Thursday, April 28, 2011

Class #6 & Home Study #1

This week has been exhausting!  I feel like I've been pulled a million directions at once...hence my later than normal blog post. 

This week we had our first home study interview.  Along with going through adoption certification classes we also have to complete a home study.  Basically the adoption caseworker gets to know us, our family history, our relationships, etc making sure we will be able to care for a child.  Our first interview was this week right before our class.  Ben and I both had to draw genograms (sp?) which is fancy name for a family tree.  We then discussed the people in our family, the relationships we had with them growing up and how those relationships are working currently, etc.  I wasn't sure what to expect going into the interview but it was very relaxed.  I basically felt like I was telling/reliving my family story with my caseworker.  It was interesting to note how different Ben and I are when it comes to family!

Immediately after our interview was over we jumped in the car and raced across town for our sixth class.  This class was different from the others.  Not sure if I wasn't into it because I was already drained from our interview or because I was starving since we didn't have time to eat dinner!  Either way the focus of the night was "Raising the Adopted Child".

In our packet of info we were given our attention was drawn to the fact that several people in the Bible were adopted.  Moses, Esther and most importantly, Jesus! I had never thought about that before--pretty cool!

Our caseworker leading the class this week has adopted two children so she knows first hand some of the issues we will be dealing with as adoptive parents.  I love the phrase she said she told her children while they were growing up:

"You were carried in your birth mom's tummy, but you were always in my heart."


A lot of tonight's class was about bonding and attachment.  The topics we covered took me back to what I learned in my Child Psychology class at Point Loma.  Ben commented on our way home how a lot of it seems like common sense.  I thought the same thing.  But as adoptive parents we need to be proactive and intentional about bonding with our child and making sure they form a strong attachment to us as their parents.  

As we went through each stage of development our caseworker talked about how from the very beginning we need to be open to talking to our child about their adoption.  At each age there is a way to appropriately talk to our children about how God brought them to be a part of our family.  When they are toddlers we can explain how mommy didn't carry them in her tummy, but in her heart.  The contact we plan to have with our child's birth family will hopefully help explain a lot of things along the way as well.  As they get older the harder questions will come:

Why did my birth mom give me away?
Did I do something to make my birth mom not want me?
Why did my birth mom keep her other children, but not me?

Being open and honest with our child and answering their questions as best we can will be key to helping our child understand who they are and will help them form a positive picture of themselves.  Our caseworker also explained that these questions and struggle with identity are very normal so to not be alarmed.

That's it for this week.  Only one class left to go!  We also have two different interviews scheduled in the next few weeks for our case study.  Thanks for your continued support and prayers!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus knows what we need!

Today our Pastor preached on John 20:19-29.  Although not an unfamiliar passage, I loved what our Pastor directed our attention to this morning.  When the disciples were gathered together and Jesus appeared to them they had no trouble believing it was him.  However one of the disciples was missing and did not get to see Jesus when he appeared to the others.  He refused to believe the others when they told him what had happened.  It wasn't until Jesus appeared to Thomas and let him touch his hands, and side that he stopped doubting.  Jesus knew what Thomas needed! 

Isn't it the same with us today?  Jesus knows what we need and if are eyes and ears are attentive to His work in our lives we will see exactly how he provides for us each and everyday!  As I said in an earlier blog post I'm amazed each week during our adoption classes how God knows exactly what I'm needing to hear and what topics I need to process more about as we travel through this journey. 

Unlike Thomas and the other disciples we have not seen Jesus personally and yet still we choose to believe.  Jesus states "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed".  May you be blessed by an ever-present peace because of your belief today!  If you are reading this post and do not believe I urge you to contact me.  I'd love to share how Christ has worked and is working in my life simply because I have chosen to believe!

Pregnant or Gift Shopping?

It  never dawned on me until now but I probably look really weird when I'm shopping for baby paraphernalia.  This past weekend we bought the car seat and stroller for our future baby.  Either the salespeople thought I was planning WAY ahead, or possibly thought I was just gift shopping for someone else.  (Have you seen the cost of a stroller?!  Wow I must be a generous person!  Haha!)  Because we are choosing to grow our family through adoption, this will probably come up a lot as we continue through the process.  I can hardly wait to see what people say in the store when we are registering!

