Milestones

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It’s hard to believe Cai has been home with us for 6 months already. He’s such a precious, sweet baby. I’ve never seen anyone smile as much as he does. At least one hundred times a day we make eye contact and his whole face squishes up in sheer joy. He is long and round and an absolute delight. Everyone who sees him loves him, and it’s not hard to understand why.

6 months is a big deal, because according to the state of Texas, we are now legally able to finalize Cai’s adoption. Next Friday, August 11th, we will stand in front of a judge, promise to keep doing everything we’ve done since we knew he existed, and we’ll go from in the process of adopting Cai to a family of four for all legal purposes. I remember when we finalized Evie’s adoption I felt like I had been holding my breath for 6 months, but didn’t realize it until I let it out. This time is different in a lot of ways, because we know the process, but some things don’t change. I’m aware of a weight on my chest that I know will vanish when we exit the courtroom.

Today is our placement anniversary with Evie. 3 years ago her birthmother put her in my arms and made us a family. We celebrated as anyone would, with breakfast tacos and a trip to Pump It Up. We talk to her about what today is, and she smiles and says, “Oh, yes!” I’m glad there will never be a moment when she finds out she’s adopted. Her birthday was just four days ago, and we celebrated so big. Even though there was a very short gap between her birth and placement, there’s a funny, bittersweet feeling for the days we missed being together.

Our kids are almost exactly 2 1/2 years apart. That means their respective birthdays/finalization dates are right on top of each other and I’ll be an emotional wreck twice a year.

We’re participating in Gladney Family Day for Cai’s adoption, there will be a lot of families finalizing that day and the whole afternoon will be dedicated to wonderful  things instead of what normally goes on in a family courthouse. The courtroom will be filled with stuffed animals and happy families and people who work at Gladney. We’re excited to be part of it, and we’ve been brainstorming ways to include everyone who helped us bring Cai home. For one thing, the tees!! August 11th will be wear your Family is More Than Blood t-shirt day! We want everyone to wear their tees and post photos on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #finallyCai so we can all celebrate together. We’re also planning to stream the ceremony on Facebook Live, so be looking for that on my profile after about 1:00 that afternoon! Our part is so short, just 5 minutes or so, and if you want to see what it’s all about we’d love to have you join us online!

We’re looking forward to seeing all your posts and photos and celebrating with the team of people who helped make this our reality. We’re so thankful for you!

 

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CROSBY MORDECAI – PART THREE

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You can catch up on Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

This is where things get a little tricky for me. On one hand it would be beneficial for me to share a lot of detail about what it was like to bring Cai home once he was born. Sharing would be appropriate because so many of you helped support us through this process, either through prayer and encouragement or financially. Sharing would help people understand more about who birth families are and why people shouldn’t be so suspicious and afraid of them. Sharing would compel our people to share with their children which would in turn make more positive interactions for my, and many other adopted, children in the future. (This is where I want to go on a rant about parents who don’t teach their kids about anything outside of their own standard family structure and the unintentionally hurtful things kids say to adoptive families as a result…but I won’t.) But on the other hand, this is my son’s story. This is his birthmother’s story. Bearing all that in mind I’m going to do my best to walk a fine line, and if you feel like I’m being vague at any point or you wish I had said more, now you can understand my conflict.

