Sunday, September 30, 2007

the waiting..... to finish our paperwork!!!

Today, we were supposed to be finishing our paperwork, (or should I say ERIC is supposed to be finishing) but Eric has gotten really sick since last night. Hopefully just a 24 hr bug or something, making it almost over! He is on fall break all week long, and so we have great expectations that it will all be turned in early in the week. Tonight I went to Griffin's 3rd birthday which was so fun. I find myself having different emotions about starting our family, as I have mentioned previously. Some days, I try to rush rush rush through everything to get it done and turned in; other days I am calm about it, understanding that we still have to work and sleep and live life while we go through this process. After being at the birthday party, I am back in rush mode again! I am hopeful though, because I know that my desire to be a mom is from the Lord, as is my desire to adopt. Early on in our infertility journey, I used to feel like maybe I just wasn't meant to be a mom. Maybe I was being selfish and sinful wanting to have children. I have since been reminded that this is absoultely not true. I have to admit something else. This is kinda funny, but mostly pathetic. At our orientation, I found myself looking around at all the other couples and thinking, 'are we better than them,' or 'would we get chosen before them'. Also, I would think, 'man, there are a lot of couples here... i wonder if this will lessen my chance to get a baby sooner'...isn't that awful!!! Instead of being so excited that we were surrounded by so many others who shared our desire and would be providing homes for orphans, I am thinking of myself!!! I confessed this to Eric and to my surprise...he was thinking the same thing!!! We both laughed pretty hard about it. Ultimately there is a child for us. No matter if there are 2 other couples or 100 other couples, it will not change the outcome, and I am so glad for that, that we can rest in God's sovereignty. I enjoy this truth in other areas of my life as well. It is very freeing to me.

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

2 for 1

We won't charge yall for this second post, I have more to say tonight.

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!

the story of my life

WOW!!! It's been over a week since my last post.... it's also been almost a week since we did stuff for the adoption. The story of my life....I get back to work, get busy, and what happens??? I neglect my goals and I settle in as the biggest procrastinator in the ENTIRE world. I get so frustrated with myself at times, when I start a book but never finish, set out to do really good with my bible study then slack off, start a blog then never blog! Okay, that's enough venting and bashing myself. I am a procrastinator, but I am better than I once was and will keep working on it!
(yall thought we did not have children, but here is a pic of our big baby)

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

California Pizza Kitchen

Last night was our first of 8 training sessions for domestic adoption. We carpooled with some new friends, Steven and Maris who go to our church and are also starting the process. They talked about lots of things at training that were hard for me to imagine, having no children yet. They talked about ways to promote attachment for mother and baby, about the loss that goes on, no matter how old the child is and to be mindful and prepared for dealing with those continuously throughout the child's life. Then they talked about a whole bunch of other stuff that made me feel like I was in college again learning about child psychology and stuff.

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

the waiting

Last night we went to a support group meeting for families who are either in the paperwork phase or in the waiting phase. The topic of the discussionwas 'What to do while you are waiting.' Some of the women said that they have taken up tennis, or have painted their entire house, just to have an activity to keep her from sitting around and waiting. We heard couples share who were starting their second year of waiting for their child. We also heard from couples who have experienced failed adoptions, death of children, miscarriages, very long periods of infertility, etc. As we drove home last night, Eric and I both had the same feelings and thoughts about the meeting; we are so excited to get to know some of those couples who are in the same walk of life as we are; we are scared of the waiting, and we really hadn't given that much thought; but mostly, we felt humbled because it seemed that many of the people in that room had struggled much more than we have, and still have a strong faith in the Lord and have not given up hope. Eric said that for possibly the first time since all this started, he actually stopped feeling sad for himself and his heart went out to those other families who are waiting.

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


Well, in the past 4 days, I have been an adoption-a-holic! I have been fingerprinted. I had a background, criminal record check yesterday. I have gathered info about my family's medical history. Tomorrow I am having a physical at the doctor's office. I have gathered all the financial information that I knew and didn't know that we had. I have scheduled meetings and appointments for asap. I have filled out paper after paper after paper. I am not usually this available, from work, and other stuff, but for some reason the past few days, I have been. All I can say at this point is that after all this paperwork and all these tasks I have completed, there is still one that is the most daunting for me..... the self-study. I will speak on it after I finally finish all 10 pages of essay style questions and answers.

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

Eric Thoughts!!

The journey that Mandy and I have been on over the past year has definitely been the most intense moment that I have ever had to deal with. It has definitely been a rocky road of uncertainty. I have found myself many times asking, "What can I hope for?" The suspicion of infertility and the eventual validation of that suspicion was traumatic. I realize that disappointment and the prospect of unrealized expectations occur in life, but never did I imagine that the news of infertility would be to be at a higher degree.

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

its official...

....we have started the adopotion process. Yesterday was our Orientation with Bethany Christian Services for the infant adoption program. It was so wonderful! It seemed like all the questions we have been asking for a few months now were answered. We heard testimony from LOTS of people, about LOTS of different situations in adoption. Each story was so unique. I am again so at peace about where we are and where we are headed! It was just so sweet to see these children, in real life, with their adoptive moms or parents. I just can't wait!!

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. we go.... our journey for our precious child.... BEGINS!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My sweet, strong, handsome husband!

I am so excited to announce that Eric wants to be a part of the blog! He wants yall to get real up close and personal and all in his business. We have decided that he will write in blue and I will write in orange, to distinguish who is speaking. As of lately, we have been experiencing some anxiety about starting the process.... not sure why, though. I guess it is just really scary to think of becoming a parent. What a HUGE responsibililty we are taking on. I know, i know, people do it every day. We just really want to be able to teach our child how to love and be loved well, how to be a productive little person and most importantly to come to know our faithful God. That is just so overwhelmingly scary to me! The unknown is always a little intimidating, I guess. But thankfully we have such great friends and family who are encouraging us and reminding us of God's love for us. I was reminded tonight of the fact that it is God who we are trying to follow after and He is always faithful and so we have no reason to be afraid!

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!

"He upholds the cause of the oppressed...He sustains the fatherless and the widow" -psalm 146:7&9