06 November 2014

knit together: a family photo, education & anticipation

Wow! Thank you so much for your excitement for us and sharing in our news!

For the life of me, I cannot remember to take pictures. Even when we're on vacation, by the end of our time away there are minimal pictures as compared to the first few days away. I'm hoping that changes when we have a baby. Surely it will. We actually did have photos taken recently, but haven't received those yet. So here's a snapshot of us; it's one of my favorites:

Other than a cat and a dog, this is our family. We're anxiously awaiting children and look forward to our lives being completely different. 

Since we aren't parents yet, we absolutely have lots to learn about parenting. Of course, we'll read books as needed, but I think most can agree that learning this skill requires doing. But there is the component that involves incorporating adoption into life. We know that we don't want to have "the talk" at some point in the life of a child where we reveal that they are adopted. This will be something that our child knows from a very early age. There is a chance that this child will have a different ethnic or racial background, so they would notice differences early in life. Our plan for sharing with our child(ren) about adoption is to provide age-appropriate books. Eventually, we'll strive to have open conversation about the birth family, with hopes that they'll know adoption isn't something to push under a rug and ignore. We want them to be proud of both of their families.

We were exhausted after our home study with the information that we learned. We haven't gone into adoption blindly. Our church has created a culture of adoption, and we have several friends who have adopted; I have family members who are adopted. But there were things our social worker shared that we hadn't considered. For instance, we knew that bonding with an adopted child will be different. They've spent nine months (hopefully) in a different environment. Bonding with baby is essential for any parent, but critical for adoptive parents. We were told that for the first few months of life, all needs must be met by us: feeding, putting down to sleep, holding, changing diapers. Although others can give a little squeeze, passing baby around a circle of visitors so that they can hold him/her isn't something we'll be able to do. We had no clue. It sounds like we'll be pretty busy for the first few months!

We've also learned that positive adoption language is critical so that children know that there is more than one way to grow a family. We want to honor our child and their birth family. Here are some examples:

Real/Natural Parents
Birth parents; birth mother/father
Children of your own
Biological children
Adopted child
My child, child
Was adopted
Is adopted
Born to unmarried parents
Give up for adoption
Placed for adoption
Bi-racial family
Trans-racial family

Another component of education is for those around us--our families and friends who will have an impact on our child's life. The above language will be critical for our circles of influence. We'll work to correct phrases so that there's no shame associated with adoption. 

We also want those who aren't as familiar with adoption to understand the call to adoption we have from Christ. If adoption makes you unsettled, or if you've never truly considered the heart of adoption, I'd love for you to listen to John Piper's sermon called Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel

I think it's safe to say that there's anticipation whenever a child will join a family, whether through pregnancy or adoption. Of course, this is no exception. Like a pregnancy, there's lots of waiting involved in adoption. Currently, we're anticipating our home study to be complete and a start to fundraising. (Side note: we have a fundraising opportunity that's fun for us--or at least me. That'll come in the next couple of weeks!) It seems like once those hurdles are cleared, then things will be easier. But then we'll start the process of being matched with a birth mom. I know, I KNOW that will be nerve-wracking for us. 

We know that we want to wait well. We want to anticipate our child joining us, but not be anxious or filled with worry. We trust that because this process has been Spirit-led that this season will be one of growing in Him, through the waiting. 

Thank you again for following along this journey with us. We're so grateful to have such a broad support system. We're so thankful to Him to grow our family in this way. We'd love your prayers while we're in the learning and the growing and the waiting.

03 November 2014

knit together

Hi, friends. I have some news to share. Actually, we have some big news to share:

(As a reminder: Jeremy proposed while we played LIFE, so we figured it was totally appropriate to announce this part of our life using the game.)

(Full disclosure: the square really says, "Adopt Twins." You'll see my finger is strategically placed. Not that we can't or won't adopt twins. But we didn't want mislead you.)

(Even fuller disclosure: our sweet friend, Michelle, took these pictures for us one Friday evening. There are a couple with our faces actually in the picture--perfectly off-set for text to be added, but for some reason I didn't see any need to brush my hair. There was a need. And Photoshop can only do so much. Therefore, you have a picture with our fingers.)

November is Adoption Awareness Month, and we're so excited to share about our growing family. We signed our papers with a consultant agency close to two months ago, and we're in full swing with all things adoption. This month on Instagram is a campaign called #knittogetherbyadoption. As part of this, there a daily topics. I'm hoping to share throughout the month, detailing our process and sharing about why adoption is important to us. Since a couple of days have already passed, I'll combine a few topics. And probably would, any way, since posting daily isn't likely.

I can't remember a time in my life when I haven't been impacted by adoption. I have friends who are adopted and friends who have adopted. I've worked with orphans and with children in foster care. In fact, adoption is so important to me that it was a topic on our first date. I knew that I couldn't marry someone who wasn't open to adoption, so there was no need to move to a second date if we didn't share this conviction. Since our first date was going so well, I breathed a sigh of relief when I found out that Jeremy is fully supportive of adoption.

For both of us, adoption is important. We believe that if those in the church proclaim to be pro-life, then they must also be pro-adoption. The first cannot be a reality if the second isn't offered. Jeremy and I feel a calling to step in and help birth parents who sacrificially place their child for adoption. We know that others aren't called to adopt, but there are other ways to participate in an adoption: praying for a family, running errands for a new adoptive mom, cooking dinner for the family, participating in a fundraiser.

For us, adoption has always been part of our plan. We're excited that it's now a reality.

This was huge for us. We'd talked about adoption since our first date, seven years ago. The first decision we made was that we would pursue a domestic, infant adoption. If you're unaware, there are hundreds of adoption agencies. It was a little difficult to know if we were making the best decision. Because I follow several adoption advocates and adoptive parents via Instagram and blogs, I was somewhat familiar with adoption consultant agencies, so I began researching these.

We decided that a consultant agency would be the best fit for us. Rather than applying with one agency, a consultant agency works with multiple agencies and dozens of attorneys. Basically, they have more birth moms and there's often less waiting time. I contacted the first consultant agency, but I felt that the communication from the agency was lacking. I waited several days between sending an email and receiving a reply. I decided to Google "adoption consultants."

The first or second result was for Christian Adoption Consultants. I did a little research on their website and decided to request more information. Y'all. Within an hour, their Texas consultant CALLED me. Like on my phone. I decided that this would be the consultant agency for us. We submitted our paperwork and initial payment. We've emailed back and forth, and a phone call is always an option. I feel like I'm not navigating this huge process alone. (And just to clarify, I'm not doing this alone; Jeremy is by my side. But my strength is paperwork and organization, so it makes sense that this part of the process is "mine.")

So that's our plunge into adoption. We're super excited. And we love that our family and friends are excited, too. We love hearing, "Congratulations!" just as we would if announcing a pregnancy. We love hearing about how adoption has impacted even more than we'd realized. So, if you have a story, please share. If you have a question, please ask. I'm excited to blog about this over the next month.