Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's Official!

I came home from clinicals today to a message on our answering machine from Becky (SW). Her supervisor has signed off on our home study and we are "officially" approved. YAY! It's not feeling quite real yet for me. When I see our picture and birth parent letter on the waiting family page maybe... We've made a few changes to our portfolio and I just need to print out a couple more pages. I think it looks really good (thanks again mom!). Our portfolio really is a family project. My mom helped with the layout and design of the pages. Mark's mom is going to make some covers for the portfolios themselves.

So... you may be wondering what exactly is an adoption portfolio? This is a 3 ring binder that the birth families can view to get to know us a little bit. The first page is a "profile" of Mark and I (age, profession, hobbies, salary, etc). Then, we have page 1 of our "dear birth parent" letter - kind of giving an introduction to who we are. This is followed by pics and some info about us, our family, home, community, life, travels, activities. After that, there is more of our letter, talking about our journey to adoption, plans for parenting, etc. We ended with kind of a fun page, "Mark and Melanie in Twenty Questions." It is probably my favorite page in the whole portfolio. It has a picture of us very light in the background of the page. Not sure if there is a way to post a link to it or not... I may have to experiment.

In the middle of my day today, I all of a sudden had this peaceful feeling come over me and a quiet "voice" that seemed to whisper, "I have the perfect child planned for you." Now, don't get me wrong - I know that our child will not be perfect! Believe me... my parents are probably hoping for a little bit of "payback" for the child (and teenager) that I was. Anyway, Mark has made this comment several times and I actually included it in our portfolio to describe our relationship. "We may not be perfect, but we're perfect for each other." So, I think the same perspective should apply to our child - our child may not be perfect, but God is handpicking our child for us and since HE is perfect, the same applies to His choice of our child. I can't wait to see what He has in store!

Monday, September 28, 2009

the weekend is over and I need to go back to work. I aCheck Spellinglso had a short weekend, I did an extra load on Friday. we got the hot tub fixed today and I hope it stays running this time. last time it only ran for a few hours. I hope all of you had a great weekend.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday! Have you given any thought to what you are thankful for today? Take a few moments to consider this - surprise me with a post!! Today, my thankful list includes:

1. Fall - This is my absolute favorite time of year. To me, fall is all about home and family. I don't quite know why or how to explain it, but there is just a cozy feeling that I associate with fall. I love being able to sleep with the windows open and lots of covers on, get out my favorite sweatshirts, fuzzy socks. It's a great food time, too - squash, pumpkin, apples - all sorts of yummy comfort food. Halloween is probably my favorite holiday (note new blog design - lol) - it is so much fun to greet the trick-or-treaters! I can't wait to enjoy Halloween with our child. The changing colors are beautiful and I just love to be outside - so yep, I am thankful for fall.

2. Flip-flops - Ok, I know that sounds silly since I just said I was thankful for fall and flip-flop weather is coming to an end. Maybe saying I am thankful for bare feet is more appropriate. Taking off my shoes as soon as I walk in the house is always a treat. I like feeling the floor on my bare feet, wiggling my toes, and showing off a cute new pedicure.

3. F*cebook - Now you are really wondering about me, right? Why am I thankful for a networking site? Well, my cousin Katie lives in North Dakota and we don't see each other very often. It's probably been 2 years since I saw Katie and her family. We recently became "friends" on FB and last night, who should pop up with an instant message, but Katie. We chatted for a while and it was great to catch up with her. She is a beautiful, faith-filled woman who inspires me and I am thankful that FB has allowed us to be a little more connected.

4. I'm thankful for the opportunity to share Thankful Thursday with you!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adoption Update

We received our draft of the home study in the mail yesterday. I've had a chance to review and Mark will look at it tonight. Basically, a few wording adjustments to make - that's about it. Hopefully, we can return it to Becky tomorrow so that she can make the updates. Then, it will go to her supervisor for final approval. Then, we will be officially ready and waiting! Yay!

Our church started a visionary parenting course today. Some of it may not be applicable since we aren't parents yet, but we're attending anyway. I've probably said this before, but I feel like adoption is allowing us to be more thoughtful and proactive about some parenting things than we might be if we just got pregnant and had a child.

It's so exciting to be on this journey!!

Domestic Goddess I am Not!

