Thursday, December 8, 2011

stressors

well, i got called out the other day. i said i would update the blog and tell the full story, but i haven't been back to write in over two months. i have several excuses for not following through, but i won't bore you with those. i will share a bit more with you about brody's story...

the last real post i made during the difficult phase of our adoption was on Good Friday. when i read that post now it is very difficult to take myself back to that emotional state and remember the depth of anxiety i was feeling. yes, i knew God had/has a great plan but at the same time i was trying to prepare myself for heartache, because sometimes God's plans are hard to understand, and sometimes they are painful. my writing conveyed the more sober part of my mind, causing people to believe that i was "strong." if only they had seen me on my difficult days. i cried, moaned, begged, wailed all evening the night we found out the guy in jail was the biological father and that he was not open to adoption because of his family. the next day, i drove the 45 minutes to work, and as soon as i got there and saw a co-worker before a vb meeting, i began bawling and had to drive straight home. my principal was very close to driving me home because i was in such bad shape. so that's the other side you didn't know about.

but i digress. after Good Friday we waited for dna results to come in. of course, it took longer than we expected. basically everything was on an extended timeline in this deal. Good Friday was April 22, so after returning to our home we waited a few weeks until we found out about the bio father. i wrote him a letter and overnighted it to him in jail. i also wrote his sister and mother an email, and my mom later wrote his mom an email as well. what did we write? we begged. we told them how much this sweet boy meant to us and that we'd take good care of him. we offered an open adoption. we offered to answer a billion questions about ourselves so they could trust us. we laid it all out there.

around the same time, i wrote a blog post about the dna results and mentioned that the bio father was in prison. his sister wrote back to my email correcting me; he was not in prison, just jail (90 days for trafficking meth). that's when i learned that they had found the blog, and that's when i erased everything. his sister's email said they had no intention of giving the baby up for adoption and that he really wanted the baby. my heart sank.

at the same time, our lawyer (who i am convinced was sent by God to help us through this) was working to file "involuntary termination of parental rights" paperwork to the court to try to terminate the bio father's rights. it would be a LONG SHOT, but we couldn't just give up.

looking back now it is crazy how much we take for granted these days. i get stressed (really stressed) about little silly things that have no eternal value, but good grief...what is there to be stressed about when you don't have the fate of your baby boy hanging in the balance?!

that's where i will leave this story for now, but i will resume later (it might be in 2 months...)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

thankful

well, if you were following this blog a while ago when things got nasty, crazy, seemingly hopeless, etc., you might have wondered what happened to the updates. i'll tell you: bio father's sister found the blog and i didn't feel comfortable sharing information until all was done. the tough stuff is done now, so i'm telling all (which will probably take me several posts...you might very well get bored, but this blog is more for me to get it out than it is for you to read.)

the short version of the story: we waited a long time after finding out the guy in jail was the bio father and taking him to court to prove he was incapable of being a father. in that court, a judge terminated bio father's rights. he appealed. we waited more. then we waited even longer for the judge to rule again. the judge stuck with his decision, then we waited 30 days to find out if bio father would appeal again (which would take the case to the kentucky court of appeals, the highest court the case could have reached). we assumed he would appeal again, because he somehow got a 3-year-old baby with his genetic makeup (who he had never even visited before) to live with him to try to make himself look like a responsible father in the judge's eyes (but that information was inadmissable in court since the judge could not take the bio father's current situation into consideration.)

anyway, august 18, my first day of school, was the last day he could appeal. at the end of the day, there still wasn't any paperwork from him at the judge's office, but we still couldn't say that we were 100% sure he didn't appeal. so we waited until the next day. still nothing from him, but our lawyer wanted to triple check the next monday. so we waited another weekend with high hopes, and on monday morning we found out our lawyer had to have an emergency appendectomy, so he wasn't in the office to check. after about a week without hearing anything, we finally decided we were safe to exhale and finally believe that Brody would become ours officially.

i don't know if i can even describe to you how it felt to know this crazy ordeal was over and we would officially become Brody's parents (he had been our son in our eyes for a long time, but we weren't sure it would ever be "official"). or how it felt when we got the first phone call that the judge in the original ruling had terminated the guy's parental rights (it seemed so hopeless).
in the next few weeks i will be sharing more details that very few people have heard (including a few emails from kentucky and an emergency court hearing involving an overnight drive to the most corrupt town in kentucky), as well as some thoughts i have about adoption in general.
Praise God. seriously. we praise God.

