We have always leaned on one another for support, but now more than ever. Here is a quick rundown of our story and where we are at right now in our lives. Jeff and I have been married for 8 years, 1 month, and 11 days. We are more in love today than we have ever been. Though our family has faced many trials and pain we are glued together. We have found that if you put God first in your marriage and your lives, you can overcome anything.
I’ve know of a lot of couples calling it quits after facing infertility. They say that hardships can tear your marriage apart or make you stronger. We’ve decided that we will let it make us stronger.
We started trying to conceive 5 years ago this coming April. We have lost one child (I was about 8 weeks along. I might share this story one day with you). We tried for a biological child for one year before I decided to go see my OB/GYN. I had been charting my cycle for 6 months and he said it appeared I had been ovulating. We were sent to Montgomery to a fertility specialist named Dr. Allemand. He works with the ART program. Jeff and I both underwent numerous tests and procedures, some very painful and expensive. If you are in the same boat and are curious about our specific struggles please feel free to email me. I’d love to help or just be there to listen.
We have done 3 IUI’s. All three were medicated. The last one I had injected a large amount of hormones into me. I had grown around 10 – 15 fully matured eggs. My ovaries were so full I couldn’t get out of bed. I was in so much pain, but I knew “this is gonna be it.” “It’s going to work this time.” Well, it didn’t. I’m pretty sure there is a link between fertility drugs and getting cancer later in life. Whatever the case, I know extended use with drugs of any kind have risks. I didn’t feel like it was healthy anymore and neither did Jeff. We were tired of putting our bodies and minds through so much. Our hearts were aching. The pain every single month of knowing you did every thing you could to conceive and you still fell short. It was hurting us.
March 2012. I met a friend at a lectureship in Memphis that had saw my facebook status. “Moving on to adoption, please post any happy stories or experiences with us.” ((something to that effect)) She informs me of a program in China that she heard about that helps Christian families adopt for half the cost of a normal Chinese adoption. When we get home they email us the contact information of the director.
April 2012. Lots of emails and phone calls. We set up a meeting for June 17th. We can’t wait.
May 2012. I’ve been in contact with a foster mom in China who has a little girl that needs to be adopted. We tell Ron (the man helping us adopt from China) about her. He says it might work, but will be hard since she is in a government ran orphanage not a Christian one. Also, we complete our third IUI with no success.
June 2012. The government orphanage wants “bribe” money for Eliana. It’s going to be too expensive and we have no guarantee that they will let us adopt after they receive the money. We meet with Ron and his wife and decide we won’t be able to pursue adoption of Eliana. They say we are number 3 on the list to be able to adopt out of one of their 6 orphanages, but we will have to be willing to accept a special needs child. Also, It is going to be very difficult to adopt from China because we are under 30. The law says you have to be 30. We are 26 and almost 28.
July 2012. We decide it will be best to go ahead and have a homestudy, and for future adoptions we decide we will adopt through the state. We started our 10 week program with our county. The classes are every Monday night for 3 hours.
August 2012. Grateful for the classes, they pass the time. We are really getting to know one another well and figure out how we developed a lot of traits because of our upbringing. During our 5th class we ask the social worker about adopting a baby or younger child. She informs us it is practically unheard of. The youngest child in the system available for adoption is 8. She tells us our best chance is to foster first then we will have the first option to adopt after the family. Of course we say no, we aren’t ready for that. By the next class we knew we were going to be foster parents. *note
September 2012. We are finger printed. We have completed our First Aid and CPR classes. We have all of our paperwork turned in and finish the classes September 10th. First homestudy was scheduled for the beginning of September. Our case worker called the day of to tell us she couldn’t come. We tried to reschedule for the following week. It never worked out. She acted like it wasn’t a rush. Since we had some remodeling work to do on our house she said we could wait until we get that finished.
October 2012. Working on the house.
November 2012. Working on the house. Enjoying the holidays.
December 2012. We are ready! Things aren’t perfect, but at least we have the paint and chemicals locked up. We were told through a friend we would have to have references. I asked the social worker and she was like, oh yeah, hmmm….maybe they didn’t get them. So she sends me the forms and informs me that to foster we have to have so many filled out before we are approve. We get them sent out and our first homestudy is scheduled for the 11th. She takes 5 minutes to run through the house. Looks like we just need to put up our fire alarm and take down our gas heater. You can read that post here. The final homestudy was on the 19th and again took 5 minutes. (I’ve heard there are tons more steps and time involved if you adopt through a private agency) During the last homestudy we found out that if we wanted to foster a baby we would need a crib. Here is the post about that. We enjoyed Christmas, but were really wishing we had babies in our arms to enjoy it with us.
January 2013. It’s a new year! Ron informs us that we are #1 on the list to adopt from China. Yippee! He says they haven’t had babies in months, but they are doing everything they can to find us one. I have emailed our social worker a few times. She says she’s busy. I wait a few weeks, email a couple more times, no response.
February 2013. The month of love is here and we still have no babies to love on. I decide to call the supervisor (the one who has to sign off on our paperwork). She informs me that there is nothing left for us to do. It’s in their hands. They are swamped. She can’t tell me if it will be weeks or months. Nothing. Still waiting
March 2013. We are full circle now. It’s been exactly a year since we started this journey. Yesterday, (3/27/13) I got an email saying that our paperwork has been written up, and now it’s just waiting for approval! I wrote to the Commissioner of DHR for our state, stating how we have kinda been forgotten. Apparently it worked! Either that or this is a total coincidence! Either way, I feel like we are closer to becoming parents today then we were yesterday. This journey has only begun and we need LOTS of prayers.
