Being a Father to the Fatherless

When Liza and I originally decided to adopt, it’s true that one of our main purposes was to grow our own family.  But as our eyes were opened to the plight of the orphan worldwide, and seeing how many times the Scriptures admonish us to “Be a Father to the Fatherless,” we realized that adoption entailed a great deal more than we initially imagined.  God really does call us to be their advocates.  Like, all of us.

Our adopted verse (pun intended) for this journey is listed on our banner above, from Isaiah 1:17:

Learn to do good,
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor,
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

If we have to “learn” to do good, then we probably aren’t very good at it naturally.  I know I’m not.  The worldwide orphan crisis (anywhere from 13 – 132 million, depending on which government agency you believe) is obviously important, but it just doesn’t seem to grab our attention like a new iWhatever, the latest celebrity or sports news, or US politics do. I have to tell you – after going to Africa first hand and absolutely falling in love with the land and the people, this has to change.  We have to do something about it.  At least I do.

Everyone these days has a cause too, and they’re usually good. Cancer research, animal adoption, clean energy, girl scouts, [insert yours here] – they’re all good. I sincerely believe that they’re all good, valuable, useful, worthwhile endeavors that help make our world a better place. But as a follow of Christ, as one who wants to live life in such a way that He is pleased, I can’t ignore that defending the fatherless and taking care of widows are WAY high on the list. Do a Google search on “orphans” and the “fatherless” and see if it’s not important to God – nearly 40 times do the Scriptures mention God’s desire to see orphans taken care of.   And by taking care of the fatherless, we’re providing stable, loving, nurturing homes for children who might one day cure cancer, adopt animals, discover the cleanest energy the world knows and buys TONS of girl scout cookies (hopefully Thin Mints to share with me).  More importantly, we please the God who made us for “good works, that we may walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

If you’ve followed this journey of ours at all, you know it’s been a roller coaster of emotions; this last decent into emotional trauma hit us both especially hard.  But had we adopted the little girl we were supposed to adopt, I would’ve never gone to Africa.  If I had never gone to Africa, I would’ve never met Eunice, for instance, the 12-yr old girl from Uganda who, along with her two friends Victor and Bryan, stole my heart and only gave a part of it back before watching me leave in a bus bound for, in her eyes, who-knows-where. I wouldn’t have met the orphans of lepers in Ethiopia, abandoned by their parents and forced to live on the streets, yet who remain joyful of heart and spirit despite their circumstances.  I would’ve never heard the story of Pastor Isaac, who was shot and left for dead, yet now serves an entire community of 100+ orphans some 30 years later.  It’s fine and dandy to go to Africa and love on kids and be an example of a Real Man to them, but what now? Especially when I feel like they taught me far more than I taught them? That’s what I’m asking God to help me decide.

The next few days I will be sharing some of the journey with you and posting more pictures of our time there; I hope it will, if nothing else, encourage you to think about some small thing you might do to help the fatherless. I’m not saying you have to go to Africa – but if you do go, I’m cautioning you, you’ll want to go back.  I already can’t wait for next year’s trip.

God’s Timing is Perfect

Jeff in Uganda with three new friends he met at an orphanage

I know that it has been weeks and weeks since I’ve updated our adoption blog last.  So many of you blessed us with your prayers and kind words when our domestic adoption crumbled to pieces.  Jeff has been asking me to update our blog for at least the past month now, but truthfully, adoption has been like a four letter word for me.  For a couple of weeks, I didn’t want to talk about adoption and I didn’t want to think about adoption.  The loss of the August baby that we expected to bring home was a deep wound that took time for me to get past.  I’m still not fully past the ache.  But, like everything, time does wonders and with each day, I have been brought back to our ultimate desire of taking in an orphan who has no home and giving them a home just as God has adopted me into His family.

We have had lots going on this past month.

