Our Home Study

Time for a brief update on our home study! Every family who is adopting or fostering has to have a home study. Someone comes in to your house, interviews you, and does an inspection of your home to make sure it’s safe and livable.

After getting ready for Porter Flea, making handmade Christmas gifts, and having a house guest all month… my house had gotten pretty messy pretty quickly. I am capable of big messes in little time. So with a weeks notice, we began to clean. But not just any clean. We scrubbed, we reorganized, we downsized furniture and drawers, we rearranged things and added to our storage space under the house. It was a LOT of work. Thankfully, I had help and by Wednesday evening, our house was sparkling and ready to be inspected.

Our home study writer was so sweet! She said that we were really on top of things and organized (first time anyone’s EVER said that about me) and that she could tell we had put a lot of thought and time into getting our home ready for these kids.

Legally, she has to come back to our home once more before we can get a placement. But she said our house was ready to go and she didn’t see anything that needed changing, so she’s writing the home study packet now and will be able to submit it as soon as she comes back (January 7th).

Technically we could have a placement as early as January 8th. We do not expect it to be QUITE so soon, but she mentioned that a lot of her families have been getting placements awfully quickly.

So there ya go! All of our hard work was worth it; we knew it would be. And now we are trying our very hardest to relax here in Missouri while our paperwork is finished up in Tennessee. I just woke up from a lengthy nap, in fact, and plan to do nothing but lounge in pajamas for the rest of the day. I’m so thankful for all you who prayed for me and helped me out! 20121223-145419.jpg20121223-145603.jpg20121223-145631.jpg

Christmas Coloring Wrap Up

Um… I can’t believe this coloring thing has come to an end. Mostly because that means it’s Christmas and I haven’t been in Christmas gear this month. It’s been a crazy December. A crazy 2012 actually. But that’s its own post. For now, I’ll leave you with the final coloring pages and the promise of a home study update in the next few days.

This batch is a little different. Activity sheets! Don’t forget to tag me on Facebook, or on Twitter or Instagram @stephhagen with pictures of you and your littles enjoying them. In the days after Christmas, I plan to post them here on the blog.

20121221-005407.jpg

20121221-005413.jpg

20121221-005418.jpg

20121221-005425.jpg

20121221-005430.jpg

40 Weeks

So I missed a call yesterday while I was working. Checked the voicemail and heard the words I have been praying and praying for. “We’d like to schedule your home study before Christmas if we can.”

About 9 months ago, I had a dream that I was pregnant. Now, I have these dreams every once in a while, and I usually chalk it up to too much thinking about babies. But when 4 other people in the same week also have dreams that you’re pregnant, you go a little nuts. I took a pregnancy test that month; it was negative, and instead of getting insanely bummed about it, I counted out 40 weeks in my calendar and made a note for the week of Christmas. So maybe I’m not 8 1/2 months pregnant right now. Maybe there won’t be a baby here at the 40 week mark, but I have been hopeful that we would hit some milestone this month.

My path to motherhood has been nothing, if not unconventional. I thought, “ok, God. I feel like maybe you’re up to something. Christmas time is as good as any for the Hagens to meet the first kid.” Maybe I didn’t get pregnant 9 months ago, but hearing that my home study should be approved the same week I expected big parenthood things to happen is pretty cool.

So pray with me, will you? That we would slide effortlessly through the home study, that I would not freak out about the amount of cleaning and last minute paperwork and shopping we have to do in the next couple of weeks (so so much cleaning), that Dave and I will have faith that is so much bigger than we knew we possibly could have, and that I’d be able to sleep in the meantime. Because 4am bedtimes are not doing this potentially-soon-to-be mama any favors.

Christmas is All in the Heart

I’ve been seriously grumpy all day because I wanted a real tree this year, but in an attempt to save a little money, we decided to put up our old fake tree instead. I have been a little bratty and argumentative with Dave, all because it was his idea to just put up our fake tree.

It’s not just any fake tree. This tree was $15 full price. It’s a pre-lit tree with half the bulbs burned out, it’s shorter than Dave, it doesn’t stand up on its own, and you can see all the way through it even when it’s covered in lights and ornaments and garland. It’s a very sad, pathetic little wisp of a tree. It doesn’t have the charm of a Charlie Brown tree. It’s just plain awful.

We bought it five years ago. Dave was working 100 hour weeks for free, I had a job that was sucking the life out of me and not even covering our bills, we had no friends, and no family closer than 8 hours away. It was a really really hard year in every way – financially, relationally, emotionally. Good riddance 2007.

During the Christmas season of that year, every time I heard the song, “Christmas is All in the Heart,” by Steven Curtis Chapman, I lost all control of my emotions. The lyrics to the first verse are, “In a one bedroom apartment on the humble side of town
There stands a little Christmas tree, looks a lot like Charlie Brown’s,
And underneath there’s one little gift for him and one little gift for her.
After six months on the new job, they’re still barely getting by,
So in the way of decorations, there’s nothing there to catch your eye
But both of them would be the first to say
We’re together, we’re gonna have the merriest Christmas anyway.”

I mean, come on. Wouldn’t that make you cry if you were having the year we were having? And everything made you cry anyway?

This evening when I was holding up our sad little tree from 2005 with one hand while Dave tried to figure out a way to make it stand up, that song came on from my Christmas playlist and I lost it. I was hysterical. I was crying because I was a grump all day and I hate it when I know I’m being immature but can’t change my mood. And also because I really do hate this tree, because it reminded me of how awful that year was, and because I was thinking about how much our lives have changed and gotten so. much. better since then. It was a very sudden wave of emotion. Oh the looks I got from Dave and Christina (both non-emotional people who care very little about Christmas).

I tried explaining why I was crying but it just made me start laughing. And laughing while you’re crying usually turns into a weird hysterical laugh/cry weirdness. So I’m blogging about it because that’s easier for me. And because I wanted to tell you that I really love my life right now and the past seven years with Dave have grown me up so much and I am so glad of that. And because Christmas is the best. Even when I’m being childish about something. And even if my Christmas tree is really ugly.