Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making It Much

God has taught us so much throughout our adoption journey(s) about His great love for us and our faith and trust in Him has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. This morning our teaching pastor Andy Savage taught on the familiar story we all know about Jesus feeding the 5,000. I encourage all of you to go listen to it at http://imperfect.tv/ if you weren't there to hear it. I felt like it so mirrored our life and what we are going through. The disciples said, "Do we have to spend all of our money...8 months worth of wages....to feed all of these people?" So many times, like the disciples, we have questioned the Lord's wisdom saying, "we don't have enough money to adopt!"

We are limited in our resources. The disciples were limited in their resources. As Andy said though, "part of growing spiritually is accepting that we are limited! We don't have what it takes." But here is where it gets good.....

The little is MUCH in the hands of JESUS! None of us has much to offer, but God can use it. God says to us, "You just bring me the little you have and I'll bless it!" That's exactly what God has done in our lives. He's been SO faithful in His provision to us for all that we have needed throughout this entire journey! What is He calling you to? What is He asking you....to give your little so He can make it much? For us right now, it's bringing home another precious adopted child. We don't know what it will be in the future but we do know that whatever it is....we'll do it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

...waiting....waiting....

There's really no major update at this point. We are just waiting. Waiting on God's perfect timing for anything in life is really never easy but it's what changes you...shapes you. We appreciate your prayers for us and all the support you've given us while on this journey! Here's a little blurb/story I thought I would share with you that was given to us before we adopted Caroline. I just love it...

Different Trips To The Same Place

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it's a wonderful place; you've read many guidebooks and feel certain you're ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you; you'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait, and wait, and wait.

Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, "Relax. You'll get on a flight soon." Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's not fair!"

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry; we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat."

"By BOAT!" you say. "Going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane." So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. Is is more exquisite that you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnigfied by your long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, "Oh, be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible; traveling by sea is so easy."

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you get there, but in the place itself.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

There are so many things I could say about our yard sale today. It was nothing short of amazing. We started taking donations a few weeks ago and as my house and garage starting filling up with items I knew that it was going to be big. I just didn't know it was going to be this big. At 5am this morning Stephen and I along with a few dear friends(and I do mean DEAR) began setting up shop and shortly after the people came. And came. And came.

My prayer for this sale was that we would raise $1,000. When we totaled it all up we made......$1,219. WOW!!

We cannot say thank you enough to our sweet friends and family. We had a truck and trailer loaned to us, we had help loading and unloading furniture, we had help pricing and organizing, we had help with food provided while we were working, we had help with tables to display stuff....okay I'll stop but I think you get the picture.

God is so awesome! It makes me think of the song I learned as a little girl in children's church...


"My God is so BIG. So strong and so mighty. There's nothing my God cannot do!!!"





Saturday, August 14, 2010

YARD SALE!!

So we've turned everything into the agency and now all we have to do is wait....so seeing as how that is so boring and all let's do something CRAZY like have a yard sale! No, seriously we are still not quite to our goal with our fund-raising so we thought we'd have a yard sale. It will be on Saturday September 4th(which is Labor Day weekend) at our house. Here's how you can help......

*Bring over any unwanted junk(we all have some) anytime starting now until the Friday night before the sale.

*If you don't have anything to donate then you could come the week of the sale to help price

*Help the day of the yard sale-set up/tear down

*If you have a truck and can haul off the stuff we don't sale to take to Goodwill-there is one close to our house.

*Spread the word of sale to friends and family!! The more stuff we have to sell, the more money we raise for our adoption!!

Oh, and we are accepting basically everything for the sale except for clothes. So we will take household items, furniture, decor items, electronics, books, baby items/equipment, kids toys, movies, and anything else that I have left off this list!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Almost There...

The end is in sight! Our social worker came out on Tuesday and we had our last interview with her. Caroline gave her the tour of the house and showed her where the baby's room will be. It was so cute to hear Caroline telling her all about how she used to sleep in that crib and now the baby will sleep there. The social worker will write up a report and approve us(we hope) and then we'll be done with our case study. We have another set of questions to answer but we are nearing the end of those too. And the AMAZING Kim McMillen came over this past week to get our scrapbook started. Only she did a lot more than that...she almost knocked out the whole book in one night! So, I just have to add a few things to it over the weekend and it will be ready to turn in. It still amazes me how so many friends and family have rallied around us to help in all kinds of ways! We are so thankful to all you!! So, hopefully we will have everything turned in by late next week and be just about ready to be on the waiting list!! So exciting!! It's hard to believe that all of the work is almost behind us and now we just wait. That's all for now. I'll keep you posted once everything is turned in and we are "officially" on the list. Thanks for the prayers...keep them coming!





Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update

We are going tomorrow to the adoption agency for our first interview to begin our homestudy process. All of our paperwork for the most part has been turned in. Donations keep rolling in a little at a time and we keep getting closer to our goal. It's just amazing really. People who we don't even really know who are buying shirts or making donations. Only God could do that!

We are heading out Saturday on a getaway for our anniversary and it cannot come soon enough!! I am so ready to have some time away with Stephen to just relax and hang out just the two of us. We'll be celebrating our 10 year anniversary. We have a lot to celebrate as God has blessed us so much over these last 10 years!!

Once we get back in town then it's time to begin working on our PROFILE. This is the book we will make that birthmoms will look through in order to choose an adoptive family for her baby. If you wold be so kind as to pray for some creative juices to start flowing because they are not and I'm gonna need some! I'm just not feelin' it....but it's gotta get done!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

He Just Keeps Showing Up!

Okay, the check just came from Chick-Fil-A and it was $100 more dollars than it was supposed to be! God is SO GOOD! It's completely unbelievable how little by little the funds for our adoption just keep rolling in! I talked with the owner for awhile on the phone and he asked lots of questions about our adoption and seemed to really care....even though he runs a business and could have written the check for exactly what we raised....he chose to be generous and give more!! The note that was with the check read....

Jessica,
Congrats on your decision to adopt. May this be a wonderful time of blessing for you and yours. Hope the extra helps!!

Signed,
The wonderful owner of Chick-Fil-A
(he really signed his name but I didn't ask him if I could share it here)

So that brings our new Chick-Fil-A total to 1,080!! Remember my goal was 1,000 that I prayed for so God of course gave us more!! Why would I think otherwise, especially since the verse we have been praying for this adoption is Ephesians 3:20 which says "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."

Monday, May 10, 2010

More Pics from Chick-Fil-A Night!







