Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Honey, I'm Home!

Really this time! You've been missing me because I've been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off! I was convinced our underwriters hated us. Our closing date kept getting pushed back and pushed back but it finally happened! We closed on the house and we MOVED!


WE'RE HOME!

We moved the day after Christmas which was crazy enough. Now we're trying to get things updated and settled. There's a few things that needed to be done right away. Dustin took Friday off to change all the locks. He also took the ancient thermostat off. With the help of my best friend's husband, the new, fancy WiFi controlled thermostat is up and running. Now, he's working on my "honey-do" list for the kitchen before the unpacking can really happen. Our refrigerator will be delivered in two days. Hopefully in the next two weeks or so, it will really start to LOOK like we live there.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's Been a Crazy Month!!

 It's been a month since I've gotten a chance to post an update here. Man, it's been a crazy one! In the last month, we've put offers in on four different houses. Two of those houses were bought from underneath us and one of them our offer was rejected. The fourth one might be THE ONE! Our offer was accepted and the house inspection looked GREAT. The termite inspection is tomorrow afternoon. Keep your fingers crossed for us!



We've had three fundraisers that were very successful! The rummage sale raised over $700! Dealicious Cakes' gift certificate sales raised $100! Kim's Peanut Gallery's auction raised over $200!! We still have a few more ideas that we're trying to plan out and schedule. We're really looking forward to them.

Edit: Oh! Our puzzle has also raised $360!

We've both been really busy and we're hoping that everything goes as planned and we close on the house December 20th, or sooner. (Ideally, I'm hoping for the 13th.) This will give us a chance to settle for Christmas and the new year. Then January will bring last minute preparation before getting our home study completed!

Before I began this blog, I had another blog. I really miss blogging about all the happenings in life so there's a very good chance that soon this blog will not just house our adoption updates. Hope you all don't mind. ;)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Rummage & Bake Sale Benefit

During the last post I talked about my friend Melissa, the owner of Dealicious Cakes. I also mentioned my friend Deena, who helped create the flyers and gift certificates for the October Fundraiser. It turns out that a month or so ago, they started organizing a secret benefit for Dustin and me! After they had some details nailed into place, they contacted one of my best friends, Katie, to help finish organizing and to pull it off.

I didn't know anything about it for a few weeks. One day, Katie took me to lunch before a secret errand. This secret errand ended up being Deena's house, so they could tell me all about it! There will be a bake sale and a lemonade booth for some yummy treats while you shop the rummage sale! Rumor has it there will also be some games for the kids! My sister will have a Jamberry table set up. You'll also be able to check out Sue's Pot Holders! I may also have a Thirty One table set up. :)


Flyer!

If you're coming out to see us, you can see the yard from Eisenhauer as soon as you pass Dell Oak Dr. If you can't, just look for these!


Deena created and print out all of these wonderful items. I can't wait to use our thermometer tracker!!

If you have any items sitting out around that you've thought about getting rid of or donating to Goodwill, please e-mail us! I can pick up or meet you! This is a great time to go through your closets. ;) We will happily take these items off your hands! All of the proceeds are be donated to our adoption fund. We have a goal of $2,000 for the day. Help us meet (or exceed!) this goal!! :D

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dealicious Cakes Benefit Fundraiser.

 Two-three years ago, my sweet friend Melissa started her own cake business. Dealicious Cakes. (It's cute because her maiden name is Deal.) She's fantastic and the cakes are definitely delicious. For almost three years, she's been making all sorts of cakes for me. Here are just a few of them!

Click the photos to view a larger version. 



Baby Showers
(Christi's Under the Ocean/Pirate Theme and Katie's Little Red Wagon Theme)


Birthdays
(Margie's "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY" Texas Hold 'Em Cake and Dustin's Golf Course cupcakes)

Graduations
(Melanie's UTSA graduation cake and cupcakes)


The next few aren't ones she did for me but that I LOVE anyway!






Melissa can do it all. She's also done wedding cakes, holiday cakes, sports cakes, and just because cakes. I'm sure I'm missing something.

Last week, Melissa came to me with an idea. She offered to sell gift certificates during the month of October to support our Looking For Our Missing Piece fund. So, after some strategy planning and the help of Deena's (you'll hear more about her shortly!) awesome skills, this is what we came up with. 


During the month of October, purchase a $25 gift certificate for only $20. Half of the sales go to our adoption fund! You can use your certificate anytime before March 31st. You can also use multiple gift certificates. (Need a larger, layered, really detailed wedding/birthday cake? Purchase 5 gift certificates for $100 and have $125 towards a cake, cupcakes, or cookies with Dealicious Cakes! Purchase 4 gift certificates for $80 and have $100!)

