Author: Vanessa Nolte

Court and Dedication


Not the greatest picture… but hopefully you can see the little tooth that has come in on the bottom.  She doesn’t let us look at her teeth at all, so I can’t be picky when trying to get a picture 🙂  She has two teeth right now (top and bottom), but two more are coming!

It is taking me a little longer to keep things up to date on here… but I eventually get to it!  Soon after I posted the last update, we went to court.  This was the final step to making the adoption final.  The birth parents would not be a part of this, they have already gone to court at the beginning.  So, this was just to make it final on our end.  We weren’t really sure what to expect and were a little nervous.  Turns out, it was more of a celebration than anything else.  We arrived at the court house downtown Grand Rapids, at about 2:15pm.  We met our case worker by the courtroom that we were assigned to.  When we entered the court room, the judge was not in the room, but one of the court workers was.  She thought Marissa was so cute… she had to gather other court workers to come and meet her 🙂

We found out through our case worker that each judge gets one day a month that they get to finalize adoptions and it is a highlight of their month.   When the judge, Kathleen Feeney arrived, she started by sharing many things about adoption and how beneficial it is.  I wish I could remember everything she said, hopefully Tim remembers and I can fill in more here.  One thing I do remember is that she shared a poem with us.  She said that the poem is shared at every adoption finalization and has been for many years.   I was brought to tears by this poem – I’m not going to share it all, but it ends with this:

  • Not my planting,
    But by heaven
    My harvest-
    My own child

I was blown away that even here they acknowledged that Marissa is a gift from Heaven above!  Awesome!  I was really emotional at this point.  I felt (and continue to feel) so blessed that we have been allowed to raise Marissa.  At the end, she invited us up into the judges area and she gave Marissa a stuffed bunny.  Marissa smiled only once… when she got the bunny! Then as she declared it final, she asked me to bang the gavel.

After this, we all came down into the courtroom area where we were able to take pictures with Judge Kathleen Feeney and our case worker Corey Mettler from Bethany Grand Rapids Office.

One other thing I wanted to share that has happened in these past few months.  Mother’s day was memorable in many ways. We were able to dedicate our Marissa to God, the one that has blessed us with her.  It was a great morning.  Dedication is an acknowledgement in front of everyone that we plan on raising Marissa to love God and serve Him.  Marissa was mostly just fascinated with the lights on the stage. 🙂  It was great to have all our family there to celebrate mother’s day!


That is all for tonight.  I have some father’s day things to share too, but that will have to come later in the week!

Big Week


One year ago today, we got the call from Bethany with big news that we have been chosen by an expectant mother to parent her baby girl.  It just seems like yesterday!  Read more about that here.  It is so hard to believe that it was a year ago.  Now things have come so far and the adoption is almost complete.  Over the past 8 months, we have grown more and more in love with our daughter.  She brightens our day in more ways that we could have ever imagined.

Since my last post, we’ve had our 2nd visit to our home from our case worker.  The next step is going to court where all will become final!  This is just a legality… really it is pretty much final already… we just need the court to sign off on it now.  Well, this happens on Wednesday.  We are so excited to finalize this.  Adoption is such a long, but rewarding and fulfilling process.  We feel so blessed that we’ve been able to adopt and that God has allowed us to raise little Marissa. We love her SO much!

I had to show you some of her fun faces… she has SO many!  These are just a few that I love!

The Last 4 Months!

So, once Marissa was born things got a little busy… I don’t understand why.  🙂  Anyways, Marissa has been doing great!  Here is a quick update on the last 4 months.

  • August 2nd – Marissa is born!!  We got a call from Marissa’s birthmother on Sunday night August 1st… she was on her way to the hospital!  On Monday morning around 9:05am I got a picture texted to me of our new baby girl!  I had just arrived at work – and promptly left at about 9:10am 🙂  There was NO way I could work anymore.  I was so excited!  I went home and started calling people, sending out her picture and who knows what else.  We had to wait to get the OK to come to the hospital… that was the hardest wait!!  We finally got the call in the afternoon on August 3rd.  We were over there within 30 minutes.  My heart felt an overwhelming love for our daughter!  I remember thinking – WOW… what a miracle!  This picture is of our first visit with Marissa.

