Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Miracle

All I want for Thanksgiving is to be 25% funded. It's A LOT to ask. I know. But the thing is, if you take a look at the side bar, we're only $967 away! Twice in the past two weeks, we've had friends and family donate over $1,000 in just one day, so I know it's possible. Do you have JUST ONE DOLLAR to spare? We've had children donate. We've received donations from strangers that have never met us and probably never will. We've had acquaintances send money. We've had family members and good friends partner with us to bring this baby home. Her due date is coming in 15 weeks. You, too, can be a part of the miracle.

You can send money via Paypal to familyfishbowl@hotmail.com OR you can make a tax deductible donation to www.adopttogether.org/loriandtroy

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Tale of Two Outfits

I'm not one to pray for parking spaces. It's not that I don't think God can handle finding a parking space for me but I'd rather spend my time asking God to cure my friend's cancer or grant me wisdom or patience. No, not that last one. I try not to pray for that either.

Before we told the boys about the baby, I was on a mission to find something that said something about being a little sister or a big brother. As I did a quick walk through the baby section at Wal-Mart, I was hoping to find a bib or onesie in that aisle with all the, well, bibs and onesies. There was "Thank heaven for little girls" and "Grandma's little angel" bibs but nothing saying anything about being a little sister. I really didn't have time to scour the racks of clothing.

So I totally thought, Well, He's made everything else abundantly clear with this adoption... And then I seriously prayed that I would be able to find something.

Then, five seconds later, I walked straight up to this...
It was on the end, just staring at me. It wasn't hanging in the right place. In fact, I never did see a single other one like it. Obviously I bought it. The boys opened it and realized they were going to get a baby sister and it was just perfect. We are really trying to save our every penny right now and I hadn't bought anything else. Not anything else. I have shown GREAT restraint, I assure you.

Yesterday, I needed to get a gift for a friend's baby's first birthday. I texted my friend and told her that while I was supposed to be shopping for HER daughter, I'd been distracted. See, I'm totally in to wearing long sweaters over leggings even though, for quite some time, I swore I would NOT get caught up in the leggings trend. So when I saw this minuscule long sweater over itty bitty leggings, well, I decided she needed something for Christmas.


Later in the day, Matthew saw it and asked if it was for the baby. I confirmed that it was. "I know why it has hearts on it," he told me.

"Why?" I asked him.

"Because we love her so much!"

Yeah. We're all pretty smitten already.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In Just Six Days...

If you follow this blog in a feed, you might not know that there is a space in the sidebar that shows what has been donated to us. You might not know that, though our video has only been posted for six days, we have raised $5626!!! That is 18% of our estimated costs to finalize this adoption. I am blown away by the generosity of family members eagerly awaiting their new granddaughter or their niece or great niece. I am amazed by the incredible donations by friends--some that I see on a regular basis and some that I haven't seen in years. And I simply cannot believe the money that has been donated by people I've never even met.

Please know that every donation, from one dollar to one thousand dollars, is deeply appreciated. I have put the names of every person who has given to our fund into a word document and I plan to frame it and hang it in our baby's room.

Today we were blessed by several very generous donations. We wouldn't be able to do this without the blessing of my parents and I am so thankful for them. We received money from my aunt and money from a friend of my parents. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

There was a donation today that caught me completely off guard. I began subbing for Garrett's kindergarten teacher almost two years ago. She continued to call me to fill in for her last year. This year, she's Matthew's teacher and she still let's me come in and sub. Today she had parent teacher conferences scheduled all day so she asked me to fill in. We were talking this morning before the kids came in and she handed me an envelope. "This is for your daughter."

Matthew hadn't said anything.

She'd seen our video linked on someone's Facebook page. I'm not friends with her on Facebook and I'm not friends with the person whose page she saw it on. You guys! Of all people, she would be in a prime position to say, "OH MY GOODNESS YOU SHOULD NOT ADD ANYMORE LITTLE PEOPLE INTO YOUR WORLD!" She's had BOTH my kids and she still handed me a check to help us have another one. Later, when I saw what she'd given, I almost burst into tears. It was quite generous.

She's a teacher.

