Adoption, My Story

Adoption Update: April 28, 2019

Our Home Study Application is Almost Complete!

We’re really excited to get moving on this adoption process, but at the same time, we want to be sure we’re ready to go and committed to all this entails. By the way, this post is about the process so far and the costs. We’ve been asked by quite few people to ‘please tell them what we’ve learned so far.’ So, here goes!

We’ve Been Doing a Lot of Research on…

…what we’ll need to do to get ready for our home study. Some of these things include getting physicals establishing our health, checking out all the fire safety/carbon monoxide equipment in the home and replacing anything that’s out of date or non-existent. We’re going to need to make sure that we have all necessary official documentation for each member of the family that states we really are who we say we are! We need to peruse the IDPH Recall list to be sure that none of our children’s items are on that list. We need to sign up to have a landline at our residence and buy a wired phone! We’ll probably need to do CPR classes and other necessary training. We need to get a certificate of inoculation for our cat. We need to double check that all toxic household supplies, batteries, dangerous tools and medication is in a ‘safe place.’ We even need to have a written Fire Safety Evacuation Plan.

There’s so much to do and I don’t know, do we do it before the home study or wait until our social worker asks for these things? But we should probably just turn in the Application for Services with our home study agency as our first step. This leads to another question.

How/When Do We Finance this Momentous Event?

Options include: 1) Pay for it all ourselves, somehow. 2) Pay for it ourselves along with the help of grants or scholarships. 3) Pay for it ourselves along with grants/scholarships and fundraising or donations. We’d like to do the third option. I’d like to trust that God  will provide all the funding we need somehow and in someway. I’m sure He will, but the path to that is unknown. As we’re getting ready to send in our application, we’ll have to pay a non-refundable application fee of $300 and then before the completion of the home study, another $2,150.

Photo by on

When Is the Responsible and Ethical Time to Begin Fundraising for an Adoption?

Do we start raising funds before or after an approved home study? We want to be sure that as soon as we get this ‘ball rolling’ we’ll be on our way to having the entire adoption funded through to finalization. But, that might not be a surety we can have ahead of time. God does seem to call us to take one step at a time, after all. In doing our research, we found that a typical Domestic Private Adoption has about 3 different payment ranges. If we go through an adoption agency we could be looking at as much as $30,000. This would give us access to the most birth mothers. If we go with an adoption attorney or a smaller agency, we’re looking at about $15,000-$16,000, but fewer birth moms will see our adoption profile. These costs seem so high! Yet there is one more option. We can find the birth mother ourselves or through our networks. This would cost around $10,000.

For Those Who’ve Adopted and Fundraised…

How do we know what number to shoot for? How do we know when we should ask for donations? (For not-yet-adopters. Most grants/scholarships require a placement or signed agreement with the birth mother before you can apply for them.)

My Story

Being Known

Being Known

I do not have a problem talking about myself, or at least, I didn’t before becoming a working professional. I moved around quite a bit as a kid. When you move, you end up sharing the same stories of your life over and over again. It’s the process of meeting new people, sharing and exchanging information, and hopefully becoming friends. It’s necessary when you enter a new school, a new church, and a new neighborhood. In childhood, there are no bounds to what and when you say things to your friends and their responses back. It’s just kids talking about what’s on their mind, asking questions, and getting answers. There’s not too much shame and it’s fairly factual.

Enter Adolescence and Adulthood…

Growing up means learning when to speak, what to speak, and how to speak. Yet along with learning how to manage ourselves, we learn how to read other people too. Some people are eager to listen to us, but we also find out that some just don’t care to know us or care about what we have to say. Still others will listen politely, but then abruptly forget everything. These can be painful experiences in the transition from child to adult. It’s even more intensified in the places that we spend the bulk of our time (often the workplace), especially if it’s not our core community. We can find ourselves operating like: get the job done, appear to have it all together, and, oh yeah, play nice with others (pretend if you have to).

But What About Being Known…

Well, if you can’t or don’t want to find deep relationships at work, then find something outside of there to make friends. Although I had a few close relationships at work, my core community was the church. This is a great place to make new and lasting relationships. Find a small group, attend a class, volunteer, and you can be known and know others. It actually is true and I’m really thankful for those early years. It was so amazing to meet some of the people I did, almost like going to a new school and meeting all those new soon-to-be-friends!

