Our Girl

…My friends at work graciously offered to throw me a shower at work because we had matched with a Momma due with a girl and were swimming in bins of boy clothes and blue blankets at home. Although there are no guarantees in adoption and we may have not brought home a baby girl if this she chose to parent, I accepted and scheduled the shower right away. We had 5 weeks to prepare and this momma could deliver early. The morning of the shower, I got a call, A was in labor and wanted us to head to the hospital.

I called Evan, we both left work and headed for the hospital. My heart was racing with excitement and nervousness, the shower would have to wait! We arrived at the hospital and waited. She had been rushed back for an emergency C-Section. We soon heard the music indicating a sweet baby had just entered the world. We couldn’t help but wonder if that was her. Hours went by as A recovered from the C-Section and baby girl was taken to the NICU. We finally got the go ahead to meet the baby. We walked back, her tiny body hooked up to an IV and monitors. She was tiny. Tiny and beautiful with dark hair and dark eyes. This little lady had been through so much, but she was absolute perfection and the love was instant. We finally got the chance to meet A, she was more beautiful than the one picture we had, even after what she had endured. Our meeting was brief as she rested, but good. Our love for her was instant, too.

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The next 5 weeks were spent in the NICU as baby girl was weaned off drugs she was exposed to in utero and grew outside the womb during the time she should have still be inside. It was tough and exhausting to say the least, but the nurses and doctors were angels on earth. Our families and friends stepped up and helped in ways we couldn’t have imagined. God knew we could handle this and we did. During our time there, the days seemed so long and our time there neverending, but we were discharged and drove home with our girl.  Our daughter has my middle name and her birth mother’s middle name and she grows more beautiful and stronger each day. Her smile is contagious and she is one of the happiest babies I have ever met. This girl perseveres and will do great things. She and her brother may share no DNA, but the love is strong and their bond even stronger. A has yet to meet her birth mom, but she wants A to see the best version of her. Our adoption is very open and we talk often. The love we have for her grows as our bond does. Don’t ever let the picture of what you think is supposed to be get in the way of what could be. Our second adoption was nothing we could have predicted, but everything it should be.

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No Two Paths Are the Same

Ok, so apparently, blogging is not my strong suit. I don’t feel like I have much profound to say any way, so if you’re reading this, thanks! However, I tend to randomly get the urge to share my thoughts and here we are. Today is my first Mother’s Day with our girl (more on that in a sec), and here I am, a proud Momma of two! If you had told me in 2011 or 2012 this is where I’d be, I wouldn’t have believed you. I had no idea the heartache and oh, the joy to come! Let me tell you now though, the first woman, or women, to come to mind is not myself but the two that gave my children life. I first wake up thinking about the two women who made me a mother. The sacrifice and the heartache they endure for their babies, something I can never repay and will never forget. We share a bond of motherhood over our babies that goes on forever. Hence the name of this blog, “Lives Forever Intertwined”, because adoption is just that. The love for these women is something real and organic and my desire for our babies to know them is strong!

When my husband and I started the adoption process again, I had a feeling the journey would be wildy different and it was. I think we both assumed we would take the exact same path and everything would fall into place. You can read about our first journey here: God is in the Details

However, nothing was much the same, but that’s ok! In January 2016, we decided to sign up with a local agency who does not allow you to sign up with other agencies at the same time and we paid money up front. All things we said we wouldn’t do. The decision did not come lightly, in fact, I reached out to our last agency and our last home study provider, even getting fingerprints and background checks done super early. We felt led  to go against what we felt was the “right path” i.e. the easiest and most comfortable, trusting God knew what was to come and what we could handle. Again, finances were a huge worry, but my heart said jump and my husband reluctantly followed. We attended their information meeting in February and officially signed on. Our home study was completed in April and we were an waiting family the first week in May.

The wait felt much more difficult this time. I was more than ready to match with an amazing expectant mother and anticipate the birth of a baby. The unknown was much more stressful, maybe because we have been through it before. We started to get information on mommas, and I truly wanted to say yes to several, but my husband was the logical one and we passed. I had a feeling about the baby we would be matched with, I could picture her in my head, and always felt it would be a girl. So very silly, right?! We got a situation while just arriving in Florida to see our son’s Birth Mother and brother. I could have sworn this was the one, I got a feeling, a strong feeling about it. My husband was more hesistant and needed to think. We ultimately said no, but it was not easy for me. A wise friend told me that maybe I should stop praying for a “sign”, but pray instead that my husband receives it instead, that he would know in his heart when it was right. BLOWN.AWAY. Though I still felt I was letting go of a potential match, I looked forward. In August, we got information on an expectant mother who would be looking at profiles the next day, they needed know right away if we wanted to be shown. I became excited and forwarded the information to my husband. Then I waited. That morning, he told me he felt good about presenting to this Momma and I emailed the agency to let them know we would present. Again, I compared the situation to our son’s adoption, and anticipated a quick reply. This was not the case, we waited to hear, and waited some more for reasons I cannot disclose, not my story to tell. Finally I got a text, she had chosen us! We had 5 weeks to prepare, or so we thought….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Beginning

My last blog post was a YEAR AND A HALF ago. Who does that?? Ugh. I’ve had so many ideas come to me, so many times I should I have written and I didn’t. Major changes have happened since then, and I feel I owe anyone who actually wants an update, just that, an update. The problem is going to be me remembering back a year and a half. Ha!

