Hurry Up and Wait… Hurry Up and Wait

This is the mantra of adoption: Hurry up and wait… Hurry Up and wait…Many of you would like an update – this is our update … waiting.  It’s like the day after Christmas – the flurry of activity and after all of the Christmas presents are unwrapped you’re sitting down in silence and looking at everything around you.Kind of a let down, kind of what is next kind of …well… just kind of.

But the reason why we have the opportunity to wait… Our home study is complete! that is huge – the PAPERWORK is over (well at least for a year). Home Studies expire after a year….they should last at least 2 years.

The PAPERWORK was complete and turned in.. then it was crunch time to get the house in order.  We weren’t sure what our social worker would be looking for – how clean the closets were? would she check the dust or check under the beds?  We have been in our house for around 12 years; we have a lot of stuff.  so we purged, and purged and purged and purged and cleaned.  Our social worker came to our house – I almost wanted to show her how clean our closets were and how we had dusted and dusted and vacuumed.  But really she didn’t care about how clean the house was, she wanted to talk to Gary and I.  She talked to us separately and then jointly.  It was easy to talk to her about our families, our backgrounds, why we were adopting, and she helped clarify some questions we had.  She was really helpful in discussing Open adoption vs semi open adoption.  After our 2 hour ‘interview’ she spent 10 minutes looking at our house.  We proudly showed her the baby’s room (still with furniture in it), the fire extinguisher, our working fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and we were working on baby proofing cabinets.

We thought it would take her 2 weeks to complete the report.  She knocked it out in 2 days…. 2 days…. she nailed it!! she’s a rockstar!! and we are so appreciative of her.

So now that the Home Study is complete, we are waiting.  We are waiting to be matched with a birth mother.  Some may ask – why did you hurry and knock out the home study?  Well there were a couple of situations that we COULD have been matched and needed the home study completed.  But those situations were not the right ones for us.  So we are waiting… like kids after Christmas… looking at each other like – now what. We know we will be matched but after the flurry of activities we have lived in for the past few weeks it’s quiet.

We are still working on our puzzle fundraiser.  We are around 63% of the goal or $3,784.00!!!! That’s a HUGE blessing and praise.  So thank YOU to all who have purchased a piece (s).

Thanksgiving is 7 days away!!! 7 days away!!! then comes Christmas and New Year’s and before we know it onto Valentine’s Day and then St. Patrick’s Day and then Memorial Day and before we know it we will be enjoying watching fireworks for the 4th of July.

But for now, we are happily being Mr. and Mrs. Walter while we wait.

 

THE PAPERWORK is DONE!!!

THE PAPERWORK is done.  I have been carrying around a manila folder with the word “Adoption” written across the cover.  It is my filing system – basically it contained every single piece of our lives in it.  Basically I was walking around with everything that someone who is into stealing IDs would need – like offering it to them on a silver platter – W2, Tax return, Social Security, photo IDs, everything.  Thank you Lord for your protection.  It probably wasn’t the smartest thing in the world, but it was necessary.  Within the file was every form that had to be completed in order to have our home study scheduled.

It’s been a blur since saying “Yes” to our call to adopt a child.  So many events have occurred some I can share and others I can’t.  Just know there are so many things going on and we have called on so many to pray on our behalf for decisions to be made or clarity or peace on a situation or interceding on behalf of someone.  I thought we have been in the process for at least 3 months, i just looked at the calendar – it’s been just over ONE MONTH.  How quickly lives can be changed in ONE MONTH.  We began a blog, began a fundraiser WE ARE CURRENTLY OVER 20% OF OUR GOAL !!!!! (here’s the link: https://www.youcaring.com/gary-and-hope-walter-442300), began the paperwork (finished the paperwork), went on vacation, survived a hurricane, and working and coordinating a high school retreat (still working on this one).  Only by the grace of God we finished these tasks in ONE MONTH.

We knew there was no such thing as a ‘normal’ adoption process but oh my.  We were not prepared for the two situations placed in our lap.  It’s hard to read the background applications of the birth mothers, hard to read about their lives, you can hear them through their paperwork.  All the while thinking – could this child be one who God places in our family? I can share that two birth mothers liked our profile book – one enough to actually want to talk to us on a conference call; however that did not work out.  We continue to lift up the birth mothers and babies in prayers – protection for the mom, protection for the baby, for the prospective parents, that all would go well, peace for both parents – all the same things we are praying for ourselves.