Monday, April 25, 2011

GOOD Friday

we had a Good Friday Miracle (how could i have ever doubted?)! our agency called us friday morning to tell us missouri had approved us to come home with brody. wa-hoo! we packed up all of our stuff and wrapped a tarp around a large load on top of the car and booked it home (while obeying all speed limits, of course). i cannot describe to you the feeling i had when we crossed the state line into missouri. no more hotel, no more 7-hour drives back and forth for my husband, no more pondering brody's future while waiting to hear from someone about the situation. i would say no more basement living but 1 -- i was happy to be in a basement compared to a hotel, and 2 -- we are still living in my parents' basement. (revert to earlier post about selling our house and not finding a new one before we had to move out if you'd like more information about that...wow. needless to say we are still looking for a house.)

AND we got to spend Easter with family. brody was lookin' fly. and he was pumped...



anyway, we are back and the world is as it should be for a while. j & l, who brody and i stayed with in kentucky, prayed specifically for us to get clearance to come home for Easter, as did several other people we know, including several people who read this blog. well, we need more of your prayers. we are waiting for dna test results to come back. if brody is a match with the man in prison, we pray the Lord will soften his heart to us and make an adoption plan. if they are not a match, HALLELUJAH (provided someone else doesn't come forward wanting another dna test)! please pray specifically for this man's heart to be softened. and pray for brody's birth mother. she has been going to church lately and put us on a prayer list, and she said she got to watch her daughter sing in the Easter service, so we are hopeful that she is seeing God in all of this. she knows we have people from california to japan praying, and that's encouraging for her.

and now a short word of thanks: we have been shown kindness and generosity by so many people throughout this. thank you to all of you who have taken time to write, call, email, facebook message, etc. your words have been such an encouragement to us. we have also had an anonymous donation and a large donation from our the college ministry. THANK YOU. you know who you are.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

prayers

ok, so a quick update a request for more prayers...

today we learned that our icpc request has been APPROVED by kentucky. (the other day the lawyer told us we had about a 1% chance it would be approved). missouri will have to approve it, too, in order for us to go home, but we are encouraged by the approval. we are hoping and praying that missouri will say, "ok then; if kentucky says it's ok, it's ok with us." the Lord willing, we should hear from the missouri office in a few days. (the family in whose basement we are staying prayed last night SPECIFICALLY that we would get to go home in the next few days. [they say it's not because they are tired of us .])

today we also learned that brody's DNA test is set up for tomorrow at 2 pm. we had scheduled one for monday in order to expedite the process, but that was through a private company that we were going to have to pay for ourselves. last week we found out from the county attorney that they were going to set up the DNA tests for us and the birth father was going to pay for it. yesterday they told us they set up brody's DNA test for MAY 7(!!!), but the birth mother's lawyer worked really hard to get the date pushed up. the potential birth father and the birth mother both have appointments for DNA testing on thursday, so things are moving there. and i guess the good news is that we don't have to pay.

and now more on the potential birth father...today the birth mother was going to visit the jail where he is incarcerated to tell him about us and show him our adoption profile. i talked to her for quite a while about it, and she is doing it so that hopefully he can see what kind of people we are and trust that we care deeply for this baby. as someone put it in a comment on this blog, we love him FIERCELY. anyway, she was unable to visit him today because he is a state prisoner and visiting days for those are not until thursday and/or friday. she left her name on a phone card for him to call her, and when he does she is going to give him coacher's phone number. it may seem a bit nuts, but isn't this whole situation? if he calls (that would be huge), i trust that God will give coacher the words to say.

the birth mom is going to go back thursday to try to talk to him again. she says he is easily influenced by others and that his family has put him up to this. if nothing else, i will be writing him and possibly his family a letter and sending it to him along with our adoption profile. we are hoping that he will see something positive about an adoption and choose it for brody. as i wrote earlier, we know that God can change hearts, and that is what we are begging him to do here. please continue to keep this situation in your prayers.

the birth mother is from a very small town and she is enduring all sorts of ridicule for her decision to put brody up for adoption. each day she makes a decision to remain strong and deal with nasty rumors. she told me again today she knows she made the right decision and that is what keeps her going. the long waiting process is tough on her, so please continue to keep her in your prayers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

hearts change

an update as of this morning:

dna scheduling should take place next week (as long as everything goes well in planning with the dna company). the attorney says it usually takes 1.5-2 weeks to get results, but he thinks the woman he spoke to understood the urgency here and could hopefully get it to go faster.