Chick-Fil-A Night

On Thursday night we had our Highpoint Family Night at Chick-Fil-A and LOTS of our friends, family, and church family came out to support us! The kids had a blast playing in the play area and getting their faces painted and the adults had fun too and got to visit for a little while. It was such a fun night and I think Caroline was just on overload the whole night. She didn't really understand how she knew everyone in the whole restaurant...church friends, other friends, and family all in the same place on the same night. I didn't remember to take pictures until the very end of the night so the only pictures I have are from the late crew who were still around. So, everyone has been dying to know how much money we raised so here is our total. Drum roll please...........$980!!! That's almost 1,000 dollars! Some of that is in t-shirt sales and donations...our goal was to raise 1,000 for the night in food purchases, t-shirt sales, and donations and we almost made it!

Some of you have asked where we are in the process as far as the adoption goes. We turned in our first round of paperwork about 3 weeks ago and we will get started on our homestudy soon. Then we will begin working on our profile(scrapbook) and once that is turned in we will officially be on the waiting list! So, hopefully all that will be done by late June and then any time after that we could be bringing home a baby!!

We just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support!! We continue to be in awe of God's faithfulness to us!










Sunday, April 25, 2010

What a day....

We had a picnic after church today at Highpoint and it was a beautiful day for it! I was worried after all those storms yesterday that we wouldn't be able to have it or at least have it outside but we did and we sold lots of shirts and passed out lots of flyers for our night at Chick-fil-a!! We raised $850 through donations and selling our shirts! We are so thankful for the support of our church family...they are incredible. When God said it was time for us to adopt again and that He would provide the money....He meant it! And why do we doubt? My heart is overflowing right now....we feel SO LOVED! Makes me think of that song..."Oh how He loves us!"

Here are some pictures from today...I don't have a lot because my camera battery was dead so thankfully some friends have passed some along!





Monday, April 19, 2010

A heart of gratitude...

My heart is so full of gratitude right now. I'm grateful for what God is doing and who He is using to do HIS work. It's amazing to me how many people have stepped up to help and it's just the beginning of this journey. Thank you to all who have purchased a shirt, made a donation, or have offered your time to help us. We are so excited to see what God has in store for us!!

Another opportunity to show your support.....


Highpoint Family Night
At Chick-Fil-A
supporting Baby Stancil's adoption

Thursday, May 6th
Come anytime from 5-9 pm
1230 South Germantown Parkway
Chick-fil-a near Humphreys

Twenty percent of your purchase will
go towards our adoption fund!









Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To the least of these ...

Our refrigerator is covered in so many things these days. Pictures of family and friends, save-the-dates and announcements, wedding invitations and recipes and funny magnets my mom has given me over the years. And artwork. Little scribbles of pinks and purples and yellows and blues, all scribbled outside the lines with the artist’s name near the bottom (that someone had written for her) …

by: Caroline.

~

Soon after Paul and I married (almost) four years ago we began attending Highpoint Church. It was through Highpoint that we got involved in a small group, and through this small group that we met Jessica and Stephen. I believe that each of us have a story to tell, and from the beginning I found myself completely drawn to theirs. After years of trying to have a baby, and many closed doors, Jess and Stephen began to feel the tug of adoption on their hearts. And soon after we met them, and with this new vision … they began their first journey with adoption.

What a blessing to have walked through this particular season of life with this precious family. For so many years, while her best friends were giving birth to their first and second and third … Jessica was giving her desire to be a mother over and again to the Lord. Waiting with expectancy that He would one day give her the desire of her heart. She dutifully hosted baby showers, showed up with casseroles on her friend’s doorsteps when they brought babies home from the hospital.

And waited.

Almost a year after we met Jess and Stephen, the time had finally come. After months of paperwork with the adoption agency … and being chosen to parent a child by a birth mother hundreds of miles away … and preparing for a baby … it was April.

Springtime … a time for rebirth and new beginnings … for everything there is a season

I arrived one April afternoon at their house and sat down on the living room floor to help Jessica pack suitcases and bags. They were going to Texas and would be there for quite awhile awaiting the government “okay” for the open adoption to finalize (before they could return to Tennessee) … so packing in and of itself was quite a feat. I remember praying and praying that day … for the birth mother and for the courageous decision she was making to place this baby… for the two people who I knew would love this new baby to pieces … and for the sweet baby girl, specifically, that she would always know how much she was loved. A few days later Jessica and Stephen were off to Texas … and returned several weeks later … with a baby in their arms.

God’s goodness … a desire fulfilled … so many prayers … answered.

Sweet Caroline.

~

Fast forward two years later … and I was standing in the dining room on the day of Caroline’s 2nd birthday. As we all gathered around this little brown-eyed girl to sing the birthday song, her daddy dialed up a special guest from Texas. I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my cheeks when we began to sing to her … with her birth mother listening in on the cell phone, and I’m sure, singing along too. Happy Birthday, dear Caroline … Happy Birthday to you ....

Life – the greatest of all gifts.

~

We (the friends of Jessica and Stephen) now have the privilege and joy of helping to raise funds for their second adoption. A baby sister or brother for Caroline. We are selling the coolest t-shirts in order to help this family meet their financial goals in order to bring another baby home …. and into their hearts and lives. The button on the left sidebar will allow you to order a t-shirt (with the money going directly to their Paypal adoption account).

I saw this scripture used in reference to another adoption fundraising effort recently, and it so resonated with me …

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ –Matthew 25:34-40

~

There is a place for everyone in the story that God is weaving in and through our lives … and all I can say is thank you sweet Lord for allowing me the privilege of being a part of this one …

-Heather Bruce

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm a Mom

We got to the hospital and soon after we arrived we realized that B wasn't doing well. We began getting Caroline dressed and ready to go over on one side of the room. As we were putting her dress on I looked over and saw the tears streaming down B's face. I walked over to the bed and sat down beside her. She put her head on my shoulder and just sobbed. It was more than I could bear to see her in such pain. She sobbed because she didn't want to say goodbye to this precious baby but she knew in her heart that it was the right thing for her to do. I did my best to reassure her but in situation like this there really are no words. I told her that we would always talk to Caroline about her and make sure Caroline knew how much she loved her....that this decision didn't have anything to do with the fact that she didn't love her or want her. But it had everything to do with God and HIS plan for Caroline! I promised her while I was sitting with her on the bed that day that we would make sure that Caroline knew that B only wanted what was best for her. Then we just sat there in silence and both cried. There was nothing left to say. It was just so hard. This was the day I was going to have a baby placed in my arms....a day that I had prayed and waited so long for. I should have been jumping for joy. Yet, I had such sadness in my heart for what B was giving up and having to let go of. This back and forth of my emotions....bliss about becoming a mom....sorrow for what B was enduring....was absolutely wearing me out.

