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Adoption Update 3/31/20 – An Emotional Roller Coaster

Couple on a roller coaster about to take off

Where, oh where do we begin?

It’s been a month since we got home study approved and it’s been a month filled with highs and lows, hence the name of this update. 

The Lows

I hate to really call them lows. They’ve actually been “lessons learned” for us. We knew this process wouldn’t be a straight path. But we also love being transparent about our detours. Here are some struggles we’ve had…

The hilarious “after” photo from the one above. This was when we finished our ride on the Zippin Pippin roller coaster in Green Bay, WI at the Bay Beach Amusement Park.

In general, things have been way harder than we expected.

We were warned, but until you’re actually going through it, you don’t realize just how hard it really is. Maybe it’s the complete lack of control, maybe it’s just the emotions piled on emotions (having emotions from our infertility come up, on top of our fears and uncertainties surrounding the adoption process), or maybe it’s just that we’re impatient because we’ve been waiting 6 years to become parents. Either way, it’s just A LOT to handle.

…but all good things require hard work, right?

We didn’t prepare for the “no’s”.

Almost immediately we were having to make tough decisions. Every application we fill out has a list of preferences that we have to check off. We went into this process thinking “we just want a baby, it doesn’t matter!” But quickly learned it has to matter.

We had to determine our openness on the gender, race, mental health, family medical history, relationship with birth family, exposure to substances, etc. etc. etc. It feels really terrible to want a baby so bad, but when presented with a situation that feels way beyond our comfort level to have to say “…but not that baby!”.

We’ve had close to 10 situations like this and it takes a few days for us to recover every time we say “no”. Again, the emotions are crazy. We may also come to a situation where we choose to have our profile presented to an expectant mother and she may tell us “no”…that we aren’t the right fit for her and her baby. Ouch. 

…but all it takes is ONE “yes” from us and to hear ONE mama say “yes” back!

The only thing that helps us get past these “no’s” is believing that by stepping back and saying no, we’re allowed the right family to step up and say yes. It’s their baby. They say that our baby will choose us and we’ll know when the right situation comes along. 

Things aren’t happening as fast as we thought they would.

As with everything in life, when you want something, you want it NOW! We were super confident that things would happen quickly for us…being childless, having infertility, fairly open regarding our preferences, etc…we kept getting told that we had many characteristics that birth mothers are looking for.

While we haven’t even been waiting long since being home study approved, I think the hardest part is how long all the paperwork took and how long it takes for agencies to process it.

We rushed to get everything turned in and complete within about 2 months, yet it took an additional 2 months for everything to be finalized. Again, it’s the lack of control that can be tough to deal with. Getting emails that something would be done “tomorrow”, then having to follow up 3 days later when it wasn’t, and then waiting yet another few days. It gets frustrating.

…but I know with all my heart and soul that God is working it all out in HIS perfect timing. It will all make sense.

We should also add that we HAVEN’T been waiting long. Many families wait years. But emotionally, no matter the amount of time, it feels like an eternity. I think every adoptive couple hopes they’ll be that crazy success story where just days after they get home study approved, they have a baby in their arms. 

It’s a day by day thing.

Okay, sometimes even an hour-by-hour thing! I saw this quote recently: “The day before a miracle is just an ordinary day”. So true! But every single day it’s hard not to wake up and immediately thing “is this the day??”. Some days are easier than others – when we’re busy going about our business or enjoying ourselves with family or outdoors.

Other days the silence is painful and the day drags on. Especially during these times of social distancing and mandatory lock down.  We find ourselves saying “if we could just get our baby, we could move on with our lives”. We know we have to keep living life and not put ourselves on pause, but it’s easier said than done. The world, in many ways, feels like it’s been put on pause with Covid-19. 

…but then that day will happen and none of this waiting will matter!

In the mix of all these emotions, we’ve had a few promising situations that have come our way.

A Couple Highs

Up “high” on our next ride. We decided we were more ferris wheel kind of people!

An Instagram connection

Back in early February, we were messaged by a 19-year-old on Instagram who is considering adoption for her baby due in May. We’ve had several conversations with her since, but aren’t super confident things will pan out.

It’s been really difficult navigating this relationship. First, ensuring she wasn’t a scammer (can you believe such a thing even happens?!). Then, being sensitive to her emotions above anything else. We’ve had to be careful with every single word we say when all we want to do is show up at her doorstep, hug her and tell her we’re here for her.

It’s been hard to take our selfish motives completely out of the situation and just support her. She’s shared how much she is struggling with us and it’s heartbreaking. While she hasn’t taken any steps to pursue an adoption plan with us, like calling our consultant or getting an attorney involved, it’s been so difficult not to get our hopes up and to keep our guard up.

We haven’t heard from her in a couple weeks and have respected her distance. She is due in May, so we’ll see what happens as her due date approaches. She may decide to parent, in which case we’d be super happy for her. 

This Instagram situation has also taught us something important…

This process really has little to do with us. It’s about SO much more. Right now, it’s about her…the woman that will someday choose us. While we may be struggling to be patient and trust in the process, she is dealing with SO much more. She is likely going through one of the hardest situations of her life and she’s having to muster up any ounce of courage she can find to do what’s best for HER baby.

