Thursday, October 26, 2006

Answers to Prayer

October 26, 2006
We received e-mails from our caseworker today regarding our questions. She clarified what we still need to do in order to get updated copies of all our books to each office. We need to send out a couple more new copies, as well as two "mailable" copies. She also agreed with us to tell birthparent counselors to present our albums with all the pages- including the first page! (It turns out, it was only one counselor that had removed it.)

Steve, the friend of ours that printed our initial books, came up to us last night at church, and asked if we needed any more books printed! Praise God! (He still works for a large computer corporation, and has a room full of inks & printers that he tests.) We will plan on giving him a disc next week with all our files on it, so he can start printing some out. We will keep printing some pages in the meantime, too.

Also, this past weekend, we sent in another grant application. They only look at applications four times a year, so it won't be processed until December. Please keep this in your prayers. We're still praying that God will provide all the finances required for the adoption. A very large sum is due to the agency upon being chosen by a birthmom.

Thank you everyone for your prayers!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


October 24, 2006
Late this evening, we found an e-mail from Angela, giving us an update on one of the birthmoms she'd told us about (the one that inspired us to "rush" our books). This mom's due date was Nov. 9th, but she actually gave birth last week! She decided not to work with Bethany, and chose to go with the state instead. Her baby is now in a foster-to-adopt home.

According to her e-mail, it also sounds like there has been some confusion on the number/format of profile books we need to provide, since there has been some reorganization of offices/caseworkers. We e-mailed her for more information.

In our e-mail, we also presented some questions we had regarding the removal of the 1st page of our profile book. Mainly, our issue was that it was being removed without our knowledge or consent, and that a decision was being made FOR a birthmom. No one was given any options. We are hoping for more clarification and feedback on the situation.

I was encouraged to read the following quote on an adoption website:
"Take heart, i am in complete control. I am the definition of holiness and love. All of my ways are right and true, all of my decisions are best, and I will not rest until my plan has been completed." "THERE IS COMFORT IN YOUR MOMENT OF GREATEST MYESTERY." There is encouragement in your time of greatest confusion, and HOPE in your moment of greatest discouragement. Your world is not a world of constant chaos controlled by impersonal forces. Your destiny is not in your hands or in the hands of other people [caseworkers, birthmoms, family members, etc.. ] YOU ARE HELD IN THE HANDS OF YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER, WHO RULES EVERYTHING! You are a child of the King of Kings and you live under the shadow of his wing. You are part of his plan. That means that the exercise of his power and authority is for your BLESSING!!! (excerpt from "Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands" by Paul David Tripp-he is the brother of Tedd Tripp who wrote "Shephering a Child's Heart")

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Here's The Photo

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Loving Family...Or a Scandalous Photo?

October 23, 2006
We received a call from Angela today, to let us know about a new pregnant mom, and to give us some updates. She gave us some information about this mom, and let us know that she is due Jan. 20th. This mom could really use the blessing of God's power & loving guidance in her life. Please be praying for her.

The two pregnant moms (due in November) that we've mentioned recently are both meeting with their caseworkers this week. One of them is the mom that inspired us to rush the completion of our profile books, and she will be receiving one of our new books to look at! Please keep them both in your prayers today.

Calvin asked Angela if she could give us her impression of our new books, from a caseworker's perspective. Overall, she really liked our books, and said they were much clearer and more concise than our previous ones. She did mention, though, that some caseworkers have been removing our first page, thinking birthmoms would be offended by our photo. Either it is scandalous for Michele to have taken off her shoes, or they don't like a picture of a wife snuggling in her soul mate's lap. We've been discussing it, and I think we're going to request that they cease censoring our book, and leave the book intact.

This picture really shows a very accurate snapshot of who we are as a family. It was the photo we included with our Christmas cards last year, and a large copy is displayed in our home. This is a photo of us as a deeply in love married couple, who are soul mates longing for a baby. And if birthmoms aren't comfortable with it, then we aren't they family they should choose. We would feel more comfortable knowing that birthparents had actually seen this photo and decided against us, than knowing that it was hidden from them- and they did choose us!

