Our Journey of Hope

What’s the Update?

What’s the update? Have you heard anything about your baby? How much longer? We still don’t have answers to these questions and honestly we have even more questions of our own now.

Not long ago I emailed our social worker to get an update on how things were going and if we had any updates. I was hopeful that I would hear some good news but instead heard something more devastating. Not only had we still not been matched but our profile had not even been shown! I read the email several times, was I reading it correctly? Did I miss something? I got Bryan to read it too But I hadn’t misread, we learned that in the 10 months we have been on the wait list, our profile had not been shown to any expectant mothers. Hurt, anger, frustration, and sadness filled us both. We were told there were a few reasons for this; it’s been a slow year, what we are looking for hasn’t matched up with the mothers, etc.  My heart sank; is this ever going to happen? Are we ever going to be matched? And when will the pain go away?

 

We were told that there are a few things we can do to help speed up the process and this brings me to the point of my blog tonight. One thing we are working on is making a website since many expectant mothers are now using social media to find adoptive parents. I have been working on updating this site and will be posting more frequently as well as our Facebook page but we are also putting together a website on a nationally recognized site where many couples are being matched. I will post that site once it is up and running. Also, with this being said we will now be open to a potential match that could be in another state which begins to become more expensive. We still have some money saved in our adoption account but will be looking to raise another $5000 to $8000 to help with the additional funds needed.  We are working on a few fundraisers including another holiday bazaar this year as well as other things. But we really need your prayers, helping us spread our information, and continued support. I had a friend tell me once that when we finally get our baby that all our friends and family will be just as happy since they have been on this journey with us and I believe it. Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t send a message, call or let us know they are praying for us so thank you because that means more then you can imagine!

 

Feel free to share this blog with others and look around our site as we have updated some things. Also, we still have adoption t-shirts you can purchase as well as string art orders!

 

Waiting for God to act during infertility | AmateurNester.com:

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Praying for our baby

We have made it back around to April, and if you have been following our journey you know that we are now two years into our journey since deciding to adopt. It was in April 2014 that Bryan and I decided to make the scary leap into adoption and attend an informational meeting at Miriam’s Promise Adoption Services. We have gone through classes, loads of paperwork, home visits from our social worker, interviews, lots of fundraising and finally this weekend our baby shower. We have prayed, cried, rejoiced and worried a lot, but through it all we have pressed on in our journey, Our Journey of Hope. Today is my birthday and I told my family that all I wanted today was to go to church, eat lunch together and spend time working on our nursery. A few weeks ago my dad and Bryan painted the nursery and today we put together our crib and swing. We went through things and decided where things needed to go. We got a lot done and there is still a lot to do. It really was a great day!

 

You may be asking, when will we have a baby of our own? When will it finally be our turn?  Well, that answer isn’t easy. We have not officially been matched with anyone so we could get a call tomorrow or we could be waiting another 6 months. So how will we get through this next period of waiting… the same way we did the first; the support and love of our family and friends, lots of prayer, and trusting in God. Bryan and I decided several weeks ago that each night we would spend some time in prayer over our adoption. We pray for the potential expectant mom that we will be matched with, we pray for a healthy baby that will someday be in our arms, and we pray for strength to get through the next day. We always pray that our wait will be short and we won’t have to wait much longer. Over the last week I have really felt God talking to me about this waiting period but today at church I began to think about how we pray when our pastor said something that really spoke to me. He mentioned that often Americans when faced with something difficult ask God to fix their problem, while around the world others ask God to give them strength to get through their difficult time. And I began to think about our difficulties with completing our family. I would be lying if I stated that I secretly didn’t still want our baby to come tomorrow, but I also realize that it is in the waiting that we learn and grow so much. When I looked back at where Bryan and I were 2 years ago or even 6 months ago I can appreciate that we were not in the right place and time and that God was still teaching us things that we needed. Tonight after everyone left I came back into our nursery by myself, closed the door behind me and prayed over our nursery. I still prayed for the baby that will one day lay in the newly put together crib. I still prayed for the mother that will graciously hand over her baby to us one day, but also prayed for God’s strength in the days to come. I’m asking that you also join us in prayer over this time. We love you and thank you for all your love and support so far.

