Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 260

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Last night's mandatory meeting....

The Good
  • Jesus is Lord.
  • It doesn't matter how impossible getting a baby seems or what roadblocks are put in our way. I know he has a distinct plan for our family and I have to trust that it will come to fruition in his timing and nobody else's.
  • The agency is not closing!
  • There are currently 500 waiting families at our agency. Of the 500 only 91 are domestic and of the 91 only 30 are open to AA adoption. Last year 76 domestic babies were placed and they are forecasting 80 for 2009. I'm not sure how many of the babies placed were AA, but it gives me hope that we are 1 of 30 waiting, opposed to 1 of 91 or 1 of 500!

The Bad
Our agency is non-profit (most of them are) and it runs on funds from adopting families with little extra at the end of each year. Families adopting internationally pay most of their money upfront, whereas domestic families pay most of their money at the end, when the placement is made (i.e. international sign-ups and domestic placements are vital to the health of the agency each year). In 2008, international sign-ups were down 40% (economy being the key player) and domestic placements were down 50% (for various reasons beyond the agency's control). It's easy to see why an agency would be struggling to stay afloat! Thankfully, the agency had a number of good years leading up to 2008 and invested extra funds at the end of each of those years. Unfortunately, the reserve was nearly depleted in effort to keep the agency afloat. What does this mean for us? An additional $2250 fee was added to every waiting family's bill. The kicker was that $1,000 is due in two weeks. The rest is spread out between now and August. Naturally, the room was in uproar. I later told Ben, "Every issue is magnified when you're dealing with hundreds of women who want nothing more than to be mothers." Women were crying (from the feeling of hopelessness) and husbands were angry that an already expensive endeavor is now even more costly.

Mind you, part of the contempt was not merely from the new fee structure, it was the lack of guarantee that this money will be submitted and the agency doesn't close in 6 months, with no hope of money being returned. And that is definitely a concern! My initial response was, "What in the world is keeping us here?" Because we're domestic we have very little invested (compared to international families) and most of what is invested can move with us (homestudy and profiles), with an exception of maybe $1000. But the longer I listened to the heart of the director, the more mine softened.

The Ugly
There was only one moment of ugly. Halfway through the meeting Ben leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Am I the only one that feels this way....or do you feel like this is never going to happen for us." I was pretty much brimmed with emotion during the entire meeting, but that pushed the tears over the edge. That's exactly how I feel. This is the most incredibly difficult path I've ever had to walk and nothing about it feels sure.

The Summary
It's hard to recap the gamut of emotions we walked away with...but I'll tell you our decision and try to list out a few of the determinig factors so you can understand where we're coming from. Whenever I have to make a decision I always start with what I know. Here's what I know: I know that God is in control (as hard as that is to believe most of the time). I know that I will be a mother someday, because the Lord has never removed the desire from my heart (I've asked several times!) I know that we picked our agency for a reason. It wasn't a fluke or some haphazard decision. I know that the Holy Spirit leads me with his peace and prompts me when I need prompting....

Next, I've done a lot of agency research over the last several months, investigating whether or not we should sign up with an additional agency, and there's only one agency I would be willing to switch to - Bethany Christian Services. I spent a lot of time in the beginning of the year deciding between BCS and AAI (our agency). We picked AAI for several reasons, but the number one being that it was local (Michigan based) and that a majority of the babies are born in Michigan (easier, more flexibility for appt's/meetings with the b.mom, and less money paid in travel expenses). Even after all the "bad" agency news, the pros still outweigh the cons, for us.

We believe that we are exactly where we need to be and have complete and total peace, even amidst the mayhem. Ben compared our jumping to another agency to switching lines in the grocery store. How many times do you leave your line to pick a new line and then you end up waiting so much longer than if you had just stayed put!?! Leaving our agency would be a wash because the money we owe AAI would have to be paid in new agency fees and profiles (BCS has different profile requirements). AND we'd be sitting around for who knows how long, waiting to be approved and added to the BCS waiting families list. Granted, our agency could close in 6 months....but there's no guarantee that BCS isn't hitting financial strain right now, too (I think it's safe to say every agency is).

We were so impressed and appreciated that the AAI President was so open and honest with us. He didn't sugarcoat anything, but spoke from the heart and reminded us of the agency's mission. Two things he said really resonated with me. 1) Everyone of us knew getting into this [adoption] that there would be tremendous risk. We were reminded on every sheet of paper we signed. There is never a guarantee with adoption, too many things can change. We weren't even guaranteed a baby and we still signed up! It's part of the deal. It's a high cost to pay and tolling in every possible dimension of life....but the reward....is great. Hmmm....I think I've read that in the Bible somewhere... and 2) The President of the Board of Directors (the same person that ran last night's meeting) was also on the Board of Directors at BCS for years before he came to AAI. Never once did he bad-mouth BCS, but he did reference the differences between the agencies and how much he believes in what AAI is doing and how it's being done. I can't explain why...but it encouraged me that we're in the right spot.

