2/24/2014

She's Ours

Adoption Finalization Photos
Words are hard to come by right now after such a fun weekend celebrating our "OFFICIAL" family.

My heart is full.
Adoption Finalization Photos
On Feb. 18th, 2013, we told our families about our intention to adopt.

Six months later, we held our daughter in our arms for the first time.

And almost exactly a year later -- on Feb. 21st, 2014 -- we finalized our daughter's adoption.

[Seriously. If that's not a God thing, I don't know what is!]

We've spent the past six months together as a family, but there's something to be said when the
court finally recognizes what we've felt all along:

We are Olivia's parents FOREVER.
Adoption Finalization Photos
"She is your child just as if she was born to you..." said the judge as tears started streaming down
my face.

She's ours!

Friday's court hearing was so special.

About 50 family members and friends from near and far packed inside the courtroom to witness our daughter *OFFICIALLY* become a member of the family forever.
Adoption Finalization
While we celebrated her joining our family, we also recognized and honored her brave birth momma by reading a letter she wrote.

[Chris had to read it because by this point, I was well into the blubbering cry...]

Here's what part of it said:

"First I would like to thank you for being the sweet people that I know.

Thank you for loving Olivia and opening up your hearts and your arms to her.
It makes me smile each time I see a picture of y'all holding her and smiling with her.
 
I have no worries because she is in the perfect place with the perfect people..."

After the court hearing, my parents treated everyone to dinner and drinks at the East Bremer Diner [and it wouldn't be a celebration without Scratch Cupcakes, too!].

It was a time for us to thank many of the people who loved and supported our family before we even knew Olivia.
Adoption Finalization
The hope is that our family's journey will inspire others to adopt or prayerfully support a birth mother or wrap their arms around an adoptive family.

And that people will recognize adoption not as a "second best" option -- but as a beautiful choice for families to grow.

Related content:
Our Daughter's Adoption Finalization [in Photos]
Why We Don't Celebrate 'Gotcha Day'
7 Adoption Pictures That Will Leave You in Tears

2/12/2014

Why We Chose An Adoption Consultant

The adoption process is all about choices.

Choosing to say, "Yes," many times while not quite knowing what you're fully committing yourself to can be difficult.

It's a true testament of faith and trust.

And it's scary.

Which is exactly why we chose to work with an adoption consultant, Susan.

A lot of people ask us what exactly she does.

Ummmm... everything ;-)

In all honesty, though, she's been our biggest advocate.

Our biggest cheerleader.


Susan was there with us from day one; she helped us find a social worker to help us become home study certified (legally OK to adopt in Iowa); she supported us by recommending resources like this book for creative fundraisers to help afford the adoption process; she created our pro file where birth mommas could read all about us; she helped us apply to reputable agencies in states that are "safe states" (states with clear-cut adoption laws); she called us when Olivia's birth momma chose us and asked, "What do you need?" all the while offering prayers, encouragement and support along the way.

Susan is a consultant with Christian Adoption Consultants (CAC).

CAC is not an agency.

Instead, CAC consultants like Susan work with agencies.

I consider them the liaison between agencies/birth parents and adoptive parents.

While we were busy doing our thing filling out mounds of paperwork, Susan was networking and checking in on situations with agencies and adoptive families across the country.

I'll never forget the email we received from her in August:

"There's a baby that's going to be born tomorrow. Do you want to overnight your adoption profile to Texas?"

"YES!" we replied.
And the rest is a blurry, amazing whirlwind :-)

Chris and I have had coffee with many families since bringing Olivia home.

We've made new friends talking about our family's adoption journey.

And we simply love talking about how Susan and CAC played such an important role.

In an overwhelming process we thought we'd get lost in, we had the greatest mentor.

Adoption is confusing.

It's overwhelming.

And so scary.

If you or your friends or family members are confused with the adoption process, buy this THIS BOOK and feel free to drop me a line on Facebook or Twitter. I'm happy to get you in touch with Susan, too!