Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Here's the FULL story...

In the September/October issue of Stepping Stones magazine, a ministry publication to couples dealing with infertility, our story was published.  Another adoption site re-posted our story, but they edited a lot of the "Christian" parts.  So, I'm reposting it here to give God all the glory He deserves.  Please feel free to share.

At this time of year with all the holiday hustle and bustle of events, parties, shopping etc., many feel lonely and especially those who are still waiting and longing for a child.  It can seem extremely quiet and heart breaking as they await their ultimate heart's desire of becoming parents.  Nothing packaged in pretty wrapping paper and the most beautiful bow can ever replace that achy desire inside one's heart.  So, please share, be prayerful for those hurting, be mindful of the true meaning of Christmas - Jesus came to heal, deliver and set us free.  He gives peace where there is no peace, joy where there was once sorrow and He fulfills our every longing.  He loves us so much and it's worth shouting so others can hear, even if our shouting isn't done with our voice, but is better seen through our actions.  



Tugs on My Heart         
By Jennifer Maynard

The grief following miscarriage had a very strong grip on me for a long time. Every year, I continue to feel tugs on my heart when the anniversaries of my lost babies return. It’s not that I haven’t been surrounded by people who love, support, and pray for me, but people have continued with their lives, and I have had to walk this lonely path myself.

My story began more than eight years ago. I became pregnant after just a few months of trying. It's something that I dreamed would be the next step in my life after marriage. However, my steps were far different than I imagined they would be.

October 18 marks the anniversary of when our first baby was due to have been born. It's so hard to believe that my husband, Mark, and I could have had an 8 year old walking around right now. At this point in our lives, you’d think that the sting would be gone, but it’s still there. As my husband said recently, “The Lord has really brought healing and continues to heal our hearts.”

We are blessed with a beautiful baby girl now. No, she wasn't born "naturally" to us, but in my heart she's mine naturally, and in my heart she is truly my daughter. I am her real mother.

Just a couple of years after my first miscarriage, I found myself pregnant again. Months later I discovered that my child had no heartbeat. Both miscarriages were at Easter time, when there should be resurrection power, but I once again I (delete) only faced death and loss. Satan had a goal in all of this: to have me doubt my Father, lose my faith and hope, and throw in the towel.

The next several years were full of frustration, medication, surgery, and tests. Finally I began to think that my overwhelming desire to be a mother just wasn't meant to be. I didn't understand why I wasn't pregnant when everything I read in God's Word spelled out His promises to His children...and to me. I had thought that becoming a mother could only happen one way: by giving birth to a child.

A Turning Point
Then I came across a teaching by Dave Roberson…a teaching in which he made a powerful statement that changed my course. He said something to this effect: God doesn't give children...it's man's decision to have children.

In 2010, Mark and I determined that our burning desire to be parents wasn't going away, and we decided to pursue adoption again. Four years earlier, an infant was placed in our home, but the child’s birthparents changed their mind about parenting. We had to return the baby.

When that happened, I was full of shame and embarrassment thinking that I had pursued an Ishmael and really God really wanted me to have an Isaac. That wasn't it at all, though. Those were just thoughts from the enemy twisting God's Word and trying to get me to doubt my Father's will for our life.

So I quit my job thinking that less stress would do the trick. I tried to get pregnant again for six months and still nothing. I was full of fear because we had experienced loss three different times and it seemed like every time I tried to become a mother, I failed.



Trying Again
Only by God's grace did I have the courage to go down the path of adoption again. I had truly lost faith, hope, and even my sense of joy, even though on the outside, I had put on the mask of faking it. It was God's mercy, people’s prayers, cards, phone calls, letters, notes, and other’s adoption stories that allowed me to walk this journey.

