Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fundraising and your generous support

As we have previously mentioned, probably more than once, the process for us to adopt our little girl is an expensive one.  Once we made the decision to pursue adoption, we immediately started saving and allocating monthly income to go towards the costs.  But from the very beginning we knew we would have to look for creative ways to help us meet the costs.

As we talked about different ways we could use our skills to raise money, we knew that it had to be more than just a fundraiser; we wanted to get people involved in our story and excited for our little girl.  Well, our recent efforts, and your incredible (and yes, surprising -Adam has been very surprised and humbled- by the amount of money that has come in to support us) generosity have helped us in a huge way.  And we want to say thank you to those that have given or supported us, and explain what that money is allowing us to do in our process.

In case you missed them, here is a quick list of the different ways we worked to raise funds:
  • family photo sessions
  • Instagram auction 
  • homemade cake pops and caramel corn at a craft faire 
  • Mama t-shirts 
The out of pocket cost for us has been minimal.  Everything auctioned was donated, the supplies for the homemade goodies were all purchased strategically with coupons.  The t-shirts were given to us at below cost.  So while we put in a little money at the front end, we have been successful at using these opportunities to generate funding for our adoption. All said and done: we raised over $3,800!!  

Furthermore, November 8th was Adoption Sunday and we were given an opportunity to speak briefly in church.  You can watch most of it here. As we finished saying our few words, we were blessed with a special offering that will be used to pay adoption costs on our behalf.  

We have also received notification that we have been approved for one of the 5 grants we have applied for (no word from the other 4 until the end of the year at least)! Add to that a number of checks and envelopes of cash given to us in person or showing up in our mailbox, and the funds just keep growing.  Every time someone gives to our adoption it is humbling and exciting.  Every single time.  Every single dollar.

Overall, we have $25,000 out of  the expected $35,000 total.  We have almost 3/4 of our adoption expenses! Where will your generosity get us?  It will allow us to pay all filing fees for the US government, all filing fees for the Chinese government, all fees for our adoption agency, and all the in-country fees and expenses (like visas, orphanage fee, medical exams, paperwork and more paperwork!)   All that we have left are the travel costs to and in China to pick up our little girl.  We cannot wait to announce that our adoption is fully funded! To even write that statement, I get a little choked up.

This is an incredible feat and we are so thrilled.  So thrilled.  And blessed.  Adam continually reminded Laura to keep her expectations low because he was afraid she would be disappointed.  Shame on him!  She continued to remind him she could pray big. Laura was surprised.  Adam was certainly surprised.  We are blown away by your incredible generosity.  So thank you all so much for supporting us so greatly.  

And the best news is that since we can pay for all the fees, we can process all our paperwork which means we will be matched with our little girl soon!!!  Can you even stand to wait to see her picture?  Or a video?  We are so thankful that right now, money is not a hindrance to us being matched.  Although there is much to be done before that can happen (translation: paperwork and government bureaucracy), as each approval occurs, we are prepared to pay for the next round of fees.  Praise the Lord from whom all blessings come!

He is faithful to provide.  We knew He would, but it has been amazing and humbling to experience it.  Thank you for being a part of God's calling in our lives.  May the Lord bless you each for allowing Him to use you to bless us in this journey!  

Thank you for your support and prayers generosity. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I-800A Approved

We received notification that our I-800A or the Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country was approved!

This a big step in the right direction.

We are now able to submit all of our dossier paperwork for authentication to the California Secretary of State.  And then to the Chinese Consulate.

Please pray for expediency in these next two rounds of approvals.

Friday, October 16, 2015

from the mouths of babes

This whole adoption thing has really turned our world upside down. It is a regular part of discussion in our house.  Every day we talk about our "new baby sister" with our kids.  We don't force the issue, it just comes up.  They are clearly thinking about her and processing, which is a great thing.

They say things that melt my heart and make me want to pray and cry and laugh all at once.  They are so thoughtful it makes my heart ache.

