Sunday, October 30, 2011

For a Smile...

If you don't know my children personally, this might give you a little glimpse of their awesomeness. We recently took a string of pretty adorable videos that I just wanted to share with you! I hope you enjoy them and they bring a smile to your face!

J* and E* love pretending to be newscasters and when I started videotaping them I had no idea what they were going to talk about, other than the weather! Since they pertain to the adoption, I thought they'd be appropriate here. ;)

The last video is a private concert J* surprised us with, and I will tell you I had to hold a pillow over my mouth to keep from laughing and embarrassing him, but you are watching in the privacy of your own home, so feel free to chuckle.

Enjoy.









And last but not least...Justin Beiber meets Billy Graham. J* made this up on the fly and it is quite possibly the best thing I have ever heard. Ever.

Best news we've gotten all day!

Did you notice our fundraising thermometer to the right??? Did you notice how much LOWER the goal is???

This week Josh and I got our Adoption Fee Agreement finalized and signed, and the total cost to complete our adoption is significantly lower than we anticipated (It's always better to guess high so you don't have a heart attack after low-balling it)! This is a HUGE blessing and while it is still a lofty goal, it feels so much more doable. Not that God couldn't do it if it were five times that amount, and I know He could and IS doing that in another adoption I'm following through a friend, but it is still good news for us that the amount is less than we initially planned for.

We were told that there is always the possibility of fee increases over time, or an unforeseen expense somewhere, etc. But this is the exact amount we have consented to through the agency and the exact amount we have committed to paying in full upon the placement of a little one in our home.

I just wanted to share the good news with you guys and thank you all for praying! A huge thanks to those participating in our fundraisers and donating money to our fund, we are so encouraged by each coin turned in, each photo session that gets booked, and each drawing and painting that you purchase from my little artists! ;) You have a hand in bringing our baby home, and I hope you understand how truly grateful we are. We can't express it in words, so I hope you can understand our hearts and know we are totally blessed.

Onward!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

Today was a noteable day for us in the adoption process...we turned in our homestudy packet!!! When we were handed the packet two weeks ago, we were told typically it takes couples around six weeks to turn everything back in. I had the goal of three. We did it in two! Whoo hoo! :)

We worked really hard on it and I felt like I was DOING something, but now we have turned it in and we will be in the waiting stage for awhile. Our adoption classes do not start until January, and those are seven weeks long. Between now and then, it would be super cool if we could get our homestudy done, so that's the goal! But it will take our case worker quite awhile to go through our packet and schedule all of our meetings.

So, because there is nothing else we can possibly be doing right now, we pray! We pray and we fund raise and we pray some more. I am planning to read a few books on adoption in the meantime as well, because I love to read and because this is all very new to me and I would like to be as prepared as I can.

On the fundraising side of things, we are just under two weeks away from the end of our Adoption Change Drive! We have had two people turn in their coins, and WOW I was blown away!!! I am going to keep the funds raised mum until we get a grand total because it is so exciting and I want to put a big ol' entry in the fundraising thermometer after November 10th!!! Josh and the kids and I have been having a lot of fun counting up all the change, the kids are very good little coin sorters and together we knock it out pretty fast!

Today we were totally blessed by a few donations which has brought us well up over $600! J* and E* have been "Auctioning" off their artwork to family and friends and are absolutely swelled with pride over their contribution to the cause! J* and E* already donated their entire piggy banks to the "Doption Fund" as J* calls it, and the other day J* told me he wanted to donate all of his birthday money as well. I told J* that I was so proud of him for giving his whole piggy bank, and I wanted him to spend his birthday money on something he really wanted! He said, "Mommy, I weally want a brothoo or sistoo!" Today I told him I wished he would keep his birthday money and spend it on something really fun, and E* said, "Mom, what's more important, a toy, or adopting a baby who has no one to love it? DUH a baby!!!" ;)

I am so proud of them, and have learned a few lessons from their attitude. A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that her daughter gave all of her money to put in the baby bottle for our fundraiser. We both agreed that it was the sweetest thing ever. I was thinking about it later and thought, "Well, it's easy to give everything you have when you have someone taking care of your every need." I immediately realized how ridiculous that was...don't I have Someone taking care of MY every need? I could almost hear God say, "Um, HELLO??? What am I chopped liver?"

I had this convicting revelation. I thought it was so cute that these little ones were giving all they had. They just wanted to help! They saw a need and they knew they could do something about it! They didn't worry about what they would do after they gave it, because they are little and they have parents providing for their every need. Why would they worry? They'll get more money, and right now, it seems this "baby" needs it more than they do!

Wow. Are we any different? Don't we have a Provider who has promised us our daily bread? Who has promised to take care of our physical needs? How often do we give without worry? Without angst? Without second guessing and hesitation? Or how often do we say, "Well, I just can't afford that right now. I need to take care of myself."

I don't know about you, but I worry like it's going out of style. I cannot IMAGINE giving all the money I had to someone in need and just having faith that God will provide for me. How awesome are kids? What a perfect picture of unconditional faith. And they are putting their faith in humans! They have no doubt that their mom and dad will take care of them. We have GOD taking care of us, and we can't even trust Him to provide our daily needs? That seems a little off.

I am so challenged by my little children to have more faith in the One who created me. The One who loves me more than I can even imagine, more than I love my own children! How would we feel as parents if our children refused to part with their coins because they weren't sure they would have enough to buy their next meal or have shoes for school? I know my children would never worry about such things because they have never had to worry about such things. But have I? Has God ever not provided for my most basic needs? Honestly, I am fortunate to say no. So where does this constant worry come from? When did I stop trusting the One who has consistently taken care of me my entire life? How does it make Him feel when I worry and fuss and stress over things that I have no control over, but He does?

I have really given this entire adoption process over to the Lord. I have control over certain things, but I simply do not have control over the majority of this process. I cannot control when it will happen, how it will happen, how it will be paid for, or who my child will be. I can either worry over these things I can't control, or I can trust that God will take care of the details, like He always has.

I'm not saying that God always takes care of things in the way that I would have wanted, but do I really want to be in control of everything in my life given my tendency to completely make a mess of things as we humans so often do? I don't think so. I'd much rather hand this situation over to God, and tell Him, I trust you!!!

I am so blessed by you guys and your willingness to participate in helping us in this process, whether it be through prayer, financial support, or encouraging words. Thank you so much for reading and keeping up to date on what's happening! We will be in a stage of waiting for awhile now, but it will not be idle waiting. We will be praying, working hard, learning, and using this time to draw closer to the Lord.

If you are praying, pray for an awesome Change Drive turn out! It is already awesome and we are in the very early stages, so that is a huge praise! Pray for our birth mom. Pray, pray, pray for her. Pray for our family, our little family of four and our extended family, that God will grant us the grace to love whatever baby is placed in our home unconditionally and wrecklessly. That our family will trust the Lord completely to care for us and that His hand in all of this will be evident.

