March 1, 2022

Adoption Recap + Update

 From time to time I’ve shared on IG what’s going on with our adoption plans, but I thought I’d make an official blog post to refer people back to if I’m ever asked about an update. 

I’ll start at the beginning- in spring of 2019 David and I had just gone through our first miscarriage and then a chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage) and began praying about the idea of adopting. We did a lot of research and spoke to lots of friends about adopting, and also talked to family members to get their thoughts and they were fully supportive. In May, we signed a contract with an adoption consultant agency (I won’t disclose which consultant group because we were very very unhappy with them as they were not very honest with us about multiple things) and announced to the world that we were going to adopt. Right away we organized a fundraiser and the ball was rolling!

A week after we announced that we were adopting, I found out that I was pregnant. This was a huge shock since we had been actually taking precautions to avoid pregnancy in order to give me time to heal from the previous two losses. But the Lord knew best!

Since the fundraiser was already underway and there was no way of knowing if this would be another miscarriage or a healthy pregnancy, we proceeded with the adoption. One of the first questions we had asked our adoption consultant group was about the possibility of pregnancy during the adoption and they had assured us there would be no drawbacks and the adoption could proceed as normal. 

As you probably know, that pregnancy ended up being our sweet Primrose Adaline! We pursued adoption throughout the course of her pregnancy, and said “yes” to countless adoption cases during that period. However, in order for an adoption to take place, the adoptive parents and the birth mother must both say “yes,” and since there were about 12 other prospective adoptive parents for every one adoption, we ended up with a lot of “no’s.”

Prim was born in January of 2020, which put things on hold with the adoption since that meant updating the homestudy and adoption book we had. Then COVID hit, and everything was paused. Even though the adoption service we were with was on hold as well, they did not put a hold on our contract, which meant that when it ran out we’d be paying another $5,000. They had also been dishonest about some other things as well which made us uncomfortable with signing on with them again.

In Hawaii, covid put huge limitations on everything- the biggest way it impacted the adoption was that anytime you left the state you’d have to quarantine for two weeks after. If an adoption were to go through, that would take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to pick up baby from the hospital and all the other legal things, and then add onto that another couple weeks, that made it impossible for David to be able to take off enough time from work to make that happen. We trusted the Lord with the timing of everything.

Hawaii went into lockdown mode with COVID and to be honest it still hasn’t fully let up. David and I had talked about moving for years, me being extremely reluctant to let go of my island home, but now it had changed so much that it felt like the right time to go. So in May 2021 (2 years after we first announced the adoption) we moved to Kentucky.

Obviously, moving to a new state meant that we’d have to completely start over with everything adoption related. By this time it had been two years, and we had learned a whole lot. The biggest thing we learned though, was that the REAL need is in the foster care system. In domestic adoption, there are countless adoptive parents waiting for every baby (experts estimate between 1 and 2 million couples are waiting to adopt). But in the foster care system, there are over 100,000 foster children waiting to be adopted. It seems like a no brainer to go where the real need is.

That being said, we’ve been in a temporary home for the last several months as we’ve been on the hunt for a home to call our own, so setting up a new home study hasn’t been feasible yet. Whenever the Lord provides that home and we are able to move in, we can begin to take steps towards foster care, but to be honest it still may be a couple years away for us as there is a lot to settle into after making such a major move. We want a child coming into our home to feel secure, and that would be rather difficult if we aren’t feeling secure ourselves!

We want it to be clear that switching to fostering doesn’t mean that we are only doing it with the intention of adopting. We want to be where the need is, and if being a loving, stable home for just a few months for a child is what that looks like, we are looking forward to supplying that need. We would definitely be open to adopting through foster care, but recognize that that isn’t always what is best for the child if options like reunification are better for him or her. Basically, we just want to love on the fatherless and provide a secure and stable home for them however long they might be with us, sharing the love of Jesus with any and all who walk in our door.

