Wednesday, April 16, 2008


We had our first homestudy appointment yesterday at the Jewish Family Services offices. Let me just start by saying that I am a person who has A LOT of trouble recovering, attitude-wise, if something happens that causes my day to look different than I thought it would. The appointment was for 9:30 am because my son goes to Mother's Day Out from 9 - 2. So the thought was we could go to the meeting and not be distracted. That is NOT what happened. Sweet Caleb (though I was not calling him that yesterday) has had trouble being separated from me, for any amount of time, ever since we moved to our new house. When I tried to drop him off at school he lost it. Now I don't mean he threw a tantrum because that would be easy(-ish) to leave. Oh, no, he broke down and weeped. "Please, Mommy, I don't want you to go! I want to go with you! I want YOU, Mommy!" All sobbing with tears streaming down his face. Needless to say, he came with me. Not because I'm such a compassionate mom (as if), but because I was already late for our appointment and couldn't wait any longer to get him calmed down. I was not kind to Caleb about it, but just told him to come on and let's go. Luckily, he did not even notice my irritation. As far as he was concerned he was leaving with Mommy and that's all he'd wanted, anyway.

As I drove to meet my husband to go the appointment I was VERY frustrated and annoyed. Not only was my son NOT supposed to be with me (in my mind), but I was late and I HATE being late. Also, my husband HATES to be late, so I knew he would be annoyed with me, too. As I drove, I started to think about the lesson I had done in my bible study that morning. We are studying the Lord's Prayer and that morning had looked at the phrase "Give us this day our daily bread". I was struck by the thought that I had not taken this whole situation to Him. He could have calmed Caleb's heart so he could have stayed at school, but I did not ask Him to. So instead He began to change my view of what my day would look like and my heart to accept it.

A little later while my husband drove, I talked to a friend I had seen that morning leaving Caleb's school. I wanted to apologize to her in case I had been short or I said, my attitude suffers when my plans don't work. She told me I hadn't been (to her), but she had prayed for me that the Lord would put my day into perspective for me. I love it when you get to tell someone He's answered a prayer they prayed for you.

Nothing about my day looked like I'd planned for it to, but it was still a good day.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Last Summer...The garage sale & God's provision

By September we had chosen an adoption agency and knew that to adopt from the Philippines would cost between $14 - 19,000 plus travel expenses. We were drawn to the Philippines from the get-go because my husband is Filipino. (Not to mention great looking and an awesome father, but I digress :) ) So once we chose our agency and knew the general budget span we'd be dealing with, we FREAKED, not really, but that number is a bit scary, no?

We know lots of people who have adopted in our area. There have been all kinds of fundraisers from garage sales to selling the most beautiful hand painted post cards you've ever seen. We decided to go for a garage sale to kick off our fund-raising/saving efforts because we had decided in August to build/move to a new home. So we started telling all our friends and neighbors that we were going to hold a garage sale to fund our adoption.

The response was overwhelming! We had friends, acquaintances and people we didn't even know donate everything from furniture to shoes! You've never SEEN so much stuff at a garage sale! What a beautiful look at how God can, and does, provide above and beyond what we can hope or imagine.

The sale was all morning and into early afternoon on 2 days in mid-September and when all was said and done we sold almost everything there was to sell (except a few things that we took to ThriftSmart, our local thrift store that funds several African relief organizations we believe in). There were also lots of folks who either didn't buy anything, but just gave us a dontation, or who paid more than the cost of thier purchases when they found out the reason for our sale. By the end of our 2 days we had made over $1100! WOW! I've never hosted a garage sale that big before and what a GREAT way to start off our adoption savings fund.

Over the next several months while our house was being built, we sold a few more items and recieved a few more gifts and donations. All the time we've been saving, too, toward the day when we could actually begin our home study (at our new home) and our paper work. As you know if you've read the previous posts, we've now moved into our new home and begun the paper work process. We discovered this weekend just how amazing God's provision REALLY is...
This weekend as we read through all the paper work we have to sign and send back, we came to a "Fee Agreement" that referred to a "Fee Schedule" we already had. So we got it out and looked it over. We got out the calculator and plugged in the cost of our home study (it wasn't on the list b/c we are using 2 different agencies one for home study, one for placement). As we added up the cost of each item we have pay in the next 2 months, we found that the total matches the total amount we've currently raised/saved EXACTLY! Now that, my friends, is God's provision.

Last summer...adoption is God's idea

About a week after the Lord taught me that He is the Lord Who sees, Steven and I decided to start a weekly bible study together. It was just us, at home, and we chose a study we had bought the previous February, but hadn't started yet. The study is called "How do you walk the walk you talk?" We didn't even know what book of the bible it was on. When we started the study we were excited to find out it was on Ephesians. Neither of us had studied Ephesians before, so it was going to be fun to go through it together.