A friend I was talking to the other day gave me a new perspective on where I am in our journey right now.  Although I may not be "pregnant", this is my "pregnancy"!  I stated in an earlier blog that starting the adoption process feels like having a positive pregnancy test.  Well now since my test was "positive" I'm doing what any normal pregnant mommy would do--I'm getting ready the baby!  However in my case the best part is I'm not tired or sick to my stomach!

One comment I have thought about is what people will say right after we get placement.  I'm sure many people, especially those who do not know us and our situation, will assume I gave birth to our child.  However if they look closely I would think they could tell that I am not someone who recently was in labor!  However if anyone comments on how great I look my first response will probably be, "Thanks!" with a big fat grin on my face!

6 Weeks

Normally there’s a 6 week waiting period to do a long list of things after having a baby…but since we’ll be adopting--no 6 week waiting period for us!  Immediately after “having” a baby I will be able to:

work out at the gym  (Will I actually want to or have time?  That’s a whole another story…)

vacuum my house (if you are my friend on facebook you know how much I LOVE to vacuum!)

and best of all…

if Ben wants to get busy the day after we have a baby (or moments after for that matter) it’s on!

Hopefully I made you laugh with this post!  It’s in the small things that I’m continuing to see God’s plan unfold and grow more and more excited about adoption!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Change of Heart

We saved this part for last in our class this past week, probably because it’s a tough topic to discuss.  But unfortunately when it comes to adoption, nothing is final until the birth family signs relinquishment's after the baby is born.

We talked about how it’s important to have “sensible expectations”.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that a mother wants to keep her child—the surprise comes when she wants and is willing to place her child for adoption!  When a birth mom makes an adoption plan it is exactly that—a plan!  Plans can change at any moment! 

Our agency suggests trying to take hold of a “can’t lose” mind set.  Whether I want to accept it or not, adoption is a ministry, thus it should be focused on giving, not receiving.  When a birth family is supported, regardless of their decision, then the ministry’s mission is accomplished. 

I honestly had never really thought about adoption in this light.  I consider myself to be somewhat ministry minded—I did marry a pastor after all!  But in some ways, giving still doesn’t come naturally to me.  I have to purposefully focus on reaching outward instead of inward. 

Our caseworker teaching the class talked about how a lot of birth families have never seen what a marriage, centered on Christ, looks like.  A lot of birth moms have never seen a healthy relationship in which a man loves a woman unconditionally and treats her accordingly.  Even if in the end the birth mom decides to parent her own child, it is our hope that we will have made an impact in her life in someway.  This doesn’t mean that we won’t hurt and grieve over the loss of what could have been our baby.  But we need to remember the baby wasn’t ours to begin with.

In class we talked about how there are “reasons for risks”.  Choosing to adopt is risky—thus I am a risk taker.  I had never thought of myself as a risk taker before starting the adoption process, but I guess I am now a member of the club!  The reasons we take risks in an adoption are because the life of a child is at stake.  If we have the opportunity to love a child that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to be loved and cared for, we will willingly take on this risk!  However in the end the birth mom may decide that she is capable of loving and caring for her own child herself-this is a risk for her, but a good one for her to take on as well!

We need to walk into adoption with our eyes wide open ready to accept God’s plans for us even if they don’t end up the way we had envisioned.  Someone once told me that if you want to make God laugh, then make plans!  (However for some reason I still tend to plan my life out—interesting to note!). 

In this ride called adoption we are the passengers, the birth family the drivers!  Even though we may go down some scary roads, God will be ever present protecting us and caring for us along the way. 

We need to be prepared for grief when it comes to adoption.  However much I don’t want to give my heart to this child in a birth mother’s womb—I will.  It will feel like mine, even though it isn’t.  If I go into adoption knowing this and remembering that God is ultimately in control, I may experience heartache, but my heart will not stay broken forever. 

