Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Beginning of the Wait

Since we signed our contracts with our adoption agency, I have had a standing appointment with our case worker every other Thursday afternoon for a phone call together. It's just a way for us to connect, ask questions, hear about what's going on, and make sure we're on track. When I had my call this past Thursday, she informed me that we've graduated! We're so done with paperwork (for now) that she no longer feels a need to check in with each other so often. We talked about our timeline, and she thinks (no guarantees of course!) that we could have a referral within about 3-6 months, but to be prepared for anytime. Our dossier is currently in D.C. and once our immigration approval comes back, our case worker expects to be logged in about 5 weeks after that. Again, no guarantees, and we've certainly had delays up to this point, so I'm not holding my breath. We still have not been fingerprinted, and I've been hearing from other adoptive moms that the immigration process took a good 2 months.

In the meantime, we mostly just wait. We could receive a special focus referral, or we could receive a referral from the orphanage our agency has a partnership with, which isn't very likely at this point. So we wait. And have fun with the little sweeties we have at home. This is my favorite time of year, and the next several weeks are going to be very full, with holiday celebrations, shopping, crafting, baking, a special birthday party, travels...

I am ready for this next part of our lives, where we hold our sweet Chinese baby in our arms, but I am also thrilled for the months ahead of loving on my two little ones who are getting big way too fast. I think some quality time with them and enjoying our days of being a family of 4 is just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

On Special Needs Part 2

For the past several months, I've been feeling like an imposter about alot of things. There have been the moments that someone has mentioned how "patient" I am with my kids and I want to laugh out loud. Or how creative I am, or how clean my house is... I'm not even going to get into why that makes me feel like a fraud, but I think you can figure it out. Then I trained all summer and ran a half marathon in September. But I still feel guilty telling people that I run. I always feel like it should come with a disclaimer that I am super slow. Like I need to explain.

And then there is the adoption. For a while, I refused to even add the "special needs" part when we talked about the adoption. I worried people would get the wrong idea. I didn't feel worthy of the title of special needs mom. The needs we are open to seemed insignificant and not even like special needs anyway. I just didn't want anyone to think I considered myself special just because we are adopting a child with special needs.

Then, life happened. For the first few weeks, I lived in denial. I assumed God would take it away. Or that there was a mistake. After the second opinion and a few weeks of watching carefully, I woke up and realized it was true. My child, one who lives at home already, was diagnosed with a special need. I realized that adoption isn't going to make me a special needs mama. Because I already am one.

A friend told me "___ is still the same kid. A diagnosis doesn't change who he/she is". Oh, it's so true. That little darling of mine is still the person God created him/her to be. He knew. That little person is still my baby. I don't love him/her any less. There are unknowns. Our sweetie may deal with extra challenges for a long time, or he/she may overcome them quickly. Meanwhile, our lives are filled with therapy and praying for healing, but preparing for a long road. I just keep remembering this need is one part of him/her. That kid is so amazing in so many ways. Just like those babies waiting for families. I feel so positive that we are on the right path.

I've heard before that God doesn't call the equipped, but He equips the called. That's what's happening in our home. Before Jared and I knew that we would adopt a child with special needs, God knew that He would make us special needs parents whether we followed the call or not. Suddenly, I am much less afraid of the unknowns in adoption or the "special needs" our children may have, because I know I'm not the one in control of it all. And I know, without a doubt, that love is much more powerful than any need. I know that our family is so capable of love and we are ready to love whichever child is coming to us.

I don't feel like an imposter anymore. At least not with the adoption. We are adopting a special needs child. Their needs may be great, they may be minor. As we've learned recently, we can do all we can do, but ultimately we don't get to decide these things. I know we'll love him either way. And I know he'll fit right in. This journey has taken us places we didn't expect. Sometimes those places are hard and there will be more hard places ahead. There is going to be so much joy though. I know it. I'm ready. So bring it.

Just another day closer to you, Baby.

Friday, November 1, 2013

On Special Needs...

When we tell people we are doing a special needs adoption, especially family, the reaction usually involves some fear for us. Most friends and family, and even strangers, wonder if we know what we are getting into. Honestly, no, we don't. When we first started talking about adopting, we never considered special needs, and when we think about it now, we don't really know when we decided to pursue a child with special needs. But here we are.

In China's program, we were able to fill out a checklist of needs that we are open to. Our case worker, who will place our child with us, has that list, and she will use it as a guide for helping us find our baby. As I've posted about before, after we receive a file from her, we are able to share it with our pediatrician and accept or decline. So in some ways, we do have control over the needs our child will have. However, we have been warned to expect greater or lesser needs than what we think we are getting. We know there is no guarantee.

That checklist is difficult. To complete it, we googled, researched, prayed, considered our lifestyle, and had a long consult with an international pediatrician. Filling it out was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. We started with very, very few needs. But then you start to feel like saying no to certain needs is the same as saying a child with that need is unadoptable. Which is not true. But emotion gets in the way. So our list grew quite a bit. Then we had the consult with the pediatrician, and the list decreased again. Because you have to have compassion, and we want to be open to as much as we can, but we also have to be wise. There are certain needs that are just not compatible with our family right now. For instance, we live in an older home with all bedrooms upstairs. It is likely not possible to add a wheelchair lift. So a child in a wheelchair, or a child with a condition that may lead to mobility issues would not be a wise decision. (And probably wouldn't have been approved during our home study anyway). There are other conditions that are not as easy to make a decision on.

Let me add that the list is very personal. Please don't feel bad if you've asked about our list. But know that the decisions that led to the list were not made lightly, and that prayer and tears went into that list. We feel pain over some of the needs we had to say "no" to. So be aware that many families do not wish to share their list with everyone.

We ended up with a list we feel very confident with. It has needs on it that we knew at the beginning would be there, it has needs that we never thought would be there, and it has some "no" checks that we thought would be "yes". It's been amazing how we've been stretched during the process. How our hearts have changed and how excited we are to bring home our child. How things that seemed like a big deal at the beginning feel like of comfortable to us now and how aware we now are that a person's "special needs" are just one aspect of that person and don't define him.

So, no, in some ways we don't know what we are getting into. But we feel like we have been given discernment and we are as prepared as we can be (for now) for whatever our baby brings. We probably won't be able to handle it alone. But together with God, our family, and our pediatrician, I think we'll all be just fine.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A rare, all technical, no emotion post. :)

I just wanted to update a little bit on where we currently are in the process of adopting our little one. It may be a little bit boring, but we've had a lot of questions about where we are recently, so I felt like I should take the time to explain.We started in May with an application to our agency for their China Special Needs Program and we completed all our notarized contracts in June. So mid June is when we officially started gathering documents and paper chasing actually began. Our agency required us to complete all of our education courses and fill out all of the home study paper work before having actual home visits. Home study paperwork is very detailed and was a 2 page checklist of documents needing completed. I can share that with anyone who is interested.

