Fall Fashion!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Happy Thursday!!!

Today Emily and I are discussing Fall Fashion, so I'm going to pretend it's not 95 degrees out (like it currently is) and pretend it's 60 degrees instead!

I've been pinning a few fall inspiration looks.  I'm pretty much getting away from printed clothing (except for a few pieces) and leaning more toward solids.  Y'all know my love for Meghan Markle, and if you take a look at her clothing from the last 7 years or so, you'll notice a shift toward solids.  While I love prints, like Lilly Pulitzer, I'm finding as I get older, the more I love solid pieces because they tend to look more classic.

Today I'm sharing a few of my fall inspiration looks and links to similar pieces!

What article of clothing are you looking to invest in this fall?

Link up with us today and don't forget to join next Thursday, too!

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Adoption Q&A

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Last weekend I asked for questions regarding adoption, so I'm answering those today!  I really didn't know a lot about the process before we started and I have learned SO MUCH since experiencing it.

1.Best part? Easiest? Hardest?
The best part is having Harrison!  I don't know if there's an easy part to adoption.  It's all pretty difficult...from the paperwork, money, decisions, etc.  The hardest part was waiting and feeling like you were at the mercy of someone else waiting on them to pick you.

2. What made you choose domestic over international?
Lots of prayer, but we really wanted a newborn baby.  We knew domestic would allow that, so that was our only criteria.  We were open to any race.

3. Would you adopt again?
Yes!!!  Although probably not in the same way since it was extremely expensive.  I say all this knowing that God is in control of how our family is built, but I desperately desire to give Harrison a sibling (or two!).

4. What is your relationship like with the birth mom now?
Very good!  We were blessed with an amazing birth family.  Dustin and I were so nervous to meet Harrison's birth parents the day we got to the hospital, but our conversations with them were so easy and flowed so well that we knew we'd be friends forever.

5. How did you pay for the cost of the adoption?
Once we decided to adopt, this was something Dustin was the most nervous about because adoption is EXPENSIVE.  Our goal was to fundraise $35,000 and at one point, someone close to us was skeptical of our adoption goal because they thought it was excessive--I'm not sure if they thought we were going to picket the money????  But $35k was not our max budget for the adoption, it was our fundraising goal because we felt we could swing the rest of the cost with our savings.

God blessed us with some really amazing people who gave sacrificially to our adoption.  Sometimes we would get money from people we hadn't talked to in forever!  Then we had a few fundraisers (t-shirt sales, bbq plates, mini photo sessions, yard sale) and those were pretty successful.  I applied for multiple grants and we received 3 small ones (we didn't really qualify for many grants, unfortunately).  And then we ended up taking out a loan for the rest of what we owed.

6. Scriptures to pray regarding adoption
Praying Scripture was the only thing that kept me sane some of the time.  The one Scripture that I repeated constantly (and even kept on an index card in my purse) was Isaiah 26: 3-4 "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trust in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock."  I needed to rest in the truth of keeping my focus on God and not myself or our situation because I worried and stressed at times.

7. When the first failed match happened, you mentioned losing money.  Can you explain that?
When you adopt domestically, some of the cost is paying for the birth mother's (or family) rent, utilities, groceries, cell phone bill, maternity clothing, etc.  The federal government views that as a gift, so if a match fails, that money can't be given back because it's a gift.  You also lose any money paid toward lawyer fees, paperwork fees, agency fees, etc.  We lost a good bit of money when the first birth mom changed her mind, and while it was hard in the moment, if she didn't, then we wouldn't have Harrison.

8. How long did you wait for the home study to be approved?
A week or two max?  Once we mailed off our home study, it didn't take long at all--but it felt like forever when you're ready to be active haha!

9. How were you able to share photos immediately?  Most I've seen have to wait until finalized.
I've learned that each state is different with its adoption laws (and I really think it'd be nice to have one federal adoption law).  Since we follow Texas law even though we're in Alabama (since that's where Harrison was born), Texas law allowed us to share pictures as soon as his birth parents signed away their parental rights.  In Texas, that's allowed 48 hours (or 72...I can't remember??) after the baby is born.  In Harrison's situation, we got to him when he was 4 days old so we were able to share pictures immediately.

