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Monday, May 6, 2013

our blog has relocated...

we have down a terrible job of keeping this blog updated...in the mean time we have rewritten our family website which now includes our blog.

Please now go to www.choosingtobemore.com

Our new family website is: www.choosingtobemore.com

Check out this website to learn more about our family and continue reading our blog. We promise that it will continue.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

picture our nursery

(Emily writing) 


There are many challenging aspects to adopting.  For me, the hardest part centers around the "WHEN??!!"   My heart is so touched by our friends and family who are supportive of us. I'm thankful when they ask, "Have you heard anything yet?"  I am already rejoicing in my heart when I can say, "YES!"  
   
  I am constantly faced with decisions of how much do I prepare for our child? I have read many newborn books, but there is a certain point where I can't retain anymore information until I have our baby in my arms.  I'm thankful that Dan and I have been able to turn our emotional "AGGGHHHH!" into DIY projects.  Since we live in an apartment, we didn't want to paint the walls, but I also wanted to spice up our very bright, white walls. We had to take into consideration that since we don't know if we will have a boy or girl, gender-neutral colors are a must! We decided to split our office into half nursery/ half office. For Dan, this meant that I took down all of his basketball and football pictures (we did leave the desk and bookshelf :). I chose teal, gray, and yellow as the main colors.  We went to multiple yard sales to find cheap frames that we could spray paint. 


When my parents came to visit, Mom and I had fun spray painting the frames and choosing fabric and scrapbook paper.  The center frame will have our baby's initial on it. 






  We were also wondering what we would use as a changing table.  I had looked at many stores, but none stood out to me.  Thankfully, as I was looking around at the furniture that we already owned, the dresser I currently used was the perfect height for a changing table! So, we shifted some of our furniture around, and were able to use what God had already given us.  Awesome! 


Here is a picture of the dresser/changing table BEFORE Dan redid it: 


Dan taking the glossy finish off before painting:  

He did a fantastic job! 


This wall art is called the "Adoption Creed". We loved it! 


Even though I feel better about having stimulating colors in our nursery, we cannot escape this time of "waiting".  I am challenged to rejoice in this season, for no amount of projects should ever take our focus off what God is teaching us.  I continue to wrestle with God over my ambivalent feelings of yearning for our baby, yet fearing a new stage of life that I know nothing about.  I am so thankful that God knows my heart and desires more than I do, and I can trust my life to Him!







Thursday, July 19, 2012

in over my head


Have you ever been in over your head?   Think about it.  Has there ever been a time when you just walked into something that instantly, you knew was beyond your ability or understanding?  This has happened to me several times throughout my life.  But none more than when Emily and I decided to take NEWBORN CARE CLASSES…
I felt so out of place and in over my head that my stomach started turning.   We decided that this would be a good choice for us because neither of us have any “baby experience.”  So we checked out what the local hospital offered. Four classes were offered.
Class One- Labor and Delivery Orientation.  Hmm…I don’t think we need that one. 
Okay…Class Two – Breast Feeding.  Granted, I know that adoptive mothers can take certain hormones to feed an adopted baby her own milk, but Emily made it clear that was out of the question.   I’m smart enough not to touch that one anymore.  So, that class was out-we were on a role.
 Class Three – Safety and CPR for Newborns.  Finally, a class that we could find useful!  When we walked in, I knew in the pit of my stomach that I was in over my head.  There were seven or eight other couples there for the class. We were definitely different from every other couple. Most noticeably, each woman had a large bump.  Secondly, every lady seemed to be on edge.  I have no experience living with a pregnant woman, but I have heard that there are a lot of extra hormones mixing around in their bodies.  Consequently, I also noticed that every guy also seemed to be on edge.  We learned some great things and I even was able to practice CPR on a practice baby dummy.  Without being disrespectful, I just want to say that there are a lot of funny things that happen in those classes.  There are some clear advantages to adopting, because each time one of the guys thought something was funny, his wife would shoot a “you’re dead” glare at him.  Fortunately for me, I was safe, because if I thought something was funny, Em usually did too ( and she isn’t pregnant).  So we survived Class Three even though we were the only couple in the class that was not pregnant.
On to the Class Four – Newborn Care.  This one covered any danger we might ever face with our new baby.  We learned how to change a diaper and learned what kinds of cribs are not allowed to be used any more.  As I remember, mine was quite comfortable and I don’t ever remember any other babies my age complaining about the model crib their parents used.   We also watched a video of kids teaching us how to correctly install a car seat.  I also found this funny because they continually stressed how difficult it is to do and that we should have the fire department check to make sure it is inserted correctly, but the video had kids demonstrating how to install it.  So simple a child could show me.  We passed this class and are now “ready” for a newborn, just about as much as any other first time parent.
I am in way over my head, I know it, Emily knows it, and I am sure that every other parent reading this is also thinking that we have no idea what is about to happen to us.  It’s true, I am not afraid to admit it.  I am not afraid to ask for help or to do what is necessary to prepare myself if that is even possible.  At times it is good to be over our heads because it causes more dependence on God.  I believe God uses circumstances in our lives like these to stretch us and grow us.  I have heard that God has even used a child or two to teach parents great lessons about Himself.  So I am once again in over my head…and I say…Bring it on!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

our registry adventure

(Emily writing)


I didn’t think it would be THAT difficult. I just wanted to register for a few baby “essentials.”  I was feeling so prepared, especially since I read (and highlighted!) Baby Bargains, the “must-have” guide for new parents on what to register for and what is a waste of money.  The book was very helpful…in fact, it was so great that I took it with us to the store, along with a list of all of the “safe” brands, and the “runner- up” brands...and the “runner- up to the runner- up”-just in case the store didn’t offer the first one. 

