Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seriously big news.

Original post date: February 23, 2010
I've realized (more than ever) in the last month or so that I am not a very private person. We've had some major things going on in our family, and I've wanted to shout it out! I wanted to get feedback. Mostly, I wanted to WRITE! So I got a journal, which I haven't had in years, and wrote like crazy. It was mostly a prayer journal, and already I've seen answers. So since you are probably skimming this paragraph for the news, here it is: Trent and I have applied to adopt a baby from Thailand.

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We told our immediate families first, then I wrote a letter to our extended family. (So, family, this post may be a little repetitive.)

Here's the story. See, even though it may sound sudden to you, this has been stirring for years. Even before Trent and I had our own kiddos, we talked of adoption and that we're both interested in it. Then, if you were following along, I did NOT particularly enjoy being pregnant the last time. We both were fairly certain we wanted 3 kids, so last year when Sydney turned one, we decided to pursue adoption more seriously. We learned a few things right away. First, we were told that a birth mother in the US will usually choose a childless couple to adopt her baby. A couple with a healthy boy and girl has little chance of being chosen from a notebook of other families. [post edit--we have sinced been corrected by a few adoption social workers, that this is not necessarily true.  There are some birth mothers looking for siblings, it's just not as common. Don't want to scare anyone away from domestic adoption.]  International adoption had been closer to my heart, especially, so this was not a disappointment, just a confirmation of which direction we'd go.

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But the second thing we learned was that international adoptions cost between $20K-$40K. Not even kidding you. The average we were seeing everywhere was $25K-$30K.

Whoa.

Big disappointment.

Seeing those figures was a shock to us and, especially doing our research in the summer, when I have no possibility of helping with our income, we freaked out and put the idea on hold indefinitely. I remember thinking we'd just have to have that third kid the old-fashioned way.

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Fast forward to January 12. In case you didn't notice by my blog post here, here and here, I was a TEENSY bit emotionally invested in the earthquake in Haiti. I was particularly upset about Kristen (which--full disclosure, some of you think KH and I are BFFs, but really I know her best through one of my true BFF's, her sis-in-law Sarah) who was there with her 9-month old visiting their son whom they'd been trying to adopt. The weeks following the earthquake I became blog-obsessed and vicariously participated in several emotional and dramatic reunions with adoptive families and their Haitian children. These are my 3 fave: Kembe, Amos and Ronel. I resonated with those mommies something fierce. During those first 2 weeks there was all kinds of talk about hundreds of Haitian orphans being brought to the US for foster or adoption, a la the Pedro Pan situation in Cuba in the 60's. We, along with about 473 gazillion people watching the news, felt totally compelled to be one of those families. Now, I think we all can recognize that sending hundreds of kids to people whose only qualification is "I want one!" is ridiculously dangerous and not in the best interest of anyone. So, I can respect the fact that the Haitian & US government did not start shipping out plane-loads of orphans to anyone with a nice smile. (I CANNOT respect the other things UNICEF and the govs have been up to.)

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Back to our story. We felt that no one should foster or adopt a child without going through the proper procedures, so we started researching and investigating international adoption--going back to many of the same sites we looked at last year. We read about home studies, country criteria, I-600A's, dossiers and tax credits. Our interest was definitely peaked. After a few weeks and conversations with several adoption agencies who work in Haiti, it was abundantly clear that no one will be able to apply to adopt a child from Haiti any time soon. For some, this was frustrating and even devastating. For us, it wasn't. We talked it over and realized that for the two of us, this horrible tragedy renewed in us a heart for adoption. It confirmed that we want another child--and that I don't necessarily need it to grow inside me. For our family, it wasn't about a Haitian child, it was about us having room in our home and our family and our hearts for a little person who deserves nothing less than a home and family. We spent MORE time online and checked out MORE books from the library about adoption, attachment, inter-racial adoption, etc. We faced the financial aspect in the face. We prayed. Hard. A lot.

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During this time, as I was asking God to give me answers, I was trying to listen for those answers. I totally randomly ran into my cousin at an indoor playground; my cousin who last year adopted 2 little Haitian girls. I got in touch with a college friend who told me she was considering international adoption and asked if I'd ever considered it. I got a very pointed email from a blog friend (oh yeah--you know who you are) that God had been putting ME on her heart all week, and He'd been hinting that maybe our third kiddo would be adopted. She thought I would think she was crazy, but I didn't. At least 2 other unplanned conversations happened that truly seemed like divine encounters regarding our family & adoption. But still--SO MUCH MONEY!

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I shared with some girls at my Bible study about this huge pull I'd been feeling, and I admitted that "the only thing" stopping us was the money. One friend looked me straight in the eye and said "Money's not a good enough reason." I talked to Trent and we agreed. Money was not a good enough reason to refuse to provide a loving (and, if I do say so myself) pretty darn good family to a child. (I include our extended families with that statement, not just that we are such stellar parents.) We agreed to make this HUGE leap of faith. Together. I honestly felt a peace with the decision that I've rarely felt. After talking with our closest friends & family, I felt like God was telling me over and over: you will not be in this alone. My favorite day was after I had specifically journaled about wanting to make sure that Trent was on the same page with me on this. I tend to get excited and drag him along on things, and this is not something towards which to be dragged. (drug?) That night at the dinner table, he looked at me and said "I'm ready. I want to do this." I, of course, burst into tears.

