Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hope

Happy New Years Eve!!
We just got back from a holiday vacation in Canada with family and it was great. We enjoyed some time off and spending time with relatives.
Monday was our 11 months waiting date, but we didn't get a picture until today- so here it is!

So, today is New Years Eve and tomorrow is our 5 year wedding anniversary. We don't have anything going on tonight or tomorrow (Adam has to work both days). But it is nice to stay home after a vacation and before I go back to work on Monday.

I wanted to share an interesting experience we had right before Christmas. December 9 we got a message from our social worker wanting to know if we would be willing to have our profile shown to a birth mother whose baby was already born. Now, this is not usually how our agency does things- typically your profile gets shown and you get contacted if the birth mom wants to meet you - and every so often you get notified how many people have viewed your profile. So, this is not something we were expecting at any point in our adoption journey. But, this was a special circumstance - but I am not going to share any of those details as this is personal information for the birthmom and now someone's child. We read over the information and said yes right away to showing our profile. And then we didn't hear anything for 10 days. This was a long 10 days anyway - the last week before winter break at school - and this made it eternally longer. There were a lot of reasons we thought this child would be a good fit for our family, but struggled with our emotions during this wait time. Adam told  me one day, "I don't want you to get your hopes up." And that made me think, why not? And what emotions am I supposed to have? Was I supposed to be emotionally numb and pretend this wasn't going on? Was I supposed to be nervous? Cautious? Excited?
At first we didn't want to hope, but the more we prayed and read scripture the more we saw the command to hope. We read verses about how God fulfills His promises, and how faith can move mountains. And so we hoped, we hoped and prayed for this baby and birthmom, and for us as a growing family. We hoped in God and not in our situation or our social worker, or a phone call. We learned to hope in God's plan for us and our family. We were anxious, nervous, excited, and hopeful. We found out the Friday before Christmas that this baby was not ours, and that the birthmom picked a different family. And we were okay and at peace with that. There were multiple families praying the same prayers just as passionately as we were. It also gives us hope to know that that baby is with the family it is meant to be with. And We know this was not God not answering our prayers. God always answers prayers. He just knew this baby was not ours, and so His answer was not this one, keep waiting. And so, we continue to wait and to hope.
Hope is an active process and one that we have not been engaging in in regards to our baby. Yes, we have been and continue to be hopeful - we know our baby will join our family when he or she is supposed to, but we have not been actively hoping that our baby is coming.
For 2016 my word to focus on is HOPE. I will actively hope for what God has promised for us -in regards to our family and other aspects of my life. I will continue to hope when I feel like all hope is gone. On days where I am unsure of what I am doing, and even of our adoption, I will hope in the Lord. I have seen this blog come full circle in more than one way - the year started with us having to learn to wait quietly - I thought the name of the blog was perfect during this time - and I still struggle with waiting on some days. But I never focused on the next part of Psalm 62:5 - Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. This says that I can wait quietly for God because my hope is in Him. Hope is what allows us to wait quietly on God.
So, 2016 is the year of HOPE. Please remind me of that if  when I am struggling to hope and fix my eyes on the One who gives me hope.
What is your focus of the year? Do you have a word of the year? Post in my comments!
I'm going to share a link with you of a lot of the verses that taught me about hope during this time, and I'll share a couple with you that really stuck out to me. And a song about hope - be sure to listen to it.

Happy New Year! Please continue to pray for us, and let us know how we can pray for you.
Love,
Adam & Kristen

http://www.openbible.info/topics/hope

Romans 12:12 - Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Isaiah 40:31 - But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength...

 
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Thursday, December 3, 2015

11 Ways to Support Somoene Who is Waiting to Adopt

A version of this will appear on heartforopenadoption.com next week but I wanted to get you a sneak peek!
 
Anyone who is going through or has gone through adoption will tell you that it is not an easy path to choose.  It is emotionally draining, mentally tough, and can even wear on you physically. One thing that I think most families growing their family through adoption or foster care would say they need more than anything is support. Often people do not know how hard it is, or how to support people in this situation, so here is a list of easy ways to support adoptive and foster families, and those waiting to adopt.

1. Cook them a meal. This just helps take one thing off their mind and their to-do list. If you are in the process of adoption you don’t always have time or the brain space to think about what to cook.  Someone who has recently adopted is also trying to get used to their new family dynamic and taking care of a new child. They definitely need less on their plate!

2. Take them to coffee. Or ice-cream, or healthy green smoothies. Any time you put in the effort to get together with them and get them out of the house it is a good thing. Often people adopting don’t have the money to go out or don’t think about it. This way it gets their mind off of what is going on and they can talk about it if they want to. Make sure to ask them about the adoption. Sometimes those of us in the adoption process feel like we talk about it too much, so if we know you want to know about it, it helps. Plus we need to talk about it.

3. Learn about adoption. This way you can educate yourself on the language to use, how adoption works, and better understand what your friend is going through. Sometimes it is a lot to explain, and it is hard to correct people when they use the wrong adoption language. The more you educate yourself the more adopting families will feel supported and feel like someone at least understands the adoption process.

4. Give them a card. If you give them a card they will know you haven’t forgot that they are waiting or that they have recently adopted. Those of us waiting don’t show like a pregnant woman and often feel forgotten. Anything showing  that you haven’t forgotten they are expecting or just added a child to their family is much appreciated.

5. Buy something for their child. Whether waiting to adopt or recently adopted/fostered a child, buying something for the child is awesome. Again, it shows you haven’t forgotten them and that you care about their coming/new family member. It makes them feel appreciated and helps them feel like you appreciate and accept their family.

6. Give a date night. Give an adopting couple a gift card to a restaurant or a movie and offer to babysit their kids. Often parents who are adopting (or in general!) don’t get to go out and enjoy each other’s company. Even if it is just a Starbuck’s gift card, a date out is always appreciated.

