Friday, December 12, 2014

New Perspectives

I've wanted to write a new post for a while now, but I have had a hard time figuring out what to write about. So, I think I'm going to talk about what adoption is and isn't and how our perceptions and how we have changed through the process.
Recently, I've felt very convicted on the point that the goal of adoption is not to give us a child, but exactly the opposite, to give a child in need a home and a family. I think that most people (us included when we started the process, to be completely honest) start out looking at adoption as a means to get a baby. And yes, adoption can accomplish that and should accomplish that, but the goal should not be to give parents a baby, but to give a baby parents. And when people look at adoption as a means to get a baby that's when adoption can be seen as unethical and to me, it can look like "baby shopping." When people look at adoption for self service they often look for what they think is best for them. Example, when you adopt you fill out a preference sheet with preferences ranging from everything to race, mother's background with drugs and mental illness, babies with special needs, age of child, and everything in between. Now, I do think there are situations to say no to, if you don't have financial means to support a baby with known special needs or if you live in an area where your child would be the only one of a certain race then those are things to consider for the child's well-being. But when an adoptive parent says they want a blonde, blue-eyed, perfectly healthy girl from birth, in a completely closed adoption where the mother's family has no history of any illness, disability, or drug/alcohol use, that to me looks like baby shopping. And I also think that's hard to explain to a child that they were chosen based on their birth mother's merit, and that can make a child feel like they need to live up to the fact that they were "chosen" for such reasons.
Now, we have learned all of this by going through the process, if you asked me at the beginning of adoption I would have said I wanted a completely or relatively closed adoption, a new born only, race would not have mattered, but some of the other issues would have. But I was looking at adoption as a means for me to get the family I wanted, not give a child a family they need. And I think that is what makes all the difference. The babies who need to be adopted a lot of the time are the ones whose birth mothers smoked, who have a parent with a mental illness, who may have a baby with down syndrome or a hearing loss, who have a disability, or don't know who the birth father is. To disregard a baby whose birth mother has a past or who may have some obstacles to overcome does not serve the baby or the birth family, but only the parents and I think that can be selfish. I also think that most of the time a completely closed adoption on the side of the adoptive parents is selfish. Selfish out of fear- which is totally understandable. As I said, when we started we would have said we wanted a mostly closed adoption, because we didn't understand how positive open adoptions often are, and because we were afraid. We had to learn a lot to change our minds. Many times completely closed adoptions can hurt the adoptee - they don't know where they came from, they wonder why they were abandoned, they feel unloved by their birth family, and sometimes forgotten. Not always, of course, but sometimes. And of course closed adoptions sometimes are for the best interest of the child because of the situation the birth mother is in. Now, we are open to whatever our birth mother is open to, of course, depending upon the suggestion from our social worker and the pregnancy counselor. And this is because our view of adoption has shifted, from wanting to have a family, to wanting to give a family to a baby and possibly his/her birth family. We hope that the birth family will be part of our child's life in some form or another and that he or she will know that they are ridiculously loved by 2 families.
Needless to say, in June this post could not have been written, at the time I would have found a post about adoption being unethical offensive. And I did, I read articles from adoptees who felt burned by the system and cheated out of knowing their birth families and I did feel offended. Now I feel sad for them, and use their experience to learn from. Of course, there are adoptees out there who still don't agree with adoption, but just like any topic there are extremists who are best to listen to with a grain of salt.
I hope that no one feels "offended" by my post, but if you do, maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's conviction like it was for me. I also hope you know that this post is not to shame anyone, or make anyone feel guilty, it comes from a place of understanding and grace, because we used to be on the path to baby shopping. I just hope to educate, and help others learn from our experience.
Thanks for listening, and as always, if you have questions or comments please contact us anytime.
Love,
Kristen & Adam

