Thursday, December 30, 2010

Xiomara's Finalization Day

After a two and a half year wait, the girl that we dreamed of for what seems like forever is officially ours!

The day started out with me trying to get a picture of the three girls together. Yeah, it didn't work too well! :)



Then we went up to the courthouse and waited.




So we took a family picture.



Then we waited some more inside the courtroom.



Finally, in what took all of maybe 10 minutes, our girl that we knew in our heart was ours, was made officially ours.




She was worth every second of heartache, every minute of waiting, every penny spent! If we had to, we would do it all over again in a heartbeat.




And we couldn't be any happier about that! :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Finalization Day!

Today is finalization day! Needless to say, I think we aren't the only ones who are excited! :)



Thursday, December 23, 2010

We have a court date!

We have a court date! On December 28, 2010 at 2:15 p.m. Xiomara will become officially ours!!

Although we know she is ours in our hearts, we need the courts to legally tell us so on paper.

What a wonderful Christmas it is in our home! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One more step in the process!

We got the official call today from our placing agency that all went well at the courthouse this morning and that Xiomara's birthfather's rights have been terminated. Praising God!

All that is needed now is for us to finalize her adoption before the end of the year. We don't have that much time, but we are praying that God will help us and find favor with us tomorrow when we go to the courthouse to set a date. Please pray with us!

Thanks all! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday "J"!

Happy Birthday to one of the most amazing women and mother's in our lives. We love you. Wish we could celebrate the day with you. We are however celebrating you with our love and prayers all day.




Oh and a special birthday smile from this little girl! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Re-thinking How We Think of Birthfathers

On December 21st our birthfather's rights will be terminated. I know many of you are confused (being as Xiomara is 5 months old), so I'll try to explain. At birth, a birthmom declares and sometimes does (or in our case doesn't) put a father on the birth certificate. If the father consents the adoption, paperwork can be signed right away when the birthmom signs her paperwork. However, in the majority of the cases, a birthfather is not involved in the adoption decision, therefore additional steps have to be taken to get his birth rights terminated.

If a birthmom has declared a father, an attempt to serve him with papers is made. Basically, this means that the sheriff's office will try and get a birthfather to sign papers so that it does not have to be brought to court to terminate. However, in most cases, they can't locate the father to even have him sign (at least according to our placing agency). Thus, it is published in the birthfather's local paper that he has 30 days to contest the adoption or else his rights will be terminated. Thus at the end of the 30 days, if no contest has been made, a court date is set, and on that date a birthfather's rights are terminated.

Which brings us to where we are today. Xiomara's birthfather is voluntarily letting his right to parent her pass. Of course, I'm happy about that because I obviously want her to stay with us, but there is a sadness in my heart as well. It's different than the sadness I have over her birthmom. While her birthmom voluntarily chose to give us Xiomara. Her birthdad is voluntarily choosing to ignore that he fathered her.

I know very little about her birthfather. I know his name, age, and a few other details about him and that is it. Sometimes I think I'm okay with that and that I don't need to know more. I take this attitude of, "He didn't care to know Xiomara, I don't care about him". But then God speaks to my heart and reminds me that is not from Him.

So many times, adoptive parents love and feel so strongly for the birthmom. We send our birthmom letters, gifts, pictures, etc. but we never even acknowledge a birthdad. Of course, many times we can't physically acknowledge him because we don't know who he is or where he lives. But in our minds, we can acknowledge him, but instead we choose to write him off as unimportant in this equation.

Wrong.

So very wrong.

He may not care about your child, or doesn't know your child exists, or even created your child through rape, but none of that gives us a right to hate him. Yes, I said hate. You see, satan has tricked us adoptive parents to think that the birthfathers are worthless, low-lifes, who deserve nothing.

Wrong.

God sees him as anything but all that!

But he hasn't only tricked adoptive parents into this thinking, no he has succeeded into tricking birthfathers themselves into thinking they are worthless, low-lifes, who deserve nothing.

Thus when a person thinks he is a worthless, low-life, who deserves nothing, they act that way. Oh how satan has the victory in this area. Oh how I'd love to see him defeated!

Am I excusing away what or how your birthfather acted? Absolutely not! But I also can't condemn and judge their behavior as I don't know their past. What made him who he is today? It certainly wasn't something positive that did.

So I urge you today to look at your heart and see how you view your child's birthfather. Do you view him with scorn? Rebuke? Anger? Or do you shower God's love on him? Just as God Himself loved him?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

5 Months & Blog Direction

Five months ago today, I was meeting this beautiful little girl for the first time ever! I can still remember the heat, the sights, the sounds, the nerves, and excitement. In fact, much like a woman re-plays her birth over and over in her mind, I find myself re-playing July 8, 2010 in my mind. It almost feels as if I am there waiting once again in the church entryway to meet my daughter for the first time. How in the world could it have already been five months?



I've been spending a lot of time in prayer lately about this blog. Where is the direction to go? What do I even write about? Is anyone still reading?

God has shown me that for now, I am to keep blogging, even if only my mom, husband, and sister read! :) I have a feeling that God is not finished. That more read this than I think. That more are impacted by the God given words than I'll ever know.

Over the last two years this blog has developed from just sharing our adoption journey with friends/family, to sharing information about adoption to those around the world. When Chris and I first talked about the day coming when we had already adopted and what we would do with this blog, we were certain we would turn it into a area to raise funds for families looking to adopt. That is still a dream, but one that we haven't seen God fulfill yet. However, that takes a lot of time, energy, and yes the money to do. Is it impossible? No way! I'm convinced that if God wants it to happen the right people will contact me at the exact right time.

For now though, I keep hearing God whisper to me to share about adoption. The realities, the road to it, tips, the birthparents. There are a few specific things that God has laid on my heart that I want to share in upcoming posts. However, I wanted to know if any of you have questions about adoption? If you do, feel free to leave a comment. If I get no comments, I'll just blog what God has laid on my heart and then wait for Him to direct when I am to write more!

In the meantime, look for some changes on this blog. Sometime ago, I won a blog makeover and was always saving it for this blog. I plan on using it to update this blog and make it so you can find the information you need to about adoption.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I thought of you today

And wondered if you thought of her.
It was her first holiday celebration afterall.
You missed it.
And it made my heart break wondering if yours was breaking today too.

She rolled from her tummy to her back today for the first time.
She smiled galore.
She laughed.
She didn't eat turkey, but had lots of good warm mama milk.

And inside, I wonder if she knew.
Knew that I was wishing in some odd way that you could be a part of this too.
Her life, this day, everyday.

And then I realized that you are.
You are in her smile.
And her chin is just like yours.
Her eyes often sparkle the same sparkle that I know is in your eyes.

So even if you missed her today.
And even though you will miss her tomorrow.
Know that you are in her.
You gave her life.
You gave her love.
You gave her your heart.

And that is the best thanks we all could ever give you today.

Happy Thanksgiving "J"! We love and thank you for our little Xiomara!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Heart On The Matter

Wow! What a week! Little did I know that one week ago when I posted this article, the world around me would spin. My world would spin.

I've spent the majority of this week answering private facebook messages, emails, comments on my blog about "the post". Many agreed with me and said that I took the words right out of their mouth, others were offended. I've talked this week with those who adopted, were adopted, had adopted family members, or have never adopted. Each one of you responded differently to the article.

First let me get to the heart of the matter and say that I never intended to offend anyone with the post. Instead I believe whole heartedly in adoption and my desire to break down the boundaries. This was written about my family and how we feel. I completely know and understand that others may not feel the same way as us. Each person, whether adopted, not adopted, family members or friends who are adopted/have adopted, has a different story. This was our story.

I think the majority of you were offended over three things. Going in order on my post (not in order of the most offended):

1. That I said race rather than ethnicity. For those of you who were offended, please go look up race and ethnicity in the dictionary. I believe I was correct in using the term race. However, I don't really see it as something to get all worked up about either.

