How to decorate a nursery without Pinterest. (Or money.)

Over the course of the last year I’ve had the opportunity to peek into at least three different nurseries of three different mothers, whether in real life or through photos on Facebook.  It wasn’t until the third that I really noticed it:  this vaguely familiar feeling; the I think I’ve been here before…but no… moment; the why does this ring a bell?  thoughts.  It all clicked when I complimented one of the moms on a wall hanging and she said, “Thanks!  I found the idea on Pinterest!”

Aha!  That’s it.  Everyone had taken all the same ideas and made them their own:  each room was different; and yet, each room was sort of the same.

Well, I’m not on Pinterest.  I waste enough time online without needing to get sucked in to something that I fully recognize could take over my life.  So the baby’s room fails to meet the “shared on Pinterest” criteria.  But….the baby’s room is done.  It’s actually completed (even though it didn’t get painted until she was three months old).  Back in January I wouldn’t have guaranteed any of that.  And last fall I was a basket case, because, as I kept having to tell people, we have nothing.

“Wow!  Your other two are really old!  Do you even have any baby stuff left?”  That was pretty much the response of pretty much anyone who talked to me about our little surprise blessing.  And my response, to each of them, was always the same:

No, we moved when my daughter was two and didn’t want to move all the baby stuff since were weren’t having any more…..all we have are two umbrella strollers.  We don’t even have a crib–it broke in the move.

Then my response started to change.

It started with a sweet friend from church asking me if I had any maternity clothes.  No, and I was loathe to buy them, knowing I’d never wear them again.  So in came three bins of clothing for me to use, completely free; originally on loan but (after some thoughtful consideration 😉 ) simply given.  My entire maternity purchases were a few pairs of jeans from Goodwill.  (I hadn’t even known there was a maternity section at Goodwill.)

Next up:  dinner with my college roommate and her husband.  She asked about our adoption plans, and when we told her–as we’d told our caseworker–that we had a “situation,” she got it immediately.

“A growing situation?” she asked. Yep.

“Do you even have any baby stuff?”  Nope.

She then offered us all of her baby stuff, left from her now-preschool son; after coming to the conclusion that they wouldn’t be having any more, she was trying to figure out how to get rid of it all.  (I believe her actual words were, “Back up the truck, baby….it’s all yours!”)

So a few weeks later, when another friend asked “Do you even have any baby stuff?”  I got to try out a new response:  Funny story…. By the end, I said something like, …and all we need to buy is a crib!  We have everything else we need!

To which she responded, “Do you want a crib?”

Are you kidding me?

We have acquired, to date, a crib, changing table, two changing pads (with covers), a bassinet, a car seat (plus two bases), a stroller (that works with the car seat), two baby bathtubs, one bouncy seat, one infant “seat,” one floor play mat, one swing, and numerous toys and blankets.  This doesn’t take into account the amazing amount of clothes loaned to me by my sister; from my niece, who is just over a year older than our baby girl.  And it turns out we didn’t actually have “nothing:”  I had my older daughter’s crib bedding, which I’d listed on Craigslist twice and which–somehow–never sold.  (Thank goodness it was a girl!)

I could spin this and talk about how budget-friendly our nursery is.  Or how “green” I am, with all this used stuff.  The reality, though, is that when we had a need, God provided.  When I was completely overwhelmed with the thought of starting over, especially since we weren’t planning on doing the whole baby thing again, God took care of the “stuff” situation, and helped me realize how He was present in the entire “baby” situation.

I am so unbelievably thankful to all the people who made my little one’s room.  Each and every day I see these things, and am reminded of God’s provision and friends’ willingness to help.  I can’t imagine a better way to decorate a nursery.

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A time to laugh

Your great sense of humour is going to be your greatest gift! –friend, via e-mail
Enough with the whining.  I’m pregnant.  I’m thirty-nine.  It’s kind of funny.

I’ve said I don’t know how many times over the past few weeks, “I have to laugh; if I don’t laugh I’ll cry.”  So that’s it.  I’m choosing to laugh.  And I wanted to share at least a few things I’ve laughed about as we’ve walked through this situation.