Thursday, December 4, 2014

3rd and Final Homestudy Visit

Tuesday we had our final homestudy with our social worker. She came over and asked us more questions about our marriage, our preparation for our baby, talked to us about signs of neglect and abuse even in infants, and we talked about the rest of the process. Then she walked through our house making sure we had everything baby proofed that needed it and that we have ample room for us and a baby.
Next she will write our homestudy report, we will get to review it to fact check and then she will send it off to be finalized. Once it is finalized she will give us a service plan - further education she wants us to complete prior to our placement. And when it is finalized our profile book will go into circulation at the Virginia Bethany offices. The pregnancy counselors start with people who are a match, but have been waiting the longest, so we probably won't be shown right away, but we will get a notification when our book has been seen.
And that is where we are now! Our profile book is done and we are awaiting feedback, and then we just wait for finalization and then wait for a match! And I'm still getting asked a lot if we are still accepting donations and of course we are! We have A LOT of money left to go, once our homestudy is finalized we owe $7500, then when the baby is placed with us we owe $15,000.

So the last few posts have been more informational about the process than about us and what we are experiencing, and so I feel I have to share what we have been going through. Over all so far, our adoption process has been good, busy, bumpy, but we've felt really good the whole time. The only disappointing thing has been fundraising. We had all kinds of fundraising plans in place, but no one has stepped up. We asked everyone we knew to donate items for an auction and we got absolutely no response. We did a fundraising campaign where we did raise the money we needed which was AWESOME, but most of that was from family. We have just been really disappointed that our friends have not stepped up. I had 5 co-workers donate which is amazing, and we had 1 family from church donate money and someone donate baby-proofing stuff, 2 friends from high school, and 1 person we didn't know. Now, this is not to say we are not thankful and blown away by the love from these people, we absolutely are, we just thought more people we were close with would donate. We also expected more support from our church and people at church. Throughout the whole process we have had one family at church donate, and they have been so generous. Maybe this is naive, but I really thought we would get the most support from people at church. We know people and have read about how people have paid for their entire adoption through fundraising, we even know someone who raised almost $10,000 through an auction made up of donations from friends and local businesses. We were planning to do a puzzle fundraiser where someone pays $5 and sponsors a puzzle piece, but since we only had a handful of $5 donations last time, we don't want to end up with an unfinished puzzle.
Now, please understand this is not to encourage donating because that should come from your heart and not from a place of guilt, this is not supposed to make anyone feel guilty, it is just so that anyone reading our blog who may be considering adoption can know our honest experience and our honest disappointments. The most help we have found with our adoption experience is other adoptive families being honest with us. We also know that God will provide and we are not worried about our finances.

Here is a good blog post about what to do when you have friends adopting, lots of people don't know what to do and don't know how to ask:
http://www.onethousandforone.com/2012/09/19/unsolicited-advice-what-to-do-when-your-friends-adopt-an-infant/

And as always, please please please ask us any questions you might have,
Love,
Kristen and Adam

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Information Overload

WOW, I have to start this post with a wow because that is how I feel in every sense of the word.
This past weekend we went to Bethany's Adoption Training and it was A LOT of information but it was amazing. We both feel so good about the direction we are going. Sitting and listening to people talk about adoption and what's involved, and listening to birth mothers and adoptive mothers speak was inspiring and then some. Especially listening to a birth mother and the couple that adopted her son talk, made us feel like this is the type of story we are supposed to have for our family. So this is going to be a long post and I'm going to put it in 2 parts. Part 1 - How our training went, Part 2 how domestic adoption works since I've been getting a lot of questions.