During the time that we worked on home study paperwork, we also gathered documents for our dossier. The dossier is basically notarized, state certified original copies of documents that verify we are who we say we are. Birth and marriage certificates, psychologist letters, employment/income verifications, medical letters, criminal checks, etc. These documents must be no more than 6 months old when the dossier gets authenticated and translated. The dossier is what goes to China, for us to be approved to adopt a child there. Besides for the documents I listed, the dossier also includes an approved home study and an approved immigration letter.

In order to get the immigration approval letter, we have to apply for it, and to apply, we must send them an approved copy of our home study. So you can see that the home study is crucial to everything!

In our specific situation, our home study (for reasons out of our control) is taking an especially long time to get to us. It is approved, but we still have not received our copies. Since we can't apply for immigration without it, there started be a concern that we would not get our immigration approval in time to get the entire dossier translated before some of our documents started to expire. (Since we started in June, and they only last 6 months, they will start expiring mid December). Our entire dossier is complete, besides for the immigration approval.

So... where we are at... Our case worker had us go ahead and mail in the dossier to be authenticated and translated so that those documents won't expire. We *should* receive our approved home study copies within a few days, and we will immediately file our I800-A (our immigration form). As soon as we receive approval, our agency will add it to our dossier and it will be complete! It will then go to China, and we will receive a log in date. And from that point, we just wait to be matched.

We are so happy to be mostly done with our paper work stage. Everything on our end is complete, so we just wait and act as needed, but the major parts are done. And just in time for the holidays!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Meant to Be

When I started this blog, I didn't intend to share much ugly. I've read adoption blogs that focus all on the awesome happy side and I've read some that tend to share a lot of reality, including negative. I'm a pretty honest person, but this is the internet after all, so I decided to keep most of the junky parts to myself. Still, there are some parts that I feel like I should preserve, even though they're difficult. So today's post is going to be difficult.

Last week, I was shocked when our caseworker asked if we'd like to see the file of a beautiful little girl. Our first reaction, of course, was just surprise at the timing. We were not expecting to see a file for quite a while, since our home study is still (yes, STILL) in the review process. And of course, shock that the file belonged to a girl, as we've been feeling pretty positive we'd be referred a boy.

After the initial shock wore off and the earliest questions were positively answered, we felt sure that we should move forward to the next step, which is to send the file to our international pediatrician. Yes, this is really soon, but maybe this was our baby! We knew this darling girl would always be in the back of minds if we did not give her a fair chance. We know that God's timing is perfect and if this was His timing, we would go forward. So we basically left it up to the pediatrician's report. We laid out some clear guidelines together. If those were met, we would accept. If not, we would decline. We prayed for a very clear answer and that we know exactly what to do when the time for an answer came.

That seems pretty cut and dry, right? Easy. Except it's not. Because we're talking about a baby. A human baby. Who has no family. Whose photo I've seen, whose name, weight, length, and feeding schedule I know. We tried not to become attached. But when there's a photo (several actually) of a sweet little girl sitting in your inbox, and you wonder if she's yours, it's hard not to sneak a peek. Or two. Or more... It's hard not to imagine what it would feel like to hold her, to snuggle her close, to watch her grow in my home, to hear her laughter as she joins in our family fun, and to comfort her when she grieves. And, even though you know it's not true and you truly believe with all your heart that her life is governed by One who created us all, you somehow feel as though her future is in your hands.

No matter how hard you try not to become attached or think of her as your own, the "no" hurts. We got our answer to prayer, we got a very clear answer. As crazy as it seems, we have peace about the "no". Because we feel 100% sure in our hearts that she is not our daughter. But gosh, it's hard. The thought takes my breath away. Sitting here, wondering if she will ever know the love of a family seriously makes it hard for me to breathe. How can I grieve over a baby that was never mine? I don't know, but I know I can, because I am. I struggle to even say her name because it makes me involuntarily tear up.

My first thought, in an effort to comfort myself, was "It just wasn't meant to be". But I don't think that's quite right. It WAS meant to be. She was not meant to be part of our family, but we were meant to allow her into our hearts. And SHE was meant to be. I pray somewhere out there, God has a family for her. And that she will feel His love and protection. She may not have a family right now, but I know that she has a purpose. She is meant to be. A beautiful little girl, placed on this earth for a reason. Meant to be.

My sister in law reminded me that the little girl is one step closer to her forever family now. And we praise God for His faithfulness to us as He continues to break our hearts for these little ones and bring us one step closer to our baby.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'd Rather Be with You

Jared and I have been married for 6 years, as of Saturday. Autumn is a special time for us. We met in the fall of 05, started dating in the fall of 06, and we married in the fall of 07. It's been a good 6 years. There has been a whole lot of life in those 6 years. There has been happy and sad, joy and frustrations, ups and downs, but just mostly good.

This weekend has not been the greatest. We've had a lot on our minds. We hit a couple rough patches with our two beautiful children. We feel like we need a win in the adoption world.

So today we put one kid to bed and put one kid in front of the tv, and we made a cake together. It was a brand new thing for us. We don't usually bake together. But we needed a date and it seemed like a nice thing to do. So we went to my favorite cooking blog and looked at pictures of lots of cakes and we just chose something brand new and we did it. A ridiculous thing to do, when the house is a mess, and the lawn needs mowed, and we're watching our diets. But we threw caution to the wind and it happened. A cake from scratch,(including homemade butterscotch and caramel!) start to finish, just the two of us, together.

Even on a crappy day, I'd rather be with him than anyone else in the world.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Missing Alabama

This week last year, we were finishing up our 12 months in Alabama, saying goodbye to the people and things we had come to love and preparing to head back to our Ohio lives. So of course, especially this week, I keep thinking of our time spent there.

I'm just going to be honest here. We went to Alabama kind of as an escape. We needed a change, our family was not in a healthy place, and the opportunity came, so we took it. And for the sake of honesty, Alabama and I did not get off to a great start. Maybe it was the sad, sad phone call I received on the drive down there that caused me to give my growing tummy a squeeze and love my tiny squirmy baby a little more. It could have been the mouse that invaded our apartment during week 4 and had Gracie and I squealing and standing on chairs. Or it could have been the tour of Huntsville Hospital's maternity floor that sent me home in tears, the awful disappointing trip to Nashville for Gracie's 2nd birthday, or the Christmas Eve when I had to beg Jared to tie my shoes for me because I couldn't reach my feet. (Ok, the not being able to reach my feet had nothing to do with the state I lived in, but it was still traumatic) Whatever it was, those first couple months had me questioning our decision to be there. And for a whole year?!

