Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pregnancy vs. Paper Pregnancy

Pregnancy vs. Adoption (Paper Pregnancy)
Conception (day 1) - Agency Application (day 1)
Morning sickness (months 1-3)- Home study, I600A, dossier (months 1-3)
Finding out the gender (month 4 or 5) - Accepting a referral (month 4)
Baby growing (month 5-9) - Court, CONA (month 5-8)
Nesting (month 9) - Nesting, Embassy Appointment, Investigation (month 9-?)
Labor (21 hours) - Travel (30+ hours)
Delivery - Gottcha Day!
Released from Hospital (1-2 days later) - Exit Letter (10-14 days later)
Drive home (15 min.) - Fly home (30+ hours)
Total time:
Pregnancy roughly 9 months - DRC Adoption 12-15 months

Right now we are "baby growing" phase.  We are (hopefully) starting court this week.  Court can take a month or two.  After that we will get a judgement that basically says that Congo approves us to adopt these specific children.  Then there is a mandatory 30 day waiting period for anyone to appeal the courts decision.  After 30 days we will receive Certificate of Non-Appeal or "CONA" meaning no one disputes the adoption. Then we will receive the Act of Adoption (AoA) which states that we are the legal parents of our girls!

(If I'm off on something please feel free to correct it in the comments section)

Also- Yes, I was in labor for 21 hours.   

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Adoption Sucks

Adoption sucks.

I understand how that may sound strange coming from an adoptive Mom, but seriously, it really does suck.

What sucks about it?

The fact that there is even a need for it in the first place.
That our soon-to-be daughters lost their first family.
That there isn't a system in place in their birth country for them to be adopted by a family there.
That they will grow up over 6,000 miles from their closest blood relative.
That they live in poverty- real poverty.
That we've missed the first three years of their lives.
That one day our daughters will ask me questions that begin with "How..." and "Why..." and I will only be able to answer with "I don't know."

I used to think adoption sucked for two reasons:

It costs so much.
It takes so long.

Why does it cost so much?

We pay for the orphanage to provide for our children while they are there.
We pay to have a social worker tell the US government that we are fit parents.
We pay to prove to the US government that we can afford to become a family of five.
We pay for people to gather, translate, and file paperwork for us.
We pay for lawyers to fight our case in court.
We pay for doctors to make sure our kids are healthy.
We pay for people to investigate and validate that what we are being told is the truth.
We pay to travel across the ocean to be united with them.

Why does it take so long?

It takes so long because there is a lot of paperwork to gather.
It takes so long because there is a lot of money to raise.
It takes so long because there are language and cultural barriers.
It takes so long because there are many government agencies involved.
It takes so long because it needs to be done ethically.
It takes so long so our kids can mentally and emotionally prepare to be plucked from everything familiar. 
It takes so long for love, trust, and comfort to grow.

The fact is that adoption is messy.  There is nothing simple about it. An adoption journey begins with a great tragedy. Parents die, can't provide, have addictions, are abusive, made bad choices; and that tragedy propels the children in a different direction than intended.  Children are supposed to stay with their birth families, to think anything less is naive.  

If Adam and I were to pass away and Reagan were adopted by another family would it be okay for her new parents to say "It's like God planned Reagan for our family all along!"   


The fact that ANY child needs a new family breaks Gods heart. That is not what he intended. 

We can rest in the fact that we know that adoption is close to God's heart.  After all, God WILLINGLY gave up his own son to be adopted by an earthly father over 2,000 years ago so that we may be adopted into Gods family!  How crazy is that?! What an awesome God that he would love us so much that he would pay anything and wait as long as it takes to adopt us as his own.  

I can say with certainty that God makes all things work for our good; and more importantly-for HIS GLORY.  

Anything I can do to emulate God- is good. 
Anything I can do that gets me out of my comfort zone- is good. 
Completing something that there is no way I can complete on my own with out God's intervention- is good. Learning to fully rely on God to meet our need- is good. 
Letting go of control- is good.