Prior to us deciding to go forward with our August baby, Jeff was planning on going on the Man Up Missions Trip.  It is a missions trip where mostly men (and a few women) go to Ethiopia and Uganda and work with local orphanages and churches.  The goal is to show children what positive male role models look like, show women what Godly men look like AND show men that they need to “man up” to their responsibilities.  Jeff was planning on going on this trip until we learned that our August baby was due on August 13th.  The Man Up trip was due to leave on August 13th.  Jeff decided to stay home and be here for the birth of our baby.  When the adoption fell through, I encouraged (strongly) him to go on the trip once more.  It took a lot of time and prayer before Jeff knew that going on the trip was what God wanted for him.  Within 2 weeks, Jeff had signed up again to go on the trip, gotten around inoculations for everything from Yellow Fever to Typhoid and boarded the plane.  August 13th, Jeff left for Ethiopia and just this past Saturday, he returned from Uganda.  He had an amazing trip.  I am so excited for everything he has encountered.  Jeff has journaled a ton and he will be posting pictures and stories from his trip.  He did come home saying two things 1) that he wanted to move to Ethiopia and 2) that he wanted to adopt 20 kids.  I don’t know if either of those desires are feasible.  But I do know that God has opened his eyes to the intense need in Africa. We knew intellectually about the need but for him to witness and experience everything first hand has been mind altering.  He will talk more about it soon.

We do have a huge update that we have been keeping under wraps for quite a while.  It is big news and we are so so excited.  And we would not have our big news if our August adoption had gone through.  We wouldn’t have our news if Jeff hadn’t gone on his trip to Ethiopia & Uganda.  God’s perfect timing has brought us to this place even as we have had to wade through waters of disappointment and despair.

To give a brief update on our current adoptions, we are working with America World (AWAA) and are in-line and will be adopting from Ethiopia in about 2 years.  We have decided not to pursue our Haiti adoption due to their unrest and uncertainty of future international adoptions.  (There is a great need in Haiti.  Haiti has hundreds of thousands of orphans.  But because they are in the midst of becoming a Hague nation, adoptions are in limbo.  Adoptions pending may go through or they may not.  Jeff and I decided we needed to be prudent with the money we have diligently saved the past few years as well as the money that so many people have graciously given us. Please know that I am not discouraging adopting from Haiti.  This is a personal choice for what is best for our family.)  We have also decided not to pursue domestic adoption.  When we originally decided to adopt in the spring of 2011, we felt called to adopt internationally.  That is where are hearts are.  We went off track a bit this summer and now that Jeff has returned from Ethiopia & Uganda, we know with certainty that for us, we are meant to adopt in Africa and specifically Ethiopia.  (Again, our decision not to adopt domestically is a personal choice.  We may pursue a domestic adoption again in the future or possibly fostering.  For now, however, our vision for adoption has narrowed and we are focusing entirely on Africa.  This is our personal choice and this is what God has shown us for our family.)

Which leads me to our news.  We have officially accepted a referral for a baby boy (yet to be named by us) in Ethiopia!  (I can’t give out his Ethiopian name but we will keep it as his middle name.)  He is 2 months old and he is by far the most adorable baby boy I have ever seen.  (I am allowed to say that since he is going to be OURS right?)  I have been scrambling like a mad woman to get a new dossier together to bring him home.  Our baby boy’s paperwork is entirely ready to go in Ethiopia so we need to be quick.  The sooner we get our paperwork together, the sooner he comes home.  We should have our paperwork done in about two weeks and then we wait for a court date.  Our agency is hoping for a court date as soon as late September or as late as November.  Nonetheless, it looks like we will be going to Ethiopia soon!  Once we pass court, we go home for about 6-8 weeks and we then go back a second time to bring him HOME.

I wanted to take a moment to really thank all of you for your prayers, comments and emails the past few months.  This has been such a difficult time for us and your support has meant the world to us.  I have not responded to all of you personally, but I have read each of your words and you have blessed me with them.  I never would have imagined that I would be writing about our adoption highs and lows on a blog where more than just close friends and family would be reading our words.  And I have to say that you have made me realize that my circle of friends is actually so much larger than I imagined.  Your words of encouragement gave me hope during some pretty dark days.  And I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to seek me out and encourage me.

We would continue to ask for prayers.  Please pray that our baby boy remains healthy and that his caregivers give him loving care during his time in the foster home.  Please also pray that there will be no paperwork issues that arise between now and our Court date.  Financially, because of all of the donations we had from friends, family and strangers and because of the money we had personally saved to put towards our adoption, we were able to wire a ginormous check for our baby boy.  That is a HUGE praise.  Please pray that we can raise the additional funds necessary to bring him home.

We will be updating Addicted to Adoption to fill you in on everything as time progresses.

Dealing with Disappointment

A little over two months ago, our lives were rocked. We were told that a birth mother had chosen us to adopt her baby girl that was due August 13th. We had only looked into domestic adoption for about 7 days so we were shocked that everything could happen so quickly and smoothly. We thought that God had dropped this adoption into our laps.

