Saturday, August 31, 2013

Starting on Step One

Thank you all for going to our new facebook group! I've been researching and internet surfing for the different adoption agency in Georgia. There are a couple faith based ones. I've emailed a couple for more info and we will be meeting with them eventually. Here's a link to a sample "step by step" on how to adopt. I think everything looks easy on paper, but this doesn't give a time schedule and a money schedule. So this is probably not even 1/3 of the what to expect. So far (obviously) the step on choosing an agency seems like the hardest part. Please pray for us that we feel comfortable in our decisions and we continue to go God's direction! I did feel warm hearted after I sent an email off to one agency... I hope their response and future conversation continues those feelings.

Many have asked if we are headed toward domestic or international adoption. We feel domestic is the way our family is headed. I had a "duh" moment after telling Kirk's parents we planned to adopt. They started talking about Kirk's cousin who also has had infant losses (twins born too soon) and then afterward adopted. "HELLO!!" Kirk looked at me like, "where have you been?" I'm actually happy that I put them out of my head for these decisions, or that God did that for me. I might have second guessed myself, as to following in someone else's foot steps. But they we love them and they mean a lot to us. Happy to have someone in the family to relate to.

Some have also said, "we know this person adopting or has adopted" etc. I feel at this point we are well surrounded with friends that WERE adopted, HAVE adopted, and have PLACED a child for adoption, that if we need help, we can find it. But truly thank you for all your support. It shows us how excited you are with us! 

Just thinking forward as we also research adopting grants and plan garage sales etc... if anyone has big ticket items they'd like to donate, let me know!!

**This was edited, changing my words in CAPS. WERE: people were adopted, not ARE adopted. Adoption is wonderful but not a word the defines a person. PLACED: adoption language is changing as open adoption becomes more common. Although my word was GIVEN, not given up, birth moms that have an open adoption don't give up on their children. Another wording used is: "Made an adoption plan for..."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

We're hoping to adopt! Pt 2

Part 2: How adoption started with our family

March 17-

After our miscarriage, I wrote a friend, saying the above, about the my old blog becoming a book... I didn't know what God was planning, I knew something great was coming! 

In the middle of May 2013, God started laying adoption on my heart. I kept quiet a little while. I was sifting through "Why do we need to adopt? I can have my 'own' kids." and making sure I wasn't making this up in my own head, just because I wanted another child. 'Own' kids.... takes me back to my first post about Kendall. Our children are not our 'own', but God's given to us as gifts, no matter how they come into our lives. These clips of Rev. Run reminded me we don't make our 'own' babies.

Many people would be asking if we needed another child? After a loss of an infant, many if not most parents try for another. They call these babies 'rainbow babies'. The beauty of a rainbow after a storm. Having another child doesn't replace the one lost, it doesn't hide or change emotions, but it does help the healing process. To hold another one of your healthy children in your arms and to feel that in some way, there was a purpose in it all. Not ending your childbearing in a gut wrenching experience, but one of beauty again. 

My mom would later ask if I was scared to try again- no... this isn't about what I wanted for my life anymore. That would have ended with Kendall being a healthy baby, or not miscarrying. This is about what God wants for our lives... and I can't say that without being excited!

After some more of God's coaching, I spoke with a couple of friends, just to have some prayer. I knew since adoption wasn't on Kirk's radar, that it wasn't going to be easy to bring up. I didn't want to feel like I was forcing him into anything as well. And since Kirk's brother passing away was an answer to a prayer for God to speak to Kirk before I had to tell him about dropping our 10 year anniversary trip to Hawaii next year for a mission trip, I wasn't about to ask God to tell Kirk before me again. I learned to fear the Lord.

Two more weeks passed, and there was a chance in casual conversation in a car ride that I could tell him God was starting to put this on my heart. It was a quick conversation.

Little bit longer and mid June we were watching a show we like to DVR and watch together. I was sitting on the Lay-Z-boy and he was laying on the couch. I had my laptop in my lap. The show had took a turn for adoption in the plot and I started getting emotional. Kirk asked me what I was reading on my laptop, not thinking it had anything to do with the show. For a couple of days, I brushed off questions about why I couldn't sleep well that night. I was debating telling him or not. There hasn't been very much in our 9 year marriage that we disagreed on anything and I didn't want to put that strain on our marriage. We'd been through enough. 
 God came back to me and very clearly said, "There's nothing to be afraid of, I've got this covered." I decided to start the conversation in an email. I could get all my thoughts out and not be interrupted, get off track, or cry through the whole thing. Kirk was on our other computer at the time, so I knew he'd read it right away. Then we spoke in person for a while before bed on June 22.

Not more than twelve hours later, one of our ministers at the church had all the adoptive families up on stage. Kirk and I didn't exchange glances. I just kept praying. After our small group met the next hour, Kirk asked a friend to have lunch with him during the week for some Godly, male conversation. And I prayed. I started feeling excited. I knew after the year we'd had that I was hearing God clearly. And I knew that if we follow the road He has for us, and if God wanted us to adopt, we would. And I waited.

