Twins Update: Things are Hopping

We are now four (4) weeks away until the twins’ c-section due date in Reno, Nevada (October 15) and things are hopping. We have now video chatted with our girls’ birth parents, found our double strollers, decided on the girls’ names, made our travel plans, planned out Jonathan’s care, and about 100 other things. It has been an exciting and stressful time but we are loving it! We cannot wait to hold those sweet girls in our arms.

We were able to video chat with the girls’ birth parents on Labor Day. It was wonderful to ‘meet’ Elizabeth (who goes by Liz!) and Josh. We connected well and had a great time talking. We were able to see ultrasound pictures (which was so special as we never received those for Jonathan) and learned that the girls have a full sister one year older than them (who lives with a relative). We also learned that Elizabeth has chosen names for the girls. It was so fun to realize that we chose similar names with the same starting letter. So, for now we will call Baby A – “A” and Baby B – “E” as we publicly talk about them. If Elizabeth chooses she can legally give them her chosen names when she fills out the birth certificate information at the hospital. We can then change their names legally once our adoption is finalized in 6-7 months.

During our call, we also learned that Elizabeth is going to weekly doctor appointments as she has a high risk pregnancy. The girls share the same placenta which means one is getting more nutrients than the other. There is about a pound difference between them with E being larger than A. I just received an update and learned they are doing really well. E is now 5 lbs 2 oz and A is 4 lbs 6 oz. We are so encouraged and pray they can continue to grow big and strong for the next four weeks in Elizabeth’s womb until October 15. Thanks for all of your prayers, friends!

We have our baby shower this Sunday and it will be so fun to celebrate and pray with our friends and family. I’m working hard to make sure we have everything we will need before the girls come. A dear friend has given us some beautiful girls clothes and a fellow Twin Mom is donating her twin clothes to us! We have already received several shower gifts (three of the gifts with no “from” information – please let me know if you’ve sent us something that has already arrived – I want to thank you). We are feeling very blessed and thankful for all of the outpouring of your help and love.

Something else to pray about is that we need to purchase a mini van in the next couple of weeks. We have started our research but it’s a bit intimidating. We had plans to switch cars with Ben’s parents as they have a larger vehicle but our car seat fit test a few days ago made us realize we need a larger vehicle. It will be nice to have that settled before the girls come.

Thank you all again, friends, for your support and prayers. I’m working on setting up a tentative schedule of people who would like to come and help with the babies for the first eight weeks after their we arrive home. Other Twin Moms have suggested that this is very helpful! Please let me know if you would like to be on the list of people to come over for a few hours one morning or afternoon after we’re back. I will need lots of help once Ben returns to work!

We’re Having Twins: Ahhhhhh!

Over the past 38 hours Ben and I have yelled to each other, “Twins! Ahhhh!” multiple times. We are so surprised to find ourselves matched with twins and we are still a bit in shock! This is a very rare occurrence in adoptions and it’s so completely unexpected. Ben and I are currently wrapping our heads around all that this means for our family but here are a few initial thoughts…

We received a call from our case worker Brenda Wednesday night with the good news. We were doing some house projects at in our front yard when we got the call around 7:45 PM. When Brenda told us Birth Mom, Elizabeth, chose us to be the parents of her IDENTICAL TWIN GIRLS we just screamed and screamed. We scared poor Jonathan half to death and probably raised a few eyebrows in our quiet neighborhood. Ha!

When we hung up with Brenda we both sat down in the front lawn with Jonathan to comfort him (“happy screams”) and tell him the good news – “You’re going to have TWO sisters!” I then looked at Ben, “Is the world spinning?” He replied, “Yes it is.” We couldn’t figure out what we were supposed to do first so we started calling our family to let everyone know that twin girls are on their way!

Since then there have been a lot of emotions and a lot to think about. I was up until 2 AM that first night and then woke up very early with my mind spinning. The girls are due by c-section on October 15 in Reno, Nevada. We have figured out that Ben and I will be flying out a day or two before their birth and then we will be staying there until we are able to take them home. Twins are often in the NICU for at least a few days before they can be discharged. Once they are discharged from the hospital, we will bring them “home” (to our hotel room) until we are cleared to leave the state. There is interstate paperwork that must be completed before we can legally bring them back to Colorado. This should take 4-7 days.

This, sadly, means that we will not be able to bring our dear Jonathan with us for this part of the adventure. He will stay in Colorado with Ben’s wonderful parents and will be watched by some friends during the day while Peter and Debbie work. This is VERY hard for my Mama Heart as I want him to be with us during this important time. Also, his 3rd birthday is 12 days after the girls’ birth and we may not be with him for it. I’m pretty sure I will be grieving these things more than Jonathan but but it will be hard for him. I’m mostly praying that he won’t be scarred by our leaving him for two weeks and then coming home with our precious girls who are going to totally rock his world. Please pray for protection over his sweet heart and wisdom for all of us as we go through this transition to a family of five together.