I love to cook, bake, entertain - and yes, I think that I have some talent in those areas. I can throw a load of clothes in the washing machine, put them in the dryer (if I remember), and fold them (eventually). Usually, they don't look too bad.

However, other domestic duties - hmmm... not so much! Case in point... I don't iron. My mom didn't iron much when I was growing up and my grandmother's ironing gene did not skip a generation to land in my gene pool. Over my adult years, I have ironed on occasion as the need arose and maybe even went above and beyond the call of duty every now and then. But, it's been a long time since I ironed - probably since before Mark and I started dating. Thank goodness for a husband who doesn't care about that stuff. Truth be told, before he met me, Mark had two clothes hampers: one for clean clothes, one for dirty. I'm not quite that laid back, I do like to get things in the dressser. Ok... I'm getting off track. I had an iron and ironing board when we got married, never used it. When we had sewer back-up in our basement several years ago, those items got wet. Finally got around to replacing them about a year ago. Since then, the ironing board and the iron have remained in their packages untouched.

So... today, I'm getting ready for the week. Trying to decide what to wear for my clinicals tomorrow and Tuesday. Glance at a blouse that I haven't worn for a while, I really like it but it is WRINKLED! I try dousing it with wrinkle release spray and tossing in the dryer. No luck. Can you guess what comes next? Yes, I decide I am going to be ambitious, call upon that domestic goddess of ironing that is hiding somewhere inside of me. Get out the iron, turn it on (I think), get out the ironing board, but I don't want to actually set it up so I just lay it across the counter in the bathroom. Back to check the iron - guess I must not have turned it on so I figure that out. Let it warm up and iron my blouse. Not perfectly mind you because I would need to have the ironing board set up correctly and probably set the iron at the correct setting for the fabric I am using. But... enough ironing to get by so that I can wear the blouse tomorrow. I'm quite proud of myself, pick up the blouse to kind of shake it out and look at it from a hanging perspective. In the process, I knock over a bottle of diffuser oil and spill it on the blouse I've just finished ironing. Grrr...

I KNEW there was a reason I don't iron! Back to the closet for an easy, wash and wear sweater or something like that.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Becky (our SW) emailed today to say that our home study is in the mail! We will need to proofread it and then off for it's final stamp of approval. Yippee!

In our bedroom, I have a daily calendar of bible verses. Yesterday's verse was Jeremiah 32:27, "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind, is anything too hard for me?" That seems so appropriate right now and a confirmation of His promise that we will be parents.

Tomorrow, one of my dear friends and her husband are renewing their vows in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary. What a special celebration of their life together!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Yep - two Thursdays in a row, can you believe it? Ok, my next goal will be to get my Thankful Thursday post in the morning instead of right before heading to bed.

#1 - God's goodness in healing. The pathology reports from my mom's surgery indicated "clean" tissue in the area surrounding the melanoma. YAY! One of my co-workers has been battling breast cancer for several months now. She finished chemo and had surgery. The lymph nodes that the docs biopsied came back negative! Another YAY!

#2 - Encouragement. This semester, school has got me running. Two of my classes have several major projects and require a LOT of time and effort. I was feeling pretty down tonight with the weekly grade I received from the instructor of one of the classes. It wasn't a big deal, but I was discouraged. God reminded me that on Tuesday night, the other instructor gave me about the highest praise I could ask for - saying that I was setting the bar for the class with my writing skills. Talk about a warm fuzzy! And probably a good thing to remember when I am a parent. Sometimes, that negative comment lingers long after all of the praise. Thanks to my instructor for the positive comment that helps me keep the bigger picture in mind. I can't make everyone happy ALL the time, but I can give my best effort.

#3 - Completing one more step in our adoption process. We had our last "official" home study meeting with our SW this week. She will be writing our home study and hopes to have it ready for us to proof in the next few days. Then, it will go to her supervisor for final stamp of approval and we will be added to the "waiting families" list. DOUBLE YAY!! Little one - we are dreaming of bringing you home!!