First off, the day I discovered I was pregnant–the same day–I logged on Facebook and was greeted, at the very top of the page, with a picture of Dr. Seuss’ Sam-I-am next to a lengthy quote, which began:  “You can get pregnant in a car.  You can get pregnant in a bar.  You can get pregnant on a hill.  You can get pregnant on the pill.”

Seriously.  I am not making this up.

Reading through, it was made clear by the end that it was a tirade about Todd Akin, who was all over the news at that point.  But I still about fell off the sofa.

My sweet husband’s first words on finding out were, admittedly, “Holy crap!”  After a pause, he brought up something I hadn’t considered:  “Wow.  Aren’t you glad we didn’t adopt that sibling set of three?”

Um….yikes!!

Two days later he and I sat in our Sunday school class and tried to keep a straight face as the teacher read one of the points for the day:  “Have you questioned God’s timing while you were waiting to be delivered from difficulty?”  Um, yeah…doing a lot of questioning God’s timing lately, thanks.

Not long after I was sitting in my doctor’s office, having an “official” pregnancy test done, and laughing (at that point, nervous laughter) about the whole ridiculous situation.  The nurse wrapped a blood pressure cuff on my arm as I murmured, “I’m going to have a fifteen-year-old, a thirteen-year-old, and a six-year-old.”  She laughed.  “You’re just going to live in your van!” she announced with a smile.  A pause while she took my pulse….and then something clicked.

Oh, my word….we’re going to need to buy a van!”

(On a side note, does anyone have a Mazda CX-9 they’d like to sell for a reasonable price?  I’d really like to avoid the whole van thing.)

It’s funny to finally start telling people, because I love to see the variety of reactions.  One is the relentlessly positive, “That’s wonderful!  Congratulations!!” from people who clearly don’t know the whole story.  Others immediately get concerned; I’m an “old” mom and they know it.  A reaction I got yesterday (which I really appreciated) was, “Congratulations?  With a question mark?”  That was a mom who understood.

My favorite reaction, though, which I don’t get very often, is when people burst out laughing.  They get it.  I know when I have a laugher that I’ve truly found someone who gets it.  Those are the people I’m planning on hanging with for the next seven months.

Because I’ve got to keep laughing.

Okay, enough baby talk…..back to my regular topics next week, I promise.  🙂

And now for something completely different

A bit of a change from my usual topics….but needed to share.

After months (years?) of discussion, my husband and I began our foster parent training classes in January of 2011.  It was the first step we had to take in adopting through the state of Kansas.  The classes were completed without problems, but once we finished attending classes and the paperwork trail began, we started hitting speed bumps.  Lots and lots of speed bumps.

First there was the delay of our final write-up, supposed to be done by a (surely overworked) social worker who helped lead our class.  After months of nagging e-mails and texts, I was assured that she had sent it–but then the office it was supposed to arrive at hadn’t received it.  Weeks later, it had finally appeared at the office; where it then had to be transferred yet again, to the actual agency we were working with.  More waiting ensued, but fortunately no more flat-out missing paperwork.  We finally (!!) had our homestudy done this January, a full year after we started our training.  More hangups followed, this time with fingerprints (getting them clear enough to read; not getting away from any criminal history, haha); at this point we were starting to laugh because the whole thing was Just. So. Ridiculous.

Finally, finally, early this summer we started receiving child profiles to read and review, to see who might be a good fit in our family.

We had a few serious discussions about a few sibling sets that came through; discussions about how many kids we could realistically handle and where we would put more than one child.  We actually pursued a sib set of three for awhile, but finally came to the decision that, depending on their needs, it would probably just be too much for us.  Then one profile came through, for one little three-year-old, and my response was overwhelming:  this is it. 

This is why we’ve been stalled.  This is why we’ve had to wait.  This is what all the hold-ups have been for.  It was suddenly all so clear.

