Updated Adoption Profile

With our new family pictures and the addition of a puppy to our family, we decided to update our adoption profile!  If you know anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy that is considering adoption, we would be honored if you shared … Continue reading

McMiracle | Part 2 in the Journey to Parenthood Series

I don’t know about you guys, but I love reading birth stories.  Even better?  A beautiful adoption-birth story.  I love this particular story, because it is so raw and real.  It shares the pain and the beauty, the sorrow and … Continue reading

I Say | He Says

When I talk to others about our unique adoption, which was clearly penned by God, I often hear myself saying, “we’ll never have another birth mom like Natasha” and “our next adoption probably won’t go as smoothly,” or “the odds of us having an adoption as affordable as our first are very slim.”  Oh me of little faith!

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ~ Matthew 7:11

Oct 5-7

Who am I to put God in a box?  God is the one who gave us the gift of Abigail (our daughter) and Natasha (Abby’s birth mom).  He gave us a perfect baby, a birth mom who is like a sister and more family members that share our faith (Natasha’s family).  He gave us a situation that our entire family was comfortable with and excited about.  Who am I to say He couldn’t or wouldn’t give us another amazing gift?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. ~ Matthew 7:7-11

One time, just days after uttering my “we won’t” sentiments to a friend, I received a call about a girl similar to Natasha, who was considering adoption.   She ended up miscarrying, but that call hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was as if God was speaking directly to me, saying, “I can give you good things, beyond your wildest dreams.  I can bless you again!  I am the God who created the heavens and the earth.  I hold you in the palm of my hand.  I want GOOD things for you.  Don’t lose heart or lose faith.  Don’t limit Me with your unbelief.”

Oct 5-2

When I have doubted, He has continued to show me that He is able!  Just the other day, as I was seeking God, I read this devotional and was reminded again to trust and believe that He is writing our adoption story and it will be for our good:

And He marveled because of their unbelief. ~ Mark 6:6

This is the day of miracles. My power and love will combine and My glory will be shown. Awaken your heart, be expectant, not reluctant, before My promise. I can do exceedingly abundantly above all you ask or think. You need to stretch your faith, My child, instead of nursing puny, negative doubts and fears. Faith still moves mountains – faith and prayer. Faith borne on the wings of prayer. This is what you need to practice – faith-filled praying, expectant, eager and confident praying. My heart is gladdened when My children pray this way. Don’t be afraid of believing too much. Be afraid of limiting My work and cheating My glory by believing too little. I love to reward a chastened, believing heart, a faith that has been tried and not found wanting. Pray for such a faith and I will give it to you; and then it is yours to guard and use for My glory. Awaken, my child, awaken your heart! (Helms, Hal M., Echoes of Eternity (Paraclete Press, 1996) October 3, 213-214.)

Friend, please don’t be like me and operate in a state of self-protection, saying “we won’t” or “it won’t happen” in a poor attempt to guard your heart from hoping, wishing, and dreaming.  Instead, ask, believing that our Father in Heaven gives good gifts to His children and believing that He is more than able.  Walk in the knowledge that if you ask for something that isn’t good for you, He will say no, but if it is good for you and glorifies Him, He can, and very well may, say yes!  Have faith, even if it is as small as a mustard seed.  Then, watch Him amaze you!

The Perfect Gift | Part 1 in the Journey to Parenthood Series

Over the next few weeks, you are going to be hearing from some guest bloggers – adoptive parents who are at different points in their adoption journey.  I hope you enjoy seeing the different faces of adoption as much as I do!  Today, I am excited to share a poem written by an adoptive father for his future child.  I am so excited to see what God has in store for this couple!

The Perfect Gift by Dennis Miranda

In her song “Blessings,” Laura Story cries out to God and begs the question “What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise”?

When life hurts does God really heal? What happens to the hurt once the pains subsides?

As our family and friends already know, one year ago this month Tina and I experienced what is commonly referred to in adoption as a “disruption.”   Although we’ve had no contact with Jack over the past year we still miss him tremendously. But God is good and we’ve been holding on to Him and His promises throughout. Well, after a year of pinching pennies we’ve finally saved up enough money to put us “in the books” for an infant adoption through another agency!

