Sunday, November 4, 2012

8 Days of Adoption: A = Agency

Howdy Y'all!

November is National Adoption Month so I thought I would write a few posts on the subject just in case people have questions about it.  I have "borrowed" this idea from a fellow blogger and I hope she doesn't mind.  You can find her blog here...

So, for my next 8 posts, I will take a letter in ADOPTION and write about it.

Do's and Don'ts
Open or Closed
I'm Not in Control
Ongoing Communication
Next Steps for Us

So first topic up is our Agency.  We used American Adoptions and had a great experience.  There are lots of options out there to adopt children.  You can go domestic or international.  You can go through Foster Care or a private adoption.  You can go through an agency or a lawyer.  You can go with a small agency or a national one.  There are pros and cons to each option and it really all depends your needs on which is best for you.

There are a few reasons why I liked American Adoptions from the get-go...they have a presence here in Arkansas.  They actually have an office in the neighboring town so I felt like if I ever needed anything I could just go there.  I also loved that our money was safe because they have a guarantee if an adoption is disrupted.  This did happen to us (detailed more in another post) and I believe that we got back every bit of our money except $150.  It was a great security blanket knowing that our money was safe.

Some of the pros of a national agency: they can place lots of babies in a year with adopting families, your money is safe, they are experts in the field and they can facilitate adoptions all over the country.  Adoption laws vary in each state and they have experts (or use expert adoption lawyers) in every state.

If you want a more personal touch, small agencies would be the best for you.  I am not saying that we didn't have a good experience with American Adoptions, but since they facilitate so many adoptions a year and they are all over the United States, they are not present during the birth and your stay at the hospital.  They will work with the social worker at the hospital to be your point of contact - but your experience will vary based on the expertise at the hospital.  In our case, we had a terrible experience (detailed in a later post) and a great one.  One hospital was experienced in adoptions and the other one had never dealt with one.  With some small agencies, they will be there at your meeting with the birth mom and they will be there at the birth.  Some cons of these types of agencies is the number of birth moms that come to them and they can't take on a long list of potential adopting parents.  They are also usually only licensed in a few states so if you live in a state where they aren't licensed, you can't use them  because of the adoption law.

Going through a lawyer might be a bit cheaper than using an agency, but the average wait time may increase and if you have a disrupted adoption, your money may not be refunded.  We didn't research this option too much as we had some friends that had gone this route and had a terrible experience.

The cheapest option (but potentially the hardest emotional option) is Foster to Adopt.   I don't know if we could do this or not.  Years ago, Tony and I did go to a meeting about becoming a Foster Parents, but we didn't get a good vibe so we didn't pursue that route.  We did learn that you can specify what ages of children you would take and how many children you would want to foster at a time.  I just don't think I could have the heart to give a child back to its parents that may or may not be fitting to parent a child.  To me, there is just too much sadness that I couldn't take.

Overall, we had a great experience with our agency and we would certainly use them again.

Here is a pic of Harper and our social worker with American Adoptions at our last post-placement visit last November.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Whoo-laween!

Howdy Y'all!

Yesterday, Tony and I took Harper out for her first trick-or-treating and she did a few cute things that I need to write down so I don't forget.

Harper came up to the Walmart Home Office yesterday afternoon...and my boss LOVES "Baby Harper".  She told Harper to keep adding candy to her bucket so Harper would grab two handfuls at a time.  This went on for a few rounds - she then thought this is what you were supposed to do at each stop.  You mean you are not supposed to fill up half your bucket in one stop?  :)

Harper then turned the corner to the next stop and she put her hands in the candy and tried to put two handfuls of candy in her bucket.  I stopped her and told her she could only have one.  I was so convinced she was listening to me when she returned all the candy into the container UNTIL she then took the container by the handle and tried walking off with it.  You said ONE, didn't say it couldn't be one CONTAINER.  ha!  Silly girl!

We walked around to a few more areas within our finance organization and one of the teams tried to hand Harper some chocolate to put in her bucket and she wasn't having it.  She spotted some lemon cookies that one of the guys had brought in and insisted on having one of those instead.  She is a stubborn one, but pretty adorable too!

Last night as we were waiting for Daddy to lock up the house and bring around her transportation for the night, one little owl wasn't being very patient.  I guess even owls have to cry sometimes.

When the trick-or-treating finally got underway, Harper really got into it, but I think she loved the dogs that greeted her on the porch or at the door more than the candy.  Actually, I know she loved them more.  We always had to spend some extra time at each house where there was a dog.  She even talked one of the elderly couples in our neighborhood into bringing their dog outside so she could pet it.  She would not leave their porch until she saw their "dog-dog", but she does have one of those faces you can't resist so I completely understand.

Poor Harper just couldn't understand why we would be knocking on peoples doors and not go inside.  When our neighbors would answer the door and give her candy, she would then try to continue to go inside their house.  That cracked me up a little bit, but I guess I can understand her confusion.  I mean, why would you go to someones door and not come in.

The final cute thing Harper did was around her candy, but she doesn't really know what candy is outside of suckers.  She was given a sucker at one house and she carried it to the next house instead of putting it in her bucket.  When the next house gave her another sucker, she tried putting the other sucker in their candy bowl.  Sweet girl was offering up a trade...her old sucker for a new sucker.  At least the sucker was still in the wrapper and not a gooey used one.  ha!

