When we were adopting for the first time domestically, we really didn’t have much done. I had envisioned that we would meet with an expectant mom, get to know her, find out what she was having and have plenty of time to prepare.
Um, not so much.
We got a phone call at 4pm on a Wednesday and met our son the next afternoon at 2pm. We were able to pick up everything we needed at Babies R Us in under an hour, but everything was full priced and not something we would have chosen under non-rushed circumstances. Yes, you can prepare quick in a pinch. No, I do not suggest it if you can avoid it!
This time around I’ve been planning. Lots of planning. (We’ve been waiting 17 months, so we’ve had plenty of time!) I highly suggest this method as opposed to our former method. Plus, it’s so super fun to get things read for a new child.
This list is a mixture of things we did and suggestions of what to/not do:
1. White layette. People will generally say, “just buy yellow or green and you’ll be fine.” But I found that the only color I really truly used with both my boys and girls was white. The awesome part of this is that white baby items also happen to be the lowest cost items out there. If you are really worried about people know the specific gender put a blue hat on a boy or a bow on a girl and voila – it’s no long a gender neutral color! White is a classy color all around. The bundlers and pants below are Gap (on sale for $8.99 this week!) and the onesies are Carters. I bought just newborn size, if we happen to adopt an older child at least I can give these to anyone of my friends regardless of their taste or the gender of their baby.
2. Carseat. Have you looked at carseat choices in stores? I’m always a little shocked at how odd the chain stores are with their selections. (I’ve been to Walmart once in the past four years and while I was their saw a sponge bob carseat that made me remember why I don’t frequent that store. I kid, but the carseat was that appalling, I still have nightmares.) If you are sure you are adopting a newborn, a lot of the carseat choice will have to do with your stroller (see below). If you are open to a larger age range of child, you’ll need an upright that ranges from 5-60 pounds. We have had both Maxi Cosi & Britax convertible carseats and love both the quality and look of both of them. (Both had the best safety ratings too.)
3. Stroller. My regular long time readers know just how long I searched for the perfect stroller. It was so wrong its right. I was tired of having a single, umbrella, and double strollers all crammed in my trunk for all our different needs. Then one day the Baby Jogger City Select made it’s self know to me in a vision while I was searching Amazon.com, and suddenly I’m a one stroller kinda girl. Do you see all the options here ladies?!? In case you don’t want to count all the squares, that’s 16 options.
Hot. So hot right now.
We have the black version, but it comes in a bunch of cute colors. If you are looking for a compatible newborn carseat, you should check out the Maxi Cosi line – I’m drooling over the Prezi! Drop dead gorgeous.
4. In bedroom nursery items: I like being prepared, but not so much as to have a whole room set aside for nothing but baby clothes. Setting up a nursery would probably fall under “too prepared” for us, but I do have everything I need for the first 6 weeks: A bedside crib, a bouncer seat, and some baskets filled with necessities like tiny diapers & wipes. All super cute with basic, but glam white sheets and bumper. Again, because it’s all gender neutral, if we adopt older than a newborn or baby, this is still easy to give away or even sale.
5. Feeding system: Bottles were a super crazy hard decision for us to make because there are so many to choose from! I was actually able to fully breastfeed Cruz until he was almost 6 months old, but once I was sick and pregnant with Ever, I couldn’t keep up anymore (literally was dying and dehydrated ). That’s when we switched to bottles. I bought a dozen or so different bottles in an effort to figure out which were best and it came down to two completely different brands. Playtex Drop-ins worked great, the baby loved them and they were easy to use, but in the end we loved Born Free the best because of the overall health value. If you are going to be a full time bottle feeding family, you’ll probably need at least 6 bottles just to make things easiest. It’s also good to do your research on formula while you wait. We got off on the wrong foot altogether with formula. Had to try about 8 different kinds before realizing that Cruz was actually allergic to the formulas! After that we had to use a special ($$$$) formula for Cruz and when he didn’t gain any weight we mixed it with Raw Milk and probiotics for the extra calories & health benefits. At about 10 months old I think we finally got the hang of the formula thing. (Poor Cruz!)
6. Swaddle Blankets: Little babies love and usually need to be swaddled to sleep good. I’m a huge fan of the Aden & Anais Bamboo swaddles. They are by far the softest swaddle out there and are so sweet in the natural white color.
And really, that’s it! I have bought more clothes then most people would be willing to risk because I have two sisters who will be having more kids and I figure I’m just investing in my future nieces and nephews if nothing else.
I had a ton of fun creating our families portfolio both times we’ve done it. I say “we” but really it was just me. Joel would have been totally happy with anything I make because he loves me that much. I’m the one who actually says, “No, wrong shade of yellow. Let’s go take a completely different picture for this spot.” etc… I can’t really share all of it, because there is a lot of personal information in there, but here are a few pages just to get a feel. I am currently working on an update to it too because this one is already 18 months old which is a lifetime when your kids are young like ours – I can’t believe how different they all look already. Tear.