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Update on the last few months

So much has happened since I last updated this blog. I keep saying that I’m going to get better at writing more often and keeping everyone updated on this process.  The truth is sometimes this process is hard to write about because I either become embarrassed by what little has been done, overwhelmed by what is still to do, or scared to be vulnerable with everyone about the thoughts and feelings we go through in this journey. My plan is to do better about writing, at least once a month. I know that some months I won’t have much to update as far as the process is concerned but the truth is, there is so much that continues to happen in me. I have grown so much since this process began a little over a year ago. In April of 2014, Bryan and I attended an informational meeting to find out about this whole adoption journey and I never imagined at that time that today I would be sitting in my living room happy to have at least gotten through paperwork and home visit from our social worker. To some it may seem like we haven’t done much however, during this time, Bryan and I both have grown so much, emotionally, spiritually, and with each other in our marriage. We have completed adoption classes, gone through loads of paperwork, had a home visit from our social worker, completed several fundraisers, and felt more love from our family and friends then I ever thought possible. So today I’m thankful, I’m blessed and I’m loved so much more than I could ever imagine.

 

So what all have we been doing since our last post:    

May 14th: Sweet CeCe’s fundraiser with our support group, Adoption Rocks (raised $110 total to split b/w the 4 couples)

July 18th: Softball tournament (raised around $2100)

August 22nd: Pampered Chef fundraiser (raised $98.79)

August 30th: Origami Owl fundraiser ($130 raised)

September 22nd: Turned in HomeStudy Application and met with our newly assigned Social Worker, Kathy

October 5th: Bryan completed his individual interview with our social worker

October 8th: Elizabeth completed her individual interview with our social worker

October 13th: HomeStudy home visit (Our social worker was checking to make sure our home was safe and had adequate space for a child. We also had to make sure to have a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, safety covers on outlets, proper hot/cold water, working A/C & heat, etc)

 

What’s Next: Our social worker will spend the next 3-4 weeks writing up our homestudy and putting together all necessary documents needed to show that we are homestudy approved. During the next few weeks while she works on that, Bryan and I will be putting together our profile. Our profile will consist of a Resume (which is basically a 1-page introduction that includes a picture of us as well as some basic information on who we are and what sets us apart from other prospective adoptive families), pictures of us with family and friends, and a Dear Birthmother letter. All of these things will be binded together to form a book that will be shown to prospective birthmoms. We are to make 10 copies of our book.

 

How Can you Help: – Prayer is always the best and first thing that we ask for from others. We are praying for our finances, the birthmother that we will be matched with, as well as our own families, and being able to complete our profile in a way that is true to who we are yet still makes us stand out from the others.

-2nd Annual Holiday Bazaar. On November 21st we will host our 2nd holiday bazaar. Last year we were blessed by having such a great turnout and are praying that this year is just as good. We are just about at full capacity with vendors but still have room for those who may want to volunteer to their time to help us with various things.

– We also have our t-shirts that we are still selling. We have dropped the price from $15 to $10 so make sure you get one while they still last. Also we have added a new section to our blog titled, Crafts2Cradle where Elizabeth has begun selling string art to help with adoption costs.  

 

 

 

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What’s New???

 

So I know it has been a while since I posted last and I’m sure your first question is, what’s the update? Well we are still in the process of completing paperwork and getting things ready for our home study visit at our house from our adoption agency. What is taking so long you ask?? Papers, papers and more papers. I thought I would explain a little about what all goes into completing a home study. In our packet we are to complete several papers worth of question about what we are looking for in child (age, race, etc). We are given several pages of potential medical conditions to decide whether we are comfortable accepting a child with different medical conditions as well as what decisions we are willing to allow the birth mom to take and what decisions we would rather make for our potential child. Also included in our packet are; financial statements, proof of life insurance, proof of medical insurance, statement of guardianship should something ever happen to Bryan and myself, statement of infertility from our doctor as well as physicals, background checks and a drawn fire escape plan for our house. On top of all of this we are asked to each write a 3-6 page autobiography. Are you tired yet??  Need a break??

Although this is a long process, it has allowed Bryan and I to draw closer to each other during this time. We have also met three others couples who are also on adoption journeys and have been able to form a support group for each other called “Adoption Rocks.” These ladies have already helped me out in ways that I can not express and I am so excited about continuing to build these relationships.

 

adoptionrocks

What to expect next: We have given ourselves a new timeline of having all of our paperwork complete and turned in to our agency by the 15th of this month. Also, we have some fundraisers in the works….

 

May 14th: Sweet CeCe’s in Hendersonville (this fundraiser will be done along with our support group). 20% of all proceeds from those saying they are there to support this group will be given to our group Adoption Rocks to split b/w the four couples.