#4 - The author of one of the blogs I follow is currently in Russia with her husband adopting a precious little boy and girl. She commented about how the little girl has no concept of what a "daddy" is - to her Eric, is "the man." Every child should know the love of a mother and father - it makes me sad to think about the children in orphanages never knowing about mommies and daddies. It also made me thankful that our child is going to have such a wonderful daddy!! Mark is so good with kids! I can just picture him on the floor with our children climbing all over him, laughing, playing, and loving on him. Can't wait to see it in reality!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

adoption profile

We spent all weekend making a profile of us for the birth mother to look at and pick us as the parents for their child. This task turned out to be a lot bigger than we thought. We must have spent 16 hours working on this.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thank you to our friends and update on mom

Spent much of the day working on stuff for our portfolio. We need to finish up our "dear birth mom" letter tomorrow and I will feel pretty good about what we have accomplished.

Tonight, we went out for dinner with friends who are references for our adoption, Denise and Guy, Ken and Jeanne with our "niece" Tasha. Got home and remembered that I wanted to take some pics - oh, well. It's been a while since everyone's schedules have allowed us to get together and we really enjoyed the chance to catch up. We need to do this more often!!

Thanks to everyone for their prayers yesterday. My mom had surgery as planned and the surgeon was able to remove the entire area of concern. She was sick today in response to the pain medication, but is doing well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Prayer Request - Melanie's mom

My mom is having surgery this afternoon to remove a melanoma from her arm. Please pray that the surgeon is able to remove it all and that any lymph node biopsies will be benign. Thanks!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday

On time... two weeks in a row - yippee!!

#1 - My mom - We are working hard to get our adoption portfolio put together. This is a file for the birth mom to look at as she is selecting a family for her child so we want to brag ourselves up a little bit. My mom has a great deal of experience in graphic design and is graciously helping us. I know that the portfolio will look much better with a professional (mom) working on it and I am very thankful for all of her talents!

#2 - Yummy (and easy) recipes - I made one of my all time favorite recipes tonight, Caramel Krispie Treats. They are beyond wonderful - I am going to take some to work tomorrow to share. Yes, Mark... I will leave some home for you as well (and yes, I also know you think I am nuts for "baking" when I have so many other things going on - what can I say... it decreases my stress level).

#3 - The chance to do nice things for others - Ok, this really isn't much and I am not trying to pat myself on the back, it's more just such a good feeling to make someone else's day. I had clinicals today and brought rolls for the staff - they are always so welcoming and have really made me feel comfortable there. So bringing treats was not a big deal, but everyone was thrilled to have them. Also, one of the nurses loves Eyore. I had a partially used pad of Pooh/Eyore post-its at work so I took took them with me to give to Donna. She was very touched. Again, it wasn't about "me" - it was about bringing a smile to another person's face and that was a wonderful feeling! One of my favorite quotes is "Be kinder than necessary to everyone you meet for we are all fighting some kind of battle." Sometimes, things that we don't even stop to think about can make all the difference for someone who is having a tough day. What can you do to make a someone's day a little brighter??

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I thought we would have no problem making our profile stand out. I have looked at some other profiles and everyone has a cabin, goes four wheeling, travels and has a nice home. We have a Grandmother that is 98 years old, parents that have been married 40 and 50 years.

It is very hard for us to brag about our life together, we were not raised that way. But that is
what we need to do. Give us some help and ideas for us in this area.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Is the weekend really over?

It was nice to have a long weekend, but gosh it went fast! As noted below, I got my puppy fix on Saturday. Ok, well I didn't really get my fix because I would love to have one of those sweet things at home. It's a good thing my sweet hubby is the voice of reason...

On Sunday, we spent the afternoon at my parents. My mom is helping us put together our adoption portfolio. Don't know what I was thinking when I figured we could get it done in one day. Ugh!! If I had been better prepared, that probably would have helped. Oh, well.

Yesterday, we were pretty lazy. I spent the day doing homework (not housework, although I guess laundry should count) and working on a couple of portfolio things. Mark had to work last night so he took a nap.

Today, I was in Fairmont for clinicals. I really enjoy working with the nurses and my preceptors there. There are quite a few patients that I see on a regular basis and it has been wonderful to build some relationships with them. The last patient I saw today brought in a beautiful cross-stitch bookmark that she had made. It said, "Faith can move mountains." The picture was mountains with a sun peaking over them. How appropriate and true!

