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.

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!  :)
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