Tennessee Mama

Last week, while standing in line at Costco stocking up on food before these lock down orders went into effect, we got an email from our agency in South Carolina. A woman in Tennessee was making an adoption plan for her baby, gender unknown, due in July. We scrolled through the attached information and got more and more excited. She was a beautiful woman and we could hardly wait to present our profile to her. 

This was the first situation we’d seen that we felt could possibly be “the one” for us. After discussing the situation with our consultant and hearing a few of her concerns, we contacted the agency with a few questions. The agency’s priority was to respect her privacy and confidentiality, of course. But the answers to our questions revealed some further information that conflicted with her paperwork. We were told she was willing to share even more information with the family she chose. 

We decided to go ahead and present our profile. We were so excited to share, we even did the following Facebook live:

Facebook live adoption update

But then, I woke up that next day with a strange, unsettled feeling and all the excitement for that situation was gone. We had to follow our instincts. After further talks with our agency, we felt uncomfortable with a certain aspect of the situation and without violating her privacy, we couldn’t get the information we needed to proceed.

We want to respect the privacy of this agency and woman too, so we can’t share more details than that. We ultimately decided if wasn’t fair to continue pursuing the situation if our hearts weren’t fully in it.

It was an extremely complicated situation, so we know this is very vague, but the lesson we learned was to trust our guts, follow our hearts, lean on God’s guidance, or whatever you choose to call it. It gave us hope that we’re getting closer and that we’ll know the right situation when it presents itself.

And minutes later, it did! Or at least that’s how it feels as of today. 

Florida Bound?

Literally as I was writing the final email to tell our agency that we didn’t want to proceed with the situation in Tennessee, another email popped up in our inbox. Another situation that seemed like it was a good fit for us. 

We needed to process the other situation before diving too much into this new one. But, our initial reactions were excitement. A Florida couple with a baby girl due in May! There were some crazy similarities that made it feel even more right. We decided to wait on making the decision to present or not until we felt ready. 

This situation came through an attorney’s office, who contacted our consultant to get families to send profiles. The protocol was a little different for families to present. But that very next morning, I walked in the office and Dan had the paperwork all ready to go to submit back in order for us to present! He was all in. 

I first needed to journal and get all my thoughts and emotions from the past situation out of my head and onto paper. Then, I spent more time looking into the paperwork on this family and thinking and praying over it. The more time went on, the more confident I felt. 

So we went for it! We sent off our approval and the necessary documents to the attorney so we could have our profile presented. I also mailed off the physical copy of our profile book.

Adoption profile book being mailed out

And now, we wait some more!

The attorney’s office will be choosing five family profiles to present to this mama.  On Friday, April 3, those profiles will be shown to her. So we’re praying that ours is one of them and praying even harder that she chooses us. It’s going to be a long couple of days as we wait in anticipation.

Friends, please pray for her too.

“Her” as in, this Florida woman, and/or whatever woman ends up choosing us. We don’t know her yet, but she’s going to be one of the most important people in our lives. For that, we already love and appreciate her. Our hearts hurt for her. Wherever she is. 

Sooooo….there you have it!

If you made it all the way to the end of this post and read it all….well, bless your heart! Ha ha!

Thanks for reading through the rambles, complaints, and constant reminders we have to tell ourselves to get through it all. It feels good to get it all in writing, though, because we get asked almost on a daily basis how the adoption process is going and now you see why it’s such a hard question to answer :).

Ferris wheel overlooking a lake at sunset
Look at that sunset!

One thing is for sure, God has been right there with us every single step of the way.
We’ve never prayed so much in our lives and have never had so many people praying for us. It’s taught us so much about trusting in the Lord, giving up our own agenda for His, protecting ourselves from negativity, and just overall waiting on the Lord with humility and grace! And we know that’s a huge blessing and really what seasons of waiting are all about anyway. We have full confidence that He will provide.

Thanks for your continued love and encouragement. 

Lindsay + Dan

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Joanna ivey
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Almost 16 years ago the expectant mama we had been matched with for five months called and told us to get on a plane STAT, she was headed to the hospital. In lightning speed, we made it to New Orleans just in time to meet sweet baby Mason. Three days later we drove home with an empty car seat. We were shattered, broke, and I remember bawling on the shower floor so hard I threw up. Less than a week later we had a call from a social worker about a baby born in Texas… and I was on a… Read more »

Hanna
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Hanna

Such a great post and wonderful insight. Thank you so much for sharing. While I was in college, I interviewed one of my professors who adopted a little girl from China. During the interview, she told me about the first child that she and her husband were presented with… a little boy born without arms and legs… and teared up as she recalled praying through the process of whether or not they were meant to parent that little boy. Ultimately, they felt like they couldn’t handle their biological kids AND the needs of that little boy. As you know, a… Read more »

jeanette elliott
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jeanette elliott

Cant wait to see what tomorrow April 3rd brings <3

Daniel McKenzie
Admin

The wait is killing us 🙂

Ashley
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Ashley

Nothing to say, just 💜

Daniel McKenzie
Admin

HI!!! 🙂

Jerry Minchey
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Thanks for the detailed posts. I know it’s a difficult time for y’all. Hang in there.

Jerry Minchey