A year ago….

A year ago life looked very different.  We were a family of four, preparing for what we thought was a long awaited adoption process.  On February 28th of last year we celebrated our last day of the Month of Love. I actually just reread the story on this blog to refresh my memory of the day’s events.  Its amazing how quickly we forget.  Ok, back to my story…it was the last day of the MOL.  I just put Jax and Halle to bed for a nap and walked downstairs to grab my phone (not for anything important but probably to look at Facebook or check my email).  As I walked over to our table my phone literally flew out of my hand.  I laughed out loud and thought that was God’s way of telling me “PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN” and pray.  I did just that.  I prayed for my husband and children and then prayed for our adoption journey.  We had submitted our name as a potential family for a birth mom who was expecting at the end of April and heard nothing, but she was constantly on my mind.  After I finished praying I started folding laundry when my phone rang.  It was an unavailable number, which I normally would not answer, but something (God) told me to.  I heard our adoption caseworker’s voice on the other end and my heart started racing.  And….as they say, the rest is history.  :-)  We had been chosen by a birth mom who was pregnant with a baby boy due at the end of April (remember, it’s February 28th), we met her 3 days later on a Monday where she officially chose us, she went into labor 4 days later, Grant was born 4 days after that, he spent 10 days in the NICU, we came home and five days later he was admitted into the PICU for a week, then oxygen for 5 months, multiple doctors visits every week and VERY little sleep.

All of that and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Grant was born a very sick little guy, but he was and still is a fighter.  He has spent the past 11 months and 3 weeks of his life fighting for strength with an unprecedented amount of bravery and courage. He may be small but he is mighty, for sure.

At six months of age, and oxygen-free, we celebrated with family and friends as Grant officially became a Krug….although he was one long before.  Grant’s court hearing was a beautiful representation of the ending of our adoption journey and the beginning of the rest of our lives.  The age of six months was also a turning point for Grant’s health.  He started gaining weight consistently and appointments with specialists were stretching farther and farther apart.  Now, almost six months later, we are the parents of a healthy, happy, loving and energetic almost-one-year old!  Where did the time go?  I am thankful to God that we have moved into this stage of health.  Grant still goes to occupational therapy but last week he graduated from once a week to every-other-week.  God is good and He continues to strengthen our sweet boy.

Grant has brought our family more happiness than we ever knew possible.  Jackson and Halle love and protect him and love his absolute infatuation with them.  They spend their time entertaining Grant and helping him.  Grant completes our family and it all started exactly one year ago, on the last day of the Month of Love.  We spent an entire month talking about God’s love, sharing God’s love with others and reciting bible verses about God’s love.  And on that last day of the month, we received one of God’s greatest expressions of love and began a journey that we will forever thank God for.

Life as a family of 5…

Hi Family and Friends,

Well, this update is probably long overdue, but we’ve all been busy adjusting to our new normal.  I can’t believe we are a family of five!!!  It seems like just yesterday Jackson was born and now we’re three kids in to this wonderful life.  

For those of you who unaware, Grant was discharged from the NICU at 10 days old.  The doctors and nurses were simply astonished at how quickly he was able to recover, given his condition at birth and his prematurity.  He is such a strong little guy.  In fact, Grant means great and strong.  Grant’s discharge day was a day that I dreaded since beginning this whole adoption journey.  I knew that day would be one of the most difficult of my life….and I was right.  Word cannot express the depth and range of emotions of that day. Grant’s birth mom was there as was her father.  I think everyone is glad the anticipation of that day, and the day itself, is over.  So, we’ve been home for just over a week and have been enjoying getting to know our sweet little man in the comfort of our own home.  For an infant, Grant is fairly laid back, a great eater, cries when he is hungry or has a dirty diaper, is easy to comfort, loves taking a bath, whines when he wants to be snuggled and is pretty much perfect!  He even looks like a Krug!!!  Jackson and Halle LOVE having a baby brother.  Halle just stand over him and says “oooooohhhhhhh” in a sweet, nurturing voice, over and over again.  Jackson shakes his tushy at Grant in the hopes that someday soon he’ll laugh.  We keep telling Jackson that it’ll be a while before Grant laughs, but that doesn’t keep Jackson from trying.  I love his determination!!!  Mark and I are doing great.  We really do make a great team and it’s times like these that I am reminded of how blessed I am to have a husband like him.