  • August 4th – The day Marissa was scheduled to come home.  This was the most exciting, but also very emotional day for all.  We met the caseworker at the hospital at noon that day.  We signed some paperwork while the birthmother’s caseworker was working with her to sign paperwork.  We then went in the room.  I’m not going to share a lot about this out of respect for those involved (if you have questions about let me know and I can talk to you via email), but this was a very emotional day for all involved.  Once we got home the visits began!  We were overwhelmed with all the people that wanted to meet Marissa!  Those first few days were surreal.  We were so exhausted, but didn’t care.  Tim took a couple weeks off which was a life saver.  That would have been tough on my own that’s for sure.  All we did for hours and hours on end is watch her… we watched her smile in her sleep, make faces and cry.  All so magical!

  • September 17 – The adoption was going to court on this day.  Bethany Christian Services had not gotten signed paperwork from the birthfather, so this was a very nervous day for us.  If the birthfather showed up for this, we were told that it would get rescheduled and arguments would be heard for him contesting the adoption on a different day.  We did not go to this… so I was waiting around at home… carrying my phone everywhere I went.  We got a call about 3:30pm… she could not say the words quick enough.  He did not show up!!  Everything was final and Marissa was ours!!

  • September 18-Now – We have 2 visits with our case worker (one we already had at the beginning of the month – the other will be at the beginning of March).  Once those are complete, we will receive a birth certificate and final papers.  We are so enjoying our new daughter!  She is the most beautiful little girl that seems to always smile at everyone.  She just makes our hearts melt each day.


For those of you that are wondering – this is an open adoption.  So, we have visits with Marissa’s birthmom every 3 months or so.  We send pictures and updates every other week (unless things are really busy).  We love her birthmom and are so excited to have her be a part of Marissa’s life too.  Last month we were able to attend her wedding.  We felt honored to be a part of that day.  We got some great pictures for Marissa to have some day.

Christmas

Christmas is different at our house this year.  I’m so looking forward to the new experiences with Marissa!  We’ve already gotten our tree, strung popcorn and put up the decorations.  She is mesmerized by all of the new things in our house.  I already loved this time of year… now it is even more special!  I’m looking forward to sending out our first Christmas Card as a family of three.  In the past, we’ve done Christmas letters, but this year we are going to attempt a card from Shutterfly.  They have options to write short updates right on the card, so this is what we are going to do this year.  I think this will be a little more simple with a 4 month old in our house now 🙂   Now, I better get going on them so they are out before Christmas right?!?

Just by posting something about my cards this year, I’m getting our Shutterfly holiday cards for free!  If you are a blogger, you can too! Just go to here and sign up! I love free stuff!!

Quick Update

I don’t have long to post, but wanted to put this out there so you all can pray.  We got a call from our case worker yesterday.  She said that the birthfather called the Bethany Office and asked to get a copy of the form that he would have to sign if he were to consent to the adoption.  He said he wanted his attorney to look over it.  This could be a good sign – maybe he will sign it.  Thank you for joining me in prayer this week.  People have asked if I feel worried and the answer is this… I’ve really felt at peace about this whole situation.  I can’t explain it… but I really believe that God has a plan for this baby and haven’t been worried about the outcome.  We’ve been praying like crazy and trusting God along the way.

One last thing – I had an amazing baby shower on Saturday.  WOW… seriously I’m so overwhelmed with the generosity of my friends.  Thank you so much for those of you that were able to make it that day.  It really meant so much to me to have you there.  Gail, Kris and Penny – thanks for throwing an AMAZING shower for me!  The food was wonderful and the whole thing was so fun!  Tim and I have been wow’ed over and over by the outpouring of love and support from our friends and family.  Thanks to you all!

Update

I got a call from our case worker yesterday.  She said that the meeting with the attorney went really well.

I’m told that they will not be able to take the birthfather to court until after the baby is born.  The court date is usually scheduled 4-8 weeks after the baby is born, so we will still take the baby home from the hospital, but have the potential of having to give the child up if it doesn’t go our way.   Anything could happen now… he could change his mind again and go along with the adoption or he could hire an attorney and fight this to the end.

We will be praying that he changes his mind and that things come together for our attorney quickly as we will be paying the bill for this attorney (on top of the other adoption costs).   Thanks for all your support and prayers!  Tim and I really appreciate and can feel your prayers.

I thought I would end with finally posting some of our nursery pictures.  We finished the nursery even before we were selected, so it is pretty gender neutral.  We have a rocking chair in there now (not pictured).  Before too long we will have a full baby room with toys, swing, etc.  Thanks to Amanda Troyer for the awesome “jungle” pictures on the wall and the lion light.

