Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

We have been blessed this year.  More than we deserve.  More than I could ever imagine.  I didn’t know how full my heart could feel.  Our lives have been turned upside down and yet I hardly remember a time when Benjamin wasn’t part of our story.  He has, hands down, been the greatest gift we have ever received.  When I think about waiting for our referral, I know that I would be willing to wait another 5 years for Ben, if that’s what it would take.  I love him so completely and without limitations.

I am now back to work and what an adjustment that has been!  However, Ben is doing great at daycare and I am slowly starting to get into a groove.  The last three months at home have been heaven.  It’s been amazing getting to know our sweet son.  He is changing daily, learning and growing faster than I can keep up with.  This journey has been challenging and a testament to my faith.  There have been hurdles as a wife and mother I didn’t know I would face.  There have been moments where I’ve wanted to break down and cry out of pure joy.  It’s everything I had hoped it would be and yet motherhood has felt foreign at times.  This time I’m on a roller coaster that is so thrilling I don’t want it to end.  With every milestone Ben reaches I’m cheering him on and yet my heart hurts at how fast he is growing.  I want to keep him small and safe with mama and at the same time I want to see him flourish on his own.

I can’t wait to continue writing about our adoption challenges and how crazy it was to go from childless to mother in a three day time period.  I feel like I can finally come up for air! 
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!  Count your blessings as all good things come from Him!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our Beautiful Benjamin Seth

Sitting here today...I realize how fast life can change.  Literally, one phone call was all it took and now our lives will never be the same.  I've been dying to tell our story, but I wanted to wait until the termination of rights was complete.  Today it is.  Our heart are overjoyed for this little miracle.  We love him so much!

I got a call on Tuesday, after work.  Our social worker told us about a mom who had given birth to a little boy the previous Saturday.  She was hoping to make an adoption plan and she said that she was going to show our profile to her on Wednesday evening.  She also told me that she would let me know on Thursday morning of her decision.  Talk about a nail biter.  We told absolutely no one.  No family, no friends.  We did alert our work since we knew if we were chosen it would be a quick turn around time.  I don't think I slept at all on Wednesday night.  Something deep down told me this was it.  The call that we had been waiting for.  

Our worker called Thursday morning with fabulous news!  The mom had chosen us.  I was shaking...I couldn't wrap my head around all of this!  Of course, Thursday was a bust at work.  All I could think about was meeting our son!  We made plans to visit the mom and baby at the agency that evening at 4 p.m.  It was all happening so quickly, as I have read this is how it happens the majority of the time.   We immediately called our family with the awesome news!  I think they were in more shock than us!!  We met the mom and her mother and instantly fell in love with this sweet woman.  She is the epitome of strength, courage and faith.  I never knew that a bond could be formed so quickly but I felt a connection with her from the moment we met.  She is a beautiful young woman with a bright future ahead of her.  

THEN we met the baby.  Oh the baby.  We fell in love right away.  He stole our hearts with his big big brown eyes and his sweet cheeks!  As soon as we held him, he felt like ours.  Just like the story of the invisible red thread...we were destined to be together.  So...all of this is taking place on Thursday night.  We made arrangements to pick the baby up on Monday.  That's right folks...3 days notice before we brought our little joy home.

The next three days are days that I can hardly remember but I will never forget.  We had an army of friends and family helping us get things ready.  We had a make shift nursery to prepare (thank GOD we had purchased a bunch of big items) and we were literally showered with clothes and small gifts to help get ready for Ben's homecoming!

More to come with the details of our homecoming.  This journey has been a testament of faith.  It is a testament of the power of prayer and waiting patiently.  I would have waited 5 more years for this sweet boy!  The Lord knew exactly what he was doing when he united our birth mom, us and our sweet Ben.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Music for the Soul

Another song from our wedding that has great significance!  I always feel uplifted when I hear this song.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Music for the Soul

How great is He!

How Great Thou Art

Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home- what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Good things come to those who wait!  As I sit here with our son...I realize that life doesn't get much sweeter than this!!  God is good and we are so grateful.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Cross That I Carry

Adoption = Anxiety. From the get go I have felt bombarded with a million emotions. I struggle with keeping my anxiety in check. We go months and months without hearing from our agency and then the little voice of doubt starts to creep in. It feels like we're waiting for something that will never come. Everyday morning it's a struggle to not let the thoughts of "when" consume me. Do I believe in the Lord's perfect timing? Yes! Is it so hard to sit back and not have control? Yes! Would I completely mess things up if I did it my way? Yes! I believe all of these things with all my heart and yet I continue to struggle. My deepest desire is to become a mother. Then I start to think about all the things I have longed for...good friends...a boyfriend...graduating from college...a proposal...a healthy marriage...a job for Wesley...buying a home. The Lord, in his time, has granted everything that I ask of him. He knows the desires of my heart. Looking back everything happened in the exact way it was supposed to. I can remember all the stress we went through when Wes was looking for a police job. He now has a job he loves and all the stress is but a distant memory. I cannot wait for this stress to become a distant memory!

