Waiting.

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Just shove it in the closet. That is where we put all the baby stuff. I just can’t look at it but I also want to be prepared in case we get an “emergency placement”. In the adoption world, that means the baby has already been born and we need to immediately leave to go pick up our child.

I feel depressed and excited all at the same time when I look into this closet. That is really the story of adoption, conflicting emotions at the same time. I am excited to grow our family through adoption but also heartbroken for the mama who will choose to place her baby with us. How do you prepare for these emotions ?

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PREPARE. The other reason I want to be prepared with baby items is to be able to process emotions when “the call” comes instead of having to run around at the last minute and get baby stuff together (if that happens). As part of our adoption training with our agency we had to interview a family that already went through the adoption process. It was very helpful. They had an emergency placement and they wished they had more baby stuff. They got a call on a Sunday night saying they had been picked by a birthmom (means already gave birth and then chose to make an adoption plan) and could they come tomorrow to take placement of the child. They had nothing for a baby, so they spent the evening in Walmart throwing things in a cart and trying to figure out what they needed. They said they were NOT prepared for the flood of emotions that happened right after that call. Processing the emotions of finally being parents, sadness for the birthmother, joy and happiness that the wait was over, anxiety if the birthmother would changer her mind once they met, BUT they had to shove all those things down and get ready for the baby.

Bottom line, I love and hate the closet but being prepared makes me feel better.

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Gorgeous sunset while walking Thor last week. Trying to find  beauty in the wait.

 

WAIT. As of May 13, we have officially been certified to adopt for 3 months. We started the whole adoption process in October 2018 which was about 8 months ago. And now we wait. I don’t do waiting. I need a plan, I want something to DO. I feel sidelined. The only thing we can really “do” is outreach on social media, in hopes that we will match (through friends of friends) with an expectant mama who is choosing to make an adoption plan for her unborn child. We also made an adoption profile video which I finally published last week. Here is the video:

Adoption Profile Video

GOOD. There have been good things that have happened. God has opened the door for us to be active with an adoption attorney group, Family Building, in Southern California. We are still active with our adoption agency, Nightlight. The benefit of working with the attorneys in addition to the agency, is that if we match with an expectant mom in SoCal through Family Building then we are able to stay with family once the baby is born. This means we will not have to pay for housing or a rental car for 2+ weeks while we wait for ICPC paperwork.  ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) is the adoption paperwork that needs to be processed if an adoption takes place across state lines, you can read more about it HERE. Also, since California law allows independent adoptions, the costs are potentially  much lower. We still will need to pay our agency to do the Colorado portion of the adoption, called post placement and administrative fees but it is highly likely the overall costs will be much less. Now with that said, if we do match with Nightlight, we will go through the whole adoption process with them.

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… but then GOD.     I’m not going to lie, some days are really hard, anger creeps in easily, the “why” questions resurface, fear of the unknowns run wild…. but then God. He steps in and reminds me that He has always been faithful in my life and even though I can’t see it, He has a plan for our family. God has used, friends, songs, verses, even social media to give reminders that He is in control and knows the next page of our story.

COMMUNITY. Thank you for praying for us and helping us by sharing our story on social media! You can find us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE, and FAMILYBUILDING. Matt and I would be so grateful if you would continue to help spread the word that we are adopting on social media, never know where a connection will lead!

Thank you for your prayers and support, we are so grateful to have such amazing friends and family.

 

Adoption Benefit.

 

Adoption fundraiser March 9

March 9th was our adoption fundraiser at Calvary Church in Santa Ana, CA. What an amazing night!! It was wonderful to see so many faces Matt and I  haven’t seen in a long time, catch up with old friends and be able to see so much family! Oh yeah, and we raised $5000!!!!! There are SO many people who helped make this happen but especially my parents, Steve and Charlotte. This was their idea and they did such an amazing job! This would not have happened without them!

Adoption Fundraiser March 9 auction items

The silent auction was a TON of fun! We ended up having almost 50 items. Thank you to all who donated something to the auction, I was just blown away by the generosity !

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Thank you to all the wonderful people who brought these yummy deserts!!

 

Current Financial Status of Adoption

 

After the event, our base agency fees are now FULLY COVERED!!! This is a huge mountain that I thought would take much longer but God is sure bigger than any mountain I can create in my head.

What does this mean ?

If we have a “normal adoption” with our agency in Colorado, all the fees are covered. The actual cost of the adoption will likely be more but it will depend on:

-what state we adopt from

– the legal fees  (varies by state from $500- $5000)

– travel to whatever state our baby is born in

– hotel/airbnb we will need for an average of 2 weeks while we wait for ICPC paperwork (legal documents that must be processed before you can cross state lines with a baby) if we adopt out of state.

