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!