Monday, March 3, 2014

A New Path On Our Journey

       Jim and I are very excited to announce that we have begun a new path on our journey to adoption.  This past month we have been busy taking classes, filling out paperwork and organizing our house to become licensed for foster care/adoption through Indiana.  So far the process is going very smoothly- It's almost like we've done this before, lol:)  We had our first of two home visits last week and should have our license by the end of March.  Yay!!!!
     Although this is a new path for us, it is not new to our hearts.  We actually talked about going through the foster care system when we were ready to adopt our second child.  We are now five years into the adoption process with our agency and still no baby.  We've had some good contacts along the way, but have also been targeted by both emotional and financial scams.  It's been a long and trying process.  We aren't giving up on adopting through the agency; we are just ready to put that process on the back burner for now. 
     We know that foster care adoption will have it's own set of trials and disappointments, but one thing we have learned through our adoption journey so far is that we are stronger than we thought.  We really feel that God is leading us down this path.  We know there are some kids out there that we can have a positive influence on...and hopefully a few that we can adopt as well:)
     So we hope you will join us on this new path...we will keep you posted about our progress along the way.  Life doesn't always work out the way we expected, but when God is in control, we can EXPECT that it will work out for our good!!! 
     And the journey continues... 
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Interview Day: Introducing Amber from Ala Carte Baby!

     Happy Interview Day!  I am honored to once again be a part of the Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project.  I almost didn't make it this year...I signed up on the LAST day!  And I am so glad I did.  Otherwise, I would not have been introduced to Amber from Ala Carte Baby.  I read through every one of her blog posts.  Many times I laughed out loud.  Other times I had to grab for the box of tissue.  Her posts are heartwarming and inspirational and I really enjoyed getting to know her this year.  Her story definitely proves that despite the struggles, it is worth it in the end! 
     I hope you will enjoy getting to know her through my interview below.  You can also check out her blog and read her interview with me by going to http://alacartebaby.blogspot.com.  But there's more!  We weren't the only fabulous pairing.  There were over 85 participants in this year's project; each writing from their unique experiences with adoption.  In fact, because there were so many participants this year, we were split into three groups.  You can read all about it by checking out the following two links. At http://openadoptionbloggers.com/adoption-blogger-interview-project you will find information about the project and when each group will publish their interviews.  To read more posts from the group I was a part of, please visit  http://wp.me/p2b7F2-1tA
     And now...Introducing Amber!


    
1.) I love, love, love the happy ending to your adoption journey,¦but it was not a journey that was easy or free from pain. Would you mind sharing a short summary of your story for my readers?-Why you began the adoption process, some of the highs and lows of your journey etc.

We have an 8 year old biological son and a daughter who is 11 months that we adopted at birth through domestic adoption.  I had one miscarriage before I was about to get pregnant with our son.  After our son was born, I have a few surgeries that ended with a hysterectomy.  We worked with a surrogate and did two rounds of IVF with her that were both unsuccessful.  That was a huge heart breaker that we had invested so much in that and to have it not work.  After a few years of healing and realizing that trying to talk ourselves into "one is enough....one will be fine..... we are okay with just one" we realized that our desire for just one more baby was so strong.  In 2011, we started with our adoption agency.  After training, paperwork, profile work, etc. we were finally active.  We were selected rather quickly by an expecting mom and spent almost two months getting to know her.  When the time was near for the baby to be born, the twists and turns in our story started.  My husband and I were both in the delivery room and I was able to cut the cord.  We gave her her name that is on her birth certificate.  We spent the entire time in the room with the two of them during the hospital stay.  The baby went home with her and at nine days (after several more of the twists and turns) we were notified that she was going to parent.  We met with her and the baby a week later to tell them goodbye and thanked her that she had selected us as parents if she had decided to go with an adoption plan.  We knew that God had another baby for us and we trusted that this was part of His plan.   We were selected again with only about 2 weeks before this baby was due.  We met with the expecting mom and her parents and connected with them the second we walked into the room together.  Things could not feel more perfect.  I am thankful for every valley we went through to have something so wonderful now.  We are in an extremely open adoption with a large extended family of our daughter's birth family. 

