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Feeling Guilty About "The Wait"

I've been debating whether or not to write a post like this. It feels like I'm complaining about something absolutely wonderful... but it's weighed heavily on my heart since the moment we received our match. So please know—I am so eternally grateful and humbled by how our story happened. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm merely sharing about some unanticipated feelings through our process.

 

Feeling guilty about "the wait"

We were a "waiting family" for 25 days.

ONLY 25 days. And while we knew our wait might be shorter since we chose the path of an independent consultant, allowing us to access multiple agencies... we had no idea it'd be THIS short.

Once we were home study approved, we prepared for "the wait." I journaled about my patience, and prayed that I'd learn to continue to surrender timing to God. Wonderful family members and friends sent us sweet gifts to encourage us during the wait, and we continued to plan fundraisers over the course of the next six months. When people would ask us about timing, we just shrugged, and with a smile said we were secretly hoping for a summer baby—which seemed like it'd probably be too soon, but we can hope.

We also wanted to be a little picky with what expectant mothers we presented to. I remember us filling out our preferences and concerns with our agency applications, and at one point overwhelmingly admitted "I think we're being too choosy. We're never going to present our profile!" But then those two expectant mothers arrived in our inbox, and both seemed so absolutely perfect. It gave us hope that just maybe things might go faster than anticipated.

And then 25 days after our home study approval and presenting  to our second expectant mother, we matched.

 

After we excitingly had our call with our birth mom, and she officially chose us, we needed to announce our match. The call to family was easy... the big "We Matched!" post on social media was not. Before making that post, I instantly thought of all of the waiting families I knew. I thought about the vet tech at my dog's veterinary clinic that had been waiting for over a year, the families I was sharing stories with over the internet and on Instagram, the women I knew on round three of IVF—the women I knew still in the trenches of infertility... I thought of all of them. And I felt guilty announcing.

Who are we to have matched so quickly? It's selfish to publicly post this and look as though we're rubbing it in their faces. Were we not picky enough? Should we have had different preferences? Maybe we're going to have a failed placement. In all fairness, we DID have to wait! Wait through three years of infertility, 8 months of the adoption process... but it still wasn't like waiting as a hopeful adoptive family. It wasn't like facing a tenth "no" from expectant parents, or having to renew our home study.

So many thoughts ran through my mind, enough to make me not want to announce one of the happiest things in my life.

But God, once again, brought me back to the root of His timing. This is how it was meant to be. I needed to surrender to this perfect plan, and then unreservedly fall into the blessing that the short wait was, and embrace with joy that our wait was over. I prayed for each of those families that came to mind—all of those families who ache (and possibly still ache) to hold their child in their arms.

Then I released the guilt so that we could celebrate and fully dwell in our story.

I'm humbled that our wait was as short as it was. Every time I post a photo of Emerson, I revisit that small feeling of jealousy and longing that I'd feel when my friends would post photos of their growing bellies and babies. I hate that I might make others feel that way. But I have to accept that it's finally my time, and that their time WILL come. And when it does, I hope they post photos of those smiling babies and can fully dwell in their perfect story as well.

 

I keep a list of those longing families, and try to lift them up in prayer daily. I'm humbled by our story, and am so grateful for God's timing.

 
Worth the wait - waiting as a hopeful adoptive family
Our son - worth the wait
 

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Learning to Stop

Today's just a short post on motherhood, and how I'm transitioning from work for myself full time, to being a mom full time - and having a business on the side (though the business is very much still "full time" in hours and income). 

Learning how to stop and be present as a work from home mom

The biggest lesson I'm learning is how to STOP.

I have one of those crazy, hour-by-hour day calendars where every minute of my day is meticulously plotted out. And yes, before you laugh at me, I do realize that a baby now messes with that type of scheduling entirely. I knew it would even before Emerson came along, and I now schedule in approximates (try to do this around 1 pm... but 5 pm is also close enough).

But... I still have my lists, and every day I feel like I'm sprinting from one thing to the next. It's a mad dash to stay on track with a baby's schedule while also calling clients, communicating with my subcontractors, oh... and yeah, actually designing. So one of the hardest things to do is make myself just stop.

With the schedule we have Emerson on, routine is everything (as in when the routine is kept, we have a very happy baby on our hands). So we have a little pre nap routine, which includes me holding him, still, in the silence of his room, while he starts to get drowsy and prep for sleep time. At first, I struggled. I wanted to pick up my phone and check my email, so that the second he was down I had my game plan. But that wasn't me focusing on him like I should... and, let's be honest, it's only 5 minutes. So I've gradually learned to dwell in the stillness, completely at a stop, and focus on my son.

I'm confident that prioritizing my son will result in real joy and happiness in my day, and that God will bless my successes in my business because of it. I'm called to be a mom FIRST... and man have I eagerly waited for the day that I could step into this role. I'm still working on that ever-so-desirable and yet unattainable balance between work and life, what it means to focus and provide for my family in all new ways, and continue to show up for my friends and clients. My days look different now, and I'm still discovering what my ideal days include (WHY cannot I not find a way to work exercise into it?)... but it's all a journey, and I've accepted that it'll take a while.

Learning to stop as a work-from-home mom

This is also one of Emerson's favorite things:

We can't walk by the big mirror in his room without him catching a glimpse of us – ALWAYS drawing out a smile and few cute "coos." It's easy to just keep walking since typically I'm on my way to grab his bottle or do something for him anyways. But some of the BEST moments have been standing in front of this mirror, cheek to cheek, as he talks and smiles and talks and smiles. All I have to do is be present, and actually commit to stopping.

As I continue to practice the art of stopping, I'd love to hear about your moments with your littles. What moments, though they seem so small, are so hugely amazing for you as a mom (or dad) that you otherwise would have missed if you hadn't just stopped?

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Our Adoption Process Details

Since having matched and placed with our precious son, we've had a lot of people interested in adoption reach out to us with a lot of the "technical" type of questions regarding our process. I LOVE talking adoption, and have made some amazing new friends chatting about it. But I do find myself copying/pasting quite a bit when it comes to some of the specifics - so I figured I'd just turn it into a blog post!

Note: I'm not a consultant, and all of this information is based on what I learned in the process combined with my personal opinion.

Our Adoption Process Details

 

What were some of our mental obstacles to adopting, and how we did get past them?

This is a huge one I get really often—and TOTALLY understand it. As I've mentioned on our site, we did have some concerns surrounding adoption, and had to work/pray through those issues before being able to pursue it. So I love it when people considering adoption ask me this, because it means they're
A. being realistic (because adoption does have it's own set of unique "issues")
B. totally on the path to saying "yes" to adoption, because they're actively working through these issues to get in the right head/heart space.

First, infertility still hurts for me. Pregnancy announcements still sting. I, too, have always dreamed of our family, of my pregnancy, of baby bump photos and tracking the growth of my baby, of strawberry blonde curls, and a child always the tallest in their class. If we never get pregnant, there will always be that pain there, because adoption isn't meant to cover the hurt. Adoption is just another way our family was able to grow (and as I say that, Emerson is squeaking next to me—and I simply cannot imagine my life without him). But I have in a way moved on from the control that infertility had over me, and have chosen to soak up the HUGE array of blessings that adoption has given us.

In choosing adoption, we had to accept:

  • Our child wasn't going to look like us (though there WILL be similar features, which is fun!)
  • Our child would always have another mother (we call her his first mother and birth mother—though when he's old enough to understand, we'll probably call her his "tummy Mommy").
  • Our child's story was going to be more complex than other kids'.
  • We'd have to fundraise for every penny because the adoption is so expensive.
  • We could potentially get our hearts broken with a failed placement.
  • We couldn't control any part of the process (which was really difficult for me given my personality), and that adoption is messy.

We had our list of "obstacles," and took a camping trip. It was us, and nature, and God. And by the end of our three day trip, we had accepted that adoption was going to be a part of our story. We didn't know when quite yet, and we had more questions than anything... but God spoke to us and gave us complete peace with each and every worry. 

And to be totally honest—something all adoptive mamas-to-be have lingering in the very back of their minds having never experienced anything like this before: How would I feel meeting my child and his first mother - would he feel like he was my very own?

All I can say is that when Emerson's half brother handed him to me, he was mine. He was ours. There was NO question or doubt in my mind. That crazy amazing love I was already feeling for him before I met him simply GREW. That tiny bit of fear completely vanished the moment I looked into his eyes (more like eyelids since he was sleeping, but it doesn't sound as sweet).

Find your obstacles and bring them before God. Don't let fear get in the way of such a beautiful, amazing thing.

 

What adoption agency did we use? And how do you know which path is right?

Our adoption path included hiring a consultant through Christian Adoption Consultants (Leah Braly, leah@christianadoptionconsultants.com). Our consultant held our hand every step of the way. AND, since we went through an independent consultant, we had access to applying to multiple agencies all at once (read: no up front outrageous agency fees and a much faster process since we had a larger "pool" of expectant mother cases to consider). We also decided it was best for us to apply to out of state agencies. Not only is Colorado not too adoption friendly for adoptive families (they lean more towards the support of the birth family), but we thought it would be best for us personally to have some distance with our birth mother and not have her be in the same state as us (funny - it turned out that our birth mama preferred the same).

