Not Our Plan: A fost/adopt story

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November was National Adoption Awareness Month, and belatedly we are presenting the Grand Finale of our guest stories. Our sincerest thanks to the families who put their lives into words in order to bring awareness to this wonderful work we do.

Below, please enjoy the story of a family’s: Fost/Adoption.  In the event you wish to discuss our Fost/Adopt program, please contact the office at 559.229.9862.

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Since the day we got married, we’ve always wanted to have a family of our own. To have a little one, or three, to love; to pass down our family traditions; to teach him, her, or them our values, morals, and faith.

We had a plan. For many years we had “tried” with no success. Though we were happy being just the two of us, like so many others, we felt something was missing. We hoped that someday our dream of becoming parents would come true. We tried many things, including fertility treatments and even some unorthodox forms of treatments that we won’t get into here. We planned that someday, it would happen. Through tests, we found we were both able to have children, so we just kept at it. We believed God would let us get pregnant, he had to, we knew he would, and there was no way that God would not extend our family. We knew we could count on God to give us what we wanted. That was our plan.

So often, we became obsessed with trying to make our dreams come true that we forgot that the best, and most important, thing to do is to put it all in God’s hands. After all, His plan is always better. It’s the one that always comes to fruition.

So here we are, our 4th and 5th times being 29 years old (yep, going to stay 29 forever) and still no children. We were beginning to believe that God wanted us to be modern day Abraham and Sarah (see Genesis 17-21). We stopped trying. We told people we guessed it was not God’s plan for us to have children. We gave it to Him. It was out of our hands. We were hurt. We were scared. We had no idea what was coming, right around the corner, just out of sight. His plan. It ambushed us. Like a thief in the night.

One day, the husband’s sister sat us down, along with his mother and grandmother and gave us some very great, life-changing news. We learned she was pregnant and that she wanted us to adopt the child. We were thrilled and knew that this must be what God wanted us to do. We accepted. Our new plan, this time, involved God through prayer. Lots of prayer.

We attempted to figure out which forms were needed to be filled out and filed with which department. We ended up frustrated; heard the stories about how long the adoption paperwork would take to get through “the system”; began to see the red tape involved with an adoption. In August of 2013, we decided to go ahead and try an adoption agency and the best part of our brains (that would be the wife) found and brought to the OTHER part of our brains (the husband) information on several agencies. She had heard of one, in particular, that had been recommended by a close family friend and therefore we decided to contact them. That was our first time dealing with Chrysalis House, Inc., but it would not be our last.

 

Being that this was middle to late August, and the mother of our nephew was due in late September or early October, they motivated us to fast track the paperwork and made sure we had everything set for the home study report. By very early October, we had the paper work completed and the home study done. Our nephew was born just a few days later. Yay! Finally, we were parents. We were presented with “our son” immediately after he was born. We were allowed to name him, and knew just what to name him, since one of our older nephews from a different sister (-in-law) had given him a name early on in the pregnancy. We took him home the next day.

The hours became days, the days turned into weeks. The birth mother had a lot of contact with us and the baby. She was at our home just about every day since we brought him home. We saw it coming. Knew it was going to happen. Others kept telling us it would happen. But how can you even come close to being prepared for WHEN it happens? Four weeks to the day after his birth, the birth-mother had decided that she wanted him back.

Giving him back was surprisingly, both the easiest thing to do – as well as the hardest thing we’d ever done. The easiest since we saw her attachment and the heartbreak she went through to give him to us in the first place. The hardest, since it was now our hearts that were more than broken. They were shattered. Our world turned upside down. It was devastation we had never known before.

The other part of our brain (husband) was surprisingly the strong one in this time. He was the one who grew the most attached to the nephew. He was home every day of the 4 weeks with our nephew. He was the one who was there when the birth-mother decided to take him. He was the one who wanted to stop her from taking him, but knew there was nothing within his power to stop it. He let the infant go to his birth-mother, knowing that although the baby was not going to be his son, it would still be our nephew. We would still watch him grow up into a young man. Somehow that made it better, and at the same time, much worse. How could we see the baby, the one we thought would be ours, grow up in front of our eyes, and not feel hurt? Not experience the same pain of him being taken from us all over again, every single time we would see him as he got older? Knowing what we went through to keep him, and still lost him? Even to this day, it brings tears to our eyes thinking about it. Our other part of our brain (husband) was the one who gave our sister (-in-law) the forgiveness first. Although she never asked for it, (or at least not at the time) he forgave her and asked God to help him to follow through with the forgiveness. It was the day after his sister (-in-law) made her decision to keep the baby. A lot of people couldn’t believe that he had forgiven her so quickly, so completely. But after he forgave her, he did just that. He kept in contact with her, on the phone, via text message, on one of those social networking websites, and in person, once or twice. His heartbreak was complete, and so was his forgiveness. It took a little bit longer (but not too much longer), for his BETTER half to give that same forgiveness, but once she was there, we knew we were ready to attempt adoption one more time. We knew what it was to go through the worst & we were stronger for it. But we also knew one more chance at adoption meant one more chance at breaking our hearts. We prayed.