I'm not going to lie.  Adoption is hard. The cost is high and the wait is long.

But, do you know what's harder?

Living years without a mother or father is hard.
Sleeping on a concrete floor is hard.
Eating one meal a day is hard.
Living in a two room building with 30 other people is hard.
Watching friends die from a bug bite is hard.
Being an orphan is hard. 

That's what really sucks.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Let me explain.

So, it's been a little while since I've posted here. Okay, it's been almost 6 months. What have we been up to you ask? Let me tell you...

We have completed our home study, filed our I600a, and sent our dossier to Congo.  What does that all mean?  Basically, we've been doing paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork.

Oh yeah, one other thing...WE ACCEPTED A REFERRAL OF 3 YEAR OLD TWINS!  They are sisters and are about 4 1/2 months older than Reagan.  They are healthy and adorable and we can't wait for them to come home.  "We" (our Congo lawyer) will be in court starting next week to legally adopt them! Court can take a few months, and after that we have to wait 30 days for anyone to appeal the decision, but then they will legally be our daughters.

So after that happens we'll just hop on a plane and go pick them up :)  If only it were that easy.

After they are legally our daughters we have to wait on paperwork, and file some more paperwork, then wait on government people to do government things, then wait some more, but eventually in the "near" future we will be able to go get them (then wait in Congo for more paperwork) and then come home where we will have to readopt them.

Got it? Does that all make sense?

I didn't think so.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

I just watched the ball drop and kissed the hubby.  I know that it is just another day, but I feel relieved that 2012 is finally over!  This time last year I was recovering after my post miscarriage surgery.  At the time I thought the worst was behind me, boy was I wrong.

2012 brought with it massive grieving and heartache.  Not only did we loose our son, but I then watched helplessly as friends delivered their twin sons at 20 weeks, and another pair of friends loose their 4 day old daughter.  Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse a college friend died by suicide, and too many friends suffered miscarriages.  Not to mention the heartbreaking stories I hear coming out of the DR Congo.

I started the year last year praying that God would "break my heart for what breaks yours."  Be careful what you ask for!  Never did I imagine that I would have the experiences that I had or grown in the ways that I have grown-mostly in compassion for other grieving moms.  If I had the choice I would have picked to NOT grow in those ways, but God had other plans.  I must remember that His ways are not my ways, His thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and He has plans not to hurt me but to give me hope and a future!  Those things are hard to believe in the midst of heartbreak-- and I have truly physically felt my heart break lately.

As I start it or not, my prayer is the similar: "break my heart until it moves my hands and feet."  This is the year of doing...of going...I know that as I travel to the DRC (hopefully this year!) to bring home our child(ren) that the things I see there will break my heart.  The only thing I can say is bring it on!  Living in this world is not an easy thing to do, especially for those less fortunate than us.  I just hope I can bring some comfort to those precious Congo babies I see on my computer screen.

If all goes well we will actually have some activity on the adoption front.  Sometime in January we will be starting our home study!

Here a poem that Adam gave me for Christmas along with a star named after Isaiah David.  I do not know the author, sorry!

Daddy, please don't look so sad, Mama please don't cry-'Cause I am in the arms of Jesus and He sings me lullabies.
Please, try not to question God, don't think he is unkind, don't think he sent me to you, and then he changed his mind.
You see, I am a special child, and I'm needed up above, I;m the special gift you gave Him, the product of your love.
I'll always be there with you, and watch the sky at night, find the brightest star that's gleaming, that's my halo's brilliant light.
You'll see me in the morning frost, that mists your window pane, that's me in the summer showers, I'll be dancing in the rain.
When you feel a little breeze, from a gentle wind that blows, that's me, I'll be there planting a kiss on your nose.
When you see a child playing and your heart feels a little tug, that's me, I'll be there, giving your heart a hug.
So Daddy, please don't look so sad, Mama don't you cry, I'm in the arms of Jesus, and he sings me lullabies.