While hiring a consultant will run you around 2k+, the process is less risky (they only work with a handful of trusted agencies) and as I mentioned, a lot faster. The alternative is to pick an adoption agency, pay their fees up front (typically around 10 to 15k), and be a part of their "system," becoming an official waiting family with them. That means you have access to the birth mothers that apply to their agency ONLY. Larger agencies have more cases, and are therefore more expensive. But some of the best agencies are smaller ones (or private attorneys, in my opinion) - far more personal and affordable. But the wait times can be drastically longer (years).

Obviously the cheapest (but most risky) options for adoption are private adoptions and foster-to-adopt. Private adoptions are where a expectant mother contacts you directly, and you hire an attorney for the legal side of everything (5 to 15k - from what I've heard). You'll need to plan on spending money for marketing and getting in front of expectant mothers who are looking to choose adoption for their child.

And then I have my own opinion on foster-to-adopt. I think fostering children is BEAUTIFUL, but the goal of the foster care system is to provide temporary help to children while their birth mother/families are getting cleaned up and back in a position to parent again. So while they should always make decisions based on what's best for the child (which often means adoption), that often leans in the birth family's favor. For our first child, we decided that the process would be far too painful as we'd hope that each and every placement would result in an adoption (shout out to all of you amazing, BRAVE foster parents!). As foster parents, we'd want to make a difference in a child's life for however long we had the privilege of parenting them, and if it ended in adoption, then that would be a well received blessing.  (Who knows... God might call us to fostering in the future.)

Do your research, pray about it, and find what's best for YOU.

I will say that through our consultant, we ended up using Shorstein and Kelly after our match with them happened. They were WONDERFUL.

 

What was your timeline like?

July 28, 2016: We decided to pursue an open, domestic infant adoption after speaking with several adoptive families, researching what the process was like, and much prayer.

September 2016: We signed on with our CAC consultant, Leah.

October 2016: We announced our adoption! Because we knew this was going to take a village.

November 2016: Home study process began.

March 7, 2017: Home study completed.

March 31, 2017: We matched!

April 4, 2017: Emerson was born. We flew to Florida that evening and landed just a few hours after his birth.

April 5, 2016: We met our perfect-in-every-way son, Emerson.

April 6 – 12, 2017: Emerson's NICU stay in Florida Hospital.

April 13 – 21, 2017: ICPC processing

April 22, 2017: We traveled home to Colorado!

Finalization is set to take place early November of 2017.

8 months in the adoption process
(not including post placement and finalization).
4.5 months to complete our home study.
25 days a waiting family.
5 days a matched family.
7 days in the NICU.
9 days ICPC processing.
19 total days in Florida.

 

Do you wish you had done anything differently?

I honestly can't say there's anything... simply because each and every piece of our adoption lead us to our sweet Emerson. (Did you know he was born 8 months and a few days from the day we decided to pursue adoption? His due date was two days shy of exactly nine months... you think God had something to do with when we decided to take the first step with adoption?)

I do wish I had slowed down a little, and taken time to really soak in the beauty of the process. I would have met with more adoptive mamas and picked their brain about various things. I would have written down more of my prayers for my future child and his biological mom and dad. I would have laughed more through the home study paperwork, and held more fundraisers in a shorter amount of time (I had two cut since Emerson made his arrival so quickly!)... there's nothing like having a newborn to really make you SLOW down. And I like it. I like soaking in these beautiful moments, looking around my home, talking to God, and telling Emerson stories. 

So soak it all in. Don't take these moments for granted. Enjoy this beautiful, amazing process - every difficult, messy step of it.

 

Our resources:

Adoptive families were our most valuable resource. Talking with someone who has been through the process and can give you a real look at the picture of adoption was really what helped us make our first steps.

You Can Adopt Without Debt - obviously one of the biggest obstacles to adoption is finances. This book not only gave us a birds-eye-view at the adoption process, but gave us hope when it came to raising the large amount of funds.

In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You To Know About Adoption. A Guide for Relatives and Friends.  - While our family was completely supportive of our adoption, it was still an excellent read for everyone involved to understand truly what we were going through.

Podcasts. Honestly, just search for adoption podcasts (via Google or right in the iTunes store), and find which ones fit you best. SO helpful! My favorites: Infant Adoption Guide,  Fund Your Adoption,  and Honestly Speaking.

Blogs. So. Many. Blogs. :) Kindred + Co, Adopt a Love Story, Faithfully Ever After... and honestly so many others that aren't coming to mind right now!

Instagram. Find the popular adoption hashtags, and join the community! It's where we found families going through the same things, and we've been able to find (and hopefully give) so much support! Start rubbing elbows with these amazing people.

 

If you'd love to connect with me because you're considering adoption, my inbox is always open (letschat@finickydesigns.com). 

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Our Adoption Story: Part 2

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Our Adoption Story: Part 2

It was just after 1 pm. My phone lit up—It was Mama T.

My body was numb, my eyes on fire, my voice raspy... but I took a deep breath and answered.

We talked about the morning. I cried some more. I leaned up against the wall to keep myself from falling over. My head was spinning.

"I'm 100% certain I'd like to move forward with the adoption."

Gratitude washed over me. I wished I could hug her through the phone. All I could do was look to John and my mom and give them some shaky thumbs up. I kept my composure as we chatted about what would happen next. And then we hung up.

I collapsed and cried. John rushed to me. We hugged, we cried together, we thanked God. And then he looked at me and said, "Let's go meet our son."


We raced to the hospital...

...well, we ate (we hadn't eaten since around 7 am), freshened ourselves up a bit (because... woah), and THEN raced to the hospital.

I shook as we made our way to the fourth floor of Florida Hospital. We signed in and then made our way to Mama T's room.

We had only known each other for four days. But I felt like I knew her, and she knew me as we said our first hellos. I put by her bed that yellow vase of flowers that represented so much. She told me her favorite color is yellow. Perfect.

And then we met our son. Emerson's half brother was holding him, and he smiled at us as he passed Emerson to me. More tears (I must have an unlimited supply) rushed to my eyes as John and I stared into the face of the most perfect baby boy we had ever seen. 

I went and sat on Mama T's bed. We cried and hugged little Emerson together for a while. Not much was said, just tears and hugs shared. She asked what his name was, and I told her Emerson John. She liked it.

My mom then came in and met her grandson. Soon I was getting a band put around my wrist that gave me some type of legal passageway to visit him—which felt like an achievement of sorts. They took us to a private room where we got to hold, pray, and love on our tiny son.

Meeting our son, our adoption journey
Meeting our son, our adoption journey
Praying for baby Emerson - our adoption journey
Our adoption journey
Our adoption journey - spending time with our son
Our adoption journey - Christian family
Our mom meeting our son, our adoption journey
Born April 4th, 2017 at 8:01 pm, 7 lbs 6 oz, 19 inches long. 3 1/2 weeks early. Emerson John Christian, perfect in every way.

Born April 4th, 2017 at 8:01 pm, 7 lbs 6 oz, 19 inches long. 3 1/2 weeks early. Emerson John Christian, perfect in every way.

It was so hard leaving him. We said goodbye to Mama T, and told her to let us know when we could come to the hospital the next day. I instantly felt so vulnerable. Now we had met him. We gazed into those beautiful brown eyes of his, and he had us wrapped around his tiny little finger.


That night we celebrated.

Seafood. Ocean waves. Sand under our bare feet. Breathing in the fresh ocean air. Gratitude. Thankfulness. Peace.

Florida Adoption - our journey with domestic infant adoption
Florida Adoption - our journey with domestic infant adoption
Florida Adoption - our journey with domestic infant adoption
Florida Adoption - our journey with domestic infant adoption

One of best gifts I could have ever received from Mama T—Emerson's ultrasound pictures from her second trimester.

One of best gifts I could have ever received from Mama T—Emerson's ultrasound pictures from her second trimester.

The next day, April 6th, in the early afternoon, Emerson was officially placed with us.

We surrounded Mama T in a circle of hugs, and then we prayed over her. We cried together yet again, then walked to the NICU together to visit Emerson. He was having some tummy troubles and needed to stay in the NICU for the next six days. Mama T and us surrounded his little bed together.

I have a confession: I was waiting for "the moment." In all the adoption stories I've read, there has been this incredible moment between birth mom and adoptive mom that painted the sky with "it was meant to be." While Mama T and I had many things align, and shared amazing moments together—I still didn't get "the moment." But then it happened.

"I named him Christian before I knew what name you had for him," she told us.

Due to privacy reasons, we're unable to share our last name with our birth mother. She didn't know our last name was Christian, and it took everything in me to not shout "his name IS Christian!" But my heart swelled. Emerson John Christian took on a whole new meaning. That was our "meant-to-be moment."

 

Mama T held Emerson one last time before being discharged. Trying to put his tubes and cords aside, she held him, loved on him, and it was beautiful to watch.

Florida Adoption - our journey with domestic infant adoption
Florida Adoption - our journey with domestic infant adoption
Birth mother and us in the NICU - our adoption journey

Emerson will forever know how much you love him, Mama T.

 

She thanked us for giving her son something she couldn't. And we thanked her for giving us something we couldn't.