7. Donate money. If someone is adopting not through foster care (and sometimes with foster care) it costs a lot of money (to give you an idea through the agency I’m using it will cost us about $30,000). Any little bit counts, even if it is $5 a month that is $5 they don’t have to pay.

8. Host a fundraiser. Fundraising is really hard. And I promise, those of us adopting get sick of asking the same people for money. If you host a fundraiser it takes the work off the adopting family, and doesn’t make them feel bad for asking for money. Plus, it can reach people outside of the adopting family’s normal circle of friends.

9. Respect their boundaries. Once a child is FINALLY placed with an adopted family they will establish boundaries they are comfortable with. This may be that they don’t want visitors for a certain amount of time or that they don’t want anyone else to hold or feed the child. If you don’t understand that is ok! Just know the family is doing what they think is best. Adopted children often struggle with attachment and parents are just trying to bond with this new child.

10. Be patient. The adoption wait is HARD. And if you haven’t gone through waiting for a child you don’t know what that is like. It makes those of us waiting want to cry and scream basically all the time. Please be patient if we talk about the wait, or our future child, or how much it sucks at the time. People waiting need to be supported and understood – even if you can’t put yourself in their shoes , trying to understand them goes a long way.

11. PRAY. Everyone involved in adoption needs a lot of prayer all the time. Pray for the family, pray for the birth family, pray for the child. Pray for the legal side of it and the case workers involved. Pray for patience and understanding as the family waits.

Any way you support a family adopting is appreciated. The biggest thing people adopting need is support and it is not something there is every enough of. Any small gesture is appreciated more than you will ever know.
Thanks for reading  and supporting us and other adoptive families.I hope this helps you know how to support people who are adopting!

Monday, November 30, 2015

If I Was Brave, This is What I Would Say

As of Saturday we have been "officially waiting" for 10 months. We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving and time off from work (more for me than for Adam), and are ready for the Christmas season. Last year we said we really hoped we would have our little one for Christmas this year, and that probably won't happen, but hopefully next year! And if we do not have a little one by next Christmas, we will hope for the year after that.



 November was/is also National Adoption Month. So I've been posting tons of information on my facebook and instagram. (I'm sure if you follow me you're probably sick of seeing it all, don't worry it's almost over.) If you don't follow me, go check out my posts until you're sick of it too! I will always advocate for adoption, no matter how annoying you think it is :)

November 9 was also World Adoption Day. To celebrate you are supposed to draw a smiley face on your hand and post a picture. Here is our picture from that day.


In case you haven't noticed, we are pretty set in this path to adoption. Not saying God can't change our path, but we strongly feel that this is where we are supposed to be and how we are supposed to grow our family. Unfortunately, other people don't always see it that way. I thought it would be fun (and hopefully funny) to read some of the negative things people say, and the ways that I wish I was brave enough to respond.

Maybe you should just try to have a baby and see what happens.
We have heard multiple variations of this phrase from many people.
I really want to say "Maybe you should adopt and see what happens." But I'm not that quick or that brave. 1. We are trying to have a baby, just not from my body. 2. It is not safe for me to have a baby. My ovaries like to grow cysts (I like to call them pearls - it sounds prettier than cysts and on ultrasounds they look like pearls) and ovaries with cysts don't grow good eggs. Do you want me to go on about my ovaries?
I am not willing to risk my health and my baby's health so I can be biologically related to my family. Biology and blood are not that important to me.

Everyone I know who started to adopt got pregnant almost right away! That will probably happen to you too!
Umm, no, it probably won't. It would take medical intervention for me to get pregnant and maintain a pregnancy. We are not trying to get pregnant and we are doing things to prevent getting pregnant(thank you ObamaCare for free birth control!). Again, of course God can do whatever He wants, and obviously, if we ever got pregnant it would definitely be because that is what God wanted to happen.

(Insert obscure friend's relative's friend here) tried to adopt and.... (insert adoption horror story from a lifetime movie here)
Okay, I know the unknown is scary, I watched that Lifetime movie too, but I'm pretty sure that is not going to happen to us. Yes, I know that birth mothers sometimes change their minds and legally get their baby back before TPR (termination of parental rights). BUT I also know that birth mothers don't change their mind 6 years later, find you, break into your house at night, steal your baby, and you never see either of them again. I also know that there are birth mothers out there who are not really pregnant or don't actually plan to follow through with adoption, but our agency protects us from both of these scenarios, that's why we chose the avenue we did.

Why don't you adopt from ______________? Where there are REAL children in need?
Now the blank may say China, Ethiopia, or even foster care, it doesn't matter. We got called to the domestic adoption path for a reason, you can read the rest of this blog if you want more info on that. But let me tell you something, birth parents who want to make an adoption plan for their child, need people to adopt their babies, if not, those babies could go into foster care. Yes, domestic adoption babies are not true orphans, but they are still REAL children who need homes. (this one could go for people adopting from foster care or internationally too, I know they hear "why don't you adopt from the US when there are so many pregnant teenagers?")

What about their "real parents?"
Well 1 - I will be my baby's real mom and Adam his or her real dad. If you mean first parents or birth parents well right now we don't know! But we hope to have an open relationship with them so our child knows where he or she comes from and has someone to ask hard questions too. If you refer to the birth family as the child's "real family" it makes me feel like I'm their "fake mom." Please don't call me a "fake mom" Thanks. (p.s. I know that you probably don't know what to call the birth family, and you probably didn't mean anything when you said "real parents", but know it means something to us. If you don't know it is better to just ask :)

Just be patient, it will all happen in God's timing.
Listen, I know that this (and everything else in this post for the most part) is said with the best of intentions. And I know that this is true, but EVERY time I talk about how hard waiting is someone tells me "don't worry, it will happen in God's timing." Again, I already know this, read this blog and I hope that you see that our entire adoption journey is about us learning to trust God, His plan, and His timing. BUT it doesn't make the waiting any easier, and I feel like it discredits my feelings of longing for my child, and my emotions as we go through the wait. We are waiting on God's timing, but it doesn't make the waiting any less painful, it just makes it easier to go through the pain.

