Waiting...An Adoption Update

This post was written back in September and I am finally sharing it with you all.

https://www.lfsrm.org/will-and-ashley/

I took a little break from sharing our story over the summer. We were officially approved with Lutheran Family Services at the end of May, paid our first two installments and became active on their website. This summer was crazy busy with family and friends visiting from England and traveling to different places for weddings and holidays. I was convinced that we would match and have our baby placed with us during the three weeks that Will's parents were visiting. Each day passed by and the dream started to feel less possible.Well here we are in September, I am back at work as a Special Education Teaching Assistant and am way more distracted with my 9-5. We had our book looked at about a month ago. Our book is a 20 page photo album that I created. It covers our story (how we met and fell in love), our families, who we are as a couple, what we love to do and how we think we will parent one day. The book is shown to expectant mothers who are making an adoption plan for their unborn/born baby. The expectant mother chooses the family to place her child with from those books. We worked really hard on our book as it is our only voice and platform to connect with our future birth mom.

View Our Book Here

With our agency, we have set up parameters for what we are comfortable with in regards to matching with our baby. Those parameters deal with drug and alcohol exposure, with age, gender, and disability. We spent time researching and praying before we decided what we were and were not comfortable with, and that was not an easy task. When a potential expectant mother decides to place with our agency, they find the families that fit with her story and situation. They take the photo books of those families and share them with the expectant mother. She then chooses the one she feels would be the best to parent her child.So our book was looked at in August for the first time. We were not the family that she chose.With our parameters that we set, we also decided that we would be open to crisis situations. A crisis situation is most likely a situation where the baby has already been born and the mother has decided she wants to place her baby with an adoptive family. In a crisis situation there is usually not a lot of information available about the mother or the baby, and saying "Yes!" to one is a total leap of faith.We got a call on Wednesday, August 30, about a two-day old baby girl, born to a mother who was incarcerated and had decided to place her baby for adoption. The information was so minimal...they could only really guess how much the baby had be exposed to drugs and alcohol. They were not aware of who the father was and if he would want to parent. We prayed and talked to a friend of ours who is a medical professional, and with all the unknowns we could not stop smiling. We decided to put ourselves forward with 6 other families.Our social worker told us to get a few things ready just in case we were chosen. She told us to enjoy a night out together and warned us to not get our hopes up because it was not a sure thing.We went to Babies R Us and bought a carseat and some little premie outfits. We had our last date night eating sushi and gushing about potentially picking up OUR baby the next day! We finished all the projects in the nursery...hanging the curtains...organizing the diapers and swaddles. We were so full of hope.If only we had guarded our hearts.After two anxious days of waiting...of checking our emails every other minute...of constantly watching our phones...of getting updates that the mother was delaying her decision...we found out that she chose a different family. I took the news in stride. I prepared myself to emotionally deal with the news in anyway I needed to. What I did not expect was how the news impacted my husband.He had planned a whole weekend spent with his brand new daughter. He imagined us driving down to the hospital to pick her up. He saw himself waking up early on Saturday to feed her while they watched the rugby. He pictured everything. And one phone call took that all away.Looking back now, I know that baby was never ours. My husband and I both grieved in different ways and it taught us that adoption is messy and heartbreaking. For us to have a family, we have to destroy another one. That is a reality that I am coming to terms with even now. This journey has not been an easy one...filled with pain, disappointment, doubt and longing. But it has also been one of hope and promise. We trust that our baby will come to us in HIS timing, and are excited to finally one day become parents.

Home Study Visit {1}

I am so excited to share that WE ARE APPROVED TO ADOPT! After completing ALL the paperwork (and boy was it a lot!), doctors appointments, background checks, and a weekend of training, we were able to start the home study process. Now I am going to be honest...I found the prospect of inviting a stranger into our home to evaluate us as future parents completely terrifying. As a couple, we wear our feelings and our hearts on our sleeves. Whenever we meet new people, I usually apologize at the start for anything my husband may share. We kinda lack filters, not in a crude inappropriate way, but in an awkward truth kind of way. The more nervous and uncomfortable we are in a situation, the more we reveal. And even though we are honest people with nothing to hide, I was still anxious about the whole situation. I mean what if I said something wrong and it changed the social worker's opinion of me? What if we awkwardly joked about something that made us look like we would be terrible parents?So with all of those worries and thoughts in my head, we stepped out and said "What will be will be." Deep down I know that Will and I will be great parents. We have both been blessed beyond measure with the parents and families we grew up in. Our childhood memories are those of love, adventure, and stability. I look at Will as a husband and father to our fur babies and am so sure of the man I married. As a team we are awesome (if I do say so myself) and with our ups and downs we still laugh and love and have the best time.IMG_8911We met our social worker the first week of December 2015. She came to our perfectly cleaned and organized home and sat down with us for two hours. She asked us questions about why we wanted to adopt and all the questions you ask when getting to know someone. And I quickly realized that she wasn't asking those questions to see if we fit a specific adoptive family criteria. She really wanted to know us personally...to build a study of who we are not only as people, but as a unit. Our likes, hobbies, jobs, and dreams. And for those two hours we talked with a sense of ease and feeling of peace. We did not try to impress or win her over. We just talked about us.IMG_9043Just like that...one of the three visits I had been so terrified about was over. We kept looking at each other and saying "Was that really it?". I mean, ok, we still had two more visits (one being the individual interviews), but wow what a feeling. It wasn't the paperwork or training that made me realize we could do this. It is the partnership I have with my husband, the life we have already built together, and trust in our God who has called us to adoption. Baby M we love you already and cannot wait for you to be ours.IMG_8792Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Home Study Visit {2}  