"Be a good father," she told John.
"Be a good grandmother," she told my mom.
"I know you'll be a good mother," she told me.

Then she bravely walked out of the NICU.


6 days in the NICU. A total of 19 days in Florida.

A huge number of people that rallied around us in support of our adoption—whether that looked like donating, showering us with gifts to return home to, making us meals, watching our pups and house for nearly three weeks, taking on one of our fundraisers, or simply sending texts and letters of love. 

We are so blessed that this is our story.

It brings me so much joy to see John be a dad (and a great one at that), and my love overflows daily for our little family.

Later when we met up again, she thanked us for giving her son something she could not. And we in return thanked her 
Our domestic infant adoption journey in Florida, from Colorado
Our domestic infant adoption journey in Florida, from Colorado
Our domestic infant adoption journey in Florida, from Colorado
Our domestic infant adoption journey in Florida, from Colorado
Our domestic infant adoption journey in Florida, from Colorado
Our domestic infant adoption journey in Florida, from Colorado
Our domestic infant adoption journey in Florida, from Colorado
Our domestic infant adoption journey in Florida, from Colorado

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Our Adoption Story: Part 1

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Our Adoption Story: Part 1

Waiting for our flight - our adoption journey, domestic infant adoption

This was it... we were literally getting on a plane to fly to Florida to meet our son.

This is us, hugging and smiling at the baggage claim, knowing that our son had been born.

This is us, hugging and smiling at the baggage claim, knowing that our son had been born.

It was April 4th, and Mama T had been induced earlier in the day due to preeclampsia. He would be born today... April 4th. Today. TODAY.

When we boarded, I received one last text from Mama T. "He hasn't come yet... I think he's waiting on you."

My heart overflowed. And then I rambled to her. I texted that we were praying for her, for her son, for the doctors—that if he didn't make his appearance before we landed, we'd be at the hospital to hold her hand and be there for her during labor... I turned my phone to airplane mode and prepared for an all too long 3 and half hour flight.

We landed at 11 pm EST. I quickly turned my phone back on, and saw the simple text. He was here. He had been born. No other details other than our son was born. Mama T was tired. We'd visit in the morning.

We insanely arrived at our hotel in Palm Coast past 2 am. Thankfully we were all running on adrenaline—which made sleeping tough, but who needs sleep?

 

The next morning, April 5th, I shot a text to Mama T to check in on her while we were eating breakfast.

Boundaries are HARD, my friends! If it were up to me, I would have been out of bed by 6, skipped breakfast, and heck—even a shower, then been at the hospital no later than 7. But God had me practice patience.

We had told Mama T we'd be at the hospital around 9 am, so we figured we'd make our way though we still hadn't heard from her. We swung by the grocery store to pick out a little vase of flowers. "Yellow. Yellow is happy... I want a yellow vase with yellow flowers, something to brighten up her room."

Walking out of the grocery store with happy flowers in hand, I received a text from our adoption case worker. "Don't go to the hospital."

My heart raced—in a different way than it had in the last 24 hours. My butterflies turned into a different feeling in the pit of my stomach. John, being the "man of reason" as he usually is, put his arm around me and assured me everything was okay. God holds it all. And I was confident in that. Mama T was tired. She just needed time. I can give time.

We decided to go by Walmart (since—you know—we were slightly under prepared given our timeline and all), and I was in the checkout line when our adoption case worker called me.

 

I can't disclose what she said, or what exactly happened next... but the next three hours were the most difficult hours of my entire life.

I had to leave the vase of flowers in the car when we got back to our hotel room. My eyes were holding back confused tears. My hand couldn't hold John's any tighter. My mom was so gracious in giving us distance, yet being there for us at the same time. Those next three hours held so many prayers, questions, anger, grief, tears... I lost all motivation to even move. I tried staring at the television, or reading my book to take my mind off of... things. But how could I? I was in this moment, facing fear, surrounded by prayers from family and friends on the other side of the country. God was requiring faith, and needed my faith to show up in this moment.


Several friends, before we got on our plane, questioned whether or not we were moving too quickly. "You don't want to get hurt. You should guard your hearts. Be careful..." We know this was simply out of their love and care for us. But the truth is, if this adoption did not happen, if Emerson was not meant to be our son—I would have rather told my future child that I had loved a little boy like a son with all my heart and God revealed different plans for us—than to guard my heart and love this baby boy reservedly, regretting not experiencing full love in these first moments before meeting him face to face. I needed to love this child as if he would one day be our son. I needed to love him with no reservations or second thoughts. And if that meant being hurt in the process (and we got a taste of that), then so be it.


It was just after 1 pm. My phone lit up—It was Mama T.

 

>>> Read Part 2

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The Match

Oh, friends and blog followers... life turned upside down this past month — in the absolute best way.

 

Shortly after our first "no," we decided to present to another expectant mom.

She was due April 30th with a little boy, and we were ecstatic. While it almost felt like we didn't even give that first "no" time to settle, we couldn't come up with any reasons to NOT present again so soon. This seemed like the perfect situation, and we were excited.

We presented (gave our profile book) to Mama T, almost 36 weeks along, expectant with a son, from Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Match - our adoption journey
I always wondered what this moment would be like, the moment when someone decided WE would be a good fit with their beloved child.

Two days later, I received a call from Florida around 2 pm on Friday, March 31st. With our consultant, a call is GOOD news. But this wasn't from our consultant's number, so I answered not knowing what to anticipate. It was indeed the adoption agency in Florida.

"She picked your profile and wants to talk with you tonight."

I always wondered what this moment would be like, the moment when someone decided WE would be a good fit with their beloved child.

Unworthiness instantly washed over me. Then panic. I'm pretty sure I looked like a complete dork as I waved my arms around, trying to signal to John that our profile had been chosen. He looked at me perplexed, but I was trying to focus on our adoption case worker's every word to make sure that I understood everything that was about to happen next. Finally I was able to catch my breath and get out a line to John — She picked us!

This was far from the picture perfect moment I had planned in my mind. You know, like those perfect pregnancy announcements you see on Pinterest? Yeah, I had one of those moments planned for our match. I was going to find out from our consultant mid-day, and have time to plan a nice dinner for us where I'd reveal to John the match with some clever "clues" and final grand surprise.

Instead, there I was, flailing my arms and gasping for air. "She wants to talk with us in a few hours!" 

I proceeded to call our consultant and let her in on the news (again, a little backwards—but with Mama T being already 36 weeks along, everything was a tad bit scrambled). Then we prepared for "the call."

 

Both us and Mama T were rather nervous, but this hour and a half call was nothing short of wonderful. We got to know her, she got to know us and ask us a lot of important questions (showing just how much she truly loves her child), and we both got off the phone, confident in moving forward.

A lot of people ask us WHY she chose us.

While there are many reasons that she communicated to us, the biggest reasons where that I work from home (she really desired a stay-at-home mom for her son), we love to go camping (she grew up camping!), and our son would always be a part of our family and loved—no matter what the future would hold. She wanted a wonderful, loving life for him—and we could give that to her son.

 
Us on the call with Mama T (yep, I snapped a photo)!

Us on the call with Mama T (yep, I snapped a photo)!

 
We Matched Final.png

The feeling, my friends, was utterly and completely surreal. We were matched with an expectant mother. Our son was known. All those thoughts and prayers were suddenly aligned with a very real little life. And we were going to be his parents.

The nursery was pretty much ready, our jobs allowed us to leave any minute, the stage was set for a quick arrival! But us needing to move fast was an understatement. We'd have to cancel our upcoming fundraisers, pursue the means for emergency funds... oh yeah, and tell our friends and family! 

 

On Saturday (the next day), we got together with family and told them all about our match. My parents got us some adorable baby boy clothes in celebration, and things were starting to get REAL.

And then Sunday happened.

We were out to lunch with friends when I got a text from Mama T saying she wasn't feeling well and may be experiencing preeclampsia. We knew that meant an early arrival for baby, so we prayed for her—then scrambled to get things in place just in case things started happening quickly. That's also when we thought—oh hey, we should probably let our awesome tribe in on the news! And publicly announced our match on Facebook that evening.

 

The next 24 hours were a blur. But to sum it up: On Monday (April 3rd), Mama T was admitted to the hospital and we waited, prayed, and talked with her throughout the day. On Tuesday morning, April 4th, we received the news that she would be induced. Within hours, us and my mom (because we wanted our mom to experience this with us!) were on a direct flight to Orlando.

 
Flying to Orlando! Our adoption journey
 

 

The rest of our adoption journey coming soon!

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An Official "Waiting Family" & Our First "No"

So... things escalated quickly around here!

On March 7th (the day of completion—our case worker so amazingly pointed out) we were officially home study approved, and became a "waiting family." And before we could even take it all in, we had a case land in our inbox, and we were presenting to an expectant mother only a week later.

And then another week passed, and we received our first no. 

An official "waiting family" & our first "no"

First, there's nothing like receiving an expectant mother's profile in your inbox. Gmail pops up with a notification that you received an email from your consultant, and the subject line instantly gives it away. So far ours has even said "BOY" or "GIRL" (that gives me chills, you guys!). The first time it happened, my heart RACED. I could barely type a text to John, or respond to our consultant. "This is it! It actually FEELS like we're a family trying to find a baby!"

