Paperwork: check!!!

Well we finished the most time consuming part of the adoption process….well except for waiting for our sweet baby of course. It came to exactly 100 pages of forms, agreement, questionnaires and personal biographies. ¬†Oh, and a two page explanation of the Duke incident so that conviction on my record isn’t help against me. ūüôā Praise God we completed the paperwork. Now on to the next step…a home walk through and one-on-one interviews. We’ll keep ya’ll posted. ¬†

Day #2 of Adoption Training DONE and Duke gets the last word…

I’m gonna start with the Duke story first. ¬†Most of you know that Mark and I had a dog, a yellow lab, named Duke. ¬†We got him just before we got married in 2005, thanks to my Daddio. ¬†Duke was around when Jackson was born and had a pretty tough time with sharing our attention with a little one. ¬†We tried to make things work with Duke, but his behavior was getting worse. ¬†We are to blame because we were guilty of not giving him the attention that he needed. ¬†Well, one day, when Jackson was a few months old Mark was mowing the lawn in the backyard. ¬†He accidentally left the side gate open slightly and Duke took off. ¬†Mark was just steps behind him. ¬†When Duke made it to our front yard there was a woman walking her dog passing by. ¬†Duke approached them and according to the woman “looked like he was going to bite her”. ¬†He barked and then Mark grabbed him and apologized. ¬†A couple weeks later I was served with papers saying that Duke was a vicious, unleashed animal. ¬†We had to appear in court, explain our case and pay a fine. ¬†Duke was not a vicious dog. ¬†Anyone who ever knew him knew he was the sweetest, most gentle doofus of a dog. ¬†But, his time with us came to an end and we gave him to a family that could give him the attention that he deserved. ¬†Fast forward to this past Friday. ¬†We check in to our first day of adoption training and Beth, one of the social workers, greeted us. ¬†Then she told me that all of our background checks and fingerprints had been received and were cleared. ¬†(On a side note, the FBI check usuallly takes 12-14 weeks to get back. ¬†Ours set a new agency record….I week, 5 days. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Then Beth said that I had a conviction on my record. ¬†WHAT, I thought??? ¬†Then she said it was a vicious dog conviction. ¬†Mark and I both laughed. ¬†That crazy dog got the last word!

Day #2 of our training was AMAZING….seriously AMAZING. ¬†But it was also more emotionally draining than we ever thought it could be which is why I am just now posting about it. We had sessions on adopting a child of another race, newborn baby care, medical and health issues, and two panels: and adoptive family panel and a birth mom panel. ¬†It was all eye-opening and enlightening. ¬†Here are some take-aways from Saturday:

-Adoption is celebrated and abandonment is ignored. ¬†We CANNOT ignore the fact that our child will be suffering the loss of love from the only mother he/she has ever known. ¬†This is trauma at it’s worst and an infant only hours old has to go through it.

-It is our job as parents to shoulder the burden of our child’s past and journey with them. ¬†We should be students of our children, always willing to accept when we’ve made a mistake, change our ways of handling situations if somethings not working and always striving to be as educated as possible.

-Adoption can be a long process.  We need to realize the blessings in front of us and try to not diminish the present worrying about what the future holds for our family.

-Open adoption CAN be a wonderful experience for the birth family and adoptive family.  Mark and I were very leary of this type of adoption, but feel like God is really softening our heart to it.

Thanks to all of you for your support and checking in on us, especially this weekend, which was full of emotional ups and downs. ¬†Regardless, Mark and I are more convinced now than we ever have been that we are following God’s will for our family. ¬†While it will bring many challenges and struggles, we’re ready and willing!!!

Day #1 of Adoption Training- check!