Sometimes I look at people and think that their life must be easy. But all I really see is that they are not carrying the same cross that I carry. How silly of me to assume that unloading my cross and picking up theirs would suddenly fill me with a sense of peace! My prayer is that I let go of the anxiety and the voice of doubt. I want to live a joyful, purposeful life. It's so easy to get stuck inside yourself where you start to dwell on everything you don't have instead of the blessings that have been granted. However, my heart aches for a precious child. It literally aches. The pain has the power to bring me to my knees but it has not destroyed me. I refuse to let this temporary cross I am carrying destroy me, my marriage, friendships, and most importantly, my relationship with God. I know that only He has the power to ease the ache and the pain. My cross is waiting patiently, in joy (not anxiety) for the biggest blessing from above. Somedays are just easier than others.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Choosing Your Words Carefully

It's very seldom that I become offended by someone who is asking about adoption or our infertility. I don't (normally) feel jealous about the couples who are able to get pregnant. I have resigned myself to the fact that while we will not conceive in the traditional way, our journey to parenthood is truly a gift in that it has opened my eyes and my heart in a way that would never be possible without this trial. I feel more compassionate and inspired to see God's plan for our family. But, as every adoptive couple will tell you, people say things out of support that come across as silly or insensitive. The biggest thing that I find fault with is when people will tell me that they know of a family who adopted but then became pregnant several months later. I know that they are just trying to be supportive but it comes across as saying..."don't day you can be a real mom because you might get pregnant". I am overjoyed for the women who are able to conceive after adoption...for that is God's plan for them. I joke that Wes will think I'm cheating on him if we do, in fact, become pregnant one day. People who make these statements aren't trying to be hurtful but they also don't know the severity of our medical condition. The Lord does great things. If He wants us to become pregnant, then it will happen in His timing. However, I want others to understand that every woman is different. Some may find hope in these words but I hear these words as if someone is viewing adoption as an option that isn't quite as good as a natural pregnancy. Wesley and I are not hoping for a pregnancy...we are praying for a family. There will never be a shortage of people who unknowingly offend someone, whether it pertains to adoption or to everyday life. My hope is that we can educate our friends to speak kindly and thoughfully. We love to answer questions about adoption and our journey...we just don't want others to think this is a second best option or a Plan B.

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matthew 18:5

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Bothers Me About Adoption

I know that adoption is a business. Anything you believe otherwise is simply an illusion. Adoption agencies have staff; they have overhead; they have advertising fees. Even though an agency is listed as "non-profit" does not mean that they do not generate revenue. What bothers me the most about this entire process is that I am in constant fear of a) wondering how we are going to pay for this adoption and b) wondering how will we ever be able to afford to do this again? Ever heard the expression Cash Is King? Never is it more true in adoption. We all know that if we're willing to shell out $40k we would be able to bring a child home sooner than we can blink our eyes. There are BIG agencies who charge BIG money with the promise of quick turnaround times and promises to the birthmom of paid expenses for 3+ months of her pregnancy.

There is nothing wrong with the families who choose this route or these types of agencies. I truly do not believe you can put a price on how you create your family. However, I wish that the adoption agencies didn't prey on the emotions of all those involved. Many times, you have birthmoms who may be young or uneducated or simply without a support network. These women find themselves scared and pregnant. Enter an adoption agency who can promise that not only will their child find a loving family but they will have financial support throughout their pregnancy. Enter the couple who have been going through infertility treatments for years, who find themselves creeping into their mid-late 30's. The clock is ticking. They feel desperate for a child. Simply pay this huge fee and get matched with a birthmom sooner rather than later. The little agencies don't stand a chance against these BIG agencies.

What I'm trying to say is that there are so many birth families who are searching for loving adoptive families for their children. These birthparent(s) really want to provide their child with opportunity and a stable home environment. It just saddens me that the agency with the most glitz is the one that attracts (and perpetuates) this cycle. It's hard to see these smaller agencies that cannot offer a birthmom living expenses, but can offer counseling and guidance, being passed over for the agencies that can offer money (and the promise of momentary financial stability) for a birth parent. I recently checked into another adoption agency who said the number of their adoptions were significantly down from the previous couple of years. She was able to chalk this change up to two things: more birth fathers deciding to parent and more agencies offering to pay for birth mother expenses. I'm not going to lie...if I were in these women's shoes, I too would consider these large agencies who could help me financially.

There are so many children in need and so many willing families but the financial obstacles are great. I know that there is not much we can do to change the circumstances surrounding this business, it just saddens my heart that a lot of adoptive families will shy away from adoption due to the financial factors involved.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011


I read this book a couple months ago called Unplanned. It's the story of an ex-Planned Parenthood Director. It's her story from pro-choice to pro-life. It is profoundly moving and weighs heavily on your heart long after you have turned the last page.