Recently, I was thinking about Jack and about the new little one that will enter our lives any day. I believe that out of pain and suffering in this life God can take it and make beautiful things rise from the ashes. Now, I’m not much of a poet, but here is a poem I wrote born from the heartache of loss and strengthened with the hope of having another child of our own someday.

Run to Win,
Den

Dear Child,

You don’t know me and we haven’t met yet,
But if I were a gambling man I’d be willing to bet,
That you were created with purpose and the greatest of love,
For every good and perfect gift is from our Father above.
‘though you are not born of my flesh nor have my same eyes,
In my arms I will hold and you’ll be just the right size:
To cradle, to burp, to rock to sleep,
To love and to cherish this time for keeps.
How we wait with hope for the day you’ll arrive,
To give you our love and to share our own lives.
Right now we are busy preparing your room,
So hurry up and come out and get here real soon!
We have so much to show you, there’s lots to see;
Friends, family, a Chihuahua named Mickey.
Books to read and songs to croon,
Like “Jesus loves me” and “Good night moon”.
There’s goodies to eat from the world’s greatest chef,
Momma’s homemade cooking is always the best!
We’ll laugh and we’ll play, have ourselves a ball;
My arms by your side in case you should fall.
I’ll teach you to love my son/my daughter:
Jesus, mom, your neighbor – in that order.
Sadly one day we will have to let go,
To watch from afar as you grow and grow.
If I hold on too tightly please don’t get mad,
It’s just the thought of you leaving makes me real sad.
Don’t cry for me but know in my heart I am glad,
For I will always take pleasure in being your Dad.
So sleep soundly my child, stay safe and keep warm;
For the next time we meet will be the day you are born.

With Love,

(your anxiously awaiting) Dad

“Every good and perfect gift is from above,” James 1:17

1368834_698312976863872_411280197_nDennis and his wife Tina are High School sweethearts and have been married for over 24 years. They are “empty nesters” with 2     grown sons in college and are waiting to be matched with their next child. Dennis is a retired Marine, enjoys writing, and is currently attending the Pennsylvania Bible Institute.  To read more from Dennis, you can visit his blog, Running to Win.

Adoption Update & FAQ

A common question I get about our second adoption journey is where we are at in the process, so I thought I would give a little update.

We have spent the last month filling out home study paperwork, visiting doctors for our physicals, getting fingerprinted, sending in paperwork for background checks, making our profile, and fundraising!  On the home study front, we had our first home visit with our social worker on Monday.  We are finished with the majority of our paperwork, but still have three home visits, a first aid/CPR class and a two day, sixteen hour, training on adoption.  We anticipate finishing our home study by mid-September.

On the fundraising front, God is really providing to bring this little one home!  In less than a month, we have raised $2700.  That money combined with our savings, money that will be coming in from photo shoots in the next month, and some promised donations, puts us almost at the half way point to funding our adoption (based on anticipated costs)!!!  This is incredible!  We are trusting God to provide the rest in His perfect timing!

At this point, our attorney in CA has our profile to share with expectant mothers who are due after September (we can’t have a baby placed in our home until our home study is finished.  We have also shared our profile with all of our friends and family; you never know how God will lead us to the next little one.  Once our home study is finished, we will also submit our profile to Project Cuddle, “a non-profit organization with the purpose of providing Safe & Legal Alternatives to Baby Abandonment & Helping to Pave the Way for a Successful Future.  [They] run a confidential, toll-free, 24-hour crisis hotline for scared pregnant girls and women who feel hopeless and alone. Women who feel they have no one to help them through this frightening experience of an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy.”  They also keep potential adoptive parent profiles on file, so they can share them with the women immediately.  In the last ten years, Project Cuddle has rescued 740 babies!

We have no idea how long it will take us to be matched with an expectant mother.  It could be weeks, it could be months, or it could be years.  We are praying for sooner rather than later!  Please pray with us!

