Monday, December 28, 2009

For the love of coffee...

Now that our home study is complete - we are waiting for the final document(s) to be approved - we are gearing up for a full-fledged assault on the cost of the adoption!

Please take a minute to check out our online "store" at Just Love Coffee, an organization which provides fair trade (and delicious) coffees from a variety of places. A portion of the company's proceeds go to support an orphanage in Ethiopia, where the founder adopted two of his children. Just Love Coffee also provides an opportunity for fund raising for those who are in the adoption process. We have our own secure, online store where you can order the coffee of your choice, and from each order, we will receive a portion of the proceeds. Please consider ordering from our site and help us in our efforts. And, if possible, please tell others about it!

Here's the link:

Thank you so much for your continued love and support!

Monday, December 14, 2009

And then there were three...

I haven't written much lately. And to be honest, I'm really not in the mood to write much now, but I need to get back into blogging.

The reason for my lack of excitement is because the Whitfield family is now down to three members. We finally had to put Bojangles down. The medicine he was taking to treat his inflammatory bowel disease caused him to develop diabetes. He was a sick little kitty, and it just wasn't right to make him suffer any more. One month ago today, Bo passed away peacefully. Part of me can't forgive myself for ending his life but I also wrestle with the knowledge that he wasn't feeling good for the last couple years of his life. Oh, I so selfishly wanted to keep him around forever. And I still ache to hold him.

Bo and I went through so much together. I got him when I hadn't quite gotten over the loss of my other cat, Lyric. It was too soon so our relationship started off a bit rocky. He sensed that I was still grieving. And he was a stray cat so he had a bit of a wild streak in him. Boy did he ever! He was often like the kid (or celebrity) who thinks all attention is good attention, even if it's because you've gotten attention for doing bad things. He wouldn't sit on my lap for the longest time, and I honestly prayed he would come around. When he did start sitting on my lap, he always wanted to sit on my lap. And I mean always - on the couch, at the dinner table, when I was standing up, on the commode! If I left a room, it was rare that he didn't follow me. Naps together were non-negotiable. And he was a talker. Or, maybe I should say a grunter. He often grunted instead of meow. And his grunts had meaning; each sound designated for a specific need. Get up - now! Feed me - now! Take a nap - now! Pet me - now!

Bo was my only source of comfort after 9/11. I remember going home after leaving the Pentagon area and holding him close to my face. He rubbed his face against mine as if to say he was there for me. He was the only one who seemed to understand my fear, my pain, my grief. He was my constant companion in the healing process.

When Kurt and Fletcher came into the picture, he fought hard to maintain his status as tops in my life! And if he ever felt that Fletcher overstayed his welcome, he stalked him like an undiagnosed schizophrenic certain the world was after him. And then Kurt and I had to go and get married. That meant the dog was never leaving! I had high hopes that they would become the best of buddies; that one day we'd find them curled up together snoring away the hours. That never happened, although I do think they befriended each other in a non-assuming way. Today Fletcher seems lonely. Now he is the one who follows me around the house every time I move. Thankfully he hasn't tried to sit on my lap while I'm on the toilet or jump on my dresser to knock things down (in an effort to get my attention in the middle of the night) yet.

Fletcher is the best dog anyone could ever ask for, and I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world. But my home and my heart is empty without Bo, without hearing his purr at the slightest touch. Sleep isn't the same without feeling his little body snuggled next to mine, fitting perfectly into the curve of my frame. I can't believe I hurt so much over what so many would say was "just a cat". But he was so much more than that to me, and I miss him terribly.

I'm one of those people who believes that all God's creatures go to heaven. And I believe that Bo is in heaven playing... and he's playing with Hunter.

Hunter is the son of my dearest friend, Trinette. Hunter went to be with the Lord the day before Bo died. Our Little Man suffered so much in his short eight-and-a-half years but we know that he's whole and complete now. For Hunter, there is no more pain and for those he left behind, that knowledge brings us peace, even amidst the tears. Trinette is the strongest woman I have ever known, and I constantly marvel at her faith and tenacity. She's an inspiration to me, and I hope to be the loving, devoted mother she was with Hunter, her only child.

As for the adoption, we continue to wait. We completed our home study interview this past week, and we're thankful to have that behind us. We will need to complete 10 hours of adoption preparation but that should be a fairly simple task. Beyond that, we wait. It's been five months since we started this process, and the wait is becoming more difficult day-by-day. We will soon assess what we need to do to let expectant mother's who are considering adoption know we're out there and available. If anyone has any good ideas, please share them with us! In the meantime, please continue to pray for us as well as the birth mother and child God has chosen for us.

