Adoption Finalization: From Barrenness to Fullness

Photo Cred: TMDexter Photography

Phew! For “some” reason I’m finding it hard to find time to think through my inner thoughts these days let alone write about them. ;) But here I am attempting to summarize into words the past eight months.

On May 31 Jonathan’s adoption was finalized. What this means:

Jonathan is now legally our son in the eyes of the law as if we birthed him. We no longer need to meet with our caseworker once a month and we can now sign any legal documents regarding our son. But really what it means is immense peace of mind for me. Even though I pretty much knew everything would work out great, I always had those nagging “what ifs” in the back of my mind. It was hard to fully rest in the fact that Jonathan is our son. I now have that feeling of completeness and it feels GOOD!!!

So, let me tell you about the day of the finalization. It provided one final bump in the process that I did not expect.

We arrived at the courthouse early and waited for our hearing time. We were called in and took our seats in the plaintiff’s area, preparing to answer the expected questions from our attorney. We were sworn in and then answered a series of questions: “Describe your house”; “Do you have a job”; “Are you in good health”; “Why should Jonathan be adopted by you”… you know, simple questions like that. :) After about five minutes of questioning the judge was very silent, looking through our file. As he continued to shuffle papers, my heart beat faster along with the shuffle. What’s taking so long? Please just tell us that Jonathan is legally our son. Oh no, is something wrong?

After what seemed like an eternity the judge announced that one document was missing. After two years of paperwork and meetings and interviews, the court was missing one essential piece of paper! As he informed us that he can’t finalize until he has that paper, my heart was in shock. What does this mean? Is Jonathan not going to have his adoption finalized today? Will there be MORE waiting?!

He asked our attorney to have the office submit the paper and we would reconvene after lunch. It was so incredibly difficult to walk out of the courtroom, knowing that things were not settled yet. My body and mind felt numb. This was not the plan. This is not how these things normally go.

Long story short after a 90 minute break we were back in the courtroom with the judge holding the paper in hand. I was incredibly relieved to hear the pronouncement and the photos we took after our court hearing show it. However, it took me a few days to get over the shock of that missing paper.

I don’t know why we had to go through that final bit of stress but I suppose all great stories need a final crisis near the end. (ha!) It turned out that the paper was submitted by our agency but somehow lost at some point.

It has taken my mind some time to transition to the reality that Jonathan is fully ours. That I don’t need to think about checking with other people for things regarding our son. That we are solely his parents. It’s really quite an awesome feeling.

I am amazed when I reflect on the past eight months. Last October we went from waiting, hungering, and hoping to become parents to having our arms filled with a baby within three weeks. We had a most amazing birth experience with Jonathan and his very generous birth parents. We experienced the wonder and sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn. We continue to watch with delight as Jonathan’s personality emerges. Over the past eight months we moved from barrenness to fullness. From grief to full joy. When we started this adoption journey over two years ago, I hoped but never expected God to put the details together so perfectly well. He did it.

I have a verse I’ve been clinging to throughout this process. It has been hanging on my bathroom mirror for two years:

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:5)

It is the most incredible thing in the world to see Him do it. Even in the midst of all of my doubts and anxieties and shortcomings to see in reality God at work. That is something to celebrate!

We are having an adoption finalization celebration next month. We feel the need to celebrate with family and friends at the ending of this adoption process and God’s incredible faithfulness! I am looking forward to that celebration and to watching God’s continued plans for Jonathan’s life unfold in front of me. I am so thankful to be Jonathan’s Mom. Thank you, Lord!

These days I think often of my friends who are currently in the season of waiting that we were recently in. I don’t understand why God writes our stories the way He does. I don’t get why we have to go through the excruciating pain of grief, barrenness, and heartache. But I do know that He is Faithful and He is Good and that clinging to those two truths even when they felt so very false made a huge difference in my mindset during the season of grief and waiting. I pray you will be able to cling to truth as well. And I’m here if you need to talk.

 

 

 

Jonathan’s Birth Story

Wow. The past ten weeks have been a life-changing whirlwind of crazy and awesome and God showing up. So much grace.