God has brought a beautiful and healthy baby girl into our lives, and I would go through everything again just to be brought to this point in my journey. Our daughter is a priceless and precious gift. As I try to find the words to express this journey, you can truly never know unless you've walked this path what women go through and what their husbands experience. It's a quiet pain and a silent hurt. I have come to realize how much adoption needs to be more supported in the Church. Out of this pain and hurt, God has given me opportunities to talk with other women and to encourage those who've encountered loss.

On Friday, October 26, 2012, we finalized our daughter’s adoption. This is a significant date to me because it's the day right before I present at Pearls Women’s Ministry Conference. God is good and no matter what comes our way, we can always have confidence that He is all-wise and will bring to pass the desires of our hearts. He loves to bless us, and His Word is always truth.

Satan lies to us and tries to get us to doubt just as he did in the garden with Adam and Eve. If we can shut off those thoughts of doubt and magnify the Lord instead of our pain, we will be able to conquer every fear of loss that comes our way. God is always good! This is one thing I am confident in.

The Love Reach
Now I make it a point to be more purposeful to encourage all around me to seek out and reach out to women who have lost a baby or a child and to let them be comforted with a hug, prayers, encouragement, or a note of love. I know they appreciate it more than can be imagined. I call it the love reach.

My life was changed forever as we finalized Niyla's adoption and completed this long walk and journey. The day her adoption was finalized, I held back my tears all day until I got home and sat down that night with just me and my daughter in the quiet of our home and praising God. They were tears of exceeding joy!

I am so appreciative of everyone who followed our journey, supported us, loved us, encouraged us, and prayed for us. We love each and every person and are so happy that we are officially ending the chapter of our first adoption and starting the new one of being Niyla's parents. To God be the glory for the great things He has done!

Editor’s Note: Jennifer and Mark have now begun their second adoption journey.

[Sidebar]
Does it hurt you to see other women pregnant?
Yes, it still does. The sting isn't as great as it once was. I think often about the two babies I miscarried and wonder what they would look like and what life would have been like with them. Even though they aren't in my “present,” they will certainly be in my future. I always say that they are being raised by the best Father ever...our heavenly Father.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Opportunities and Numbers...

Well, since July, here are some fun statistics that you may enjoy hearing about as you follow our journey. We've had 1 out of state opportunity through a different agency and 1 out of state opportunity through our agency. The remaining situations have been through our local office or through friends that we know. Our social worker has informed us of 6 opportunities, of which, 3 of those we've chosen to have our profile shown. The other situations we chose not to proceed forward because they were challenging situations that weren't a good fit for our family. We have been approached by 2 friends who have told us about possible adoption situations. 1 birth family has chosen to parent and we haven't heard about the other situation. At this point, we haven't been chosen to meet with any of the birth families to be considered as the adoptive parents of their child(ren), SO...our journey of waiting continues...

How does this impact us? Our agency has had several matches with birth families and several placements, which means we are moving in the right direction. In July, we were 14th on the list of families waiting and now we are 7! Our agency shows longest waiting families first, so it's great news that we are now in the top 10 because the likelihood of seeing more opportunities of birth families considering adoption and desiring to meet with adoptive families is increasing. The process is long. Adoption isn't a choice where you just decide to adopt and bring your baby home, but the process is very involved, time consuming and full of a lot of waiting to see what happens. As you may imagine, this can really try a person's patience and emotions! As of February, we've completed our paperwork, homestudy, social worker visits, background checks and the required 30 hours of adoption classes and then the wait began. We've now been waiting about 9 months. We continue to hope that the average wait time of 19 months won't be our story because we pray that we are above average! It's rough being looked over when we are presented to a birth family and they don't choose us. However, God has shown over and over that He's directing our steps and where each child belongs. Knowing this helps us keep a proper perspective. Nothing in the adoption world is wrapped up in a pretty bow and it's certainly uncertain! It's a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, hopes and disappointments and being considered and passed by. We continue to choose to put things in His hands and if we try to pick it up and take the control, He reminds us to lay it back down at the cross where His will has already been finished and accomplished. The entire journey is a role of surrender and relinquishment of control. Of course, we aren't robots with no feelings so with every situation we hear of whether through our agency or through friends, we have a wondering, hopeful mind of what might me...just as anyone would. It's just the frailty that we have as human beings that can't be helped or avoided. It doesn't mean we don't have hope or faith, it just means our soul can speak very loudly at times and we have to remind ourselves that God is in charge, not our soul, our feelings or our emotions. It's easy to write, much less easy to hear and do. So, as you read this, think of us, see posts here and there, please continue to pray God's will as we walk out this journey of faith and His promise to us of growing our family through adoption. However that may look, we don't know exactly, but in the middle of quiet and sometimes dark places, He knows what it looks like. Knowing this gives us great confidence because He works everything out for us. This we trust and stand upon.

