Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Prayers

My last post was rather glum for the Christmas season. While my heart still yearns for a child to hold and claim as my own, the good Lord is slowly revealing the next step towards fulfilling my prayer of becoming a parent. Part of our plan to become parents includes moving to a better neighborhood and into a larger house. We just accepted an offer on our house and made an offer on our "dream" home. While the house is aged (1941) it is sturdy, spacious and fulfills most of our requirements for a home. If all goes well, we will move in January. Our foster-adopt paperwork will be submitted this month; hopefully we can begin our foster parent interviews in January which could lead to a child placement in the Spring.

While moving is exciting and brings us closer to expanding our family, part of me is hesitant to get too excited in case one of the house deals falls through or another obstacle appears. I know I will become a parent, it is just a matter of when God plans to make me a parent. As with all of God's plans, I do not know all of the steps or the timing. Adoption is quite the spiritual journey a person and for a couple. At times keeping the faith is very difficult, but God is there to carry me when I feel I cannot drag myself along. Laying down in green pastures is all I feel I can accomplish some days; other days I am flying on dreams and expectations. This is all in preparation to bringing a child into our home - life with a child will have its highs, lows and everything in between the rest of our lives. I do not know how my husband feels except he has told me he is apprehensive about becoming a parent and screwing up a child. He is more involved in the planning now that we have completed the foster-adopt classes. He has told me he is okay with becoming a parent next summer.

My 33rd birthday is next week. If we become parents next year, one of my life goals of becoming a parent before my 35th birthday. Putting a time limit on such a life goal as parenting is dangerous. I know many women who want to have babies before they turn 30 or 35 then they discover they have infertility issues and cannot meet their goal. Adoption is not a timed science so there is no guarantee of when we will get a placement.

I continue to pray and persivere through this journey. Only the Lord knows where He is taking us. Only he knows where our children are coming from and when they will become ours. I have to keep reminding myself it is just a matter of time of when we will become parents.

May you find peace this Advent season.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas and Childlessness

We have entered the Advent season, preparing for the celebration of Christ's birth. As this is a time of joy and celebration for most, I am struggling again with social gatherings this Christmas season. Last year I was so filled with joy as we were beginning the adoption process. We were talking to lawyers and filling out paperwork. This year we are in the middle of the process with no deadlines and many unknowns plus my arms are still empty. This year is a mixed blessing. It is the first Christmas I will spend with my niece who is 18 months old, but I know my heart will ache watching her open presents and interact with her parents. Yesterday I bought Christmas gifts for my nephew who is also 18 months old.

Christmas and Mother's Day are the two holidays I really struggle with infertility. While the Virgin Mary had to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, I have to find my niche as a woman longing for a child while we celebrate the immaculate conception. The bible is full of stories of God blessing infertile women with pregnancy; it is hard to accept, at times, that my choices are adoption or being childless. I believe my husband and I have been called to adopt and pray the Lord will continue to bless us with family.

This Christmas may just take a bit more steel in my veins than past holidays. I find comfort watching family holiday shows such as "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". The difficulty is in public gatherings that include Children - parades, church programs, family gatherings. At times solitary confinement is desirable, but not practicable.

This Christmas I pray for peace in my heart as I wait for our family blessing. May you find peace if you are dealing with infertility or loss of a loved one this holiday season. May joy fill your soul if you are blessed to spend time with family.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Now that we have submitted our paperwork to Jamaica and USCIS, we are working through the DSHS parenting and first aid classes. After the first weekend of classes, my husband is wondering if we should stop the international adoption and continue to pursue adoption from foster care. This journey continues to reveal new insights about each of us. It is a mystery from where our children will come, the ages of our children, their race and the background.

With the stresses of work the past three weeks, I think about work-life balance and how I will or will not be able to handle home stress and work stress simultaneously. Counseling and finding relaxing outlets are not helping. I know work crises are not common, but they will occur. At times a work crisis will occur with a family crisis and I will need to deal with both then probably take a week long vacation after the crises are resolved.

During this adoption process and the work crises, there are days, like today, where surviving barely seems possible. Hiding under my desk at work seems to be as productive as I can be. I know there will be days that I feel like hiding after a difficult day at work and I will have to go home and give my children attention. I pray I have enough strength and grace to deal with life as trials occur.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ready to Submit!

Finally got all the documents and letters signed and notarized for the Jamaican adoption. I need to make copies of a few items then the assemblies will be complete and ready to mail to Jamaica. Two identical packets will go to Montego Bay and to Kingston. The third packet smaller packet will be sent to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). I am making sure I have copies or additional originals of everything we are mailing this week. One hurdle nearly completed after 11 months. We began the paperwork in November 2009. Once submitted to Jamaica, we pray for a child referral within 12 months. Once we approve of a referral, it could be 2 to 3 years before we bring the child home.

