A Year Later…An Adoption Update

This post was written back in February, and only recently have I had the courage to post it. I am trying to be vulnerable and transparent throughout this entire process, and that is not easy. I struggled with the feelings and emotions in this post, but I owe it to myself, Baby M, and those who have committed to stand by us. So here it is:

A year ago we finished all of our paperwork, took adorable adoption portfolio photos, and shared our news with the world about wanting to adopt. So here we are a year later…and not much has changed in regards to our wanting to adopt. We thought we should give you all an update about where we are at and how the past year has gone…So hear it goes…

2016…the year we thought we would add a baby to our family. Well most of you know that did not happen. Our agency, Adoption in Bloom in Boulder, did not have one placement/adoption in 2016. For the first three months that we were approved…I checked my phone and my email constantly. I was so sure that we would be receiving potential matches weekly, if not monthly. But we never received any. After months of silence from our agency I reached out via email. The agency had not been approached by anyone trying to place their baby. I tried to take that as positively as I could. So we waited…

Those first couple of months were incredibly hard. No one wants to know you are adopting…its uncomfortable and a lot of people pity your misfortune. And the longer you wait to adopt, the more they feel sorry for you. Struggling through infertility is incredibly lonely. Waiting to adopt is even lonelier. You watch as all of your friends start having babies. They tell you it won’t be long until you have your own. Except it is long. And its unpredictable. And as hard as you try to be present for their struggles and joys of motherhood, it breaks you down bit by bit. You start to hide your heart away, because the less you feel the easier it is to bear. You love the children in your life and you thank God for the blessings he has bestowed upon your friends and family. But your heart hurts.

 

People around you ask about the adoption plans and how its all going. They don’t ask about the state of your heart, or your marriage, or how the waiting and disappointment affects both. Honestly, you don’t hold it against them. Because infertility and adoption are not the norm. Unless you have experienced either, its not a natural concern. And even when I am at my lowest, and feeling completely and utterly alone, I still have hope. I trust in a God who is bigger than our infertility, who is greater than our longing to be parents. He is working out our story in a way that I can’t even fathom. And I am so excited about what he has in store for us.

365 days later. Where does that leave us?

 

We are no longer with our agency. We felt that their lack of communication and placements were not something we could endure for another year. We went to a foster information meeting in Adams county, and didn’t feel that was our course, yet. So what are our next steps? After researching other local agencies, we decided to go with Lutheran Family Services of Denver. They are transparent with how many adoptions they facilitate annually and do not take on more families than they can support. We are currently on a waiting list with them and are hoping to become active with them in the next couple of months.

Our adoption story has not taken an easy or quick course; but we are not giving up. This past year has been hard, but it has also been a part of our story. We still cannot wait to meet Baby M, whenever that is meant to be.

The Struggle is Real

It’s officially been a year since I started this blog…which means that we have officially been on our adoption journey for more than 365 days. Its been a few months since my last blog post, and I think its time for some real talk…

 

Adoption has been apart of my story for almost a decade. It has been on my heart since I was 16 and I have always known it would be a part of how I grew my family one day. Now that might sound a little cray cray because how can anyone know what the future holds? Well you can call it whatever you want but when it comes to my call to adoption, I have not wavered once.

 

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Over the past 365 days I have been blessed with a divine sense of peace about who I will be as a mother and a steady trust in God to provide me with the children I am to care for. Friends have asked me how I am doing with the waiting process, and for the most part I have trusted God’s timing and provision (honestly and truthfully!). But I have only realized recently the walls that I have put up defensively to protect myself.

 

When people question me about adoption, it has been easier to talk about not wanting to get pregnant or do the whole birthing a baby thing. Now while those are true due to my current health and the uncertainty of what daily issues pregnancy could contribute to an already complicated life, I haven’t shared the whole truth with most people.

 

The whole truth is that my husband and I tried and failed to conceive for about a year. This was one of the hardest years of my life and a very trying time for our marriage. Each month I felt like a broken mess that for whatever reason couldn’t do what I was created to do. Not many people know about that year…because it is easier to smile and laugh then it is to cry and weep with those we surround ourselves with. And I am really good at putting up a strong front.

