Has it been nearly five months?? Holy Toledo it has been!

Last time I blinked I was unpacking Hunter from a 15 hour road trip to Colorado from Elko, Nevada.  And now, he’s rolling from his tummy to his back.  ALL BY HIMSELF.  Where have the last five months gone?!  At the same token, some of the moments during the last five months really dragged on.  I mean, really.  Dragged.  On.  Worth every minute?  You betcha!  Every damn one of them.

So, family life.  Yep, going from a couple to a family does indeed change everything, especially if it’s just been the two of you for several years.  You used to come first.  No longer true now that you have a tiny little life depending on you 24/7.  They come first, every time.   I guess I was more egotistical pre-Hunter than I thought, because that was hard for me to accept.  I’ve learned to prioritize any spare time I have between naps, early mornings, late evenings.  Revisit Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Basic hygiene comes first; before food, before laundry, before email.  You ask yourself, of this list (shower, laundry, pee, lunch, email, thank you letters, returning phone calls, dentist visits, blah blah blah) “what has to be done first in order to survive?”  Usually, that is shower first, pee second (or in the shower if you’re that kind of multi-tasker), eat third, and you’re lucky if you get anything else done.  Not to mention, at some point you’re gonna need a nap.  Even if it’s 15 minutes.  I’ve seen and experienced what running on very little sleep looks like, and it’s not pretty.  Not to mention, you will turn into a mean, mean monster.  And nobody needs that during this newborn time.

Another key piece…….If you’re fairly independent, such as myself, remember to ask your spouse for help.  You may feel like you can do it all, but don’t.  Take it from me, it’ll wear you down.  And you need to be your best for your baby, AND yourself.  Give yourself breaks; even 30 minutes a day where you’re not doing ANYTHING baby or any chores.  It should be YOU time.  Take a bath, go get some Starbucks, read at the library, go running or whatever it is that will help you recharge a little.

Now, what do you REALLY need for a newborn?  There are things you really need versus what any baby website tells you that you need as a new parent.  Don’t get a shusher machine; there’s an app for that.  Don’t write down everything your baby eats, pees and poops; there’s an app for that too (one you and your spouse can share so you know what kiddo ate at 2:15 am without waking up the hubs to ask him).  Don’t need any fancy baby laundry detergent; use a free and clear version.  No need to wash those baby clothes separately either; toss them in with your own laundry.  Don’t need a pee-pee tent if you have a boy (seriously what a waste).  DO have enough formula, diapers, and wipes on hand.  Obviously you will need a car seat, clothes, stroller of some kind, and a place to sleep (a crib is what I recommend; this will help curb issues down the road when trying to get your baby to sleep in their own place, and how to self-soothe; we did use a bassinet for a bit in our living room for naps, but he quickly outgrew it).  And bibs; I never knew how much my little guy would spit-up (and no, he doesn’t have acid reflux).  He has a bib on 75% of the time.  Even today.  And whoever made little baby shirts that don’t snap at the crotch for a child under 6 months, should be hung.  Waste.  Of.  Money.  Within five minutes they bunch up underneath your little peanut’s armpits.  Super cute for four minutes, 30 seconds.  Otherwise, go for the one piece.  Avoid full one pieces that snap up along the whole thing versus zipper up; again, whoever made those should be hung next to the other guy (because, come on, single non-Dad guys must have come up with these things, either that or some dingbat 22 year old girl with no kids/no kids experience with an IQ of 78 did).  Pacifiers – buy them in bulk once you know which nipple style your newborn prefers.  Bulk, I say!!  Store them everywhere; diaper bags, purses, cars, drawers, pockets, cribs.

Let’s talk cleanliness.  More along the lines of the definition of cleanliness.  Here is a very common conversation at our house these days:  “Is it clean?”  “Clean enough.”  “Ok, then it’ll work fine.”  You’ll learn that spit up mostly dries clear, but if you’re going somewhere it is best to wear a lighter colored shirt in the event of the Spit Up occurrence.  Or better yet, bring a spare.  And everything should be wash and dry; not hand wash or lay flat to dry.  There is no time for that nonsense!

Diapers.  Do not skimp on these.  Enough said.

Gas drops.  YES.   Very convenient to buy several bottles to keep in various places throughout the house.  Don’t forget to put one in the diaper bag.  And don’t forget to buy the dye-free kind.

Diaper bags.  Yes, duh.  But please skip the frilly ones, not to mention they are horrendous IMO.  Get something your husband can also take with him without feeling like you just took his manhood away.  Straight black works great.

