Thursday, January 27, 2011

Online Profile...Posted!!

I have been waiting (unfortunately, not so patiently) for our Online Profile to be posted on Bethany's website...we were not sure when this was going to happen as we are still waiting on a last minute photo release for a few of our You Tube video pictures. However, I guess Bethany decided to post the profile without the video (which I am completely fine with) and will add it later!

Also, is a glimpse of our hard copy profile book. These books will be at the Columbus and Atlanta offices and are also available to be mailed off if birth parents from other states viewing our online profile (if they desire to see a hard copy that includes more details and pictures).


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We are so excited to have these things complete! My prayer has been, and continues to be, that God will lead the right birth parent(s) to our profile. And that when our profile is viewed, there would be a sense of peace and confidence that we are the family God had prepared for this little one..this blessing that is soon to enter the world.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Approved!!

Last week we received word that we are officially approved to adopt through Bethany Christian Services! Our hearts are filled with joy, relief, and hope! Now, we wait!! While I'm sure there will be ups and downs during "the wait"...God has taught us a great deal on waiting over the past few years...lessons that have been learned through various trials (our infertility being only one of them)...and I am praying and trusting all we have learned will be used to strengthen us until we get "the call" and are able to meet the child God is trusting us to love and raise.

I know I've mentioned this before, but we have been overwhelmed with love and support from friends, family, and those that do not even really know us (right now I'm thinking of the man that came to inspect our well as part of the homestudy...who shared with me his daughter's struggle with infertility and pursuit of adoption... and who only charged us what it cost him to test our water--amazing!). God has blessed us beyond measure. He has led others to pray for us, to encourage us verbally, to give of their time and resources...words can't describe how much God has used each person to encourage us in this journey!

I was hoping, by now, our online profile would be up...but, it's not :( As soon as it is loaded, I will post the link and I will also a link of our hard copy adoption profile book to view. 

On another note...I am SO excited to be a part of the Created for Care retreat for adoptive (or soon to be) moms going on next weekend! I am looking forward to connecting with others who have adopted...I am looking forward to hearing stories...learning...and being challenged as I prepare for motherhood! Also, I am looking forward to sharing this time with my sister...who recently adopted a little girl from Ethiopia. Below is the retreat t-shirt fundraiser (these have been sold over the past few months to off-set the retreat costs)...


...Love DOES make a family. This time last year, I might have told you that genetics make a family...It is awesome to look back and see how God has changed our perspective...God brings a family together...in any way He sees fit...whether through genetics or by adoption it is HIS love that holds a family together.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nothing can get in the way...

"Job answered God: 'I'm convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and noone can upset your plans.'" Job 42:1

Though I know on my last blog post I wanted to continue talking about you "burden bearers" out there...those of you that have friends or family that have dealt with infertility, adoption loss, miscarriage, loss of a child...However, right now something different is on my heart.

I have really struggled in past couple of weeks in resting in God's plan. You see, I'm kind of a text book perfectionist...which leads me thinking I can control things...which leads me to falsely believing (in a few recent situations) that my actions (or lack there of) will determine if we get "chosen" by a birth family. Take for example our adoption profile book and video...I had sleepless nights about these projects...stressed out...worried that they were not going to be "good enough"...actually believing that if we had a sub par profile book we would be overlooked by potential birthparents. Thankfully, God used His Word, my sweet husband, and the phone call of a friend to remind me that Nothing can stand in the way of God bringing this sweet child into our home...not a typo on the first page of our profile book (which I found two days after the order was placed)...or having what I thought were "too many" pictures in our video (a conclusion I came to a week after the video had been created and rendered)...or our caseworker being a few days behind on getting our homestudy finalized (we were supposed to be approved Monday, but now it's looking more like tomorrow or the beginning of next week)...none of these things are going to upset God's ultimate plan for our family!

So, maybe you are like me...things do not go as "planned" or things may be getting in the way of "your timing"...just remember that there is not one single outside obstacle that can get in the way of God accomplishing His perfect will for our lives!

Typo or not, He is going to bring the right child into our home in His perfect time...and nothing is going to get in the way of that as long as our eyes stay focused on Him.

