Saturday, April 30, 2011


At Crater Lake National Park

     Jim and I recently watched the movie, Soul Surfer.  In the movie, the youth leader (played by Carrie Underwood) gives an object lesson about gaining perspective.  She shows them a series of close up pictures, such as a fly's eye, and has them guess what they are looking at.  The guesses are funny and creative, but no one is able to correctly guess "the big picture."   The lesson was that in life we also have a difficult time seeing "the big picture."  Sometimes we need to step back and gain a little perspective. 
     This made me think about my own life.  It's easy to focus on the small details-  Did we get any new "likes" on our facebook account?  How many hits were there on our website?  Did anyone leave comments on our blog?- instead of the big picture- We are getting the word out about our desire to adopt and we are one day closer to it happening.   We sometimes concentrate on the next step- We need to mail off our packet of letters to the IAC or we need to update our website- instead of enjoying the journey- all the miracles God has already provided along the way. 
     The picture above shows Jim and me at Crater Lake.  While we were hiking up the trail, we could have looked at our feet the whole time (making sure that each step was secure), but we would have missed out on some fabulous views!  That doesn't negate the need to watch where we were going.  The trails were sometimes steep with huge drop-offs.  It would have been disastrous to not pay attention.  So we found a good balance.  We hiked a few yards and then stopped to look at the view, hiked a little further and then looked at the scenery around us. 
     In life, we need to find balance as well.  The adoption journey is hard climbing, there are definitely pitfalls to avoid along the way.   The details are very important, but so is the big picture.   We don't want to just look at our feet and miss the view!  So today, I am stopping for a moment to enjoy the view and gain a little perspective.

     Dealing with infertility is physically and emotionally painful, but with God's help Jim and I have grown closer together by supporting each other through the process.

     Adoption is expensive, but God has provided for us financially.

     Our miscarriage two years ago this May was the single worst event I have had to face, but for 11 weeks I was able to celebrate being a mother and I now have a deep compassion for women who have gone through similar losses.

     Waiting for our baby is hard, especially when you don't know how long you will wait, but God has been faithful and provided us with supportive family and friends who encourage us daily with their prayers and kind words. 

     When this journey is over and we embark on our next journey of parenthood, we will have a beautiful landscape to look back on.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support and for being a part of our journey!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Living in a Glass House-Being Open in our Open Adoption Journey!

     Adoption is a journey of transparency.  You have to commit to openness, not just to the future birth family you will connect with, but really to the world at large.  It feels scary and risky at times.  There are days when I feel like we are living in a glass house or are the stars of our own reality show.  But the best things in life are worth taking risks and opening yourself up for.  So here we are...on the road to parenthood through OPEN adoption.
     The open in our open adoption journey began with the homestudy.  I like to describe it as an application process on steroids.  There were forms to fill out on work history, educational history, family history, and financial history.  We were each required to write a mini autobiography, plus mini essays on a myriad of topics such as our desire to adopt, infertility, and parenting values.  Next came visits to the doctor's office for a complete physical and to the jail to be fingerprinted.  After that were interviews, together and separately, and finally a visit to our home (for the home inspection part of the homestudy).  Whew!  It WAS a lot of work, but it was important work.  Going through the process forced us to evaluate whether we were ready to adopt- which happily we were!
     The next part of the process, delving deeper into openness, was the "Dear Birthmother Letter."  Think of first impressions and blind dates.  What do you say to someone who is considering choosing you as the parents of their baby?  How do you communicate the whole of your life, your personality, and your passion and dreams in a few short pages and a dozen photos?  I can tell you from experience, it is not an easy task!  Jim and I often found ourselves obsessing over details- Does our smile look natural in this picture?  Should we use the word friendly or affectionate to describe our cat?  Does this picture have enough action in it?  We often had to remind ourselves to simply be ourselves.  We are not trying to connect with every potential birthmother out there- we just need to connect with one- the one!  
     We are currently in the most open part of our adoption journey so far- networking!  This was the biggest step to take.  We are no longer just "opening up" to our agency or potential birthmothers.  We are now letting the whole world (ok, the part of the world our friends, family, and facebook can reach) know that we are adopting and asking for help.  Through our two websites, facebook page, blog, letters, emails, and conversations we are inviting others (you) into a very intimate part of our life-our journey to become parents.  So although it takes courage, we are committed to sharing openly with you our hopes, our dreams, our pain, our struggles, our tears, and our joys.  We will swallow our pride and ask you to pass along the link to our website or to pray for us when we are having a rough day.  We will live in our "glass house" and allow you to see the real us!  Scary? Yes!  Risky?  Maybe.  Worth it?  Definitely!
    When we do become parents- and we believe with all our hearts that we will- we will JOYFULLY and OPENLY celebrate with all of you! 

