Sunday, March 30, 2008

Affording Adoption

Well...the day has come as we knew it would...We received our fee agreement in the mail this week from Bethany Christian Services. Basically it is our contract with Bethany in regards to what we will pay for our adoption. We knew about how much it would be but when you get that official paper in the mail it's like...whoa....yeah....where is that money going to come from? The good news is we have paid some of it already. The bad news is we have almost 12,000.00 to go!!!
Anyway...we have a few small ideas of how we can raise some money so we will be pursuing those avenues soon enough. We are confident that if God has brought us this far that He will see us through the rest of the way. We would just like to ask that you guys keep us in prayer as we enter into the next step of the homestudy process. Our reference letters went out this week so we should be able to begin the next steps soon! Hope each of you are happy and healthy!

Friday, March 28, 2008


Well, we have finally made it to Friday! This week was our big finish in the adoption process so far. We turned in the giant paperwork pack! WOW! I often wonder if that packet serves as a weed out for some people. Now I'm not saying that alot of information should not be required from the adoptive couple. It should be! Our agency has a giant moral and ethical obligation in "screening" those that would be good parents but I can seem some people bailing out of the process trying to find an "easier" agency. We never thought about it becasue we lover Bethany so much but I am sure it happens. So yes...the big news we are finished with our part. Now comes the hard part of waiting on the next steps to be completed.
I believe our letters of reference went out this week or at least they told us they would send them out to folks Tuesday or Wednesday. (We dropped off the packet and our profiles on Monday.) So now we wait for our peeps to send their refererence letters back in to Bethany. I am finding this part difficult becasue it is out of my hands - not that it is totally ever in our hands - but there isn't anything I can control in the process. When we were doing our part there were documents to manage, appointments to make, self studies to write and profiles to put together. Now there isn't anything I can do - just wait. Sometimes I think God must be using this experience to teach me a lesson in patience which I'm not very good with. So God - I'm taking notes! :) I'm starting to get it! :)
So now the anticipation builds. There are little things to do like decide on a rocker for the nursery, baby proofing and a little basket of baby laundry to wash and put away. By the you realize how small baby socks are???? It is amazing!!!! Hey.....we bought our first package of diapers this week! Yeah! That was fun! Ithought about taking a picture for the blog but I will save that for the lifebook. Plus the dog at the top of this entry better suits my mood today! Which will lead me into my next paragraph....
I am dog tired. Monday was the big day this week and it seems like there were 500 days in between Monday and today. I have developed a little illness this week which I think it is allergy related. I think it is all those stinky Bradford Pears in full bloom. My nose is stuffy, the throat is sore and the wheezing is nuts which is making my asthma haywire. I have used my inhaler lots this week and that stuff makes you all jittery. Today I presented at a conference. I loved my topic but my group was so rowdy! We were in this big cave of a room and I had a huge crowd which I didn't anticipate. It was unheard of for this conference and people strolled in late and got me out of the groove. People were very disrespectful...talking while I was talking, the people in the back couldn't hear and one lady in the bag was all but snoring. Anyway...because people couldn't hear I had to break out the mean teacher voice because asking politely was ineffective! glad that is over with! I have to work the next two weekend and then it is wedding time for our supervisor at work. She is leaving us and heading to Texas! Whew! Lots going on and I am - as te caption reads- dog tired! Well, David has fixed me a grilled cheese and some soup so I better get going. Hope everybody is well. Grace and peace to each of you! By the way...not taking the time to spell and grammar check - David is calling and my grilled cheese is getting cold!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In HIS Words...It is FINISHED!!! :)

I have to say that this has been a wild, stressful, self analyzing, wonderful journey! Today Jennifer and I submitted our formal application and our profiles. We were told today that normally the profiles aren't turned in until the home visit but we wanted to be finished with all we had to do. Now we are just waiting for the references letters to be returned and our application's final approval. I'm sitting just anticipating that approval and then knowing we are available for birth mothers to review our profile. Jennifer said it well..."It is FINISHED." There is nothing else that we can to do.

I just wanted to note that something I've heard is so true. Several people have said that if biological parents had to go through the checks and answers the detailed questions that we have had to answer then many babies wouldn't have gone home. I'm thankful for this journey and I look forward to the wait and pray that it won't be a long one. I know that everything will happen in His time.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Reflections on an empty crib

Today is Easter Sunday. (or it was - it's technically early Monday!) Mom and Dad came up for lunch after their church service and we just visited for a little while. I had turned on the lamp in the nursery earlier as they were going in for a peek. So tonight after they had long been gone I went in to turn the light out. I passed the crib on my way to the lamp but stopped and thought for a moment. I wonder and I hope that this is our last Easter alone.