Until next time...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Home Study Documents

The home study is in full swing! We have been gathering documents and making copies! It's been a rather interesting process, and as I shuffle all the pieces of paper around, I am very thankful that we don't have as much document gathering to do as our friends who have done or are in the middle of an international adoption. Probably the most fun I am having is completing the autobiographical statement. Of course, being a writer makes it exciting because in some way, I get to tell a story! And I get to go down memory lane to do it. It's also made me thankful for all the hurts and healing that's happened in my life.

I visited with my doctor's office today to get a physical, another part of the home study process. My Nurse Practitioner, Kelley, said she's filled out a number of these types of forms for folks interested in adopting. And she noted that it seems so incredibly difficult to get through the adoption process while so many others are popping kids out left and right and probably shouldn't even be allowed to procreate much less try to raise a family. Unfortunately, for those of us who want desperately to have a child, we are the ones struggling to prove that we are worthy of parenthood while others should be ashamed to call themselves parents.

Hopefully we can complete everything by the end of this week. And then we get to have our interview with Brooke, the Director of Adoption Preparation for MLJ Adoptions.

In the meantime, nothing new on the baby front... still waiting.

And I ask for specific prayers for our good friends, Mark and Diane Goins, who are in a battle to win a favorable decision by a judge in Ukraine to bring home Katarina and Nathaniel. It's been an emotionally and spiritually challenging journey for them, but they are such an inspiration. In the face of it all, they continue to lean on our Lord, and they continue in obedience. This battle is about so much more than the children, but it is the children who need a wonderful family like the Goins's. Please pray fervently for them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Web Site

As the wait continues, we continue to do what we can to get the word out. We have created a new web site which we hope will reach a wide audience of potential birth mothers. Please take a look and let us know what you think.

This web site is birth-mom directed and will maintain a bit of autonomy for us. But we appreciate your willingness to share it with your friends and family. I will be updating the blog on that site often, so feel free to check back regularly or sign up for RSS feeds.

We're also still in the fund raising process. We still have a couch for sale, and we've reduced the price - again! It is now $75, but we'll take whatever we can get at this point!

We will soon begin exploring other ways to raise funds but we can assure you it will NOT be another garage sale! :-)

We continue to thank you for your constant prayers and support. We couldn't do this without you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Wait

I have said it before, and I'll say it again. In fact, I'll quote Tom Petty because he said it so eloquently in his song: "The waiting is the hardest part."

I've never been pregnant, but in many ways, I feel like adopting has to be worse than being pregnant. At least a pregnant woman knows the E.T.A. for their child. We don't even know if our birth mother is pregnant yet, and that means we don't know when the child will join our family.

I believe I have been fairly constant in remaining patient in the midst of the wait. I keep reminding myself that God is working behind the scenes, and even though I can't see it, everything has already been set in motion. The few times I have wavered in my calmness, I felt guilty. I beat myself up thinking that I'm not being a strong enough Christian if I doubt or allow a crack to weaken my wall of faith. So, I straighten myself up and remind myself of God's awesome promise, and that He never fails. And that pep talk usually works. Until today...

Earlier this afternoon, I heard a news report that a baby had been found dead in a dumpster. This is when my faith wavers. How? Why? Why would a mother (or father) just let a baby die? Don't they know there are people out there who desperately want to add a child to their family but can't? Don't they know there are people who would willingly take their child if they just don't want it anymore?

In this age of technology and education and resources, why would someone allow death for their child? And yet there are still too many irresponsible people thinking only of themselves in the midst of their chaos - chaos they probably created.

I never dreamed that some day my whole soul would ache so much for a child. Sometimes I feel like the love I already have for our child is so overwhelming that I just can't breath. And this is only the beginning!

There is a purpose for everything, but time is standing still in my life right now. Every minute without a child feels like a moment of lost living. I know I can't put my life on hold (and I don't) but it's just knowing that someday... but not knowing when that someday will be. And in the meantime, another baby dies needlessly.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Raising Funds and Other Stuff

It's been a while since we had our fundraising garage sale, and believe it or not, we just now got all the leftover's out of our garage! We had the best of intentions! Really! First I thought I'd sort through some of the "nicer" items and take them to consignment shops in an effort to increase the balance in our adoption fund checking account. Well, that was a waste of time!

Consigning has to be the best scam out there. I spent a lot of time carefully looking through so many items, making sure they were in terrific condition. I also had a lot of super nice business clothing that was donated from friends. When I say nice, I mean - Jos A. Banks kind of nice! So, surely these things would sell at a consignment shop, right? Nope. If I walked out with five bucks in my pocket, I was lucky! And the baby/children consignment stores were even worse! I eventually gave up from the frustration.

And just last week, we arranged for a local organization called Quest for Excellence to pick up the remaining items so they could be distributed to the folks they help. (Quest for Excellence provides transitional housing, programs, support services and educational support for at-risk, homeless and special needs population.) Yippee!! Our garage can now accommodate one vehicle!