You will be such a blessing to that child.
I hope this is true, but I will not be any more a blessing to that child than you are to your children, and it would be weird if I said this to you, right? I will be a parent, and I think that child will be more a blessing to us than we are to him or her. That child will give us the gift of being parents, expanding our family to include his or her birth family, and he or she has already shown us what a great thing adoption is and has encouraged us to be adoption advocates. Our baby is already a huge blessing to us.

Please don't take this harshly, just understand we want our decisions and our feelings to be respected, and we want you to know what we don't want to hear so you can be educated about adoption for us and for others.
Again, I know that all of these are said with the best intentions (I hope), and if you have ever said any of these things to us or about us, it's ok, we don't hold it against you, we just hope that we can help educate you on adoption. We don't expect you to always know what to say or how to say it. I hope you see this post was written partially in jest, I would never say any of this out loud, and most of it is when my always changing waiting emotions get the best of me. I also hope it helps you think about what you are saying to someone who is adopting.

Also, if you ever have questions about adoption or our adoption we are always happy to answer.

Thanks for reading,
Love,
Kristen & Adam

PS don't forget to click the TOP MOMMY button on the right and vote for me at TOP MOMMY BLOGS
 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

9 Months

9 Months Waiting - The dresser in the nursery.


Today is a day where I need a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus. My brain is just not functioning on all cylinders. Luckily, my kids are reviewing for a test and I don't have to teach anything new.
The first thing I thought when I realized today was 9 months waiting, is that usually when people have been waiting 9 months for a baby they get to meet their baby super soon. And we don't, but that's okay! I haven't carried a child and didn't go through the medical crap that I would have had to go through. We instead did 8 months of paper work and currently 9 months of "waiting." And that's okay this is what we signed up for. But, still weird to think about.
We don't really have any adoption news - we updated our profile and are sending to our agency this weekend. We had to revamp it because we moved, and our social worker (different from when we made our profile before) really looked at it and gave us a TON of feedback, so we changed some wording, some pictures, moved pages around, and are really, really proud of our new book. Let me know if you want to see it!
So, I thought today we would just give you an update on what is going on with us!
We have continued to work to help plant our church, Grace Church, Adam is leading the worship and I help on the AV team. They have been a huge emotional and spiritual support through the adoption and we are thrilled to be a part of it. We are excited to see growth and reach the people in our community. If you want to learn more about our church the website is: gracewaynesboro.com
Last weekend I went to DC with a friend of mine and we had a blast. Adam and I are going to visit our friends this weekend and are excited to see them for the first time since they moved. Next weekend is my birthday and I am going to NYC with a couple friends from school to see 2 Broadway plays. So, we are busy the next couple weeks and are enjoying our freedom while we have it. As much as we ache for our baby and can't wait to be done waiting, it is nice to be able to pick up and go. We are both busy with work and everyday life, but we are enjoying our time together.

Thanks for reading, please continue to pray for us, and don't forget to click on the Top Mommy blog link on the right!

Love,
Kristen & Adam

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Guest Blog on Heart for Open Adoption

Guess what!? I was asked to be guest blogger on Heart for Open Adoption.

I wrote about why I used to be afraid of open adoption and how going through the process has changed our opinions about open adoption and given us a big heart for open adoption.

read it here and check out some of their other blog posts and resources!

http://heartforopenadoption.com/2015/10/14/why-i-was-afraid-of-open-adoption-at-first/

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dear Waiting Mamas

Good Morning! As of yesterday we have been waiting 8 months! So I have 2 pictures for you, one from last month and one from yesterday:


7 Months waiting, our first month at our new place!
 
8 Months Waiting!


I was so thrilled with all the response I got from the last post. So many people can relate to what I talked about and understand the struggles of waiting. Of course we know that God's timing is better than ours, and we know that it will all be worth it when we meet our little one, but it doesn't make the waiting any easier.
Incase you haven't heard, we have some GREAT news - we got a grant from Show Hope for $4,000! That is so awesome, we can't even believe it. We have applied for other grants, so please continue to pray for money to come in for us.

So today, I thought I'd write a post to the waiting moms. By no means am I an adoption waiting expert, I only have 8 months of experience, while many of you probably have much longer, or multiple waiting experiences, but I want to put this out there for you, and for people who have been waiting shorter times than I have.