The Language of Adoption

In our last class we also went over the language used in adoption.  Unfortunately some of this language can have a negative impact on adoptive families and birth families.  It was interesting to note the substitutes we can use to display adoption in a more positive light:


“children of your own” –you mean my adopted child isn’t my child?!

“biological children” –you mean my adopted child is made of plastic?!

“natural children” –you mean my adopted child is a freak?!

“put up for adoption”—conjures up images of the auction block (an accurate picture of adoption a century ago)

“gave up for adoption” –you mean you just gave me away to some stranger?!

“real parents” –you mean I’m an unreal parent?  I don’t count?


“parents by adoption” or “parents by birth” (no matter what, our child arrived on earth
biologically, by birth – but he did not necessarily come to us that way)

“placed for adoption” or “made an adoption plan”

“birth parents”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Class #5!

It’s amazing how each week God seems to know exactly what I’ve been struggling with and needing to process in regards to our adoption!  Each class brings with it new challenges to consider, new emotions to deal with, and new scenarios to ponder.  I am so thankful that our agency has spent time and devoted prayer towards designing each class for us along this journey!

Tonight’s class was entitled a “Healthy Adoption Experience”.  We started out with a story and since it’s short I decided to type it up for all of you to read:

Welcome to Holland
By Emily Pearly Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising an adopted child after infertility.  It’s like this…

When you’re planning a fabulous vacation trip—to Italy, you buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  Several hours later, the plane lands.  The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

Holland?!” you say, “What do you mean, Holland?  I signed up for Italy!”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan.  They’ve landed in Holland, and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horribly, disgusting, filthy place.  It’s just a different place.

It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you’ve been there for awhile and you catch your breath, you look around and begin to notice that Holland has windmills.  Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts!

But everyone you know is bragging about what a wonderful time they had in Italy.  And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go.  That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

As I said last week I always thought adoption would be a means to an end.  I’ve got my baby so my life can begin.  However that’s not true and adoption carries with it some special circumstances and challenges that only someone who has gone through the adoption process can truly understand.  However it is my hope that through this blog I can give you a glimpse of how adoption feels and what it looks like. 

Tonight we discussed the “myths and fears about adoption”. There a lot of them out there—some more easily to identify as ‘not true” than others.  Some of the ones that stuck out to me were:

I will never be able to love someone else’s child like I would my own. 
To be honest I worry about this one!  I am praying even now that God will give me a love for our child that’s deeper than I can even imagine! 

Parenting is parenting—it doesn’t make any difference if it’s by birth or adoption
In a way this is true—parenthood comes with its challenges no matter in what way you become a parent.  However because our child will be adopted we will also have a special set of challenges and differences to deal with.  Our caseworker shared tonight that we need to remember that Adoption starts with loss—loss for a birth mom giving up her child, and loss for us since we wouldn’t have chosen adoption if not for our struggles with infertility.  However we don’t have to stay in that loss—we can move forward!

Maybe the infertility was God’s way of telling me I wouldn’t be a good parent, so I have to be perfect. 
Although I know the God I love and serve does not make infertility happen I do struggle with the latter part of this statement.  I want to be a parent so badly and have gone to great lengths to become one—thus I expect perfection from myself!  It’s interesting to note how some people have to try so hard to become parents while others have it so easy to the point where they didn’t really even make the conscious choice to be a parent—it just sort of happened!  (By the way when you talk to someone who has gone through infertility please don’t ever say, “That’s so weird.  I didn’t even have to try”.  This statement can really hurt!)

If my daughter/son thinks about her birth mother and wants to meet her, I have failed as a parent. 
This is an easy trap to fall into and believe.  For me there’s still a lot of insecurity when it comes to being a Mom—especially to an adopted son or daughter.  However I really liked what our handout said thus I quote, “If your child trusts you enough to talk about her birth parents with you, you have succeeded splendidly in establishing a healthy relationship.  Can you make a paradigm shift and view the birth mother as a natural, essential presence in your child’s life instead of as a potential threat?”  Ben and I have talked about how important it is going to be for us to have an open and honest line of communication with our child.  We want to talk to our kids about anything and everything—especially our faith in Jesus! 