We have also received a lot of other questions, so I wanted to share them and our answers:

Are you waiting to be matched until all of your fundraising is finished?

No.  We trust that God will provide in His perfect time, as He did with Abigail’s adoption.

Do you have a preference for gender?

No!  Eventually we would like to have at least one child of each gender, but we are happy with whatever child(ren) God brings us.

What are you comfortable with in terms of race and disability?

Honestly, we are praying a LOT about this one.  Before we adopted Abby, we said that we were okay with pretty much any child that needed a family and we trusted God to know what we can handle.  I think our answer is still the same, but we are really praying for God’s direction, because the community that we live in is not nearly as racially diverse as our former home and we want to ensure that our child is comfortable in his/her environment.  We also now have another child to consider (Abby) and need to be sure that we can handle it all.  Ultimately, though, I think when it comes down to it, we are comfortable with whatever God brings us.  We know He won’t give us more than we can handle, but we would appreciate it if you prayed with us on this one.   🙂

One thing we are for sure comfortable with, though, is multiples!  We both would really like twins. 🙂

Have you considered foster adoption?

Since we are fundraising, many people have asked us if we have considered foster adoption, because it is so much cheaper.  We have considered this and prayed about it a lot.  We are both pretty sure we will adopt from the foster system at some point, but now did not seem like the right time.  For one, we want to maintain Abby’s birth-order, as the oldest child in our family.  In CO, children under one that are adoptable in the foster system appear to be few and far between.  Our next adoption may be through the foster system, or we could fost-adopt years down the road, when Abby is in college or out on her own.  We don’t know, we are just trusting God and looking to Him for direction.

Have you considered International Adoption?

We have and are always open to it, but God has given us a heart for women facing unplanned pregnancies and for the unborn.  Right now, we feel called to help these women have another option (adoption) and to walk with them through part of their journey and provide a home for a few precious babes.  We have been so blessed to have an incredible relationship with Abby’s birth mother and would love to be able to help and love on other expectant mothers.

I think that’s it for now!  Keep asking questions!  I love them 🙂

We will be out of town for the next week and a half, visiting family, doing a ton of senior photos in my home town (praise God, these are paying for our trip), AND meeting our niece, who is due to arrive any day!  I likely won’t be blogging much, if at all, while we are gone, but I’ll be back at it once we are home again!  Enjoy the end of summer!

Kohl’s Deal Alert!

It’s that time of year – the time when kids summer clothes start to go on amazing sales!

Our family lives on one income and we are raising money for baby #2’s adoption, so I am constantly looking for amazing deals on gifts, clothing, groceries and household products.  I especially love to get great deals on gifts, so I can give quality gifts and put the extra that I would have normally spent (or had budgeted) towards our adoption!  Shopping the sales and couponing also allows me to give more than I would be able to if I was shopping regularly priced items!

Today’s deal at Kohl’s was on kid’s clothes.  I used it to buy outfits to give as gifts for new babies and bought a couple outfits for Abby for next summer.  I got all of this for $31 (including tax):

photo-26

Without tax, it would have originally been $236.76 (granted, Kohl’s almost always has sales, so it probably never would have sold for that much, but it is still pretty amazing to see the difference)!

So how can you do it?

First, you need to print out these coupons or save them on your Retail Me Not app:

$10 off of $25 in Kid’s Apparel

15% off of everything

Then, go to Kohl’s before August 18 (the earlier the better in my opinion) and shop the kids’ sale racks.  I only bought things that were 80% off.  Shop all of the racks (even one’s that say 60% or 70% off, because things are often put in the wrong place).

Make sure you have $25 worth of clothes and check out.  They will take the $10 off first, then the 15% off of what’s left.  This makes for a great deal!  Many of the items I got were originally $22 and I got them for about $2.40 each.  Others were $30 originally and I bought them for $3.20!  That is just over 10% of the original cost!  I’ll take it 🙂

Note, the $10 off of $25 coupon can only be used once and is one coupon per customer.  I lucked out and had a friend shopping with me who wasn’t buying anything, so I split my purchases into two and she made one purchase for me, so I was able to get the $10 off twice, giving me the above deal!

