Working on our profile

We are nearing the end of our paperwork. At least I hope. ūüôā Tomorrow we mail out a packet which will retain us with Kirsh & Kirsh. Hallelujah! The final thing we need to work on is our letter to the birth mom which will include our family profile. Our goal is to have it done by the end of next week. This profile will be looked at by birth moms and they will use our profile to select us to be parents to their child. We feel like it’s our most important document that we have worked on so far. I started writing it awhile ago, bits and pieces here and there. But, I struggle. What do you say to a woman who is choosing to give you the greatest gift? A gift of sacrifice and love? Needless to say my heart is heavy. Last week I googled birthmom blogs. I was curious about them and was hoping that some kept a blog so I could get a small glimpse of their emotions. What I found were women who were raw; healing; and those who would forever process the decision to give part of themselves away. I found myself coming to terms with my own ignorance of the day our baby will be born and we are handed him/her. It will be our greatest joy to hold them, yet there will be a woman leaving the hospital empty handed and with an empty heart. I had never really thought about it until just a few weeks ago. We go home with a family yet she goes home with grief and pain. The Lord continues to lay on my heart how much she needs our prayers. Not just during her pregnancy but for a lifetime afterwards. Oh, how I pray that through this storm, she will find Jesus. The ultimate Healer. Comforter. Father. I have no idea where God is leading us, but I do know our birth mom will be just as much a gift as our baby. We will be gaining 2 people in our family not just 1. Will you join us in praying for her? We continue to meditate on our verse for 2012: “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.” Psalm 37:7 We pray you are having a wonderful summer so far. We are having a blast:) XOXO

God’s Ways Are Higher

If there is anything I have come to know and believe wholeheartedly it is this truth. Isaiah 55:9 says:For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” God sees the big picture and knows full well that the path He has me on and you on is better than anything we could each imagine. Sometimes it’s so hard to understand, isn’t it? Last week, I thought I was pregnant. I was more than confident, actually. The thought was all-consuming. Before I took a pregnancy test, I texted a¬†few people close to me¬†and asked them to pray that no matter what, there wouldn’t be any disappointment. ¬†Thankfully, the test was negative. No, that wasn’t a type-o; I DID say thankfully. ūüôā I can’t say there wasn’t ANY¬†disappointment. Right afterwards, I ate Milk Duds and ice cream for dinner. But after that, I was so happy. So happy that tears came to my eyes, even right now as¬†I write this. If I became pregnant, our adoption would have to be put on hold. And that thought brought sadness to Adam and I as we talked about “what if”. Even though physically there isn’t a baby growing, there is one growing in both of our hearts. The idea of that baby being lost brought so much more sadness to us than the negative sign on a pregnancy test. I am overjoyed that we still have our baby, the baby God has designed perfectly for us. Sometimes we feel like he/she is so close, other days it feels so far away. But we continue to trust. I continue to be amazed at how God works; the way He allows His plans to overtake our own and how He changes our mindset. If you had told me months ago that I would be excited to see a negative sign on a pregnancy test, I wouldn’t have believed you. Wow, God is so good. “…My ways are higher than your ways …”
I am so grateful for the blessing of adoption and that this is the way God has designed our family to be created. I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect.

The beautifully hard road of adoption

This past week I have been reading through the book “Orphanology”, written by my brother and sister-in-law’s friend Tony Merida. Tony and his wife Kim have adopted 5 kids: 4 from the Ukraine and 1 from Ethiopia. I was blessed to meet these precious kids 2 years ago when I was in New Orleans. My favorite part of the book? Opening it up to see the signatures of each of these sweet children…such a vivid reminder of their changed lives.
One of the stories Tony mentions has really challenged me. A couple gave their adoption experience~ it was challenging and hard. A true roller coaster. But then they equated it to the suffering that Jesus endured to adopt us into His family. He gave His LIFE to make us His sons and daughters. Shouldn’t it be a joy, then, to endure suffering to adopt a little one into our family?
This thought has resonated with me the past few days. Jesus didn’t quit because the road was hard. He knew the pain and agony He was going to experience, yet He loved me and you so much that He finished the course. He endured ridicule, betrayal, and physical pain..because of His great love for US!
I think of Jesus’ walk up to Calvary. His final moments on earth. That walk must have seemed like it¬†was taking¬†forever. There have been days when Adam and I have felt like that…will we make it to the end? Then I think of the man on the side of the road that carried Jesus’ cross for Him because He was struggling. The heavy burden of the cross became overwhelming. That man is each of you~ You have carried our cross for us on so many days. I have saved every text, e-mail, voicemail, card that you have sent us. Adam and I are blessed by each of you. The road Jesus travelled for me to become His daughter¬†was hard, painful, yet beautiful. This is the same for our baby.
As I reflect on what Jesus endured to adopt me, the love I have for this baby is overflowing. What a joy it is to press on for the fatherless and to bring “the lonely into families.” (Psalm 68:6)
Have you been adopted by God? Adam and I have..and would love to tell you how He can be your Father. He is waiting for you and continues to fight for you. His deepest desire is to finalize your adoption.