Thanks for reading...Please feel free to continue to share our profile as you have opportunity and are led. We appreciate your support in every way.

With love and hope,

Mark and Jennifer

http://waitingfamilies.bethany.org/home/wisconsin/mark-and-jennifer

Monday, October 14, 2013

3 days in a row!

Last week we finally had some movement in the waiting part of our journey! It's been 8 months now since we completed our home study and have been waiting for profile opportunities. Our agency shows the longest waiting families first so we knew at the time that it would be quiet. However, we are prayerful that even though the wait averages 19 months, that we are above average and appreciate all of you who send notes, messages, prayers and words of encouragement. Every time someone likes, comments, writes a note etc. it helps give us the boost and push of encouragement that is SO very needed on this long wait as this part truly is one of the hardest parts. Last week, a friend sent me a message that she had heard about a women who is considering an adoption plan for her child and asked if they could share our profile. Absolutely was our response and we are so thankful that they thought of us! Although we don't know if this will end in our adopting this child, one thing's for sure...this birthmother has chosen life and for that we are thankful. Secondly, we are thankful that a friend was thoughtful and shared our adoption profile to help us in the part of our journey. The very next day we received a profile opportunity from an out of state situation from our agency. They received many profiles so the wait to hear whether we'll get to the possible next step continues. So, we are encouraged knowing that God is working on our behalf and He is using friends and our agency. I can feel things moving and every day we are closer to Niyla's baby brother or sister! The next day we received two more profile opportunities, which unfortunately we had to turn down as they weren't a good fit for our family. So, with all of this we know God is working behind the scenes on our behalf and on the behalf of a teeny tiny baby that is growing in our heart's and in someone's womb somewhere. We continue to pray for our baby and the birthmother every day that they are healthy and that all their needs are met in Jesus name. Here's our profile in case you come across someone that is considering adoption for their baby. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, Blog or other avenues that you can share this, you are welcome to do just that. We thank you for your support in this way! You just never know who God will use to help make our family complete. But we know He will use someone and we know when the time is right, He will move on our behalf. http://waitingfamilies.bethany.org/home/wisconsin/mark-and-jennifer

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Every door I come to...

There's one thing for sure that the adoption process has taught me and that is every door I come to I knock to see if it will open.  The Lord knows just what He is doing and I've learned that even if a door seems to open, it may quickly shut...mostly for reasons I never know or understand. 

Adoption has opened many doors with strangers, which I love.  I can be anywhere in the city or country for the matter (not that we've traveled much since becoming parents!) and have an instant connection with adoptive moms because they are with their adopted child(ren) and suddenly there's great opportunity for an open door of conversation.  It's absolutely wonderful!  I get to hear great stories, advice and tips about a variety of things and best of all I get to share Jesus and how He brought us our beautiful daughter.  If you've seen our daughter's picture you know exactly what I'm talking about.  She is an absolute blessing everywhere we go and to every person she meets.  Her smile is contagious, her laugh so sweet and if you are lucky enough you may get the sweetest and most loving hug if she lets you hold her.  I love adoption and the world that has opened to me that was always there, I just didn't realize how big that world was until I turned the nob and opened the door.  Boy, am I glad we knocked and opened as we can't imagine what life would be like without our precious baby girl.  There's something very special about the connection between adoptive moms...we just get each other, our journeys, our hardships without even saying a word about it

Now as we wait for Baby "M", I dream and wonder what he or she will be like, when they will be born, what nationality the Lord wants to spice up our family with this time, whose life will be impacted by this gift of life that will come to us and on and on...but for now...we do my least favorite part...WE WAIT!