I've been getting stunned-blessed like this on a daily basis. There's the family from our previous church whose elementary aged daughter is making cake pops to help us raise funds. There are the people we have never met and probably never will. There are friends and family and church members. It's humbling to ask for money like this. It's humbling to see you responding.

We praise God for every dollar that has been sent our way. Thank you for partnering with us.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Some Clarification

Earlier today, someone very close to me (as in, there is no one in the world I share more DNA with than this person) shared our JUST ONE DOLLAR video on Facebook. Not long after, someone he's friends with on the FB posted a comment stating that it bothers her when people pay to adopt when there are so many kids in the foster care system. If it wasn't in response to our fundraising campaign and current situation, it was sure a mighty coincidence.

We knew when we went public with this that we would open ourselves up to a lot of scrutiny. It happens. Five years ago my blog landed on a vicious anti-adoption page and I received hate mail and nasty comments from people who had NO IDEA what the real situation was. I didn't respond because nothing I said would have made a difference. I didn't use my blog to explain case law or psychological evaluations and how important they both were in regards to Matthew's adoption. I'd like to think I've grown up in five years and ignorance won't bother me anymore.

But, though I know the particular Facebook comment maker will likely never stumble upon this corner of the blogosphere, I do want to clear up a few common misconceptions. Some broad and some specific to our situation.

1. You always have to "pay" for adoption. There are legal fees. There are social workers who need to be able to put food on the table. There are home studies and court documents and clearances and adoption always costs money.

2. There are SO many kids in the foster system. They are wholly deserving of love. There are also kids in orphanages who should not have to grow up there. And then there are unborn babies whose mothers are choosing adoption for a reason. There is no right way to adopt. God loves every orphan. He loves every child in the system. He loves every unborn baby. So also should we.

3. Our plan WAS to adopt a waiting child. We inquired on dozens. For whatever reason (God's plan) none of the situations we inquired on ended with us having a child placed in our home. I won't go into detail regarding Baby Girl's parents but I will tell you that her mother was placed in foster care at age 5 and aged out, never having been adopted. When we heard that story, our hearts were broken because that was exactly why we'd wanted to adopt a waiting child. So that one less kid had to experience that kind of pain and suffering. We struggled to decide to move forward with an infant adoption because we know that there are so many people willing to adopt babies and a select few willing to adopt older children. But, it was so evident that we were being called to this particular baby and, in the end, in a roundabout way, we are helping a waiting child. She's not a kid anymore, but she's chosen us to love her unborn baby and by being there to say to her, "We will love you and honor you as this baby's mother," we feel like, in some tiny way, we're there for a waiting child--all grown up.

4. We are estimating this adoption to be about $30,000. It's a loose estimate based on the fact that we really don't know how expensive it will be because legal fees are rather unpredictable. That being said, we do know a few things. We know that we owe $13,750 to our facilitator. That covers a multitude of various things including paperwork, accompanying mothers to doctor's appointments, ongoing emotional support for the birth mother, coordinating the gathering of important signatures, matching adoptive couples to mothers, etc, etc, etc. One thing we know for certain is that this isn't a money making business for them. It's a ministry. We know that we owe approximately $9,000 to help with living expenses for the mother while she is pregnant and for a short time after. The remaining estimated costs will go toward legal fees. To retain our lawyer here in Utah to facilitate the adoption on this end and to retain attorneys in California--where the parents are--to facilitate the adoption on that end and counsel the parents.

IT'S A LOT OF MONEY. It is. When all is said and done, between fertility treatments with Garrett, adoption costs with Matthew and adoption costs for Not Currently Named Baby Girl, we estimate (praying against any unforeseen fees this time around) that we will have spent about $80,000 to have our three children. (FYI: That is about the same amount that my four years at a private Christian institution in the early 2000's cost. I'd have so much more money if I was childless and uneducated. But my life wouldn't be as rich.) I don't regret a single dime given to bring Garrett and Matthew into my life and I know, when she's home in my arms, that I won't regret anything we give to bring our daughter home.

Families are built in a myriad of ways. My heart lies not just with the orphan or the foster child or the unborn baby, but with them all. Because every single child deserves a home. We have been led to this little one and so we shall move forward. If the way we choose to do it is bothersome, I would encourage you to do it a different way. Heaven knows there is not a shortage of children to love.