I pondered if next year, at this time, our child would be sleeping in his/her crib. Will we have a baby girl that was photographed over and over in her first Easter dress? Will we have a little boy in Gap Khaki's and a sweater vest? :) How old will they be? How will our lives be different? Or will we still be waiting at this time next year? Only God knows. I ask that you would be in prayer for us especially now. We turn in all of our paperwork tomorrow to our agency. Then the wait begins... Happy Easter to you all.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

In the spirit of resurrection, new life and the beauty of spring I bought this plant this weekend. I thought it was beautiful so I immediately pulled out the little tag thingy that gives you plant care tips. It was very basic so I thought I would look it up on the internet. I wanted to make sure I knew how to keep it blooming. It turns out, despite my best efforts, it will die anyway.
You see it is called a Guzmania Bromeliad. Yeah...I know! Anyway, it is the the same family as pineapples. See the resemblance? If you could feel it you would see that it has very pineapple like qualities. However, back to it's certain death. This particular plant takes approximately one year to bloom. The flowering actually kills it. It diverts all it's energy to the central flower and in doing so it causes the plant to die. The good news is it can be resurrected. As it grows, flowers and slowly dies it develops "pups" 2 -3 to be exact. These can be broken off of the main plant and replanted. They too will live a year, bloom, then die and the cycle continues. Hang on...I'm going somewhere with this. It just occurred to me that there is an Easter story in this.
I 'm thinking that it's growth season, while only a year, is similar to the time that Jesus spent as he began and continued through his ministry. See the thing about this flower is that the leaves actually turn into the flower. As the flower begins to form it forms through existing leaves. They begin to turn a brilliant pink on the tips giving you a glimpse of what it's beauty will be. You see it's color. You see it's promise to turn into something new. Something you believed to be a leaf is actually transforming itself into a beautiful flower - a promise of what it will become. Just as Jesus was merely a man to some in the beginning...well, then they got to see Jesus - the real Jesus - the Savior of the world Jesus. With each kindness showed, with each miracle performed He changed in the eyes of some who at first did not believe in Him. They got to see Him transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. We get to observe as he makes something beautiful of our lives; as He transforms us.
Then the flower is gloriously formed. The entire leaf turns bright pink and hardens as it becomes transformed. It is now a flower. All the while the plant is dying. It's purpose being redirected. I liken this stage to Jesus' last few days. His life was changing as prophecy grew nearer to fulfillment. He was "sold out" by His own disciple and denied three times by another. Our Jesus was being beaten, being clothed in royal purple only to be made a mockery of, a stinging crown of thorns smashed upon His head. He was sent back and forth from Pilate to Herod while they tried to determine his fate, to ultimately judge Him. Our Jesus stood tall and brave as He suffered what we cannot imagine. His energy spent while nailed upon that cross as He died to fulfil a promise. He hung there suffering and in physical pain in the most beautiful act of His life. His energy slowly spent as He was dying on the cross, growing weaker and suffering so that we could live that the promised would indeed be fulfilled.
We can have life eternal through His sacrifice - we can live again as will the Bromeliad on my coffee table. In Jesus' death and even in my little plants death their is hope and life and resurrection. In it's most beautiful work it will die. But without it's slow growth, it's even bloom and then it's death... well it's nothing. It wouldn't exist without this process; just as we could not live again without Jesus' slow growth into ministry, his eventual bloom and His death.
Just as my plant will produce "pups" to carry out it's mission so did Jesus through His disciples. I will think twice when I pass my little plant from now on. Happy Easter to all my fellow "pups."

Shhhh! Ginger's hiding from the Easter bunny! this has nothing to do with our adoption journey but I just thought it was funny! For some reason, as I was sitting in my chair Saturday, I noticed Ginger sitting across from me on the couch! Usually when she sees me make eye contact with her she immediately runs over - tail wagging - wanting a pet! But she just sat there looking shy and timid. Maybe she was hiding from the Easter bunny!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

OUTRAGEOUS! Ouch...this one is going to hurt!

The "Big Decision" weighs heavily on my mind today...upon further research this morning I find just totally blew my mind! I mean it just blew me away! This is just a slap in the face to so many families that we have met. We would love to hear your thoughts....

** Background
An Ever-Evolving History
Source: Pineforge Press
In 1972, the National Association of Black Social Workers announced that it was opposed to adoptions that placed Black children into White families. Their position still stands today. Transracial adoptions, they argue, are harmful to Black heritage.

