Act. Love. Walk. Thank you!

Happy New Year! We are incredibly thankful for the tremendous outpouring of love and support we have received over the last several weeks. The encouragement has been downright amazing – y’all are awesome! And it’s really neat to see that opening up about our struggles and journey toward adoption has prompted conversations with people that may otherwise never have happened.

There are a lot of unknowns that come with adoption, which is hard for us to come to grips with. Knowing that there are so many people who are now walking alongside us, motivates us to press on, confident that the best is yet to come.

One of the difficulties of adoption is coming up with the funds to pay the fees. An adoption costs about the same as having a baby the old fashioned way; however, it’s not covered by insurance. And most fees are due upon match, not over a course of time (in addition to the expenses of the home study and visits, background checks, traveling, etc). So that is really scary, because most people don’t have huge chunks of change laying around with no purpose. We certainly don’t.

For quite a while, we have saved on our own, rearranging our monthly budget to account for adoption related expenses. We are trying our best to be good stewards of the money we earn. This fall, Colin taught a night class at a local community college to make a little extra income that goes straight to our adoption fund (and he’ll have two classes this spring). We are also making things to sell, such as wooden cutting boards, hand-painted signs, and possibly jewelry. These are all small steps that will eventually come together to help us reach our goal. There are some neat fundraising efforts in the works, so stay tuned for more information!

One way that many people have already gotten involved is through our t-shirt campaign. We launched the day we shared our news, and the shirt we designed was available for three weeks. It was very successful – we raised right at $1,000! Thank you to everyone who chose to support us in that way – family, friends, co-workers, even people that we’ve never met (how cool is that?). Not only did a portion of every shirt sale come to us, when you wear your shirt, you may have the opportunity to tell someone else about our story, or at least talk about adoption in a positive way. Here are some pics of you sporting those arrows!

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In addition to people purchasing t-shirts, we have received some generous gifts. It is humbling to know that there are people in our lives who have a real desire to be a part of bringing our family together. So, we are on our way in our fundraising efforts! We still need to save and raise a lot of money, but we trust that God will provide – for he is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Still, it is not easy to put oneself so out in the open, to expose our struggles and fears. Thank you for being a part of this journey and for praying with us as we continue on this path. We are so very grateful for the encouragement, and humbled by the gifts we have already received.

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Christmas is the Story of Our Adoption

2019A few weeks ago, I was reminded of a Bible passage which is very relevant to both the current season of the year, as well as the current season of life for Kendal and me.  The passage, Galatians 4:4-5, reads like this:

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

When I re-read this passage, I thought, “Oh, that’s awesome!  I’ve got to write a blog post about it!  I mean, how perfect of a verse is that for us right now?!”  For a few days, I mulled over the passage, jotting down a few ideas here and there in an attempt to get my creative juices flowing.  Ultimately, I stumbled upon an article written by Jason Johnson, a minister from Texas who teaches on foster care and adoption.  Johnson’s blog post perfectly sums up my thoughts on Galatians 4:4-5 and how the Christmas season truly echoes adoption.  To give you a taste, here is one quote which profoundly struck me:

The gospel of our adoption, making its vivid debut that night in Bethlehem, acts not only as the emphasis behind why but also as the model of how we as those adopted into the forever family of God are called to forever give our families to those who need them.  Christmas is ultimately the story of God stepping into our darkness in order to bring light into it.  It, above any and all other motivations, compels us to do the same on behalf of the vulnerable, marginalized and orphaned in this world.

I couldn’t say it better myself.  Christmas truly is the story of how, in our time of absolute darkness, in our time when we were children of wrath, God brought light into our world through the birth of His Son.  In love, God chose us “for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5).  What an amazing act of love!

Merry Christmas!

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For Jason Johnson’s entire article, click here:  The Echoes of Christmas in Adoption 

Waiting

The most common question we have received since announcing that we are adopting, is “Where are you in the process?” The simple answer to that is “We’re just waiting.”

But there really is no “just” about it. We don’t sit around on any given night twiddling our thumbs waiting for a call. No, we, just like any other couple anticipating their child, are preparing for that arrival. We work on the nursery. We buy clothes and bottles and diapers. We make sure our paperwork is up-to-date. We talk about what the day will be like when we become parents. The only difference is, we have no idea when that day will come.