I like to think of myself as pro-choice. I believe that every woman should have the right to choose what happens to her body. It's not for the government to decide or for someone to forbid certain behaviors. On the other hand, I (personally) stand firmly against abortion. So where does that put me? Some waffler in the middle of this great debate. However, the longer we sit on the waiting list...just waiting for our little miracle...the more time I have to be thankful for all the women out there who choose life. Because of their brave and selfless sacrafice, I will be a mom. These women could easily choose to have an abortion. After all, they are bombarded by "choice" and words to make them believe that the life inside them is a "fetus" not an infant. Praise God for quieting their minds and leading them towards something greater.

Regardless of the reasons why a birthmom chooses life over abortion, the outcome is still the same. They are providing another couple with the gift of life...a gift, that without these women, would be impossible for me and Wesley. I pray for our birthmom (wherever she is) daily. I think about her and the struggles she will have to overcome while choosing abortion, life, adoption etc. I cannot imagine the weight that she must carry throughout her pregnancy. I pray that the Lord's peace is with these women as they make huge life changing decisions.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Music for the Soul

This was played at our wedding and has monumental meaning as we travel down this road.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adoption Benefits?

Adoption benefits = bane of my existence. Long story short is that my employers has no formal policy for leave when adopting a child. When we became active in February I was very upfront with my employer about our adoption. I wanted to know how much time off I was allocated and how much (if any) compensation I would receive when placement occurred. I was told that I could take the FMLA standard of 12 weeks (hooray!) and that compensation would be discussed upon placement. We are essentially in limbo!

At first I literally could not stop obsessing about the type of financial situation this could leave us in. It would take everything we have to not only pay for the adoption but then worry about how we would make ends meet for 3 months. UGH! There are certain things about adoption that are less than glamorous and this happens to be one of those things! Unfortunately, the law does not protect paid leave for adoptive families. Most pregnant women would be paid a minimum of 60% of their salary per the company's short-term disability policy. Adopting a baby in no way makes me "disabled" so any help from my current employer would come directly from their bottom line.

What I'm hoping is that I will receive the same treatment as any pregnant woman - having the option of 3 months off with 60% of my salary. We will find a way to make up the extra 40% that we would be missing. However, there is nothing mandating that the company pay me anything. It seems so unfair. Now, I actually think that when we receive a placement my company will help us out. They seem to be very family friendly but we have no answer until that happens. I will be the first staff member to adopt so there is no protocol for management to follow.

Adoption has a long way to go with respect to mandated benefits. It seems like adoptive couples face an abundance of hurdles when preparing for their child...paperwork, the homestudy, medical evaluations, waiting on the list, the actual cost of adoption etc. I could really let this process chip away at me. It would be very easy for me to see how others view adoption as a less important or "plan B" way of creating a family. It seems at every corner that adoption is undermined by the series of hoops we have to jump through. And yet, here we are trying to maintain a sense of peace and purpose. It's hard and can definitely be a struggle. I can't say that there hasn't been days when I just want to throw up my hands and cry that we cannot conceive a child. In some ways, so much of the burden would be lifted.

I try to lay these fears out in prayer. It does help and I do have a sense of peace. Nothing will stop us from creating our family but it's so stressful on top of everything else!!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Feeling Sad Kind of Day

I wonder (all the time) when it will be our time! When do we get to experience the joy of parenthood instead of this feeling of longing? The longer the wait the more the little fears start to creep in. I literally feel broken today. There is a sadness that is weighing on my heart and I can't explain it. I know when this happens that I must turn to prayer and the good word of the Lord and yet it feels like there is a weight of 1000 pounds on my shoulders.

Oh you play with my emotions. It's a rollercoaster ride and just when you start to enjoy the ride it comes to a screeching halt. I no longer wish to ride this rollercoaster. I want off. I want to spend my days not wondering "when" as it is an all consuming thought. I want our family to grow and I want to share the love that Wesley and I have for each other with our child.

I know that our time will come. I know that there are families who have been waiting a lot longer than us. I know that the Lord has everything under control. And yet, here I am, spending my day in worry and anxiety. When does it end?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Music for the Soul


From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Learning How To Pray

I have started reading a book at the suggestion of a dear friend called The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. I'm only half way into this reading and what a wake up call it has been! This book is about learning how to pray for your husband in a way that you have never done before. It is a thirty-day challenge. Reading a few short pages per day and then saying the prayer at the end of the chapter that will lift your husband up in prayer to the Lord. The book is quite good, with the first chapter focusing on you. Teaching you to let go of anything that holds you back so that you are able to pray for your husband with abandon. The hope is that while you are praying for your husband, the Lord is not only changing your husband but changing you as well. Every day you pray for a specific aspect of your husbands life...his job, his health, his temptations etc. I am a firm believer of setting your marriage on the rock of the Lord so that when the trials of life rain down, a firm foundation is in place to shield you. Wesley and I are imperfect in every sense...what makes us think that two imperfect people would ever be able to have a successful marriage? The key to a successful marriage is pairing two imperfect individuals with our perfect Creator. With God at the center and heart of our marriage we will be able to face the storms of life. So far, Wesley and I have weathered the infertility storm better than I could have hoped for.  I am excited to pray for my husband on a very real, deep level that forces me out of my comfort zone!