Maybe that was God's plan all along. He knew there were people in greater need than us so the consignment idea didn't work out. We are thrilled to know the things that so many friends donated to us will be going to good use.

Beyond that, we have a couple more things we need to get rid of and we're hoping to be able to sell these bigger ticket items.

First, we have a really awesome couch that was recently re-covered. Visit our post on Craigslist to view a picture and get a better description. (

We also have an exercise machine. The Pilates Performer JP is available for just $50! (What a steal?!)

And finally, we were given a wedding dress from a young lady in our neighborhood who said she wanted us to sell it and put the money toward our adoption fund. (Wow! We're still blown away by this generous gift.) We have no idea how much to charge for it but that will soon be available as well.

Please let us know if you or any of your friends have an interest in any of these items.

Beyond the selling stuff, we remain in wait mode until God presents us with another potential birth mother match. We covet your prayers and appreciate all the support we've been given and continue to receive.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Match Update

We found out today that we're back to square one with the adoption process. The birth mother we spoke to a couple of weeks ago has chosen another family to adopt her child. For them, we are thrilled. And we are excited to know that her child will have a good home to go to. For us, it's a little bittersweet.

I don't know that either one of us was absolutely certain of this particular situation for a variety of reasons but we were certainly willing to explore the opportunity. And even though there were some initial questions on our part, we were at peace with moving forward. Perhaps it's mothers-instinct that kicked in but I never really thought we would be chosen. And yet, now that we know we weren't chosen, it's incredibly disappointing. In some ways it feels like finding out you're not pregnant. You know, you go through a few days of nausea, not starting on time and when you finally take that test, the indicator says "Not pregnant".

Our attorney says the birth mother was happy with our profile and that her choice was likely made because she spoke to the other couple before she spoke to us. It feels good to know that we were in the final running but at the same token, it's hard not to take it personal. I have spent so much time over these last few weeks sorting through newborn clothing and items to sell at the garage sale, then re-sorting to take some of those items to Once Upon a Child or to Crisis Pregnancy Center that my heart was getting more and more attached to the idea of being a mother. For each batch of items I took to Once Upon a Child, I'd wander around the store, fingering the tiny newborn items and marveling at the wonder of a new life. The pull of motherhood, wanting to hold a baby in my arms... has been simply overwhelming.

It's hard not to get attached emotionally. I love a child I haven't even met yet with every fiber of my being. I know the risk involved in this adoption process but I also know the reward will be more beautiful than anything I could have ever imagined. And I must keep reminding myself that God is STILL in control.

On a side note: Please be in prayer for our wonderful friends, Mark and Diane and their three kids as they travel to Ukraine tomorrow to redeem the little girl God has chosen for them. (And who knows, maybe there's more than one child waiting for them?!) They have waited a long time, and we wish them only God's best.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fundraiser I - Complete

I can't remember the last time I participated in a garage sale but, I can assure you that I had no recollection of it being such a huge task! But then again, I wasn't using the garage sale as a fundraiser for the adoption of our child either!

Wow! I am still so overwhelmed with everything that's happened in the last couple of weeks. Our first fundraiser was a success. We made about $1700 in two days of selling, selling and even more selling. We still have lots of leftovers but plan on making good use out of those items through donations and other fundraising efforts.

We are so humbled and thankful for the tremendous and overwhelming support we received from so many people. Many gave of their belongings; giving clothes, furniture, electronics, and special mementos for us to sell. Several folks came to help sort and price, and a few more helped during the actual sale with set up, tear down and giving us a few minutes of respite during both days. We truly couldn't have done this without them.

I must say that I am a bit surprised at the result. First, we certainly weren't expecting to make so much money! How wonderful!! And the people I truly expected to be there and help us weren't there. That saddens me greatly. But that sadness and disappointment is replaced with great joy because there were many unexpected helping hands, and we are so grateful.

Maybe I'm wrong for even noticing that aspect of things. But my emotions have been all over the place these last couple of weeks. And part of me wants to remember every single detail - good and bad - so we can one day share them with our little one. The tremendous effort put into making this a reality has been like giving birth. I will never know the pain of labor, but I have gladly labored in many other ways to bring a child into our family.

To add to the ups and downs, we were introduced to a potential match last week. We spoke with a birth mother who wanted to learn more about us and consider us as possible adoptive parents for her baby boy, due in December. The conversation was brief but exciting. We have no idea what's going to happen from here but it doesn't matter. God already knows the outcome, and we're at peace knowing it's all in His faithful Hands.