All work paused, paperwork was signed, a home study copy requested, all of it overnighted, etc. etc. And then... we prayed and we waited.

I'm not sure if it's the amazing adoptive couples we know, the education and emotional support our consultant provides us, or all of the above—but we waited with such a tremendous amount of PEACE. When you know God's perfect plan is unfolding, and that HE'S already chosen the perfect family for this expectant mother, all fear and anxiety fades. We didn't pray "Lord, PLEASE let her choose us!" Instead we prayed for her, the expectant mother, who had a really difficult decision to make. We prayed for her comfort, for our peace, and for both of our hopes.

And then we received the email that delivered a no.

 

John really struggled with it. He actually took it a lot harder than I did—and I was thankful he had his men's group at church to turn to for support so that he could really talk through all of it (sometimes you just need someone other than your spouse). I felt almost a little cold-hearted that I didn't take it hard as him—but soon realized why. 

‘No’ is all I’ve ever known in the journey to having a child.

No is all I've ever known in the journey to having a child. Through years of infertility, I've programmed myself to expect a no. I know God's blessings for our lives are immeasurable, and for some reason I can expect great things from Him in my business. But when it comes to a child, I tell myself it'll "probably be a no, but a yes would be a pleasant surprise."

The woman faces so many different emotions compared to the man when you're trying for a baby. She has be the one to ensure the timing is just right, to monitor her hormones, and be the first one to receive the disappointing news each and every month. That is all very real to me. For John—this is the first time there was actually a baby in the picture. It wasn't a matter of trying and hoping—it was right in front of us.

We've acknowledged that we'll each process this experience differently, and that, truly, God can say no in adoption, just like He can say no in pregnancy. But that's not an excuse to not keep on moving forward with hope. We were blessed to be able to present to an expectant mother within ONE WEEK of being home study approved. That in of itself gave us a little burst of energy when things were going so slowly before. An example of just how quickly our lives can change.

 

A rush of disappointment, a temptation of hopelessness, but then relief knowing God's in control, peace, joy for the family chosen... one minute I'm praising God and verbally reciting His promises, the next I'm wondering what was "wrong with us" that she didn't like us and pick us. A mosaic of mixed emotions and navigating new waters as a waiting family.

This child wasn't meant to be ours. And as one of my friends so wonderfully said – "Your baby won't pass you by."


An update on fundraising:

We ARE having a second online auction thanks to all of your wonderful, gracious friends offering your items and services!

This time the auction will be held on Facebook, and will include everything from handmade items to services, and direct sales products! If you have something you'd like to donate, please email me at letschat@finickydesigns.com.

 

Oh, and check out my fun little mural in the nursery:

 
 

 

Until the next no, yes, or maybe...

-Melody

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Making Progress: An Adoption Update!

I was holding out... I didn't want to write a blog post until our home study was finished, new fundraiser was underway, and our profile books were in hand! But alas... "just one more week" keeps turning into two, three, and now FOUR more weeks.

So, it's time for me to give in and post an update. 

February Adoption Update

First, we ARE close to finishing our home study!

We just received a complete draft of the study, and will be reviewing it in the next few days. Then we have one final meeting with our case worker to sign the home study, and we become officially home study approved!

 What happens once we finish the home study?

In short, we officially become a waiting family. Yep, waiting (and praying) for little baby C.
We just finished our profile book and ordered our first printed batch. Here's a peek:

Christian Family Adoption Profile Pages

Once we have these in hand, we'll be able to start applying to adoption agencies, and our fantastic consultant will start to search for an expectant mother that could be a good fit for us. Then we review those expectant mother's profiles, and decide who we'd like to present our profile book to. This process can go on and on and on... but eventually we'll have what's called a "match," when the expectant mother chooses us to parent their child! Then things happen REAL quick (because matches don't happen until the expectant mother's third trimester). 

 

The nursery is underway.

We debated for a while whether or not to start putting together the nursery so soon. But we came to a lot of peace knowing that while having a room all ready for baby C might bring with it a painful reminder of the wait, it'd also bring a reminder of hope and joy. Baby C's room is going to become our sacred space—a space for prayer, crying, laughing, and feeling connected with our child growing in our hearts as we wait.

So, first things first, we painted. (Goodbye, terrible yellow that's haunted us ever since we moved in!)

Nursery decorating for our future adopted child
Nursery decorating adoption
Nursery decorating for our future adopted child

It also feels so celebratory to dive into starting the nursery! We took a trip to Denver on Saturday just to price out various pieces of furniture, and start looking at different options. We had so much fun! We DID start an online baby registry that we'll share once we're home study approved, but we can reveal that the theme is woodland creatures. (I know... no surprise given my absolute love for foxes and the mountains.)

 

Active fundraiser: Just Love Coffee

While we're still planning bigger upcoming fundraisers, we do have an ongoing one we hope you coffee lovers will take advantage of.  Rumor has it, this coffee tastes GREAT (not just we think so!). So if you looooove coffee, and want a portion of your caffeine-driven purchase to go towards our adoption, just visit our Just Love Coffee page and check out their beans!

And to answer SO many inquiries - we ARE trying to work through the logistics of a second online auction. But we need YOUR help to make it happen! We exhausted our resources for the first auction, and don't have too many shops left to approach for donations. If you make something, or offer a service that you'd like to donate to our auction, or know of someone else that would, PLEASE email me at letschat@finickydesigns.com. We'll let you know if the upcoming month if the auction is official!

 

While it's been a while since you've heard from us on the blog, we do try to consistently post on our Instagram feed. So make sure to connect with us there!

 

Hopefully you'll hear from us again in another week or two!

- Melody

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Marching for Life Every Day

Today I'm using our adoption blog as a platform to truly express my thoughts on the Pro-Life movement as prompted by the March for Life happening in Washington D.C. today.

But first...

I know. We've been SO silent! We took a break from fundraising in December and January, and put our heads down to really focus and plow through the remaining steps of our home study. We'll jump on Facebook Live the beginning of February to give you all some updates as well an announcement of our next fundraiser! Thanks for sticking with us.

Marching for Life Every Day — John and Melody Adopt

 

The pro-life movement has always hit close to home for me. Literally. My grandpa was a core piece of starting the pro-life movement in California way back in the day. I have childhood memories of standing on the side of the road with a sign held high, playing with the models of babies at different gestational periods (they were still babies that could be dressed and put in my toy stroller!), and knowing from as young as I could understand—life began at conception.

While the most effective method of communicating life and standing up for the unborn is disputable, I've found that it is indeed something I MUST stand up for. Every story of abortion that moves me to tears (for both the mother and the child), every bit of hopelessness and defeat I see in women's eyes who are faced with unplanned pregnancies, and every fleeting thought of the 4 in 10 abortions happening in our very own country every single day... more than sorrow, it moves me to ACT. To stand up. To try to help people understand that while we all have the freedom of choice (which is from God), we can't make it legal to choose DEATH. Murder. Just as I can't freely choose to shoot my neighbor, I can't freely choose to kill the child inside of me.

"But you don't know what it's like to face an unplanned pregnancy, especially one that occurs from incest and rape." You're so right. I do not. And in all honesty, if I had no support system and I became pregnant by a man who I didn't know, and caused me extreme pain... I would try to think of how I could sweep it all under the rug. How I could remove the pain, the reminder, the horror.

But thankfully, my God is bigger than that. Thankfully I have full faith in a God that orchestrates everything in life to happen for the good of those that love Him. Sin, evil in this world is not caused by Him. It's a repercussion of US. We're the fallen ones. And it's a miracle (that I thank God for every day) that He tirelessly forgives us over, and over, and over again. So amidst the evil, I'm blessed to be able to rise above it and see the good. To know that God has me in his hands, no matter what. And with that, I'm certain I'd make the right choice—that I'd either choose to parent my child or choose adoption for my child.

But that doesn't go without understanding the woman sitting in the abortion clinic, waiting for her name to be called. Society says it's okay. All the feelings of fear and injustice say it's okay. And without the bigger-picture story of God's perfect plan for our lives—it looks and feels okay.

But it's a life. Separate from your own. And it's not okay to take it.

But to those that have chosen abortion... God forgives. God heals. God knows your pain and your desire for restoration, and offers it to each and every woman with no strings attached.

 

I think of her in that moment she decides to choose adoption for her child.

Every morning, during my quiet time, I think of our expectant mom, the birth mom of Baby C. I sometimes wonder where she is and what she's facing. The other morning I pictured her feeling the weight of desperate hopelessness as she found out she was pregnant. Or the moment she very well might be sitting in the waiting room of a Planned Parenthood, now knowing where to turn. But then I also think of her in that moment she decides to choose adoption for her child. The pain, the weight of knowing she'll carry her child for 9 months... oh, the bravery. It moves me to tears to think about it. So I do the only thing I can do since I can't wrap my arms around her (yet)—I pray for her. I pray God will wrap His loving arms around her, and that she'll be able to breathe in deep... GRACE.


Now for a few practical NOTES:

There IS help outside of Planned Parenthood.