Some days, it seems funny to do some of those things with no “due date.” Other days it’s really sad. But mostly it’s exciting. Though it is hard to wait, our hearts are being prepared for the right baby to become a part of our family at the right time, with every day that goes by, item prepared, and paperwork signed.

wait-quoteOf course, there is a lot more detail that goes into the “waiting,” and we may share more on that in another post. But for now, we just wanted to provide a simple answer as to where we are in the adoption process. We have all of the initial paper work completed, applications approved, and connections made, so now we are waiting for – no, make that anticipating – the arrival of baby F. It could be next week, it could be a year from now. Though we don’t know the day, we anxiously await, and there is hope in the wait.

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Gratefulness

Colin and I have a sign hanging in our kitchen, with a message that constantly reminds us: “There is always, always, always, something to be thankful for.”

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Despite it’s grammatical incorrectness, this simple saying contains a very powerful message. No matter what we are going through in life, we always, always, ALWAYS, have something for which to be thankful. Whether in a really deep valley, or high on a mountain top, every one of us can dig deep in our hearts and find we are grateful for something (probably many things).

This Thanksgiving, I am particularly thankful for my dear family and friends. Colin and I have been overwhelmed by the support, encouragement, and congratulations for our adoption news. After carrying our grief for so long, it is such a sweet relief to share with others, even though it is scary to be so open about our personal life. My mama recently reflected on the day that Colin and I told her and my dad about our struggles. She said they could visibly see the weight lifted off of us; it was immediately evident in our demeanor that we felt more free. It’s true: when one shares their burden with others, the load becomes lighter and much easier to bear.

So I am thankful for family and friends who are walking through this journey alongside Colin and me, making our burden lighter. It is amazing to see what has happened in even just a few days of publicly sharing our story, and I am so excited to see where this goes, especially knowing that there are many people offering encouragement, support, and prayers.

This Thanksgiving Day, be sure to take a few minutes to think about what makes you thankful, and express your gratefulness to others and to God.

And remember:

There is always, always, always, something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,

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National Adoption Month!

Here in the United States, November is celebrated as National Adoption Month.  Within this month, certain days are set aside to recognize and draw special attention to each form of adoption:  domestic, international, and foster care.  In fact, in an effort to highlight “the important role that adoption has played in the lives of children and families in our country and around the world,” President Obama recently issued a proclamation dedicating November as National Adoption Month. President Obama urged Americans to “continue strengthening the adoption process so that all children can learn, grow, and thrive with the support of a devoted and permanent family.”

I must admit that prior to our adoption journey, I was not aware of how prevalent adoption has become in the United States, nor how involved and detailed the process can be.  Consider the following statistics:

Currently in the United States, there are over 400,000 children who, through no fault of their own, have entered a state foster care system.  In fact, the average child waits nearly four years to be adopted out of foster care.

One out of every 25 families with children have an adopted child, with about 39% of all adoptions taking place in the private domestic arena. More than 18,000 families will successfully adopt a domestic newborn this year.

Over 5,500 international adoptions took place in 2015, with the majority of the children being originally born in China.  In Louisiana alone, 32 families adopted internationally.

Despite adoption and fostering’s relative lack of conversation and discussion in social circles, these statistics reveal to me that adoption and fostering are much more prevalent than what they seem.  These paths to parenthood carry with them negative assumptions and stereotypes; that they are somehow second-best options.  Yet, quite the opposite is true – adoption and fostering is all around us.  Whatever form it takes, many of our friends and neighbors have experienced the exciting process of adoption.  And though the journey definitely brings unique challenges, I’m convinced it is one worth pursuing.

Happy National Adoption Month!

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Anticipation of a good thing

We have some special news to share . . .

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That’s right, we’re excited to (finally) share that we are currently in the process of adoption! We’re looking forward to what is in store for our future and the life of the precious baby that will be a part of our family.

We realize that many of you reading this may be totally surprised by our announcement, and some of you have been praying for us, whether you know our history or not. Regardless, we are so happy you are a part of our life and are joining us in this process. We have started this blog first as a way to share our story – with the details we want to present – and keep our family and friends updated on our journey. The secondary reason, but likely more important, is to be a place of support and encouragement for others who may be searching for someone to walk alongside them in a similar situation.

Thank you for taking the time to read our news! Please look around our site and be on the lookout for future posts!

Much love,

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Photo credit: Carly McIntosh Photography

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