We had a fun afternoon/night and Harper did great...and might I add that I think she was the cutest owl on the block.


Monday, October 22, 2012

16 Months Old Comes Awfully Fast

Howdy Y'all!

My sweet little angel is already 16 months old!  How in the world did we ever get here...time flies fast!

Harper wears size 18 or 24m clothes and size 5 shoes.  Our favorite store brand is The Gap and our favorite internet shopping is Sweet Chic-A-Dee on facebook.  Harper's momma has a weakness for cute clothes.  :)  She is also wearing a size 4 Pampers Cruisers diaper.

We are LOVING the weather lately!  It is perfect park weather and Harper loves, loves, loves going to park in our neighborhood.  I think she would stay on the slide and swing for hours on end if we would let her.

Harper's vocabulary has continued to grow - I said "Oh Man" the other day and she copied me and it might have been the cutest thing ever.  I love hearing it in her little twang.  We have also taught her to say Trick or Treat...we have to be prepared for Halloween night so we started early to make sure she had it down.

Harper is OBSESSED with E-L-M-O!  When Tony and I talk about him around her, we have to spell out Elmo's name.  Sometimes the first word out of her month in the morning is Elmo.  She wants to see Elmo morning, noon and night.  I have an Elmo Calls app on my phone and I think that is what has started the obsession.  She now has lots of Elmo books and a couple of Elmo DVDs too.  We went to my parent's house this weekend and as soon as she spotted the remote, she picked it up, handed it to my dad and said Elmo.  Oh boy, we have an Elmo stalker on our hands!

Harper loves food - but sometimes she loves food and then hates it and then loves it again.  Mac and Cheese and bananas continue to be her favorite foods.  She also loves goldfish as a snack.  She sips on milk, watered down apple juice and water throughout the day.

She has two best friends - unfortunately, they both live in Texas and we live in Arkansas.  Harper loves her cousin Ava and her other BFF Kenley.  When she sees their pictures, she will call out "Abba", aka Ava, and Kenley.  It is just so adorable to see them together - they have a ton of fun together.

Harper makes me laugh just about daily and we are so happy she is in our life.  She makes our lives complete.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Good 'Til The Last Drop

Howdy Y'all!

I have been giving Harper a fork when I put fruit or vegetables on her tray, but I have never really given her a spoon before because of the mess I knew it could create.  However, I know she has to learn at some point so tonight was the night.  Enter one cup of greek yogurt, one spoon and one cute little girl.

She did pretty good if you ignore the yogurt on her face...and her leg...and her belly.  :)  I guess we should do it more often so she can get the hang of it.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

15 Months Old

Howdy Y'all!

Look whooooooo's 15 months old!

It is so amazing how much she has grown in the last year.  She was such a little squirt back then - and now she is just a bigger "little" squirt.

Harper is growing into a funny, adorable little girl with a stubborn streak every now and then.  That every now and then comes out at dinner when she loves to throw food on the floor when she is done eating it...ugh!  However, all the giggles, hugs and kisses and all the funny things she does totally makes up for it!

She is wearing 18 month clothes and wears a size 5 shoe.  And, we are so excited about the changing weather so we can wear all of her cute long-sleeve stuff!

She is quite the chatterbox, but only on her own terms.  If you ask her to say a word, most likely she isn't going to say it, but she has about a 40-word vocabulary right now.  One of the newest words to that list is purple - it is cute hearing her say it over and over again.

Some of her favorite things are her Animal and Gonzo (from The Muppets) stuffed animals and her baby dolls.  She loves to put them to bed - she will lay them down on their stomachs, put a blanket over them, pat them on the back and then tell us to shhhh.  She will then wake them up immediately and start all over again.

Harper is still only rockin' 4 teeth, but I can see the 5th one on the horizon...but she doesn't let that get in her way!  She loves her food...especially yogurt raisins and fruit.  Her favorites change from day to day though so sometimes it is hard to keep up.

We are going to her 15 month appointment tomorrow so I don't know her stats, but I think she is somewhere around 26 lbs and 32 inches long.  I guess we will see how accurate I am tomorrow.

I can't believe the 15 months have flown by so quickly - we can't wait to see what the future holds!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

If I Were A Boy...

Howdy Y'all!

If I Were A Boy...

...I would rock an awesome faux-hawk and...

...make a mean face!

But, seriously mom, can we put a bow on it???


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cutest Little Sous Chef

Howdy Y'all!

I grew up in a house where my mom was not really a baker or a cook, but I have certain memories about baking from my childhood.

My Memaw died when I was very young, but I actually vaguely remember baking with her.  Maybe my memories come from the stories I have heard, but I would sit on the counter and bake with her.

And, when my mom did bake, there was always the tradition of licking the beaters and the bowl.  My sister and I would have to share, of course, and I learned the trick that while the beaters were just cool, the bowl had much more to offer.  :)

I want Harper to grow up with memories like this too and it is never too early to make them.  I let Harper bang on the bowl with the measuring cups while I made some banana bread on Saturday and she had the best time.  I love making memories with her!