Monday, December 22, 2014

Isaiah's First Birthday in Pictures

Yesterday, December 21, we were blessed to celebrate Isaiah's first birthday.  It's amazing to think that a year ago, we had no idea our son was being born one thousand miles away.  God knew His plan for this precious little boy and our family -- what a blessing that we didn't need to know the details.  Three-and-a-half weeks later we would be holding Isaiah in our arms!  To God be the glory!

 He's one and he's on the move.  Gotta catch him when you can!

 I love my littlest boy!

 So does his daddy!
(Can you find Arielle in this picture?)

Not quite as planned, but feel the sibling love --
Isaiah felt it so much he had to close his eyes!

 Opening presents

 "I'm not sure I understand this gift opening thing..."

 Patiently awaiting CAKE!!!


It's all 
been so worth it!

~In Christ, Talya

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above..."  ~James 1:17a

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Somewhat of a Setback?

Today I was informed that yet another family is interested in BG.  To my knowledge, that makes three of us.  That's a blessing for BG in that the chances of finding a family to best fit her needs are greater.

On the other hand, the extended wait is excruciating for us.  Since the new family expressed their interest recently, the staff is determining if this family meets their criteria for consideration and if the family is interested in proceeding once they know more information.  If the plan is to move forward, BG's BIS (Best Interest Staffing) will not be for at least another 60 days.  If the new family bows out, then the BIS might take place in early January.

When we first started this process, we were concerned that our need to get so much stuff done and approved might be an unreasonable delay for BG in joining her forever family.  After all, another family was already interested and we had not yet started the lengthy process.  After prayer and asking some questions, we decided to proceed.  Originally, the thought was that the BIS would take place around late November/early December.  Now that we are looking at possibly February, I will admit I'm disappointed.

You know how sometimes you talk a good spiritual game about how you'll trust the Lord and be patient and content and..... yes, all that.  Well, sometimes, I fail miserably and this is one of those times.  Our adoption journey has been a rocky one for the past 4 1/2 years (with one really awesome high named, Isaiah!).  I am grateful to the Lord for what we've gone through and I'm hopeful, but I get discouraged.  Setbacks like this have me thinking that maybe they think this other family is a better fit than us and that we are just setting ourselves up for a huge letdown.

Okay, another secret.  When you are hoping to adopt, and especially when you've been chosen by a birth mother or met the child or identified a child that you hope will be your daughter, you begin to love that child.  You start making plans.  As much as you try to maintain a sort of detachment, you really can't... or at least I can't.  It's just like that moment when I would find out I was pregnant.  I would start planning our lives with the new addition even though he or she was microscopic in size.  I instantly loved that child.  Sometimes I would hold a beautiful baby at the end of the pregnancy and at other times I mourned the death of our child.  It's a tough road when faced with the reality that our hopes and dreams may not come to fruition.

I know the Lord has a plan for our family and for BG.  And all is not lost for our hope BG will join our family, but this road is not always easy.

In Christ, Talya

Thursday, December 4, 2014

We're at It Again! Part 2

The Lord has His special, all-knowing, all-powerful way of turning our plans upside down.  While I hope we are able to adopt another infant in the next few years, we are content and excited to follow this path of adoption through foster care.

So, where are we in the process?  

In July, we contacted the placing agency to express our interest in BG.  Another family had already expressed an interest, but they think it's best to have a couple families to choose from.  We had a phone consultation with the adoption recruiter, BG's caseworker, and a representative from the agency that completed our home study for Isaiah's adoption.  They told us more about BG and her background and asked if we still wanted to proceed.  Uh, yes! J

At the end of August, we began our 10 weeks of MAPP training, which ended on October 27.  In the middle of all that, we completed physicals, background checks, fingerprints, loads of paperwork, and requested references from some people we love and appreciate very much -- thanks, guys!  Even Josiah had to draw a picture of what his family would look like with BG as a part of it.

At the end of November, we had our home assessment visit.  Now, we are waiting for our home assessment update to be written, submitted and approved.  After that comes the huge step of the Best Interest Staffing (BIS).  It is at the BIS that BG's adoptive family will be chosen by the professionals involved in her case -- as far as I know, it will either be us or the other family.  We don't yet know when the staffing will be.  Although we think we are perfect for BG, the other family may be a better fit... only the Lord knows.

Please join us in prayer:
  • That we will trust the Lord and continue to seek His guidance throughout this process
  • That He will protect the hearts of all of us involved -- BG, the other family, and our family
  • That we will not live in a spirit of fear over what may or may not come to pass
  • That Sean and I will seek to parent any child in our home in ways that glorify Him
  • That we will be sensitive to the needs of a child who comes from very hard places
In Christ, Talya
Find Part 1 here

We're at It Again! Part 1

We are in the process of pursuing a second adoption.  Yep, you read me right. This time through foster care.  We haven't been chosen yet, but we are very hopeful.  In July, just 2 1/2 months after we finalized Isaiah's adoption, I was gathering some information for a friend who was interested in finding out more about adoption.  As I prepared to send her the link to the photolistings of waiting children, I saw a picture of "Beautiful Girl", BG for short.  Of course, that's not her real name, but I'll call her BG for the sake of confidentiality and because she is just that -- a beautiful girl.

Truth be told, I had seen her photo a few weeks earlier -- yeah, I stalk the photolistings -- but my plan was to try to adopt one more infant before even considering adopting an older child or sibling group from foster care.  I had many reasons for this grand plan.

First, many domestic infant adoption programs have a maximum age limit of somewhere around 45. Some go as far as 48 if you are willing to adopt a Black baby.  Part of the rationale is that birth mothers are less likely to choose a couple that is around the ages of their own parents.  Since adopting this way ain't cheap (but it is doable J ), the wait time to be chosen can vary significantly, and Sean and I are 42 and 41, respectively, we will be quickly approaching some of the age limits, especially if we don't immediately focus our attention on saving and preparing for another adoption. Those age limits aren't present when adopting an older child from foster care, so I figured we'd have time to do that later.

Second, the idea of adjusting our lives to meet the rules and regulations of the state government and foster care system was a less than desirable task that required much more thought.  As Christians who believe what the Bible says AND home school AND physically discipline our children, we weren't sure we could successfully go through the process of MAPP classes (30 hours of group adoption training) and assessments without compromising our integrity.  I used to be an adoption social worker for a public agency.  When I left in 2001, the winds of change were already blowing in the some areas that I would strongly oppose if I were presently in that field.

Well, one day I was speaking to a Christian woman who shared that she and her husband were pursuing an adoption from foster care.  They had taken the classes and were waiting to get a few more things done before their child would be placed in their home.  WHAT?!  A real-life Christian standing in front of me that I actually knew and shared similar values with us is actually progressing through the process?  Tell me more.  After our conversation, Sean and I talked about the possibilities and our hearts began to soften toward the idea.

The Lord was preparing us for our current path because as soon as I saw BG and read her profile, I believed we would be the perfect family for her.  In Christ, Talya
Find Part 2 here