Knowing Others…

The truth is that to be known, you have to be willing to know others too. Talking only about ourselves puts a disproportionate amount of focus on us and not enough on the others. We need to listen to and remember others’ stories too. We need to enter into the joys and heartaches with these relationships. One of the many groups I had a privilege to be a part of was a married women’s small group. Together we shared in the heartache of infertility in some of our group members and together we rejoiced that through prayer, treatments, and friendship, God gave each of us a baby within one year!

My married women’s small group with our new babies
The small group babies of 2010

Adoption, My Story



We want to adopt. But, there are so many decisions and it’s hard to know the perfect exact one to choose. I’ve been gobbling up blogs, books, podcasts, and conversations, but still it’s hard to make the decision about what’s the right step for us. No, we haven’t officially submitted our application for the Home Study and all the rest of the things we need to do to qualify to adopt, but I need to ‘talk’ about all the hopes, dreams, insecurities, and realities going around in my head even before that step is taken.

So, let me just start at the beginning…

I was born into a family that was in the midst of an adoptive story. My oldest brother is adopted – and not ‘out of birth order.’ He was literally my parent’s first child. On their missionary journeys they docked in Indonesia and within 3 days my parents had visited an orphanage, chosen my oldest brother, got all the necessary paperwork signed, and took him home to the ship they were living on. After that, they lived in Belgium for 8 years where they had my 3 biological siblings. Then, after moving back to the states, they had me. I am the only one of my siblings born in the USA. My mother really fell in love with her travels and named me for a province in France, Brittany, as a tribute to their time in Europe and a constant reminder of these years.

My oldest brother and me enjoying play time at our country home

Choosing to Adopt…

I have my own musings about what it must be like to adopt a child, what it must be like to be adopted and from my own experience, what it is like to be the non-adopted sibling in an adoptive family. Because my brother was in the family since before I was born, I never thought twice about how he was different from us. That is, not until I came of a more knowledgeable age. But what did my brother think? What do all adopted children think when hit with the reality that they are not biologically linked with the people they call parents and the children they call siblings? I wonder if every so often, the adopted child has to ‘choose to adopt’ the adoptive family as their own. How many times did my brother choose to love in the face of our differences? I don’t know the answer, but I know there were times when he whole-heartedly loved me and called me ‘his own.’

My oldest brother holding me at about 2 months old

We all Choose…

Aside from adoption, we all have to/get to choose. Every moment, we choose to say, ‘Yes’ to the family that we’re a part of and we choose to know those around us and be known by those around us.

Leadership, My Story

Shrinking Pool

Shrinking Pool

My husband went from being a PhD student in physics to a pastor. This meant that at church we went from being fairly low profile to eventually being in the ‘public eye’. As I discussed in a previous post, the church was my pond full of people to connect with, now that pool was about to shrink. When I gave my blessing on this career change, I didn’t know about all the areas that it would affect in my life – including my relational connection need.

Small Group to No Group…

Many church going people, including myself, find community in a small group. It’s a great place to be known and know others. I had a great small group and just about the time my life was really changing, our small group ended. I was really sad. I needed this group and I loved them, but change happens. And my life changed in many ways. Two big changes were that I became a new mother and my husband started his new position as a pastor.

Who Can I Talk to?

My husband’s call to ministry meant our family would be in the public eye on a whole new level. At first it’s exciting and exhilarating, but as time goes on, it becomes clear that it’s not so easy. For instance, it’s hard to be the ‘real you’ with everyone. I’m not talking about hiding things or being dishonest, but where most people can talk openly about their lives with their church small group, we couldn’t always because our life was the church. Some topics are just off limits to non-staff until decisions are made and other topics are private because of pastoral confidence. The list goes on.

So, losing the small group who knew the real me and not having the flexibility to find a new group before entering into a leadership partnering role was not easy. It’s only years later that I can see more clearly how hard it is for leaders to be truly known. It’s hard to find the balance of being that listening ear for so many, but also making sure that we have someone to listen to us.

Finding Balance…

We are still finding the balance, but one way we’ve found is to make connections and relationships with other leaders. True, we don’t see all of them often, but modern technology does make it easier to do quick texts back and forth. It’s also important for us to stay connected to the people that knew us before we were leaders – this was a nugget of wisdom dropped to us by another leader-friend. Family has been really important in this area too, not just blood-family, but people who are ‘like-family.’ Connection is so valuable. When we have it we often don’t realize it, but when it’s missing it’s a gaping hole. Actively investing in life-giving relationships is necessary. We find people that give life to us and then we choose to turn around and give life back to them.

My Monday morning teammates are like-family to us