Dear Waiting Moms (& dads),
    First I want to commend you for making it this far. YOU DID IT! You passed the homestudy, completed the mountains of paperwork, went through trainings, possibly met with attorneys, made profile books, met with social workers, and more. Depending on how long you've been waiting you've probably also done some fundraising, applied for grants, set up a nursery, and completed a service plan. You had physicals done, mental health evaluations, made best friends with the people at the post office, and probably the person who answers the phone at your agency or attorney's office. You've discussed preferences, how open an adoption you want, figured out what country you want your child from, how many barriers you are willing to attempt to cross with interstate and intercontinental laws, what struggles you are willing to adopt a child with, how old a child you are willing to adopt, and what you want your family to look like. We have done a TON of work just to continue to wait. Adoption is not for the lazy!
   Then you started the wait, the big, long, sucky wait. There is no better way to say it except that the wait SUCKS. It is heart wrenching, exciting, lonely,anxiety provoking, and glorious all at the same time. I say glorious because one, we learn a lot, and we grow as people and as mothers. We learn patience, understanding, grace, and mercy. Patience in the waiting for our baby, grace and mercy with others as we field questions we don't want to answer, can't answer, or are offensive. We need understanding when we try to explain our situation, our choices, and our feelings to others who don't know because they have not been where we are. This situation causes us to be better people, to glorify God in ways that we never thought we would have to, and that is a glorious thing. It is also glorious because we know we will meet our child in the right time, if we didn't wait our prescribed amount of time, we would not meet the child that is meant to be part of our family. I want you to know that you are not alone. There is a community of us who all feel lonely sometimes, who all feel the hole in our heart, who all feel frustrated, and who feel like the big, long, sucky, wait will never end. So, even when you feel like you are the only one out there who is going through this, don't worry you aren't. We are all there with you.
  Advice for the wait - pray. A lot. It doesn't help the wait feel better, but it helps give you perspective. It also helps reassure you that you are on the right path for you and combats the negativity we all hear. Pray for your child and your birth mom like your life depends on it. Be an adoption advocate. Support others that are adopting, speak up for foster care, for orphans, for birth moms, and other adoptive families. Don't let people be negative about any type of adoptive situation. Take time with your family. Once your child joins your family everything will change. Whether it's just you, you and your spouse, you, your spouse, and kids, adding a family member will change your routine, your family dynamic, and probably a lot more that I don't know. So go on family outings, go on dates with your spouse, be spontaneous, and do things that you won't be able to do when your new family member arrives. Journal. Write letters to your child. Get their room ready. Buy what you can to get ready. And as hard as it is try to not think about it 24/7.
 So adoptive mamas, you are awesome. Keep fighting the fight for your child, keep supporting each other, and loving your child and his or her birth family from afar until he or she is in your arms.

And please pray for me, for our baby, and our family. And leave me a comment! I love when you leave comments!
I'm praying for you, and know I'm here going through this thing with you!
Love,
Kristen

P.S. Please click on the Top Mommy Blog picture on the right! I am currently the #6 adoption blog on the site, and #211 over all! This draws more attention to my blog, which is awesome!

Friday, August 28, 2015

All Roads Lead to Love

Today we have been waiting 7 months. In some ways, the waiting gets easier as we get used to it, and in some ways it is harder. The longer we wait the more of a reminder it is that our family is incomplete. Unfortunately, ugly emotions pop up during the adoption wait. When we hear someone is pregnant, or had their adoption happen much quicker than ours. It is hard for us not to feel somewhat jealous. Now, this does not mean we aren't happy. We have friends who have gotten pregnant while we are in the adoption process, and friends who have received children through adoption and through foster care, and we are THRILLED for them. Our ugly feelings do not have anything to do with them and do not take away from our joy for them. But we are jealous because our family is not yet there, and no one is rejoicing over us in our time of waiting. Luckily, these feelings do not last long and are far overshadowed by our happiness for our friends. But, I want to be honest in this blog - waiting for a long time for a family and seeing others begin their families faster is not easy - but it does help to be aware and acknowledge your feelings, and figure out why you feel that way. And, it is hard because no one understands "the wait" unless you've experienced it. It is HARD. You wait for months, and months and years and years, constantly waiting for a child that you don't know and you don't know their arrival date. And because it is not something you see physically on someone, like pregnancy, people forget you are waiting and that you are constantly going through the best and worst time of your life simultaneously. But, that's ok, because there is hope and you know the baby you are destined to have in your family will arrive the second he or she is supposed to, no earlier, no later. And our rejoicing over our family of 3 will come.
 Another hard thing about "the wait" is that the longer we wait the more discouraging things we are told by people who don't understand our position. I was told just the other day that God will bring me a baby, and that God may surprise me and I may get a baby through pregnancy. Now, I know that God can do anything and God can do whatever He wants. But, He has called us to adoption and He knows how unsafe it would be for me to become pregnant, and He knows how much money we have already poured into adoption (if you're keeping track, we've spent over $10,000 so far and we aren't even half way there). We are also constantly being told we should look into _______. Look into foster care, look into international adoption, look into this thing I heard about on the radio. Or we get told how someone's friend's cousin adopted and she did x, y &z and got her baby in 3 weeks so we should do that too. We have both also had our adoption process questioned. Now, most of the time this is purely a question that someone wants an answer to - and we are MORE than happy to answer, but we have also been asked "Why are you on a waiting list when there are millions of children in foster care or in orphanages who need homes? You could have a family now." Again, I don't think this comes from a place of  meaning to insult us, but it is hard not be insulted. We have been called to this specific path, if you go back and read this blog from the beginning you can even see how we did not pick this path, but God did and how He brought us here. We are happy with this path, we chose our agency for a reason, we knew about the wait before we spent all of our money. And we researched every option out there.
And here's the thing: no matter what path we would have taken, each path ends in a child who needs a home, and needs to be loved, getting a home and being loved. Period. Foster care, international adoption, domestic adoption, therapeutic foster care, older child adoption, special needs adoption, respite foster care - they all provide a loving, stable home to a child who needs one. One path is not superior to another. Each person or family called to adopt, or to love children who aren't biologically theirs, is called to the path that is the best fit for their family and for a reason. We may not have been called to do foster care because our baby's birth mom didn't put him or her in foster care. We may not be on the path to international adoption because the baby meant for our family is here in the US. And our friends who do foster care, the child they get needs them - no one else- but them, and that child would not have gotten to that person and family any other way but through the path they were called. And when you see this happen - it is beautiful.
I have a friend who is doing foster care for a 2nd grader. And what she provides to that kid is amazing. I've seen this child grow, become more social, learn about family, love, and Jesus. And he would not have gotten that if he didn't belong with her - at least for this time.
This was a hard post to write, but I hope that someone can learn from it, relate to it, or at the least understand a little bit more why the waiting is so hard.
Please continue to pray for us, our patience, and that we can mange our "ugly" emotions. And that we continue to focus on the One who has called us to this path, and that we continue to trust we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
And of course, any questions or comments PLEASE ask or say :)
Love,
Adam & Kristen
P.S. our homestudy update was completed and our homestudy is now approved so we are back exactly where we were before we moved! Yay!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

6 Months Waiting

Sorry we had no post last month! So here's the picture to commemorate!