Here are some Nice-to-Have’s.  Car seat carrier cover; prevents little old ladies from touching your sleeping baby at the grocery store.  Customized luggage tags with the name/address to attach to a diaper bag(s), since they all look alike at the gym child care watch.  Monthly stickers for monthly baby pictures are neat, super cute, and not expensive.  Etsy is a wonderful place to order tags and stickers and seat covers, and anything else Baby; darn you ETSY!  A lotion warmer and a wipe warmer; these are nice but completely unnecessary (although I must admit I am getting my very own lotion warmer because this thing is FABULOUS!).  Let’s talk about Baby Brezza.  This thing is amazing!  It’s basically a Keurig for making bottles.  THIS thing is the best superfluous item we bought, hands down.  It’s great especially at 2 am.  You push a button, and VIOLA your bottle is made.

Most important piece of advise I can give you….  Enjoy every, single quiet moment holding your newborn that you can muster.  (I know at some point you will have to pee or put him down to eat a granola bar you have stashed in your nursery.)  Look at that tiny little face, memorize it.  Look at every eye lash, curve of their ears, how their little chin looks, their little button nose.  Hold their impossibly small little hands.  Breathe them into you.  These are moments you never get back.  I know you want your little one to be smiling, giggling, crawling, walking, eating cake.  But don’t rush this.  Seriously.  Stop now.  Look at your baby (or maybe your toddler or high schooler or grown up baby); everything else can wait a minute or two.   Plus, all of that other stuff will come in due time.

I’ve probably forgotten a few things, but hopefully I’ve hit the biggies.  Hey, I’m doing great if I remember to pack my lunch for work, or when Hunter last ate.  I cannot put into words how tremendously blessed we feel with Hunter in our lives.  Every day gets cooler and his place in our hearts just keeps getting bigger, as if somehow that’s possible.

One month picture with his teddy bear!

One month picture with his teddy bear!

First Valentine's Day

First Valentine’s Day

Scoping out Mom

Scoping out Mom

Got his traveling hat on!

Got his traveling hat on!

CU's Cutest Fan EVER

CU’s Cutest Fan EVER

Two Month Picture

Two Month Picture

First St. Patrick's Day

First St. Patrick’s Day

Bundled up and ready for the cold outside!

Bundled up and ready for the cold outside!

Cutie Pie

Cutie Pie

Mom IS the boss!

Mom IS the boss!

Three month picture! Growing like a weed!

Three month picture! Growing like a weed!

Such a clean eater!

Such a clean eater!

He smiles ALL the time now!

He smiles ALL the time now!

Got his camping outfit on!

Got his camping outfit on!

Sitting up in his new chair!

Sitting up in his new chair!

Four month picture! He laughs and giggles all the time - music to our ears!

Four month picture! He laughs and giggles all the time – music to our ears!

I "moustache" you a question!

I “moustache” you a question!

Daddy holding Hunter's feet during a photo shoot at our home.

Daddy holding Hunter’s feet during a photo shoot at our home.

 

Welcome Hunter!

We are very excited to announce that we have a new family member!  Hunter joined our family on January 15, 2016 and we could not be any happier!  We adopted Hunter out of our state of Colorado, so we were gone about two weeks all told.  The birth mom was induced and finally Hunter was born very healthy via C-section; I was honored to be in the surgery room with her and got to watch our son be born, which is indescribable.  Some pics are below.  And believe me there will be more to come.  We are now home and settling into our new life as a family.  Sometimes when I look at him it’s hard to believe that we have another little human being in our family sharing our home.

A week before Hunter was born, we got to know his birth mom even better.  While it was a roller coaster in emotions, we are so very glad we got to know her better.  She is a very brave woman, with an incredible sense of humor and a great mom to her two existing children, whom we had the pleasure of meeting.  There were many hours in a hospital of us sharing a room, so we had plenty of time to get to know each other.  It was cool to see her become more at ease the more we talked and got to know one another.  She believes Hunter was put here on earth by the good Lord, and that Hunter is here to be our son.  Her son, 8 years old, gave Hunter the teddy bear he had when he was a baby.  The whole week was emotional, but we knew we made the right connection and the birth mom was made to be in our lives.  Another sign on how God knows what He’s doing.

We are so blessed, so very blessed.  Lord, thank you for all You have done, and for a beautiful child.  We have learned to have patience, and faith during this whole process.  I gave my worry over to God several times.  I was also mad at God at times.  I knew He would never abandon me, nor would I Him, but yes – there were times I was plenty mad at Him.  Then I realized, it was me who was the sinner and the one who needed to place my faith in Him during this whole process.