I don't know when my feelings changed or what exactly changed them. I have a suspicion that Liam's magical birth set the tone for the rest of time. After that, things started looking up. And the funny thing is, the things that bothered me most at the beginning were the things I grew to love... Like the laid back attitudes, the wimpy outdoor mall, and Publix.

But what I know is that every special memory in Alabama happened because of time spent with our little family or in community. The memories I brought back from there are of Jared and I playing Frisbee together in the evenings and Gracie begging us to push her on the swing. I remember snuggling sweet baby Liam on the bench while watching Gracie ride herself silly on the carousel at Bridge Street. The lunches at the hole in the wall Mexican place after church on Sunday. Sitting in Judy's living room, chatting with friends while our kids literally tore the playroom apart. The brunch where Gracie threw up and before I could even comprehend what was happening, one friend had napkins under her mouth and another grabbed Liam from me to free up my hands. The beautiful starry sky, the family walks, our Wednesday night small group, the morning we had the science center all to ourselves, the new Target, the Chocolate Crocodile, dates at the fancy movie theater, watching Gracie play with her friends, the Y, amazing bbq, the kindness of new friends, I could go on and on. I think we would have stayed forever if the details had worked out. But they didn't.

I would say that leaving Alabama left a hole in my heart, but that's not really true. Actually, I think my heart is fuller and happier after that year. I still miss our friends there very much. I continue to be amazed by them and their support and general awesomeness, even though I'm horrible at staying in touch. I still miss the simplicity of our life there. Gracie still misses it too. She often brings up her friends, and says that she loves and misses them. Sometimes we drive down a random street, and she gasps and asks if we are in Alabama. I'm glad to know that year blessed her heart too. We learned about adaptability, about expectations, about kindness, graciousness, and hospitality. I am a better person because of Alabama. Our family is healthier because of Alabama. In 2011, when I heard someone mention that southern state, I wrinkled my snobby nose. Now I hear her sweet name and my heart smiles. We've been back for a year now and our family is with a doubt right where we should be. We are home for now. But I am forever grateful for our year in Alabama.

Missing Alabama this week. <3

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bonding with my Boy

Gracie has been visiting with her Mimi and Grampy for a whole week, so during the days it's just been my little boy and me. There's this magical time between about age 18 months to 2 years of age that a baby really turns into a toddler. The books say they're considered a toddler at age 1, but walking or not, they still seem like babies to me. Then amazingly, before you know it, they become official toddlers, running, getting into everything, thinking big things and understanding big things.

That's where Liam is. Baby turning into little boy. Maybe already turned into little boy, but I'm hanging on to what little baby-ness is left for as long as I can. So I wanted to document the best parts of him, more for my own sake than yours. :)

Liam, our little Yammy Chops, is growing and exploring. It's happening right before my eyes. I'm so glad I've had the time to experience it with him this week. His little feet have even grown. He got new shoes and he went up 2 sizes! As soon as we tried the shoes on him, he began to run around and he hasn't slowed down since. He runs to see what made that noise, or find a new toy. He runs with a twinkle in his handsome brown eye to make mischief and see if I will chase him. And he runs right into my arms, and showers me with hugs and kisses. I am thankful for his chubby legs that run so vivaciously.

He loves to laugh and he loves to make us laugh. He is so full of joy that a simple finger pointed at him, a silly face, or quick peek-a-boo will make him explode into giggles. He claps when I sing. He wants to walk everywhere. He cries when we put him in the stroller or car seat. He no longer wants his high chair, instead he sits at the table with me for breakfast and when it's snack time, he drags his own little chair up to the coffee table. Over breakfast, he uses his silverware just like a big boy all by himself and he even tries to feed me. He makes his sweet little noises and we have a little conversation even though he doesn't use many words.

He brings me books to read, but he can only sit still for a few pages and then he's off and running again- dumping out toy bins, building lego towers and knocking them down. He loves to color, but it can only happen under supervision. If by chance he finds a crayon on his own, he is kind enough to try to wipe the walls down with a towel when he's done. He is just like Gracie and I, and loves nothing more than to go out, whether for a short walk around the block or a shopping adventure. He lets me know when it's time for us to get out by getting his shoes out and sitting on the bench.

Best of all, he kisses with reckless abandon. He is not ashamed to love his mommy. He will run over to me, mid play, and grab my face, pull it down to his, and kiss me. If I'm extra lucky, he wraps those grubby hands around my neck and gives me a quick hug too. And there's nothing better in the whole world.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


We are still here. I've been a little quiet because our summer has been crazy busy and also, because there hasn't been much to report.

We finally checked everything off of our home study document list! So we have our first home visit coming up at the end of the week. We are feverishly cleaning our house. I know we've been told that's not necessary, but I'm weird this way. I feverishly clean when we have any kind of visitor, so knowing that someone is coming in and will specifically looking around, I'm even more obsessed with cleaning and organizing. It's a good time to do it anyway, before we add another member to our family.

Our dossier (a packet of certified paperwork proving who we are)is about ready also. We are in the process of having each paper county and state certified, and then it will just be waiting for our finished and approved home study to move to the next step, which is immigration.

Exciting news for me... I had a "first" a few weeks ago. I bought something special for our new little one, technically the first thing I have purchased just for him. Gracie began receiving gifts (from us and others) as soon as we announced the pregnancy. We started buying for Liam after we knew his gender. I have wanted to start a collection of things for this sweet little one, but it's been difficult, since we don't really know size, gender, season, etc. But I finally found the perfect item and I splurged and bought it. It's a clothing item, and purchasing it was emotional. It's very different than buying clothes for an unborn child while pregnant. I bought it knowing we have no idea when our child will arrive in our home, so I was taking a wild guess on the size. I bought it a little on the big size, so it will hopefully fit at some point. It was harder than I expected to not buy newborn size. Grief is not talked about a lot when you hear about adoptions, but it is real. Buying this little jacket brought up some of those emotions. Having the rest of my life with my Gracie and Liam is not long enough, so missing out on the first year or maybe two of this new baby breaks my heart. And buying bigger clothes makes that very real. It reminded me that someone else is (I hope) dressing my baby in newborn clothes every day. Someone else is (I hope) rocking him to sleep and feeding him and looking into those dark little eyes and bonding with him. Even worse is wondering if no one is doing these things.

Even still, having the jacket in my room makes this so much more real. I'm so glad to have found something. And buying it broke the dam, and now I have a small collection of books and clothes waiting for my baby to come home to me.