Hope everyone is having a good week and the kids are getting back into the school routine without too much difficulty!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I went out to the deck so I could put bird feed in the bird feeder for MELANIE!!!. As I was getting the bird feed out I got stung by a hornet. I forgot how much that hurts. Did I say I was doing this for MELANIE!!!




I am an animal lover, no doubt about it. I have 2 very spoiled kitties and look forward to a schedule that allows us to have a dog (after finishing school)! I really would like a mastiff and have been waiting for the arrival of some very special puppies this summer. Today, I had the chance to see them for the first time and do a little bit of cuddling.

Bella and Bailey (a.k.a. mom)

What a snuggler!

Sucking my thumb

What a cutie! I think he would make a great birthday present!!

Openness in Adoption and other thoughts

When Mark and I first started talking about adoption, I was very apprehensive about having an open adoption. But my heart has really been changed and I see how important it can be for everyone involved.

At first, I was scared - mostly insecure about having ongoing contact with our child's birth family. What if they decide they want to be parents later on? What if they try to undermine our parenting? What if our child loves them more? All sorts of anxieties...

However as I have thought and prayed about this as well as listened to kids who have been adopted, it has become increasingly important to me that we consider as much openness in our adoption as the birth family is interested in. Of course, it needs to be in the best interest of everyone involved. Heritage is a vital piece of one's identity. Knowing our origins allows us to have a better sense of self, who do we look like, what traits have we inherited from our parents, etc? Children who have been adopted may want to know the circumstances that led to their adoption plan, ask questions, be reassured. Birth families want reassurance that their child is being cared for and loved, given opportunities to grow and reach their highest potential - to know that their adoption plan was the right one - it is completely understandable!

Mark and I will be open to sharing letters, photos, perhaps phone calls and visits with our child's birth family. We feel that openness is what's best for our child!!

One other thought that has been on my mind. Every now and then, I start getting impatient about adopting. I want it to happen on MY time frame. A couple of weeks ago, our pastor spoke about trusting God - specifically Abraham and Sarah as they waited long into old age for God's promise of children to be fulfilled, how Sarah became impatient and took matters into her own hands instead of trusting that God would be faithful creating a situation that was not God's will. It was (and is) a reminder to me of the importance of trusting that God does have a plan for my life.

This thought was reinforced for me today as Mark and I looking for pictures to use in our adoption portfolios. I came across a paper that I had written for a faith development class that I took while completing my bachelor's degree. The date on this paper was exactly 2 months before my first husband died. I wrote that lately I had been hearing God tell me, "Your plans are NOT the plans I have for you." At that time, I had no idea of how quickly and dramatically my life would change. Over the past 6 years since that paper was written, God has been faithful and blessed my life in ways that I never would have imagined.

When I begin to get impatient and think about creating my own timeline for our adoption, I will stop and remind myself that God is always faithful. I trust that when the time is right, He will bring our child to us.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Can you believe I'm actually on schedule today? My thankful list really focuses on our agency and the adoption process.

#1 - I am thankful for the group panel discussion that I was able to attend on Tuesday night. Our social worker hosted this meeting and had several people who have had unique adoption experiences talk. It was neat to hear their stories as well as be reassured that they have went through similar things as they waited to adopt.

#2 - Birth parents!! We finally have our "dear birth mom" letter finished and I will post it here very soon. As Mark and I worked on this, I thought about the selflessness that is demonstrated by birth moms. Putting their child's life and needs above all else is such a gift of love. I can only imagine what these women must experience as they consider all of their options and try to make the best choice. I hope that I will somehow be able to convey to our child's birth parents how much their decision means to Mark and me.

#3 - Social workers - As I've mentioned before, our social worker is terrific! I also want to mention the social workers who advocate for the birth parents. In listening to the adoptive families talk about their experiences, I realize how important it is for that birth mom (and perhaps dad) to have someone who will really help them make the right decision (whether it is adoption or raising the child themselves).

#4 - Last weekend, I got to spend a little time with Tasha - who is our "adopted niece" - the daughter of close friends Jeanne and Ken. She's been away most of the summer and I've missed seeing her. I am thankful that Tasha is a very special part of my life. She is a beautiful young woman!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


life has been very hectic for the past few weeks, I hope it will slow down soon and the blog will be back on track. I will be bringing Halloween candy to the stores from now until mid October. so my time will be in high demand, but I hope I will get the blogging in for you