the attorney also talked to the potential birth father (who is in jail) on the phone last night. the attorney said they had a decent conversation and that the guy's preliminary concern right now is whether or not he really is the biological father. our attorney reported that the man said he was open/not opposed to working things out with all parties involved (which would be us and the birth mother). the attorney told us he was afraid the guy would say "No, I want this baby no matter what." there's a chance he still might say that, especially if his family gets into his head (as we have heard they did in order to get him to come forward as the biological father), but it's a start. we also found out that he is in jail for something he did 3 years ago. he was arrested in june 2010 after a year-long investigation, so we assumed that meant that's when he was doing the drug thing, but maybe the investigation went back 3 years.

obviously we would love for the dna results to come back saying they are not a match, but what's done is done there. this guy's heart can still change, and that is our prayer. we pray that his heart softens to us and he signs off on this adoption plan. i have even considered writing him a letter to introduce ourselves and sending a copy of our adoption profile (could that be considered prison ministry?) for him to see that we are decent people who have already fallen in love with this baby boy.

strange how in the very beginning of our adoption journey we weren't thrilled about making an open adoption plan with a birth mother, but now we would be beyond thrilled to make any sort of adoption plan with a man in prison for trafficking meth. hearts change.

Proverbs 21:1 -- "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

affliction

i'm pretty sure i'm learning plenty of lessons in all of this....affliction is not the most fun teacher, but it is pretty effective.

1 - sometimes you have to humble yourself to make people care.

i have done more begging, pleading, crying, and sharing of my opinions in front of absolute strangers in the last few weeks than i care to admit. i have also been fairly direct with people so they know we aren't just going to wait around for them to decide to help. i'm not saying i'm being a jerk, but i am making others aware of the effect that their negligence have on other people. (no more mrs. nice coacher, for sure!) i can be nice, but i will not sit around and wait for people to do the right thing. in our case that wouldn't get us anywhere. (did i mention that the two people in charge of our adoption agency went on vacation last week and promised they'd check in to make sure they could help us if something came up? well, they did go on vacation, but they DID NOT check in even one time, and that was even after i called one of them to say we just needed ONE PIECE OF PAPER, and we needed her to call the office to tell them where it was. at this moment, we should have icpc paperwork sitting on the desk of the icpc head-of-state, but because they didn't do what they said they would do we will wait until WEDNESDAY [because, alas, they are out of town AGAIN at an adoption conference, which they failed to mention would keep them away until wednesday...]) but i digress. they are aware of my and coacher's feelings about their misleading and negligent decisions.

2 - accept help.

so many people have come forward offering help, and we NEEDED it, so i have learned to swallow my pride and accept advice, opinions, a place to stay, helping hands so i could sleep, etc.. i have always been the miss independent, "i can do it all on my own, thank you very much" type of girl, but i definitely can't do this alone, and i am thankful for our friends and family who have stepped up to offer help. i am especially thankful to the complete strangers in this state who have opened up their home to us. i am thinking that the next home we buy (and we are looking) should have a nice basement setup so we can pay it forward to others in difficult situations.

3 - relax.

worrying will not change a thing. i feel like sometimes God is like, "Jenny, seriously, why are you wasting your time worrying? you don't have a clue what you should even be worrying about! I've got this."for instance, in the beginning i was worried that Brody's birth mom would change her mind. i had no clue i should be worried about a possible birth father who is a meth head wanting to take him. do i still worry and ponder the worst-case-scenario? yep. but all that does is make me sick to my stomach. so i've been learning to relax (something i NEVER do back home). brody and i swung on a porch swing yesterday for 3 hours. i never would have allowed myself that pleasure if i was back home with so much "stuff" to get done.

4 - things can always get worse than they are, even when you think that you can't handle one more thing.

i'm going to be honest with you and tell you i spent 2 whole days crying intermittently. i could barely look at brody without my guts feeling like someone was literally reaching inside my body, grabbing them in a fist and hurling them around the room. but i have learned to never say "things can't possibly get any worse." things can always get worse (broke-down car the morning we were supposed to leave the hotel?!), and they can always get better.