Adoption Announcement Photoshoot

We are coming to the end of our homestudy (post coming soon about our experience) and when it is finalized (the 2nd week of January) we will be eligible to be matched to a birth parent and baby! P1190187_edited It is our plan to send out a "We are hoping to Adopt" Announcement at the start of the year! This is to let our extended family and friends know about our adoption plans and to enable the people in our lives to support us, either through prayer, sharing our story, or financially through donations.P1190152_edited We are praying for a baby to join this House Full of Pecks in 2016! We know that adoption is hard, that the process can take years, but we are staying positive and praying for God to bring our baby to us this year. That might sound crazy or naive, but we are stepping out in faith and trusting God's plan for us. And as hopeful as we are for a baby in 2016, we are willing to wait as long as it takes for our baby!P1190178_edited And what is an adoption announcement without a photoshoot?!?!? I met Kate this past summer when I drove her and a few other high school girls around Erie for the Amazing Race. This is an event for High School students who are part of our Church youth group, which I have been volunteering with since this summer.  It was a really fun afternoon and our team came in 2nd Place! Anyways, I have come to know Kate over this past semester at youth group and discovered she has a love for photography! She is so kind, has a great heart, and I knew she would be perfect to take our photos! And let me tell you what an awesome time we had!

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 Kate made us feel really comfortable and was able to capture us and our personalities so well. She even managed to get a few of the four of us, despite Miss Bennett not co-operating! We would highly recommend her for any and all of your photoshoots and will definitely be using her for our photoshoots in the future! You can see more of her work on her websiteP1190191_edited I am currently finishing up our adoption profile book that will be viewed by birth parents for a potential match! This journey has been so beautiful and has taught both of us about not only trusting in the Lord for his provision and timing, but to treasure this time of waiting as he prepares us to be parents. I spoke to someone recently who had adopted through our agency and they said one of the most helpful things I have heard in regards to waiting. It is not a question of "if" we will get a child, but a question of "when" our child will become ours completely. 

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We are also praying for our future birth parents...that they will see how much we already love this child, and how humbled we are to get to partner with them to raise this baby. We pray for strength and courage as they make their adoption plan and for wisdom in choosing. We are two imperfect people, striving to live a life worthy of the children we will be given.

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Thank you for taking the time to look at our pictures and for following us in our journey. We are so grateful for your prayers and support! If you would like to receive an adoption announcement and to support us in our adoption journey, please connect with me on here or on Facebook.

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"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."-Joshua 1:9

Oh Me of Little Faith

Here is our family of four doing my first #fridayintroductions on instagram @housefullofpecksA couple of weeks ago, my husband and I had decided on an adoption agency and had scheduled an appointment to meet with the director. I wanted to meet her in person and also give my husband a chance to own the decision as well by asking questions and hearing the answers straight from the agency. I had done all the research prior and had been the one to inform him of what I learned. So it was really great to finally decide and own the decision as a couple.As this was our first face-to-face meeting with an adoption agency, I wanted to know exactly what questions I should ask before deciding to move forward with them. We live in a small(ish) town that has a great Facebook community where you can voice opinions, raise awareness, ask for help, share events and news, and give reviews. I had this deep desire to know and be apart of a community of families who had adopted, were adopting or are just looking into adoption who live near us. Connecting with people and doing life with them can be such a huge blessing, especially when you share something like adoption as a common thread. So I stepped out in faith and posted on this Facebook page hoping maybe one or two people would respond and want help me foster this community I was longing for.

{ Oh me of little faith }

The response I received on that Facebook post BLEW. ME. AWAY! Comment after comment from families who were in every stage of adoption, including adoptees! God saw my longing and he provided for me more than I could have asked or imagined. And to top it off, those who commented wanted the same thing...a community for families in our town who have/had/are going to adopt!

Now I am not a leader of any sort...I have always seen myself as just another sheep in a huge flock. I saw a need that I was hoping someone else could fill for me...but instead it was so clear that I could fill that need for myself and others. So I created a Facebook group for us...an online community for support, encouragement, and wisdom and a safe place to share our fears and worries. I also met someone who is moving to our town this summer and wants to co-lead the group with me....to make it more than just an online community. We have not met yet, but I am so excited to see how God can use the two of us in this amazing town for all of these awesome adoptive families. These families who are an inspiration to me and who have done what may seem impossible to others. They have opened their homes to those who were homeless, given families to those who were without families, and loved those who were once unloved and unwanted.

In any and every circumstance,I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.{Philippians 4:12-13}

As I approach this exciting new chapter of my life and step out in faith, I will hold onto those words of truth. Will and I have been blessed in abundance and have struggled through needs. In each trial and blessing we can only hold onto the strength we have received in faith through Jesus. I know I can do this because he has been there with me in all things.

How are you supported in your community? I would love to hear of encouragements, ideas and what has helped you most.

Ashley xoxo