To those who have shared in our incredible joy over this situation, those who have squealed with me over ultrasound pictures, those who have given one dollar (or a thousand), those who are praying, THANK YOU. Please know that we couldn't do this without your support and we love you all so much.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Katoikeo

Life is chaotic. We run from one activity to the next, sometimes never taking the time to quiet our souls and reflect. Do you want to slow down? Calm your nerves? Change the atmosphere in your house? Soothe your soul? I have the pleasure of offering you an incredible musical experience that is designed to do those very things.

My good friend and incredible musician, Aaron Gayden, created Katoikeo, a gorgeous instrumental album. Filled with beautiful melodies, Katoikeo is perfect for background music at a dinner party or event, unwinding at the end of the day, or entering into a time of worship. The album is simply stunning and Aaron's talent shines brightly through.

You can purchase individual songs for just 0.99 cents, download the album for $9.99 or buy the CD for $12.00. 

Aaron has generously offered "Just One Dollar" all proceeds from Katoikeo from now until the end of 2014. So if you'd like to support our fundraising efforts with something tangible and you'd like to listen to the amazing Aaron Gayden, please consider Katoikeo. Just click here!




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Three Things

Cute Kid #1 Quote:

The morning after we told the boys about their baby sister, Garrett climbed into bed with me and announced, "My life is so much better than it was yesterday." Yeah...biggest brother is excited.

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Cute Kid #2 Quote:

Matthew came home from school on Wednesday, pulled out the dust pan and started sweeping the floor. "I'm cleaning the house. If a baby girl is going to come live here, the house should look nice."

"That's so nice, buddy," I said. "But she's not going to be born for four months."

"I know. I'll clean it again. It should be nice for her." Heart. Melt.

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Cute Kid #3 Who Doesn't Yet Speak Fact

The baby is the size of a spaghetti squash. (A very thin spaghetti squash.)

Friday, November 14, 2014

All My Dollars

To donate, click on Adoption 2015 or watch our video here.

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Yesterday, I received a donation from someone who saw our video via a mutual friend's Facebook page. I've never met this woman. I don't know her or her children or anything about their family. But they gave us $20.00. She left a comment when she donated but has since told me just a little more through Facebook.

Her five-year-old twin boys had seen our video too and one of them had brought his "pingky pank" to his mom. "Mom, my brother and I have a lot of money in our pingky panks, right?"

"Yah, you do, Buddy. Why?"

"They can have all my dollars mama. That way their baby can come home!"

I am not one of these cry-me-a-river types. In fact, the other day, at one of my boys soccer games, a little girl tripped and fell flat and Lord have mercy you'd have thought she'd been mortally maimed. She sobbed and carried on and they had to stop the game so that her parents could come and coddle her to near death. I was having none of it. I was sitting next to my husband muttering about how they should, "Get her off the field..." and how, "no daughter of mine is ever going to be that big of a weenie." So...likely...famous last words. For sure this little girl of mine will be as delicate as they come. Anyway. My point is that I'm not much of a crier. But when I read the comment she left me, I lost it.

Because in the heart of that five-year-old was the entire point of James 1:27. "Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world." HCSB

In our day, this verse looks different than it did in James's day. Certainly there are orphans who need families. There are also kids in foster care and unborn infants whose parents are looking for just the right family for their baby. Sometimes, the birth parents themselves are the "orphans" and need to know that their child will have a different story than they did.

Not everyone is called to adopt. It is an incredible blessing and an amazing way to build a family but it is not a path for everyone to walk. Still, we are called to care for "orphans" and widows. You can live out this verse by helping those who are called to adoption. You, too, can have the heart of that precious five-year-old. I'm not asking for "all your dollars" but would you be able to spare just one?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

JUST ONE DOLLAR

We have four months to raise what we estimate to be about $30,000. That's A LOT of money, y'all. But do you know what isn't a lot of money? ONE DOLLAR.

JUST ONE DOLLAR.

One dollar will buy you a limp looking burger from a fast food establishment. It'll get you a candy bar or a quarter cup of fancy coffee from Starbucks. One dollar, depending on what part of the country you live in, might get you 1/3 of a gallon of gas.