Thanks guys!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Weeks Left!

Okay whoever has been praying that Josh and I complete our packet quickly, thank you, because it is totally working!!! I am finalizing and proofreading and double, triple, and quadruple checking it right now, but we should have it READY TO DROP OFF by FRIDAY!!! What?!?

We initially thought it would take us six weeks to finish, but we've plowed through it and worked very hard to get it done as soon as we possibly could. Though we are needing more in our adoption account to fund the homestudy, our packet is otherwise complete and nearly ready to go back to the adoption agency. This is a huge praise, a big step, and we are so thankful for your prayers and encouragement!

We now have TWO WEEKS LEFT in our Adoption Change Drive, and I was ecstatic to get my first bottle drop off today! Thank you Miss Pris for your amazing donation, even filling an extra huge container with change from her family reunion! You rock lady!

We will be keeping track of each person's donation so we can award a big fat THANK YOU PRIZE to whoever donates the highest amount in change! A $100 Fleming's Steakhouse gift card, courtesy of a wonderful donation (you know who you are, and I love you!)!

Get your change back to us by November 10th to be entered in the contest, and we will announce the winner soon thereafter! We know that you all would have been incredibly generous with this change drive even without the prize, but it wass a really fun and effective way to motivate people, and it is wonderful for us to be able to thank someone in a really nice way!!!

Remember, you don't have to have a baby bottle to participate, any old container/bag will do! Feel free to spread the word about our blog as well, as we would like as many people praying for our family as possible!

If you are praying, please pray for an awesome provision through this Change Drive. Pray that God will bring us just the right child for our family at just the right time. Pray for our birth family as they are out there struggling with tough choices and circumstances. On an unrelated topic, while I have you praying, I would also like to ask for prayer for a sweet girl  who was recently diagnosed with a very tough form of cancer at age 15. Her name is Katie and she has an incredibly hard road ahead of her, one that will require a lot of courage and strength. Please be praying that God will feel very close to her and her family right now!

Thanks guys!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fundraiser Updates and Reminders!

 

 Josh and I got some great news today! Something we thought we'd be waiting on for weeks in order to turn in our adoption paperwork is actually going to be done tomorrow! What does this mean? It means that we will be starting our homestudy a LOT sooner than we had even hoped! We should (God willing) be ready to turn in our packet by November 10th! This is super exciting!

In the interest of full disclosure, this also means that we need to have the initial fundage (that is Josh's made up word that I apparently have taken on) just a tad sooner than we had planned if we want the process to keep rolling. If you will notice on the sidebar, we have already raised about $500! We need to be able to mail a check to the adoption agency in the amount of $1200 for them to start our homestudy. What is REALLY cool is Josh and I did an average of what each baby bottle holds, and it came out to about $23. We happened to pass out 30 baby bottles, equaling...wait for it...almost exactly $700! Wow God totally knew what He was doing there!!! 

If you are collecting change for our Change Drive Fundraiser, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! You are playing an integral part in this adoption, and we are so grateful!!! We are also really excited to count it all up and announce the winner of the $100 Fleming's Steak House Gift Card! This is an awesome prize and we can't wait to see who wins it! Have your change back to us by Thursday, November 10th, and we will get to work counting counting counting!!!

In other news, we have had a GREAT response to the December Mini-Photo Session Marathon! We only have FIVE spots left, and we are praying that God fills them all! We will be working towards our adoption class registration fees, Match Book fee, and final placement fee (that's a lot of fees!). If you are interested in booking a photo session, do it today!


We are really, really thankful for all of the people who have offered their financial and prayer support during this time. We could not move forward in this process without it, and Josh and I hope you realize what a HUGE part you are playing in bringing our baby home. We hope you will have patience with us as we work to raise these funds, and continue to pray that God will provide what we need when we need it!

Thanks guys!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Check, check, check!


My life has started to revolve around a checklist. If you are unfamiliar with the adoption process, as I was until about a month ago, let me tell you a little about “THE CHECKLIST.”
The Checklist is the first piece of paper in a folder that sits on top of about three hundred other pieces of paper that hold the key to your adoptive future. It has, let me count…twenty-six items on it, all with little boxes next to them just begging for a checkmark, one of which is totally cheating because it has like seven boxes to check within it’s own box…what?!  Messed up. But anyways, these twenty-six items all need to be completed and checked off in order for the homestudy packet to be complete and ready to turn in to the adoption agency.
Let me clarify as well that these “boxes” that need to be completed aren’t just easy things that can be done quickly, some of them take weeks! Arg! But Josh and I have started plowing away at it and I am actually very proud of how many checks I have been able to make so far! Every check I do I feel like I am one step closer to my baby. That might sound really silly, but that’s how I feel.
Just to give you an idea of the kinds of things we’ve been doing, here is what we are working on or have completed so far…this is so boring but I would like this blog to be a bit educational as well as totally awesome and inspiring, so here goes. ;)
TJTA Temperment Analasys Tests (That took forever. So glad it’s done.)
More Papers to sign than when you buy a house (which is probably a good thing), including CPS and DPS Clearance Forms, Disclosures and Agreements, Financial Projection Sheets, Consents for Exchange and Information, yada yada yada
Family Budget Worksheet
Adoptive Couple Summary and Fact Sheet (I have never been asked to describe my personality so many times in my life)
Physician’s Report
Things to notarize (WHY don't I know a notary?!?)
Checks (the money kind, not the kind I’ve been whining about) made out to various entities
Family Assessment Guide (HOLY COW this is taking forever. It deserves one hundred checks, because that’s how many questions there are for both me and Josh to answer, and they are all in essay format. I actually finally finished mine today…now for Josh to finish his…see you next Christmas.)
Photocopies of marriage licenses and birth certificates
Descriptions of our home and neighborhood
Drawings from J* and E* of their family, including the new adopted baby (which by the way, is proving very difficult to get, being that my children are far too analytical and cannot believe they are being asked to draw a picture of a baby they have not met, has no specified gender or race, and quite possibly hasn’t even been conceived yet)
And this week, the goal is to get both of us fingerprinted so we can start waiting on our fingerprint clearance cards to come in the mail. I am also hoping that maybe, possibly, Josh will finish his portion of the Family Assessment Guide this week so I can start editing and maybe even printing it!
We're making progress. I wish I could wave a magic wand and have it all be done, but alas, my magic wand is out for a cleaning, and I am going to have to just suck it up and take it one thing at a time.
If you are praying for us, please pray that things will go smoothly as we continue chipping away at the paperwork. Please be in prayer for our birth family. Somewhere out there is a mommy who is going to be faced with an impossible decision very soon, and we are praying that God holds her close and gives her courage and strength beyond her imagination. Please be praying that God grants us patience and wisdom in making some big decisions, and pray for our financial situation concerning the adoption. 
Thank you guys so much for staying updated on the process!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

December Fundraiser!

