Impossible Situations Are God’s Favourite

In talking with friends and family, I’ve explained that this whole adoption process feels just like starting a new business. Having started a business, and having seen all the work, printing, advertising, long nights and conversation that goes with it — it seems to bear so many similarities. Except this is so much more valuable. A business brings in an income. An adoption brings indescribable joy.

We are in the midst of it — this process has kicked off so quickly, and moved so fast. As our adoption attorney described to us when we first sat down with him, this is the part that was guaranteed to go quick. It’s one of the benefits of an independent adoption. There’s no waiting time, no long list that you join. You can be approved quickly, and boy was it quicker than we thought! We are so glad, overwhelmed, excited, terrified and happy to be in this process of networking and advertising. We’ve been ordering postcards to distribute to everyone and anyone we meet, as well as to give to friends and family to do to the same. We’ve been compiling our book to give to expectant mothers, we’ve been writing our ‘Dear Expectant Mother’ letter, and we have commenced fundraising.

In many ways, starting the business was so much easier; the emotional pull of the adoption process can be exhausting. We visited the family lake house this past weekend, and approached the weekend absolutely exhausted, not because of any late nights, or overworking, but because of an emotional exhaustion. It’s no easy process being so readily exposed to the ups and downs of every twist and turn in the journey, but God has given us the strength to battle through it and to stand strong in every step. Just as Moses had his arms supported during battle (Exodus 17), we feel so supported and encouraged by those around us, they are raising our arms and claiming victory for us in this story.

We are in the time of hoping and searching. — Now that the majority of our networking is in place, we will begin more of the advertising side of our search. We will be looking to place adverts in newspapers, online and in other places that we discover along the way. But now that the word is out and our home study is signed, the hoping and searching begins. This has to be one of the hardest parts of the entire process, but perhaps I’ll look back on it after all is said and done and realise it wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed. Possible leads have come in and our heart races momentarily, but guarding our heart from going too far down each road is essential.

We are in a season of stepping out of what is comfortable. We’ve travelled the world, lived in war torn countries, been in some very difficult situations and dealt with infertility… but this right here, this season of waiting, hoping, believing that God is bringing our children to us is so uncomfortable. While we know that God has is it all together, it’s hard to see sometimes. Unbelief and questioning whether what we are doing is right, is almost a daily occurrence. But we have to hold onto what God has done so far, and what God has said for what is coming. I’m sure I’ll look back on this post and chuckle to myself once all is said and done, but for now, for this moment in time, holding our child in my arms seems like a near impossibility. It’s a good thing, though, that impossible situations are God’s favourite.

We are in a process of taking what we’ve been told to do, and doing it. We’ve been told all the theories. We’ve been told that if you do this (x) and you do this (y) then you’ll be able to adopt a child (z). We’ve been told to purchase a phone. We’ve been told to print postcards. We’ve been told to create a website and Facebook page. We’ve been told to print the expectant mother books and so much more. The theories are all being checked, we’re working our way down the list of x’s and y’s. And now we stand in faith. Not because we have fulfilled the formula of lawyers and social workers, not because of our story nor our kids bedroom ready to be filled. But because God has promised us children to love, cherish and nurture. We believe that God is bringing us His promise, and as chaotic as the journey can be, we’re willing to walk each step.

Join us in our first fundraiser and awareness campaign! Jane has worked so hard in designing a clothing line with TeeSpring to help with this journey. Visit www.teespring.com/stores/familygrowsinmanyways. We need to reach a minimum on each item to ensure it gets printed, but help us reach our target! And they even deliver worldwide! 

Arundel

Update: Where We Are In The Process

Wow, what a week it has been! We had the pleasure of having Arundel’s Dad staying with us for a little while and we got to go out exploring around Seattle. We found some amazing places with great significance on our travels!

The biggest piece of news this week didn’t come from being tourists in our own town, or even from Arundel’s birthday on May 12th. It was the fact that exactly 40 days from the first day we met with our attorney, we got the official notice from our social worker letting us know that we have been approved as potential adoptive parents!

We knew that we were almost through the home study process, but we were still waiting for one or two more pieces to come in. Amazingly, on May 11th, the last couple things the social worker needed came in to her, and on the 12th we got confirmation that our home study has been legally approved and we have officially passed the test! Woohoo! That was a huge sigh of relief. There wasn’t a lot that we were worried about with the home study, but we were a bit nervous knowing how easy it is for a lot of components to go wrong. Amazingly, God gave us a very smooth process and in just 40 days, we are on our way to becoming parents having passed the first hurdle!

So, what’s next?