So many people think that PP is the be all and end all of "women's reproductive care." You know why it appears to be that way? Because it's what's being promoted all around us. And this is what frustrates me more than anything. Guess what?

In our city, we have ONE Planned Parenthood, but TWO pregnancy centers. These pregnancy centers provide:

  • Free contraceptives (gasp!)
  • Free pregnancy tests
  • Free ultrasounds
  • Free STD/STI testing
  • Free counseling, support groups, and Bible studies
  • Free prenatal care
  • Free items to help care for your baby (from diapers to cribs)
  • Free parenting programs
  • Free resources to adoption agencies
  • Free resources for job and housing assistance

And they ARE in our schools, educating our kids about safe sex. They ARE passing out condoms. And at the same time they're counseling. They're meeting kids in the halls to talk about tough times and unplanned pregnancies. Their work is astounding. Why aren't we all supporting THEM? Because they don't offer ONE thing. They don't offer the option ("the choice") of abortion.

Probably the most popular (and accusatory) rebuttle to pro-life activism is this: "You care for a baby inside the womb, but won't care for children outside the womb!" 

I get it. You can't value life at conception and not fight for the child after they're born. But this blanket statement of all pro-life supporters is simply naive. 

First, MANY (if not all) pregnancy centers offer post-birth support. Our local pregnancy center offers parenting classes, a donations closet that moms can access and take from it what they need, and one-on-one counseling (for both mom AND dad). 

Here are some organizations that are actively working in our communities to provide support to moms after the birth of their baby:

Save the Storks
The Mommies Network
Helping Hands for Single Moms
Knocked Up Now What?
Single Parent Advocate

And of course, there's US, taking to the streets. Address the issues of homelessness, research ways to support single, low-income mothers in your area, and recognize that fighting for the child in the womb continues outside of it.

We still have a long way to go... but it's still no excuse to end life in the womb.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
— PSALM 139:13

My position isn't a popular one. 

It's one that kept me from marching around with my fellow women in a historical march. It's one that makes other women look at me in disgrace for being "anti-choice." But my standards aren't the same as the world's standards. My standards, as a Christ follower, are God's standards—and I take that pretty seriously.

–Melody

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Learning to Hope

Learning To Hope (for baby) + a Christmas Song download - johnandmelodyadopt.com

I. Love. Christmas.

And while I'm not one to whip out the Christmas decor in October (I also love Thanksgiving and fall decor, yo), I do soak up every moment of the season. Since I work from home, I try to plan as much work from my couch as I can so I can stare at the Christmas tree, play Christmas music in the living room, and keep something warm baking (Christmas cookies are life). I'm spoiled this time of year getting to spend so much time in the comfort of my cozy home. When I worked at an organization I always felt like I didn't get enough time to truly enjoy the season.

But here I am, doing what I love, and enjoying all things Christmas, including one of my favorite parts—putting lights up on the house! Note: John does about 90% of the work, that stud.

 
Melody from johnandmelodyadopt.com
John putting up Christmas lights
Christmas lights in front yard
 

But regardless of how much I get to soak up the season's moments, there's always been something missing.

Every year since we decided to start trying for a family, we've said it: "Maybe this year we'll have a little one to enjoy the holidays with!" Which turned into next year. And then next year again. And now we're finding ourselves saying it again, but with a little more hope this time.

But not too much hope.

Remember when Chandler and Monica in Friends were adopting? There was a potential match, and they were going to meet with the birth mom (in the infamous "birthmother" episode). When they announced it to the gang, they were both saying "This might be it... but this might also not be it! We're not getting our hopes up. There's still a lot to figure out." But by the end of the scene after the influence of their friends, Monica is jumping up and down and excitedly shouting "I'm gettin' myself a baby!"

That about sums up the daily tug-and-pull of the adoption process and embracing the reality of bringing home baby. There's no timeline for us. There's no due date (yet). And while we're technically not even in the "waiting period" yet, we're still waiting, and knowing whether or not the next holiday season will include a baby Christian is still unknown.

But we're learning to hope because God wants us to have hope! He takes pleasure in seeing the desire of His children's hearts and fulfilling our every longing. We're slowly learning to embrace all of the emotions associated with the waiting period of adoption, and continue to let our hope grow unreservedly!

But this Christmas season, as much as we yearn to say "Next year we WILL have a little one around for the holidays!" we can't be too certain. Because we might have a baby this time next year — but we also might NOT. Either way—we're learning to be okay with it. We have to walk a fine line of allowing God to continue to take us down the path he Has set before us — and be able to find joy and patience (emphasis on the patience) in it, every step of the way.

Thankfully we do have peace about all of it. All of those empty Christmases have led us to adoption, this moment in time, and we wouldn't trade it. So we move forward knowing the same is still true. And while we do indeed hope that next year we'll be holding a baby in our arms by the Christmas tree, assuming he/she is enjoying the lights and music as much as mama is—we wait in realistic and hopeful anticipation. 

 

An encouraging little piece this holiday season while we ourselves are taking a break from fundraising efforts: a Christmas song written and recorded by our friend, Brennan! He's helping us raise funds by selling the song for a donation amount of your choice (suggested donation is $5 and ALL proceeds go straight to us!). Take a quick listen to this beautiful song (also read through the lyrics), and if you love it — download it!

 

 

COLD DESERT NIGHT

by Brennan Heisler


Verse 1

Cold desert night
Ain't no blanket of snow
Oh, to keep you wrapped up tight
To keep your heart from wanderin' alone

And they told you the moon
Would guide you home but the fools
Never walked your road before
They don't know what it's like to be alone

Verse 2

Born Christmas night
Where hay and love kept me warm
Couldn't see no end in sight
Didn't know where I'd finally call home

The bearer of hope
A Holy Child rejected by all
Born into uncertain times
I know the hopeless road you've walked

Chorus

Even though the world has failed you
No, you're not alone
I'll bring you in, give you shelter
Build you a home

All around the wind is howling
I'll keep you safe from harm
Cold desert nights'll never tear you
Away from my arms

Verse 3

Innocent child
Ain't no fault of your own
Shouldn't have to pay no price
To finally find a place you belong

Now when you're low
And feel like love's come a little too late
Mama's gonna hold you close
And Father'll carry the weight

Coda

Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel
Cold desert nights'll never tear you
Away from my arms

 

Christmas is quickly ramping up with my family's celebration happening next weekend, then it's off to Missouri for Christmas with John's family! There's so much to do before then, and we're doing our best to pace ourselves and make time to slow down for the season, continuing to remember the meaning of Christmas and the "why" behind it all.

We're thankful for you, dear friends and our beloved village, coming alongside us every step of way! We thank God for you this season as we move forward in hope and anticipation.

Merry Christmas!

–Melody

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Supporting Small Businesses

While I’ve always been well aware of our purchase power and just how important it is to support small businesses (hello, I am one!)... my eyes were opened to it when I held our adoption auction this past week. I met so many amazing shop owners, heard so many lovely stories, and gathered so many NEAT items!

So why don’t we support small all of the time?

Here’s what I suspect (because I'm guilty of believing the following):

  • It's too expensive. It’s true… small businesses charge more than big-box stores. But there’s a breakdown in the understanding of VALUE. These businesses have to create a profit in order to sustain themselves. If they locally source materials, keep within ethical standards, provide good jobs for their employees, turn on the lights each month, AND still make a profit at the end of the day—they have to charge more.

So, what if our mindset shifted? What if our mindset went from “more for my money” to “my money for more…” more support for business owners living their dreams, more for a better cause, more that challenges our society's consumerism? I think then we’d be able to justify the cost quickly and educate those around us what you’re really buying when you’re supporting small, ethical businesses.
 

  • There's a limited availability of products. This is what I’m most guilty of believing, especially locally. I’m always the first one grabbing my bag to head to the downtown Holiday Stroll and craft fairs and buy ALL of the Christmas gifts! (First stop: hot chocolate.) But unfortunately, I often leave in disappointment having not found the perfect gifts.

In all honesty, it’s because I go to these sorts of things with no real plan. I wander aimlessly looking at all the pretty products, and just wait for something to hit me as being good for someone on my list. This just doesn’t work for me.

So I’ve started to make a list of items I want to keep my eye out for as I approach the shops and craft fairs. For example: I have a tea-loving friend, so I need to keep my eye out for organic loose-leaf teas and maybe some cute mugs. My dad loves flying R.C. airplanes, so I want to keep my eye out for clever R.C. airplane items for him to decorate his office with.

And the list goes on. Imagine heading into these situations with a clear plan? I’m thinking I’ll turn up much more successful.

But sometimes there truly is a limit in products—whether that's due to the size of your town or simply not knowing where to find all of the shops. Which leads me to the whole point of this blog post.

Buy local, support local when you can...

But know that there's MANY small businesses that you can support right from your couch.

That’s what I want to provide you with today—a resource list of those amazing shops that you can support right from home. None of these shops have paid me to feature them... in fact, most won't ever even know that I sent you their way. But I feel like it's my duty to wave their banner and let you know that you CAN shop small (and get really, really awesome stuff)!

This is my collection of small businesses that I've either gotten to know personally through my online groups of biz owners, found when putting together our adoption auction, or have simply stumbled across when searching for something entirely unrelated.