If you partner with us, your one dollar will help place a baby in a forever home. Would you consider giving JUST ONE DOLLAR to support our adoption?




Share this video with your friends and your family. Join the movement.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"We're Having a BABY?"

Yesterday we told the boys they were getting a little sister. If you know Garrett, you know that he gets very subdued when he's surprised. The looks that flashes across his face when he finally reads exactly what he's getting is priceless. And Matthew's excitement is absolutely infectious.



The baby is biracial and should be a beautiful blend of my two boys. However, since she could land anywhere on the color spectrum, we don't want to speculate. After we filmed them, we turned the camera off and explained the risks associated with adoption and answered a lot of the questions they had.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's a...

On Sunday, November 2, we flew to Oregon to visit with Troy's family and my friend, Kristin. On Monday evening, I was sitting at my sister-in-law's table when I received a phone call. The ultrasound had been moved up to 2:00 the next day. THE NEXT DAY! I ONLY HAD TO WAIT ONE MORE DAY TO FIND OUT! Unfortunately, I was picking Kristin up at her work at 2:00 the next day. Unfortunate for this series of events, not unfortunate that I got to spend time with Kristin. I just didn't want to be all, "HI, FRIEND! I HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN THREE YEARS BUT I REALLY NEED TO TAKE THIS CALL AND THEN I WILL BE OVERLY EXCITED OR PRETTY DISAPPOINTED! ISN'T THAT AWESOME OF ME?" I just figured I'd dump the whole story on her really quickly so that she'd be up to speed when my phone rang.

That night, Troy and I climbed in bed and prayed for a whole heaping helping of the Lord's will.

And then I had one of the most (if not the most) disturbing dreams of my whole life. I dreamed that I was in some hospital somewhere and a nurse handed me an adorable baby boy. Everything was tiny and small and baby-like except that he had a full sized adult male appendage. It wasn't shocking in the dream. In the dream, it was supposed to look like that. But, upon waking up, the image was one that is not soon to be forgotten. I logically deduced that this meant the baby was a boy. Whether or not its appendage signified any prophetic word about his health was suspect.

What? You mean you don't think this was the logical interpretation of such a dream? You think I was leaping to conclusions. Whatever. Fine. Don't judge.

We packed up and headed to the mall. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law went one way. The rest of us went another. At 11:50 I felt my phone buzz. Pulling it out of my pocket I saw that I'd missed a call from my contact person. But I had a text. "Call me when you have a second I have a quick question."

I was puzzled. I crinkled my forehead and told Troy I needed to call her. He sent his dad into Barnes & Noble with our boys. I dialed.

"I'm so sorry. I'm in a mall and I didn't hear my phone," I said.

"Oh, that's okay. I just have a quick question for you."

"Okay, what's up?" I practiced my nonchalant-I'm-not-waiting-on-pins-and-needles-for-you-to-call-me-back-in-a-couple-hours-with-important-details-at-all voice.

"Are you ready for pink and tutus?"

Y'all! I WAS SO PREPARED FOR HER TO TELL ME IT WAS A BOY! SO PREPARED. (A boy with an oversized part, even.) So I said, "Whhhhhyyyy?" Because, like, what if she was being overly optimistic? What if she just really needed to know if I support the ballet? The mother's appointment wasn't scheduled for another two hours, after all.

"It's a girl!" she said.

And there I was in the mall with the doofiest grin you'd ever have seen and Troy was sitting on a bench with his head in his hands because he'd seen my grin and, surely, he was thinking of shot guns and weddings and being broke forevermore. AND I WAS WITH MY HUSBAND WHEN I GOT THE CALL BECAUSE SHE'D GONE IN EARLY!

"IS SHE HEALTHY?" Troy finally stammered from his place of wondering why his little finger was already starting to hurt.

And, yes, according to the doctor SHE is a "perfectly healthy baby girl."

(FYI: I cannot handle her adorable little crossed legs. They are the cutest things that have ever happened to the world. Tied, of course, with Garrett's little toddler rump and Matthew's ears.)

She told me that they would show our letter to the mother and get back to me when they knew anything. I thought, maybe, it could be a few days. An hour later my phone rang again.