Because Cai had been born so late in the day Tuesday, I prepped Jonathan and myself that we’d realistically be waiting until Friday morning for our caseworkers to meet Melissa to sign her paperwork, with placement to follow. Wednesday morning we made some loose plans for how to spend the next couple of days, and Mama sent us on a lunch date. We went to eat at a burger place we love near my parents’ house, ran into some people who work with my dad and were intentionally vague about why we were in Dallas in the middle of the week. Sorry, y’all. I never feel good about it, it’s a problematic situation. Maybe just don’t ask me questions like, what are you doing in Dallas in the middle of the week. Jonathan dropped me across the street to get my nails done which I had been obsessing about for weeks because Melissa keeps her nails done and I had mine done the last time I had seen her and I didn’t want them to look a mess at placement or she’d think I couldn’t keep myself put together… All that nervous energy has to go somewhere. It could be worse than nails, I guess. Anyway, as I sat in the salon chair I got a call from Jennifer updating me on the plan for the next few days. I had been wrong about everything. First, Melissa wanted everything to move forward without any delays. Her plan was to sign at the 48 hour mark, and do placement at the hospital. She is an extremely purposeful person, and had put a lot of thought into how she wanted to walk through this process. We affirmed that anything she wanted we would be happy to make happen. Jennifer told me Melissa would be calling me soon to fill me in and to ask us if we wanted to come visit her and Cai at the hospital, and she’s so sweet and accommodating it would be easy to miss that she really wanted us to come see her that day. We had known this was a possibility, and had talked through it already, so I knew we would say yes if she was up for a visit. It’s not such an easy decision because there’s always the risk for us that she may decide to parent and Cai wouldn’t be ours. It would be devastating to meet him and hold him believing he would be ours, and then drive back to The Woodlands without him. I have known more than one person who has lived through this (or even more) and I don’t take it lightly. I had mentioned the possibility to my mom a week or two prior, and she very gently asked me if I would be a little worried about meeting him before she signed. My response at the time was, “I’m terrified about everything every minute. I can’t make decisions based on that.” It would’ve been fine for us to say no. Jennifer made sure we knew that on every possible occasion. Instead we had a conversation we’d had a lot of times before in the process: It’s a yes, right? Yes, it’s a yes.

Melissa called later in the day and asked if we would like to come see her and the baby. We asked her over and over if she was sure she was up for it and was she sure her family wanted to go home when they were planning to and told her again and again that if she needed or wanted to change the plan we would be fine, we had no schedule, no conflicts, but YES, we would love to see her, and we would love to meet him. My mom snapped this photo of us during that phone call and sent it to me weeks later. Notice my heels off the ground.

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As sure as we were that we would go see Melissa and Cai we were just as sure we wouldn’t tell anybody about it. Some things are too hard to explain, not because of the people we’d tell, but because of how much we were processing. We drove the 5 or so minutes up to the hospital and were greeted by Melissa’s caseworker outside her room. We spent about an hour and a half with Melissa and Cai and a few minutes with Melissa’s mom, too. It was a sweet, happy visit. Melissa was in good spirits and felt good physically. She told us everything about her sweet baby boy, Crosby Cai. His name was on all his paperwork and on every name blank in the hospital room. It was written on the whiteboard and on the paper attached to his bassinet. We asked before we did anything. Is it ok if I pick him up? Is it ok if I take his photo? Is it ok if we take photos with him? My mom knitted him this hat, is it ok if I put it on him? She kept enthusiastically replying, YES! but we had to ask. I remembered from one of our first adoption trainings someone mentioning this scenario briefly and we adhered to their advice earnestly. We talked and talked and passed him back and forth and when it was time for Melissa to eat dinner we said our goodbyes and see you tomorrows and we left feeling peaceful. Cai was being loved and held and treasured by his birth family, and we were going home to put Evie to bed. We didn’t tell where we had been even as our closest friends all checked in to see how we were doing. It was nice to have a moment to ourselves, a moment we weren’t sharing yet.

Nearly three months later I really don’t remember a lot about placement day before late afternoon. I know we spent some time here and there and I have photos of Evie napping with her face on a baby doll in her bed at my parents’ house. As the day wore on I got a lot of sweet messages from our people. Words of encouragement, prayers, and scripture memes (thanks, Lyndsay) came in a steady stream as we counted down the hours and minutes. The day was long.

We got the call from Jennifer in the late afternoon that Melissa would be discharging and signing, then we would come back to her hospital room for placement. Once all the paperwork was signed on both ends the hospital could discharge Cai, and she wanted us to leave with him and give her some time to collect herself before her mom took her home. We made sure we knew exactly how she wanted everything to go. She was wiling to let us and our caseworkers take photos, and to be in the photos, which is so generous and we’ll always be thankful for that.