I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me. Psalm 13:6

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Inspired by Church

Sitting in church on Sunday and the message was "I do not need to be happy.  I need to be joyful".  The entire sermon was based on the premise that happiness comes from "stuff".  It comes from the outside in.  But joy.  Joy comes from the inside out.  We have joy when we fill our lives with the fruit of the spirit.

So many times I become distracted by my "stuff".  We're currently thinking of purchasing a new car.  I think the baby needs an SUV.  I would feel safer in something bigger than my current car.  But...and I know this to be self evident...I find some type of value in a nice, new car.  It's wrong but it's true.  The message at church today is that when you bring things in your life to obtain a sense of value, eventually the tank runs out and you have to fill it up again.  It's a vicious cycle of trying to find the next best thing to make you temporarily happy.  An Ipad will make me happy until something newer comes along.  A new purse will make me happy until it starts to show wear.  A new car will make me happy until 3 years from now when I want a new one.

The fruit of the spirit is something that we can possess inside ourselves.  We do not need money to purchase it and no amount of labor will bear these things.  We can find these things by sitting in prayer with the Lord.  We can find these things by partaking in fellowship with other believers.  It sounds so simple and yet it is so difficult.

Happiness versus joy.  I want to have joy.  I want to thank the good Lord for providing me with a cute home to raise a family in.  It may not be a castle but these four walls hold a lot of love.  I want to thank the Lord for my family, health, friends and husband.  We are abundantly blessed!  I hope that in my days to come I can weed out all the distractions and start being joyful for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me!

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Little Baby Inspiration

A brief repreve from the "heavy" adoption posts and now something fun to look at!

For those of you out there who do not have a pinterest are seriously missing out.  Pinterest is my "go to" website when I want to get sucked in for an hour...or two!  I have found so much baby inspiration out there and the best thing about pinterest is that I have a single location to store all those baby ideas!  Without further ado here is my baby inspiration posts.  I can't wait to decorate a nursery!!

This is one of my very favorite gender neutral rooms.  I love all the colors and it looks so warm and inviting.  Makes me want to rock the days away in that chair.  Well, maybe not that exact chair.  Something more comfortable would do!

As a lover of all things purple...that chair had me at hello.  It is fabulous!!

This has to be an all time favorite.  Love the chair, the rug, the curtains, the sunny yellow crib.  Sigh!

Love love love this wall!  So subtle yet so amazing!  Perfect for a little guys room.

Helloooooooo Glam!  I'm not sure that an all white nursery is all that practical.  But, the mirrored dresser, the rug, the sweet bedding.  I'm in love with it all!

Truly a favorite!  Everything is so soft and cozy.  I especially love the large photo frames in the corner. Too bad patterned chairs are so pricey!  

In reviewing all my inspiration it looks like the girls overwhelmingly win out over the boys.  I need to hop on over to pinterest and find some more baby boy inspiration!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Music for the Soul

"Praise You In This Storm"

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away


I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Little Birdy Told Me

An unlikely source has helped with our adoption!  A co-worker of mine told Wes and I to check out this agency in St. Louis. To be honest, I had never heard of the agency and I was a bit skeptical. It took over a week of e-mailing back and forth for me to finally call the agency and speak with the social worker about our case. Wesley and I went in yesterday to meet with her and we LOVED her! She was so warm, friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the process. You could tell she has a true passion for what she does. She breathed some life back into our adoption plan and her enthusiasm was contagious

We have decided to work with this agency, in addition to Good Shepherd. They are still a small program but both Wesley and I have a really good feeling about it! Their fees are extremely reasonable and I'm hopeful that we will have a placement with them! God is good and it's no coincidence in the timing of these events. We've been searching and praying for which path to take. Just last week I was certain that it would be after the first of the year before we decided to join another agency and here we are! I am thankful for the good Lord's timing. We needed a bit of a pick-me-up as we've been feeling like we've "stalled" out a bit. Keep us in our prayers and we begin wait #2!

We make our own plans but the Lord gives the right answer. Proverbs 16:1

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thankful for the Wait

I know that I have spoken about the frustration of the adoption process and how we are so excited to become parents but sometimes...just sometimes...I'm thankful for the wait. I am thankful because we can get our finances in order. I am thankful because I am able to spend uninterrupted time with my husband. I am thankful for impromptu gathering with friends without having to worry about a babysitter. I know that once we have a child we will gladly trade in these luxuries however right now we are counting this time as a blessing. I know that this is precious time that we will never get back once we have children so I'm trying to make the most of our wait by living life. Going out with friends, going to Cardinal games, taking weekend getaway trips and just being together. I have felt an overwhelming peace over the last couple months as I have continually prayed and tried to lay this burden at the feet of Jesus. My cup runneth is so abundantly sweet!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Beautiful Mess

Even though I'm at peace with our wait, I still fill a strong pull to make something happen sooner rather than later. Such that, we are considering moving to a different adoption agency. We currently have three that we are looking into: a) Lutheran Family Services b) Bethany Christian Services and c) American Adoptions. Here lies the problem. I don't want to "jump ship" with our current agency just because we feel like nothing is happening. But, in all reality, they have such a small number of birth mothers a year that the likelihood of us adopting through them is small - not impossible - just small. Lutheran Family Services will up our adoption costs by approximately $6,000 than the agency we are currently at. Lutheran has told me that they have placed 9 babies this year (with a good friend of mine being one of those families...God is Great!). Bethany has placed 19 babies this year and their fees will be approximately $12,000 more than what we would currently pay with Catholic Charities. Lastly, there is American Adoptions. We would have to place ourselves with the Agency Assisted program, which means we would be willing to accept a child with an ethnicity of African American. Those fees put us roughly $11,000 (plus travel) more than what we are currently projected to pay.