If you have questions, please feel free to email me at looking4ourmissingpiece@gmail.com. You can also find Melissa on her facebook page, Dealicious Cakes, or at 210-607-9081.

Sue's Pot Holders

My grandmother LOVES to crochet. One of her favorite things are pot holders. As soon as she found out about our adoption plans, she began crocheting pot holder sets for sale. So, as promised, here are photos of the sets that are already complete. If you'd like to purchase some of her pot holders, they are 2 (one set) for $7, or 4 (two sets) for $12. (If you live outside of SA, I'll have to charge shipping. Just let me know where I'm shipping them to and I'll get you a number. :D)

Click on the images to see a larger version.



Set & Closer View

 Set & Closer View

 Set & Closer View

Set & Closer View








Set & Closer View

Set & Closer View


ALL of the money from the pot holders will be going into our adoption fund. If you'd like to purchase a set, please email me at looking4ourmissingpiece@gmail.com


Monday, September 16, 2013

Adoption Auction.



I love cute little boutiques. You can always find awesome stuff AND you're helping out a family. Usually, the owners of these boutiques are moms who got their start trying to make extra cash so they can stay home with their kids or put them into dance, football, soccer, gymnastics, tennis, ice skating.... you get the idea. 

One of my favorites is Kim's Peanut Gallery. She makes some  cute things! If I need a baby shower, birthday or Christmas gift for a little one, chances are are I can find something from her. Aside from that, she's a great lady and a wonderful (online!) friend.  I messaged her not too long ago to ask her if she'd be willing to donate something for a silent auction or an online boutique auction, benefiting our adoption fund. She's so sweet, she offered to host it on her page! 

Right now we have the dates: November 3rd-10th. More details will be posted as we get closer. Five great boutiques have already committed to joining and we hope to get more soon!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Adding A Piece to Our Puzzle


Brace yourself. Unless you've researched adoption before, the number I'm about to share might make you fall over. Even though we knew the ball park estimate, the actual number still shocked us a little bit.

The adoption fees, agency fees, medical expenses, and legal fees will be around $34,000. In order to help us lighten the load of this amount, we're planning on doing several fundraisers. One of our planned fundraisers is a puzzle fundraiser. People who would like to participate in this fundraiser will "sponsor" a puzzle piece. The cost of a puzzle piece is $10. Once you purchase your piece, we will write your name on the back of the piece. As pieces are sponsored, it will be put together. Once the puzzle is complete, it will be put into a double sided frame and hung in the baby's nursery.

Originally I was going to post a photo of the puzzle we'd be putting together. I think it's much more fun if everyone has to wait until it's put together. ;)

How to Sponsor a Piece:

-Click on the Donate button in the sidebar and pay securely through PayPal. You do not have to have a PayPal account to do so. :)
- Write a check or donate cash and hand deliver to myself or Dustin
- Mail a check to us. (You can email us at looking4ourmissingpiece@gmail.com for our address)

(Since our letters have gone out and the blog has "gone public", we've have several people let us know that PayPal wasn't working the way it should be. If you have a PayPal account, you can send any donation to maddielynn321@gmail.com. I'm sorry for the issue. We're working to resolve it!)




We're so incredibly thankful for everyone's sweet words and loving support. You all are absolutely wonderful!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"September-ish"



There has been a slight change in plans!

Dustin and I had a conversation about some of our fundraising options and our thoughts on them this weekend. When our support letter came up, Dustin mentioned that he'd like to send them out "September-ish."

WOOOHOOOO! I'm so ready to come out publicly with our choice to adopt. Hearing this was music to my ears. I guess I need to get on collecting those addresses!

Sweet Angels. (Not Adoption Related)

At some point after our third loss, I found myself in a very bad place. I was extremely depressed and it wasn't getting better. I didn't want to find a therapist or psychiatrist to talk to  because I felt like by doing so, I'd be admitting that something was wrong with me. Looking  back at this I can tell you two things.

 1) There was ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with me. The things I was feeling are completely normal of a grieving mother. Having three losses back to back only intensified my emotions. 
2) My  thoughts on finding someone to talk to was completely ridiculous. Someone unrelated and unattached to us was exactly what I needed. Needing the outlet didn't mean there was anything wrong with me. It simply meant that I was sinking in my feelings of helplessness and failure and desperately needed someone to reach in, pull me out, and help me sort through everything. 