After we had word that Melissa had signed her papers we met Jennifer and her intern in the hospital lobby to sign all of our paperwork. We chatted and laughed and waited to hear they were ready for us to come up. We rode the elevator up to her floor and sat in the waiting room just outside her room. We listened as her caseworker explained that Melissa was ready, and so glad we were there, but she was very sad, and very emotional.

Placement was hard. It was a sweet, quiet, slow, difficult experience. Everyone, including our caseworkers had tears streaming down their faces. Melissa placed Cai in my arms and we talked a little about how he had been that day, how she was feeling. He was dressed in the most precious and lovingly chosen outfit that her mother had gotten for him. She was there, too. We all hugged each other, a lot. I encouraged Melissa to hold him again as many times and for as long as she wanted. I promised he would know all the things she was whispering in his ear. The nurses came in to cut off their hospital bracelets and prepare him for leaving the hospital and I instinctively stepped between them and Melissa and Cai and announced firmly to anyone who could hear that we were not in any hurry and we would be staying as long as everyone wanted to stay. Everyone agreed. When she was ready, Melissa told us it was time, and I should put him in his carseat. We had given her a gift. We had hugged and said goodbye. There wasn’t anything left to do. So we put our heads down, loaded up our arms with the carrier and the bags of gifts his birthfamily had given us, and stifled our sobs till we made it into the hallway.

We rode the elevator to the lobby and I asked Jennifer if it was normal to leave placement with gifts and cards, because this was our second time to do so. I already knew the answer. We loaded the car and stood in the parking lot with Jennifer for a few minutes so she could make sure we were ok. She said, “This sucks.” I want to make sure you know the truth in that statement. Nothing about this is perfect. Nothing about this is ideal. Only God can redeem what comes from so much pain and grief. He does, oh He does in full and with an abundance of goodness and gentleness and grace, but it starts here.

On the short drive back to the house we pulled ourselves together. I actually think Jonathan may have slapped himself in the face a few times. We completely bungled disseminating information. It hadn’t felt so important this time, we were focused on other things. There was no carefully planned list of people to call or text, we just told who we told and posted a photo of us with Evie in a big sister t-shirt on social media. I realized we probably should’ve thought it through a little more, but I can’t say I was bothered. We enjoyed prioritizing Evie and Cai and each other and letting everything else fall however it landed.

Just like that, we were four. Evie loved Cai fiercely and immediately. She laid eyes on him and exclaimed, “He’s so tall!” My heart could explode.

We’re still technically in the process of adopting Cai. There’s a mandatory six month period between placement and finalization, and we’re nearly three months in. Most days we don’t think about it that way, but next week we have a post-placement visit with someone from Gladney’s Houston office, so we’ll clean the house and make sure the kids are bathed and we have had a ton of coffee and don’t look exhausted. All eyes are on August and finalization, and we’ll share more about our plans for celebrating with all of you when we have a date set.

In the meanwhile, keep supporting adoption. You’re all changing the world, one family at a time, and this family is thankful.

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Crosby Mordecai – Part Two

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You can catch up on Part 1 here if you’re just jumping in.

As January dragged on/hurtled forward depending on the day and I crept closer and closer to a total nervous breakdown (my poor family and friends, y’all), we heard from Melissa about once a week. She sweetly updated us on how the baby was doing, but it was obvious she just wanted to talk, too, which was wonderful because so did we. She had decided before meeting us that she felt like the best way for her to heal and move forward would be by not receiving any update about the baby after placement. We have such a sweet relationship with Evie’s birthmother, Jazmyn, even though it’s just occasional emails that maintain our anonymity and a couple of in person visits, we were kind of crushed knowing Melissa wanted to close the door on contact. It’s disappointing for us, because she’s wonderful, but also hard to think about the future with our child not having any connection to her. We obviously respect and honor her choice, but it’s hard because we see so many birth mothers flourish because they receive even just yearly updates with a few photos. Validation of such an incredibly hard decision can be invaluable. The bright spot for us was that she wanted to have as much contact as we wanted up to placement. She would talk to us, answer any questions, share as much as we wanted to know, and we absolutely loved getting to know her. She wanted to know if we had a name chosen, a nursery decorated, and as I shared all our plans she was so excited. She told us over and over that she already knew this was our baby. We told her we had chosen the name Crosby Mordecai. Crosby because it means “he dwells at the foot of the cross” and Mordecai because it means warrior, but also because of Mordecai’s example of adoption in the book of Esther. We told her we planned to call him Cai. From that day forward she and her family all called him baby Cai.