My husband's favorite phrase is "you can't put a price on our family". He's right, of course. But, I also realize that we have other considerations to take into account; maternity leave (or lack thereof), baby supplies, nursery supplies, how we would come up with the extra funds and how we would (potentially) re-pay those funds if we miss out on the adoption tax credit. I hate how complicated adoption has to be. It's not only emotionally draining, it's financially daunting.

We're going to be praying that God leads our heart one way or another. I don't want to choose an agency that has the most birthparent(s), rather, I want to choose an agency that not only has a great placement rate but an agency that is fair to all parties, including the birth mothers. I want to make sure that the agency doesn't "lure" them in with grand promises and then drop them after placement. I want an agency that is going to help with post-placement services such as counseling. I hate to think of a birthmom who has no resources available to her when she is in a particularly vulnerable position. I have been reading a lot of reviews online. Some agencies are better than others at post-placement contact with the birthmothers. We'll be praying that the good Lord leads us in the right direction. I think we will (more than likely) stay with our agency through the year and make a decision at the first of the year as to what we are going to do.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

August 8th...the best day of my life. It sounds cliche but it's true. Two years ago I married my husband, on a hot August day, surrounded by our family and friends. I can still feel the butterfiles in my stomach right before I walked down the aisle. I can still hear the sounds of champagne glasses clinking in celebratory toasts. I loved every single moment of that day. It didn't matter that it was so hot that day and that my dress weighed 100lbs. All that mattered was Wesley and me, starting our life together.

These past two years have been nothing short of wonderful despite many obstacles. We started our marriage living with Wesley's parents while he finished the police academy. We shared in the struggle of Wes finding a job...going through a second police academy...getting the news of infertility...buying our first home...adopting a dog...this is our life. It might be crazy and stressful but it's ours and I'm so proud of the couple we are. Wesley has taught me so much in our short time together. He has taught me the value of patience and understanding. He has shown me that you shouldn't judge people, instead accept them for where they are in life's journey. He has, in his own quiet way, been a light of God's grace. He is the one person that will stand beside me. He's seen me at my worst and still loves me for who I am when I'm at my best. I have gained a second family with the Pierce's and I love them so much. It feels like I've always been one of them. I have watched as Wesley seemlessly became a forever member of my family. It's such a blessing to stand aside and watch my dreams become reality.

I am beyond blessed. I only hope that I can be the wife that he deserves. I thank God everyday for joining us together as one on August 8th. I treasure our memories from the past and look forward to the future.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Feel Unprepared

As a hopeful adoptive parent I try to prepare myself in many ways and yet, as I sit here, this crazy adoption ride we're on feels so much like a dream. It almost feels like a dream that will never materialize. I know we have baby gear sitting in our basement and that we have an empty room just waiting for a baby and yet, those dreams can somehow seem like they belong to someone else. What I really envy about pregnant women is that they can feel the presence of their child long before they give birth. It's like their maternal instincts get 9 whole months to know that they are working towards a goal. The hard part with preparing for adoption is that there is absolutely no way to know how long you will wait. There is no way to adequately prepare yourself, mind, body and soul for the changes that await. It's scary to wonder if I'm "really" ready for the challenge. I often sit and think about what type of mom I "hope" to be; not knowing if I'll ever come close to the vision I have in my head.

I think that's why prayer is so helpful to me. In my quiet place, I find rest and comfort. I know that I don't hold the answers and I know it's okay to be scared. Scared of the unknown. Heaven knows that I am a PLANNER. I like to plan things in advance, with no curve balls up ahead. What adoption promises is that you do not hold the cards, you do not call the shots and things definitely don't happen the way you plan for them to. I guess that's okay and it's a lesson that, truth be told, is probably preparing me for motherhood in a far better way than I realize. But, I still feel unprepared no matter how many blogs, books, articles, conversations I have with family and all seems so surreal. Clearly, people adopt every day. I know we will have our time.

I'm not sure what more I can do to make this journey seem real. But right now I'm trying to bask in the simple pleasures of child-free life. Even something as simple as laying on the couch watching really bad reality television, eating cereal for dinner or deciding that I need to go to bed at 9 p.m. (who are we kidding...I like to be in bed by 9 p.m. every night) are things that will be but a distant memory once we have children. I will keep praying that my heart feels prepared for what's to come and that our adoption story becomes not just a story but a reality.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tick Tick Tick

We're over 1/2 through the year and I'm starting to feel panicked. As far as I know, the adoption tax credit has not been extended to 2012. Which means we have four short months left until we are no longer eligible for the refundable credit. The tax credit really is a blessing to so many families, including ours, as we prayerfully consider adoption. Having a placement before the end of the year would alleviate much of the financial burden that comes along with the adoption. I know that we're in good hands and that regardless of my desires, everything will happen in His time. Praying that the Lord can quiet my restless heart!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why Am I Here??

