Saturday, April 25, 2009

Adoption book... as promised!

As promised... I know, I know, it's been months! But, I always come through on my word! And so for those of you who have asked me about my Adoption book, well, here she blows!
I had to make something that could be copied as many times as necessary, but I wanted each one to look handmade. So, I made this entirely out of cardstock. I had Office Depot make lots of color copies. I then, could just use gaffer tape to bind the edge of each one making each one look totally handmade! I thought the result was pretty cute.

We had this little flip up deal that says we had been married 10 years.
Oh, man, we look sappy! I meant, "happy"!
One of the criteria of your adoption book is a letter to the birthmom.
This was a little hard for me. Having to write a letter asking a mom to give you her baby. But, it is a mandatory part of the profile. Usually whatever is in my head is coming out of my mouth too! The exception is "touchy/feely" things! That just AIN'T my "love language"! I don't talk about mushy stuff! And at the office, they know that I don't do a lot of huggin' either! SOrry to disappoint, Mindy. Something tells me that IS your love language! Anyhoo, the words in the the letter to birthmom had to be somewhat heartfelt, as you can imagine, because you are basically asking this person to give you her child. Pretty deep stuff!!
So to counterbalance all that MUSH, I did "the ABC's of Todd and Me" and used a letter of the alphabet to represent something about our life or lifestyle. Here we go...
For those of you who are not in the market for a young un, well, let me tell you about this. When you are going to use an agency or even a private adoption attorney, they ask you to put together a "profile", basically telling the birthmom who you are, and a little about your family. I am aware that a nice little 8 1/2x 11 would do the trick, but then, I didn't exactly think that would tell the story of who I am very well at all! As the attorney or agency get women who are wanting to give their babies up for adoption, they begin thinking of potential matches and will ask particular adoptive parents to submit their profiles. Usually, the birthmother gets about three to choose from. This is how a "match" is made. Sometimes, they are looking for a woman who is young. Sometimes, one who is older. Sometimes they want their baby to be with a family with siblings, and sometimes they are particularly looking for a couple who has never had kids. It is a crapshoot, really!
In your profile, you are not supposed to be too specific or tell too much info.... I suppose in case you (or they) want the adoption to be "closed". This basically means they don't have any idea who got their baby and you have no idea from where or who your baby came. I like our way better! I mention that because in the picture above, I had to go back and put a strip on paper over the name of our church because that gave too much information about where we lived! Hmmm.
And then, I mention that we have a very supportive and loving extended family (and I cleverly used the E and F for "Extended Family"! C-L-E-V-E-R!

How in the world could I leave our Daddy-O doing what he is so passionate about!? These pics were actually taken at Pebble Beach. I didn't mention that in the book. But, just thought I would now. Just sayin'!