We anticipate that our children will witness the hugs & kisses of their mommy & daddy someday. (We hope they do!) Growing up, we both were raised in families where our parents showed affection for each other (and still do!), and I think our lives are richer because of it. Even now, decades later, it provides joy in seeing how much our parents love each other. We want our kids to know that their parents & grandparents are securely married and deeply in love. Birthparents need to be aware of the fact that our family is huggy & snuggly.
(I tried to post a copy of the photo, but blogger is being ornery tonight. I'll try again tomorrow. Sorry!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Encouraging Words

October 18, 2006
There is a lady I know of (through our adoption agency's online support groups) who has a heart for adoption. For now, God has closed the door to adoption for her, but he has given her some other amazing ministries; one of which is ministering to those involved in adoption (pregnant moms & waiting adoptive parents). She has posted some "encouraging words" online for those waiting to adopt, and I thought I would share a couple of her posts with you:

Saint Theresa's prayer: May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

Lamentations 3: 21-25: "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him." Have a great day knowing that God has compassion for us and his mercy never fails! AND....the Lord is good to those who WAIT!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


October 17, 2006
Yesterday, Angela called to let us know about another birthmom situation, and we agreed to have our books shown. This mom is due November 9th. Then we realized... "Hey, we're almost finished with our *new* books; why don't we just rush a couple of them up to the office?" And thus began the marathon of our next 24 hours.

As soon as I got home from work, I parked myself in front of the computer, and cranked out the new pages, as the printer ink dwindled, and my hot tea intake increased. For awhile, Calvin kept me company by playing his guitar, but at about 12:30 in the morning, we decided that Calvin should get some rest, so that he could actually see to drive these books to Portland.

At 2:00 am, I crawled into bed, after printing half of the pages, with the intent to continue in the morning... if the printer ink would hold out. At 5:00 am, the alarm went off, and it began again. We filled out our criminal background check forms to put in the mail this morning, and I turned the computer back on. (Why did I turn it off?)

I printed off more pages until the printer ink supply was non-existent. Then I turned to my Plan B: the internet. Our local Staples supposedly has a handy system in which you can download your files, and they will print them for you at their copy center. Unfortunately, the estimated download time for each of my pages was 30 minutes on our slow dial-up connection. (Hmm... 30 min. x 10 pages = more time than I have.) So I quickly burned them to a CD, and went in to the office early to make use of the snazzy DSL to send in the files.

Then the ugly reputation of our local Staples reared its head. After multiple attempts to utilize their "easy, professional" copy/print program, I discovered that it was conveniently eliminating the bottom inch or two from all of my pages. I called them up for assistance. To make a long story short, they were unable to help, due to their many "lunch breaks" (how many does a person get in a day?) and a "quick print job" suddenly took a personal visit from an obnoxious customer: ME.

I finally garnered a promise that our copies would be ready by 2:00 pm in time for Calvin to pick them up and drive them to Portland. (He only had a short window of time between getting off work, and going to his evening class.) When he arrived, they had to search for 15 minutes to find the pages, and they needed reminding to return our CD.

Calvin raced up to Portland, and made it to the office before Angela left. He dropped off the two books, and headed back. He arrived at school just a couple minutes late. We found out that the pregnant mom hasn't scheduled her next appointment with her caseworker yet, so we don't know when/if she'll recieve a copy of our book. Regardless, it was nice to give ourselves a "self-imposed deadline" toward completion, even if it's not for this particular mom. Now we need to print off the rest of the books soon, so all the offices have the same copies.

Meanwhile, please be praying for the birthmoms we've mentioned this past week. They're each facing difficult situations right now, and could really use God's loving peace & direction.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Background Checks

October 16, 2006
This weekend, we received an envelope from the adoption agency containing forms for us to have criminal background checks done. This was a surprise, since we already completed them last year. So, Calvin called Angela this morning to find out what was going on. Apparently, the agency has a policy that families have a new background check every year, and it's been over a year since our last one.

The good news is that we don't have to pay for fingerprinting again. Thankfully, those don't change! Good thing we haven't committed any crimes over the past year! (hehe!) So, we will get those forms filled out and sent back in.

We spent the weekend at the computer, working on pages for our adoption profile album. I think we're getting close to completing them. Then we'll need to print off six copies of each page. (There needs to be 6 profile books, so that they are available at all the nearby offices.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

E-Mail Update

October 12, 2006
We received an e-mail from our caseworker today. It was a general e-mail to all the families that are being shown to the birthmom we mentioned the other day, who is working with another agency. Angela updated us on what has gone on so far, and went on to describe the other agency's policies for open adoption relationships as well. Please keep praying for this pregnant mom, and for everyone involved. Here is a bit of her letter:

Dear Families, Since you have been contacted about this new birthmother situation from [Other Agency], it is important to [us] that we are communicating clearly with you. We hope you understand that in events like this one, there are more unknowns and variables than usual. Most agencies vary in procedures. We have color-copied your profile books and sent them to [Other Agency]. We chose to do this in the event that your books are not returned to Bethany. We also want to let you know that your family will remain on the list for Bethany's birthparents to see.

Memory Clog

October 11, 2006
The other night I was working on the computer, doing some updated pages for our profile albums, when everything started going really slow. And then the messages started popping up, telling me it didn't have enough memory to complete tasks. I had anticipated this would happen soon, since I know that Photoshop files are very large. (I had just hoped it wasn't going to happen at 10:00 pm!)