I'll stop before this blog entry turns into a book in and of itself! There are so many things that were said and felt that just didn't make it into today's post...I'm sure some people will read this and think we're crazy for not getting out while we can, but I hope those people won't tell me so! We've made up our minds and however crazy it might seem, it's right for us. God's amazing peace continues to surround us and we hold on to hope that our baby will come.


  1. I'm so sad for your heart and will continue praying for you. I don't have any words to make you feel better besides the prayers I can offer.

  2. I don't think you are crazy for not jumping ship... I would probably do exactly what you are doing. It may sound awful, but really... if many families DO pull out, you may have a better chance anyway you know?

    Prayers for you always!

  3. Goodness, this post made me cry. Not just for you and the women in the meeting, but for all of us waiting. It is so hard to wait and to have so much wrapped up in this and not have any control over the outcome. All we can do it be hopeful and try to remain positive. It does feel good to have people walking in our shoes at the same time.

    As far as not feeling like it will ever happy, Hubbs and I talked of that very thing a few days ago. A friend had a baby and we went to the hospital only hours after his brith to welcome him into the world. As I stood there holding him, I tried to imagine what it would be like when this was my baby and I was told I could take him home. Honestly, it was unthinkable. I couldn't even bring myself to feel anything about it- it was just that- a game of pretend. It doesn't feel real at all (although it is fun to pretend) and I dont think it will until it truly happens.

    Here is to finding patience and peace while we wait!

  4. Alan and I are with you. We are also staying with the agency.

    I really appreciated that he was frank with us. I just wish that we had a little more warning than 2 weeks!

    I have faith that we will both be Moms soon! *HUGS*

  5. You articulate your thoughts and feelings SO well. I know it's because God has filled you with each and every thing you are writing about here and he has a plan that is working itself out through all of this. He is always working in the best interest of you and Ben and I know this situation is happening for a reason. I will continue to pray for your peace and the strength to face these challenges every day.

  6. I will continue to pray for you....if you need the name of a great agency...ours does out of state adoptions too...Adoption Assistance Agency in Albuquerque New Mexico...google it...THEY ARE GREAT!

  7. I know it seems like another blow but that fact that you have peace about the process says VOLUMES about being where God wants you to be. I'll continue praying for your family and the baby that God has planned for you :)

    Thank you for your email- I really appreciate the insight and your honesty. It's wonderful to get advice from someone who understands this crazy roller coaster ride. God Bless!

  8. Hang in there, we're all pulling for you.

  9. Wow. Sounds like you handled a really tough meeting with maturity and strength. Kuddos for your brutal honesty. This path is never EVER easy (even when you're matched) but the end result is an overwhelming joy that only God can give.

  10. Here is what I know - AAI is the biggest agency in MI, and the most well run. If they are having trouble, I garuantee that the others are as well. Also, the list of those willing to take AA babies IS small - and, with the additional fees, likely to only get smaller. You have an AMAZING profile! You will be an AMAZING mom and dad!

    But, here is what I know above all else - God provides the desires of our hearts. You asked Him to take the desire away, so did I. The desire remained, so did mine. You took a chance on adoption, so did I. You placed few restrictions on the "type" of child required, so did I. You pray and pray and pray, so did I.

    I recieved my baby, and SO WILL YOU!!!!!!!

    And, when you hold that baby in your arms and look down into that sweet little face, you will know that it was all worth it. Worth everything you had to endure to get there. I know because, so did I!

    I am praying for you and loving you through this. I am also here to talk anytime. Just ask Teri for my info!


  11. I just have to mention that I think Lerin has a good point. And beckyjomama also was able to bring some truth and experience into this.

    I think you did the right thing. If we are were God put us that is where we are supposed to be.

    Everything seems like it is "never going to happen"-until it does :)

  12. I have no idea what all of it means...but I do not think you are crazy. You are just staying the coarse, which is very much like you. I love you and am continually praying for you!

  13. I'm still praying for you. As long you are comfortable where you are, stick with it.

  14. I think you are right, when ever I am driving an I think another lane is faster, turns out I get to the light at the same time as everyone else. I guess the bright side is that with the economic times, there may be other familes that have to pull out due to not being able to pay the additional fees. Hopefully that puts you to the 'front of the line'.

    I'm thinking of you. :)

  15. We wholeheartedly endorse Bethany! They played a big part in God bringing Josiah to us! Plus, their main headquarters is in Michigan.

    When you're at those agency meetings, it's hard not to feel like "competing" with the other couples. It's easy to feel like the deck is stacked against you when you hear the numbers. In this case, the devil really IS in the details in that he's using the numbers to discourage you.