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good, to them who love God and are called according to His purpose."

Sharing a moment on a hike in the coastal redwoods

Monday, April 11, 2011

Purr-fectly Ready!

Deuteronomy as a kitten
        For this post, we thought we'd introduce you to another member of our family- our cat, Deuteronomy.  Deuteronomy was born a barn cat in rural Kentucky.  He was the runt of the litter, but soon made up for lost time as you can see by the pictures.  He was given to us by our friends eleven years ago and has been part of our family ever since. 

Deuteronomy today

     Deuteronomy is actually the second name we gave him.  For the first three months of his life, he was Melody.  It's embarrassing to admit, but yes, we thought he was a girl...until we took him to the vet for his first check-up.  Not wanting him to suffer from an identity crisis, we quickly renamed him after Broadway's king of cats- Old Deuteronomy. 

Deuteronomy being brushed by our friend's son, Quinten
      Deuteronomy has lived in four states, five apartments, and adapted to many new situations.  He is a very mellow cat and very affectionate.   He has been around lots of kids and will make a great furry companion.  We have no doubt that he is "purr-fectly" ready to welcome a baby into our lives.

Deuteronomy with his favorite "cat" sitters, Max and Madi
      Jim and I both love animals and grew up with pets in our families.  We look forward to introducing Deuteronomy to our baby and to being a part of the many fun memories they will share.  We also envision adding a few more furry friends to the mix as our child grows older...maybe a family dog:)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Preparing for Baby

    Open Adoption involves the process of waiting.  We, the prospective adoptive parents, don't know how long that wait is going to be.  For some the wait is short.  Some couples are chosen by a birthmother quickly and have to scramble to gather all the necessities needed in caring for their new baby.  For others, like us, the wait is a little longer.  Over and over again, we've been told- when you meet YOUR BABY, you will know why your waiting time was the time that it was- You were waiting for the baby meant for you!  And while no one, including us, likes to wait, we have tried to put the time to good use preparing for baby.
     One of the first decisions we had to make was whether or not to set up the nursery.  Many have very strong feelings on this subject.  On one hand, a set-up nursery can be a hopeful promise of the baby to come.  On the other hand, it can be a painful reminder that the wait isn't over yet.  We decided that for us the right decision was to "go all in", and so we began preparing for our baby.  We set up the crib, purchased the basics  and a few extras that we couldn't pass up, and arranged the stuffed animals and decor for the Noah's Ark theme that we decided on.  We gathered both boy and girl clothes (just in case)  in a variety of sizes.  And we both started on personal projects for our baby.  Jim built a beautiful wardrobe and stained it a deep rosewood color to match the crib.  Amy stitched together two quilts (in boy and girl colors) and made some receiving blankets.  Our family and friends also joined in the excitement.  Amy's mom crocheted enough baby blankets and booties to outfit her future grandchild in style.  Jim's sister, Becky, also sent us a few beautifully hand-crafted blankets.  One friend gave us money to purchase our changing table and gave us a cute Noah's Ark rug.  Another friend gifted us with many items that her little boy had outgrown.  Many, many friends (too many to list) gave us gifts that both touched our hearts and encouraged our spirits.
     We've also been preparing in other ways.  We've read several books on adoption and raising children in open adoption.  We bought the book What to Expect the First Year and read through the newborn sections.  Jim has saved up four weeks of vacation time to spend bonding with the baby.  Amy is currently going through a "nesting" phase and cleaning out closets and getting everything organized and ready.  We've also taken time for ourselves.  We've taken a few trips together and spent time talking about our hopes and dreams as a family.  And we've been praying.   Praying not only for the wait to be over soon (although that topic does come up often), but also for the birthmother we will match with and the baby that will someday be ours! 
     So although the wait has been hard, we have learned a lot through this time of preparing.  We look forward to the day when the wait is over and we meet the "baby that is meant to be ours."   We are ready to welcome our little one into our hearts and our lives!