Let me explain a little bit about how we proceed from here. Arundel and I are pursuing what is called an independent domestic infant adoption. This means that we are looking to adopt an infant within the United States, by working with an independent adoption attorney rather than signing up with an agency. The difference between independent vs. agency adoption really boils down to who’s responsibility a lot of the legwork is. When you are working with an agency, they do most of the work that is needed to find expectant birth parents (those who would like to place their child for adoption). In independent adoption, however, that responsibility is left up to us. This means that we will be trying to find those expectant parents on our own. Going this route gives us a lot more work to do, but also a lot more control and flexibility.

In the State of Washington, where we live, it is illegal to advertise that you are looking for an expectant mother who is wanting to place her child for adoption until you have been legally approved through a home study process.

Now that we have been approved, we are able to start networking and advertising. This means that we are going to be reaching out to pretty much everyone we know. Our goal is to get the word out that we are looking for an expectant mother and would like to adopt a child. The way adopting couples usually get matched with an expectant mother is by knowing someone in common. This is why our friends and family play such a huge role in this process! They are the ones who we are relying on to have us on their mind whenever they hear of adoption, in any way. It could be a friend’s grandmother’s neighbor’s hairdresser’s daughter, for all we know. The important part is that our friends and family are willing to get the word out for us! That could be via social media, word of mouth, or handing them a pass-along card (kind of like a business card).

The other thing we will do is start advertising. This will be online, through parent profile websites that show the profiles of many hopeful adoptive parents, and through regional creative advertising. Many people start with a newspaper’s classified section. We will be looking at advertising more closely in the coming weeks, but for now our focus is on networking.

We have even bought a phone that will be solely devoted to taking adoption-related phone calls! This is so that if I am busy, I will be able to clearly distinguish between a phone call that can wait and one that could potentially be an expectant mother. Those calls cannot wait! It is certainly not the latest technology, but it does what we need it to do. And, it makes me feel like I’m in high school again. Haha!

This bad boy is going to be my best friend for a while. We are permanently attached. It's a good thing it has a long battery life!

This bad boy is going to be my best friend for a while. We are permanently attached. It’s a good thing it has a long battery life!

Once we are in communication with an expectant mother who would like for us to be the adoptive parents for her child, we will direct her to our attorney who will then assess her situation to see if it is a good match for our family.

It is still a big road ahead with a lot of unknowns, but we are happy and thankful that each step so far has gone smoothly and quickly. We are praying that in all of these late nights as we build websites and Facebook pages and email addresses, clicking away at our computers, that God would be aligning us for His best plan for this season. Whether we have a long waiting period ahead of us, or whether we will be parents next week — it’s not for us to know. Our job is to trust and pray and do everything we can on a practical level. And, to remember that God is the one who has walked us through every step,to this very point in our lives and in this process.

And He is faithful, trustworthy, and GOOD.

Jane

What’s A Tree Got To Do With This?

Yesterday as we ventured out to the islands in the Puget Sound with my Dad, we didn’t have too many plans except to visit a new place. We arrived in Kingston, WA and went for a coffee in the quaint local cafe. I struck up a conversation with the barista and asked where the best places were to visit on the island. She recommended Hood Canal, Port Gamble and not much else! So after a short walk around the town with coffee in hand, we headed for Hood Canal via Port Gamble.

As we pulled into Port Gamble, it appeared to be a quiet village that used to be a major mover in the logging industry. Now though, they rely mostly on tourism traveling through the area to generate revenue. We walked down the village road via a line of old houses, each with their own story and came across the village museum. We wandered the gardens reading the various boards explaining what used to take place when the logging industry was thriving on the island. I noticed a tree over to one corner of the garden with its own plaque. We headed over to it and found that it was a Camperdown Elm. Yeah – it didn’t mean much to me either. It was a striking tree though, so we took some photos of it, read the plaque about how it was the State Champion Camperdown Elm and moved on.

Today, I saw on Jane’s Facebook that she had posted the following to her timeline…

Pic copy

I suddenly realised this tree had much more meaning behind it than just being the crazy tree I had seen the day before. I find trees to be incredibly meaningful. On my training to climb Mt. Rainier, I often come across young trees that have grown around older trees using them for support. It amazes me! I love how God can speak so clearly through his creation.

So what about this Camperdown Elm? As I googled for more information on what this tree was, and how it originated, I was left stunned.

1. The Camperdown Elm is not able to reproduce from seed. Sound familiar? We are in this incredible process of adoption for the very same reason.

2. By grafting, this tree is able to grow. Unless we have a miraculous healing at some point down the road, grafting is the way God has chosen for our family to grow.