Starting before we ever told our kids about our adoption plans, Garrett clearly had a heart for orphans.  I will just let their little voices speak for themselves (we keep a notebook of the tender and funny things these monkeys say).
Garrett: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for the little boys and girls who don't have mommies or daddies who love them.  Or grandmas and grandpas.  Please keep them safe. Amen.

Garrett: Mommy, why are there little boys and girls without mommies and daddies?
Mama: (thinking to self, why do theses conversations never happen when DADDY.IS.HOME?) Well, bud some mommies and daddies can't take care of their kids because they don't have any money, or they are sick, or they die, and sadly, sometimes they just don't want to
Garrett: What happens to them?
Mama: Well, if they don't have grandmas or grandpas or aunts or uncles to take care of them, they live in an orphanage.  That is where there are a bunch of kids and not enough adults.
Garrett: Not enough adults?
Mama: Well, the grownups have to feed, and clothe, and clean so many kids that there isn't enough love to go around. So, if they fall and get hurt, there might not be someone to snuggle and kiss their bruise.
Garrett: What can we DO???
Mama: Let's think.  What can we do?
Garrett: We could send money or toys.  (thinking thinking thinking- then jumps up and throws hand up excitedly) Or we could bring one of them to live with us and we could be their family!
Mama: (holding back tears) Yes, Garrett.  We could do that.

It was here that we decided Garrett was ready to hear about our plans to adopt.  When we told him, he jumped up and down and did a happy dance.

Kat: My new sister be Kathleen?
Mama: No, I don't think her name will be Kathleen.  I don't know what her name will be.
Garrett: I think.... Lily.

Mama: Kat, I have a surprise for you.
Kat: is it my new sister?!?!
Mama: No. Bummer.

Kat: Dear God, thank you for my new baby sister.  I love her. Please bring her home soon.  Because I want her NOW.
Mama: Me too, baby girl.  Me too.

Garrett: Will my new sister be happy when she comes home?
Mama: Maybe not.  She won't understand that we are her family right away.  Everything will be different and she might be scared.
Garrett: We can tell her that we love her and she doesn't need to be afraid.
Mama: Yes, we will.  But she probably won't understand us right away. 
Garrett: Because she will speak Chinese and we speak English?
Mama: Yes.  She will learn very quickly.  But she won't understand us right away.
Garrett: We need to learn Chinese so we can tell her we love her!

Daily we have theses conversation.  As if I wasn't on the verge anyway, these conversations are almost too much for my mama heart.  It makes me ache for our baby girl.  It makes me so proud of the thoughts my kids have.  The concern and love they have for their baby sister.  And it astounds me how deeply they think about her.  About what she is feeling right now.  About what she will feel when she comes home.  I am so thankful God has called us to adopt.  For us.  For our kids.  For their future families.  Because we have been changed already and I am excited (and super duper scared) to see what God has in store for our family.

Friday, October 2, 2015


we received our approved home study (Yay!)

submitted our I-800A to the US Department of Homeland Security (ok, our check was made out to the US Dept of Homeland Security; we submitted it to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services lockbox where it will then be forwarded to the National Benefits Center)

submitted our first grant application (and started 3 more)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Let's talk money

The very fact that we are talking about money today means this post is brought to you by Laura.  Adam will tell you that I am the financial mastermind in our family.  And so I have the privilege of looking at the overwhelming cost of international adoption and helping to explain where all that money goes!

So, I made a little pie chart.  Because I am nerdier than most people realize.

We have established that adoption is expensive, international adoption especially so.  So, why is that?
 In the life cycle of an adoption, you pay for all kinds of things.  Small things like passport photos, online classes, books, notarization, certified copies of birth certificates for EVERYONE in your family, etc.  You also pay for big things like agency fees and travel expenses.

Let's work our way through each category.

When looking at the chart, you can see that travel is the single biggest expense, however, it is still only about 1/3 of the total cost.  Frankly, it is expensive to travel internationally on relatively short notice.  Additionally, we will be in China for about 2 weeks which means accommodations and additional travel in-country as we travel from our arrival city, to the province where the orphanage is (and China is big, so that travel is not a little taxi ride...), to the Consulate to finalize the adoption, to a major airport.  Also, it may surprise you but neither of us have a secret talent in speaking Chinese (although I have just started Rosetta Stone...), so we will need to utilize a translator during our trip.