She'd said yes to us right away!

I can't stress enough the inherent risks associated with adoption. We would never fault a mother for deciding to keep her child and this could all end with our family looking exactly like it does now. THAT REALLY COULD HAPPEN and we'd cry and mourn and learn lessons and praise God in the storm. But so far, doors have flown open. The weeks have been fast and crazy. We did not go looking for this. We were looking for an inexpensive waiting child adoption. Not a crazy lot of money infant adoption. When God opens doors, I have learned to trust Him and walk through them. We do not have this money. We don't. I've been telling people that we estimate this to be about 30K and we have NoK. We wouldn't have gone looking for another expensive adoption without securing funding. But this, quite literally, dropped into my inbox. I prayed for God to bring her to us, never dreaming of it happening in quite such a dramatic way. We're going to apply for grants and go into super fundraising mode. But Gideon defeated the Midianites with 300 men, pitchers, torches and trumpets. So we can defeat this seemingly insurmountable amount of money--because God would not call us to it if He didn't intend to show Himself in a mighty way.

Will you pray? Will you join us on this journey? Will you help us bring our daughter home?

Stay tuned...

Monday, November 10, 2014

On Becoming Psychopants

I drafted the email late at night, read it to Troy the next morning, and then sent it.

Then I fasted for the day and prayed that my email would be received in the spirit in which it was intended. I was worried sick and, at one point, I laid myself face down on the floor and prayed. I asked for the Lord's will and, though I'm only now disclosing this to even my own spouse, I felt the presence of the Lord. "They will wait..." I will confess, I was so afraid that I was making it up because it's what I wanted. Suddenly. Desperately. I wanted to kiss tiny fingers and smell a teensy head and cuddle three. I pictured my boys, softened by a baby. I imagined all the good things.

Suddenly, though, a peace washed over me. I knew, regardless of what happened, if we truly sought the Lord's will, doors would open and close clearly. 

The next morning, I still hadn't heard anything back. And I was becoming a legit psychopants. (Also, I might rename this blog. Ramblings of a legit psychopants.) I was driving myself nuts with the frequency at which I was checking my email. I decided that while my prayer and fasting the day before was biblical and good, it was time to stop my own madness. I went on an Internet fast. I checked my phone before I took the boys to school and I refused to look at it until I picked Matthew up from kindergarten. It was very big of me. Several hours without checking my email!!! You have no idea the sacrifice. Every time I thought of picking up my phone or opening the computer, I prayed. (Let me tell you, I think of email a lot more than I think of food. I'm sure that's not a good thing but it is what it is.)

Once I arrived home with Matthew, I sat in the garage and checked my email. THE DIRECTOR HAD READ MY EMAIL AND WANTED TO TALK TO ME! I held my breath for a few hours. She called me later that day and completely understood our hearts and where we were coming from! They were willing to wait until after the mother had an ultrasound!!! I felt a huge sense of relief rush over me. I knew that God would show us our answer.

Several days passed.

I found out that the ultrasound was scheduled for Thursday, November 6. However would I wait that long? I was thinking about it, dreaming about it, focusing on it so much. I very much believed that God had called me, that day long ago, to a daughter and I hoped this baby was a girl and that her mother would want to choose us. I mentally prepared myself, to the best of my ability, to hear either gender. We waited...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

More Than Anything

On October 18, our boys had soccer games. When they were over, we headed to the rec center to register them for a session of indoor. As we waited in line, we were talking with one of the dads of a girl on Matthew's team. Somehow, the conversation turned to babies. His youngest is three and we discussed the joys of being done with the baby/toddler/dependent/tied down/diaper/sleepless night/non verbal/stage. I might have said something about being SO thrilled to be out of that season of life. Because of course I did.

That night, I received an email.

It was from our social worker and was titled, Infant Situation.

She told us that there was a birth mother, due March 20, seeking a Christian family who already had an African American or biracial child. That's us! I thought excitedly. Because, apparently, it is not a huge jump from SO DONE WITH BABIES to HEY LET'S HAVE ONE!

