Birds on a Wire
So, we went on radio silent there for a good while. Since we last caught up with you, there’s been a bunch of changes to our family; some great, some hard to swallow, and some wonderfully unexpected.

First things first. We’ve moved! YAY!

Daniel was offered a fantastic new job as a librarian at a beautiful city library in the central valley. We’ve been praying for this kind of opportunity to come along since Daniel completed his Masters in Library Science in 2009.

The process to the job was long. He applied in January, completed a mega supplemental questionnaire in March, did interviews #1 and #2 in April, and waited for the background check to clear in May. Finally in June, he had an offer and we had only two weeks to find a place to live, pack up our stuff, and move to California’s Central Valley! Luckily it all came together without too many bumps in the road!

We’re still adjusting to our new home. We moved in the middle of a heat wave, so we’re getting a dose of what the hotter end of the climate looks like here. Thank goodness for air conditioning and dry heat! =)

Daniel LOVES his job. He comes home everyday with a smile on his face and a bunch of wonderful stories and anecdotes to report. These guys were at his library the first weekend we moved there for a special event. I like to think it’s God’s way of telling Daniel, a hardcore Star Wars fan, that he truly belongs. Daniel was too shy to have his picture taken with them, but not too shy to insist I get one. *wink*

IMG_0867

Now on to our other news…

In our excitement for the new opportunity, we made the mistake of making an assumption. We had never considered that our adoption process would be hugely impacted. We were wrong.

We thought, since our agency was a nationwide organization, that all we would need to do was update our file and home study with the local office where we were moving and we would continue to wait for a match. We did not anticipate the news that there would be no adoption services offered to our area and our file was now effectively closed. The eight months we spent doing paperwork, fees, screenings, interviews, training, and home visits and the 15 months we spent waiting for a match were all out the window. We were told we could start from scratch at another agency.

This was a horrible blow for us. At the very least we expected to be able to take our hard work elsewhere, but that wasn’t the case. To add salt to the wound, we received a wonderful email from a couple that had seen our profile on the agency website not long after we moved. They were interested in placing with us. The agency had neglected to take down our profile. When we asked the agency about it, they immediately called to inform the expectant parents that we were “no longer an approved couple”. I was physically sick.

In the days and weeks that followed, I only found peace after turning it all over to God. He had led us to this new place, and He must have a plan.

Although we weren’t praying for “a sign”, they started showing up anyway. “Become a Foster Parent!” fliers and billboards were popping up everywhere. There was an information booth at the farmer’s market and pamphlets at restaurants and stores. Apparently, there was a HUGE need for foster parents in the area we now call home. We had briefly considered Foster to Adopt before, but thought maybe we should wait until our second or third child to try. Maybe we were wrong to rule it out so soon?

After prayers, discussion, and more prayers, we decided to attend an information night for the county. It was a relief to find out that after just a handful of forms, a set of classes, and a just a few easy tasks (CPR/First Aid re-certification, Fingerprinting, and Medical Reports), they could take care of the rest and we would be on our way to welcoming a baby into our home for the first time in our lives. Having watched a friend travel this route, I know it isn’t easy to love a baby and work toward reunification with the family at the same time. But something in my heart knows that this is the right path. I’m willing to give all the love in my heart, “if only for a short time” as we are fostering.

One day, there will be a baby that will stay will us forever."if only for a short time" graphic

A Soon to be Foster Momma,

Christy

16. March 2013 · 3 comments · Categories: Adoption, Faith · Tags: ,

Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.
In our agency alone, there are over 800 waiting families. 800 wonderful families scattered all over the United States. We are one of those families, hoping and praying for a miracle. We’ve been officially waiting for a year as of today.

The waiting hasn’t gotten any easier. We don’t give up. We do all we can to spread the word and we pray like crazy to get through the hard days, but we never give up.

We’re committed. We were meant to be parents. Daniel was meant to be a daddy. I was meant to be a mommy.  And adoption is how we will build our family. We aren’t giving up just because we need to wait a little longer.

Because we’ll wait as long as it takes,

Christy and Daniel

19. February 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: Adoption · Tags:

A huge trend has sprung up on social media in the last few weeks as women and men have photographed themselves holding poster board signs. These signs are covered in the only details they have of their first family; their biological family.

My heart aches for these adult adoptees who long so much to know where they came from and who loved them for the short time that is missing from their personal histories. Back when many of these people were placed the arms of their adoptive families, open adoption was unheard of. At best, they had some details and direction if they wanted to start looking when they were older. Until then, they were left to wonder.

To be honest, open adoption scared the heck out of us at first, but I think that was because we didn’t understand it.