Click image to enlarge


And now for a brighter post. :) My last one was a little heart-wrenching, but I pray you will allow some heart-wrenching posts now and then. I think those of you who know me, know I am not a dweller on the sad. I don't mope around and I honestly don't feel the harsh sting of the pain I have experienced very often. But once in awhile it sets in, and I think it is just as important for people to know that sometimes I hurt as it is for people to know that I am truly, completely okay. The Lord is so close and comforting, and has allowed a peace that passes all understanding to cover me each day. So thank you for your continued prayers not only during our adoption journey but in the midst of the pain of losing Lily and our other pregnancies, because though we have moved forward and are so excited about adding a child to our family through adoption, we will always have moments where our losses hit us. And that's okay!

So on to the brighter post! I am so excited to officially announce our December Adoption Fundraiser!!! It was originally going to be a Yard Sale, but this opportunity was too good to pass up so we will be pushing the yard sale back to January (Yikes my garage will be overflowing! I hope haha!).

My dear sweet cousin Lisa who owns a beautiful photography business called Mood Photography has offered to host a day of mini-sessions before the holidays and donate ALL of the proceeds to our Adoption Fund!!! Lisa is an adoptive mama herself, she has four gorgeous biological children and two precious children adopted from China. She has a passion for the blessing of adoption and has been incredibly supportive to me during our walk!

Lisa is responsible for the majority of our family pictures and professional pictures of the kids that you've seen floating around facebook and here on my blog actually! She is so talented and seriously one of the kindest souls on earth! She WILL get your kids to smile and be comfortable, and that is a feat in itself sometimes!

Anyways, I am posting the flyer she has beautifully made up for this fundraiser, and I encourage you and ask you to pass along the info! The details are as follows:

We will be hosting a "Mini-Session" photography day on Saturday, December 3rd, at Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale, Az. You can call, email, or contact Lisa through her website (moodphotographyaz.com) to book your Mini-Session for either the morning or the afternoon. You are also welcome to contact me and I will help you set it up! As the date gets closer, we will be giving out your actual session time. Sessions will last 20 minutes and include a CD of all edited images with copyright release. The cost of each session including your CD is $65, and ALL of the proceeds from this Mini-Session Marathon will go to our Adoption Fund!!!

This is a huge gift that Lisa is giving us and we are so thankful for it! I hope you all will take advantage of a great opportunity to get those family pictures done at a great price and for a great cause (bringing our little one home!!!).

Other ideas for these Mini-Sessions include:

Christmas card photos!!!
Baby/Infant shots
Engagement Photos
Maternity Pics
Senior Pics
Empty Nester "When was the last time we took professional pictures together?" pictures! ;)
Gift for mom, dad, grandma or grandpa of all the grandkids together!!!
Just Because!!!

The pictures you see above were taken at Sahuaro Ranch in just one of the very cool locations they have for pictures, including a barn, an antique house/porch, rose gardens, corn fields, grassy areas and benches, and so many more! It is a great and unique spot.

Please oh please pass along the info, and if you are interested, book your session immediately! There are a limited number of spots and we are hoping to fill them ALL!

Thank you Lisa and thank you everyone for getting the word out about this next exciting fundraiser to bring home the littlest Harrison. :)

Click image to enlarge

I Miss You





I miss you today. I miss you every day, but I felt it today. I don't always feel it, pumpkin. I know that doesn't hurt your feelings because you are joy. You are joy. You are wrapped in, snuggled together, covered up and dripping in joy.

God has been so good to me. To allow me most days, most hours, when I don't feel it. When I know it, I know I miss you, I know you aren't here but you should be, but nothing hurts. I am so thankful for that.

But it can't always be that way. Today was not that way. Today I felt it. I felt your absence, and it was staggering. I'm supposed to be holding you any time now. People are supposed to be asking me, "When is that baby girl going to make her appearance?!" I'm supposed to be swollen and achy and desperate for you to come out. I am only achy and desperate. I miss you lover girl. I miss you.

E* and I are going to the Taylor Swift concert! You were supposed to be with us. We were going to make shirts and mine would say, "Littlest Taylor Swift Fan" and point to you! We were going to tell you all about how mommy had to park in the handicapped spot because you were so big and ready to be born and what was mommy thinking buying tickets to a concert when she was supposed to have a baby any day?! Silly mommy. But it would have been a good story, and I wish I could have told you it.

E* misses you. She prays that you and Gracie and "the baby we didn't know" are having fun in Heaven. And we know you are! But I'm your mommy, and I wish you were having fun here. I know how selfish that is. But I don't care. You and E* would have shared a room. You would have loved E*'s room. It is pink and beautiful and the perfect size for two little girls to grow up in, sharing toys and secrets. It's too big just for her.

J* misses you. There are times, not very often, but sometimes, when he cries for you. He has the dinosaur we bought him in the hospital gift shop when you were going to be born. He named it, "Lilysauras." Once he couldn't find it when it was time for bed. We looked everywhere. We looked for an entire hour and we could not find it. He cried and he cried and my heart broke in two. I know he was really crying because we couldn't find you. That's the only thing he has from you and he couldn't even have that. It wasn't fair. It isn't fair. We found Lilysauras in his backpack. You're still missing.

Daddy misses you. Once in awhile I can tell he's been watching your DVD late at night after we've all gone to bed. Your daddy doesn't cry. But he cries for you. What hurts him the most is how J* and E* didn't get to come to the hospital to meet you and hold you and kiss and love on you, how it wasn't the happy and hilarious day it should have been. How he didn't get to set them on the couch and teach them how to hold you and how we didn't get to watch them study your itty bitty feet and long fingers. The day you were born J* and E* came to the hospital and put stuffed animals in your empty bassinet. We have pictures of it, and they're smiling and if you didn't know any better, you would have no idea that bassinet would stay empty. That picture looks so happy, so hopeful. We wanted so much more for that day. So much more than two hours with you. So much more than an empty bassinet.

E* and J* drew you pictures to bring to the hospital before you were born. E*'s drawing was of our whole family. She had been drawing you in my belly for the past five months. The picture she brought to the hospital, you were in Heaven with Gracie. Just like that.

J*'s picture was of a dragon. Because that's just how your brother is. ;)

We have not visited your grave yet. I feel so guilty about that. Daddy and I keep talking about it, keep saying we need to go. We talk about how we should go when the weather cools down, when the kids are on break, when...

