Sunday, October 2, 2016
The next step in this adoption process is joining the agency's matching network. This is when I'll officially be "waiting." This time of joining the network is what I've been working toward for months.
My profile books are ready and printed. The quality is wonderful. Phew! They arrived just few days before my family left for a trip to the beach. The books are the last thing I needed before joining. I knew I wouldn't be able to join the network while I was at the beach. And I knew trying to join the day before we left wouldn't work either.
So basically, I knew going into this past week that this was going to be a time to rest and refresh. I can't move forward yet, so I needed to just enjoy the slow time. And I did that - I read a book, did a lot of pinteresting and blog reading, spent a lot of time with the kiddos and my family. I did it. I relaxed. But at the same time - relaxing felt like work.
I don't know if I've ever felt more conflicted. I'm so anxious to be in the network and see situations, but at the same time I'm not at all feeling ready to start this process. But I want to badly so be matched and I feel like I've wasted the last 2 weeks. But really, what's 2 weeks in the grand scheme of things? But two weeks feels like forever when it's taken months to get here. But this is all in God's timing. But waiting is going to be so hard and the sooner I'm in the sooner I can get matched. But it could takes months or years, what does a few weeks matter? But these past 2 weeks have left me feeling stuck. But I am also nervous about moving forward. But I'm so ready...
And that's just the tip of the iceberg, folks.
A few weeks ago, I was so blessed to connect with a single adoptive mom who's son is about a year and a half old. She gave me her email and then after a few emails asked if I'd like to talk on the phone. Oh my gosh. Are you kidding me? Of course I want to talk on the phone! I have a bajillion questions.
It was one of those phone conversations that begins with "I don't even know where to start" because there are so many questions. She was amazing and patient and answered all of my questions - even the one's I felt stupid asking. I was so incredibly encouraged by her honesty and openness.
The best piece of advice she gave me? Stop trying to prepare for everything.
Ok, to you that might sound obvious. To me - it was eye opening. She told me to wait until I know my match situation and then prepare for that. Honestly, my mind was blown. I know, I know - it seems totally obvious, but it's really not. Its not obvious when everything is out of my control. Since I was feeling powerless, I tried to control what I thought I could - knowledge. Being prepared for anything and everything became my mission.
But I'm walking away from that. I'm working hard to stop freaking out and to just wait. I'm working to let God have this time and to not steal it away from him by spending my hours worrying.
So even though I'm feeling like things have been delayed and slowed down and that's hard - this beach vacation was everything I needed. I loved reading a good book on the beach. I loved cuddling with Cam and Hannah during movie time and not even looking at my phone (partly because Hannah accidentally kicked it onto the floor). I loved having slow days and slow nights with my family.
After a week of relaxing, I feel ready to take on the next step.... waiting to be matched.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
The day I made my choice was the day I attended an informational meeting about domestic adoption. There were several woman running the meeting. Each woman had a different job within the agency and their passion for this process was clear. As they spoke I could tell how much they loved and protected the birth moms, but also how they would advocate for me, the adoptive parent. It was plain to see that they were kind and caring and would do what was best for everyone involved.
One woman even came looking for me after the meeting. She remembered speaking to me on the phone and knew I would be at the meeting. She remembered so much about the conversation we had weeks earlier. I was already sold on the agency after hearing all of the information at the meeting, but that small gesture of being remembered solidified my choice.
In a process this complicated, (along with finances and logistics and everything else to consider) comfort is hugely important. There are many agencies that I could have chosen, but this is where I'm comfortable and I didn't make this choice lightly. I know God brought me to this agency.
I strolled the baby aisles looking for something neutral and simple. When I picked this little striped onesie, I held it in my hands before putting it in the cart. I'm not one to be overly sentimental, but as I stood there holding this soft onesie I pictured my baby. I pictured meeting them for the first time and holding them in my arms. And for the first time, it all felt so real that I almost started crying right there in Target.
In a process full of unknowns, purchasing a small onesie was a huge emotional risk for me. Logic starts to tell you that this may never happen and you may have to pack this away unused. Logic says don't get your hopes too high because you might never be picked. Logic says to hold back and be safe. Pardon my french, but screw logic.
This baby is real. This love is real. I'm all in.
And I'm going to keep taking steps to claim this baby and this adoption. Like packing the hospital bag and buying some bottles. There are still some steps that I'm building up to - that feel bigger and harder than the rest. I'm learning to take this one step at a time and know what I'm ready for. But I'm circling the walls of Jericho. I'm moving forward without knowing all of the ways God will provide. I'm leaping.