So, you’re probably wondering what’s next in this whole adoption journey!!  Right now we are in a bit of a holding pattern as far as an finalization of court documents goes.  In order to be in a place where neither birth mom or birth father can no longer change their minds, we need two things.  1) Signed paperwork from birth mom and 2) signed paperwork from birth father.  Right now we are waiting on the signed paperwork from the birth father and unfortunately nothing can be final until that happens.  The birth father was served with papers about 10 days ago and can do one of three things…..he can contest (which no one thinks he will do), he can admit to paternity and sign and return papers or he can jut wait for his 21 day window to elapse and then his rights are revoked by default.  Unfortunately, it’s looking like we’ll have to wait the 21 days.  I’ve had some moments of frustration about this and done a bit of birth father bashing, but felt humbled recently about my perception and judgement of the birth father.  I know nothing about him.  I don’t know the in’s and out’s of his relationship with birth mom.  I don’t know his story.  I don’t know his background.  So, who am I to judge him at a time like this.  I’ve chosen to give him grace which I truly believe he deserves.  I never knew I had as much grace as I do, but God continues to bless me with more.  While I’d love for the birth father to sign and return his paperwork, I trust in God that His timing is perfect.  And I choose to give grace and show the love of Christ to everyone, including Grant’s birth father.  Let’s be honest….without him we wouldn’t have our sweet boy and I cannot imagine life without him at this point.  He is a blessing!!!!  The good news is that the birth fathers 21 day window expires next Friday!  On Friday, April 11th our paperwork will be filed in the courts and both parents’ rights will be terminated.  So, next Friday will be an important day in Grant’s story. Then, we’ll wait until September 11th (when Grant is 6 months old) and Grant will no longer be in just our physical custody, but he will officially become a KRUG!!!!  On that day, or near that day, we will appear in court with him and his name will officially be changed.  Another monumental day on the horizon for Grant and our entire family.

Thank you all for your continued well-wishes, thoughts and prayers.  Please keep the prayers coming as we still have some hurdles to jump.  And, if you would, add the birth father to your prayers…that he finds peace (if he does not have any) in his loss of rights and peace in knowing that we are giving Grant the best life we can!

Love to you all!

Stephanie and Mark

 

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God is Good….

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Hi Family and Friends,

It’s about time for a quick update and today is such a happy one!  Our little man, Grant, is doing awesome.  I think he has really turned a corner and just seems to be feeling better.  Two days ago he began eating 9cc’s and today he is up to 40.  They put in a feeding tube about a day and a half ago in order to help with the feedings in case Grant got too tired, but he’s only needed it once.  

I lucked out this morning and was there for the doctor and the occupational therapist.  The doctor was so positive about how far he has come. She stopped the photo therapy treatment and is confident we’ll get to take the feeding tube out any day now, since he really hasn’t had to use it.  He is pretty much eating as much as any formula-fed newborn eats all on his own.  He’s kind of a rock star!!!  He also got his first bath yesterday…he’s fresh and clean.  Finally, the most exciting part of the doctors visit was her news that she thought he would get to go home in the next week or less.  We cannot wait to get our sweet Grant home!!!  The occupational therapist was also very impressed with how well Grant is eating and the gains that he has made since his first feed on Thursday.

Such a happy morning!  This weekend Halle and Jackson also got to meet their baby brother and that went awesome!  Jackson was the sweet and responsible big brother who was shushing even mommy and daddy while Halle was just shouting “baby brudder!!!!”  Grant is so loved!

Thanks for all the prayers.  Keep them coming please.

 

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Baby Steps…..

Hi family and friends,
 
Well, the past 5 days have been an absolute whirlwind.  Mark and I have experienced more emotions in the last five days than we have probably experienced ever.
 
Without being too terribly wordy, here’s what is going on in a nutshell (sort of).  Last Monday we met with our birth mom and she chose us at that meeting, meaning it was a “match”. Her due date was April 21st so we planned to use the next 6 weeks to get to know each other.  However, we were reminded that we have no control and it is His will and His timing, not ours.  5 days after meeting our birth mom, on Friday, her water broke.  Dr’s were able to keep her pregnant for just over 48 hours while they waited for a steroid shot to help our sweet boys lungs develop.  On Monday they began to induce and our little man was born (FINALLY) on Tuesday, March 11th at 3:25pm.  5lbs, 10 oz and 18 3/4 inches of pure cuteness!!! He had a pretty traumatic entry into this world and was rushed to the NICU where he’s been recooperating.  He started off on oxygen and then put on a ventilator.  He also had really low tone, meaning no major reflexes.  Poor guy was just soooo tired!!  After several hours on the ventilator, the nurses were able to begin slowly dialing it down….until yesterday morning when the tube was removed from his throat.  He has been breathing on his own ever since.  The nurse even got a cannula (oxygen through little tubes in the nose) ready for him, but he showed us all how strong he was and that he did NOT need a cannula.  Our little superman!!!  
 