 

2.) You write about your decision to keep your second match a secret from everyone except your closest friends and family for as long as possible. Jim and I have also struggled with when to share adoption news and how much information to share.  How did you decide when to share, who to share with and what to share? Looking back would you have changed anything?


When I was pregnant the first time, we told everyone right away.  And then, I had a miscarriage.  That was hard to tell everyone because no one could make us feel any better, but yet everyone felt so sorry about it.  When we were doing our surrogacy process, we told everyone from the get-go with that as well.  We live in a small town and our gestational surrogate was my cousin.  It was hard to keep that a secret, especially since she had upper elementary/ junior high children.  With our first adoption match- we didn't make any announcement until we had been selected.  The few friends that knew were people we needed to write reference letters, help us with certain documents etc.  Once we were matched though, we were so excited to share the news.  It had been a few years since we had done the surrogacy stuff, so people were really surprised and had no idea we had been working with the agency.  It was so neat to see how excited people were for us.  It made us feel so loved.  When things fell through, it was hard but we had to share it with everyone as well.  The friends and people in our community were just so wonderful.  Their support helped us so much.  One thing is though, good news certainly travels faster than bad news.  We were asked weekly about the baby in the first month of so and would have to tell people "we didn't get the baby...she decided to parent" etc.   That was really hard.  Not only was it hard to say that but it also made the person who asked feel terrible and I hated that.   With our daughter, we waited until we met her in the hospital to share the news.  This time, only a very small handful of people knew.  

I don't think there is a right or wrong time to when / what to share.  I am so open with people it would be so hard for me to keep such big secrets about something so great.  I don't know how I could have gotten through those tough times without knowing how many people were praying for us and thinking of us.  I don't think I would change anything about the way or when we shared our news.  I just can't imagine any of it happening any other way.

 


3.) Although we have been through a failed match, I can only imagine what it would be like to go through a change of heart failed placement. My heart ached for you reading your posts about the love you had and still have for J, A and Baby J. It takes so much faith and strength to continue after such a painful, heart- wrenching experience. What helped you to make it through those first days and weeks? Now that it is a year later, is it easier or more difficult- How? If you had the chance, what would you want to say to Baby J?
 
It was the hardest thing we have ever been through.  It hurt so much to have to tell her goodbye.  We said during training that we would support any mom to parent her baby.  Of course we hoped we would not have to go through it, but we never wanted to take away someones right/ desire to parent their child.  That moment of becoming a mother- you can't predict how/ what you are going to feel when you hold that baby in your arms.  The quote about a birthmom puts the needs of a child before her own.... this is how I look at it.  If a birthmom knows she can't do everything she would like to see for her child and makes an adoption plan, I fully support that.  If she thinks she can give that child as much as she thinks is enough- than I support that too.   It's not my place to think if I would be able to be a "better" parent than someone else.  I see it as someone chose us to give a child more than they could at that time. 

We do love J, and her two children A and baby J.  I think about them often.  I think about how big baby J would be and what things she would be doing.  I think about J and hope she is doing well.  I hope she is happier than when we met her and that things are working out well for her.  I hope that she does not have to struggle.  I hope she snuggles up on sweet baby J and tells her how much she loves her each day. 

Immediately after we got the news that she would be parenting- we did what our agency suggested during training and left town.  We stopped and told our parents, but went right home and threw clothes in a bag.  We went about 3 hours away to a Great Wolf Lodge.  Our son had always wanted to go and we just needed to get out of town and be a family.   We came back a few days later and it was hard.  One of the great things is a came back to a house that had been cleaned and a fridge that had been stocked with food from our loving friends.  I did end up quitting my job and took a few weeks off before starting something else.  The clients I worked with at the time were too close to the situation that there was no way I could continue doing what I was.
A year later- it is easier.  I am so thankful that we have our daughter.  Believe it when they say that it will all work out and be worth it in the end.  Oh, I can't tell you how much it is.  I could say it a times over. I remember not being able to take my hands off my eyes or pull myself off the floor I was so upset. I wouldn't trade that pain for anything if it meant I wouldn't have our daughter in our life now.