We are willing to adopt a child of any ethnic background—race is not an issue.
I’m still processing this one.  For now Ben and I have marked on our “child desired” form that we are open to any and all ethnic backgrounds and races.  Tonight our caseworker shared that even if race isn’t an issue to you as family—it will always be an issue to others and our society, thus you need to be prepared to deal with it.  I feel really guilty in saying this but adoption is already such a huge deal for me to be taking on I’m not sure if I can add one more thing to my plate to make it harder.  This may mean that we go back and change our form, I’m not sure.  I almost feel like a racist in saying that I’m not sure if I could adopt outside my own race.  If anyone reading this has any thoughts or just could specifically pray for God’s guidance and wisdom regarding this issue it would be appreciated! 

Tonight we also talked about the adoption triad.  When you adopt there are three parties involved: 1) the adoptee, 2) the birth parent(s), and 3) The adoptive parents.  Although we all experience different emotions we also have a lot in common as well.  This was really interesting to note!  Let’s take Mother’s Day for example (which is in my opinion my least favorite day to go to church for fear I will break down in tears from once again not being able to stand and be recognized as a ‘mother’).  When mothers are asked to stand and be recognized, I don’t stand.  It’s not that I don’t want to be a mother, but I’m not one!  A birth mom, who has given birth to a child but placed it in the care of an adoptive family, may also choose not to stand because she doesn’t feel like a mother—even though she gave birth to a child!  The birth mother and I have both experienced pain and loss—just on different sides of the spectrum!

Another example that was brought up is that when a match meeting takes place usually adoptive parents worry about what to wear, what to say, etc.  We want the birth mom to like us and hopefully pick us to raise her child!  However the caseworker shared that when a birth mom comes to these meetings she is just as nervous as us if not more so.  She looks at us as the perfect couple who have it all together (if only she knew…!). 

Another topic covered tonight was called “The Building Blocks of Healthy Adoptive Families”:

Infertility Resolution:  Although I will always carry the loss with me that I may never be able to conceive and carry our own child, I have moved on and am choosing to grow our family through adoption!

Entitlement:  Although no one is “entitled” to parent a child, adoptive families need to take ownership of their desire to parent!  A lot of times insecurity can come in and disrupt the important bonding that needs to take place between parent and child.

Claiming:  Although the child we will adopt will never be “biologically” ours, we still need to claim this child as ours!  Just as I have a picture of Ben and my two dogs on my desk at work because they “belong” to me, so will I display a picture of my adopted child in the same way!

Empathy for birth parents:  We need to put ourselves in the birth parents shoes—they didn’t plan to have this child just as we didn’t plan to be infertile!  And we also need to remember that even on their very worst day amidst all of their bad choices, in the end this birth parent chose to give their child LIFE!  In today’s world there is an “easier” way out that a lot of women choose to take!  Not only did she choose life for her child she also carried this child with her for 9 months and then gave it away!  What an amazing love!

Acceptance of Need for birth parents:  This one really struck a chord with me.  When you have your own child you raise it yourself, on your own.  You are the expert on that child because you created it and are raising it.  However in adoption although my husband and I, as mom and dad, will play vitally important roles in our child's life we also need our child's birth mom.  We need information about their medical history and family history.  And one day our child may need to have questions answered that we, as their adoptive parents, can't answer. 

Adoptive Parenting is Different from Parenting by Birth:  I am so glad our classes acknowledge this fact!  As a teacher I have 23 different kids in my class--each one is unique and special in their own way.  Our adopted child will be unique and special as well and will also face challenges from being adopted.  I have been worrying about this lately but am glad to know I'm not alone in my worries.  All of the topics we have covered in our classes so far have really opened my eyes to all that adoption encompasses.  I'm so glad I'm walking into adoption with my eyes wide open so I can prepare to do the best job possible in raising our child!

Identity Formation:  This one has been a worry of mine as well.  We already know we want to teach our child who they are in Christ:  a beautiful creation!  However since our child will be adopted they will also have to learn who they are in this world.  We need to be prepared when our child starts asking about who they are and where they have come from.  We don't plan to wait to tell our child they are adopted.  They will know from an early age and will hopefully have contact with their birth family so they will understand even more about how they came to be a part of our family.  I don't ever want our child to think they can't ask these tough questions!