5 - money is nothing.

when i had just found out how much money i was going to lose per day for adoption leave i was a little bit sick to my stomach. and when i found out how much a hotel was going to cost for the 2-weeks we thought we would have to stay i started thinking about how i could work from the hotel. BUT, after our world was rocked with news of a possible birth father all of those worries flew out the window. big deal. money is just money, and it's not important in the grand scheme. plus, we are fortunate to have parents and an amazing group of church college kids back home who are as selfless as it gets. (PS - we sold our house in february, so we have one less mortgage payment to think about. think God had anything to do with that?)

6 - God is being glorified through all of this, and he is absolutely in control.

some might wonder how i can say something like that when things are so up in the air with Brody. i can say it because i know it's true, and no matter what my emotions are telling me from one moment to the other (they have tried to tell me some crazy things, i assure you.), i know that He has always proven himself to be perfectly loving and perfectly in control of every situation. why would this situation be any different? did i ask Him why this was happening? sure did. did i get angry because this situation STINKS? yep, and sometimes i still am. but i still know he has everything under control and that he was and is holding us even as the crappiest things imaginable unfold. He is the same loving and gracious God yesterday, today, and forever, and He hears my prayers, cries, moans, groans, utterances, pleadings, and praises.

Romans 8:26 says "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." sometimes i don't know what to say to God or how to put my feelings into words, but the Spirit is there to voice my prayers for me.

i will close with this thought, from coacher: "He hath made everything beautiful in his time." Ecc. 3:11. We are fighting for our firstborn; God says it's beautiful.

a new "home"

on thursday evening brody and i moved into a new "home." we are still out of state, but it is much more of a home than a hotel room ever was. we had spent over 3 weeks in the same hotel room. (whoa.) it's crazy to even think about that now, and although i know for a fact that i didn't like it one bit, i think the Lord has helped me forget how much i really did hate it and how long i was there. it's a bit of a blur in my memory, except for the parts about brody, our visitors, and coacher's visits. those memories are very clear.

we are now staying in the basement of the sweetest couple in all of the south. since they don't know about the blog i will refer to them as j & l. they adopted a son from Guatemala through the same agency we are using, and our agency put us in contact with them. they live in a beautiful house in the country (it's actually very similar to what we've been looking at (coveting?) for a home of our own back in missouri. here are our headquarters in the house:


pretty homey, huh? and there's a refrigerator, microwave, and toaster oven down here (but not within 3 feet of the bed, like in the hotel). it's the little things.

as for an update, we have had several visitors this past week. my parents were in town for 10 days as coacher went back to coach. coacher's sister and her family also came up to visit and provide some much-needed comic relief and perspective. my sister-in-law and niece also came in for a visit....



(she looks good with that bottle...maybe my niece needs another little brother or sister?)

anyway, back to thursday. we got all packed up to move brody and i into the basement of this new place, and when my dad turned the key the car wouldn't start. we got a hotel maintenance guy to try to start it...no dice. my mom called aaa, they came and jumped it on the first try. as they were on their way, brody had a dirty diaper, so i went up to change him and "the brody fountain" (as my dad calls it) went off and i had to change all of his clothes. anyway, we took the car to sears to get it fixed, but they didn't have the right starter to fix it and had to order it in. it would be there at 5 thursday night, so we walked from sears to our hotel (back to the hotel AGAIN!) to wait. good grief. then my dad walked back to pick up the jeep. (what would i do without my parents?!)

as for the whole scope of the adoption, we finally got in contact with the birth mother's attorney (and we are all basically fighting the same fight and, therefore, on the same team), who was able to answer plenty of our questions and be very straightforward with us. (we had called at least 30 different people in 2 different states for answers and gotten nothing...) he said we can order (and pay for) a dna test for this chump in jail, so he and our agency should be getting on that after he has a chance to talk to the birth mother about the chump's attitude toward it. for a few days there, the birth mother was unable to be contacted, which freaked us out a bit. turns out her phone has been on the fritz, but it was enough to make me nauseous for a while.

we also got into contact with one person at our agency back home who was able to get things rolling on the icpc paperwork, which gives us hope that brody and i can come back to missouri very soon. together, emily (the beacon of hope at our agency back home) and the birth mother's attorney have made the head of icpc aware of our situation and have worked very hard to push paperwork through. (this after i emailed someone at our agency back home BEGGING for help since no one at our agency here seemed to care.) the attorney said the head of icpc seems to be sympathetic to the situation, but she will be out until tuesday. the prayer is that the paperwork is on her desk when she gets back and that she can convince the secretary of child welfare to sign off on it (this is a must, and she is a stickler, apparently). please pray specifically for their favorable judgment in this situation.