There will be more to come.  More family updates.  More pictures.  More smiles.  More tears.  More hugs.  More.  And THANK YOU for all of the prayers, tears, worry, happiness and well wishes during this journey.  We had more than expected and are so happy to be so blessed with so many good people in our life.

Welcome to the world Hunter!

Welcome to the world Hunter!

First crooked smile. Day two. Took some special, one handed camera work to take this picture!!

First crooked smile. Day two. Took some special, one handed camera work to take this picture!!

Maybe it's just his parents' view, but THIS is the MOST beautiful baby ever!

Maybe it’s just his parents’ view, but THIS is the MOST beautiful baby ever!

Baby yawns.....am I right?

Baby yawns…..am I right?

He found out he could work his mouth, and does this A LOT!

He found out he could work his mouth, and does this A LOT!

Our two "guard" dogs one early morning during Momma's shift. Good thing they are cheap labor!

Our two “guard” dogs one early morning during Momma’s shift. Good thing they are cheap labor!

First sleep in his crib. Fully monitored and with a shusher app going! Finally sleeping!!

First sleep in his crib. Fully monitored and with a shusher app going! Finally sleeping!!

Two weeks old. Looks like he's doing some John Travolta Staying Alive pose.

Two weeks old. Looks like he’s doing some John Travolta Staying Alive pose.

 

 

A Great Adoption Book and a Sweet Newborn Blog

As I sit on my comfy couch after the holidays, I thought this was a great idea to put a new post on our blog.  We found a wonderful book for prospective adoptive parents to give their family and friends, or recommend for them to at least read it complimentary of the library or a Kindle version.  The book is titled, “What Adoptive Parents Would Like You To Know About Adoption.”  It’s written by a woman who has adopted a few children with her husband, and provides advice and guidance for friends and family of adoptive parents.  We’ve been reading it, and I gotta say…..it’s awesome.  It addresses current adoption topics (not past ones, like how to keep your adoption a secret), and does a gentle job of pointing out the Do’s and Don’ts.  What to say and what NOT to say.  It’s amazing how seemingly insensitive people can be when you tell them you’re adopting, when you’re matched, when you bring the new baby home, etc.  And most of the time it’s not intentional, it’s simply people not thinking before speaking.  Very common these days.  Anyway, if you know someone who is adoption, working on their home study, or matched with a birth mom, I strongly recommend this book to you.  It is a quick and easy ready.

The second cool thing I wanted to share with you was a sweet blog I stumbled along the information highway, www.lucieslist.com.  This lady is hilarious and her writing style is easy to read, and no BS.  She coins this blog as a survival guide for new moms.  You can sign up for her humorous but informative e-newsletter, which is quick and to the point, delivered weekly.  Her baby product reviews are awesome and she provides TRUE and GENUINE perspective on things like carriers and strollers.  She has over 220,000 subscribers, and I hope she gets even more!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday season!  Cheers to a fun and healthy 2016!

What a Great Quote

There are times I wish I was witty and could come up with such words of wisdom.  Or be a Hallmark card writer.  Dang those folks nail it every time!  But I am not that way.  Instead, I borrow.

I read this the other day………Thanks FaceBook for the occasional gem.  Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.  I can’t tell you the number of times I started doubting this whole adoption thing.  Are we fit parents?  Do I want to give up my Sunday nap times?  Are we doing the right thing?

We planted this adoption in faith, and we’re not digging it up.  Here’s to staying firmly planted.

DigUpDoubt-635x450

Adoption Story Told From the Birth Mom’s Perspective

This young lady’s video is quite moving!  She placed her child for adoption a few years ago when she was a teenager.  What an amazing story!  I think it’s important to recognize those very brave birth moms that place their child for adoption, that chose a selfless path as opposed to abortion.  I also think it’s important for the general population out there to recognize those birth moms and birth dads don’t give their baby up.  They PLACE their child.  Even as short ago as this past spring, I watched a sitcom where the family’s young teenage daughter chose adoption for her baby, but every time on the screen, it was phrased “well, I give up my baby” or “you chose to give up your baby.”  It was “give up this” and “give up that.”  It was insensitive, and I found it grating on my nerves a bit so I changed the channel.

Each adoption story is different.  But watching just this one, I think it could bring sensitivity to the general public, along with helping to remove those ignorant phrases like “give up.”  Enjoy.