So, now we wait on our little man to get stronger, gain weight, eat well, etc.  When he starts doing all of those things well, we should be able to bring him home.  Have I mentioned how stinkin’ cute he is.  He is absolutely perfect.  Button nose, smoochable lips, chubby little cheeks….he’s the whole package. 🙂
 
This experience has been challenging, sad, happy, frustrating, upsetting, exciting and so much more.  But, as much as we are feeling, I cannot imagine the turmoil that our birth mom is in.  She is probably making the most difficult decision of her life and that should not be taken lightly.  Please pray for her during this time.  Our intention was to get to know each other over the next 6 weeks, but we did not get that time so we are making do with what we have.  She was discharged about an hour ago and Mark and I were able to walk her and her dad out.  Lots of hugs, no tears.  Everyone was in a good place. One step at time….that’s what our caseworker keeps saying.  
 
Well, we are off to love on our little one…who, by the way, has had his first two bottles (successfully!!) today.ImageImageImageImageImageImage  Thank you for the prayers…we really need them. 😉. Truly, none of this would be possible without God’s grace. We will continue to fix our eyes on Him.
 
 Love to you all!!!!!

February 28th….

Hi Family and Friends,

For those of you who have been following any of our posts on Facebook, you know that February was the Month of Love in our house. We spent the entire month talking about and showing examples of God’s unconditional love for us.  Our goal was to love well and to love like Jesus did.  It was an awesome month!   We memorized four bible verses about God’s love, Jackson taught Halle how to pray at dinner (sweetest moment EVER), we did projects about love, everyone got their own Month of Love (favorite) meal, the kids found special treats hidden around the house for them, we made dinner for others, we baked special goodies for others, we left treats for the garbage man, and so much more.  It was truly a month filled with God’s love and my hope is that it can continue, in small bits, through the rest of the year.  

So, February 28th, the last day of the Month of Love…..I had just gotten all three kids (my two + a friend’s) in their rooms for nap/ quiet time.  I grabbed my phone and began to walk downstairs when my phone flew out of my hand.  I actually laughed out loud because it was as though I threw it, but really I’d just lost my grip and it went a’ flyin’.  I took this as a cue from God to, literally, put my phone down and PRAY.  This is something that I am constantly working on.  When a get a quite moment, it is like a habit to reach for my phone when I really should be taking advantage of the quiet to pray.  So I prayed.  I prayed for Mark and then my kids and then I prayed for the birth mom that our profile book was being shown to.  When I finished praying I began to watch HGTV while folding laundry (ps- I hate folding laundry!!!).  About 10 minutes later I had a call coming in from an unavailable number. Usually, I’d ignore it but something told me to answer it.  I did and immediately recognized our case workers voice on the other end.  I’ll cut to the chase…the birth mom we’d been praying for had chosen our profile book and she wanted to meet us.  I immediately cried and began to shake.  It was a surreal moment to say the least.  We arranged a time to meet, Monday, March 3rd.  This last weekend was an interesting roller coaster of emotions as we anticipated this meeting.  Our case worker warned us that this birth mom would most likely not be comfortable making a decision at this meeting and would probably take some time to process.  She asked us if that was okay and we said absolutely.  A decision of this magnitude should not be taken lightly.  And we also had to make sure we felt like this was a good match too.  

Well, we met yesterday and the meeting couldn’t have gone better if we scripted it ourselves.  Mark put it best when he said that there have only been a few times in his life where he’s truly felt the presence of God….and this was one of them.  I concurred.  It was a beautiful thing to see how God was shaping our hearts and lives to be in this exact situation with this exact birth mom.  It’s been part of His plan all along.  So, after almost two hours of meeting, the birth mom told us that she felt such a connection with us and that she was ready to move forward WITH US!!!!  If all goes well we will be welcoming a sweet baby boy into our family in about 6 weeks.  

February 28th, the last day of the Month of Love in the Krug house and we get a call that leads to us welcoming a tiny life into our home and into our hearts to LOVE like our own….and we said YES.  One of the greatest displays of God’s love I’ve ever experienced. Was God working overtime in our hearts all month long, preparing us for this grand finale???  I think so.  