Well we completed the first of a two day adoption training session mandated by the state of Colorado. ¬†It was AWESOME. ¬†Hope’s ¬†Promise puts on a great training. ¬†We are both excited and overwhelmed by the process. ¬†What more is that we met a lot of great couples who are also beginning the adoption process and in the same boat as we are. ¬†Nice to know we’re not alone. ¬†

Some of our major take-aways from the training today:

-When people say that since we are adopting an infant and we wont have to deal with some of the major attachment issues, they are 100% wrong. ¬†Infants, even adopted from the hospital at birth suffer the trauma of the most significant loss in their lives….the loss of their biological mother’s love. ¬†

-We need to be a student of our child, teaching them to love and trust again.

-What may look like spoiling or coddling our adopted child is really our attempt at healing their heart.

-We learned about a process called TBRI, developed by the Institute of Child Development at TCU.  Adopted children cannot be parented or disciplined the same because of the loss they suffered so early on.

On the docket for tomorrow is an adoptive parent panel and a birth parent panel.  That should be good!

Please continue to pray for Mark and I in this process. ¬†While it’s exciting and encouraging there is also a lot that causes us anxiety and fear. ¬†I’ve been feeling some fear in this process, but as Pastor Ray said in his sermon last week, we just keep putting one foot in front of the other in the name of God and the clouds will part and His will will be done. ¬†God is Good!!!!

One step closer….

Well, it’s been a while since we’ve been able to post anything because the lady at the adoption agency here in the Springs was in Africa on an adoption mission. But, we had our first meeting in person with her last Wednesday and it went great. ¬†In fact, it went so great that after a lot of reflection and prayer over the weekend, we’ve decided to go through this local agency for our home study (which we were already planning on doing) and the adoption!! ¬†

Originally this local agency, Hope’s ¬†Promise, was going to do our home study and then transfer our study to the agency in Florida who we would adopt from. ¬†About halfway through our meeting with Hope’s Promise last week I started thinking, “why aren’t we going through them for everything?” ¬†Finally, I asked the woman we were meeting with what it would look like to change tracks and go through them for everything. ¬†Mark started laughing as soon as I began to speak because he was thinking the same thing. ¬†We thought we had our path all figured out, but God knew better. ¬†We know he brought us to that agency for a reason….we thought it was just to complete our home study, but He had a better idea. ¬†ūüôā ¬†What’s great is that all of the things we really loved about the agency in Florida we can get with this agency right here in Colorado. ¬†Their thoughts, processes and stance on adoptions are right in line with ours. ¬†It’s funny because this weekend, while talking about making this change, Mark and I kept thinking that this is just too easy. ¬†Its everything we’re looking for in an adoption agency without the fear of unknown travel across the country to another state. ¬†That was a daunting thought, especially for Mark. ¬†Another reason why we think this is such a good move is because the people at Hope’s Promise are going to spend the next several months getting to know us REALLY well. ¬†They will be invested in us and us in them. ¬†It’s silly now to think we were going to “sever” that relationship and work with an agency in Florida that only knows us over the phone. ¬†We feel like by knowing us better, Hope’s Promise will be better equipped to match us with the birth family that is right for us. ¬†Although, we remind ourselves, God already knows who our child is. ¬†It’s just the getting there that we are working through. ¬†ūüôā

So, there’s my incredible long explanation on where we are at in this whole process. ¬†We’ve got all our paperwork and have begun to fill it out. ¬† We got fingerprinted last week at the police station (which Jackson thought was SUPER cool) and our prints are on our way to the FBI. ¬†Hope we pass!!! ūüôā ¬†We are attending a two day training in a couple of weeks that will satisfy our required education hours for the state. ¬†Just shuffling right along….

