Did I mention we're adopting??

Whiting_0001 I've shared this picture on the blog before. It was taken by my friend Kimi of Oh Hello Photo. She's been taking our family pictures for years, literally, and I was so excited to ask her to take our family pictures this past Fall. I told her that we were starting the process of adoption. The empty chair, which we surround, represents the place that our child-to-be holds in our hearts. We're so excited to meet them, whomever they may be. Thanks a million to Kimi for this precious image.

I was speaking with an acquaintance the other day, and mid-conversation she interrupts me, "Wait! You're adopting?? That's so great!"

Very great! People not knowing our adoption story thus far? Not so great. lol. It's been an enormous, consuming, heart tugging journey and it's one I want all of our community to know about. So, I figured I should let you all know what we've been up to!

Additionally, I know that as we get closer and closer and closer to our 'someday-child' being our 'today-child', I grow more convinced of the importance of being 100% open and honest with you. So that you can know, as much as we're allowed to say, what we're experiencing. How you can pray. How you can be our support walls when our house is shaken with transition. We need you.

So, here's a rough timeline of our process so far:

  • Early 2013 (while pregnant with Vera) - much prayer and seeking God, with Him telling us to pursue adoption.
  • Late 2013 (after Vera was born) - Researching adoption, setting the timeline to begin the process in summer of 2014. Most agencies want your youngest child to be 1 year of age before starting the process. Through this we felt very led to adopting through the foster care system of MN.
  • July/August 2014 - attend Information meeting and Orientation with Ramsey county adoption services.
  • September 2014 - attend trainings on SBS, carseat safety, CPR, and others.
  • September 2014 - decide to switch to pursuing adoption through Children's Home Society for various reasons. Mostly because they provide amazing training and support. This agency works to place the same population of children.
  • October 2014 - attend more meetings, including a 2 day 16 hour training (and take many selfie's at each. Ie: future 'baby-book' pictures for our future kiddo. Since we won't have birth or maternity pictures, I like to think of these as our adoption-pregnancy pictures and moments). Go home with LOTS of homework.
  • October-November 2014 - Holy paperwork, batman. And don't worry, it was only Part 1. Part 2 was only available to us after we were assigned a social worker, and we only could get assigned a social worker by completing Part 1. So...think of those awesome 10 questions tests in school. You know, the ones where you were like 'Only ten questions? I've got this!' and then realized that each question had subparts A-F, with minimum paragraph requirements, and deep probing personal questions. Yeah, that. It was actually really fun and interesting. Josh and I spent a lot of time diving deeper into why this is something we want to do, and how our experiences, faith, and dedication to our family will help us raise up this child. Also, turning in doctor's statements on our family members, birth certificates, school forms, etc.
  • November - December - waiting to hear from the agency (as they read through our mountain of Q&A's)
  • Just before Christmas - We're assigned to a social worker!
  • Christmas - January 8th - waiting ( it was holiday season, after all)
  • January 8th - The first 'Hello!' from our social worker, and Part 2 of our homework. Before we could begin meeting with her, we had to complete this as well as a fire marshal inspection, Prepare/Enrich marriage inventory, and probably 10 other things that I'm forgetting.
  • Late January - A small hiccup that felt like a big hiccup. We have great friends.
  • March 2015 - resume the adoption process!
  • March 23rd - our first adoption meeting with our social worker! In these meetings her goal was to go over all of our files and tests and homework, and really get to know us as best as possible.
  • April - May - The next 3 adoption meetings. We love our worker. She's amazing.
  • May 11th - Our last adoption meeting!

On the 11th, this past Monday, we had our last adoption meeting. It was a support group meeting in which our family and close friends met with our social worker. She detailed for them what our child could look like, potential struggles, potential challenge areas. She asked them what our strengths and weaknesses were. She made us promise to actually reach out and ask for help when we need it. (Yes, yes, I know I'm the guilty one. I WILL ask for help).

And now? Now, we wait. Though there are 500+ children available for adoption in Minnesota, not all are a fit for our family. I hope, deeply, that you trust that we go to God daily for discernment and peace in this part of the process. Why? Lots of reasons. As determined by their social workers and support, some children cannot be placed with other kids. Some children need to be the youngest. Some have to live near the relatives that they're still in contact with. Many are in sibling groups of 3+ and we simply don't have that capacity. There are many reasons.

So, in the meantime we pray and search and wait. And we'll keep you updated.

Please pray for our children and our child, that each of their hearts are being prepared for a big change. Pray for VERY specific wisdom on how to respond, speak, comfort, and pray for each of them (as their parents). Pray for strength in our marriage. Pray for a smooth and steady process. Pray for an abundance of peace, patience, and strength - that God would create a storehouse for us to draw from when the going gets tough. Just pray as you feel led, because God is a God that loves us and responds.

And feel free to ask questions! This isn't a secret or mysterious process. We want to include you all.