HOWEVER, have you ever stepped into a Babies R Us?  Something happens when you step into that store.  I felt all logic, limitations, and list of essentials be quickly replaced with “If you don’t buy this you are going to be a terrible parent and your child most likely won’t survive to see their second birthday.”   If you add these sudden insecurities to my husband’s suspicion of, “You don’t need that...this is all a conspiracy for the baby industry to make more money,” I guarantee your evening will be eventful, but not very pleasant.

Looking back, I think that the baby registration process was frustrating, yet ultimately, very rewarding.  It really illustrated the differences between Dan and me (and that is not a bad thing).  I was coming into the process as one who wants to nurture our child, making sure I have everything to provide a safe, comfortable existence for our little one.  Dan was thinking as a provider, “How in the world are we going to pay for all of this?”  If I was left to my own, I would have registered for a lot of pretty, fun- for-about -2-weeks items.  Dan wanted to focus on the absolute essentials, the infant car seat, stroller, and diapers.  Although the experience was not fun, we were able to learn more about each other and our insecurities and fears about becoming parents.  Ultimately, our relationship grew closer as we saw each other’s point of view….which was a good thing, because I had also planned to register at Target the next day!

Our outlook going into Target was entirely different; in fact, Dan was more eager to register for more items and I was more hesitant.  We both wanted to be respectful of the other person’s desires and our time was productive and enjoyable.  So, for all of those who have never registered for their baby before, BE PREPARED!

Oh, and it always helps to give your man the registry gun…you can always delete things later online! :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

God, guide my arrow today



(Dan writing)


     A couple of weeks ago I finally finished reading a book that I had set out to read about a year ago,  "Stepping Up" by Dennis Rainey.  It is a book filled with stories and lessons calling men to lead lives of courageous manhood.  Apparently we are in need of guys who are willing to be more than just boys, they need to be willing to stand as men.  Many of the stories were fascinating and pushed me to grow, but one story caught my attention and challenged my lifestyle.  A true story based on a father's love for his son.
     Two men, a father and son, set out to hunting elk in one of their favorite hunting spots in a remote location of Wyoming. They decided to hunt by bow and were excited about the adventure that they were on together.  Hunting elk in the wilderness is not just a one-day journey, so this father and son had been at it for a a few days.  The son already had a few kills but the father, having only a few opportunities, was having no success.  That morning before they went out he prayed, "God, guide my arrow today."  A simple prayer, but one of faith.  The son was committed to helping his father get another chance with an elk, so he went out baiting and calling.  Little did he know he was not the only one tracking that elk.  As the elk moved closer, it suddenly took off for the trees.  The son was confused about what had happened until he turned around to see a giant grizzly bear facing him.  As he ran, the bear gave chase.  He ran towards the direction of his father.  The massive grizzly was on top of him in an instant, and the father knew he had one chance.  He took aim and let that arrow leave his fingers.  The bear tackled his son and began to chew on his arms.  He violently fought to keep the bears mouth away from his face.  After a few seconds, the bear stood and began to turn away.  About 8 yards away, the bear fell dead.  The father's arrow had just barely missed his son and pierced the bear's aorta artery.  The perfect shot and only place to take the bear in one shot.  They were able to hike out of the wilderness and get to a hospital where the son spent just one night.
 
     So far, this adoption process has been challenging, it has been difficult, but it has been rewarding.  We received a note a couple of weeks ago from someone asking us if we were crazy for wanting to adopt, for being bold enough to think that we would be better parents than others.  My answer...sometimes it does seem crazy.  Our goal in this life is to live in full obedience to where God leads us.  Sometimes, to some people, (including ourselves at times) it seems crazy.  I know there have been times during this process that I have felt more than a little weird.  For instance, when the adoption agency asked if I was fully on board with the adoption, because most of the cases they see are guys who are just going along with their wives, trying not to upset them.  Or, when people assume we have chosen adoption because of infertility and dive into stories of friends who weren't able to get pregnant.  Or, when we went to Babys R Us to register for things we might need.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  I was just fortunate that Emily let me use the scan gun (I may have gotten in a little trouble).  It was strange going to a newborn care class and being the only couple in the class who were not pregnant.
     It is a strange place to be...waiting for that phone call.  That one phone call that will change our lives more than we could ever imagine.  Believe me, we don't claim to know what we are doing.  We are trying to take one day at a time and enjoy the journey.
     One of the things that freaks me out the most is being a father.  It also brings an immense amount of joy, feelings I never knew.  I received some advice a year ago about life from a financial counselor.  "Learn from your mistakes, seek God, and in all of life lessons, pray that you and your wife will grow closer together in Christ...for Christ."  So, here is my prayer...God, guide my arrow today.  Allow my life to be used for you...allow us to be more...whether we get that call today or not.