And someday, I'm going to bring my baby home in this striped onesie that I bought before I even knew them. And I'm going to keep it forever... unless they puke all over it.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
I am the Lord your peace / No evil will conquer you / Steady now your heart and mind / Come into my rest / And oh, let your faith arise / Lift up your weary head / I am with you / Wherever you go
– Come To Me, Bethel Music
It's only been a week since completing my home study, but boy it's been a weird one. I've taken a lot of time this week to just relax and enjoy this amazing weather. But in those quiet moments, doubt creeps in.
The home study was such a big and overwhelming process that it consumed my thoughts. I had no time to think/worry about anything else. I've worked hard to take this adoption one step at a time so that I don't allow myself to get overwhelmed by it all. I've waited for months to be in this I'm-almost-there place and now that I'm here, I don't love it. It's so easy to allow myself to doubt when I'm not busy and distracted.
I've felt shaky and unsteady in so many ways this past week. Will my profile really show who I am? Is someone really going to pick me? What if I have no lead time and I'm not ready? Should I buy a crib now? Can I handle seeing an empty crib every day with no promise of a baby yet? What if it takes years to get matched? What will I do in the waiting time? How am I going to afford this? Why has this, of all years, been so hard for me financially? How am I going to raise $11,000? Can I manage being a working mom? What if I'm not focused at work and then my performance tanks and I lose my job and I can't pay the bills? I'm still scared of bees - am I even ready to be a mother?
Doubt is just so fun. *dramatically rolls eyes
(Btw - big props to all the mamas out there. I thought I understood motherhood. But now I know that I had zero understanding of the pressure you face and I am humbled by your ability to do it all.)
In the midst of all this doubt, I keep thinking about Peter. About when he saw Jesus walking on water –
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.
I prayed for God to take me to a place where I could only move forward with His strength and power. Ok. Check. This is definitely that place.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
This is so me right now. This is where I am. I got out of the boat, I'm on the water and now I'm panicking. I'm having moments of doubt and fear that feel overwhelming and impossible. I'm waiting for Him to save me. So I pray - a lot. And I read my Bible - a lot. And I listen to worship music - a lot. I'm crying out.
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. he said,
God did not bring me all this way to forget me. He is not going to let me sink. He is with me now and He is with me in those moments of doubt. He will reach out. He will provide. He will bring peace.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Cor. 15:58
So I pray for the Lord to stop my knees from shaking. To lift my head and bring my focus in. To keep me from wavering to the right or left. To give me the faith to walk on the water with Him. And I pray for trust, patience and hope. And I pray and I pray and I pray.
God has made this path clear and I will continue to move forward through the doubt and the fear. And I'll buy alllllll the cute onesies and shoes I can find. And I'll put the disco ball in the nursery. And I'll plan fundraisers, ask for help and seek guidance. And maybe I'll finally conquer my fear of bees. Because there is a baby that is waiting for me to get it together and I will not let them down.
Friday, August 26, 2016
On April 30th, I chose my agency. I went to an informational meeting and walked out knowing this was the one.
On May 16th, I had my educational meeting and signed up for the home study. A few days later I received the application and began working toward an approved home study.
Today, August 26th, I completed the last step in this process - the home visit.
It took four long months to get here. For the past four months, I've had a constant to-do list running through my head. What needs to be done, who's doing it, when it's getting done, how it's getting done, how much it will cost, what questions are left on the application, do i have all of the paperwork, did i make all of the appointments... It was a very long and very stressful list.
In the grand scheme of things, four months is nothing. I can do anything for four months. Four months in a lifetime is nothing. Four months of work to bring my baby home is nothing. But it's still been a very long and very stressful four months.
The second the wonderful people from the agency left, I shut the door, leaned up against it and the tears started flowing. I actually thought to myself Ok, this is just lame and cheesy. Cut it out!
But I couldn't stop the tears and once I gave in, I didn't want to. All of those months of worrying and stressing were over. I made it. I'm approved, my house is approved - even Charlie is approved. The complete joy in that moment was bigger than I could contain.
Not to mention the sweet relief of being done! No more to-do lists. I still can't fully grasp it. I've had to stop myself several times today from running through the list in my head.
So, what's next?
Well, now I work on creating a profile and I need to finish it in the next 2 weeks. This profile will be shown to expectant moms and it is how they choose me. No pressure, right?
I know that God has already chosen this child. He knows them by name. I will pray over every sentence and photo that goes into this profile, but I know that no matter what is in it - God will connect me with the right woman and the right baby.
Once my profile is complete, I will join the agency's network. That is when expectant moms will be able to see my profile.
Then I wait.
The wait could be very short, but there's a possibility it could take years. So I'm coming up with a plan. Things to do. Books to read. Places to go. The wait will be hard, but it will be good.
____________ _ _ _
Friends - your love and support means everything to me. I know I keep saying it, but it's very much true. God has used you to encourage me and confirm this path. To see the amount of people that already love and pray for this child has been the most beautiful glimpse of God's love. I can't begin to express how much that love means to me and how grateful I am for it. Thank you!