Check out the categories below and take advantage of all the amazing sales they’re offering this weekend!

Small Business Holiday Shopping Guide - 2016



SIMPLY UNIQUE GIFTS


Thanksgiving is basically over at this point, so you might as well dive right into your favorite time of year and have fun shopping! 

Melody

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The Adoption Auction Numbers

The Auction Results

As most of you know, we held our Instagram adoption auction last Wednesday through Friday. The support and turn-out was amazing! Bids were made (it was actually super fun to watch... I want to participate next time!), winners deemed, invoices paid, and items shipped! Error count: one... and it was very, very minor. I thank my multiple excel sheets, color-coding system, and calendar alerts for the small number of casualties. (The fear of screwing everything up was REAL, y'all!)

 
 

We auctioned off 48 items, over 50 different bidders participated, and we raised:

$1192!


And that's after PayPal and shipping fees were deducted! We covered the auction in prayer, and had faith that it'd gain the exposure it needed to be a success. We're SO grateful!


World Adoption Day

Simultaneous to our auction, we also we were able to become a beneficiary family to a t-shirt fundraiser held by Kindred + Co.! On World Adoption Day the fundraiser launched, and in less than 24 hours they reached their goal of selling 50 shirts! So the goal was then raised to 100, we're at 89 shirts sold—and there's still 7 days left to buy!

Read more about the meaning behind the t-shirt, World Adoption Day, and meet the Kindred + Co. community on the Kindred + Co. blog!

 
World Adoption Day!
World Adoption Day!
 
 
Kindred + Co Fundraiser Tshirts
Tshirt fundraiser for adoption
 

Home Study Update

We've officially dove into the massive pile of paperwork this week. And it's...paperwork. Yep. You all know this is THE most exciting part of the process, right? ;)


Thanksgiving

We have SO much to thank God for this year (as we do every day). We hope you enjoy your family and friends this holiday season, and as always, we appreciate your love and support of our journey.

I'll be publishing a blog post first thing on Black Friday that introduces you all to some excellent small businesses to help support during this holiday season! After connecting with so many amazing shop owners through the auction, I got inspired to spread the word about people with amazing products and how you can support THEM vs. big box stores this year. 

Obviously this year we're rather limited in our gift purchasing, but we're looking for creative ways to spend time with our families and do some small Christmas shopping TOGETHER. Because that's what's most important anyways, right?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Melody

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One Month Adoption Update

Well... one month and a few days. But who's keeping track?

On October 9th (our six year wedding anniversary) we announced that we're adopting! Since then, we've been on a roller coaster ride of fundraising, applying, emailing, and organizing of so, so many things. Here's our latest:
 

Officially, as of last Friday, we are 50% funded! 

*insert a little dance here* I'd love to take credit for... well... any of it. But truth is, this is all due to our amazing friends' generosity and wide open, gracious hearts. No "thanks" are sufficient. God is proving so faithful! Our village is awesome. 


We've been accepted by our home study agency!

We didn't hear anything for nearly a week after applying to the agency, which had us slightly nervous - but last Thursday we were officially accepted by Adopt TRIAD for our home study! A giant blue folder of paperwork is on its way to our home, and we'll be diving in this upcoming week. Bring it!


This weekend we completed our Adoption Education!

Colorado requires 16 hours of adoption education, and while at first it seemed a little "ho hum" (16 hours... WHAT?), it was INVALUABLE. We learned so much this weekend, from technicalities like adoption laws, to issues as personal as bonding with our child, and even details surrounding the birth mom and our relationship with her. For the first time we got to see what an expectant mom's profile will look like when we review our options (SO eye opening). We were able to visualize situations with our adopted child and learned how to address difficult issues, craft their beautiful story, and show our child how much love surrounds them (even from their birth family). We also got to mingle with local adoptive families. Guess what? We're not in this alone!

 
Adoption Education in Colorado Springs with Step Ahead Adoption
 

 

Colorado requires the ed... but I don't see how anyone adopting could skip it. Our teacher was so knowledgeable and personable. We soaked it all in (and I was kind of sad when we finished). Check out our sweet massive binder:

 
Colorado CORE Education materials for adoption
CORE Education for Colorado adoptions
 

To say a lot has happened this past month is an understatement. It's becoming SO real, SO tangible, and we cannot wait for what this next month will hold! 


Speaking of, in just THREE DAYS (Nov 16) our adoption auction is going to be OPEN! 

The final count: 47 items, 32 donors, and so far 50+ people attending. So much time, effort, and energy has gone into making this happen, and I cannot WAIT to see it all unfold! More of God's provision being revealed. More generous hearts. More... fun (honestly). We'd love for you to join us!

 

Oh, oh, oh—ONE last thing... something pretty darn cool is happening very, very soon.

 
Exciting adoption update
 

'Til next time,
Melody

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Our Adoption Auction

In less than a week, one of our most exciting fundraisers is going to kickoff—

our Instagram adoption auction! 

Christian Family Adoption Auction

Over the course of the last two months, I've been in contact with some amazing business owners and have asked if any of them would be willing to donate their beautiful products to our auction. The response has been AMAZING. Their generosity, overflowing. And it's because of them that this is possible!

The auction will be held on Instagram, and these past two weeks we've been featuring all of the items that will be available for bidding. (Check it out!)

 

So, how does it work?

  • The auction opens at 8 am MST on Wednesday, November 16th and closes at 10 pm MST on Friday, November 18th.
  • Each item will be listed at a starting bid of around 50-60% off of their retail value (whew!). Bids MUST start at the minimum bid amount.
  • To bid: comment on the item at a higher, whole-dollar amount than the bidder who posted before you. TAG the previous bidder (so that they know they've been outbid!).
  • If you are the highest bidder at the end of the auction, you agree to pay the whole amount bid through a PayPal invoice within 24 hours (we will message you for your email address immediately following the close of the auction). If you do not pay, the item is then offered to the next highest bidder.

Note: If you've participated in an Instagram auction before, you've probably bid with your email address. While this makes a ton of sense (for invoicing purposes later), there's been reports of Instagram glitching when an email address is a part of a comment. So for that reason, we're eliminating the email addresses in the bidding process.


If you're not super familiar with Instagram and what bidding might look like, I'll give you a quick walk-through (screenshots from a desktop browser):

 
 

Here's our Instagram account currently! Look at all those amazing items! I'll be honest. It's going to take everything in me not to bid on these items myself. (Kind of defeats the purpose, no?)


 
 

Click on an item you're interested in and the item will pop up in a new window. Here you'll see the item description, who the item is from, and the starting bid for the item.


Add a comment on Instagram

You'll notice that in the lower right corner (in a web browser, otherwise it's at the bottom of the post description in the app) is a place for you to comment. This is where you'll put your bid in a whole dollar amount higher than the bidder before you. You MUST tag the previous bidder so they know they've been outbid! To do this, simply type @username before your bid amount, OR swipe left over the previous bidder's name and hit the reply arrow that appears in gray (it'll automatically enter their username into the comment section).

 
Add a bid in an Instagram auction
 

Should look something like this! ^


Post your comment—and that's it! Keep your eye on it, watch those notifications (you'll be notified if you've been outbid), and make a higher bid to lock in your purchase! At 10 pm MST on November 18th, the auction will officially CLOSE and the highest bidder's email collected. You must pay your invoice AND provide your address within 24 hours to receive your item!

If you bid on a service (such as photography, logo design, or website design), the service provider will be in touch with you to schedule and initiate the project.

 

We hope you'll add a calendar reminder to pop over to our Instagram on the 16th to participate in the auction. If you know of anyone that would love to get some Christmas shopping done while contributing to our adoption fund, PLEASE SHARE! 

UPDATE: The auction was a success!
We raised a total of $1192!

Thank you to all who participated AND donated their lovely items! 


Questions about auction logistics? Ask below!

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Let the home study commence!

Hi family and friends! We have an exciting update to share with you!

First, this weekend we had our first ever Live Q & A on Facebook! We got to answer some fun questions concerning our adoption, fundraising with John's beard, and what we're most nervous about when it comes to being parents. We had a blast having a little chat with our friends, and are probably going to do it again soon!

If you missed it, make sure to jump over to Facebook for the recap.

 

Okay okay... on to the big news!

Have you noticed that significant bump in our progress bar? (I when I say significant, I mean we just jumped to being 43% funded!) Here's what happened:

We were taking a look at our adoption fund Thursday night. We were a certain amount short of being able to pay for the full home study, and while we felt like jumping the gun and applying (application alone is $500), we felt like we needed to have the money to actually start our home visits before we applied. So, we left it. Prayed over it. And exercised our patience muscle.

Friday evening we went to a friend's going away party. A donation came in... for the exact amount we needed to have enough for our home study. Such a tremendous blessing. These friends of ours... I tell ya. They're generous beyond words. And... this meant we could officially get the home study process started! 

 

Then (yep, there's more)... a second donation came in. Let's just say I'm gIad I was eating spicy chili at that moment, because I had an excuse for the tears that started streaming down my face. All I can tell you is this—God is faithful. He brings people into our lives that shape perfect future plans that we're not even aware of at the time. It blows my mind. And that donation, it made it so real.