Happy Shopping!  I’d love to hear the great deals you get!

Apart From Him, I Can Do NOTHING

God blows me away.  When I strive and strive to get funding for our adoption, the donations or 31 purchases trickle in or don’t come in at all. Yet, when I get down on my knees and pray for God to provide the necessary funding, it comes in the most unexpected ways or in large, completely unexpected donations.  People we don’t even know support us.  God is teaching me, as He has before, that He is our provider.  I am not saying that He is telling me not to share our story or fundraise – in fact, I think we are supposed to, but He is teaching me that without Him, I can do nothing.  So often, I do good things, but I don’t do those good things with God.  I do them in my own power and expect results that only God’s power can obtain.  He is teaching me that it is more important to be on my knees as we go through this process (and through life), than it is to send emails, post on facebook, or talk to every person.  Those things have a place, but only when He is the priority and He is at my side.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7

Our Adoption Profile

We finished our adoption profile!  If someone you know is considering making an adoption plan for their baby, we would be honored if you shared our profile with them.  Also, please feel free to share this profile with anyone you think might be helpful in this process and to post it or share it  as you see fit.  Thank you for your help.

Adoption Profile Page 1 Adoption Profile Page 2 Adoption Profile Page 3 Adoption Profile Page 4 Adoption Profile Page 5 Adoption Profile Page 6

Infertility and Unplanned Pregnancies

When we first began to seriously suspect that we might have fertility issues, I was working at a pregnancy clinic.  Every day, I would see women come through our doors who were facing unplanned pregnancies. Here we were, meeting at a place in life that neither of us wanted to be, wishing that for a season (say about 9 months), we could trade afflictions – that I could carry her pregnancy and she could have my infertility.  What I saw as a blessing, they saw as a curse.

IMG_9722

It was hard to see these women getting what I wanted when they didn’t want it at all.  It was even more difficult to see 40% of them throw away what I longed for.  I knew God had me working there for a reason and I loved my work.  I loved helping women throughout pregnancy and as they entered Motherhood.  It was such a joy and privilege.  Yet, with every woman I helped, I longed for a baby of my own.  While I was generally at peace with God building our family in His perfect time, there were days when I, in my flesh, would get angry with Him.  How could He allow them to get pregnant when they wouldn’t appreciate it or were facing parenthood alone with fear and trembling?  How come He wasn’t allowing me get pregnant, when He knew I would cherish a baby?  Again and again, He reminded me that His plans were better than mine, but I didn’t always believe Him.

One day, in the midst of our first adoption (which fell through) and while still working at the pregnancy clinic, I was reading a book called “Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss” by Jennifer Saake.  There was a section entitled “When God’s Plans Don’t Seem to Make Sense.”  It was as if the author was speaking directly to me:

If God doesn’t condone sexual relations outside of marriage, why does He often create new life from these unions?  When a godly family is eagerly waiting for a baby, why does He sometimes withhold?  In our it’s-all-about-me society, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that God’s choice to place a baby in a womb may have as much to do with His plans for that child as for the mother herself.

God perfectly orchestrates the necessary timing for each new life to fulfill the plans He ordains.  Had God given Hannah (from the Bible) a child when she first desired motherhood, would she have dedicated Samuel to His service?  This child was called to an office of great leadership for the good of an entire nation, but in order to prepare both Hannah’s heart and the circumstances that would lead Samuel to anoint kings, heartache had to come first.

A friend once described her emotions when her unmarried, drug-addicted sister announced her third unwise pregnancy.  In the midst of her grief, I was encouraged to hear victory through Christ.  She focused on the way our amazing God can use the same circumstances differently in two lives, depending on the lessons He is striving to teach each.  While childlessness is a trial for infertile couples and we consider parenthood a great blessing, for others pregnancy might indeed be the trial that God uses to change their hearts.