2. That I asked you not to think of us as "special" or Xiomara as "blessed" to have been adopted. We are not any more special than the next person who hasn't adopted just because they have not felt lead to adopt. We also generally get a reaction of sympathy from others when they find out that we have adopted, as if we are somehow saints to adopt. We aren't. It's just what God laid on our hearts. The same goes for her and us being blessed. Please note: I do realize we are blessed to have her, as she is blessed to have us.  But to insinuate that we are more blessed than someone who hasn't/wasn't adopted is not what we want people to believe either.

3. That Xiomara does in fact have a better life with us. All I can say to this is that unless you know our birthmom personally, you cannot tell me that she does.

The point of all of this and why I am even addressing this is to make sure you all know that I am not here to offend or debate. In fact a few years ago before we had adopted, I said some of these exact same things to people who had adopted.

Hanging my head in shame...

But, that is the point. I had no idea even though I came from a family with 11, yes 11 adopted siblings! Not to mention the numerous friends who had also adopted. Until I became an adoptive mom, my world changed. You can't begin to imagine what it is like until you have adopted yourself.

One more thing before I end this long post...please don't be afraid to talk about adoption to those of us who have adopted. Just be aware of what you say and how your words sound. I think I can speak not only for myself, but also other adoptive parents when I say that the majority of us are very forgiving if you said something that came across different than you meant. We understand. Remember, we have been on the other side at one point in our lives.

Overall, I just want you to see my heart on the matter. It was pure.

I had a few friends suggest that I write a post about positive stories or things people can say to an adoptive family. I would love, love, love to do that. If any of you who have adopted are reading this, feel free to email, fb me, or comment with your thoughts on this.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Breaking Down the Barriers

For three months now I've been gracefully trying to figure out how to write this post with tact. I'll be honest and tell you that it isn't easy. Mostly because we are talking about my daughter. But also because I am striving so very hard to break down the barriers of adoption. In fact one of the biggest reasons I haven't just stopped blogging on this blog is because I don't feel like God is finished with it yet and I firmly believe that God wants to open the eyes of those who have never adopted. So if you have never adopted, please open your mind and heart to what I'm about to say.



It began on our way home from Georgia. I noticed the glances in the airport, and the looks of confusion when a white mom brought a dark child to her breast. Even though Xiomara was pretty light-skinned right after birth (something that is very common), people knew she wasn't my birth child. It's not that I want to hide it, but I also don't appreciate the furitive glances and the stares. Now mind you, because my heart is turned towards adoption, I do realize that many times you may be for adoption and just naturally curious. However many, while still for adoption, lack the tact in what to say to an adoptive parent.



The number one thing I get asked is "What is her nationality?" I would love, love, love to be snarky and respond that she is American just like you. However, for the most part I have held my tongue. First of all though, I'd love to correct you and say "You mean her race"? If you are going to have the audacity to ask me that question, at least ask it correctly. But in all seriousness, what does it matter what her nationality is? Or her race? She is but a babe with darker skin than her mama, daddy, and sisters. But the color of her skin doesn't say or define who she is on the inside.



Also, please do not ask me about her birthmom. I have the upmost respect for "J" and it really is none of your business what she is like, how old she is, if she was "clean" in her pregnancy, etc., etc., etc. I could go on and on here with the insensitve and sometimes clueless comments or questions I have gotten about her birthmom. It all comes down to this: It's none of your business. Her past is her past, just like your past is your past. We refuse to define her by her past, and I hope you can too.



Please don't think we are "special" or she is "blessed" to have been adopted. Can I just say right now this one really grates on my nerves. There is nothing "special" about what we did. Xiomara is also no more "blessed" than our other daughters just because she is adopted. Once again, adoption does not define her.

Don't "remind" me of the better life Xiomara has with us. We seem to get this one a lot and it leaves us scratching our heads wondering why you are telling us this? Are you thinking we feel guilty for taking her away from her birthmom? We don't. In fact, "J" gave her to us. Willingly. Was it hard? You bet. Did I feel sad for her? Enormously. But that doesn't change the fact that we have no idea what her life would have been like, except for the fact that whether here or there, she would have been loved.



Which brings up my next point which is a HUGE one. Yes we love her! Just as much as we love our biological daughters. She feels a part of us, because she is a part of us.

At this point many of you may be either:

a. laughing
b. shaking your head in disbelief
c. feeling dumb because you have said one or more of these things to us
d. doing all of the above

We honestly have gotten all of this and more. Let me just say that if you answered c. above, don't feel bad. We've had lots of friends and even our families say some interesting things to us and we realize that a lot of it is ignorance. Thus, we write this post.

The reality is we've only just begun and it sucks. I hate that I'll be fighting for her and these dumb comments the rest of her life. Yet, I love who I am fighting for. I love what I'm fighting for.



Adoption.

I don't plan to stop anytime soon. The barrier has to be broken. And it starts with you.

Would you please do me the favor and pass this on by E-mail, Facebook, or Twitter? More people need to hear this. To understand it!

For more great reading on this subject. Hop over to read about How much did YOUR kid cost?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dear J,

Xiomara is three months old today. Three months. Wow! I cannot believe it has been that long already. Yet, it seems like such a short time too. I know you already love her, but you truly would love her if you could just see her today. She has the sweetest personality and is all smiles.



We prayed she would be a baby of full of joy, and she truly has been. Her big sisters are doing well with her. Zoelle still wants to hold her constantly and Meridian just wants to kiss her baby lots.




Her daddy adores her. I know you wanted that for her, so I wanted to make sure I told you that.



And me? I am pretty much smiling from ear to ear constantly. I feel so complete now with her in my arms.



Even though I'm not sure when you will read this letter, or if you ever will I wanted to tell you thanks again for our little angel girl. We love her. It doesn't seem right or enough to end like that, but I'm not sure what more to say to you who gave her more than we could have ever asked for. Thank you!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Financial Update

I know many of you have been wondering and not sure if you should ask or not, where we ended up financially with this adoption. I've been waiting to post because we do still have one more grant that we are waiting to hear from soon (you all can be in prayer for that).

However, we did want to give a BIG huge praise to God and a thanks to all of you who supported us, and ultimately Xiomara as we were able to raise enough funds through your generous support and through grants to pay for about half of her adoption costs! Praise God!

When we first started this process we felt the Lord telling us to trust Him in providing the money and that He would do it. Even though we didn't get the full amount for her adoption, I truly believe that He can still provide it, even if that means month by month for us. Also if we finalize her adoption this year, I believe we will get the full amount of adoption tax credit, which is $13,170. That would pay off the rest of her adoption. Of course, the adoption tax credit is a little confusing and there is always some question as to if we would get that full amount this year. It also hinges on us finalizing this year, which we are praying we can so that we don't have this debt.

Just wanted to give you all an update and ask for prayers that we continue to trust God to provide for us financially as we finalize this adoption and go forth with God's plans in Xiomara's life.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We are home!!

I'm sure most of you have seen by now, but surgery is obviously done and it was very successful! The hospital was blocking blogger so I couldn't get on to update you. I could get on to facebook, but I realize not all of you follow me on there.

On Thursday morning, I woke myself and Xiomara up early in order for her last feeding at 6:00 a.m. She had to be done eating breastmilk by 6:15 a.m. and then between 6:15 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. she could have some Pedialyte. I waited as long as I could and at 8:00 a.m. I had Chris feed her the bottle. I don't think she liked it, but it was something for her. She didn't eat again until 3:00 p.m. that day. Nine long hours for her, but much longer for mommy.

Xiomara, my dad, and I had to be at the hospital at 10:15 a.m. I was so thankful for my dad! The hospital was a mess! It's under construction and with me being emotional and nervous, I had no idea what I would have done without him. I definitely felt all your prayers because in our long wait until surgery was to be at 11:45 (which really ended up being about 1 p.m.), Xiomara rarely cried. Instead, she snuggled in to me and slept, or just stared at me like this



The staff at the hospital were truly wonderful and when it came time to hand her over for surgery, I handed a sleeping (non-hysterical) baby girl over and calmly walked away. We then waited! It seemed forever before the doctor came to the waiting room and told me all went well and that Xiomara had done great.

