, lavender, lemon and RC if the others aren't getting the job done :)  RC has some oils that are not recommended for children under 5 so it was used very mildly and under lots of supervision.  And I just ordered Ravintsara with is supposed to be a good substitute for Eucalyptus, which is in RC.  So I'm excited to see how that works.  Since February I've only had to use his inhaler once and that was only because I ran out of lavender and had to use the inhaler until I could get some lavender from a friend.

- Lincoln's asthma - same as Caedmon

- I've had the flu - I literally bathed in Valor (added to epsom salts and either olive oil or milk and pour into the bath), thieves around the clock and breathing in peppermint to help with my chills (since I'm breastfeeding I didn't apply it because peppermint can reduce your supply)

- bad cold for everyone - treated with thieves oil on mine and Tyler's feet, lavender on our throats and diffusing lemon, diluted lemon on the boys' feet, tea tree behind ears to relieve pressure.

- sore muscles - Tyler put PanAway on his sore legs after working out and MAN that one is strong! (It is also on the not recommended for kids list)

- my allergies - lavender and lemon

- sinus infection for me - purification in a steam bowl every two hours.  Worked to help with the symptoms but it wasn't getting RID of it so my friend Shannon made up an inhaler for me with a mixture of frankincense, opopanx and ravintsara.  Worked SO well.  Everything moved out of my sinuses and I felt so much better.

- fluid in Lincoln's ears (which usually leads to an ear infection) - tea tree.  I'm amazed.

- goose egg bump/bruise - Caedmon tripped and fell face first into the corner of a chair.  Seconds later it was already swollen and bruising.  I applied a drop of lavender to it and because essential oils get into the blood stream so fast, it helped the swelling to decrease within minutes and the next morning there wasn't even a bruise!

- Sunburn - we stayed outside all day and all of us were pink at the end of the day.  Added some lavender to coconut oil and rubbed it on our sunburns.  Helped a ton.  I've been told that same combo is a good sunscreen as well but I haven't tried it yet :)

For the first time in my life I feel like I'm in control of my health.  Yes I still get sick, I'm building my immune system back up after HELLP syndrome destroyed it, but I can deal with the sicknesses better and I don't have to head to the doctor out of fear for every single thing.

I'm so, so thankful that I was introduced to this class I've been going to because I've learned so much not only about essential oils in general but different application methods and the safety aspect of essential oils.

Essential oils are very, very potent and concentrated oils and need to be respected in that aspect.  I've learned that 1 drop of lemon EO contains the oil distilled from 27 lemons.  That's a LOT.  Which is the reason almost all oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil (like olive oil or coconut oil) before applied topically.  There are a lot of things out there on oils, I encourage you, if you are wanting to start using oils that you would educate yourself.  I'm more than happy to recommend some books, facebook groups, etc that have good, SAFE information! is a great resource!

Here are some resource cards to use if you have kids
*Put together by Shannon Dennis of Scentsable Health*

Here is a check list to reference when trying to decide if an oil is safe
for your child or not.  These are single oils. 

 This one is the same thing just for Oil Blends like Thieves, Joy, Valor etc.

Like I said earlier most oils need to be diluted when used.  
Here is a reference card for how much to dilute for how old your child is.
And it lists suggestions for carrier oils (the oil you use to dilute the essential oil).
I personally mostly use coconut and olive oil because that's what I have on hand.  
And it's helpful to buy a couple extra amber bottle to store your diluted essential oil in.
So if I'm sick I go ahead and dilute thieves and store it in a new amber bottle so I don't waste it and can use it all before making more.  This also helps make your essential oils last longer!  

If you are just wanting to build up a stash of essential oils to have on hand
that are safe for the whole family here is a good list!

I just wanted to share with you all what has been working for us.  I'm not trying to push this at all just am amazed at how well these oils really do work.  :)  If you have any questions about essentials oils, I'm happy to try and help!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dietrich Jon {6 months}

I've completely neglected this little blog, but it's been a good break.  I may or may not be back, the jury's still out on that but for now here is a quick update on our sweet Dietrich.  Who has decided to grow up.  I mean seriously, must you get so big so fast?!  

6 months old
14 lbs {5th percentile}
25 inches long {5th percentile}
head {70th percentile}
...rolling everywhere
...most nights you get up just once to eat
...have quite the charming personality
...still ebf but will start solids soon
...both bottom teeth are SO close to showing themselves
...all around a very laid back, happy baby boy!