If we were able to speak to J and baby J, I would tell them the same thing I did the last time we saw them.  That I love them, and will always pray for them.  I told Baby J that I wanted her to be a good girl and that I would always remember her.
 
4.) Another theme in your blog that I could definitely identify with was the fear and reality of rejection. Although we all know that some situations are just not right for us, it is still hard to be rejected (whether it's an expectant mom choosing someone else or our profile not getting noticed). How did you keep your sanity and not take things personally when you were not chosen?
When J had her change of heart and decided to parent, we didn't take it personally.  Although (due to the strange string of events that happened those last few days) we didn't completely understand why and our hearts were broken, we did support her decision to parent.  We her, the baby, and her older son, but knew that God had something bigger for us.  That was our first rejection, because it was also the first time our profile had been shown.  The three no's after we went active again in just three weeks were harder.  The first one was not a big deal really.  The second one I felt a little on the fence about because it was full of special circumstances so I was kind of nervous about it anyway so took it as a sign that this was not the right baby for us, and by the third, it was starting to feel crappy.  I waited by the phone each time, wondering if this was going to be our call.  When they called to tell us about the third one, the caseworker told us that the mother had not made a decision yet, but she had narrowed it down to families with no children.  She wanted the baby to be the focus in that family.  This hurt me because I wanted to plead with her and say "but we have more love to give BECAUSE we have our son".   I was bummed about that.  It's so hard to be represented on paper.  I just tried to keep busy (easy for me to do) and my mind off of it during these times.  I tried to put things away and out of site, knowing that they would happen on His time, not ours.

5.) Your daughter, Marla, is absolutely beautiful! What were those first moments and days like with her?   How is being a mom different the second time around?

Thank you so much.  We are also in awe of how beautiful she is.  I can't put into words how blessed we truly feel.  Meeting her the first couple times in the hospital were surreal.  I tried to be respectful of this being their (birthfamily) time with her and didn't want to step on their toes or rush them.  We spent our first days (ten or eleven days I think) in a hotel due to ICPC.  That was nice in a way because I was able to spend time with just us instead of worrying about cleaning the house, letting the dogs out, laundry etc.  Don't get me wrong, I wanted to take our baby home to her beautiful room but it was nice to not have anything else to do but snuggle in her goodness.  Someone asked me when I felt like I was her mom and I said it was as we left the hospital with her.  She was in our care- I was responsible for her.  I was now the one to feed her, change her, pick out what she would wear (with my husband of course- he is a big help)  The drive to the hotel was dark since it was winter and we left in the evening and I couldn't wait to get her to the room and just look her over!  Our son did such a good job of keeping it a secret and we let him call some people and share the news.  I have a picture of all of this and I can remember this moment like yesterday.  She was such a good baby.  Things went very smooth.  I still can't believe how good that went since I was expecting to have a bigger issue with attachment type stuff. 

Being a mom the second time around?  Busier!  I'm usually good at multi-tasking but trying to get two out the door, packed, etc. is just more work!  Our son is old enough that he can do a lot of that on his own now, but I don't know how people do 3,4,5 kids.... especially close in age!!!   We are still getting the hang of it somedays I think.  I was so excited for Halloween but trying to come up with two costumes felt like a big deal because I was so used to just committing everything to our son.  The same with planning their birthdays.  They are both in the same week of December and for this year we are going to do one party together.  It just seems like double the work (which double the kids, that makes sense!) but I love every minute of it. It is a good thing to be stressed about. 


6.) How has the transition been from being a family of three to a family of four? How does B like being a big brother? What has been the best change? What has been the hardest change? What has surprised you?