She did have two hernias (one on each side) and so we were very thankful that we had him explore the left side too even though that hernia had not presented itself yet. She also had several cysts on her ovaries that the doctor proceeded to pop. He said, that her ovaries should sustain no damage from the hernias and that her recovery should be smooth. While in the hospital, she was very sleepy




Then, right before we left, she was charming not only me, but also the nurses with her sweet little joy-filled smile



Chris and the girls had a great time of bonding, and playing at the hotel. Meridian did nap really well, but had a hard time at night sleeping as she kept calling for mommy and pointing at the door. Zoelle on the other hand slept 12 hours straight, so I think daddy wore her out! Needless to say, both girls were relieved to have both mom and sister back.

Yesterday, we left the hospital and went to a local zoo for the afternoon before heading home. Overall, I am so glad we got it done now when she is too young to remember, and while her body is able to heal quicker and faster. Thank you friends and family for praying!! It gave me so much peace each time I started to panic, knowing I had others praying for all of us!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The day has arrived


The day I hoped somehow would never come, has come. Xiomara is sleeping peacefully in my lap after her last feeding and here I am wide awake blogging knowing I could never fall asleep again as my baby is getting surgery.

Would you all please pray. My heart is breaking for her. In two hours, she is going to be extremely hungry and surgery isn't until 11:45 a.m. I'm also just sick of the thought of handing over a hysterical baby to be put under. Would you all just pray that she is peaceful?

My dad will be coming with me to the surgery. Chris will be staying back at the hotel with the girls. Please pray it goes well for them. Meridian had an extremely tough night of sleeping last night (maybe she felt my nerves?) and I am praying she goes right down tonight and stays sleeping for Chris with no problems. This is my first time away from her and her first time going a whole day without nursing. Just pray for Chris to have a fun time with the girls and for them both to be ok without mom for a day and night (Zoelle is pretty nervous about Xiomara having surgery).

Overall, I'm nervous yet know God is with us and that you all will be praying! Thanks so much and we will keep you updated!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One week from today...



My beautiful baby girl will be getting surgery. After doing lots of research, talking with various friends who are in the medical field, and praying, we felt as if we should do the surgery sooner rather than later. To be honest, I'm not thrilled about it. I'm worried and I'm fairly certain that on the 16th I am going to be a nervous wreck. It's just that I love her so, so much. She is every bit a part of me as the older girls are.

I don't want to see her go under, I don't want to have her cry out in hunger because she can only eat one last time 4 hours before check-in for surgery. I plain old don't want to do surgery! But we have to. Her hernia appears to be getting larger and for the sake of long-term circumstances, we will get surgery.

Please be in prayer for us on that day. Our plan right now is to go down together as a family the night before. We will stay in a hotel that evening and then early Thursday morning, my dad will drive down to meet us. He will be coming with Xiomara and I to the surgery (thank you dad). We decided it will be best to have Chris stay with the older girls and make it as "normal" of a day as possible. They will swim, shop, and hopefully have fun.

I will be spending the night in the hospital with Xiomara. Please pray that Chris and the girls do well without me. Meridian is used to having me tuck her in and nurse her before bed. She is typically NOT happy when I am not there. Pray she is ok without me the whole day, ok?

Pray the surgery is successful and that Xiomara is ok going into it (read: not hysterical before I leave her). Oh and pray I'm not hysterical either.

Thank you all and we will be updating as we go along that day.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Appointment Update

We are back home! After a weekend away from home, it's good to be home. On Friday was our appointment for Xiomara. It went well. I (Vanessa) took her in while Chris stayed with the other girls. I wish Chris could have been there too as I think it's good to get a "feel" for the doctor from both of us, but for this trip, it wasn't a possibility. I did like him though. He was quick, straight forward, and is allowing me, as her parent to have a voice.

We have two deicisions to make regarding surgery. The first decision is in regards to when we will do surgery. From my understanding, most of the time doctors like to have infants be 6 months old when they have the surgery done. For Xiomara, it would be closer to 7 months as that is her adjusted age (being she was 5 weeks early). If we waited that long, it would be just an outpatient same-day surgery. However, waiting that long brings a risk to her ovary getting damaged as she grows. So the other option is to do it as soon as possible and have her spend the night in the hospital for observation afterwards. Of course, the risk there is in her being so small and being put under.

The second decision we have to make is whether or not to have him open up both sides of her groin to check for a hernia on the left side as well as the visible hernia on the right side. Sometimes, a second hernia is there, but does not show for months or years. This would avoid the trouble of her having surgery once again at a later date. However, there is the chance that it is uneccessary as she may not have a hernia at all on that side.

So, we have some decisions to make and we'd appreciate prayers. I've had some wonderful friends in the medical field to talk with this week who have given me advice I greatly appreciate. I'll be doing my research as well, like I always do, along with praying. Hopefully, we will have an answer soon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Butterflies in my tummy

When Xiomara was a few weeks old, during a diaper change one day, I found a lump in her groin. It wasn't until a few days later that I realized the lump was still there and that I better call in to have it looked at. Me being me, I first did my research, and I determind that most likely it was a hernia.

I took her in, we did an ultrasound, and sure enough my little babe has an inguinal hernia. Tomorrow we go to the big city for a consultation with a pediatric surgeon. Surgery. Yes, surgery. I don't like that word. Not when we are talking on my little baby. I'm nervous for her. Even though tomorrow is just the consultation, I have all these crazy butterflies in my tummy. What if it is something bigger than just a hernia? What if the doctor isn't nice? What if something goes wrong in surgery??

Then the sane side of me realizes that 1. inguinal hernias are VERY common 2. this doctor is a trained pediatric surgeon, he knows what he is doing 3. if he doesn't, God does. So, my butterflies lesson a bit, but I would still appreciate prayers.



I love this little girl so much and just want the best for her! By the way, she smiled for the very first time today. I didn't catch it on camera, but it was no doubt a HUGE smile. Her whole entire face just lights up and is beautiful. I fell in love all over again!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Vision Fulfilled!

Many of you have been asking me questions as to whether or not the vision we had in our mind of what this baby would look like was correct. I thought it was about time to answer that question. I have also had a few questions about the story behind her name that I would like to answer.





When we had our failed adoption back in March, I was devestated. For you see when I got the call about that baby and that we were chosen, I was told that child would be African American/Hispanic. I got chills knowing that only God could have fulfilled the vision we had of our child. Yet, a few short days later I found out that my African American/Hispanic girl was not a girl, but a boy. Nevertheless, after praying about it, we decided to continue on, trust God and work on figuring out a boy name! As most of you know, that adoption fell thru and I was so sad, yet at peace.

When we got the call about Xiomara, and that we were picked, the first thing running through my mind was, "Please be a girl, please be a girl". It wasn't that we didn't want a boy, it was just that we felt very certain that God had lead us to that vision of a little girl. In fact, I have a picture of a little girl that I cut out of a magazine years ago in which the little girl in the picture was the vision of the girl we were to adopt one day. I won't know until she is older if she looks the same or not, but even if she doesn't, it shows me how strongly God guided us in this process. So is she African American/Hispanic? No, she isn't, at least that we know of. I will be honest and tell you that I was a bit bummed about this at first. However, God showed me very clearly that it did not matter what her race was, but all that mattered was fulfilling His plan to adopt this little girl into our home.

Part of the vision in adopting a girl was the name that God had given us. Xiomara (pronounce See-o-mara) means "prepared for battle". It's such a strong name for such a little girl. Long before we started the adoption process, when we were first married, I was on an adoption message board and came across this name. I instantly fell in love and tucked it away in my mind. Name meanings are very important to us, along with using a unique name. As our adoption journey went on, and we battled to even adopt, it was made clear to us that should we adopt a girl, her name was to be Xiomara. When we first met her, there was no doubt that was/is the name God has given her. Her middle name is Marie after my middle name. I never wanted to use family names. However, God kept drawing us time and time again back to Marie as a middle name. We finally realized why when he showed us that she needed to know that she was now a part of who we are. That she was passed on a family name because we love her that much.