Our lives changed almost immediately. We signed a contract. We paid for our birth mom’s living expenses. We started fundraising holding a two day garage sale and planning a silent-auction to prepare for the remaining fees that were due at our August baby’s birth (and to prepare for our two other pending international adoptions).

We tried to guard our hearts and not get excited. If you asked how I felt, I would say that I was “cautiously optimistic.”  Then we felt guilty for not being excited about our future baby girl. (Having babies should be exciting right?)  So slowly, we began preparing and opening our hearts to being parents in August. Jeff painted the nursery a shade of violet I picked out. With the guidance and help of an amazing friend, Jeff pulled up the flooring in the nursery as well as much of our home and put down new flooring so that our August baby would have a clean surface to learn to crawl and walk on. I stocked up on diapers. Countless diapers. We were given a rocker and glider. We struggled with assembling a jogging stroller.  We were given a crib. I went out on an emotional limb and bought two outfits for our August baby. Jeff took a daddy boot camp class at a local hospital. I cancelled a blogging business trip to New York City scheduled for the first week in August. Jeff cancelled his mid-August mission trip to Ethiopia. We met our birth mom a couple of times. We sat through her ultrasound. We had phone conversations with her. Jeff and I started looking at girl names and chose a few that we liked. We were cautiously optimistic and our hearts were getting excited.

This past Monday night, our lives were rocked again. We were about to head home from my in-law’s house in St Louis when I received a phone call from our adoption coordinator. The conversation ended with me shaking and in tears. I can honestly say that I don’t remember much of the conversation. The next day, Jeff and I spoke with our coordinator again and she went through everything again with us. I won’t go through all the details, but the prospect of adopting this girl whose ultrasound pictures are hung on our fridge is officially over. Our birth mom has moved on to another agency and has promised her baby girl to a new couple.

The airplane ride from St Louis to Tampa stunk. I watched families with newborns and toddlers at the airport. We saw adorable little girls who I think may have resembled what our August baby would have looked like. I was heart broken and Jeff was doing his best to be strong for me. Tuesday, Jeff started to deal with his emotions. I watched our emotions go from shock to sadness to feelings of being taken advantage of and then back to sadness again.

Through it all, I’ve made myself remember the reason Jeff and I wanted to adopt in the first place. We wanted to help orphans and we wanted to grow our family. I don’t really understand why God would place this adoption in our laps to just rip it away so quickly. But I have to have faith that down the road, He has a plan that is so much greater than the pain we feel now.

So with that, we are moving forward. We are a bit heart broken right now but I know God is carrying us through this. We are of course still excited about our Ethiopia adoption and we are waiting to see where our Haiti adoption takes us.

We have wondered what lessons we are supposed to learn from this disappointment. Prior to jumping headfirst into a domestic adoption, we thought we were meant to be advocates for the millions of orphans in the world around us. Now we wonder if we are meant to be advocates for adoptive families and the lack of legal protection for them. Who knows where our road will lead. I do know that we will not lose faith – even through the disappointing ache that is in our hearts right now.

If you know someone who is in the midst of adopting, whether it is domestically or internationally, I encourage you to be a strong support system for them. This is a winding road full of bumps and oftentimes disappointments. Encourage them and be there for them through the highs and the lows.

With that, I’m going to end my thoughts with a Bible verse that is really speaking to me right now:

 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Our human body is wearing out. But our spirits are getting stronger every day. The little troubles we suffer now for a short time are making us ready for the great things God is going to give us forever. We do not look at the things that can be seen. We look at the things that cannot be seen. The things that can be seen will come to an end. But the things that cannot be seen will last forever. “

Garage Sale Success

I am sitting here in my parents’ St. Louis suburban home watching my little nephew flop and roll around on the floor, happy as a clam, content to put whatever is near him in his mouth.  It won’t be long until he’s crawling, and the stationary contentedness he currently knows will be replaced with a thirst for mobility, and Mom and Dad’s lives will change forever.  We’re getting ready for my little sister’s wedding, and there are lots of babies around from my brother and sister, reminding me of why we’re doing what we’re doing.

This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity as we successfully completed our two-day garage sale.  Our Life Group stepped up and donated many items for us to sell – seven Ford F-150 truckloads – so much so that we figured ten garage sales wouldn’t get rid of all the “junk” we had.  But unbelievably by the end of the second day, we only had a half a truck load to take back to our house, and raised over $2500!  At a yard sale, for the love.

