Friday, November 28, 2008

What I am thankful for

All day yesterday I got to experience things I am Thankful for. So much has happened over the past year, so much pain and disapointment. It is hard sometimes to look back and find the joy, but not because it isnt there, its just that pain is louder, more vivid sometimes. It gets in the way of the Joy. So today, I wanted to make myself look back and find the joy and be thankful. So here we go.

1. First off is my husband. I can not tell you how thankful I am for him with words, you would have to see the smile on my face to understand. He loves me more than I ever imagined someone could. Even when I am whinny, mean, prideful, arrogant, selfish, and just a big jerk, He loves me. He has stood beside me holding me up through every step of the IF journey, and now too with the adoption process. He is my advocate in all of this. We have made so many changes of the past year, and I have never made a bad decision by choosing to follow his leadership. He is wise and honest and a loving servant to all who know him and even those who dont. He will always go out of his way to make things easier for others before himself. I love him so much.

2. My Family. I love my parents so much. They have encouraged me everyday of my life to Love the Lord and do great things. Their love for each other is an inspiration. And Hubbs family too. We are growing together slowly but we are making it work and I am growing to love them more each time we are together. Everyone has been supportive through this process and understanding with the adoption. I am thankful for who they are and will be to our child.

3. Moving to California. Two years ago we joined a mission agency called the U.S. Center for World Mission, in march we moved to Pasadena CA where their headquarters are to work with a program called INSIGHT. I love my job and I love this community. All of the staff live within 3 blocks of the campus in all directions. I have never experienced anything like this, it sounds like a commune, but its not that scary. These people know how to love and share with one another. I love walking down the street and seeing people I know, being invited in, playing with their kids, leave walk a little further and do it all over again. Last night we had pie fest! Everyone in the community brought pie and we fellowshiped and ate, it was awesome.

4. The Mason family. A week after we moved in at the Center, the Masons arived. They are a fun loving family of five that we instently connected with. We shared our burden with them earlier on and K was able to share with me about miscarriages and struggles she had as well. It was exactly what I needed to get through. They have spent many a late night talking with Hubbs and I helping us make some really hard decisions. They have always pushed us on and challenged us with truth from scripture. Yesterday we had Thanksgiving with them, it was perfect, because we do consider them family. Their kids are really excited about the adoption and are asking when they will get to see the baby. It makes me smile.

5. My friends. Hubbs and I have stayed very close with a lot of our friends from college and back in NC. I wish I could name each of them and write books about how thankful I am for them. They have brought so much joy and laughter into our lives over the years. Every one of them responded with love when we told them about the IF. Over the last few weeks and weeks to come we have been calling them to tell them personally about the adoption, and what a joy to hear their celebration! They are so loving and encouraging it makes me smile talking about them. What a gift they are.

6. Skype. This is what keeps me in touch with my family and specifically my nephew. E is 4 and has autism. He is the happiest litttle guy in the world. I was so worried that he would forget us when we moved away but with Skype you can talk over a live streaming video. I love talking to my mom and dad and actually seeing them, I know it brings them joy as well. And with E, he LOVES IT! I think he likes us better on the computer! We play games and sing songs and he never stops giggling. I love him so much and cant wait to hug him and hear that giggle for real. So I guess this one should say Skype and E.

7. INSIGHT Students. Hubbs and I work in College Mobilization. Meaning that we educate and encourage students to get involved in Missions. I could not have more fun with this. There are 15 students in the INSIGHT program and they bring so much joy into our lives. Our house is an open door and they are always walking in. We have game nights and birthday partys or one will just show up to get a break from studying. They have become and extended family for us, and we cherish them. THe program is only for a year and I cant even think about may and how sad it will be to see them go, but how exciting to see them grow and go out into this world to make a difference. They all have such passionate and couragous hearts. Really they inspire me.

8. Roses. When we moved into our current house there were rose bushes outside in grave need of pruning. I have never had a garden before and didnt really know what to do. So a neighbor came by and helped me prune them, and then I did two all by myself. They are BLOOMING! I know it is almost December but this is southern California. It is amazing to watch what looks like a bush stump begin to bud and grow and then have a rose bud and slowly open. Everyday I go out and see how it has gotten a little bigger. I feel acomplished when I look at it.

9. Music. I bond with people over music. I love to sing, dance, not very good at either but that doesnt matter. People gather over music and I love that. I love to worship, anywhere and everywhere, it is how i connect with God. I love to clean and dance around our house and see the smile it brings to hubbs as he laughs at my silliness. I love to sing Disney ballots in the shower and hymns while I do dishes. I love musicals, and Transiberian Orchestra, and 80's hair. I love the energy from music. I love how music and express what we do know how to say.