 

 

What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting

For those women and couples experiencing the joys and pains of pregnancy, there is a fat, hefty book that has been around for decades outlining in minute detail on what the new parents should be expecting, from conception to birth.  I think we all know the name of this book, so I’ll skip out on the name here.  But it was the inspiration for my blog post today.

But what if you’re not pregnant, but expecting to be parents via adoption?  Then what should you expect?

Since going through this adoption process, going on now almost two years, we have accumulated some unique expectations.  Ones that really make one wonder “Am I doing the right thing?  What is God trying to tell us?”  I’ll do my best to sum up some of our expectations with the disclaimer that these expectations are not set in stone; they are not a week-by-week outline of waiting to adopt that will be experienced by all.

Initially, expect total joy, hope, and jubilation when you first decide to adopt.  After all, you have decided to have a baby!  How exciting!  Expect this to continue through the home study, and even the first few months after you’re approved.  You’ve looked at the numbers, you’ve reviewed agencies.  You’re ready and full of hope.

During those first few months after your home study is completed and you’re considered “approved and worthy parents” expect to want to evaluate everything for your baby.  Diapers.  Bottles (is plastic truly safe?).  Formula – oh my gosh – you could make a career out of reviewing formula and their individual ingredients.  Sheets.  Cribs.  Changing tables.  Bassinets (do you get one?   what do the experts say?).  Detergents (skip the fancy baby detergent and use “free” detergent – it’s the same and it’s more affordable).  Strollers.  Baby monitors.  Car seats.  Expect brain overload.

And expect everybody to give you their opinion, advice, and feedback on adoption and how to parent a newborn.

Once the newness has worn off, and you’ve researched to death every single thing you can possibly think of and dream up, expect to be anxious.  Expect to want to know “when.”  Expect some disappointment that you, the perfect dream couple with the perfect profile book, haven’t been picked yet and that things are going slower than you thought they would go.  Honestly, expect disappointment with your agency.  Even though you interviewed every agency and thought you “picked the very best one” once you pay them their first big fee, they usually don’t contact you unless you were chosen by a birth mom (it’s been 20 months since we were approved, if that gives you any idea the radio-silence you could experience).  If you want contact with your agency and case worker, YOU will have to initiate it and you will have to take the lead on regular meetings and updates.

Expect boredom.  Even if you have the world’s busiest job.  Find a hobby.  During this wait time, I learned how to knit.  Being an avid crocheter, learning to knit was like learning a new language.  But I’ve mastered it and made some pretty cool stuff – all in effort to try to occupy my time and brain.

Expect anger.  Initially you had this all perfectly laid out.  If you’re like me, in life you set a goal and then you achieve it.  You expected to be picked by now.  You expected to have a beautiful newborn in your arms.  And by now, your expectations have been smashed.  I was even mad at God.  He will not abandon me, nor will I Him.  I didn’t leave Him; it’s not like I was about to bail out on God simply because things were not going my way.  But darn it – I was plenty peeved at Him.  I was mad about the whole process; I was mad about how slow things were moving with our agency.  Every time I read about a mom or dad killing their baby, leaving their baby in a hot car, or a toddler taken away because their parents were on drugs and child services had to get involved – I thought (and still do!) “Seriously????  I have been carefully screened and deemed worthy to be a parent but this ding-dong gets to have a baby of their own, and they do this????”  Not to mention what’s been happening at Planned Parenthood.  Expect sadness.  And a heavy heart sometimes.

As you get further down the road, sometimes with very little progress, about a year and a half after being home study approved, expect doubt. Expect to start doubting if you were meant to be parents.  Doubting that God’s plan for you includes being parents.  You will begin questioning where you’re supposed to be going, and what you’re supposed to be doing.  What is God trying to tell you???  You’ve read all of the Bible versus about waiting, and releasing doubt because God’s at work.  And you really do try to “let go” but if you’re a control enthusiast such as myself, it’s a daily battle.  Also, if you waited to have a family, expect to doubt that decision.  Oh my gosh – did we wait too long?  What have we done?

Expect frustration when you have to renew all of your home study pieces.  Local, state, and FBI background checks.  Annual renewal of your home study itself, and the big fee that comes with it.  Renewing your physicians statements.  Another home visit to ensure you’re still providing a “worthy” home.  Refreshing your financial statements.  Is your CPR certification up to date?  And the list goes on and on.

Expect sadness.  You know you were meant to be a mommy or daddy.  You KNOW it in your heart.  Why isn’t it happening?  Why isn’t this the part of life where it could be “fair” to have a child?  Why are you being cheated and robbed of a family experience?  Why why why???