About ten weeks ago, on October 26, I was expecting our case worker to call me to set up a gender reveal call with our birth parents. The phone call that I received at 9:30 that morning was something so unexpected that I literally felt my entire world stop, do a few loops in the air, and land on its head:

“Birth Mom has been told that her fluids are low. She is going to the hospital today to be induced.” Today?! TODAY!!!!

 

Before the call my plans for the week were:

  • Work on Nursery
  • Prepare to smoothly depart for Maternity Leave from job
  • Make Freezer Meals
  • Go on a Fancy Date with Ben

The plans for that day suddenly turned into:

  • Call Ben and let him know to come home from work – we’re having a baby!
  • Purchase the earliest flight possible to try to get to Ohio in time for baby’s birth.
  • Pack everything you think you, the Baby, and Ben will need for the next two weeks
  • Excitedly call work to let them know you won’t be in… for a really long time.
  • Call Ben’s Mom and ask if she’d like to make a little trip to Ohio that week.
  • Call Best Friend to ask if she would feed your cats, check your mail, take your perishable food, etc.
  • and what am I forgetting?!

I was amazed by how calm I felt as I ticked items off the list. Things fell into place SO well. We found a direct flight that would depart that evening and get us there by 11 PM – literally the earliest we could arrive in Ohio (Please wait for us to come, Baby). Ben’s Mom would drive us to the airport. We had everything we needed due to the amazing baby shower my best friends threw for me two days earlier. Friends and coworkers stepped up to pick up the slack while we were gone. Everything we needed was supplied and at 3:00 PM we were on our way to DIA to take the flight of our lives!

We arrived in rainy Ohio on time and jumped into our rental car. Nerves were all over the place – so excited, so scared, so hard to believe that this was actually happening! We arrived at the hospital at midnight – right on time as planned. We anxiously sat in the car as we processed how we arrived there and what would happen next. We said a quick prayer and entered the hospital.

The lady at the front desk graciously told us where Birth Parents were. We made it in time. We entered their room, knowing that these are the people who would change our lives forever. We sat together for about 1.5 hours, getting to know each other, making big and small talk. It was amazing and awkward and beautiful. They were so thoughtful toward us. They both continued to reassure us that this is the right choice. That they want this to be as close to our going through the birthing process as possible. That this child is ours. Wow. What a gift! We were prepared to step back to allow them all of the time and room they needed and wanted with Baby, instead, they threw him into our open arms with such grace and power I knew it was nothing short of a miracle.

In the first few minutes of our arrival, Birth Dad mentioned casually that it’s a boy. Ben and I jumped up and down with joy as it dawned on him that we didn’t know yet. This was our gender reveal! As we celebrated, they asked us what his name will be. We swiftly told them the name we came up with a few weeks ago. Soon after that we left the room while the doctor checked on Birth Mom’s progress. In those few moments Baby’s name changed completely.

There was a name we loved years ago – so many years and so many experiences ago it was forgotten. It was the name we first loved and chose when we started trying to have a baby. It was the name that came back to us now with such peace that we knew it was his true name name: Jonathan David. Jonathan means “Yahweh has Given”. David means “Beloved”. He certainly is our Beloved Gift from God. It was perfect!

The next events happened so fast it’s hard to believe they were real. Birth parents invited me to hold one of Birth Mom’s legs and Ben to cut Jonathan’s umbilical cord. If you’ve ever experienced birth from the south end you understand the next part. After witnessing our son’s birth I will never be the same again. It was an absolute miracle. After when seemed like very little time our Jonathan David arrived. I stood there shocked, praying I wouldn’t faint. Not knowing how to even feel. Here he is! He’s here! He’s crying like crazy. He’s perfect!!

Jonathan David was born Thursday, October 27, 2016, at 1:48 AM. He was 6 lbs, 8 oz and 19 3/4 inches long.

Birth Parents wanted us to hold him first. I held Jonathan and was overwhelmed with a love that I knew would never be broken. The love of a Mother for her Son. The Son not of my body but of my Heart. The one I had waited for for so long was here. My son who was prayed into existence. My soul was completely overwhelmed with joy.

Ben and Birth Mom held him too. We all ooed and ahhed over his adorableness. The miraculousness of it all. I gave Jonathan his first bottle. Then I awkwardly tried to figure out how to burp someone who was born only minutes ago. Finally the nurse shuffled the three of us off to our room and Birth Parents rested.