One night in mid-January as I crawled into bed I had a moment of clarity. Some thoughts had been swirling in my head for a few months that I just couldn’t get a handle on. I knew God was trying to teach me something and I was getting it in bits and pieces and the more time I spent talking to Him the more I understood and then I finally had the words. I looked at Jonathan and said, “This is the purpose of my life. This is how I’m supposed to point people to Jesus.” For a long time we talked about adoption as a call on our lives, and it most certainly is. But I have more than one call on my life. This is something different, something set apart. If I didn’t do this, I would not be fulfilling my purpose. It’s not just about adopting babies, though that is absolutely the foundation of it. I am supposed to adopt babies, and be loud about it. Plenty of people adopt kids and it’s. a private part of their life and there is nothing wrong with that, but that’s not what I am supposed to do. I’m supposed to make a big deal about it. I’m supposed to meet with people in coffee shops or over Facebook messenger to answer all their questions. I’m supposed to write this ridiculous blog and share personal information I wouldn’t otherwise share with more than a handful of people. I’m supposed to help couples see what adoption really is, not the stories they’ve heard but our real family, God’s real plan for it, what birthmothers are really like. And then tears streamed down my face when I told Jonathan the truth, that I would not have done it without him. God put us together for this. We have got to be the two most difficult people on the planet, and He put us together so we could do this difficult thing. We were made stubborn, persistent, and entirely too passionate for this purpose. I’m great at managing all the tasks and checking off the boxes and making things move forward, which is invaluable in the adoption process. But at the very beginning, when we were standing at the start of an insurmountable journey, Jonathan is the one that grabbed my hand and dragged me through the first steps. I would’ve been paralyzed with fear and indecision, but I had Jonathan. And the two of us had all of you. We had all the people who supported and fundraised and prayed us through. Thank you seems like a stupid thing to say, but it’s what I told Jonathan, so it’s what I’ll tell you.

On January 23rd some amazing women hosted a fundraiser for our adoption. A woman I’ve NEVER MET decided to use her Norwex business to grow our family. Our sweet friends hosted a party. Part of me wants to ramble about our fundraising experience the past few years because I continue to be BLOWN AWAY at the extreme generosity of people we know and love, and people we don’t know, but love just the same. I’ll refrain for now. The number of people who knew Cai was probably coming soon was tiny. He was due the 26th, and I was having the most awkward conversations of my life avoiding talking about the only thing going on in my life right now. Just before everyone showed up for the Norwex party I got a call from Melissa that she had been checked in to the hospital and would be induced in the morning. She sounded great, had everything she needed, and said she was looking forward to seeing us soon. I have no idea how I behaved the rest of the party though I’m sure I was a total loon. I remember whispering to my sweet friend, Aimee, “He’s coming tomorrow.” and she threw up her hands and yelled “HOLY MOLY!” 😂

We had planned to drive up to Dallas when he would be born and be there and ready for whatever would happen whenever it would happen. We spent the whole day on the 24th packing up and putting finishing touches on a few things at the house. I stopped saying Cai’s name and started saying “the baby.” It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened. While scrambling around that morning we got an email from the production team at our church, they had finished the long version of the video we shot promoting our adoption and foster care ministry, Legacy685. We sat for 10 minutes and remembered where we had started and what God had led us through. You can watch it here.  About 30 minutes after we left our house we got the call that Melissa had delivered a healthy, beautiful baby boy. 8 lb 2 oz, at 4:37 pm. She was doing well, and we’d get updates as they were available.