Decided to take some 6 month pictures today while the other two boys had rest time.
Out of the hundreds that I took, here are my faves.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


hello?  is anyone still reading this here dusty blog?  it's been MONTHS since I last posted.  I just have been so extremely busy that posting on here got pushed way down on the totem pole of importance.  I've missed it tremendously though.  I love looking back on it and our lives for the past 4 1/2 years and I hope to continue.  I just haven't had the extra brain power to muster up anything to write.  Even the monthly posts about Dietrich seemed way too tiring.  Sorry buddy.  I'm still keeping track of your milestones weight etc just not getting it on here!  But here's some random stuff that been happening and on my mind....

I'm finally getting some sleep!  Dietrich is in a good routine of waking up just once at night and if I'm lucky he'll throw in a whole night stretch for me.  Those are just wonderful.  wonderful.

The boys were all sick between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They start out with colds but then since they both have asthma it gets in their lungs and stays there.  So a little cold turns into weeks and weeks of coughing and breathing treatments, steroids etc.  So I was getting desperate in trying to keep them heathy and boosting their immune system.  So I started looking up things I could try and I'm going to be making elderberry syrup and thinking about getting a diffuser and diffusing some essential oils (hastag hippie) :).  Just in the researching part right now so if anyone has any suggestions pertaining to essential oils etc I'm all ears!

I'm still 20 lbs above my preprego weight and I'm trying daily to be ok with that.  I've learned that I just can't lose weight when I'm nursing because I lose my supply so I have to wait until I'm done nursing to get serious about weightloss.  But that is SO hard.  But I'm trying to be ok with it.  I only have this one 10 months - a year to breastfeed my baby, I have the rest of my life to get back to my pre pregnancy weight.  Breastfeeding is much more important to me, breastfeeding is much more important to me... keep reminding myself.

I've been so blessed to have a year of working for Origami Owl now!  January is my "owl-iversary" :)  This at home job has been so wonderful and I'm so grateful for a way to help us meet this huge financial goal of ours.  Slowly but surely we're chipping away at each dollar.  I also am a Jamberry Nails consultant and have been with them for about 5 months now and it's gone tremendously well also.  I love all the people I've met and new friendships that have formed because of these two "jobs."
(shameless plug) :)

It's January and this is the month that I told myself I would start back at the paperwork for our adoption.   Getting the process started again!  We couldn't be more excited and can't wait to bring our little girl home.  

Lincoln has been asking TONS of spiritual questions lately.  Questions about heaven and Jesus and how do we get to heaven, what is heaven like, does God's house have a basement (lol) and those questions and led him to want to ask Jesus to be apart of his life all the time.  So about a week ago I sat on the kitchen floor with him in my lap and listened to my son pray the most beautiful prayer and ask Jesus to come into his heart.  My prayer is that Lincoln will continue to ask questions and learn more and more about God and want to live his life for Christ.

I was told by a wise women (my mom) that I need to stop putting God in a box.  I've been in the mindset of "I have to do everything and say yes to everything."  And my reasoning was, if I don't do it, then who will?  Which is very arrogant and essentially puts God in a box.  Thinking that this or that won't get done without me doing it. But it will, because my God is NOT in a box and he doesn't NEED me for every aspect.  Right now I need to be completely focused on my family, my husband and my boys.  They are my priority and anything that gets in the way of that, I need to stop doing.  A constant balance...

A successful day in my books lately is when I can get all three boys napping (or resting in his room, in Lincoln's case) at the same time.  This has been happening a few times lately and it. is. amazing.

we're a house full of sickies again.  Yesterday there wasn't a minute when someone wasn't coughing in our house.  Lincoln's got so bad that I thought it was bordering an asthma attack.  So my doc called in a steroid and it helped calm down his cough but he was up in the middle of the night just not able to sleep so he came into our bed.  Wow was that something.  He was so uncomfortable, tossing and turning.  And at one point just wouldn't lay still so Tyler and I both turned our backs to him so we could sleep and as we did that Lincoln says, "why doesn't anyone want to sleep by me?!" lol.  I can't imagine why?!  and then an hour later he is still getting situated so Tyler thought putting his arm around Lincoln would help calm him down and he would go to sleep after awhile Lincoln sits up and tells him, "This is not a good idea." I half heard it in my sleep and chuckled.  I love him so much.  

So how's that for a random post? :)  Happy Hump Day!