We have actually had a lot go on the last month! We went on vacation, we decided to move to an apartment that is way bigger and nicer than our house, I went on vacation to the beach, and we have been busy trying to launch our church!

Basically, nothing new with our adoption, we are still waiting, today has been 6 months waiting!

We had to make due with a pink marker and a piece of paper because we are moving on Saturday, so most of our house is in boxes, and apparently the marker for our white board is in one of those boxes. I can't believe we have been officially a waiting family for 6 months as of today. We have learned to be content in the waiting, I think for at least right now, we are waiting quietly. 

So, with the move, we do need to update our homestudy. Unfortunately, that costs $500, but we do have that saved in our adoption account so that will be no problem. What that pays for is our social worker to come to our house and make sure that our medicines and cleaning supplies are locked up, we have ample smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher, and a room for the baby, and basically that we have a safe environment for the baby. We will also need to fill out a couple of papers again. So, on August 11 our social worker will come visit and check all that stuff out. 
We also need to redo our profile books to include information about our new house, thankfully I think our new apartment will be much more appealing to birth moms as it is brand new and everything is updated, plus the baby room will be much bigger and nicer. Again, more money, adoption is sooo expensive folks. BUT the Waynesboro High School band donated over $100 from their final concert to our adoption fund, and that is AWESOME and AMAZING and we are super thankful!
SO, that's all that is going on with us, right now it's pretty much packing and moving and then settling into our new house. And then I go back to work :(

Please be praying we can get our new place together before our home visit, that we pass our home study update with flying colors, and that we can continue to trust God in the waiting. 

As always, please contact us with any questions!!!
Love,
Kristen & Adam

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

1 Year Later



WOW... I can't believe that we decided officially to adopt 1 year ago today. It's amazing to think 1 year ago we made a decision that put us exactly where we are today. Before this time last year we were praying about what to do, and now it couldn't be any clearer that we are definitely where we are supposed to be. Our adoption journey looks very different than we originally thought. We first thought we would be adopting internationally. Neither of us could fathom domestic adoption when there are actual orphans all over the world. But, thankfully, God changed our hearts (and closed some doors to get us there) and directed our path to domestic adoption, which we have fallen in love with in a way we never could have imagined a year ago. We love a baby and a family that we have never met. Over the last year we have met new people, helped start a church plant, Adam started a new job in Lowe's, and we have lived life as normal, just doing it all while continually thinking of our child in the back of our minds. At time the waiting has been hard, and at times easier - especially when we have had things we can do to help the process. The paper work was hard and took a long time, but it made us feel like we had a little bit of control. Slowly, God has taught us that we have no control in this situation and that we need to let go and put our baby and our future in His hands. We have learned that waiting quietly is very, very hard, and it is much easier to wait disgruntled and complaining as we go. But more than ever we have really understood God's love for us. How we were adopted into His family, and loved unconditionally, despite our flaws and our sins, and our deliberate actions against His will. We may have over another year to wait, and that is okay, we will meet our baby when he or she is here and ready for us, and when we are ready for him or her.
I want to also thank everybody for all the support we have gotten. We have had people buy t-shirts, donate baby safety items, donate money, pray, and give us emotional and spiritual support when we have needed it. We have raised around $2,000 over the last year and that is truly amazing. We wouldn't be where we are without all of you and without all of your help. thank you.

SO, to celebrate 1 year we are doing a really cool fundraiser. You may have seen this other places, as it is a very popular adoption fundraiser. It is called the puzzle piece fundraiser. We have purchased a blank puzzle that has 54 pieces. We are going to sell each piece for $5 and when you purchase a piece or pieces we will write your name on that piece or across the pieces (we will put pieces together) you bought. Then when it is complete we will frame it and hang it up in our child's room so he or she can see how so many people care about him or her and helped us find him or her.
SO - puzzle pieces are $5 each - you can pay me in person or through our paypal or send a check - remember pay pal does take a small percentage.
AND - corner pieces are $10 each - only 4 corners so first 4 people who want a corner will get them. When you pay or in your paypal memo - tell me how many pieces you want. As we go we will continue to take pictures of our puzzle as it develops.

I'm really excited for this fundraiser- this will probably be our last fundraiser so if you want to be part of one this is it!

Thanks again for everything you all have done for us over the last year and will continue to do through this process and through our child's life.

And as always, please ask any questions you may have,

Love,
Kristen & Adam

Friday, May 29, 2015

Almost Summer

It is almost summer! I have 2 weeks of school left, and in 3 weeks we are going on vacation. So today, I thought I'd give you a brief adoption update (not a lot to share), and an update just on what's going on with us!

So, as far as adoption; we called our agency and expressed some of our frustrations with the lack of communication and information from our social worker, and they totally understood, and assigned us a new social worker. I have talked to her on the phone once, and she is really nice. It is still frustrating because she doesn't work after 3 and we both work until 4, so we have to catch her on our lunch breaks. We are going to meet her in person in a couple weeks, so we are looking forward to that. She also answered a bunch of our questions. She told us that we are looking at an average of a 20 month wait for our preferences, and our book should start being shown when we have been "waiting" for 12 months. So, even though that seems like a long time, it is nice to have some information on that. I think we are starting to settle into "the wait." It definitely helps to have a somewhat expected time frame.

