Thursday, August 28, 2014

No and Yes

Since our adoption journey began, and even for a time before that, we've heard the word "No".  We've heard it when we asked if there was an explanation for what was causing the recurrent miscarriages.  We've heard it in response to some of the adoption grants we applied for.  Today, we heard it for the first time from a birth mother.

"No" is a common response in the adoption process.  There are so many families out there looking to adopt, so many families seeking financial aid, and so many specific (and highly individualized) preferences that birth mothers are looking for when they choose adoptive parents. 

It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the "no's".  We'll likely hear it many more times from birth mothers and agencies as we travel this adoption road.  But we'll happily focus on the "yes's".  We heard "yes" when we asked if an adoption consultant could help us navigate this complex process.  We've heard "yes" from so many friends and family when we asked for your understanding and support.

And someday we'll hear the most important "yes", the one that means we've been chosen.  For the time being, we just have to remember that there are so many "no's" because there is only one baby that is meant for us, and the joy of that "yes" will be greater than 1,000,000 "no's". After all, God has this!  We’ve turned our family over to God and we have faith that He will grow it as He sees fit, in His perfect timing. It may be an adventure in patience and we may be overwhelmed at times, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Future Big Sister’s Research & Other Books for Our Family

When Christy and I started looking at adoption to grow our family, we knew we had a lot to learn.  First we looked into the different types of adoption, such as international adoption, foster parenting, and domestic adoption.  Then, when we finally decided on domestic adoption, we had more research to do.  Luckily, our consultant provided us with some helpful books and materials to help us understand the process, the pitfalls, and financing adoption.  Some helpful resources were:

99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Choosing Adoption by Robert Kasky

Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption by Julie Gumm

We were starting to feel more comfortable with our knowledge as parents regarding adoption.  When we started discussing how to talk to Finnley, who is now 6, we came to realize that she might also benefit from some reading on the subject.  Luckily, with some great suggestions from friends and people immediately involved in the process, we came up with a great list and hit the local libraries to find some books that have really helped Finnley understand adoption.

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza
Our first book for Finnley was also my favorite.  An orphan bird is looking for a mother.  She finds other animals that look like her (a walrus with big cheeks like her, a giraffe that is the same color) but none of the similar-looking animals will be her mother.  Then she finds a bear who looks nothing like her, but wants to do all of the things Choco would want from a mother and takes Choco into her home where she meets her new siblings.
We told Finnley about our plan to adopt earlier in the day, then read this book that night, without prefacing that it was a book about adoption.  When we finished, she said Choco would be just like the baby we adopted.  It was an amazing moment!

Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis
This was a recommendation from Finnley’s teacher, and a great one, because it helped her understand what the end of the adoption process could be like for us.  It’s the story of a girl asking her parent’s to recount how they were woken up by a phone call that she had been born, their subsequent flight to pick her up from the hospital, and her first day with them at home.
Babies Don’t Eat Pizza by Dianne Danzig
Finnley is great with babies and small children, but she hasn’t ever lived with one, so we decided to search for a book about being a big sister.  This book was exactly what we had been looking for.  It covers how infants act, what they like to do, how they communicate, what they eat, and what kind of care they need.  We were happy to see it mentions adoption as one of the ways babies come into families, and that it covers the truth that when a new baby comes along, your family doesn’t love you any less.
Walter, The Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle
Ok, I'm only joking about this one having anything to do with adoption, but not joking when I tell you that this book exists and Finnley thinks it is hilarious!

A few other books we’ve enjoyed and can’t wait to share with a new little one:
Lost Little Bat by Sandra Markle
We Belong Together by Todd Parr
Horace by Holly Keller
How I Was Adopted: Samantha’s Story by Joanna Cole
Another book that has been important to our family has been 100,000+ Baby Names by Bruce Lansky.  We picked it up at a garage sale and we’ve enjoyed looking through it for names we like, laughing at names we think are silly or sound funny paired with our last name, and having our 3-person family panel of judges give a thumbs up or down on names that are suggested.  Finnley even started a little notebook of names she likes, and has written girls’ names and boys’ names in different colors to sort them.   It’s fun, it has encouraged discussion, and it gives us all hope as we go through this process.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Preparing for Baby Bonfig...Thrift Style!

We would like to express our gratitude for the overwhelming support everyone has offered following our adoption announcement.  We were blown away by the response!  So, thank you!

We were able to scratch quite a few items off our "must-have-baby-gear-in-case-of-a-quick-adoption" list.  Yes, this is a real list - it's part of the amazing packet of information our adoption consultant provide to help guide us through the adoption process.