3. It is a complex, almost messy-looking tree. This process seems to be crazy, our family might even look like a crazy mix when God has His way, but wow – just look at it!

4. It is an incredibly strong tree. Mark my words, our family is going to be one strong family – just like the Camperdown Elm with its intertwined and supported branches. The process God has had us on the past few years has already strengthened us more than we could imagine.

5. It looks different from most trees, but it is beautiful. Right now, we don’t know what our family will look like, ethnically, or anything for that matter – but our family will be beautiful!

6. The Camperdown Elm provides shade and protection. Being that it is a weeping willow, it provides immense shade from the sun, protection from the wind and safety to all those under its branches.

7. Get ready for this one… The Camperdown Elm is indigenous to the British Isles and North America only. Need I say any more?

8. The final amazing element won’t be revealed yet. It’s tied to the name we have for either our baby boy or girl. But for now let’s just say it left us both stunned!

Dad took a picture of us under the Camperdown Elm, what a special place it now is!

Dad took a picture of us under the Camperdown Elm, what a special place it now is!

It didn’t take long for Jane and I to decide this tree — this obscure tree in the corner of a village museum, in a place we just happened to be passing through on our island trip yesterday — is key to our adoption. We are excited to say that we have decided on this tree to be a key symbol for our adoption process. You’ll be seeing it popping up everywhere! And when you see it, now you’ll know why. The Camperdown Elm is just another huge confirmation from God that He has got this.

 

Arundel

Happy Hearts

10:30 am. The house is sparkling clean.  The candles are lit. The dogs are groomed. The croissants just came out of the oven. The coffee is made. The rhododendrons have bloomed. The sun is shining.

Yeah, it's pretty obvious how hard we were trying. ;)

Yeah, it’s pretty obvious how hard we were trying. And she loved it! 😉

All groomed and clean!

All groomed and clean!

And I was a nervous, giggly mess. “Are you excited?!” “Are you nervous?!” “Are you ready?!” I couldn’t stop asking Arundel questions as our social worker parked outside our house. He was as steady as a rock.

Every ounce of energy we had over the last week had been preparing for this moment. We had done all we could to make our house and ourselves ready. We had amazing friends who came over and helped us landscape and cleaned with me. (Seriously, who does that?! Our friends. That’s who.)

Our amazing friends dug up LITERALLY a truck load full of plants from their garden and spent 3 hours on Tuesday morning planting them in ours. Another sweet friend came and cleaned every floor in our house. Thank you to those that are keeping us sane!

Our amazing friends dug up LITERALLY a truck load full of plants from their garden and spent 3 hours on Tuesday morning planting them in ours. Another sweet friend came and cleaned every floor in our house. Thank you to those that are keeping us sane!

And, as we stood there, jittery and jumping with nerves, we looked at each other and said, “This is it.”

It was the first time we had met our sweet social worker, Amanda, face to face. She was just as we had expected. She came into our home with the biggest smile, loved on our pups, and encouraged us — You’re doing great. You’re going to make it. You’re going to be parents.

Okay, well, maybe she didn’t say it in those exact words, but that’s what exuded from her as we sat at our dining table and shared with her about our lives, our families, our hopes, and our dreams. She had already read 22,000 words about us, so she had a pretty firm grip on what our backgrounds were and what our thoughts are on adoption. Still, she listened, she asked questions, and she connected with us. I don’t know why I had this expectation that it was going to be a very clinical, scary meeting. After all, she is here to help us find our babies. The ones we will love and treasure more than we can imagine right now. The ones we have been fighting for, praying for, and dreaming of. How could that be clinical?

She connected with us so easily in part because she shared our faith. She loves God. And we had no idea about that when we chose her. But, of course, He did. At the end of our meeting with her, she let us know that she didn’t see any need for additional interviews, and that as soon as our medical report and the last of our references come in, our home study will be APPROVED!

Seriously, you guys! Just like that!

Anyway, it’s late, and we haven’t had much sleep the last few days, so I’m going to keep this short:

Our hearts are happy. We have seen God’s hand in this process time and time again, and His leading us to Amanda was no different. She is perfect for us, and we are just thrilled to be moving forward so quickly.

These words, which carry so much meaning to us right now, are hanging on the wall in our kids' room!

These words, which carry so much meaning to us right now, are hanging on the wall in our kids’ room!

We will share more soon about what our next steps are, and what the process is for finding a birthmother from here on out.

Thank you to each one of you that has been praying for us, standing with us, and encouraging us throughout this entire process. We let Amanda know that we have lots of amazing people supporting us through this adoption, and how valuable that is to us. She agrees. 🙂

Jane