Baby wardrobe that Jim built

Two of Amy's baby quilts

Monday, April 4, 2011

"I Want One"

     Jim and I have this ritual.  Whenever we are out walking, or in a restaurant, or at a store and see an adorable child - we nudge each other and whisper "Cute kid alert!"   Then the other person whispers back, "I want one."  It's kind of a silly little game we play, but it does have a purpose.  First, it reminds us of why we want to be parents.  And second, it helps us to keep hope alive while we wait.
     We are really excited about becoming parents!  There are so many things that we are looking forward to- precious moments like snuggling up for bedtime stories, silly moments such as dancing around in our pj's, and yes even the not so fun moments like changing a blown-out diaper.  We decided to make a list of what we day dream about.  Enjoy and feel free to add some ideas of your own.

Things we are looking forward to about parenting...
*Not being able to sleep because we are mesmerized just watching our baby sleep
*"Arguing" over who gets to hold the baby
*Celebrating all of baby's first- first smile, first giggle, first words, first steps
*Playing rock/paper/scissors to decide whose turn it is for late night feedings or diaper duty
*Watching each other make fools of ourselves with funny faces and baby talk
*Rocking our baby to sleep while singing lullabies
*Crawling around the floor to play
*Taking walks and playing in the park across the street
*Dancing around the house and singing
*Pulling out all the plastic bowls and wooden spoons to play along to the music
*Exporing nature and seeing the wonder and amazement in our child's eyes
*Building a "fort" in the living room with the kitchen chairs and all the blankets in the house
*Climbing in the above mentioned fort to read stories by flashlight
*Toys all over the house
*Little fingerprints and nose prints on the walls and windows
*Cookie crumbs under the car seat
*Getting together for play dates with our friends' kids
*Taking trips to grandma's and grandpa's house in Arizona
*Visiting aunts, uncles, and cousins in Michigan, Illinois and Texas
*Enjoying hot chocolate after an afternoon of sledding and snow angels
*Splashing in muddle puddles
*Building sand castles at the beach
*Making a huge pile of leaves to jump in
*Having a hug and bandaid ready for scraped knees and other assorted boo-boos
*Baking cookies
*Hanging hand-drawn pictures on the fridge
*Going to church together
*Visiting some of our favorite places- Lake Tahoe, Burney Falls, and Sequoia National Park
*Teaching our child how to pet the kitty
*Laughing at corny knock-knock jokes
*Bedtime stories and cuddles before bed
     Our list could go on and on, but you get the idea:)  We have waited a long time to become parents and will cherish each moment!  Praying that our day dreams become a reality soon:)
Jim pushing our friend's son Quinten on the swings
Amy playing in the leaves with our friend's son, Mason

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why Open Adoption?

      Like most prospective adoptive parents, we did not know what open adoption was when we began the adoption process. At first, it was a scary thought. What was open adoption? Was it shared parenting? Would we have any privacy? Would we feel like "real" parents? The more we researched, the more we understood. We learned about the benefits for all members of the adoption. We, the adoptive parents, would actually feel more secure in our roles as parents (after all, the birthparent would be choosing us as the parents for their baby). The birthparents would find peace in being able to see their baby thriving with the parents chosen. And the child would grow up more secure in his/her personal identity. These are just a few of the benefits; there are actually many more.
     We still had to decide whether open adoption was for us. We prayed, we talked with each other and others, we read the research and we prayed some more. The conclusion we came to was that open adoption wasn't something we had to settle for. OPEN ADOPTION WAS WHAT WE WANTED TO EMBRACE! Have you ever heard a child complain that there was too much love in his/her life? We really want our child to be able to celebrate his/her heritage. We want our child to know that the choice for adoption was made out of love and not rejection. We want our child (and us) to benefit from having a relationship with his/her birthfamily. With that in mind, we are committed to doing everything in our power to make that happen!
     We are extremely excited about becoming parents! It is hard to wait, but we know it will be worth it when we finally meet our baby. And we are ready to welcome baby and birthfamily into our lives!

Friday, April 1, 2011

"This is What I Pray For"

For my first blog post, I thought I'd share a poem that I wrote recently.  Enjoy!  More posts and info. will be coming soon:)

This is What I Pray For

Wet sloppy kisses and rocking to sleep
beautiful tiny hands and perfect little feet
the sound of baby sighs and cries
this is what I long for

Busy hands and pattering feet
messy fun and learning new feats
the joy of Toddler discoveries
this is what I hope for

Bedtime stories and riding a bike
off to school and oh so bright
the wonder of how fast they grow
this is what I wish for

Welcoming arms and an open heart
whispered prayers and silent tears
the miracle of motherhood
this is what I pray for