Spring Cleaning Challenge – Essential Oils

Alright – so lots of you asked for information on how to use essential oils around the house. I am participating in a “SPRING CLEANING CHALLENGE” – and I thought I would share how it goes with you!

In 1976, Congress passed the Toxic Substance Control Act which grandfather in between 63,000 – 100,000 chemicals that were on the market. These chemicals were grandfathered in, without any testing, and are simply unregulated. Today, only about 50% of the chemicals on the market have been subject to any chemical testing at all. Under this act, manufacturers are protected by trade secret laws, so that they do not even have to post what ingredients are in their products. If you go look at a bottle of household cleaner, you may be surprised to see that they only list a small percentage of the ingredients in the bottle.
There are so many ingredients to be aware of due to carcinogenic properties: Alcohol, Aluminum, DEA/TEA, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, TALC, Parabens and more. These are found in so many common household products and should be avoided as much as possible for more healthful alternatives.
“Fun Facts”
– Quality of air inside homes is 5-7 times more toxic than outdoor air quality.
– It takes 26 seconds for chemicals in your personal products to enter your bloodstream.
– Consumer Householding Cleaning Product Sales was over $7.3 Billion in 2007
– Thanks to consumer awareness, the sales growth is slowing down! – This could be due to the push in chemical free cleaning, and DIY, natural cleaning, like Essential Oils!
Scary, huh?

Don’t worry! We are going to show you how to replace household conventional cleaning products with scary ingredient lists with DIY, natural, products, using essential oils!
Join me, won’t you, in replacing this toxic crap little by little, month by month, step by step – either with ready-made YL products or with things we can make ourselves with oils. Things that are not only NOT HARMFUL for our babies, but BENEFICIAL FOR THEM. We have that option!

Come on, y’all. Instead of $100 at Target on things that poison our families, let’s spend that money on good things that we know is right for our tiny people!

Our team had an idea to encourage each other to get our homes in tip-top condition this Spring… Naturally, we will be doing it completely toxin free. I can’t wait to share with you all.

Here’s what I’ll be using for the challenge:

Thieves Household Cleaner (stocking up – we use this ALOT!)
Lemon Essential Oil
Purification Essential Oil
Rubbing Alcohol
White Vinegar
Baking Soda
Castille Soap
Glass/Stainless Spray Bottles
Your favorite YL Oils to diffuse!
Thieves Laundry Soap
Wool Dryer Balls & Lavender

Let’s do this, people!

Interested in joining the challenge? Shoot me an email at Happyoilerhaines@gmail.com and I will get you started!

I will post the updates as they come here:

 

(stay tuned!)

 

spring cleaning

 

Inducing Lactation: Breastfeeding for Adoption (Part 3- my journal) 

If you are new to my story – you can view it here:

Finding God’s Plan through Infertility

Inducing Lactation: Breastfeeding for Adoption (Part 1)

Inducing Lactation: Breastfeeding for Adoption (Part 2 – My Protocol & Fennel Oil! )

Otherwise, here is my journal of inducing lactation!

PUMPING-

Day 1 – ok, so today is the day I went off the  birth control regime and I am so happy! Anyone who knows me knows I hate stuff like that so I feel so happy to not be on it!

Last night a good friend of mine came over and showed me how to work the breast pump. It was simultaneously the most awkward yet helpful conversation. She is a nurse and an all around wonderful person and was seriously a wrath of knowledge. I feel like I went from “literally no clue what I’m doing” to ” huh, that’s it? “. So happy to have advice from fellow pumpers!

I also started a regime of domperidone to help increase prolactin production. You can do a quick google search for it!

While I can confidently say that I am not a fan of the pumping at night- I love my sleep- day 1 is in the books!

Day 3 –  first off, not a fan of pumping in the middle of the night. If you know me – I do not like losing my sleep, so this plan isn’t helping. I will be pumping as much throughout the day and will see how far I can take it without the night time pump. I will add that in later if need be.

Afterall, my goal right now is to get it going – when baby is here and latching, everything will be different.

Day 4 –  (writing today) yesterday was day 4 of pumping – four days of domperidone and pumping every 2-3 hours.  I went to lunch after our homestudy appointment with my husband and had a beer with lunch. Came home, started pumping and bam!  Things are starting to happen!

