Friday, July 21, 2017

Our Adoption Story and Custom Announcements From Basic Invite

** This post has been compensated by Basic Invite, Inc. All opinions are my own.

Our adoption hearing photo taken on May 12.

I have always known I wanted to adopt a child. I just never expected the way it would happen.

In December 2015, the subject of adopting Victoria first came up as we traveled to Phoenix to visit family. She had been under my aunt's care for months at that point. Graham and I have always loved our niece, so it was a no-brainer for us to offer to take her in when the need arose. We hope for nothing but the best for her biological parents, but our main concern was for her well-being.

Our adoption process took more than a year from that point. From the beginning we maintained contact with her caseworker and stressed that we would be more than happy to have her join our family. I would stay up countless nights crying into Graham's arms because I was so worried about what would happen to her. It was an uncertain time that required a lot of patience and trust that it would all work out.

During that year, we checked every box we needed to check. We had our home study done (twice), we underwent fingerprint checks, childproofed our apartment, spoke with lawyers and caseworkers who were involved -- you name it.  I also visited V in Phoenix as much as I possibly could to strengthen our bond.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Two days after running the Chicago Marathon in 2016, I had a marathon day of flights. I flew to Phoenix and back in one day to pick her up and bring her home to Chicago. Graham stayed behind to finish setting up her room while I traveled with her. It was such an emotional day for us; it was the day we became a family. When Graham picked us up from the airport, he had a teddy bear for her and she wore the biggest smile on her face.

From then on, we still had nine more months to go before our adoption was finalized. We had caseworker visits every month, but other than that we were pretty much a regular family. (We sure had a lot to learn about parenting, though!) The only notable difference would come up when she needed medical services and we'd have to submit paperwork because her last name was different than ours.

Our adoption was finalized over a phone hearing in May, nine months after she came into our custody and just two days before my first Mother's Day. We wanted to share with family and friends her new middle and last names in a nice way. Because she already had her first name, we wanted to choose a middle name that we connected with and that we loved. I wanted to announce the moment with a card as I would have done had I given birth to her, and I didn't want to miss out on this special marker of a major moment in our lives. I wanted to celebrate that V would finally share our last name and I could think of no better way than sending out announcements for Victoria Rose.

I turned to Basic Invite because I had seen previous blogs and reviews about how great their cards are. I found those positive experiences to be right on the mark. I completely customized the text of one of their elegant birth announcements to create adoption announcements displaying Victoria's new middle and last names. I love the way they came out!

I used my favorite photo of V from our family session with Square Mouth Studios in Indianapolis.
Family members have already started to receive them this week.

The back of the announcement has three photos taken by me and one by Square Mouth Studios in Indianapolis.

When designing your card, announcement or invitation, Basic Invite allows you to choose from a 180 color options and lets you instantly preview your cards online. You can select a design and then change the color of any element. I found the design I liked but wanted to make the text a light coral vs. a gray, and it took about a second. I also moved where the text was on the front of the card, where I used a photo from a family session we did soon after she arrived in Chicago. It was the easiest card design I've ever done, which I appreciated because I am not someone who wants to spend a long time edited a design.

Once your design is complete, you can order a custom printed sample to see and feel the exact quality of the paper and overall card or invite before placing your final order. Besides adding color to your invitation, card or announcement, you can customize the envelope to match as well, with more than 40 colors available. Addressing the envelopes is easy with Basic Invite's free address collection service: Simply share a link, get the addresses from friends and family and then have those addresses printed on the envelopes for free. How awesome is that?! This would be especially helpful for those who are planning a wedding. I didn't use this option because I didn't have an overwhelming amount of announcements to send and I enjoy handwriting them, but if you have many to send, this will definitely save you time!

One nice touch I liked about the envelopes is that they are peel and seal, which makes sending them easier and quicker. Side note: I really enjoy sending physical cards because I also like picking out awesome new stamps, like this collection featuring national parks.

Besides announcements, you will find a vast selection of invitations for just about any occasion you are marking, including customized baby shower invitations, and thank you cards. And if you need something custom like I did, you can certainly edit any text field to say what you want.

While going through the process of ordering the adoption announcements I became emotional because I am just so happy to finally officially be a family and have such a sweet, strong and happy child in my life. She is everything I hoped for in a daughter and more.

Have you created invites or cards with Basic Invite? If not, browse their selection and tell me your favorite designs! What would you create?

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