As of yesterday we also have been waiting 4 months!
Here is a picture of me and some of my students who bought shirts to help support our adoption!
 

So, here is just a general update of what is going on with us.
Since January we have been part of a church plant here in town. Adam is leading worship and I am part of the AV team. It has been a lot of fun and we have met some great friends. Adam is currently training to run a half marathon in the fall and is very motivated and working hard to reach that goal. I am working on learning to knit and am looking forward to my very first summer without working since I was 17. We are both very ready for vacation and excited to just sit around and read and relax.
Please continue to pray for us as we wait, pray for our baby and his or her first family, and pray that financial support will continue to come in to help us pay our fees.

Thanks and as always ask if you have any questions!
Love,
Kristen and Adam

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Island of Adoption

As of today we have been "officially waiting" 3 months. On May 2, we will have been in the adoption process for 11 months. Again, I cannot say enough, how we feel like we have been waiting much longer than 3 months.


Waiting for your child is super hard. It's probably one of the hardest things we've ever done. What makes it so hard is that we are going through it alone. When we were going through the paper work and the homestudy, we heard from our social worker often, the agency often, and we had people asking us where we were in the process. Now we are in the dreaded "wait." And we are alone. We don't know anyone who has gone through a domestic adoption (we do know people who have adopted internationally, and that wait is equally hard, but it's a different kind of wait), we don't hear from our social worker or our agency, and people have stopped asking because they know we are stuck in the wait. I don't think this is anyone's fault at all. And we are loved by our friends and family, no doubt, and we know that they are on this journey with us, but they don't know what to ask, what to say,or  how to support us. And I don't expect them to, because I don't even know what I want people to say, or ask, or how to tell them how to support us, except for through prayer. But we are still feeling alone. We wish that our social worker would call, we wish we had someone who knew what this experience was like, and we wish we knew what we needed. But, we don't know any of these things. We feel lost, and like we are on this adoption island. I never thought that adoption could be so lonely. But, it is - at least right now. We know, once we know more that it will get better - at least, we hope. Once we have baby, we will be surrounded with love for that baby, and people will know what to say, and how to support us again. 
And there are things that get us through, give us hope, and keep us going. Our family and friends' love for us, and for our baby. The support we do receive. The fact that once we meet our baby, we will forget about the island. The fact that even when we feel alone, we know we aren't. Our friends and family are with us, and so is God. The One who called us to this journey has not left us alone. He is here on the island with us, even when we don't feel Him, He is still near. That He who created us knows and cares how we feel, knows what to say to us, and knows how to support us, even though we don't. He is our hope, and He is our future. He will show us that with Him, we never really are on an island, and even when we think we are, He will rescue us from it. So for now, we are on the island, but we are learning that we aren't alone, and never will be. 

Matthew 28: 20 - ... And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Psalm 23: 4 - Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid for You are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

Psalm 33: 22 - Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in You alone.

Deuteronomy 31: 6 - So be strong and courageous, do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you or abandon you. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

2 months, T-Shirts, and Birth Mother Love

It's been a while since I posted an actual blog post. I've had all the intentions of writing, and just haven't got there yet. So, here's some updates and a post!

Update 1 - We raised around $500 by selling t-shirts! You guys rock! I am so in awe of how our friends and family step up to support us! $500 may not seem like much considering our next payment is $15,000, BUT that is $500 less in debt that we will need to go, and $500 that I won't have to pay on my own. That is AMAZING. We have raised a little over $1,000 since we started and we are excited to see God provide the rest in ways only He can. Philippians 4:19 - And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. 
- IF YOU BOUGHT A SHIRT -please take a picture of you wearing it and send it to us!!!

Update 2- As of March 28 we have been "officially" waiting for 2 months. That means that our profile has been available to show to birth mothers for 2 months. I hate saying that we have been waiting for 2 months. Really, we have been in the adoption process since June and that means we have really been waiting for around 10 months. The wait sucks and is really hard. It does help to know that we will wait the exact right amount of time to be sure we are placed with the exact right baby and exact right birth mother, but it doesn't make the waiting any easier.

2 months "officially" waiting - March 28, 2015

  Lately I've been thinking about our birth mother a lot. I've also been aware of how many people have misconceptions of birth mothers and their relationship with their child. I want you to know that we love and respect our birth mother already - without even knowing her. She may be difficult to get along with, or easy, she may be radically different from us or have things in common, she may be older than us, or younger than us, she may be a teenager or from a rough background, or she may be a professional. No matter what the situation I can confidently say that we LOVE our birth mother. And this is not a we love her because we have to because she's our child's mother or because we should love everybody, we genuinely care for and love her. I'm sure we will have disagreements and will butt heads at times, but that doesn't change the fact that we love her. She is already part of our family and always will be, no matter how open our adoption is. She will always be talked about, mentioned, and discussed with love and respect. She is our child's mother in a way that I can never be, just like I will be his or her mother in a way the birth mom never will be. She is an integral part of our family already. It is crazy to think that we love her and we don't even know her or anything about her. But, God gives us that ability. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He gave us the ability to love others through His unconditional love for us. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to live with Him for eternity. Our birth mother is also making a sacrifice in allowing us to raise her child, and we cannot respond to that sacrifice with anything but love.
  Many people have preconceived ideas about who birth mothers are. Most people think birth mother and they think "teen mom." But, we learned that the average age of a birth mother is 25, and that the younger a mom, the more likely she is to parent the baby herself. Birth mothers also don't "give their baby up for adoption," they make an adoption plan. They are not giving up on their baby, they are actively making a plan to do what they feel is best for their child. They are not selfish, but selfless. It is not easy to make an adoption plan for a child you give birth to, it is a selfless act of love for that child. The birth mother will not try to come and take her child back (it is not like a Lifetime movie), she knew what she was doing when she decided to make an adoption plan for her baby.
  So, just remember when you are talking to a birth mother or someone adopting that the birth mother is part of the adoptive family and she deserves to be treated with love and respect, just like her baby.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Guest Blog!