That donation will be spent on agency fees, after a match is made, after expectant parents have chosen us. I couldn't help but to, in that moment, stop and pray for the expectant parents. They became more real to me. As I lifted up a praise of gratefulness, I thought of them, her, potentially raising up a cry for help. It's so important to remember the other side of it, and to pray for God to be present in all of our lives and give us pieces of hope—in whatever way that might appear. 

The pieces are falling into place.

THIS IS HAPPENING. You guys, this is actually happening.

 

 
An update from the Christians!
 

Here we are, taking a picture with thumbs-ups before we even knew what the night would hold. 

 

Each and every gift is such a blessing to us, you guys. No matter the amount. It means you're sacrificing FOR US, and for that we are so grateful. Baby Christian is already so loved. 

If you feel led to donate, just jump to our homepage and click on the big orange button.

 

Let the home study commence!

Melody

 

 

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The Story Behind Our Hearts for Slavic Countries

As you may have heard, we kind of have a thing for the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. I don't like to think of it as coincidence that when John was in Belarus, I was a mere five hour train ride from him in Ukraine (two years before we met). John spent three years there, I only spent two weeks... and both of our lives were forever changed.

Our Hearts for the Slavic Countries - Christian Adoption

I (John) joined my family for full time mission work in Belarus when I was 17.

I took to the language and culture quickly as I was a part of a International Missionary Training school there, speaking (and even eventually dreaming) in Russian not long after I arrived. I lead songs in the church started there by my family, and became good friends with many of the families that attended. My favorite things to do included riding my bike (an upwards of 20 to 30 miles a day), going into the capital city (via public transit, of course), and enjoying the various cultural dishes. Eating some shawarma from the market—the best (though the occasional exciting trip to McDonald's was a TREAT).

The culture is so interesting to me. I enjoyed learning about it and learning about the people there as well as their backgrounds.

My family helped start a virtual orphanage where we'd help children in poverty, bringing them to church, providing them food, and really just being there for them on a consistent basis. I helped with the construction of the new church and would keep the fires going at night to keep the building from freezing. (Belarus is COLD in the winter, in case you were wondering!) 

Life there is simple. Because everything there takes so much hard work, your mentality changes, and you just start accepting things with a more gracious attitude. You just go with the flow. I miss that about Belarus. 

 

I knew I'd love the Slavic countries when I first started learning about Ukraine.

It may have only been a high school short-term mission trip, but it completely shaped who I became later in life. I did my best to learn the alphabet, the language (I carried around a little journal with me so I could speak several lines to the locals), and the traditions. The history fascinated me. Just traveling on an old nazi train from Kiev to Simferopol was amazing to me. 

The camp where we invited the children was even an ex-nazi camp. The statue of Stalin was torn down, and in its place stood a cross. It was awesome to see the transformation of oppression to freedom amidst the Crimean peninsula.

My favorite times included trips to the Black Sea, perusing the market early morning for fresh baked goods, and of course—play time with the orphans and some of the teens that I became good friends with.

I didn't quite understand what being an orphan in Ukraine (and so many other countries) meant. When I met Yuliya (the girl who changed my world), I didn't understand why her head was shaved. She wore dirty clothes, and was possessive of only a few small items that she carried around in her fanny pack. She taught me so much about what it means to be thankful, and how to look at life through a lens of JOY (no matter your physical situation).

Thankfully I kept a journal while in Ukraine, otherwise I wouldn't remember half the stories. I came away from that trip with a burden—a burden for THEM, the Ukrainians. The children. They're some of my most fond memories as well as some of my most difficult memories. I can't wait to go back someday.

 

So why aren't we adopting from a slavic country?

This was a tough one for us. It took lots of discussion as well as surrender. But a very long story short—now just isn't the time.

First, we would adopt from Ukraine as it's the most adoption friendly of the Slavic countries. However, there's still a substantial amount of red tape surrounding adoption in Ukraine. We would have had to adopt a child over the age four, a special needs child, or a sibling group. It's also a process that involves multiple in-country visits to see the child so that they can determine if we're a good fit. 

All of those various situations are OKAY, but we're first-time parents. We've never done this whole have kids thing before, so we'd love to start from the ground up, and learn about parenting as our child grows from infancy. Then someday, when we're ready (and God says so), we'll adopt from Ukraine.

We also have a burden for the all of the children here at home in the states. It is so BRAVE for a mother facing an unplanned pregnancy to choose adoption. And it excites us to be one of those willing and ready families to be there for them, and make adoption a viable option.

 

So yes, our hearts are there, and we're confident that someday we'll have a child of our own from Ukraine. But for now we happily and gratefully anticipate domestic infant adoption, and are praying for our sweet little one already.

 


AAAAAAND an update! 

Checking off independent consultant, Christian family adoption in Colorado

This past week we officially hired our independent consultant! We saved up enough these past few months, and we were able to start the process. It was SO exciting receiving our welcome email! And we're SO ready for the next big step: the home study!

PS: We're with Adoptive Christian Consultants, and our consultant is Leah of Faithfully Ever After. She's awesome, and we can't wait to call her in the middle of the night with concerns! (Just kidding, Leah... we'll try our best not to do that... too many times.)


What God Tells Us About Adoption

This post isn't meant to dive into the theological roots of adoption, glorify our decision to adopt, or press upon you any sense of obligation. What John and I have discovered is that there are a lot of obstacles our earthly selves can put in between us and adoption:

  • FINANCES

  • FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN

  • PHYSIOLOGICAL HURDLES

  • ROLLER COASTER OF EMOTIONS

  • UNPREDICTABLE SITUATIONS

  • HURTFUL DISCOVERIES

  • DIFFICULT ANSWERS TO DIFFICULT QUESTIONS

And we've discovered that if we can turn to God's word to discover encouragement, to feel truly called and be guaranteed victory (in whatever way that might appear), then we can move forward in hope and be excited for all that God has in store for our future. 

What God Tells Us About Adoption - John and Melody Adopt

First, God shows us many beautiful stories of adoption throughout the entire Bible. I enjoyed going through a list of all of the Bible's "greats" who were adopted (including Esther and Moses), all the way to Jesus himself (Joseph's relationship as earthly father to Jesus). And then there's us, children of God adopted by Him, not brought into his kingdom by birth but rather by love and choice. "The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship." Romans 8:15. (See also: Ephesians 1:4-6)

But now, as a Christian being called to adopt, what verifies this decision for us? Really just two things: God is our example (and HE is the Father to the fatherless), and we're commanded to do it.

 

God is our example.

I love David's song to God in Psalms 68:4-6 giving us a glimpse of power as well as his love:

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds;
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.

God sets the lonely in families,
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Psalm 10:14But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

Psalm 113:9He gives the childless woman a household, making her the joyful mother of children. Hallelujah!

 

We're commanded.

The scriptural support for adoption is undeniable. We're called to take care of those in need, to bestow huge amounts of love (including practical, actionable love) on the orphans and the widows.

Psalm 82:3Defend the weak and the fatherless;  uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Isaiah 1:17Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless;  plead the case of the widow.

For us, this looks like adoption. For others, it might look like something else entirely. Please don't think that I'm saying the only way to fulfill God's command is to adopt. But we've been called, we believe that right now, for us, it is adoption. And we know that this is going to tremendously grow our faith and our walk.

 

The blessings will be numerous.

We can say all day that we're being charitable to a family... but in all honesty, we know that through this experience we're going to be the ones TREMENDOUSLY blessed! 

Acts 20:23 - In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Why? Well, there are many reasons including the joy of growing God's kingdom, delighting the Lord, the type of trust in God that fosters amazing faith... but in a more practical sense, here's what I see in adoption that makes it more blessed to give then to receive (and ultimately how the giving turns into receiving).

This child is going to make us parents.

WHAT. JOY. What blessing. I so look forward to this amazing feeling.

They are growing in our hearts.

Just like pregnancy, the child you're bearing or not bearing with every passing thought grows in your heart. Do you know what that does to a person?

They are going to touch the lives of everyone.

Just thinking about all of the people that will get to know this child—our parents, our friends, our family all over the country... they will bless and be blessed by all of these lives that are about to be interwoven. 

 

I want to wrap up this post by making sure that we all understand that caring for orphans goes beyond adoption. 

Just because we're adopting, and will someday be holding a precious little one in our arms, doesn't mean we can check off some proverbial Christian "good deed" from life's checklist. There are so many orphans in the world that need our help, orphans that cannot be adopted and where removing them from their current situation isn't an option. The church, WE, have to meet that need. 

A book I highly recommend is Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adoption to help discover what we can do. What if we all became advocates for orphans in our church? What if we all strived to make a difference in the lives of the least of these, for one?

 

An adopted child of God,

Melody

First $100!

While we still have yet to announce the adoption publicly and start fundraising (waiting is tough, my friends), we HAVE been purging the house! We officially have an entire spare bedroom full of stuff ready to sell at our Springtime fundraising garage sale (PS: Save your junk. We'll come pick it up from you because we'd love to sell it at our garage sale in Spring!), I condensed six large boxes of childhood stuff down to two boxes, AND we officially listed all of our higher valued items on Craigslist. Which leads me to THIS...

