Thursday, November 04, 2010

National Adoption Month: Forever Family

November is National Adoption Month and if you are a new reader to my blog, you might not know that my family has been very blessed by the gift of adoption. In fact, we have been doubly blessed by this gift. We brought our twin daughters home from the hospital at just four days old and officially and legally adopted them on December 2, 2009. It was one of the happiest days of my life! Here is a new layout that commemorates the day that we became a "forever family." All products are from the gorgeous "Dear Diary" kit at NoelMignon.com.


Our journey to adoption started years ago after learning that we were unable to have biological children naturally. We felt like we weren't ready to give up on that dream yet so we pursued in vitro fertilization and other fertility treatments. After 6+ disappointments, we felt like we had enough. You can only put your body, mind and heart through so much, you know? We truly had to grieve the loss of our dreams for awhile. As a woman, I had always imagined what it would be like to be pregnant. It was very difficult for me to let that go.

But, I don't regret going through all of that heartache for one second. If I hadn't gone through that, I would never have my beautiful daughters. In late 2007, we started pursuing adoption and what was going to be an amazing spiritual journey with God. I have always been a believer of God's perfect timing but looking back this adoption journey turned out to be a true testimony of God's faithfulness. A verse that epitomizes what we've been through is Isaiah 61:3: "He will give beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them as strong and graceful oaks for His own glory." Isn't that just a beautiful picture of God's faithfulness in times of trial and struggles?

We spent the majority of 2008 going through the adoption process of mountains of paperwork and red tape. We had physicals, went through rigorous background checks and basically had every intimate detail of our lives thoroughly examined. Finally, in November of 2008 we were approved and ready to be on the list of waiting families. We created an adoption profile scrapbook and video that were shared with potential birth mothers. Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year came and went. Finally, after just a few weeks of waiting we had a phone call that there was a birth mother who was interested in meeting with us. "Oh, and by the way," our adoption counselor said. "She's pregnant with twins." We were floored and excited by this news! :)

A short weeks later, we met with the birth mom, her mom and the pregnancy counselor at the adoption agency. We were so nervous on the way over but prayed for peace. Our meeting was very intense and emotional. We really connected spiritually. We were so optimistic after this meeting but knew that God was ultimately in control. About a month later we met with her again. It was at this meeting that we learned she had chosen us to be the adoptive family to two precious girls. Our birth mom told us about her process of choosing a family. She said she had prayed about it and God spoke to her and said, "You will know who to choose by the way they speak about Me." (This makes me cry every time I think about it). Apparently, that came across in our scrapbook and in our first meeting in how we showed love towards one another, our family and friends and all that in the context of our church and faith in Jesus. It was so amazing to witness how God worked things out. We kept praying and trusting God throughout the whole journey as we put Him first in all our desires and decisions and He was faithful to us!

The adoption process is very, very expensive. We were very blessed to receive a matching grant from a wonderful Christian organization called LifeSong for Orphans. James 1:27 calls us "to look after orphans and widows in their distress." By giving us a matching grant, God would allow our family and friends to come alongside us in our adoption journey and support God's command financially. Our dear friends also put on an adoption celebration fundraiser for us. Adoption testimonies were shared and we had special music. With the spaghetti dinner and silent auction, we were more than able to meet the matching grant. The Lord was so, so good to us.

Our baby girls were born in the afternoon on May 1, 2009. The following day we were able to go to the hospital to meet them. I will never, ever forget the moment that my daughters were placed in my arms. There was no doubt in my mind that these were my little girls. The atmosphere in the hospital was very peaceful. We wanted to be very respectful of the birth mom's time with the girls but she really wanted us to be there. She said it was healing for her to see us with them and loving them. I will also never, ever forget leaving the hospital with my daughters. It was very emotional on all our parts and a very bittersweet time. On one hand, I was beyond thrilled to bring home my baby girls but on the other hand, that excitement came at the cost of someone else's pain.

Iowa law will not let a birth mother sign away her parental rights until 72 hours after a baby's birth. This law prevents an emotional decision from happening. Iowa law then gives a birth mom 96 hours to change her mind with no questions asked after the paperwork has been signed. On the day our 96 hours were up, there was a knock on the door with a special delivery for me. It was a huge bouquet of pink roses and lavender lilies from our birth mom and her mom just in time for my first Mother's Day. When I received that delivery, I knew in my heart without a doubt that my girls were here to stay.