Before I knew better, I thought of that level of involvement from a biological parent as some sort of competition that I would ultimately lose because I wasn’t as cool as the other mom in my child’s life. I also worried that it might be a way to keep our family under a microscope to see if we would make a bad decision so they take the baby away.

That was all wrong. Very wrong. After tons of reading and hearing from people that have lived with open adoption, we have discovered how truly remarkable it is.

The biggest lesson I learned is that it isn’t about me. It’s about the child. It’s ALL about the child. There are so many questions that our child will have about who they are and what their story is. There will be medical histories that they need to complete. They have emotions to be able to come to terms with surrounding their adoption. They need to know that they were loved, not unwanted.

It’s true that they can get all that information second hand or from a form, but that isn’t going to fill the hole in my child’s heart. That connection they will feel to their first family is real, and they deserve to develop that relationship. There may have to be boundaries, depending on the circumstance in order to keep it a healthy relationship. Still, it’s important to me to facilitate that relationship.

As wonderful as it is that we have social media to connect, but it would break my heart to watch my child fit the only facts they have about their biological family on a poster board.

How amazing would it be to have enough ideas to fill volumes? Stories and moments that could give them that foundation and springboard them into their identity. Between their biological family and adoptive family, our child would have a complete picture of what has shaped them, allowing them to embrace it or learn from it.

I have nothing but admiration for these brave men and women that are looking for answers. I’m hoping that as adoption evolves that we will have more answers than unanswered questions for these adoptees and more love to replace the confusion they might feel. I’m going to do my part in our family by welcoming open adoption into our lives and helping to develop these relationships.

Love can only be multiplied. When there are more people in the world loving my child, it’s important that my child know and feel that love.

With love, the ever hopeful prospective adoptive momma,

Christy

P.S. Check out these folks looking for their birth parents and help them on their journey by liking and sharing their photos!

Mary
Chris
Kelli
Tyler

Big portions of this came from our answer to Cynthia from Q&A Tuesday. Thank you for the great question!

So much of how we keep moving forward everyday is about one thing. Hope. When I have it, it makes the whole world open up. My steps feel lighter, I feel the sun on my face, and the future is full of promise.

Sometimes while waiting, I get stuck in worry. It pulls me down and makes the walls close in.

Sometimes I need a pick me up. A reminder of the reality of our situation. We are SO blessed to be in the position to adopt. Thanks to adoption, we have a hope for the blessing that we’ve spent years praying for. We are blessed to even be considered by those who find us on this journey.

This is a song has helped me shed the worry I have been feeling and reminds me of what a miracle it is to have HOPE in our lives.

It’s hard to recall what blew out the flame.
It’s been dark since you can remember.
You talk it all through to find it a name
as days go on by without number

You’ve been here for a long, long time

Hope has a way of turning it’s face to you
just when you least expect it.
You walk in a room,
you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
You say to yourself
it’s been a while since I felt this
but it feels like it might be hope

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. -2 Nephi 31:20

Hoping, praying, and living life as a waiting adoptive mommy,

Christy

I know you are out there, somewhere. I know that you’re path can’t be easy and that you aren’t sure what to do. I haven’t been where you are now, but I know what it’s like to feel lost.

I wish you and I could just sit down and spill our guts. That I could tell you how maddening it is to wait, never knowing if we could be doing something more or if we should be taking another route to find you. I wish you could tell me all about the concerns you have about placing and choosing a family and how much it crushes your heart to even think about giving your baby to someone else. I wish we could get it all out over Oreo cookies and milk. We could cry together and laugh together. We could feel less alone than we do right now.

I wake up at night thinking about you, praying for you. I have no idea what you look like and what your dreams are, where you come from or what your life has been to this point. I just know that I care about you and I desperately want to find you.

I believe that there is a plan that we are all a part of. I believe that you and I are already somehow cosmically linked and we’re searching for each other. The problem is, we don’t know where to look or when we’ll finally find one another. So we both just hope and pray and we wake up in the middle of the night looking for comfort and answers.

I wish I could introduce you to my husband and my dog. I know you’ll love them as much as I do. I wish I could walk you around my house and show you where our baby will learn to crawl and sing the ABCs. And then you’ll start to feel that you are in the right place, with the right people.

We’ll trust each other with our hearts and take the risk of being open and vulnerable. And when that day comes and you bring that precious child into the world, both of our hearts will be filled with such joy and heartbreak. But we’ll look into each other’s eyes and know that we complete one another. That neither of us can be a whole mother without the other. I need you in my life as much as you need me, if not more. Your child will need your love and support all their life and no one else can fill that place in their heart, but you. I will raise your baby and protect, provide, and love him or her fiercely. We’ll find joy in the smiles of our child. We will both be mothers together. A family.

