Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stepping on the Roller Coaster

It has begun.

The ups and downs of an adoption journey that we knew we would have, but were of course subconsciously hoping we would avoid.  (Yes we know this is silly.)

In a whirlwind of crazy timing we are pursuing a child that was about to be posted to the "waiting children's website."  Normally after your home study is completed it takes 4-6 months to be matched.  We are in the interview process of our home study, so this was a wee bit sooner than we would have thought we would be in this type of predicament.

After reviewing this babe's chart, which comes with a complicated history, we consulted both with my pediatrician friends, as well as the adoption clinic from University of Chicago.  We were given a lot of "we just don't know" answers.  (Side note, the only time I have ever been to the University of Chicago Hospital was for my mom...and it is the only clinic within the city recommended by our agency.  I never wanted to go there ever again. Ever. But God is again bringing healing to the fractured areas of my heart.  The place where my mom was baptized will be where we bring our child to be cared for first. It is well.)

After I had initially read the chart, as incredibly cliche as it sounds, I felt like we had found the dear one we were meant to bring into our family. We had inquired about two kiddos about to be posted to the waiting list, and I didn't even want to read the other chart.  There was no need to.

Here in lies the difference between how Jon and I process and hear whispers from God.  I hear them, Jon then gets onboard after a lot of research and confirmation. After two weeks of mulling and praying and "can we do this?" questions, we were a go.  We emailed our excited responses back to the agency and were told that another family was also pursuing the same child.

Say what now?!?!?

So we again ask for your prayers and for you to rally around us.  We have a 50/50 shot.  I want to ask you to pray that God aligns the necessary steps for us to be this child's forever family.  But truly you should pray God places this child where they are meant to be.  In the family that can help them reach their full potential.  We just submitted our responses to the most intense questionnaire ever, where you doubt yourself the whole way through, hoping you come across in the way that you intend.

We now wait "a couple of weeks" while social workers read our answers and interview us and ultimately decide who would be best for this kiddo.

It's us.  Just sayin.

But if not, then may our child, who is likely either born or will be born in the next couple months, be surrounded by love from a foster family.  May their birth parents experience peace in their grief that surpasses human understanding.  And may we wait with patience and perseverance pursing what God has laid on our hearts.

May this child be guided exactly where they need to be.

Many people have asked about the crowd funding site... The link is on my side bar where it says "donate."

If you have time, talents, or gifts that you would be willing to donate for an auction/raffle, could you reach out to me as we start to brainstorm our main fundraiser?

And thank you. For all the encouragement thus far.  We are so, so grateful.

Monday, October 16, 2017

2017 Family Update

Honestly, I was doubtful that God could redeem 2017 in my eyes for myself and our family. Outside of losing my mom, this has been our most challenging season in our marriage and in my faith. This year has been painful and lonely. I have been running towards 2018 since early this year just trying to emotionally survive; just wanting to close the book on 2017 and feel like it was permanently in the past. I was, and am, trusting that time and grace can truly heal all wounds.

As many people know, we left the only church I’ve known in March of this year.  While it was mutual in the end, and many factors played into this decision, the process and loss of our community has been incredibly hard.

We will forever be grateful to the people from our community that reached out and loved us in amazing ways in those few months.  Your words, love, prayers, and incredibly generous gifts were blessings that we never could have imagined.

Earlier this year, in the same phone call that Jon told me he would be leaving the church, I told him we were expecting and the baby was due on his birthday. Amongst the fear of instability in finances, our community, and my faith in general, that pregnancy represented hope. And I was holding onto that thread of hope with every fiber in my being. 

And then I miscarried. 

As an OB nurse I know the commonality of miscarriage. I was not devastated by the loss of a pregnancy per se, but what it represented. What I had made it to be.  Mix that with a little bit of guilt from the relief of not bringing a new child into our lives at such a chaotic and unstable time,  and I had a nice cocktail of confusion and hurt to pour out on a nightly basis.

If Jon had remained on staff at the church, we would have again tried to get pregnant.  With so many unknowns before us, that seemed like an irresponsible choice. We chose to postpone having any more children, and my heartache continued to grow for a multitude of reasons. 

Years ago I was reading a book and it told the story of someone going to pick up their adopted children somewhere in Africa.  I read this while I was nursing sweet Asher.  In that moment, I clearly knew that we were meant to adopt one day.  I shared this with the mom’s group I was reading the book with, and I informed Jon.  8 years deep into marriage and he is no longer shocked by the things I tell him. “Hey babe, we need to adopt one day.”  (Said while chasing our toddler and nursing a newborn).  “Sure Jaci, we will talk about it later.” (Him hoping I’m kidding, but knowing that I’m not). How, when, or where did not matter since I knew it would not be immediate in that crazy season of babies…but I knew there were children in the world that needed a home, and that our family was not yet complete.  So I tucked that deep in my soul, knowing one day we would revisit it, likely for baby number 4.

After celebrating Asher’s 3rd birthday, Jon came to me one night after realizing that if we continued to wait to get pregnant, Asher would be leaving high school while our third child would be starting…and he was concerned for future Jon and the implications of that.  While we do not have complete control over the spacing of our children, we both always thought we would have them all close in age.  I’m grateful that God can use Jon’s concern for future Jon’s soul to soften his heart toward what I already knew to be true.  It was that night that Jon said that we should start inquiring about adoption with intention.  We had attended meetings in the past and for multiple reasons had taken it off the table the year before, but this time, his heart was as ready as mine.

Many conversations with different agencies led us to where we are now; pursuing the adoption of a child from South Korea. 

Herein lies the redemption of 2017 and an example of God’s goodness.  In this decision for our family, a small piece of my fractured heart has started to heal.  We have gotten many levels of confirmation that this is the path we are meant to be on, despite the many challenges it presents. And I’m so grateful that my broken heart and messy life can still be an instrument of goodness in the world.  We know the road ahead is long and difficult, but in this area of our lives, we have so much peace.  We never saw this coming.  While I knew adoption was going to be a piece of our story, I never imagined it being international or following the months that started 2017.  

With our home study nearly complete, we are finally ready to share this news and are hoping that community will come alongside us.  We do not want to walk this journey alone.  We know there will be ups and downs along the way, and it is easier to walk the hills and climb the mountains with your people.  It also significantly more fun to roll down the hills and celebrate the victories with people in your corner.

This will be a long process and we would love to invite you along.   While we have taken some time to really turn in, grieve, and process as a family, we are excited to again reach out and open up, to be able to share in this journey, and to continue to let God use us to make earth more like heaven.

I am only able to write when I have something to process, and I can guarantee that there will be much to process over the next year or more as we wade deep into these waters.  

It is projected to cost us around $36,000 to bring our son or daughter home from Korea. I'm not sure many of us have that readily available. While asking for money feels awkward and hard, not starting this process feels harder. We intend to apply for every grant and scholarship available to us, but we also humbly ask if you would be willing to support us in this venture. We are establishing a crowd funding site with our story, and intend to hold a large garage sale in the summer.  We are trying to plan a raffle night as well when we can have a "gender reveal" open house party after we are officially matched with a child.  If you have any sports tickets, would donate your time doing something you love, or items we could raffle off, that would be amazing. We are prepared for the long haul with another child in our family, likely a child with some medical or developmental needs, but would be forever grateful if our community is willing to help us bridge the gap to be able to bring them home.

I am still astounded that we are here, but we are so excited.  While we are still trying to find our footing in other areas of our life, we are completely confident in taking these steps.  Our family is not yet complete, and we know that adoption is how we are to complete it.