The next largest expense is country fees.  That is different from travel.  Travel costs includes what we will need to spend in order to be there.  Country fees include a fee to submit our paperwork to the CCCWA (China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption), translation costs for documents, visas, and various civil affairs fees. The largest cost in this category is a donation to the Children's Welfare Institute in China.  This donation enables the orphanages to continue to provide care.

Agency fees are fairly self-explanatory. We have an adoption agency and they provide a number of services for us including completing our homestudy, verifying all documents, submitting documents for authentication and translation, wiring all payments required in China, and facilitating our referral.  They also provided 10 hours of required education and have answered countless emails with questions and concerns.  Our agency fees are very reasonable, and thousands less than many others for an adoption from China.

Post-adoption reporting is done with an agency social worker at regular intervals following the completion of the adoption.  China requires 4 reports.  Our agency will complete the reports and submit them on our behalf.  These reports enable our agency to maintain good relationships with agencies in China in order to allow China to remain open to adoptions in America.  So, kind of a big deal.

And lastly, we have education and documentation.  This includes our submission fee for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to be approved to adopt.  Also, our additional online education, forms, passport photos, and notarization all fall here.

It is a lot.  A lot of information.  And a lot of money.  And truthfully, we are not exactly sure how we will cover all of the costs.  We pray daily that the Lord will provide exactly what we need in order to bring our baby girl home soon.  We aren't exactly sure how we feel about fundraising, but the reality is that we will need help to make this happen.

A little statistic to provide food for thought... 33% of Americans consider adoption. 79% of those are concerned about the costs, the biggest deterrent. Less than 2% adopt. (source: ABBA Fund)  We hope to be in that 2%.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why China?

Once we decided that international was the way to adoption for us, we needed to decide where in the world to adopt from.  International is a pretty broad term, after all.  Since we had already chosen Nightlight Christian Adoptions as our agency, that narrowed our country list very dramatically.  Nightlight has a program in the following 14 countries: Bulgaria, Canada, China, Ghana, Haiti, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Nicaragua, Panama, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Romania.

Now, some people know they want to adopt from somewhere very specific.  They have always imagined themselves adopting a little boy from Ecuador, or a baby girl from Ghana.  Others feel very specifically God calling them to adopt a child with severe special needs from Korea, or they have a deep connection with South Africa and so they pursue adoption there.  Adam and I were in a strange spot at this point in the process.  We felt very clearly that international adoption was right for us, but we didn't feel especially drawn anywhere specifically.  Neither of us said "THERE, let's adopt from there".  So, we prayed that God would direct us somewhere specific.  And honestly, we looked at our options and started to narrow them down.

Let me walk you through our process.
Canada and the UK were out because Nightlight only processes relative adoptions in those countries.

Romania was next to be crossed off because one parent must be a Romanian citizen.

Latvia, Panama, and Ukraine went next because there are primarily children available older than ours.

Uganda and Nicaragua were both eliminated because they require visits of 45 days and 90-120 days respectively.  Kyrgyzstan requires three separate visits. Those travel requirements seemed logistically prohibitive with 3 small children.  This was a serious consideration for us.  We simply could not imagine taking our children with us for those visits, nor could we imagine leaving them home for that amount of time.  The travel requirements became a real factor in this process for us.

Bulgaria and Ghana can take up to 30 months for a referral after your dossier is logged in country. That could make the entire process 3 years- that's a long time to be in limbo.

This left China, Hong Kong, and Haiti.
Haiti has the highest program fees of the three.  And since we were already looking at very high costs, it scared us to walk into an especially pricey program. 
Down to 2.

Hong Kong and China.  Now, I wish I could say that we received super clear direction from the Holy Spirit and we simply walked in obedience.  But honestly, it was a much less spiritual experience.  Both Hong Kong and China have primarily children with special needs available for adoption.  I won't lie, that SCARED us.  We have three super healthy children today whose biggest health challenges included lactose intolerance as an infant and ear infections requiring tubes.  So to walk into an adoption expecting a special needs child was scary.  We wrestled with that.  We talked with a representative from our agency as we walked through that.