We e-mailed our caseworker for more information; overwhelming information, to be sure, but only things that cemented my desire to continue to follow up on this little one.  We told her we wanted to continue on and be considered as potential parents when they met about the child (many more steps still to take, but finally–there’s that word again–moving in the right direction, on the right child).

Which is why it was so heartbreaking to sit in my doctor’s office parking lot a few weeks ago and call our caseworker.

“We have……a situation,” I began.

“A situation?” she laughed.  “What does that m–you’re PREGNANT!”

Yep.  And apparently I’m not the only one on her case load to call her this month, with a “situation,” where she’ll “keep our file open” and we can “get back with her” when things calm down.

This is not a “we’ve tried for years, it’s a miracle!” kind of situation.  This is a “we have a great family; we should share what we have” situation.  Why on earth would God take a family that was ready to open its doors and welcome someone in need and, instead, throw another baby at them?  Aren’t there already hundreds of kids waiting for a home?  We were passing over sibling sets of five, six, sometimes seven….why on earth would He give us another when there are already so many kids hungry for loving parents; a family they can call their own?

I have absolutely no idea what happens from here.  I told our caseworker that afternoon that we were going to have a nine-year-old, a seven-year-old, and a newborn; “as far as I’m concerned, there’s a hole to fill there!”  There’s no assurance, though, that we’ll end up with a healthy baby; we might need to muster all our strength just to deal with whatever comes our way.  I don’t understand why I’ve felt called to adopt for so long and have ended up with the rug getting pulled out from under me.  While I don’t doubt God’s wisdom, I definitely don’t understand it.  I stumbled across these words recently, though, (in I Kings, of all places), and they’ve given some comfort:

” ‘My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel.  But the Lord said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart.  Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple….. ‘ ” (I Kings 8:17-19)

You did well to have this in your heart.  I don’t know if we are the ones to adopt or not–maybe we are; maybe this is just another speed bump.  But if not; you did well to have this in your heart.

This isn’t the end of the road.  It’s just a fork in the road.  I’m trusting in God’s wisdom for our family.

“What’s THAT room for?”

My daughter had a friend over to play recently, and this was the question shyly asked about our fourth bedroom upstairs.

I had to laugh, because looking in the room, it was a completely fair question.  I explained that the room used to be an office, and now we were turning it into a bedroom (for our eventual adoption), so right now it was sort of “in-between.”  It was an honest description of the situation.  That being said, it’s been an “in-between” room for a really, really long time.

There are remnants of “office” in there:  a (completely empty) computer armoire, one kitchen chair used for a computer chair, a rocking chair, and a side table.  There’s also a child’s desk and a doll’s “baby care center,” pulled from bedrooms to go to the basement playroom, but somehow stalled out upstairs.  There’s also our stepladder.  At some point, I needed the stepladder upstairs to do something, but it was so long ago I actually don’t remember what it was.  (I’ve seriously thought about this for three days…I have no idea why that stupid thing is up there, it was that long ago.)

Admittedly, lots of things are “trapped” because I need help moving them down the stairs (even the child’s desk I’m not too keen on tackling by myself).  But the room has been in transition for so long that I’ve reached the point of absolutely no excuses.  I won’t even mention the file cabinet and stacks of papers in the closet….

It’s hard to commit myself to working in the room; the uncertainty of what to expect weighs on me as I think about getting started.  Who are we getting the room ready for?  Boy or girl?  How many?  How old?  What will they need?  Instead of anticipation, it’s a feeling of almost frustration–why am I cleaning this out now?  It almost seems like it would be easier to wait:  wait until we could be getting a room “ready for someone,” instead of simply “cleaning it out.”  Building on an attitude of excitement, instead of simply the reality of the unknown.

But here’s the thing:  I know, without a doubt, one thing any child will need will be an EMPTY ROOM.  A room standing ready; able to be filled with them and their things.  Wouldn’t it be easier, wouldn’t it be so much less stressful, to start moving forward on a child (or children) feeling like we’re ready to welcome them in; into a room completely cleared of everything and ready to make their own?

Maybe, just maybe, the next time someone asks me “what’s that room for?” it will be because it’s empty; ready to be filled.