Friday, January 14, 2011

To be comforted...

...is what most of us who have suffered with infertility desire. Unfortunately, the definition of "comfort" differs from person to person. After my last post, I received a sweet email asking if I might share what comforted me during our infertility and what actions or words served to be hurtful/less comforting. The emotional aspect of infertility is such a tricky thing. Some people who have been without means of birth control and trying to conceive for six months may never feel "infertile." Others, like me, felt infertile and began the emotional battle of the journey month ONE after a failed attempt to conceive. So, if you have a friend of whom you know is trying to conceive, one of the best (and easiest) things to do is ask how she is doing and ask for permission to check in with her every so often regarding her infertility. Then, listen to her share what she is willing to divulge. Some people may never want to talk about their infertility...However, I was so incredibly grateful to have friends that would call or question me out of the blue.

I'm sure the common belief may be, "Well, I don't want to bring up infertility with my friend or family member b/c I don't want to remind them of the pain they are going through." Let me just tell you, those of us who have suffered with infertility (or miscarriage, adoption loss, loss of a child) ARE in pain...every day, every hour, every minute. For most of us, the loss and grief never leave our minds. It hurt me more when my friends did not ask me about our difficulty conceiving...So, don't be afraid to check in with your friend or loved one...but, first make sure they are fine with you doing so.

I know I have shared about the book Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake...I absolutely LOVE this book as it has been such an encouragement to me over the past two years. In the book, she labels the friends and family members of those suffering with infertility as "burden bearers." I think that is such a fitting description! Those of us undergoing infertility, miscarriage, the loss of a child, and/or adoption loss really need burden bearers in our lives. We cannot go through this alone! So, please check in with us regularly...and then listen to what we are willing to share! ...more to come later on how to help comfort those suffering with infertility...

(on a side note...I wanted to share a link to this blog post that I felt covered a great deal on what NOT to say to those suffering with infertility)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Empty Arms...

This Sunday, our church services will focus on just that...empty arms..individuals and couples who have dealt with the loss of a child, miscarriage, or infertility. This time last year, I do not know if I could have made it through such a service. However, now that I feel God has brought us to a place of healing and has shown us His plans to begin our family through adoption, I am so thankful that the leaders of our church have chosen to focus on this topic that many do not cover...but yet, a topic on which so many couples suffer!

I have never known the loss of miscarriage or the death of a child...and some might say our loss is not really a "loss" at all. However, I know and firmly believe that grieving the loss of the child we never had is real and valid. Every month for two years, I grieved...I cried out to God...I begged Him to take away our pain...and to provide us with a child to love. But, the pain remained and we were left without a child. I could not understand why God would not want us to have this good thing...why He would not want our family to grow. Then, my thoughts turned inward and I began comparing myself to others who seemed to have no problem conceiving. As that continued, I began to feel like less of a woman. I started to believe a complete lie that there must be something wrong with me as a female and this was the reason I was unable to conceive a child (even after the doctors could not find a reason for our infertility). Once I dealt with my identity issues, I was attacked with another lie that I allowed myself to believe...that because of this "list" I had put together in my mind of "good things" I had done I, therefore, "deserved" a child. Wow...thankfully, God got a hold of me and I was reminded (in a loving and gracious way that only comes from God) that I do not deserve ANYTHING, but death and separation from Him...but, through Christ I have the opportunity to have eternal life and joy on this earth. God does not "owe" me anything!

I wonder how many other women suffering with infertility have believed such lies. I wonder how many women and couples dealing with infertility never open up about their struggles. I found that one of the ways God helped me get through our grief was by talking about it...with those that understood my pain and with family and friends that maybe did not understand, but were willing to listen. I am so grateful for   those God put in my life at that time...I long to be used to offer the same encouragement and support to others ...God is a good...He gives us exactly what we need when we need it. Only He know best the plans for our lives.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas Recap...

We have been so blessed to have the most amazing families who are incredibly supportive of our adoption. Warren and I rotate holidays with our families...and this year was my family's year for Christmas! However, since Warren's family lives on the way to my parent's house, it was wonderful to be able to stop one night and have an early Christmas with them...