So, now we sort through the remaining garage sale items, look for other ways to raise funds, prepare for a home study, and wait for the redemption of God's chosen child for us.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Garage Sale Reminder

Well, we're one week away from the big garage sale. Our home is in complete disarray, and it's only going to get worse after this weekend when we pick up more furniture and other items being donated for the sale. We are SO incredibly thankful and humbled by the overwhelming support of so many people who have already donated items. Of course, we're always looking to add to the stuff we've already got, so if you want to give us some things you no longer need or want, just let us know! We'll gladly take whatever you've got.

And as a reminder, please tell all your friends about our sale. It's scheduled for Friday and Saturday of next week, August 21st and 22nd from 8 am until 4 pm (both days). We'd love to see you there, and we'd love for you to find an awesome new treasure (or several!). Donations will also be accepted.

Again, we are blessed and overwhelmed. And we give God all the glory!

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Colors

We've had a fabulous weekend! Our home is getting filled with more and more items donated from people for us to sell in our garage sale in a couple of weeks. Much of our living room is packed and now only one of us is able to park in the garage. But that won't last long, I'm sure!

We also had the opportunity to paint this weekend. We started with the office and, thanks to the awesome help of my awesome mother-in-law, we were able to finish it rather quickly and move on to the guest bedroom, which will turn into the nursery (hopefully soon!). Kurt and I are absolutely thrilled with the colors of both rooms. The nursery will need another coat of paint but that won't be a problem at all.

As my family knows, I'm not the type for much in the way of manual labor! But I must admit that I had the time of my life painting and moving stuff around. My back is still arguing with me but it just felt so good knowing that I was making some necessary changes in preparing for our little one.

Don't forget to mark your calendars for our garage sale/fundraiser, which is scheduled for August 21st and 22nd. And we're still taking donations for items to sell.

We continue to lift up the birth mother and unborn child in prayer!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Available For All To See

Our parent profile has been finalized and goes "live" tomorrow (Saturday, August 1st). We are now on display for all birth mom's to learn more about us and consider us as adoptive parents. Wow. This is such an amazing time for us. We're thrilled with progress so far, and we're humbled to know that God has already picked out our child for us.

Just because the parent profile is finished doesn't mean our work is done. Far from it! Now we need to prepare for our Home Study. But before we do that, we've got some decorating that needs to get done. We have to figure out which room will be the nursery. Which room will then become the guest bedroom? Can we combine my office and Kurt's and still let him have his "man cave"? Once we figure all of that out, we need to paint two of the rooms and lay new carpet. Then we need to rearrange the furniture.

We are blessed that we have a home big enough to have this dilemma!

Oh, and then there's the fund-raising. Our first big attempt at raising some cash comes on August 21st and 22nd with a gigantic garage sale. We've already gotten so many donations from so many people and hope to receive more. And, of course, we hope to sell it all and make some serious cash! LOL!

We'd like to go ahead and apply for loans and/or grants but that can't happen until we have our Home Study. But we can't have our Home Study until we get the rooms taken care of. And we probably can't get the rooms taken care of until we raise some cash! It's one of those never-ending circles.

There's so much going on, but we're so thankful we get to experience this. And I'm so thankful for Kurt and all he's doing to help in these efforts. He's going to be an amazing father!

Until next time...

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Profile

One component of the domestic adoption process is completing a profile which includes a variety of photos and details about the adoptive parents. The profiles are reviewed by birth mom's. The profiles are written in such a way that should give the birth mom an idea of who her child's potential parents could be. From the profile, the birth mom decides who she would like to meet and consider further for the placement of her child.

Ok, that sounded rather clinical didn't it? Well, that's sort of how I feel about this part of the process. As a writer, I have never written a more important document in my life! But how can I possibly tell the woman who may give up her child to my care for the rest of its life everything there is to know about our family in just a few pages of black ink? Kurt and I are so much more than what we put down on paper. Kurt said he felt like he was co-writing a resume. And just as in a job search, I am confident that, if you met me in person, you'd love me! You'd want to hire me immediately. Or you'd want me to be the mother of your child!

We have completed our profile, which took a lot longer than I thought. I'm an emotional writer so I was pretty happy with what was written early on. Kurt is the perfectionist so it took him a bit longer! But his additions were simply wonderful. It also took a long time to put our photos together. I look too big in that one. Ewww... I'm not wearing make up in that one. Oh, I like this, except he has his eyes closed. Why can't we find a picture of us with the dog and the cat together? Oh yeah, the cat doesn't like the dog so putting them next to each other long enough to take a photo would simply be... ugly.

But I think we finally got it. It's in the hands of the agency/lawyer now. Well, actually it's in God's Hands. I can't even begin to imagine having to make this type of decision in the first place but then to make the decision based on a few pieces of impersonal paper and fuzzy photos in what can only be described as marketing material. It's just beyond my wildest imagination, and in some ways, I grieve for the mother. The helper in me wants to make this an easier process but I know I can't.