To build our profile book I used Photoshop to create what I think is more of a “magazine style” feel. I was a fan of scrapbooking in 2002 when I didn’t have kids who would steal my expensive stickers and stick them on the refrigerator and car where they NEVER unstick, but now that I’m a mom I can’t stand scrapbooking for those so many reasons. So out the window goes the typical adoption portfolio, in flies this new, less messy, but somehow much more exciting and glamorous version. Actually, now that I just looked through our “current” profile I’m kinda shattered because it isn’t really “us” anymore. Good thing I’m already working through a new design. I don’t know if this is for sure what I’ll end up going with, but here’s the new cover… That wreath will be changed out for a more classic greek looking one, and obviously haven’t decided on what picture to use for it yet, but what do you think? Good, bad, ugly, love it, hate it??!?!?
I find it funny that the thing I dislike talking about most is money, and it’s also the same topic I get asked to share about most often. Yes, everything from teaching classes on finances & shopping to questions about how we afford to adopt. The irony gets me every time.
I am admitting to my very strong opinions on the subject of finances and adoption (don’t take it personally), but I’m also giving you all the magic secrets to making money appear for your adoption, so don’t be mad…
All our deepest, darkest Magic secrets to being able to afford $20,000 + for the adoption process:
1. Work. Work. Work. I find that most people have money for most of the things they want to do with their lives. Most of us buy cars, home and eat out when we feel like it. We work for those things. I view the adoption process much in the same way. Do you want to adopt? Work, work, work for it.
2. Find new ways to make income. (This is really is really the same point as above restated for dramatic emphasis.) I really didn’t think it was possible for us to make anymore money. Really, we are terribly busy people, but then we started a photography business and also selling used books on Amazon. It is hard to work on top of working, but when you have a future child in front of you it’s not too hard. I know plenty of people who take a second job to buy a home, I think that it could also be done to pay for an adoption.
3. Find a type of adoption that fits your budget. State adoptions are free. Literally free, and most of the time they even pay you to care for the child until you finalize. Agency & international adoptions are over $20,000. If one doesn’t fit into your budget the other probably will.
4. Look for grants or interest free loans. There are lots of organizations that offer grants or interest free loans for adoption. I personal love, love, love Show Hope because they do a beautiful job of taking care of orphans and simultaneously supporting adoptions. Check out their website! (Even if you don’t believe adoption is right for you, you need to see what they do! Supporting their organization is a fabulous way to help support orphans + give a child a family through adoption all for as little as $35 a month!)
5. Fundraise tactfully. This is really more of a plea than a point. While I completely and totally understand the desperate need for money with the costly adoption process, I have a hard time with most of the fundraising methods people use. If you can avoid turning your child into a charity case, be tactful, humble and give proof of responsibility with the money you are given, by all means fundraise! It can be one of the MANY tools used to reach an adoption goal. However, I believe that people over emphasize the charity or ministry aspect, and while as soon as the money and child is in hand they will have forgotten their past begging – other people don’t so easily forget. Would you want your child to be perceived as the”child pulled from the garbage dump”?!?!? (Seriously, I’ve had people say such things after giving money and it wasn’t accurate to the real adoption situation at all. If it were true, it would still be hard to have that following you as a kid, but being untrue would probably make it much harder on the child mentally.) Please be aware that you may be hurting your child’s future if you portray or flaunt to much about them to the general public in order to gain monetarily for you adoption. Please, please, please use discretion! And remember that money is almost always sticky to talk about. Much like this sticky post. End of plea-rant.
6. Learn to save money. Make the most of what you got by saving. Dave Ramsey and Ellie Kay have great things to say about setting budgets and making the most of what you’ve got. Here’s some practical ways we save:
-I follow hip2save blog and coupon shop for all our necessities.
-We use online shopping codes from Ebates & Shop At Home for all our online shopping.
-I almost always shop online for anything under the sun available from diapers to medicine to clothing. I think online shopping has helped me to spend less money, mainly because I can’t “have it now” so I tend to think through my purchases a bit more.
-We literally never shop at all unless there is a sale, deal or coupon that makes an item 40% off or more. My favorite stores that do these sales are Gap & Urban Outfitters, but most stores off these sale sales at least twice a year.
-We Thrift or Craigslist for furniture for your home. (I also love TJ Maxx and Homegoods for anything kitchen related.)
-I love love love to shop for my heath food and homeopathic remedies, herbs, etc… on Vitacost and Amazon. There are lots of food items & supplements at over 50% off what they are in store. (Vitacost actually offers $10 off your first order.)
-I’ve also found that Honest is cheaper for my kids products (since they are allergic to everything under the sun) since I can buy bundles that ship right to my door. Again, having it shipped to my house means I don’t buy 20 other things I don’t need at Target when all I was getting was baby wash! No joke, it saves me money. From Honest, I typically order 2 Shampoo/bodywash, 1 bottle of conditioner, 1 bag of dishwasher tabs, 1 container of laundry detergent – they last us a little over a month. (Plus, I’m not spending money on benedryl since my kids don’t have any allergic reactions – priceless!) I plan to use their adorable diapers for any future child. I can’t get over the lumberjack pattern or the anchors! Eeek!