 

Ongoing: We still have adoption t-shirts for $15, our ETSY page which has some different crafts (new items to be added soon), and our GoFUndMe account.

 

Coming soon: We are in the process of putting together a softball tournament. Stay tuned for details.

 

 

As always, we are so grateful for your continued prayers as we continue on this journey. Thank you so much to those who have been praying for us and continue to send us words of encouragements.

 

Romans 8:28  We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

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Looking back in order to look forward

Its a new year which means time for resolutions, looking ahead and hoping for great things in the year to come. But before I can look forward I must look back. This last year Bryan and I made an important decision to start the adoption process. Already we have faced happiness and struggles; we have seen God’s hand in everything, and been blessed by friends and family. This past month we were blessed by so many at our first fundraiser event. On December 13th we had a Holiday Bazaar. The bazaar was an event that started out small and gradually grew to something that we never imagined. We had 32 vendors, chili and drinks that were donated for concessions, a silent auction with some incredible items, a bake sale, tshirts, and many other items that benefited our adoption. So the number one question, how much did we raise…. nearly $3500! We are nearly ⅓ of the way to our goal amount. We have also continued to receive words of encouragement and financial donations from people, some that don’t even know us but have heard of our journey. So thank you so much for everything!

familyadoption    Elizabeth & Bryan with Elizabeth’s parents and sisters

mommaanddaddy2  Elizabeth & Bryan… Soon to be Momma & Daddy

So what’s next:  We are in the process of completing our home study application which entails; physicals from our primary care physician, lots of paperwork, references, more paperwork, financial statements, autobiographies and did I mention paperwork? Once we turn in our packet of paperwork we will have individual interviews and a home visit from our counselor. This step can be very overwhelming but our goal is to have this step completed in the next few weeks.

New to our blog:  I am going to add a timeline link to our blog in order to keep everyone up to date on the steps we have completed throughout the adoption process. There are also two other links. One link to an ETSY account that was set up by sister Deanna and I of things we have made to sell. Also, we still have shirts that are available for purchase for $15. All things purchased from the ETSY account as well as shirts go the adoption fund.

 

 

Psalm 28:7  The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions…

I just want to take a few minutes to thank everyone for everything since we have announced this journey we are on together. How do you say thank you enough for someone giving you the chance at something you have wanted for so long, the chance to have a family. It is not rare for Bryan to come home to me sitting on the couch in tears due to something that has happened to make me overjoyed whether it is a donation, a comforting word, or a congratulatory hug. I know that some people choose to keep this journey a secret due to the emotional roller coaster it can cause and I have been asked why we choose to be so open, and honestly I feel like its because we believe that it really does take a village and we are blessed to have such a wonderful group of family and friends.

faq

I have gotten a lot of questions lately so I thought I would take the time to explain a little. First, let me start by saying I’m new to this and don’t have all the answers yet myself so I’m learning as all of you are as well.

—What is the process?: The first step is our Home Study Group classes. The group process is the first step in completing our home study. We meet one night a week for six weeks for 2 ½ hours. The group serves to prepare us for adoption and is an educational resource for adoption issues, present and future. Due to confidentiality I can’t say a lot about our group but I can tell you that there are six other couples in our group, all on their adoption and all have faced issues with infertility. We have currently complete 3 out of 6 weeks and are learning so much each week. The next step will be our home study. A home study is a process of collecting background information on potential adoptive parents, interviewing them, touring their home, writing a report summarizing all the information and ultimately rendering a decision as to whether the prospective adoptive parents have been found fit to adopt and parent a child/ren. The home study process consists of a lot of paperwork on the prospective adoptive parents end. Prospective adoptive parents will likely need to submit letters of recommendation, birth certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees; complete physicals, write autobiographies, and obtain several different background clearances. Once the home study has been approved we can go on a waiting list to potentially be matched with a birth family.

—How long does this take? The is no easy answer for this question. Our class take 6 weeks (remember we have complete 3 of 6 weeks). From what I have been told the home study can take 2-6 months depending on how proactive we are with getting some things done. Once on the waiting list, we could be on their 2 weeks or 2 years, there is no telling how long this process can last.

