Author: Vanessa

Let the Waiting Begin


I’ve learned that adoption has a lot of “waiting” times.  We turn in our application… wait for it to be processed.  We meet with a caseworker… wait for the homestudy to be complete.  We complete our profile… then wait for it to be shown to birthparents.  We then wait to be chosen, wait for the baby to be born, wait for the court date… wait, wait, wait.  Boy is it hard to wait! But, I think God provides “waiting” times for us to grow closer to Him.  God knows that we are anxious or don’t know what is coming around the corner of life next – this helps us to give up our tight grip of control and trust God.  That has been my prayer for Tim and I through this whole process of waiting.  That is one of the hardest things for me – I’m such detailed person that I like to know where we are at with each step and know what is next for us… but God never intended our life to be that way.  HE wants to have full control of our life!  That is what I’m constantly working towards.

One of the hard things is the anticipation that it “might” happen soon.  Some families are chosen within the first few weeks of being shown to birthparents.  But, I don’t dwell on that because I don’t want to be disappointed if it takes a couple years. How do we balance the excitement, but not get dissapointed?  That will be something I will have to learn in the next month – all while remembering that God has control of this whole situation.

Our case worker told us yesterday that right now they do not have any birthparents looking for adoptive families (which is actually a good thing but not very promising for us).  From my understanding though this is normal with the agency… they go through times of many birthparents and then not very many.  It can change overnight.

Here is my prayer request for tonight:
Pray that Tim and I will know what God is teaching us through the “wait”.  We want to hear his voice and follow His lead each step of the way.

Learning About Adoption


As we began the journey of adoption, I spent hours researching what it meant to adopt.  I’ve learned so much about adoption and how it works.  I’ve read several books (including the ones pictured above) and we spent time with people that have already been through the process (Thanks Jeff & Ann, Delia and Anna!).  Much of what I learned was contrary to what I thought about adoption.  It has been such an eye opening experience!  So what did I learn?  One of the biggest things I’ve learned is about open adoption.

As we began meeting with our case worker at Bethany, one of  the first things that we learned is that most domestic adoptions are now open.  In the years past you heard about most adoptions being closed – where the birthparents have no contact with their child after they have been adopted.  Since then, there has been significant research on adoptive children that have lived through closed adoptions.  I think those of you that have been adopted or have experienced adoption can attest to the fact that many adopted children have this desire at some point to know their first parents.  A lot of times the child needs to understand what brought their first parents to adopt or what kinds of things they have in common with their first parents.  It is important to their self-esteem!  Fortunately, with domestic adoption we have the option for them to ask those questions if they desire.

Most birthparents now want to have some type of openness – that could mean letters sent to them 4 times a year with pictures, it could be visits 2 times a year, or visits more often.   As we worked through the adoption process with our case worker – we got to choose an openness that we feel comfortable with.  I have to tell you – when we started this process… we were skeptical of open adoption (mainly because we didn’t understand it), but we have done a complete turn around!

We’ve learned so much about the birthparents – what a difficult decision they have to make in order to allow their child to have a better life.  I can’t imagine making that decision.  For those of you that have had children, you know the bond that you have with the child growing inside of you.  I know I had that with those that I lost.  They have to have amazing strength to give that child to another family!

Here is my prayer request for today:
Pray that God will bring the right birthmom to us as well as child.  We want to be able to have a great relationship with the birthparents.  Pray that it will be someone that we can really enjoy getting to know.

Profile Book

Today is the big day for bringing in our profile book!  I spent hours on this book that tells expectant parents all about us.  We created pages about us, how we met, what we like to do, about our families and our promise as adoptive parents.  This was really fun to put together.  We used iPhoto and had the books printed and bound.  We had to make four copies of them – 3 of them will stay in the Grand Rapids Bethany Christian Services Office and one will be sent to Lansing to an office that they work closely with there.  Tim and I have been praying for the people that will eventually view this book.  We are praying for their tough decision that they are having to make.  They have to have the most amazing strength to go through this process and give their child up.  I have been praying that God will help them to make the right decision – either to parent or put their child up for adoption.

Will you join us in prayer over the expectant parents that will be viewing our books?  We believe that there is a child out there for us – a child that God wants to place with us.   Thanks!

Timeline

So, this is how the last year has looked for us with the adoption…

April 2009 – Informational Meeting at Bethany Christian Services
Explained the basics about domestic infant adoption.  Very helpful, but for the most part we were not ready for that meeting at that point.  We had just lost the twins maybe a month before that and it was a tough meeting for us.  At that point we knew we weren’t ready.

April-August 2009 – Prayed for God’s direction on what He desired for us
We had several people praying for us during this time.  We met with an amazing couple from our church that has adopted domestically.  They helped us in so many ways as we sought out God’s direction.  They have never stopped praying for us.  I was also able to spend time with a friend that was going through domestic adoption at the time.  I think I asked like a million questions!

August 2009 – Felt God leading us to move forward with adoption
We attended a Christian Band Festival in August where Tim really felt that God was telling him that we needed to move forward.  Many of the artists were either adopted or talked about kids they adopted and how blessed they were because of them.  I had already felt like we needed to adopt… so I was excited when Tim was hearing that too.  I knew that I didn’t want to push anything unless we were both on the same page and ready.