 

“Oh you’re adopting…I’m so sorry!” – the general public

 

Over the past five years we have faced enough pity from those who hear about our plans to adopt. When you throw infertility in to the mix, the responses become unbearable. Infertility is accompanied by shame and disappointment and pity, not just from the couple directly experiencing it, but also from those who are made aware of it. Friends, family, strangers…but most importantly those who are ignorant to the struggles of infertility end up making the most impact with those who are experiencing infertility.

 

I was adamant about this journey of adoption being documented for our future children to read. I want them to know how much they are longed for, wanted and loved. However, I think I have tried to separate our calling to adoption from our struggles with infertility. I wanted our future adopted children to know they were loved and wanted without the messy dialogue that infertility brings. And because of that, I have denied myself of the support I so terribly need.

 

I waited and waited and waited for God.
At last he looked; finally he listened.
Psalm 40:1

 

Most of the time I am still trusting in God’s timing and provision. However, there are moments, gut-wrenching and time-stopping moments, where I am floored with the feelings of longing and emptiness. Where I shut down and forget all the ways in which I am blessed. I know deep down that I will make a wonderful mother, if only I were given the chance. I can’t possibly know why my path is different than most. I don’t know why God is making me wait when almost everyone I know doesn’t have to. I am so overjoyed by those I know who are already growing their families. And I trust that those little ones that will be entrusted to us are coming soon…in their own way and in their own time.

 

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I look over at my husband…my darling Will. He is patient and kind and so understanding. He has agreed to walk this earth by my side, all the days of our lives. In him I find my support, my encouragement, and my strength to continue this crazy journey we have embarked on. Without him, I could not carry on.

 

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So friends, family, strangers…when you hear of someone experiencing infertility…please do not pity them. Do not give them advice on how to conceive (seriously…that happens!!). And when a crazy couple says to you that they are pursuing adoption…don’t tell them they are brave or better than yourself for doing something so uncommon. Don’t separate yourselves from them…rejoice with them…encourage them…pray for them! Don’t complain about your pregnancy when there are those who will never get to experience that miracle. Instead, support them by walking alongside them…by asking the hard questions…by being a shoulder to cry on. Don’t ask them how the waiting is going…ask them how their heart is faring through it all. Understand that every pregnancy and birth they witness is bittersweet.

 

You are a savior
And you take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
-All Sons & Daughters

 

Research shows that 1 in every 8 couples experiences infertility. That means that in every close friendship group, someone is most likely experiencing infertility of some sort. I am that friend. It is time that I own who I am fully. It is time that I embrace the person God has created me to be. I don’t know how He will do it, but I know that he will take this brokenness and make it beautiful.

Home Study Visit {1}

I am so excited to share that WE ARE APPROVED TO ADOPT! After completing ALL the paperwork (and boy was it a lot!), doctors appointments, background checks, and a weekend of training, we were able to start the home study process.

 

Now I am going to be honest…I found the prospect of inviting a stranger into our home to evaluate us as future parents completely terrifying. As a couple, we wear our feelings and our hearts on our sleeves. Whenever we meet new people, I usually apologize at the start for anything my husband may share. We kinda lack filters, not in a crude inappropriate way, but in an awkward truth kind of way. The more nervous and uncomfortable we are in a situation, the more we reveal. And even though we are honest people with nothing to hide, I was still anxious about the whole situation. I mean what if I said something wrong and it changed the social worker’s opinion of me? What if we awkwardly joked about something that made us look like we would be terrible parents?

So with all of those worries and thoughts in my head, we stepped out and said “What will be will be.” Deep down I know that Will and I will be great parents. We have both been blessed beyond measure with the parents and families we grew up in. Our childhood memories are those of love, adventure, and stability. I look at Will as a husband and father to our fur babies and am so sure of the man I married. As a team we are awesome (if I do say so myself) and with our ups and downs we still laugh and love and have the best time.

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We met our social worker the first week of December 2015. She came to our perfectly cleaned and organized home and sat down with us for two hours. She asked us questions about why we wanted to adopt and all the questions you ask when getting to know someone. And I quickly realized that she wasn’t asking those questions to see if we fit a specific adoptive family criteria. She really wanted to know us personally…to build a study of who we are not only as people, but as a unit. Our likes, hobbies, jobs, and dreams. And for those two hours we talked with a sense of ease and feeling of peace. We did not try to impress or win her over. We just talked about us.