a side note on the potential birth father: many people in my family have seen his picture and compared his features to brody's, and their verdict is that Brody doesn't look a thing like him. we just need to get the dna test DONE and go from there. my prayer is that God takes him out of the picture entirely and gives us Brody permanently.

here is a picture of Brody's actual daddy:


coacher got to come back to visit us yesterday after 10 days away. 10 days was forever! (but for some perspective, imagine what our service men and women go through when they miss their children being born, talking, walking, etc. wow. THANK YOU for serving our country. that is a HUGE and unimaginable sacrifice.)

i will end it for now with this...today is brody's 1-month birthday, and he got his picture taken with the Easter bunny to celebrate:

that's the little snuggle bunny with the big Easter bunny. they got along really well.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

help

"Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help." Ps. 22:11

"Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man." Ps. 60:11

"Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications."

I don't know that there are any more situationally applicable pleas to God written in the Bible than the ones written above. We have literally been calling attorneys, social services, our adoption agency, and friends of friends all day long in order to get help for this situation. 99% of our efforts seem to be in vain. We know that God is in control but it is so hard to understand why all of this is happening.

We seem to have our hands tied with this. Brody is still in our care, and the birth mother is still strongly in favor of this adoption, but it seems that there is nothing that we can do to 1) expedite the process, or 2) cross state lines with Brody until we get a final court ruling regarding the termination of parental rights. We have called at least 10 attorneys in both our own state and the one we are in now, and we have not found anyone who can give us much hope (or who was very sympathetic to the situation, for that matter) for getting back to our state.

ICPC (Interstate Compact on Placement of Children) is the regulating force involved, and we must submit paperwork in order to get ICPC clearance to cross state lines with Brody. However, since Brody's birth mother's termination of parental rights hearing was pushed back, ICPC clearance is much more difficult to obtain. Our adoption agency has told us that if we are here another 6 weeks (in addition to the 3 we've already spent here) they will look into filing ICPC paperwork for us (since essentially they are the ones with temporary custody). We say why not work on that now? According to several people, we will be here at least 30 more days WAITING, and it could be several months. I sent an email to our agency BEGGING them to work on ICPC right now; they say they are working on it today. I'll let you know.

If you are wondering why the birth mother's termination of parental rights court date was pushed back (it was supposed to be last Tuesday), it's because if she terminated her rights it would leave Brody wide open to this meth head who is claiming to be the father. That's not in Brody's best interests. However, living in a hotel room is not in his best interests either, so it's a catch-22. Not that we would, but several people have advised us to put him into foster care while we come back to our home to take care of things and wait for the process to unfold. That is not an option, as his birth mother was very adamant from the beginning about getting him into our hands so that he is not in a temporary home. (And like I said, we won't to do that.)

The DNA testing is supposedly "in the courts" somewhere, meaning the court system will probably get to it sometime in 2011 or 2012. several lawyers we've spoken to say we need to have someone (ie lawyer) pushing that through the courts for us, OR we need to voluntarily get a private company to do DNA testing (Our Cost:$500-$1500).

More on the potential birth father:
(He's serving jail time for trafficking meth, has failed to appear for several court hearings, and has been in possession of marijuana in the past.) He is from the same (very) small town as the birth mother, and his family is well-known in the community. His parents own a farm and have money. It's possible that either his father or his grandfather was a state representative. Basically, his family situation makes it very possible that they have influence over judges, so we think we need to have all later trials moved to the county we are in, as opposed to the county in which this potential father lives. Too much "adjusting" of the law could occur there. From what I've gathered, he is just one of many potential fathers. (From the beginning, we were led to believe there was only one potential father, and he wanted nothing to do with this baby.)

Sparing the rest of the details and an emotional outpouring of "why won't anyone hear or help us?!?" I will end this post for today. Please continue to keep us, Brody, the birth mother and the lawyers involved in pleading our case before judges (as well as the judges themselves) in your prayers. We can't do this alone. This is proving to be a HUGE battle, and we know that the battle belongs to the Lord.

"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:

fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way,
because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass..."