At this time, we do not know what state we are adopting from so we have no idea what these other costs will be. So for now, we are going to press pause on our fundraising since the rest of the costs are unknown.

THANK YOU for all your prayer support as well as the financial support. There have been many days when I have felt so discourage and the only way I was able to get through the day was because I KNEW someone was praying for us so thank you.

Our plan for now is to work and save as much as we can while we wait for “the call”. Although some days are easier than others, we are trusting in God’s perfect timing for growing our family.

Huge thank you again to everyone who came to our adoption benefit!

 

-Andrea & Matt

 

OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED!

It has FINALLY happened! We are now certified to adopt!! We are now what’s called a “waiting family” in the adoption world. We now wait to be matched with an expectant mom/family.

Like I said before, the average wait time with our agency is about 1 year. We have also said yes to what our agency calls “surprise cases”.  A surprise case is when a baby has been born or is just about to be born and the birth mother decides she wants to make an adoption plan. This means we could get a call asking us to come pick up our baby the next day. We were told this is very rare, but does happen every once in a while.

The final step to be certified was to read over our homestudy report. It’s a document that basically summarizes our whole lives and our ability to be parents. We had to drive up to our agency to review it in person. Our agency is about an hour north of where we live. Our meeting was at 7:30am on Wednesday Feb 13. We left around 6am and got to see part of a pretty sunrise.

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We are also officially 4 months into being “paper pregnant”! We started the adoption/homestudy process back at the beginning of October. Below is a list of most of the paperwork and things we have had to do to become certified.

 

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And now you know why we have been so busy! Thank you to all who have been praying for us and filled out references. We could not have gotten through this without your support!

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Feb 6 Update: Profile Book ! Almost certified!

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Our profile book is finished! Below is a sneak peak of a few of the pages.

So what is a profile book anyways ?

A profile book is a (physical) photo book of a hopeful adoptive couple/family that is shown to women who are considering making an adoption plan. The book is basically a way for an expectant mom to get to know what a family is like through pictures. There is also a short letter at the beginning of the book written to the expectant mom.

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Our book has over 100 photos. We probably looked at every photo we have taken since we started dating ….SO MANY PICTURES. Our adoption agency did give us guidelines to follow, but for the most part we were on our own. Yikes.

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This has been the most stressful “art” project of my life. We were limited to 20 pages. What pictures do you include? What do you say in your letter? This book is a HUGE part of the adoption process.

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In domestic infant adoption, the expectant mother making an adoption plan chooses the family she wants to place her child with after a matching process has happened. Once an expectant mom is matched with some families by the agency, she is then given their profile books to look through and then pick a family based off their book. Of course it’s more complicated than that, but that’s the process in a nutshell.

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I will be mailing these books out this week to all the offices in our agency. Nightlight has offices in 10 different states. So yes, we could could be matched with an expectant mother in another state and we have been told that is a high probability.

Next steps. We should be certified by the end of next week which means we passed our home study and can legally adopt a baby. The official wait time at our agency to be matched with an expectant mother is about a year. I will be writing more about the wait time later because we have also said yes to last minute placements as well.

Grants. Once our home study is done, we can start applying for grants. 99% of adoption grants require you to submit your official home-study paperwork with your grant application.

We thank you for your continued financial and prayer support! We keep getting closer to our goal! To date, we have raised over $14,000 towards our adoption! WOW!!!!  Thank you to each person who has supported us. We have come this far because of you! We still need about $11,000 but we know God will provide and make a way.

With Love,

Andrea & Matt

 

Halfway.

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I wanted to do a blog earlier this month but December has been crazy! We moved to a different apartment complex on December 15 (due to adoption), hosted two different family Christmas celebrations, went to a 2 day adoption training, had our first home-study visit and orientation, were down to one car for most of month and had family fly out from CA and NC to spend Christmas with us.

Our 2 day adoption training was kind of a let down. The state requires that all families adopting domestically go through this training, including those adopting through foster care. About 75% of the material was geared towards families adopting older children out of foster care which has nothing to do with infant adoption, but again, the state requires it. The material that did apply to us was very helpful and we got some great information. The best thing about the training was meeting two other couples that were in the same situation as us, looking to adopt after infertility. We were able to have lunch with them and share our stories. I felt less alone after talking with them, it was very encouraging.IMG_1311

Our first home study visit went really well! We love our social worker and she made us super comfortable. She asked us questions about our jobs, how we spend our free time, what we value, how we plan to parent and many other questions. She said the goal was to get a picture of what our family is like to help make a good match with what an expectant mother is looking for in a family.