I ordered fenugreek capsules and goats rue from amazon. I will begin adding those to my regimin each day.

I also baked some brewer’s yeast chocolate chip oatmeal lactation cookies – this has been a great way to get some added supply help.

The kicker really has been adding my fennel essential oil to the mix – a little added every time I pump to help increase prolactin stimulation.

Day 5-  Pumped earlier today and got a little less than half an ounce! What?!!??!?!!?

Day 6 – Pumped about 2 ounces total for the entire day. Eating my weight in lactation cookies!! 😉 Gotta keep it goin’!

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Inducing Lactation: Breastfeeding for Adoption (Part 2 – My Protocol & Fennel Oil! )

Well…. today is the day… the last day of the birth control regimen. Tomorrow begins the wonderful world of pumping. If you are wondering what I am talking about – you can read the first post here- (Part 1)

I have been working both with my OB and a doula/lactation consultant to come up with my process. Here is what my protocol will be:

**as always – I am not a doctor, my protocol is purely for informational purposes. Please consult a professional before starting an process **
  • For the last 12 weeks I have been on a high estrogen level birth control (skipping the placebo week). This is designed to tell the body that you are pregnant and help you develop proper breast tissue – the high dosage of hormones also simulated pregnancy.
  • 6 weeks before the baby is due (where I am now!) – I will go off of the birth control causing a sharp decrease of estrogen. This will mimic the concept of giving birth (hormone wise 😉 )
  • Once you go off of the bcp (birth control pills) – you will want to start pumping every 2-3 hours with a hospital grade pump.  This stimulation plus other aids will tell your body to begin increasing production of both oxytocin and prolactin.
    • Oxytocin- The love hormone- known to be plentiful in lactating women.
    • Prolactin- produced by the pituitary gland – also known as luteotropic hormone or luteotropin, is a protein that is best known for its role in enabling mammals, usually females, to produce milk.

There will be of course other aids along the way that I will utilize – I have outlined some of those below:

  • drinking LOTS OF WATER –  at least one ounce per lb of body weight is suggested for proper hydration
  • LACTATION COOKIES – who doesn’t love the ability to eat a cookie everyday? My wonderful mother who makes me all sorts of gluten free items (http://thecrossroadsbaker.blogspot.com/)  is making me a large batch of lactation cookies! I will post the link to recipe soon!
  • FENNEL ESSENTIAL OIL – Prolactin is not the only hormone that Fennel helps with. It’s a good idea for ALL people, especially mamas, to have this in their arsenal. A little bit massaged each day can help the body increase prolactin production and in turn, increase production. (get your starter kit – here! )

There will be absolutely nothing like the actual process of having a baby at the breast. Most people find that the baby is really what kicks their production into gear. The body just sort of “knows” that this baby needs you to produce.

So what if I’m not producing enough yet to feed her when she arrives?  Here are the wonderful options we have:

  • The Supplemental Nursing System (aka: SNS) –  This system is designed to allow the baby to still be at the breast, receiving that contact, while still also getting enough nutrition!  With the help of some wonderful milk donors, we also have a large stash of breast- milk that our baby can have even if I’m not there enough yet! Incredible yes? Check it out:
sns http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/853/supplemental-nursing-system-sns—sterile
  • The SNS can also be used for:
    • Inducing lactation
    • Keeping special-needs babies at the breast
    • Premature babies
    • Weak, ineffective or lazy nursers
    • Failure-to-thrive babies
    • Impaired babies
    • Low-milk supply mothers
    • Relactating mothers
    • A teaching tool to “fingerfed” babies who have difficulty latching onto the breast.

There are many other options and protocols you can follow – this is where I will be starting. I will update with any new protocol added – but.. today is the day… every 2-3 hours…. pray for my sanity!

xoxo

Chelsea

 

Inducing Lactation: Breastfeeding for Adoption (Part 1)

*first and foremost, I am not a doctor. This is purely my personal story and process for informational purposes only*

One of the most incredible and profound things to me is that the female body has been built with everything necessary to sustain another human life. In fact, research has shown and proven that woman’s breast milk when breast feeding a baby will morph and change to provide the nutrients needed for that specific baby. If that is not divine intervention – I don’t know what is.