God is in control:  I'm glad they ended with this one.  No matter what happens or where our journey through adoption takes us, God is leading the way!  Our agency strongly believes that God has the perfect child waiting in the wings to be our family. I am embracing this belief as well!

All in all would it be easier to have our own child?
Of course!
But since we can't, we choose to grow our family through adoption--an exciting and beautiful thing!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More thoughts...

Ben and I were at Subway tonight doing our homework from Class # 3 (Yes, we have homework each week!) and took some time to process what we've learned so far through this journey.  It's been really helpful for me to take time each week to blog about what I'm thinking and feeling--but it's hard to find time for Ben and I both to share what we are thinking together! 

One phrase that has really stuck with us is that adoption, although not our first choice, isn't second best either.  Since our classes have been focusing on the birth family these last two weeks this phrase also made me think of the birth mom.  It probably wasn't her plan to get pregnant and have a baby at this point in her life just as it wasn't our plan to struggle with infertility.  However adoption provides a solution for both parties involved.  The birth mom will be able to place her child with a family (us!) who can love and take care of it since she can't at this point in her life.  And at the same time we will get to raise the child we have been yearning for these last three years! 

God is pretty cool in how he works!  All of this reminds me of how it wasn't God's plan for sin to ever enter the world in the first place.  However when it did he provided salvation from those sins through Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross! He also probably never planned for the unplanned pregnancies that so many women face but again has provided a way out for some of these women through adoption!

Why do bad things happen...?

I'm sure all of us at some point in time have asked ourselves the question:

Why do bad things happen to good people?

In a world filled with hurt and heartache, it's hard not to want to ask this question almost daily. Especially when so many of us "good people" (I say this in quotes because is there really such a thing?!) contract cancer, have trouble conceiving a child, etc.  In my study of Isaiah this year I found an answer (at least it seemed like an answer to me) to this age old question:

Isaiah 57:1-2

The righteous perish,
and no one ponders it in his heart;
devout men are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.

Sometimes God's plan is bigger and better than we are capable of seeing right now.  Or perhaps it's just different but will end up for the best in time.  It helps me to remember this when I'm going through tough times--hopefully it will do the same for you!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Our Adoption Support Letter

In case you aren't on our mailing list, here's the letter we sent out asking for your support and prayers throughout our journey:

March 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

We have some exciting news to share with you!  Many of you may or may not know that Ben and I have struggled with infertility for the last three years.  It has been a long and oftentimes heartbreaking journey but through it all we have continued to look to God and what His plans might be for our lives.  That brings us to our news:  we have decided to begin the adoption process!  We did not come to this decision lightly but are excited for where this journey will take us.  We are writing this letter asking for your support:

First, we ask that you keep us and the journey we are about to embark on, in your prayers.  We have wanted a baby for some time now and know that God has the perfect child out there for us!  Along with that prayer we ask that you would pray for the family we will be working with.  We know the decision to give their baby up for adoption will not come easily.  We already look forward to the gift this family will bestow upon us with gratefulness in our hearts.

Second, we are asking for your financial support.  Adoption can be quite expensive and we are committing to not create any new debt as we go through the process.  We are confident that God will provide, as he always does, for our journey.  If you’d like to support us financially, you can contact us via e-mail or on facebook.

Our adoption journey has already begun: we have turned in the initial paperwork and have met with the adoption caseworker who will be working with us throughout the process.  We now are in the midst of the home study and adoption certification process.  By midsummer we hope to be placed in our agency’s “match book”.  This is an exciting time for us filled also with anticipation!

Ben and I have created a blog to help us document our journey so feel free to follow us along at:
I have found great comfort in my study of Isaiah this year through Bible Study Fellowship.  A verse that has stayed with me can be found in Isaiah 41: 9b-10:

“I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. 

This verse, in my mind, applies to Ben and I as well as our future baby.  We know that He has not turned away from us, even in our long-awaited desire to start a family.  He already holds our future child in his “righteous right hand” and will strengthen us, our future child, and our future child’s birth family and help us all throughout this journey.