"I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." -Isaiah 49: 15-16

So yes, God has completed and fulfilled His vision for us and most of all for Xiomara. He did not forget her and nor did He forget us! It's pretty amazing that His final vision is greater and more complete than mine ever could have been!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Xiomara Marie's Birth Story

Note: I am posting this mainly for Xiomara to read one day. The mundane details may not matter to you, but they possibly will to her one day, so I post them. :) Also, this is a great reflection on how God's hand was in this match and adoption throughout the whole process!

It all begins June 10th. Well technically, it begins in July of 2008, but those of you who have been following and reading this blog for awhile you already know the story up to there. Those of you who don't, and have a TON of time, go read. ;)

On the morning of June 10th, I received a call from our social worker. She had sent me an email about different agencies to promote ourselves to as we had received no potential matches since our failed match in March. We were frustrated, depressed, and knowing that our home study expired in October, we were feeling as if it was never going to happen. Our social worker wanted to know if Chris and I had discussed the change that one of the agencies had made to their contract. We were suppose to have our profile there, but then they changed their policy a bit and we weren't sure we wanted to agree to the new one, so we had not given the ok. Our social worker was calling us just to check and see if we had decided. I told her no, and she urged me to ask Chris about it during the day as the agency had contacted her that morning needing more families to present to their birthmothers. So, I called Chris who was extremely busy, a bit crabby, and promptly told me that there would be no decision made until that evening. Sigh...I figured I would just email our social worker once I got the girls down for a nap and then I would talk to Chris that evening. However, at about 2 p.m. when I was already running late getting Zoelle down for her nap, I received a call from her. I knew she would ask and I was dreading telling her that once again, we hadn't decided yet. She did ask, and I told her that we hadn't decided and would talk that night and let her know in the morning. Her direct answer to me, "Well, I hope Chris is ok with it because they just called me and somehow they didn't listen to me and showed your profile anyway and you are matched!". Talk about crazy! I had to ask her to repeat herself so many times. Then I asked her for details. She didn't have much, but I was shaking so hard and trying to refrain myself from getting too excited as Meridian was napping.

The real kicker here is that later in talking with the social worker from Georgia, I found out that she picked our profile book up from the post office the day she presented it to Xiomara's birthmom. Typically, she looks through them first before presenting them, but on this day she didn't have time. When our birthmom saw the book with the name Chris on it she knew that this was the family for her daughter. She had felt since she found out she was pregnant that a Chris would somehow be involved in this adoption. That in addition to us having siblings who are adopted and from various races really helped her feel comfortable with us. God's hand was in place this whole time.



I spent the next several hours on the phone with my mom, sister, Chris and our social worker. Chris came home that night and we figured that if God orchestrated it, then it was meant to be. You must remember that all along, our prayer has always been that God will bring this child to us and if it's not meant to be, that He would close the doors.

We originally were told a due date of August 9th (our anniversary), but it then got changed to July 9th. She was ultimately born on July 6, estimated to be 5 weeks early, and yet God had His hand on her in that besides being a bit small, she was perfect!

Xiomara's birthmom, J, wanted us to travel either at birth or as close to birth as possible. On July 5th, we had a phone conference in the morning with her. All sounded well, except she felt that her time was soon. I'll admit, we panicked a bit as this is Chris' busiest season with work and my sister was due to give birth at any moment, and I wanted to be there. Again though, God's timing is perfect and that evening I received a call from our social worker saying J was in labor at the hospital soon to deliver our daughter. I cannot begin to describe how awesome it was to receive that call in the middle of the night announcing she was here, along with a picture mail of her. So sweet, so beautiful and I was in love.



Because we wanted to wait until the birthmom signed her papers (12 hours after birth), we did not and could not set up travel until that day. She was born on a Tuesday, and the plan was for J to sign papers on Wednesday and then us travel on Thursday the day Xiomara was to be released from the hospital. However, something happened on Wednesday in that ultimately J did not sign the papers. We prayed about it and still felt from God to travel on Thursday (even though she hadn't signed). So we made quick arrangements for Zoelle, packed our bags, got a pretty decent price on tickets, and after maybe two hours of sleep, left early Thursday morning.

Thursday was a whirlwind of a day! After almost missing our first flight because TSA had an issue with my sound machine, we got to our gate to realize that there had been a mix-up in seating and were it not for that, our plane would have already left! Wow, God is good! It was when we were on the runway waiting for our second plane to take off that I got the text saying "She signed! Praise God". The relief we felt was overwhelming and for the first time ever, I felt myself get a bit excited. We had three plane rides and I was so worried how Meridian would do. However, she was a champ and each person who sat by us was so gracious to us. A coincidence? I think not! She charmed and hammed her way to everyone. Loudly declaring "Hi" and then waving with that toothly grin to each person who was near us. She even napped for most of the last flight.



When we arrived in Georgia, I got Meridian all presentable, fixed my hair/make-up to the best of my ability, and sat nervously by why Chris called the social worker there for directions. We met at a church and I had someone video tape and take pictures of the whole thing. One day, maybe I'll feel comfortable sharing a picture of her birthmom. However, out of respect for her and Xiomara, today is not that day. I will say that she is an amazing and incredible woman. I'm proud of her and the decision she made. The meeting was one in which I am unsure how to describe to someone who has never adopted. It was emotional. I was happy for us, sad for J. I was scared to give my whole heart to her, yet I could feel myself falling in love with her the second I laid eyes on her. And holding her, oh holding that precious gem was incredible! God is so, so good!



One other aspect of our adoption that God has designed ahead of time was the aspect of nursing. It had always been my desire to adoptive breastfeed our child. However, I knew that it would most likely mean that I had to still be nursing Meridian. Looking at His perfect timing, it is incredible. I am still nursing Meridian, but not so much that I feel like I am nursing two infants constantly. Also, Xiomara's birthmom was so encouraged about us breastfeeding and is extremely happy that we can. That makes me happy. It's not perfect as I've still had to supplement some, but overall, God has answered that prayer!

And then it was over and we were left to ourselves. Two emotional adults, one over-tired older babe, and one little babe who cried and cried as she had no idea who we were. My heart broke and I just wanted to go home. Even more so when I found out I had a little niece born to my sister on the same day. However, as disappointed as I am that I wasn't there at her birth, I am reminded that these little girls will grow up together, share secrets together, laugh together, and get in trouble together just like my sister and I did. And my sister, who has been one of our biggest supporters, and myself will get to watch it all take place!



So we crashed in a hotel that night literally not remembering who got up when to help which child. The next morning we drove through some beautiful old plantation country to get to my uncle and aunt's house who live outside of Atlanta. While there, we were able to not only have a place to stay for a week, but also use their kitchen for cooking, and we were able to keep Meridian on a decent nap schedule. It was a huge provision from God to have it all work out that way.



Chris had to go back early for work yet God again worked in this adoption and made it so my dad could come down and stay with me and then help me get back home with two girls. This is perhaps where I am completely amazed at God. We got the call on a Thursday that we were free to go back. We really wanted to leave the next day but being that it was a Friday, we were having problems finding tickets. We found some for somewhat cheap right away, but by the time we went to buy them, they were gone. I was crushed as I didn't want to stay the weekend, but it was looking like unless we wanted to pay $1,000 a ticket, we would have to stay. After lots of searching, we finally found tickets for around $600. We weren't happy about it, but it was basically our only option to get home. My dad went to order them on his computer and I texted some of our closest friends/family to pray. Then I decided to check once more for tickets. Up popped two tickets for cheaper than what we originally saw, plus a shorter flight home. The girls once again did awesome on the way home, even with a sick/over-tired Meridian.