10. Do we go with private agency or state-based?  Or foster to adopt?
I think that all depends on your budget and your availability.  I would suggest talking with people who have adopted from different outlets to see what would fit your family best.

11. What was the most unexpected part of the adoption process?
I've mentioned this before, but I was so ready for us to be considered "active" which meant that we would see profiles of birth mothers and say yes or no to showing them our profile book.  I was pretty naive and didn't think about the hardships and tragedy that brought upon adoption.  I remember getting the first emails and opening them while sitting at the kitchen table, reading them, and then crying because of the situation of why these women were choosing adoption.  That prompted me to not only pray over our yes or no for each situation, but to also pray for all birth mothers of cases we read because their lives were hard.

My Thoughts on Adoption

Monday, September 9, 2019

Adoption is a beautiful thing. 

 It is a beautiful earthly picture of the Gospel--in which, dead in our sin with nothing in us able to ever bring us into a relationship with God, God adopted us into His family through the payment of His son, Jesus Christ's, perfect and sinless blood.

And adoption is also a very hard thing.  

It's born out of brokenness and hardship.  And when sin entered the world through the fall of man, the need for adoption entered the world, also.

There are so many times when I'm holding Harrison or just looking at him (or even a picture) and I think about how my life would have been if I had been in control of how our family was built.  We would have had a baby biologically many years ago and the idea of adoption never would have crossed my mind.  But God, who always knows best, in his infinite sovereignty saw that it was most glorifying to Him to build our family through adoption.  And I am so glad it happened that way!

I look at Harrison and so many times I can see traces of his birth mother or birth father in his face, and it's a forever reminder of the precious gift they gave us.  It will never be lost on me that I became a mother because of the selfless choice of another.  My love for Harrison was immediate.  His birth mother took us to meet him in the NICU and once I looked into his bed and saw that tiny, 4 pound baby, I loved him more than I ever thought was imaginable.  It's so crazy to think that now that he's 6 months old, my love for him now is even more than it was then.

I also think that the struggle to even expand our family have given me a different perspective than those who easily plan out their families.  I cherish every moment with Harrison.  The sleepless nights, while difficult, weren't something that made me complain about being exhausted because I never thought I would get to experience that exhaustion.  That's a perspective that I always want to have.

Hear this--I'm not saying that adoption was our #2 choice or our Plan B, but it wasn't something that ever crossed my mind until one day it did.  And once it did, I couldn't stop thinking about adoption.  It's like the Lord had planted a seed in my heart a year before we even started pursuing adoption (actually, during our 2nd IVF round) and once He did, adoption was all I could think about and all I could pray about was to ask God for clarity because I felt so conflicted.  And just because we've adopted, doesn't mean that I still don't grieve that my body couldn't do what it was created to do.  I don't think there's anything wrong with grieving what I thought would always happen while still rejoicing that I have Harrison because I wouldn't ever change that.

I also really love that our family isn't made up of the same ethnicity.  Why should it be?  If Heaven is filled with believers of all ethnicities worshipping God, then why not let our earthly families reflect that?  

Our adoption was finalized on Wednesday, September 4th.  We had no idea it was happening that day (Texas law is weird), so I opened my email at lunch and read the email from the lawyer letting us know the judged signed the decree that morning.  Finalization not only means that we are done with social work visits and monthly paperwork, but also that Harrison's birth certificate will be changed to have his name we gave him along with listing us as his parents.  While he always felt like a Shaneyfelt, it's now official!

Terminology is something that's really important that I never would have thought about had I not experienced it.  When referring to Harrison and adoption, don't say that Harrison IS adopted because that implies that it's currently happening and ongoing--say that he WAS adopted because it's something that happened once and it's done.  I don't want Harrison to be defined by adoption until he gets old enough to make that decision himself.  For more thoughts on this, read Russell Moore's book Adopted for Life because it helped me tremendously!

Okay, I know that was a lot of rambling and I wasn't really sure where I was going with his post.  I was pretty open and honest about my feelings, so I pray that it's able to help someone who reads this today!

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