About 2½ months went by before we were ready to journey forward with another attempt. This time it was not going to be a relative adoption. We contacted our social worker from Chrysalis House, Inc. and we went over the types of adoptions we could do. Less than a week later, we received a call about a newborn who was needing a home. By the time we contacted them back, another family had been chosen for the newborn. Another couple of days passed and we received information that a placement worker from another county had requested more information on us. Our complete documentation was sent to the placement worker by C.H.I. and we crossed our fingers. The next day our social worker contacted us and asked if we wanted to meet with the child. We, of course, said yes and scheduled an appointment for one week later. That was one of the longest weeks in the history of the world….or for us, anyway.

We were instructed to bring a car-seat, diaper bag, etc., just in case. We made the couple-of-hours journey to meet the child. Since almost none of this adoption journey had gone our way and we’d had only heartbreak, we decided to not get our hopes up… less they be dashed, once again. Of course, how could we not have a little hope? We arrived a few minutes early and met with our social worker. Walking in together, our anticipation grew. We first met with the placement worker who was the one who had originally requested our complete information. She was seemingly pleasant and walked us through the child’s detailed, but short, history. The child was only 1 day shy of 4 months old, yet he had already been through quite a rough time. He was born prematurely and drug exposed and had some residual and noticeable side-effects, that still presented themselves from time to time. We were accepting of his special needs and vowed to love him just the same. We found out that his birth-mother was killed in a violent, intentional way and that his biological father was unknown. Of course, we were scared that if the father was “unknown,” he could eventually come and claim him before the adoption was finalized. The birth-mother’s family could also file the intent-to-adopt paperwork, and potentially receive custody after placement. So many what-ifs were in the way… and yet we still hadn’t even met the baby.

A few more minutes went by and a couple walk in with HIM. We were presented with the baby and our two halves became just two thirds. We knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this very handsome little angel staring right at us, with a beady little grin on his large, round, perfect face, was God’s gift to us. For even though we had our doubts, God did not.

From what we had heard, we would likely have to meet with the child approximately 3 times before we would be able to take him home to live with us. We were expecting that and it came as a shock, even though we knew it was a possibility, when the foster parents who brought him in to us said goodbyes to him and left the room.

We have stayed friends with this family throughout the adoption and they’ve told us that when they dropped him off that day, they knew by how we looked at him and him at us, that we were meant for each other. Both of our families accepted him wholeheartedly, as if he was ours, biologically. He does, after all, look 100% like his new mommy and acts 100% like his new daddy. Many times, people have gone so far to say that even though he looks like mommy, he has his daddy’s genes.

Now, I could say the story ends there, but as with all adoptions, the story is still in the beginning. This was one of the longest 6 months we’d have to endure. Early into the placement, the birth-mother’s parents had filed paperwork stating their intention of adopting him. Our hearts sank and we ALMOST wanted to sever the bond that had formed. But the bond was, of course, too strong and it wasn’t his fault anyway. We couldn’t have broken it if we wanted it. We were completely his. The next few weeks went by and we were told that his grandparents had withdrew their petition. Wow. We don’t know why they did it, but they did. The bond was too strong to let him go, but we had prayed that if the day came where we would, that He would give us the strength, because at that time, we could not see being able to. Our love of this child, our son, was too strong.

Several more months went by, and the 6 month mark came along, and we waved to it as it went by. We were dreary of the waiting and filled with anticipation of the finalization hearing in front of the judge. What if the judge says no? What if the father found out and filed before he was legally, and permanently, ours? What if…? What if…? Once again…We had our doubts, again. Of course we trusted in God, for He knows His plan. But we aren’t God and don’t “know” with complete certainty what His plan had in store for us. We felt that our son was ours forever, and we did put our trust in Him. Even with our trust in God’s hands, we still had the recent pain of loss from the year before, and it tore at us.