I feel so complete with four.  We had 8 fantastic years of being parents to our son.  He is awesome.  But I had always always always wanted to be a mom to a girl.  I am so thankful to have this opportunity.  He used to cry asking for a sibling..."why can't he have a brother or a sister like everyone else"?  We knew he would be a good brother, but WOW - he is IN LOVE with this little girl!   Matt described it the other day like getting Marla was something we did for HIM.  He is just in heaven and takes his job very serious.  He is so protective of her and she just lights up when he comes into a room or talks to her.  He used to have a little chair that folds out into a bed and he would pull that into her room on weekends and sleep right by her crib.  He takes her for stroller walks along our street.  He likes to help as much as he can with her.  He is so proud to be her brother. 

The best change has been that I just feel complete.  I wanted "just one more".  I have not ever had the desire for a big family like some do.  Two was all I ever wanted.  I look at them and feel so thankful for all that I have been blessed with.  The hardest change has been sort of what I was talking about earlier.  Just trying to figure out how to get two ready and out the door etc.  Going back to the baby stage wasn't really that difficult for me, but just remembering every thing that needs packed for a baby is.  Sometimes we leave and I realize I didn't put any snacks in the bag etc.  Just little things like that.  I forgot how much "stuff" babies use to go anywhere!!!


7.) In one of your blogs you admitted some of your fears about parenting an African American baby-hair, skin care and so on. (Jim and I are open to a transracial adoption so I have read some of the same scary articles!) Now that you are mom to Marla, what has your reality been like?   What are you still scared of? What do you laugh at yourself for ever having been afraid of? What have you done when you have had questions?

I was so scared! I actually didn't mark full African American on our sheet for our first home study. I was okay with transracial, was completely intimidated by full African American after all I read.  Once we thought more about it, I realized....she is still a baby, and I know how to take care of babies!  There is so much information out there to help you and one of the things I have loved is how many people have come forward to help us.  We have met some amazing people because of being an adoptive family with an African American daughter. 

Like I mentioned, I read a lot of information from people who have been /are in our shoes.  I watch you.tube. videos.  I ask questions.   I was most scared of her hair because I also don't know a thing about doing it.

8.) What is your open adoption experience been like with Marla's birth family? How has your relationship evolved over the last year? What are your hopes for the future?

We have an absolutely awesome relationship with Marla's birth family.  We would have been disappointed if we didn't have contact with birth family honestly.  I know some people are really nervous to be in an open adoption, especially something so open, but it is just so natural for us!   Things just feel "right".  I love sharing things with them and seeing how excited they get when they see Marla.  One thing that comes to mind often is that if our first adoption would have worked out, we would have had nothing like the relationship we have now.  Even though that was planned to be an open adoption as well, I just know it would have been completely different.  Pictures, texts, and possibly a visit here or there, but I also think that there would have been some point when that would have ended.  I would have hated to not be able to share so much with them and not have our daughter growing up knowing her birth family.  With Marla, we just seem to "fit" together as family.  I don't really see any big changes over the past year. I know I keep saying this, but  seriously, from the moment we met, things were just comfortable. 

Since our birthmom is young, we do have big hopes for the future for her.  We can't wait to see her go to prom, graduate, and become successful.  She still has the power to do so many big things and we are so excited to see how she grows.  That being said, I don't want her to hold back from doing these things because of Marla.  She has mentioned a few times that she can't move away etc. because she wouldn't be so close to us.  I want her to go for every dream and know that we support her, no matter where she is.  I hope that we continue to stay close and that Marla looks up to her in the future.

9.) What advice would you share with hopeful adoptive couples who are still waiting? What do you wish someone would have told you when you began your adoption journey?

It is so hard to give advice to couples still waiting because everyone says the same thing.  The main thing is don't give up and don't lose hope.  Have faith that God has you in his hands.  He does not want you to be hurt but to trust that he is working on something just for YOU.  I can't say I understand why we went through the pain that we did, but I can say it is worth it.   Once you have your baby in your arms, you would do it again in a heartbeat.  Be there for each other.  You will both have up and down days (weeks/ months!!!), and try to support each other when one of you is down.  Don't completely lose yourself though in the wait.  Fill your time with other things you enjoy to keep you busy and give you a sense of accomplishment.  Learn a new skill or take up a new hobby.  It is so easy to get lost in the pregnancy announcements, showers, and new babies that you only focus on what you don't have. 