Our neighbor had a garage sale the other day and gave me about 3-4 bags of clothes, crib items, and all kinds of other basic things.  I think I have A LOT to learn about what we need… she was telling me a lot that I didn’t know.

I still don’t have the ultrasound pictures scanned in… I will post those soon.  Thanks again for all of you that are praying for us!



BIG Prayer Request

I got a call from our case worker today.  She just got word that the birthfather is now saying he doesn’t want to go through with the adoption.  He has not really been in the picture with the birthmother and we have not met him.  We were just told early on that he was going to sign over his rights to the child – that is what he told the case worker.  Now he has changed his mind.   Please join with Tim and I to pray for this birthfather and birthmother and the baby.  Pray that the birthfather does what is best for the child.  Pray for the birthmother as she also works through the emotions with him wanting to raise their child.  On Tuesday, June 22nd, one of Bethany’s case workers will be meeting with an attorney to talk through this case.  We should know by Wednesday what the attorney thinks will happen.  Please pray for that meeting on Tuesday.

On another note, I realize I haven’t updated this in a really long time.  I do have nursery pictures, but I don’t have them on this computer… so I will have to post them later.  Sorry!  Here is what has happened in the past couple months.  We had our first meeting with the birthmother and wow was I nervous.  But, the conversation was great and I walked away really excited.  At this first meeting we found out that so far the baby is breech and is measuring small.  We also found out the gender of the baby…. but we are keeping this a secret 🙂  That has been probably one of the most difficult things to do and I actually slipped and told someone… but she has promised not to tell anyone and I won’t even tell you who it is so you can’t bug her… ha ha.  At the first meeting we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers.  Since then, we’ve kept in contact and got together one other time.  We even got ultrasound pictures… which I will post (some of them) when I post the nursery pictures.  The birthmother is great and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know her.  She is smart and makes us laugh.  We are grateful for this time we’ve been able to spend with her.  We’ve been learning so much that we will be able to share with our child someday (hopefully) and add to the lifebook.

I’ve really been trying to protect my heart over the past couple months, knowing that something could happen and someone could change their mind.  I was doing a pretty good job of it until recently, as time has gotten closer it has started to become more real and I’ve been opening my heart to the possibility that this could really be it.  I’ve been just imagining holding our child and rocking our child to sleep, getting up in the night and feeding our child.  Then this call comes today.  Please pray that God will bless Tim and I with a child soon.

Thanks for those of you that have been praying for us and supporting us through this time.  We appreciate you!

We are going to be parents!!

So, this morning was a normal Monday morning.  Always hard to get up on a Monday morning, but we made it up.  Tim left for work and that is my time to spend time with God – I have more recently gotten back into journaling my prayers to God which has been great for me.  As you can imagine, one of my prayers lately is in regards to a child that we hope to adopt some day.  I’ve been pouring my heart out to God through this whole journey.  This morning one thing I prayed is this, “I pray that something exciting will happen on the adoption front this week.”  Seriously… that is what I wrote and prayed.

A little info that seems irrelevant – but it will make sense soon.  For all of our case workers calls, I try to go somewhere private so that I can ask questions and be free to say what I want without telling others what is going on.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my team at Daybreak… I just wanted Tim to be the first to hear any news before my coworkers 🙂  Anyways, my phone was dead and plugged into the wall… so I was tied to my desk.

So, now fast forward to 10:23am and I’m working.  My cell phone is ringing… it is our case worker.  She asks me if I have a minute to talk.  Of course I have a minute to talk (but I’m tied to my desk)!!  So, I just say, yes of course I can talk.  She says, “I have some good news for you.”  At this point I’m ecstatic!!  I can’t stop smiling… but I’m trying to contain myself since I’m at my desk.  She goes on to tell me that a one of the birthmothers had chosen us to parent her child!!  She gave me lots of details… I just kept saying… “I’m so excited.”  She probably couldn’t tell I was really so excited because I was trying to talk quietly.  Anyways, I said “so what is next?”  She explained that we will meet with her sometime next week!!  All I can say is “I’M SO EXCITED!!”

So I get off the phone and of course one of my coworkers asks me if I’m going to be a mom.  I just say… I can’t tell you anything yet.  I need to call Tim!!  Once I get off the phone of course I share with my coworkers the news.  Can you tell I’M SO EXCITED!!

