Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why This Road?

It's now been two years since we've been on this adoption journey.  That's kinda crazy when you think about it.  And wow, it seems like a long time.  But, we have been so thankful for this journey.  

Many times in the last two years, we've been asked, "why?" 
Why domestic? 
Why private agency? 
Why infant?

These questions have provided opportunities to dialogue with family, friends, acquaintances, and sometimes strangers about a bigger issue: orphans and adoption.  

Recently, we've watched friends celebrate children joining their families through other roads.  A family from our church started their adoption journey around the same time and has now had their son home from China for over six months.  Friends from Cru just went from a family of two to a family of four by adopting through the state.  It's been amazing to see the journey and to see these children get placed into their perfect, forever families. 

But of course, we wonder, when will it be our turn?  

Which brings us back to the questions above and why we felt called to and chose this particular road to adoption.  

International:  For us, international is a very natural choice.  We've both spent quite a bit of time in other countries, even for stints as long as 10 months.  We love other cultures.  We love learning about other cultures, and we love sharing the Gospel with those who may have never heard it.  We don't necessarily care that our children probably won't look very much like us.  International Adoption would make sense for us.  So why not International?
  • International adoption is significantly more expensive, which was a deterrent for us this time around
  • Most countries also have age requirements which one or both of us hasn't met yet.  
  • Most countries are stricter with income levels which we don't meet at this time
  • International adoptions have more strict guidelines for health of the adoptive families, which due to a history of anxiety/depression, we wouldn't be approved.  
  • Will we pursue international adoption at a later time?  If God leads us to, absolutely. 

State Adoption:  This option would be significantly less expensive and probably shorter.  These kids need families, and we totally understand that.  So why not state adoption?  This one is harder...
  • With state adoptions, it is normally older children. 
  • These precious children typically (of course, there are exceptions) come from places of hurt, loneliness, and even harm.  We aren't quite sure that we have all the tools necessary at this time to give these children everything they would need. 
  • Is state adoption out of the question for us?  Absolutely not. We fully expect to be in a better place down the road to be able to provide a loving, secure home for this type of child.  Just not right now.  
Why Bethany?:  
  • We love Bethany's love for the birth parents.  
  • We feel passionate about adoption being the better alternative to abortion and want to celebrate the choice the birth mothers make to choose life for their child. 
  • We feel called to have a semi-open relationship with our child's birth-family.  We want to be able to build a relationship and show Christ's love to the brave woman (and the birth father and/or their families depending on the situation) who made the sacrificial choice of adoption.  
  • They do a good job.  Though the cost is high, it's reasonable.  The services they provide to the birth family as well as adoptive families are done with excellence.  
    • Before we chose Bethany, I wanted to 'research' what it was like to be one of their birth mothers. So, I went onto their website and started a chat with a pregnancy counselor.  I wanted to make sure the birth mothers were treated with respect, with compassion, with love.  I was satisfied.
    • Our social worker has walked with us for two years.  Answered emails, phone calls, visited with us, trained us, and prayed with and for us.  For two years.  She has earned her salary.  
    • Many people choose not to pursue a private adoption because they would 'lose' money they've spent along the way if they became pregnant.  With our agency, you pay for things as they come along.  Even if we decided to not do Bethany at this point, we would lose money that was only for specific services.  I am thankful they are setup this way.  We cannot get 'scammed' out of money this way.  They are an honorable, reputable organization. 
Do I love that we are one of 40 families in South Carolina who is in the same boat?  Waiting to be chosen by a birth mother or waiting to be matched with a child?  Not always.  Sometimes it feels like a weird competition.  When the emails come out about babies that are available, it brings a strange mixture of excitement/anxiety.  The constant wondering if somewhere there's an expecting mom looking through our profile, considering us to be her child's family.  That wouldn't happen if we were traveling down another road.  

BUT, we are confident that this is the road God has led us to, at this time.  Will we adopt later?  Probably.  Will we definitely go with Bethany?  Maybe not.  We are option to adopting however the Lord leads us.  It's His story, not ours. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

10 and Thankful Thursday

We have reached a new milestone in this adoption journey:  

Yesterday, we received our 10th email about an available child.  Honestly, the wave of excitement that comes when you get an email about a baby is indescribable.  Could THIS be our baby?  It's also a little heartbreaking.  It's a reminder that we live in a broken world.  But it's also encouraging.  A birth mother choosing adoption is much better than choosing abortion.  

These emails are great reminders for the Sovereignty of God in this process and great catalysts for prayer... and also a reminder that if we were picked, God would have to perform a miracle for us to have the remaining funds ready.  