Part 1 - Our training.
As I said, WOW. First thing Friday we heard from an adoption Lawyer who taught us about the adoption law. Couple of quick points - Once the mom signs the paper saying she is making an adoption plan she has 10 days to revoke. After those 10 days are up she cannot take the baby from the adoptive family. When the baby is 5 months old we need to hire an adoption lawyer (and that's $2-3,000 more dollars to add to our expenses) to draw up the paperwork and push it through the court to finalize the adoption, 3-4 months later the adoption becomes finalized, 3-4 months after that we get the new birth certificate. She also talked about birth fathers and WOW that was complicated. I'm not even going to get into it because it is confusing and complicated and if we have to deal with an of that I'll post about that at a later date. But birth fathers do have rights to their baby.
We heard from a nurse who works at a pregnancy center who told us about risks and symptoms of babies whose mother's used drugs, drank, smoked etc. We need to fill out a preference sheet discussing what we are open to as far as that and as far as openness with our birth family and other things.
We talked about grief and loss associated with adoption with the birth parent, the adoptee, and the adoptive parents. Obviously it's hard for the birth parents beyond explanation, but it is also hard for adoptive parents to take a baby away from a birth mother who they may have a relationship with.
We got to look at profile books, which is what the birth mother selects your family from. We learned how to make a good profile book and what the birth mothers or fathers are looking for in your book. And the first day we talked about a couple other little things I don't remember.
The second day we heard from a woman who adopted 2 African American boys, and she was Caucasian. It was really cool to hear her story and learn about what transracial adoption looks like in action. We heard from a couple and their birth mother which was amazing, I learned so much from them. And we heard from a woman who was adopted as a baby and who has adopted herself which was really cool.
That is pretty much all I can remember now. But it was really awesome and I feel like we understand the impact of adoption, what adoption is, and, how it works.

SO that brings me to  Part 2 - How adoption works (domestic adoption through an agency).
I would assume it is similar with most agencies but this is obviously our experience through our agency, Bethany Christian Services.
1. Decide you are going to adopt and find an agency. If you decide to adopt for whatever reason you need to decide what route you are going to take, whether that is domestic, international, through an agency, private adoption, or working with an adoption specialist. I would definitely recommend going through an agency because it offers you a level of protection and allows you to work with experts and you always have someone to ask questions to and who can offer you support.
2. Once you decide on an agency attend an information meeting, most agencies offer a free information meeting where you learn about adoption, what it is, what it costs, what your agency will do for you etc.
3. If you decide to continue with your agency after the adoption meeting you fill out a basic application and this usually has a fee accompanying it. It asks for your basic information, family info, financial info, info about your jobs etc. Once this is submitted and approved you get assigned a social worker.
4. You get your homestudy packet/ paper work. There is A LOT. You need people to fill out reference forms, you need your fingerprints done, there is a very specific financial statement you need to fill out. You need to get a physical done at the doctor, you need to apply for a background check, you need your HR to fill out a paper about health insurance, and so on and so on and so on. It took us about 6 weeks to fill out and send in all the paper work. And you have to pay your homestudy fee, ours was 2,000 I think.
5. Once that is sent in your social worker will contact you to set up the first of 3 visits. This visit is in your home. Our social worker came in and just asked us basic questions about our marriage, our town, our jobs and basics about our family. From here we schedule our 2nd meeting - which is individual interviews at a location close to your social worker, either her office or a neutral setting - ours was in a church.
6. Individual interviews - these are about 1 hour or 2 hours each depending on the situation. My interview was 1 hour, Adam's was an hour and a half. The social worker asks more in depth questions about our histories, our families, our marriage, and our parenting values. Over all pretty easy to answer, just lots of talking about me!
7. This can be anywhere between step 3  and step 8 - this is the adoption training. Each agency will have their own style for training, but each agency must have it because certain things are required by the state. You also have mandatory on your own training. During these steps you also need to fill out your preferences sheet before your final interview. This is where you decide what you are comfortable with as far as drug/ alcohol/ tobacco used in the parents, mental illness in the family, any disabilities in the family or the child, race preferences, preferences on openness of relationship with the birth family. This decides which birth mothers will be able to see your profile book.
8. Final interview with your social worker - We haven't done this yet but from my understanding - she will do a home inspection - looking for things like safety, making sure your house is baby-proofed, your medicines are locked away, you have enough smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher, that your baby has a room to sleep in, etc. She will go over any discrepancies in your individual interviews, and ask you some questions about your marriage together. She will also go over your preferences sheet with you. At this meeting you also make a "service plan" which is where you create learning goals for yourself, so if you are open to transracial adoption you could make a goal to listen to a webinar about transracial adoption.
9. Before your final interview you want to start working on your profile book - which is just a photo book basically, with information about you and your family. You need to include a letter to the expectant family, basic information about yourselves, your town, pictures of your house, and things that are important to you. You also need to talk about daycare, your friends, what you like to do, etc. When this is finished you make copies and send it to the agency's offices throughout the state. You can also place a small profile online with our agency - you can post 3 pictures and a letter to the expectant mother/father.
10. Your social worker will finalize and approve your homestudy. If your book is done when this happens you then send it to the different offices. You have to pay some different fees after your home study is finalized - ours adds up to $7,500.
11. Wait. Whenever your book is shown to a family you will know. During the wait time you should work on your service plan and pray. A lot.
12. Option 1 - You've been matched. A birth mother wants to interview you because she liked your profile book, so you meet with her, her pregnancy counselor, and your social worker. She can ask you questions, you can ask her questions, and just generally get to know each other.
13. If she decides she likes you and wants you to adopt her child then you are considered a match and you wait some more! Sometimes the birth mother will invite you to the ultrasounds, sometimes she will allow you in the delivery room, it is just up to her! You go to the hospital when she is having the baby, and how much you see her and the baby is totally up to the mom. Sometime during her hospital stay she signs her paper saying she is making an adoption plan. Then when she and the baby can go home, you go home with the baby.
12. Option 2 - A birth mom gives birth in the hospital and doesn't make an adoption plan until then. So the pregnancy counselor brings some profiles to the hospital and she picks right there. The baby will go into interim care until all the paperwork gets filed and you agree to take the baby.
14. You wait 10 excruciating  days after the birth mom signs her paper. Then the baby cannot be removed from your possession.
15. Until the baby is 6 months you will get 3 visits from your social worker just so they can update your paper work to send to the courts with the lawyer. At 6 months your adoption lawyer will start filing the paperwork to finalize the adoption. And 3-4 months later it will be finalized!
16. For the rest of your child's life you need to send updates one way or another to the birth family and/or the agency you need to send one at 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months and once a year from then on.
17. You raise your child with whatever relationship to the birth parents as you decide upon.
Obviously this is the structure, but things can always come up and plans can always change, one HUGE thing about adoption is being FLEXIBLE!