And the attorney didn't like these pics either, because they showed our house. However, I would want to know where my child was going to be living. Wouldn't you?! So, I put in little tiny pics of our house.
And then, I highlighted, "in-laws", "Jake", Kids" and "LSU".
Jake...
Gosh, wasnt' he the bomb?!
Kids from my clinic. And basically, just how much I love kids. Always have!
Can you even believe how young these three look? This was the Christmas before Jake's diagnosis. He was 2 years old. Only 6 months later, we'd be told he had stage 4 hepatoblastoma! Ugh.
When I get calls about "how" I did it, or how to go about this whole adopting thing, well, I just don't really know what to tell people. Mine were miracles. Really! They were. Things just don't typically happen the way they did with my Ellie and Gabbi. I just know they were meant to be mine! In both cases, we were contacted privately by the birthmoms! My advice to those out there who are wanting to adopt is to tell everyone! It is not shameful! It is awesome! Those of you who read my blog who have also adopted know what I mean. It is AWESOME! There is something about a baby being given to you and just KNOWING that your paths were meant to cross. If you are a Christian, it makes it so much sweeter to KNOW that God has had that plan laid out a LONG time just waiting for it to come to fruition!
I guess that is what I was thinking when I used my "M" as "miracle". I comment, although you can't read it, that it is a miracle when our lives cross with the birthmom chosen for us, and things come together at exactly the right time. Lest I remind you.... Ellie's date of conception was the EXACT day that Jake went to Heaven. No one will EVER be able to convince me that Ellie being in our lives was not totally divinely ordained and was a plan set in motion a long, long time ago!
I don't think anyone could ever discount how much a part of our lives my nephews were and are now. They were my world! SO they got the "N" distinction!
"O" is for Office. I had to put in there somewhere what I did and that I worked with children. Another thing the attorney disagreed with. So, if you want a closed adoption, don't do this!
I think "Play" is a very important part of my world. The picture above is MMPT's Christmas card pic for 2007. It was the year after Jake passed away, and we decided on a "Happy Merry Chrismoween" card in his honor. We wore our Halloween costumes on our Christmas cards. Don't say we aren't creative! I have the coolest staff!!
Oh that picture above of me and Jake on the slide makes my heart ache. We were at the Ronald McDonald House out on the playground, and he had just had a whole summer without chemo. He felt great! That was a FUN day!
This is the back side of that little half flap of "play".
No wait, I think this is!
Q and R were hard for me. I think I kinda threw them together. Anyway, here they are for your enjoyment!
Lord have mercy. Can we say, thank you, Jesus, for letting some doctor, somewhere, invent Lap band!?!
ANd Recreation is the "R". THis is the little box Todd used to ride Jake around the yard in the four wheeler, only about 3 days before he went to Heaven. Staci, if you are reading this, hope it doesn't make you sad. I kinda got off track from the point of the post by looking at all of these Jake pictures. I suppose I wasn't meant to get my babies the "usual" way. Looking back (and I only realized this at this very moment), I was still very grief-stricken, and I am not sure a birthmom would have wanted me to have their baby had they seen this book FULL of pics of Jake and his brothers. Can you tell what was important in my life at that pivotal time?!
oh wow... check this out... Staci preggo with Maddi! By the way, did you notice she updated her blog?! Go see. Maddiboo.blogspot.com!
And how do I mention our lives without a big ol' whole bunch of travel?!
I really like "U" for "united for a cause". That particular one meant a lot to me. Again... I was a little consumed at that time. But then again, I am sure I would do it the very same way if I ever had to go through something like that again.
Would you believe this next picture is HUNTER? It was when I was had just graduated from PT school (93) and was working in Shreveport. I couldn't STAND it,with his growing and doing more "fun" things, so I moved back home and opened a clinic. The rest, as they say, is history. I think ol' Birthmom would get the picture that I like kids by checking out this wedding party. I had SIX kids in my wedding. Remind me and I will tell you THAT STORY someday! It was a hoot.
This picture tells that we have been married for 10 years (at that time), and I think that is really more like what a profile is supposed to be like! I am not a good rule follower, so I left out some important details. It is probably a good thing that I didnt' have to use my profile, as I think I just gave a general "feel" of our family vs. some vital information. Oh well, we are blessed, and things just went the way they were supposed to go. So much for the book!
For instance, I never mention that we have no children, and I will have to look back, but I am not sure I even mention our ages. Did I!? I KNOW they KNOW I have nephews. Gosh. I was kinda STUPID-Crazy over my boys! And now I think I am kinda Stupid-crazy over my girls!!

And that brings us to "Y" and "Z".
I wrote Birthmom an additional little snippet about our outlook on life, our philosophy of sorts, and what a fun life a kid would have in a very loving home.
And this is the back cover.
Just so you all know... this took a LONG time! Thank you very much! So, I am giving myself this thumbs up!

And you best be giving me some comment LOVE for the dedication to getting all these pages' pictures taken, uploaded, and then sorted in order. DUDE! It is 1:06 am as I am finishing this! I'll be glad to get back to regular stuff tomorrow!