Friday, April 1, 2011

jail

the newest update (as briefly as possible). the potential father was sentenced to 90 days in prison today for his two counts of meth trafficking. what a joke. cops worked for over a year to nail these guys, and then the meth-heads only got 3 months in jail. that is a disgrace.

but it is what it is. coacher and i were both as close to vomiting as it gets as we awaited the outcome of his trial this morning, because he could have made a plea bargain and received parole only. that would have been worse (for us). i looked at his picture on the jail webpage (it popped up as i was searching for other people who were involved in the big drug bust). brody seems to have some of his features.

also, he was finally served the paperwork for involuntary termination of parental rights. now he has 20 days to make a decision. his decision might be to wait 19 days and then say he wants parental rights, and it seems as thought we can't do anything about it.

monday afternoon we have a meeting with one of the lawyers involved in the case, and we are hoping to get some answers from her. one lawyer and the two case workers that have worked with us at our adoption agency will be on vacation all of next week (one of them out of the country), which makes it very difficult for me to believe that they are "working on this like it's our own child" as they told us the other day in our meeting as i sobbed into my clenched fists. am i angry? yes i am.

but coacher and i will get through it, and we will love this baby forever.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the situation

today was supposed to be the day we got parental rights for Brody and were able to leave this county.

however, as i type this i am sitting in the same hotel room i've been in for the past two weeks. but that's of little concern in the grand scheme of things. here's the situation:

we were told last wednesday that a man had come to Brody's birth mother requesting a DNA paternity test. our agency told us nothing would be done until he contacted the birth mother's attorney and formally requested a test. we heard nothing of it in the next few days, so we figured he was just some guy trying to stir up trouble in a small town.

fast forward to yesterday. our agency called to tell us that the man had gotten an attorney and wanted to take a paternity test. therefore, our court date was moved (and is still TBD), because it's not smart to terminate the rights of the birth mother when this guy is out there trying to get rights to the baby.

the birth mother has told us numerous times that he is not the father and that we have nothing to worry about. (but how are we to stop ourselves from worrying?...she might be mistaken.) since filing for the dna test, this guy has gone missing in action, and nothing can get done until the agency finds him to 1) serve him papers for involuntary termination of parental rights, or 2) to get a swab for dna testing.

you might be wondering why it would be possible to serve him papers for involuntary termination of parental rights when he is the one requesting the rights. that would be because he has a court date this friday for trafficking meth (and he thinks he is fit to parent? and he wants to take the baby we LOVE?!) attorneys on both sides of that case think he will go to jail, but that all depends on the judge. also, he could ask for a trial, which could be scheduled for sometime in the distant future, thus stalling everything if his dna matches Brody's because we would need to prove that he is unfit to parent by using his meth case as a reason.

where has he been the last 9 months? why can he not be found now that he has requested a dna test? wouldn't he want to get the dna test done ASAP if he really had the best interested of this precious baby in mind? why is this happening? what if...? will i get to keep my job after being gone for as long as this might take? why? why? why? all of these are questions that have run through my mind, and i have no answers. i have experienced the full range of emotions, from hurt to anger to anxiety to fear to moments of peace to downright weepy. however, coacher and i must continue to remind myself that God's plans are awesome and he will be glorified in this. i am thankful to have him here to speak Truth and be a solid rock.

our agency is doing everything possible to get this sorted out. my parents have come back to this town to be with me and Brody while coacher coaches some baseball games back home. our friends and family have lifted us up in prayer and strengthened us with their encouraging words and kindness, and now we wait. we are so thankful and blessed to have such amazing people in our lives, and we cannot say thank you enough for their thoughts and prayers.

please continue to pray, as we know that "the effectual fervant prayer of a righteous man availeth much." i have prayed that dna proves that this guy is not the father, that this guy gets locked up for a long time and ruled unfit to parent, that the judges in all cases involved rules in our favor, that things go quickly, and that we two and the birth mother will have peace. (she remains committed in her decision to make an adoption plan and we have a very good relationship with her. she is also stressed and just as ready for closure and for us to take Brody home as we are.

here is some more Truth that has helped me keep perspective and peace (and thank you to our dear friends who have sent these words our way):

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

"The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken." - Ps. 34:15-20

Sunday, March 27, 2011

AKA

little lotz has acquired a vast array of nicknames:

1. snuggle monster (as discussed earlier)

2. big chief potty pants - i bet you can guess why, but what you don't know is that this is the nickname given to my brother by the hospital nurses when he was born. technically, this makes little lotz "big chief potty pants II." (this has got to be one of my brother's most proud moments.)