I got the urge to write over the holidays and today. The New Year holds a special place in my heart. It was this time of year I went on a first official date with my now husband, and began both, yes you heard me right..both adoption journeys. There is something unique about New Year’s. Its a short moment in time where the memories of the past and the hope for the new year meet. So, the last year and a half? In a very brief summary, we grew older, my toddler is a little boy, another visit with his birth family, we grieved the deaths of loved ones, and celebrated the births of cherished babies. My husband and I decided to take back our health and feel better than we have in a long time both inside and out! I watched in joy as a friend and family member each pursued adoption for their family and their babies turned a year old recently. Last but not least, we have been blessed by adoption again and our family is now a family of four+bulldog.

Rewind back to early 2015….my husband and I knew we wanted to adopt again but again faced fears about the financial piece of adoption and were nervous about the cost of adoption again. My husband had a certain dollar amount and plan in his mind. Once we were able to reach that amount in savings, we would adopt. The dreamer in me did the math, probably wrong, and thought that this would mean August. August came and went. Not without a surprise check for the amount we had set to save each month coming in the mail, but it still wasn’t enough. December crept up on us and I was not willing to wait any longer to start our journey. (See paragraph 2) I was ready for the magic and hope of the new year to guide our adoption just as it had with our son 3 years ago. With much hesitation, my husband agreed to start the process.

To Be Continued….

I wish your family all the best in 2017, if your plans and hopes include adding to your family and you’ve considered adoption, feel free to contact me with questions!

Shannon

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When It’s Quiet

First of all, let me say that I really thought I would blog more than I have! Ugh. Honestly, I’ve been busy with home life, summer, and my full-time job, leaving little time to write! I’ve also put it off because I’m also not always feeling so confident in what I say, so I wait. What is strange is that I totally thought I knew what I was going to write about next, that entry is still in the works, but  I put it off. Then, like the last entry, I had an idea come out of nowhere and it hasn’t left. I honestly should have written this late last night, when my wandering, middle of the night thoughts practically wrote the thing! However, I can’t remember any of that now! A little about me…I have very little patience, a need for something to do and work towards. However, as time goes on, I realize that God is really working on me and hoping, just hoping I embrace the quiet, the stillness. That seems to be when the most seems to happen, and we may not even realize it. I find that when I leap, even if I think it’s the right thing to, it always backfires. I need to be quiet, be still, and wait. See, there’s a plan already in place, that same God and that same plan got me where I am today, and I am beyond blessed. Sure, I put in the work, the time, the emotion, but God has certainly laid the groundwork and moved mountains for me. To me, quiet also means to be at peace when things are still, and not moving. That is hard. More than hard, it can feel downright impossible. Quiet can be awkward and scary. It takes trust in things beyond our scope of understanding and control. But, if you’re like me, that’s not easy to do.

I am by no means an expert, I came to understand the beauty in the quiet the hard way, and still find it a struggle. Whether it be questioning what I’m supposed to do career-wise, or life-wise, or how to build my family. I’ve learned not to jump, to let the quiet do the work, let the stillness help me to appreciate where I am and what I have.

When it comes to adoption, layers and layers of life experience and wants can get in the way. It can make life noisy and frazzled. Quiet in adoption can feel like nothing is happening, nothing is on the horizon, and that sucks. Really sucks. It’s hard to be still when all you can think about is adoption and your vision of your family that brought you to adoption in the first place. I feel like I’m no expert at the wait: we matched right away, our son was born 5 weeks later, and we brought him home. We’re blessed and I know it, because that is by no means typical. It’s not because we did anything different from other couples wishing, hoping, and waiting. However, I know the quiet through of struggle of infertility, appointments, results, and decisions. I know the quiet of wondering where the money for our adoption is going to come from. I know the wait of appointments for home studies, how slow time seems to move while waiting to know if a birth mother has chosen you, the quiet wait for the birth of a baby, and the wait for a birth mother to make the most difficult, emotional decision of her life. Why adoption is so hard is something I can’t answer, why it can be so costly both financially and emotionally, I don’t know. Is it a journey worth taking? Yes. It doesn’t have to make sense now and it may feel too quiet, like things are at a standstill, but there is God and He is working.