Obviously the pictures have nothing to do with this post, but I thought maybe pictures of such darling children would make the daunting words a little lighter. I am entirely and completely unqualified to be posting about finances because quite honestly we should not be able to adopt based on the cost. However, we fully paid off one adoption, and are working on a second, so we are right there with you all! Truly, there really isn’t any magic when it comes to money, but let’s pretend, shall we? xxoo
It may look as thought I haven’t posted in some time, however, I really truly did! Somehow with the posting from my phone, the wordpress app and using the computer too, I must have messed something up and those posts I posted? Vanished.
I’ll fill you in real quick, although in all honesty, I don’t actually remember everything from the past posts.
I was in a carseat/booster until an ungodly age. Dear Jude is following in my footsteps. I feel bad for him, but then not, because it’s hysterical. (Don’t tell him I’m laughing, no child wants their mother to laugh at them.) I’m guessing he will reach the suggested weight limit at the age of 37. Makes me one hundred times happier that we let him pick out his own booster. At least it’s cute and super comfy, so the shame isn’t as intense.
**For those who asked: His booster, and Ever’s carseat below are Maxi-Cosi. You can find Jude’s here. 100% recommend and love all the Maxi Cosi we’ve owned. They look great, even a couple years old, and if they are dirty, we just take the cover off and throw it in the washing machine – and the beautiful colors help too!
Flu season. Please don’t get me started. We haven’t actually had the flu flu yet, but in the past two months we have had two insane colds that lasted about 3 1/2 weeks each completely with the coughing for weeks and weeks. And the two babies had a little stomach flu thingy that was super mysterious and no one else got. I don’t mean to be completely drama, but I’m locking myself up in the house and please don’t try to visit me unless you are 100% healthy and don’t mind being fumigated with lysol when you enter my home. What all this sickness really messes with is sleep. We are so far gone on our schedule that I’m pretty sure we’ll never get back. Mornings have become lazyville. It’s super awesome and hurts the body all at the same time. Look at us. Complete messes.
So much new technology in my life right now. First, I won an iPad. Really truly, Retina Display and all. Then I finnnnnnaallllllyyy upgraded my 3gs (ahem, granny girl here!) to a 5. It was getting out of control how many comments I was getting on the 3. Really, I’ve never been one to care much about “upgrades”, but when you whip out a 3gs at a business meeting and people say, “Um, What is that?” You know it’s time to care a little. (My dear husband is of course all up all technology and has been trying to convince me to get one for ages, I’m just downright lazy!)
This is also a good time to mention Tortoise shell being one of my favorite things ever, hence the gorgeous case I chose. Obviously I feel strongly about it’s beauty. And I am also now a contributor on on Little Woodland Friend Inspiration Den! I just happened to post about Tortoise shell on Inspiration Den, along with a few other fun posts called “In + On” focusing on trends for Home + Fashion. I have a spot every two weeks there, so be sure to read when you get chance!
Happy MLK day! I know we all have a million reasons to be unhappy. I mean, you are talking to the pessimist of the century, so yes — I know! I really haven’t been posting as much as usual because I have so much on my mind that is mostly not blog appropriate.
BUT thinking about MLK day, and what others have suffered on a much bigger scale than I ever will makes me realize I am nothing. Really, truly, what are my problems compared to what so many other suffer?! So today, I’m taking time to appreciate and thank God for the freedoms that we do have. We are watching MLK videos with the kids and talking about what it means for us. It’s too big subject for them to grasp, but I hope someday they will be able to truly appreciate it’s significance. And let’s be honest, kids need a little reality check just like adults.
I haven’t actually been off work so much as I thought I would be, but it has still been a lovely break from my usually intense and all consuming night schedule. My husband nicely said, “It’s been so awesome to have you around the house.” which you could translate as an insult if you are really tired and grumpy, or you can be happy that you are “around the house” and able to enjoy all the glorious downtime. Zara got to pick what we did one night and she chose to wear matching bathrobes and watch a BBC in bed. I’ve trained her so well.
As for this coming week, I have several posts lined up about Adoption. (Big deep breath, because I have always had this “thing” about posting about adoption and not wanting this blog to become an “adoption blog”.) We love adoption. It is incredible, but it’s also just a small part of lives. To focus on it too much is really just to make it something it’s not. (Most of the time the focus seems to dip into “charitable” actions, which honestly makes me ill. My kids are not charity, neither is my want of children!) However, I get emails, messages, and even texts and phone calls about adoption regularly and I DO want to encourage anyone who has a heart for adoption. So when I saw that Kelly is hosting an adoption link up this week I thought it would be a good time to post all those adoption post all at once. That way if you want to read it all, it’s right in a row, and if you want to skip it all it’s easy to do.
Thank you for being the most fabulous readers ever! I can’t tell you how much the messages and even comments mean to me. Through my busy times, my dad being sick, my kids, whatever! There is always someone who writes to say “hi” that they are praying, thinking or hoping for us and it just means so much – even from those who I don’t know on a personal basis. XXOO!!