We were warned, but I didn't fully understand how hard waiting would be. I didn't realize that I would start to become so attached to a baby I don't know or have never seen and don't even know if he is born yet. I can't wait to have him home in my arms.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Last weekend, someone completely unexpectedly handed me money for the adoption, and said "It's not much, but..." But it was much. It wouldn't have mattered how much she handed me, it would have been much no matter the amount. You see, we are not asking anyone to just give us money, and we are certainly not expecting anyone to. We are very sure that God will provide the funds needs for this adoption. And we know that He uses people to provide. But we also know that He will use us. We believe that adopting a child is part of His plan for our lives, but we don't expect it to be handed to us. We are willing to work and save and sacrifice when necessary. Please do not feel like we expect money from you. We really don't.

So when a kind person, out of the blue, hands us money- any amount of money- it is much to us. It reminds us that the money for this adoption is going to be provided. It encourages us. It makes us feel loved and cared for. Most importantly, it makes us feel like our Chinese baby is already loved and cared for, so much so that our friends and loved ones are also sacrificing to help us bring him/her home.

We still have a long way to go in the adoption process. We are STILL gathering documents and completing homestudy paperwork. It's feeling like it's a never ending process. After that, we have immigration paperwork and the possible very long wait for a referral. After we accept a referral, we wait for travel approval. The process doesn't even end after we travel and finally have our baby in our arms.

We have felt so loved during the small part of our journey that is behind us. There has been so much support for us; emotional support, prayers, financial support (random, unexpected gifts and also buying my blankies or something from our yard sale), and acts of service. We are very blessed. You may not think you have done much, but you have. To us, it is much. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Our first fundraising event, a big yard sale, was last weekend. We spent several weeks preparing and last week became solely dedicated to the big sale. The week started out fine and actually somewhat relaxed, but our family was quickly thrown into survival mode. Between running around like crazy people while still trying to be available for our kids, all priorities not having to do with the sale flew out the window. Sleep schedules, exercise, food, tv limitations... It all went. It started innocently. Monday passed with no run, so I thought I'd fit it in Tuesday. But before I knew it, we were already at Thursday and there was no way I had the energy to run. So no running at all last week. And my diet. First there was eating out. Then we didn't have time to cook and we didn't have time to go out, so fast food snuck in. I have been almost fast food free since last August, but I ate it not once, not twice, but three times last week. With fast food comes soda, another thing I gave up last August. Then the early mornings brought sugary coffee drinks. I could go on and confess all my unhealthy sins, but I'll spare you.

The yard sale went wonderfully, and I intend to post about it another time. But the point of this post is to say that we're getting back on track this week. Surviving is ok when necessary, but I think it's better to actually live. The way I survived- on little amounts of sleep, on junky, poor food choices, with no exercise, allowing my children to watch copious amounts of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Handy Manny- was not fun. I felt guilty and I felt bad. My body feels sluggish and tired. My mommy heart misses my babies.

This is all a learning process. I'm not going to sit and wallow in guilt over poor eating choices and an extra episode of television. There will be times when we just must to what we need to do to survive. But hopefully this time has given me some insight on how to be a little better prepared for next time. So that next time this house is crazy town, because I know it will be again, I may not be able to fit a run in, but maybe I can plan ahead and have some healthy meals in the freezer, and if I really can't sit down and read to the kids, maybe I can have some activity bags prepared to keep the kids busy without tv. We'll see. But it's nice to be slightly wiser, slightly richer, with a brand new, yard sale free week stretched out ahead of me. :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm Not Crazy

Sadie (our beautiful dog) is shedding horribly. I don't ever remember a summer where she has shed so badly. I vacuum the house and Sadie daily, yet every morning, there are piles of fur all over her room. We got more paperwork completed for our dossier and it all needs corrected. Every piece of our dossier so far has had to be done at least twice. It's driving me crazy.

Gracie talks a mile a minute. She hasn't learned not to interrupt, so it doesn't matter if I'm on the phone, or if Jared and I are trying to have a rare conversation, or I'm chatting with a friend. If she has something to say (and she always does), she talks. And she just gets louder and louder if I don't answer. Eventually, she shouts "Do you hear me?" or "You know that, Mommy?". She has tantrums every day. If a small thing does not go her way, it could be a full melt down. Sometimes I think I'm going crazy.

Liam is into everything. He has figured out child locks and can get into all of the cabinets. If a crayon is left out, he finds it and colors on the wall. Or the couch. Or the table. If a crayon is not left out, he opens the cabinet where the crayons are and gets one out. If you put them up high, he drags a chair over and climbs like a monkey and gets one out. He can open the pantry and get out his snacks, he can open the fridge and get out his milk cup to hide for a fun game. He takes the canister off the vacuum, he empties trash cans. He is much more adventurous than Gracie ever was. I never know what he'll get into next. My whole day feels like it's just trying to stay a step ahead of him and keep him safe. It makes me crazy.

And yet, here I am, pursuing adding a third child to our family. And totally on purpose. It's not even like I can pretend it's an accident or unexpected. When we started telling people we are adopting, I could see it in their faces, though no one says it. "She must be crazy!" I know, because I've thought it too. I've thought it about others who seemed to have their hands so full and then announced a pregnancy. Like when Liam was 6 months old and not sleeping through the night yet and I was trying to potty train Gracie and a friend announced that soon they would soon know what it felt like to have two kids just 2 years apart and for some reason, I couldn't stop laughing. I've thought it about myself when I'm at the park and my eyes are darting every direction just trying to keep an eye on each kid and there's no way I can have any sort of conversation with any other adult for fear my curious wanderer might wander away or my brave climber will climb too high and hurt himself and I wonder if you get a third eye with a third child.

It's true. I might be crazy. At the very least, I'm probably on my way there. But to remind myself and whoever else is a feeling a little crazy today, here is what I love about being a mommy.

1. Giggles. There's nothing to compare it to. Try to be grumpy around a giggling baby/toddler. I dare you. :)
2. Snuggles. Falling asleep with a baby on my chest, cuddling up to a toddler or preschooler.
3. Imagination. Gracie daily turns me into a princess, queen, prince, villain, animals, etc. Her magic wand can do anything!
4. Art. Coloring, sidewalk chalk, finger paint.... Yes, please.
5. Innocence. They sing, they dance. They don't care what other people think or if their hair is brushed or their clothes match.
7. Wonder. Watching the fireworks, dancing in the rain, building a snowman, running through the sprinkler, Christmas morning. Do it all again for the first time.

I'm adding another one because I love being part of all these amazing things they do. Today I love Gracie running down the sidewalk so joyfully, her hair blowing behind her. I love watching Liam trying to do somersaults and how he claps for himself even though all he did was fall over.

