Friday, September 21, 2012

Adoption Paid In Full!

Cole's adoption has been paid in full by a combination of grants and generous donations! It's hard to imagine the version of me one year ago--wondering if I was a little nuts for thinking I should be ready for a baby by the summer. The financial side of adoption seemed impossible -- I often wonder if our social worker thought we were a little nuts! But I'm so glad we didn't wait until all the money was in the bank before we got started. If we had done that, I wouldn't have my beautiful son right now. :)

We applied for three grants and received two of them already, the most recent one being from Show Hope.

Right now, Show Hope is hosting a contest on Facebook to help 5 families receive additional funding toward their adoption. While we don't need to win, I really don't want to come in last place! Also, we want to do our part to get a combined 10,000 votes in the next 9 days. If we do that, each of the families will receive additional aid. Any extra aid we receive will be donated to help other families adopt.

You can vote for our family by clicking on our picture at the right side of this blog. Or, follow these quick instructions:

1. Go to https://www.facebook.com/ShowHope and click the Like button

Hover over our picture and click the HEART.


Thank you!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Adoption Grant Awarded!

We got the most amazing news this past week -- one of the grant applications we sent in was accepted! We are the happy recipients of an award from Gift of Adoption!

We sent it in at the end of June, right before we drove down to get our son. It went in the mail with two other applications, was processed in July, and then decided in August. Wow!

Adoption without debt...looks like it's possible!

One of the fun things about this grant is that it feels like real people are involved. We learned that our grant is being funded by a woman from Wisconsin who wanted to help another family from her state. She is raising the money among her friends and contacts. If you'd like to be involved in helping someone else bring a child into his or her forever family, check out this national foundation's GoAdoption Giving Circle.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Adoption Step Ten: The Waiting Game

Once the flurry of paperwork was over, the home study complete, and the family photo book mailed to the agency, the next step felt extremely anticlimactic: Wait.

You wait for a young woman with an unplanned pregnancy to choose life for her child. You wait for her to decide on adoption. You wait for your family book to be shown to her. And you wait for her to choose you.

Once she has chosen you, you wait for her to give birth. And then you wait for her to sign the papers that say she is no longer that child's parent--you are.

Thankfully, our waiting game was short. We contacted our social worker in January, completed our home study in April (with a 2-month outreach in India in between), and got the call in May for a baby due in early July. Just under 24 weeks.

While we waited, I was keenly aware that nothing was 100% decided yet. One day, I would be absolutely confident that I would be a mom by July 4. The next, I was certain that the birth mom would be overcome with love and happiness and want to parent the child and we would have to drive home with an empty car seat.

I coped by thinking of my life as an algebra equation. (Yes, that's odd for someone who didn't get along with Math in high school.) You know how you solve for X -- you have to get X by itself by doing its opposite. If X is being added to the equation, you subtract it from both sides. If it's multiplied, you divide, and so on.

So if I was worried that she would change her mind, I did something opposite of that worry. I cut up the fabric I bought in Uganda in 2007 and decided to sew a crib skirt. I remembered the promise I had made to myself when we lost Kaleb -- that I wouldn't hold back any of my emotions out of fear that I would be disappointed in the end. I threw myself into all the preparations any expectant mom would do. I solved for X, for worry and fear--I hoped, planned, prepared. I loved. And I cried and leaned on our friends when X loomed too large.

My husband and I also prayed daily for the birth mom. We knew some of the struggles she was going through and we knew her decision wouldn't be easy. We prayed that she would be rescued through the adoption, that she would know a new and better life, just as her child would.

All I can say to someone else caught in the waiting game is don't hold back. Don't be afraid. Love with all your heart. In the end, it is worth the ups and downs. Each tear of worry and wondering makes the moment that much sweeter when you look for the first time on the tiny, perfect face of your child.

Monday, July 02, 2012

We waited for him, and he waited for us


It was a crazy weekend. Amidst my car breaking down in rush hour holiday traffic, being blessed with a loaner van for the next two weeks, I managed to complete the final touches to the nursery and mostly clean our house. 