WOW ok that was a SUPER long post, but I hope informative. And as always, please ask questions and if you have questions about our process or our preferences please ask! And we of course are still taking donations and will always take prayer!
Love,
Kristen and Adam

Monday, November 10, 2014

More Precious Than Birds

I have a lot to say today! But, I want to start with a quick update on our interviews. Thanks everyone who prayed and asked about our individual interviews they were very smooth. Our social worker just asked us questions about our growing up, our families, our personalities, and our own individual perceptions of each other and our marriage. We got down to Bedford right at 4 and were done right at 6:30.
So what's next? This Friday and Saturday (Nov. 14 & 15) we are headed to Fredricksburg for full 2 day adoption training. Please pray for us that we can take in all the information, that we learn a lot, and that we don't feel overwhelmed. After that we have our final homestudy/ house inspection on Dec. 2 at 4. That is the LAST PART before we start the "waiting process." Pray that we could get our house up to code and babyproof everything and that we don't forget anything before that day, or else we need to pay for an extra homestudy visit.

Now for the EXCITING part. Last week we did a fundraising campaign to raise money for our training - our goal was $650 and we raised.... $670!!!!
We had a lot of family, friends, and even a few co-workers donate to help us reach our goal and we are beyond thankful and appreciative that we can pay for our classes this weekend. The fundraising campaign was such a blessing to see people we didn't expect support us financially, even if it was only $5, those $5 helped us reach our goal. Towards the middle of last week I was feeling bummed out because only a couple people had donated and I wasn't sure that we would reach our goal. But I stepped back and knew that God would provide for us, and he did - more than I could ever expect. It's incredible.

Matthew 6:26 - Look at the birds. They don't plant, or harvest, or store food in barns, for your Heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are?