When things continued to get worse insteaf of better, I gave in. I decided that I needed to look for SOMETHING that could help. I began the search. I found a local MISS (Mothers in Support and Sympathy) chapter. The website explained that it was run by two women who had both had losses. They met twice a month, one meeting being for women in a pregnancy after a loss and the other being a general meeting for people who have suffered a loss and their adult family members. I decided to attend the upcoming general meeting. 

I cried the whole way there. I walked into the meeting planning to just listen. I listened to stories from the women who lead the group. I listened to two or three families who had been to meetings before. There were also two families who first comers. Listening to these people share their feelings was an amazing weight off my shoulders. Even though we all had such different stories, the emotions and the thoughts were all the same. I thought, if I'm crazy, they all too!

This group of people have become essential in my life. They saved me, without even realizing it. We began a monthly ladies dinner nights. We have celebrated new pregnancies, tiny little take-home babies, new jobs, and new homes. They grieved with me when we had our last loss. No matter where life takes us in our journey to start a family, these ladies will be forever important to me. 

Two weekends ago, our MISS chapter had our second Painting With A Twist fundraiser. We were painting two angels: a mother and child. Once I added red hair to both angels, I knew I wouldn't be giving my woman wings. This last pregnancy, the only names Dustin and I could agree on were girl names. This has NEVER happened. So, my child angel became a girl. I  can't very well not honor my other little angels though. So, I added my Sparkles in the top right corner. (Our first three were affectionately nicknamed the Sanford Sparkles when I added them to my family tattoo on my side. I haven't yet added my 4th but it will be a pink one!)

I am so happy with how my beautiful painting turned out. I can't wait to hang it in the new house in honor, not only of my sweet angels, but also the amazing MISS people I've been blessed with. I wouldn't be the person I am today without their help during those crucial months.







**If you know someone who needs people talk to after a death of a child (of ANY age) please don't hesitate to send them to the MISS website. If they don't have a local chapter nearby, they can be set up with a mentor to talk to.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Our Support Letter.

If we have your mailing address, be on the watch out. This is the letter we will be sending out asking for your love, support, thoughts, and prayers during this journey. It's going to be a very long (and stressful) journey but we know it will be wellll worth it in the end. We also know we're incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

Dustin and I have decided on October 1st as the day they'll be going out. I've been trying to decide if I want to include a photo in them. If so, would I include something we already have? Or get with one of the photographers we know and get a new one? Any thoughts?

Dear Friends and Family,

            From the first time we began discussing a future, Dustin and I saw kids in our future.  During different times through our relationship the “ideal” number bounced back and forth between two and four.  Our journey to begin a family has definitely been less than ideal. Some of you know the general details of our struggle over the past three years, including our losses.
            After our fourth and most recent loss, we began looking into other options.  The difficulties getting pregnant, the fight to stay pregnant, and the devastation after a loss is simply too much to bear at this time.  We have decided to begin the adoption process!  We didn’t come to this decision lightly though.  Much research has been done.  Many, many prayers have been said.  We are very excited to where this will take us.  We are writing this letter asking for support.
            First, we ask that you keep us, and this adventure we’re about to set out on, in your prayers.  We have wanted to start a family for some time now and know that God has the perfect child for us out there.  Also, please pray for the family we will be working with.  We know the decision to place their child for adoption will not be an easy one to make.
            Secondly, we humbly ask for financial support.  Domestic infant adoption is very expensive.  I am now a consultant with Thirty One and my commissions are being set aside.  We hope to watch God bless my business.  Several fundraisers have been discussed and are in the planning stage.  If you’d be interested in supporting us financially or in the fundraisers being planned, please feel free to contact us! We would love to hear from you!
            Our road to adopting a baby has only just begun.  We have met with an adoption agency.  By the end of the January or February, we hope to be an “active” family for birth families to choose from.  Although this is a long process, we are extremely excited about what is to come.
            I plan to blog as a way to document our journey.  If you would like to follow us or would prefer email updates, please let us know.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

With love,



Dustin & Maddie
looking4ourmissingpiece@gmail.com


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

October 1st.



That's is the day that our support letters are going into the mail and that we will come out publicly with our plans to adopt. The days are dragging. People ask how we're doing and if we're going to start trying again soon and I just want to open my big mouth about our next adventure. I'm ready to send those letters out yesterday. It doesn't help that they are all finished. I'm currently collecting addresses. I'm playing with the idea of including a photo of the two of us, but I'm not sure if that's just too cheesy. At least I have time to decide!

Let's hope August and September go by as quickly as the rest of the year has.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Domestic Infant Adoption.