Today, while we wait for news about this latest baby, I am Thankful.  
  • I'm thankful for how God has already provided greatly for this adoption. 
  • I'm thankful for our house and that it will make a wonderful home for our family for years to come. 
  • I'm thankful for each person who donated items for us to sell at our yard sales. 
  • I'm thankful for the people who have purchased jewelry, make-up, home decor, and Tupperware in support of our adoption. 
  • I'm thankful for those who have participated in our raffles by spreading the word or donating to earn entries.  
  • I'm thankful for the sweet notes we've received along with donations in the mail. 
  • I'm thankful for the people who sold class rings and discarded jewelry for our adoption.  
  • I'm thankful for everyone who came and supported us at Chik-fil-A. 
  • I'm thankful for the crib, highchair, play pen, bassinet, bouncy seat, and baby clothes that have been given to us with such generous hearts. 
  • I'm thankful to be on this journey with my best friend who keeps me grounded.
  • I'm thankful for a wonderful job with special people who encourage me and ask me about our status. 
  • I'm thankful for people who purchase items through our Amazon site in support of our adoption. 
  • I'm thankful that Lifesong for Orphans is allowing donations to be made to them so that people can give tax-deductible donations. 
  • I'm thankful to have been called to adopt a child... 
  • I'm thankful for those who walk this journey with us.  
Some days are hard.  Many days are a blur.  Other days are heart-breaking and feel a little hopeless.  Occasionally, we are reminded of all that we have for which to be thankful; these days are glorious.   Thank you for being part of all these days.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We're Back... Stay Tuned!

As if moving into our new house wasn't a distraction enough!  

We have also had some very complicated (way over my head) issues with our blog address/custom domain.  It seems to be resolved now, thankfully!  That was a headache I really could have done without over the last 8 days.  

So, to update:
1. We closed on our house.
2. We're still moving into our house.
3. We're hoping and praying that God allows our child to join our family soon... in our new house! 
4. We are *tentatively* planning a housewarming/30th Birthday Party/Adoption Fundraiser with an Oyster Roast and Chili in late October/early November.  

What have you been up to? 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ABC Meme

Got this from my friend, Kristin, AND in the process, I learned what "meme" means... it's a French phrase that means "the same thing".  I had been wondering about that forever. :)

A. Age: 29 (for a few more weeks!)
B. Bed size: King.  And I'm thankful. 
C. Chore that you hate: Cleaning bathrooms.  Used to love doing it for others.
D. Dogs: 2. Nala (5 year old pitt mix) and Zoe (1.5 year old Great Dane).
E. Essential start to your day: Shower.
F. Favorite color: Purple.
G. Gold or Silver: White gold. 
H. Height: 5’5.5”
I. Instruments you play: Used to play flute.  Now, really just Pandora. :)
J. Job title: Ministry Assistant for Media and Publications.
K. Kids: None... yet.  Gosh, I hope it's soon.
L. Live: In Charleston, SC... in an apartment for a few more days, then our first house!
M. Mother’s name: Beth.  :)
N. Nicknames: Trish, T, RickiPat, Patty Pat, "Treasure"
O. Overnight hospital stays: in Turkey on summer project. 
P. Pet peeves: I have lots but am blanking at the moment.
Q. Quote from a movie: "I ain't been dropping no eaves, sir, I promise."  Takes me back to college. :)
R. Right or left handed: Right. 
S. Siblings: Two younger sisters.  Love them! 
T. Time it takes you to get ready: I liked Kristin's answer and could identify, but usually 20-30 minutes.  I should take longer and blow-dry my hair, but I never leave myself enough time.
U. Ultimate Vacation: Would love to go on an Alaskan cruise or Mediterranean cruise. 
V. Vegetable you hate: Brussel Sprouts. 
W. What makes you run late: Trying to do 'just one more thing' before I head out the door.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Many head x-rays after falling from horses, x-rays to both ankles/knees/legs after ankle/knee/leg injuries.  Back/hip x-rays at the chiropractor.
Y. Yummy food that you make: Easiest thing I love to make is Pampered Chef's Jerk Chicken Nachos.  But I don't usually have limes or any produce, so it's just chips, chicken, cheese and seasonings.... yum!
Z. Zoo animal: All of them... except if the monkeys are eating their own waste.  I still have a very unpleasant memory of the Fort Worth Zoo for that reason.  BUT, I love most animals and love watching them!

Was fun to do something different! 
Y'all got any other good distractions?  

What? I need to go home and pack?  


Monday, September 10, 2012

Wild and Wonderful Weekend

Labor Day weekend (which already seems like forever ago!), I drove up to Charlotte and picked up Ginger at the airport, then we drove to her home in West Virginia. 