And if this inspired you to scrapbook... the spring-a-ling kit is now up on Etsy. It is super cool! Melanie

43 comments:

kate523 said...

That was a great book Mel! You can tell home much love you have for your whole family.

Someday I might find the time to do some scraping. How do you do it? I can barely keep my head together with one baby.

Michele said...

That book is so beautiful, not just pretty (and it is) but beautiful in how you expressed who you & Todd are. Anyone reading would know exatly who you are, they may not know how old you are...but they would know what really matters. Great job!!!

Kathryn said...

Wow, I do love that book! It is just wonderful! Love the pictures, and the journaling. That is a heart book for sure.

Just ordered my kit, too! What fun! Thank you.

stephleighjenkins said...

What an amazing book!

Bj said...

Oh Mo...this is adorable....you put so much love in all you do...especially for the girls and Todd....but basically in everything.....I admire you and your tenacity! I too believe that God intended for those girlies to belong to YOU!....huggers, bj

Mary said...

WOW!!! That's all I can say that book is incredible....You are amazing!!!! I would give a baby to you!

I just got my kit...so happy. I can put it "safe" with the fall one I still have, yet to complete, remember you said you were going to post the directions again, hint hint.

Maybe you've inspired me to scrap! Once baseball and lacrosse are over...yikes...these kids take up alot of time :)

Stephanie said...

Your adoption book was wonderful! I am so happy that you have those 2 little cuties and that they have you. I ordered my spring book and can't wait to get it even though my husband says he is going to wrap it up for our anniversary.

Have a great day!!!

Avery's Mommy said...

I think we will adopt next...so neat to see your very creative book :) Are you planning on adopting again?

Rhonda said...

The adoption book is BEAUTIFUL! What a special memory of what "consumed" your life during that time period. I love all the pictures of JAKE! What a BEAUTIFUL BOY! You did a fabulous job on the book, but really, I wouldn't expect any less from you! I'm so happy for you and Todd - I have followed since Jake's Caringbridge page and it is just so NEAT to see your family transform to a world of TWO precious baby girls!!

tricia said...

Simply awe inspiring;the amount of love and time that went into that book!

Michelle said...

Maybe I am just feeling mushy this morning, goodness, that cute little book brought tears to my eyes! :) I love how you express through creativity what matters most to you. Those girls of yours are dreams come true and are absolute dolls. God is so good! Thanks for taking the time and energy to share your book with us!!! I finished and LOVE my fall book... I am 1/2 way through my christmas book but I am gonna snap up this spring one too! LOVE 'EM! Through our church there is a nt a month where the women come together and do whatever craft they 'do' and it has been SO nice for me to have set aside time ALONE for me to be creative! Everyone is loving these little books as others are in the stone ages of doing the 12x12 pages which I am over and done with!!! lol.

Cori said...

The creativity, time, and attention to detail in the book are awesome!! I am really in awe of God's timing in your life. If you had children before Jake got sick, it would have not been as easy to take in Hunter and Hayden and go spend time with Jake in Memphis. Though you had to wait, it allowed Jake to be a part of sending you the perfect girls for your family. I love it!!

Renee said...

Great job Mo. That book is priceless! What great memories to share with your girls.

jag said...

Such talent and love! Thanks for sharing.

Mindy said...

It's beautiful!

Mindy said...

WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I loved LOVED loved finally seeing this. I would SO CHOOSE YOU & TODD!!! What an amazing book. I'm thinking that you were referring to ME and my love language (I've noticed you have two Mindy's in your life?!?). You are right...I love to hug and I can be pretty sappy and lovey dovey for sure! You better BELIEVE I'll hug your neck the first time I meet you in real life. Just be prepared!!! hee hee!

AND YES, JAKE IS THE BOMB.COM!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for sharing this. I think it will make such an incredible keepsake for your precious girls.