In the mean time, we begin our Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) parenting classes to become eligible for domestic adoption from the foster care system. in two weeks. Four days of classes mostly applicable to foster parenting. We will have our DSHS homestudy done in November then wait for a referral or look online through the foster kids from various states.

We have no idea from where our child(ren) will come nor the gender nor what they will look like or their temperaments nor do we know if the adoption will be domestic or international or possibly both with the two happening a year or two apart. There are a lot of unknowns for us. We only know: at least one child between the ages of 2 and 8.

Our counselor asks us how the "long pregnancy" is going - as she calls our long time of being expectant parents without a due date. Sometimes it gets to me; other times I am so busy with life I nearly forget we are working through the adoption process.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Mom and I have been talking about the possibility of Mike and I adopting from the foster care system. The young boys are currently in state care but not legally free. At this point there is a small chance the boys would become available for adoption in less than three years. We are praying for less than two years so the children do not linger in limbo. They deserve safety, stability, discipline, love and a chance to enjoy their childhood.

I have been daydreaming about the possible life the boys could have with us as parents. One child is more quite and inquisitive the other child a high speed spitfire. I imagine the quiet one and myself exploring the world in our backyard or through books while Mike takes the other son backpacking through the Olympics or working on various projects together. We both would supplement their school learning with visits to museums, science experiments in the basement or making our own art. Mike is currently working on making a prototype suit of armour in aluminum and wants to make another suit in steel.

For now we have to go through the foster/adoptive parent DSHS classes then have patience to find out how the court decides the fate the boys. I will spend the next several months praying for the well being of the boys regardless of them ever becoming mine.

Prayer and daydreams - sometimes that is what gets us through the wait.

Monday, August 23, 2010

No, we don't have kid yet!

I have been asked five times in the past twelve days if we have a referral or a placement. The questions come from people who do not understand the processes we have to endure just to get a referral. I have to mail the paperwork first! Yes, I have been working on the Jamaican paperwork since November 2009 - welcome to the world of adoption. There is more paperwork in an international adoption than there is to buy a house. No, we haven't officially started the domestic adoption until we take the foster parent classes. No, I don't know when we will have a child, I will let you know.

Only at certain times does the question, "do you have a kid yet?" bother me. Today was one of those days. I can go weeks and not feel the pain of childlessness; then my mood changes and I desperately long for a child. I just want to sit and hold any child for hours to ease some of the pain.

Should I be in one of those moods when I meet my child for the first time, oh woe the child - who's this crazy crying lady?

My husband does not understand the "empty arms" feelings. He is not opposed to the adoption, but there is no urgency for a family for him. He's already looking forward to when they grow up and move out of the house. I look at is as having a truncated time with my children since they will be older when they are placed. I have a very short time to cherish the moments of their childhood. It will be interesting to see how he changes once a child is placed in our care. I have seen a transformation with many expecting fathers - no excitement until they begin setting up the baby's room then complete love once they hold their precious child for the first time. I do not know how my husband will react during his first interaction with our child. One day we will hold "our child" together and be a wonderful family!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Second Adoption, First Child

While we journey along to adopt one of God's children from Jamaica, we have decided to begin our second adoption. We feel led to provide a home to a child in the US foster care system; whomever God has chosen as our child. We will take the DSHS parenting classes this fall then submit our homestudy. I could become a mother by Mother's Day 2011. There is also the chance that we may have to wait longer than six months for a child, but at least we will have a child in our home before three years has passed. We are expecting to bring our Jamaican child home three to four years after we submit our home study.

When I spoke with Phillip at the local DSHS office on Wednesday I was excited to learn they offer straight adoption from the foster care system; we do not have to go through foster-adopt. I was on Cloud 9 for several hours. We would be matched only to children who are legally free for adoption. I have witnessed too many families experience heartache through foster-adopt. For some, the process works from them; it is not for us. These two adoptions may not be our only ones. I envision providing a family to several children through the years. We will continue this roller coaster called the Adoption Adventure.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Pondering if we should seriously consider starting a second adoption process, this time from the US foster care system, while we progress through the Jamaican adoption process. It may be three or more years before we bring home our Jamaican child. I can handle waiting two years for a child, but three or more I do not think I can remain motherless that long. It looks like it will be one or more years before we get matched with a child then another two years before we bring the child home. It could take several years to adopt from the foster care system, also.It is hard to watch other families get matched immediately and bring their children home in less than two years, sometimes less than one year.