Monday, June 24, 2013

New baby NEXT week...

Well, we had another profile opportunity.  This one was an out of state opportunity through a different agency.  I'm not going to get into all the details of how that came about, but we just received news this morning that out of all the profiles the birth mother reviewed, we were also reviewed but not chosen.  Congrats to the family that was as they'll have a new baby NEXT week.  Yeah, that would have been quickly for us and we are perfectly okay with that.  Trusting again, though that is something hard for me to do, but a necessity that the Lord knows best and that this wasn't the baby meant to join our family, but there is one (maybe twins) that is meant to be the next Maynard.  Now we hurry up and wait as this process goes for other opportunities to come our way...

We sure appreciate your prayers and love especially on days when we receive news like this.  Thanks for joining our journey...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

In a world intent on celebrating sameness...I'm different



Dear Moms of Adopted Children

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,
I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident. 

It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have. 

Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them. 

Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was. 

Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it? 

I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes, but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.


I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes, so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.

I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.

I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.

Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby’s room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.

I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding, from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.

And I know about the followup visits, when you hadn’t slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.

And I’ve seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what’s being promised and what’s not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.

I’ve seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that’s emerging. I’ve seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn’t have to go through with this. I’ve seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments—while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.

I’ve seen you look down into a newborn infant’s eyes, wondering if he’s really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.

And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.

I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.

I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn’t even know you were holding for months. Months.

I’ve seen you meet your child’s birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I’ve seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile … people who love him because he’s one of them. I’ve seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he’s shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.

I’ve seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things — but you can’t protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.

I’ve seen you at the doctor’s office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little blanks don’t turn into big problems later on.

I’ve seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?

I’ve seen you wonder how you’ll react the first time you hear the dreaded, “You’re not my real mom.” And I’ve seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.

I’ve seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being it is the other way around.

But most of all, I want you to know that I’ve seen you look into your child’s eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that’s just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter, and who, if torn from you, would be like losing yourself.

This letter was borrowed from Kathy Lynn Harris' blog and here is the link if you'd like to read more.  I couldn't have said it better myself and this is beautifully and powerfully expressed truths from the depths of an adoptive moms heart.  http://www.kathylynnharris.com/dear-moms-of-adopted-children/

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY EVERYONE!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Avoiding church on Mother's Day...

Why do some women avoid going to church on Mother's Day...I know I hated it for many years!  It was the dreaded moments of all the moms being pointed out, brought forward, flowers given, mother's standing or children passing out the gifts they made in children's church.  I know some won't understand this line of thinking and that's ok...You probably haven't experienced that sad side of mother's day like I and others have experienced.  Pastors are doing their best to give honor to women who are mother's...I get that.   I know they mean well, but it makes it VERY awkward for many women with a silent disease or painful reminders.  In the process of some being honored many are alienated and made to feel like empty shells because they either don't have children or can't have children.  Put so well in this blog...I’ve got the parts, just not the goods.

Can this be avoided?  Absolutely!  If so, how? 

If you are a Pastor or a person in leadership with a voice at your church, I really hope that you will read the blog link below and consider sharing it with your Pastors.  Mother's Day may just be the one holiday that a woman agrees to go to church and I know the last thing any one desires is for someone to feel alienated because they aren't a mother in the traditional sense of the word.  Then there's the flip side of those who've lost their mothers and have to encounter a painful reminder that their loving mother is no longer here to celebrate the day.  There are many other situations addressed here that are joyful and situations that we need to be reflecting upon to ensure everyone's loved, included and represented in their own story.  I pray you will read, share, educate and be a part of healing someone's heart this mother's day!

http://www.messymiddle.com/2012/05/10/an-open-letter-to-pastors-a-non-mom-speaks-about-mothers-day/

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Where we are in the waiting line...