Lastly, another angel mamma told me "We can't pick and choose what comes from God and what doesn't.  No matter if we think it was 'good' or 'bad' God gave us the experience for a reason."

Rest in Peace Isaiah, Josie, Charlie, Nate, Lillian, Ryan, Francis, Aniahya, & all of the other babies gone too soon.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December update

It has been a while since I've posted anything.  Here is a recap of what we've been up to the last month....

Thanksgiving at my parents, Thanksgiving at Adams Parents, Thanksgiving at our house with Adams Nanny and Dad.  Adam helped his parents move in to a new house the day before Thanksgiving and they generously donated lots of furniture for our Spring yard sale fundraiser.  I cleaned out the basement to make room for donations, but somehow all of their furniture is still piled to the ceiling in our dining room. Funny how that happens :)

We celebrated my 28th birthday. Yikes! Only two more years til the big 3-0.  Did I mention that my ten year high school reunion is next year? Double Yikes!

We put up the Christmas decorations, got all of our shopping done (which wasn't really a challenge since we are only buying for Reagan this year) and will be stuffing 242 Christmas letters tomorrow.

Did I mention Reagan had a stomach bug for a week?  I am still behind on laundry from the bug, and somehow I'm behind on dishes too.  The doctor wants us to keep her off of dairy for a couple weeks just to make sure she hasn't developed an allergy.

Adam has officially started Seminary so please pray that God will use the next three years to reveal himself to Adam and His plan for our lives. Also please pray for my sanity and that I will adjust to Adam being even busier than usual.

Reagan spent the night at Memaw and Grandpa Larry's house last night so Adam and I could clean the house (still working on that), and give all three dogs a bath- actually, a shower.  Then of course we had to clean the bathroom.

Enough playing catch up, lets talk about the adoption!  We have ended our online shopping fundraiser.  I've yet to find out how we did, but will update as soon as I know.  We will continue to sell Just Love Coffee throughout 2013 so feel free to look at our online storefront.  I have had reports from people who have received their coffee that it was "surprisingly good."

I've had a couple of people ask if they can donate money to our adoption account so I have added a Paypal button on the right side.  We will be selling t shirts and having some local fundraisers throughout the winter.  In the spring we will be having a yard sale.  If you have any items you would like to donate to our yard sale let me know (we'll be storing items in our basement).

We have opted to start our home study before paying the initial agency fee.  This will help us keep moving along in the process instead of waiting to begin until we raise the money for agency fee.  After we complete the home study we will qualify for grants and various fundraising opportunities.  We feel that this is the best option for us however, it will mean that our first and second agency fees will be due around the same time. Please pray that the home study is as pain free as possible.  It involves a lot of paperwork, finger printing, fire inspection, physicals, interviews with our social worker, and lots of other things I've yet to find out about.  It will take about 3-4 months to complete and we should be scheduling it to begin sometime in January.

Last of all I wanted to thank you all so much for your support and prayers.  We are so blessed to have family and friends who are excited for us and who are eager to go on this journey with us as we find our kids and bring them home.  I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that keeps me going when things get rough.

"When He invites us to experience more and better life, He invites us from the perspective of a God who loves his life, the world he made, and invites us to experience life in all it's fullness. That doesn't mean though, that getting involved in God's life is always going to be's not. Getting involved in God's life will bring us fulfillment and inexpressible pleasure, but it also will involve risk, and pain, and sacrifice. How do we know this? We know this because God's life and God's experience with this world and humanity has involved great risk, and pain, and sacrifice. Yet at the end of the day he is still filled with great joy." -Terry A. Smith

Sunday, November 11, 2012


It is late and I am trying to avoid cleaning my kitchen, so I am sitting at the table thinking of the wonderful weekend I had....