All of this is to share each of the little details that God cares about. He never failed us in our adoption. He still isn't failing us. I am consistently and constantly reminded of His faithfulness over us. I'm reminded of the scripture (from The Message) that says,

"God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His spirit deeply and gently within us." Ephesians 3:20

And with that I say amen! Yet, we also know that her story is not complete yet. God has beautiful and wonderful things for her and so we await Him to see all He has for her to do for Him.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thoughts & Prayers

Sigh...I could never have imagined how good God would be to me in all of this. I need to post a little post about Xiomara's "birth story" which is really how God provided for us the whole way down there and while we were there. But first tonight, I wanted to share a few things.

Thank you for all your prayers for our adjustment! It has gone so smoothly. I don't think it could be any better than it is now. Chris and I are in awe of how easy it has been for Zoelle, Meridian, and us. Praise God.

Secondly, I wanted to ask for your prayers. We will hear from two grants this week, and as I told God last night in the shower, "Lord you have brought Xio to us, now please provide all the money needed and bless us above and beyond what we could imagine. Please let us be shocked at your faithfulness!". I don't want that just because I don't want the debt of this adoption (although that is true too). Instead, I want it to show how He has faithfully provided every step of the way in this adoption, and He will show us that, I know it! We also have one more grant that we can apply for one final time before our adoption is finalized and it is our prayer that God would show us when the proper time is for that, so that we can be accepted.

Lastly, would you all still be praying for "J". I realize that for those of you who have never adopted or adopted an older child, you may be wondering why "we aren't just done with her yet?". It's not that easy and it never will be. She is a part of our life because she is what gave our daughter life. She is struggling right now, not with her decision (as she feels very much so at peace with that). But instead with her emotions. She is sad and I'm sure she will be for the rest of her life. We would appreciate prayers for her.

Thank you all!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Introducing...



July 6, 2010 a beautiful little girl was born at 3:37 a.m. Weighing 5 lbs. 14 oz. and 18 ¾ inches long. On July 8, 2010 she joined her forever family as Xiomara Marie. Pronounced See-o-mara


Xiomara means “prepared for battle” and we feel that is an accurate reflection of our adoption journey. Not only that, but it is our hope and our prayer that she would be prepared to battle for the Lord throughout her entire life. She is given the middle name of Marie as that is Vanessa’s middle name and we wanted to pass on to her part of our family as she is now ours.



We are settling into life as a family of 5 and we could not be happier. We hope you will all rejoice with us as the real journey of raising three girls begins now.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The one which I must write...

I must write this post even if I never publish it. Why? Because this is a side of adoption that I've never heard about. No one ever told me that I would feel extremely guilty as I watched our little girl's birthmom walk away from her forever. No one ever told me that I would cry each night for 10 days wondering if I did the right thing.

So, I think I will post this. The writing is therapy for me, but also I find that one day if someone is adopting, they may come across this post and it may help them in their emotions. So here goes..

Dear J,

I sit here today on day 10 of the revocation period. You have until tonight at midnight to change your mind, but I really don't think you will. On the outside, I'm rejoicing. I love this little girl that you have given me. It took us two years to get her, but she has been my dream for 13 years. She is amazing, beautiful, and perfect. I'm so incredibly grateful that you have given us a third daughter and that you chose to give her life. As I've told you before, I will do my best to be the mama that you wanted her to have.

All of that is on the outside, but on the inside, oh on the inside I hurt. I hurt for you and I hurt for her. For tonight at midnight it becomes final. One last goodbye so to speak. Once that time is over, you can never have her back and from one mama to another, my heart aches for you. I can only imagine the pain that you have today. I know you are doing what is best for her. I hurt for her because she won't ever truly "know" you and I wish somehow she could. But, that just won't happen as she will first and foremost know and feel that I am her mom and you are her birthmom.

In so many ways, it feels like it wasn't suppose to be this way. And in many ways, it wasn't. God didn't originally intend for me to be her mama, but instead you. However, God's ways are always greater than our own and He knew that you could not do it. That you loved her enough to give her away. I want to love her with that same amount of love and I will.

She is beautiful J. On the inside and out, just beautiful. I love her just as much as I love her two big sisters. Together as a family of 5 we feel complete. But, somewhere in Georgia, I know you feel incomplete and I know you always will. And for that I feel guilty and sad. I'm sorry you couldn't raise her. Not sorry that I get to raise her. But still, I'm sorry. I'll love her for always and forever.

So as I hold this precious little girl today in my arms for you, I'll know that you are holding her in your heart. I'll know that you love her. Despite the pain and guilt we are both experiencing, we both love the same little girl and we both will do our best for her. For you, that means giving her to me to raise. And for me, it means cherishing her and loving her as my own. And I will. I will.

Thank you!

With much love,

Vanessa

Saturday, July 17, 2010

HOME!

We are home! Need I say more? Oh wait, I can say I am tired and need some good rest. Working on not getting stressed about housework, laundry, and taking care of three little girls. Instead I'm trying to soak in my happy Zoelle, enjoy the fussy/teething of Meridian, and sleep when my newest daughter sleeps.

I'll check in soon when I can be more coherent!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Homeward Bound

We got the call today that we are clear to go home! Woohoo! Praising God! If you all remember, I asked for your prayers in getting down here and I'm asking now for your prayers in getting home. Pray for smooth travel and TWO happy girls.

I'm so excited to get home and see my Zoelle. This is the longest I have ever been away from her, and only the second time I ever have. I'm also excited to meet my new niece India who was born July 8th, the same day that we got our baby girl. How fun to have little girl cousins so close in age.

Monday at midnight is when the 10 day waiting period ends and I am praying that all goes well. Please continue to pray for "J". I know that right now she is feeling at peace with her decision, but is also sad. I've been reflecting alot in the last few days and my heart is really aching right along with her. Yet, all the while rejoicing as I have another daughter. Pray for me as my emotions are sort of all over the place. On Tuesday, we will be announcing our new daughter's name and I can't wait. It will feel so real and final then.

Also, if you would all pray that our adjustment period at home is as smooth as can be I'd appreciate it. I'd like to get Meridian back on a schedule as she has been pretty "off" this week on both her emotions and schedule. I also want the transition for Z to go well, so please pray it does. Then there is just the transition of a new baby, laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. that if I start to think of it all, I get overwhelmed. Please just be in prayer for me.

Alright, I'm off now as I have an early flight to catch HOME! Can't wait to introduce this little girl to you all! Thank you for all the prayers and much love!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Keep Praying!

Chris is on a plane back to our home. I'm excited that he gets to go home to be with Zoelle. However, I am sad and jealous too as I was really hoping to be on that plane next to him. :( This afternoon my dad will fly in and I'm sure that will bring some special time together with two of his grandaughters. Keep praying for our paperwork to go thru quickly. Yesterday, I was told not until Thursday or Friday. At this point, my only prayer is to not have to wait out the weekend here in Georgia. I just want to be home, together as a family. I miss my Z, Mer misses her and is feeling sick (although a bit better), and I want to meet my new niece and introduce my new babe to our families. Sigh...it's gonna be a long week. Keep praying!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Call For Prayer

I thought it was about time to update you all on how things are going. We are having fun just relaxing and enjoying our new little girl. She is doing well and maybe it's just my imagination but she seems to be recognizing our voices and calming when she hears them. We are definitely falling more and more in love. We know it's a risk, but she is well worth it.

We have until Monday, July 19th before we find out if she is ours or not. It will be and has been a long wait, but we are trusting God that this little girl is ours. We did have a phone conference yesterday with the birthmom and she reminded us that she is very at peace with her decision and very happy that this little girl is in our home. From the sound of it, she isn't going to change her mind. Please pray for "J" that she wouldn't change her mind and that she continues to have a peace about her decision.

Meanwhile, last night Meridian slept terrible after a rather fussy day. This morning, we then realized that she either has a cold/fever/runny nose or she is teething. Would you all pray that she gets better soon so that way she isn't so sick and fussy away from home.

Our plan right now is for Chris to go home on Tuesday and my dad will fly down Tuesday to help me with the girls until the ICPC paperwork goes thru so I can leave with the girls. We can leave before the 10 day revocation period is up, but if "J" changes her mind, we are required to bring the baby back down. Our plan is to go home as soon as ICPC goes thru so that way we can just get back to normal. Ideally though, it would be wonderful if on Monday we could get the call that ICPC gave approval and then I could go home with Chris and the girls. Would you all pray that could happen? Also, my dad has to be back by Friday so I am praying that for sure I can fly back no later than Friday so I have help with two little ones in the airport.