So, Calvin went to Staples this morning, and got a "memory storage device" for the computer. He was able to transfer all our huge files over, defragged the computer, and it is working much better now! (We didn't want to just save our files in a smaller format at this point, since we want to still have the option of changing/updating them later to save us some work in the future- whether for this adoption or a future one.) As an extra blessing, Staples was offering a huge rebate, which made the purchase a lot easier to handle! (Thanks, God!)

Monday, October 09, 2006

A New Decision

October 9, 2006
I received a phone call from Angela, our caseworker, today. She was contacted by another agency in the area, who was requesting adoptive family profiles for a pregnant mom. Apparently, this mom has a very specific list of requirements for an adoptive family, so they've started asking around.

Angela needed to ask us some specifics about our file, but she said that we seemed to meet the mom's requirements. Angela was also able to give us some background information on the baby/birthmom, and wanted to make sure we were ok with the situation before sending our book. We agreed to have our book shown, so she will send it along. She did preface her information by letting me know that sometimes it can be a bit more difficult/slow when working with another agency, and they may not call back with updates. (Just a warning for any of you who might tend to be anxious or impatient! hehe!)

Please be praying for this mom during the next month or so. (She is due November 12th.) She is facing some very difficult decisions, and could really use God's peace & direction during this time.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Weekend at the Computer

October 8, 2006
For the past few days, we have been working on new pages for our updated adoption profile albums. We've each been rewriting our "Dear Birthparent" letters (we each write letters to the mom and to dad, so 4 letters total). I've been doing our pages with "digital scrapbooking" products using Adobe Photoshop Elements. It's nice to be able to print off as many pages we need without scanning them in, plus I can easily change them, if needed.

We've had fun watching the "Estimated Pages Left" counter on our printer ink cartridge. (Everytime we print, a message pops up, telling us the estimated number of pages it could still print, based on the amount of ink left.) Instead of decreasing, the number seems to be increasing! God is in the business of multiplying- kind of like Elisha and the oil & flour (2 Kings 4:1-7) or Jesus and the loaves and fishes (Matthew 14:13-21). So, we know God can multiply our family someday as well.

Today, we visited a church, and were excited to meet a couple who is in the middle of adopting as well! They stood up to announce a prayer request for their homestudy this week. They will be going through DHS, so their journey is a bit different from ours. It was neat to see the church family surrounding them in prayer and encouragement. I think we'll go back.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Employer Reference

October 4, 2006
This morning, Michele's boss completed the employer reference form that the agency required to update our file (from my job change a few months ago). Hooray! Another step completed! (It was nice to know that she had positive things to say about me, too.)

We had planned on taking our camera to Bible study this evening to get updated photos of our friends... but we forgot the camera again. Oops. Maybe it was for the best, anyway. Two of our friends have knee injuries right now, so with their pain medication and crutches, the pictures could have turned out to be pretty interesting!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Busy, Busy...

October 1, 2006
This weekend, we started going through a copy of our profile books that birthmoms have been looking at. We're planning on updating some of the pages, since it's been over a year since we made the books. Although our caseworker still thinks our books are "cute," we feel like it would be a disservice to a birthmom by giving an inacurate representation of ourselves. Changing our books may not necessarily "make us look better" to birthparents; we just think it would be appropriate for our books to keep up with our life changes. It seems reasonable that birthparents would appreciate a current view of our life. (And some of the photos are really old!) It is always a challenge to represent an ongoing 3-dimensional life on 2-dimensional pages! I mean, think about it... who were you one or two or three years ago, and what were you doing?

So, we ordered about $100 worth of office supplies/printer ink to do the two additional books the agency has requested, as well as the updates for the existing books. (Here's hoping for a Staples rebate...) We're not sure how long it will take to update our pages, so for now, we will keep our "old" books in the offices. With Calvin using the computer for some classes he's taking now, we have to take turns on the computer!

Then, for fun, I worked on wall decorations in the nursery! About a month ago, my secret sister gave me a package of special large "wall stickers" in the shape of moon & star designs! (Thank you!) I put them up above the crib, and was thrilled to see the rosy red cheeks of the smiling, dancing stars brighten up the room. It seems more "happy" in there now! I took pictures, so hopefully we'll get them developed soon, and I can post them.

The sling carrier I had ordered also arrived last week, which is really exciting. We now have a method to go out of the house/car with our baby (maybe the grocery store or church?), since we won't be using one of those big bulky plastic carrier seats. You can view it here: Lucky Baby. It's the turquoise dot color.

For those of you who have been asking/wondering... no, we haven't heard any updates from our caseworker this week. It's not unusual to have our profile books shown, and not hear anything further. So, we've learned not to "get our hopes up" with each showing. We just see it as an opportunity to pray for a specific mom, while we wait for our baby.