It’s hard to explain. First there was this rush of relief, and I sobbed because he was born and healthy and I was so happy. Then pretty much immediately I experienced what I’d only known one other time, this strange feeling of detachment and anxiety. He was here, and I loved him so much already, but we had to wait 48 hours before Melissa could sign her rights away and follow through on her plan. We had been saying for a month that as sure as she was about her decision, she had all the family support she would need if she decided to parent. The truth is Melissa would’ve been a wonderful mother. She wanted her baby to have two parents who were prepared to raise him, but she could have decided to parent. We told her openly on multiple occasions that there was no decision she could make that would let us down. The same thing was true with Evie’s birthmother. So, we drove north, and we started the countdown.

 

The third and final part will come soon. Thanks for following along.

 

Crosby Mordecai – Part One

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You certainly all know by now that our son, Crosby Mordecai, is here. It’s only taken me two and a half months to sit down at my computer to share on the blog, and I’ve honestly been carrying around a little guilt that I haven’t shared with all of you yet. So, here we are.

It’s hard to know where to start. When I blogged Evie’s story I really gave a play by play of how everything happened. Cai’s adoption, from beginning to present day has been much less…systematic? I’ve been a lot more introspective through the process, maybe because it was so much longer, and then highly protective of his story and his birth family once they entered our life. I’m not thrilled that as I type I don’t really have a plan for what to share. That’s a terrible writing strategy, for one. Alas. The good news is, you don’t have to read this 😉.

The last time I blogged we had just opened our final t-shirt order. About two weeks prior I had gotten a call from our caseworker, Jennifer, that a birthmother wanted to talk to us on the phone. It was very surreal and a little confusing, though I think the confusion was mostly a defense mechanism on my part. Jennifer was really saying we had been chosen by a birthmother who wanted to talk to us on the phone, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up. She told us the baby was a boy, and he was due at the end of January. We scheduled a call for two days later and set up an anonymous google voice phone number. Melissa, this birthmother, would call us directly. We hadn’t done that with Jazmyn, Evie’s birthmother, and it seemed scary to be on our own with no caseworker backup. So that Wednesday we sat in our living room, holding my phone, watching the minutes go by, waiting for our 1:00 call. About 1:01 the phone rang and we heard Melissa say, “Hi, is this Megan and Jonathan?” After we identified ourselves and said hello we heard her sniffle and start to cry. She said, “I’m sorry I’m crying, I’ve just been praying for y’all for so long it’s so good to finally hear your voices.” And that’s Melissa.

We talked for an hour or so about anything and everything. She was immediately vulnerable and honest with us, and we immediately loved her. Later in the day Jennifer called to verify Melissa was happy with how the call went and wanted to meet us in person, so just a few days after Christmas we headed up to Dallas to meet her for dinner with her mom, her caseworker, and our caseworker. It was eerily similar to when we met Jazmyn in the ease of conversation, instant connection, and the amount we shared in common. She showed us an ultrasound photo of her baby boy, and told us when it came down to it the only thing that mattered to her was that we love the Lord and would raise her baby to love Him too. Melissa is someone I would be friends with under different circumstances. She liked that we enjoy food, fashion, music, and travel. The restaurant she chose for dinner was where Jonathan and I went on our first date. Her sweet mom alternated between nervous silence and easy conversation. We told her she could ask us anything and she said, “This isn’t what I wanted for Melissa, but I will support whatever she decides to do. Now that I’ve met you, I think she’s made a good decision.” I can’t fathom being in her position, but I fully felt the weight of the love she has for her daughter and grandson, and that she was choosing to have for us. We talked over dinner for a couple of hours, took pictures together, and headed home that night feeling amazing about Melissa, and cautiously optimistic about having a baby boy in just under a month. That’s the term our agency uses, by the way, “cautiously optimistic.”