Mrs. Kathy in her kitchen... making homemade sweet rolls.... yum!
It was mostly a rainy weekend, and I had the 'crud', but it was still wonderful.  The first morning, we lazed around the house with her sister, Beth who is expecting her first baby.  We enjoyed homemade yummies from her mom.  We caught up on pictures one morning then ventured into the back'yard' and went swimming walking in the creek.  It was fun just walking in the water taking it all in.  Later, we lay on our towels on the bank, watched the clouds and watched the cows cross the creek.  Beth and Ginger kept making fun of my excitement over the little things, but it was all so different than my normal weekend fun.
This was our view from dinner.  Henry backyard.
In the evening, her Dad made dinner, and we ate outside with Ginger's aunt and her boyfriend, Roger.  It was great to be able to meet more of the family and to be fully immersed in their normal lives.  Also, there's just something about being in the country.  It's so peaceful and relaxing. 

After dinner, we prepped for the campfire in the back'yard'.  Way behind the barn in this picture.  Even though storms were around us, we didn't get soaked.  Just a few sprinkles.  Hearing stories of Ginger's cross-country trip, s'mores, baby names.  Perfect campfire evening.  After the campfire, it was back to the house for Phase 10 and introducing me to the Netti-Pot.  Verdict is still out on my experience with it.  :) 
The next morning, we lazed around a little then went on a tour of their hometown/county.  I got to see the Henry high school (complete with a siloh and multiple tractors!), and the Herold farm where I met multiple dogs, kitties, and goats.  Pure joy, right here. 
Price of admission to the Corn Maze?
A canned food donation.  Thanks for the Refried Beans, Herolds.

After the Corn Maze, we played volleyball, which is something I hadn't done in a very long time.  But it was hysterically fun with the comments and antics of Beth, Lisa, Hallie, Ginger, and Sam.  Oh, and I picked the right team. ;) 
Being silly in the corn maze. :)

So after the hometown tour and corn maze, it was time to go (way too soon!).  Sometime over the weekend, we had discovered that Blacksburg, VA was only 2 hours(ish) away, and I really wanted to go and see my Dad's house.  Hadn't been there since he died in 2001.  Ginger went with me, and I actually remembered how to get to his house.  Brought back lots of sweet memories.  I even visited his landlords.  It was a quick visit, and I'm glad I went, though it was definitely closer to 3 hours, and Ginger had to get back home soon after dinner.  Next time, I'll stick to West Virginia.  But it was fun to be in Blacksburg on Game Day... Go Hokies!  thought about the Seamans and Taltons! :)

Me in front of Dad's house.
Left way too late, got a ticket on the way home (which was definitely a blessing considering the State Trooper pointed out I was on the wrong highway and saved me from being stuck on the interstate behind a wreck for several hours).  Got reaaaaalllly tired after being in the car for over 12 hours, so I stopped and stayed with Valeried & Zebediah in Columbia.  I just couldn't drive the remaining 2 hours.  Got into their house at almost 1 am, and they were extremely hospitable.  Nyquil, tissues, cough drops and water all waiting in the guest bedroom.  All that without much notice.  Thanks y'all!  

So, it was really a wonderful weekend... not too wild.  Can't wait to go back again!  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Compassion Children

The last weekend of August, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Compassion International at a Beth Moore conference in Charleston.  

I was soooo excited to go and get to serve in this way.  We have come to love Compassion and our sponsored girl, Gift, over the past 2+ years since we started sponsoring her.  

During a worship song that I snuck into the auditorium for.

There was something special about being at a conference with 9,000 (mostly) women worshiping God and learning more about Him.  It was also very special that the conference planners know that giving is a huge part of worship.  They had opportunities for people to give to other great organizations like Samaritan's Purse as well.  The worship leader shared about his heart for Compassion, how he has gotten to meet one of his sponsored children and how sponsoring a child helps him teach his children about perspective.  They also showed a video of lives who had been changed as a result of the ministry of Compassion. 

After that section of the conference, we were very busy at the Compassion booth.  We got to help ladies find children with the same birthdays as their child, or children who were in a certain part of the world, or who had certain physical traits.  It was very special.  After my second shift, I learned that there were about 400 children who got sponsored that weekend... wow!  What a blessing!  

a small portion of the available children
But my mind was truly blown by just how many children still need sponsors.  Sponsors in places like America, where people pay $60 to go to a conference for 10 hours.  Sponsors who probably get to go on trips and eat out at restaurants while there are children in other places of the world without the basics.  We're talking basics, like regular food and clean water.

Click on this picture to be taken to the Sponsorship Page.

I'm not judging.  I'm just challenged.  I'm asking:  How do we balance the blessings we've been given with the needs of many in this world?  Would love to know your thoughts on this.  I am well aware that there's no one-size-fits-all answer.  What does Scripture say, and how does that fit into our modern-day culture?

I've been in a VERY similar hut.  This was not just for show.  It's reality for a LOT of people. 

Seriously... I'm asking. :)