Mark and I have found ourselves speechless at times.  We can’t believe this is really happening, but it also feels so right.  That doesn’t mean that it isn’t scary though.  We’ve never done this before and neither has our birth mom.  We decided that we would just put one foot in front of the other, trust in God, and the rest will just fall into place.  Seems easy enough, right????  :-)  At this point we need all the prayers we can get!!!  Prayers for peace, prayers for all feelings of fear to disappear, prayers for our birth mom that she continues to find peace in her decision, prayers for our son’s health and well-being, prayers for our family in preparing for another addition, prayers for Jackson and Halle that they deal with this news and transition with open hearts…..  Sorry, that’s a lot of prayer requests already so I’ll stop there.  :-)  

Thanks to you all for your love and support.  We wouldn’t be where we are today without it.  

We love you,

Stephanie and Mark

In God’s time…

Well, today we received another profile showing notification from our adoption agency.  I think I explained what that is in the last post, but it is basically when a birth mom and her situation falls slightly outside the parameters we set early on in this process.  The agency requires our permission to show our profile book to the birth mom.  Although, to be clear, this isn’t always the case….if a birth mom falls within our parameters then our profile is shown without our knowing.  Anyways, after praying through this situation today, we’ve decided to have our profile shown to this birth mom.  To both of our surprise, we are incredibly at peace with our decision to have our profile shown, regardless of the fact that with (any) adoption there are so many unknowns.  But we are finding peace in God, knowing that there are no unknowns with Him. Our profile is being shown on Friday to the birth mom.  If you would join us in praying for this birth mom, we would really appreciate it.  We are not praying for her to pick us, but instead praying for her to pick the family that is the best fit for her sweet baby boy.  What an incredibly daunting task she has in front of her, but I hope she has peace in knowing that whomever she chooses will give her son a loving and safe home.  I feel a lump forming in the back of my throat just thinking about what a brave and selfless act it is to choose adoption.  I briefly shared some of this with Jackson today.  He asked if the baby was going to be ours and I told him that we were going to pray about it and ask God and then the birth mommy was going to do the same.  He asked “why?” (shocker)!!!  So, I explained to him that only God knows who the right family is for this little baby.  Then Jackson asked if it was a boy and I told him yes.  He got a huge smile on his face and said “that’s what I want mommy, a boy!!!”  I love that little man.  He is going to make a great big brother (again) to a baby brother or sister someday.  In God’s time…..

One door closed is another door open….

Well, it’s about time for an update!!  Until today there wasn’t really much of an update on our end.  And there’s still not much to share, but definitely requesting prayers.  Today we received our first Profile Showing Notification.  Let me explain.  Throughout this process we have shared with our social worker a basic criteria in a birth mom and what we are willing to accept as far as the birth mom and baby’s health and well-being goes.  That being said, we also believe that we have to give up our control to God.  While I would love to be able to control a birth mom, her drug and alcohol exposure, her family history, etc., etc., etc, we cannot control that.  And if we wanted to control those things, we would just have another baby of our own.  But, that is not what God is calling us to do.  So, back to the Profile Showing Notification.  In most instances, we will not know our profile is being shared with a birth mom unless we are chosen.  But, sometimes there are instance where a birth mom might be slightly outside the parameters we’ve set.  This was the case in this instance.  Without going into too much detail, this sweet baby girl (due in 6 weeks) may have some predisposition to some severe mental illness.  Mark and I spent the day praying about whether or not we should have our profile shown to this family.  In the end, we’ve decided for many reasons that we do not believe this is God’s plan for us.  Saying “no” is hard and sad but we truly feel like there are two loving parents out there better equipped to bring this little one into their home.  Please pray for this birth family and baby girl, that she defies odds and lives a health and prosperous life in a loving family.

So, there’s our bit of an update.  Even though God has closed this door, He will open another….we are confident in that!!!!  Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.

On a slightly more uplifting note, we have a couple of amazing friends who are using their God given gifts to bless us.  We met Nikki and Brandon in our newly-marrieds group in Phoenix at our first church as a couple.  We’ve managed to stay in touch with them and they now live just about an hour away from us!  They are dear, dear friends.  Nikki has some amazing creative talents and has opened up an etsy shop to sell her products.  And, as an amazing surprise to us, they are donating 10% of their profits to our adoption.  Feel free to check out her site. http://etsy.com/shop/SoliDeoGloriaDesign?ref=si_shop 

This is a picture of me wearing my “adoption scarf”….an original Nikki creation.🙂  She and her husband gave us this scarf to share with us how they felt led to bless our adoption.

 

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Love,
Stephanie 

We are APPROVED!!!