I don't know why we haven't gone. I think mostly because I know you're not there. I know where you are sweet baby, and it isn't lying in some cemetary under the ground. Please understand that it isn't because we don't think of you. There are reminders of you everywhere, not that we need them. Your pretty, miraculous little feet hang in a black and white picture above our mantle. Mommy wears a bracelet with your name on it every single day. Daddy talks about getting your footprints tattooed on him somewhere. But daddy isn't much of a tattoo guy, so I wouldn't count on that one. ;) But you my love, are in our thoughts every day. Every day.

I miss you. I want you to know that. Someday we will sit down under a tree (Does Heaven have trees? I'm sure it does! God made so many here!) and I will tell you all about how much I missed you. And you will say, "But mommy, I just saw you! I just heard your heart beating moments ago! I heard E* singing my special lullaby with her ear on your belly, and then here I was, and here you are!" And I will tell you how, oh darling baby girl, it has been years. Years and years since those moments, but they passed in a blink of an eye for you! I will tell you how so much time passed that I got old and gray and wrinkly, but I still thought of you. How I missed you. How I missed you every single birthday, because we were supposed to share it. How I missed you at E*'s wedding, because you were supposed to be the maid of honor. How I missed you when I held my grandbabies for the very first time. How my last thoughts on earth were, "I'm gonna hold my babies now!" And how when I saw you, I just knew.

I miss you baby girl. To think of the impact you had in the short time you were here, it makes me wonder what kind of impact you would have had if you had stayed. But that wasn't your purpose. God knew when He created you that your purpose was 19 weeks and 3 days. And your impact would be immeasurable.

His ways are not my ways. If I had my ways, you would be here. All of my babies would be here. That would not even be possible, but that's the way I'd have it!!! If I had my way I'd march right up to Heaven and bring you right back down where you belong, here with me. I know when I actually get to Heaven I will realize how ridiculous that sounds to you, but for now, while I miss you, I am allowed to be ridiculous I think.

I love you my sweet girl. I miss you, and I love you. And I will not let your absence be in vain. I will not grow bitter or angry, even when I have angry moments. I promise they will only be moments. I promise you that your life and death will be something I use to reach other people who are sad and angry and bitter, and who need Jesus so desperately it hurts far worse than anything I will ever feel, because in the midst of my pain, I have the Great Comforter with me. I cannot imagine what pain is like for those who don't have Him. But it hurts my heart to imagine it.

I am so happy that you never felt pain! That your existence was nothing but pure love and warmth and comfort. That you never knew of hurt or brokenness or sorrow. I have felt enough in my lifetime for the both of us, but that will not be what we talk about when we talk! We will talk of joy. Of pure, complete, heart healing joy. And you will show me all around Heaven. And you will show me that the streets really ARE made of gold! And you will tell me how Jesus has the best bedtime stories because they are real. And I will hold you. And I will not let you go for a hundred years. And I will put you down and you'll giggle, and then I will scoop you up and hold you for a hundred more.

And it won't be long enough.


















Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Change Drive PRIZE!!!


Oh my gosh how exciting!!! Two people who are near and dear to my heart have donated a $100 gift card to Flemings for the winner of the Adoption Change Drive! How amazing!!!

After tomorrow's bottle drop offs I'm making, we will officially be OUT OF BOTTLES!!! This is an amazing thing, I am praising God over it! We would like to keep the overhead cost down, so we won't be buying more bottles, but if you want to participate in the Change Drive you don't need a bottle! I am going to post below what the tag says and you are welcome and encouraged to print it out and put it on your container of choice, be it a jar, a bowl, or a freezer bag! Even if you aren't collecting change, we would love for you to stick this on your fridge as a reminder to pray for our family and our birth family.

This is an awesome prize and it will go to whoever collects the greatest amount in change by November 10th! We are so excited and so grateful to the people who donated this for our fundraiser. I cried happy tears and am so grateful the Lord provided that before we even figured out to ask Him!!

Here is the tag we've been placing on the bottles, if you aren't participating in the Change Drive we would so love your prayers right now! We're praising God for how He is working, and asking Him to take us step by step without anxiety. Please be praying for our birth mama, whoever and wherever she is. My heart aches for the choice she is going to be faced with and I know the pain letting go of a baby when you desperately want to hold them forever. Please be praying for her heart and for God to comfort her and prepare her heart even now.



Thank you for supporting our adoption!

Matthew 18:5
"And anyone who welcomes a little child like this one on my behalf is welcoming Me."

Ouradoptionfaithwalk.blogspot.com

Paperwork and What If's

I am so excited to actually be typing this entry on my home computer instead of my phone! Yay for real internet!

Well, Josh and I have officially started our homestudy peperwork...wowsa. It is THICK to say the least. I am proud to say we have made a decent dent in it considering we've had it less than a week, and we were very busy last week with our twins TURNING SIX! So hard to believe my babies are six! Every birthday feels a little bittersweet. We are of course so happy and blessed that they continue to grow into amazing human beings, but we (okay mostly me the mommy!) are also sad to think they just keep getting older and less snuggleable! Don't think I won't keep trying though...;)

Anyways, we started the homestudy packet and have already completed our Taylor Johnson Temperament analysis tests on ourselves and each other. Those were interesting! You are given a statement and have to put “positively yes” or “positively no” depending on how the statement fits you or the person you’re describing. There were some statements that were so completely off of what our personalities were Josh said they needed to add a “Heck no” option. ;) It will be interesting going through the answers with our caseworker in a few months!

We have also started chipping away at the paperwork included in the packet, and I have checked off a lot of the boxes on the checklist, which feels good! What doesn’t feel good is how the ones I haven’t checked off are the BIG ones, as in will take forever (getting fingerprinted and receiving our cards, coming up with the homestudy fees, etc.). But we’ll get there.

In other news, we are so excited to have given out lots of baby bottles in the past couple of weeks! Almost all the bottles we had prepared are gone! Wow! If you would like to participate in our change drive for the adoption, please start collecting your spare change and get it to me before November 10th. The person who collects the most change will win a gift card to an undisclosed location (to be determined!). ;)

We are so thankful for the support that has been shown us so far. Seriously guys, we really appreciate you all reading our blog and praying for us and encouraging us. This is not an easy road. There are moments when I am hit with the reality of what we’ve chosen to do here. The other day, before our caseworker interview, I was driving home from work and my thoughts just started running rampant with worries. I totally played the “What if” game with God and wow I really came up with some good ones! I was having myself a good solid cry as I drove down the freeway, shooting every single what if I could possibly think of at the Lord.