Kristen said...

Wow, that book was AMAZING! I loved it, and I think that you made that book about what was most important in your life - and if your nephews were a huge, central part of your life, then why make it look any different? I think it was perfect, and you can tell so much time and love was put into making it. :-)

I'm not sure how much help I can be with your camera dilemma, because I'm a Nikon fan!! I do know a bit about Canons - the XTi is a good choice- my roommate has the Canon EOS 40D and LOVES it. It takes amazing photos and is fast and easy to use, and you can use all of the same lenses with it. It's a little more pricey, but in her opinion, it's worth it.

- I just watched that really awesome video from a few posts back of Ellie and Gabbi eating dinner - SO CUTE! I love Ellie's hand signs ... I used to be a deaf education major, so it made me happy! Also, for some reason your southern accent surprised the heck out of me! It makes sense, with you living in Louisiana... I just wasn't expecting it! I love southern accents - I grew up in Delaware, but go to college in North Carolina, so coming down here was a shock to my ears.. haha.

Hope you guys are enjoying this beautiful weekend!

Missy said...

Just getting those pics in order is a feat in itself I know...I loved seeing your book, it really touched my heart in so many ways. It reminded me of your sweet Jake, oh sweet sweet boy.The love that you have for your family, extended and all is just something I admire about you. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Sarah said...

Mo... what a wonderful book! I think I want to hire you to do a lifebook for Sophie, I am so completely uncreative!!

You are so right... adoption is a miracle way beyond anything I could have imagined!! I agree with you 100%!

Debbie Jean said...

Beautiful Mo, just beautiful. How wonderful the girl's will have this to read. What a talent you are. Thanks for sharing with us. I am honored.

God Bless~
Debbie Jean

Johnson Party of seven! said...

Mel-
That was PRECIOUS!!! I wrote a letter for my friend's book. Hers was not nearly as cool as yours. (I won't tell her that!).
Love it!!!!

Kimmy said...

Mo, the only words I have is that God certainly knew what He was doing in placing those two special babies with the two of you. They are truly blessed.

Shannon said...

Thanks Mo....I enjoyed looking at the adoption book and it kinda gave me some ideas on how to do ours!!!!

Nana said...

I have said it before many times, and I will say it again! Ellie and Gabbi are blessed little girls...and somewhere there are two birth moms who can know they chose the most wonderful parents for their children. I thought that BEFORE I saw that awesome book...oh my goodness...It is SUPER.. We have been out of town and swamped with company, but I have loved the last blogs...The girls are just getting cuter and cuter...

Lyn said...

Wow. Just...WOW! You are so talented and that book just brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful keepsake for your girls. Your family is just precious and I truly believe they were heaven sent, too!

Martha from NC said...

The book is incredibly beautiful. I can't imagine how many hours you spent putting it together. It is truly a keepsake. Well done girlfriend. Thanks for sharing.
Now - on to the "hugging" issue. Somehow, I can't picture you NOT being a hugger. I thought all of us "southern" girls were huggers. Like Mindy said, if we ever meet, Im planning to give you a hug. That's what we do in the south.
Have a great week.

Emily said...

Love the book-loved going down memory lane with the pics of Jake.
See you Tuesday!

Tara said...

Beautiful Family, Beautiful Book!

Hey, I've been meaning to ask...
Where do you buy the smocked dresses for the girls? I just love them. I'm thinking my daughter needs some!

AndreaB said...

Your book is awesome! My husband and I were considering the adoption route ourselves after not being able to conceive on our own for 8 1/2 years. We started most of the paperwork (our profile, gathering referral letters, etc), but never went any further with it. Deep inside, I wanted to carry my own baby...at least once.

We are now blessed beyond measure! We are expecting our first (a boy) in July!!! Thanks to the miraculous work of the fertility doctors in Shreveport! Doesn't matter to me that we had to use alternative methods for conception...just as long as something worked!