The hearing day came, and the “husband” ended up being ill. He got up several times during the night to hug the porcelain throne. We originally thought it was from him being nervous or just stress, but it ended up being a bug that several others in our families had been sharing. We still packed what was required and made the couple-of-hours journey, once again, to the same area that we first met our son, even passing by the same building. We were scheduled to be there at 1 PM and arrived a few minutes early. Several families, both large and small, went in before us to see the judge. Most came out crying with sadness, or fear, and only one (or maybe two) with tears of joy. This scared us, of course. We didn’t know their situations and we could only make up the reasons why they were crying. Were they here for the same reasons we were, but for a different child? Were any of them here for the SAME child? We were getting scared. Once our name was called, you know, an eternity later, we entered into the courtroom with all of our families in tow. We had several members from both sides of our families in our entourage. We also had our son’s county social workers and our social worker from Chrysalis House, Inc. with us.

The judge very pleasantly made the session very short and sweet. She said she didn’t get to do this very often and didn’t see a reason to not to grant the adoption. She officially supported the adoption. We thought from then on that our son, this blessed little angel, was ours. Boy were we WRONG!

It’s been a little over a month since the finalization hearing. We have found in that short period of time that he is not ours. Not by a long shot. We are HIS!

We didn’t know what God’s plan had in store for us or we would have let Him lead us much sooner. But of course, even that wasn’t part of God’s plan. God made us ready when He knew our son would need us. The previous foster parents were great, showed him the love we couldn’t show him yet due to our loss, and when all of us were ready, God brought our families together and introduced our son to us at the perfect time in all of our lives.

When our first adoption failed, we realized we needed time with just the two of us in order to heal. To allow us to get to a place that we would and could risk another adoption. We had to realize that they were NOT there for us, but we were there for them. We had to be wholeheartedly into it for them. There would be pain, but with God, we could endure. We learned how to trust Him. We thought we knew how, before our first attempt. We were ignorant.

We found that not only did we need time to heal from our loss before being able to open up and accept a new child, but the foster family, that had him from birth, was being healed through the first four months of his life from a loss of their own.

Something to add about God’s great plan, we have come to realize that we would not have even started the adoption journey without the husband’s sister providing us with the push we needed in order to get our foster care licensing done which made us eligible to adopt. Yes, we went through some of the most terrible pain we had ever imagined, but we made it through. Without that pain, we would not have been in the place where we could legally adopt our son. His placement worker would not have seen our information, and he would not have been placed with us. We would have never had known him.

In our journey, God used Chrysalis House, Inc. to help us through the process and to help us maintain our sanity. We cannot thank everyone enough who was involved with the adoption, especially God! We learned it was Not Our Plan that was the best, but God’s Plan. Within this plan, every “i” was dotted and every “t” crossed. It is perfect and complete.

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On waiting for the right match: A Fost/Adoption Story

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November is National Adoption Awareness Month. In the spirit of bringing awareness to adoption, our agency mission and the successes of families we serve — we hope to fill our blog with guest stories throughout this month. Chrysalis House, Inc. believes in the power of sharing experiences and in learning from the stories of others. We present this series, realizing the words might be the insight that an adoptive family, adoptee or birthparent is searching the internet for! Our sincerest thanks to the families who have put their lives into words.

We are still seeking & accepting submissions through the month of November! Please send your submissions to stacy@chrysalishouse.com. Below, please enjoy the story of a family’s: Fost/Adoption.

In the event you wish to discuss our Fost/Adopt program, please contact the office at 559.229.9862.

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In 2011, after several miscarriages and having participated in two Ukranian orphan hosting programs, my husband and I decided that we were ready to enter the noble world of adoption. At the time, we had 3 biological children ages 11, 9 and 5.

We chose Chrysalis House as our fost/adopt agency and began our home study process. What an exciting time of anticipation this was for our family! We complied with all of the foster regulations of having first-aid kits and extinguishers on-site, completed our class hours, chose our parameters (for us it was a Caucasian or Hispanic male, 5 or under), and poured over all of the books about adoption that would make us an instant success in parenting a hurt child (I fail to mention that I skipped a few lines in these books, because I was certain that our family was unique from all others and these wouldn’t pertain to us!) Additionally, I was just sure we would be placed within a few weeks of our home study completion….certainly the county social workers would see what a wonderful family we were!