What if we’re making the wrong decision? What if J* and E* don’t adjust? What if we aren’t good enough to adopt? What if the struggles we’ve had in our marriage in the past is too much for the caseworker to understand? What if she tells us we aren't adoption material? What if a birth mother never chooses us? What if we never even get close to the money needed to complete this adoption? What if our car poops out next month? What if we didn’t “hear” God correctly and He’s sitting up there laughing and saying, “THAT’S what you got from what I said?! Haha!” What if I don’t look like a good mommy from our picture and no mother would ever choose me because of my extra “fluff”? (Oh yeah, I was really getting Him now!!!)

These are not little fears. These are not trivial fears (okay that last one is pretty trivial now that I see it in black and white, but I’m being honest here. I really worry about these things.). I was bawling my eyes out (oh what the people driving next to me must have thought!) and had my awesome praise and worship playlist blasting (thanks to my beautiful sister-in-law who made it for me) and a song came on that said, “My vision may be blurred, but I know what I heard.” Oh man that totally hit me! I felt like God was encouraging me specifically. Like he was letting me worry and vent, but I still needed to come back to the truth. We know that God led us here. For one reason or another, this the path He laid out for us. And my vision was definitely blurred, both with frustrated tears and the fact that I have no idea how this is all going to pan out. But we know what we heard. We know God opened this door. And when I am completely terrified of the unknowns or totally overwhelmed by the sheer paperwork involved, I have to go back to that.

Josh is really good at talking me down. When I am at my breaking point he is the voice of reason and encouragement. We make a good team. He has his moments too (though they look very different than my moments!) and usually God has granted me a confident streak to encourage him in those times. But this time, I was all by myself, all alone in my car, and I was able to feel the comfort only God can give you in those moments where no one could talk reason to you anyways.

I think it is important to express your fears to Jesus. He wants to hear them and help walk you through them. I certainly hope that if my children are fearful of something that they will tell me so I can help! Whether their fear is valid (like Eisley being afraid that her baby sister’s heart would stop beating) or not so much (like Jake being afraid that Captain Hook was going to attack him in his bed), I want to be able to hold them and comfort them and let them talk to me and tell them I love them and I will take care of them no matter what happens. I think the Lord desires the same for us. He wants to hear what’s freaking you out, what terrifies you, what you’re worrying so much about. I suggest doing it out loud with a box of tissues and some good praise music. It can be very therapeutic! And for an added kick, do it in the car and be sure to make eye contact with the drivers next to you. Awkward…;)

So it goes without saying that we are praying for God to calm our fears and give us confidence in the midst of our worries. We know that God is going to take care of everything, but knowing it and truly believing it are two very different things sometimes! Please pray for us as we continue chipping away at our homestudy paperwork. I would really like to get it turned in before Christmas! And pray for God to continue giving us opportunities to raise the funds for this adoption. Josh was offered a third coaching position this year for the winter, so that’s awesome! And my cousin Lisa has offered to do an AMAZING fundraiser to be announced in my next post! We’re really excited about it and can’t wait to share it! And of course our Change Drive continues until November 10th. Thank you so much to those who are participating! Our initial homestudy fee and class registration fees will total about $1600. This will be due when we turn in our paperwork, and the sooner we have the money the faster we can continue with the process of bringing our baby home!
Stay tuned for the next post announcing our newest fundraiser! Thanks guys!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Great Paperchase

Such an exciting step in our adoption journey, the beginning of the "paperchase"! Yesterday we met with our case worker from Christian Family Care and spent about two hours delving into our lives, marriage, health, history, faith, and motivation for adopting. It went so well, though Josh and I are not perfect and have definitely had a dramatic few years, we also got to tell how God has used each situation to bring us closer to Him and each other.

Our case worker even prayed with us! After all was said and done she told us she would like us to move forward with the adoption and we talked in length about where we go from here. She gave us a packet about two inches thick filled with everything from fingerprint sheets to temperment analysis tests. You would be blown away by the amount of paperwork needed to complete an adoption, and this packet only prepares us for our homestudy!

The packet includes about a million essay questions about your life and upbringing, and along with all the other documentation needed (physicals, birth certificates, budget analysis, etc.)it will take us about six to eight weeks to complete the packet. After that is turned in (along with a large homestudy fee...ouch!), we will begin the homestudy. That is something I will go into more detail on at some point, but it is a long process including more paperwork, interviews, and home inspections. It is the last requirement to become certified to adopt.

Our particular agency requires that couples take a seven week course on adoption issues, and those begin for us in January. Once our homestudy and classes are complete, we can put together our match letter, which is basically a profile of our family for birth mothers to look through when choosing an adoptive family for their child.

Once that is complete, we go in the match book! From there the average wait to be matched with a baby is twelve months. As you have probably calculated, we are a long way from bringing a baby home! But we are one step closer, and that's exciting.

We also know that it will take time to come up with the funding for this adoption, so time is okay right now. The fees are staggered out a bit, a chunk due when our packet is turned in, another chunk at the first class, another when we enter the match book, and the remainder when the child is officially placed with us. One thing at a time!

If you are praying, please pray for Josh and I to find the time necessary to complete this overwhelming packet! That God will provide the money for each step, and we will not be anxious about it. Please especially pray for our birth family, that God will comfort and guide them in a very difficult time.

Thank you so much for reading and praying!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Here we go...

After anxiously awaiting a call from the agency, Christian Family Care called yesterday to say we should be expecting a call from our caseworker sometime next week. Awesome! What's even more awesome is that she actually ended up calling last night and we have our initial assessment meeting tomorrow afternoon! That was fast! ;)

She sounded very nice and I was impressed with how fast she got us on her calendar! I am so nervous, mostly because I have no idea what to expect. We've never done this before!

In other news, we've given out lots of baby bottles! Yay! If you wanted one and haven't gotten one yet, we will do our best to get it to you! This week is jam packed with birthday plans but I'm hoping next week will slow down considerably and I can run a few bottles around town. :)

We are so thankful for your support, we could not continue on this road without it and Josh and I are completely blessed by how many have offered prayers and encouragement.

We are praising God for the answers to prayer this week; a great response to our first fundraiser, getting an appointment with the agency, and getting a nice caseworker (so far anyways!).

Now we are praying that our appointment tomorrow goes really well and we can officially begin the the very long homestudy process. Please pray that things will work out in God's timing and He will give us (especially me!) patience through this whole thing.

We'll keep you posted, thank you for your support!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Progress!!!

We are so excited by the response we've gotten from people about our Penny Drive!!! I am going to be giving out LOTS of baby bottles this week! If you would like one, please let me know and we can arrange something!

Remember, you can take part in the Penny Drive without actually having a baby bottle, they are just fun reminders to sit on your counter, and we hope whenever you see it you'll say a prayer for us! We will accept your change donations in any form on November 10th! Remember, the person with the highest amount in change will receive a PRIZE!!! So we hope you'll join us in this month's fundraiser!