By 1987, 35 states had established policies against cross-racial adoption.

What.....folks this is barely twenty years ago!

In 1994, the Howard M. Metzenbaum Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA) was passed, prohibiting an agency or entity receiving Federal assistance for adoptive or foster care placements from delaying or denying the placement of a child on the basis of the race, color, or national origin.

14 years have got to be kidding me! We are not talking during the days of segregation and Rosa Parks!

In 1996, Congress further amended MEPA, forbidding all agencies from denying or delaying placement of a child for adoption solely on the basis of race or national origin.'s a breath of fresh air!

The Dissenter's Point of View
Transracially adopted children growing up in White or other race families won't learn about their culture or be able to develop positive, healthy self-images.

That's just so wrong!!! The families we have met have gone to extraordinary lengths to expose their children to their culture. Three of our classes has been about issues or racism and also how to incorporate your future child's customs and heritage in your blended family. I doubt very seriously that their are adoptive parents out their sitting in a secret meeting discussing all the ways they can hide who their children really are from them. We do not live in a color blind society and they will know eventually that they are different from their adoptive parents!!!! No amount of trying in the world is going to keep this from happening!!!

White parents can never truly relate to and therefore, prepare transracially adopted children for the negative experiences they will have in a racially divided world. that so???? This statement is a special kind of stupid!!!!

White or other race parents will not be able to adequately care for the unique needs of children who are racially different (e.g. hair and/or skin care).

Totally false! Believe it or not their are websites with this type of information - at the least. Some of the friends we have met through transracial adoption have gone to classes concerning these matters, they have gone to stores that are ethnic in nature, they have simply asked their friends who have adopted transracially, they have consulted their physicians, they have sought help from members of their church family....and the list goes on. All of the children we have met through transracial adoption were absolutely beautiful children! Their hair was beautiful and their skin was healthy!!!! I assure you!!! They even discussed with us how you go about finding out information on hair care and skin care!

You cannot separate the political issues from transracial adoption - if African American children, for example, are not taught to relate to and/or identify with the issues faced by their communities, they will be less likely to support the political agendas of the African-American community. do all African American people vote on "African American issues" - so that is to say that every African American in the world even HAS the SAME issues! I don't believe that the families I have met have considered it important to take the "political pulse" of the world before they grew their families the way God intended! You should most definitely separate politics from building your family! This is just so ignorant to me!

Some families may find that the only reason they would even consider adopting a child from another race is almost completely based on the relative ease and lower cost associated with adoptions involving children of color; This hardly speaks well for the family's motivation and preparation to handle the issues that come along with raising a child of color.

OH NO! Please tell me they didn't go there!!!! I actually know of a caucasian couple that have adopted a beautiful baby girl who happens to be African American. They were recently asked if their daughter was cheaper because she is black??? Being the intelligent and loving people that they are - they didn't knock they lady down but just excused her ignorance and tried to explain the facts at a later point and time. The lady didn't mean to be hurtful but it must have been like a slap in the face. Here somebody was equating their beautiful daughter with a discount ticket price making her easier to afford! By the our agency there are no discounted children solely based on race. There are grants for special needs children to offset the cost of the care and extra things they will need in their lives but I assure you they don't come out of the clearance been in the back of an orphanage somewhere!!! You should check out Brittany's Hope website and open your heart and pray for these children. Some of them not only have debilitating special needs but they are living in terrible conditions because of the number of children orphaned in that area - so that their needs can not be met or the country, as hard as they try, just don't have the finances to pay for more. I would agree that it does not speak well of a family's preparation just to adopt a child because they are more affordable but I also don't believe in my heart that the majority of adoptive parents make such poor decisions either!!!

The children will grow up to resent the parents for "stealing" them away from their home countries, cultures, languages, customs and extended family, and will forever be engaged in a search to identify their true identities, culture, relatives.

There are no words for this one!

To read more of this trash...visit the following website

I'm sure this may just be one of those bad pieces of information that you can get from the internet but it's trash like this that keep children from going "home" to their forever family. And it is just so unfortunate that people who, like ourselves, are considering transracial adoption might find this in their search and automatically be turned off. You see the alternative to transracial adoption is that kids don't ever go home. They never know a family. They don't have a grandpa and grandpa. They don't have family traditions. They don't have all the rich experiences that we have because we do have families. How can a child being adopted transracially be worse than the alternative - no going home to their forever family!

Okay, it's the day before Easter and I don't want to move into tomorrow in the kind of mood I'm in now. I have said my peace for now. I will try to post something a little more positive later. It's about time for lunch...can't wait to get your comments on this one!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We have a BIG decision to make!

