Thursday, December 27, 2007
Today was our home visit. Lisa came out to the house and got her "tour" which was fun....and short. She had to see our fire extinguisher, fire alarms, bedrooms, bathrooms. She also needed to know how many sq ft our house is and how much land it sits on. Then we sat and talked some more about the next steps of the process and about the birthmothers. Lisa is always the one telling us how "quick we could be chosen...so be ready!!!" So, we got started on our profile tonight. It is really difficult. We are trying to portray our life in about 6 pages. We have to write a letter to the birthparents also....one from each of us. Bethany has really stressed how important the profile is in the decision process of the birthparents. That is a lot of pressure I feel like. But I am trying not to get overwhelmed. Hopefully, we'll be able give a good picture of what we are like and of our families. I'll let you know when we get done!!! We have also been working through the "service plan." This is where we specify our preferences on what types of situations we are okay with having our profile shown from birthmother history to issues with the child. This has been the most difficult thing of all. I find it hard enough to make decisions. I have felt sort of a peace about most of it though. I feel that the decisions that we have made in regards to our preferences are truly from our hearts and hopefully it will be right. I am just so thankful for this process for so many reasons. We are really blessed already and haven't even met our sweet child yet! I can't wait!!!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Next week we are both scheduled for our individual interviews. I go first and she will be showing me some examples of profiles from other couples to help me get and idea of what it should contain. Then, when Eric goes, she will be giving him what I think she referred to as a 'service plan'????? whatever that is. Something about that this is when we will specify about how open or closed we want to be with the birthmother after the adoption is finalized and things like that. Then the following week she will come out to our house for the home visit. She said, "The home visit is very casual, I am not coming in with a white glove or anything. You will just give me a tour of your house...." I said, "that won't take long!" She just started laughing. Eric and I just looked at each other at the same time and both said, "no, really, it won't take long" (because our house is so small) I told her we have a very "cozy" home! I am not putting our house down. It is perfectly fine. But for some reason the thought of giving a "tour" of it just makes me laugh. ANYWAY, after that we will pretty much be done with our homestudy and be ready to wait. So for the next 2 weeks we would greatly appreciate your prayers. We have some big decisions that we will be making. We will need wisdom, peace when we have come to a good decision, strength to make those decisions with confidence, unity with each other on the decisions. I am not talking about decisions like what color to paint the nursery, or what furniture to buy, or even what to name our child. I am talking about things like how often we are willing to meet with the birthmother, if at all or what medical problems specifically we can handle, etc. It is just like with all other decisions we make in life, I guess, except that they will stick with us for the rest of our life with this child. Eric and I are different people. We do not always think the same way about things and definitely have different feelings about things. I am really praying that we God would bring us both to the same page. I know He will.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
At church this morning, we had a really neat opportunity to meet a group of refugees who were being persecuted in their country for practicing christianity. Women were being raped and beaten, and I actually don't even know all the details. But, instead of denying their faith, they have left everything they know, their country, their way of life, their friends and some family, and fled to smyrna, tn so that they can worship God freely. I think they said there were 80 of them currently. They don't speak our language, have driver's licenses, or have much money. But for them, nothing was worth the freedom to worship and serve God freely. First I want to say what a great country we live in. I have never honestly taken the time to appreciate my freedom. But this morning, I sat in my chair listening to their story and looking into their faces, tears streaming down my face and just feeling an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. Then came a feeling of conviction. Would I do that for my freedom to worship? How am I intentionally reaching out to people today and yesterday and everyday, since I have the freedom to do so? It seems that I have put a lot of energy and focus into this adoption as if that is my "mission" for the year. But I believe God desires much more from me. I hope, with God's grace that I can begin noticing others in need and stop being satisfied with the fact that we are adopting right now. I definitely don't feel this adoption is a prideful thing in our hearts, but can you see how it gets that way at times in regards to us doing our 'good deed' for the time being? Just something I thought about today. I'll post when we hear from Bethany again! Have a great week.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I have spent the past few weeks worrying about if we are ready. Is our marriage ready? Am I ready? What if it comes too soon, or too late? My friend reminded me that I can pursue infertility, adoption, and even specific children, but there is one that is ours, and God will bring that child to us when He is ready.