I guess I'm not crazy. I'm just a mom.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dossier and Homestudy Process- Jumping Through Hoops

I haven't been updating much because what we're working on is pretty boring stuff. :) We are currently gathering documents for our dossier, which is a packet of documents about us and our eligibility for a Chinese adoption that have to be notarized, county sealed, and state sealed and sent off to our agency, who then sends them to be translated and sent to China, so we can be approved by the Chinese government to adopt one of their children. It is boring, yes, but also very important. There are too many rules to list here... and I'm not sure we even understand all of them. We just do what we do, get told it is wrong and needs fixed, and fix it. :) Seriously. That's how our dossier is going.

A very important part of our dossier is our homestudy, which is also a long detailed process. We have not had a home visit yet. First, we must complete even more paperwork, and have a lot of people in lives fill out paperwork also. The good news about this part is that it has been pretty straight forward and we are making progress. We have had our psych evals and should have our letters from the psychiatrist by mid next week. Most of medical letters are now signed, I have to go to one more appointment next week with another doctor to have one more document written up and we are still waiting for Gracie and Liam's medical check lists to be signed. Sadie has her appointment next week also, and the following Monday, the fire inspector is scheduled to come out. Our references have all been identified and forms have been mailed to them, so those should be coming in soon, and our child abuse checks from our many states have also been requested and should start coming in. After all of those things are received, that should finish up the paper work we are relying on others for.

Jared and I must complete GIGANTIC personal profiles, which are close to 50 pages and include questions about pretty much everything. Those are in progress, but close to being finished. And then we have to complete about 16 hours of online education. This seems like a crazy lot of stuff left to do. But, as I said, it's coming along, and we hope to be done by our fire inspection on July 8! If we can get all of our homestudy 'pre-requisites' turned in after the inspection, then we can schedule our first official home visit!

So that's it. It's not exactly fun, but it's been pretty straightforward and doable. And we really don't mind it. Yesterday, I grumped a little bit on our way to Cincinnati for our psych evals, and Jared reminded me, "But we're doing this for our baby". Yes, we are doing this for our baby. There is nothing I wouldn't have done for Gracie and Liam. If, while I was pregnant, someone had taken me hostage and told me that to save my baby, I had to order a birth certificate for myself dated within the past 6 months, and forced me to write out and prove my net worth, and asked for a notarized letter from my doctor stating the medication I'm no doesn't prevent me from parenting, I would have gladly done it. So it's the same with the baby growing in our hearts. Just tell me how to find the hoop. I'll jump right through it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

So Exciting and Humbling!

Very quick this morning- It seems like the blessings have been pouring in over these past couple weeks (which is coincidentally, the time we got Jared's furlough notice also). I have been posting the little blankets I made for fundraising everywhere I can think of, and I've actually sold some! That alone is very encouraging. But this next part is amazing.

A couple weeks ago, I posted the blankets on a Craigslist type site, and a kind lady responded and said she did not need a blanket but would like to donate money to our adoption. I was shocked and unsure how to respond. After talking to Jared, I sent her a reply, letting her know how grateful we were for her offer and shared with her a little bit of our adoption story, but for the sake of being honest, we are just spending out of our savings account right now and have no way to make her donation tax deductible or special account to show her that we are legit. I figured that was the end, since she had no way to make sure we are not scamming her. But today, I checked the mail, and was very surprised to find a card and $100 towards our adoption from that person!

I am so humbled that someone who doesn't even know us would be moved to donate to us, and donate such a large amount. We are very grateful and encouraged. Every dollar of money provided for the adoption, by donation, by saving, by the work we are doing, is a wonderful assurance to us that God is behind this and that He is going to provide a way!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Busy Summer Days

Just a general update. :) Summer hasn't even officially begun, but we are already managing to stay plenty busy over here.

One of our evening family activities has been training for the upcoming half marathon. We sold our hated sit n stand stroller and purchased a used double jogger. We usually pack a snack to keep the kids busy so Jared and I can run about 3 miles. Liam is content to sit in the stroller and eat or nap, but Gracie likes getting out and running along with me. She is doing great and can run about a half mile before she needs a break. I'm having a hard time believing I'm going to get myself up to 13 miles, but I have 16 weeks to prepare, so hopefully that will do it. :)

Gracie and Liam can't get enough of the park! They get crazy excited about going and it never gets old. Gracie loves to ride her tricycle in our driveway, splash in her little plastic pool, color on the porch with sidewalk chalk, and practice with her new rollerskates. Liam likes to push his walker around outside, occasionally riding on it, and chasing bubbles in the backyard. Gracie is on a soccer team, and Liam loves to practice too. They also both love their little t-ball set.

Jared received notice that he'll be taking an unpaid day off each week this summer, courtesy of our great government. He's planning house projects to stay busy. Hopefully by the end of the summer, the old peeling paint on our garage will be gone and a beautiful new coat will on!

On the adoption front, we are pretty overwhelmed but plugging along. :) We are officially contracted with an agency and are in the midst of gathering paperwork for our dossier and home study. Our first appointment with our social worker for our home study is Friday and we have an appointment tomorrow with our case worker for the China program. Hopefully, after talking to both of them, we will feel less overwhelmed and have a better idea of how to go about getting all of these documents correctly. We're happy to be doing something instead of waiting right now. :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Whoa...Take a Deep Breath...

These past couple months and especially the past few weeks have been a little bit on the busy side for us in our daily lives. We have had little trips here and there, soccer games, gymnastics, church activities, etc. We also turned finally decided on an agency and turned in our application to them a couple weeks ago. We both completely felt a green light to do that, so we planned an evening to take care of it after the kids were in bed. We also had an orientation meeting with the agency last week. Our next step is to sign and notarize all of our contracts and mail them in. Shortly after that, we will start our homestudy process!

So you can imagine that all of this together has made me a little bit jumpy. When I started this blog, I kind of intended to avoid sharing about most of the financial parts of the adoption. Jared and I are prepared to do what we need to do to make bring our child home, and I really don't want to the money part to be the main focus. However, the fact is that adoption costs money. Since this blog is to chronicle our adoption journey, I don't really see how I can completely leave the financial part out. So I'm going to try to share what's been going on in my mind without over sharing. :)

I basically am a nervous spender. I am very good at making lots of little purchases. But spending large amounts at once causes some anxiety in  me. I feel like I have to make sure the purchase is completely necessary, research brands and products and reviews, and work out a great deal and still I almost have a little bit of buyer's remorse until I actually put what I've purchased to use. An example is when we bought our treadmill. I put it off for months, because even though we had the money in savings, I was anxious about it. Up until it was set up and I started using it, I wondered if it had been a good idea. But after being able to work out in the mornings before work in my own living room for a week, I was singing it's praise. I still think it was one of our better purchases. It was the same way with my new laptop, our car, the jogging stroller, etc.