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It's permanent. It's forever. It's scary. It's amazing.

It's just beginning!

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I have way more to tell you, like how we chose our agency, how we chose Thailand, how we've been in contact with other adoptive parents already, how God provided for our application fee, how we plan to finance this thing and other facts I've learned about adoption in the last 5 weeks. So, keep reading!

26 comments:

Kristin said...

I'm so excited for you guys. We'll be praying for you throughout this process. We have a heart for Thailand because of all the human trafficking that goes on there. What a blessing that you will be able to help and provide a loving, safe family for a child!
Kristin

Carrie said...

Well, an early congratulations to you! I'll be praying for your family through this process. Can't wait to read more!

The Unlikely Pastor's Wife said...

Jen!!!!!
That is such wonderful and exciting news. In so happy for you and your family. I can't think of a more warm loving and fun family to be adopted into to. That little child will be abundantly blessed.
Can't wait to hear more.

Heidi said...

Wonderful news Jen - I will be praying for all of you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

Shannan said...

This is so funny! I totally was thinking about you this morning and how i didn't get a chance to talk to you last week about your adoption decision. I didn't want to make a comment on your blog in case you didn't want it announced on your public blog - but here it is - the explanation! Wow. I'm really impressed and happy and hopeful for your family. I can't wait to go on this journey with your family.

Steph said...

Woop de woop! I am praying for this child already!

Sweet Mama Jame said...

That is so exciting! I have been praying for you and your family!

Rory said...

You know that's near and dear to my heart! Can't wait. In the meantime, can you set up some sort of paypal account so we can start sending donations? (Not like you don't have a million things to do, but I would love to start giving towards this...)

Love you!!!!

The Mahnke Family said...

How exciting! I will be following along! (In more ways than one!) ;-)

Nina said...

I love your third little one already!!! We stand next to you with our love and prayers through this journey. Thanking God in advance for the great things He is and will be doing.

Becky said...

So, SO exciting! You know I'm praying and will continue to.

kharv said...

Yeah! Wonderful! Looking forward to seeing it all unfold.

mannarae said...

TEARS! That is so beautiful!! We're in the SAME boat!! Although, I think you might be a couple steps ahead of us. It sounds like we're where you were at a year ago.

Jen, SOOOO excited for you guys!! Cling to Jehovah Jireh - The Lord who Provides! :)

I have a blog I read quite frequently that's from a Mom who has adopted 4 children. They now have 11 total. She shares the ups and downs of the process. The emotions for parents, siblings and adopted children. It's so good!! Here's the link:

http://www.onethankfulmom.com/

Blessings upon your family,
Mandy H.

Alli said...

Yeah! What wonderful news! Good for you. Can't wait to hear more!

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

ACK!!! I am so excited for you guys!!! I can't wait to hear more. Congratulations . . . sounds like you are "expecting!"

johnsonandjohnson said...

That IS big news! How exciting!!!!

Trista & Chris said...

Wow! What an amazing blessing how God has shown you His will for your family! Praying for your family as you go through this process!

Sanne Family said...

We love you guys so much and we are thoroughly invested in this adventure with you. Please feel free to call and laugh, cry, scream or WHATEVER you need. As always, I am available for questions. I too, am not a terribly private person and would love to gab, gab, gab about anything adoption related!!!
God will provide. What??? You think we had $30,000 in our back pocket?!?!? God gave me peace and He gave us all of the money...every penny. He knocked our socks off. He'll knock your socks off!!!! (Can you tell I'm excited?)
Vanessa

Becky said...

You know we love you guys and are praying for you and baby Thai all the way! Can't wait to be a part of this step of faith with you!

Lisa P said...

So many great parts:

1. That you and Trent seek God's heart on things like this!

2. That you have girls in your Bible study that challenge your assumptive beliefs--we don't have money, therefore we can't do this.

3. That you see God working in your daily conversations.

and

4. That you, of course, burst into tears!

I love it, and am so excited for you--and your new little one!

Matt & Beth said...

Jen, your post brought tears to my eyes. I LOVE your heart and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I am thrilled to hear about this and look forward to hearing about your journey.
Love,

Beth

Diane Davis said...

so excited for you and for the little one who will be so blessed in your family. can't wait to hear all the details and to be a part of the journey with you. love you.

Amanda B said...

I am SO EXCITED for you guys and am glad you posted about this! I love that this is not just a story about a great family growing through adoption - this is an absolute testimony to who God is and how He works through and provides for His people. Dave and I have also talked about adopting "someday" since before we were married, so I can't wait to learn all about your process and you share more!

Beth said...

So proud of you and so excited! Praying...

Beth said...

So proud of you and so excited! Praying...

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Money ain't no excuse.

You know what, my husband got a job recently that will help contribute to the oh, 20K or so we still lack. And I was kind of sad in a weird TWISTED way, because I am afraid that if we could afford this adoption, I would miss out on seeing God provide more of the $11,000 miracles he has provided so far.

Then I realized that the job will just be part of the miracle and I got over it :)