The only thing I can really think of that I wish someone would have told us when we started our journey was... it's gonna hurt!  It stinks. It's painful. It's going to be worse than you though and better than you could have imagined! 


 





 

 

 




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Moving Forward

     I'm not sure why it has taken so long for me to write this post.  I have written about the painful parts of our adoption journey before.  Writing helps me process my feelings and gain perspective.  God has many, many times taken my blog posts and turned them into a mini devotional to encourage me to regain hope and faith.  But here I go, procrastinating again... 
     I'm not even really sure I'd be writing now, except that I signed up to participate in the Open Adoption Bloggers 2013 Interview Project and I feel like I've left out a chunk of our story.  It's not that I want to leave it out- I have learned through this process that ALL the parts of our journey are important, including the painful parts.  Someday we will have our happy ending and the whole story will become a beautiful testimony of God's faithfulness and grace to us in our journey to parenthood. 
     So here goes...

     Many of you already know some of the story- In August we were contacted by a young woman (who I will refer to as L) who said she was interested in placing her baby for adoption.  She had already visited our agency the day before and had found us while browsing on their site.  We seemed to hit it off and talked several times over the weekend.  She told us she lived in Indianapolis (which is only about 1 1/2 hours away from us) and that she was originally due in January, but that the doctor had recently moved her due date up to December.  On Monday, we called our agency and found out that she had indeed come in that past week and had picked up a packet of information on placing her baby for adoption.  
     From there, she and I continued to talk every few days by phone.  Our agency worked with her on starting the necessary paperwork and talked with her about her options and needs.  She was in a hard place, staying with friends and had a lot of crisis going on; yet she was faithful in staying in contact with me and in returning the necessary forms to the agency and keeping connected with them.   They talked with her about what financial assistance she would need and what the state of Indiana allowed.  Everything seemed to be going well and my conversations with L, although short, were easy and felt comfortable. 
     After a few weeks, we decided to meet.   On September 19, we drove to Indianapolis to pick L up and take her out to lunch.  We were nervous, but the conversation seemed to flow well and we sat at the restaurant for over two hours talking and getting to know each other.  Then L asked if we would take her to the agency so she could talk to her adoption counselor.  We drove her, went in and said hello and then went to a nearby mall so she could have some privacy and so we could also talk about how things had gone.  Having gone through a previous failed match, this meeting seemed like night and day compared to our experience the first time.  L seemed bright, asked us great questions, and really made us feel like she was interested in us and in staying in connected through open adoption.  She seemed to be taking care of herself and seemed to want the best for her baby. 
     We drove back to the agency and the adoption counselor called us into her office to let us know that L wanted to match with us.  She gave us the option of taking more time to think it over, but we had already talked and neither of us hesitated in saying yes!  We went out and the counselor let L know that we had said yes.  We were all excited and had our picture taken so we would have it to put in the baby's scrapbook.
     Afterwards, we took L grocery shopping and then dropped her off at her friend's house.  Jim and I were super excited!  We stopped at Target and bought a cute little teddy bear and then Jim took my picture in front of the restaurant we had eaten at earlier in the day.  All the way home, I made phone calls to family and close friends to share the good news.
     The following Monday (23rd), L called us and told us we were having a girl.  We were elated and although we knew that she could change her mind, it was becoming more and more real to us that we could be parents in just a few short months.  For about a week after that, things seemed to go really well.  I even pulled out my material and cut out squares to start a quilt for the baby.  We also announced our news to the rest of our friends and family via Facebook and email.