This ties into our early adoption stages because, to start our education, dossier, and homestudy, we have to make a payment that's on the larger side. Let me just say right here that I am SURE of the adoption. I am not having trouble because I want to hold onto this payment and use the money for something else. What has been going on is a faith issue. I have been worried that we might spend all of our money, get almost to the end of the adoption, and then run out of money, leaving us unable to complete the adoption.

I've been fretting about this and working numbers in my head over and over and just way over-thinking it. But last week, something amazing happened, as it always does. A good man shared some verses and brought me back to where I needed to be. Of course we are not going to get to the end of this adoption and not be able to bring our baby home. If God wants us to do this, He is going to provide the whole way. And He is going to provide at just the right time for us to be matched and bring home the child He has chosen for me!

This person who shared the verses also mentioned that so often, we worry about things that have not even happened yet. And yet, even though my worries are silly and unfounded, God cares. He hears my prayers. Do I really think he is going to get me attached to a precious child just to leave us hanging at the end?

I have just been filled with peace and calmness since last Thursday, knowing that we are doing the right thing. This process is going to be filled with ups and downs, I'm sure. I know there is going to be alot of stretching our faith, and alot of leaning and trusting. But we are so ready to do this! I am so excited to start our homestudy and start gathering the paperwork for our dossier. It's seeming more and more real as the days go by. I feel like I'm losing a little bit more of my heart everyday. Because everyday brings another day closer. I can't believe that just 2 years from now or even a little sooner, our baby will be here with us.

Now off to enjoy the 2 babies I already get to kiss everyday!! :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Small Victories

Number One- Gracie tried (and liked!) peaches from a can this week. She also grilled chicken, even though it had black grill marks on it. And she sucked the applesauce off of a baby carrot. That's right. The baby carrot went in her mouth. It did not stay in, but I'm ok with that for today. Also, there were a few nights with no mealtime tantrums. Even though there was food she does not like on her plate. These are major victories. MAJOR, I tell you. We've been very strict lately about snacks and mealtime, and it seems to be paying off.

Number Two- During a tantrum after being told no for something, Gracie managed to sob out, "I AM UPSET". As in, she used words. And words other than "I am sick" or "My tummy hurts", her favorite phrases for any emotion other than happiness. She used her words to tell us how she felt, Friends!!

Number Three- Gracie has been sharing with her brother. Without a fit. She has shared bites of food with him. She will occasionally give him one of her toys to play with. If there was a survey question I had to answer that asked "If Gracie is across the room and sees Liam playing with one of her favorite toys, how likely is it that Gracie will run across the room, take toy, and push or hit her brother?", I feel like I can almost confidently answer "Somewhat unlikely". That's big. (Nothing said in this paragraph applies to Ya-ya. With Ya-ya, all bets are off).

If you are not a parent, or have never dealt with a 3 year old, you are probably getting your judgement on right now. You are probably thinking to yourself "OH. MY. GOSH. What a little brat!" and also probably thinking "How delusional is this woman that she considers all this a good thing?" That's ok. I was there once too. I'm eating my humble pie now.

If you are a parent, or have had interaction with a 3 year old, you understand. VICTORIES!! They may be small, they may still need work, but VICTORIES! I'll take it. :)

P.S. Sorry for the all the caps. This is exciting stuff. I needed to be expressive.

P.P.S. I love my spirited, expressive girl. So, so much.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Seeing God in Them

Well, do you have a minute for some honesty? Here's the brutal truth. It has been a rough week around here. There was sickness. There was teething. There were tantrums. There were sunburns. There was crabbiness. And I can tell you what there definitely was NOT alot of... Patience. Well, that and sleep. Haha. But no, not alot of patience around here this week.

In my spare time, -which I have a bunch of, you know- I have been busy contacting any person I can think of who is involved with adoption, particularly Chinese adoption, particularly special needs Chinese adoption. I figure, the more connections I have and the bigger support network we have, the better. Anyway, one sweet adoptive mama responded to a previous e-mail from me this afternoon in the midst of some screaming and gnashing of teeth between my two dear children. She was very encouraging, and one little line struck me. She wrote, "I can look at [my daughter's] face and see God in her".

WOW! I spaced out for a minute thinking of that amazing day when I will be able to look at my Chinese child's face and see God. Sometimes I just can't wait to see the face of that beautiful child who God is going to match us with.

The fussing two children in my own living room jerked me back to today's reality. They are here. Now. I don't have to wait for my adopted child to see God. Sure, adoption is a beautiful picture of the gospel. But I can see God in the two I have now. They were created in His image. Even in our ugliest weeks, they are His. Jesus cared about the children. He had patience with them. They weren't a bother or an inconvenience to him.

I'm not perfect. There are always going to be bad weeks. I'm pretty darn sure I'm going to be praying to be better at patience for the rest of my life. But what I do to them, I do to Him. Would I treat someone else's children with the same annoyance and frustration I sometimes treat my own with? Would I treat Jesus with that same annoyance and frustration?

One day soon, I'm going to look at my beautiful son or daughter, the child we adopt, and I'm going to think of the story of how he came to our family, and I'll say "Wow. I see God in him". But today, and tomorrow, and the next day, I just hope I keep looking at my precious Gracie and Liam and seeing God there too. Because they are just babies, still learning how to express their own disappointments and frustrations and they are dealing with this crazy lady who is still learning how to be their mama. Here's to a better week and plenty of patience. For me and for my sweet babies.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What's Going On

Just a newsy update today.

We are SO close to turning in our application to the adoption agency. In order to turn in the application and officially get this ball rolling, we need to 1. Be sure it's the right time to get the ball rolling 2. Settle on an agency 3. Make sure we're financially ready for this. We definitely know the timing is right, and we are pretty sure of our agency at this point. Financially, I think we're ready. I had a little goal of having the $350 application fee in cash before we turned in our application so that we wouldn't be starting by taking money out of savings right away. I've now exceeded what we need so I think it's just about time! We are just waiting for complete peace about our agency, and that could happen any day. When the time is right, we'll know it, and that application will be on it's way!

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Sisters

I have been working on this post for about a week now. I wanted to write a special post in honor of a special occasion. I've written it, re-written it, deleted it, deleted parts, took a break, thought about it, tried again, thought about it, and eventually deleted it. I just can't get it right. To avoid further drama, I'm just going to keep it simple. Allow me to word-sketch two of the most beautiful women in the world for you today.

