Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hoop Jumping

This week, Ty learned how to jump. He's been working on it for months, but up to this point his feet never left the ground at the same time - which resulted in a funny, squat-like gallop. Ty is so proud of his accomplishment. When we're out, he'll tell any stranger that will listen, "Look. Ty jump'n!"

I'm bottling his enthusiasm and applying it to the next chapter of our hoop-jumping adoption process.  I will say, adoption looks much different the second time around through God-is-faithful, mom lenses.

The process hasn't changed, but I sure have.

For me, the last several months were packed with responsibilities and class and marathon laundry nights. I had several bouts of near-anxiety attacks that left my chest heaving and my head swimming. To find my breath, I resigned my position at the new start-up agency I had mentioned before and laid down all things adoption to focus on getting through my studies and keeping my marriage intact. It's been a rough few months on all of us.

I was getting so discouraged by the foster adoption door-slamming, I had to take a five second time out to regroup. Because it's been so far between posts, I can't remember what I have and haven't shared. I'm going to give you a quick recap on where we're at as a family:

  •  Ben and I are confident that God is calling us to adopt children from foster care.
  • We are sure that fostering children is not for us at this time and are only looking to adopt wards of the state (the primary reason for this is that we both work full time, and while we know this isn't a deal-breaker as far as the state is concerned, it's not where we see God leading).
  • We would like Ty to be our oldest child and realize this may make for a long process (Ty will only be 2 1/2 when we're licensed).
  • We are open to all races and sibling groups
  • Ty has been praying for a baby sister (we chalk it up to the many girl friends that surround him!)
Because God's faithfulness has been sewn deep into my heart, waiting for his plan to come to fruition has been easy (this time around). I know that God is beckoning us into the world of foster adoption. Whether that happens next month, next year, or in the next decade, I know that this seed will blossom and I'm content to wait (although recognizing that this post may come to haunt me). There are two parts of this adoption vision that have really taken root. The first is to adopt a sibling group that will otherwise be split up and the second is to adopt a teenager. I believe both desires are by God and foresee them playing out in the distant future.

When we signed up for adoption we didn't know what we were getting into, but now that we do, we don't want out. Knowing that this will be a lifelong passion, allows us to take the obstacles in stride.

And there are obstacles....
  • Agencies (8 to be exact) don't want to work with us because we're not willing to sign-up as foster parents and we aren't willing to adopt a child over the age of 7 (at this time).
  • A friend/social worker got permission from her supervisor to represent us, but before the home study can be updated we have to complete PRIDE training - which is only offered a half day each week at an hour impossible for us to attend.
  • Every time I call DHS for answers I talk to six people before getting to the person who can answer my question.
Most of this investigative work happened at the tail end of my master's and it was just too much. I made all eight agency calls on the same day and by the end of it I felt suffocated. I was so overwhelmed with life that I threw God's vision back and told him we'd have to talk later. I needed to focus on the ending task before me. That was a few months ago.

Last week, out of nowhere, an urge to press on filled my heart. I came home and told Ben, "I'm ready to fight for our kids."

I am.

I'm full of hope and vision and know that God will finish the good work he has started.

I feel really good about our game plan, which I'll save for next time due to the length of this post! After multiple calls and some direct words to - let's call them - people of the system, we found representation for PRIDE Training and start next weekend.

I'm a little nervous, but mostly thoughtful when it comes to this new crisp page in our family book. We have to jump the hoops to pass through the system, but God is so much bigger than rules and statistics and tendencies. I know he's called us. I know we're willing. And I know there are a lot of kids in need of family...

    Thursday, September 8, 2011


    As most of you know, Ty has multiple siblings (on both birth parent sides). Although we (including Ty) have met most of his siblings and our relationship is inclusive of both families, communication is predominantly with Rebekah. The sibling relationship is challenging because of the distance between all of us and although we love Ty's siblings very much, there is little to no correspondence with them because most of our conversations are with his parents.

    I have connected, however, with one of Ty's older siblings and our relationship has really begun to blossom over the past several months. Last week I received a note that touched me so deeply, on multiple levels, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it:

    Those words are humbling to read. I am thankful to be viewed so favorably, but the last few lines are throat cloggers. And ~sigh~ I'll admit it. I'm glad you're my brother's mother...Those are words of a struggling sibling still coming to terms with adoption.

    It breaks my heart. Ben and I have said so many times that when we adopted Ty, we adopted a family. Not for the purposes of rescuing them or being some semblance of hero, but because they're a part of him and his story and his life. Reading this letter, challenged me to do more and love harder.

    While all that has been mulling around in my head, I received disheartening news about another one of Ty's siblings. As a matter-of-fact, the news was so startling I came right home and snuggled Ty as close as I could for as long as he'd let me. 

    My sweet, tender boy, said, "Mama sad?"
    "Yes, sweetheart, Mama is sad."
    "Mama need more snuggles?"

    I could hardly speak at that point and told Ty how thankful I was to be a family.

    The above pieces to my week made me realize how truly connected we are with Ty's family and that no matter what the cost, we have a responsibility to love on these kids at every opportunity. 

    At two, Ty doesn't really get it. When I told him we were going to pray for his brother tonight, he responded with, "No, mama, Ty needs baby sister." (He insists that Jesus wants him to have a baby sister). I didn't press the issue and decided at this point it might just be better to stick with sibling names and drop the "brother/sister" part.

    Just when I think I've got this open adoption thing down, God speaks to me and gives me further glimpses of his Truth. His reminders are so gentle, but convicting at the same time. The last several months have been very me-focused, as my attention was narrowed on finishing my degree. Now that it's done, I'm opening my heart again and praying for God to give me clarity of vision.

    I don't know why God chose us for this...but I'm certain that he did. My hands are open, my feet are walking, and my heart is ready to love.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Back for Good

    I never intended to take a sabbatical from this space, but it sure turned out that way! The last six months of my life have been extremely pressing. I was not prepared for how grueling the last semester of graduate school would be. It took every ounce of strength I had to remain focused. There were several weeks in there that I was also furiously working to help build a foster adoption agency, which in turn, led to many DHS phone calls and roller emotions within me. By the time I finished my MBA in mid-August, I was so frazzled, I couldn't tell you which end was up.

    I've spent the last few weeks taking deep breaths and reconnecting with my family.

    There is so much to say in regards to where God is leading us, the inefficiencies I feel, and the sureties that have taken root. I can't wait to dive into foster adoption with you, as we explore God's calling for our family.

    I am so thankful to have the summer behind me and the responsibilities that ended with it. Little Ty, who currently thinks he's a puppy, has grown so much in the past several months. From big boy bed to potty trained to eight word sentences, it's incredible to watch him form. 

    I'll let him close this post. Know that we're back and excited to have you walk this new journey with us!