There are many different types of adoption programs. Dustin and I have decided to pursue domestic infant adoption. (DIA) Like most, it's a long process. Here's some of what we have ahead of us:


  • Applications
  • An orientation session
  • Lots and lots and lots of paperwork
  • An adoption readiness seminar
  • Complete a Home Study
  • Introductory Letter (or a "Dear Birth Family" letter)
  • Waiting, waiting, and possibly more waiting
Once we're matched, that's not all. Then we look forward to:

  • Placement
  • Post-placement supervision
  • Finalization in court

I plan to blog as much as I can about the process but we'll definitely have slow times that we're just waiting for something. We look forward to sharing our journey with you!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Why Adoption?



Adoption is an interesting topic. People don't know a lot about it the process, the different options or much of what it entails at all, other than an adoptive family is paired up with a birth family who can't parent for some reason. People have mixed feelings about it as well. It seems that most have a pretty positive outlook on it but there are people that believe are very selfish in their hope to adopt instead of alternatives.

Some people believe adoption is an incredibly selfless act. People think that the adoptive parents are "saving" the child and giving it something he or she wouldn't have otherwise. This isn't (at all) the reason we've chosen adoption. We've chosen adoption because we want, desperately, to start a family. In the two years between our last two pregnancies, adoption crossed my mind frequently. When I thought about, I felt such a tug at my heart. I mostly just pushed those feelings aside, as we were both determined to get pregnant on our own. We both very much wanted to experience a successful pregnancy. At our first appointment for our 4th pregnancy, things didn't look so good and we ended up in a state of limbo. At this point, adoption started creeping back into my head. The tug and ache at my heart returned. After it was confirmed that we were losing another baby, I knew we would be adopting.

Our doctor reminded us that there wasn't anything stopping us from trying again, on our own, or with a fertility intervention. Nothing had come back abnormal in the many tests that had been performed. It didn't matter. Adoption would be our next step.

When people say that we're "saving" a child, it makes us out to be some kind of a saint. We're not. If some mentions how lucky a child is to be adopted, they are wrong. So often it's the PARENTS who are lucky to have that child. To be given the chance to love and nurture it. To be chosen by the birth family to step in and taken on the roles of mom and dad. That's a blessing to the adoptive parents. I hope and pray that we will be blessed with a child. I would feel SO incredibly lucky to be chosen.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Our Story.



We're Dustin & Maddie. Most of you probably know that though because chances are, we gave you the link. There's still the small possibility that you found us through another blog, the bump, or google. Even if you do know us, maybe you don't know our history. I'd like to take the dreaded FIRST POST to tell you our story. (Really, the first post is the worst. What do you say? How do you start? What are you going to write about?)

We met when we were 19 and 17, respectively. A mutual friend set me (Maddie) up on a date with one of her & Dustin's friends. Although this guy was a complete sweetheart and we had a great time, we knew about halfway through the evening that we had no interest in being anything more than friends. So, when my girlfriend called to check on us, we told her exactly that. She invited us to join her and Dustin at a nearby pool hall. Dustin says he could tell his friend was failing in impressing me and he asked if he had permission to pursue me. After receiving the go ahead, Dustin put on the charm. At least that's how Dustin tells the story. In fact, I thought he was being a little bit of a jerk. Some how he managed to get me out with a group of friends several times over the next few days though so maybe he's right.

One particular evening, I got extremely frustrated with his teasing. I made a comment to him to get back at him. He completely shut off from me and wouldn't speak to me. I followed him around like a little puppy dog trying to apologize. I felt absolutely horrible. After cornering him, I apologized sweetly and kissed him on his cheek. He continued to refuse my apology. I apologized again and kissed his other check. No such luck. After another apology, I reached up to kiss his nose. Sneaky Dustin caught me first and gave me the softest kiss. I had been set up. I was also officially hooked and we were inseparable for the rest of the summer.

That August, I moved an hour away for school. For the next year, we took turns traveling to see each other during any free time. Fast forward three years, a ton of ups and downs, and several moves. Our four year anniversary was quickly approaching and the three girls closest to me were SO SURE he was going to propose on our 4th anniversary. After spending a fantastic day together on our anniversary, there was no proposal. Before I left for the evening, we decided to go out for ice cream. On the way, he made an unexpected detour. And I got my proposal. :) We got married exactly a year later, on our 5th anniversary. 

We have now been together for over 8 years, married for 3. Before we got married, we knew we wanted to start having kids immediately. So, we stared trying immediately. In our first year of marriage, we had three miscarriages. Just a month and a half before our anniversary this year, we lost our fourth when we miscarried once more.

Our journey to start a family has been a very difficult one. We've been through things that I'd never wish on my worst enemy. We're stronger, better people now. Our marriage is stronger. Our losses aren't the end of our story. Our story just beginning.