It was quite the night. By the time all of the medical checks were over, it was past 3 AM. Before I knew it, the three of us were alone in our room. Ben and I were once again overwhelmed. This little life is ours to take care of. We spent the whole night rocking, staring, and loving this little baby.

We learned so much in that 24 hours. Jonathan is a miracle in more ways than one. When he was born his umbilical cord contained a true knot. We learned that often this type of knot will result in still birth. On further investigation, we learned that the most dangerous time for this type of knot is after the 37th week. Jonathan was delivered at 37 weeks. God is good!

The next days crawled by. There is a waiting period after Baby is born until Birth Parents can terminate their rights. In each state the period is a different length. In Ohio it was three days. This was the scariest time of the whole process. Despite Birth Parents stating their confidence in the adoption placement multiple times, there is now a real flesh and blood baby in the picture. Would they change their plan? It’s not unheard of. We had to be prepared for anything. Thankfully on the afternoon of the third day, they chose to sign the papers. I was incredibly relieved and thankful and amazed! Jonathan David is our baby!

There were many more moments of beauty and grace surrounding Jonathan David’s first days. We spent hours rocking, feeding, and bonding. We brought him ‘home’ to our hotel room and waited for the interstate paperwork to be completed. Finally, when Jonathan was two weeks old, we flew back to Colorado. While we were gone amazing family and friends set up our nursery, cleaned our house, took care of our cats, picked up our many packages and mail, and so much more. We are so grateful for our community!

Now that we’ve been home for about two months, the dust is starting to settle. Life has taken on a new normal. I am so satisfied with being Jonathan’s mother. It’s an exhausting and at times anxious kind of work… but it is so rewarding. I think I’m only just now starting to understand how to ask God for help in this job.  We have an adoption finalization date in May (there’s a six-month waiting period in Colorado) and we are enjoying watching Jonathan learn and grow every day. Much more to process in the future.

Let me just a huge THANK YOU to everyone who generously, prayed, processed, and gave during this past year plus. We were able to cover all adoption-related expenses and we had just enough. God provided so beautifully throughout the process. He used you to do it. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thoughts about My Five Week “Pregnancy”

bird-nest-eggs-blue-158734Phew! This has been a wild two weeks. It’s hard to believe that it was only two weeks ago that we received the call that turned our world upside down. The first week after hearing we were matched there were quite a few sleepless nights as my mind tried to comprehend having a baby in a month’s time. I think I even had what I’ve heard my friends call “pregnancy brain” as I made way more mistakes at work than normal.

The second week has been better. It is now much easier to define my emotions and to see what steps need to be done to prepare. Some of the big ticket items I’ve been processing are things like Identity, Taking Care of a Newborn, the Gains and Losses through Adoption, and what the time at the Hospital might be like. Let me share a little more…

Identity

Most first-time parents get about nine months to think about how the baby on the way changes their identity from Individual to Parent and all that means. Though I have thought about this some throughout the adoption process, I haven’t allowed myself to go there in depth as it was too painful. Now I feel I’m flung into this identity change with full force. I’m so excited to have the identity of Mom, but it’s a lot to take in within a few weeks.

Newborn Care

Seriously, a little life is going to depend on me fully for their every need… Crazy! Thankfully, Ben is there to help too, but the responsibility of being a parent to a little, tiny human is so big! I’m very thankful for the many friends with kids we have in our lives and for the internet. ;) I’ve been diving into learning as much as possible these weeks. If you have any advice, I’m all ears!

Gains and Losses

There is loss in the midst of this amazing gain. I honestly believe that Adoption is completely God’s will for our family… that this path is the best one and that we will have the children God wants us to have. I’m also grieving. I’m grieving not getting to hold Baby in my belly, safe and sound for nine months. I’m grieving that our gain is our Birth Parents’ loss. I’m grieving that our Baby won’t share our DNA. I’m grieving that Baby is going to be born far from home and that we won’t get to bring him or her back to our ‘nest’ until several weeks after birth.