I cannot begin to thank you all for your kind words here or on our facebook. We so love and appreciate all of you. I know I've said it before, but without your prayers for us, "J", our family, and this little girl, we could not have done this. Not to mention the financial help so many of have generously given.

We love and appreciate you!

Friday, July 9, 2010

She's with us!

Our new little girl is with us and we couldn't be happier! :) She was born July 6, 2010 and joined our family July 8, 2010. I'll fill you in on all the details of the trip at a later date, but I do want to say we could feel and love your prayers anymore than we do. It has been a beautiful and perfect trip thus far. Thank you for praying!!

Here is a picture of her for all of you to enjoy.


She is 5 lbs. 14.3 oz. and 18 3/4 inches long. We will share her name when the 10 day revocation period is over.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We are on our way!

We are busy preparing to travel. Early tomorrow morning we get on a plane to go meet our little girl.

We have a few prayer requests.

1. That all travel would go well. Switching planes, getting the rental car, etc.

2. Tomorrow is a BIG day. We have two plane switches and a few lay overs before we get to our baby. Could you all just pray it would go smoothly, and that Meridian would nap and be a happy traveler!

3. I was a mess tonight saying goodnight to Zoelle. She doesn't understand why she isn't coming and she doesn't understand when we will be home. Please pray for her adjustment to go well and for her to have fun with her Grandma when we are gone.

4. Pray for the meeting with the birthmom to go smoothly. I'm nervous.

5. Please pray for ICPC to go thru quickly. Chris is not sure yet when he will return, but if ICPC would go thru either Monday or Tuesday, he could stay until then and travel home with us.

Thank you all for your love and prayers!! We will keep you updated!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's a.....

At 3:37 a.m. a beautiful little girl was born. She was 5lbs. 14oz. I don't have the length. We aren't sharing a name yet as we want to wait the full 10 days, but for now, we have three little girls.

We are still figuring out travel, but it is looking like for Chris' sake the earliest we can leave is Thursday. Pray that we can get cheap flights, and easy travel for all.

Keep praying that God's will be done and that He reign in and thru us.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's Time!

This morning we had our third phone conference with our birthmom. It was another wonderful conversation and she confirmed to us that she felt at peace about her decision, and we felt peace about ours.

Then, not a half hour ago, we got a call saying "J" was in labor at the hospital, ready to deliver. It looks as if we will be having a baby either on the 5th or the 6th of July. When the social worker asked if we wanted to get a call when the baby arrived, we said absolutely! So, we are staying up late tonight, making lists, cleaning the house, getting everything prepared!

Our biggest prayer right now is for "J" and the baby. Please pray for a safe and healthy delivery. Also, we are asking for prayers for travel. We still have no idea the logistics of travel at last minute. There is bound to be some stress, and I admit I'm nervous! Then I got a wonderful text from my sister saying, "I sought the Lord & He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears!".

So true and one I am leaning on tonight and in the coming days! Thanks for praying and I'll keep you all updated!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A plea for prayers and help!

This morning we were able to have another wonderful phone conference with our birthmother. I am constantly amazed at the strength she has to place this child. Over the years, I've met many people who have had a lot of negative things to say about birthmoms, but I told her today that I will ever attribute to anyone, including this child, to thinking anything but the best about her. The love she has for this baby is far greater than I could even imagine. To be willing to give your child away to someone because you know you can't do it on your own, that is love. Sacrifice. Amazing.

As of now, we told her our plan is to come as soon as possible after the birth. She cried. It really is her hearts desire. Yes, we realize we are taking a risk. We don't want to get our hearts broken either. But, at this point, either way if she backs out, they will get hurt. We trust that God will heal them if they do. In the meantime, we are praying for Him to protect us and for this adoption to be completed.

We do have a couple of prayer requests. We had 2 grants tell us this week that they don't have money for us. That was a disappointment for sure. One of those, we can apply for again at any point before finalization. However, we found out tonight that we are getting another grant, which is a huge praise! We don't know the amount yet, but we are praying that God would be faithful in completing what He has called us to. We are NOT giving up hope that He can provide for every last penny for this adoption!!

That brings me to asking for prayers for travel again. We have to fly, we know that much. Our van, which would be the only vehicle we could drive down there is broken and we don't trust it to make it down there and back in one piece. Plus, Chris will have to fly back sooner and doesn't want me driving back alone. We ultimately decided not to take Zoelle. I'm sad about it, but with Chris coming home in a matter of days, she won't be without at least one of us for long.

I'm going to ask shamelessly here that if anyone has any frequent flier miles that they would be willing to donate for this cause, we would so appreciate it! It is looking like plane tickets on short notice could be quite expensive. Of course, God is bigger than that as well, and it is another prayer request that He could provide us with cheap tickets and stress free travel. There are so many logistics to still figure out with the travel, that we need prayer that God would make it all come together.

If any of you are willing to pray, we would so covet your prayers. I have had a few ask how they can help us. Honestly, financially is the best way right now. We truly believe that this adoption should and does not have to be done in debt. Otherwise, just keep praying and keep supporting us.

One more thing: talk to us about the adoption!!! Yes, I do not have a big belly on me, but I am still expecting a baby!! All you lurkers on here, this is you I am talking about. I do have a tracker on here and I know you read, yet you never comment. I treasure each comment and find such encouragement from them. So give me some comment love either on here or in real life! :)

Now, this mama to be is off to bed...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In search of: Clarity

So many thoughts are swirling thru my mind that I need to come blog to clear my head. Plus it helps you as my friends and family know what you need to pray about.

First of all, last Friday we were able to talk to "J" our birthmom by phone. I'm not going to share much about that phone call except to say that she is really an amazing woman who wants what is best for this baby. I was so nervous going into the phone call, but I left the phone conversation feeling as if it could not have gone any better. After our first jittery nervous laughter was over with we talked and talked. I honestly could have talked to her a lot longer but we all have our lives and had to go. We have another phone conference this Friday, so if you would all be in prayer for that to go just as smoothly, we would appreciate that.

The only request "J" has of us is that if we would trust her enough to be down there for either the birth or right after. We knew going into the phone conversation that if she asked this of us, we would be completely honest. So we were. We told her that we are scared and very nervous about the 10 day revocation time and that we need to pray about it. It is our desire that we be able to give her an answer by this Friday during our phone conference.

Some things you should know about us traveling. We feel very strongly about bringing both girls down with us. For one, I'm still nursing Meridian and 10 days without nursing would be way too hard on both of us. We would like to bring Zoelle with because she is very astute to what is going on and because we want this adjustment to go smoother for her than the adjustment to Meridian went. You should also know that once in Georgia, my Uncle and Aunt have so graciously allowed us to stay at their home. I cannot even begin to tell you what a relief that brings knowing we won't have to pay for a hotel stay. So basically, all we are trying to figure out now is when to travel and how to travel.


Here are the options we have right now:

1. It has always been my prayer that I could be at our adopted child's birth or as soon after as possible. This would be the ideal situation. Thus we would travel probably 24 hours after birth, because at this point the birthmom has at least signed papers. We would then wait the 10 days while ICPC (paperwork between the two states) went thru and for the revocation period to be done. Most likely at some point during those 10 days, Chris and Zoelle would go back home, while a friend would fly down to help me with baby and Meridian. It's too long for Chris to be gone from work thus he'd have to fly back. Risk: Birthmom changes her mind. Pros: We'd be there right away for bonding and I'd be able to breastfeed baby. Cons: We are out time and travel money if she changes her mind.

2. We wait for the 10 day revocation period to be up and then all travel down, do the ICPC paperwork and wait a few days, even weeks for that to go thru, then we go back. Again, depending on how long ICPC takes, Chris and Zoelle would go back earlier. Risk: None.  Pros: No money or time is risked.  Cons: We miss out on the first days of bonding and me on breastfeeding.