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy
and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us
to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ,
in accordance with His pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:4-5

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called the children of God!And that is what we are! 1John 3:1

Homestudy finally approved!

We finally found out from Carol, our social worker, that our homestudy has been submitted and approved! I’m not sure who was more excited, Adam and I or our social worker:) It took a year to get it done and out of the way..we are so thankful!
Now we are looking for a placement agency. Carol recommended that we look outside of Massachusetts since we are requesting a Caucasian infant. She recommended 2 attorneys in Indiana that specialize in adoption placements and adoption law. I spoke to them this past week and really liked them. He was very upfront which I loved. We don’t want anything sugar coated for us at this point.¬†We just want¬†the real deal. Altho, he wasn’t thrilled that we are Pats fans..ha:) He said we could only work with them if we burned our¬†Brady jerseys and wore Indy shirts. At first I¬†said “Fat chance” but said¬†that we are willing to do anything at this point if it meant moving¬†us along faster. ūüôā¬†There is one more place we are going to look into, but are leaning towards the firm in Indiana.
We also can now start looking into applying for grants and scholarships. There are so many fabulous agencies out there who are looking to help offset the costs of adoption. The main one we are looking into is¬†Show Hope (www.showhope.org) founded by Steven Curtis Chapman. Him and his wife’s ministry is amazing!
Next steps: we need to get FBI fingerprinted and work on our adoption profiles to submit to our placement agency. Our profile is our biography and will be shown to expectant moms who are deciding to make an adoption plan for their baby. We believe that the right woman will see our story and all of our lives will change. We continue to pray for her.
Tomorrow, we are getting pictures taken for our profile by our dear friend, Terri who is also an adoptive mother.
We continue to put our faith in God’s timing and His sovereignty. He is faithful, bottom line, and we trust in that. Thanks for checking in on us:)

Two Paths

When Adam and I decided to change our focus to domestic adoption, I started to think about the new possibilities and the new people God would put on our path. The way God brings people into our lives is amazing, isn’t it? We have seen Him work in pretty awesome ways in our own lives and we don’t doubt that this will be any different.
A couple of nights after we made our decision, I started thinking about this certain young woman. This young woman who will be making the ultimate sacrifice of love which will allow us to become a mom and dad. My heart was heavy for her. Not knowing these thoughts, my sister-in-law brought her up in a recent conversation and said “Your paths are about to cross.”¬†Who knows where she is right now, but she is heading down a path that will bring her into crisis. Yet, the result of her crisis will become our greatest joy. As we sit here waiting, she is searching, wandering. How I wish I could tell her that we are on the other side waiting and there is hope. Kind of like how God is speaking to us right now. He knows the end of this story; we just need to trust. There is hope. Our stories are so similar. I’m starting a journal for her and am planning on giving it to her when we meet. My prayer is that through her own struggles and pain, the result will end in her finding contentment in Jesus, just as I have found.
Adam and I have shifted focus in not just praying for this baby but also for its’ other mom. Will you pray for us as we continue on in deciding how we can reach out to her, whenever our paths are meant to cross?

“And we know that God causes everything
to work together for the good
of those who love God
 and are called according to His purpose for them.
Romans 8:28ÔĽŅ