Last I want to leave you with some fun pictures from friends and family helping us celebrate World Adoption Day!
Mom and Dad 

          Me and Adam

Matt and Karen Lorelli (family friends)

Brad and Kayla Donahue (Adam's sister and her husband)

Monday, November 3, 2014

World Adoption Day

This Sunday, November 9 is the first ever World Adoption Day!
To celebrate this Adam and I are hosting a fundraising spree this week!
We are asking people to donate $5 towards our adoption fund by Sunday to help us pay for our adoption training which is November 14 &15 and costs $650.
If you can donate we would greatly appreciate it and you can donate directly to us or through our paypal account.
We also need help in other ways to get ready for our homestudy/ house inspection and if you are interested in helping that way or another way contact us and we can let you know what we need.

For more information on World Adoption Day you can go to www.worldadoptionday.org
AND if you donate we ask that you comment with a picture or email us a picture of you with a smiley face drawn on your hand and we will create a blog post with all the pictures - there is information on that on the World Adoption Day website.

THANK YOU!!!

P.S. tonight( Monday) we have our individual personal interviews with our social worker, we will update that tomorrow, but please pray for that for us!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One Down

As most of you probably know... we had our first home study meeting yesterday and it went really well!
Our social worker came over and did not even look at our house that we spent all day Sunday cleaning (that's ok, that part was for us more than her). She came in, sat down and asked us some general questions.
She asked us about why we wanted to adopt, what lead us here, questions about our faith and our background (very general at this point), she asked what type of parenting we imagine for our family, what type of child we imagine parenting, what would be hard about parenting, and a few questions about our jobs and our community.
She was very nice and the questions were pretty easy to answer.
We are very thankful that we seem to get along with her well and she didn't seem to have any concerns at all - well not that she shared with us anyway.
Our next meeting is November 3 (I know already!!!) and we go down to Bedford, VA to do our individual interviews - she thinks they will be 1 - 1 1/2 hours each. Then after that she will do our home inspection and our final meeting possibly even that Saturday morning! Then we need to complete our 2 day training which is November 14,15 in Fredricksburg and then we are DONE! We make our family book, send it to the Bethany offices and then we are waiting :) VERY exciting!
We are continuing to get ready for the baby - last week we painted the floors upstairs (yes I know that sounds weird... someone painted the wood flooring upstairs this nasty brown color that dust just settled in and showed up on, so we painted them gray) and now the rooms are so much brighter and better looking. We still have some touch up that needs to be done, but save that for another weekend.
We decided that we are going to theme our nursery "jungle animals" perfect for a boy or girl and most definitely super cute.
We have a family we are borrowing a crib from (yay thanks SOOO much), but still need a dresser, a change table, and a rocker.... I see an Ikea trip in our future....
Before our final homestudy meeting we need to finish baby proofing the house, we need another smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector, a fire extinguisher, a window AC unit and a couple more things to keep our cabinets closed and we should be set! We will probably get those the first weekend in November.
Thank you so much for all your prayers up to this point and please continue to pray for us as we go through this process. Pray that we understand the process and complete everything the way we are supposed to so we don't need to have a repeat homestudy.
Please continue to pray for our finances as well, we have saved and have had donated around $800! Once our homestudy is complete we will be starting some fundraising so keep your eyes open for that and please let us know if you have any fundraising ideas.
Thanks so much for everything and as always if you have questions ask!
Love,
Adam and Kristen

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lots of "Yays"

It has been a CRAZY couple weeks at our house.
Friday we FINALLY finished up the paperwork. We got fingerprinted, got our driving records, our pet vaccination records, filled out a million and one sheets, signed another million sheets, found our birth certificates and marriage certificate, our proof of car and health insurance, and turned EVERYTHING in. YAY!!!
So what does this mean? Next we are on to the homestudy! Which means a social worker will come to our house (I think a couple times) and look around, interview us, and we have to go to them and be interviewed separately.
We paid our homestudy fee, thanks to family support (yay!) and tonight our social worker is going to call and set up our 1st homestudy meeting. This is the scariest part for me, of course I wonder if so much will go wrong or our house won't pass, etc.
SO - with this what we could use help with if you want to support us:
Fire extinguisher
Smoke alarm with a co2 alarm
Baby gates
a window A/C for the baby room
a baby safe space heater
baby proofing stuff for drawers, cabinets, etc.