I talked with Carolyn (our social worker) this week and she told me that as soon as the psych eval comes in, she will call us to set up our interviews. Then we will have a home visit and be completely done and ready to be officially "waiting." She did tell me not to expect to be finished until after the first of the year. I am glad to know this because I feel it gives me a little time to not be wondering when we'll be done. We can just enjoy the holidays. She sent out an email recently of several situations of babies who are in need of homes, some due this week and some due in the next few months. I am compelled to pray for these little ones who have no home before they are even born. Something that the agency encourages us to do while "waiting" is to pray for the children who are in need of families, whether they are to be a part of our specific family or not. As I remind myself how much God cares for orphans, I hope that all our friends and family who keep up with our blog will be inspired to pray for these children as well.
Monday, November 19, 2007
p.s. (I have been very melodramatic in this blog. please, just humor me.)
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Here we are at our yard sale!
This is the first 5 bucks we made!
So, it's back to waiting some more, to finish our homestudy. We have sent letters now to our employers for their references and hopefully they will be prompt. Someone asked me today if this event makes me feel more anxious about the wait, or more ready for it to hurry up and be here. I think a little, but not too much. I am still not in 'wait' mode, because we aren't expecting to get a child yet. I still really see good in both sides of it coming fast and then we are parents! But here are the reasons that it is soooo okay that we aren't there yet:
- we need to save some major money so we don't have to borrow it!
- we get to spend more time together, alone!
- we need to be training our dog to be outside
- we need to be reading our required books about being adoptive parents
- we get to continue preparing our hearts
- me and mom have time to find some good material to decorate the nursery
- we have time to soak up Aubrynne (our new niece)
- we get to enjoy dreaming about what our child will look likel (it's kinda fun)
- we get to continue to trust God and experience Him in this time of waiting, in ways we wouldn't if we could just always have our way, when we chose and how we chose. I am convinced and expect that our child will prove to us and hopefully to any of you who are in this journey with us, that God's timing is perfect, His ways are better than ours, and we can learn to be thankful, hopeful people as a result of this truth and how it plays out in our lives.
Friday, November 2, 2007
I still feel like we are running like crazy right now. I don't forsee it getting better anytime soon. Between my work and then Eric's work and basketball starting up a few weeks ago, we definitely aren't looking at a lot of downtime. Please pray for us that we would make time for each other to strengthen our relationship. Also, that we would keep our priorities straight of what is important as far as our time is concerned. I'll be posting about that psych eval coming up. In the meantime, thanks for "waiting" with us!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I don't know that I have feel this kind of exhaustion in a while. I really thought on saturday afternoon that I was coming down with the flu. But, no, I was just that dang tired! Eric was as well. My body just ached for some reason. But we got some rest and it's back to work tomorrow. Thank you so much to all of you who donated stuff to us. Obviously, we couldn't have had the sale without you all and appreciate so much your generosity. Thanks also to everyone who has supported us through prayer and just calling to ask how it went and offering help when needed. We love you all and are just truly thankful for your love and support. We are so blessed!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Our garage sale is this weekend, friday and saturday. Please come out and see us! We would really love it! Also, please pray for the sale, that it would go well, that it would not rain, and ask that He bless us immensly! Not because we deserve it, but because we don't deserve it. It's because of His grace that Eric and I are even on this journey. His grace is what sustains me. His spirit leads me. Please, pray that He would extend His grace again, so that we can bring our baby home.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
I am praying now, for our baby. I'm praying for health, protection, nourishment, growth. And for the birthmom, as she could be struggling in this minute with whether to parent or to make an adoption plan or to abort even. I believe this to be the most important, most loving thing that I can be doing...praying. I invite you all to join me in this priviledge to pray for my child.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Talking about our infertility journey again was good, but I don't want to do it anymore! no, just kidding. It was very validating for me. I was encouraged that our feelings of loss, grief, jealousy, sadness, anger, confusion, resentment....all are and were normal. It was really hard to be reminded of the reality that those feelings are not gone from our lives regarding infertility just because we are adopting. It was hard to hear her say that we may even experience some of these emotions despite our new baby being home. It was hard, I think, because I do not like pain. I do not like infertility. Sometimes, I do not like God's plan for my life, at least not at first, I don't. But if anything has come of this struggle, for me, it is that I have found joy in it. Not so much happiness and fun at all times, but contentment with the Lord and trusting that He is working all things for the good of those who love him. I may have said this before, but for possibly the first time in my life, I have found myself in a place of despair, weakness, sorrow, and actually been able to praise God through it. Not ever perfectly, of course. We were at church several weeks ago singing that song Blessed be the name of the lord that they play on wayfm ALL the time. Heard it a million times, but this time, I was singing it and my heart just was arrested again, like it was when he first led us down this path. For once, while in what felt like total darkness, I still really believed that God is there, and real, and intimate and IN CONTROL, and I was so, so glad.