Hospital

We’re planning to be at the hospital in Ohio when Baby is born. We hope to make it with plenty of time to be there for the birth. The hospital is the time where the most unknowns exist… which means there’s a lot to process and prepare for. I am so, so thankful and completely honored that our expectant mom would like us in the delivery room with her. I’m also so thankful that Ben’s Mom is planning to be there with us. Some of the unknowns I’m nervous about are: Will Mom really want us in the room with her that day? Will the hospital be friendly towards adoption and know what to do with us all? Will I be able to handle all of the overwhelming emotions and at least somewhat be myself? Will Baby be healthy? So many more questions go along with each of these.

In other news, God’s fingerprints continue to be evident throughout this match! We had a phone call with Baby’s parents yesterday and it was wonderful (another God thing!). In talking with them, we learned the reason they chose us so confidently was that we reminded them of their mentor friends at church. Also, their entire extended family is supportive and excited about us and this adoption. Our expectant parents also so very thoughtfully expressed that they want us to be able to experience as much of the delivery process and the firsts of parenthood as possible. We’re really, really excited about this!

Also, we are completely blessed by the amazing generosity from our friends and family! We’ve had at least one package on our porch from our registry every day over the last week. It’s incredible! We are just blown away and are so encouraged as we keep preparing for Baby. We have a Baby Shower on Sunday – that’s right – amazing friends and family threw one together in just two weeks. Incredible! Our nursery continues to progress (I’ll post pictures one of these days). We are in full nesting mode!

Thank you for your continued prayers and all of the celebrating with us! It means the world to us.

Big News: We Are Matched

udall-family-27Thursday evening I got the shock of my life when our adoption caseworker called to give us the amazing news that we were chosen by one of the families we were matching with. We had attempted to match about five times at this point and I was really used to her calls being, “sorry they didn’t choose you.” Hearing, “you’re going to be parents” from her totally knocked me off my feet!

A couple in western Ohio saw our profile and chose us as the couple to place their baby with. The caseworker told us that they saw our profile and didn’t want to look at any others. They knew that we were the right ones. Her Mom and sister also agreed. So amazing. So humbling.

The Baby is due November 13. We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl so that will be a fun surprise! We will be flying out for the birth (we may even get to be in the delivery room) and will be in Ohio with Baby for two weeks (longer if there are medical complications) while we wait for the interstate legal paperwork to be complete. If she’s on time, we may be spending Thanksgiving in Ohio this year!

We are over-the-moon with excitement and are busily getting ready to welcome our son or daughter into our family. We are incredibly grateful for all of the support, generosity, prayers, and conversations throughout the past 16 months. I seriously don’t see how we could have gotten to this point without you, our amazing community. Because of your generosity, we were able to fund the big adoption cost 100% (the cost ended up being $35K)! Let’s all take a moment to celebrate that fact!! I had my doubts about being able to reach such a lofty goal. Wow!

 

I want to also say that the Lord is Faithful and He is Good. No matter what. It is His character. There has been so much grief over the past months and He was Faithful and Good in the midst of that. There will be more times of grief in the future and He will be Faithful and Good then too. He is a Good Author and He is writing a Good Story. I am so amazed and thankful.

 

So, as you might imagine, there’s a lot to do and little time to do it all in (especially if she goes into labor early which is a possibility). Several have asked how they can help. I will list some practical ways and some points of prayer below…

 

Practical Stuff
  • Financial Help. Thanks to the generosity of so many and the saving we’ve been able to do, we have some extra funds to help pay for travel and all of the finalization costs that will come up in the months to come (adoption will be finalized 6 months after birth). However, we are estimating the need for a little more to fully cover expenses (not to mention diapers, formula, etc.) if you’d like to help us with these expenses, you can do so at our GoFundMe account below (or send us a check). Note: The tax-deductible giving page isn’t an option anymore as they’re currently cutting a check to our agency for adoption expenses at this time: https://www.gofundme.com/BenLiz
  • Baby Supplies. We have very little for Baby at this point – everything is happening so fast! If you would like to help with this type of thing, please contact me for our Baby Registry links. We’re registered at Target and Amazon. Some pretty amazing people are planning a shower for us in two weeks. We’re so blown away!
Prayer Points
  • For Baby to be protected in peace as he/she continues to grow. That he/she would be born healthy and that Birth Mom would also be protected in peace through this process.
  • For birth parents as they continue to process their decision and prepare. They wish to live differently after this and to change the circumstances that have brought them to this point.
  • That Ben and I would prepare well spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically for the super-intense time in Ohio. We are specifically working on our nursery, baby names, travel details, etc. Please pray for good health as well – my IBS is definitely acting up these days!