Liza’s mom, our “other” mom Ellie, and our friend Amy helped us price and move items.    We also sold Haitian-made bracelets.  And the generosity just flowed from complete strangers.  The ladies below bought ALL of our kids clothing – where were they from?  HAITI!  Why were they buying them?  To take back to Haiti to give to the children there.  We all had chills when we found out.


Another lady whom I’ve never met came up, gave me a hug, and handed me a check for $200 for our adoption with the verse 1 Samuel 1:27 on the memo line (go read it!). Other friends WAY overpaid for their items (you all know who you are).  And when it was all said and done, we were the recipients of the graciousness and kindness of many friends, and even complete strangers. Thank you Lord, for such loving provision.

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Once we get back from St. Louis, we will be on to our last fundraising event before the baby comes in August – our Baby Ford Fundraiser w/ Tapas Menu and Silent Auction at Ceviche in Clearwater!  This event is open to everyone, and you can read more about it by going HERE, or by clicking on the Baby Ford Fundraiser menu option at the top of this page.  We’d love for you to register ahead of time so we can get an accurate head count, but if you’d rather just show up on July 22nd between 3 – 5 p.m. to get some great Ceviche food (it’s really yummy!) and support us by bidding on some silent auction items (optional!), you are most welcome!  Ceviche is in the building where El Tio Pepe used to be, for those of you familiar with the area.

WE NEED HELP – if you have an item like an autographed sports piece or a time share vacation rental or gift certificate/basket for food or services or anything of value that you think people would bid on, we would love to have it for our auction!  Please email Jeff at: addicted to adoption at gmail dot com and we will make the arrangements to get your item.

Thank you once again for all of those who helped in our garage sale, and thank you in advance for those who will support us at our July 22nd event. You are making it possible for us to provide a home for children who might not otherwise have parents, and for parents who might not otherwise have children.

 

Baby Steps Moving Forward on our wait for Ethiopia!

Picture from America World’s Website (our adoption agency handling our Ethiopia & Haiti adoptions)

There is an “unofficial” list of families adopting from Ethiopia within America World who are “in-line” and waiting for their children.  When Jeff and I officially got in-line this past January, we were number 81.  The line is moving very very slowly but today I was excited to see that we dropped to number 72.  Baby steps towards bringing home our Ethiopian child. :)   This fall, Jeff and I will have to update our homestudy (you have to update it every year) and when we do, we may revise some of the criteria for our child.  It is funny how God is slowly moving our hearts to go from adopting a “healthy child” to adopting a special needs child with either correctable needs or illnesses that are manageable long-term.  We are also excited at the thought that this fall, we may have an infant from our local adoption.  Our Florida adoption is less than 2 months away.  In fact, it is more like 49 days away!  Crazy times over here in our household.  If you are someone who prays, we would covet your prayers.  We are juggling too many balls right now with fundraising, planning our upcoming garage sale, planning our upcoming Tapas Meal & Silent Auction at Ceviche, running two businesses, and planning for a trip to St Louis.  We are barely staying afloat.  But God is good all the time.  Even when I feel like the best option for my day would be to sneak in bed and pull the cover over my head! :)

Haiti Updates

Photo from Crossing Borders Project

Jeff and I decided to adopt a child from Haiti last fall.  We had completed our homestudy and most of our dossier for Ethiopia and we knew that we wanted to adopt not just one child internationally but two.  Originally, we wanted to adopt a second child from China but we found the wait to be almost unbearable.  (The wait as of last fall was 7 years and counting.)  We were given a tip by a friend that our adoption agency, America World (AWAA), would soon be adopting children out of Haiti, so we joined that “pilot’ program in hopes of bringing home a child sooner than if we would’ve if we stayed with China. Jeff and I were eager to get the ball rolling for our second child, so we started the paperwork process with Haiti.

As recently as this past April, we were told by our Haiti coordinator at AWAA that she had our referral.  (In adoption lingo, a referral is basically your child.)  In fact, in a phone conversation with our coordinator, she said she had our referral’s information in a folder on her desk.  We were so excited to know that our child in Haiti was already born.  And yet, our coordinator could not give us any photos, medical information, etc on our referral due to the fact that she was waiting on official paperwork from Haiti.  That was March.  It is now June.  We still have not received our referral’s information.

This is common with Haiti.  Haiti is a country that marches to the beat of her own drum.  And that goes for adoptions too.  I am a person that likes structure and order.  I’m not a fan of chaos and I’m especially not a fan of unknowns.  So when Jeff and I decided to adopt in Haiti, we knew that we would have to be okay with the fact that there was no structure.  In a way, I was relieved by this because it reminded me that God is bigger than chaos and ultimately, He is in control.