We managed to dry our tears...for the moment...and get B's things together. We all walked to the car and headed to the adoption agency. It was quiet in the car on the ride over. What do you say? I remember we were getting close to the agency and I could sense another breakdown coming in my own heart and felt that B must be feeling that way too. I reached back behind my seat and just patted her on the leg. We got to the agency and the ladies there came out and said hello and told us to hang out in the lobby with Caroline while they took B to the back for her paperwork. I asked Stephen to hold Caroline. I remember thinking if we can't take her with us then I cannot be the one to let her go and give her to B. He had to be the strong one. I just paced the lobby and prayed and prayed for B. I asked that God would fill her up with His peace and give her strength like she had never had before. That is what is was going to take to do this. An hour passed by. Then another hour passed by. No one told us that there was a stack of papers to sign and that someone had to talk you through each page and that it would take literally forever. They finally came out and one of the ladies from the agency looked at us and motioned us back. She said, "It's your turn for the paperwork." Stephen gave Caroline to B and she and her mom waited in the lobby while we went to the back. We got to a room and sat down and she smiled and said, "Congratulations, you're parents." Oh.... those words. I could breathe. I could barely sign the paperwork through the tears...this time only tears of joy! We were back there for what seemed like forever too and our cell phones never stopped ringing or receiving texts. We had told our friends and families to pray and that 2:30 would be the time to sign everything at the agency. It was now right at 6:00 and they were getting really worried.

We walked out with B and her mom and got them settled into their car. We gave them big hugs told them to call us when they were ready to come and visit with Caroline. We knew we would be in the state for awhile and knew they would want to visit Caroline as much as possible before we had to go to Tennessee. We drove off and I sat in the back right beside my little girl...I just kept saying, "You're our sweet girl. Do you know what a miracle you are? You're our sweet girl." We of course had a million of phone calls to make to tell everyone that we were indeed parents now and couldn't be happier. We took turns holding Caroline and making calls. We were exhausted. We were ready to collapse and go to sleep. Ha! How ironic that all those times we looked at each other and asked how were we supposed to get any sleep....we did the same thing that night! Only for a different reason. We had a newborn baby and knew we weren't going to sleep any that night. We definitely slept more at peace though knowing that our journey to becoming parents was finally over. And a new journey was about to begin....the journey of raising this precious little girl that God was gracious enough to give us.



Stephen waiting at the agency holding Caroline while I was praying!



Bring Caroline "home" from the agency! Her first home was Drury Inn & Suites!



We decorated our door with a pink bow!


Well, that's all for now. I really could keep writing more of this story but it's time to stop writing this one for now. Because we are going to begin writing a new one....

To be continued...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Placement Day!

It was Friday morning and it would turn into one of the most exhausting days of my whole life. The phone rang that morning and it was B who told us she planned to spend the day with Caroline and we would meet up with her that afternoon at the adoption agency for placement. This is when B would sign the paperwork and the agency would place the baby with us. B wanted some time with Caroline and who could blame her. However, not seeing Caroline all day and knowing that nothing was for certain yet was REALLY hard. Really hard. My cell phone kept ringing- the plan would change on how everything was going to work out again and again. B was going to get discharged sooner than we thought from the hospital but too soon to sign papers yet so another plan had to be made. I must have talked to B and the adoption agency half a dozen times that morning. And then there were all the phone calls from back home from friends and family calling to check in. They were on pins and needles too and wanted to hear word as soon as possible that we indeed would be parents and would be bringing this baby girl home with us.

The plan was for Stephen and I to go to the hospital to pick up B and the baby and then all go to the adoption agency together. I got some clothes together for Caroline to wear "home" from the hospital and packed a bag....praying with every item I put in the bag that God would indeed allow us to be parents today. And asking myself, "But what if He didn't? What if B couldn't say goodbye to Caroline and decided to parent her? What do we do then?"

We got dressed and decided to go to lunch somewhere before heading to the hospital. We ended up at Taco Cabana. Now, why in the world when my stomach was already in knots would I eat Mexican food for lunch?? Who knows what we were thinking? My mind was elsewhere...what can I say? Needless to say on the way to the hospital we had to make a stop at the store for some medication! After our pit stop to the store we headed to the hospital to pick up B and Caroline. Nothing could have prepared us for these next several hours and what all we would endure....such bittersweet moments.

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday!

What an amazing day!! It was so surreal to watch this sweet baby girl come into this world. B was so calm and did amazingly well with the delivery. I think the easiest way for me to give you a glimpse into that day(because it's so hard to put into words) is to share with you my journal entry from that night. I kept a journal while we waited and wrote to the baby so it's as if I'm speaking to her.....

"Happy Birthday to you! You're here with us and you are absolutely beautiful! You are perfect from head to toe and such a miracle to us. You have the sweetest lips and the cutest nose I've ever seen! You have long pretty fingers and you have dimples. Oh, I don't think you could be any more perfect. I just cried and cried when I saw you for the first time.

B wanted your first hours of life to be spent bonding with us so we followed the nurses to the nursery with you. Your daddy got to listen to your heartbeat and your breathing. He also measured you to see how long you were. The nurse put you on the scale and it said you weighed 7 pounds and 10 ounces. The nurse let me give you your very first bath! What a privilege to get to do that. Usually the nurse does all of this while the mom is recovering in her room and you don't even get to see it all much less be a part of it. After I sponged you off we just stared at you. The nurse finished dressing you and led us to a room right off the nursery. The room had a rocking chair in it and I walked to the rocking chair with you thinking that I had waited a very long time for this very moment.....to rock my baby. I fed you your first bottle and your daddy just stared at you and kept saying how beautiful you were. We took lots of pictures of you and sent them to our families at home to let them know you were here!

Those first few hours with you in that nursery were so very precious. Those moments will be etched in our hearts and minds forever!! God is so good!!"







I had those first hours with our sweet baby girl and I was elated but as the time wore on my heart began to feel heavy. This baby's birthmom was just down the hall recovering from the delivery with her mom by her side telling her everything was going to be okay. She just gave birth and yet there was no celebrating and no baby to hold....because her baby was with us. I felt so terrible. We had to go check on her to make sure she was okay. We stepped into her room and she assured us that she would be fine and that we should go be with the baby yet I found myself not wanting to leave her and help take care of her and love on her. She was hurting.