Right now all I can do is pray that we have portrayed ourselves accurately without sounding superficial or sterile. And that what we have written will be intriguing enough to bring us to parenthood.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Adopted for Life

Our church, Zionsville Fellowship, has started an amazing ministry that cares for orphans. The ministry is based on James 1:27 which says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

This ministry offers people a variety of opportunities to help orphans whether it is through prayer, financial support or resources for those seeking to adopt. We are truly blessed to serve in this capacity. It has become especially poignant to us right now as we are in the middle of our adoption process.

One resource made available to us is a book by Russell Moore called Adopted for Life. The book explores the priority of adoption for Christian families and churches. I believe it is time for the church to recognize it
is the only institution large enough – and the only institution called to deal with this issue.

Beyond that, the book explores adoption between our Heavenly Father and us as His adopted sons and daughters. Let me share a bit of the book with you in the hope that it will bring you great encouragement.

"Imagine for a moment that you're adopting a child. As you meet with the social worker in the last stage of the process, you're told that this twelve-year-old has been in and out of psychotherapy since he was three. He persists in burning things and attempting repeatedly to skin kittens alive. He 'acts out sexually', the social worker says, although she doesn't really fill you in what that means. She continues with a little family history. The boy's father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather all had histories of violence, ranging from spousal abuse to serial murder. Each of them ended life the same way, death by suicide - each found hanging from a rope of blankets in his respective prison cell.

Think for a minute. Would you want this child? If you did adopt him, wouldn't you keep your eye on him as he played with your other children? Would you watch him nervously as he looks at the butcher knife on the table? Would you leave the room as he watched a movie on television with your daughter, with the lights out?

Well, he's you. And he's me. That's what the gospel is telling us. Our birth father has fangs. And left to ourselves, we'll show ourselves to be the serpentine as he is.

But the New Testament addresses former Satan-imagers with good news. It's not just that we have a stay of execution, a suspension of doom. It's not simply that those who trust in Christ have found a refuge, a safe place, or a foster home. All those in Christ, Paul urges, have received sonship. We are now 'Abraham's offspring' (Gal. 3:29). Within this household... all those who are in Christ have found a home through the adopting power of God.

We are here by the Spirit, not by the exertions of our flesh. We're here by grace.

The promise has dawned, and our identity is now found in him. All of us - whatever our background - have been liberated from the old order (Gal. 4:1-5) and from 'the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear' (Rom. 8:15). We now come before God as sons bearing the very same Spirit as was poured out on the Lord Jesus at the Jordan River, a Spirit through which we cry, 'Abba!'"

Wow! I don't know about you but I get a lump in my throat when I read that... and let it sink in. If you are in Christ, never doubt that you are adopted by God. And because God's got some experience in this adoption thing, never doubt that you will not walk this journey alone.

Are you adopted for life?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

May I Have Some Whine with my Cheese?

Ok... this is where I start whining. The wait is too excruciatingly long! If I'm this annoyed with the wait this early in the game, I'm going to be bald by the time we have our first child.

The paperwork has been turned in. We were told that we'd be getting information on how to put our profile together but haven't heard a peep out of them for a week. I know... I know... there are bigger problems in the world. I am thankful for this awesome opportunity. Kurt and I have already started talking about ways to raise funds for the adoption. I guess that's why I'm anxious about getting our profile finished and "out there". But, I have to keep reminding myself that God has it all under control, and He knows what He's doing, even if I might disagree with His time line!

On another whiny note, I'm pretty discouraged with America World Adoption Association. As I mentioned in a previous post, we were inspired to submit our application with them for the Russian program after learning that previous "mental health issues" would likely not be a problem. But we learned that those issues were indeed a problem and that door was closed. We filed a grievance with the company but just learned that we're not going to get our non-refundable application fee back. Yes, I know that there is never a guarantee, and no one ever made a guarantee to us. But we wouldn't have applied had we not been inclined to think we stood a chance. Furthermore, the letter stated that the application fee "covers the compilation and review of your application by our staff, and because these services were rendered to your family, we are unable to issue a refund for the work that was done..." Really? It costs $250 for someone to look at my application? Wow. I'm in the wrong business.

As I said, I'm just whining over here. If I step back far enough and look at it from a neutral perspective, I guess I can understand things but I'm not neutral in this. I'm waiting for my child! I wonder if this is just a tiny glimpse into what parenthood will feel like.

Well, until God is ready to deliver our child to us, I guess I have to keep on waiting. Please excuse me while I go get some more cheese!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Seeking Baby

Since the door to adopting in Russia has closed, we have moved forward with a local Indianapolis agency, MLJ Adoptions, and decided on domestic adoption. As we said before, we're a bit freaked out about that concept but we keep reminding ourselves that God already has our child picked out for us. He's in complete control over things, and nothing will change His plan for our lives. Sure there might be some heartbreak in the midst of this adoption process, but I also know there will be great joy. And if God can use us to encourage others and point them toward Him, it's worth it.