I have been thinking a lot about the path that I'm going down. The journey that we're on has opened my eyes to something that is much bigger than myself. I always joke that I should have been a teacher...and in another life I would be. Not only because I love children but it's a great job for a working mom. It's also a way to touch the lives of children every single day. I have a few friends who are fabulous teachers. Their jobs are difficult (and sometimes downright hard) but they are giving back in a way that I am unable to.

So, since we don't just have the $$ sitting around for me to go back to school, I've been wondering what I'm supposed to do with my life. I have a passion for children. I love them. They make me happy and they are truly a reflection of heaven. They are little blessings that look at the world with complete abandon...something that we lose as we grow older. Adoption is a way of touching a life but I feel like there is so much more out there. I read blogs of families who adopt from remote parts of the world, where desperation lives and people are truly going "without". I see families who set up foundations to help others with the financial burden of adoption. I see families opening their home up to become foster parents. What can I do to make a difference? How can I serve the Lord?

Unfortunately, I have no answers to these questions but they are questions that have been on my heart recently. I know that my "gift" is the relationship I have with children. I want to leave an imprint of a life spent serving the Lord...I'm just not sure how it will play out. Maybe being a mother is how I will contribute but I feel like the Lord has great plans for me. I'm patiently waiting for His nudge in the right direction. I feel that my life needs to be much more than what it is now.

I hope that this passion I feel to find my corner of the world continues to impress upon my heart. Please pray for me as I open up my heart in search of an answer that has proved illusive to this point.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Keeping the Faith

God sometimes delivers us from evil we never see. Other times He parts raging oceans before our very eyes. Still other times He says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you...Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west."isa. 43:2,5)

-Excerpt from Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

I was sitting in church yesterday, listening to the pastor talk about how Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. How true it is. He also spoke of the poem below, specifically the line "I took the one [road] less traveled by, and that has made all the difference". It was one of those divine moments when you truly feel that the good Lord is only speaking to you.

When I titled this blog - The Road Less Traveled - I didn't realize the impact this would have on our journey. We are really taking the road less traveled and yet it is making all the difference. I have grown by leaps and bounds in my faith. I have a new appreciation for the man who stands beside me even when life is hard. I have learned to wholeheartedly love our friends and the wonderful adventures that happen through the gift of friendship. I have learned to open up, trust others and really see life for what it is. The road less traveled is hard and scary but I'm finding the ray of sunshine shining down to be more than I could hope for. This incredibly trying experience is a blessing in disguise. As my best friend was telling me, sometimes these trials allow us to hear the voice of God more acutely and to know that he is telling us to be patient...the best is yet to be.

I have been in an overwhelmingly good place with the adoption as the summer months stretch forward. I know, without a doubt, our story is just beginning and I'm trying my best to let the Creator work in his time. I still pray for our little angel, wherever he/she may be, I still pray that the Lord is preparing our hearts, minds, finances and sleep bank in preparation of a growing family. The difference is that I am now placing my trust in the Lord. For taking this road less traveled is making all the difference.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Road Not Taken. Robert Frost

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Finding My Voice

It probably seems that we are very open about our adoption experience and we are! We believe that sharing is a means of healing. Sharing also brings about a sense of fellowship. However, I've had to learn over the past year to allow the hurt to flow and that it's okay to cry. When I have really bad days I tend to get down on myself. I know that there are so many people out there with "real" problems - wives who have lost husbands in Iraq and Afghanistan, those facing a losing battle with cancer, families facing divorce and financial difficulties and then I think, who am I to be sad? What I have come to understand is that everyone is going through something. The infertility and adoption process is our cross to bear right now. There will be times in life that will, without doubt, be harder than what we are facing right now. But, I cannot minimize the pain that I feel or wish it to go away.

I have had a very successful (and I use that term loosely) past of pushing away very painful events and making them "okay". At some point, emotional neglect will catch up to you. Owning my hurt and acknowledging a sadness is not a sign of weakness. I have a loving husband who is beside me every step of the way, I have friends and family who want nothing more than to be there for us. It's just hard for me to depend on someone else for emotional support. I know that not everyone is interested in hearing about my problems but the people that love me will always be there for me.

I feel like this realization just hit me a few weeks ago. I was feeling very down and I didn't want to share with anyone, not even Wesley. And then, I made myself stop. My HUSBAND loves me and I can share anything with him. If I can't share my feelings with him then there is a problem. I have tried to make a conscious effort to be more open with those close to me - to ask for prayers and encouragement when I need it. It's a work in progress but acknowledging a problem is half the battle.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Crazy Plan

I was checking out a website yesterday that posts profiles of available children through foster-adopt. I stumbled across this little girls profile and something just told me to pick up the phone and inquire about her. To make a long story short, the first lady I spoke with didn't want to give me any information unless my social worker called.