I’d love to hear more about how you and your family has gotten through the quiet times, the stillness of it all. Please leave a comment, or email me at shannon@christianadoptionconsultants.com. Also, if you are feeling like it’s too quiet and you need a pep talk or support, please feel free to reach out to me. I will do my best to help and be a support to you!

Shannon

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All In

After my last blog post, I really struggled with what to write next, our son’s birth mom did an amazing job sharing her heart and I really wasn’t sure how to follow it. So, I put off writing for a few days but an idea kept coming to mind earlier this week and today, so I feel that maybe there is a reason I need to write what I write today….

When my husband and I first announced to those around us we were adopting, we realized we were more connected to a world of adoptive parents, those who’ve been adopted, and birth parents than we ever imagined. It has really been wonderful to see how adoption has touched so many lives. In the process of sharing our story with others, we have been able to have open dialogue with those just thinking about adoption. In these discussions, I talk with people at all points in the journey to parenthood and want to share the very basic information I’ve shared with them.

Grief and Loss:  I hope I don’t scare anyone away, but this is important. Not everyone who adopts has fertility issues and not everyone with fertility issues adopts. But if, like my husband and I,  infertility led you to consider adoption sooner than you thought, you’ll need to address it. In order to be ready to adopt, you need to be in a place emotionally to do so. The “funny” thing about grief is that it never really truly goes away, and it brings on a journey of ups and downs, and that’s putting it lightly. Adoption in itself is a process grief and loss in its own way and until you’ve come to terms with prior grief, you just won’t be ready. This topic in itself deserves its own post, and I plan to write one in the very near future. If you have questions, email me, and lets talk.

Research, Research, Research: Adoption can be very different depending on the route you take and the professionals you work with. You need to know all your options, be able to make educated decisions, and make sure the right people are helping you on your adoption journey. One of the reasons I started a blog is because I knew how much reading blogs of other adoptive families helped me. Research cost, types of adoption, openness in adoption, etc. Research local agencies and adoption consultants. Research grants and fundraising ideas.

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A Conversation with My Son’s Birth Mom

So, I haven’t written on here for a while, but it’s been for a good reason. G’s birth mom, A, and brother came to visit. Yes, you heard me right. (I will refer to her as A, for her privacy. Again, this is her story to truly tell. I also refer to our son by his initial G, for now) Anyway, when we were matched, we agreed to yearly visits with A., in addition to phone calls and letters. However, our relationship continues to evolve. On the scale of openness in adoption, I’d say  our adoption is as open as it gets! Let me say that this has happened so very organically and it’s not for every adoption situation. However, we are happy with where things stand and enjoyed having A. and her son in our home and meeting our families. During conversations prior to our visit, I discussed my blog and new adventure. A. was completely supportive and even agreed to let me interview her. On the last day of our visit, while G was napping, we sat on the couch together with my husband, and opened up. Honestly, I had been thinking about what to ask her for a long time, what would be most helpful, what would I have wanted to know as an adoptive parent from a birth mom, etc. and didn’t write any of it down! Regardless, we talked, we cried, and we shared. This is another long but meaningful post. Here is our story in A’s own words: “I was going through a hard time and was trying to get my life together so I could raise G, who wasn’t G yet, but things didn’t work out that way and I believe God has a plan for everyone. I really think God made things hard, well I put myself in that situation, but God put me in that situation to help you guys have a family”.

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God is in the Details

Adoption is scary, it’s a total unknown. I’m here to tell you it’s worth it. Our adoption story began in the winter of 2012. There were a number of things going on at that time that I won’t elaborate on because it’s not my story to tell, but let’s just say those things were calling me to adoption. Little did I know God was preparing Evan and I to be adoptive parents long before this season. While waiting for Evan and I to come to the decision to pursue adoption to build our family, I began to research. I think because I wanted to know all I could, but honestly, it helped me feel like things were moving closer, closer to becoming a mother and a family of 3. Ultimately, we chose to go with an adoption consultant agency. For our family, this was the right decision. We signed up and found a local agency to do our home study. We completed all the paperwork, background checks, and interviews. Two months later, we were home study ready. In the mean time, a consultant was helping us make our profile book. Things started to feel like they were moving in the right direction. Adoption, whether it be domestic or international is expensive, but in no way should that be a barrier to you and your family pursuing it! I’m serious. Adoptions are 10s of thousands of dollars, and that’s scary. Life changing scary. Let me remind you again that God is in the details. We had savings, but it wasn’t quite enough. It was heartbreaking but our story was just beginning. In the coming days, we prayed about it, researched our options, and went out on a limb. We were ready to be matched. Continue reading