Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sneak Peek of our Adoption Profile

For the last two days, I have remained in my pjs from morning until night, working on one thing: our adoption profile. Here's a little glimpse of it:

Like seemingly every aspect in this process, this has been a lot more work than I anticipated. With the sheer weight of it all (birth mothers will use this–these pictures, these words, these pieces of our heart!–to consider us for a match) coupled with my tendency to overdo everything, it's been a bit stressful. I'm so thankful to have the summer off and to be home this week! It's been a lot of work, but it has been good to know I can pour all of my attention into it and finish it.

It's not finished, though. Close, but not quite. We'd like to get some updated photos, so that will be a project for this weekend. Plus, we'd love to include a picture or two from when we were little, so that means finding and scanning old photographs. Still, the majority of the plotting and writing of these twelve pages is complete!

In fact, things in general are progressing nicely. We have only two online classes left and just a few more chapters to read in the book The Connected Child. Monday is our home inspection, and we are almost ready for it. Once our profile is finished, we'll use portions of it to complete some other elements. And–fingers crossed–that's it! For now, at least :) Our social worker will do her part and get us all approved, and then we'll be placed on the waiting families list. Whew!

I look forward to having all the pieces in place, so we can simply rest and wait. It's been a lot these past few months, so I welcome some quiet. Notice I said some quiet. We don't want to be waiting forever!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Where We Are

I started writing this post simply to share where we are in the process and the new items we've checked off of our list. In the past week and a half, we have completed six online courses and our individual interviews. We have only a few courses left, our home inspection, and the creation of our adoption profile. Amazing!

But it's time to share where we are emotionally, as well. With every step, we find ourselves revisiting a piece of our grief and feeling some part of our loss. This past week, we were at the beach celebrating our anniversary. There were (of course) countless families enjoying the sun and waves, and as I watched darling kids bounce around on the beach, my heart was heavy. One of the greatest losses for us is not knowing what our biological children would have looked like. I grieve that I will never know them, that we will never get to say she has my eyes or his hair color. As we're learning about what it means to be an adoptive family, what it means to even be a conspicuous family, that loss feels fresh again. Please don't misunderstand: I have joy when I think about the adoptive child God will give us, and there is an excitement over what he or she will look like! But just because I have joy and excitement over a good thing doesn't mean there aren't tears over the loss. This is true for our future adoptive child, just as it is true for us. 

In fact, so much of our training and education has focused on the unique challenges we will have being adoptive parents. At times, it can be overwhelming. We find ourselves growing in knowledge and preparation, but with that comes the heavy reality that this will, from the very beginning, be different. It will, from the very beginning, be hard. And that isn't even touching on the difficulties of parenting in general, adoptive or not. 

It was good last night, then, when Steph reminded me that it's the daily life that will make it all worth it. Right now, we are learning all about the challenges, the questions, the crises, and the difficulties; very little time is spent talking about the beauty of being parents, the everyday moments we'll share with our little one, and the big milestones that we'll all celebrate together. But those will be ours, too.

So, where we are: moving along, checking things off, putting one foot in front of the other, and believing even when it's difficult that God is in this.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Adoption Seminar

Yesterday was a long day at the end of a long week. We finished out our school year, our children's Wednesday night ministry, as well as finalized plans for out-of-state traveling this month. Instead of having our Friday off (the usual routine for us lucky kids), we woke up bright and early and drove two hours to Modesto for an all-day adoption seminar.

The day was amazing! Exhausting, of course, but amazing. The ladies at Bethany Christian Service were friendly and knowledgeable and somehow managed to put together an eight-hour program that kept our attention. Three other couples working through their home study process joined us, which was really neat.

I won't be able to effectively share what we learned since I'm still recovering from the crazy week, but here are a few highlights of the day:

  • Meeting the wonderful staff of BCS and three other couples somewhere along the same journey we are. Wonderful support.
  • A "skit" (for lack of a better word) of the adoption process with BCS–sounds silly but was so helpful seeing how it all works and what is often happening simultaneously
  • Learning about The Connected Child, a book and series of videos that BCS highly recommends. I am ready to read this! You can see a bit about it at the website
  • Helpful information on interracial adoption. Take a look at PACT to learn a bit more. 
  • Meeting and listening to the story of three birth mothers who came to Bethany Christian Services while pregnant and made an adoption plan. This was awesome.
  • Learning more about Open Adoption and what that may look like
  • Statistics about this new generation of birth mothers who make an adoption plan
  • New language: not "put up for adoption" or "given away" but made an adoption plan
  • Getting a strong dose of both reality and hope!
After the seminar, we drove home, stopping off in Fresno for dinner at Cheesecake Factory and a quick trip to Anthropologie, my home away from home. It was a good day that gave us a lot to think about and talk about it, but perhaps more importantly, gave us real tools to empower us. We are becoming more and more confident with each new step, embracing the unknowns that accompany adoption with knowledge and faith.