Thank you again for your support and prayers! 

With love,

Alisha & Ben George

Class # 4!

This may sound silly, but I’ve always sort of thought of adoption as a means to an end.  Once we get our baby, the goal has been reached, we have crossed the finish line, and the process is over!  In reality, this thought process is far from the truth!  Tonight’s class topic was all about the covenant we will be forming with the birth family.  Our agency strongly supports open adoption, thus the relationship we form with our child’s birth family will not end when they hand over their baby—in fact it will just be beginning!  If I wasn’t agreeable to open adoption, we probably wouldn’t be adopting or even working with this agency.  So don’t misunderstand me—the information presented tonight was not brand new.  However I got a much bigger and better picture of exactly how an open adoption looks like and feels!

Once we are matched with a birth mom we then will have a covenant meeting where we outline what our relationship will look like once the baby is born.  How often will phone calls occur?  E-mails?  Letters?  How many times will we visit in person each year?  Who is allowed to attend these visits?  All of these things can be changed or revised as needed throughout the life of the child depending on different situations that arise. 

Our caseworker noted that although this covenant is a document that all parties sign (including a judge) we can never have our rights revoked as parents if the covenant’s terms are not met.  However, the courts can mandate that we go to mediation if we are struggling to meet the terms of the agreement. 

When looking over the covenant agreement it was hard not to get overwhelmed.  I’m worried I won’t meet up to the birth mom’s expectations!  Our caseworker shared that birth mom’s feel the exact same way, so not to worry.

We spent a lot of time talking about how we would handle different scenarios throughout the baby’s life.  What if the birth family breaks contact for awhile?  What if my child suddenly has a desire to not see their birth family?  It was comforting to know that the agency is there to support us every step of the way.  Oftentimes when you work with a lawyer once the adoption is finalized they are no longer in the picture.  Our agency has counseling services and we are always free to call if a situation arises and we are not sure what to do. 

It’s funny but since we will be a adopting an infant it’s hard to focus on the big picture.  This child will grow, change and mature!  As they do it will be our job to ensure the child understands and knows how they came to be a part of our family and what role their birth parents play.  This may not always be an easy journey for our child.  There may be times when our child doesn’t understand why they can’t live with their birth parents or they may be confused why they have both adoptive parents and birth parents.  This is a lot to deal with and was quite overwhelming to think about.  The caseworker shared that our job is not keep our children from pain but to help them process and deal with the pain they experience.  Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it can also be hard and painful at times.  But isn’t it the same with life?!

Ben and I have always wanted more than one child.  In fact I wouldn’t mind 3 or 4!  However going through the adoption process has made me really contemplate if I could handle more than one for a lot of different reasons.  If we are never able to conceive any of our own children we would be dealing with a set of birth parents for each child we adopt!  I’m sure each situation would be different and unique in its own way, with its own joys and sorrows, but the perfectionist in me wants to make sure I give equal attention to each relationship.  I’m not ready to say we will be “one and done” but it’s definitely given me a lot to think about!

These are my thoughts for now.  I felt like I was rambling more than normal this time!  I apologize if it was hard to follow my thought process!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Class # 3!

Wow.  Tonight’s class was overwhelming!  There was a lot of information given out tonight and a lot of it was hard to take in.  We focused on the “Birth Parent Experience” tonight.  I have already begun to put myself in the birth mom’s shoes but tonight I was able to even better picture all that she goes through. 

We watched a video where birth moms (and some dads too!) spoke candidly about their experiences in giving up their children for adoption.  One birth mom said it was hard leaving the hospital in a wheelchair—all other moms leave with their babies—she didn’t.  I wonder if this is how parents who have given birth to a child that didn’t survive must feel—heartbreaking! 

If I were to put myself in the birth mom’s shoes I don’t know if I could go through with it!  I never thought I would use the word brave to describe a birth mom—but that’s exactly what they are: brave!  They boldly decide to give up their child realizing they aren’t ready to be parents.  They don’t make this decision because they don’t like their baby—in fact they do it because they LOVE their baby!  Wow!  I hope I can one day love my child as much as a birth mom must love their child! 