Well, weeks turned to months as our social worker would send us bios every so often, which we would submit our home study on, and I would begin romanticizing about how each child might fit into our family. I believe this is a bit like “nesting,” for prospective adoptive mothers. I was beginning to get restless with all of the waiting. And then we received, “the call,” that we had been chosen for a young boy from a nearby county – who was being taken from a fost/adopt placement that was not working out. We couldn’t have been more thrilled. I remember the day we met him at the park. As he walked up the path with his social worker I remember quite clearly my heart dropping and thinking to myself ever so clearly, “This is not my child!” I played it off to nerves and we sat down and chatted with the social worker and the former foster parents as the kids played. According to the foster parents, the young boy had some anger issues (nothing we couldn’t fix with a little love! Yes, I’m being facetious) and the county social worker seemed eager to place (looking back I see this was a potential red flag). We headed home and for four long days I felt restless and uneasy about the placement. My husband assured me that everything would be fine. Besides, our biological kids liked him… How could I not go along with it? We decided to meet one more time at the park prior to the placement. It was during this second visit that the boy began verbalizing some startling threats…and he was only five. I called Chrysalis House upon returning home and let them know we couldn’t move forward with this match. In short, I came to realize that when county social workers say that a child has anger issues, they might not be referring to a child chucking the leftover bowl of Cheerios onto the floor. Not surprisingly, God used this experience to settle me down and to wait for Him to bring the right child to us.

Close to one year after we had begun the process, I was approached by our Children’s Ministry Director at our church. She asked where we were at with the fost/adoption and asked if we had considered the **** children, who were being brought by their foster grandma each Sunday. “Of course not,” I chuckled, “There’s five of them!” “Just pray about it,” she responded, with a big grin.

And so we did. And God placed it on our hearts that this was what He would have in store for us.

Monday morning I contacted our social worker at Chrysalis house and told her what I knew about the children who were ages 2 to 10 (which wasn’t much information – because foster care has strict rules about privacy). Megan searched the system to no avail. Two weeks passed and our social worker, Kara, called me excitedly, “We found them! They just came up in the system!”

County social workers can be very protective of “their kids,” and rightly so. Kara recognized this and tread lightly as we underwent submitting our home study, proving that we were capable of caring for this many children, and the like. We encountered many roadblocks, but were encouraged and supported by Chrysalis House the entire way (even if they thought we were nutty). The county required that we do a three-month transition time with the children. At the time I saw it as a “cruel & unusual punishment,” but it truly was a perfect plan for allowing the foster kids to get used to the idea of a new home and for us to recover after the long weekends.

It has been two years since the children’s placement in our home and one year since we finalized their adoption. Gone are the days of three therapy sessions a week, standoffs in the bathroom because someone wouldn’t brush their teeth, hours of sitting at the dinner table because another would not eat what was made, or a single child crying fifteen times every day and “stalking” me because they are sure I was going to leave them like everyone else had. (and admittedly, I came to realize that those issues I so arrogantly read about — DID actually pertain me!)

We are not the parents we used to be. We have had to learn to set boundaries and stand behind our words (yes still means yes, but no, no longer means maybe). We have chosen to homeschool the children and we have seen a tremendous improvement in behaviors. The children in our family have blended beautifully and get along quite well. Our adopted children continue to learn how to engage in healthy relationships, regulate their behaviors, work hard and make good personal choices.

We are immensely humbled that God would think that we were worthy of raising eight children. Some days we fail miserably as parents. I have seen sides of myself that I did not know existed prior to adoption: Embarrassing, immature, prideful, and angry sides. Thankfully there is refinement and grace for all of us. We now recognize our home as our missions field and each day we are doing the Lord’s work. And it is hard work. I never imagined I’d have to drive an institution type van, invite people into my dusty floored home, or tell my children to stop calling me Mom because I’d heard it too many times that day. But honestly, the blessings are immeasurable and we know that as long as we are in God’s will, he can make good of all things! (even my poor mommy moments). We wouldn’t change our journey for anything.

For those looking to move forward in adoption I highly recommend reaching out now and getting involved in a support group. City Without Orphans offers many additional resources in the valley, in addition to those classes offered through Chrysalis House. If you are in a marriage, analyze it honestly – is it solid? Marriages often crumble under the pressures of adoption. If you are a believer, guard your bible time. It will be taken from you. Seek respite and renewal. Having something to look forward to and then allowing yourself to be refreshed – is critical to proper parenting. Every adoption journey is unique and yours will be no different. Many blessings!

A Journey: A Domestic Adoption Story

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November is National Adoption Awareness Month. In the spirit of bringing awareness to adoption, our agency mission and the successes of families we serve — we hope to fill our blog with guest stories throughout this month. Chrysalis House, Inc. believes in the power of sharing experiences and in learning from the stories of others. We present this series, realizing the words might be the insight that an adoptive family, adoptee or birthparent is searching the internet for! Our sincerest thanks to the families who have put their lives into words.

We are still seeking & accepting submissions through the month of November! Please send your submissions to stacy@chrysalishouse.com. Below, please enjoy the story of a family’s: Domestic Adoption.