I think that's it... if you have ANY of that you would be willing to donate or let us buy from you please let me know.

We also are going to start our first fundraiser! YAY again, so we are going to do a silent auction - so we can use 1. advice and help on how to set it up, 2. items! If you have anything new, if you own a business, if you make stuff, anything that someone would pay for that would be great if you would be willing to donate that. We are asking that everything donated is new, not used. THANKS and pass that along to anyone you know who may be able to help!
We are one step closer to getting our baby and your help brings him/her one step closer to being part of our family.
And of course if you want to donate we have a donate button on the blog or you can contact me if you don't have a paypal account.

And of utmost importance if you can donate time to pray that is of the utmost importance.
Right now, you can pray for:
-preparing for the homestudy
- our social worker
-us to stay calm and focused for our homestudy
- our baby and his/her mother

THANKS for all your support whatever way it comes it is necessary and appreciated.
Love,
Adam & Kristen

10/3 Edit-
This is not enough to warrant it's own post BUT - last night our social worker called and we scheduled our first homestudy visit for October 20. YAY! Super nervous but yay, luckily we don't have to have our house ready (phew - because that would NOT get done by then) but we are finally in the homestudy process!
Also - last night we had someone anonymously leave a babygate, outlet protectors and some things we can install in our drawers to prevent them from being opened. We are so blessed and so thankful!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Paper Pregnant

As of last week we are officially "Paper Pregnant."
We received our home study paperwork and let me tell you, it's a LOT of work.
That's how I feel sometimes. We need; physicals and TB tests and papers for the doctors to fill out, fingerprinting and background checks, questionnaires, letters of reference from friends and employers, affidavits for health insurance, waivers for photographs, tax forms, financial statements, and the list goes on and on and on. Some of the papers I don't even know how to get or what to do with, and a lot of them come with fees, $50 per person for one, $7 per person for another and there's a couple more- the adoption costs keep going up, but, as the picture says, we need it for our agency so we will figure it out, and obviously it will totally worth it once it's done and paid for.
The upside of the paperwork is that once we get it done we start our actual homestudy, so YAY for progress. Having paperwork and needing to fill out it makes me feel like I'm doing something to help the process along. It's definitely better than feeling like I'm doing nothing. We also are attending a 2 day training in November, which costs $650, currently we have $389 in our adoption fund (YAY thanks to everyone who has donated!!!) and we had a family offer a crib to us! We are beyond blessed by all of you. 
Please consider donating to our adoption, and if you can't donate monetarily please donate your prayers, time, and there are other things baby/safety related we need that would be appreciated.
Please as always, contact us if you have questions, want more specifics, or just want to talk about this (or if you want to fill out some paperwork, (just kidding.... sort of...))! We are so excited and are looking so forward to the day that we get to bring our baby home.

Love,
Kristen & Adam

Monday, August 25, 2014

We Decided...

We decided to go ahead and start down the domestic adoption track! Through prayer and through looking at the information we feel that this is the right path for us.
We feel good and at peace about our decision, and as always instead of wondering, ask us the questions you have!!!

So what now?
Once our paperwork gets moved over we start the home study process which will take probably a couple of months. That means the social worker will come to our house, and they will send us a list of things that we need to do before hand. They will check for baby proofing, and just making sure that our house is in good shape for a baby. They will also sit down and interview us, go through our backgrounds, talk about our family, etc. They will also use this time to inform us about the process. The point is that we get matched with a baby that will fit in with us. So they will figure out what race of a baby would feel comfortable with our family in our home, in our town, etc. What type of disabilities might we be open to, what circumstances are we not comfortable with, etc.

So it is informative for us and them, and we will keep you posted as we learn more and go through this process.

With domestic adoption we will most likely get a newborn. We can request race, gender, etc. but it also depends what our homestudy approval says and what the social worker suggests for us. We will be working with the Bethany Richmond office for this (yay we don't have to move adoption agencies!). Once our homestudy is over we wait! That's it! We will make a book about our family that will be shown to birth mothers who we may be a good match with, and if they pick us we will likely become the parents of her child. We will also keep you updated on the process as we learn more.