A short and sweet update:
The way our agency works is they show longest waiting families first and we found out last week that we are #11 with 10 families waiting in front of us who have completed their home study before us. It doesn't seem like that many, but a lot has to happen for 10 families to be matched with a birth family and placement to go through successfully.  Please pray for all the families who are waiting to create their family through the beautiful gift of adoption and that birth families will be led to Bethany Christian Services and choose adoption not abortion. This is a tough choice that some (not all) face, but one of absolute love. I'm told it's been very quiet at our agency for a couple of weeks so please increase your prayers with ours that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide those who are considering adoption. 
Thank you!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fundraiser Update...

We have added a widget to our blog so you can see our goal and where we are in reaching that goal.  Right now we are at $8,690, which we are VERY thankful for!!!!  This is a combination of our own funds and generous gifts of friends and family.  If you would, please take a moment and donate a little something by clicking the donate paypal link and your donation goes directly to Baby "M"'s fund through a secure donation.  Doesn't matter the amount as every little bit helps!  Thanks for helping us reach our goal so we can reach our journey to Baby "M".  Blessings as you enjoy this wonderful spring that has finally arrived! 

Mark, Jennifer, Niyla and Baby "M"  :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why not adopt through foster care?

I've had people tell us that we should adopt through the state foster care system.  Their reasoning...it's cheaper.  Well, there are a lot of things that go into a decision to adopt and which direction to go.  Some adopt using a lawyer and search for their own birthmom/birthparents, some adopt through the foster care system, some through a private agency, some use a surrogate mother and some adopt donor eggs.  These are all very personal decisions and creating a family is a very personal thing because in most people's minds a family is created genetically...meaning, well, you get my drift.  This makes it a very private matter.  Then when the genetics aren't working for a myriad of reasons, couples turn to seek out other options to become parents and build their family. 

For us, we prayed and ask the Lord what direction He desired for us to go and out of all the options we initially went with a non-profit agency that had all volunteer workers which made their costs a lot less.  However, this option resulted in a failed adoption for us in 2008.  This meant, we saw the birth of the baby, named him and two days later after taking him home and believing he was our son, actually wasn't.  We had to return him to his parents because their parental rights hadn't yet been terminated and they couldn't go through with placing their son for adoption...it was just too painful for them.  This is called a legal risk placement.  This doesn't happen with everyone, but it happened to us so we decided to reevaluate things and seek the Lord more intently because the desire to be parents outweighed every mountain that seemed to stand in our way.

So, money isn't THE determining factor for us or really any person who becomes a parent either genetically or through adoption.  Being led by the Lord must be the determining factor as parenting has challenges right from the beginning for all.  While we had a successful experience with Bethany Christian Services that doesn't mean that's the direction for everyone to go as each family is different. 

Another factor for us was we desired the newborn infant experience...the sleepless nights, the nurturing and being a part of all the firsts.  We didn't want to miss those things. 

Often when adopting through foster care, children have been abused or neglected...not all, but many.  These are factors that have to be considered because they bring a lot of additional things to handle and deal with to the picture of parenting. 

Most people may not realize the goal of foster care is to rejoin the children with their biological family unless their rights have already been terminated.  Since we had already brought a child into our home and had the experience of having to return the child to their biological parents, we weren't willing to walk down this road again.

Also, the average age of a foster child is 7 years old so while that works for some families and is a good fit, it wasn't the right fit for us.  There are many needs in the foster care system and that may be a route we consider later in life, I don't know.  Currently there are 107,000 children available through U.S. Foster Care System.  This means their parents rights have been terminated and they are legally free to be adopted.  For now, Bethany Christian Services is where the Lord has us. 