Someone this weekend, possibly my sister, said, "You should have started the process sooner." That does not make enduring the process any easier. My sister endured three years of trying to get pregnant and I watched her deal with the disappointment during that time of trying. Our wait may be just as long or longer. While I won't endure month after month of disappointments, but a long time of not knowing when we get to bring our child home.

Patience - a difficult lesson that is difficult to endure when my heart longs for something that the Lord planted in my heart. I know He will follow through on his promise of children, I just do not know when the promise will be fulfilled. I continue to pray for patience and peace to endure the wait. I pray, I persevere, I endure, I do what is required to meet the adoption requirements and to prepare our home for our child. Some day I will introduce a child as "my child".

My child, I wait for the day I can hold you. The Lord has you chosen for our family. He chose us to be your parents. You are a beloved child of God and we will be blessed to be your parents. One day I will tell you, "I love you." One day I will introduce you as "my child". One I will hold you in my arms and tell you "I am proud to be your mother".

My child, I wait. I wait to see your photo for the first time. I wait to meet you. I wait to bring you home. I wait to teach you. I wait to hear you say, "I love you, mommy." I wait.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Twin Chaos

I know I am at an age when I can expect my friends and acquaintances are bearing children, but I just found out about the third set of twins among my high school classmates just this year. One man and his wife are enjoying their new fraternal twins. A woman and her husband are expecting fraternal twins this summer. A second woman and her husband are expecting twins this winter. It is hard enought to be "surrounded" by pregnant women when I can never have that experience, but TWINS! I do not know if they are natural occurances or aided by fertility drugs or treatments. Regardless of how the twins came into being, these couples are blessed greatly with children.

For now, I just pray for one child to call "son" or "daughter". Yes, we are open to adopting a sibling set, but realize we our first adoption may be a single child. There is also the chance that this may be our only adoption. Someday my arms will hold my child. The child that will test boundaries, the child that will giggle with delight at simple pleasures, the child that will break my heart and fill my heart with love. I look forward to providing a home to the imperfect child God has chosen for us to parent. My husband and I see parenting as the stewardship of God's children. All children are God's children, we are just provided the opportunity to care for them.

Give strength to the parents when chaos and sleep deprivation reigns.
Show the children they are loved.
Give patience to men and women trying to adopt or conceive when road blocks and paperwork seem insurmountable.
Move all our hearts so we may provide for children without families and families in poverty.

Glorious amen!

Another Step Closer

We received the draft of our home study this week. I immediately read, made some changes and sent it back to our case worker for editing. Our journey to the adoption decision condensed into 15 pages; it seemed flat; one page for each year that lead to our decision to adopt. We are limited on how long our narrative can be, but 15 pages barely touches the surface. We are on schedule to submit the final report to USCIS, just need one more letter from the doctor.

This weekend we have our first major fundraiser - Swing Night for Adoption. I have put a lot of effort into this event. There could be 25 people or 200 people. Donations for the silent auction and the raffle have been amazing! It will be a wonderful evening of swing music, dancing, sharing and excitement.

When I yearn for next week when the planning is over, I tell myself it is all to add children to our family. Independence weekend is next weekend, I will unwind for three days (catch up on sleep). One day there will be no more planning, there will be living life with children. One day there will be no more waiting and hoping, there will be chaos, love and exhaustion.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Emotional Roller Coaster

Okay, I take pride in being a calm, collected gal. I have found so far during this adoption process the mix of work, adoption and volunteer work is volatile for my emotions. The other week I was enjoying a wonderful community parade and among the joy found myself crying with grief. We are just beginning the "hurry up and wait" process which will go on for at least a year, if not longer.

This week is full of adoption activities. We are finalizing our references. I will touch base with our case worker. I call Jamaica, again, to find out if our pre-adoption application has been approved. It has been four weeks since we faxed our initial application. If the approval is not yet ready, I will continue to call weekly until I get an answer. I also am planning details for our fundraiser in late June so I will remain busy.

Just breathe - in,, out. I can and will survive this. At the end of the leg of this journey, my arms will be wrapped around a child requiring love and acceptance. I do not expect to be loved backed nor be appreciated nor even liked. I have this strong desire to love a child and provide an opportunity for the child to become a productive adult who empathizes with others.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day 2010. It varies from year to year if the day will be difficult, just another day or a day of joy. This year is difficult. Now that we are in the middle of the adoption process, I know my child is out there, somewhere, and I do not have any information or even a photograph. We were hoping to receive our first Jamaican approval this past week, but we have to wait at least another three weeks. At that time, we will find out if there are any children available.