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Ice Skating in Denver – One of our favorite things

Just like that…one of the three visits I had been so terrified about was over. We kept looking at each other and saying “Was that really it?”. I mean, ok, we still had two more visits (one being the individual interviews), but wow what a feeling. It wasn’t the paperwork or training that made me realize we could do this. It is the partnership I have with my husband, the life we have already built together, and trust in our God who has called us to adoption. Baby M we love you already and cannot wait for you to be ours.

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Painting the Nursery for Baby M – Blog Post Coming Soon

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Home Study Visit {2}

 

 

Adoption Announcement Photoshoot

We are coming to the end of our homestudy (post coming soon about our experience) and when it is finalized (the 2nd week of January) we will be eligible to be matched to a birth parent and baby!

 

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It is our plan to send out a “We are hoping to Adopt” Announcement at the start of the year! This is to let our extended family and friends know about our adoption plans and to enable the people in our lives to support us, either through prayer, sharing our story, or financially through donations.

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We are praying for a baby to join this House Full of Pecks in 2016! We know that adoption is hard, that the process can take years, but we are staying positive and praying for God to bring our baby to us this year. That might sound crazy or naive, but we are stepping out in faith and trusting God’s plan for us. And as hopeful as we are for a baby in 2016, we are willing to wait as long as it takes for our baby!

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And what is an adoption announcement without a photoshoot?!?!? I met Kate this past summer when I drove her and a few other high school girls around Erie for the Amazing Race. This is an event for High School students who are part of our Church youth group, which I have been volunteering with since this summer.  It was a really fun afternoon and our team came in 2nd Place! Anyways, I have come to know Kate over this past semester at youth group and discovered she has a love for photography! She is so kind, has a great heart, and I knew she would be perfect to take our photos! And let me tell you what an awesome time we had!

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Kate made us feel really comfortable and was able to capture us and our personalities so well. She even managed to get a few of the four of us, despite Miss Bennett not co-operating! We would highly recommend her for any and all of your photoshoots and will definitely be using her for our photoshoots in the future! You can see more of her work on her website

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I am currently finishing up our adoption profile book that will be viewed by birth parents for a potential match! This journey has been so beautiful and has taught both of us about not only trusting in the Lord for his provision and timing, but to treasure this time of waiting as he prepares us to be parents. I spoke to someone recently who had adopted through our agency and they said one of the most helpful things I have heard in regards to waiting. It is not a question of “if” we will get a child, but a question of “when” our child will become ours completely.

 

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We are also praying for our future birth parents…that they will see how much we already love this child, and how humbled we are to get to partner with them to raise this baby. We pray for strength and courage as they make their adoption plan and for wisdom in choosing. We are two imperfect people, striving to live a life worthy of the children we will be given.

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Thank you for taking the time to look at our pictures and for following us in our journey. We are so grateful for your prayers and support! If you would like to receive an adoption announcement and to support us in our adoption journey, please connect with me on here or on Facebook.

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
-Joshua 1:9

And so it begins…

So back in June we decided on the adoption agency we wanted to use for our first adoption. We started filling out a ton of paperwork, got our fingerprints taken, and even had to get police certificates of good behavior from the UK.

{ then summer got cray cray }

Will’s parents visited from England for almost 3 weeks which was super fun. I know you all are thinking that having your in-laws for three weeks could never be fun, but my MIL and FIL are awesome and I love spending time with them. We went on vacation to Vegas, which was an experience to say the least. My mom and brother (no. 2) came to visit for a week before he headed off to his first year of college (he is sooo grown up). And our really good friend from college stopped over for a flying visit between a trip to Canada and Virginia.

{ then we had some big life changes }

From August until about now, work was absolutely mental (that means crazy for all your non-brits). I have never been so exhausted in my entire life!!!! And on top of that my wonderful and adoring husband got a new job. For the past 18 months Will and I have been working together in the same job, commuting to work in the same car, eating and living together in the same house, and sleeping in the same bed. All of the sudden a huge part of our days were no longer spent together. And let me tell you that was hard to get used to. Most of our friends have always wondered how we worked together and for awhile there I didn’t know how I was going to survive working life without him. Its definitely gotten easier and I am so glad we are still working in the same city because we can have spontaneous lunch dates.