Later that evening we left the hospital so B could have some time with the baby. We were so grateful that B wanted us there but over the next couple of days we tried our best to remember we were only guests visiting with this baby instead of mom and dad. We would come and go so B and her family could have time but is was so hard not to be there every second.

Friday was placement day...that's the adoption term for the day that the baby is placed with you as the adoptive parents....or in some cases...not placed with you if the birthmom decided to parent the baby. Little did we know it would take everything we had within us to make it through that day.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Texas Bound!

We arrived in San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon. B was set to be induced the next morning bright and early. The plan was to start the induction early that morning and for Stephen and I along with her mom to all be there with her in the room for the delivery. Once the baby was born...48 hours later B would sign the paperwork to relinquish her parental rights. Texas law says the baby must be 48 hours old before the birthmom can surrender her rights. But a lot could happen in those 48 hours. In my mind, all it was going to take was one look at that sweet baby girl and B would begin thinking twice about her decision. I mean, how could you not? How could you hold that precious baby and not want to keep her? From someone who wanted a child so badly...I just didn't see that as possible. Back to the strength and courage again....I told you this woman was my hero.

We went to dinner that night with B and her mom and talked about the baby and what she was going to look like. We were all excited to meet her. I remember standing in the parking lot with B as we were leaving and she looked at both us with this huge smile on her face and said, "So, tomorrow you will be a mom and dad!" She really was so happy for us but I remember just wanting to ask her, "But are you really sure? Are you really going to be able to do it?" Instead I simply said, "I can't believe the time is finally here!"

We walked back up to our hotel room and got ready for bed. We prayed again for everything and looked at each once again and said, "Now how are we supposed to get any sleep tonight?"

To be continued...

Birthday Bash

It was the weekend before we were set to leave for Texas and I was having a big 30th birthday party. I can't believe I agreed to a big party amongst all of the packing and getting ready for the big trip. I remember being emotionally a wreck all day that Saturday...the day of the party. I just didn't know how to deal with all the emotions I was experiencing. So, I just cried...and cried...and cried. I cried because I was absolutely overjoyed at the thought that I was about to become a mother. I cried because I was scared that I would come home from Texas without becoming a mother. I cried because of all the pain B was about to face. We had grown so close over the last few months and become friends. I knew she was having a hard time that weekend...I could hear it in her voice. I remember thinking how weird it was that I was partying for my 30th and elated about becoming a mother while she was grieving and trying to prepare herself for what was to come. She loved this little baby girl...that I could tell. So, how was she going to place her in our arms? Oh, the strength and courage! If only I had an ounce of it!

Stephen's family came over on Sunday night before we were set to leave on Monday and prayed over us...for the days ahead. They prayed of course for our safety traveling and the birth of the baby. But what was so amazing was they all prayed for B. They prayed that God would give her the strength she needed to carry out HIS plan. They prayed that God would give her peace and that He would carry her through these hard days ahead. See, they too had become so attached to her as well and so grateful for all that she was giving up in order to bring us such joy. As I prayed that night I remember just wanting for God to have all the glory through everything. I wanted the nurses and staff at the hospital to see the work of God in such a mighty way that they had to believe it was Him who orchestrated all of this.I wanted anyone who came to the hospital(friends or family) to just sense God's presence. And I prayed that no matter the outcome that I(we) would still believe that God is good and He is sovereign... because He is.

To be continued...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Packing our Bags

The time was drawing near for the big day. It was already April and we were beginning to pack our bags for the trip. We would need lots of stuff! We had to stay in the state of Texas for awhile after the baby was born to wait on the ICPC... the interstate compact on the placement of children. The paperwork had to be sent from our adoption agency in Texas to the capital in Texas...Austin to be signed off on. Then it had to be sent to our state capital Nashville to be signed off on and then sent back to Texas. Once they got it back in Texas we were free to travel back to Tennessee with the baby. They told us a normal wait time was around 2 weeks but it could be up to 4 weeks so we had to be packed and prepared for a long stay.

We talked with B about the plan for the delivery and she asked us to be in the delivery room with her. We were beside ourselves. What an incredible experience and an honor to be asked to share in her moment and her time with the baby. We were not going to be the baby's parents at that point so it was a privilege to be asked by her to be in the room during delivery. B was so very gracious. She wanted us to be the first to bond with the baby. She asked her doctor if after the birth we could go immediately to the nursery with the baby so we could be the first to hold her. We knew that although it was an exciting time for us...that day and the days to follow would be some of the hardest for B. What a roller coaster ride it was going to be. Our adoption agency was great about preparing us for those days and walking us through everything. We were in a lot of communication with them at this point as we talked about the plan for the delivery. It was only a couple of weeks away and we could hardly wait......yet we were also so scared of the "what ifs" as well. I remember just clinging to Jeremiah 29:11 during those final days leading up to the birth.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

To be continued...

Nesting and Showers

The next couple of months(February and March) were spent getting things ready for the baby. We finished up the nursery and I had a few baby showers. I was reluctant to have any because I didn't want to get a lot of pink girly things that might have to be taken back after all was said and done. We wouldn't know for sure that this baby girl was ours until after B delivered and signed the paperwork relinquishing her parental rights. The more I talked it over with friends and thought about it, we decided that it would be fun to go ahead and have showers. I mean I was "expecting" after all! We had 3 baby showers and of course got TONS of pink things which made me nervous but I did my best to enjoy it all. It was definitely weird to be finally having a baby shower after I had hosted so many for friends along the way. And it was weird to not have a pregnant belly in any of the pictures from the showers. But weird or not, I was so grateful to be having baby showers and planning for a baby.

I continued to talk with B and she was so sweet about calling us after every doctor’s appointment. She would update us and tell us about her visit. She told the doctor about her plan to place her baby for adoption and he was willing to induce her labor if the baby hadn’t arrived by April 18th…then he would induce. The countdown was on! 4 weeks until our baby girl would be here! It was all too much. I couldn’t let myself just let go and get totally excited. I mean, yes our birthmom was completely sure of her decision but she also hadn’t held her baby girl yet. We had to somewhat prepare for the fact that we could travel to Texas to get our baby yet return home without her. We kept asking ourselves how we prepare for that and the only thing we could come up with was by prayer. We just continually asked the Lord for peace and His strength in the end if this didn’t turn out the way we had hoped it would.