A note about fundraising- we raised about $33,000 on GoFundMe which included our IG fundraiser. GoFundMe takes a snippet of that amount, we used $5,000 of that for the consulting agency, about $4,000 for the home study, and then another few hundred for the fingerprints and countless other files and expenses that were all a part of the adoption process (we have documented every expense). Right now there is $25,000 sitting in our adoption account, and for those who donated larger chunks (specifically one donation which was $15,000) we contacted those people to let them know that we are leaning towards foster care in the future instead and asked if we could gift that money back to them as usually foster care adoption is much less expensive than domestic adoption. They refused to take the money back, and fully trusted us with whatever purpose we saw fit for it. That left a little less than $10,000 of smaller donations, fundraiser money, and our own savings. Foster care adoption can be free, but there are still hefty expenses like the home study that come along with it. Our intent is to use the money we raised and saved to put towards those expenses when the time comes.

So there you have it! A very complete recap and update on where things are at with the adoption process. We appreciate all the support and love from soooo many through this entire process, and look forward to sharing about what’s ahead for our family in the coming years.

“The plans of the heart belong to a man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” Proverbs 16:1

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

February 3, 2022

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

"But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."

1 Peter 3:4-6

Contrary to what some may believe of me, I am not one of those blessed souls who naturally possess a "gentle and quiet spirit." I would tend to describe myself more on the "feisty" side of the spectrum - a blend of being a realist and having a sarcastic sense of humor will do that to you. I've always read this verse from 1 Peter 3 and felt a bit hopeless, like my personality type didn't fit the description and I didn't know that it ever could. Until one day, I was studying this passage again and noticed one small word: "adorn." The Merriam-Webster 1828 Dictionary definition of the word adorn is: "To deck or decorate; to make beautiful; to add to beauty by dress; to deck with external ornaments." I realized that this passage isn't necessarily saying that having a gentle and quiet spirit is something that comes naturally for Christian women - rather, it was encouraging us to proactively ADORN that gentle and quiet spirit, in the same way that we might put on a necklace or a pretty dress. When I noticed that word, it was like a lightbulb went on in me and I felt up to the task. I may not naturally go about life in a gentle and quiet way, but if it's something I put on like I do the armor of God every day, perhaps one day it will become less of a "putting on" and more of a "hidden person of the heart" sort of thing.

I also love the end of this passage which calls us the great matriarch Sarah's children, and exhorts us to not only adorn that gentle and quiet and submissive spirit, but to also do good and fear not. Peter isn't telling us women to merely be these timid little church mice - he paints a very different picture when he tells us to imitate Sarah and to do these things in obedience, not out of fear.

I dug a little deeper by reading up on what Matthew Henry has to say about this section and his words were very much in line with my own revelation:

Instead of the outward adorning of the body, he directs Christian wives to put on much more excellent and beautiful ornaments, 1 Pet. 3:4. Here note, First, The part to be adorned: The hidden man of the heart; that is, the soul; the hidden, the inner man. Take care to adorn and beautify your souls rather than your bodies. Secondly, The ornament prescribed. It must, in general, be something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, that is, the graces and virtues of God’s Holy Spirit. The ornaments of the body are destroyed by the moth, and perish in the using; but the grace of God, the longer we wear it, the brighter and better it is. More especially, the finest ornament of Christian women is a meek and quiet spirit, a tractable easy temper of mind, void of passion, pride, and immoderate anger, discovering itself in a quiet obliging behaviour towards their husbands and families.

I don't know about you, but these words are very encouraging to me. It reminds me of another portion of scripture which talks about putting on the new self and doing away with the old self whose ways are naturally evil and deceitful.

"But that is not the way you learned Christ! - assuming that you have heard about Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." 
Ephesians 4:20-24

May you be encouraged as well to put the old way of life behind you and all that may come "naturally," and instead to adorn this new life that is gentle, quiet, submissive, obedient, fearless, and altogether precious in God's sight.