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.