3. This option just came to me today. Meridian and I would travel down right away and wait, followed by just Chris at the end of the 10 day revocation period. However, I'm thinking this option may be out as ICPC cannot begin without Chris there and I would want that paperwork started right away so we didn't have to be away from home any longer than necessary. Risk: Birthmom changes her mind. Pros: We'd be there right away for bonding and I'd be able to breastfeed baby. Cons: We are out time and travel money if she changes her mind.


So far I'm liking option #1 the most and Chris is leaning more towards option #2. I'm thinking option #3 is probably out just because we want to start the paperwork asap!
 
As far as how to get there, that is a whole different problem. We really don't want to drive. Not with two kids (3 on the way back), 25 hours, and a vehicle that hasn't been the most reliable lately. Our other option is obviously to fly, but everything is so expensive and then I would feel terrible missing out on that money if during the 10 day period she didn't place. I wish money were not a factor, because if it weren't, I'd travel immediately!
 
Sigh....as you can see we are so conflicted. In every other area of this adoption, we feel peace. However, traveling and when to travel is a sea of confusion. Would you all please pray that God would give us a clear direction on how to travel and when?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Psst...

I have a secret, except it's not really a secret if I tell you right?? Wanna know what it is?? Sure you do or you wouldn't be reading still right? What's that, you think I'm mean and you want me to get to the point...oh...ok...I suppose I could...


















We are matched!! Woohoo! We are being cautiously excited, but it's hard to not allow ourselves to get involved. So to answer some questions.

When is baby due?

We were originally told August 9th, but that info has changed and it most likely will be in mid July.

Where is baby at?

Georgia

Will you travel to get baby?

Yes. This is a HUGE area of prayer. As of now, we don't know how we will get there (air/car) or where we will stay. We'd like to go down altogether as a family and would prefer to fly so that is what we are really asking God for.

Do we know the gender?

Yep, but we aren't sharing until he/she is here..sorry.

Where are you at financially?

God has been so, so, so amazing to us and has really been faithful in providing for this adoption! We still are relying mainly on grants to come thru, but we also know that nothing is impossible with God and that He will see us thru it to completion.

Any specific prayer needs?

1. Travel Arrangements: See above
2. Logistics: In Georgia the birthmom signs 24 hours after birth but then has 10 days (yes 10 days) to change her mind. We need to decide if we risk putting our emotions out there and the traveling expenses before the 10 days are over with. The birthmom would like us there at birth or as close to after birth as possible. We are asking God to guide us and give us a peace and direction.
3. Grants: We have about 5 grants that we are waiting for. Would you please pray that God would do above and beyond what anyone could expect? Also that it would be in the perfect time.
4. Our girls: Z especially had a very hard transition when Meridian was born. Our prayer now would be that the transition for all of us would be completely seamless.
5. The baby: For protection for it now and the birth. Also, our prayer is that this child would be an easy baby/child and that it will bring joy to all those around it.

Think we're crazy?

Who's to say what's impossible? Nothing is with God! And with that I say Amen!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The way rumors start...

I need to clear up one thing. We are NOT switching agencies. Somehow my post about this was confusing. Instead, we were looking at putting our family profile books in more agencies. We got our home study done with an agency in our town and then they distribute our profile books in other agencies around the United States. Those are the agencies that we were looking for to put our profile book in. Just wanted to clear that up so that way rumors don't get started!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Big Thank You!

I would be so completely remiss if I did not come on here and thank my amazing friends and family for uplifting me when I am down. Within minutes of posting my depressing (sorry about that) post last night, I had friends commenting on here, and sending me private emails/messages encouraging me and letting me know they care. As I told one friend, it's honestly all I wanted, just to know that one person,  just one, still cared about our adoption.

"But encourage each other every day while it is "today." Help each other so none of you will become hardened because sin has tricked you." Hebrews 3:13

That is what each and everyone of you did for me yesterday and today. You encouraged me and lovingly pointed out to me how God cared more than even I do and that He is still in control. It's what I needed to hear. I've often said that adoption has grown my walk with God more than ever, but at times I have often felt myself becoming hardened by the "game" around me. To see God work thru each of you to touch my spirits was exactly what I needed.

So a big THANK YOU!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On our own...or so it seems

The old saying goes "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar". I know it's so true, but often in adoption, I find it hard. Hard to not become bitter. Angry. Jaded. Hard not to spew words of anger when literally that is all I want to do. Yet, it's not truly what I want, nor what God wants me to do. So despite miscommunication and other things that I am not fully happy about, I will just use honey in my words.

Ok..moving on from that now...

We need prayer! Because of said miscommuncation, or lack of communication, we are researching/looking at finding agencies to place our profile book in. We are also completely overwhelmed. It seems like each agency promises to have a "placement within 14 days" or some such thing. We don't know what to do, where to go, and we need Godly direction and wisdom. Please, please, please pray that God would guide us as we look over each agency in the coming days and decide which ones we want our profile books in.

Speaking of profile books...we are also updating those to be more current as our girls are 3 and 1 now. Hopefully, that will "sell" us more. As much as I hate that term, in essence, that is what we are doing.

Overall, I just am feeling discouraged and overwhelmed today. In 4 months, our home study will expire. Realistically, I don't know if we will get matched or placed before then. That does not make me happy. It angers me, saddens me, discourages me and I need prayer!! We need prayer!! For everything!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Childlike Faith

Two nights ago I stood in my husband's arms crying. Bawling actually. As I sobbed, I managed to choke out a few sentences. Why have we had to wait this long? I...just..want...to adopt. I don't understand. We just don't have the money. And then our precious little Z, our three year old, upon hearing the words adoption and money came to me and said, "Mom, I have money for the adoption". She then proceeds over to our coin jar and took out 35 cents (a quarter and a dime) and brought them to me with a smile on her face and said, "Here is the money for the adoption mama so you aren't sad". Aww...to have faith like a child again. Yet, I wasn't sad any more and she did put a smile on my face through the tears.

35 cents. That is all it took to change my spirit. My point is, you just never know. What you give may change someone's spirit, someone's outlook on their adoption, their mission, their passion. You just truly don't know. Every little bit counts, every little bit adds up to a bigger bit.



Are you willing to give your $5 to defend adoption? Are you ready to bring a child home? All it takes is $5. I can't wait to see what God can do with the faith of a child.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Impacting the future

I've hesitated posting this because I know not all are going to agree with me. In fact, many may be offended when it is not my intention to offend. Instead, it is my intention to enlighten you to the needs of adoption. Not just our needs, but many around us. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people in this world who would love to adopt, but one thing stops them

Money

It sucks, but it is the reality. Adoption should not cost as much as it does, but unfortunately it does. I can't stop that and right now, I'm guessing neither can you. However, you can help other ways. You can help in prayer and financially. What's that? You don't have any money to give? I disagree. *Gulp* Again, remember I'm not trying to cause conflict here. But if you can afford to go to Burger King or get your daily cup of coffee at Starbucks, you can give $5 to a family in need. I can't even begin to tell you how many times $5, $10, $15 has been exactly what we needed when we needed it and blessed us in more ways than a bigger amount would have. However, many don't give because they fear $5 isn't enough. After all they say to themselves, "What is my $5 going to do when they need to raise $20,000?". I'll tell you what your $5 is going to do. It's going to give hope to a family who has none. It's going to get the ball rolling when before it was stationary. It's going to impact the life of a child who otherwise never would have been impacted if not for your measly $5. And if everyone of our friends gave $5, $10, $15, we would have enough to pay for our adoption in no time.