I then called my social worker. She was less than happy that I had veered off course and was now inquiring about this little girl available to adopt through the foster system. She gave me a myriad of reasons as to why we shouldn't be considering this. I got off the phone with her and decided to call around on my own. Yes I'm a control freak but I also knew I could get the answers I needed.

I was able to speak with a very helpful social worker in Chicago who shared this child's background information with me (or what little she had access to). She is currently in foster care about 20 minutes from us. She has a medical condition that is treated with medication and monitoring. She is just too sweet.

The dream died all to fast when the website took her profile down yesterday afternoon because they had an overwhelming number of inquiries about her. They will begin the process of selecting a family for her from the profiles that were submitted. What we found out is that we would have to become certified through the Missouri STARS program in order to be eligible to adopt waiting children from foster care. My heart breaks because I could just see her becoming a part of our family.

What is funny is that adopting an older child is a viable option for us - we just had no reason to consider it as we go through the infant adoption process. I'm trying to be better at listening to God's voice. It was beyond scary to even pick up the phone and ask about this child but I'm glad I did. I pray that the family that is chosen for her is the perfect fit. She seems like a very sweet girl who deserves a bright future!

My heart is open to God's way. The road is full of twists and turns and I'm trying my best to not let fear dictate my path in life. I know our social worker though I had gone off the deep end...I don't care. I'm just happy to see myself taking these small leaps of faith as I feel called to do. Wesley and I might decide to take the STARS class even though we are not eligible for this child - or we might decide to wait a little bit. I know we'll be praying about it and I know we will follow our hearts.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Frustration of Adoption

If I'm being honest- the whole adoption process is frustrating from beginning to end. You start out by researching all these agencies only to discover that it will cost an arm and a leg to actually adopt a child. It doesn't matter if you choose domestic or international adoption - it all comes down to money. There are fees for your fingerprints and background checks, vet appointments, doctor appointments and blood tests. There are more fees for your homestudy and legal fees and agency fees etc etc etc. It seems like the fees are never ending.

Aside from the financial aspect - the homestudy is completely overwhelming. We are very lucky to be working with a social worker who is so supportive and sweet. I want to let it be know that I don't feel judged with her. BUT - the homestudy is very invasive. We had to talk about our childhood, our marriage, our finances, how we will discipline and our faith. We had to have our worker come out to our house to make sure it was fit for children. We also had to read a book about open adoption. The entire process is emotionally overwhelming. I don't know any pregnant women (regardless of how "fit" they are to parent) that needs to have multiple check-in's with a social worker to make sure they will be an okay parent. I think what's most frustrating is that I know we are going to be fabulous parents. We both come from stable childhoods and we have the same long-term goals for our family.

Now that we are on the wait list - the frustration seems to be mounting. I respect the adoption process and understand why the birth mom has all the control, as she should. She is making the biggest sacrifice for her child and she should have complete control over the process but it doesn't make it any less frustrating for us. All the birth mom gets to see is our homestudy report and a little profile book that is full of our photos and information about our family. That's it. I know that every mom is looking for something different but it's so hard to know that I have no control in how it plays out.

The real frustration comes down to "control". I know that the birth mom has the control in the situation but I really do believe that God's fingerprints will be all over our adoption story. I know that He has our birth mom picked out that the He is directing the path. It's really hard to walk by faith sometimes, even though I know in my heart of hearts that this is a great lesson the Lord is teaching me. Patience and faith...I am forever learning patience and faith.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What Does It Mean To Be Faithful?

Since I was young - I have been a believer of Christ. My parents raised me to be actively engaged in the church and later in college I became connected with a very active ministry. I've been approached by a few people regarding our faith through our adoption story. And it made me think - what does it mean to be a faithful?

For me, remaining faithful means living a life that is pleasing to the Lord. While I have doubts about my own ability to keep my eyes upon the Lord, I know without a doubt that the good Lord has been right beside us in our journey. He hears our prayers and knows the desires of our hearts. The love and peace that comes from my God is something that I do not deserve but I'm so glad that I have. I know that when the storms of life are present, I am not alone. I also know that when times are happy and prayers have been answered that I will become even more deeply rooted in my faith.

I think it's a struggle as a Christian to remain as "faithful" or joyful when times are good. Most of the times - it's the swirling storm and the rain in life that brings us to our knees and reminds us where to set our sights. The focus must be on the Lord - for He makes everything beautiful in his own time. My story has been written by the Father and it's up to me to be a faithful follower, knowing that he would never abandon or forsake me.

I saw a saying the other day that said - "What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?" It's a reminder that even through the storm, the Lord has abundantly blessed us with health, jobs, family, laughter and most of all Grace. I am thankful for our trials because they draw us towards the Father!

My faith comes from the understanding that the Lord has provided me with a Grace that I am undeserving of. I hope that my light will shine bright for the glory of God!

I would also like to ask for continued prayers...this journey is not an easy one!