Thanks friends! We’ll keep you updated! :)

Surprised by Loss

pexels-photo-110874The past weeks have been surprisingly rough for me. A little back story…

A few hours after my last blog post, we received a second email about another expectant mom looking to place her baby. It looked like a really great situation – no drug or alcohol use or mental health issues – which is not always the case. The wild thing about this match was that the baby boy was due by c-section in two weeks – and Mom/Baby were in Nevada. This would mean if she chose us, we would be traveling to Nevada in 10 days for the birth and would spend two weeks in Nevada while we awaited paperwork to be completed called an Interstate Compact. We had to choose between the two situations so decided to allow our profile to be shown to the Nevada Expectant Mom rather than Texas.

I started to feel things I had not allowed myself to feel in years – Hope, Expectation, Dreams. My planning side went into action and I started making lists (“what do we absolutely need to have for Baby if we are chosen?”); we attacked our office turned nursery with gusto (“just in case, I’d like to have the room ready”); and I pulled out all of the newborn books I had been ignoring for about five years (“maybe we’ll actually need these now”). I went into full-blown nesting mode for a week. All of the Mommy Emotions that had lay dormant for years, suddenly reawakened. I started dreaming and hoping – imagining myself staring into his sweet face for hours, holding, and caressing him. I began to wonder about his life – what he would do in the future. Would he be safe? Would I be a good Mother? Without my knowing it, I was in love with the little guy from Nevada, not yet born.

So many emotions in that short week. All the while I kept telling myself – the chances of being chosen are slim. You need to hold this Baby loosely. He is not yours until his Mom chooses to go through with her plan. But those Mommy Emotions were too strong. The ‘What If” of possibilities, the desire to be prepared if she just happened to chose us – they overshadowed the reality that we very well may not be chosen. And so when I received the call from our Agency that we were not chosen, I found myself very numb.

It took a few days for my heart to catch up with the news. And when it did, I found a place of grief that I had not experienced before. I felt a deep loss and barrenness. I also felt very silly. I kicked myself for allowing my emotions and dreams to go so far. To think that this baby was finally the fulfillment of the goal we have been working towards for six years when nothing was promised. It was a pretty confusing place to be in. I could not figure out what was going on – how could I be feeling THIS level of grief when I didn’t even know this baby existed until a week ago? Then I met with my counselor. She helped me make sense of it the overwhelming emotions. I was experiencing emotions very much like a woman who has experienced a miscarriage. In my heart, I had lost a baby and I must grieve this loss.

This process was so painful. I walked through three very dark weeks. I had to go through a significant process with the Lord of releasing Baby into His hands and blessing him and his new family. The biggest recovery step the Lord graciously led me to was one of Surrender. It’s a concept I’ve clasped onto at various times in my walk with God – surrender your rights, surrender your possessions, surrender your desire to be married. But this felt different. I could tell God was asking me to surrender the all-consuming hunger to become a Mother. I didn’t want to.

I had one evening when I first heard that still, small Voice asking me to release this hunger into His hands. I lamely attempted to let go but knew, in my heart, I was holding fast. Then I totally forgot about that moment and moved on with my grieving. A few days later, I had a friend tell me she had been regularly praying for me (I had never really told her what I was going through). Out of ‘nowhere’ she said something to the effect of, “God often wants us to Surrender to Him because He knows what we don’t know.” Ouch. This was NOT music to my ears. It struck me to the heart to realize that God is asking me to do the very thing I did not want to do – give Him my hunger for Motherhood. And to say those difficult words, “Your Will be done – Not mine.” I struggled with this all day. I saw my counselor again that evening and wrestled with it some more. So much wrestling in my heart. It felt like a battle for my very soul.