In the event you wish to discuss our Domestic program, please contact the office at 559.229.9862.

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Ever since I was in high school, I have thought about adoption. I knew a few families in our neighborhood who had adopted and saw how it changed their lives. For some reason, it resonated with me and I always felt like it would be a part of my life in some way.

For my husband, adoption was even closer to home: his father and uncle were adopted from birth. My husband saw adoption as a huge blessing and was very grateful to his father’s birth mom for making the courageous decision to place him in his family.

As we dated and started dreaming about the family we would one day have, we both talked about adoption as potentially being a part of it. I think, however, that we both figured that we would have biological children first while we were young and then adopt one or two as our family was more established.

After we were married for a few years, we initially thought about starting our family through the “typical” way of getting pregnant. But we both felt that something different was out there for us. As we pondered and prayed about how we should start our family and when, we both felt a strong impression that we should pursue adoption now – not as a last resort and not once we were older and more established.

So the next day we researched local adoption agencies and by the following week, we interviewed several in Fresno. These introductions opened our eyes to multiple ways one can go about adoption – domestic, international, fost-adopt, etc. While we liked all agencies, we felt a more personal bond with the people from Chrysalis House and decided to work with them. We felt that domestic adoption was the right path for us at this time – we really wanted to look locally to help someone out, and we weren’t quite ready for the uncertainty that can come with fost-adopt.

Both my husband and I are go-getters and so we barreled through the application process, turning in all the paperwork and meeting the requirements just as fast as we possibly could. Once we had made our decision, we felt so good and clear about it that there was no turning back and we were anxious to be in a position to welcome a little baby into our home.

Both my husband and I really appreciated the classes that were given as part of the application process, as we had our own concerns. For my husband, he was fairly concerned about open adoptions. His father’s adoption had been closed and his father never pursued a relationship with his birth mom, so that’s what he was used to. We had heard stories about birth parents trying to get their children back, or trying to co-parent once their child was placed and that wasn’t something we wanted. Through hearing testimonials and learning more about what open adoption means, we both felt reassured. We knew that we could work out guidelines with the birth mother that would make both of us feel safe and comfortable. Additionally, we both realized that having more people out there who love your child, even if distantly, is never a bad thing.

For me, I was initially concerned about raising a child different than my own ethnicity. I personally had no problem with it and we were open to adopting all races, but I was worried about our child feeling like s/he could still connect to his roots, while at the same time be a full part of our family. I wanted to teach our child my family’s wonderful history, as well as his, but I didn’t know if I could do it justice. Again, the testimonies and discussion around raising children of different races was extremely helpful. I understood more completely the issues that children could go through and that while there might be difficult times of identity issues, that it was something we could tackle with love and empathy.

After we got approved came the hardest part of the process: waiting. In some ways, it was a bit of a let down. While getting approved, we had felt good being busy, proactive and working towards a goal. Once approved, we realized how helpless we were in the rest of the process and that we simply had to wait patiently until an opportunity arose. While we tried to lead our normal lives, our minds definitely were fixated on hoping and praying that we would receive a little baby sooner rather than later.

Luckily, our wait was not very long (something for which we are very grateful!). We soon welcomed home a precious baby girl. While we didn’t have a lot of notice to get things ready, we were so excited to start our family. We both immediately fell in love with her and couldn’t imagine our lives without her.

While adoption will come with its own particular struggles and ups and downs, we are so grateful for this opportunity. We feel a great deal of admiration and respect for our girl’s birth mom and the choice that she made. We are in love with our little girl and she couldn’t have been a part of our family any other way. We are looking forward to her growing up (not too quickly, though) so that we can share her wonderful story with her.

A Happy Family Built by Fost/Adoption

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November is National Adoption Awareness Month. In the spirit of bringing awareness to adoption, our agency mission and the successes of families we serve — we hope to fill our blog with guest stories throughout this month. Chrysalis House, Inc. believes in the power of sharing experiences and in learning from the stories of others. We present this series, realizing the words might be the insight that an adoptive family, adoptee or birthparent is searching the internet for! Our sincerest thanks to the families who have put their lives into words.

We are still seeking & accepting submissions through the month of November! Please send your submissions to stacy@chrysalishouse.com. Below, please enjoy the story of a family’s: Fost/Adoption.

In the event you wish to discuss our Fost/Adopt program, please contact the office at 559.229.9862. ****************************************************************

My husband and I took quite awhile to get through the home study process, about 2 years from start to finish because of having to work around my husband’s military deployments and having to start over and renew things …once or twice. Needless to say, we were very eager to finally get our little one (who we’d been wondering about and visualizing for all this time) once we finally did get our home study done.