I quickly read over it and, when I got to the "gender unknown" part I paused. When I got to the 24K plus legal fees part I clicked on the box to delete the email. My finger hovered over the button that would send the email to the trash can. This wasn't for us. Sure, we fit the demographic she was looking for. Sure, babies are cuddly. But we didn't have 30,000 dollars (give or take a few thousand dollars) lying around and I thought God had specifically said "daughter" and OUR BABY SHIP SAILED NEARLY SIX YEARS AGO!

But some(One)thing stopped me from tossing the email away. I should at least pray about it. And I should probably just mention it to Troy before I delete it. I set my phone down and I prayed. Then I padded my way down to the office where Troy was reviewing his sermon for the next day. I leaned against the desk chair and faced him. Then I casually read the email. "So I should just delete this, right?"

And I think you can guess what he said. "It won't hurt to inquire."

But. But. But. THE MONEY?

He's always much more faithful than I. "If God calls us to something, He'll provide the money."

So I emailed our social worker. She responded right away, even though it was after 10:00 pm. Then I contacted the person connected with the ministry that is facilitating that adoption. She responded right away, even though she lives on the east coast so it was REALLY late in her neck of the woods. As we type-chatted, I found out that this baby and the parents are in southern California. I casually mentioned that Matthew was born in Long Beach. I dropped the name of our CA attorney.

Guess what? He happens to be the attorney they use. Because of course my Utah based social worker would connect me with an east coast based woman who would work with my California lawyer. The world is big. And so small.

We decided to go ahead and draw up a dear birth mother letter and send a copy of our home study. Because, after all, what could it hurt? By the 22nd, we'd already had a conference call with the director and our contact person. The director asked us to pray about the situation and let them know. I asked how long we had to pray, thinking, oh, three or four weeks.

"Take a day, day and a half," was the response. Of course. Our lives might be forever changed but time is of the essence and we had a day and a half to discern the will of God.

We got off the phone and we STRAIGHT UP MADE A LIST OF PROS AND CONS. DID YOU HEAR ME? WE MADE A LIST OF PROS AND CONS ABOUT A BABY! And, when I say "we" I totally mean me. We really wanted to make sure that, as far as could be seen on an ultrasound, this baby was healthy. Yes, of course, we'd never abandon our child in the delivery room if there were complications. And we'd NEVER not take care of our children if they developed special needs. But, given our ministry and health insurance, we would have serious reservations if a baby had severe special needs.

So, on the list, there was a column for pros and a column for cons and all the cons were GOOD reasons. But they just weren't God reasons. All that really matters is if He's in it.

I wrote an email, expressing our feelings. I said we needed more time. I explained that I understood if they couldn't wait for a 20 week ultrasound for us to decide. I prayed over that letter and then I pushed send. Rushing over me came an overwhelming sense of dread and doom. Because, it turns out, I WANTED THIS BABY TO BE HEALTHY. I DID REALLY WANT IT TO BE A GIRL AND I WANTED THEM TO WAIT ON US UNTIL THE ULTRASOUND.

More than anything.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Do You Wanna Buy the Story?

I've been linking to this series on my Facebook page. People are going crazy and I've received offers to sell the story. If any of you truly don't feel like you can wait until Tuesday for the rest of the story, I'm willing to offer you the same deal I'm offering to my friends on Facebook.

I will email you the final three installments for a donation of $20. I promise that the money will go to a good cause and I really feel that you'll agree. If you want to save your money--you'll know the full story by Tuesday. If you would like to donate to a great cause, I'll email you the story.

Comment on this blog with your email and I will contact you. I will not post the comments that have personal information in them.

This offer will be valid until Tuesday morning but an installment will be posted each morning between now and then so you'll get more for your money if you do it sooner. ;-)

Another Saturday

I fell in love with their picture on the Internet and Troy, for the first time, said what he's now told me at least ten times. "It doesn't hurt to inquire." And so I inquired on them. Weeks later, we were contacted and asked to send our home study in by the end of February.

The thing was, we didn't have a home study completed. And they aren't cheap. We knew that, because these girls were featured on the Internet, there were dozens if not hundreds of perspective adoptive parents inquiring about them. We knew it was an enormous long shot. Was it even worth it to spend all that money to have a home study completed? Could it even be accomplished in the short amount of time we had? We prayed and, in the end, we had a social worker put a mad dash crazy rush on completing a home study for us.

