Thursday, October 11, 2007

Great Link

I came across this link through another adoptive mom - check it out. Please consider how you and your family can be involved!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

18 Things I Love

I love to hear my kids' say Mama (or Mony as one of my son's says).
I love the spontaneous hugs that never cease to amaze me.
I love the way my boys' make me feel like the most important person in the world.
I love how they engage me in their games, make believe, songs, and books.
I love the wonderful smiles they throw my way.
I love the delighted giggles that escape.
I love their beautiful, expressive, brown eyes.
I love the way they wholeheartedly trust.
I love surprising them.
I love to watch them peacefully sleep.
I love to see their imaginations at work.
I love to hear them pray.
I love their singing.
I love the way they live life to the fullest.
I love their boundless energy.
I love the sloppy, open-mouth kisses.
I love my boys.
I love being a Mom.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Reflections on 1 Year

Today, 1 year ago, a judge in Kazakhstan made me the happiest mommy around! October 4, 2006 was the court date that officially finalized the adoption of our sons. We had been through a lot for a long time leading up to that day but in that moment, we knew that God was blessing us more than we EVER could have imagined.

We knew when we got married that we wanted to adopt some day. We have always had a heart for children all of over the world who did not choose to be parentless and did not choose to grow up in (and possibly age out of) an orphanage or foster care. Can you imagine never knowing the unconditional love of a family, never having a family to get together with, never having parents to call with exciting news or to help you through the difficult times? Our hearts grieve for these children and we wish we could give them all a home!

We are so thankful for the 2 children God has chosen to give us. It is truly His work! We cannot imagine our lives without them! It seems like they have been with us forever - we could not love them more if they were biologically related to us. They are OUR SONS! God just chose for someone else to carry them for us - He knew (and planned!) from the foundation of the world that Calvin and Patrick would be our children.

We are so thankful for the birthmoms God used to give us these wonderful gifts and pray that they know that the boys are cared for and loved; that they are learning about the Lord and growing and changing daily. If I had a chance to write them a letter, it would go something like this:

Dear Calvin's birthmom & Patrick's birthmom,

Tears fill my eyes when I think of you. You probably don't even realize the great gift you have given me. I longed for children and through both of you, I have the most beautiful boys in the whole world. You carried them and gave them life so I could show them how to live life. We will never let them forget you.

My heart is overwhelmed with love for these two children who miraculously came into our family. I watch them grow and develop and wish that you could see them, too and know that they are doing great! Calvin had surgery to repair his lip and palate - he was so brave and he looks so handsome. He was so proud to have it done! Patrick is tall, handsome and strong - just yesterday he was pulling a wagon and being such a big boy. The boys love each other; they are brothers in the truest sense of the word. We are so glad they have each other.

We love the country of Kazakhstan and look forward to teaching them about the traditions and culture of their birthplace. We love you. In some way, you are a part of our family, you have made our family stronger and more beautiful, you have given us more of an appreciation for life, you have unknowingly changed our view of the world, and you have challenged us to think beyond ourselves.

We are forever grateful to you for relinquishing the boys you carried so they could be a part of our family. We commit to give them every opportunity we can, to care for their health, to teach them about life and more importantly about the Lord, and to love them unconditionally. Thank you. They are well. We are well. We are blessed.

With love and gratitude,
Calvin & Patrick's Mom

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Mother's Heart

I read this post (in response to a question about adopting with biological children) on one of the yahoo! groups I'm a member of and was so blessed! The wonderful expression of love pouring out of this mom's heart brought tears to my eyes. I wrote to her and asked her if I could share her words and she agreed. Thanks Kathie!

She said in a portion of her e-mail reply, "But something special is really happening within our family as we go on this journey together. As we've worked together to finish paperwork and prepare for our new children, our love for each other has multiplied greatly. We will not only have a larger family . . . we will have a better family."

So I'm posting here and hope that you will also be challenged and blessed by this family.

"We have three bio. kids (daughters ages 10 and 7, and a 2 year old son) and we are in the process of adopting a 6 year old boy from Guatemala (hope to get him home by the New Year) and we are hoping to start the whole process over to adopt a 14 year old girl fromKaz next year. I have many friends who have bio. children and have adopted--things have gone so wonderfully for them it has given us the courage to do the same.

Often the motivation is to complete a family--to adopt a sibling for an only child or finally add a daughter to a family with boys or vice versa. Often the motivation is compassion--to know that all children are precious and deserve a home . . . to want to make a difference in the life of that child. Often the motivation is faith--many who adopt are Christians and take God's calling to care for orphans and widows seriously. And often the motivation is a healthy mix of selflessness and selfishness (I'll explain that one).

I've know since I was a child that I not only wanted to be aparent, I wanted to be an adoptive parent. I told my husband this when we were dating and he expressed that he had a heart for adoption, too. We first tried for a bio. child (primarily because we couldn't afford to adopt at the time). And although we have 4 children waiting for us in heaven (3 miscarriages and a stillborn son due to an umbilical cord knot), we've been blessed with three wonderful children by birth. But even with these three precious children, my desire to adopt has increased . . . not diminished.