 
Fundraising for adoption, the Christian Family in Colorado
 

We made our first $100!

Call it small... but this is the first chunk of cash we made that was officially put into our adoption fund! I kind of ran around in a circle with it for a few minutes (don't judge—I didn't know what else to do). God's provision is amazing, you guys. I'll be honest, right now, my business is slow - the slowest it's been since I started it. Everything around me says PANIC. Be worried you're not going to raise the 38k or ever make bringing home your baby a reality.

But God says otherwise. It's not a coincidence business is slow right now. I know what God demands of our faith. The support we've already witnessed from our closest family and friends we've shared with is evidence to the POWER, the village, that is going to make this thing happen. We sold one item, made $100. Not a big deal. Except it is, because it's just the beginning to something great.

Oh, a quick behind-the-scenes pic for you:

 
Adoption photoshoot, Colorado Springs, adoption in Colorado Christian family
 

Yesterday we had our adoption photoshoot, donated by the lovely Moriah Riona. By the time the most of you see this post, these photos will be ALL over our website. But hey... here we are candidly smiling post photoshoot just for kicks.

Until the next exciting update,

Melody

Adoption: Our Marketing Plan

One of the first, preliminary steps to raising the funds we need for our adoption is to create a marketing plan. Business me stepped in swiftly to construct (I feel like this is going to be one of my favorite parts of this process...)

As I've mentioned, our guiding book has been You Can Adopt Without Debt. The fundraising ideas in this book are invaluable! But, it's critical we weed through all of the ideas and find the right ones for us—from both a capacity, talents, and resources standpoint. 

So here's a summary of the planning stage as well as some of the exciting start of various fundraisers!

John and Melody Adopt! Here's a summary of our marketing plan as we begin to market and raise funds for the adoption.

Budgeting

Yeah, I know. BORING. But critical first step for us as we eliminated luxury expenses such as Starbucks, Spotify Premium, Netflix, and eating out. That being said—we're doing our best to not become complete and total social-less hermits. We have designated those expenses and plan the heck out of those dollars.

The sacrifice starts here. With us. And every dollar that CAN go to this adoption IS going to this adoption. 


Just Love Coffee

We have an entire page dedicated to our Just Love Coffee sales! So for the details, go there. But... why Just Love Coffee? First, we love what they stand for. We love their business model and how they give to those looking to raise funds for good causes. Also, the percentage we receive on each bag of coffee sold is pretty reasonable! And they take care of all of the orders—from sale to shipping, to customer satisfaction! Meaning... we get to focus on promoting the buying of this delicious coffee with every penny we make on it going towards our adoption fund without worrying about all of the logistics. Pretty. Great.

Oh, and here we are, completely unstaged (especially John's mug), loving this coffee.


Recycling Aluminum

It's true! We're finally recycling! (Don't judge...) We want ALL of your aluminum. From foil, to pie pans, to soda cans... if it's aluminum, we will take it from you. In fact, we'll even give you a trashcan to collect all of it in (either a small under-the-sink basket as pictured, or a large we-love-soda-and-foil trashcan). Just let us know you want in on the collecting!

Recycling aluminum for our adoption!

Adopt Shop

We're currently taking donations for the shop! Here's how it works: If you make something (we know we have talented friends), fill out our shop donation form along with a few photos of your item. Then it'll be added to our shop. When someone purchases your item, you'll be informed and sent their address, and then you send them your item (along with any promotional material you'd like for return business). 

We'll do our best to promote you here on the site, AND you get to write off your donation.

We're excited to see what all of you creative beings are going to donate!

Click the Adopt Shop donation form above to instantly download!

Click the Adopt Shop donation form above to instantly download!


Direct Donation

Obviously donating directly to us is the best way for us to be able to collect funds. We have two ways for anyone to be able to do so.

1. Send money via PayPal. They don't take any of it, so 100% of your donation goes straight to us!

2. Donate through our website via credit card. Only a small fee comes out for credit card processing fees. Totally secure, and simple!

Donate

Directly asking for funds is HARD, no matter the cause. That's why we hope people will visit our FAQ page so they understand why we're asking and what the funds are for specifically. We want direct donations to be from the heart. We don't want ANYONE to feel pressured into giving. We know that giving looks like prayers, kind words, hugs, and just being there for us. So sure—obviously we need these funds to be able to bring our baby home. But just being there for us? SO encouraging! It carries us. So thank you.


Coming soon

We have other fundraisers currently being planned, such as t-shirt sales, a giant Springtime garage sale (we're accepting donated items!), an auction dinner, and more! So we're pretty excited about all of that. (Not enough time in a day!)

 

We know God will provide... but we also know that God doesn't provide when we sit on our butts and don't DO anything! That's why we're pouring our hearts into this marketing plan, knowing that 38k is a really big number, but that what God can do, and the support people can provide is even bigger.

Thanks for joining us on this journey!

The First Steps of Adoption

How does someone decide that adoption is the right choice for them? And what are those first steps one even takes in the process?

All of it seemed so daunting. Nearly unreachable. Sure, it was a nice thought, it was something always on our hearts. But when it came to the practicalities, I couldn't quite fathom it.

You know, people's different responses to your decision to adopt are so very interesting. Some are overjoyed! Congratulations, hugs, tears... it's so uplifting. I have one friend who just got pregnant with her first, and after telling me about it she excitedly said "We're going to be moms!" It sent chills down my spine! The reality of it all is so exciting!

Then there are those that instantly compare you with the other adoptive families they know and their experiences—because it's what they know of adoption. This is a tough one for me because each and every adoptive family's story varies so drastically. "Aren't you worried the birth mom will change her mind after the baby is born? What if you get pregnant in the middle of the process like my friend did? A couple I know has been waiting for over two years to bring a baby home—can you really wait that long?" There's only one way to reply to this: God's got it handled. The journey (as I've been told) is a messy one, one filled with lots of turns and twists, and your emotions will be EVERYWHERE. But accept adoption for what it is, including the messy process, and move forward. (I give credit to an adoptive friend for that advice. It's been what I've clung to so far.)

And then there are those who respond with questions. The first question we always get—"How much is that going to cost?" This is understandable. Heck, it was the first question WE asked when we were considering adoption! But I feel like these people are the more reasonable ones. What's the process like? What is open adoption? How long is this going to take? What if...? And I'll be honest—we don't have all the answers. We're still trying to figure it all out. But I wanted to take a few moments with this post to address the questions of those reasonable, logical people who wonder—What are the first steps of adoption and how do you even go about taking them?

The First Steps of Adoption, Christian family Colorado adoption

 

First there's the decision to even adopt in the first place.

It's a balance between emotion (listening to your heart, your calling, your greater purpose) and logic (can our family take in a child and support them financially, how will this affect our lifestyle and jobs, will our family and friends be accepting of the child?). John and I are Christians, so we're able to lean on our faith and on God to provide those answers. It was bathed in much prayer and lots of long conversations. 

And research. Honestly, consulting with adoptive parents that have already gone through the process made all of the difference. It's much easier to get practical advice from parents having already gone through it than it is to rely on Google. You'd think Googling "how to start the adoption process" would result in SOMETHING helpful! But nope. I was left with lots of confusion as I bounced around between different adoption agencies. So Skype calls ensued, and our decision to adopt was made clear as we picked the brains of those parents and learned more about what adoption truly entailed.

 

After that big, exciting decision, you have to determine the path you'll take in getting your child and understanding the process associated with it.

There's the option to do all of it on your own (a private adoption) where you hire your own attorney, find your own family to adopt from, and initiate all steps of the process yourself. The second option is to hire an independent consultant. This allows you to apply to many different agencies as you look for a good match all the while... well, basically someone is holding your hand. That's what I needed. I needed the hand holding. I needed someone to answer my every little question, tell me what to do next, and help me find those families who needed an adoptive match. 

Last, there's the option to go through an agency. They work for you and with you to help find that match. They have a network of families within the agency that they work with, and they provide much needed counseling and consulting every step of the way.

Honestly. I'm not entirely familiar with each of those options except for the one we chose. We knew it fit with us the best.

 

Next, you'll need to form a strategy for announcing your adoption, raising funds (think marketing strategy for a business), find the necessary tools to get your message out there, and surround yourself with an adoptive community that'll help you through the rough patches (and celebrate with you during the good times).

It takes a lot of time to plan, strategize, and prepare for the future. But, I find this stage really fun. :) That's probably the business owner in me, but it truly is fun and exciting to map out the next 12 months of our adoption journey. (Note: this plan WILL change. I've been guaranteed by other adoptive families it will. So I make plans lightly, and submit it all to God! He knows better than I do anyways.)

If you're considering adoption but feel like these first steps are daunting and confusing, find an adoptive family to talk with. Take them out to dinner or jump on Skype with them and pick their brain. Find encouragement, but also find answers to the questions you're struggling with the most. Since we're not very far into the process, I can't say whether or not starting the process is one of the hardest parts—but I can attest to first steps ALWAYS being the hardest. This portion of time in our adoption journey has taken an immense amount of commitment, leaps of faith, and arriving at a place of vulnerability to start sharing our story. It's scary, but we take comfort in "one faithful step at a time."