We had been in the waiting/matching stage for about six months, looking at profiles and waiting to hear back with our fingers crossed, but none of them were meant to be with us. We had been feeling like we were so ready and wondering what the Universe was waiting for, but it turned out to be the perfect timing. We got an email via Ashley, from a social worker in Santa Cruz County who had seen our home study and was interested in us for a little 6 year old girl who needed to be re-homed from her current foster family, whom were relatives.  We were asked whether we wanted to submit for her and make a fairly quick decision.

We got very little information on her (first name, ethnicity, no health or developmental issues), but from what we saw we didn’t have any concerns with her, so we said we wanted to submit. We heard back from the social worker that there was one other family she was looking at, and that she wanted to meet with both of us in a few weeks. We had never gotten as far as being asked to attend a disclosure before, so we were hopeful that we had a good chance of being chosen for this girl, but tried not to get too excited as we waited for this meeting. (Although I do recall us saying to each other on the way there “Let’s go get us a kid!”).

We met with the social worker and her CASA worker and learned as much about this girl as they were able to tell us. L was 6, removed from her birth parents for neglect reasons, and had been in a couple of foster homes over the last two years. The current home was meant to be permanent, but just wasn’t working out. The social worker made it very clear that she didn’t want to move her again, so if we said yes, we had to be serious about it. She also shared that she had ruled out the other family we had heard she was considering, and that made us sit up and say “wait, does that mean that if we want her, we get her?” We were in a shocked state from that point -until it had finally happened!

From everything the social worker told us, she seemed perfect for us and there were no issues she told us about that made us have any doubts about her. She made us think it over for 24 hours before we gave a definite answer, but of course we said yes– she was everything we’d been hoping for! We didn’t tell anyone at that point, because we wanted to meet her first so we had more to tell our family. In one week a meeting was set for a meeting at a park.  We were so nervous and excited as we saw her climb out of her Aunt and Uncle’s car and we locked eyes for the first time.

She was so adorable and it was love at first sight! At that point she didn’t know that she was going to be leaving her current home or that we were going to be her parents, so we were introduced as friends of the social worker by our first names. She seemed to warm up to us though and she made us run all over the park with her – she had so much energy! With the foster parents we arranged to come a few days later to spend a little time with her alone (we worked on her homework with her and took her to Burger King for dinner after).  Our next step was to spend the weekend in their town with her, which was a 2 hour drive away from where we lived. We had a mid-week visit with her after that, then we brought her to our house for the weekend, then another mid-week visit before we got to bring her home for good.

It was about 3 weeks from the time we knew we were matched with her – until she came home with us, which were incredibly crazy and busy (between working, getting her room ready for her, and getting to know her)! We were so thrilled to finally bring her home with us for good in late October. Over the next few months we discovered what it was like to hit the ground running as brand new parents with a 6 year old, and discovering all the ways we needed to nurture her unique needs as a result of her past. It was definitely a learning process, and still is. We had the holidays together (We loved seeing the look on her face on Christmas morning and tried to establish family traditions as well as honoring some of her own from past Christmases she remembered).

There had been some question of whether we would be able to finalize the adoption at exactly 6 months as her birth parents were appealing their rights being terminated, but come April of the next year, the legal process for the appeal concluded and we were asked to come up and sign all the paperwork for finalization to be submitted in May. It was looking like there wasn’t going to be an open court date in May, but we got a last minute opening on May 30th.

On that day we all got dressed up and dragged some close friends and family along, and we had a touching, personal ceremony conducted by the judge who had been overseeing her case all along, and L became legally and forever part of our family! It was an amazing day and we took a picnic to the beach with everyone, after the ceremony.

We are all so thrilled and we love her with all of our hearts. We are a very happy family!

Adoption testimony: A Domestic Adoption story

DownloadedFileNovember is National Adoption Awareness Month. In the spirit of bringing awareness to adoption, our agency mission and the successes of families we serve — we hope to fill our blog with guest stories throughout this month. Chrysalis House, Inc. believes in the power of sharing experiences and in learning from the stories of others. We present this series, realizing the words might be the insight that an adoptive family, adoptee or birthparent is searching the internet for! Our sincerest thanks to the families who have put their lives into words.

We are still seeking & accepting submissions through the month of November! Please send your submissions to stacy@chrysalishouse.com. Please enjoy the story of a family’s: Domestic Adoption.