To be continued…

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Got All My Sisters and Me

The plan was to arrive in San Antonio on Friday night and check in to the hotel to unwind and rest up for the big day on Saturday. We were supposed to meet up with B on Saturday morning and she had the whole day planned out for us. However, she SURPRISED us at the airport when we got off the plane! We didn't know what she looked like but we knew it was her when we saw the pink flowers and pink balloons. I remember the first thing I noticed about her was her beautiful smile. It lit up the room....or the airport I should say. B's mom was with her and they asked if we wanted to go to dinner with them. We went to dinner and it went better than I expected. The conversation was great and it was a good start to the weekend.

On Saturday we went to lunch with B, her mom, and two of her sisters at this cool place. We had the best time and told them all about us and what our life was like back home in Tennessee. B's mom of course told lots of stories about her growing up through the years. B is one of five girls so there were lots and lots of stories to be told! We also learned that day that of the five sisters B was the only one who was not left handed. That went over well with Stephen who is a lefty and he immediately began saying that it must mean the baby will be left handed!

After lunch we went back to B's mom's house to hang out. We talked and and looked at pictures of all the girls but especially of B. We spent the whole afternoon just talking about our families and about the baby and how much this baby was loved already by so many. We(Stephen and I) shared how we felt like we were gaining new family members and B and her mom felt the same way. Such a sweet time. God was answering our prayers. And just when I didn't think it could get any sweeter....it did! I had just walked out of the bathroom and B jumped and said, "Jessica, come over here!" I walked over to her and she took my hand and placed it on her belly. My heart skipped a beat when I felt the baby move and kick inside of B. Talk about a moment you will never forget....that was definitely one of those moments!






To be continued...

An Upcoming Trip

We made plans to go to San Antonio to meet B for late January and my emotions were all over the place as the trip grew near. I was of course overjoyed at the thought of giving this precious woman a great big hug and meeting her face to face. However, I was a nervous wreck as well. It was one thing to like us in pictures and over the phone but a totally different thing to like us in person! All of my insecurities were coming out now full force. I mean I can chat and carry on a normal conversation with someone but I'm not just totally extroverted. If there was ever a time in my life where I wish I was extroverted it was right then and there!

Those days leading up to the visit were spent much in prayer. I kept doubting and worrying that she wouldn't like us and we wouldn't be "fun enough" in her eyes. I worried that after the trip was over she would tell us she was going to chose someone else to parent her baby. I just kept laying it at the Lord's feet and asking for His peace. I tried to rest in Him and His plan for us but it was...oh...so...hard. He had asked me months ago to trust Him and I was trying my best to do that. I don't know why that was so hard to do. I guess because there was so much at stake.

So, it was a Thursday night and we packed our bags to head to San Antonio once again. We settled into bed and prayed for our trip...that God would just allow it to be a sweet beginning of a new life long relationship. And of course once again we found ourselves looking at each other and asking, "Now how are we supposed to get any sleep tonight?"

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Couldn't Believe My Eyes

We were trucking right along making our phone calls to fill everyone in on our news. I remember scheduling lunches with friends to tell them the news. Friends who had prayed for me...for us...for so long. It was also the Christmas season remember so we of course had such a great Christmas that year dreaming about what the next Christmas season would be like. We even got so many gifts from family members for the new baby!

A couple of weeks after Christmas I was at work one day and Stephen called me. Remember the part about Stephen's tears coming later....well this is later. He had been on call the day/night before so he was getting home from one of those hard 36 hour straight shifts. His call made my day for sure. As if I wasn't already in a current state of bliss...this just sealed the deal. He said, "I'm looking at a picture of our baby girl right now." He was all choked up so I wanted to make sure I heard him correctly. "You're doing what?" I asked. He said that B mailed us an ultrasound picture of the baby and he was staring at it. I of course raced home as soon as I could get out of the office because I had to get my eyes on that ultrasound picture! I couldn't believe me eyes. I didn't think I was ever going to look at an ultrasound picture of my baby. I don't think our sweet birthmom will ever realize what a big....HUGE....deal that was to us. You see, every time a pregnant woman goes to the dr. for an ultrasound they give her pictures and she proudly shows them off to all her friends and family. We got to do that too. It made us feel normal. And for that we are so grateful.





To be continued...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tears of Joy

I guess I don't have to tell you what our answer was to B that night. I remember wanting to answer her so badly and yell at the top of my lungs...YES, of course we will! But I couldn't stop sobbing long enough to get any words out. So Stephen did all the talking that night. He was his usual calm, cool, and collected self! And in case you are wondering, his tears of joy are coming soon in this story. He said something so sweet to B. He said that we would be honored to raise this precious little girl and that we were overwhelmed with joy that she chose us. We didn't talk long that night with B because like I said...I just didn't have words...only tears of sheer joy. We ended the call and told her we would talk again soon.

We got off the phone and held each other for awhile and I kept telling Stephen he was going to be a Daddy and he kept telling me I was going to be a Mommy. Such a sweet memory! We of course couldn't keep the news to ourselves. We didn't have time(at least in that moment) to worry about the "what ifs" and wonder who all should we tell if anyone about our match. We were just so happy that our baby was on her way we had to tell our friends and family! My first phone call was to my sister. We had been through a lot in recent months...even more than I shared in this story....with losing mom...and we had just gotten news about our father being diagnosed with cancer. So, needless to say we could REALLY use some good news. I don't know how I managed to get any words out to tell her but somehow I told her that I was going to be a mommy....that God was giving us a baby! We had many more phone calls to make that night and we squeezed a surprise visit in to Stephen's mom to tell her the news as well that she was going to be a grandmother. We were on cloud nine that night and couldn't stop smiling....I was either smiling or crying.

We finally wrapped up the first round of phone calls to share our news and got ready for bed. Once again, we got in bed and looked at each and said, "Now how are we supposed to get any sleep tonight?" It wasn't the first time we said that to each other on this journey and certainly wouldn't be the last.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One More Question

Of course I thought about that phone call all day on Monday. Did she like us? Did we answer that question wrong? Did we sound "fun" enough but not "too fun" and irresponsible.....I kept asking myself all these questions and praying that God would give her wisdom as she made her choice. We had no idea how many other couples she was talking with or what days she had set up phone calls with any of them so we didn't know when we would hear any news.