When I blogged through Evie’s adoption process I shared a lot about what God was teaching me, and it kept coming back to one statement, “This is not about me.” It was about Him. It was about what He was doing in the lives of people around us who were partnering in bringing her home. It was about His glory and us having a tiny platform to declare who He is and what He is about. I carried that into our second adoption joyfully, and was excited for what the theme would be this time around. It didn’t take long before I identified an undeniable recurring lesson, God is Good. As we waited, fundraised, waited, attended trainings and conferences, waited, celebrated our friends new babies, waited, etc. I was being led through His goodness deeper and more intensely than ever before. It was scary, honestly, because His goodness isn’t about Him being good to me, though He is and was. It wasn’t dependent on good things happening. I was uncovering more about His heart and its pure goodness with every step of the process, and I was preparing to declare His goodness through any hard circumstances that would come. As with all adoptions, there is an abundance of grief and loss in  Cai’s story. We’re thankful to be able to say boldly that God is good, that Cai’s life is good, that Melissa’s choice is good, and that we hold on to that truth from now until forever.

January was a tough month for us. I went pretty much berserk getting our house and lives ready for a new baby. We worried and rejoiced and prepared and didn’t share a lot of information. One of the things I struggled with most in January was how on earth we could possibly end up with two birthmothers as wonderful as these women. It’s not reasonable to go into the adoption process expecting anything to be easy or perfect. Adoption is born out of grief and loss, imperfect situations, and a lot of brokenness. So when Jazmyn was this beautiful, amazingly well-supported, respectful person, we were blown away and we knew that was a once in a lifetime gift from God. After meeting Melissa I dealt with a lot of strange guilt. I still can’t really explain it. “Why me?” is such a ridiculous question to be asking when things are going unimaginably well, and things were going unimaginably well. Not only had we been chosen by this precious birthmother who called weekly to chat and update us on the baby, but I ran another t-shirt sale and raised TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS in a week because you people are amazing beyond comprehension. So we spent the month preparing for a baby we knew could easily not be ours.

And on that terribly incomplete note, I have to go to sleep. Two kids, y’all. More soon. ❤

 

 

 

 

Tees…???

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Of all the things I never thought I’d say again, “We’re doing another round of t-shirt sales!” was pretty high on the list. Don’t get me wrong, doing the sales was amazing. I’m not sure we’ve ever had a clearer picture of what God and our team of supporters can do than when we were selling shirts. But there came a point where I couldn’t fathom anyone having to see our requests in their facebook feed one more single time, and then we did two more orders after that!

So…why now? We’ve got two main reasons. The first, people ask me on a regular basis if I have more tees, if I’ll order more tees, if they can get a new one, replace their old one, buy more for their growing children, etc. It hasn’t stopped in the year since we did our last order. For a long time I thought people were just being nice to us. Turns out y’all really love these shirts and what they’re about. (I should be able to type that without welling in tears but, alas.) Secondly, we still owe money. We were BLOWN AWAY at how our community, the adoption community, people we’ve never met, and our church came around us to help us cross some major financial milestones in this adoption process. It was exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think. We knew we had a good amount of waiting time ahead of us, so we took a break from fundraising. We have tried to boldly and relentlessly pursue God’s will for our family, and that has led us to do some uncomfortable things, fundraising being at the very top as far as my personality is concerned. I was glad for a break from asking.

We spent the year heavily involved in adoptive-family life and waiting-family life. We attended an adoption conference in Nashville with our best waiting-at-the-time friends, Troy & Aimee. We ate ourselves silly, laughed until we cried, and spent hours furiously taking notes and pouring over information about how we can best love our children and help them grow.

We facilitated two weeks of a class at our church on how we and our children are created for connection and how to nurture that connection when our kids come from places of loss. We also marveled at the fact that we’d be asked. Nothing is better preparation than real life experience!