I do not like pain. I do not like infertility. But, by His grace, my heart is slowly learning to like His plan. And the crazy part about it all is that His grace meets me right where I am, never changes...ever, and is completely free.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
About the garage sale... I sent out an email, to those of you whose I have. Again, anyone wanting to donate anything to the sale, just call me or email me. If you don't know what I am talking about, go back and read the blog entry entitled 'California Pizza Kitchen.' We love you all so much, and are so humbled by your generosity, both in giving financially and in donation of items.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Eric and I had a wonderful treat this weekend. We kept our friends the Vinsons's boys from friday at 3pm to saturday at 3pm. We were so honored and excited that they trusted us with their children...all 3 of them! They have Owen- 4 1/2, Griffin-almost 3, and Tate- just turned 1! (you can click on the link to her blog to your left on the screen to see them) We started the afternoon off with some friendly trampoline jumping with the sprinkler beneath it, spraying them as they jumped, a favorite at the Vinson house! Then Eric got there and of course they had to wrestle a while, play 'tractor tippin' and just run like crazy through the house. Dinner time was interesting; I gave Tate his medicine, which he did NOT like, prepared his food, the boys had pizza, and we had a movie night with Happy Feet. It was rise and shine at 7 am on SATURDAY morning, and they were ready to go again. We had pancakes, then played more, and some more, and some more. Went to the park and then came home to take a nap. And then there were all the in betweens... changing clothes and diapers, making sure no one was in any danger, working out disagreements, etc. I will just say that I have a new respect for all you mom's out there! WHEW! I was tired! Luckily, Laurie had given great guidelines for us and the boys were great. We had a good time. We decided we should be cherishing our down time, rather than wishing it away! Yet, at the same time, it really made us long for our own child who we know will be brought home soon! I didn't even get to take a shower for 24 hrs! oh, and good news... I have a new weight loss plan... bring our baby home cause I definitely won't be having any time to eat and constantly running around! Just kidding. We had such a great experience and can't wait to keep them some more!
Tonight we did our second session of training. We did not have to go there, she just emails us some literature and questions to do and we do them and email them back by next tuesday. I did not know I would have homework with this! It's all worth it though. The literature was really good, it discussed developmental stages of children and the importance of understanding them when raising adopted children. It talked about the loss and grieving that adoptions brings to a childs life and how how to prepare for and deal with that. Honestly, I start to get really scared and a little reluctant when I read this kind of stuff. I know that it is reality and that this road will bring along issues that come only with adoption. It is times like tonight, when I feel these feelings that I need to go back and read my very first blog, or some of my journaling from a few months ago and I remember that the Lord has guided us to this journey and that He is always faithful to me even in hard times. I know that the Lord's faithfulness and love for us does not exempt anyone from having a hard life, in fact, from our sermon on sunday, persecution, trials and conflict will be a HUGE part of a christian's life on earth. So, I pray for His strength in our weakness, wisdom beyond our years, and an immense amount of love for this child and the ability to love him or her well. We should be turning in our paperwork within a few days, hopefully by friday, but we'll let you know!