Well the days are winding down for us....classes are finished, paperwork's done for the most part, David is going to finish his self study this weekend. It's gone really fast!!! So one big thing that we do have left is to fill out our "preferences" for our child. This is a tough one. We have really struggled about this and I have prayed about it daily. For any of you wondering - preferences is basically "what are you willing to accept as parents" on issues such as uterine exposure to drugs and alcohol, cigarettes, etc. What about other special needs such as down syndrome, cerebal palsy, etc? What races are you open to if any other than your own?

And the big thing for us is the question of race? I can hear your wheels turning?! Here's the thing....we could choose to accept only healthy caucasian infants or we can just keep it wide open or anything in the middle. So we have considered many things:

If we are willing to adopt outside of our race...

*how will our friends and family feel/recieve us?
*how will our church family recieve us?
*how would we handle the questions, the stares, the looks?
*what issues would our child have to face because their skin may be different from ours?
*at the end of the day, do the stares, the looks and the comments matter?

We went to a transracial playgroup last week and we have met other families at other times that have adopted transracially (i.e. outside their own race)in order to try to educate ourselves. We have asked how people have been responded to, what issues they face, where they learn to take care of the child's hair, at what age do the children realize their different from mom and dad, etc? You name it we have probably asked it or heard it being asked.

So we have lots of schools of thought on this. The big one being... how could we accept one of God's children and yet deny another? God has adopted us all into his family regardless of our ethnicity! Then there is the question of while the first statement may be true - are some couples/families better equipped to handle the adverse reactions we could experience? We certainly don't want to go around being angry or defensive all the time because people have hurt our family. That's no way to live. How about this one...if you believe, as we do, that God has a plan for every life then how do we set limits on how God intends to grow our family?

We have met so many extraordinary families on our short journey so far. They all are very different yet all amazing, genuinely good people with big hearts! Some are of the same race, some two different races, some many different races. So I guess the question is what's right for us? How do we know what to do? When you look at the fact that there are 143 million children around the world that are either orphaned or abandoned don't you think they each deserve to have their forever family? When you look at it in those terms - the huge need for families for children - our preferences seem quite trivial don't they?

So we question, we fret over the prefernces sheet, we don't want to fill it out, we wish we didn't have to consider these heavy things! In the midst of all the excitement we have to deal with some very difficult issues as well. I have been telling David that I wish God would hand us down some directions on a tablet like the Ten Commandments. I have sought his guidance on this issue daily and I am just not getting a sign, a vibe, a feeling...nothing! It's like "Okay God, I need your help...speak to me - PLEASE!"

While we realize that nobody can make the decison for us we would like for you to keep us in prayer if you would. We would love to hear your thoughts as well. If you feel you have any wisdom to impart then that would be wonderful. All of you who read this blog are either family or close friends so we obviously value your thoughts and appreciate your wisdom!

We very much appreciate you all reading along as God continues writing our story. We appreciate your comments and your thoughts. We appreciate your prayers and your well wishes! We are so lucky to have been blessed with each of you!

Well, we are taking the night off....we are not going to do any paperwork tonight! We are going to watch a movie and get to bed early as we have been so tired lately. I hope each of you are healthy and happy! Good night! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It is ALMOST finished!

Well, our last class meets tonight. David has a few more questions to answer on his self study and our paperwork will be complete! I plan on traveling over to the Bethany office on Monday and turning everyhting in to them! We are getting closer everyday! Just wanted to share the exciting news with you!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What's wrong with "Jennifer?"

So we were grocery shopping today and we wandered down the book/magazine isle. I saw a baby name book and the title struck me as was entitled Beyond Jennifer, Jason, Madison & Montana. Is Montana that popular of a name? If so I never knew it and I consider myself pretty up on kids names considering I am in child care facilities on a daily basis. Anyway...just thought that was interesting...somewhat offensive considering my name was one mentioned in the title...but interesting all the same!:) Oh well.

The good news is I found a dress for Easter and a lamp for Ryleigh or Jacob's room. Finding a lamp doesn't seem like a big deal but I assure you I had to look many places to find something that matched well. The Easter dress...that was hard! I want to look "springy" but not like an Easter basket exploded-on-me-ish!

Tomorrow we tackle our birth mother letters. Our letters are the only thing lacking in our profiles that we have to submit. We also attend our last class this Tuesday and Tuesday also doubles as our third group session that we have to attend. We really enjoy going to all the groups that we can so we will continue on with that even thought we will have meet our class & group requirements as of Tuesday.