10. I am thankful for a GOD who knows me and still loves me. This is the scarlet thread that ties my life together. Even in the darkest places of pain in my life He never left me, He was always there holding me in the palm of His hand. He allowed me to be angry and yell at Him. I still dont understand why everything is happening the way it is, but I do know this. God will not waste my pain. He will and is using it to make me stronger, to draw me closer to him and to Hubbs. He is working things out to His good. Everything in life is about HIS GLORY not mine. I have to remind myself of that ever day. I am so thankful that I had a rock to sit on when I couldnt stand. Even in the pain He showed me that He loved me, He got us this house! You should go back and read the story, it makes me cry when I think about the times I didnt trust Him, and how crazy that was. I love the LORD more than words can express.

So there it is my long (sorry) list of thankfulness. I know that 2009 will be year of my joy and probably more pain. Hopefully this time I can make the Joy stand out more.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Papers have arrived

HOLY CRAP there are so many questions and forms to fill out. I knew the application was long and expected a lot but it is like 2 inches thick! I flipped through it last night and it was just so overwhelming. I know it is worth it and all that yadayada, but I just needed to get that out and whine for a minute.

I think we will definitely need to make a game plan. Do a portion a day or something like that.

And then there is the question on tone. Are we ultra serious because this is a serious matter and we want to come off as mature and understanding, or do we throw some light hearted humor in and risk coming off as flippant?

So many Questions!

I think I over analyze and just need to get some tea, relax. Deep Breaths.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Decisions made, Now how do we announce it?

Hubbs and I had a meeting last night. We sat at the kitchen table with all the adoption information we had gathered strewn about the table, a bowl of Strawberry Cheesecake Icecream, and the laptop close by. It was time to decide who we were going to choose for our adoption agency.

I was expecting a long drawn out conversation but was greatly surprised by an easy decision. We both really liked the same agency for the same reasons. It almost seemed too easy. No fighting, no convincing, no compromising, just complete agreement.

So the winner is.... Kinship Center!

You can check them out at We just really loved the way they focused on taking care of the Birthmother and making sure she was making the right decision, even if it meant not making an adoption plan. You can read earlier posts about our first meeting with them.

So now what?

We need to tell everyone the great news! We need to let people know what we are doing. My husband and I work for a ministry so we send out newsletters every other month. We want to have a special edition in December that announces our decision to Adopt. People always find cute ways to announce a pregnancy, but how do you announce an adoption? I need ideas!!

Can you think of a creative way to make the adoption announcement? Leave it in the comments and I will pick one as a winner. I don't have a prize other than cool points, but who doesn't want those!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Question about Price

When Hubbs and I are looking at these different adoption agencies, one of the big things we look at is their fee structure and total price.
We have an agency that we really like that says the average domestic infant adoption will cost about 10,000. That is great! Most other agencies we look at quote 18,000 to 35,000!! That is a huge difference, so it makes me think what is the first agency not doing that is not costing them the extra money? Or why is the second one ripping me off?

How much did your adoption cost? Do you know why there is such variance in fees between agencies? This is really confusing to me, so any help would be great.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fancy Adoption Agency

We didn't go to the info meeting on Monday, it was during the day and we had a work meeting.

Last night we did go. An agency here local to Pasadena, does international and domestic adoptions. It was a very interesting experience. First off it was an open house, so you could come and go as you please. They had wine and catered Hors D'oeuvres, FANCY. I think that was the first thing that threw us off, we felt like we were walking into a private party for people much more important than us. It was nice that they were trying to make a relaxed atmosphere.

We were able to talk to one of the staff, she was really nice and had lots of information. Red flag number two: they do the homestudy and relinquishment but an attorney handles the matching and interaction with the Birth Mother. When asked what kind of services or counseling is provided to the Birth Mother, they told us it depended on the attorney. The last place went on and on about the counseling they gave to the Birth Mother and how important this was to her making a good decision, and that good counseling actually lowered the risk in adoption because the Birth Mother has been give options. I really appreciated that. This agency was much more catering to the Adoptive Family.

The last question I asked was about how their fees worked. She said they spread it out to make it more affordable. Homestudy: $2600, Relinquishment $2000, application fee $250. Not bad, it was actually sounding pretty good, that only adds up to around $5000. Then she droped the bomb. The rest of the fees are paid directly to the attorney so it differs depending on what attorney you use, but a good estimate was $20 to $40 THOUSAND DOLLARS! I know adoption is expensive but holy crap that is alot of money, twice as much as the last place estimated! The attorney is getting the majority of the money, which doesnt sit well with me. If we are going to pay that high of a price I would much rather it go to an agency that is focused on Birth Mothers and doing a great service in the community, not an attorney.

Needless to say we ended that conversation, took one more spin around the fancy finger foods and took off. Not the right fit for us.

I dont know what is on the schedule next, more research I guess. So far the first agency is the only one on our Good list.