What led us ultimately to China was two-fold.
One, many children available in China have "minor or correctable special needs".  That seemed like something we could handle.  It was explained to us this way- if a child was born to us in the States with these needs, the issue would be addressed early on with little to no residual effects.  However, because of the Chinese "one child policy" and its lasting effects on parental expectations, children are abandoned.  Hong Kong has children primarily with more severe special needs.

Two, they offered a discount.  I know that sounds awful, but the cost of this whole endeavor was, and continues to be scary.  So, we thought it seemed prudent to take into account the cost.

Additionally, Nightlight has had a Chinese adoption program for 19 years and has upstanding relationships with 4 different orphanages in China.  They have had the opportunity to provide training and support to the caregivers in these orphanages which in turn allows for better care of the kids placed there.  With these relationships also comes more complete information about the kids- information is gold in an international adoption.  Nightlight is also given the first opportunity to place children from these orphanages which can make for shorter referral times and an overall smoother process.

Obviously this process is unique to our family- the ages of our children, the issues we feel prepared to parent well, our financial resources, our support system, the people in our lives, where we live, medical resources available to us, and our agency.  This process will look very different for each family.  But we figured we could provide a candid discussion of how we chose the international program to pursue.

The information provided about children available from specific countries can vary by agency.  Different agencies may work with different orphanages.  Also, program fees vary by agency.  So, if you are considering adoption and have your heart set on a specific country, don't let this information change your mind.  Find an agency you trust and work with them to make it happen.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

for her

I am going to deviate from our planned blog posts to share something straight from my heart.

I have felt burdened for our Chinese baby girl, for her.  Tears come without explanation.  I find myself snuggling Garrett, Kat and Eli more and praying the love I have for my children can be felt by her too.  I find myself mourning the care she needs but may not be receiving.  Aching because there is a baby girl that needs love and protection but she may not be receiving that either.  When I do something to soothe my children, my heart breaks that there may be no one comforting her as she cuts teeth or recovers from a fall.
The more we read about children who are institutionalized in orphanages, the sadder it makes me for the lives of the children in them.  They start out losing the battle.  The odds are not in their favor.  And it breaks my heart that our daughter is there now.  We don't know who she is, but I know she is ours.

And so I pray...
that her mind, and body and spirit would be protected from harm and neglect
the she would be surrounded by the peace and love of God
that she would not be hungry
that God would make her mind, body and spirit resilient
that she would receive quality medical treatment when she needs it
that she is unafraid
(Garrett often prays that she will not feel alone)
that God would direct us straight to her
that God would prepare her to fit right into our family
that God would prepare us to be her family, making changes in us today that will enable us to be right for her
that our children will love her from the second they see her picture

There is much to pray about our process. But somehow, the logistics and finances and bureaucracy seem unimportant when I consider a baby girl is not home.

As a mama, I value the prayers you offer for our baby girl.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Domestic or International

In our first few conversations about adoption, the big question was: from where?

We are not experts, but here is a breakdown of our thoughts and understandings of domestic vs. international adoption.

Domestic adoptions usually grow out of foster care.  While not every foster family expects to adopt the child, many who want to adopt domestically start out as a foster family.  Our thinking was that we couldn't handle a disrupted adoption.  If, while the child is a placed foster child, the birth family has a change of heart, legally they have a claim on the child and can remove them from foster care.  We knew we couldn't handle this, even if the risk was relatively small.  A large part of our thinking on this was to protect our children from heartache.  We knew that they would attach themselves immediately to a new sister and would love her as one of our own.  They would not understand the reasons she left, and would simply feel like they lost a sister.  We did not want them to ever wonder if they also could be taken away since their sister was.
When it comes to domestic adoption; one concern was the idea of open adoption.  While it isn't a regular thing, open adoptions have become more common in the last decade or so.  Open adoptions are where biological family members of the adopted child maintain contact.  This can be birthmothers, birthfathers, siblings, and grandparents.  Essentially, the idea is for the adopted child to have interaction with her biological family, creating a very extended family network.  There are different levels of open adoption and many different reasons why people would choose this option.  However, it was not an option we were prepared to manage.  Open adoptions are more common in domestic adoptions simply because there is usually more information known about the child's family.

