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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
From the title, you would think I have good news… but not yet. I’ve just been thinking a lot about our baby… whether our baby hasn’t been conceived yet… or is growing as we speak and is not born yet… or is already born. I’ve just been spending some time praying for our baby. Praying that he/she will feel loved and important. That they will grow to love God as much as Tim and I do. That they will be healthy and grow strong. I pray for our baby several times a day… partially because that is all I can do right now. But, our baby is not the only thing we are praying for… we are praying for the expectant mother that is, has or will be carrying our baby. Praying that God will surround her with His love and protect her, help her to make great decisions for her baby. My mind is filled with this prayer several times a day. Thank you to those of you that have been praying with Tim and I.
Something you may not know about domestic adoption…
We will more than likely be taking a baby home from the hospital. When we are chosen, the birthmother will decide if they want us at the hospital during the delivery. That is totally up to her… but for the most part placement happens when the mother is discharged from the hospital. So, we will have a VERY newborn!! Sometimes the expectant mother will even invite you to doctor appointments to see the baby in an ultrasound before they are born.
Then following the time we take the baby home from the hospital… we wait until the court date. At the court date it is official that the baby is ours. The court date usually happens within a month (I think I have that number right). Although everyone has heard the stories of a mother taking her child back… and it does happen… but the agency does a great job at trying to explore all options before they even go down the “adoption” road, one of which is parenting themselves. So, by the time they get to the birth of their child, they should be ready. There is always a risk… but it is a risk we are willing to take.
Baby Room is Coming Together!!
We now have the changing station and dresser and a pack and play. The pack and play is also a bassinet and changing area… I don’t know if we will use that or not… but at least we have the option. My Mom and Dad got us the stroller… YAY!! So, we are ready for a baby! Thanks Mom and Dad!!
• Pray hard over this next week… it could happen!! Pray for the expectant mom that will one day be a part of our lives! Pray for our baby that it will be healthy and strong!
So I seriously think that there should be support groups for those that are in the adoption process!! I’m going crazy! It is so hard to not get discouraged and think that we may not have a family until years down the road – pending a birthmother choosing us to adopt their child. I’ve been a part of adoptive forums – where other families that are waiting hang out… but sometimes that is not very “supportive.” Actually, sometimes it almost makes it more discouraging. There are people on the forums that have been waiting for over two years to adopt a child domestically! Of course, I don’t know their openness to different situations or what agency they are with, but I really don’t want to wait that long. I’m praying that we don’t have to wait that long. Then there are people that are set on putting me in my “place” because I’ve only been waiting for a month… they almost make it seem like we don’t deserve to get a placement yet. I think I may need to stop visiting the forums. I wish I had people I knew that are going through domestic adoption right now… people that we could hang out with, pray with and just support each other (and remind each other that it is in God’s timing). If any of you know anyone else that is going through domestic adoption, let me know.
We have not heard anything as a result of the two birthmothers that were going to be looking at our profile last week. Tim and I have been really praying for them this past week. Praying that our profile will stand out among the others that they are looking through. Praying that the right mom and child will be drawn to us – whether it is one of these or one in the future.
Here are a few questions that people have asked us in the past months – maybe you are wondering too:
Are we adopting a baby or are we open to older children?
Tim and I really want to experience the whole thing – so baby times too. So, right now, we are requesting an infant. But, if an instance arises where there is a baby and a 2 year old – we would probably take two kids.
Have we explored adopting from foster care?
We did ask about this, but for the most part adopting from foster care is older child adoption. We may consider something like this in the future, but for right now we are sticking to domestic infant adoption. For those of you that don’t know – when you adopt from foster care – the cost is very minimal. (Usually less than $1000) Also, you get funding from the state – not a lot, but some. If you are interested in this – I would check with Bethany.
What kind of openness will we have with the birthmother?
This will depend on what the birthmother wants – we are open to some visits and cards/photos sent. This will all be determined as we meet our birthmother and set some guidelines.
Are we open to transracial adoption? Absolutely! We are open to any child!
Did we request a certain gender? You can request a gender, but we did not. We figured if we were having our own children – we wouldn’t be able to choose, so why make that specific now?
Have we considered adopting from Haiti?
Yes – we actually contacted our case worker after the earthquake happened along with many others. Basically, if you look at my last post you will see that there are not specific plans for more kids leaving Haiti. The international adoption program looks a lot different than the domestic program. We would have to fill out lots more paperwork and go through more things in order to be in that program. Unfortunately, we cannot do both at the same time… so we are sticking with domestic infant adoption.
Those are some of the basic questions that we’ve been asked… if you have more questions let me know – make a comment and I will answer more. Thanks to those that have been following along and praying for Tim and I. We’ve been so blessed to be surrounded by people that love us and encourage us!
Prayer Requests for Tonight:
• Pray for the birthmothers that have our profile right now. Pray that God will surround them and help them as they make this tough decision. Pray that they will have a circle of family or friends around them that will encourage and support them.
• Pray for Tim on Tuesday at 2:00pm. He has a job interview that seems like it would be a great opportunity.
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.