So, what are we working on now? There is a lot of paperwork to complete in the next 24 hours to finalize the Match with Elizabeth. We also need to wire our funds to the agency during this time. We have the majority of the funds needed but we will need to take out a loan for the final $12,000. We will be having a FaceTime call with Elizabeth and her case worker in the coming week to start to get to know each other.

In addition, we are plugging away at some house projects that are currently in process before the babies come. I’m pretty sure nothing productive is going to be accomplished in our lives for 6-12 months after their arrival. Haha I’ll also be working on gathering and organizing baby clothes and items, de-cluttering the house as much as you can with a toddler, and cooking and freezing meals to help get us through the first months, etc.

Some dear friends are throwing us a shower to help with the extra things we’ll need with twins. I’m also working on researching all of the equipment and supplies that other twin parents tell me we’ll need to survive the first year.

All of the logistics and details aside, let me tell you that my Mama heart is dancing with delight and leaning into Jesus, my Rock, as we welcome these two precious girls into our family. The moment I saw Elizabeth’s information I sensed that this was to be. I was totally terrified and excited at that prospect. I am still shocked and amazed that she really picked us and I’m still a little terrified. However, I know that on the days when we’re all in tears that it will all be worth it. God is writing our story and I can totally rest in Him and His ability to carry us through those many messy days.

Thank you to everyone who has already offered their help and support. Please know that if you offer help, I am going to take you up on it because I know we cannot do this alone. If you feel so led to give financially, the link below is still good. We will need to pay for our Nevada travel expenses as well as the girls’ medical expenses not covered by insurance and the upcoming finalization legal fees. Any extra will go to paying off our loan.

Thank you so much for celebrating with us!

If you want to help support our adoption: Ben + Liz Adoption #2 GoFundMe Page

The Matching Process: Throw Your Hands Up!

I’ve mentioned before that the Adoption Matching Process is like riding a roller coaster. This second time around that is certainly proving to be true. We have been presented with three birth mother situations so far. The first was in FL and she chose someone else two weeks ago.

In the second situation, I found the Coaster got more intense. Birth mother was located in NV and has TWINS on the way by c-section on October 15. We thought long and hard before agreeing to be presented in that one but felt that God was asking us to trust Him and move ahead. The ramifications if chosen were immense. We have been waiting for days to find out if we were going to be bringing home two newborns in less than two months. I’ve been jumping at every email that has come in, wondering if it’s our case worker letting us know birth mom chose someone else. This morning I received a call from our case worker. Time stood still for a few seconds as I saw who was calling, thinking that perhaps we had been chosen. However, I quickly learned that the situation is on hold as birth mother has not returned to view the profile books. It could come back online if she chooses to return. Phew! What a ride!

We’re now considering being presented to a birth mother in our own town in CO. That would be a very different situation than Jonathan’s but it could be really fun to be able to visit in person more often. It would certainly make the first few weeks more convenient as we transition to a family of four.

My emotions over the last few weeks have been all over the place. The twins situation really rocked my world. The thought of having twins in two months both terrified and excited me. It was a good reality check that there will most likely be a newborn (or two) joining our family in a fairly short amount of time. Mostly, the ride of the last week made me realize how much I desire to continue to grow our family and how dependent I am on God and others to do so.

Each adoption/birth mother situation is a different cost. We currently have saved the amount of money we paid three years ago for Jonathan’s adoption. However, we are seeing with these three situations that we’re still about $15-$20K short of the amount we will need. We can take out an adoption loan but would love to avoid as much debt as possible. We are SO thankful for the many people who have already contributed toward our adoption. It has been tremendously helpful! If you feel so led, you can donate at the link below or by sending us a check in the mail. Let me know if you need our address.

We are incredibly thankful for all of the emotional and relational support of our community. Thanks for being on this Roller Coaster of Matching with us. Here we go! “Throw your hands up!”

If you want to help support our adoption: Ben + Liz Adoption #2 GoFundMe Page

Adoption Update: Trucking Along

Ben and I have been asked by several friends lately how things are going with our next adoption, and I realized that it has been a while since I sent out an update. We are currently trucking along at a fairly good pace. We had our Home Study Update Interview in March and it went well. It was actually a lot easier than I expected which was a nice surprise.

We have now completed our fingerprinted background checks, CPR course, 2 out of 3 physicals, a pile of paperwork, and most of our Profile Book. We still need to finish up Jonathan’s physical and some more paperwork. We should be done with all of these things by the second week of May.

Financially, things are going well too. We are deeply touched by the gifts we’ve received from friends and family online and through the mail. We are now about 90% funded! We need about $40,000-$45,000 (exact numbers come when we are matched) and we currently stand at about $38,000. We are amazed by God’s provision through the generosity of friends and family.

It is so much harder to take time to process my inner world this time around. However, I will say my heart is open with anticipation of the new Little Person God has planned for our family.