Lauren is stunning. She is beautiful inside and out. She has long dark hair and sparkling brown eyes. Those eyes say alot. You can see sadness in them when she knows others are suffering. Other times, they light up with laughter. Lauren loves just about everyone. She is loyal. She will defend you to others even when she thinks you are wrong. She has a hard time saying no. She serves. She works hard. She has probably done as much work in other's homes as she has in her own. If Lauren comes over and the bathroom needs wiped down, she'll do it. She gives second chances. And third and fourth chances. She cares. She strives to do what is right. She is sensitive. She is bubbly. Lauren can make a friend out of anyone. She can connect with a perfect stranger and chat like she's know them for years. She's a listener. Seriously. Better than a therapist. She has fun. She loves.

Rachel is lovely. Her looks reflect her personality. Her red hair is always styled in a fun, eclectic way. She is short, but just the right height for her. It's as if because she is short, all of who she is has to be stuffed into a smaller space and when it comes out, it just bursts out all over. Rachel is good. She's a rule breaker, but she breaks the rules that are silly or that should be broken. She doesn't do anything just because society says she should do it. She follows her heart. She's a thinker. When Rachel talks, she is worth listening to. She loves deeply. She holds others accountable, but she holds herself accountable too. She is real. No hypocrisy in Rachel. Like Lauren, Rachel works hard. She works until she is exhausted and then she works more. She is funny. She is strong. I'm not sure I know of a stronger person. There are times when I think she is surely broken, but somehow she stands again.

These are my sisters. They weren't always how I just described them. I've had the privilege of watching them turn into these ladies. Somewhere along the way, we went from bickering little kids into the best of friends. Few other people can make me laugh like they can In fact, we've laughed together until we've been called idiots. By our own mother, actually. When they hurt, I hurt more than you can imagine. I feel their pain in my soul. When they rejoice, I am truly filled with joy. Their children are like my own. Those they love, I love. Their loss is my loss, and their gain is mine also.

Last week, we all gained. My dear sister Rachel stole the heart of a handsome young man, and he made her his bride. She gained a husband, and Lauren and I gained a new brother in law. It's a sign of how we're all growing older and how the seasons of life change.

To my sisters- May you always know love. May you always know how amazingly beautiful you are. And may there never be a time that we don't laugh until we're called idiots. ;)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A New Decade

Yesterday, I had a milestone birthday. It was a wonderful day. I was showered with love and warm wishes and even some treats. It was a good day for sure.

I suffered some teasing leading up to this birthday. It doesn't help that my parents are not much older than I am. I know it's not logical thinking, but it seems that every year, I sneak up a little closer to their age. One day I might catch them. ;)

Jared got to experience this milestone birthday last year, and he was not thrilled about it. He did want to celebrate it; he did not want to focus on it; he just wanted to eat his cake and forget about it.

I said all that to say, I am thrilled to start a new decade! I found absolutely nothing sad about my birthday. Sure, there are sad things in my life, and sad things in the world. But none of them really had anything to do with me turning another year older, so there was no reason for me to mourn yesterday. I kept waiting for the sadness and despair to creep in and remind me that I am growing older, but it never came.

Here is why I am not sad. The past 10 years have been amazingly rich for me. I honestly feel like I am living life to the fullest. Yes, there were hard things in the last 10 years. Very hard things. There were tears and loss and pain. But that means that I feel. That I love. That I am alive! And the gain over the last years was so much more than the loss. The joyful times somehow overshadow the painful times. I am so grateful for the years that are behind me. I would not be who I am without them. But I am also looking forward to the years that are still coming. I am excited to see my family grow. To watch my children learn and grow with each year that passes. To grow with my husband, as we continue to strive to be healthier in every aspect of our lives. To grow closer together in love as a family. To grow in our individual walks with God, who loved us enough to send his Son, and now continues to provide for us. And of course, to grow in number when our next little one arrives.

There is so much excitement ahead. The twenties were good to me, no question. But the thirties? They are going to be amazing.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


When I found out I was pregnant with Gracie, I immediately loved her. That may sound crazy, but I did. I couldn't see her, I couldn't feel her, she barely existed. She was a line on a stick. But I loved that line. I would have done anything for the baby that line represented. That love grew...the first ultrasound, the first time I felt her move, when I found out she was a girl, every purchase and gift that began to fill her room...Each of those things deepened my love for her. The moment she was born and I heard her big newborn cry, my heart swelled with a love it had never known before. I honestly believed I could not possibly love a person more than I loved her that day. I was wrong. I fall more in love with Gracie every day. The love I had for her when I first realized she existed was real. It was a love I was capable of. But the love I have for her today is so much deeper. Today I honestly feel that I could not possibly love her any more than I do today. But deep down, I know I'm wrong.

Then there was Liam. I loved him right away too. I loved Liam before he was a line on a stick. The line provided confirmation, but my heart already knew he was there. I loved him immensely. But I worried. My love for Gracie was already deep and established, and it felt different than this new budding love I felt for Liam. I would ask Jared, "Will I ever be able to love this baby as much as I love Gracie?" Silly me. I saw him on an ultrasound; I felt him move; I found out he was a boy; I bought little clothes and blankets to wrap around him; my love intensified. I watched my belly dance and I talked to him. I loved him a little more. The day came that he was born into this world and I heard his tiny newborn cry. I cannot put into words what my mommy heart felt for that naked little baby boy. Now he is a handsome 1 year old boy. Today I honestly feel that I could never possibly love him more than I do today. I know I am wrong.

The love I have for Liam cannot even be compared with the love I have for Gracie. It is so completely different and so completely the same. This heart of mine somehow has enough love for both of them. This heart is practically bursting at the seams with all the love it has for those two little people. This heart could not possibly love another person as much as I love these two babies.


 This heart is bursting with love for another baby. A baby I don't even know yet. A baby who will never be a line on a stick to me, a baby whose ultrasound I'll never see, a baby who I'll never feel moving inside of me, and whose first moments I won't ever see, or hear his newborn cry. But little by little, the love I have for this tiny person increases. I truly love this 3rd baby of ours. My arms can't wait to hold him/her. It sounds crazy, to me even, that I am already in love with a baby who is still just a thought. I still have moments when I worry my heart will not have enough love to go around or that because this love is different, it will somehow be inadequate. I love knowing I'm wrong.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Preparing our Hearts and Selling our Stuff

I mentioned before that we now feel like the time we spent in Alabama helped prepare us for our adoption.We learned alot about hospitality, opening our hearts to others, and growing with others in community. We were also led to a wonderful church that was full of people who had hearts for orphan care. But one of the most influential preparations that took place during that year was severing our hearts from our "stuff". If you know us personally, you probably know that we have been blessed with a reasonably sized house. When Jared first purchased it and moved in, many people worried about him and his one bedroom apartment's worth of furniture in what we considered this "big" empty house. Nobody had to worry. This old house is full. Full of love, fun, laughter, family, and "stuff". Stuff we need. Or so we thought. :)

See, in Alabama, we lived in a fully furnished apartment. It came with furniture, linens, dishes, etc. So when we moved down, we took some of our own stuff with us, but alot of it sat in this big old house unused for a whole year. And we learned some things. I learned that I don't really need 10 casserole dishes. We don't need 5 couches. We don't need to store boxes of clothes that we may never wear again in the basement for just in case. We don't need a whole separate room for an office. We don't need to keep everything anyone else has ever gifted us. And the list goes on. After living simply (for us) for a year, we were so excited to come home to our stuff. But we were overwhelmed and unhappy when we got back and we couldn't figure out why. Then it hit us. All this stuff is suffocating us. 