My sister gets to celebrate Mother's Day for the first time with her lovely child. I adore my niece and give her lots of love anytime we are together. Now I have a nephew on my husband's side to love. I adore other people's children, also, but I still have empty arms. It is not just Mother's Day, but Christmas, Halloween and Easter are now difficult as I watch the wonder of all the children around me. One family at church was able to adopt internationally in seven months and just got their sweet little girl home. I have three friends expecting babies in August, one with twins. I realize I am at an age when most of my friends are starting or expanding their families. Many of my friends who have children my age are now becoming grandparents. For now, I pray, I wait, and I lavish love on my niece and nephew. One day I will relish the joy of Mother's Day once again. At least I have a loving mother who I cherish greatly and a mother-in-law I love.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"More Paperwork"

I knew I would hear "more paperwork is needed" during our adoption process and a phrase I should become accustomed to hearing for now until the finalization. This week it seems to be the catch phrase. We were requested to submit additional paperwork after getting confirmation that we had all the necessary. We have friends in the process of bringing their child home from Africa and they are waiting on paperwork to be processed before they can fly home.

We have years of "more paperwork" - more paperwork for the US government, more paperwork for the Jamaican government, more paperwork for the home study, more paperwork for the judge. All we want is to bring children into our lives, give them love, stability, discipline and security. I intellectually know that each adoption is unique, but during these times of "more paperwork" I wish there was a clearer checklist of all that is needed for each step. With so few adoptions out of Jamaica, it is expected there are unknowns in the process on the Jamaican side. We did expect our home study agency to have a clear checklist which we went through and confirmed our paperwork was complete; then we were told "more paperwork" is needed. I might as well as resign myself to hearing "more paperwork" since it will be used often. Maybe our experience will help others just beginning their Adoption Adventures.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Nearing End of Initial Paperwork

Our parenting classes are completed. I get our medical forms notarized Thursday and that will be the end of our initial paperwork. Next comes questions about each other from our caseworker, a second visit to our home and fingerprinting at the immigration office. Then our homestudy will be ready to submit to USCIS for our four to six month wait for approval.

In less than nine months I will meet the one to three children that will become ours. Mom will be traveling with me. She has been a major support for our adoption dream and she will be a steady rock during the emotional time of being matched with our family.

As part of this journey, we are looking for a new home to raise our family. This week we put in offer on what we hope will become our new home. If we get to move prior to October, God will have greatly blessed us.

I keep telling myself, "God has provided the caseworker, the lawyer, the judge and the orphanage. We just need the home and the children." It is falling into place better than any plan I could develop; all will happen with God's timing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baby Steps

We are working through the last ofthe our paperwork we need to submit to our case worker - our medical forms and my husband's employment verification. We are slowly completing the parenting education courses. Many of the questions seem to overlap from one class to another and my husband feels tortured by repetiviness. He commented the other day that "it is much easier to make a baby". Yes, people giving birth are not required to take parenting classes or "prove" themselves as parents. I remind him we are already good parents, we just do not have children and we just have to write down everything we already know. We might actually learn something new along the way.

We are experiencing the joy of bringing a child home through another family at church. They are bringing their long awaited daughter home from the Congo next month. One day, we will be preparing to bring our child or children home.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Happening

We had our first home study meeting today - met the case worker, reviewed the paperwork, signed many sheets of paper, created a To Do list and signed a big check. We have most of our paperwork filled out, we just need the employment verification and the medical statements from our doctors then we take the parenting classes and get our fingerprints taken once we have an appointment with immigration. The paper trail has begun! And we have to send our Pre-Adoption Application to Jamaica.

Our first adoption fundraiser is scheduled for June 26 at Shelton United Methodist Church, 6 pm to 8 pm. Entertainment by Swing Fever who are excited to play for us. A video from Embracing Orphans showcasing the Blossom Gardens orphanage will be shared.

Now we just see how long it takes to get all the paperwork and processing done by the US government. All will happen in God's time.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Next Steps

Tomorrow we schedule our first meeting with our home study case worker. Tonight I met with Swing Fever out of Belfair to discuss a fundraising event. They agreed to perform to help us bring our child(ren) home. I am planning an evening of swing music, our adoption story and the story of Blossom Gardens along with some sweets. Just need to find a date for this event.

Something deep in my soul, maybe God's voice, that hints we will be bringing home more than one child. My dear husband has decided he trusts me fully to decide which children our to become ours by not going to Jamaica with me. Yes, it saves us money by sending just one of us on the first trip, but I was looking forward to falling in love with the children at Blossom Gardens together. Instead I will share photos and video with him from a distance. We are looking into having either other family members (the future grandparents) or part of our church family join me on this momentous trip. So many steps just to get to the first trip.

May peace reside in your hearts.