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.