By now, you're probably wondering how this applies to our adoption. Well, it's perfect that our hearts have been prepared to part with our stuff. Because adoption costs money. A pretty large amount of money, actually. A large enough amount that we don't exactly have it all just sitting around. So Jared and I have been going room by room as we have the opportunity and pulling out our stuff to sell. Some of it has been really easy, like those extra casserole dishes and those clothes we didn't wear for a year and that lamp that doesn't match the kid's room anymore.

Some of it has been very hard, emotionally, to get rid of. I've been going through baby things that we don't use anymore and selling them. It has not been easy. It's silly, but my heart wants to hang on to those sweet little outfits that Gracie wore when she was so tiny. The first bag of her baby clothes that sold maybe brought a tear or two to my eyes. But as much as my heart wants to hang onto those things, my heart also wants to bring our baby home from China. So every dollar I put in that special envelope makes me sing a little.

I honestly do not know if we would have been so open to doing this, if we had not spent that year being separated from our stuff. If we had not learned the lesson that people are so much more important than things. I'm not saying it's easy. But it's easier than it would have been a couple years ago. And it's going to be so worth it. So worth it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Most of the questions we've been asked since sharing our news have been really similar to what I got asked when I told people I was pregnant. That little parallel makes me smile. I thought I'd do a post today to go ahead and provide a few more details about the little (or not so little) bundle of joy we're expecting. I'm glad to share what we know, just keep in mind that there are still alot of unknowns at this time.

When? From what we understand, this process will take 12-18 months once we actually turn in our application. Ideally for our family, we'd like to complete the adoption and bring our child home around the time Gracie is 5 and Liam is 3. When we first decided to adopt in the next few years, we thought the process would take much longer. So for now, the plan is to turn in our application and get started towards the end of April, and kind of see what happens with the timing. We know God will provide us with the file of our little one when the timing is perfect.

Gender? We are leaving that up to someone else to decide. :) When I was pregnant with Liam, before we knew he was a boy, I went back and forth at least weekly on if I wanted a boy or a girl. I am super close to my sisters, so I think it would be wonderful for Gracie to have a sister. At the same time, I watch my sweet nephews play together, and see how much Jared looks up to his big brother even though they are adults now, and I think it would be awesome to have another little boy. Having one of each already, I think both little boys and little girls are amazing and I would be thrilled with another of either. But just to be clear, a common misconception with Chinese adoption is to automatically assume that we will be bringing home a girl. That is not  necessarily true, and it is actually probably more likely that we will be matched with a precious little boy.

Age? We are requesting a baby or toddler. We would like to be matched with a child under 2 years of age. One of the big reasons for that is because we have been advised (and strongly wish, ourselves) NOT to disrupt the birth order in our family. This means Gracie will always be our first born, Liam our second, and this new little one will be our third.

I know that many are wondering why we chose China and would like to know some more specifics on what it means to adopt a waiting child also. I will address that in another post when I feel more comfortable putting those thoughts into words. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Beginning

I guess a good blog should start with a little bit of explanation and back story about why it exists. I'm not sure anyone will ever actually call this blog a "good" blog, but I'll try to my best to make it like one.

Our family is on a new journey, and I'd just like to share a little bit about that.

I have felt called to international adoption for as long as I can remember, really. Way back then, I didn't consider it a calling. It was just an interest. Later on in life, I realized it was one of my life's passions, and now I can look back and see that God placed certain interests on my heart to be used for this time in my life. I met Jared in 2005, during a time when my interest for helping displaced children and orphans was really growing and I was beginning to actually do something with that passion.

Jared too had a soft spot in his heart for these children, and life experiences had opened his heart very much to adoption, even though it was something he did not realize at the time. Truth be told, he hadn't really ever thought about it.

Well, God put the two of us together, and my chatter caused him to think about it. We discussed it quite a bit while we were dating and after our engagement, and agreed that some day we would adopt a child. In the meantime, we would continue to be involved through financial support.

We married in 2007, our daughter was born in 2009, and our son was born in 2012. During these years, we did alot of discussing and researching adoption, both international and domestic. But the timing was never right. In fact, shortly before I became pregnant with Grace, we decided to stop actively pursuing adoption and put it in on hold for later in life.We still talked about it sometimes, but we really did not intend to adopt for many years. During my pregnancy with Liam, I remember chats Jared and I had together, about how our next child would most likely come to us through adoption, but that it would be definitely after Liam and Gracie both were school age or even later.

So there we were, content and happy as a family of four. Knowing our family was not complete, but feeling sure it was complete for now. We spent most of 2012 living in Alabama, for Jared's job, and we loved that year. We had no idea God was using our experiences there to prepare us for moving our adoption timeline up. We came home to Ohio in October 2012, and BAM. I say "BAM" in capital letters like something actually hit us, because that is really how it felt. I began thinking more and more about international adoption and wanting to grow our family in that way sooner than later, but I didn't want to say anything to Jared, because I didn't want him to feel pressured and agree just to quiet his nagging wife. I say that partially in jest. I mainly mean that I felt I was just getting too emotionally involved and I wanted the timing to be right for our family, so I was waiting to see if Jared felt the same way. And he did. I can't begin to explain my shock when he told me he thought we should move forward.

The next few months were spent praying, researching countries, trying to listen to our hearts and our common sense at the same time, thinking about timelines, thinking about money, talking to people we trusted, and talking to agencies. If I'm very honest, I'll also admit that months were filled with alot of fear. I will talk about those fears in another post.

In an effort to fulfill what we truly believe to be God's plan for our lives, we feel compelled to begin pursuing a baby/toddler from the waiting child program in China. So this is our story of why/how we are on this journey. In the coming days and weeks, I hope to update this blog to fill our family and friends on more of the details, and we'll also use this blog to chronicle the steps we take to reach our little one. I welcome questions, so please ask away. :) And most importantly, please pray for our family. This is a big, lifechanging decision that affects our whole family!