It was 2:00 AM when I finally called it a night. But I was too giddy to really sleep. And camera happy. (If I can take so many pictures of an empty nursery and a suitcase packed in anticipation of a child, I can only imagine how many photos there will be of the actual child!)

About 5 hours later, we were pulling out of the driveway on the most exciting trip of our lives.

For the first hour or two, I was still in awe over what had all transpired. It felt so strange to be on our final road trip, just us. We talked about all the things that God had done for us in the last couple of months, all the ways we could see him working things out for us. Even the car breaking down at such a "perfect" time.

I knew that the birth mom was going to the hospital some time in the morning to be induced. I had no idea what time that would happen, or how long labor would be.

I Googled it, of course. She could be in labor anywhere from a couple hours to over a day. Talk about suspense....

While we drove, we got text updates from the adoption counselor. 

"She checked in at 5:30 AM. Nothing much happening yet. She hopes he'll be born by 3 pm." 
"Going for an epidural." 
"Dilated 8 cm."...

Every text from all our friends and family looking for updates made us jump a little. Our moms finally decided to go to bed, with strict orders to call as soon as we heard anything.

"What's taking so long?!" we wondered.

Finally, at midnight, we got THE TEXT.

"It's a boy! Born 10:01 PM. 9 lbs 7 oz. 20 inches."

Paul was so excited he nearly ran a red light.

We nearly missed Tyler altogether.

We did the math and realized that he was born when we crossed the border to TX.

"Our boy was waiting for us!" I said.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Happy the car died?


My car died yesterday. You know, the car that was supposed to make a 1000 mile drive to go get our boy who is due to be born tomorrow.

For some reason, I wasn't very phased yesterday. Today, started to hit me a bit more. Our car, the one that has rarely given me problems, the one that has made this trip to Texas several times, the one that just had a check-up a couple months ago, inexplicably turned off while I was driving.

I started looking for my battery warranty and receipt this morning. Then my phone buzzed with a Facebook message. A couple from church had seen the picture and story about how I was "rescued" by the military yesterday. 

"My husband wants to know if you'd like him to look at your car," she asked. "He said it doesn't sound like a battery problem. And with such a long trip tomorrow, he wants to see if he can help you."

My husband and I picked up my car from my folks' and drove to the nearby town, where our church friends lived. We turned into a little caul-de-sac and I wondered if we had the right address. There were about 5 cars out front and I knew this was a family with only young kids.

"Do they have company over?" I wondered. "Is this the right house?" I thought about what I would say if we rang the doorbell and it was the wrong house.... At the most, I would be embarrassed, but at least it would be another funny story to tell.

Thankfully, I recognized our friend when she opened the door. It was the right house after all.

Her husband checked out the car for a while, and we chatted inside about baby things and kids and missions. It was fun since I hadn't actually talked with her a whole lot before. Her husband asked her for some help with something and then came in to give us the verdict on the car.

"It's the alternator," he said.

I felt my heart sink. An alternator would be about $300-$400 to fix. We had just spent $2000 on repairing our home's A/C and needed to spend another $200 to repair our water softener. Plus the cost of driving to Texas, not to mention paying for the adoption and everything else along the way. 

"I can put the alternator in for you," he said. He took up his laptop and searched for a few minutes. "Looks like it'll be $150. And AutoZone has one in stock. They should be open today."

He looked at his wife and paused. 

"If you like, you could keep your car here and I'll fix it. And you can take ours. Do you drive stick?"

I cringed inside, remembering the last time I drove stick back in Driver's Ed. I shook my head. 

"Well, how about our van?" he asked. "We won't need it for the next couple of weeks."

And so they cleared their things out of the van, gave us the keys, and wouldn't accept a check or credit card to pay for the alternator. 

Now, we know we have a safe, ultra-comfortable drive to TX. Our car is getting fixed. 

It still seems so unreal. You'd think that Someone was looking out for us, making the way to bring our son home a lot smoother. 

So I'm glad my car broke down when and where it did. I'm glad I shared my silly little car story on Facebook. I'm glad to know such generous people. And I'm glad that God's taking care of us in both the big and the small ways.