However, did you know that you can also induce lactation without ever being pregnant?! Full disclaimer…. I am at the beginning of this process – so my personal success rate is yet to be seen… but women have been doing this for hundreds of years if not more!

This process dates back to maidservants and wet nurses who induced lactation as part of their services to the household they worked in! Crazy! Breastfeeding and that close bond and contact with a baby is one of the most important things you can do for a child and I am so excited to be able to have this special connection with our sweet babe.

( http://www.breastfeeding-magazine.com/lactation-without-pregnancy.html )

There are two basic things you need to go about this and prepare the body for milk production:

  • A large amount of determination
  • A protocol/regimen to follow to stimulate breast tissue and milk ducts.

There are so many choices of protocol and products to use to aid in this scenario including medications, Birth Control, progesterone and estrogen supplements, stimulation, pumping, herbs, teas, and more.

As many of you know – I am about going as natural as possible – so my journey will start with a birth control regimen (not a fan of this part, but I only have 6 weeks! ), pumping, teas/herbs, and essential oils.

The biggest part of the journey will be having the skin to skin contact with the baby. This protocol, skin to skin, and use of an SNS system should hopefully bring the journey full circle!

The process starts this weekend! I will be documenting my journey here to help others in their path as well. If you have any questions – feel free to write a message!

Inducing Lactation: Breastfeeding for Adoption (Part 2 – My Protocol & Fennel Oil! )

 

-xoxo

Chelsea

 

“Even When It Hurts” (An adoption story – learning to trust God’s will)

1 Corinthians 2:9 – “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…”

This verse takes me back to a church service a few weeks back where the message’s theme centered around the need to focus on desiring Christ’s presence in our lives. You see – about 3.5 years ago, my husband and I began trying to conceive our first child – after over a year of failed attempts, month after month, we began exploring other options. Eventually, after coming to the option of adoption- our conversations came to sudden hault. It was as if we both knew this was the path for us yet we were so uncertain about it that neither one of us was really jumping for the reigns to take charge. We had countless discussions surrounding IVF, IUI, surgeries, and more – and each and every time we landed back at adoption.

Life got stressful. Things didn’t seem to be falling in place and and it really seemed like we were going to hit rock bottom.

One day – after the dust had settled – and a church service message relayed the thought about following God’s plan for your life and allowing him to control – we surrendered our hearts to the calling of adoption and began to research the process.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your way’s acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

I sang a song in church called “even when it hurts” by Hillsong – the lyrics go like this:

Take this fainted heart
Take these tainted hands
Wash me in your love
Come like grace again

Even when my strength is lost
I’ll praise you
Even when I have no song
I’ll praise you
Even when it’s hard to find the words
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise

Take this mountain weight
Take these ocean tears
Hold me through the trial
Come like hope again

Even when the fight seems lost
I’ll praise you
Even when it hurts like hell
I’ll praise you
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise

And my heart burns only for you
You are all you are all I want
And my soul waits only for you
And I will sing till the morning has come

Lord my heart burns only for you
You are all you are all I want
And my soul waits only for you
And I will sing till the miracle comes

I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise

Even when the morning comes
I’ll praise you
Even when the fight is won
I’ll praise you
Even when my time on earth is done
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise

I rehearsed this song in the car over and over again – often with my eyes closed as to keep myself from crying. “God, I am at the end of the road – please take this where we need to go” – I prayed on repeat for what seemed like ages.

This song became my anthem – no matter how long or hard this journey has been – I will sing your praise. I will keep fighting for your presence. This was October 2016 – We had been anxiously waiting for an adoption match for over 9 months and had been waiting over 2 years for that precious baby in our family.

About 2 weeks later – after leading this song in church – we got that phone call – a birth mother had requested to speak with us.

My emotions were going haywire and I had no idea how to proceed in this uncharted territory – but that was it. We were matched.

I had no idea that those conversations so early on would set our family on such a miraculous journey but I am so glad it did.  The sermon I mentioned at the very beginning of this post reflected on the idea of needing to focus on desiring Christ’s presence in our lives.