We even recorded a video interview about our experiences with our adoption processes in conjunction with Legacy685, our church’s adoption ministry. The full version is still in editing but our media team at the church decided to cut a mini-version and pass it up to be shown in our worship services on Orphan Sunday as a way to promote Legacy685 and bring attention to what our church is doing for adoption and foster care. You can watch it here: Jonathan & Megan: An Adoption Story

There’s a  lot more, too. Troy & Aimee brought home their son in June, and finalized his adoption at the beginning of December. I have no words for how amazing it has been getting to walk through this together with them. It’s been the privilege of a lifetime.

Oh,and then there’s Evie. This year she turned two with a flourish. I won’t even try to explain how stinking amazing she is, or how many times a day she surprises me, or how full of joy my heart is because of her. I’ll just tell you that a few days ago she looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and said “Glad to see you.” Swoon.

So now we’re facing 2017 and the reality is we will likely have a second child before too many more weeks or months pass. We’ve been officially waiting around 18 months, which puts us right at where we thought we’d be when baby # 2 arrives. Are there guarantees? Of course not. But our agency, Gladney, knows what they’re doing, and we believe we’re nearing the day. So…tees! Ha!

Right now our outstanding balance is $7300. If God is moving you to give toward that balance, you can contact me via facebook I’m Megan Joy Hala, at thehalas@yahoo.com,  or you make a tax deductible donation here: Lifesong Account Family Account Number: 5538 Family Name: HALA

We’re selling t-shirts again for $20/shirt, for all sizes. They’re available in sizes 6m-5T, Youth Small-XL, Adult S-XXXL.  They’re unisex and run true to size. I wear a small, Jonathan wears a medium, in case that helps anyone. 🙂

The ordering time will only be open for a week, so let me know if you want one (or 50), and share, share, share!

Most importantly, thank you. Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement through a year of waiting with no fun news to share. We’re looking forward to celebrating with all of you soon!

 

A No Update Update

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We’ve got no news. There’s nothing to report. No baby is coming tomorrow (that we know of). No birthmothers are pouring over our book this weekend (that we know of).

We get a lot of questions from people about how the process is going. It’s going exactly as it should and we’re grateful. There’s a big lull once the money is worked out and the paperwork is completed and approved. There are minor quarterly trainings and monthly (or so) phone calls from our caseworker to check in, but that’s it. We go about our daily lives trying to live in the balance of knowing a baby could come tomorrow, or maybe next year.  There’s joy, there’s longing, there’s hope. More hope the second time around, for sure.

I think a lot about needing to post just to update all our amazing supporters on what’s happening but there’s just nothing happening as far as our adoption goes. Nothing’s supposed to be happening for now.

The past couple of weeks I’ve received a surge of photos of people wearing their Family is More Than Blood tees. Honestly it came on the heels of me wondering if people remember, if they like their shirts, if they’re wearing them, etc. It was a very real morale boost and I’m thankful for more than just the fundraising. You tee people are the very realest kind of wonderful. You’re the kind of people who change the world by learning about adoption and loving it openly.

I re-read my last blog post tonight and tears streamed down my face. At the beginning of every adoption story there is loss, grief, confusion, fear, and pain. Not so with this child. Yes, those things will be part of his or her story, there’s no escaping it. But the very beginning of my sweet baby’s story is scores and scores of people planning, praying, waiting, and loving. Before a single heartbreak can happen there is immeasurable love. Before he or she can be “unplanned,” we have been planning. All of us.

So keep changing the world one adoption at a time. Give, support, pray, plan, love, and adopt.

And to the waiting parents–it’s our privilege to plan and wait with you, too.

Tees, Grants, Books, & Videos

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My last couple of posts were direct pleas for buyers and sellers of t-shirts. We implored you to buy a shirt, wear the shirt, sell shirts, raise money for our adoption, expose yourself to questioning about the shirt in public, and generally become an advocate for the normalization of adoption in the culture. Ask big, get big.