On Friday Adam, Reagan, and I spent some time visiting Nanny (Adams grandmother) and Papaw Joe (Adams dad).  Then we went to the toy store and put Christmas on layaway, then went grocery shopping.  Miss Reagan decided to act up a bit (as two year old do) and got probably the biggest punishment she has ever received: no watching movies in the minivan ALL weekend. She is a little older now and we are trying to teach her concepts like respect, being thankful, consequences, and privileges.  This weekend she learned about all of them at once.  To be honest I am getting tired of the TV and she did fine without it, so we might be saving TV time as a special treat rather than an everyday thing in the near future.

Saturdays are traditionally our Sabbath and as such are family days.  This Saturday, however, Reagan and I left Daddy at home and took a road trip to my hometown to go to the baby shower of my BFF since 5th grade.  It was great to see her, her hubby, and all of her family that I haven't seen in a long time.  Our other BFF came all the way from Erie to join in on the fun, so we had a reunion.  It was great to see two of my favorite ladies in the world!  I have a hand full of close friends that have spread out all over the country so it does my heart good to get to spend some quality time with them. That night we spent the night at my parents house and had a great time.

This morning Reagan and I went from my parents house to Adams parents house to pick up some furniture they are letting us sell to raise money for the adoption.  We missed Adam leading worship at church, but it was great for Reagan to see so many of her grandparents and one uncle in one weekend.  When we got home Adam and Reagan let me nap on the couch while they went to Target.  Reagan had the idea to "buy mommy flowers" while they were there so they stopped by the florist and brought me home a dozen peach roses complete with a card that Reagan signed! So precious!  Then we ate pizza and had our first family game night.  We played Memory, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Don't Break the Ice.  We had so much fun I think we are going to do it every Sunday!  We ended the night by giving Reagan a post candy cane bath and watching some TV.  

Now Reagan and Adam are asleep upstairs and I'm surrounded my our menagerie of sleeping pets.  Like I said, I am at the kitchen table trying to avoid doing the dishes.  The family budget and board games are all over the table and there is laundry in the washer waiting to be dried, but I am content to sit her and reflect on our many blessings.  I can't wait until we have two more kiddos to add to the mix. I know that quiet time like this will be even rarer then, but I will have even more to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Isaiah's Day

     One year ago today we conceived our son Isaiah.  We decided since the time wasn't right to adopt that we would have another biological child.  We were overjoyed when we conceived on the first try!  We did not know at the time that we would never meet him.

     The week before Christmas 2011 I started spotting and was put on progesterone.  I remember pleading with God to let him stay with us, and pleading with Isaiah not to leave.  We found out on December 29th that his heart had stopped beating. I was and still am utterly heartbroken.  I miss him so much.  I didn't think that these things happened to people like me.  I didn't understand why God would allow that to happen.  I asked God for a name and he laid on my heart "Isaiah David"  meaning "God is salvation, beloved."

     I woke up on New Years Eve after surgery with such amazing peace.  I had dreamed that my Aunt was holding him and taking care of him.  She had wanted more children but wasn't able to have more while she was here on Earth. As time went on my peace and understanding turned to hurt and anger as I watched many of my friends miscarry, one set of good friends loose their newborn baby, and another friend die by suicide.   

     I struggled to find the meaning in all of this.  I believed that God wanted what was best for me and my family.  How could this possibly be part of his plan?  Then I had a realization...I know that this may offend some people and I by no means am trying to do that, this is what God has laid on my heart for my situation...."How can I parent an orphan without experiencing the loss of a child?"  Certainly you can parent an orphan without knowing the loss of a child, but I know that somehow, someday, God will use this experience to help us be the best parents we can be for the adopted children he has chosen for us.

     This past year has been a huge lesson in wanting and accepting Gods will for you life even when it is not what you desire for your life.  I know that I will meet Isaiah one day and what a joyous day that will be!  Until then we can use that loss to teach our adopted children that they will see their biological families again one day.  I pray that will give them comfort.

I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. -Matthew 18:18