We have two more home study visits, one is this Thursday. Part of this meeting is the first physical inspection of home and making sure everything is baby proofed. We actually have to baby proof the house from infant to age 2. Our agency approves us up to age 2 in case there are any legal issues that cause finalization to be delayed. Finalization in Colorado takes at least 6 months. SOOOOO we have to cover all electrical outlets, baby/toddler proof all kitchen cupboards, bathroom cupboards, bookshelves, dresser drawers, move all cleaning supplies out of reach or lock them up, move all cleaning supplies out of kitchen as we aren’t allowed to have any chemicals in same area where food is and the list goes on. We are going to be SUPER PREPARED!!!

This is part of the checklist for the training we have to do….

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We have been blown away by how many people have generously given this past month! Every gift, no matter how small helps! As of today, the next $7000 we owe once our home study is done is FULLY FUNDED !!! Also, we are are only a few hundred dollars short of being HALFWAY FUNDED !!! WOW!!!!! Thank you to all who have bought puzzle pieces, bought items off the shoppe and donated to our adopttogether fund. Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough, but thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thanks to YOU the dream of growing our family is finally becoming reality!

So what’s next? We have to finish up our required training/education at home, take a pediatric CPR & First Aid Class, two more home study visits, find a pediatrician, finish baby proofing house, work on our adoption profile book and start lining up grants to apply for once home study is complete.

Thank you for your support and walking through this journey with us.

Love,

Andrea & Matt

You can still donate today to get you 2018 tax deduction!

https://adopttogether.org/families/?fundraiser=erskin-adoption

 

We are ending 2018 with some snow. Can’t wait for 2019!!

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Feeling the Love!

 

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Photo by Swapnil Deshpandey on Pexels.com

Matt and I are feeling so loved! We have reached our next financial goal of $2000!! THANK YOU to all our family and friend who donated to our adopttogether site, bought items off our shoppe and purchased puzzle pieces! YOU made this happen! Our orientation costs are now covered!! So much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.

Our next goal to conquer is $7000. This is not due until the end of February once our home study is done. Also, once our home study is done, we will be able to start applying to adoption grants and adoption loans (very low to no interest). We have been told not to rely on grants because they are becoming very hard to get due to the fact that more people than ever are applying to them due to the rapidly rising costs of adoption. We will still try.

In an upcoming blog, I will talk about why adoption is so expensive and explain what the next $7000 will cover in regards to our adoption. In the meantime, keep doing your Christmas shopping on the Shoppe! I just added over 10 new items and lowered some prices!

Thank you for helping us meet this goal so quickly!!

Through His Love,

Andrea & Matt

Great is Your Faithfulness

11.15.18

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Thank you to all those who financially supported us through Adopttogether!

HUGE THANK YOU!  As of today, we have enough funds to cover the cost of our home study ($2500) AND our required, two day, in person, adoption training ($375) Nov 30-Dec 1! THANK YOU!!! We are one BIG STEP closer to growing our family!

Our next goal is $2000 for what our agency calls “Orientation”, which is required. The fee includes administrative costs associated with an actual in-person meeting/orientation with our agency. We will be given lots of information, more paperwork and a more in depth walk-through of our adoption process. Rest assured I will go to this meeting with a LOOOOONG list of questions!

PROGRESS. We are supposed to get our social worker assigned to us this week. The social worker will do three in-person interviews. According to a recent email, our first interview will be soon! Things finally feel like they are moving forward. We are still working on paperwork and gathering lots of documents and information  to send into our agency…. some days it feels like there is no end in sight but there will be. This will all be worth it.

THANKSGIVING. Matt and I have SO much to be thankful for. But it will also be the first Thanksgiving since we found out the severity of our infertility and that biological children were not an option.  I am SO grateful and excited about our adoption but am also grieving the fact that I am not pregnant, and don’t know when God will bring a new life to our family. Most of the time the Holy Spirit reminds me in some way or another that He does have my life in His hands but there are a few days where sadness is the overwhelming emotion. My counselor warned me that holidays could trigger emotions that seemed to be mostly faded and of course she was right. So as the thoughts and sadness come I do my very best not to sit in them and get angry, but release them to the Lord. He can take it! I also cling to the promise that God is faithful. I LOVE the chorus from the song “Do It again” by Elevation worship:

Your promise still stands, Great is your faithfulness, faithfulness

I’m still in Your hands, this is my confidence,

You’ve never failed me.

I hope whatever hard emotions the holidays bring up for you that God would speak to you during this time. I pray His promise of faithfulness would comfort you.

♥ Andrea