Monday, November 11, 2013

Taking a break…

I’m not sure where this blog is going right now…I find that I am not keeping up with many posts, and I feel bad about that.  I love to write, but I’ve been spending less and less time on the actual blog.  I really appreciate everyone who checks in with me or leaves comments to see how we’re doing.  Thank you so much for listening, for sharing your stories, and for supporting me. 

Things have just gotten busier with Zoe in preschool (she goes more days than she did last year), and I find that our afternoons are filled with all kinds of things – art projects, playing outside, spending time with her new friends (and me spending time with her friends’ moms who are newer friends for me), visiting family, running errands, and other activities. 

We are kind of in limbo as far as adopting again…Just not sure if it’s going to happen.   We’re not ruling it out, but at this point we aren’t in the process to adopt again.  We had a really big disappointment about a month ago when we applied for a grant and were not chosen.  There are other grants out there, but this one was very substantial and really would have made the process more feasible.

I haven’t written as much about visits with Zoe’s birth mom because she has been living out of state and going to school.  She just graduated, though, and we are so happy for her!  She is planning to move back to our state, and we’re looking forward to seeing her again! 

I just feel like adoption topics and posts aren’t coming to me as easily as they did before.  I think that for now I’m going to take a break from writing here.  I  may be back….just not sure when.  Just going to focus a little more on other things…like getting ready for the holidays, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the little moments of each day.

wendy and zoe in leaves

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some October pics…

October is almost over and I really haven’t posted much.  We’ve been busy with going apple picking, making apple pies, preschool, a field trip to the pumpkin patch, trick or treating at a Halloween festival, and dressing up for a Trunk or Treat at school.  I really think this is my favorite time of year.  Wish it didn’t go by so quickly…

Also very excited about something else that’s coming up soon…Zoe’s birthmom is graduating from cosmetology school and will be moving back soon!  We’ve missed her so much and can’t wait to see her.  We’re so proud of all that she’s accomplished!








minion pumpkin 2013


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How do you celebrate fall and Halloween?

The end of October is coming up so quickly.  How is that even possible?  Zoe started preschool last month, and she loves it.  She’s learning a lot.  She’ll tell you all about lower case and upper case letters.  She sings songs that we’ve never heard before.  She is identifying numbers and letters with more and more ease every day.  It’s amazing. 

We’ve been trying to squeeze in a lot of fall and Halloween activities.  We’ve made a few projects, decorated the house, and collected leaves on our walks (and those became collages.)  We went to a pumpkin patch last weekend and picked up a couple of pumpkins to decorate.  Once Zoe found the one she wanted, she kept saying that she had found the perfect pumpkin and that she loved it.

pumpkin patch 2013

We have a Trunk or Treat coming up, a couple of Halloween events that are at local places like a park and the mall, a Halloween party, and of course her celebration at school. 

How are you celebrating Halloween or fall this month?  What do you and your family like to do?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Book Review: The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption

Adoption book

A little while ago I was asked if I would be interested in receiving a copy of a new book about open adoption and reviewing it for my blog.  I was very interested – Lori Holden is the author of the book, and I have read her blog, Lavender Luz, for quite a while.  I remember when she wrote about working on the book, and I have been looking forward to it ever since.  It does not disappoint!

In her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption:  Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, by Lori Holden and with Crystal Hass, Holden writes, “Adoption creates a split in a person between his biology and his biography.  Openness in adoption is an effective way to heal that split.”  This quote is the overriding theme in Holden’s new book.  Holden and her daughter’s birthmother, Hass, explain why open adoption is beneficial and how to create a  healthy open adoption relationship.  Openness, according to Holden, is a process, not a point in time – it’s a journey, not a destination.  She goes into much detail about how the process of openness should start even before the child is born and continue as the child grows up.

Holden offers suggestions on important topics to discuss with your adoption agency and with the expectant parents before you are matched or before the child is born.  The author suggests asking specifics about typical wait times, placements, openness, and post-placement support and counseling for all those involved in the adoption.  Waiting couples should also be aware of pre-birth expenses and what is allowed by law as well as how their agency handles birth father rights.  Everyone involved in the adoption should also discuss what they imagine openness to look like and how it might evolve over time.

Throughout the book in various chapters, Holden and Hass describe what openness can look like and does look like in their relationship.  They write about mutual respect, trust, being open to relationships, being open to giving and receiving, a willingness to work through issues and misunderstandings, and the ability to accommodate other family members all for the sake of the child.  Being open to that, as well as being open to communication between the birth parents, the child, and the adoptive parents can be very beneficial in helping to heal the split that Holden writes about. 

Holden describes specifics in terms of what should be discussed before the adoption occurs as well as after the child is placed in the adoptive home.  She examines different areas of possible difficulty – communication issues, fear, lack of sharing of feelings, boundaries, and broken agreements.  She writes about how the adoptive parents need to look at the relationship as what they are willing to “grant” to the birth parents or what they are willing to “welcome” as opposed to what they will “allow.”  It is definitely a mind set that will honor the birthparents’ special role in their child’s life.  Holden writes that the open attitude described in the book is more of a mind set or a “heart set.”