It was also clear to us that the wait time for placement in domestic adoption can be very long.  The age range of child we are looking to adopt can create especially long wait times in the US while parent rights are terminated.  While it is a good thing, a really good thing that there aren't hundreds of children simply waiting to be picked, it does mean that when a family is ready to adopt, it can be a long, drawn out process, filled with long periods of simply waiting.
Additionally, there are many couples who are unable to have children and desperately want to be matched with a birthmother and receive a newborn.  We did not want to take that opportunity from someone.  We did not want to add our profile into the mix to compete for a domestic newborn, when we have had the opportunity to raise three of our own.

Thus we began looking at international adoption.

Clearly, international adoption includes any nation other than the U.S.  However, most adoption agencies specialize in adoptions from certain countries.  When we picked our agency, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, it narrowed our country choices simply by the fact that they conduct adoptions from 14 countries.
One of our concerns with this consideration was that international adoption has become hip.  With many celebrities adopting internationally, we didn't want to be seen as a family who has a token black baby.  We searched our hearts on this one. We prayed through it and discussed it at length.  And we concluded that by the very fact that we are concerned about it being perceived as being cool, we are not motivated by the social trend to have a transracial family.  In fact, it is honestly, a little (sometimes a lot!) scary to anticipate becoming an obviously adoptive family.

International adoption also requires a lot of work.  Actually, all adoption does (as the home study is plenty of work), but international adoption also requires a whole dossier which is no simple task.  International adoption also requires travel to the country of the child.  We had to weigh this out.  Some countries require multiple trips, which means growing costs, and time off of work, and time away from our other children.  Some countries required long trips, which means growing costs.  And no matter where you travel or for how long, international adoption is an expensive endeavor.  Not to mention language and cultural barriers, both for us as travelers but for our new child as well.

The reality is that with international adoption, you are taking an already hurting child and ripping her away from the only world, language, food, etc. that she knows, even if it is an impoverished and under stimulating existence.  This is an important issue that we had to be prepared to address with our daughter.

And did I mention the cost?  I'm not just being flippant here.  Cost is a real consideration.  Domestic adoption is a cheaper option and foster adoption can actually be free.  International adoption has a considerable price tag.  Statistically, cost is the reason most people who consider adopting, decide not to.

Ultimately, we decided international adoption was the best fit for our family.  We feel called to grow our family in this way.  We feel prepared to love a child who needs a family.  We feel capable of overcoming cultural hurdles as well as adapting our lives and family to become more international -although we laugh when we consider a little Chinese girl with the last name DeClercq!  Although truth be told, DeClercq is no cake walk of a name for any of us to handle.  And as for the cost, so far we have been able to fund the expenses out of savings.  Although we have had considerable expense so far, the bulk of the cost is still ahead of us.  We trust that God will provide the means to bring our daughter home. 

So, stay tuned for a breakdown of cost, and how we picked China. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

homestudy *almost* done

This is just a quick update to let you know where we are in the process.  We haven't been posting much as we have been plowing our way through piles of paperwork, classes and reading (if you are interested, we can post the complete list of paperwork, education, and reading we did- seems like pretty specific minutiae but if you want to know, I am your girl!).

We are *this* close to being done with our homestudy.  We are awaiting the completion of one physical exam, 2 physicians' forms and one social worker visit.  Then our social worker will compile everything into a report- our homestudy.  We sort of blew through the "social worker phase" without any fanfare.

Once the report is complete and approved by Nightlight's home office we will submit it to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS or CIS) along with our Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt from a Convention Country (or I-800A).  What a mouthful, huh? We will be fingerprinted again and then approved to adopt.  Wahoo.  At least the US will have approved us.  Then we have to work on everything to submit to China for approval.  That is a different pile of paperwork.