If you will notice the thermometer to the right you'll see we've already made progress!!! How amazing and wonderful to already watch the fund grow when we've only just begun! A HUGE heartfelt thanks to the two donors who got the ball rolling! I love each of you and you have blessed our family tremendously!

It turns out the donations to Paypal are not anonymous, I do get an email notification with your email if you donate. I hope that won't deter anyone, because I feel the need to THANK YOU!
I won't do it publicly, but I would love to contact you and say thanks from our family. :)

Again, thank you so much for participating in our Penny Drive! Our goal with this drive is to be able to pay the adoption classes registration fee, which will be $400. If we are blessed beyond that, the money will go towards starting our homestudy, which costs $1200 up front. We are confident that God will provide!

If you are praying, please pray once again that this Fundraiser will be blessed! Pray for us to get our meeting with the caseworker set up this week. Pray for our birth family, whoever they are, that God will be working in their hearts even now.

And one more special prayer request for a dear friend's sister and her family, who is working hard to bring home their son, Isaac, from Russia. Sweet Isaac has Down's Syndrome and will be institutionalized if he isn't adopted out soon. You can folllow their blog at Room4love.blogspot.com and see their story!

Thanks everyone, we'll keep you posted! Save that spare change!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Penny Drive!!!


Well...as you can see by our new thermometer to the right of this blog, we have an official goal set, and a very long way to go!!! We hope you will bear with us as we think of anything and everything we can to reach our goal. We will be keeping you all updated on the specific amounts raised and where exactly each penny goes during the long adoption process. We have set up a separate savings account for the adoption which goes untouched until we start incurring costs through the agency.  We have set the goal of $20,000 (kind of makes your heart stop for a second doesn't it?) because that is the estimate the adoption agency gave us based on the information we have so far. We will be able to get a more specific goal further along into the process, but that's where we are setting the bar right now!

We have lots of ideas for creative fundraisers, and Josh and I are also working hard to add to the fund ourselves. Josh's coaching paychecks will be going straight into our adoption fund this year, as well as my extra days at work and other odd jobs I pick up (I already have a cleaning job lined up this week at a yoga studio, thanks Nicole!). We are overwhelmed at the amount needed to bring a little one home to love, but we are completely giving it over to God and trusting that He will provide.

We are so thankful for your prayers during this time and we hope you will watch our progress and rejoice with us as we get closer and closer to our goal!!!

Now to the fun part...we are so excited to announce our very first Adoption Fundraiser!!! 


Penny Drive!!!

Beginning this week we will be passing out baby bottles tagged with our blog address and a verse. We are asking that people fill the bottles with loose change from their car, pockets, under the couch cusions, and children's piggy banks (just kidding on that last one...;))!

We will be collecting the bottles on November 10th, my birthday and Lily's due date. We chose this date because it is going to be a very hard day for our family, and we want something fun to look forward to! It will be very exciting to get to add to our adoption fund on that day!

I will be carrying baby bottles on me pretty much at all times, so if you would like one please let me know when you see me, or email or message me and we can arrange to meet up somewhere! You can obviously just save your loose change in another container and we will collect it in any form on November 10th, but if you want a baby bottle let me know!!!

We will be awarding a special prize to whoever collects the greatest amount in change by November 10th!

Again, Josh, J*, E*, and I want to tell everyone how very much we appreciate your prayers and support. We know we are loved, and we appreciate everything our friends and family have done for us over the years. Nothing goes unnoticed or unappreciated!

The next time you see me, ask for an Adoption Fund Baby Bottle!

If you are supporting us in prayer, we are asking that God totally bless us in this fundraiser! We are asking that we get assigned a case worker through Christian Family Care this week, and that they will be very nice! ;)

We are asking specifically that the Lord works even now in the hearts of our child's birth family, wherever they are! That He will merge our paths somehow and that we will be chosen to raise whatever child God has for us!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support of our family!!!

To my Five33 sisters...

I cannot even begin to express my heartfelt gratitude for the amazing day I had today and the ladies who are responsible for it!

In leiu of what would have been my baby shower for Lily, the girls in my young marrieds class (Five33) planned and put together a beautiful girls day for me and E*. They had an unbelievable spread of wonderful food and desserts, pedicures, make-up, and just a wonderful day with some pretty special ladies.

Together they also made the most beautiful box of letters to my babies in Heaven. It was touching and something I will treasure forever. I wish every woman who has had a loss could have the support and love that I do in these ladies. God really knew what He was doing when He placed us in this particular group at this particular time. I hope we can be the blessing to others as they have been to us!

Today I felt completely blessed and loved, and was blown away by their generosity and thoughtfulness. Thank you so much to everyone who took part in it, I love you ladies and am so thankful for each and every one of you!!!

I wish I had more pictures and I really wish we had taken a group shot, but here are a few from today! :)



Stefanie and Naomi, they did an amazing job!!!



E* and I had such a wonderful day!


My girl Becky B. I love this lady. :)


E* holding Andrew. She adores him and he loves her!!!

Today was supposed to be...

"Today was supposed to be..." That is something I say to myself a lot.

"Today was supposed to be...my 36th week."

"Today was supposed to be...my due date."

"Today was supposed to be...my baby shower."

As my google calendar mercilessly reminds me of what was supposed to be, I wince and curse technology for being unaware of what's really going on. Yes, today was supposed to be...but today wasn't.

It is not an easy thing to accept, when your plans completely derail and you are forced into a direction you not only never wanted to go, you have no idea how you'll survive it.

One year ago, I was mourning the loss of my first miscarriage. I was in a pit, but as I thought about where I would be a year from that moment, it certainly wasn't here. I was not even capable of imagining that I would have had not one, but two more losses under my belt, and Josh and I would be starting down the path to adoption.

That was definitely not on my google calendar.

Yet here I am. I can honestly say that pretty much nothing in my life has gone according to my plan, according to my calendar. I did not plan to be a mother of twins at age 22, and I did not plan to have my children in heaven outnumber my children on earth by age 27.

After my second loss I didn't even sign up for those "Your Pregnancy This Week" emails, because there is nothing like getting an email describing what your baby looks like today when you're driving home from the hospital empty-handed. Talk about a punch in the gut.

If nothing else, I have learned to not plan. To make sure I do not put anything on the calendar too far in advance lest something "happens" and I am then reminded of what didn't happen when the day actually comes. This might sound pessimistic, but I think it is more realistic. Things rarely go exactly as we plan. And if they always have for you...I think you might be in for a rude awakening someday. Life is unpredictable.

But God isn't. He is the same. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is. And if anyone on earth needs one thing in her life to be unchangeable, I do. The roads in my life are going to continue turning unexpectedly, I have learned that much over the years!

And every time the road turns unexpectedly, I have a choice. I can dig my heels in and refuse to walk another step, or I can continue. I can continue kicking and screaming, or I can continue in faith.