     But then things started to change.  L's calls became less frequent and would often be interrupted just minutes into our conversation.  Then after inviting me to come with her to a doctor's appointment (on October 8) she didn't answer my calls or texts, so not knowing where she lived (she had moved into her own apartment at this point), I was unable to go.  When she finally called me back two days later, she said she forgot.  We talked to our agency several times during this week, and they also had concerns.  She was not coming to scheduled appointments and not returning paperwork.  There were some financial concerns and some things that just weren't adding up.  On Friday they told us to be cautious in our interactions with L while they tried to get some answers. 
     The following Monday (October 14th), we got the call that ended the match.  Our agency had found out very disturbing news.  L was a fraud!  She had worked with an adoption attorney that summer and made an adoption plan with a couple.  After giving birth to a baby boy, she decided to parent.  This meant that either 1) she was not pregnant at all when she contacted us or 2) she was very early into a new pregnancy and was lying about her due date.  Whatever the case, basically she was using us to get financial help and the baby girl we were preparing for did not even exist. 
      That was a hard blow to take.  We've been in the adoption process for a while- we had prepared ourselves that she might change her mind.  We had prepared ourselves that money seemed to be at least one motivating factor in her decision to make an adoption plan.  Never did we even imagine that she wasn't even pregnant!  We were shocked, devastated and left wondering how to grieve for a baby that wasn't even real.  All I can say is that without God, I don't know how I would have made it through the day.  God knew what was happening even though we didn't and in a way He prepared me Sunday night during the worship and altar time at church.  The sermon that day was on finding rest and peace in God's presence and I clung to that promise all day (and in the following days to come).  I was sad.  I was angry.  I was confused.  I was broken.  But somehow even in the midst of all of my grief and unanswered questions, I felt God's comfort and I knew that He would bring us through this. 
     The first few days are still a little of a blur.  Somehow God gave us the strength to call family and friends and let them know that the match was over.  A few days later, we posted the news on Facebook and our email.  Words of comfort, love and support started pouring in from all over the country- I still say we have the best friends and family ever!  Family and friends let us do and say what we needed to- they were there, but didn't push.  They didn't try to answer the whys, they just loved us and that 's exactly what we needed.
     It's still hard.  I still think about the baby girl that we all thought was on the way.  But each day does get a little easier.  No one is immune to grief.  We live in a broken world and life doesn't always make sense. 
     So how do you keep moving forward?  The best answer I think I can give is one day and one step at a time.  Grief is a process- you can't rush it, but you also can't just stay stuck in one place.  It can seem overwhelming if you try to tackle it all at once, but it's manageable if you don't try to handle it alone.   God gives me the strength that I need for each day, and for now that is enough. 
    
   

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Tale of two Kitties

     Well, we are now officially a two cat family.  Just a few days ago Aria Hope came into our life quite suddenly and unexpectedly, but already she has us wrapped around her cute little paw.  I was thinking this morning how Aria and Melody's stories are so different.   And THAT got me thinking about adoption and a conversation I had recently with a friend about the differences between matching with a birthmom and last minute placements.  So here is the tale of our two precious kitties and my thoughts on how it relates to adoption.  What can I say...my mind is a little zany sometimes:) 
     Melody Joy came to us from our good friend Kathryn.  Her cat had a litter of kittens and she offered one to us.  We went to visit the mama cat and the kittens and picked Melody out because she liked to explore, was a little fiesty and seemed to bond with us.  After that, we worked out the details with Kathryn when she would come home with us.  While we were waiting, we prepared our home for our new arrival.  We bought kitten food, a litter box, kitten treats and a whole lot of cat toys.  We tried to kitten proof our home as much as possible.  We were excited and counted down the days until Melody would be home with us.  Finally the big day arrived and we brought Melody home.  Kathryn sent a blanket with her that she had rubbed on the mama cat and sibling kitties.  That way Melody would have a comforting scent to help her adjust to her new home.  Kathryn and her kids came over to visit Melody and lavish some love on her.  And now, even though we live across the country- they still check on her and I post pictures on facebook for them to see. 