Oh...and about the comment from 'christine'... do we know you? do you have anything to say about our adoption journey? Sorry to Maris and Steven if any 'crazies' came knocking on your door....really, really sorry. (I don't do much on the internet, so I didn't even think about stating your last names)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The best part of the night was definitely California Pizza Kitchen that we went to after the training! (not that the training wasn't good...but you all know how food ranks with me and Eric!) We had such a great time. We really clicked with Steven and Maris and just laughed and talked and ate... my 3 fav. things! I am so, so thankful and happy to know them and to go through this with them. Steven is in a band called Spur58 and Maris works in a obgyn's office. They are super cool and we love them!
Okay, everyone.... Eric and I are having a garage sale to help raise money to go to our adoption fund here in about 2-3 weeks. I am looking at Oct. 12-13. Okay, let's just be real honest for a second....Eric has successfully sold almost everything in our house that he found unneccesary in previous garage sales. (for those of you who have been here to our cozy home, you know we don't have extra "stuff" in our house) So....that being said, if any of you have anything that you would like to contribute to our yard sale we would love it! We thought that it would be a really fun way for any friends or family who wanted to support us financially to do so. For all of you Hendersonvillians, don't worry, you don't have to bring it to murfreesboro or even be present during the sale, we will come and get it from you if you just let us know. We believe so much in what we are doing, and would be so thankful for ANYthing you have to give. Thanks for even considering us. oh yeah, and if you know anyone who is the EXACT opposite of Eric and would actually have garage sale items, feel free to tell them of the cause or foward them the blog. (Eric, you know I love you!)
The other fund raising idea I had was that we could sell tickets to Eric's beat boxing show he puts on here at the house every night. every since Blake Lewis on American Idol, Eric has a newfound love for beat boxing and thinks he and Blake should get together. I quickly realized that this would not generate much money, cause the only person buying the ticket would be yours truly, and my money's already in the adoption fund! (I really do love you baby!)
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
One of the social workers really made a great point. There are periods of waiting on the Lord in all of our lives. For her, it was her waiting to be married. She did not marry until she was 35 years old. She said that the wait was well worth it because now she is married to godly man who she couldn't imagine herself without. I know that waiting will be hard, but that in God's perfect timing, He will bring us to our child, and I can rest in that. So, my request is that you all help me remember this truth when we are getting discouraged along the way!
A few nights ago, I was asking Eric to tell me about his feelings about where we are right now. He began to tell me of his feelings about adoption, but also his lingering sadness about our infertility. I was so upset when I first heard him say that. I was really wanting him to say that he was okay with not having a biological baby...because to me that means that he can't possibly be feeling good and confident about adopting. I was really just blown away by his response. He helped me to see that our infertility journey and our adoption journey are two totally separate things. It is okay and very normal for us to have excitement about adoption and sadness/grief about infertility, at the same time. Just because we will soon be parents through adoption, doesn't mean that the hurt of not being able to conceive at this time won't still be real sometimes. This idea felt so freeing to me! This may not make a lot of sense to most of you, but it was just really great to hear him process that the way he did and then be able to help me see it, too.
God uses Eric to humble me, love me, sharpen me, and teach me all the time and I am so blessed for that.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Last night, we went to a transracial play group. For those of you who are wondering what in the heck that is....don't feel bad, I thought the same thing. It was actually pretty neat. Parents who have adopted transracially (meaning that the parents are one race and the child is another) come with their adopted children and biological children and they all play together while the parents and other couples who are in the process of adopting interact with the children and with other parents. There was a girl named Heather there who gave testimony of her experience growing up being biracial and being adopted into a white family. I loved her honesty so much. She did not make it sound all pretty and perfect. She gave a very real picture of what her life was like, what she wishes could have been different and advice she gives all parents who adopt transracially. A major theme of her talking was that she encourages all adoptive parents to educate their children about who they are and where they come from, instead of trying to hide it or pretend like they aren't different.