While our I-800a is in the works, we will be applying for grants and working to fund the remainder of our adoption costs.  We are hopeful that through our savings, grants, fundraising and a low to interest-free loan through the grant organization we will be able to completely fund this process.  You know, without having to sell everything we own.

There is always work to be done for the adoption.  Thanks for coming along this journey with us.  It is surely an adventure and we are excited God has called us to it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

You've heard the what, now here is the why

"Why are you adopting?"  I really expected someone to ask us this question; yet not once has this been asked of us. 

I guess we have been asked what brought this about a few times, but somehow that felt different from the expected questions of "why?" that I was prepared to answer. 

Maybe it is because in all the reading that we are doing, couples are constantly explaining why they choose to adopt.  But even though we have read dozens and dozens of examples, none of them quite seem to fit our reason why.

So even though no one has specifically asked, I still feel like there is a reason to explain why we are choosing to adopt. 

We clearly are not infertile as many adoptive parents are. 

We do not feel like our family is incomplete.  It is quite the contrary.  We have 3 gifts who fill our hearts and gray our hair daily.

We simply feel overwhelmingly blessed and desire to share our blessing.  We have resources to care for another child.  We have the love to love another child.  We have room to house another child, food to feed, clothes to clothe etc. 

We also feel that by adopting a child without a family we are trying to live out our faith in Christ in a very real way.  Christians are specifically commanded to take care of orphans, and we see this as a way our family can obey this command.  Furthermore, we have been adopted into God's family through the sacrifice of Jesus, and so we see our small sacrifice of opening our home and hearts to another child as a way to express our gratitude to our Maker. 

We do not make this decision lightly.  We are constantly talking it over, praying about it, checking our motivations.  Some days we are affirmed by our decision.  Other days we are terrified.  But our resolve hasn't wavered.  This is something we are committed to doing because we want to, we are excited to, and we feel blessed to be in a position to be the family a child needs. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

the process

So, if you are like us, the thought of international adoption seems big and scary and confusing.  And although we know a lot more about the process now than when we first started, it is still pretty overwhelming at times.  We want to give you an overview of the process and share where we are and what the next steps are for us.

A very simple, stripped down summary of the process is this...
First, homestudy.
Then, dossier.
Then, referral.
Then, travel.
Then, new DeClercq for life.

Currently, we are in the first half of the homestudy phase.  The paperwork phase.  And education.  Homestudy could really be renamed "parent education phase".  We are each required to read 5 books, a number of online resources, complete 12 hours of online education, and attend 10 hours of in-person classes.  Some of that is our agency's requirement, some are mandated by Hague requirements which govern international adoption, and some are China-specific requirements of parents adopting from China.  Regardless of who requires it, we are doing it.

The paperwork is its own beast.  We have a page and a half checklist of things ranging from fingerprinting and birth certificates, to medical exams and personal reflection autobiographies, to a floor plan of our house and multiple financial statements.  The range of information that we provide is very extensive.

We have appreciated the reflection that has come from preparing these documents.  As we really examine our family, our past, our marriage, our parenting, it has been affirming of our decision to adopt.

Moving forward in the process, once we complete the paperwork phase of the homestudy, we move into the social worker phase.  We will meet one-on-one, as a couple and as a family with a social worker from our adoption agency.  She will complete a review of our home and conduct interviews.  Once the homestudy is successfully completed, we submit our "stuff" for approval to the State and Federal agencies that control adoption.  They give us the stamp of approval to adopt.

Then we move into the dossier phase.  Our dossier is a compilation of documents that represents us to the agency in China that approves adoption.  We provide more financial information, more medical checks, more birth certificates, and so on.  These documents are all notarized.  Then everything in the dossier is authenticated at 3 levels and then submitted to China.  Once approved here, we are eligible for a referral.

This becomes the matching phase.  We wait for our child.  We will complete a questionnaire about the type of child we feel will be the best match for our family and for us as parents.  And then we wait.

Once we have been matched and we say "yes", travel is scheduled.  We will then travel to China for approximately 2 weeks to pick up our new child from their orphanage and finalize the adoption in China.  More paperwork, and lots of travel. 