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
To be honest, I’m not quite sure where to begin. So much has been happening over the past 8 months. I will attempt to make this as short and sweet as possible – but I’m not making any promises. This has been the most incredible 8 months of my life and I’m really excited to tell you about it.
I’ve known for a long time that I would adopt, but I never thought I would do it alone.
Adoption came into the picture when I was 23. In December 2008, I walked out of my interview at Lincoln Charter School, sat in my car and knew 2 things to be certain – If they offered me the job I would take it and someday I would adopt. I just knew it. There was a peace in my heart that’s unexplainable. I feel that same peace today.
Fast forward to January 2016 – we were singing Oceans, by Hillsong in church a lot. It felt like we were singing it every week. It started as a song, but soon became a heartfelt prayer –
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders / let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me / take me deeper than my feet could ever wander / and my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior
I began asking myself How am I living for Christ? What is my leap of faith? I prayed for God to take me out of my comfort zone. To lead me to a place where I can only move forward under His power. A place where I have to live every day relying on His strength and not my own.
At the same time, I was longing and praying to be a mother. More than anything I wanted to feel the love a mother has – to love a child as only a mother can. I wanted to get as close as I could to feeling and understanding the unconditional love Christ has for us.
February 6th, at the end of IF:Gathering at church, they gave us each a domino. We were asked to write on it something we were ready to give to God. I remember thinking, why a domino? I don’t know if you’ve ever been 30 and single when all of your friends are married and having babies, but it’s not super fun. And I’d been holding onto that disappointment for a long time. But I was ready to give it up, so on my little domino I wrote my singleness and my future. Then I turned to Mel and asked Is singleness a word?
I put that little domino by the mirror in the bathroom and prayed over and over for the continued willingness to give up control of my life. I prayed for the patience and trust to let God run my life instead of trying to run it myself.
Then, like dominos falling, God set off a chain reaction and life started to get very interesting very quickly. Now I see why they gave us a domino. Did they do that on purpose?
February 17, Mel sent me a link to a blog post. A single woman named, Sara, had written about her experience as a foster mom. Mel knew I had been thinking about adoption and she encouraged me to contact Sara – so I did. We began emailing back and forth and Sara gave me amazing advice that would officially begin my adoption journey – All you need is enough courage to say yes. Just go. His peace will follow your obedience.
I had asked God to take me out of my comfort zone. I had asked God to make me a mother. Whether I was married or not, whether I was ready or not, God made one thing clear – get moving.
So I said YES.
After many months of counseling, prayer, family support and research I chose Domestic Infant Adoption, picked an agency and began the legal process to become an adoptive mom.
On May 16, at an educational meeting at my agency, my caseworker gave me the first official paper to sign. This paper was the beginning of my home study. I was SO excited. This is it! I’m really doing this! …And then I forgot how to sign my own name. After months of talking and planning and praying – it was really starting. Like really starting. And I couldn’t remember my own signature. My counselor called that a stress response. Yup, that about sums it up.
The end of May arrived and so did the paperwork. Lots and lots and lots of paperwork and document gathering and doctor appointments and meetings and planning and stressing. Night after night of writing and re-writing my responses to the questions in the home study application. Not to mention all the work my family, friends and I have been putting into this house… and we aren’t even done yet.
The last step in this home study process is happening on August 26 – the home visit. I’ve never been more nervous to have house guests.
In case you noticed something different and are wondering – Yes, this is why I’ve been more forgetful, more stressed, less involved, quieter. Life has been very busy.
But friends, life has never been more exciting.
Don’t mistake excitement for ease, though. This has been hard. I’ve had to face a lot of fears and insecurities and there is still so much unknown. There are so many questions I can’t answer and all I can do is wait to see how God shows up in each circumstance – because I know He will show up.
Here are the details – the type of adoption I am pursuing is called Domestic Infant Adoption. That means I will be matched with a birth mom during pregnancy. I do not care about race or gender. I do not know when I will be matched. I can be matched with anyone in the United States, though I am praying for a local adoption. I would like to have an open adoption and hope to develop a loving relationship with the birth mom.
So there you have it – my adoption journey in a nutshell. Believe it or not, that is the short version. Eight hard and exciting months boiled down to 1,050 words.
This process has been so much work and so much stress, not to mention all the unknowns in my future – but it’s nothing when I think about my baby. It never ceases to amaze me how real this child is to me. I don’t even know if he or she exists yet but this love is so strong, present, hopeful. I don’t know my baby yet, but my Lord knows them by name and I will wait on His perfect timing.
My family of two will soon become a family of three… but don’t tell Charlie.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossian 3:17
If you’d like to stay up to date on my journey, check back here! I’ll be posting more to keep you updated on the process. You can also follow along on my Instagram account @ginnersaint. This journey is only just beginning and I’m so excited to share it with you!