3. hotel baby - this tuesday (when we leave, Lord willing), brody and i will have been in this hotel 13 days. (in that time we have seen snow, sleet, hail, tornado warnings, 70-degree days, and an evening fire alarm!). the staff here has accepted him as their own, and when we come down to the lobby we usually have at least a few staff members asking about him or wanting to hold him. the housekeeping staff is AWESOME, always working around our schedule (which is basically just brody's sleeping schedule). also, the manager is adopting a child from taiwan soon, so he was excited to have us (and i'm pretty sure he had something to do with lowering the hotel rate for our extended stay).

4. squeaker or beaker - he makes a lot of funny squeaky noises. (beaker is from the muppet babies cartoons that i used to watch growing up...so awesome. look him up.)

we continue to pray that we will get to come home with him soon so he can accumulate more nicknames from our friends and family. our court date for parental rights is tuesday, after which we will meet with his birth mom again, then we can leave this county! we'll head closer to home and coacher will go all the way home to coach baseball until we get clearance to exit the state.

side note: we received some discouraging news last wednesday about the potential for a "possible" birth father wanting to take a paternity test. it made us sick to our stomachs, but we haven't heard anything since then and we think he was just trying to stir stuff up with the birth mother. please continue to pray for her and for the difficult situations she may be in. she is a courageous and strong woman, and we will always be thankful for her decision to place this sweet boy in our care.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

snuggle monster

this is brody's new nickname. this kid hates to be exposed, out there, free, and vulnerable. he'd much rather be snuggled, like this:


and he can't really sleep unless he feels some part of someone else touching him. as i type, he is snuggle-sleeping with his "Memaw" and dreaming sweet baby dreams. last night, he did a little bit of cuddling with her as well. can you see the smile on his face in this picture?


and of course he has done some major cuddling with his Daddy:


(i would say i have this "proud mama" thing figured out, wouldn't you?)

and now for some serious stuff. this is an open adoption, which were not prepared to take part in. however, now that we have met his birth mother we know that she needs the openness so that she will know she made the right decision in making an adoption plan. that is not too much to ask of us, especially considering the gift she is giving us! we regularly communicate her to let her know how much brody is being loved, which is good, but at the same time we are feeling very vulnerable ourselves (and we hate this feeling as much as little brody does). she could still change her mind before our court date! he is a beautiful baby and she knows it (because we send her pictures). her friends are trying to convince her that she should keep him, and her family is trying to convince her to let them take care of him. she knows we can love him and give him plenty of opportunities, and she has been very gracious, mature, and selfless throughout the situation, but there is still that small chance. sooo, we are anxiously awaiting next tuesday when the gavel goes down and he adoption is finalized.

so please continue to pray for God's hand in this. we know that His plans are perfect.

(PS - I have made a few edits to my previous post. and if any of you are wondering why i said we were doing a bi-racial adoption and he looks white in his pics it's because his birth mom and birth dad were both bi-racial, and he is extremely light-skinned. i guess i'll have to hold off on the crazy hairdos i was planning.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

perfect timing

the title of this post says it all, but i will fill you in with the details as quickly and efficiently as possible...

first of all, feast your eyes on this piece of lotz-lovin':


that's our new baby, charles brody lotz (aka brody), provided everything goes well up until and on march 29 when the courts finalize our adoption. this post outlines the story of how he came into our lives in 2 short months and why it was perfectly timed.

mid-year 2010 - began thinking about international adoption, then decided against it due to the time constraints of our jobs (we both teach and coach...couldn't be out of the country for 2-8 weeks during school year or season) AND the fact that plenty of babies in the US need loving homes.

december 2010 - after learning that there is a great need for adoptive parents for African American/bi-racial babies, decided to be open to adopting a baby of any race.

late December 2010 - "coincidentally" discovered that a couple of new friends of ours were just beginning the home study/adoption process, AND they also planned to adopt a bi-racial or African American baby. "cheated" off of them by just following their footsteps through the adoption process and began home study paperwork for adoption.

january/february 2011 - completed 3 interviews and the home study, as well as our adoption profile for birth mothers to view when choosing a family for their biological children. we also sold our house on february 5 and the new owners wanted into the house february 25. sooo, with little time to find and buy a new house, we moved into my parents' basement. (more on that later...my parents are seriously awesome people.)