Throughout the book, Hass also shares stories about how openness has been a part of her life and her relationship with her daughter as well as her role as a birthmother.  There are sections in the book that describe how a birth parent or adoptive parent can ask the other for more openness in the relationship or how to deal with difficult situations and issues.

I would highly recommend reading this book if you are waiting to adopt or if you are in an open adoption and looking for more guidance or information.  Holden walks the reader through adoption – from the beginning stages, to the new relationship stage between the child, the birthparents, and the adoptive parents, to a relationship that will grow as time moves on.  Holden and Hass share their views on what makes their adoption work and also share the views of others involved in their own open adoptions.  The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption is a great book and should be used as a tool that can offer advice, anecdotes, and knowledge to anyone navigating their way through an open adoption relationship.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fairy-style birthday party

This past Saturday we celebrated Zoe’s birthday with some of our family and friends.  We decided to have to the party at a local nursery that hosts a fall festival for young children every September and October.  We were the only party that day, so it was quieter than normal.  We were really lucky to have a day that felt like summer.  We were so thankful that so many people were able to be there – some  even had to travel quite far. 

I had lots of fun over the past couple of months with planning her party.  I was pinning ideas on Pinterest like crazy!  (What did we do before Pinterest???  Oh, that’s right, I had a favorites bar that was a MILE long!)

I made as much as I could – the fairy wands, the fairy wing napkin holders, the pixie dust flags, and the cupcakes and cake (with the help of my talented friend, Dawn!)   I’m pretty sure the smallest guests all flitted about with their wings and pirate hats.









I’ll leave you with one of my favorite pics from that day…eating a cupcake is like Christmas morning to her.  I just love the anticipation on her face. 


Happy birthday to the most amazing little girl that brings so much joy, love, and happiness to our lives every single day. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

1st day at preschool and her 4th birthday

Wanted to share a couple of pictures from her big day.  Zoe started at a new preschool program today and loved it!  She can’t wait for tomorrow to go back. 


You can tell by her expression…it says it all! 


We celebrated her FOURTH birthday today, too!  How is that even possible?


The day was extra special because we got to talk to her birth mom and her birth grandma.  They wished Zoe a happy birthday and we got to catch up a little bit.  So glad we could talk with them.  Hope we get to see them soon!

Love this little girl – big girl! – so much!  Can’t believe how much she’s grown…she amazes us every day.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

End of summer wedding

This isn’t adoption-related, but it was an event that was a big part of our summer.  My cousin and his fiance were getting married at the end of August, and they asked us if Zoe could be one of their two flower girls.  We were very excited to say yes, but I reminded them of her age and that I didn’t know if she would actually be okay with walking down the aisle on the big day.  They were okay with that.  So we had a day of dress shopping, a shower, and a rehearsal all before the wedding day. 

And then the official day came along and everything went so well…


Outside of the chapel…


My sisters looked beautiful…I look like I’m sleeping standing up…


…as did, of course, the bride and groom!  (I’m not including pics of the other children that were in the wedding, but they were adorable.)



One of my cousins walking with one of my newest cousins…



More cousins!




My mom and dad got out on the dance floor a bit, and Zoe encouraged everyone there to do the same!  She literally went up to  people she didn’t know and tried to get them out there to dance.






It was a beautiful day…so happy for Allan and Glenda and all of their children.  We were so happy to be included.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The last week of August? Already?

My last post is dated July 16th.  How is that even possible?  I can’t believe it’s pretty much been a month and  a half since the last time I wrote.

We are all doing well.  It’s been one of those months (summers?) where it was just a blur.  Right after our trip to the lake around the 4th of July, Zoe started swimming lessons.  She was so brave – jumped in the pool (shallow end and deep end), swam across the pool with the help of a lifejacket and a pool noodle, went down the water slide, and jumped off the diving board multiple times.  It’s amazing how much they learn in such a short amount of time. 


We had many get togethers with  friends – trips to the park, bowling, swimming, hanging out at each others’ houses.  We were beyond busy.

We had a big trip out to the East Coast in the middle of August.  We visited family and friends and hopped from one house to the next.  Zoe was an amazing traveler.  I loved watching her interact with her cousins, her aunt and uncle, her grandma (Mom-Mom) and her two great-grandmothers.  I loved seeing her playing with our friends’ kids, too.  She was so sweet with all of them. 

Portraits taken with the cousins, lunches out, barbeques, playtime in a bouncy house, a trip to the zoo and a splash park…


Super hero mini golf…I mean, really…Who doesn’t wear their cape to the golf course?!?


Mini pedicure with her Mom-Mom…(she’s making such a goofy face…)


A trip to the bowling alley with our friends…love this picture


And an amazing day at the sculpture garden…




This one (below) took my breath away…I’ve always loved the Monet painting that it is based on…


Making music with friends…


A family picture of our friends on the Japanese bridge…


And in classic Zoe style…a family picture of us, too.


After 9 days, we returned home and had a house guest and a wedding to prepare for - I’ll have more to share soon…sorry it has been so so long.