I have done all of the above over the course of my life, believe me. But by far the most painless was choosing to trust the Lord's heart, His promises to prosper me and not to harm me, and to just keep going. A friend recently wrote in a card to me, "You may have questioned His plan, but you've never questioned His Sovereignty."

Well put. I question His plan all the time. Daily. Hourly even. But I know, I know, He is in control, and He loves me. I am not going to spiral off beyond His sight or care. I am always in the palm of His hand, no matter what my circumstance. No matter how I'm choosing to react in that moment. Whether I am praising Him at the top of my lungs in the car or curled up in the fetal position on my bed, sobbing and asking God "Why" over and over. I know no matter how great or how little my faith is, He hasn't gone anywhere, He is the same. That is comforting.

It gets easier, having your plans changed for you. You learn not hold so tightly to them that your knuckles turn white. You learn to plan, but with the internal disclaimer that things might change. The unwanted experience of having the rug pulled out from under you teaches you not to stand so firmly on rugs that fly. I have learned the only thing stable enough to put my faith in is the Lord. He will not change, ever. And though my circumstances change, His love for me will not.

So I have one plan now...to glorify Him in my choices, in my life. To let God show Himself to others through me and my walk. I fail miserably at times...a lot of times....most of the time...but when that is my only real goal, to glorify Him in all that I do, the actual circumstances in my life can change all the time and not matter so much, as long as that one desire remains the same.

I have no idea where I will be a year from now or what my life will look like. But I know one thing for sure, I will still be right in the palm of God's hand. No matter my circumstances, my attitude, or my faith. And it feels good to confidently put one thing in my calendar.

2 Timothy 2:13
"If we are faithless,
   he remains faithful..."


Hebrews 13:8
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Numbers 23:19
"God is not human, that he should lie,
   not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
   Does he promise and not fulfill?"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What's With the Donate Tab???

Some of you very observant folks may have noticed the new "Donate" tab to the right of the blog. It's new! Isn't it nice? ;)

As Josh and I learn more and more about the process of adoption, we realize what a major obstacle the cost is. As we get further along into the process, we will be more specific with our fundraising goals, but for now let's just say we have a loooong way to go!!! We are confident that the Lord will totally provide what is necessary to bring our child home, but we are also realistic in the fact that we can't do it alone.

I have heard people say before, "If you can't afford to adopt, you shouldn't do it." And if that is your particular train of thought, let me respond with this: Adoption is not the responsibility of the rich, it is the responsibility of the church. We are told in the Bible;

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
-James 1:27

 
Before Josh and I felt called to adopt ourselves, there were plenty of opportunities to "look after orphans" in other ways, whether it be sponsoring a child in Africa or donating to someone's adoption fund. It is very surreal to be the ones actually looking to adopt one of those orphans ourselves!!!

While Josh and I may be in the position to bring a child into our home and care for him or her properly, we do not have the $20,000 in cash (and that's a domestic adoption!) that adoption requires in this country.

We have a LOT of creative ideas to raise money for this adoption, and we know our family and friends will do everything they can to support us, even if it is just in prayer! I am so excited to see how God provides, but am totally prepared to work very hard the next few months!

So, to summarize, the Donate tab you now see to the right of your screen is there because we are accepting donations to fund the adoption of a child. We hope you stay tuned to see how we get creative in raising money to bring this little one home! And spread the word about our blog, we have been amazed at the connections we've made already!

Thank you so much for your support and love during this faith walk!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

How many kids do you have?

It is a question I used to love. When people would ask me, I would smile and say something like "Two! I have twins!" Then I would enjoy the inevitable "Noooo! You do? You look far too young and beautiful to have twins!"

Okay I edited that last sentence a tad.

Then I would find a picture I just happened to have hooked to my badge or saved in my phone, and inwardly squeel with pride as they "awww"ed, and "Oh my gosh so cuuuute"ed over my beautiful children. It's one of God's rewards to mommies, being able to brag about their children. I imagine God Himself does some pretty serious bragging now and then. "Yeah, that's my Son, Jesus. He's perfect. No literally, He's perfect. Prince of Peace. Savior of all humanity. Your son is an honor student? My son walks on water."

Bragging about my babies is one of my very favorite things. Answering that question always made me feel good.

It still does, but now it is tinged with a sting of sadness. I remember the first time someone asked me how many children I had right after we buried Lily. It was my first day back at work and a well meaning mom of one of my patients had spotted the pictures of J* and E* I keep on my badge. "Ohhh are those your kids? How many do you have?"

I literally froze. I was in the process of saying, "Two" when a horrible feeling of guilt hit me. How could I say two? Hadn't I just given birth two weeks earlier to a beautiful baby girl? Hadn't I named her and signed her birth certificate and kissed her little feet? Hadn't I attended her funeral, watched my husband carry her tiny handmade casket across the cemetary and watch them lower it into the ground?

How could I pretend none of it had happened? How could I say I had only two children? What kind of mother would I be?

On the other hand, I knew what this woman was asking. She was not trying to open up a big fat can of crazy worms and hear my life story, she was simply making small talk. But I was completely frozen.  I did not know what to say! If I said three, she would ask how old they were. I had been asked that question enough times to know the follow up. Before Lily, it always went something like "Oh, they're six months!" And the other person would marvel at how I was even dressed and put together with two tiny babies (okay that rarely happened, it was more like a look of sympathy while they internally said "Ahhh, that explains a lot").

Or, as they grew, my answer changed to "Oh, they're two," And then we'd make small talk on how easily they potty trained or if they still had a binky. Or maybe I would say, "Oh, they just turned four," and we would then go on to discuss preschools and if I was ready for them to go to kindergarten (No, I was not).

But now I was unprepared. How would the conversation turn if I said I had three children and she then asked me how old they were? Would I say, "My oldest are five and my baby girl died two weeks ago"? How horrible! I already felt sorry for this woman who was inadvertently stepping into a big smelly pile of awkward. And was I prepared to go into detail on my baby girl's passing with a total stranger who was merely trying to be polite?

And what if I just decided to spare her feelings? To avoid the inevitable awkward conversation and her feeling like a total jerk. What if I just said, "Two. I have two children." And then what if I immediately burst into tears because that's a horribly rotten thing to say when I was still grieving the baby I had grown under my heart only weeks before?

And what if, God forbid, Lily heard me? Now, I am a Christian, and I believe that when people die, they are gone, either in Heaven or Hell, and they do not "watch over us" or come back as gaurdian angels or have anything at all to do with this earthly life. They are (if they are go to Heaven, which I believe all children do when they die, unborn or not) in a place of perfect peace and joy, and how could that be true if they were allowed to "watch" what is happening on earth?