In the event you wish to discuss our Domestic Adoption program, please contact the office at 559.229.9862. ***********************************************

Our adoption journey began during our “staycation” in July 2013. My husband David and I were taking day trips to various places and our last trip was to Santa Cruz. We had a wonderful day and were enjoying our time just relaxing on the beach and wandering in and out of shops. Earlier in the week we had “met” a dog that we thought we might like to adopt so “adoption” was on our mind – just not the kind we are talking about today. About a month later, we did bring our darling Chloe doggy into our home. I love how God opens our mind to new possibilities using the most unusual keys. Chloe was the “key” that opened our minds and hearts to the idea of looking into adoption. As we drove home from our day in Santa Cruz, all of a sudden, I blurted out, “what about adoption?” My husband’s immediate response was, “what about it?” I then said, “what if this was God’s plan for us all along and we just have never gone there? We have danced around the idea, but had never really investigated it. What if this was His plan all along?” Now normally David would have replied that he was too tired to have such a thought-provoking conversation after a full day of fun in the sun, but the Spirit of God was at work in both of us at that moment, directing us to His calling to do something that we had never really thought of before. That is the way God works: By His Holy Spirit. He plants dreams in our hearts that we did not realize were even there. David said that he thought my logic made sense and because I love to research, he asked me to look for some local agencies. We agreed that we would pray about this, visit agencies and then we would know if adoption was for us or not. I began my search and we attended our first orientation a few weeks later at Chrysalis House. After the first orientation, we both knew the dream of adoption was planted in our hearts. God watered this seed and continued to grow it. We agreed to attend the other orientations I had learned about and visited about 4 different agencies in Fresno.

By early October, we were torn between two agencies. We were praying for clarity and wisdom. Our major dilemma in choosing between them was the type of adoption they offered. One offered “dual track” which allowed us to move towards fost/adopt and domestic at the same time, while the other only offered domestic. In my heart, I was somewhat scared of domestic and really did not believe that God would give us a newborn, but I wanted to be obedient and trust Him. I was in my late 40’s, have never been able to get pregnant, even with fertility treatment, so I just “assumed” a baby wasn’t in God’s plan for me. I figured a toddler would probably be where this would go. I have certainly repented for this lack of faith and trust since then. How could I forget that our God is a BIG God and can do whatever He wants? He did part the Red Sea and many other miracles that are even more close to home in my own life. Oh ye of little faith. I am so glad that God is patient with us. Around this time, a good friend who is adopting internationally from Haiti shared with me that her church was having an adoption event on a Sunday and asked us to attend. One thing I had been wishing existed was a place to hear all the agencies at one time in an open platform setting. “ask and you shall receive”

On Sunday October 13, 2013, we attended the adoption event and one of the booths that were set up was City Without Orphans. We learned that this is exactly what they do: work with churches to help educate people on adoption; allow adoptive families to share their stories; provide a Q&A answer session – all for free where you can visit one-on-one with representatives of various agencies. We attended the CWO event in Kingsburg on November 16, 2013. We heard amazing stories and were able to speak with speak with adoptive families and the representative of the agency we are with now. We spoke with Dr. Brandy of Chrysalis House and learned that we didn’t have to do everything at once and the first step was filling out an application with the initial fee. We could hold off on beginning the requirements to complete our home study until after the holidays.

We had both agreed we would not choose a race, sex or even a specific age, and would consider both forms of adoption and be open to ages 0 to 5. We, especially me, put fears aside and dove into the world of adoption. I am a very detail oriented person, a planner, one who wants to know every step of everything I do ahead of time. God had a great wake-up call for me, a beautiful way of reminding me that He is the One in control and details do not matter to Him. We are called to walk by faith, one step at a time. The apostle Peter started to sink into the water when he took his eyes off Jesus, but as long as he kept his eyes on Our Savior, he was fine. A great lesson.

We completed our application on November 23, 2013. I knew that November was adoption month, but I didn’t realize until we completed our application that this was actually National Adoption Day! That was pretty cool. One thing that Holy Spirit impressed on me from the beginning to was to let go of my fears and to NOT let money drive this adoption. Domestic obviously cost more than fost/adopt, but we just set that aside and trusted that God would take care of it. But again I reasoned: He wouldn’t take us down that path anyway, so it didn’t matter. Lol I don’t know where you are in your walk with God, but one thing I hope I can encourage you with is to TRUST HIM IN ALL THINGS! If He has given the dream of adoption to you and your spouse (need to be in agreement at the same time), He will put all the details together. He will put together the finances; He will bring the child you are to have in your family; He will help you get through the red tape. HE WILL DO IT! The very first thing we did was attend a Saturday parenting class at Chrysalis House.