As most you probably already know, Christy and I love a good deal!  We hate paying full price for anything...  And with the adoption costs running an average of $18,000 to $35,000, we are looking to save money wherever we can!  Fortunately we were able to pay for most of these items with money Chris earned donating plasma this summer...

We found this beautiful crib (with a matching dresser/changing table) on Craigslist for 1/4th the retail price.  It's in great shape and the seller threw in the mattress for free!

We were especially lucky when it came to the car seat...  A wonderful woman contacted us through the Johnson County baby/toddler sales group on Facebook.  We got the car seat for 1/5th the retail price.  Again, it is in fantastic shape and she threw in the car seat cover for free.  When we met with her to pick up the car seat, we discovered that we go to the same church!   

We spent quite a bit of time perusing the local consignment shops, garage sales, and Goodwill to assemble a nice collection of gender neutral onesies, sleepers, and infant hats.  We also found a cute diaper bag at Stuff, Etc for super cheap!

There were a couple things we obviously weren't able to get "used," but so far we are very proud of our baby gear thrifting!  We finished off our shopping with a quick trip to Target to get diapers, blankets, toiletries, etc... 

Right now, the nursery is still functional as the guest bedroom - we figured we might as well leave the bed in the room until we actually "match" with a birth mom. We haven't done much decorating yet, but we definitely have an "owl" theme going in the room.  Even Finnley has enjoyed finding baby items with owls on them!  

And finally, we have a chance to show off the onesie Christy bought early in our journey toward parenthood.  She had hoped to surprise her mom, Bev, with this onesie when we announced our pregnancy....but we are still excited to share it now that we are adopting!  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

We are adopting!

We are adopting!

Wow, it feels GREAT to share the news!  This is a decision we have contemplated and prayed over for the past year now.  We started our journey 2 months ago and have finally passed the “hurry up” stage of the “hurry up and wait” process that comes with adoption. 

If you are uninterested in learning our complete story, this would be a great place to skip ahead a few paragraphs…  :)

Although we started trying for our own biological children immediately after getting married, God had a plan that included more time and challenges. We knew we wanted Finnley to have siblings to share the joys of childhood with, much like we had while we were growing up. Our desire to add to our family did not waiver simply because we had infertility issues, if anything it reaffirmed to us the importance of family in our lives.

We have been able to conceive, but unfortunately all 5 of our pregnancies have ended in miscarriage.  There does not seem to be a medical explanation for why we have experienced these recurrent miscarriages; we have tested for all the common causes and everything has come back normal.  According to our specialist, there are several invasive treatment options available (IVF, surrogacy, etc), but we knew growing our family through adoption was the right path for us.  We decided to forego the gamut of what fertility specialists have to offer and jump into the adoption process instead!

We are pursuing a domestic infant adoption.  We are open to adopting a baby of any race and are not gender specific.  We are working with a WONDERFUL consultant through Christian Adoption Consultants, so we may match with a birth family anywhere in the United States.  The call could come next week, next month, or next year – the “waiting” period has been especially difficult for Finnley, who is very excited for the baby to be here now!

Christy has already proven with Finnley that just because a child isn’t biologically yours, doesn’t mean you can’t love and care for them as if they are.  We have a lot of love to offer a child and we know that whatever child blesses our home, we will forever be honored and grateful to be their Mom, Dad, and big sister.

We have decided to share our story with all of you for several reasons (besides the fact that we are excited!)…

First, people are curious.  Many people are afraid to ask us questions.  We are ready to share our journey with all of you and welcome your inquiries!  Finnley is especially excited to share her thoughts with anyone who will listen to her talk about her new baby brother or baby sister (but she’s definitely hoping for a sister!).

Second, people may want to make sure we have thought our decision through. We have considered every possible issue related to failed adoptions, race, finances, and much more.  And yes, we know this is the right path for us.  We know we may face difficult issues, but God wouldn't have picked us for this journey if we couldn't handle it!

And finally, we need your help, prayers, and support as we embark on this life changing adventure.  As we mentioned before, we have already signed on with an adoption consultant who will help us along the way.  We have finished our home study and family profile (the initial “hurry up” with lots of paperwork and meetings), so we are at the point now where we are sending our profile out to agencies to be presented to birth families! The process of being “matched” with a birth mom can happen quickly or may take a year or longer.  We’ll post more about the “match” process over the next few weeks, but we would greatly appreciate as many positive thoughts, prayer, vibes, etc that we can get along this journey! 

We are hoping to post regular updates on this blog as we move forward with our adoption plans.  Thank you very much in advance for your support! Special thanks to our friend, Renae, at Launder Life & Art for taking these INCREDIBLE photos for our family profile!

With all our love –
Chris, Christy, & Finnley