Nia Vardolos (Actress from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) recently wrote a book called "Instant Mom" and she tells her beautiful story of her daughter's adoption through foster care.  I've heard a portion of their story through a recent radio broadcast and I'm hoping to get the book and read more!  I would even love to meet her as a book signing!  It's great to see adoption advocates like her so passionate about children connecting with their forever families.  She also talks about the difficult transitions children of all ages go through in an adoption.  These transitions are unique to adoptive children and can be a real struggle for the child and the parents.  If you have time, I encourage you to check out her book or listen to this radio broadcast.  It's really interesting, educational, personal and eye opening.

http://www.creatingafamily.org/blog/adoption-domestic-adoption-international-adoption-embryo-adoption-foster-care-adoption/instant-momnia-vardoloss-foster-care-adoption/
Another factor for us for this 2nd journey is birth order.  Huh?  Birth order?  Yes.  Just like in a biological family you have a child born 1st, 2nd and so on...the same is true in an adoptive family.  Niyla is our first born and our 2nd child will be our 2nd born child.  Therefore, needs to be younger than Niyla so we are adopting domestically again to have the newborn baby experience.  This is important to us and important to them and their adoption stories as they get older.

Thanks for following!  Until next time...

Monday, April 8, 2013

One BIG baby bump!


I recently joked that I should crumble up all the paperwork and stuff it up my shirt, write pregnant and then take a picture as that would be ONE BIG baby bump!  It's a bit different as I don't have a physical baby bump growing so there's seemingly no physical sign that a baby is going to be arriving within said 9 months, but THERE IS A BABY ON THE WAY!  The big sign is at my house with piles of papers being printed, stacked, prepared, mailed and saved in Baby "M's" yellow crate to save and share with him/her later on in life.  Every child loves to hear their entrance to the world and family story.  So, I'm already preparing ours to share with the next Maynard child.  The average wait time for our 2nd adoption is 19 months, but Mark and I like to believe, like Niyla's adoption, that we are above average and hope that it won't take 19 months to continue to grow our family through adoption.   

How is this joyful when the process is so intense and literally hundreds of papers to complete and fill out, mail in, follow up on etc....well, simply seeing God's hand move with compassion upon people's hearts to join in the journey is joyful.  Seeing my friends and family sharing the news, the blog and the fundraiser on their facebook walls or hearing that they've shared in emails is truly joyful.  Receiving the special notes and cards and phone calls and friend inquiries about how it's going it joyful.  I have to admit, this journey has seemed a bit quieter, but I'm guessing that's because I'm busier with having Niyla and so I haven't been able to write a lot. 

So, in a typical pregnancy there's nausea, tiredness, worries, a growing baby bump, showers to attend, questions asked and bellies felt, an adoption journey is somewhat similar.  How?  Well, we adoptive mom's are tired, but not from hormones increasing and blood volume doubling from the growing child inside...we are tired from paperwork, education classes, making copies, watching after our child(ren) that we already have, creating profiles, writing letters, making a profile video in addition to working and doing every day life with all of its demands from the growing baby on paper and the one in our heart.  We worry about our baby that's growing in someone's belly.  We pray often for the birthmom and the baby's health and well being.  We worry about her decision of an adoption plan and hope she'll follow through completely.  Our own worries about being a new parent again or perhaps for the first time with the added costs that aren't typical for biological moms are all concerns that can be overwhelming at times.  Thoughts are frequently had for the agency that we are working with that they'll have the wisdom of God as they meet with families and birthmoms, counsel them, attend meetings at homes, go to courthouses and travel literally all over as they work tirelessly to bring babies and parents together.  This is something to be commended and joyful about!  Any time my heart feels overwhelmed, I talk about it, pray about it, write out my thoughts or just get down to business and get things done so I'm better prepared.  Of course, the Holy Spirit always reminds me of the perfect Scripture at the perfect time...most recently it's He perfects those things that concern me.