Two Bible stories come to mind here.  An angel said to unloved Hagar, “You are now with child . . . for the Lord has heard of your misery” (Genesis 16:11).  And of Jacob’s wife, the Scriptures say, “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb” (29:31).  While it can be anguish for us to watch, I think sometimes God allows those “unloved” women in our lives the gift/trial of pregnancy to demonstrate His love to them . . .

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

At the time, this was so convicting and comforting!  It was a reminder that God’s plans were better than mine.  It still hurt at times, but it helped so much to know that God was using my infertility and their unplanned pregnancies to teach us the lessons He had for us and to bring about His perfect will!

Looking back now, I thank God for our infertility.  If we had been incredibly fertile, we wouldn’t have adopted when we did.  I am confidant we would have adopted at some point, but at that point in our lives, we likely would have had one or two little ones under foot and an expensive adoption would not be at the forefront of our minds.  I am thankful we faced infertility, because it brought us our beautiful daughter and her amazing birth family.  God was writing a story that only He could write and I am so glad His plans prevail!

Disclaimer: I know facing an unplanned pregnancy is incredibly, incredibly difficult!  I do not intend for this to be a political post, but rather just a real look at what facing infertility looks like.

Profile Difficulties

On my “To-Do” list for the last few weeks has been an item that continues to remain on the list in spite of my best attempts to cross it off – making our adoption profile.  Last time we went through the adoption process, the profile was one of the easiest parts.  Sure I had a few fears, but it went quickly and was enjoyable.  This time, not so easy…I am guessing a huge part of the reason is that I don’t have a deadline.  Last time there was an expectant mother we were hoping to show it to who was coming in on a Friday.  We started the adoption process on Tuesday, so we had to hurry!  Apparently, I work well under pressure!

Our first adoption profile, made just over two years ago.  A lot has changed since then (and I know "correct" adoption lingo a little better now - namely that the person reading the profile is not yet a birthmom, but an expectant mom)

The first page of our first adoption profile, made just over two years ago. A lot has changed since then (and I know “correct” adoption lingo a little better now – namely that the person reading the profile is not yet a “birthmom,” but rather is an “expectant mom”)

You’ve got to admit, though, making a profile is weird…you’re putting together a few pages to be shown to a woman who is trying to decide if you should be the parents for the baby she is carrying in her womb!  Wow – overwhelming, much?!  Thankfully, I know that ultimately God is in charge and it only takes one expectant mother of the many to pick us.  I trust and believe that God is in charge and that it will work out.  My striving is just that – striving!  I also know that the littlest things can cause a woman to pick a set of adoptive parents – a picture, a common interest, a place they live… Yes, the profile is important, but we have no idea what will stand out – we just need to be ourselves!  Still for some reason, I am hitting a wall.  What do I include?  What don’t I include?  There are only so many pages…What is most important?  I want to be real, so what represents us best?

I think the hardest part is starting…do you do it in letter form?  “Dear Birthmom…” (except she isn’t a birthmom yet…) Okay, try again… “Hello!…” Then what?  If it wasn’t so frustrating to hit a wall like this, it would be laughable!  It kind of is anyway…if only there was something to record my thoughts as I try to do this!

Maybe it isn’t time for me to work on it, which is why I’m not receiving inspiration.  Or maybe, this time, I am just supposed to do one thing at a time.  Every little step is productive.  So, I decided tonight to pick pictures.  After all, pictures are fun.  Maybe I should just write a “Profile” to-do list and include all the things that need to be done to complete the profile, then I could cross some things off a list.  😉

One thing that has helped me so far is a sweet reminder from a friend:  “you are partnering with God in this endeavor, because no human striving can enlarge your family apart from His will!”  He’ll work through my meager efforts on this profile, will give me the words in His timing and will enlarge our family in His perfect timing!  After all, His word says that His Power is made my perfect in my Weakness…  Here I am, once again, weak (and uninspired), waiting on a powerful (and inspiring) God to lead and guide.  Honestly, although it can be annoying to hit a wall, I am so glad that I am, because it means that I am turning every little detail over to Him, saying, “Lord, please guide me and inspire me.”

Have any of you guys had this problem with an adoption profile or just hit a wall when working on a project?  What helped you?