Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Life is Significantly Different Since the Last Time I Posted

Well, it's December 31st...last day of, I though I'd get one last post in before 2012, because well, A LOT has happened here at the end of the year. Why have I not posted before now?...I've been an absolute crazy woman from October to December 25th, during which I had not a single clear thought and any spare time (there wasn't any, but if there was...) I spent it breathing into a paper sack.

So here's a quickish summary of what we've been up to...

Sometime in September we turned in our initial paper work to New Life Adoption Agency to begin the process of adoption.

Sometime in October we turned in our official application to New Life which included medical history, statement of faith, how we became Christians, why we want to adopt and lots of other essays and papers to fill out.

Then we had to wait over a month to hear if we were accepted as New Life family.

The weekend before Thanksgiving we moved into our house! I had forgotten how much I LOVE LIVING IN A HOUSE!!!!!

Home Sweet little casita!
I'll post some more pictures tomorrow. The outside looks a little different from when I took this picture and I'll take some pictures of the inside, but I have to clean first! ;)

Okay, so at this point, we were getting moved in, finally feeling at home, but I couldn't relax too much cause Christmas was right around the corner and I hadn't begun any of my shopping or decorating.

Just as the stockings were being hung, we got an email from New Life saying that we had been accepted as a New Life family but we needed to come in for an initial meeting after the New Year to make sure we were all on the same page regarding open adoption. (New Life requires that the families commit to maintain communication with the birth mom with pictures and letters.) Well, as you can imagine, we were tickled to pieces to be that much closer to adopting, and taking the next step in January sounded perfect, because, as I said, Christmas was pounding on my wreathless front door.

About a week later, we got a call from one of the ladies at New Life. She wanted to go ahead and meet with us before the New Year. Well, of course we would meet! would be nice to meet face-to-face finally and talk about what January would look like. So we went to the meeting. We confirmed our desire to have an open adoption and everything was going great. And then...just as I was about to wish her a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, she explained to us that she wanted us to get all of our home study completed in December.

After I quit choking, I blinked away my panicked eyes, smiled and said, "Um...Of Course! So you think maybe, that week after Christmas?" Surely she means the week after Christmas!

"No, no,"she says, "I can't that week. How about the week before?"

This time the panic could not be blinked away, and it's possible a mild swear fell out of my mouth, but because we are anxious to adopt our sweet baby and because we don't really know who we are unless things are completely insane, we agreed to complete all of our paperwork, inspections, photographs, video and home visit the Thursday before Christmas.

So...two weeks before Christmas:
- we had to finish MOVING IN!
- get ready for Christmas and Christmas events that I had already planned
- and complete a 26 item checklist of things to do before our home study on the 22nd

Long story short (too late)...we did it! I mean...there were lots of tears, some spells with irritable bowel syndrom, and I consumed about 15 gallons of Starbucks Iced Black tea, but we did it! We got the house ready, the nursery (sort of) set up, Christmas presents under the tree, dinner parties hosted and attended and every item on our adoption checklist done...minus our infant CPR and reading requirements.

We finished our home study Thursday.
Had a Christmas Eve Eve Service on Friday.
Went to Sugar Land to be with my family on Christmas Eve.
Spent Christmas Day with Casey's family.
Came home on Monday.
Been pretty much a recluse ever since. Seriously. I've slept a lot. Cleaned a lot. Cooked a lot (which didn't really happen the other 3 weeks of December). Played Wii a lot. Vegged a lot.
Lord, how I needed it. In fact, we may make that a Cease family spend the week between Christmas and New Years at home...resting and recovering and rejuvenating, preparing for the next year. Now, I feel ready for 2012 and the idea of going out into the world and seeing other people doesn't make me want to cry.

So there you have it, friends. We moved from our apartment to our beautiful new house and we could be adopting any time now. Or it could be a year from now. Who knows? We're back to waiting. But, I will say, even though those two weeks were some of the craziest weeks of my life, I am so thankful that the Lord has moved us through the process so quickly. Our part is (mostly) done. Now it's just up to Him to bring our profile to the the right birth mom. Then this family of three will finally be four! I can't wait!

Happy New Year everyone!
(And by everyone I mean, mom...since you're probably the only one still checking my blog. ;)


Amber said...

I must admit that I couldn't remember whose blog this was when it popped up on my Google Reader, but I am so glad I read it! I love your updates, even if we never meet again in person. Your home is beautiful - can't wait to see the inside and I am so excited for you about the adoption process. We just had some friends/fellow missionaries finalize their adoption today so I guess it is on my mind! Much love! Amber

Traci said...

Ha, ha! Your mom is your only reader! Congratulations on starting adoption. That's great. I was adopted at birth and am still happy with my parents. Open adoption sounds intriging and I pray for a great relationship for your family and the birth mama. Way to go on all that prep, I would have failed miserably!!

The Jett's said...

Awww yay!! So excited for y'all!! Have a Happy New Year!! And come see us soon!!

Cynthia said...

Your new house is beautiful! I can imagine you were more than ready to own a home again. If your decorating is anything like your Brenham house, I will surely be inspired!

That is very exciting news about how quickly your process has gone with New Life. It's been incredible to learn how many families we know here in Austin as well as in Houston who have been blessed with babies through that agency. God is doing a great work through them and I'm so anxious to see how God will bless you all as well. Blessings to you friend, and Happy New Year.

mandi said...

Oh Steph!
You have been so much on my heart lately, and I think I can see why now!
Way to get all your stuff done! I mean, I know that is A LOT to do!
Can't wait to see more of the house- love you guys!

Jenny said...

I too have to say that I am not an attentive blogger, but I have been keeping an eye out for my favorite blogs and was happy to see yours come up on my Reader. But oh, my, your news is certainly BIG news and I pray for all your new changes and the adoption. God Bless y'all.

Abbie said...

This is SUCH exciting news!! We are at the exact same spot in our adoption: Homestudy done, just waiting on the rest of fundraising before we can be matched with a birth mom. What an experience. So excited for you guys!

Brad and Carrie said...

This post made brought me much joy! Excited for you guys and the next few steps the Lord has for you.

Caryn said...

I'm so excited for you all! I can't wait to see all the wonderful things that God has in store for your family this year!

Team Torres said...

Just found your blog. Not much of a blogger, but I enjoy reading them. I had know idea you guys had so much going on in December! Glad you made it through! Praying for you as you wait 'patiently'. :-)

Marissa Torres