I got to be a guest blogger on our church blog a while back and forgot to link it here!

Here is the link to the blog post I wrote!

http://www.gracewaynesboro.com/the-beauty-of-the-gospel-in-adoption/

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Open Adoption

   Lately, I've been reading about, talking about, and thinking a lot about open adoption. For those unfamiliar with what that is, open adoption is when birth parents have some kind of contact with the adoptive family. It is important also to recognize that open adoption can take many different forms. Some include; sending annual letters and pictures to the agency and the birth parents having the option to pick them up, emailing between the two families (or the adoptive family emails to birth family), texting, supervised visits, or open communication and visits.
  Honestly, when I first thought about our adoption and the type of adoption we wanted, I did not want anything more than sending updates to the agency. Later, I realized that response to the idea of open adoption came from a place of fear. I was afraid of open adoption because I didn't know anything about it. My fear was that my child would be confused as to who his or her "real mother" was. I was more scared when I heard that about 90% of adoptions are now open, but luckily, now I know that is a ludicrous fear.
  The great thing about having an ongoing, personal relationship with the birth mother is that the child then has 2 "real mothers," one who gave birth to him/her and the one who takes care of him or her on a daily basis. Both mothers should, and hopefully will be loved for different reasons and appreciated in different ways.
 Open adoption is a beautiful picture of a family brought together by love. We hope that our birth mother wants a relationship with our child and will become part of our extended family. But, we want what is best for our birth mother. If she wants only updates we will do only updates, but remind her that we are open to more. Of course, a relationship like this will need boundaries, and we will discuss those when the time comes. I think the most important thing in a relationship is communication, and that applies to this relationship too. If we think she is intruding too much, we need to speak up. If she thinks we are not communicating with her enough, she will need to speak up, and we will need to be willing to hear her. The relationship with the birth family is just like any extended family, there needs to be open communication, trust and respect from all parties involved. And that is what we hope for our child. How can it not be beneficial for the child to have more people loving him?
 I also believe it is healthy for the birthmother to know where her child is growing up, and to have reassurance that she made the right decision for her baby. We often overlook the birth mother in adoption, just viewing her as a bystander or the one who gives us her baby and then we forget about her. But her feelings and opinions are equally important here. She is the one who made the adoption plan for her child, she is the one who picked us to be her child's family, and she is the one we have to keep our promises to. Her opinion is valid and important, and we need to remember this is her baby through her biology just as much as it is our baby through adoption. Yes our roles are different, but one is not more important than the other.
  When I tell people that we really hope for an open adoption I, not surprisingly, get mostly negative responses. We have been asked:
 "Well what about when they are 16 and want to move in with their birth family because they are the "fun" parents?" Too bad! The birth family has no parental right, and therefore no way to tell them that is okay. Just like if a teenager says they want to move in with an aunt or uncle. Unless mom and dad say so, it's a no.
"What if they move in next door to you?" If they do, the same rules and boundaries still apply.
"What about when things get messy, they probably will since most birth moms are on drugs and/or are teenagers." Well, first the average age of a birth mother is 25, and if it is not safe or gets messy we can tighten our boundaries, and our social worker can always get involved if need be. And, obviously, if our social worker advises us not to give our personal information to our birth mom we won't. I hope after reading this that your opinion will change to view open adoption in a more positive light and to be supportive of families that have chosen open adoption.

What I think it comes down to is that it is important for a child to know where they come from, and to have someone to ask the hard questions to about why they were adopted, and what their biological history is. Most open adoptions are successful and don't get ugly, despite what you see on Lifetime movies. And if ours does, obviously, we will deal with it! We want above all our child to know he or she is loved by us, and by his or her birth family.

I would also encourage you if you or someone you know is considering adoption, please have them at least learn about open adoption before shutting it down as an option. It is scary, but it is often what is in the best interest of the child.

And, as always, if you have any questions please call or email us. We love to talk and educate people about adoption.
Love,
Adam & Kristen

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

T-Shirts!

So -nothing new to update - we have been "officially waiting" for a little over a month. This will be a super short post!
SO......
We are doing a fundraiser!
We are selling t-shirts through bonfire funds. You can pick a t-shirt, sweatshirt, long-sleeve shirt, or ladies fit shirt and $10 of every purchase goes straight to us- the rest of what you are paying is only the cost of the shirt.
They are black and say "love is waiting" We picked this because it can mean something different to everyone depending on where they are in their life.

Check them out here: http://bonfirefunds.com/bring-home-baby-werle

So, we have until March 26 to sell 25, so far we have sold 3! YAY!
 Please consider buying a t-shirt and supporting us. We are so excited to be part of the adoption process and appreciate all the help and support we can get.
And, as always, please ask if you have any questions,

Love,
Kristen & Adam

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Dreaded Topic.... Infertility

Quick update: As of January 28 we are OFFICIALLY A WAITING FAMILY! We were approved and our books are now in circulation and our profile is online through Bethany for birthmothers to see. YAY!!!! Praise the Lord for that!