Melody as a kitten
 
Melody sleeping
Melody, now one year old

      Melody's story makes me think of the matching process of adoption.  There is an intial contact with a birth mom.  You get to know each other for a while and if all goes well a connection is made.  A match meeting is set up and and the details of the adoption are talked about.  There is time to prepare and lots of anticipation surrounding the birth of the new baby.  There is ongoing contact before and after the birth.  There is a shared love and joy and a committment to each other.  The match is just the beginning of an ongoing and ever evolving relationship.
Our beautiful friend Kathryn and her family-Joey, Kara, Mathew, Quinten, Kiana and husband Colin

     Aria Hope came to us in an entirely different way.  Jim works as a Chaplain at a prison.  He was walking out to the car on Friday and heard a cat crying.  Walking down the hallway, was an officer carrying a very squirmy, very upset little kitten.  She had been found in the prison and the officers were trying to decide what to do with her (take her to the humane society or drown her in the river).  Jim didn't like either of the choices they were contemplating and offered to take her.  Ten minutes later he shows up at home with this tiny, adorable kitten and "poof" we are pet parents again.  Not a lot of time to decide whether we were ready, not a lot of information to go on, just an instant love for this squirmy little kitten who needed a home.  We took her to the vet to make sure she was healthy, made a trip to Walmart to get the essential supplies we needed, and called family members with a "Guess what?  We have a new kitten." 

Aria Hope already settling into her new home

     Aria's story reminds me of last minute hospital placements.  With a last minute placement there is not a lot of time to prepare.  You don't always have a lot of details.  And you have to make a quick decision.  One phone call and your world suddenly changes..."poof" you are parents!  There are last minute trips to walmart for diapers and other essentials and joy-filled calls to family and friends announcing the good news.  Hopefully, there is a meeting with the birthmom and connection can be formed that will lead to ongoing contact and relationship.  But that doesn't always happen and you have to be prepared to have some missing pieces in the information of your child's birth. 
Isn't she adorable

Proud pet parent for a second time
 
     Melody and Aria's stories are very different, but the ending is the same- we absolutely love both of our kitties!!!  It doesn't matter how they came to us, they are both members of our family and our love just grew to include two:) 
     I think it's the same with adoption...when we adopt, our child will have his or her own unique story.  We may have a lot of information and months to bond and anticipate or we may become parents suddenly and unexpectedly with very little information to go on.  But it really doesn't matter, because we already have a love that's been growing in our hearts for our little one.  Not a day goes by that we don't long to have our baby home in our arms. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Beginning Again!

     Wednesday we officially went off of "hold."  Yipeeeeee!  It took a few months longer than we anticipated, but all the paperwork is finished, letter is done and new profile is up.  I would have posted earlier, but we were busy celebrating:) 
     We went out for dinner at Texas Roadhouse and bought a Curious George book and stuffed animal for the nursery (not that our nursery needs another stuffed animal, lol, but we couldn't help ourselves).  We have also had fun sharing the good news with family and friends.  We are just so excited!!!  We are expecting through adoption...we just don't know when our baby will arrive.  Our desire to have our baby home is so strong, sometimes it feels like we could burst.  It's great to have that anticipation and excitement back.    
     It feels good...it feels new, like a fresh start.  I am happy to feel hopeful again.  It's nice to be able to begin again with new energy, renewed hope and fresh excitement. It reminds me of the verse in the Bible that talks about God's mercies being new every morning.  It is so easy to get weary with the waiting and to be dragged down by life's circumstances...  But we don't have to stay there.  We can have a fresh start!!!  
    Now we wait for that all important phone call, or email:) 






    
    
     For those who would like to check our our new letter and profile, you can go to www.iheartadoption.org/users/thomas1. All of our contact info is there as well as a link to our letter.  Feel free to share any of our links and/or contact information on your facebook page, email accounts, doctor's office-anywhere you'd like.  It helps us get the word out that we are adopting.  So many matches are made through a friend of a friend of a friend so we appreciate your sharing. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Almost There!