Ok... I just got off track there but I speak with great joy and confidence in God's purpose and provision for our future forever family!

What I wanted to say is that we're looking for a baby. Yeah, that sounded pretty weird. I keep hearing that one of the best ways to find a birth-mother is to advertise. I'm still having a hard time swallowing that idea though. I mean, what does our ad look like: Married Caucasian couple seeking healthy newborn of no more than 10 pounds? That's just so unnatural.

And actually, that's not exactly what we'll do. But it feels like that's exactly what we're doing. Sure there is some legitimate advertising that goes on but the agency handles most of that. Our part comes about as we let people know that we're indeed hoping to adopt a newborn (but it doesn't matter how much he or she weighs!). Perhaps you know someone who has a teenage daughter who's gotten herself into a sticky situation. Maybe you're an OB/GYN who sees women who aren't ready or are unable to handle another child. Suppose you have a neighbor who has a cousin in Oregon who has a daughter in Alabama who needs a forever family for her unborn child.

What we're saying is that we'd welcome the connection.

There... I said it. And somehow, it still feels weird! But I know that our God is a wonderful God whose ways are not our ways. And we know that He can do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could have ever imagined. So, if this is part of the road we must travel, so be it!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

When One Door Closes...

Everyone's heard the phrase, "When one door closes, God opens another."

My Canadian friend and politician, Serge, often says that in order to be ready for that door to open, you first have to be in the hallway. Well, Kurt and I are in the hallway waiting for the next door to open.

The door to adopting from Russia has closed permanently and apparently has deadbolts on it. We sent in our application - and non-refundable $250 application fee - to America World Adoption Association early in May. There were a number of things that drew us to this organization but one of the biggest things is that I had a positive conversation with a representative about my previous diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. She felt that the diagnosis would probably not be an issue even though we wanted to adopt from Russia, a country that will not consider anyone with a history of "mental health issues" such as depression, etc.

A few days after sending in the application (and our non-refundable $250 application fee), we received a call from another young lady from the agency. After going back and forth with them for about a week, we received word from them: We would not be considered as adoptive parents in Russia. Final answer.

I expressed my frustration with the young woman and told her that we felt deceived. They now had our $250 non-refundable fee but we never made it past the application process. (I am curious to know what they did with that $250 - aside of just telling us that we can't adopt from Russia after they told that we probably would be able to adopt from Russia.) She recommended we go through the Grievance Procedure to see if we could get our money back. I'm not holding my breath.

Kurt and I are incredibly disappointed but it has become clear that God doesn't want us to adopt from Russia, and we're learning to accept that. This experience has also shown us the tremendous risk in adopting. We specifically chose to go with international adoption because there seemed to be less risk than domestic adoption, where a birth-mother could easily change her mind. But if you look at it from the international perspective, it may not be the birth-mother changing her mind. It could just be the country that changes its mind for one reason or another.

My mom was pretty ticked off when I told her the news. And a few others have made similar comments: "They'd rather leave a child alone in an orphan without the love of Godly parents..." But I'm trying to remember that in this process, it's not about finding a child for a family. It is about finding a family for the child.

We did our due diligence and checked with some other agencies about this issue. The response was always the same. In some ways I feel responsible - like I'm some sort of freak of nature because of my diagnosis. But I can't change what happened to me. And I am proud of the person I have become despite those obstacles.

A new path is being forged. We are now moving forward with domestic adoption and have chosen MLJ Adoptions as our agency of choice. We hope to have a profile completed very soon so birth-mother's can start to consider us as possible choices to raise their child(ren). It's all in God's Hands; and they're mighty Hands indeed!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fund Raising Efforts

First, let me give a great update to the prayer request blog from a couple of days ago. It appears that the potential moratorium on foreign adoptions in Ukraine has been averted, at least for now. Thanks everyone for your prayers on that issue.

Our good friends, Mark and Diane are in the midst of the adoption process and hope to bring home their little girl from Ukraine by the fall or, at the very least, later this year. (Mark is one of the pastors of our home church, Zionsville Fellowship.) As part of their fund raising efforts, they are hosting another gigantic garage sale this weekend. Won't you consider helping this family as they seek the money needed to add to their already wonderful family? Here are the details:

Garage Sale Location: 4403 Owl Court, Indianapolis 46268
Dates: Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6
Times: 8 am until 2 pm both days

Tell your friends and come shop for a great reason. Donations (without a purchase) are also welcome.

