Sunday, December 30, 2012

We're ready for a new year!

It’s hard to believe we’ve come to the end of another year already. It seems like just yesterday that were on the Bead Shop Hop, just last week that we were having a great time at the OC Fair, and just last month that we were starting this very blog. 

This year has been one of grand adventures and small moments of happiness for us. We’ve had great times with friends and family, celebrating birthdays and holidays. We’ve been on trips long and short. We’ve seen the mountains, the beach, and the desert. Through it all, though, there has been one common thread.

When we learned to install a car seat, when we spent time at the zoo, when we posed for photos with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, we wished we were doing all those things as parents. When we learned about children’s books and remembered our many favorites from when we were children, we longed to read to our to our own child. When we decorated our Christmas tree, we wondered how many more Christmases it would be before we see our child’s face light up with wonder.

We did a lot in 2012 with the goal of making our adoption plans a reality. Everything from creating our website and starting this blog, placing online ads, and expanding our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest was part of that. We joined new communities online and Susan’s interview in November with Melinda, another adoption blogger, was part of that. Those of you on our Christmas card list got a few of our contact cards and a holiday letter along with the season’s greetings. We did all this because we want to send next year's Christmas cards as a family of three, instead of just the two of us.

The year that’s ending has been a hard one for us, as our wait has stretched out longer than we thought possible. Many of the people who read this blog or follow us on Facebook have helped us through tough times this year. The kind words we’ve received from many of you have made the process a little more tolerable, and we thank you for that.

2012 did have its charms, but we're ready to leave it behind. We hope that 2013 will bring us the baby boy or girl we've been waiting for. And we wish you a Happy New Year!  May 2013 bring you closer to your dreams and be filled with much love, happiness, and joy!

P.S. Let’s all hope that this is the last time we have to wish you a happy new year from just the two of us.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mitch's Christmas Wish

Mitch reviewing the ornaments before we decorate our Christmas tree.

We’re going to do something a little different with this blog post. Normally, our posts are from both of us, and are written in a shared voice. This post, however, is coming just from Mitch. It’s a look at what Christmas means to a prospective adoptive father, and it is written from Mitch’s point of view.

I like Christmas. I like the lights and decorations. I like the holiday spirit in the air. I even like fruitcake! Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends, and to share with the people we love. I’m a very lucky guy: I have my wonderful wife Susan and friends and family near and far. But Christmas is, more than any other time of year, a holiday made for children. We adults trade gifts and listen to Christmas songs, but Santa and Rudolph and presents under the tree are there for the junior set.

We’ve been trying to adopt for almost two years. This is the second Christmas we’ve spent hoping we would be able to hang a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament on the tree, the second Christmas we wanted to be able to put a tiny stocking up for our little one. While part of the spirit of the season is to share love with the ones we have, it’s hard not to dwell on the member of the family we’ve been waiting to join us for so long.

I don’t want this to sound too sad. I am happy and grateful to have the many people whom we love and who love us. But I want to dress up as Santa. I want to make Popsicle stick and glitter ornaments at craft time with our little one. I want to watch Rudolph and Charlie Brown with our beloved child. I want to be a dad.

That’s really all I want this Christmas, and all the other days of the year. I want to be a father. I want to be a force of good for a child. I want to make a little person feel safe and loved. I want to help a young mind to develop, and a young spirit to love. I want to share what I know, and learn more myself. That’s my Christmas wish.

These are a few of our favorite things...

One of the things we like most about Christmas is decorating our tree with the many ornaments we've collected over the years. We enjoy going through our little collection as we get ready to decorate and love remembering details about each ornament. This year we decided to consider which ornaments are the most special to us and share our favorite ten. 

1. 2007 picture frame:  Ornaments dated with the year are always good for memories. This picture frame ornament was given to us by our dear friend M a few weeks after we got married in November 2007. It's a fun ornament and it is a great way to add a memory of that special day to our Christmas tree.  