Then expect some type of renewed hope.  Hey, you’ve been waiting for awhile now.  When you boil all of this down, you realize a few things.  This truly is a numbers game.  Ask any sales person……the No you hear today is one more closer to a Yes.  God is at work.  You start saying positive affirmations every morning, and for some wild reason, it seems to be working.  You’ve stopped sitting around doing nothing, and have started helping yourself along side God.  For us, that was starting to work with a consulting firm.

Expect sleepless nights.  Expect tossing and turning.  While we knew we were being shown to a birth mom, we knew we couldn’t speed up the process.  We had to wait.  This is when you either go back to your new hobby or you watch mindless crime-TV or silly Alaska shows on Discovery.  During this wait, you will experience all of the emotions I’ve talked about thus far.

Expect panic.  Some birth moms are due within a month or two after being shown profiles.  You’re ready though; you know it.  By now, you have researched EVERYTHING; you’ve been purchasing diapers.  You have outfits ready.  You have diaper cream, wipes, bottles, formula, a crib, onesies, a nose sucker, a special thermometer, a car seat………….You have it all.  What you don’t have is a commitment.  But once that possible reality stares you in the face, the reality you could have a beautiful baby God made for you in your home in less than 60 days……..Panic.  Sheer panic.  And some doubt – what if you’re not ready???  Then you have the internal teeter totter conversation……….Of course you’re ready.  Breathe.

Expect the unexpected.  I hate saying that – it’s so cliche.  Blech.  Nobody wants to hear it.  But sometimes you need to hear what you don’t want to hear.  Even though we’ve experienced these expectations, they may or may not be applicable to all couples waiting to adopt.  Some couples are selected by a birth mom within a few months of being home study approved.  Some couples wait six months, some less than a year.  Some wait three or four years.  While these expectations are what we have experienced, everybody is different.  However, after talking with other adoptive couples, they seem fairly common.  I keep being told “oh this will soon be a distant memory,” (which at some point will make you want to strangle someone).  So I now expect and envision being selected by a wonderful and selfless birth mom.  And being an awesome mom, and Sean an awesome dad. Fingers crossed.

 

Little Upgrade

With all my blog-learning, I have implemented two updates to our site.  One, we now have a Pin-it for Pinterest!  Yes, ladies, you can pin stuff onto your Pinterest board from our blog site.  Secondly, I updated our “About Us” with a photo.  I cannot say that is my favorite photo of us, but it’s tough to find one because we’re not exactly the most photogenic couple in town.  🙂

I hope you enjoy the updates, as minor as they are.  And our “latest and greatest” update covering the past few weekends!  It has been a busy busy busy time!  Remember, keep calm and carry on!

 

Wonderful Article

I just read this article and I am asking my close friends and family to read it.  It is well written, and makes many good points.  Two main points that really stuck out to me were:  1) adoption does not define the person.  Yes, they are adopted, but they are SOOOOO many other things.  This is very much in line with what Sean and I have talked about ….yes, they are adopted, but they are also a Spradling, they could also be a doctor, construction worker, plumber, ballerina and the list could go on.  2) to not bad mouth the birth family in front of your adopted child.  I know a couple, close to us, who adopted two beautiful girls.  The older girl’s mom has struggled in staying straight, off drugs, off the street, etc.  And it would be easy to say “yeah, well, your mom’s using drugs again and can’t keep her life in order.”  Hopefully this hasn’t happened, but I could see someone who might be a bit ignorant to adoption saying something.  That’s why I’m asking YOU to please read this article.  It’s five minutes out of your life where you’ll learn something important to me, and thousands of other folks.  Thank you in advance!

Great Article on what an Adoptee Wants you to Know

New look and new graphics

So, I’m trying this new website, www.canva.com, to design some graphics.  No, I’m not a graphic designer, but I’m giving it a whirl.  Some things are free and some cost at this website, and for now I’m going free!  Well, except there are some darn cute graphics that I might spend the $1 apiece.  I know, I’m such a big spender…..Hope you enjoy future postings on here!

Hello world!

worththewait

This was too cute not to post!  So true!

Welcome to the Spradling family!  We are Sean and Carolynn of southern Colorado, and are in the midst of our adoption journey!  We enjoy the outdoors, traveling, family, friends, sports (Go Broncos!), running, cooking, and the list could go on.  We hope you enjoy our site and welcome any feedback and comments.

God Bless,

Sean & Carolynn

“We prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted what we asked of Him.” 1 Samuel 1:27