The day we started the study I had been discussing adoption with a new friend at church. We talked about how God had created adoption and I told her that another friend of mine had quoted a verse to that effect from the Bible, but I didn't know where the verse was.

The first night of the study was on verses 1:1-8a. I was blown away when we read verse 5. It says:

" In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. " (italics added)

Here was the verse I had spoken about just that morning with my friend, who is also considering adoption. I didn't know where to find it, so He showed me. His will truly is that we know Him through His word.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Beginning the Process

So here it begins...our adoption journey. We began this process in our hearts last summer, and now we've registered with our agency and begun our paper work. Monday was a particularly good day...let me tell you about it.

First, we've just moved house and so I've not been able to check my email for about a week while we've waited for our internet to be set up. Today when I checked it, one of the 113 there for me to read was from our placement agency. I called them to ask a couple of clarifying questions and I got GREAT news!

1. We CAN request a girl 0-2 years old. Apparently the Philippines is very specific about who is allowed to specify what. The only families that can specify a girl under 2 are families of Filipino heritage (thank you Steven :) ) that do not already have a little girl. WOW!
2. We can not use the home study agency we'd planned on using. There are actually only 2 agencies in TN that our placement agency can currently work with. The first is too far away and will not work with us due to distance. The second...well if you know me at all you know that I am utterly in love with all things to do with Israel. Her people (God's people), her land (God's land), her history and most of all her God. So when I found out that the home study agency that He chose for us - because let's face it, He did - is Jewish Family Services I actually laughed out loud. Actually so did several of my friends (they know me well).
3. When we first began this journey last summer we got losts of conflicting information on how long the process should take and how long you have to wait for a referral. Today we found out that this year families of Filipino heritage have been waiting 6-12 months for a referral (compared to 18-24 months that we were told last summer). Again WOW!

So anyway, stay tuned. I can't wait to see how God is going to write our adoption story.

Last Summer...coming to terms with adopting

Once Steven and I agreed that we should start researching adoption, I have to admit I was very sad. All I kept thinking about was all the milestones and moments I would miss in our child's life. I actually spent a fair amount of time on the phone with my good friend Jessica crying about missing those first precious months when she would do little more that sleep in my arms. Missing out on her first smile, first laugh, first tooth, the first time she'll roll over or sit up on her own, maybe even the first time she crawls or takes her first steps. The thought of all the missed time was utterly heartbreaking to me at first.

A few days into our research I was driving to a friends new home to help her unpack some boxes. As I was driving I saw an electric sign flash "Jeremiah 29:11". That's all it said. Well, I've only been studying the Word for a couple of years and I haven't read Jeremiah yet, so this verse was unfamiliar to me. I made a mental note to look it up when I got home, but as I'm sure you could guess, I forgot. The day I remembered was the day I got confirmation (in the form of a negative pregnancy test) that the condition that made it so difficult to concieve the first time around was, in fact, active again. As I was crying about all those things I would miss, the Lord reminded me of this verse. When I looked it up, I was so encouraged. Let me share it with any of you who may not be familiar with it:

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'"

Now, I know that we cannot take this verse out of context and apply willy-nilly to whatever circumstance we choose, but I do believe that Jesus is our future and our hope and hope is what I needed that day. Also, the next two verses say,

12‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.'

Even with those words of comfort and encouragement, I was still sad, but He knew that. Later that afternoon, I was doing my bible study. I was studying the names of God and that day I came to His name, El Roi, the God Who Sees. Throughout the lesson that day He reminded me that my adoptive child is His child first and He sees all things. Even though I won't be there to witness those precious milestone moments, He will be. Not one moment of her life will be missed by her Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Last summer

It's never been easy for us to conceive children. With our son, Caleb, (the peanut in the middle) it took us about 2 years. He is going to be 3 in two weeks now and we started "trying" to give him a sibling in January of '07. After a few months, and no results (so to speak) my doctor suggested this watch that can help you predict your most fertile days of the month. (I'm REALLY sorry for any guys who happen to be reading IS part of the story, though) I was just barely within the parameters of being able to use it cycle length wise, so we bought it.

I suppose I should stop here and tell you that after our journey to have Caleb, both my husband Steven and I knew that we have been called of God to adopt. We just didn't know when or what it would look like. Now back to last summer.

The first month we had the watch, that "parameter" I mentioned before no longer fit within its acuracy standards...and it never has since then. In other words, while we were trying our BEST to concieve our way, God was working out His plan the way only He can and always does. You see, I'm a bit of a control freak. I want to do things the way I want to do them whenever possible. My heavenly Father knows this trait of mine very well and often does things like this the remind me that He is in control, not me, and when things are not working out the way I thought they would (read should), it is most often because I am not seeking His will in the matter, only my own. So, we began talking and praying about adoption, and oh boy did He show me alot.