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 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 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


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