April 2013. A whole lot of things happened this month, including meeting with a birth mother. Things didn’t work out with that adoption, but we still have hope that our babies are somewhere out there.
May 2013. We were placed with our first foster baby, Little Bit! I think we got her the first day of the month too! She’s been such a blessing to our family. I’m taking lots of pictures of her, but I’m not allowed to share any on here (that show her face). It’s one of the rules of foster care. So far it’s been 3 weeks and we are loving being a family with a toddler! Please keep us and Little Bit’s family in your prayers (as she will be returning home). We don’t know how long we will have her, but we are living each day to it’s fullest!
June 2013. Little Bit left after one month and was placed with her aunt. We got Elijah, a 3 year old, on the 19th of this month as a possible adoption placement!
July 2013. After we had Elijah for a month DHR called with an emergency placement for just the weekend, “Littlest M.” She stayed with us for two weeks and then went to live with another foster family who had her siblings. On the 29th of this month Everett was born.
August 2013. August 2nd Everett was brought home from the hospital at 4 days old. Our lives haven’t been the same since. Adjusting to a newborn and a three year old is harder than having just one, but we are loving every minute of it. We are really enjoying the time with our boys and pray we will get to keep both of them. We’ve been able to take them to the Birmingham Zoo and to the beach in Gulf Shores. It’s so fun making memories as a family!
September 2013. On the 6th we received the call that Elijah’s birth parents appeal had been rejected, meaning we could move forward with the adoption. September 10th we had our adoption homestudy. September 19th we filled out all our adoption paperwork and met with our lawyer. We have a post-placement visit on the 24th and go to court to make Elijah’s adoption official on the 26th. We are planning his adoption party for October 5th. It happened! We are officially parents! He is officially OURS!
October 2013. Technically the judge didn’t get all the paperwork finished and filled out until the end of this month. This is when Elijah was “technically/legally” ours. Once the “Final Decree” is issued, then all of your child’s documents can be changed.
November 2013. Our lawyer sends off the original birth certificate to Elijah’s state of birth, so we can get his new name on it, and ours! All of Everett’s biological relatives have been contacted about possible placement with them. We are waiting on them to send letters in to DHR, stating they cannot take care of him.
December 2013. We have the most perfect Christmas with our two boys.
January 2014. It’s going to take a while to get in the birth certificate for Elijah (there’s a hang up in his birth state…no more info). We get a new social worker for Everett.
February 2014. We get Elijah a new social security card and insurance card with his name. It was so exciting to see legal documents with his new name on it. Still no birth certificate. We have our first visit with new worker…she seems very nice and professional.
March 2014. On the 3rd parental rights are terminated for Everett! We have to wait 14 days to see if anyone will appeal. This is the longest two weeks of our life! Meanwhile we have to update our homestudy to be foster/adoptive parents…we can’t believe it’s been a year!!! The homestudy was exactly the same. Check hot water temp (under 120), check fire alarm, and extinguisher, make sure medicines and chemicals are locked up, check crib. We also had to have all of our training hours turned in (15 per year per person). Today (17th) we have another visit with the caseworker. Hopefully she will let us know if anyone has appealed the TPR.
April 2014. We expected to get back in town from the lectureships we were at and be able to sign papers. Instead they switched our caseworker again. I think we’ve had three now.
May 2014. We were told we’d get to adopt Everett this month. Of course it didn’t happen. We had to have a visit and an ISP with DHR before we could sign all the paperwork. We did get to sign all his adoption paperwork for DHR and for the lawyer on the 16th, when we got home that afternoon Everett learned to clap. It was perfect timing of course, and I cried.
June 2014. We had a pre-adoptive visit with Everett’s new caseworker. We had political elections this month and our judge was in them. She couldn’t take any cases until they were over. So our paperwork sat on a desk for another 2 weeks. Thankfully the date was set for June 11th. It happened! It finally happened! He is ours! It’s not the end of our story, but it is the end of two long years trying to adopt and one long year trying to specifically adopt our two boys! So happy we are done with it all and can move forward. Well, as usual we still have to have another visit with DHR before we get the final decree. I did forget to mention it will take a while to get that and all the legal documents. But he is ours and no one can take him…that’s all that matters!
*note: Our goal is to ADOPT. We totally understand that there is a huge chance we won’t get to adopt all or most of the kids we foster. Fostercare is set up as a “temporary” home for the kids until they can go back home to their parents. Jeff and I want the children to be reunited with their parents if their parents will love and take care of them. The ideal situation would be for a child to be with their birth parents. Sometimes it’s not possible. We don’t want to sabotage any chance for the children to go home. We do know there are children whose parents cannot or will not change and get their lives in order so they can get their kids back. We want to adopt these kids.
While we will have some children we are blessed to be able to foster and only foster, we know that the short time we have them will be a blessing for them and us. We can show them unconditional love, we can teach them about our Father in heaven, we can introduce them to new friends at church, we will meet all their physical and emotional needs, we will give them back to their birth parents. That is the best we can do. We know it will hurt. We know deep down we will want to keep every. single. child. We know we can’t. We are okay with that.
We want to impact as many children as we can. Hopefully one day, one or two or three of them will get to live with us. forever.rd