2. Crochet covered ornament: Handmade ornaments are also among our favorites. This ornament is one of a set of four that our dear friend M gave us. We love them because they're beautiful and she made them.  

3. 2002 zoo ornament: The San Diego Zoo is one of our favorite places to go and this tiger ornament is dated with the year we first started going to the zoo together. It reminds us of all the good times we've had there and the fun times we hope to have with our child someday, hopefully soon.

4. Snoopy & Woodstock: Snoopy is one of our favorite characters and course he's got to have a place on our tree.

5.  Felted bunny: Many of the ornaments on our tree are animals because we like them so much. This bunny is very sweet and cozy. We couldn't resist when we saw her in the store a couple of years ago. She'll always a special place on our tree. 

6. Sleepytime bear: Susan's mom was the original inspiration for collecting special ornaments. When Susan was growing up her mom bought an angel ornament each year for the family tree. Then when Susan was older, she and her mom would also select a bear ornament. When Susan got married, the bears came with her and now decorate our tree. We want to share the same tradition of adding a special ornament each year for our child and wonder what type he or she will want to collect.

7. Fiesta ornament: We love Fiesta ware and began a collection when we got married. Last year we couldn't resist adding this fun ornament in the 75th Anniversary Fiesta color, marigold.

8. Fox: Animal ornaments are always a big temptation when we are shopping. We've have a number of them in our collection and this fox is one we like most.

9.  Pair of hedgehogs: More animals. These hedgehogs were too cute to buy just one, so we bought a pair and we always hang them together. 

10. Beaded snowflake: Susan made this ornament and combined two things she loves, snowflakes and beads. It catches the light and sparkles on our tree.

Of course we keep adding new favorites to our collection. This year we found a Big Ben ornament to remind us of the great times we've had with friends in London. And we found a few ornaments to celebrate our new annual passes to Disneyland including our first dinosaur ornament, Rex from Toy Story.

We have to admit that we have mixed feelings this year about Christmas. We appreciate the joy and beauty of the season, but it's hard not to feel some sadness too. We were sure we'd be celebrating the holidays as a family of three. It is being a bit tough this year, but fortunately rituals such as going through our ornaments and decorating for Christmas help keep us focused on all the love and good things we have in our lives. Hopefully 2013 will be our year for a "baby's first Christmas" ornament, which of course will become our most favorite of all. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Halfway done with the cross-stitch, but what about our wait?

As far as our adoption journey goes, it's been more than 19 months so we hope we're much more than halfway there. But of course as we've mentioned several times on this blog, it's unclear how long our wait to adopt to will be and therefore it's impossible to know how far along we are. Everything could happen suddenly so it might turn out we're 99.9% there, or it could be another 19 months. Who knows!

Progress as of 12/9/12. The project is definitely getting there!

However, we can easily determine the progress Susan is making on the cross-stitch project. As we discussed in the "A journey of a 1,000 miles..." post when Susan began, clear indications of progress are easy to see as she stitches and now it is clear that she's about halfway done. 5 of 10 blocks are nearly completed and just waiting for the final touches of outlining and French knots. It's being tough to wait as long as we have, so it's reassuring to see the blocks fall into place as each gets finished. 

The 5th block with the giraffe seemed to take much longer than we thought. When we last posted on the progress of the project at the end of October, it seemed like that block would be done soon enough. November wound up being a lot busier than we planned and the 5th block seemed especially challenging. It might just be the hardest block of all. We had actually hoped to post with progress when Susan finished it several days ago, but internet problems kept us from posting. It turned out the delay was an unexpected bonus for the project. Since we had no internet for a few days, Susan had extra time to cross-stitch and now the 6th block is well underway.

Aside from the cross-stitch, we're definitely ready to become parents and keep hoping that call is almost here. In the meantime Susan will keep stitching and we'll see how far she can get before our child arrives. And it's ok by us if she doesn't finish before that happens!

The 5th block is complete and now we've got a giraffe and the number 4.

The "D is for Duck" block is shaping up.
See the curve of the letter D and see the start of the ducks' feet?