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!