I am here to tell you that the journey of infertility can be long and the journey through adoption can be long – lifelong!  However, if that is you, and you are navigating this part of your life. Know there are people to speak to, know you are not alone, draw closer to our heavenly father and ask for him to take charge.

Even when the fight seems lost
I’ll praise you
Even when it hurts like hell
I’ll praise you
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I’ll sing your praise.

-xoxo

 

 

 

Finding God’s Plan through Infertility

Today I write this post as a way of recollecting the memories, trials, and triumphs of our journey to growing our family. I write this not out of any need for pity but more out of the desire to journal our path and in hopes that it might provide hope to someone else embarking on a similar one. This post may be tough to read for some and may resonate perfectly with others. So here it goes…

To be completely comprehensive – we would have to back up to childhood – I have always known since I was a very little girl that I wanted to be a mother. I knew to my vary core that I would be a mom and I would have children of my own one day. It wasn’t something that was up for negotiation – motherhood was in my DNA and all parts of my life would fall into place to make that happen. When it would happen? no idea. Although growing up, as many little girls do, I always said I wanted to be married and having kids by the time I was 27. When you are a kid- 27 seems so “adult”.  When you are 27, you just feel like a kid that is pretending to “adult”.  Nevertheless- the goal line was 27. If you know me, I am a serious ‘goal’ follower – goal lines are the minimum to me and I run as hard and fast as I can until its achieved. So let’s start off with that as a base line. A determined, hard fast desire to bring to life the very essence of my being – motherhood (plus all the other stuff that comes with life 😉 ).

At 15 I met the love of my life. We met in high school as friends and over a casual lunch table conversation decided to make those “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” titles official. I will admit that at the young age of 15, when my mom told me I couldn’t have a boyfriend yet, I had know idea I was answering “sure” to the man that would stand by my side through so much, become my husband and ultimately the father-to-be our children. We talked and dreamed about one day starting a family – how we would want to parent, the things we wanted for our children and when we would ultimately start on that path. At 23 we got married and I will never forget the feeling of pure joy, happiness, and just feeling invincible to what the world had to offer. My wedding day was the happiest day of my life – at the top of the mountain – with nothing to lose. We made it. We were married and our life together was starting. Now for the fun part…. building a marriage and children.

Many people say the first year of marriage is hard and undoubtedly it is. Learning to make decisions not for how they will only benefit you but ultimately how they benefit your spouse is a tough lesson to learn. Thinking for a unit and a family vs thinking for selfish desires is not always second nature. Nevertheless, we adjusted well and life was grand. We had a solid foundation, a solid marriage, and love for each other that made our transition into married life virtually seamless. We had nothing but joy and the world at our feet. The future looked bright and we had every reason to be happy.

In March 2014 – a devastating loss impacted our family. A beloved uncle, brother, son, friend and all around incredible human being passed away suddenly. My relationship with my uncle was closer than many and I looked up to him for career advice, life advice, and just family companionship. He taught me to view life with gratitude and to never settle for less than you can dream for. I spiraled into depression and into a realm of emotional unsettlement that I did not know was possible.  Remember that mountain I was on top of on my wedding day?  Well the way I envision it is those cartoon scenes where someone stands on the ledge and the whole things cracks and they fall straight down to the bottom of the ravine. I had a whole lot of climbing to do to get back to where I was. All our life plans were put on hold as we worked to navigate through this period of grief.

Luckily for me, I have the world’s greatest husband and even through the countless nights of hysterical tears, emotional outbursts and nights where the only sensible things to do was hide on the floor in the closet crying – he stood by my side and we pressed on.

In February 2015 – 3 years ago today – we decided we were back in a place emotionally that we wanted to start growing our family. I remember it like it was yesterday. Driving home back from lunch we decided there was no time like the present and that having children was going to be scary no matter what age we were. So we decided. We were “trying”. Naturally, I read every blog, bought every book, and downloaded every app to make sure we were doing it the right way with the utmost efficiency. (as I write this I realize how absurd that sounds. ha!) Months went by, ovulation tests became obnoxious, temperatures  became obsolete, and yet.. no baby. Month after month pregnancy tests showed up negative. I began to dream what my reaction would be should one come up positive. Slowly I began to not even test – the thought of seeing another negative test would surely tear me apart. I was still rebuilding my emotions from losing someone so close to me – surely God wouldn’t be making me experience this kind of loss too. I wasn’t ready – I wasn’t strong enough.