I hope that someday you read this, and you find that you knew it, too. That I was waiting for you and you were waiting for me. Until that day, just know that I think constantly about you, pray for you, and hope you’ll reach out. I’ll be here.

Love,

Christy

You are not glass. When you shatter, you will heal and be whole again.

I’ve been struggling the last few days. In the span of two days, we found out that three couples who are close to us are expecting a baby. That’s not counting the half dozen people who have made announcements in my social media network.

There once was a time when pregnancy announcements would bring on a complete break down. I would retreat into a dark room and sob. I would spend the duration of their pregnancy shifting between profound jealousy and overwhelming guilt for feeling jealous. I would politely decline invitations to baby showers because it hurt too much to be there. When the baby finally came and I took my turn to hold that beautiful angel, my heart would ache with a force that surpassed emotional pain. It was raw and ugly grief.

Over the years, the grief has eased and I can celebrate alongside my friends and family the way I used to. There is a quiet moment where I process the pain and let it go, but I stay out of the darkness. Last night after getting the news about the third baby from a friend, whom I love dearly, my stronghold started to crumble. I didn’t fall apart, but I did crumble a bit.

It’s HARD. It’s so hard to have a desire so strong that it is infused into every fiber of your being, but out of your reach. Especially when it seems impossible for you, yet so easy for others.

As hard as it is to endure that pain, I also know I don’t deserve to be a mom.

It’s not that I’ve done something wrong or that I’ve disqualified myself somehow. I didn’t mess up. I’m not being punished.

Being a mother isn’t something you earn. It’s a gift. A precious, beautiful, amazing gift. Many women of all backgrounds and circumstances are given that gift and some women, also of every background and circumstance, aren’t. It’s not a matter of deserving it.

In the same way that a baby isn’t a punishment, it also isn’t a reward.

I can’t earn it. I can’t will a child into being mine. I just can’t. I don’t have that control. I can choose to fight that reality and become frustrated, angry, and bitter or I can accept it and do my best to live a life I love and am proud of.

I choose to live. If someday the gift of motherhood is given to me, there will be never-ending, absolutely beautiful gratitude because I know so well that I could just as easily never be a mom.

But something in me knows that I was meant to be a mom. I know it because in my heart there exists a love that belongs to a child. Our child. My child.

Taking a deep breath and moving forward,

Christy

nevergiveupThis week marks nine months since we were approved as an adoptive family. It’s also the eve of our nine year wedding anniversary. The first couple years of our marriage we would lovingly think of our “December Baby”, with the impression that when a baby came into our lives it would be this time of year.

Our hopes were really high for our December baby this past summer. We were contacted by an expectant mother back in August who was due with a baby girl at the end of December. It was our first contact with an expectant mother and we were cautiously optimistic. She has been prompted by the Spirit to think about an adoption plan for her daughter. After exchanging emails over the next couple weeks, we started to grow a friendship. As we got to know her, we were struck with her intelligence, talent, and spirituality. She loved her unborn daughter fiercely and shared with us her hopes and dreams for her future.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of her control, this sweet and brave woman was forced to abandon adoption as an option for her and her baby. We continued to email, sending our love and encouragement to her. We prayed for her constantly, that no matter the outcome of her decision she would find peace. We had grown to love her.

The few days later, our caseworker let us know that she had made a firm decision to parent. We were informed that if she had decided to move forward with the adoption, that we were her preferred couple and she would have chosen us.

The news brought a lot of emotions. We were praying that everything would work out for this expectant mother, hopeful that she have full support from her loved ones as she raised her daughter.

We were touched that she would have picked us, if it had still been an option. We finally felt as though we had true hope that someday we would be chosen, even if it would be by someone else.

But we were also sad. We had thought of a name and we had dreamed of our little December baby. Though we were happy that this baby girl was already so loved, we grieved to know that we would never see her, never hold her, never kiss her goodnight.

We haven’t heard from her in quiet a while, but with her due date approaching, I’m thinking of this sweet expectant mother and her sweet baby girl, who could be here any day now, if she hasn’t been born already. I pray for them. I hope for them. I wish for Heaven to shower them with every blessing and happiness.

We haven’t had any other contact from any other situations since then. We hope that we someday will develop a lasting relationship with a woman who will be the first mother our child knows and that it will be as beautiful as the experience we were able to share in August with this wonderful woman.

With a thankful heart,

Christy

Sometimes I wonder if there are any such things as “adoption hormones”. You know… the adoption equivalent to pregnancy symptoms that bring on crying and sentimentality out of nowhere? I’ve never had a baby growing inside me, changing my body chemistry, but there’s something about waiting for a baby that tears at my emotional stronghold.