So, how can you help now?
 Most importantely, pray- pray for us and getting ready for the homestudy, pray for our unborn baby and his/her birth mother.
If you have baby proofing stuff you'd like to donate that would be great! (contact us if you want to know what that includes)
The homestudy also costs $2,500 so if you feel called to donate financially, right now that is what your money would go to.

Thank you for your support and please please contact us with any questions or comments,
Love,
Kristen and Adam

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Change Might be Good

I want to start by saying that we are so thrilled by the outpouring of love and support from everyone when we announced our adoption. You all are the best.

So, we are contemplating a change. 
And change is scary. 

We found out that there some issues with the Ethiopian government as far as adoption is concerned. They are moving very slowly and not many young children are being released for adoption. And this means that our wait time could be extremely long, and we might not be able to get a child in the age range we want for our family. 

In light of this new information, we have decided to look into domestic infant adoption. 

We have talked to a few people, put our Ethiopia adoption on hold for now, and are planning to attend an information meeting next week. Once we feel like we have as much information as we possibly can have we plan to make an informed decision.

As I said, change is hard, of course we were a little heartbroken when we found out about Ethiopia, but we feel very strongly that God will bring us to the baby we are supposed to have, and that our baby is our baby no matter where he or she is from. God is still good. 

So, a few questions I know that you probably want to ask:
Why not pick another country? Well, each country has specific types of children available, its own requirements as far as time you need to stay in the country, and requirements on us as individuals and a couple. And really, we don't fit with any other country.

Why not just have your own then? We still feel called to adoption.

I thought you were called to international adoption? Yes, we absolutely felt called to international adoption, but sometimes God calls us to something and uses that to lead us to something we would not have been willing to consider otherwise. 

If you have any questions please, please, please ask us!

We will let you know when/what we decide, 
Love, 
Adam and Kristen

Thursday, July 31, 2014

We're Accepted!

Praise the Lord!
We got the call today that we have been formally accepted by Bethany Christian Services to Adopt from Ethiopia.
We are considered at "low risk" for being denied from the Ethiopian government. But the agency is fairly confident that will not happen.
Next phase is the Home Study.
Once we sign our contract and pay for it (the first big payment!) we get thrown into the home study phase. I know that this will be a series of interviews through our agency and our local social worker.

Please continue to pray for our future child, our home study, and our far far off court date in Ethiopia.

Also - this is the first post that I'm making public! Please look around, read the posts from the bottom up (in time order) and let us know if you have questions!
We are officially a future adoptive family!

Also another way you can help - we are looking for someone to donate a photo session to us so we can do some adoption announcement photos.

And share this with as many people as possible!

Love,
Kristen and Adam

Psalm 41:13 - Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Waiting Quietly

Psalm 62: 1,2 - I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. 5 - Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. 

It has been an eventful few days where nothing has actually HAPPENED. I guess, emotionally eventful. We created this blog to share our story, and that involves sharing our up and down moments, yes even when those down moments make us feel vulnerable.
So, we drove to Fairfax Tuesday night and met with our social work, Kristin O'Dell. She's amazing. There were 2 other couples there, so we were able to ask a ton of questions and we got a lot of information. It was great. While we were there we realized that my (Kristen) past anxiety could be a potential problem. Here in America, if you struggle with something, anxiety for example, and you seek help, we view that positively. Other countries, not so much. Now, how many of us have never been at a point in our lives where we should/could have sought help for anxiety? I think everyone has been there at some point or another. But since I saw a counselor in college, and took anti-anxiety medicine for a short period as an adult. After finding out that this might be a red flag for another country was momentarily devastating.
The next day was a day full of freaking out, that, thankfully, God taught us A LOT during a wacky emotional day. During the storm of emotions that Wednesday encompassed, we learned to wait on the Lord, and that we are only seeing part of the picture. Noah didn't know what the end of the picture would look like when God told him to build the ark, but he had faith that if God called him to do something God would see him through it. God is bigger than Noah's storm,a and God is bigger than man made rules. And we believe that God is calling us to this, and that He will see us through it to the end. We also realized that God is teaching us patience, and that God is still good. God is still good no matter what happens.
That brings us to today (KEEP READING THIS IS THE GOOD PART). So, I made an appointment with my doctor today to get the letter that my anxiety is not a big deal, and is not a part of my medical life any more. So I called, and my regular doctor was packed full, so I saw another doctor at the practice, Dr. Reid. I did not have high hopes for this appointment, I saw another doctor at the practice once and was not impressed. ANYWAY, I go to the appointment and the doctor comes in and asked what he can do, I explain the situation, and he says "since I am a father to 4 adopted kids myself, let me ask what lead you to adopt." AWESOME, I thought it was absolutely incredible that the doctor I was seeing has adopted and understands the process. After talking to him, I also find out that his adoptions were through Bethany Christian Services as well! Needless to say, he was more than happy to write the letter and knows exactly what the adoption agency wants to hear.
WOW, God is so cool, after teaching me what He wanted, we saw His grace, and His provision, omniscience, and were very reassured that we were following His path.
After a crappy, freak out of a day and waiting (not so quietly), God showed us a little bit more of the picture.
Psalm 106:1 -Praise the Lord, Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We Were Adopted First