Well....I think that gets us updated for now. It's way late and I should get to bed. I have had odd sleeping hours because of all the Benadryl I have had to take for these weird hives but Cantata is in the morning and we don't want to be late for that so I shall for close for now! Happy Palm Sunday everyone!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Went a little crazy today!

Well I started out this morning on a weird note. I didn't feel well to start with and I had a work appointment I needed to keep. The work appoint got cancelled. When I called my provider she said something to the effect of like, "Yeah, I got your message to confirm...guess I lost your number....and no, today is not good." Not unusual for this particular person. So I start to adjust my plans accordingly. One weird thing that has been happening lately is that I have been breaking out in weird hives off and on. I haven't changed, soap, shampoo, detergent, lotion, diet, etc. Thought I would save you from wondering? :) So this itchy-scratchy thing led me to the store on my way to work for a tub of hydrocortisone. As I was walking through the store I came across some baby items....(No, David...I didn't go to that isle specifically).... I came across all these cute pacifiers and rattles, socks and blankets and they were a good price so I had to buy them. Then as I rounded the corner I see books...the great hardbound kind perfect for those that would rather chew than read (baby surprise, perhaps) so I had to buy some books. Hey! They were cheap and they had the all important "realistic" pictures in them. So I bought a couple. Anyway...the funny thing is that other than big items like the car seat, stroller, swing, etc. we have already bought the basics. (We wanted to have most of what we needed to start because when your home study is finished you have to be ready for baby!) Anyway, I told David that we were pretty much through shopping for now. We have onesies, sleepers, blankets, crib sheets, stuffed toys, rattles, bottles, etc. Just not diapers - by the they expire? Can you stock up too soon? So if we have a good start on what we need why did I come out with a sackful of multiples of things we already have!? I guess because it's connectional. It makes me feel closer to "baby surprise" wherever in the world he or she may be.

The thing about adoption is that you miss some things that a pregnant woman experiences....well, lots of things! I can't buy the shirt I saw last fall in the maternity had a very artistic graphic of fall leaves and it said "Coming this fall!" How clever, I thought! People obviously can see that I am not pregnant so nobody asks me questions or wants to touch my tummy. I am sure any of you that are reading this and have been forced to wear frumpy maternity clothes or been annoyed by people's fascination with touching your tummy think that maybe I don't realize that it's not all it's cracked up to be. But for somebody that would give anything to experience that - well, it's different. Also I haven't run across psuedo preganancy/adoption journals - yet I can create my own. I don't have those regularly scheduled visits to listen to the heartbeat and see my future child's profile and I have no idea whether to buy blue or pink super cute booties - so I buy green or yellow. Lots of people have asked about showers- nobody knows what to do since we don't know when baby gets here - so there are none planned just yet. I can't take pictures of my growing tummy...there's nothing growing in their except maybe some bloating from the chinese last night! :) So in a way I feel cheated. Yes girls, cheated from the morning sickness, the frumpy clothes and the stretch marks! :)

However, on the other hand I get to have a very unique experience in other ways. I get to learn to have faith in God and for His plan in my life in an extremely personal way that I've not felt before. It is so evident that this is the plan for David and I. We entered this feeling lonely and wondered what people would think...maybe that we haven't tried hard enough or long enough...that if we would just relax it would name's been mentioned. So we were cautious but so sure that we were doing exactly what was right for us and we are as sure as we have ever been. We don't doubt our decision, wonder if it was the right one or worry about what people will say. We just let all that go and we are in total baby mode! We talk about "baby surprise" everyday. Oh by the case you are wondering if we have thought of more realistic names; we have. If God chooses to bless our family with a little boy he will be Jacob Grayson - if it's a baby girl we are kind of stuck to the idea of naming her Ryleigh Grace. Anyway, even though we aren't going to become parents the natural way we are just as excited and anticipating it just as much. You would be so surprised at how many people we have met that have a connection with our agency. I could tell you lots of stories and they just keep coming. The world is so small! The people at our agency have been beyond wonderful and helpful and everyhting is moving quickly! So just keep us in prayer and we will keep you posted! Happy Friday! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Our first post!


Since most of our friends and family are computer savvy and like to communicate via the internet - we thought blogging would be a great way to let you share in our adoption journey. We have found that most people have lots of questions for us and are really interested in where we are in the process. We are very excited about "baby surprise" as we have affectionately named him/her and we want to be able to share our story with all of you! Please check back often for updates along the way! We look forward to sharing our journey with each one of you! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we travel the road ahead!

Lilypie Waiting to adopt Ticker