Friday, July 27, 2012

It's official!

Just mailed out our adoptive parent application. :) Here we go! :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm Still Infertile

I've been thinking a lot about infertility this week. I have reflected our IVF days and mentally relived finding out we were pregnant, and the devastation of losing our little baby two short weeks later. I had a good cry about it last night with Ryan. And this morning I looked at pictures of the little embryos that God blessed us with earlier this year. 
Babies 1 and 2
Babies 3 and 4
And Baby 5, the little trooper that hung on the longest  

Switching gears from treatment to adoption lifted so much stress and constant discouragement off of my heart. I am soooo excited to start actually moving forward now that we've picked an agency. But I'm also still infertile. And I think it's ok to be sad and cry about that from time to time, even if it springs up on me in the middle of adoption excitement.

I don't know how long our adoption process will take, but it could be another couple years before God gives us a baby to bring home. I am resting in the fact that He has given us strength thus far. I know that He will supply grace to us to get through whatever wait He has in mind for our family in the future. <3

Monday, July 23, 2012

And Our Agency is....

NightLight Christian Adoptions! :) We had a great meeting with Bethany Christian Services on Friday, and left feeling pretty confident that we would be happy with either agency. They have the same philosophy and values, including birthmother care which is important to Ryan and I. So it really just came down to smaller issues of preference. 

1) Ratio of birthmothers to adoptive couples - Bethany is a little bit larger than Nightlight, and the social worker said that they typically work with 23-25 birthmothers, and 35 adoptive couples annually. Nightlight works with an average of 15 birthmothers and 17 adoptive couples. Because there are not as many birthmothers to go around at Bethany, their estimated wait time was about a year longer than at NightLight.

2) Financial incentives - NightLight has their fee structure set up so that a portion of the cost is considered a donation, which will be tax deductible. NightLight will also lower the cost of the adoption by $6,000 if we are able to find a birthmother outside of the agency. Bethany does not offer either of these incentives.

3) Availability - I know that some of the availability issues we had with Bethany were circumstantial. She was on vacation, then she was sick, she is not in the office on Thursdays which is a good day for us, etc. Still, having to wait three weeks to meet with someone was not ideal, and it concerned us that the rest of the process might be similar. We showed up at the NightLight meeting at the wrong time, and they called someone to come out to see us on a Saturday when they were closed. She then called me the next day to apologize for the impromptu setting and asked if we had all of our questions answered. The director has also responded to my emails within a couple hours. She has definitely scored some points on the availability scale.

I spoke with Victory, the NightLight director, today and she was thrilled to have us on board. :) Next step is the official application and then we can move on to our home study! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meeting on Friday

We are finally meeting with Bethany Christian Services on Friday afternoon. :) This meeting will be a deciding factor between the two adoption agencies that we've narrowed it down to. Please pray for wisdom, and that we ask the right questions. I have a list already, but I welcome suggestions from anyone who has gone through the experience of picking an agency. We're hoping to have a decision this weekend! :) 

(the fact that this pic is from Inglorious Bastards, somehow makes it all the more ridiculous. *teehee*)

Monday, July 16, 2012

FAQ #3: Open or Closed adoption?

I think that our hearts toward the birthmother's side of things has been the biggest change in the adoption thought process so far. When asked if we will have an open adoption, I can now wholeheartedly say "Yes!" :) Providing, of course, that God matches us with someone who wants the same thing. YouTube has really helped me gain the birthmothers' perspective, and I hope that the occasional  posts about this topic has been helpful for my readers as well (such as this post, or that post). 

I don't know exactly what our relationship will look like, because we are people and all relationships are different. :) Not to mention, everyone involved in this adoption is going to be going through a lot of intense and dynamic emotions. The birthmother (as well as her support system, I hope) will be experiencing a huge loss, and the biggest heartache of her life. We will be blessed with the greatest joy at finally getting the baby that we've hoped and prayed for. How do these two parties interact? I have no idea! lol. But what I do know is that she's a person, not just a step in a process or a means to an end. Our prayer is that we have an immediate connection with the person we are matched with, and that we can shower her with the love of Christ. Who knows, she may want to include us at ultrasound appointments and, maybe even be in the delivery room with her when the baby is born. It would be completely contradictory to go through that with someone, and then once the baby is born to say "Goodbye, I never want to see you again!" That just wouldn't make sense!

What we have in mind is not co-parenting, and we don't expect to see her at every family function, but with technology these days, there is no reason that we couldn't keep in touch in a completely non-intrusive fashion. We would be happy to set up a website to upload pictures and videos of the baby, that she could see as often as she likes. Maybe even get together once or twice a year, it really just depends on how our relationship unfolds. But the agency will help us figure out our expectations and help us communicate, and set up boundaries prior to the finalization of the adoption so that both parties are happy with the arrangement.

You can definitely be praying for us about this. That there would be a mutual respect and love with the birthmother that we will get matched with. That both parties have wisdom as we decide what we want the relationship to look like, before and after the baby is born. That the agency would help us communicate our expectations to one another, and that we would be blessed with a great relationship for years to come. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

FAQ #2: How Long Will This Take?

Another frequently asked question is how long the process of adoption will take. Well, after we apply with an agency, it usually takes two to three months to complete the home study. The completion of the home study is the point when we would be eligible to get matched with a birthmother. However, after that, it really just depends on factors outside our control. What birthmothers are currently working with our agency? What criteria have they set for the family they want to adopt their baby? What criteria have we set for a birthmother/baby? As I explained in my previous post, we are open to race and gender, so hopefully that will work in our favor.

The agency will not match a birthmother up with an adopting couple until she is at least 6 months along in her pregnancy. That is nice because once we are actually matched, it should only be a couple short months until we get to bring our baby home. But it's the waiting in between home study and match that's going to be the killer. We will have done everything that we need to, and we literally just have to wait. ::sigh:: NightLight Christian Services said that they have never had a couple wait more than two years. However, I know a few families who only waited a few months, so it could happen that quickly as well. It's totally in God's hands. 

One way to potentially speed up the matching process, is to find a birthmother on our own, outside of the agency, and then refer her to the agency for counseling and all of the legalities. This will also bring the cost of adoption down pretty significantly. You can be a part of this! Many, if not most, couples find a birthmother through word of mouth. So consider this full license to talk about us with everyone you know! haha. ;) The plan is to do a widespread campaign once we finish our homestudy, utilizing the WheresBabyMiller facebook page. At that point, we will be ready to aggressively search for B-Ma and we will be calling on you to help us, so stay tuned. :) 

Monday, July 9, 2012

FAQ #1: Preferences on race or gender?

As Ryan and I have started talking to people about beginning the adoption process, we've both been asked the same handful of questions right off the bat. I thought it might be profitable to answer them on the blog to clear things up for the online world. :)

One of the first things that people have asked me is if we can pick the gender and race of our future child. Well, yes, through the agency we will have the ability to set criteria for what we might want. However, Ryan and I do not have too many restrictions in mind. :) We definitely do not have a gender preference, and we are totally open to white, brown, black, and yellow children. ;) lol. I think that local adoption without restrictions on gender or race is especially exciting, because we can't even begin to guess what Baby Miller will look like! 

I suppose that in one sense, it might be easier to be matched with a child that has similar coloring to Ryan and I. There would definitely be less weird looks and questions from random people when we are out as a family. :) But I am challenged by the fact that my heavenly Father has children from every tribe and nation. Who am I to choose otherwise? :)