Ephesians 1:5 - God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Today I have an update and something that we've been learning as we go through the adoption process. 

First the update: So, July 3 we submitted our formal application to Bethany Christian Services. And we are waiting to hear, because they need a note from my doctor. That's right, because my ovaries don't work they need a note from my doctor explaining that I will be healthy enough to be a parent and explaining why I'm on the medicines I'm on. So, we are frustrated because this is taking a while, and seems pretty silly. But we are confident that this will not be a reason for us not to be accept.ed. But we are also praying through this wait and praying for acceptance into the Ethiopia program. Tonight we are going to the BCS office in Fairfax for an information meeting, and we will get to meet our case worker. We are looking forward to it, but nervous since we haven't been accepted yet.

While we are waiting God is teaching us some important lessons. We've been told our whole lives that we are children of God, and that we have been adopted into His family. I think that this alone has a whole new meaning for me. As a future adoptive parent I understand the bond with a child that is not biologically mine, and that is not even a blip on the radar yet. I also feel that I can really put into perspective the idea that God chose us before the foundation of the world to be His children. Of course, my understanding of this is on a much smaller scale. We have chosen to be parents of a baby half the world away that we have never met, before she is born, and that will have who knows what experiences, family history, and who knows what else. We don't know who she is yet, and we still love her so much. And the indescribable love that we have for this baby we don't know is only a fraction of how much God loves us, and a fraction of what it means that God chose us so long ago. I wish I could explain in writing what God has been teaching me, hopefully this gives you a little glimpse of what I'm learning.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Welcome to Adoption

Wow,
 I don't even know how to start our first post. Adam and I are BEYOND THRILLED to announce that we are adopting a baby from Ethiopia. We are requesting a girl aged 0-2.
We decided to adopt for a couple simple reasons, the biggest reason being that we feel called. We have had infertility issues since we got married, and even though we never really tried to have kids, we started going through the process just to see what it would take when we were ready. The farther we got in the process, the more we felt compelled to adopt. Adam and I started really feeling like we should seriously pray about and consider adoption. And a now here we are. After a lot of prayer, discussions, research, and asking questions, we have decided to build our family through adoption.
I never knew how much I could love someone who is not even born yet.
So where are we now?
Today, June 4, we are getting our finances together. Adoption is a long and expensive process, so we need to put our finances together and look at options to save and rearrange as necessary.
What can you do?
Support us, pray for us and for our baby and her mother (who isn't even pregnant yet, and who may not even be thinking about getting pregnant! CRAZY!)
Ask us questions that you have instead of just wondering.
Support us financially, every dollar counts, and this adoption will cost around 40,000 of those dollars. So anyway you can support us is more than appreciated - it is bringing us closer to our family, and it makes you a vital piece in the puzzle to bringing home our baby.
We are so excited to see God work in us in this way and to see God provide.

Thank you for supporting us in following God's plan for our lives.

Love,
Kristen & Adam