There was one little boy there named Carter who Eric and I affectionately renamed 'the mac daddy' of the group. He was around 4 or so. He would go around to all the other little girls and try to flirt with them and then run away as if he was trying to act like he didn't care if they noticed him or not. It was so cute! I'd say the night in general, if nothing else, really warmed my heart to see these kids flourishing and growing up in an atmosphere that they probably wouldn't have had a chance at if their parents had not adopted them. I also just looked at them and thought about how each one of them will most likely have the opportunity to come to know Christ personally because of their parents, homes, churches and surroundings. Isn't that so glorifying to God??? I am so excited to be an adoptive mom. I cannot wait to meet my sweet child!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
I truly believe that God has a plan for all of us, even the infertile. In Ephesians 1:11-12, it states, "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory." How wonderful to know that our lives are not off track. Within God's plan everything fits together perfectly.
To our family and friends I want to say that we need your support, your attention, your love and to be excited for us. We have been told that this is not going to be an easy process and can be even more emotional that infertility at times. Please be patient with us. We know it is hard to understand what internal emotions we deal with on a daily basis. I know there is a child that God has picked out for Mandy and I. I am excited about that.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
We got all our paperwork we will need to complete and kind of an idea of how things will go. Here is what is ahead, and what the whole process entails(as far as I can tell):
- the paperwork- they want to know everything about us. Our financial information about our house, cars, assets, debt, checking/savings, credit checks, etc. We have to get FINGERPRINTED and have a criminal record check. Psychological, emotional and infertility evaluations are required. We must give references of people who know us and think we would be good parents....hope we can find some one! The longest portion is a 10 page self study to be completed by each of us. That thing asks questions that I am not sure I know the answers to!!!
- the training- to ensure that we are well equipped iguess, they take us through 8 training classes about everything from parenting adopted children to transracial adoption. I am really excited about this part. We will go to support groups in addition to our training.
- the interview- Once we turn in our paperwork, we will set up interviews with the infertility counselor and with the domestic adoption counselor, separately and as a couple.
- the home visit- Then one of the social workers will come out to our home to see that we have a suitable place to raise this child. I hope size doesn't matter! We are very cozy in our home!
- preferences- at some point Eric and I decide how much openness we want to have with the birthmother, what we prefer about a child (race, age, health status, etc.)
- the write up- once all of the above things are complete, the director lady will write up what is our offical 'home study' and we will be placed in a pool of waiting families.
- the wait- the wait can last anywhere from a few months (in some cases a few weeks) to 2 years for us to be chosen. Basically, the birthmother will be shown profiles of families who best fit with her and her baby's needs and desires. At some point she meets with us, face to face, then chooses a family to parent her child.
- parental rights waived- Once we are chosen, and the baby is born, I think the birthmom must wait 4 days to sign to waive her rights as the parent in the state of tn. From that time, it is 10 days to the minute of when her rights are legally terminated. However, the funniest part is that day has to fall on a business day! So it could end up being a little more than 2 weeks, if the birthmom signs the waiver on the 4th day. She doesn't have to though. It's kinda all up to her.
- the finalization- this doesn't take place until after the child has been in our home for more than 6 months. It is done in a court with a judge and everything.
I hope I am not leaving anything out.... I plan to update this blog as we go through each step, so that you all can walk through this with us. We really loved Bethany. They are really all about what is best for the child. They care for the birthmom's and the adoptive parents equally, which I think is so great. They also did a great job of educating us on friday. I am so looking forward to this! They did let us know that 50% of the time, birthmom's decide to go ahead with their adoption plan that was made before the birth....which means that 50% of the time they decide not to go through with the adoption plan and they decide to parent themselves. This was a scary thing for us to hear. We know this journey has the potential to be an emotional rollercoaster like our infertility journey has been, but....such is life! Please pray for us when you think of us; that we would give grace and love when needed, that we would be open with each other and be good communicators, that we would prayerfully make decisions and that we would continue to seek the Lord together and individually.
So....here we go.... our journey for our precious child.... BEGINS!!!!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
We go to orientation on FRIDAY!!! We are so excited to get started with the paperwork and the homestudy process. Now we can really start blogging about the adoption. If I had to guess, Eric will be giving the facts and I will be bringing the emotion! lol. anyway, I just am still feeling so honored that we will soon be parents!