    Rest assured that God has a plan for you two, and it has nothing to to with agencies or statistics or demographics. Daily refelct on the Hope that you have in Him, knowing that someday He'll hook it up!

    In the meantime, enjoy life! Use this time to live your lives to the fullest. Trust me, you'll be glad you got out there any had some adventures before the kiddos arrive.

    Praying for you guys....

  16. I always "think" before I hit the link to your blog LET IT BE GOOD NEWS LET IT BE GOOD NEWS, but starting today I'm going to pray, "Dear God, I know you are in control and I know you know the hearts of this couple, please continue to keep them focused and their hearts soft and open for what you are doing in their lives. And God I wouldn't be me if I didn't ask you to please hurry up and make them a mommy and daddy." That will be my prayer everyday when I check your blog. THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN!!! I love your heart and how much faith you have, keep going!!!

  17. I don't think you are crazy at all! You have clearly thought this HUGE decision out so carefully. You are comfortable and at peace and I, for one, think this all makes perfect sense.

    I am sad for all of the waiting families...I can't imagine the swirl of emotions in that room.

  18. You aren't crazy at all, I believe you two have made a very wise choice in staying put. We all have learned through our different path's on this one journey that it's never easy and you never walk it without a surprise or two. I wish all the best to you and think of you both often during your journey.

  19. I'm staying hopeful for you. I like the 'odds' you listed at the beginning of your post. I hope that you and Ben get that call soon! ::hugs::

  20. 500 waiting families?!!! Wow! I can't begin to imagine that!
    I am glad you are in that smallest pool!!
    That must have been so difficult to sit through! I am so sorry!
    I also wondered how many may pull out after last night.??
    Lifting you up!!

  21. Just found your blog - we are another 1 of the 30 families waiting at AAI for AA. We're just starting our wait. We called into the Jenison meeting tonight, and while I appreciated Dick's candor, was pretty upset at the thought of having to come up with $1000 in the next two weeks! Although, the costs at AAI are SO much less than any other agency. Glad to have found a "sister" in the storm!

  22. Wow. I have no idea what I would think or feel in your situation but it sounds like you have a great attitude about it. The stats do look like they are in your favor to stay with the agency. When I first saw that you said 500 couples are waiting, my heart sank for you, but one in thirty is very good. Blessings!!

  23. Just thinking about you! Your post was great...you have an amazing way with words! Your faith is an inspiration and I know you WILL ba a mommy someday...My husband and I were married in 1999 and started the fertility roller-coaster back then...we didn't bring A home (through International adoption) until 2005 and D (through open domestic adoption) in 2008! It was a LONG, hard journey, but God will show His glory when His timing is perfect!


  24. Well I'm sorry to hear about the extra money requirements...I can imagine that must be very difficult for you guys. I don't even know what we would do if our agency needed the same.

    I think this decision must have been very difficult for you, but I personally think staying put is the right call. I think Ben is absolutely right that sometimes moving just ends up making us wait longer.

    I think the bottom line, and the most important thing is that you are following your heart, and what you believe God has set in store for you. Honestly, noting else matters.

    I am glad to hear you are in the smallest of the pools...that must be a relief. I hope and pray your time is coming soon. :)


  25. your attitude is refreshing. I'm so glad you are able to be honest and feel everything, but also look at the big picture and realize God is in control.

    We received similiar bad news while waiting for our first child and he arrived a short six weeks later! Good things do happen - just all in God's timing and you know that!

  26. I am sure you can glean from my blog that I am not a fan of agencies or the fees they charge. Through this process I've met a LOT of families who have gone-it with just about every agency you can think of, and those who did it without an agency. If there is anything I can do to help (references, those who have been in your shoes etc.) - please let me know.

  27. Thank you for posting that summary. We are another waiting domestic family who listened on conference call and couldn't hear everything well - also we probably heard different questions as we had our call on Wednesday. The statistics were very helpful and you described our emotions exactly. :(

  28. I think your attitude and outlook are amazing! God is working wonders in you...I don't know if I could remain as strong as you are during this long journey.

    Prayers sent that 2009 is the year that you finally get to hold your baby. You deserve it!

  29. I came across your blog a couple of months ago and I love how you express yourself (you are a great writer), your encouragement and strength. I agree if you are comfortable with them and it feels right then that is where you should be. Praying for contining peace and strength for you guys!

  30. So sad you just came out of hiding on my blog, but thank you for your kind words!

    AFA Bethany we have horror story after horror story about them as a whole, they are a terrible agency :( Please do your research on them before you pursue it!

  31. I'm praying for you friend. This post was really beautiful, and I know it is really hard to be waiting with the unknown looming ahead. But God is the great author and I know he has a beautiful plan for your life. I only wish He'd give us a clue about when the waiting stops...

  32. Just wanted to let you know that I'm still praying for you!!
    HUGS! Hang in there! I believe God has something special in store for you and Ben.