Monday, June 13, 2011


A couple months ago we did the unthinkable. We did something I never said I would do while we were waiting for a match. We bought some baby stuff. Yes, me, the crazy planner who doesn't want to be reminded of our wait, bought baby items. And I didn't just buy one baby item, I bought FOUR! Yikes! We bought a super fancy stroller that I'm so excited about! I can't wait to use it. Well - maybe it's not the Rolls Royce of strollers but it will accomodidate two children one day. We also bought a car seat, a crib and our crib mattress. I have a little list of "must have" items that I'm trying to buy as we go along. Right now all our baby stuff is sitting in a corner of the basement just waiting to be assembled.

I have big plans for a nursery. I'm just trying to decide when I will actually start on it. I want to put up some trim in the room and just leave everything else unpainted until we bring a baby home. Maybe one of these days I will get the courage to move forward. I know for certain that we will not put our crib together or actually assemble the nursery until we have a baby. It would be just too much for me to walk by that room every day. In the meantime, I'm storing away lots of inspiration photos for a nursery!

I will admit that I had a slight panic attack as I purchased our stroller and car seat. It was a huge decision for me to move forward with buying baby stuff without having a match in place. However, I am SO glad that we're planning ahead. It has definitely minimized some of the anxiety of having huge expenses when we get a match. It still feels strange to have large baby items appearing on my doorstep when we don't have a child but at the same time I know this is necessary. It's necessary for me to step outside my comfort zone and just go with my instincts. My instincts definitely say that buying baby stuff (even if it just sits in the basement for now) will pay off when we receive a match.

I have also purchased several children's books about adoption. I cannot wait to build a little library full of books for our child!

Although I had reservations about purchasing anything for a baby I am so glad that we decided to move forward. It brings a sense of reality to our journey - it's more than just talking about having a family one day. Seeing all the baby boxes is a reminder of what's in store for the near future!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Remaining Faithful

This little light of mine...I'm gonna let it shine. When I'm having a bad day, you better believe this song is on repeat...over and over again!

We're still here - still waiting! We've been enjoying the beginning of summer with our family and friends. With Wesley's crazy work schedule we've been trying to carve out some quality time together. We've been soaking up the summer and how it goes by so fast!

We haven't had much movement from our adoption agency. Nothing new - just somewhat discouraging when you don't hear anything for months on end. However, we have been blessed to have friends come forward with their infertility stories and it's a quiet reminder that we're not alone. Some of our friends are trying to conceive with difficulty, some have experienced the joy of adoption firsthand and others are getting ready to experience parenthood for the first time. I know that I've recently had to re-focus my faith through this process. I've had a tough couple of weeks and while I wouldn't say I was broken - I found myself on my knees, praying for strength and praying for patience.

We have applied for several adoption grants over the last month. These grants would help defray the actual cost of our adoption. Most of these agencies are Christian ministries that desire to help families with their adoption costs. I have no idea if we make too much money but it doesn't hurt to try! We're praying and we know that the Lord will provide for us!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It's not always easy

Some days are harder than others....

by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?

By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me When darkness
and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see

That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.

My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait

Friday, February 25, 2011

Good News!

It's official! We are on the wait list for a baby! We completed our home study on Valentine's Day and we're so glad to put all the paperwork and meetings behind us. Our home study consisted of a couples meeting, an individual meeting for each of us and a home visit with our social worker. Our home study is a very large, detailed document that consists of our background (where we grew up, our families, etc), our marriage, our religious background, our financial history, our thoughts on adoption etc etc etc. This document will be presented to the judge whenever we finalize our adoption. The potential birth parents also view this document with any of our "identifying information" redacted. We are just beyond excited at the prospect of having a child. We could be waiting a week or a year. It's hard to tell and each birth mom is looking for unique factors when making an adoption plan. However, we continue to pray and know that everything will fall into place when the timing is right.

Our hearts are so full. I don't know if I have ever felt this joyous or happy in my life. Our lives are filled with love from our family and friends and we are blessed with the all the emotional support we have received throughout the process. While infertility is heartbreaking, the strength that we have gained as a couple is immeasurable. I truly feel like this marriage, this life we are creating, is more than I could have ever hoped for. My faith is strong, my heart is full, and we are looking forward to a bright future. Even though we are very excited to be moving forward in the process, I feel fortunate to spend this "preparation" time with Wesley. We are preparing ourselves spiritually and emotionally for parenthood. Our bond as husband and wife has grown and I know we will face what the future brings together because we have already been blessed with so much.

Our journey into adoption is just beginning but we couldn't have made it this far without our family and friends. It seems like support has come out of the woodwork and kindness has been shown to us from both unlikely and familiar sources. Sometimes a bad day, a sad day, was changed by a phone call or small words of encouragement from family and friends. I doubt our friends realize how much they mean to us and how they have kept us going over the past nine months. I know that "thank you" cannot begin to express our gratitude and yet we want to say thank you for all the love that has come our way. Continue praying for us and we are certain we will soon be sharing a little bundle of joy with all of you in the future!