Sandy said...

Mel
that book was just simply precious. If anyone read it and saw how close you are to your nephews they would really want you to be a part of their lives. Well spoken and love the abc/s
Sandy

Pepper said...

Absolutely LOVED the book. Matter of fact, I have a 14 yo that you can adopt right now. Well, actually I would give her to you FREE. lol It was a great book and I am glad you shared it with us. The girls will love to see it and have copies to show their children.

The Sawyer Family said...

Love love LOVE the book!! so super sweet! creative, thoughtful!! and knowing you just through the blog... I'd say it really describes your family well! thanks for sharing :)

Tammy said...

Wow! That is one great adoption book, I'd choose ya'll in a minute. I love the way you showed who ya'll really are, all the colors, and the pictures were just perfect. I'm sure that was alot of work too, you are so crafty, and I'm so jealous, now I'm off to order my spring scrapin book, hugs from Fort Worth!

Tammy said...

Wow! That is one great adoption book, I'd choose ya'll in a minute. I love the way you showed who ya'll really are, all the colors, and the pictures were just perfect. I'm sure that was alot of work too, you are so crafty, and I'm so jealous, now I'm off to order my spring scrapin book, hugs from Fort Worth!

Ally said...

Love the book. You did a great job. Thanks so much for posting it. I am finally done with our book, looks nothing like yours. Mine is boring.

Beverly said...

AMAZING!!!! You always outdo yourself. Your adoption book is awesome. Your love for your family and for life shines through everything you do! I have no kids, one 10 lb dog and I cannot get my house clean, much less do all that you do. When I grow up (and I'm 60) I want to be just like you! Guess I better hurry up and get going!

Kelly said...

Gosh Mel...that book is great! I think I wanna give you MY kids now. LOL!!! Only kidding.

Happy Monday!

Shannon said...

We are currently waiting for approval from an adoption agency to start the process. I love the book and they are great ideas. I know that we will get to do the samething one day and I'm so glad I ran across your blog.

Thank you for sharing, Shannon

Dannon said...

Love the book MO....Thanks for sharing! Have you done a book for each of your girls telling them about how they became yours????? My children are adopted, but from the foster care system, thus the birth families didn't get the chance to pick us. We do have contact with one of the moms and she is about to have another baby in the next 2 weeks, so we MAY be adding another to our crew! Anyhow, I would love to do a book for each of my kids as we photographed our journey through placement and adoption. I just lack creativity! Would love to see your book if you did one for the girls. If you haven't....have you ever considered charging a fee to do books for others! I know, that's not connecting with inner creative side.....but it's SOOOOOO deeply hidden! :) Dannon

randdmom said...

I thoroughly enjoyed looking at this book! I must say, on the Sister page I love Staci's cute, cute hair cut! Did I mention it's cute!? Having a niece and a nephew who are adopted, I completely agree about the Divine plan bringing families together! Love it! I also have a sister-in-law who was given up for adoption and reunited with all of us in '94. Adoption is awesome! Do you still keep in touch with the birthmoms? Just wondering...
Have a great evening!
Lisa

snekcip said...

MO, I LOVED IT!! GIRL YOU KNOW YOU ARE JUST TOO TALENTED!!!! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL KEEPSAKE!!

I remember seeing most of those pictures of Jake. The one that is FOREVER etched in my memory is the one of Jake and Todd riding on the four wheeler. I think I cried that entire day. Jake will always be SPECIAL to a lot of his BELIEVERS!!!

a picture a day means the memories will stay said...

I think you need to go into business of charging people to have you make things like this for them. You do such a wonderful job. I so wish I had a little time to work on something like that! You are very talented.

Sammie said...

I just had time to read this post. As I sit here with tears in my eyes, I think about how far you and Todd have come since then. Who would have "thunk" you would have those two beautiful little girls when you were making this book! Well, God knew you would.

You are such a talented artist. Thank you for sharing!