Friday, February 27, 2015

What’s in a Name?

We are in the final weeks of waiting… 

It’s hard to believe that it has been 15 weeks since we received THE call from our adoption agency.  On that day, 15 weeks ago, we were nervously anxious and (obviously) excited to find out that we had been chosen by a birth mother!  Now, 15 weeks later, we are still nervously anxious (like any soon-to-be parents), and probably even more excited, but now our focus has shifted from being grateful that we were chosen by a birth mother to being grateful that we were chosen by OUR birth mother.  We are blessed with a situation where we feel comfortable with our birth parents and we are very hopeful that we will have a successful placement and open adoption in the month of March!  That isn’t to say that there hasn’t been drama (oh, there’s been drama!) and our birth mother can still change her mind before signing the adoption paperwork, but we have faith that God will be with all of us in these final weeks as we wait for the arrival of our baby girl! After our failed match in the fall, it was hard to contemplate putting ourselves out there again for birth mothers to look at and risk having it happen again. But now, in hindsight, it’s clear that everything happens for a reason.  We are strong believers in the power of prayer and we ask for your continued support as we near the due date!

One thing we get asked about a lot is whether we have picked a name for our baby girl.  The answer is yes. When we started our adoption journey, one of the first things Finnley wanted to do was make lists of potential baby names.  She wrote the girl names in pink highlighter and the boy names in green highlighter.  Once we found out that we were expecting a baby girl, we started going through our favorite names together.  All 3 of us had a different favorite, and they were all VERY different (Finnley likes Elizabeth and Maisie, Chris likes June, and I like Adeline and Evie) – but there was one name that we all agreed that we loved.  I’m not going to spoil it by telling all of you the name before she is born (although some of you may already know what it is), but it’s a name that our birth mother liked as well, which was important to all of us.

We haven’t settled on a middle name yet, so we thought maybe all of you would like to give us some input! We brought a list of potential middle names to Texas on our last trip and ask our birth mother what her favorite was. “A” told us which names she liked, but made it clear that the decision was ours to make, as the baby will be ours to name.  We’ve listed the middle names (and respective meanings) that we are considering below.  Please feel free to vote for your favorite!  We are going to make the final decision ourselves, this isn’t a competition where the most popular name wins, but we’d love to hear your thoughts! 

The first name we have chosen ends with an “-ah” sound….think Sara or Ella.

….a Stella Bernice (Christy & Chris's maternal grandmothers first names, respectively)

….a June  (Chris likes the name June, "A's" puppy is named June)

….a Marie (Christy and her Mom’s middle name)

.…a Elizabeth  (Finnley loves the name Elizabeth, Elizabeth means “gift from God”)

And, while you are clicking around on the blog voting for your favorite middle name - consider checking out our Pure Charity matching grant fundraiser.  We are in the final days and getting closer to our goal (only 10 days to donate!) - remember, every dollar that is donated will be DOUBLED by the MICAH fund!  And thank you to everyone that has already made a donation.  We can't thank you enough!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Good For Everyone

Here on the blog we will continue to refer to our birth mother and birth father as “A” and “B,” respectively, for their privacy.

One of the benefits of being matched with our birth parents for approximately 18 weeks before our baby girl is born is that we have plenty of time to develop a strong relationship with both “A” and “B.”  We felt a strong connection with “A” after our very first phone call back in November, and over the many weeks since then we have continued to communicate with her on a regular basis via text and telephone.  We receive weekly updates via email from our adoption agency regarding “A,” but talking to her directly is what has really helped us to connect as individuals. 

Our visit to Houston in December was encouraging and further deepened our understanding and respect for the difficult decisions that “A” & “B” have made to share their daughter’s life with us.   After our visit in December, “A” expressed that she hoped we could visit again before the baby was born and she was hopeful that Finnley might join us on a visit so she could meet her.  Cost was a major concern for us, but as always, God provides for us in ways we can’t imagine!  Chris and I had had some travel delays with our first trip to Houston, which at the time was very frustrating, but after filing a complaint with American Airlines asking for reimbursement for our lost hotel and rental car expenses, they gave us free vouchers toward future air fare with them! 

This past weekend, we were able to make a quick flight to Houston with Finnley, and it was so good for everyone that we did.  We’ve always wanted to make sure that Finnley felt like she was really a part of the adoption process, and letting her meet “A” was great for her.  Meeting the woman carrying her future sister made everything much more “real” for her.  She had so much fun meeting “A” and “B” and playing with their dog, June.  It was hard not to get a little choked up when we went with “A” to the public beach in Galveston, and “A” took Finnley’s hand and stepped out into the waves with her.  In a way, it was like Finnley and her little sister were already sharing a moment by stepping into the ocean together, and, like this adoption as whole, “A” was the one bringing them together.  We got a picture of it, and it is one of our favorites from the trip.
We really enjoyed our day in Galveston, admiring the interesting architecture of the older homes and getting lunch at a charming cafĂ© overlooking the ocean.  In addition to dipping our toes in the ocean and collecting shells, we also enjoyed a $10.00 boat tour of the harbor where we saw a few dolphins and some of the larger ships that regularly pass through. Unexpectedly, it was also the very beginning of the local Mardi Gras celebrations, and although we didn't participate in the festivities, there were plenty of parade floats and crazy costumes to make things interesting!