march 4 - this was the date on the approval letter for our home study, and the date our profile officially entered circulation into birth mothers' hands.

march 10 - the date we got the approval letter for our home study, since we had moved and the mail was slow getting to us.

march 12 - the first saturday of our spring break. we ate out at ihop and planned a very lazy spring break. (little did we know...) then we headed to coacher's school to work at a few quarterfinal basketball games. got a phone call at about 11:00 am, which went something like this:

coacher answered, and the woman on the other end said, "this is Lydia from ABI. do you have a second to talk?"

coacher said yep, thinking we left something undone on our final paperwork. after that i watched his facial expressions change in radical ways, and mid-way through the conversation he did a fist-pump.

"we showed your profile to a birthmother. i'm not sure if you knew that or not." (nope, we didn't.) "and i'm calling to let you know that you've been chosen. the baby was born wednesday, and we would like you to be in (different state) on monday."

we were shocked, thrilled, excited, anxious, amazed, etc., and we spoke to the birth mother about 20 minutes later (heavy conversation...more on that later).

our thought process: we didn't have to take this one. there would be another baby to come along....the timing wasn't perfect...
1. we didn't have a house of our own;
2. it was the beginning of coacher's baseball season (which in the grand scheme of life doesn't really hold a candle to this opportunity);
3. were we prepared?! (most people wait months, sometimes YEARS to be chosen and get this phone call)
4. i had approximately 7 sick days left in the school year, which would be eaten up quickly by a trip to another state;

BUT the door was open, and we knew we needed/wanted to keep walking through doors until they closed. we agreed to make the trip.

(if you are counting, that's 8 days between our home study approval and being chosen. whoa.)


march 13 - completed a home study addendum so my parent's house could be approved for adoption.

march 14 - drove all day (through SNOW and rain). at one point we accidentally missed a turn, and as it turns out we would have had to turn around if we had made that turn because the bridge crossing the river was out. (coincidence? i think not.) this detour would have cost us an hour, and that time lost might have broken the deal for the birth mother. she wanted us there soon so she could get some closure, and in her fragile state that might have been the straw.... we met the birth mother (who is BEAUTIFUL and handled everything with composure and grace as well as can be expected) and her 3-year-old cutie of a daughter in an applebee's in small-town USA that night. had a great conversation with her, and when we left she was sure she wanted to make an adoption plan with us. she had told the case worker she couldn't do it unless she was 100% sure it was right. and she said it was.

another open door.

march 15 - 11:30 - went to abi to sign paperwork, and they brought baby brody to meet us.

WHAT A DAY!!! i was shaking when they brought him in. he was and is perfect. (if you're counting, that's about 72 hours between first mention of the possibility of having a baby and having the baby in our arms and living with us in a hotel.)


march 18 - coacher's first baseball game, which he missed. coacher's assistant coach's wife is pregnant and DUE ANY DAY during this time, and we were a little bit nervous she would go into labor and leave the baseball team without a coach.

march 20 - coacher's assistant's wife's water broke THE SECOND he stepped into his house after being gone at an away game (which was postponed to a different day due to storms midway through the game).

march 29 - the court date when the final ruling is made regarding parental rights. we are holding our breath until that day comes, praying for peace for brody's birth mother and that all goes smoothly so she doesn't change her mind. we are in love with this little guy!

in conclusion, the timing was more perfect than we could have ever planned for...
1. we were on spring break when we got the call, meaning i didn't have to use my sick days for travel/waiting
2. we were living in my parents' basement (which may not seem like a great scenario, but think about it: if i have questions about the baby, i just walk upstairs! and it's mortgage-free, which is awesome because adoption is SUPER EXPENSIVE [but worth every penny])
3. we will have all summer to cuddle him!
4. it was early in coacher's baseball season, meaning he wouldn't miss the "big games"

perfect timing side note: my discover card earns extra rewards in "travel" (ie--restaurants and hotels) during the month of march. another example of perfect timing, because at this rate we will be earning a BUNCH of money from discover! yet still not enough to fund an adoption. ;o)

please pray for peace and salvation for brody's birth mother and for her two other babies, as well as for us as we try to remain patient while living in a hotel in a distant city (ugh), bleeding money, and waiting for the final ruling, which is about to drive us nuts.