12 months later – after watching everyone we knew get pregnant- I woke up one night in excruciating pain and was certain my appendix had burst. I couldn’t breath as every moment or thought of movement made it worse. I laid on the bed clasping my stomach fearing something terrible was happening. At this point, we decided it was time to visit the doctor and run some tests to see what was going on. Matt passed his tests with flying colors. However, for me, days and days of blood work, ultrasounds, drinking my weight in water only to sit in a Dr. office waiting room so they could view my pelvis for 30 seconds….  things looked normal, egg count was great, uterine lining was fine. So what was the issue?

Ultimately, the ultrasound revealed cysts in the ovaries and other growth tissue commonly associated with endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrial stroma and glands, which should only be located inside the uterus) is found elsewhere in the body. This can cause lesions, complications with fertility and ultimately a lot of pain on a regular basis. The cysts were small and probably only slightly decreasing our chances every month but hope was not lost. Our OB suggested that I have a hysterosalpingogram – which is fancy word for a test where they inject iodine based die into your uterus and fallopian tube and they take a million pictures to try to determine any blockage. If you google this test – its not a pretty picture. But I wanted a baby – so it was worth it and we went for it. As I laid on the table watching the monitors, watching the die float around, my stomach was cramping from the die and I had never felt so vulnerable. I laid there, alone, and watched what I hoped wouldn’t happen… there was tissue blockage in my fallopian tubes. There was no way for the egg to get where it needed to be and the chances of conception were extremely low. I held myself together as the technicians wrapped things up. I left the room with one of the most fake smiles on my face, met my husband in the waiting room, and broke down in the hallways of the hospital. My worst fear was coming true. Could I not have babies? Was my dream of motherhood a lie?  Why was God letting me feel such a feeling a happiness just a year prior to only let these life events kick me while I was down over and over again. Why couldn’t I have my happy ending? Why was this happening to me?

Again – the depression set in. I sat at the kitchen counter that night crying and apologizing to my husband for being “broken” – for not holding up my end of the bargain. For not being able to bear his children and making him go through this with me. As I write this, I am tearing up again, a part of me will always feel that pain. I wanted to be a mother – I wanted to have children. And now I wanted it more than ever.

The doctor called to discuss the test results and we began discussing various options- surgery to remove obstructions, IVF, IUI, artificial insemination. All of the above. I felt lost as to what I should do, what order I should do things in, and where in the world we would find money for something like that. It seemed easier to give up. None of these plans felt right for us. We spend the next few months trying to take things one step at a time and focus on us. The last couple of years had taken such a tole on us emotionally that it was time take a step back and focus on ourselves and our marriage. We needed to be healthy again. After many conversations and many discussions regarding our options – I finally realized one thing…. I wanted to be a mother. I have always wanted to be a mother. I have always wanted to have children. But you know what…. I have never expressed that desire as “I have always wanted to be pregnant.”  All this time- after all these years and all this pain – I thought God had abandoned me. I thought God had given me this false hope and instilled in me these false desires and false goals. I felt lost pining after pregnancy because no matter what way I looked – the doors were shut.

I realized that God never abandoned me. In fact, just as always – he plan for our lives is beautiful and one we won’t always understand. When I look back on the last three years- heck, the last 20 some odd years of my life – God gave me the strongest desire in the world to be a mother so that I wouldn’t give up when faced with infertility. He gave me the desire to be a mother so that I would know it was part of my identity. My desire has never to be pregnant. My desire has been to give my heart to my children. As my husband and I began to wrap our minds around our situation- we began to feel that calling. We began to see what door God had opened. Adoption.

With a marriage like ours, a husband like mine – strong, independent, compassionate, and devout – we had proven to each other over the last few years that our marriage can take it. We can take it. Just like I felt on our wedding day – we are invincible to what the world has to offer. We began to pursue the path of adoption and doors began opening wide. Swinging open left and right. I began to have thoughts envisioning our family – envisioning our children – and my heart warmed instantaneously. The world has so much to offer- both through struggles and through triumphs. We are matched for adoption expecting placement of a beautiful baby girl in June and we could not be more overjoyed. We are at the top of the mountain and this little girl has already shown us that there are more mountain to climb in the distance.