Well, the time has finally come.  We are officially approved adoptive parents!!!  We had our final home study interview on Thursday as well as a home safety inspection…..AND Jackson had an interview, of sorts, and passed!  :-)  He also did not fail to mention to our caseworker that he wants a little BROTHER named Jack.  Below is a picture following Thursday’s meeting with our caseworker Rachel.Image

We are so excited to be done with what may seem like the most grueling part of the process, and yet the hard part actually begins now.  We wait, and wait, and wait, and wait.  There’s no telling how long we will wait for.  Only God knows that.  We are just praying for peace and patience in this part of the process.  If it is a long waiting process, we are sure that God has something to teach us in that time.  If it is a fast waiting time, well then I’m sure God will be teaching us lessons along the way.  

Some couples have waited less than two weeks to be matched with a birth mom while others have waited for a year or more….just to give you all an idea.  This is basically how it works:  A birth mom who has made an adoption plan will look at eligible adoptive family profile books.  (BTW, ours is done and at each of the 6 agency locations across the state)  She will narrow down her pile of books until she is left with one family.  That family is notified and the caseworker will set up a meeting between the adoptive parents and birth mom.  After that meeting, if everyone is in agreement, a match is made.  Usually this happens in the third trimester of pregnancy so we would only have about 6-8 weeks to prepare for our baby.  There are some instances, 2 in the last week in fact, where a birth mom is in the hospital getting ready to give birth and decides she wants an adoption plan.  In those cases, families literally had hours to get out of the house and drive to the hospital where their baby was waiting for them.  I find myself wondering what I would prefer and trying to put myself in either of those instances.  Both are mind boggling to me.  What’s even crazier is that I will eventually walk into a hospital with Mark, with no physical pain of pregnancy and labor, and walk out with OUR baby.  Having gone through child birth twice now, I’m having a difficult time wrapping my mind around that concept.  I told Mark that I may experience more of what he has experienced when I was in labor with Jackson and Halle.  That’s the best way I can explain it, I guess.  Anyway, no matter how or when it happens, our child will have the most amazing birth story, just like Jackson and Halle.  Different, but amazing.

 

So, we’ll just be here waiting and praying for the health and safety of our sweet baby and his or her birth mom.  Another thing I feel compelled to mention before wrapping this all up is just how blessed we have been through all of this.  Our family and friends have shown us a level of support that we never expected nor dreamed of.  We are reminded daily of God’s sovereignty and will for our lives through the blessing of other people.  Thank you doesn’t even begin to express our gratitude in your support of our call to adopt.   

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will
make your paths straight.

God Bless,

Stephanie

PS- Mark thinks I should mention that we’re in the market for a mini-van.🙂  And then we’re gonna get a bumper sticker that says “We used to be cool”.  At least we can make fun of ourselves, right?!?!?!?

 

 

 

 

Final approval is just weeks away!!!

Hi friends and family!

 

Well we don’t have a ton to report, but we have been making progress and it looks like we are going to make our goal of a Christmas approval. We met with our caseworker Rachel on Thursday. She will be conducting the “home” portion of our home study. Wednesday, December 11th is the in depth, at home interview where Rachel will meet with each of us individually for about 2 hours each. It sounds a little intimidating, but we’ve been told by many that it sounds worse than it is.🙂. Then on Thursday, December 18th we will have our final interview, safety inspection and kid interviews. Hopefully Jackson doesn’t blow it for us.🙂. Just kidding, the extent of his interview will be “can you show me your room?” and “are you excited for a new brother or sister?”  At which point he will insist he is having a brother named Jack. It should be interesting!  Our approval date should be December 19th!!!!!  Following that it’s going to be “hurry up and wait”. That’s when I think we’ll need the most prayers….mostly for patience and  that God’s timing and will will be done. Mark and I (okay, mostly me) may also need the occasional reminder that God already knows who our child is, we have no control, and His timing is perfect. It could take us from a week to a year or more and anywhere in between to meet our baby. Only God knows. We’ll keep you posted on our progress and will be sure to let you know when we get our final approval.  

One more side note. We originally thought we wanted a boy but changed our minds to be open to either gender. If you have any ideas for boy or girl names, we’d LOVE to hear them!!!  

Love you all. Stephanie 

Open to open adoption?

Hey all! We are still waiting to hear from the agency to schedule our home visit. We have seen God’s favor in this process nearly every day and soooo many have blessed us through this process. I got an article on the idea of open adoption from our agency today and forgot that I meant to post one I got weeks ago, from my sister Stacey, that I think is much better. When Mark and I began this journey we were opposed to, and frankly scared, of open adoption. However, after reading the research and going through adoption training, we are much more open to it. Does this mean we will have an open adoption? Not at all. But it could be a reality for us. Check out this article if your interested in what an open adoption could look like and how a sweet child may benefit from it.

http://www.americaadopts.com/what-growing-up-in-an-open-adoption-has-taught-me/

Stephanie