—Are you doing anything to raise money? Yes, we currently have a GoFundMe account set up at http://www.gofundme.com/bryanlizadoption which we have currently raised around $900 (some were given to us personally, instead of using the website). We also have our first big fundraiser set up for December 13th in which we will be having a Holiday Bazaar at Old Hickory Church of the Nazarene. We have several different vendors from commercial to homemade items. We will have a silent auction as well as food and a photo booth! We are very excited about all the help we have been given so far.

—How can I help? Prayer is the greatest thing that has helped. We believe that God has placed a desire in us to adopt and we are believing that in Him all of this is possible. We ask for prayers for the birth family that we will be matched with as well as the potential baby we will be matched with some day. If you are able to help financially and feel like God is telling you to help us, we are so grateful as this adoption is going to cost us anywhere b/w $8500 and $12,000.

If there are other question that you have, comment below and I would be happy to answer them. I would much rather you ask and be informed then for you to be left in the dark.

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We’re expecting…

waiting

 

I haven’t posted since May and I know a lot of people have asked for update about how things are going so far. I didn’t want to post again until I knew more but after this past week, it is definitely time to post again. Bare with me because this may be a little long but I promise it will be worth the read.

 

First I say that God has been with us every step of the way, even at times when we felt alone. About a month ago, Bryan began looking for a new job and even had one company assure him after a few interviews that he had a job with them but that it would be a few weeks before he would get the official word. Weeks began to pass and we still didn’t know anything about Bryan’s job and we began to worry. Bryan called to check in with the supervisor that had guaranteed him the job only to find out the job had fallen through. Needless to say we were upset until we realize this was just the beginning of God’s work. We found out a few days later that Bryan’s current employer offers Adoption Assistance and that he was eligible to receive the assistance. Although the amount would not even come close to paying for the entire process we felt like this was God telling us it was time to really push forward with the adoption process.

We decided to put in our application with the adoption agency that we had met with back in April. So on Monday September 15th, we took our application to the agency. We were both nervous about turning in our application, even so that that when Bryan turned in the application and they asked if it was for international adoption or domestic adoption Bryan answer.. “uhh… US.” The lady laughed and assured Bryan not to be nervous and that things would be ok. Bryan was told that it would take 2-4 weeks for us to hear back about whether we were going to be accepted by the agency or not. At this point Bryan was feeling confident and I was very nervous but knew that there was nothing more I could do but pray and trust in God.

 

The next day I received an email from the counselor at the agency saying that she had gotten our application but was unable to process until she asked a few questions. I became nervous and immediately my thoughts turned to everything negative that could be wrong. Bryan assured me that everything would be fine and I needed to call. When I talked to counselor she asked a few questions and asked me to talk to Bryan and call her back. When I called her back the phone call couldn’t have gone any better. She told me that she would process our application in the next few days and we would hear from them soon. I asked how long she thought it would be until we heard something to which she responded “oh I’m turning your paperwork in to my supervisor you should hear something within the week. I want you to get the paperwork before the class starts in October.” I immediately got off the phone and told Bryan I thought we were in but we would know later this week.

 

Saturday, September 20th, we received the letter that we are official accepted at Miriam’s Promise Pregnancy, Parenting, and Adoption Services in Nashville!! We are so excited to be starting this journey. God has been working throughout this process already. We have a class that we have to take, which is only offered twice a year, before we can do anything else. This class will start October 2nd and our first payment of $750 is due at this time. That leaves us less than 2 weeks until the class starts and initial our thought was to panic but instead we know that if we continue to trust in God, He will provide. We have added a GoFundMe link on our blog for anyone that feels lead to help us with this journey as the cost is not cheap to adopt. Our total expenses will be b/w $8500 and $12000 to adopt. ( http://www.gofundme.com/bryanlizadoption ) For those who are not able to help financially at this time we would ask for your continued prayers and support during this time. We also ask for prayers for the potential birth mom and child that we will be matched with in the months to come.

 

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Transforming my heart…

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, and we are still in the application process.  We had hoped to have already submitted our application but due to my recent surgery and being out of work, we decided that financially it would be best to wait a few more weeks. So unfortunately, I do not have much to update about the adoption process itself. However, when I first decided to write this blog I told myself I was going to be honest; I wanted people to not only see the joyful parts of the process but also the struggle of raw emotions happening inside of me. With this past week being Mother’s Day, my heart went through a lot of transformation.