On January 25, 2014, we felt like we finally began working on our adoption. We met some wonderful people at this event that have become good friends. One thing I would encourage anyone going through adoption to do is attend the support groups and social events available to you. We have made some amazing friends by attending these gatherings and were so encouraged listening to other people’s stories. Other adoptive families are valuable resources of information, encouragement and support. We began our home study and did one requirement at a time. As we were moving along in the process, my husband David got laid off from work. We were shocked; this came out of nowhere, but on March 7, 2014, his entire department was eliminated. We put our faith and trust in God and both agreed and knew in our hearts that we were not to stop this adoption journey. We continued on with our home study. He had received a severance package and we made sacrifices and were able to set it aside. Through one miracle after another, his company hired him back – the only one of the entire division that returned.

As of March 27, 2014, David was back to work. One friend told me that they felt impressed by Holy Spirit that this adoption journey would be fast. Other friends would share they felt God was bringing a newborn. One evening at my women’s Bible study group as we were all praying about the adoption, a close friend had a vision of me holding a dark skinned newborn with lots of hair. I can’t say I outright rejected all of these words, but I set them aside and just said, “we’ll see. God will do whatever He is going to do – in His time and in His way.”

On Memorial Day weekend, late May of 2014, we decided to tackle the project of “making room” for another person to live in our home. We moved around some furniture, cleaned out some closets and drawers and thought we could finish the rest of our study by mid-summer. My husband David had a trip scheduled to go visit family in his home state of Kansas in a couple of weeks and we figured we would wait until after the trip to finalize and then be ready to “wait”. We had NO IDEA what God had in mind. And the truth is NONE OF US EVER DO. He may give us impressions, visions, even dreams and words of encouragement, but He is the only one who knows all the details and how things will work. We generally see his hand in the tapestry He has created when we look backwards, not ahead.

On May 27, 2014, we received a call from Stephanie. The conversation went something like this, “Are you open to a newborn, Hispanic male?” We looked at each other and said, “well yeah”. Then we were told that they had received an emergency call from a hospital as a birth mother wanted to make a closed plan of adoption. We then realized this was THE CALL! The one everyone dreams of, prays for and hopes for from the day they fill out their adoption application. We went to the hospital the next day to meet and take home our son – we named him Julian. God gave us a newborn; a sweet healthy baby boy that needed a family; a family who will raise Him to know that Jesus is his best friend; to provide him with loving, caring parents and extended family and a stable home. But a newborn baby at “my age”!! I can’t imagine a life without our son Julian. I never knew that every “first” would be a moment to treasure and write about and laugh about and think about and take a million pictures of. And all those dreams and visions and words: they were confirmed with a scripture that Holy Spirit impressed upon my dad the day Julian was born. Unbeknown to us, around4:00 AM on May 27, a baby boy was coming into the world that would become our son, my parents’ first grandchild. Around 4-5 AM, my dad woke up with Genesis 15:5 on his mind and it wouldn’t leave his head until he finally looked it up later in the day: He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” God continues to remind me that He works out all the details.

About a month or so after Julian came home, I was looking through books where I keep my writings. Some are dreams, articles and letters I have written over the years. I came across a dream that I had written down and my understanding/interpretation of it at the time. In real life, David and I were trying to have a baby (going through fertility treatment) so this dream must have occurred anytime from late 2010 to February or March 2011 at the latest. In the dream we are both standing at the kitchen counter and I was opening the mail. There was a “statement” for charges for the birth of a baby, but we knew it wasn’t our baby (in the biological sense). The statement had two items in bold: September 27. Since we were going through fertility treatment, I wrongly assumed someday we were going to have a baby in September. We never had a biological child and I forgot about this dream until I ran across it in this book. I confirmed with our social worker that Julian was conceived in September. He was born on the date “27”. Again, looking backwards, it all makes sense and we can see God’s hand in this journey. Looking ahead and at what I thought I knew, I had it completely wrong. Isaiah 55:8-9 in the NET Bible says, “for just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my deeds are superior to your deeds and my plans superior to your plans.” We are excited to be able to finalize, God-willing, by end of this year. Bible study friends obtained a gently used carrier and stroller. Strangers donated clothes and other items. Clients, friends and family purchased him basic necessities. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

If you take away anything from our story, I pray it is this: trust God. 1 Thessalonians 5:24says, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” If God gave you the dream for adoption and it is your calling, He will work out all the details. He still continues to show us both throughout numerous situations that He does not care about our methods, plans or schemes. He is the Creator of all things and truly is in control. We only need to surrender our will, our fears, our desires. He will step in and handle everything and give us such a peace. David and I know that our adoption journey is not over. We don’t know the details and we don’t have to know them. This God-story – Julian’s story – has only just been begun.