I was driving home from work that afternoon and my cell phone rang. It read "private caller" on the screen again and I knew it was the agency. I figured if they were calling then they would have news and were probably calling to say that B didn't choose us. I was bracing myself for bad news. The woman from the agency said that B had another question she wanted to ask us and could B call us again that evening to talk. I said of course and told her that Stephen would be home within the next hour so B could call then. I began thinking about what that question would be. The night before we hadn't really discussed how open our relationship would be during the pregnancy and after the baby arrived so I figured that is what she wanted to talk about. Yeah, that must be it. I called Stephen and told him to hurry home because B wanted to talk with us again.

Our phone rang and my heart started racing. B said hello and told us that she really didn't want to keep us on the phone too long but she really just had one more question for us. She said, "I just wanted to ask you both if you would.............. raise my baby girl?"

To be continued...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Phone Call

So Sunday night came and of course our nerves were on edge. We wanted to show this birthmom that we indeed had what it takes to be parents. The phone rang and I grabbed one of the phones and Stephen went to the bedroom to get on the other phone. I'll call the birthmom "B" for now while referring to her. B told us a little about herself and her situation and I immediately fell in love with this strong woman. She shared that she was a single mom to a son and wanted to be the best mom she could be to him. She was five months along in her pregnancy at this point and said that early on in her pregnancy she knew God had a plan for this baby and He had a special couple to parent this baby. She didn't feel like she could take that on....her life was hard enough raising a son on her own. I began admiring B for her strength to realize this and make an adoption plan...even though there would be such hard days to come for her. I couldn't believe how brave this woman was. She chose life for this baby knowing good and well she may never be the parent. She had a choice to make and she chose the hard road.

After B told us about herself she then began asking us questions. And there were more questions. And then more questions. She had just recently learned the gender of the baby but wanted to keep it a secret until she chose a couple. We definitely had a guess as to what gender the baby was based on the questions B asked us. We talked for about an hour and a half that night and we told her that if she thought of anything else she wanted to ask us to give us a call. We told her we knew she had to talk to other couples and that we would pray for her as she would be making a decision.

We prayed that night before bed for B and for her decision and we prayed for us. Selfishly, we wanted her to choose us so we asked God that she would do just that. We crawled into bed and once again asked each other, "Now how are we supposed to get any sleep tonight?"

To be continued...

Seriously?!?

That same day that the agency had called, I was talking to Stephen on the phone that afternoon and told him we needed to go out to dinner to celebrate. We finished the scrapbook and finally had ALL the paperwork behind us. Now all we had to do was wait....and get the nursery ready! I told him we could even go crazy after dinner and go to Target to register for some baby things. He liked the idea so we went to J. Alexander's for dinner and celebrated. We talked about all the things that we needed to do to get the nursery ready. We already had our crib and rocker and had painted the room so we were well on our way. I needed to paint a dresser we had that would be the changing table. We also wanted to start looking for a bookcase and needed to pick out some gender neutral bedding.

So we ate dinner and headed to Target to do some registering. We didn't have a clue about what we were doing but it was fun and I remember thinking how surreal it was. And it was also weird because they ask you the date the baby was due and we just looked at each other and laughed! We were on the diaper aisle registering for some diapers and my cell phone rang. The screen said "private caller" which was the same thing it said earlier when the adoption agency had called. I answered and it was the agency again. She said that a birthmom had come in that afternoon (remember, it's the same day here people! THE SAME DAY our scrapbook arrived) to look at some scrapbooks and to talk about an adoption plan and she wants to talk with us. I remember just blurting out, "SERIOUSLY?!?" I guess I thought it was a joke because we had just turned in our scrapbook and knew it would take some time. We had prepared ourselves for months of waiting. She said, "yes, I am serious and here is her information." We took down her (the birthmom) phone number and she said that we should call her on Sunday night. She said, "Don't be nervous. Just be yourselves so she can get to know you a little." I remember thinking to myself, "Don't be nervous. Who is she kidding?"

Needless to say we didn't spend a lot more time there at Target that night. We registered for a few more things and headed home. Remember it was Wednesday night. We got home and got ready for bed. Then we looked at each other and said, "Now how are we supposed to sleep or function or do anything at all between now and Sunday night?"

To be continued...

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Meltdown

We got home from orientation and began looking at our next round of paperwork to fill out. We had 10 days to get all of this paperwork turned back in and to complete our scrapbook and turn in our first big payment. I saw the amount of money we needed and immediately began to panic. But then I remembered that my sister had mentioned about a month prior to this that I would have some inheritance money from mom when she settled all of her medical bills, etc. I hadn't really thought much more about it because I knew as a single mom she just didn't have much. She lived paycheck to paycheck. So, we began praying that God would provide the money we needed to turn in to the agency and soon. My sister called and said she had the check for me and I couldn't believe it....it was just a few hundred dollars shy of what we needed to turn into the agency! You see, my mom was playing a role in our adoption and she wasn't even with us on earth. Only God could pull that off!

We were given pointers on making our scrapbook while we were at orientation so that was the BIG project we had to complete after we got home. Basically, birthmoms come into the agency to make an adoption plan for their child and they look through these scrapbooks to pick out some couples they think they would choose to adopt their baby. The birthmoms are encouraged to take a few scrapbooks with them to think about it and then to set up phone calls with the couples to interview them and ask them questions. Then you(adoptive parents) are "matched" with a birthmom if she chooses you to adopt her baby. That is how the process works. So, needless to say we were very nervous about this scrapbook seeing as how it was the first impression that birthmoms were going to get of us. I had gotten together often with girlfriends and done scrapbooking while our husbands were studying. So, I felt pretty confident that I could put together something great.....that is until I walked into the scrapbooking store that cold day in December. I had a meltdown. I mean the kind of meltdown you DO NOT want to have in public with snot flying everywhere and crying so hard I was shaking kind of meltdown. It's funny now to look back on that day but it was in NO way funny then. I think everything came crashing down at that moment and the pressure was too much.....we had just undergone so much to get to that point. And then to think that us becoming parents was dependent on what kind of scrapbook paper I picked out! Well, no of course not....I was taking God out of the picture and doubting that HE had a plan and it didn't matter what our scrapbook looked like!

I managed to pull myself together after no less than five people asked me if I needed something or if they could call someone for me. I finally gathered my supplies and checked out....I gave myself a pep talk on the way home. "You can do this Jess! It's not about how good your scrapbook is! God has a baby for us!" I spent all my free time over the next couple of weeks working on the scrapbook and we mailed in about a dozen copies to the adoption agency. It was a Wednesday and I was at work that morning. Someone from the agency called to say they received our package with the rest of the paperwork, our first big payment, and our scrapbooks. She said that everyone at the agency commented on what a good job we had done on our scrapbook.....I sighed and smiled. She also said that they would begin showing it to birthmoms right away and hopefully we would hear from her again soon. Little did I know she would call again later that night!