In typing this update I keep coming back to the privilege that is adoption. ¬†We explained to Jackson this week that we are adopting. ¬†He actually began the conversation by asking us if we were going to have another baby. ¬†We said we were and he decided right then and there that we were to have a boy and name him Jack. ¬†He’s so silly! ¬†We went on to explain to him that he and Halle grew in mommy’s tummy and then came out when they were ready. ¬†But, this time we were going to adopt a baby which meant another mommy was going to grow the baby in her tummy and then give the baby to us to take care of and love. ¬†So that baby will grow in our hearts until we get to meet him/her. ¬†We told him that we’re doing this because God calls us to adopt children whose mommy’s can’t take care of them. ¬†He looked at me and patted my belly and said, “so there’s no baby in your tummy? And another mommy is going to give me my baby brother?” ¬†We told him that was right and then he just went right on talking about his new baby brother named Jack. ¬†I love that this whole adoption process is going to seem so “normal” to him. ¬†Just a part of our family story….and we wouldn’t have it any other way!!!

 

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Moving right along…

Well the adoption process is moving right along. ¬†At some point I’m sure we’ll be in the “waiting stage” but for now we’re keeping busy with lots of paperwork, tons of conversations with amazing people who are supporting us in this journey and more paperwork. ¬†ūüôā¬†
 

Earlier this week our application for a homestudy was completed. Woohoo!!! ¬†So, we will have our first administration meeting where we’ll get a ton more info on the process as well as more…..you guessed it….paperwork. ¬†But, we’ve really hit the ground running with this and it’s my goal (this is my type A, √ľber-competitive self speaking), that we will set a record for the quickest homestudy ever. ¬†We’ll see how that goes! ¬†

 
Yesterday I had an amazing conversation with the adoptive family advocate at the agency in Florida who we’ll be adopting through. ¬†A conversation like the one we had was just what I needed on a day where ¬†we were eye-ball deep in the finances of this all. ¬†She was very uplifting and gave us great advice and suggestions in preparation for applying to their adoption program. ¬†One suggestion she had was to work on our family picture album. ¬†I knew this was a requirement but hadn’t thought much about it until last night. ¬†I hopped on the laptop last night and began constructing our family photo album….our family in pictures. ¬†It hit me hard. There are birth mom’s out there right now who are going to be, at some point, looking at this album of our family and deciding if our family is a good fit for her unborn child. ¬†I found myself analyzing every picture, wanting it to be a good representation of what our family is, what we stand for and who we are. ¬†Needless to say, a project I though would only take a couple of hours has now taken 4+ and after talking to my sweet friend today, I’ll be re-vamping the entire book tonight (all for good reason and wonderfully thoughtful suggestions). ¬†It’s interesting, when I was pregnant with Jackson and Halle I spent time focusing on the fact that I was pregnant and how I was feeling, and things like the nursery colors and decor, baby gear that we needed and reorganizing furniture in the house to accommodate baby stuff. Now, as we embark on this journey we are preparing for the arrival of our next baby in a very different way. ¬†We are filling out paperwork, talking and meeting with inspiring people and assembling a family photo album that has the overwhelming task of having to convey “our family” to a birth mom who is searching for a perfect fit for the greatest gift she could give anyone. ¬†WOW! ¬†I’ll stop there since I don’t want to ramble any further and scare you away from reading our blog. ¬†:-). But, WOW!
 
I’ve read this quote in several places and it pretty much sums up what I’ve been feeling lately:
 
A child born to another woman calls me mommy.  The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.- Jody Landers
 
God Bless you all.  We love you and thank you for your support!
 
Stephanie

Gulp…

Well, we just sent an email to all of our family and closest friends explaining God’s call for our family to adopt.¬† Mark and I sat here for a few minutes, hesitating to actually hit send.¬† It’s a strange, but certainly gratifying, situation to post something so publicly that we’ve discussed so privately for the past few years.¬† It may seem strange, but some of our thoughts and emotions in that email are extremely personal, so it was hard to let it go.¬† There’s a lot of people now to hold us accountable to God’s call and to support us in this journey.¬† And what a journey it will be!¬† Hard to believe there is a little life out there somewhere that God intended just for us.¬† My prayer right now is that our email is received with an abundance of excitement from those that mean the most to us.¬† We can also use all the prayers we can get now and throughout this process!!!