     We are almost there!  Back in February we had to go on "hold" with our adoption agency during our move from California to Indiana.  We settled in, got boxes upacked and then started on the process of updating our homestudy and getting ready to go back "in the books." 
     Well as of today, our homestudy is complete and approved.  Our Dear Birth Mother Letter is updated and has a fresh new look thanks to Billie Bush Photography and Joanna at Our Chosen Child.  And our iheartadoption profile is finished and ready to go live. 
     We are now just wanting for our iheartprofile to be approved and our letters to arrive to the IAC-which should hopefully happen any day now!  Then we will officially be off of hold. 
     Yipee!!!!  Just had to take a moment to celebrate:)  We are ready...ready to begin again with renewed hope and a fresh outlook.  Thanks for your love, support and most of all your prayers as we embark on this next leg of our journey to adopt.   We will keep you posted...

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Quick Update

Thanks so much for your patience...I am behind on my updates again.  Life has been very busy since moving to Indiana three months ago.  Here is a quick update of what's been happening. 

Home:  We are happy homeowners!  Back in March we purchased our first home (besides a shared duplex during seminary) and we love it:)  It is a huge four bedroom house (Jim would say six) with a pool, volleyball court and my dream kitchen.  After years of moving around and living in apartments we feel totally spoiled.  We completely expected to buy a fixer upper, but God blessed us with our dream house on our bargain budget.  We can't wait to see what doors He will open to let us use this home to glorify Him and bless others.
     We haven't done much to the inside of the house (We even loved the paint colors already there!), but we have done extensive work on the outside.  Jim has totally transformed the front yard by putting in a drainage ditch, regrading the soil around the house, replacing all of the mulch with rock and leveling and replacing the path to our front gate.  He had a lot of help from my Dad and a little from me as well:)  It's looking great!  We also dug up and put in a garden in our backyard- I'm so looking forward to some fresh veggies this summer!

Church:  We have found an awesome church to be a part of!  It's amazing how quickly we felt at home and how much we look forward to Sundays.  The presence of God is evident and there is an excitement and energy that I haven't felt in quite a while.  We love it!  Jim and I have started helping out in the cafe Sunday evenings and I am getting involved with the greeter ministry and the worship team.

Job:  Jim is enjoying his new Chaplain placement at the prison.  He works with a great team and is really excited about the new opportunities.  Some recent projects have been going out to a lake property to cut willows for the Native Americans to build a new sweat lodge (My hubby is not your average chaplain!) and kicking off a Faith within Films- Fantasy Films class at the camp.
      I am still loving being at home- preparing for parenthood, welcoming friends and family, and working on our Indiana adoption update.   I also recently got involved with a mentoring program called Kids Hope USA- and was able to spend some quality time with a third grade boy who needed some encouragement and confidence.  He was really into learning about greek mythology so we created our own board game for him to take home and play over the summer.

Friends and Family:  We have company!  What a difference location makes.   Already in the few short months we have lived in Indiana we have had visits from our good friends Jeff and Lynda, my sister Christy and family, Jim's sisters and nieces, and my parents.  My brother is coming this weekend with our niece and nephew and more visits are in the works.  It has been so good to reconnect face to face with family and friends that we love and missed so much while in California.  Now we just need our California friends to come visit us here, hehe:) 

Adoption:    We are ALMOST finished with our homestudy update!  We had our home visit with Kathy last week which went very well.  All of our paperwork is in, except the doctor's letters, which are being worked on this week.  And I just spoke with Joanna from Our Chosen Child this morning who is going to help give a fresh look to our Dear Birthmother Letter.  Excited things are in the works and we will be back "in the books" soon!  Those of you who know us, know that we have been waiting for a long time to become parents.  It has been a hard, hard road at times, but somehow things feel different.  We both have a renewed excitement and hope that our baby will be in our arms soon! 

Well, I hope this gives you a little bit of an update on us and an explanation of why my blogging has been a bit sporadic.  Thank you so much to all of you who continue to follow our journey, encourage us, pray for us and love us!!!!  We sooooooo appreciate you:)