Changes

It’s been awhile since I had given an update. Over the last 2 weeks, things have changed quite a bit. 2 weeks ago, we received an e-mail from our agency in North Carolina stating that the Moldovan government is still dragging its’ feet with changing and revising adoption laws. Currently there are 4 families in our agency who have been in limbo for a year and the social workers are working hard to get them moving. Unfortunately, they aren’t even going to be looked at til May. Which means we still could not begin the paperwork we need to. Our program director has also said that it appears that the youngest children available will be 5 year olds and we had given a range of 2-4. She said we are looking at at least another 1 1/2 year wait. After much discussion and prayer, we feel God has closed this door for right now. This decision has been so hard to make. With it, has come alot of anger, sadness, and guilt. In our kitchen, I have a collage of pictures from our past trips and as I look at those pictures, I see Hope/Noah and I wonder if we are turning our back¬†on a baby in Moldova. I know in reality that isn’t true, but the feeling is still real. I am angry at Mother’s Day and pregnancies and paperwork.
I share all of this to say, that despite all of that, God is faithful. I was writing that short statement out this morning and it reminded me greatly¬†that YES, the Lord has been so faithful to us! I see His fingerprints over the last year in so many areas.¬†I¬†was tempted to sit and think of how much we wasted this last year and the Lord has reminded me this morning that this year was a gift, really. A year for growing our marriage, growing us as individuals and growing in our knowledge of who the Lord is to us. God’s timing is never a waste. How thankful I am for the way He is active even in waiting periods. Adam and I trust Him; we believe in His promises to us; and we believe that His way is perfect.
Our plan is to move forward with a domestic adoption. We are praying for an infant and are so excited to see where God leads. My friend Noelle was saying how exciting it is to think that Hope/Noah are so close to us! Yes!:) Wherever this baby is, we love it so much already…we can’t wait to see their cute face:)
The wait seems to still be long, between 1-2 years, but who knows, it could be shorter.

Our verse for 2012:
“Be still in the presence of the Lord
and wait patiently for Him to act.” Psalm 37:7

Please continue to pray for us. We covet and treasure your prayers! We love you.

Hope/Noah’s first Christmas..in our hearts:)

As we celebrated this Christmas, we did it with anticipation that it was our last one with just the two of us. We received the most precious gift from my brother Scott and sister-in-law Dana (or, sister-in-love, as Dana says.) They gave us a beautiful hope chest filled with gifts for Hope/Noah. I loved seeing the little dress for Hope and Spider Man pajamas for Noah. They also gave us the Jesus Storybook Bible with audio CD’s to help them learn English faster. We just can’t wait to read to them and share with them Jesus’ love. And we can’t wait to read our book “Orphanology” by Tony Merida, who is friends with Scott and Dana. Tony and his wife Kim adopted 4 children from the Ukraine and one boy from Ethiopia. We loved opening up the book and seeing their children’s precious names written in the front cover…a reminder of the redemption of adoption.
These¬†were our first baby gifts and they¬†served as a great reminder to us that there is a precious child on the other side of our paperwork, there is someone waiting for us despite all the delays, and God’s perfect plan will be revealed in His timing. I can’t begin to describe how encouraging this gift was to us!

We pray you had a blessed Christmas with your family and friends. I know Adam and I enjoyed every moment with our family and are looking forward to the year ahead!

Where we are at today

Monday night, Adam and I met with Carol, our social worker to just catch up on where we stand in the adoption process. I thought I would just give you all a quick update on what’s been done and what we are currently working on:

We are working on acquiring the last few forms we need to submit to Carol so that she can write up our home study. Our goal is to get these things done this weekend. I’m laughing as I type this because I am thinking of the five million things that need to be done the week before Christmas. Carol hopes that she will be able to have it written by sometime in January.

Next step will be for the home study to be handed off to US-CIS which is a branch of Immigration to be reviewed. They will then release it to Carolina Adoption Services. Then the real fun begins…putting together all of our international paperwork.
Could you pray for one specific thing right now?
1. My medical report: THANKFULLY it is current enough for Carol to write it for our home study (I just found out today) However, because of the date it was done, we only have 6 months for it to be valid with US-CIS so the home study can be approved. This brings us to March 1, 2012. I am fervently working on getting another doctors appointment ASAP, but right now the earliest one I have isn’t until April 26. Please pray that I am able to get another appointment and/or that we can get the last of this paperwork done quickly so we can submit it for approval.

Update on Moldova:
A representative from Carolina Adoption just returned from Moldova in which she helped 2 families finalize their adoptions. These families had been in limbo for quite some time and CAS was able to help them bring their kids home! Such awesome news. Currently, a meeting is still waiting to be scheduled with the head department that runs the adoptions in Moldova. Unfortunately a date hasn’t been set yet. This meeting is supposed to help smooth out all the kinks and finalize their regulations surrounding adoption. Knowing Moldova as we do, it could be awhile. So we continue to wait…and pray. Carol asked us how long we wanted to wait and asked what our next plan would be if we decided against Moldova. We just looked at each other and were honest: we don’t have another plan. We told her very clearly that we have faith that God has placed us on this path and has brought us to Moldova. Right now neither of us have felt that God has closed this door for us so we will continue to press on. I know it sounds crazy. Those close to Adam and I know how much we desire a family and would do anything to have it happen right now. Yet, we truly believe we are on the path God has laid out for us. And He is requiring us to trust completely in HIS timing not our own. The Bible is full of examples in which God asks His followers to follow in complete faith, to listen to only HIS instructions, even if it didn’t quite make sense to others.