There is great joy in the journey of adoption and many things that we focus on and are thankful for.  Most reactions to adoption is to the tremendous cost that's incurred rather than the wonderful joy of a baby-to-be.  However, every time I look into my daughter's face, think about her adoption and what a joy it is to have her in our lives and family I never see $ signs.  In fact, I can honestly say the cost never comes to mind.  I've never been a person to allow something that I know the Lord has called me to do to be hindered by any hurtles including financial ones.  You see, God brought 60 special people to financially join our last journey along with a few great non-profit organizations who provide grants to families in need specifically because they know that finances is the main hurtle that families have to overcome.  Many families don't even pursue adoption once they find out the cost!  What a shame and how many families are missing out on this joyful journey?!  How many children are missing out on their forever family?  It doesn't take many or much to help. 

As you can see by the numbers, it was a few people that gave $25 or more to our adoption puzzle fundraiser which brought in almost all of the funds to cover our home study (the first major hurtle).  The remaining amounts were obtained through our own savings and cutting corners everywhere we could along with some grant money.  All adoption grants require a completed home study before even being allowed to apply for grants and these applications aren't for the faint of heart.  You practically have to be an accountant and do everything short of giving your blood type to apply, but I'm thankful anyway because these organizations are doing GREAT things to HELP families be complete through the gift of adoption. 

Do you desire to be a part of my growing baby bump?  I hope so!  We invite you to first PRAY for us, our baby and the birthmom.  Next, will you share this opportunity to be a part of our journey on your facebook wall and in a personal email to family and friends?  Lastly, will you give any amount you desire to help us bring Baby "M" into our home and family?  It can be $1 or $100 or $1000...doesn't matter to us.  It's simple and only takes a minute.  Just click the DONATE link on our home page of this blog at the top right-hand side and give to our adoption and by that, you are helping a baby find a forever family.  We want you to join and be a part of this wonderful experience with us and appreciate your generosity!


Thanks for helping us make our way to Baby "M"...wherever he/she/they may be...Yes, "they"...you never know...could be twins this time!  :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

On-line and live! PLEASE REPOST AND SHARE...

Well, here we go again!  Mark and I have received news that our on-line profile is posted on Bethany Christian Services website.  We ask that you please share, post, email etc. as you just never know who is considering an adoption plan for their child.  There may be pastors, friends, family members, co-workers etc. that may know someone who's looking for this option so don't be shy...share, share, share.  Why would you do this?  Many birthmother's like to look on-line first before making the big step to speak with someone at an adoption agency.  This is a tough place and decision for them to face and you may be very surprised to know how many birthmoms view on-line profiles and once they see a family they love, they know in their heart that is the parents they desire to raise their child.

Thank you so much for your prayers in this journey to baby "M"...wherever he or she may be...we love you little one and are already praying for your life and your birthmother.

Here's the link below OR you can click the Our Adoption Profile tab above.  :)

http://waitingfamilies.bethany.org/home/wisconsin/mark-and-jennifer

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We've been busy, busy, busy...

Our 2nd journey began at the end of 2012...

What's been completed so far since then and in 2013? 
  • We have chosen to work with Bethany Christian Services as our agency once again. 
  • We have completed and received approval of our preliminary application.
  • We have completed our 50+ pages of the formal application! 
  • We are inviting anyone and everyone to join our second fundraiser by clicking the fundraiser tab at the top and donate any amount.  Yes, adoption is expensive, but helping a baby join our family forever is well worth it!
  • Completed and received approval of our adoption home study along with our license.
  • Completed our Dear Birthmother Letter for our online profile which should be posted soon.
  • Completed 3.5 hours of classes.
What's still to come in 2013? 
  • Compiling pictures and video clips to make our online profile video along with finding the perfect song to go with it.
  • Applying for grants
  • Fundraisers
  • Attending our 26.5 more hours of required adoption classes 
  • Placement - Hopefully
  • Prayers, prayers and more prayers.
 More to come...
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