September 2009 – First meeting with our  case worker at Bethany Christian Services
It was great meeting with Kim – our case worker.  She was so friendly and excited to give us a clear picture of what adoption is like – amazing, beautiful picture.  She lent me a book that I will talk about in a later post… it helped change my view on open adoption.  She sent us home with a page after page of paperwork that needed to be filled out – I felt like I was writing an autobiography on myself!

September-October 2009 – Additional meetings with case worker
Part of working through the adoption process is meeting with the case worker 4-5 times at her office, then she comes to our home for what is called the “Homestudy.”  Even though for some of these I was a little nervous… it was nothing to be nervous about.  Kim made things so easy!

November-December 2009 – Homestudy & Profile Creation
Our caseworker then takes all of the information she learned from our meetings and our “auto-biography” and writes up a really big “homestudy.” This is then passed on to her boss who looks it over and gives her approval.  At home we begin work on a “profile.”  This is basically a big photo book that we get printed – it tells all about Tim and I, how we met, what we like to do, what our families are like, etc.  They will show this to expectant moms.

December 22, 2009 – Officially approved and waiting!
This means the homestudy is complete and they are ready to show us!  I’m bringing our profile book to Bethany tomorrow!  YAY!

Now we wait… I’ve heard this is the hardest part.  We are trusting God’s plan for our lives – hopefully it will be to have a child soon, but we know He will take care of us if we are not to have a child yet.  God has been amazing to us and provided more than we could have ever imagined in our lives.  I’ve learned to live for today and not worry about tomorrow.  Now I say that, but a couple months down the road I will probably need to be reminded of that.  We are told that the wait could be a couple months or it could be a couple years.  We are just trusting God each day.

April 19, 2010 – We’ve been selected by a birthmother!!
We got the call from our caseworker that we’ve been choosen by a birthmother that is due August 9th!!  We are going to have a baby girl!

May 3, 2010 – First Meeting with Birthmother
We were super nervous, but it went really well.  We met at the Bethany office and talked for over an hour.  We learned so much about her.  She is such a strong girl!

June 2010-July 2010 – Two more meetings with Birthmother and her family
We met the family and have really enjoyed getting to know them.  What a great family!

August 1, 2010 – Going into labor
We got a call in the evening from the birthmother… we were just walking into church when I saw her name pop up on my phone.  I was SO excited!  After that… it was all I could think about.  I couldn’t wait to see our little girl!

August 2, 2010 – Marissa is born
Got a picture text a little after 9am with a picture of the nurses just wrapping little Marissa up.  AMAZING!  I cried happy tears!  She is beautiful!  I was at work… but didn’t stay long.  I couldn’t concentrate on anything else!  We didn’t get the OK to go to the hospital yet… so I was patiently waiting for a call saying we can go up.  It didn’t come this day.  That was SO hard!

August 3, 2010 – 2:00pm – We got the call that we can come and visit
I called Tim who was still working… he came home right away (that was the longest 30 minutes EVER).  We went to the hospital and saw our little Marissa for the first time.  All I could do was stare at her.  She was moving her little lips and fingers.  What a miracle and blessing from God!  We stayed there for about an hour and had to leave, knowing that tomorrow we would get to take her home.

August 4, 2010 – 12:00pm – Taking our baby home
We met up at the hospital at 12:00pm for the discharge of the birthmother and Marissa.  We brought her home!!  We got home about 2:30pm… wow was it good to be able to hold her for hours and hours and just watch her.  The hour visit the day before was great… but this is what we were waiting for!

August – September, 2010 – Visits with Birthmother
We had two visits with the birthmother and her family before the court date.  They were great visits and Marissa is so blessed to have so many people who love her SO much!

September 17, 2010 – Court Date
This is the date we were waiting for.  Because the birthfather wasn’t consenting to the adoption, we were a little nervous about this date.  We had MANY people praying that he just would not show up – which would mean his rights would be terminated.  God answered our prayers!

Next 6 months – Visits
Now we will have to do a 3 month visit with our case worker and a 6 month visit.  She will come into our home and just make sure we are doing ok as parents to Marissa.  Once the 6 month visit is done… papers will be filed for us to be legal guardians to Marissa!  We will also be meeting periodically with the birthmother.  She will continue to be a part of our lives, which we are excited about.

Our Family Story

In case some of you don’t know what brought us to adoption I wanted to share.  In 2008 Tim and I began trying to have children.  It took over a year for us to get pregnant the first time.  Ten weeks into the pregnancy I had a miscarriage.  This happened two more times, the last with twins.  It was devastating to us as we both love children and have a huge desire to have a family.  We spent much time praying and seeking God’s will for us to have a family.  He has brought us to adoption.

We’ve always talked about adoption as an option, maybe after we have our own children, but in light of the miscarriages we’ve stepped into this journey earlier than originally planned.  We are now very excited to be able to be a part of this process.  We’ve learned so much in the past year about adoption and much of which we will share with you in the months to come.

I believe that many people have a misconceptions on domestic adoption, as I had them when we started this process.  I’m hoping that you will get a glimpse of what domestic adoption is really like.  I’m also hoping you will pray for Tim and I as we begin our wait for an expectant mom to choose us.  I will post more things to pray about in the weeks to come.  Thanks for joining Tim and I in this journey through prayer!