Thanks, as always, for your prayers for us as we continue in our adoption journey. We appear to have hit a snag with the international adoption about the issues of depression in our history. So, we're seeking God's will right now.

Bless you as you consider ways to help the Goins Gang!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request

Our good friends from church, who were expecting to pick up their adopted little girl from Ukraine before the end of 2009, alerted us to an urgent prayer request.

They have learned that Ukraine is considering a moratorium on all foreign adoptions. Here is a link to a blog that explains the details.

This is going to impact not only our friends but many other families who are waiting to bring their new child home from Ukraine. So, please, pray for God's will in this. And pray also for the families who are in the midst of this uncertain time. I can't even begin to imagine the anxiety they're feeling right now!

As for us, we hope to hear back from America World Adoption Association this week on our initial application. Thanks, as always, for your love and prayers!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Wait

There's an oldie but a goodie by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers where he sings, "The waiting is the hardest part." This is where we are right now... waiting. And we know this is just the first stage of waiting! But we're ok with that.

We sent off our application for adoption yesterday. We did so after much consideration and prayer about which agency to use. The seminar by America World Adoption Association a couple of weeks ago was fantastic. We ended up choosing them partly because of the seminar, partly because of other friends who are using them and seem pleased. But a big reason we chose them was the help they provided me after the seminar.

As I mentioned in another post, I was particularly concerned about all the stuff I had been reading about not being considered as a prospective adoptive parent if there was a history of depression. I contacted AWAA and spent quite a bit of time on the phone with a gal who handles the region where we were considering adoption. She answered so many questions and really took time to listen to my concerns. In the end, her generosity and willingness to be of encouragement and truth is what won me over.

We have chosen to adopt from Russia. We had been considering Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia. We chose Russia because this is where we'd have a better chance of getting a young child. Plus, the wait doesn't appear to be incredibly long for Russia right now.

As for the depression issue, it's still up in the air. The sad fact is that recent history has shown American couples who have adopted children from various countries only to have the child be neglected, abused, or, in some cases, dead. The common thread in most of these situations is a history of depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. And sadly, mental health issues still carry a tremendous stigma in these foreign lands.

That being said, the AWAA rep I spoke with said she believes that we can overcome this obstacle since my PTSD was situational and is under control now. So, we're moving forward. We can only do now what we've done from the start - leave it at the foot of the Cross. That's where all of our cares and concerns should be anyway, right?!

While we wait to hear if we've been approved from AWAA to move forward, we will look into getting Kurt a passport for travel. And we'll begin considering ways to raise the funds needed to cover the costs for our future little one. Until then, we ask your prayers for this process. We want God's will more than anything... and that He be glorified! We are excited about sharing this journey with you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Guest Blogger - MLJ Adoptions

This blog was written by my friend, Brooke Randolph. I met Brooke through Smaller Indiana ( Our initial meeting was to discuss a book project on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Brooke is a licensed therapist and is experienced in the treatment of trauma. But through our conversation, I learned that she is also the Director of Adoption Preparation at MLJ Adoptions, Inc. I asked her to prepare a blog about what newcomers to the adoption process might expect. I hope you find this as informative as I did! And a special thanks to Brooke for her willingness to share her insight.

Those choosing to adopt a child for the first time often have no idea what to expect. The staff at MLJ Adoptions try to answer every question as fully as possible, but often with adoption, especially intercountry adoption there is not an exact answer to give. Laws may change, governments may change, fees may change, flights may change, and all of these things (and more) are out of our control. Adoption can be a journey that is made easier by faith, hope, flexibility, and a sense of humor.

You can expect to feel overwhelmed at some point. There are many steps involved, much to gather, and lots of forms (this is a legal process where we work with multiple governments with international adoption). We make every effort to give you the information you need at the moment you need it and then break it into manageable steps. Take your time to read things carefully. The answer to your question is likely in front of you. It is also important to know what you are signing. If you get overwhelmed by the information presented, take a break and come back to it later rather than starting to skim or giving up. Or you can start at the beginning and follow directions one paragraph or sentence at a time. It may be tempting to work ahead, but timing can be important in this journey. When taking on tasks that require several steps, such as gathering the documentation needed for your home study, it may help to divide and conquer - delegate certain tasks to one parent or the other.

You can expect some stress as you deal with things that are out of your control. Part of our educational program ( discusses how to manage stress as you wait, prepare, and adjust to life with a child. Further information and tools can be found on my website ( Make sure that you are taking care of your physical health, and your mental health will benefit. Take deep breaths and learn to quiet your mind. Utilize your support team and find as many reasons to laugh as possible. It is perfectly ok to have questions or concerns.

You can expect to discover how adoption has touched the lives of many around you. It is amazing how much you learn from and about others when you talk about the things you experience and the things about which you are passionate. You can expect to be blessed by those who want to support you through this journey. However, there will be people who do not understand. However, there will be many who will be excited for you. You can expect opportunities to grow, to learn about yourself, to make new friends, and to discover new passions.