I recently heard a quote at a women’s retreat through our church that has stuck with me like crazy. “Everybody wants to reach the peak, but there is no growth on the top of a mountain.  It is in the valley that we slog through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life’s next peak.- Andy Andrews” . Don’t underestimate what God is doing during your time of waiting. One day and one day soon you will be back at the peak of that mountain – you will look behind you and see the beauty of God’s orchestration and you will look forward to see the vast horizon you have yet to conquer. And then you will look beside you and see with the utmost gratitude everything that defines your happiness today.

And you want to know a little secret?  One week ago today I turned 27 – expecting our adoption placement in June. Wouldn’t my younger self be so happy to know we hit our goal. Now for the fun part…..

xoxo

Chelsea

Starting the Path to Adoption

First..CONGRATULATIONS! Adoption is such an amazingly beautiful path in life and my journey to adoption expanded my life’s horizon in more ways than I ever thought possible. Congratulations to you and all the very best wishes on your journey.

I remember when I first started the ‘internet research’ at the very beginning. I very quickly became overwhelmed with all the different internet jargon, abbreviations, types of agencies, adoption laws, etc. Too much too fast and I just wished I knew someone who could spell it out just a little bit clearer. Well.. now that I have had the chance to make mistakes through our journey – and believe me we have… I thought why not pay it forward and put together the information I’ve learned. It may just help others out too. So here it goes:

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed professional, nor a licensed adoption planner – just an adoptive mom sharing her journey. Please make decisions as they suit your individual family. 

Step 1: Discuss your Adoption Path.

Adoption can look so different for every family and every child. Are you looking to adopt an older child? Are you looking to adopt a newborn? Girl or boy? Do you have any other preferences that come to mind? Domestic adoption or International? Jot these things down as they will become very important to selecting the right avenue for adoption.

Step 2:  Searching for the right Avenue. 

There are a few various avenues for adoption. Our adoption journey was Domestic – which is where my strong suit lies. When it comes to Domestic Adoption, these are the major 5 avenues that come to mind and a brief explanation of what each one is:

Consultants – Consultants are independent business entities that are in the business of consulting with prospective adoptive parents to help them get the word out, profiles made etc. They can often connect you to various agencies and can on occasion help maximize your outreach/footprint. Consultants primarily focus on the prospective adoption parents providing a guided process but do not handle birth parent(s) support nor the legal side of adoption finalization. You will likely need a separate adoption attorney.
Facilitators –  An Adoption Facilitator is an independent business entity that is in the business of matching prospective adoptive parent(s) with birth parent(s) who have decided to place their child for adoption. Facilitators often work with birth parent(s) directly and provide additional support services for the birth parent(s) during and sometimes after the adoption. They “facilitate” the connection but do not handle the legal side of adoption finalization.  You will likely need a separate adoption attorney. You can see a registry of facilitators here: www.childsworld.ca.gov/PG1701.htm
Licensed Agencies – Agencies are licensed by the state where they operate, usually by a state Department of Health & Human Services. They are licensed to carry out both matching and the legal side of the adoption finalization. You may or may not get the individual support for yourself or the birth parent(s) depending on the agency.
Foster to Adopt – “Children placed in foster care are coming from a crisis situation and one in which the birth parents are not choosing a placement. They have been removed by the government from the parents’ home for reasons that include abuse, neglect by a parent or a death of a parent. Some of these children have never experienced a stable, loving and secure family life.”- http://www.familybuilding.com/adoption/foster-parent-adoption/
https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/how-to-adopt/foster-care-adoption/adopting-from-foster-care/
Independent Adoption– “Private (or independentadoption is a procedure in which the birth parents select the adoptive parents and place the child directly with them. Custody is transferred directly between the parents, rather than through an agency.”  Most law offices for adoption attorneys can execute independent adoptions.  https://www.pactadopt.org/adoptive/services/placement/independent.html

As you can see there are many things to consider. Check our my other posts about our journey to follow along with what we avenues we took!