So, I've thought for a while that I should write about infertility. People often go the route of adoption because they have been diagnosed with INFERTILITY. If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that infertility is part of our adoption story, but definitely not the main reason for us choosing adoption.
I'm going to focus on my infertility issues because, everyone with infertility is different and has different experiences, I can only talk about mine. Infertility is such a personal issue, and the way that someone and his or her family decide to tackle it is also personal, so again, I'm just talking about my experiences and perspectives. When I was 25 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women of child-bearing age and they think that 1 in 10 women have it. I have had "female issues" for years, and no one was ever really able to tell me what was going on. My cycles were irregular, I was gaining weight at an inexplicable rate, I felt tired and crappy all the time, I had anxiety for seemingly no reason, I had acne that didn't disappear when I was done with puberty, and lots of other symptoms that were not fun to deal with. FINALLY, I got to a referral to see an endocrinologist, a hormone doctor. The first time I met with him he ran blood tests and basically diagnosed me on the spot with PCOS. I was relieved to have a label and a reason for why I was feeling so bad all the time, but was nervous to find out what that meant. PCOS is an endocrine and hormonal disorder. So, my blood sugar spikes and drops like crazy without medicine and my hormones are super wacky without medicine - too much testosterone, not enough progesterone. And that, causes cysts to develop on my ovaries. This explained the weight gain, the exhaustion, and the hormone issue all at the same time.
When Adam and I started talking about having a baby we knew that my PCOS would be an issue. I was told that without proper treatment and precautions my risk of miscarriage would be around 90% and that was IF I was able to conceive. We went to the doctor and started a series of tests and scans and medicine, just to see if I would ovulate and create healthy eggs. This process took about 3 months and cost us over $1,000. About that time, we started to realize that it may be better to look into adoption, so we never went down the IVF, IUI route, and every day I am so thankful we never had to deal with that. (Again, this is our personal decision, if that is the route someone decides to go, that's totally awesome for them, it just definitely was not the right decision for us.) So, once we decided to adopt I could start treatment to treat my symptoms of PCOS.
I started taking a medicine called Metformin - it is the same medicine diabetics take- which helps keep my blood sugar levels even. Unfortunately, Metformin has some pretty nasty side effects - which still come back every so often, so I was (and still am sometimes) pretty sick for a while when I started taking it. But, I lost a lot of weight, my exercise and good eating were paying off, and I started feeling better. I started taking a diuretic, which helped lower my testosterone levels, still some not so fun side effects, as you can imagine. And I started back on birth-control which balanced and evened out my cycles.
So, here I am almost a year later. I've lost probably 20 pounds, and most days I feel better. I still have quite a few days where I feel like crap, that I'm tired, and that my disease gets the better of me, but over all I feel a lot better. The hardest thing about infertility is that, even though I am so thankful we are adopting, the feeling of insufficiency still sneaks up on me from time to time. Knowing that I will never be pregnant and knowing that I can't do what women were designed to do is sometimes overwhelming. (Now, with treatment I probably could get pregnant, but since we never tried, I don't know). It is hardest when I get comments from coworkers or acquaintances or even family, saying things like; "I hope you have 'your own one day too,'" or "God can still give you a baby," or any variation of that phrasing. We chose adoption over pregnancy and I am thankful for that everyday, and I will never regret going this route, the more we get into our adoption process, the more I know that it is what we are supposed to do. It will always be hard to hear someone basically tell us that we need to have our own biological children, I don't think that will ever go away.But I think it is always hard doing something that is not "the norm" and when people don't understand why you are doing something different. And that is one thing I like about adoption, I like being able to educate people and I like being able to do something different.
SO... long story short, infertility and everything that comes with it sucks, but I am glad that my infertility has brought me to where we are in life, and for that I will always be thankful.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Always Waiting

Quick update: We finished and submitted our profile books and they are awesome! We have one if you want to see it, just ask! (I'm very proud of it). Our homestudy was also finally finished last week, but not approved yet. Other than that we are waiting...

We are still waiting.... for our homestudy to be approved, for our service plan, to hear from our social worker, to be put on "the list," for $7,500 to pay the next set of fees, and, ultimately; for a baby. We were told that our homestudy would be finalized before the end of the year, and it wasn't until last week. We were told we would be approved by the end of last week, and then again we were told we would be and we would get our service plan on Tuesday, and we still haven't. And the list could go on. The more I've thought about the name of our blog, and the wait we are experiencing, the more I've realized that in life we are always waiting for something, the weekend, the end of the work day, to meet your "soul mate", for the next big event, for your child to be born, for your child to graduate, and on, and on, and on, and for those of us that consider ourselves Christ followers, we are in the ultimate wait for His return. I will be the first to tell you, waiting sucks. We aren't even in the real "wait" yet, we are waiting to be waiting. And it is awful. I think the worst is the unknown, if I knew a day we would get a baby, the wait would be more bearable, I could count the days, but with the unknown the wait is torture. In more ways than you might think. It's so hard to think of what my kids (my students) will do when I'm gone, what kind of substitute they may have, will they get any work done. It's stressful to think about trying to get on a list for daycare when we have no "due date." It's hard to think of taking 12 weeks without pay and trying to pay the bills and our rent. It's very stressful to think about waiting to add a member to our family with the idea that the birth mother could change her mind at the last second. I could go on, but I won't. The hardest wait is just waiting for our child.
But, there is always hope in the waiting. God would not have designed us to wait for eternity (literally), if we couldn't handle it, if there was no hope in it, and if there wasn't something especially sweet about His presence while waiting (or on days you are just more aware of your waiting). Waiting means more reliance on God and not on myself. It is a constant reminder that His plan and His timing is always better than mine. The amount of time we have to wait is perfect, and will ensure that we get our baby. It is also a reminder that God always provides. We will get everything we need when He sees fit and when it is best for us.
So Waiting Quietly is fitting for this blog, even as it changes to not be so much about the adoption process in the future. Waiting quietly is waiting without complaining, without worry, without focusing on the wait. Waiting quietly is resting in God's presence, settling in to the wait, enjoying the blessings we are experiencing now, and preparing our hearts for what God has in store.

Psalm 62: 1-2 - I wait quietly before God for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.

And as always,
 Any questions or comments are always welcome!!!
Love,
Adam and Kristen