I cannot reconcile my child's completely painless and joyful Heavenly existence with them having to watch their mother fall to pieces over their passing. I just don't believe Jesus lets them watch a magic TV set with a channel for each of the people that loved them on earth. They have better things to do, and I'm glad Lily won't see me again until I am whole and perfect and running to her with utter joy in my eyes as I scoop her up and twirl her and hold her and not put her down for a hundred years. I don't want her to see me like this, and I know she can't.

But this unreasonable fear kept haunting me. What if she heard me say I only have two children? How would that make her feel? Would she think she didn't count? That she wasn't loved? That she didn't matter to us just as much as her brother and sister?

Again, unreasonable thoughts I know, but this is the internal struggle I have now whenever that question is asked. There is a whole other layer of ridiculous when you consider I've also had two miscarriages, and I believe those were two children that I will see again one day. So where do they fit into that question?

So that first day back at work, I was simply too unprepared and emotional to answer that question honestly. So I said "Two." And I talked with her about how they were starting kindergarten, and then I excused myself, and I went to the bathroom and sobbed my eyes out. I remember apologizing to Lily over and over, telling God to give her a kiss and tell her that mommy loves her, and I miss her, and I was so sorry I left her out.

I've been asked that question many times since, and each time I've answered it the same. "Two." And then I would be immediately hit with guilt and sadness and regret.

Then one day I asked another mother that question. Her answer touched me. She said, "One here, and one in Heaven." So simple. The world didn't suddenly end and she didn't break down and start crying. It was just matter of fact. I smiled to myself and told her that I had one in Heaven too. We went on to have a beautiful conversation about the children we've watched grow up, as well as the children who are waiting for us in Heaven.

So I asked myself, "Why am I trying so hard to spare everyone's feelings?" That woman didn't make me feel the slightest bit uncomfortable with her answer, and if she had, that's my problem to deal with, not hers. I think burying a child really puts the meaning of "uncomfortable" into perspective. Who cares if they don't know what to say? Maybe if people talked a bit more openly about these "uncomfortable" matters, it wouldn't feel so uncomfortable to do so.

So I tried it. I was working one day and one of the volunteers asked me how many children I had. I took a very deep breath (she probably thought I had so many I had to count them...), smiled, and said, "I have two here with me, and one in Heaven waiting for me."

She tilted her head and sadly smiled and told me she was sorry, but that I was so blessed because my children were beautiful. And I said I know, and we went on to have a very nice conversation. I even talked about Lily, and how she had the most beautiful little feet and perfect kissy lips. And it made me feel good. And no one broke down in tears or ran from the room screaming.

I know that there will be some women reading this who have had losses of their own. I want to encourage you to come to terms with not just your loss, but the fact that your child was here. They existed. You have a right to talk about them! You have a right to be a braggy mama! My Lily lived for 19 weeks and 3 days, and I will not pretend she didn't exist to save some shmuck from feeling uncomfortable. Because you know what? I think that uncomfortableness is mostly in our heads anyway.

The conversations that have begun because I opened up about Lily, the people who have also lost children who never would have said anything if I hadn't opened that door, the comfort I have found in talking to someone who's been there, who I never would have known had been there if I had said, "I have two children," I would have missed out on that. And I'm so glad I didn't.

I have two children here with me that I get to see and kiss and spoil and love every single day. I have one child who I got to meet, to hold, to fall in love with, to make memories with, to cherish and hide in my heart, but who I will not see again in this lifetime. And I have two babies who lived only for a breath. I don't know what they looked like or who there were. But I know they existed, and they forever changed their mama.

And I have a child out there who I haven't met yet, who maybe hasn't been born yet, who might not even be created yet! But I believe they're out there, and God will bring them home to me someday.

I am going to have my hands full in Heaven! This life is so short compared to eternity. It is but a blink of an eye! I can get through a blink of an eye if I have a promise of eternity with all of my children. That's one of God's promises, eternity. I will get to spend forever holding and kissing and playing with and loving all of my children! And that's pretty cool to think about.



Sunday, October 2, 2011

Drumroll Please...

We have made a decision! After praying and discussing it, Josh and I have decided to apply to Christian Family Care Agency. We had a chance to look through the information they sent us this weekend, and I was blown away by how perfectly they seemed to fit our criteria.

CFCA is a Christ-centered agency and requires that the couples they place children with be born again Christians. We are asked to sign their very detailed statement of faith (which included a lot of wonderful Scripture), write out our testimonies as well as answer essay questions on what we want our children to understand about Christianity, send in a pastor's reference form, and be actively involved in a Christian church.

We were so impressed with all of that, plus the fact that they offer and require a series of classes on adoption, charge their fees on a sliding scale based on your income, and seem to really care about and take care of their birth mothers. We felt completely drawn to this agency and felt like they perfectly fit what we were hoping for in an adoption agency.

What's even cooler is after Josh and I decided to go with CFCA, a person I don't even know who found my blog through another adoptive mom commented on my post and recommended CFCA as that is the agency they are working with right now! I browsed through her blog, as well as another I found who is going through this agency as well, and both families are strong believers and are much further along in the proocess than we are so will be a wonderful resource as we move ahead!

Josh and I have also decided to pursue a domestic adoption, which I will explain more on later, but basically it is an adoption of an infant that has been surrendered by their birth mother. I want to emphasize that this is the direction we feel led in at this time, but we are completely open to whatever God has in store and know He might lead us somewhere else as we continue on this path!

We finished our initial application this evening and will be sending it to CFCA tomorrow! Things are definitely happening fast, but I will not get used to that because one thing I know for sure is that adoption is a huge lesson in patience and waiting on the Lord. We have waited this long, and we are ready and willing to wait some more. :)

We now just wait for them to review our application and give us a call. I don't know what will happen from here, but I definitely find myself very self conscience already about what they will think of our application and if we will be "good enough". But I am handing it over to Jesus and asking Him to close this door if it isn't right, and I know He would!

If we did get approved, we would meet with someone from the agency and then if we decided to go forward, we would start our classes and begin the very long and involved process of a home study. We would also get serious on raising money to fund our adoption! (Who am I kidding, I've been writing down ideas since we made this decision!) I won't go into detail yet on what it is going to cost us to bring our baby home, but wow God is really going to get the chance to show His provision! It is overwhelming to even think about, but I have complete peace that if this is the road He chooses for us, He will no doubt provide a way for us to walk it!

If you are praying for us, we are asking that God continue to light the next step in this process and give us peace about each decision if it is right. We are asking that He will close the doors that are not right and give us patience as we figure all this out. If we are approved by CFCA we are praying specifically for a kind social worker and for God to provide the funds for our required adoption classes and our home study, which will be about $1700 up front.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support as we try to be obedient in our call to adopt!