I started looking at children from Russia and Kaz last Jan. I fell in love with the description of a 14 year old girl in Kaz (her photo wasn't posted) but we closed that door when we heard of the 3 to 4 weeks of travel. In the meantime, we were approached with an emergency situation for a boy in Guatemala (long story). We've proceeded with him, but we can't get the other girl out of our minds, so we're going to try to find a way to adopt her, too.

I wish I could tell you how my children will do once they get here, but I can tell you that this experience has already been so rewarding. I love my children even more for their willingness to share their home, their parents, their holidays, their friends . . . with not an infant, but an older child. I've been amazed at how excited they are and I'm grateful that are embracing this leap of faith with their mom and dad.

But I feel quite selfish because I know the rewards of adding these children will far outweigh any sacrifices. Our boy in Guatemala was found at 5 years old abandoned on the street eating out of a garbage can. I can't wait to tell him he is loved and special, throw him a birthday party, celebrate Christmas, take him to the beach, or sing him a lullaby. And if we can get that 14 year old girl home, I can't wait to show her that you're never to old to be chosen, to give her a childhood that she almost missed, to tell her she's beautiful and a gift, to give her the chance at an education and a future, to give her a daddy that will some day walk her down the aisle, and a mom who is by her side when she has a baby.

Our motivation has been completion, compassion, faith, selflessness and selfishness . . . but the result will be two children with a second chance and one family who is truly blessed."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Command

I often wonder at the apparent apathy towards adoption within the church as a whole. I’ve never heard a sermon on this topic or heard a pastor publicly encourage church member to consider adoption. That’s not to say that churches aren’t supportive of a family adopting but rather to point out that it seems the general attitude is that it's nice for that family. (I am happily aware that not all churches fall in this category.)

The Bible clearly states that as believers we are to care for orphans. Therefore the church and individuals within the church should be actively seeking ways to fulfill this command. Now, I’m not saying that everyone has to adopt but how about being foster parents or respite foster parents, or volunteering for a Crisis Pregnancy Center, girl’s home, or Big Brother/Sister organization? Giving to CPC’s, adoption agencies, adoptive families, or child sponsorship ministries are perhaps other ways of applying this command but too often, this can be an "easy way out" when in reality active involvement may be what God requires of you.

Please consider how God is calling you to fulfill this non-optional command. It may take you out of your comfort zone but I would contend that maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My Story

Just for some background, here is my story. My husband and I met at a college conference in Jan. ’98. We were friends for a few years and then began dating in 2001. We were engaged in November ‘01 and married in March ’02. Before we married, we discussed having children (as I’m sure every couple does). I remember asking my husband if he was open to adoption because I had always wanted to adopt. We both have adopted family members and he expressed interest in adopting at some point.

Fast forward a couple of years and we decided that we were ready to start a family - only it wasn’t so easy for us. We experienced the month after month disappointment of no pregnancy and finally went to the doctor. The diagnosis was not good – the possibility of conception for us was not high. We were told that our only option was in vitro fertilization (IVF). While we do not have a conviction regarding IVF, we did decide not to pursue this route for a number of reasons including the likelihood of success.

Infertility is the single most difficult thing either of us has ever dealt with. We did not share with anyone outside of our family and a few close friends what we were going through because of the pain and because we didn’t really know others who had struggled with infertility. We were surrounded by large families in a church that valued childbearing - though not a bad thing in and of itself, it meant we were constantly confronted with our lack of children and it felt like a lack of blessing.

After much prayer and consideration, we knew that God had a different plan for starting our family. He wanted us to adopt now (not the several years down the road we had planned).

We began our research and fairly quickly decided to pursue international adoption for our first child. We looked at various countries but God made it clear that we were to go to Kazakhstan. We started the process in August/September ’05 and brought home not one but two sons in October ’06. It was a hard road but completely worth it! One of our sons was born with a cleft lip and palate so we just recently had the first surgery to repair them.

We do not feel that our family is complete yet. We plan to adopt again and are back to the beginning considering where our next child is. Our lives have been made richer through the addition of our boys and through the experience of adoption. We are so happy that God chose this path for us. God has blessed us beyond measure!

*The photo is of our two little blessings: C & P.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Beginnings

Before me is a blank canvas, a brand new blog. It's exciting and overwhelming to begin a new blog - a blog with a unique focus.

Adoption is truly a passion of mine. It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I knew I wanted to adopt before I ever met and married my husband. It is something that I think far too few people consider for themselves - in other words, I firmly believe that more people should adopt.

I hope that through this blog I can educate and dispel myths about adoption. My goal is to have a place to talk about adoption issues freely, answer questions, support adoptive families, and share in adoption journeys. It is meant to encourage - therefore all comments will be moderated. Differing opinions are welcome if given in a spirit of love and kindness.

I am a Christian and will discuss adoption from a Christian/Biblical perspective - I make no apologies for this. I hope to be able to blog regularly and plan to feature different types of adoption and/or different countries that allow international adoption.

My prayer is that you will be challenged, find encouragement, and maybe that one more child will find a loving home through one of you readers.