Christianson Adoption {Part 3}: A Bigger Car

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When I told my Mom that we were adopting, one of the first things she said to me (other than squealing and being very excited) was that I should write down our story. So back in March, I started writing this story to our future baby. Here’s a little excerpt from that story– that tells you how I was feeling at the beginning of this adventure, right after we knew we were supposed to stay:

Mommy isn’t a very good stay-er. She is moving even when she is staying, haha. She read about international and domestic adoption all week. She read about infants vs. toddlers vs. older child adoption. She asked a couple of social media friends who had adopted and had biological children where to start. She looked up wait times and travel times and pricing. She would share little snippets of her reading with Daddy throughout the week, still trying not to overwhelm or scare him off the idea of adopting. On Saturday, Daddy decided we needed a bigger car if we were going to bring home a 4th child so he spent a lot of time researching bigger, affordable cars. We even drove around a test car for the weekend. By Sunday, Daddy felt the test car was too big and expensive. Mommy asked, “Why not start with the first step? Let’s decide how we want to adopt and go from there. We don’t need a bigger car right away.” Daddy agreed. He read a couple articles that Mommy had pinned about infant vs older child adoption. He also agreed that Mommy should reach out to adoption consultant companies about more information and where to begin to officially start the adoption process.

So, first, the near-OCD planner in me gets the best of me A LOT. I know that this period of waiting is never easy for anyone going through the adoption process, but sometimes I feel like the unknowns are going to drive me crazy. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed in this process– there are a lot of things happening all at once. Followed by weeks (maybe months) of standing still and waiting. I was working on not steamrolling my husband and doing it all. I was also working on staying with what God wanted us to do, so I was researching and praying and starting the paperwork… and also letting God and Tommy lead the process. The first part of this process, in Tommy’s eyes, was a bigger car.

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Our Highlander (or a stock photo that looks like our Highlander) & our first car purchased by just us, like REAL grown-ups 🙂

We bought our Toyota Highlander in October 2013. We had many conversations about how it would be the perfect car for Noah and one baby… and then down the road a second baby and then Noah could sit in the back. You know, when he was much older. Just ONE month later, we found out that we were expecting twins. God gets lots of laughs when he hears my plans, I’m tellin’ ya. So by June 2014, the Highlander was already a tight squeeze for our family of five. The twins sat on each side of the second row, but Noah’s booster seat would not fit in the narrow middle set of that row. He had to sit in his booster seat in the third row. He also had to climb through the car and out the passenger side seat every morning for school because the only other way to let him out was the trunk. The infant car seats were too big while rear-facing for him to get out around them. Plus, we couldn’t fit luggage for trips in the Highlander if we were also bringing our golden retriever, Manning. Not super convenient. We did have an awesome topper that my parents let us borrow indefinitely that helped a ton for trips that required a lot of stuff.

 

Adding a 4th child meant there was no way the Highlander could hold us all– with three kids in car seats, Noah and Manning and all our stuff. I waited for Tommy to realize and bring up the fact that we would definitely need a bigger car. I really wanted a car that had the potential for three car seats in the second row, but I didn’t want a car that was super wide or long. My husband had lots of suggestions, but I felt like most large SUVs were very tank-like and I wanted something that drove similarly to my Highlander. I also hate driving his truck because it’s too big. In other words, I was very picky about what I wanted. And then… we started talking about that vehicle that I swore I would NEVER drive– the minivan.  The minivan had all of the requirements I was asking for, but I didn’t WANT to be a mom with a minivan. I was only 30! (My husband also reminded me that I was a 30 year-old mom with soon-to-be FOUR kids.) We looked at the Lexus GX and the Honda Pilot, but ultimately the Honda Odyssey won out. It has really great Mom features:

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Our Odyssey looks a lot like our Highlander 🙂

1) Low access in the back for kids to get in and out of their own– a huge plus for my threenagers that think they need to do everything on their own.

2) Sliding doors (no more banging into other people’s cars! YES!) — the downside to this is that Eli can open/close the sliding doors with his feet when we are parked. Emry Jane’s legs are not long enough yet. I know you can also turn the sliding door function off if his door opening gets out of hand.

3) The ability to separate the middle row seats by 3″ so that a car seat fit better in the middle seat– this was a HUGE selling point for me because I wanted the twins car seats to fit side-by-side. We have Britax Clicktight Boulevard seats for them and they are a lot of impact protection near the head which makes them wide on top. They did not fit well side-by-side in the Pilot, but fit GREAT in the Odyssey.

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Three, blurry cuties all in one row!

4) The third row seats fold down completely or separately if you need to transport big things like boxes of yard sale donations, a double BOB stroller, or a golden retriever

5) There is actually cargo space behind the seats if you are using the third row! The Highlander had no trunk space if there were people using the third row seats.

Tommy searched the car dealerships and internet for about two months before we traded our Highlander for our new-to-us Honda Odyssey. We have had it since Easter weekend and we love it! I am a proud Minivan Mom! Car trips are way easier with all the space. Noah sits in the second row with the twins most of the time. School drop off is now super easy. He does sit in the back for long car trips so that he has access to the outlet for his DS/Kindle.

 

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I would also just like to add that I did not want a white car either time, but that’s what I got because it was the best price.

(The twins thought I was taking a picture, hence them yelling “CHEESE” but you can see how we have their car seats set up in this video! Also, my parents name their cars something with an “E” sound at the end (Sadie the Sienna, Lexie the Lexus, Cammie the Camry.) They named our last car Heidi. I followed the tradition by naming our van Odie. Like the dog in Garfield. Tommy hates it, haha.)

To continue reading our adoption story, click {Part 4.}

 

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