We hope it was equally good for “A” to see the excitement Finnley has for being a big sister in the future.  She let her put her hand on her stomach when the baby was pushing on it, and Finnley’s face really lit up.  We’ve always known that Finnley will be a great big sister and we’re glad “A” had a chance to see that, too, and that it will hopefully reinforce her already strong commitment to continue with her adoption plan. 

Chris and Finnley made the journey home safely on Sunday, while I stayed behind an extra day to get a tour of the hospital where the baby will be delivered and spend some one-on-one time with “A.”  I’ll share my own crazy, nerve-racking journey home with you in our next post…

An astronaut cow?? We couldn't resist taking a picture for Bev!

Finnley was fascinated with the palm trees and brought home a piece of bark that had fallen off the tree to show her classmates.

Finnley's first steps in the ocean!

On the harbor cruise, looking intently at the water for dolphins...

Returning to the hotel after spending the day in Galveston (and snagging some beads from the Mardi Gras parade floats!)

Finnley was so excited to see green grass and flowers - our camera is filled with pictures she took of the ground!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Point A to Point B

When you’re looking to start a long journey from Point A to Point B, one of the first questions is how you’re going to get there.  Do you drive or do you fly? 
Driving is the more familiar option.  It's likely you already drive almost everyday.  You get to be in your own vehicle with your favorite cds in the changer.  You are familiar with the people in the car with you.  You are behind the wheel and can take a small detour here or drive a little out of your way there to eat at a restaurant you like.  It might take a longer, but you’ll save money if you don’t fly.
Driving is like expanding your family in the “traditional" sense.   The drive will take 9 months, but you’re behind the wheel, for the most part.
Flying is great, too, but it’s a different way to travel.  Like adoption, it may take you less time to get there (we know people who finished the whole process in less than 6 months).  And, like adoption, it will probably cost a bit more.  
When you fly, you need to get to the airport in time to go through security.  Show your ID, take off your shoes, walk through the metal detector, and no liquids over 3 oz.  This is like your home study.  You face the scrutiny of a background check on your criminal record, financial history, assets, debts, etc.  A social worker comes to your house to make sure it is safe.  Do you have fire extinguishers and CO2 detectors?  You go through fingerprinting and a mountain of paperwork.  That isn’t a complaint.  Safety in air travel and adoption are important.
Then you make it to your seat.  You might be sitting next to someone you never met.  And you might be shoulder to shoulder with this stranger.  The bond you share is that you’re trying to get to the same place. This is like the adoption network you build when you’re adopting.  We’ve become friends with so many people who are going through the same process we are, and it has been such a comfort to share our successes and setbacks with a group who knows what you're going through.  Our friends who aren’t familiar with adoption were happy for us when we completed our home study.  But the people in our adoption network were really excited for us, because they were going through it, too, or had just finished it themselves.  So they had that extra understanding of what a large milestone it was.
You made it through security and onto the plane, so you buckle your seatbelt and sit through the safety instructions.  Then you start moving.  But it isn’t you behind the wheel.  You hope the pilot is good.  That they are prepared for bad weather or whatever may come along.  You’re reassured when the captain comes on the overhead speakers to tell you you’ll be landing soon, and you hope they land you smoothly.  This is like being matched with a birth mother.  You hope she is taking care of herself and making good choices, but you aren’t there with her every day.  We feel good about things when we communicate via text or phone, but we know she’s hundreds of miles away.  And we know that she can change her mind any time before her signature lands on the page.
And sometimes you can't get a direct flight.  You land somewhere you don't hope to stay.  You sit in a crowd and wait for the flight that's going to land at your destination.  This is like our failed match.  It wasn't where we hoped to be, and we couldn't wait to move on.  Unfortunately, as we've come to find out in our adoption network, failed matches are about as common as layovers.  But it is just a matter of waiting for your correct plane to land.  In the end, you may have just needed that "connecting flight" to get you to the right place.
Flying and driving are both good ways to go from Point A to Point B.  Either way can get you there and everyone makes their own choices about the best way to make that journey.  Fortunately, arriving at the destination is equally enjoyable no matter how you get there, and will give you a lifetime of memories.  Just remember to take lots of pictures!