What a small sacrifice with a long-lasting reward. Unfortunately, we have found and my friend Courtney has found that people don't see it like that. We are more than willing to give to our churches, our schools, the local scout troop. But to give to adoption- there is too much of a stigma, too much of a risk. How sad that we are willingly throwing away the life of a child out of fear. For isn't that what it is? We have all heard the stories of the Jones family who adopted a child and that child caused them hell. I mean even the Smiths had a child adopted a birth that ended up wild. Why would I be willing to take that risk now. I'll tell you why. Because without you, the Jones family would have never adopted, the Smiths wouldn't have had their baby who ended up wild and we-Chris & Vanessa, wouldn't have the child who God so layed heavily on our hearts. We would have never been able to follow God's will, His plan and purpose, if not for friends, family, and yes complete strangers who have so lovingly believed in God's plan in our life. That our child will be raised in Him and that his/her future will never be the same. Either will yours if you will only take the risk. After all what is $5?

Big breath

Everyone ok? Still here? Still reading? Good. If you felt offended by what I said, I encourage you to search your heart as to why. Normally when I have felt offended by something or someone it is because what was said has truth. And sometimes, the truth just plain ole' hurts. But it's good for us too, thus why I posted. I didn't post this to guilt you into giving to our adoption. No, God is greater than that. He already has it all taken care of whether you give your $5 or not. Instead, I wanted to open your eyes and if I succeeded in doing that, I would encourage you to go here



and give your $5 or whatever amount you feel lead to give. 26 couples who are all adopting will get the money and one couple will get $5,000. Just in case you are wondering, we are not one of those couples as we didn't even know about this during the entry period. Instead, we just have a passion for adoption and want to see as many people as possible not be held back by the money.

For after all you aren't just changing that couples' life, but you are also changing that child's, and yours.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today I'm Ok

I thought you would have been here by now but you're not. Today I'm ok with that, tomorrow, I probably won't be. My emotions are like that. I just had dreamed of you celebrating with the girls on their birthday. Of course, you would have probably slept through it in my arms, but at least you would have been here. Snuggled in close, surrounded with those who loved you before you were even home. Since you haven't met us yet, let me tell you a little bit about your family.

Your dad: He is one of the hardest working men I've ever met. I'm so proud of him, yet I don't tell him enough. He goes underappreciated far too often, and I'm constantly working on that. He is extremely handsome. :) If you turn out to be a little girl, you are going to have a crush on him just as your sisters do. If you are a boy, you will respect and look up to him. Whatever you are, I look forward to seeing you rest in your daddy's arms.

Your biggest sister Zoelle: She is three now. All spirit and spunk. She has had a really hard time not being the only child anymore. She often will cry to just be held, or act out just to get a little extra attention. Meridian loves her though and asks for her first thing in the morning. Z is super smart and funny. She often makes us laugh through our frustrations. You are going to love her!

The little big sister Meridian: Mer is one today. She is pretty much the opposite of Z. Quiet and content. Sweet and calm. But, watch out because she has a bit of a temper to her and definitely is exerting her will as she gets older. Mer Mer will be an awesome big sister though and will probably shower you with kisses daily, if not hourly!

And then there is me, your mom: I've dreamed about you since I was 13. I got a Bitty Baby American Doll at that age who had dark skin and God laid it on my heart at that moment that one day, I would have a child who looked like that. I can't wait. Each day, I wake up and wonder if today will be the day.

Hope you enjoyed getting to know us a bit more. I love you little one and look forward to the day someone places you in my arms. We'll be waiting.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy (Birth) Mother's Day

Mother's Day. The day that I think most about our birthmom. Is she pregnant with a little one right now? Is she a teen? A mom already? Is she scared? Sad, but knows she has no other choice?

My heart goes out to her today, on Mother's Day. I can't begin to imagine what she must feel. To know that the little one she carries so tightly in her belly must belong to another. To know that the child she will so lovingly gaze at will be placed in another mom's arms. To be cherished and loved by two moms.

What a blessed mama she is to give the ultimate sacrifice and show the ultimate love for her child through adoption. I am blessed to know her. My husband is blessed to know her. My girls are blessed to know her. And our child will be blessed to have known her. Whether it only be in the womb, or a short glimpse into her tear-stained eyes at birth, our child will know her love.

Happy Mother's Day to our birthmom wherever you may be. We love you and are blessed to call you a part of our family. Thank you for choosing life.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A little insight into adoption...

I rejoice and exult in hope; I'm steadfast & patient in suffering & tribulation; constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

We received the above verse along with a check in the mail this past week. It was anonymous. Oh how I love "you" anonymous. It's through "you" that God works in my life. He speaks to me through each note, check, or question that one asks me. Thank you for being God in our life (and I hope you all know I don't mean that in a blasphemous way). When we needed it most, "you" followed His prompting and sent it along with the beautiful verse above that reminded me that God is still working in my life, and hopefully in yours.

We were presented with another situation yesterday.  I was visiting with someone today who asked me what exactly it means to get presented with a situation. Good question! :) Basically, it means that our social worker either calls or e-mails us and tells us the basics (info about birthmom, baby, state, price, etc.) then most of the time, we literally have hours to decide if we want to be presented or not. That is a BIG decision to make in hours. Seriously, how does one begin to make such a life changing decision like that in mere hours? The only way is through constant prayer. If we don't have peace, we don't present. As hard as it seems sometimes, we trust and pray that God will give us peace with the "right" situation. Please continue to pray for us as we are presented with these situations.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Roller Coaster

I'm on a roller coaster ride and I want it to stop so that I can get off. Seriously. I am more than ready to be done.

I need prayers. Chris and I have been talking a million times this week, there have been lots of tears, and I've laid my heart out to Chris and God that I just don't know if I can do this anymore. I know I will and I won't give up, but I just need many prayers that God will sustain me in this wait.

We have heard practically nothing from our social worker since our failed adoption. On top of that, we have heard nothing from any grants either. It's like our adoption and grants have gone silent. I'm not liking silent.

Basically our adoption journey has been a roller coaster ride of emotions and I'm not sure how much I can handle anymore. Just pray.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An Open Letter To God

Dear God,

Sometimes I just don't understand. I don't understand why you have chosen us to be the couple that has to wait forever to adopt. Why did we have to have a failed adoption? Why has it been almost two years and still no babe in our arms?

Sometimes I just don't understand. Sometimes I want to cry. Sometimes I just want to scream.

Sometimes I just want to hold that babe in my arms so badly I can almost feel it. I often dream about the babe Lord. Or even find myself almost mistakenly calling out for the baby while getting ready to go somewhere. As in, "Chris, you have _______ right?".

You do understand how long two years is right Lord? That we don't want to have to go through this another year, but yet feel so strongly in our hearts that we are to keep going until he/she is in our arms? You do understand that each day my heart feels like it is breaking in two waiting?

How much longer God? It's the only thing I really want to know, feel like I need to know. I don't know if my heart can handle much more Lord. I hurt. I want this to be over with. Sigh...I don't know Father...I just don't know.

Please God right now I just need a glimmer, just a glimmer of hope. Anything to know that you still truly care, that we are where you want us to be, and most of all that I can keep doing this.

A year from now I'll watch as my tan little baby takes his/her first steps and know that you had us wait just for him/her and that it was worth every single tear. I'll know that you do restore the years the locusts have eaten. But now, right now, I'm having hard time seeing through the fog.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'll wait

Sorry for my long extended absence from blogging here. It's been hard for me to blog as I kept asking myself, "Where do I go from here? What could I possibly say Lord that could help someone?". Nothing new was going on with us, and we still sit here and wait.

As I have mentioned before, the thought of waiting is suffocating at times. I don't like it one bit. Yet I have no choice but to wait on God. I also realize through that waiting that God can and does speak to me. I've relied on Him and trusted Him through this adoption process possibly WAY more than I ever have my whole life. If I hadn't had to wait, God would not have stretched me and grown me into the woman of God I am today.

Sometimes, I look up in the sky and wonder how much more waiting Lord? I dream of this summer holding another baby who doesn't have the same color of skin as I do in my arms, all while watching my older two blonde haired girls splash in the pool. It makes me smile quietly; for one day my dream will be fulfilled. But for now I wait, and ask God to strengthen me in the wait. To fill me with a faith I've never had before. To be real in a way I couldn't possibly ever dream of.

All because I said I'll wait.