I was hanging out passing out candy on Halloween night last month and watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown when this Carter’s commercial started playing. I was a blubbering mess by the end of it.

It also happens nearly every time I hear A Thousand Years by Christina Perri because my pre-adoption brain has related it entirely with my unknown child out there somewhere. See these lyrics? They have made driving while listening entirely too dangerous.

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid I have loved you for a
Thousand years I’ll love you for a Thousand more
And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought Your heart to me I have loved you for a
Thousand years I’ll love you for a Thousand more

Gosh, this song makes me weep. I fully intend to sing it in dim light, soothing my baby to sleep in the rocking chair in the nursery. In fact, that’s exactly the image that bubbles up while the song is playing.

The waiting I’m doing now is pretty much as close as I may ever get to pregnancy. But there is no reassuring kick in my abdomen to let me know things are going ok. We have no ultrasounds to watch our baby move or heartbeats to listen to at doctors appointments. We don’t have a due date waiting like a finish line in the distance that holds the promise of meeting our baby. I’m trying to be ok with that. I’m trying to enjoy my “pregnancy” as much as I can.

Maybe the lack of a round belly and pregnancy glow is my own version of “swollen ankles”. And the restlessness I feel, well maybe that’s the “morning sickness”. And maybe the times we weren’t chosen were “contractions” and the babies that I fell in love with that weren’t meant to be mine were my “false labor”. These are moments that I need to be more grateful for. Every pain and worry is worth it, isn’t it?

Growing Here (Heart Image)Meanwhile I’m blubbering in my living room with my tissues and a box of pizza after watching a TV commercial. Someday I will be able to share this exciting time with my child. I want him or her to know how anxiously I waited and how beautiful it was to be able to become a mother at last.

-Christy

I used to keep a blog a long time ago just about what was going on with my life and general journal entries. I was wondering around memory lane and found this blurb about our adoption fund I was working on in February 2007.

I was blessed to have been babysitting the sweet and wonderful Katarina. I saved each precious dollar I earned from babysitting her in a heart shaped box we received for our wedding in hopes that someday we would bring a baby home.

Christy and Katarina playing with web cam photos in Dec 2008

Christy and Katarina playing with web cam photos in Dec 2008

2/27/2007
“My adoption fund is growing by the week. Every week, I take the money out and count it. I am so glad to have the ability to watch a little girl and in return, make some money to put away for my own little boy or girl. It’s great practice and helps me to learn different things about watching after kids. It eases my “baby hunger” because I can love her and play with her every week. I am lucky, too, that she is such a good baby. She is nearly ALWAYS happy. She recovers well when she bumps and falls and does her toddler type things. She is learning to talk and I love teaching her new words. Daniel and I got her to say “noodle” all night one night. It was seriously the cutest thing I have ever heard. Especially watching Daniel’s face light up when she would repeat the word for him.”
____________________________________________________________________________

Christy and Katarina in 2012

Christy and Katarina Oct. 2012

Katarina is seven years old now! It has been so amazing to watch her grow. We marveled at the day she started using full sentences. We were impressed when she started playing the guitar.

She has helped me learn so many things about carrying for a little person and helped me see the blessing it is to watch and support someone as they find out who they are.

We have loved Katarina since she was a little baby and she’s excited for us to one day be a mommy and a daddy. We’re lucky to have the love and prayers of such a precious little girl!

I was playing with her last week and she looked at me seriously and asked if we had our baby yet. I told her that we were still waiting for someone to pick us. She replied, “Oh, but it’s been a long time.” My heart broke a little listening to her response. It really hit me that Daniel and I are not the only ones that are waiting eagerly for our baby to come into our lives. I know that when the time comes, that Katarina will be one of the most excited. She will make a fantastic role model and friend for our child!

There are so many people in our lives that our waiting to hear good news for us. There are so many people that will be there to celebrate, to cry, and to laugh when that sweet moment comes. We are so blessed and loved that it makes my heart hurt to think of it. We are being showered in prayers and good thoughts and we are so grateful.

Even little Katarina can’t wait.

When love takes you in by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Steven Curtis Chapman is a Christian Recording Artist and an Adoption Advocate. He and his wife have welcomed the blessing of adoption into their lives and in 2001 he released an album called Dedication that included the song below called “Love Takes You In”. This beautiful song has been with me for years and years. Listening it to it again today, the second verse caused tears welled up in my eyes and my throat all choked up.

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

Watch this amazing video and please share our website with your friends and family!

-Christy