Friday, August 24, 2007
Would we be happy? sad? emotional? hardened? Well, we were a little of all of them.... so excited and proud to be aunt's and uncle's, so happy for Bryan and Amy and for all the family, yet so so overcome with sadness in our hearts due to our infertility. We felt guilty for feeling all those emotions. We cried, we thought, we prayed. And God was faithful to send His Spirit to comfort us in our time of emotional need.
Then, we really feel that God is healing our hearts. So many people have been so wonderful to us, so loving, gentle and kind. We appreciate that more than they can know. Just when we were feeling the most healing this week of our pain from sunday, we get the news...Eric's sister is pregnant! We love her so much more than she realizes that we do. Instead of our focus being on our own infertility, God had turned our hearts to her and the situation that she is in. We are thankful that He is once again faithful. Neither of my sister-in-laws would ever intentionally hurt us and we know that one hundred percent....and that is what makes it easier to bear.
ONE conclusion of our week that we have come to is that God intends for us to have community with each other. He gave us family and friends, other believers who can help pick us up when we have been knocked down. I am amazed at how intricately he planned human life. Eric and I know that we need our friends and family in order to survive this difficult place. We are so thankful to him that we have them! \
Orientation for adoption is on September 7. 2 weeks from today!!! Please pray for us as we prepare to start this awesome journey. We Love You All.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Learning that we are infertile has been the most difficult and trying thing I'e ever been through. With all the ups and downs, the emotional rollercoaster of the monthly let downs. I wish I had journaled more through that time. I know I felt sadness about our inability to conceive; anger, jealousy, envy and anxiety all but took over my body! It has been difficult to see pregnant people at work in the ER, who don't want their babies, who are devastated to find out of their pregnancy, who are planning to abort or who have recently intentionally aborted. Eric and I both are very different when it comes to dealing with it, and we have frequently felt alone and isolated, even from each other.
Some verses of a song I proclaimed all the time to God: My heart is heavy and my days are long. I lift my eyes up in the night. My heart it weighs me down, but your burden is light. So Lord, come walk with me til my heart can see all the bounties that your grace can bring.... Holy Spirit, rest upon me. Breath of God, touch my soul. Come unfailing love of Jesus. Rest upon us....
So, anyways...the though of adoption enters the picture! I began to think of adoption, for no apparent reason that I recall. I know that I my first thought was that I could never be an adoptive parent, Eric could, but not me. Then I remember my heart beginning to soften to the idea that maybe adoption could be part of God's plan for us, through our infertility. I was surprised at the response my family gave. Some of them had already thought of us adopting. An old friend wrote an email of encouragement to me, and reminded me of my mission-mindedness and heart for children when I was younger, and posed the question, "Could adoption fit into this picture anywhere?" How crazy is that? So through prayer and conversation, eric and I decided that we would adopt...SOMEDAY...after all infertility treatments and everything, of course. I was introduced to Steven Curtis Chapman's story of his adopted children on his website, Shaohannah's Hope. As I read, my heart just ached for the millions of children with no home and no family. I knew this was God working in me and giving me a heart for adoption. I expressed my desire to adopt now, instead of pursuing IVF. So much more to this story, but basically, this is how we got to the place we are now. There is no real reason to believe that we cannot conceive, or will not ever conceive. However, I have never been so sure of anything I am doing in my entire life.
We have met with other couples that we know who have adopted to hear their stories and have been so incredibly encouraged by them. I am learning from various scriptures and sermons, how much God cares for orphans! I am His adopted child through Christ's sacrifice, of no works of my own. I believe that God calls us to protect the fatherless, and holds them at a high priority! Just learning about adoption is teaching me about the heart of God.
My prayer for the entire process right now is a quote that I heard Jeff Patton quote,(not sure who he was quoting). "May we remember in the dark, what we could see so clearly in the light." I pray that we will not be discouraged, as I hear that the adoption process can be very trying. I pray for the birth mom and for our future child, for her mental and emotional clarity and health, and for the child's protection.
I plan to keep this blog posted about the steps of the process, in hopes that family and friends will have an easy way to keep up with us, amidst a very busy life. But also, that someone might be encouraged by my transparency in this journey.
"He upholds the cause of the oppressed...He sustains the fatherless and the widow" -psalm 146:7&9