Then another strange thing happened. After my appointment, I got into my car and the radio just happened to be on and tuned into my Christian station rather than Public Radio (where it often sits). The speaker on the station was talking about Thankfulness. Oh no, I thought. And I had one of those moments where the Lord Himself seemed to say, “Listen up, this is important.” The preacher quoted a verse I’ve heard 100 times – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18, ESV). And that was it. I knew my wrestling was over. Despite my lack of emotions to go along with the action, I started naming off, out loud, by myself in my car all of the things I am thankful for. Anything I could possibly think of was named. Then I got to infertility. And after a pause and a few tears on the cheek, I even thanked God for this path He has allowed in our lives. Knowing He knows what I don’t know. He sees what I don’t see. He is able to bring about what I cannot even begin to imagine right now. And it was in the context of Thankfulness that I was able to really Surrender this insatiable desire to become Mom. Oh the release. The joy. The peace.

The sadness remained but somehow it was bearable. It was hope-filled sadness rather than pointless, dark sadness. I had joy. I was legitimately laughing at work once again. I was engaging with the world.

Today, I’m in no way “over” the grief. I’m still working through it. I have to remember every day to once again Surrender what I want and to open the hand – and receive whatever God wants. I’m seeking to remember to thank God for each day – for who He is and all He has given. That He is good. He is faithful. He is writing a story and I cannot even begin to imagine. He is worthy of my trust, of my surrender, of my thanks.

If you’ve made it to the end of this blog. Thanks for sticking with me. It helps me so much to be able to process this adoption journey with you. Thank you for being with us, friends, in the midst of this process when we don’t know the ending yet. We are so incredibly Thankful for YOU!

Adoption: We are Starting to Match

Udall Family-60And things keep on rolling along… now that our Home Study is done and our Profile Book is printed and sent in, we are now hearing about and able to respond to possible matches. We were told last evening of a possible match in Texas. The baby is due in November and the family seems nice from all we’ve read. We’ve decided to move forward with showing our profile to them. We’re optimistically cautious at this point.

Our profile along with several others will now be shown to the family. They will then chose one family to place their child with. After they chose we will be notified if it was us or not.

This Matching Process could go on for many months with multiple families… or they could just chose us this week. It’s such an odd place to be in. I’m so anxious that they won’t pick us and yet I’m so anxious if we are chosen. If they don’t pick us it means more uncertainty: waiting, wondering, and asking where our match will be from. If they do pick us things get real: the good and the bad.

The biggest immediate practical reality for me will be knowing the actual amount we will need to pay to the agency – an amount that we are currently $6000 short of. We’re not worried too much about this – it’s actually incredible that it’s only that much short. God is so faithful! But it will mean a loan.

Bottom Line: We are trusting God with this next step. We’ve chosen to say yes our profile book can be shown yet we’re trusting God with the outcome. Please pray with us that if this TX family is supposed to be our Birth Family, that God will lead them to us. If they are not, that we would be patient. Please pray for peace in any case. I have a lot of peace tonight. I want to keep walking forward with peace. Thank you friends!

Adoption: 75% Funded, Matching Starting Soon!

Square Udall Family-55We are just trucking along! We hit the $30,000 mark in our funding last week thanks to several generous gifts from amazing friends. This means we are now 75% funded!! The actual amount we will have to pay for our adoption is different with each situation presented so we’re seeking to be prepared with $40,000 (we have seen that it can be more than this amount but more often less).

Since finishing our Home Study we have started to receive matches! These are emails that are sent to us from our agency (Adoption Choices of Colorado) with information about birth parents, medical history, substance exposure, baby due date, etc. We have to finish our Profile Book in order to respond to these. So, that’s our project for the week: Get the Profile Book done!

Once our Profile Book is done we will pray through and research each match presented to decide if we want to allow our book to be presented. Then our book will be shown to our potential Birth Mom (and Dad if he’s involved in the process) along with about four other families’ books. If chosen, we will sign a contract and pay our huge chunk of money ($35K – $45K). Then we wait for Baby to be born! The two possible matches we have seen so far had due dates of October 20 and July 29 so placement could happen quickly after we are chosen. It is also possible that it could be some time before we are chosen so we’re trying to prepare for anything.

We’re also seeking to prepare ourselves in other ways. We’ve started dreaming about nursery design and we’ve been realizing we need a few basic items – such as a car seat – just in case things go really fast. It’s becoming real! We’re also taking a four-day weekend to complete a landscaping project that we’ve been poking at for the past five years.