So that’s where are right now…walking in faith, trusting in God’s voice to guide us, and enjoying what He’s teaching us along the way.

I was reading this verse this morning:
Psalm 138:8~ “The Lord will work out His plans for my life- for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”
So comforting. Thanks for checking in ūüôā

Stretchmarks of Faith

So many of you have been so sweet and asking if it is OK to ask us how our adoption is going. Of course it is!:) Unfortunately, we continue to have no new news. Carolina Adoption Services have been approved to be re-accredited in Moldova and they are waiting on some of the final steps from the Moldovan government. So, this is positive. When will we find out? Who knows! We just keep pressing on..we have to complete a bunch of pre-adoptive education online and we just have not had the time or energy to do it. If you could pray for us to get this completed, we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!:)

Counting the blessings:
A close friend of mine e-mailed me about a month ago and said that she was praying for us. Her specific prayer was that I would find another mom who was trying to adopt from Moldova so we could help support each other. Sure enough, I¬†got a message on Facebook a few days later from a friend who lives in Colorado. She had met a woman at her church that was trying to adopt from Moldova and wants us to stay in touch. God is good, isn’t He?

Every so often, I wish we had something physical to¬†remind us that a baby is on the way. An ultrasound. A growing stomach. A sure timeline of 9 months. Anything. But with those fleeting thoughts comes conviction. Sometimes a whisper. Sometimes a shout. Jesus reminding me “I AM enough”. His fingerprints have been on this whole journey. I don’t want to miss Him~His voice, His convictions, His encouragement. The Lord HAS to be my number one desire. HE has to be the source of my joy. Nothing else can bring full satisfaction. Friends can disappoint us. Jobs can leave us. Marriages can fail. Kids can make bad decisions. Jesus is the only constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His grace is sufficient in our weakness. Through pain, He brings peace that passes all understanding. His love is unfailing. He came to give us fullness of life. I was reading yesterday how the name that God calls himself ¬†“I AM” is present tense. He loves you today, He is with you today, and He wants to be your number one …forever.

My deepest desire is to be a mom and have blessed chaos in our small apartment. But if it never happens and the only thing I come out of this is with a deeper relationship with the Lord..not just knowing about Him, but knowing Him…I will have won. Actually, I already have won.

So, come and stretch with me:) I would love to hear what God is doing in your life. He loves you like crazy and so do I! Thank you for checking in on us:)

Psalm 91:2 “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I trust Him.”

So Let It Grow

There have been two verses that over the last few weeks that God has used to speak to me and I wanted to share them because there are several of you that I pray for who are in waiting period. Whether it is for a family, a spouse, a new career, or direction in when to move again, the waiting is hard…but…can also be a time of great joy.

I personally don’t wait well and it’s apparent that God knows that because here we are, once again, waiting. There have been several occasions throughout our 9 years of marriage where we have had to wait, and it has been hard. Really, really hard. But God is merciful, gracious, and compassionate and I am so thankful for those times in our past to reflect on as we wait on God’s timing for a family.

The first verse that has been such an encouragement to me over the last few weeks in James 1:2-4:

¬†“When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing¬†nothing.”
We simply have a choice to wait or not. To wait for the Lord or take the easy way out of whatever trial we are going through. If we choose to wait, we are allowing God to do amazing things and are allowing Him to bring us to perfection….to bring us to a closer relationship with Him and to know Him in a deeper way than what we had before. Adam and I are choosing “to let it grow.”
The second verse I wanted to share is found in Isaiah 45:3:
“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness-secret riches.
I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord.”
Sometimes waiting does feel¬† like a dark time, that there isn’t really a light at the end of the tunnel. It can feel lonely as everyone else seems to go about their daily lives. But I love how God promises to send us reminders of Him in the dark times…reminders that He is still there, He is working, and He is moving…even when it doesn’t always seem like it. ÔĽŅFor me, these “treasures” have come in many different ways. But over the last several days it has been through e-mails, phone calls, and texts from friends and family. And they often come at random times, but right when I needed to read it. A friend texted me early morning last week and my sister in law texted me at midnight..both including verses that talked about God’s timing and His promises. And there have been many other occasions that this has happened and we are so grateful. They have reminded us that God is active and is speaking to us. Another great provision this week…we received a note from our landlords saying that they wanted to cut our rent almost in half for the month of July so we could save the rest for the adoption! They are so generous and needless to say we were quite surprised.
God has been so good to us..so we are embracing the waiting and are excited to see Him “make the impossible possible.” (Mark 10:27
Thanks for checking in…please know how grateful we are for each of you:)