These past few months have been quite the whirlwind for our little family of four (yes my pups are a part of our family). Our friends had recently asked where we were at with the adoption process. And to be perfectly honest, we held off for the last two months because we wanted to be ready. Its a huge step in faith for us and not a decision to be taken lightly. The seriousness and reality of sending in our application and officially starting the process of being approved had weighed on our hearts all summer.

And now, as I am finally coming up for air, we feel settled enough with Will’s new job and income to finally get this adoption process started. Last night I got all the completed paperwork together, wrote out some (hefty) checks, and put together our application to send to the agency. And about 10 minutes ago, I emailed over the paperwork to the agency. (ahhhhh!)

 

If I could articulate how I am feeling right now, I would. I wish you could all get a glimpse into my heart. We are one step closer to holding our baby and forever calling it ours.

Overwhelming Joy
Excitement
Nervousness
Anticipation
Peace
& Longing

Those are just a few words to describe the cornucopia of feelings I am experiencing right now. Stay tuned as we continue what will be one of the greatest adventures of our lives.

Ashley xoxo

 

Gatsby’s Ancestry Revealed

Its been a couple weeks since I have written on here and boy have I been busy! With a trip to Vegas with friends, my birthday and my in-laws visiting, its been harder to find time to stop and write. But today I finally was able to sit myself down and am excited to share more about our #familyoffour.

When we rescued our little Gatsby we were told he was most likely a 2-3 month old lab mix who had great growth potential. At the time that was really important to us because we wanted a good playmate and brother for our 70 pound American Bulldog who needed help learning how to play positively with other dogs. We soon found out from the vet that he was actually a few months older, most likely of corgi descent and probably wouldn’t get bigger than 35/40 pounds. After loving him for almost a year we decided to have a wisdom panel taken to find out what breeds made up our energetic and completely adorable (little) pup.

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Gatsby Sitting on our Deck…Isn’t he just the cutest????

After a month of waiting for the results, we finally received them from our vet last week. She was so excited to share Gatsby’s ancestry and even was able to notice different characteristics that he currently exhibits that matched the results.

So the big reveal….. Gatsby is a Australian Shepherd, Rottweiler, Golden Retriever mix.

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Gatsby’s Ancestry Revealed

We were totally surprised by the results! We had an inkling that he would be a shepherd of some sort but Rottweiler…WOW! Looking at him now we can see all three breeds, in his coloring, in his ears, in his brown little eyebrows, and in his constant herding of Bennett in the backyard and his boisterous and playful personality.

I am not gonna lie, I was thrilled to find out that he is not one bit corgi, and that his short stature is due to the “mixed breed” that makes up a portion of his ancestry beyond three generations. They selected 5 breeds that most likely contributed to that mixed breed ancestry, and that it is likely only one or more of these breeds played a part in his genetic makeup. The five breeds listed from most likely to less likely are Shetland Sheepdog, Pekingese, Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute, and Shih Tzu.

We would guess from the way he is shedding his undercoat this summer that he has at least a little bit of the Alaskan Malamute in him. And as all three confirmed breeds have floppy ears, Gatsby’s adorable ears that stick straight up would be attributed to one of those 5 breeds as well (maybe the Samoyed or Sheepdog).
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As exciting as this has all been, it has really got me thinking about the importance of ancestry and family. We rescued Gatsby with hardly any information about his age, breed, or past circumstances. And as we have filled in some of the blanks with him, it has not changed how we feel about him one little bit. I have loved him the same now knowing his breed and age as I did before I knew those things. Through our rescuing of both Gatsby and Miss Bennett, I think God has been teaching me about unconditional love to prepare my heart for when we adopt our kids. It won’t matter where they came from or who they came from for me to love them unconditionally. And as they grow up and we learn more about them as parents do with their growing children, it will only make my love grow and grow.

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At the end of the day Gatsby is Gatsby…our little honeybadger. He is the best brother and playmate for our Miss Bennett. Even though he is only 35 pounds to her 70 pounds, he can still take her down when they play fight. He is loyal and constantly makes me laugh with his belly rolls and little flirtatious grunts. I would not be the same person without him.