As you might imagine I’ve been thinking a lot about adoption over the past three years. Adoption is such a picture of brokenness and redemption. We are broken and unable to form a child on our own. Our baby’s Birth Family is broken as they aren’t able to support a child at this time. Our Baby is broken as he or she doesn’t get to be with the family they’re genetically related to. But the redemption comes for us as a new child is grafted into our family tree. Redemption comes for our child’s Birth Family as they get to choose a loving family to place their baby with. Redemption comes for our Baby as they become a part of our loving family network while they (hopefully) get to know the family they came from. It’s beautiful.

We are busy these days trying to complete house projects before the baby comes. I’m feeling the ‘nesting’ urge coming on. We’re enjoying the time we have left as a family of three as much as possible. We’re waiting on the Lord’s best timing for us to become a family of four. We’re planning to start matching in July. Thanks for walking with us!

If you want to help support our adoption: Ben + Liz Adoption #2 GoFundMe Page

Update: Interview Scheduled

We are celebrating progress!

Our application has been approved and we are now moving ahead in the adoption process (can I get a “wahoo!”?). The next steps are filling out lots more paperwork (I had “syllabus shock” after opening that email) and going through our Home Study Update interview. Our interview is scheduled for March 3. Our case worker will come to our home and update our report, adding in Jonathan. We have until May 4 to complete our paperwork.

Included in the paperwork are items like getting fingerprinted for a background check and going through a CPR/First Aid Class. In addition, I’m working on our Family Profile which is a printed photo book that will go out to expectant parents and will be how they chose us to be the parents of their baby. It’s fun and a little challenging to try to boil our family down into a book. It seems much easier than last time since I’ve already made one and this time we get to tell them all about our life with Jonathan.

We are also continuing to save our pennies and raise funds. My heart has already been touched by the generosity of many of our family and friends. Thank you so much!! We are now over halfway to our goal of $40K! It is powerful to sense God behind us in this venture. I’m thankful that I can rest in His ability to make it all work when I feel so powerless to control the details.

Thank you for your prayers, friends. I seriously felt a deep peace and joy the day after we announced our adoption and have been continuing to feel that since. I know this peace is the result of your prayers. My biggest grief in adoption is not being able to protect our baby in the womb. Would you please join us in praying for his or her protection as we move forward? I know it’s out of my control and I need to trust God with our child. However, my Mother’s Heart is really struggling with this.

Your support of us during this time means the world to us as a family. We are incredibly thankful for you!!

If you want to help support our adoption: Ben + Liz Adoption #2 GoFundMe Page

Adoption #2 – Another Chance to Trust

Happy New Year! It’s 2019. A time of new beginnings and possibilities. As I stand at the beginning of this year, I find myself looking up at another giant mountain. This mountain is called Adoption #2. Ben and I have been here before – and yet we haven’t. This is a brand new Mountain with a trail all its own.

Every adoption is different. There are different people involved each with their own stories. As I look back at Jonathan’s adoption story, I see a crazy roller-coaster journey. I see God’s fingerprints all over his story and I start to wonder: Will God do it again? Is it possible that He could do it again? Can He move us over this new, unknown Mountain?

The new Mountain I’m looking at has a clear path up and over:

  • Step 1: Renew Home Study.
  • Step 2: Create Profile Book for Birth Families.
  • Step 3: Start Matching.
  • Step 4: Get Chosen by Birth Mother.
  • Step 5: Get Finances in Order.
  • Step 6: Welcome Baby into Family.
  • Step 7: Wait for Adoption Finalization.

This Mountain’s trail also has unknown places in the form of questions:

  • Will all of the funds come together to pay for this adoption?
  • How long will it take to be chosen by a Birth Family?
  • Will Baby #2 be healthy?
  • Will Birth Parents chose to parent instead of going ahead with our plan?

As we ask these questions we know that God already sees the path ahead, and we’re moving forward in faith. He has proven to us that He is worthy of our trust. That He is able to do more than we could even think to ask Him for.

I know this new Mountain trail cannot be taken on without our community. The emotional and prayer support we received with Jonathan’s adoption was literally invaluable. In addition, we could not have completed Jonathan’s adoption debt-free without the help of our family and friends.

The cost of this adoption will be anywhere from $35,000-$50,000. We are seeking to have $40,000 before we are matched and we are already half way to our goal thanks to a recent family inheritance. We are amazed to be here already! If you have a desire to financially partner with our Adoption #2, the link below leads to our GoFundMe page. The service does take out a 2.9% service fee plus $0.30 per donation. If you want, you can also give us a check directly. All funds given will go directly to the costs of our adoption.

Ben + Liz Adoption #2 GoFundMe Page

I will be keeping you updated here on my blog over this next year. There’s no way to know when we will have our baby in our arms but we’re hoping to have Baby #2 by the end of 2019. Thank you for following along with us as we see what God will do.


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! :)