Well – this past Monday, Haiti made a monumental step towards creating order for international adoptions.  Monday, June 11th, Haiti ratified the Hague convention.  What does that mean? For the little that I know, this means that Haiti is now going to revamp their entire adoption process to make sure that it aligns with the Hague Convention.  (The Hague Convention is created to insure that there is no child trafficking and that all orphans are indeed orphans.)

On Tuesday, we received an email from our adoption coordinator regarding Haiti’s changes.  Below is a small snippet of the email she sent us:

So how does this affect you? We will have to wait (and pray) to see how the Haitian government and the IBESR handle the changes that come with becoming compliant with the Hague convention rules and regulations.

So in a nutshell, Haiti is in the midst of becoming compliant with the Hague Convention and everything is in limbo now.  I’ve done a lot of research on other countries who have become Hague compliant and from what I’ve seen, families who already have their dossier submitted are “grandfathered in” and can continue with their adoption.  Families without submitted dossiers, however, have to wait until the country makes all the changes to become Hague compliant.

Jeff and I have most of the components ready to submit our dossier, but with the Hague Convention being ratified, it puts us in serious limbo.

We are torn.  On one hand, we have been told that our child is alive and ready to be “assigned to us.”  And yet, on the other hand, if we do go forward with pursuing our Haitian adoption, it may take many more years than we had anticipated, or worse, the Haitian government could just shut down our adoption indefinitely.

In the end, Haiti’s steps to become complaint with the Hague Convention is a GOOD thing.  They need steps to follow for international adoptions to prevent corruption and child trafficking. For us, however, it’s another hurdle in the process of bringing home our child.  The good news is that both our future and our child’s future are in the loving hands of a heavenly Father who knows our every thought, every anxiety, every fear, and has promised that He will never leave or forsake us.  For now, we rest in that promise and look forward to see how He will work it all out in His own timing.

Save 50% on Empowered to Connect Conferences (ends 6/16)

As you all know, my husband and I are in the midst of adopting. One of the organizations we have applied for an adoption grant from is Show Hope. Every year they hold conferences to help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with children from hard places in order to help them heal.

They have an upcoming conference this September 14-15, 2012 in Nashville, TN – Brentwood Baptist Church AND a conference this February 15-16, 2013 in Orlando, FL – First Baptist Church of Orlando. Right now you can purchase tickets for 50% off when you use coupon code FOCUS. (Code expires 6/16/12) Hubby and I just registered for the conference in Orlando. :) To view conference information and dates, go HERE. At checkout, paste coupon code FOCUS to reduce your fees by 50%.

Thanks Bekah & Your CCHS Class!

The picture above is a wonderful example of people we don’t even know stepping up to help us adopt. One of our friends, Bekah, teaches at Calvary Christian High School and explained to her students what we were doing. In a spontaneous attempt to help, her classes rounded up $42.36, which absolutely humbles and blesses us.  Little by little, God is placing people in our paths, many of whom we do not personally know, to help accomplish His purposes.

This week also produced another excitement, as we were awarded a $2000 grant!  Thank you Lord!  We are so grateful, so thankful, and are encouraged to continue to press forward, knowing that we are doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing.  We also applied for two other grants this week, so please pray that these entities would see our situation (three adoptions at once!), and be moved with compassion to help.  But we’re also confident that even if we don’t receive another grant, God will provide no matter what.

Although we did start our $60K in 60 Days challenge about a week and a half early, thus far we’ve raised over $8700!  Our goal is to be totally transparent with the funds, so here is the breakdown so far as of 6/9/12:

Personal Donations – these come directly from friends and family: $5665

Sales – this is money raised from selling Bracelets, T-Shirts, Garage Sales, etc: $1083

Grants – this comes from agencies through which we’ve applied for grants: $2000

We’re almost 1/6th of the way there! :)

Ultrasound Revelations

One of the tremendous blessings of going through the adoptive process is that we are beginning to see how insensitive we are to other people.  Not because we’re intentionally mean or vindictive or anything; if you know us at all, you know we’re easy going, fairly low maintenance, dare I even say it – “boring” people.  We’re not the type to stir the pot, we try to keep a low profile, and we do our best  to avoid situations that might get us in trouble.   We’re just like most other people.

But we still think about ourselves A LOT.