In the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day I noticed myself becoming very bitter. Bitter that once again I would spend another year without a child of my own, and now not even officially enrolled with an adoption agency on the road to finding our forever child. I was taught that God still works miracles, that God can do things that doctors can’t, and that maybe, just maybe God was going to change his mind and allow me to become pregnant. I told God that if he blessed me with pregnancy I would praise Him and if he didn’t, I would still praise Him. Although it is not always easy to praise him each month when the reality comes that I am not pregnant, I trust Him and will walk by faith. I prayed that God would help me to be grateful, and not bitter this Mother’s day and He began to change my heart.

 

I began to think about what I do have instead of what I don’t have this year.

  • I have a husband who loves me, supports me and walks through all of this with me every day.
  • I have family and friends who continue to support me
  • I have my own mother to celebrate
  • I have a God who continues to stand by me in this storm.

 

mother'sday

 

I’m not going to pretend that Sunday was easy and that I didn’t tear up at different times in the day, but this Mother’s Day was very different from the ones the past few years.

  • I was able to celebrate with those who were celebrating their first Mother’s Day as mothers without bitterness.
  • I was able to appreciate the fact that I still have my own mom with me each day to continue to learn from and mourn with those who didn’t have their mothers.
  • I was able to see that God is using this time to work on me and mold me into a better person.

I had to stop and realize that I’m not the only one struggling this year and how dare I act that way. I have to stop and thank several friends and family who made a point to let me know that they were thinking of me and how hard of a day it was for me. I appreciate the text, private Facebook messages and cards I got from friends telling me that they were praying for me, they were there for me, and they continue to walk this path with me. I appreciate that every one of them, even if they also have dealt with infertility themselves, let me know that they understand that every situation is different and they don’t pretend to know what I’m feeling but they understand it is hard. And I do believe this helped me this year.

I don’t know if this is the last year I have to spend Mother’s Day without a child or if it will be 5 more, or if I ever will have a child of my own. But I am learning that God is with me and continues to remind me that He is there for me.

 

Please continue to pray for Bryan and I throughout this process. Pray that we will be able to turn in our application within the next month. Pray that our finances will continue to improve to allow this process to work out for us. Pray that we will continue to grow closer together and closer to Him.

 

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we walk by faith, not by sight.  

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Why us??

“Sorry, there is nothing we can do for you; you need to start looking at other options.” I will never forget these words or how they made me feel. To be honest, I did not understand why God was allowing this to happen to us.  We are told the order of life is simple: go to school, meet someone, fall in love, and have children. And this is exactly how things had gone for me, except for the last part. Bryan and I were now in that category of people who couldn’t have children. I felt as though I should have seen this coming, since we had been dealing with this issue for nearly 3 ½ years. Month after month, the hope of having children began to fade, but it was never completely lost. I would hear women talk about how easy it was to get pregnant. This filled my heart with jealousy, as I wished it was easy for me to become pregnant.  I would also hear of women who were neglecting or abusing their children. This would make me question God as to how these women were blessed with a child, yet Bryan and I, who love children dearly, were struggling with infertility.

We went to several appointments and saw countless doctors, trying to determine why I was unable to become pregnant. At first they would say they did not know what was wrong or why we were struggling (which continued to give me a little bit of hope). I thought  God wasn’t saying ‘no’, he was saying ‘not yet.’ And then came that dreadful day a few months ago when a doctor told us there is was nothing they could do to help us have children, and we would have to begin looking at other options.  That brings me to the point of this blog; to keep our family and friends up to date on the journey Bryan and I go through to start a family of our own.

We originally looked at the possibility of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) but after much discussion and prayer, we decided this wasn’t the option for us. So, we have begun looking into adoption. We have researched several different agencies, and some we originally thought would be a good fit for us have turned out otherwise. However there was one agency that stood out to us, and we decided to meet with them. We went into the meeting a bit reluctant, but hopeful. After the meeting we talked and prayed about the decision, and felt like this is the agency we would like to work with throughout this process. We are currently in the process of completing the application.

At this time we are asking our friends and family to support us through prayer. Please pray that God would give us clarity in this situation, as there are many important decisions to be made. We would also like to ask that you join us in praying over the application process and that it would be accepted.  We would be heartbroken if there was something in the application that would cause the agency to not work with us. As I am sure many of you are aware, the process of adoption is quite expensive. We know that if God is leading us in this direction that he will provide the finances.  Please pray that we would be wise with our money in order to make this happen. Lastly, and very importantly, we ask for prayer for the birth mom that will ultimately be matched with us, as we know this will not be an easy decision for her.

Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

 

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