Monday, January 14, 2013

Here We Grow Again

Bryan and I have known for years that our family would be built through the miracle of adoption.  We have been blessed to see our family grow twice through both international adoption and domestic adoption.  When it comes to the size of our family, we have never had an ideal number in mind.  We just knew that our family was not complete yet, and had originally said we would begin a third adoption sometime in early 2013.

Our move to College Station proved to be a bigger challenge than we thought.  There were many adjustments and transitions as we lived in a rental, moved into our new house, Bryan started a new job and the boys started attending a new school.  Those changes proved to be especially difficult for Caleb and we truly struggled with him for the better part of the summer and fall.  We attended an adoptive parent conference "Empowered to Connect" by Dr. Karyn Purvis at TCU and changed some of the ways we were parenting, especially with Caleb.  We both agreed that early 2013 would be too soon to think of adding to our family again.

In late November I began to feel really convicted about our decision regarding any future adoptions.  I felt like our reasons- while they were good - had led us to a decision we had not prayed about.  We just made our minds up and left God out of the equation.  I felt very burdened and almost like there was an internal push telling me that it was time and we needed to begin.  Since my mind could not understand how my heart felt, I knew it was the Lord working on my heart and telling me we needed to trust Him with this part of our lives.  After praying about it I shared with Bryan how I was feeling.  At that point he did not feel ready.  While that was hard to hear, I respected his opinion and began to pray that God would change one of our hearts.

When it comes to adoption, I tend to be the gas and Bryan tends to be the brake!  I am quick to jump in and begin and say yes to something, while Bryan prefers to think things through at a slower pace.  I am thankful that God gave me a partner who balances me out in that way!  After several weeks of thinking and praying (and me keeping my mouth shut!) Bryan told me he was ready for us to start adoption #3.

We have been open to many ways to grow our family, but after much prayer and discussion we have decided to pursue the adoption of a daughter from China.  We will be adopting from their special needs program, which includes thousands of children with medical needs, from mild and correctable needs, to more severe medical issues.  At this point we have contacted our home study agency to get on their schedule, and we believe we have chosen our China agency as well.  (If your China agency is not in your home state then your home study must be done by an agency licensed in Texas).  While we have not been officially accepted into the program we feel like we will meet all the requirements.

We have been told that the average time from start to finish right now is "12-18 months".  I say that with quotation marks because there is really no way for an agency to predict exactly how long it will take.  We are prepared for a long wait, but our timing could be affected by our openness to different medical needs and how the process moves forward in China.  While China has been a relatively stable adoption program for many years, we of course understand that there are no guarantees, especially after watching many dear friends suffer from a 4+ year hiatus for Kyrgyzstan adoption (where Caleb was born).

We covet your prayers for the following as we prepare to grow our family again:
-for our decisions regarding which medical needs to be open to
-for our decisions regarding which agency to work with in China, as it can have a huge impact on how smoothly (and quickly) our adoption goes
-for us as parents, that God would prepare our hearts to love and parent another little one
-for our little boys, that God would use this adoption experience to help them better understand their own adoptions
-for our daughter - that she is safe and as healthy as possible, and most importantly that there is someone in her life right now who loves her.    I feel confident that she is already born and waiting for us.

We are excited to begin this journey and document it here for our daughter to read some day.  It is our prayer that God would be glorified in our adoption journey and that His story of adopting us into His family would be made more clear!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

NYE 2012

Like most parents of young children, we had a pretty wild New Years Eve.  It included dinner with the boys at home followed by roasting marshmallows for s'mores on Bryan's new fire pit.  Both of the boys enjoyed their s'mores:

The boys finished out the night with their new favorite nightly ritual, a bubble bath followed by brushing their teeth with their new "spinny toothbrushes" that feature Thomas the Train.  

Once the boys were asleep we watched TV downstairs, which meant Bryan fell asleep in his chair (he'd worked A LOT in the previous days and Joshua had been waking us up at night!) and I perused the world wide web until it was almost midnight.  What can I say, we like to live on the wild side.

2012 was an exciting year for us:  We started building our home in College Station, Joshua turned 1, Caleb turned 4, we spent time in Denver while Bryan did a rotation, we celebrated my birthday in Las Vegas, we sold our house, Bryan graduated from residency (WHOOP!), we moved twice (ugh), moved into our new home, Bryan started a new job, Joshua started school for the first time and Caleb started Pre-K, we joined a new church and began to build a community in College Station, and we learned more about how to be better parents to our boys at the Empowered to Connect conference.

We have seen that God is faithful to equip us for the life He has called us to.  We are excited to see how He will use us and grow us in 2013!  


Visit with Brynn - Christmas 2012

On December 30th Joshua's birthmom, Brynn, and her family came to College Station for the day to visit.  We typically alternate locations for visits and it was our turn to visit them in Georgetown.  Bryan's schedule the week of Christmas and into the New Year was pretty heavy, so we were so grateful they were willing to make the drive to come to us this time.  Brynn's parents John & Kathy, her siblings Cody, Kaylie and Erin and Kathy's parents Loretta and George all came to our house.  I made white chicken chili, salad and blondies for lunch and also had the pleasure of introducing the McGrath family to Sister Schubert's pretzel rolls which turned out to be a family favorite!  

After lunch we exchanged gifts.  The boys loved all of their fun stuff!  Caleb had a blast playing with Brynn's little sister, Erin, who is in first grade.  They played hide and seek, play doh, jumped on the trampoline and played upstairs in our playroom.  Caleb always looks forward to having Erin as a playmate!  I think Joshua had a blast playing with everyone but especially spent lots of time with Brynn.  He has started to say her name although it sounds more like "BrynnT"!  

Brynn and her family are a huge blessing not just to our little family but to our entire extended family as well.  There are not many adoption stories that look like this nearly 2 years after a child is born.  I know that over the years as Joshua looks back at these pictures from faithful visits that he will not remember -- he will be able to see tangible proof of the love that Brynn and her entire family have for him.  I can think of no greater gift than for a child to have more people to love him! 

And now for some pictures...

John helping Joshua open some of his gifts
You have to be MacGyver to get kid's toys out of the package!

Cody enjoying the plasma car!

Caleb & Erin playing with his new play doh toy

 Caleb & Erin enjoying some trampoline time even though it was VERY COLD

And finally, my favorite picture! 
Joshua and his beautiful birthmom