Birth parents on the video also described what it feels like to later see their birth children (it seemed like most of them chose some form of an open adoption).  It surprised me a little how excited and at peace birth moms were to see their children happy and adjusted with their adoptive families.  Some almost seemed relieved.  I never thought about how much of a worry or burden that might be for a birth mom when giving up their child. 

One of the families in our class brought up the concern that she fears she wouldn’t live up to the birth parents’ expectations. I never thought about that and I think it’s a valid concern to have!  Our instructor for the evening encouraged us to remember that all the time we are spending planning and preparing for this baby through the adoption process proves that we want to be parents and be the best parents possible.  When birth moms come to our agency the pregnancy counselors take time to explain all that adoptive parents go through to be certified.  The instructor shared that many birth moms are thankful and in awe over what we go through. 

Tonight I was able to think about myself and our infertility journey in comparison to a birth mom’s journey in deciding to give up her baby.  We both experience loss, just in different ways and at different times.  My joy in having a baby will begin just as a birth mom’s heartbreaking loss will be starting.  That’s a lot to think about and remember—especially when we are working with the birth mom in the hospital.

Tonight we spent some time looking and going over what’s called a “Hospital Plan”.  This is paperwork that is filled out by the birth mom as she decides how involved she wants the birth parents to be while she’s at the hospital.  It was very specific and covered a lot of things:
            -who calls the adoptive parents when birth mom is in labor?
            -who is in the room for the delivery?
-where will the baby stay in the hospital (with birth mom, in the nursery, or with the adoptive parents?)
            -who will be allowed to visit?
            -who will provide the going home outfit for the baby?
-who will name the baby? (Birth mom fills out the birth certificate and can technically name the baby whatever she wants)
-will birth mom or adoptive parents take the baby home from the hospital (if consents have not been signed yet)

The hospital plan was what overwhelmed me most.  It’s a lot to think about.  I can easily describe myself as a control freak—and I in no way get to control what the birth mom writes on the hospital plan.  In fact I get no say whatsoever!  It is my job to be sensitive  to what the birth mom is going through while at the hospital.  I don’t look at this job lightly and hope I can do all that I can to support this mother in her decision—whether it be to keep this baby or give it us to raise.  Sometimes the best decision for a birth mom will be to keep her baby—it has happened and I have to be prepared for it.  If she’s able to love that child and raise that child what a beautiful thing that can turn out to be!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Love Coffee?

If you or someone you know loves coffee then do I have a deal for you!  The company "Just Love Coffee" is dedicated to helping couples with adoption fees.  Every time you order a bag of coffee through the link below we get $5 towards our adoption fund!  Help support us (and possibly your addiction to coffee??)  Thanks everyone!

This year I am studying the book of Isaiah through BSF.  It has been an awesome study and I have a learned a lot (although that first section was pretty tough to get through!).  This week the following verses really stuck out to me. 
Isaiah 54:1-8: 
“Sing, barren woman,
   you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
   you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
   than of her who has a husband,”
            says the LORD.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
   stretch your tent curtains wide,
   do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
   strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
   your descendants will dispossess nations
   and settle in their desolate cities.
  “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
   Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
   and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband—
   the LORD Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
   he is called the God of all the earth.
The LORD will call you back
   as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
   only to be rejected,” says your God.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
   but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
   I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
   I will have compassion on you,”
   says the LORD your Redeemer.

In this passage Isaiah is using the imagery of a barren woman to describe how although Israel has been held captive for a long time (and thus has been "barren") God will eventually come to their rescue (and provide "children")!  The verses speak of "bursting into song" and "shouting for joy"--I am embracing this right now!  I don't have to be sad anymore!  I love the part that talks about "enlarging your tent" and "stretching your tent curtains wide".  God is telling his people--get ready, I'm coming!  Although I am a barren woman God still has promised me children, through adoption!  I am to get ready and prepare for this child's arrival--just as the Israelites were to prepare and get ready for God to rescue them and lead them out of captivity.  Although God's word was written and inspired thousands of years ago He still uses it to speak to his people today--love it!