Take some time to think about these various options and then visit my posts about budgeting for your adoption and what to expect financially when getting started!

As our adoption journey continues – I will provide a detailed break down of what our costs looked like too!

Joy

This morning I woke up, drew back the curtains and opened the sliding door to show our beautiful beachfront terrace. Outside the birds were chirping, the waves were crashing, and since it was early in the morning at a resort- they were hardly signs of other people up and about.

I decided to walk down to the beach for some morning meditation. The last few days and months have been rather stressful and I couldn’t help but feel completely surrounded by tension, stress, and anxiety about the future to come. In fact, so consumed by where we are in life that one of the biggest issues we were are faced with consistently worrying if every action we are making is putting us in the right position to adopt a baby, by a house some day, save for retirement and still pay our bills. These sound like the typical stresses of anyone right? Enjoying life but still accomplishing every goal.

I was recently told that I would need to consider a small laparoscopic surgery for some infertility issues I face. The thought of this surgery terrifies me but mostly because I have an irrational fear of anesthesia and we have so much coming this year including our adoption placement – expected in June. This thought has severely thrown a wrench into my plans and if you know me- deviating from the plan is never an easy task in my world.

But let’s get back to heading to the beach to meditate. I couldn’t help but think just how much the sound and view of those beautiful waves were impacting me for the morning- so I grabbed a sweater and a bottle of Joy by young living and headed to the sand.

Ten minutes set aside to become aware of my emotions was all it took. Today my focus is Joy. Today we need to realize the perfection of those things that are around us. So often it is so easy to get swept up in the negative or the stressors associated with certain areas or accomplishments in life that we even begin to diminish the meaning behind the accomplishment in the first place. My stress right now involves adoption of a baby. One way to think of that means that I should be stressed about the finances – it’s terribly expensive and a lot of work- stress. Or, the other way to think of it is that we have the opportunity to bless our own lives with the presence of this wonderful bundle of joy. An opportunity so many people do not find. An opportunity that will open our eyes to so much more in our daily lives.

This is only one example. My challenge for myself and my challenge for anyone reading this is to find the ‘joy’ in everything you do. Everything. Even the most stressful of things. What was the why? Why are you here? Why are you doing this? Your joy could be immediate or it could be to invest in the joy coming for your family later down the road.

Joy is a powerful tool and one that often gets hidden just out of site when we only look forward and never side to side to soak it all in.

Today- I choose Joy.

What’s in your cupboard?

“Making the jump to toxin-free”

So – I had a couple days off this last week to celebrate my wedding anniversary and lets just say “You know you are an adult when you choose to stay home and catch up on cleaning/laundry instead of go anywhere”… … …Well that got me thinking about how many times I’ve been asked recently about the cost of switching all of our household products over to non-toxic young living brands- I made this handy little graphic below to help highlight it. At the end of the day- the fact that the known toxins and chemicals in the store brands can be so incredibly toxic and disruptive to our limbic, neurological and endocrine- makes the decision easy. None of that for my family- we have enough issues as it is! 😉 I wouldn’t put a price on keeping my family healthy however, when it comes to swiping that debit card – the numbers check out. What’s in your cupboard?

Get your own “thieves cleaner starter kit” here. Then, check out these other posts for more information on getting your home started toxin free.

What are Essential Oils? / Ways of Using Essential Oils

DIY Recipes for Essential Oils

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DIY: Roller Bottle Blends

One of my favorite ways to use my oils is through Roller Bottle Blends!  Here are some of my favorites. Get some glass roller bottles with the roller filaments – I get mine on Amazon – add 5-10 drops of each oil below, fill the rest of the bottle with your carrier oil. Throw is your purse and take ’em with you!

Check out more: DIY Recipes for Essential Oils

Get more info one some of the most common oils here!

Get your very own Essential Oils Kit here!

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MOTIVATION BLEND: black pepper, lime, orange, frankincense

ALLERGY TRIO: lavender, lemon, pepperming

LIFT UP &  CALM DOWN: sandalwood, cypress, ylang ylang, bergamot, black pepper

SLEEPY BLEND: lavender, cedarwood

LIQUID XANEX BLEND: lavender, stress away, patchouli

IMMUNO BLEND: thieves, RC, lemon

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