Wednesday, June 6, 2012

from "someday..." to "anyday!"



(Emily writing)

Since we have started this blog right in the middle of our adoption journey, I want to take you back a couple of years to the beginning...when God started preparing our hearts for this adventure. 

Dan and I began dating our freshman year of college at Cedarville University in Ohio. Early on, we knew that we wanted to get married, so our conversations frequently led to us to dream about our future.  We talked about one day hoping to have children through adoption, so it was always in the back of our minds going into marriage.

The more we talked about it, the more I became excited, although I was nervous to go from "just us two" to having children.  It took me a little while (okay, almost five years of being married) to release my control, my fears, and ultimately, my selfishness about having children. I am blessed to have a husband who is patient with me!  

A few months before moving to Little Rock, my heart slowly began to change towards having children. I can’t explain it, but I knew God was making my heart more sensitive and planting a desire deep within that I had never felt before.  Although I was still nervous, Dan and I committed to starting the adoption process at the beginning of the year (2012). Leading up to that time, we watched "If You Were Mine", a DVD resource that walked us through the different types of adoption and agencies. It was helpful for us to decide together exactly what we wanted.

In January, we went to two informational meetings- one with foster care (The CALL) and another with Bethany Christian Services. The weeks surrounding these two meetings were one of the most heart-gripping experiences.  It is so devastating, seeing children suffer because of the choices of their parents.  We fervently prayed for God to make the decision clear. We also sought the counsel of others who walked this journey.  We really had to wrestle through what was the wisest choice for us now.  I was never one to babysit or be around young kids, so I wanted to start at the beginning and have a basis of understanding.  So, we decided to go through Bethany, where we could adopt an infant whose birth mother didn’t feel like she could take care of them.  We also chose Bethany because of their heart for the birth mother.  They are one of the best agencies in meeting the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of the birth parents.  In fact, a reason why adoption can be considered “expensive” is because those funds are used to help love and take care of the birth mother with their medical and physical needs. These girls are often coming to Bethany as a last resort before choosing abortion.  Bethany counsels the girls before and after the adoption, as well as provide life-long services to the adopted child and adoptive parents (that’s us!). These girls are often neglected and looked down upon in our society, and we want to be a part of an agency that will share the love of Christ and give them the resources they need.  Although we have peace that God is leading us to go through this agency now, we are open to what He has for us in the future, possibly through foster care. 

It has been amazing to see what God has done in my heart the last couple of weeks.  I have gone from simply talking about adopting to yearning for the phone to ring.  Thank you for walking alongside of us during the waiting period. You are such an encouragement to me! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

roller coasters and adoption

(Dan writing)
     Do you remember the first time you rode a roller coaster?  I was thinking back to the first trip I ever made to my local amusement park, Cedar Point.  The first time I saw those cars whipping around that track at breakneck speeds I was terrified.  Eventually my fear moved to curiosity and like every young man, driven by the power of peer pressure, I just had to get on one.  I started with a small coaster and was addicted.  I quickly advanced to the more powerful and faster roller coasters.  I loved the fear.  I loved the ups and downs.  There were times that I would raise my hands off the handles and scream and other times I would hold on so tight my knuckles would turn white.  Sometimes I would cling to the person next to me thinking that I would be meeting Jesus soon.  I faced those twists and turns, the ups and downs, the loops and spins, and wanted more...
    I have found that I can identify with the feelings of those roller coasters as my wife, Emily, and I face adoption.  There are ups and downs.  There are times I want to throw my hands in the air and let the rush of air in my face carry me away.  Other times I have felt so much anxiety and fear that I could feel my stomach rising into my chest.
   Emily and I are in the waiting phase of adoption and are looking forward to what comes next.  We could get a call to come receive a baby at any point.  There is nothing to do but wait.  While I was talking with a friend the other day, he suggested that Emily and I start a blog for people to follow our thoughts, feelings, process and actions through this crazy process.  We have found that so many people want to know exactly what we are going through.  Some people are just curious about the process, others are interested in adopting for themselves.  This blog will be different because we will both take time to post, so you will see our process through both of our eyes.  It has been an interesting journey so far, and we know that it will only get more exciting as we face these ups and downs on this roller coaster ride we call adoption.  Thank you for reading about our journey and following with us.
    I believe, that in life, there are points that God calls us to step up and be more.  It takes faith.  It is challenging and trying.  Growing is sometimes painful.  Right now He has led us to the decision of expanding our family through adoption...choosing to be more...