I am starting to allow myself to dream about holding our baby. It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time. There’s still much to get done but not knowing how long we have to prepare makes planning tricky. Please pray for us about preparation and that we’ll be wise in allowing our Profile Book to be shown to the right Birth Mom(s) at the right time.

Thank you for being on the journey with us. We cannot adequately express how much the words of encouragement, listening ears, financial gifts, prayers, physical gifts, and shared tears have meant to us. We are thankful!

PS – If you’re considering giving toward our adoption, here’s the tax-deductible giving link: Adopt Together

Big News: Home Study Done – New Funding Site

Udall Family-9 SquareLast week we hit our biggest milestone yet in our adoption process! After working on it for about eight months, our Home Study is now officially Complete! :-D We are now entering a season of preparation. For the next two months we will focus on funding and preparing to start the Matching Process in August. It takes an average of seven months to match and then we wait for Baby to be born.

Now that our Home Study is done we qualify to join a non-profit adoption funding site: Adopt Together. If you are interested in giving toward our adoption and receiving a tax-deductible receipt, please go to our new giving page:

https://www.adopttogether.org/benliz

We are crazy excited that becoming parents seems to be ‘just around the corner’. Once we start matching, it’s hard to tell how long it will be until we welcome Baby Udall into our home. It could be anywhere between three months to 24 months. There’s a wild ride ahead. We are so thankful to have the Lord and you, our awesome community with us!

Adoption Update: 1/2 to Fund Goal! + Next Steps

mountainI am so encouraged today. After a season of seemingly plateauing in the adoption process, we have made some great strides! Thanks to some generous friends and the selling of the company Ben works for, we are now a little over ½ of the way to our ultimate goal of $40K. This is incredible!! I have many personal journal entries from the past year, asking the Lord how in the world we would get to this giant number. He keeps reminding me that the He is able to move mountains – even even financial ones. By His grace, I’m clearly seeing that He is doing it!

We have now completed all of our Home Study meetings and will do a final review of our 25-page study this week. Once signed and filed our Home Study is done we are legally able to adopt.

What’s Next?

This summer we’re going to continue to prepare financially, emotionally, and spiritually for adoption. We will also be working on our official Profile Book (a photo book that introduces our family to potential Birth Moms). Our goal is to start matching in mid-August. The matching process takes an average of seven months. During this time, our Profile Book will be presented to potential Birth Moms along with several other families’ books. When we are chosen, we will be notified by our agency. We then decide if we want to move forward with the Match. Once we choose to move forward, we will pay the majority of the Adoption Cost at that time.

We can be matched at any time during our Birth Mom’s pregnancy (normally she is at least 20 weeks along). So, once matched, a time of waiting ensues. The culmination of the waiting is when Baby is born. Ideally, we will be at the hospital during their birth. The plan would be to receive Baby at that time. In Colorado our Birth Mom has two days to finalize her placement plan.

Once Baby is placed with us, we have follow up home visits with our caseworker. After six months, if all goes well, Baby becomes our child legally and is issued a new birth certificate with our names added as their parents.

So, there’s a journey ahead. There are many unknowns. I’m so thankful that I can trust our unknown future to a Known God. He is Faithful!

Adoption Fund – 1/3 of the Way!

Udall Family-20I have some exciting news to share today!! We are now 1/3 of the way to our Adoption Fund Goal of $30,000! A huge THANK YOU to everyone who gave toward this fund and helped to make this possible (you know who you wonderful people are). I am floored that we have gotten this far in the past nine months.

The current plan is to continue to aggressively save throughout the spring/summer and then start matching with prospective Birth Moms in the early Fall. That means while we’re working hard to save, we are progressing on finishing up our home study and finishing our Profile (photo book) that will be presented to prospective Birth Moms.

It’s still a big mountain to climb but I am so thankful that we follow the One who Moves Mountains. Thank you, friends, for all of your love and support through this process.

If you are interested in giving to our Adoption Fund, you can do that through our GoFundMe account for now. We hope to have a tax-deductible option after our home study is complete.

Ben + Liz Adoption Fund