This is even evident to me in what was a paradoxically wonderful and terrifying, amazing yet disengaging, incredibly surreal moment yesterday: experiencing an ultrasound of our unborn child, a child not of our flesh, and technically, a child who may end up not being ours at all.

And thus, you see, how we tend to make life all about us.

Here I was, in the room with four other women, one unborn woman-to-be, all staring at a monitor of this tiny 3 lb human being inside the belly of her mother, being at the same time overjoyed and awestruck, yet guarding my heart from permanent disappointment, knowing Liza may never know her as mother. Here I was, in the midst of it all, thinking about me.

But what about the mom giving up her child to us?  How was she feeling?  What about her family?  Her loved ones?  Was I tuning into them, or only worried about me?

God has given us an amazing opportunity to experience something that most people will not.  Infertility, international adoption, and now domestic adoption.  All carry with them their own unique difficulties and challenges, but how awesome is it that God has taken us down this path of unknown adventure?  How blessed are we to be given this opportunity, a chance to walk in obedience to God’s calling when we have very little control of the outcome?  And more than that, how freeing is it to learn that the universe doesn’t revolve around us, that other people have emotions and feelings too?

I’m not saying we have it down…certainly we do not. But after watching two moms gaze at the images of one unborn baby, I feel as though I got a little bit closer to understanding what it means to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

Yup, the world doesn’t revolve around me.

Nervous First Meetings

This past Friday, May 18th, Jeff and I were able to do something we never dreamed we would be doing. We met our future baby girl’s birth mom. With International adoptions, we will most likely never know our child’s parents. With domestic adoptions, especially here in Florida, most adoptive parents not only know their child’s birth mom but the birth moms are also in their child’s lives long past their birth.

At first glance, the topic of open adoptions seems to unnerve most people. But once Jeff and I really wrapped our brains around it, we were okay with it. We want our children to know from day one that they are adopted. We want it to be an open conversation so that there is never confusion, misconceptions or questions surrounding their birth. We also want them to know that their mother(s) loved them SO much that she gave them to us so that we could love her.  Open adoption does not have to be scary.  Adoptive parents do have the ability to control just how “open” the adoption will be.

Thursday night, the night before our first meeting, our adoption coordinator texted me and told me to put on TLC because there was a show about adoption on. (The show was called Birth Moms.) Jeff and I watched the show and it was enough to make us pee in our pants with nerves. The show followed three teenage girls in Utah who were deciding whether or not to choose adoption for their babies. We watched the girls talk about their thoughts on adoption. We watched one girl order a margarita (while 8 months pregnant). We watched another girl shoplift jewelry. We watched the girls interview perspective birth parents. We watched weary birth parents meet the girls after they had already been burned by prior, failed adoptions. Let’s just say that the show made Jeff and I nervous.

Friday came around and it was finally time to head out to meet the mom. We were meeting at a restaurant over an hour away so we had plenty of time to let our nerves fully settle in as we drove there.  And if you know Jeff and I, when we get nervous, we get punchy.  So we spent most of the drive giggling thinking about how this was the worst blind date ever.  (He’s never been on one – I went on one in college.)  We considered this to be a blind date times 1,000.

In an attempt to fully respect the birth mom, I’m not going to give much information. But I will say that as we met her and spent more and more time with her, everything got less awkward. We were so nervous as we tried not to saying anything that might be taken the wrong way. My hope was that through our conversations, she would be able to ask us questions to get to know us better and that we would get to know her too. The conversation flowed pretty smoothly, thanks to our coordinator who filled in the gaps with questions or conversation prompts.

Jeff and I left feeling good about the relationship that we are starting to forge. I can’t say that I feel any more optimistic about August than I did prior to our meeting. There are just too many variables out of our control. Whether the birth mom loves us or hates us, she will still have 48 hours after child birth to change her mind. But Jeff and I felt good knowing that we could see a future with this girl who was kind, had a fun sense of humor and seemed to genuinely like us.  And we genuinely liked her.

She did tell us that she wants me at her ultrasounds as well as at the delivery. Her next ultrasound is scheduled for this upcoming week.

Crazy times. I’ve spent many hours in the middle of the night wide awake. I’ve shelled out many prayers asking for peace and wisdom. I’ve been a puddle of tears when I’ve felt the world is judging us for asking for help to fund this adoption. But God is good – all the time. And God knows our future child and we are resting in the assurance that He will lead us through the next couple of months of uncertainty, fear, and excitement.