To be continued...

Orientation

We were so excited about going to San Antonio for the weekend. We flew in on Friday afternoon and thought we might squeeze a nap in before orientation started that evening. No such luck as we jumped on the shuttle for the wrong Holiday Inn! Who knew there were like a million Holiday Inn's in San Antonio? We finally made it to the right hotel just in time to begin! There were 11 other couples there and that night we all sat in a circle and shared about our journeys. Each couple took a turn sharing and there wasn't a dry eye in the room. We also met the staff of the adoption agency as they introduced themselves that night. One story was particularly touching to us. There was a couple who had placed a baby for adoption while they were teenagers and that couple was still together all these years later trying to conceive a child. I think it was about 18-20 years later so the child would have been in college if I am remembering correctly. Seeing the heartache they were suffering not knowing anything about the child they placed so long ago made me realize the importance of open adoption. All they wanted was to know what he was up to and see some pictures but because their adoption was closed at the time they couldn't get any information.

The next day the staff girls of the agency basically overloaded us with information about our paperwork, the financial issues, our scrapbook, the issue of open adoption, etc. The moment that stood out to me on that day was hearing from a birthmom about her journey. There was a panel of birthparents and adoptive parents to talk with us and answer questions. This birthmom said that the only way she was strong enough to place her child with the adoptive parents she chose was because she would always know how that child was doing. She would get pictures and updates and visits along the way and that gave her peace. Her story was so touching.

We finished the day with dinner on the River Walk and had a great time! Our brains were all on overload and we needed some time to just hang out and get to know everyone better. The agency left us with the thought that from that point on we were "expecting." They said you are waiting for your baby just like other couples who are pregnant and waiting for their babies. We were told to go home and get to work on our nurseries and go register for baby items and do all the things you would do if you were birthing this child yourselves. We flew out that next morning on Sunday and we left with such.....hope. Something we had been without for so long but it was nice to finally have it back.

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We Press On...

We spent the month of October that year filling out paperwork, getting physicals, having interviews with our social worker, getting finger printed, tracking down bank statements, tracking down copies of all kinds of things like our marriage license and birth certificates, proof of health and life insurance and etc. You get the idea! We were busy that month to say the least. We turned in everything and our social worker approved us to adopt. Now we just had to wait to be accepted and approved by the agency in Texas and be invited to their next orientation weekend. We were approved by the agency and got a call in November letting us know that the next orientation weekend would be the first weekend in December. Abrazo Adoption Agency is located in San Antonio so it would mean we had to fly there for the weekend. The orientation was Friday night and all day Saturday. We began praying that it would work out for us to go. Those of you that are familiar with residency....there is no "taking off a weekend here and there" for any reason really. It just doesn't happen. So, we knew it would take a small miracle for it to work out with Stephen's work schedule.

Well, God still works miracles and He was able to work it out for us to go. Stephen had to work 27 days straight in the ICU that month to get that 3 days off but he did it! Even financially God worked it out....one family member paid for our plane tickets, another our hotel and rental car. It was all coming together and we were so excited. The agency told us to bring pictures with us because we would begin working on our scrapbook there. I started gathering pictures and remember thinking as I was looking at all of them....we're about to be taking pictures and there will be 3 of us in them. It won't be just the two of us anymore. I began thinking about what our child would look like and be like. It was so fun to really start dreaming about our baby!

So, we packed our bags and went to San Antonio for an amazing orientation weekend!

To be continued...

Friday, February 12, 2010

God will make a way!

As we began filling out our piles and piles of paperwork we realized that the first big step to the adoption process was to have a home study done. This is when a social worker does multiple interviews with you, comes to your house for a tour,(and to make sure you are not growing weed or something in your backyard-Sorry! You have to have a sense of humor about the process!)acquires letters of reference from family and friends, obtains medical records to make sure you are healthy, does a background check on you to make sure you are not a felon, and several other things that I am forgetting right now. I called to make an appointment with a social worker for a couple of weeks out to complete our first interview and get started with the process. As we were ending the conversation she says, "Oh, and my fee is due on the first interview and it's one thousand dollars."

I thought, "Okay Lord. I know you said to trust you so here it goes! If this is really going to all happen then where is that one thousand dollars going to come from?" It's just such a leap of faith when you know God wants you to do something yet there seems to be this huge gap standing in the way. I am going into the details about the finances because it is important and is part of our story....it just shows how much God's hand was on all the details of our adoption. So, I'm checking the mail a few days after making the appointment with the social worker and there was a card from all of my girlfriends in Johnson City. When Stephen was in med school and we lived in Johnson City I led a Bible Study in my home for med school wives and there were 10 of us who were in that group. Oh how I miss those girls! Anyway, I digress. It was a sympathy card and I was getting lots of those but this one was different. Part of it read, "All of the girls say send their love and hope this helps some. We all felt this was the perfect way to reach out to you during this time, especially since we were all together at the beginning of this long road. We all pray that this is a swift and smooth process and that you and Stephen have a baby in your hearts and home soon. We all love you so much!" You see all these girls wanted to donate money to our baby fund in honor of my mom. In this card there were checks from all of them and the total was...wait for it....$1,000!!!

This was huge for us because it totally confirmed that God was going to give us a baby and He was going to provide the means to do so! I remember crying and calling Stephen to give him good news for a change. News that God is good. News that HE IS IN CONTROL. News that we are going to bring a child into our home and HE WILL make a way for us!!

To be continued...

Friday, January 29, 2010

He turned my pain into peace

It was several days after my mom died when everything slowed down and it all began sinking in. My life hadn't been normal in over a month. Spending nights in the hospital for weeks....then the week of the funeral was crazy busy making arrangements....and then the week after was spent being with family and going through some of mom's things. So, I was really too busy to grieve...or I was surrounded with so many family members that I wanted to be strong for. I woke up one morning to spend some time with the Lord and opened up my Bible but I was so incredibly sad and brokenhearted that I couldn't read it. I got down on my knees and just sobbed. I cried out to the Lord that morning and told Him my pain was too much. I ached so much to be a mom and so I begged God to take away that pain. I just lost my mom so there was this new pain and the combination of the two was way too much.