The birthmother is due at the beginning of August… so we have 4 months to prepare for a baby!

I want to share with you guys a couple things, and I hope you will understand.  We want our child’s story to be something that is theirs only and something they can cherish and learn more about as they grow in time.  Part of what we learned about adoption is that the situation that causes a child to be put up for adoption and any details about the birthmother should be shared only with that child.  Then if that child wants to share information with others, they can do that.  So, we will not be sharing lots of those details about the actual reason for adoption or about the birthparents other than the basics.  Thanks for understanding!  You can of course ask questions about our journey, what is coming up and how we are preparing for our baby 🙂

We will get many more details about what is to come next week.  We do know that she would like us to be at the hospital when she delivers and we will take the child home from the hospital.  Many have asked if she could change her mind.  Of course she can, but Bethany does a great job at preparing them and not matching them with a family until they are pretty sure that won’t happen.  But, there is always a slight risk of this.

THANK YOU all for your prayers and support through this whole process.

Prayer Requests for Tonight:
• Pray for this birthmother.  Pray that she will feel at peace about her decision.
• Pray for our meeting next week.  Pray that we really hit it off with the birthmother and enjoy getting to know her.

God’s Timing

We got a call from our case worker today.  The birthmother and father that we met with on Monday has decided to go with another family.  That was hard news to get today–mainly because we thought the meeting went SO well and I know I was feeling like this might be it.  But, apparently it wasn’t the right situation for us.  It is still hard even now as I think about it.  I was trying so hard to not get my hopes up.  Anyways, I know they had to make the best decision for them.  I’m going to continue to pray for them and their baby.  They were a great couple.

So, what is next for us?

Well… our profile is out to 2 more birthmothers right now.  Another possible 2 next week.  So, it could still happen.  One of the situations next week is for a baby that is already born – she is 2 weeks old.  I’m not sure what God has in store, but I know His plan is best.  I know when we hold our child for the first time, I will understand why we had to wait.  Can you please pray for us as we work through these UP’s and DOWN’s of this process?  It is VERY difficult.  Thanks!

Could be it… excited and nervous!

It has been a while since we’ve last posted and that is not for lack of things happening.  We have had some great things happen on the adoption front over the past month.  Here are 3 of the big things that are going on right now.

  1. If you know anything about me… you know that I don’t do things “half-heartedly” so over the past months I’ve been doing lots and lots of research on adoption.  I have found MANY websites where agencies, referral businesses, etc post what they call “available situations.”  On one of those sites, I found an agency that was looking for a family in Michigan.  We submitted our information to the agency and a couple weeks later we were told that she wanted to meet us and one other family.  (Thanks to my friend Delia for being a sounding block after we found out we were meeting – she has been there before with her adoption and was EXTREMELY helpful!)  We met with her and boy were we nervous!  We didn’t know what to expect or even what kinds of things she might ask because it was not the agency that we have actually listed with.  We didn’t get a ton of details.  But, it was a great meeting.  We found out on Monday that she ended up going with another family.  It was a bummer to hear, but we are still trusting God and His plan.
  2. We have also been doing a lot of research on getting a quick placement and one of the things that I’ve seen recommended over and over was to list with multiple agencies.  Now, this can be costly because with most agencies you have to pay some costs up front to be shown.  So, we’ve been holding off on this, but this past week we decided we would move forward with this.  We had a meeting on Tuesday morning with Adoption Associates in Hudsonville.  (We are already listed with Bethany Christian Services.)  Adoption Associates have a big need for couples/families that will adopt African American children.  She gave us a bunch of things to fill out and complete and then we would be able to be shown there.  (But now this has been put on hold… see #3)
  3. I got a call from our caseworker at Bethany in the afternoon on Tuesday.  One of the birthmothers that was looking at our profile through Bethany would like to meet us and one other family.  So, we will be meeting her and the birthfather on April 12!!  So, because of this we are holding off on listing with another agency until after we have this meeting.  Maybe this will be it!!  Then just today, our caseworker from Bethany called and said if this one doesn’t choose us that there might be another possibility.  Another birthmother has expressed interest in us!!  Cool!

On another note… the baby room is coming together.  We got the bedding for the crib and a few more decorations.  I will hopefully post pictures soon.

Thanks for all those that are still praying!

Prayer request for today:
Pray for our meeting on April 12.  Pray that God will help calm our nerves and that we can just be ourselves and enjoy the meeting.