I could write for an hour about the amazing things we have seen and experienced in the process of selling these silly shirts. People have done all that we ask and more. I placed three orders for shirts, each time a completely different experience. With the first order all our family and friends came around us and bought shirts. They bought, and they bought, and they bought.  They bought shirts for every member of their extended families. They bought shirts to give away as tools for spreading the gospel. They overpaid by $5. They overpaid by $20. They overpaid by $100. They alienated everyone who follows them on social media hounding people to place orders. They sent payments with cards thanking us for including them in our adoption. Our people get it. We placed that first order feeling so very loved and thankful.  We had no idea what would come next.

The second wave of shirts came mostly from people we’ve known over the years who follow our story online or saw a friend wearing their shirt and were struck with FOMO. There’s something really precious about getting a message from someone we haven’t talked to in 10 years that says “I’ve been following your story all along and I’d like to be part of what’s next.” Our hearts swelled with excitement and gratitude. We will never run out of sincere and deep appreciation for each person who has had a hand in growing our family. I wish there were words to explain what it’s like to hold your child and know that a veritable team of people were responsible for bringing you both together. I’ll never be able to think about it without welling up in tears. There are tears even now as I type.

I’m sure it must sound like such an exaggeration to say our life will change because of this but that is our reality.

Peppered throughout the first two orders, but overwhelmingly so in the third order, were the t-shirt orders from people we have never met. They’d see someone wearing the shirt and ask how to get one. They’d say they were adopted, they’re adopting, they’ve always wanted to know more about adoption, or they think what we’re doing is special and important. They’d find us through friends, friends-of-friends, co-workers, strangers in a restaurant. We’ll never even meet most of them. Somewhere out in the world, they are wearing our shirts. 

Then there are the stories. I’ve had multiple people come tell me they have seen strangers out in the world wearing the shirt. If that happens to you go meet the person! Please do tell me about it! Most days I feel like my circle of influence is so small, so concentrated, and then something like this happens and I marvel at what God can do with my little circle. We have people tell us the shirts start conversations about adoption with total strangers. One conversation between friends led to a real heart change on the issue of protecting the lives of unborn children. Can you imagine? I know the whole point of the shirts is to pay for our adoption but it’s so, so much more than that to us. Thank you for making it so much more than that.

We’ve had some grant award notifications, jewelry party fundraisers, personal checks written out to us, etc. We’ve seen our adoption account grow by $20 t-shirt payments. It’s grown and grown. This afternoon I got an email from our agency letting us know the balance remaining on our next payment. I glanced at the number, checked our account, mentally tallied the cash I’ve been collecting, and gleefully announced to Jonathan that we’re only $1000 from making our next payment. That $19,250 is now only $1000. I can only shake my head and laugh. We’ll need to make our profile book now, and soon we’ll be a real and tangible option for birthmothers at Gladney.

One of our Newlywed or Close graduates from the church has offered to make our video profile for us that will be available for birth mothers to watch. He’s a professional and our video that would have been shot on my iPhone is now going to be beautiful and perfect and wonderful all because someone said, “Yes” when God prompted him to use his skills to support adoption.

I’m sure it must sound like such an exaggeration to say our life will change because of this but that is our reality. 

For the past 8 weeks or so Jonathan and I have been attending a Wednesday night class at our church for married couples called re-engage. It’s been wonderful and we have met some fantastic couples we never would’ve interacted with outside of meeting them in the class. Tonight one of them handed us a check for our adoption somewhat out of the blue. I folded it and stuck it in my bag. (I know you already know what happens but this is really how it went!) At the end of the night we got in the car to go home and I pulled out the check to add the number to my mental tally. $1000.

Here’s the thing. They didn’t know what we needed. All they knew was that God asked them to give us $1000. They said yes.

I’m sure it must sound like such an exaggeration to say our life will change because of this but that is our reality.

All these “yeses” are changing our life. They are changing the life of a birthmother. They are changing the life of our child. From where we sit, they are changing the world for the better. One tee at a time, one yes at a time, you are changing our world. There could never be words.  We thank our God every time we remember you.