We sent it in just days before it was due and received information that there were many, many interested families and the top five would be selected to move on to the next stage.

We never heard another thing about those girls. Troy discovered, through a separate Internet search, maybe a month later, that they had an adoption pending. Our hearts were so happy, knowing that those girls would not be left to float through the system, tossed and tumbled by circumstances they could never have changed.

We sent inquiries on dozens of children. Some sibling sets with one brother and one sister. Some sets with two sisters. Sometimes just one little girl who stared at me from behind eyes too old for her years. We heard back on a few of them. There was one girl who needed to be placed in a home where she would be an only child. There was another who had a history of extreme violence toward other children. When we told our social worker that we thought we needed to protect the two children God has already entrusted us with, she said she understood completely, but that any of the legally free children we found on the Internet would likely have similar concerns. She encouraged us to think about foster care.

For the record, I would love to provide foster care for a child. But, at this point, we think Matthew is too young to process his own security in our family while foster sisters might come and go. The goal of foster care is reunification and adoption is always the second choice. I'm not sure our family is in a place where our boys can understand that adoption was the first choice for Matthew but wouldn't be for a child that came to us through the system.

Our social worker told us that waiting children might be a very difficult avenue for us to pursue. At least, given our current situation and the ages of our boys. That was near the beginning of summer. Over the warm months, I occasionally looked at the websites and I inquired on several children, never hearing anything back. It was easy to distract myself with vacations and the pool and popsicles. Then the boys started school and I busied myself with getting back into the flow of their routines.

I prayed.

In September, I started thinking about overseas adoption. International adoption has always been something Troy and I have valued. My recent hesitancy has been related to the high costs. My brain started to think--which is always a problem--about ways to raise money and maybe, one day, bring home a daughter from another country. I also wondered if our family was complete and that the word I'd heard from God was concerning a different type of mother/daughter relationship altogether. At the same time, my boys were playing soccer with the most beautiful family. Their oldest son, Garrett's age, is Latino. Their daughter, Matthew's age, is from Africa. During the soccer season, they took their entire family to China to bring home their newest member. He's been toddling around soccer games ever since. My adoption heart beats a little stronger when I see them.

Could we do it?

Could we raise approximately 30,000 dollars to adopt a child from overseas?

And how would I know God was leading? My prayer all along has been that He would open a door that was so obvious, there was simply nothing left to do but walk through it.

On my dad's birthday, October 18, I woke up. It was just another Saturday...

Or was it?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Two Sisters

Last November, after our trip to Israel but just before Thanksgiving, we were able to open our home to a couple traveling here from Alabama to await the birth of their daughter. They were wonderful people who, in the end, wrote us a card about how they would never be able to thank us enough for letting them stay with us. But, truly, the pleasure had been entirely ours. They'd brought that pink bundle to our home and we'd held her and snuggled her and fallen in love with adoption all over again. My oldest son was just crazy about that baby and, when their Christmas card came in the mail, he confiscated it off the kitchen counter, and, for several days, slept with it bent tightly in his hand. Eventually, it made its way to the bulletin board in the playroom. It still hangs there, displaying a picture of that darling family.

Garrett asked if we could adopt a sister.

A baby sister.

But while God's words to me still hung like a banner on my heart, we had never even considered the possibility of a baby. The list of reasons, a mile long. Filled with things like sleep deprivation and old age. Things that sound silly one at a time but, when added together, form a very important list.

Troy and I had been talking about various options to pursue. I felt a great deal of hesitancy because, on the one hand, I didn't want to force my agenda or my own timing but on the other hand, I knew that an orphan wasn't going to knock on my door and ask me to be her mother. Steps have to be taken. Home studies need to be completed. Attempting to live in the gray area of being ready but not orchestrating anything myself was a difficult tight rope to walk.

We landed on the idea of considering the adoption of an older, waiting child. A child who was legally free and needed parents that were going to love her for who she was, where she'd been, and what she'd seen. I started checking waiting child websites. Every few weeks I'd pop onto one of the sites and see if there were any kids who might fit into our family.

In January, I found two sisters...