The majority of the time everything works out wonderfully; however, there may be unknowns and complications along the journey. If you can keep your expectations low, you are more likely to be pleasantly surprised. At the end you will have a wonderful story to share with others, including your new child.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The First Seminar

For those of you who know me, you know that I'm a journalist at heart. My keen interest in knowledge may be part of what led me to conclude I didn't want to birth any babies in the first place! (Thanks, in part, to books like "The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy" and "What to Expect When Expecting"!) Likewise, when it comes to this adoption process, I have to know everything there is to know. Of course, that isn't entirely a bad thing. But, sometimes knowing too much can lead to a bit of uncertainty and fear.

I have learned so much through a variety of sources on the issue of international adoption. Even though I'm curious by nature and like to dig, I can be impulsive when it comes to making decisions, especially ones from the heart. So, Kurt would be proud of my research efforts! In some ways I wonder if we're handling things opposite of the way we normally would. When making a major decision, Kurt is usually the slow one, always researching Consumer Reports, consumer rankings, and every technological or scientific fact available to man. I, as I mentioned, am like my father. I see it. I like it. My heart flutters. And I buy it!

This time though, I wonder if Kurt has already decided on which agency he wants to go with. Perhaps he's doing homework when I'm not looking but I have spent days scouring the Internet in the hopes of learning all I can about every possible Christian adoption agency on the planet. I even made up an Excel spreadsheet yesterday! Wow. I am never that thorough unless I'm working on a story!

Well, I suppose we'll find out where we stand tomorrow. Our church, Zionsville Fellowship, is hosting an informational seminar from America World Adoption Association. I'm so very excited about attending. But... remember that thing about knowing too much information? Well, one thing I have learned in my research suggests that many countries will not consider someone as an adoptive parent if they're being treated for or have a history of mental illness, including depression.

I'm still on anti-depressants but haven't had a depressive episode since long before my surgery in December. And the symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (which I was diagnosed with after my 9/11 experience) are virtually non-existent. But, I am fearful that we'll get rejected; that they'll view me as some sort of psycho and unfit to parent a child.

Our awesome neighbors, Hayley and Kurt (yes, it gets confusing having a Kurt in houses next door to each other), reminded me yesterday that God is in control. We have prayed for God's will. Now, we just have to wait for Him to bring His will to fruition.

I can't wait to learn more tomorrow at the seminar. And I look forward to sharing with each of you!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Journey Begins

I've never been the type of woman that wanted to be pregnant. Some women just long for that feeling. I have been the exact opposite, hoping instead that I never have to experience morning sickness; swollen ankles; kicks in the ribs, bladder, or lungs; labor pains and visually sharing my va-j-j with hordes of doctors and nurses. In December 2008, I got my wish. I had to have a hysterectomy.

So many people were worried about my emotions - knowing that I would never be able to give birth - and how I would be affected by this knowledge. They fretted over nothing. If there was an emotion they needed to worry about, it was that I was just too dang happy to be free of a uterus and ovaries that had become my arch enemies.

And I've never been the type of woman that desperately wanted to be a mother. I do have some maternal instincts but I was too concerned about my career to care much about kids. I also knew that Kurt, my wonderful husband of nearly five years, wanted kids. After surgery, I began to realize that "children" was the elephant in the room that needed to be addressed. I wasn't going to be the one to address it. But it still needed to be addressed!

Knowing Kurt wanted kids, I began to pray: "Ok, God. If you want us to have kids, you're going to have to seriously change my heart and cause me to long for kids like I've never wanted anything more. Otherwise, it's Kurt's heart you're going to have to change."

Want to guess which heart changed?

And so begins our journey of adoption. We are in the beginning phases of that trip; trying to decide on domestic vs. international and such other things. In some ways, this is almost like planning a wedding! So many details to think about. I had no idea! It is incredibly exciting and frightening and exhilarating and tiring all at the same time.

We are blessed to have wonderful friends who are supporting us in this journey. Our church, Zionsville Fellowship, has begun an adoption ministry, and we are now serving on the team. Many in our church have gone through the adoption process, so we're surrounded by lots of folks who have been there, done that. Our families are tickled pink - or maybe blue - on our behalf!

Our friend, Steve Walker, who, along with his wife, Betsy, have adopted two awesome kids, recently said his best advice to us is to have lots of Kleenex on hand. It will be a journey of emotions: grief and joy and heartbreak and happiness. It will be an incredibly spiritual journey as well.

We thought you'd like to come along for the ride. So, feel free to subscribe to our blog, and we'll keep you updated on progress. In the meantime, we appreciate your love and prayers!