(Warren's granny is one of my favorite people. She is such a strong (and hilarious) woman of faith and I hope to have her joy and determination when I am her age!)


After leaving Warren's family...we continued our eight day road trip to spend time with my family...


(love my sweet parents)

...we spent Christmas Eve with part of my dad's family...

(a few of my sweet cousins)

(Warren adorned with my cousin's flower hair clip and Justin Bieber doll)

(love my grandma!)


For as long as I can remember, on Christmas morning we always had a birthday cake for Jesus. Before opening presents, we would read the Christmas story, sing happy birthday to Jesus, and eat cake for breakfast while we opened presents. This year, since Christmas day only included my parents, Warren and I, we skipped the singing and went straight for the cake...



A couple days after we arrived, my sister and her family made it to my parent's house...
(It was such a blessing to witness my newest neices' first Christmas...I am amazed at how much her little mind has soaked up since being in this country for only nine short months. She is such a joy!)


While there, we were able to celebrate my oldest neices' birthday...in complete "American Girl" style...


(Of course, Marley had to be in the picture.)

We always have such a great time together...and playing in the snow was no exception...






We took one afternoon and went to Ohio State University to look at their new student center...

(Being a UT boy, Warren had to do something to show his distaste for Brutus the Buckeye.)

Then we were able to get a family pic at Ohio Stadium...


(Warren racing the nieces across the goal line.)



We LOVE our families...and were so grateful to be able to spend several days with them over the holidays! I don't know what I would do without the support we receive from my parent's, Warren's parents, and my sister's family. We are truly blessed!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Excitement...

Words cannot begin to express how much joy I feel! My heart overflows right now looking back at how our lives, mindsets, hearts, and goals have changed over the past year. This time last year, adoption was the farthest thing from our thoughts. I honestly can't say I was one of those women who always had a longing to adopt. With us, the desire and "call" (for lack of a better word) grew over time as we began truly seeking how God wanted us to grow our family. I do not regret any of the pain or tears shed over our journey...as these trials have been used to strengthen our marriage, our character, and our faith.

Our home evaluation was the week before Christmas and it went great!! Warren was a little flustered over how hard we worked cleaning and organizing our home from top to bottom and how little our caseworker paid attention to every nook and cranny. :) I feel we were able to better connect with our caseworker...which is something I had been praying for. So...on January 17, 2011 our home study should be finalized and we will be ready to be viewed by potential birth parents!!! Over the Christmas break my dad helped us make a video that we will post on Bethany's website where birth parent's from around the country can view our profile summary. This weekend, Warren and I will be working on our adoption profile book...and, then we will have nothing left to do but wait on God to bring our family together!

I know I have said this before, but I have been completely blown away at how God has had his hand on every step of our journey. From us feeling led to adopt in August 2010, to us having a peace with using Bethany as our adoption agency in September, to having 2/3 of our financial goal raised/saved by November, to our home study being complete in just a few short days...His hand has been in it all. At times, like any normal person I suppose, I have questioned if this is what God really wants us to do...and then I am reminded (by looking back at all He has done to prepare our way) the answer is a resounding YES!!

I don't know how long it will take before we have a child in our arms...but, God does...and we will continue to trust Him timing and plan. There is a reason...and he has a child that He wants us to love at a very specific time. ...Wow...all of a sudden I became completely overwhelmed (in a good way--not a "having a panic attack way"kind of way) of what a truly great honor and responsibility it will be to raise the child (or children) God has planned and picked out specifically for us!

Speaking of timing, I do not know this couple personally, but I have been following their blog as they have also been pursuing domestic adoption through Bethany. Richard and Brantley got a call only approximately four short days before their baby was born. Can you imagine??!! Only having a four day advanced notice that your baby was coming home! I shed tears as a read their most recent post! What joy!

In the meantime, we will continue to pray for our birth parents and the incredible and selfless decision they may have to make. And, until we get our call, Warren and I will continue to seek contentment, enjoy this life He has given us, and rest in His plan that is WAY bigger than anything we could ever think of or imagine!