There have only been a couple of other times in my life besides that morning where I felt the presence of God SO strongly that I KNEW He was there with me. I mean, I always know He's there. But you don't always physically FEEL it. I felt it that day. After crying out for some time I remember feeling this indescribable peace in my heart. I heard God telling me that it was okay to grieve for my mom and to be there with my family and for my family. Then He said..."TRUST ME"....with my plans for you to be a mom. Two simple words right? Not so simple to do. "Trust that I have a baby for you and you will be a mom." Not, "trust that you will get pregnant and carry a child." You see, God was telling me that He had a child for us and that if I would just surrender to His plan....His timing....His way....then it would happen.

So on that morning that's exactly what I did. I surrendered and began to trust that God had it all in control. I knew we would adopt a precious baby soon and I couldn't be more excited! After questioning it for so long I was finally ready and could hardly wait to meet our child! Little did I know that as God was telling me to trust Him and that He had a child for me.....my child was already on her way.

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I hate cancer

When the doctor said, "colon cancer" I froze. My mom had colon cancer? Did I hear the doctor correctly? Was I dreaming? No, it wasn't a dream. It was....all too real. My thoughts were all over the place in those moments. Will she be okay? What will I do without my mom? Those of you that know me know that I didn't have a relationship with my father so she was the only parent I had.

Three days later we sat in the surgeon's office and mapped out the plan of attack. The prognosis looked good. He would remove her whole colon. She had scans that showed that the cancer had not spread so once he removed the colon the cancer would be gone. It would be a long road of recovering but overall things looked good. I could breathe again. Thank you Lord.

Three days later we were at the hospital ready for the operation. It was a long day of waiting but the surgery went well and they removed her colon. No further treatment needed. All the cancer was gone and now we could get on with our lives. Except that's not what happened. I won't go into all the details because honestly they are still too painful. She wasn't healing properly from the surgery and went into septic shock and everything happened so fast. Three weeks after I took my mom in for the colonoscopy she went home to be with Jesus. I didn't get to say goodbye and that was incredibly hard.

I shared the story of losing my mom in the middle of our adoption story for a reason. She played a role in our adoption as you'll soon find out.

To be continued....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Decisions Decisions

I drove home from that doctor's appointment by myself that day because Stephen had to work. He was always working. He was in residency then so I had to let the news sink in alone. I had felt God tugging at my heart about adoption for months before this appointment but really hadn't been ready. I was still hanging on to the hope that I would carry a child for nine months....a child that shared our blood and genes. I think for people who already have biological children and decide to adopt this isn't a big hurdle to get through. No big deal. But for a woman who aches with everything inside her to carry a child in her womb it's a big deal. It's huge.

Stephen and I never felt a peace in our hearts about doing IVF. We were doing Andy Stanley's study "The Best Question Ever" with our small group during this time and it was SO very helpful to us as we were making this decision. I HIGHLY recommend the book! We asked God for wisdom because there were so many issues involved with this procedure. Issues that we didn't feel like we as humans should be deciding...only God. I'm not trying to start a debate here and I would never stand in judgment of anyone who decides this is the way to build their family but it wasn't the right direction for us.

Stephen was ready long before me to start the adoption process. I mean he still had questions and worries...like where do we even begin and how will we pay for the adoption. But at least he didn't have the big hurdle(it felt like a mountain) to get past like me. In July we began telling our families that we were looking into adoption and we began researching online. We didn't know where to begin. We cried out to the Lord asking for direction and wisdom once again. We were both on the same page about domestic adoption. There are plenty of babies here in our country who need families to bring them home so no need (for us anyway) to spend more money and have a longer wait to go overseas. We began asking the Lord specifically to clearly show us an adoption agency. The agency He would have us go through. Within a couple of weeks, we were getting phone calls and emails from friends and family who knew of someone who had recently adopted. Stephen's aunt had just met a woman who had adopted through Abrazo Adoption Agency in Texas. His aunt said we should look up the agency online. One of my friends called and said "Do you know so and so? They just adopted from some agency in Texas. I'll ask her the name of it." She called back and said it was Abrazo and that I should call her to talk to her about their experience. I called her and she had nothing but great things to say about the agency. I knew that it was the Lord pointing us to this agency. Seems like every few days we were getting contacted by someone who knew someone who had adopted through Abrazo. Once we learned more about the agency, there were lots of things we really liked about the agency. One thing that really stood out was the immediate placement of the baby with the adoptive couple. Basically in the majority of their adoptions, the baby was placed with the adoptive couple the same day the birthmom and baby were discharged from the hospital. That was important to us.

We called the agency and got them to send us the initial packet of paperwork(there would be LOTS more of this to come) to fill out. We began looking over the paperwork and felt quite overwhelmed at all the steps involved in the process. And remember I was still asking God to make me completely ready for this if this was His plan for us. I didn't want to go into this process with any hesitation. I wanted to be excited about it instead of overwhelmed. I still needed to feel like this was 100% what God had for us and it would be okay that I wasn't going to carry and deliver this baby. That it would be okay that we weren't going to say things like, "he has your nose" or "she has your smile." I just needed to let it all go and totally surrender it to the Lord.

Our plans would be put on hold at this point. Remember the part about the dark days and there were more to come? On August 8th my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer.

To be continued.....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Crossroad

It was June of 2006 and Stephen and I found ourselves at a crossroad. We never expected to be there. We thought we would already be parents by then and wouldn't have to face decisions such as these but God had other plans. Bigger plans. Better plans.

We had been trying to conceive for four years. There were some very dark days during that four year span. Days that I questioned if I would ever become a mom. Days that I didn't think I could go any further. Days that I questioned God and what I believed. Days that my hormones got the best of me and I thought I would die. There were more dark days to come. I just didn't know it yet.

Over the course of those four years I had seen four different doctors, had TONS of tests run, had dozens of procedures performed, undergone a surgery, and spent thousands of dollars while doing all of this(mostly in debt). All of this to tell me I have "unexplained infertility." Oh, it's explained alright! We'll get to that later. On this particular day in June we were told, "You are at a crossroad. Your best option for having a biological child is to do IVF(in vitro fertilization) and you have a 58% of getting pregnant. Or you could adopt."

To be continued...

Looking Back...

We spent 2009 praying, talking, deciding about our next adoption. You see, it's not an easy decision as there are a lot of factors in play. Financial issues, legal issues, irrevocable time period issues, and the list goes on and on. We have made decisions and are ready to begin another journey to bring home our second child. However, before I get into all of that....I would like to take a look back and tell you our story of bringing our sweet Caroline home.