See, less confusing and scary, but still pretty overwhelming.  Questions?  We would love to answer anything you are wondering about. 

Also, we are going to add a box to the right with specific prayer requests.  Generally, you can pray for wisdom and momentum for us through this process.  Peace in our home and in our marriage.  And a continued understanding of God's calling on us as a family in adoption.  And for God's miraculous financial provision.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Our decision to adopt

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is...Stop...Let me try again, and this time with much less Holden Caulfield

I think the topic of adoption first started during our courtship.  The conversation was probably light and extremely hypothetical:

Laura: Do you want to have kids someday?
Adam: Sure.
Laura: Care to elaborate?
Adam: Sure, I'd like to have lots of kids someday.

and on it would go, how many kids, do you want boys or girls, would you want to adopt?  I think we both agreed that, sure, as 20 year olds finishing college, adopting a child and having children in general probably sounded like a lot of fun and something we would do after we had all the fun that a young couple in love could have.

Fast forward a few years, and we had Garrett and somewhere between changing diapers and wondering "why, again, did we choose this?" we hypothetically discussed adoption, but only briefly since life felt overwhelming. 

We revisited this conversation after Kathleen was born and again when we were expecting Eli. The only difference was that after our third child, Laura's answer to the question "do you want to adopt" was a resounding NO!

Still, I, Adam, couldn't quite shake the feeling that adoption was a God honoring and important life decision.  Simply because I continually thought about it affirmed that adoption was something serious I should consider.  And so I prayed.  My prayer was simply: "God, my wife and I are on different pages when it comes to adoption.  I don't want to stress her or worry her or add to her already full load as a mother.  So I leave it to you.  If adoption is something you want for my family then you will work in her heart and get us on the same page; I leave it now with you."  And that was the last I thought about it.  Until Laura brought up adoption and suggested we seriously consider it.  
Consider my mind blown by this answer to prayer.

Thus began a year of prayer, research, and thoughtful conversation which eventually lead to action.  And now here we are, just a few months into the process and our whole family is totally committed.  Garrett even regularly prays for the "little kiddo we're bringing into our family." 

We feel so blessed in so many ways we simply want to be able to bless a child who has no family.  We want to love and care for a child who has no one to love and care for her.  That is our heart, may God bless our efforts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Yes, we are still around.

January?  That can't be right?  We haven't posted since January?  Whoops. 

Actually, I'm not all that torn up about it.  We have about 1 1/2 regular readers of our blog, so there aren't depressed and broken hoards waiting out in the blogosphere waiting on pins and needles for us to post again. 

The truth is, we haven't had anything particularly exciting to share.  We've just been living.  Trying to keep 3 kiddos alive and well.  Working.  Baking.  Watching season 2 of Mr. Selfridge.  Sleeping when we can, which never seems to be quite enough.  So, your average, (awesome!) American lives.  I'm happy.  I'm more than that.  I'm satisfied and content.  I'm fulfilled.  I am blessed by my wonderful family. 

So, why again, are we going to do something crazy?  It feels crazy.  It feels overwhelming.  And stressful.  And right. 

Laura and I have decided to grow our family once again, and this time we plan to adopt. 

So, we are officially announcing to the world that we are in the beginning stages of the adoption process.  We don't know the child yet, but we are praying for her.  We don't know when she will be ours, but we are preparing for her.  We are terrified.  And excited.  And doing our best to follow God's leading plan in our lives. 

Stayed tuned.  We'll try and update you regularly.  One reason I feel compelled to share is that while it seems that we only know people who know people who have adopted, we don't actually know anyone in our circle of acquaintances and friends that has adopted.  Thus, if you are thinking, considering, or even wondering about the process - well, you know us, so let us be a resource (albeit totally untested) for you. 

That's all for now.  You may continue about your business. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Garrett's Preschool Christmas Celebration

Kinda late, but here it is.  As usual, kids are goofy.  My son won't sit still and is screaming.  Other kids are grabbing the ornaments off the tree.  Crazy.  But Fun.  And a blessing.  May these kids always give thanks for Jesus!