Since the day we left the hospital with our girls, we have had regular contact with our birth mother. We e-mail pictures frequently, talk on the phone occasionally and have had several visits with her. She has our address and contact information and we have hers. There is no awkwardness or fear. We are not threatened by her presence in our lives. We feel incredibly blessed to have a relationship with this amazing woman who made a choice of sacrifice. As a mother now myself, I know I will always have a connection to her. I feel so thankful for her and that she loves our girls so much. We know that this peace and comfort we feel in our relationship with her is only possible because of how God built a foundation of mutual trust and respect for each other from the beginning.

I have such a heart for adoption now having lived it. We will always talk about adoption in our house. In fact, we regularly read this book to the girls: "A Blessing From Above." It's a wonderful story about the blessing of adoption.


Here are my two happy cuties today at 18 months old. One of the most amazing gifts about our adoption journey is how much the girls look exactly like us. When I'm out and about with them, I am frequently stopped by complete strangers that say they have my blue eyes. I almost always just say, "Thank you, they do." I know that God knew exactly what my family portrait would like since the beginning of time and I'm so thankful that He brought these two precious sweethearts in my life. 


I am very thankful that there is a month to honor adoption because it has been a very beautiful gift to me and the most amazing journey I have ever been on. 

Here are some close-ups of my "Forever Family" layout:




Happy National Adoption Month!

14 comments:

  1. oh my goodness, I'm speechless. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm in tears. What a beautiful family you have. I truly believe that the most special things in life happen in His timing. I've lived it. I know it to be true. What a wonderful story you have!!

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  2. What a beautiful story and a beautiful layout Jill.

    You daughters are beautiful :)

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  3. Praise Him!! :) I think it's time we had a scrapping night or afternoon...would that be a possibility for you?

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  4. Beautiful story Jill. I teared up reading it. The two girls are so blessed.

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  5. You MUST, MUST, MUST add this adoption story to our Adoption Blog Hop!!! Beautiful story told by a beautiful mother of beautiful twin girls!!!
    http://foster2forever.blogspot.com

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  6. Jill, I so loved reading that. Thank you for sharing your heart. I'm so glad to have gotten to know you better- I am crying like a baby here reading your story. God is SO good, beyond what we can ever expect or plan.

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  7. Hi there!! i have read your story with tears flowing down my eyes as i too am blessed with an adopted daughter..our gift came through overseas adoption. our daughter is Fijian indian and i so agree with you about Gods plan as we are just very ordinary people who God took on an extra-ordinary journey to extend our family in this way. we are blessed with 3 bio-logical children but when God put it on my heart to adopt He also made the doors open.. however the journey was long and expensive.. 8 years until we held her in our arms.. but i would do it all again in a second. the blessings she has brought to our lives cannot be measured.. your twins are so beautiful.. thank you for sharing your story..God bless you as you raise these precious girls.. celebrate adoption month.. it is Gods plan to put the lonely in families.. with love, lizzy crust from australia

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  8. What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. I love your story...so amazing and special. :)

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  10. totally sweet story, Jill! Thank you for sharing! Love those little honeys you have ;) and the album shared on the Melissa Frances blog is gorgeous, I love it~!

    hugs,
    Viola

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  11. Beautiful story and beautiful daughters!

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  12. They are seriously adorable. Thanks for sharing your story too!

    Would love to have you come check out www.wearegraftedin.com if you get a chance. We would love to have you join the forum and the discussions there--both for your own encouragement and support as well as to give it to others. Please drop by!
    Kelly

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  13. WOW whaat an amazing story Jill, thankyou so much for sharing it with us all, im pretty sure no one has a dry eye. things do happen for a reason and i think you were always meant to be mum to those 2 special girls

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  14. I jumped over here from the Blog Hop and am so glad I did. What a beautiful story of how God forms families!!! We have twins too (born in August 09 from Ethiopia). Just AWESOME! Thank you for sharing!

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