Scared and excited all in one. I knew the same feelings when we started KKF. Something I never planned on doing or knew how to do, but following God's direction puts a huge smile on my face because I can feel Him smiling back! 
I will admit that I was avoiding the Bible at this time. I knew there are specific verses that tell us to care for orphans. And I didn't want have those just to "throw" out at Kirk while in our discussions. I also felt God more through prayer at this point. While I waited and prayed I did a little research and came across these videos of singer Mark Schultz:

After watching this video, I cry. I, like Mark who is adopted, had viewed adoption in the past as irresponsible people, giving up on their children. But now to be able to relate to having to give over a beautiful child and starting The Kendall Keepsake Foundation to encourage women to carry to term, no matter the situation... I have a new respect and love for these families. 

GOD WAS CHANGING OUR HEARTS! And it wouldn't have happened without this past 2 years playing out through the tears the way it did. And the song Jesus, Friend of Sinners lyrics of "break our hearts for what breaks yours" keeps ringing true. I advise caution to anyone who really sings this with all their hearts, b/c heartbreak hurts. But you can't be healed without being hurt.

Other daily events that God spoke to me through included:
June 27- I was in thought listening to a random song on the radio hoping for it to speak to me about adoption. To remind me the path God put before me. But this current song wasn't it. I looked down at the artist and BAM-- Mark Schultz on radio. Thank you, just what I needed!
July8- Kirk cut a friend's yard who was recovering from surgery and adoption came up in random conversation
July 12- God laid Isaiah 49 (specifically vs 21-22) on my heart- Bereaved parent given more children from God, asking "who bore these children?" God told him 'other nations'... like they would be adopted as his own. 
August 8- Listening to a song I'd heard a million times and finally understand the lyrics! 

August 22- 
During all this rainy Summer, I drive watching the clouds hoping to see rainbows that remind me of Kendall and so much more. And after watching The Bible (the series on TV last Winter) I struggle with being able to ask, in Jesus' name, for things and having the 100% faith that those things would actually happen. Through everything we've been though I've learned so much about surrender. But my logical mind gets in the way sometimes. If I asked... yes, He could do it, but would He? Does He only do it for important things? On what scale of importance does it have to be? We all know God loves to teach people patience with His timing. 

Driving back home, looking for rainbows, I literally tried asking for a rainbow in Jesus' name. Not that I saw one, but it was more about giving God ALL of me, without doubt. I didn't have to see one. Kristen asked what I was doing as I leaned over my steering wheel looking at the clouds. Could you truly do that? That's how bad I wanted it.

That night we miraculously got the kids in bed at 7pm. And Kirk started a conversation. My "rainbow" was coming!! Later he'd admit that adoption had been on his mind every second of every day. And he'd also tell me that he was trying to find a reason not to adopt.  And he said, "there wasn't one." AMEN! Kirk said, "lets do it!"

We're currently signed up for an information meeting with Bethany Christian Services to find out our next steps. 

We're hoping to adopt!

Check out our "About Us" page!

Going into this first/second blog post, I know it will be long. Just bare with me and read it completely to understand where we feel God is leading our family. In typing I decided to make this first entry into two post. I pray and know you will see God's hand in everything from here on out. I haven't typed anything of importance yet, and already in joyous tears, so grab a box of tissues! Here we go!!

Part 1: Pre Adoption
For the many reading one of my blogs for the first time and for potential birth parents, I''ll need to start with a little background before the adoption subject came along...

Kirk and I have been married going on 10 years in 2014. Life was perfect as we knew it. Kristen was born in 2007 and Drew in 2010. We found out we were pregnant with our third and what we thought would be our final child in 2011, to be born in 2012. In our 20 week ultrasound we found out Kendall had a condition called anencephaly, in which she wouldn't be able to live outside the womb. Our full story with Kendall was blogged here. Through the ups and down of that experience we came to a closer relationship with the Lord, our family and our church family. A depth of love that can't be described.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 had become one of my life verses. In short (my words), we suffer as God and Christ suffer, and we feel comforted through Christ and others, so that when others suffer, we know how to comfort them. God knew what it was like to have to give His child. And through the comfort of other families stories of loss, I knew we weren't alone. And neither is a birth family.

After Kendall was born and passed away within 20 minutes, I knew I wanted to do something to help other families create memories of their children.With that, The Kendall Keepsake Foundation (KKF) was founded by myself and sister-in-law (Ashlee).

The stages of grief after Kendall went by fairly quickly, although there is still a loss. I felt like I learned what it was God wanted me to learn through it all. And I am grateful and thankful for Kendall's life and the affects we have seen through it all. Six months later we were ready to try again for another child to continue to fill our home with laughter again. It was the same week, a year later, that we had found out about Kendall's anencephaly that we found out we had two sacs, but the pregnancy didn't look great and we had our first miscarriage.

While my body took it's pretty time to heal again, more tragedy struck our family. Kirk's only brother died from cardiac arrest, as well as other family diagnosises. During that time Kirk and I had been praying that we'd be on the same page about having another child. I felt God telling me, "Don't worry about that now. Focus on the family you have here." I felt confident on getting on birth control, and with that, thought that was the answer to the prayer. That I was finally going to feel we'd be done having children.

It was then God started to redirect my path. Almost like He chuckled, smiled and said, "No, no... just changing directions". Mid May 2013, I started to feel the tug of adoption.