It’s exciting, but also a cautious excitement.  You’re excited to hear positive feedback, but cautious because you know a lot has to happen for it be finalized. But when you have the promises from God saying “Never will I leave you or nor forsake you” or “I know the plans I have for you – plans to prosper and not to harm you plans to give you a hope and a future”.  We take our concerns to the One who does not change and His promises stand firm.  That is our faith, not a faith built on an adoption case, birth mother or feelings.  But faith built on a firm foundation.

So we are hoping for a slow November.  But I just read November is National Adoption Month! and November 21st is “National Adoption Day”.

So thankful you walking along with us on this journey.  Thank you for thinking/praying/loving us throughout these days.

Love

Gary & Hope

Adoption Photo

We invite you to be a “Piece” of this journey

My sister came up with our puzzle fundraiser. Each piece of the puzzle is purchased by a friend or family member or a complete stranger.  Each piece =$20.  We will write the name of the individual or family on the back of the puzzle.  Gary and I will put the puzzle together – which ought to be rather entertaining.

We chose the puzzle with all of the classic Children’s books as we both LOVE reading – our house has too many to count bookcases filled/crammed with books.  We have history, biographies, bibles, bible studies, classics, comics, travel guides, poetry – I’m pretty sure we have all of the genres covered within our bookcases.  So we thought it would be so appropriate to have a puzzle featuring the classics.  Here’s the puzzle:

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Puzzles are funny -some people are REALLY good at putting them together well we may be great readers, puzzles are challenging.  I’m reminded of an incident early on in our marriage we were invited to a friend’s house for game night with 3 other couples.  One of the final games was a 40 piece puzzle to see who could assemble it the fastest.  Well we didn’t even have the border completed when we heard “We’re Done!!!!” We just looked at each other and laughed!

We are looking forward to having many people (like 300 people) join us in our journey to bring Baby Walter to our house and into our lives.  We can’t wait to share and show him/her all of our friends and family members and even those we don’t know who had a major part in the journey.  It’s not just a puzzle piece, it’s a reminder of the love that so many people have poured on us and who are going to shower this new Walter with lots of love, hugs and kisses.

Here’s the fundraising link:

https://www.youcaring.com/gary-and-hope-walter-442300

Every Good and Perfect Gift

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Every gift is perfect as it’s coming from The Perfect Gift Giver.  He gives us grace and grace and more grace and when we think we have enough, He pours on more.  We are so thankful for this gift.  One of the many gifts that He has already given to us are the MANY friends and family members who are walking this path with us. I’m sure by the end of it they will feel as if they have adopted a baby too.  We are not even a month into this process and we have had so many encouraging words, hugs, prayers and love poured on us, our future little Walter and for the birth mother.

As we go back and re-read these words, we will be truly amazed at the ways His hand has guided us.  I know that, I have confidence in this promise.  I know (as I’ve already experienced) that this path will not go how in my mind I think it should go.  I know that this isn’t going to be easy nor will it be without bumps and probably some big potholes.  BUT I do know that without a doubt, God will be with us.  And as The Perfect Gift Giver, He will give us the grace to get through this just like He gave us the strength to get through the difficult times about 6 years ago.

6 years ago was the time that we sought medical help to add to our family.  It’s a time that seems like a blur to me – I don’t really remember the time – well I remember the daily shots, blood draws and doctor visits, but my emotions – nope they are gone.  I think I was completely numb during that time.   Even in the midst of all of the fertility treatments I was reminded of a song that I feel like really ministered to me. It’s by John Waller and it’s called “While I’m Waiting”.  

During that specific time period it was really hard, but God gave us a gift that some may think is one of the strangest forms of a gift- MIDDLE SCHOOLERS.  Yep you heard me 6-8th graders!!! We were still serving back in the middle school room. Who would have guessed that 50+ Middle Schoolers would help us in the healing process and probably unaware)? That was what brought healing and purpose back to our lives especially me.

Hopefully this little note gives you a little encouragement.  You may never know what shape or form every good & perfect gift may be given to you – in our case 50+ middle schoolers.:)

It’s Official

We are officially making it known via social media: Facebooking/Instagramming/Tweeting our news:  We Are Adopting.

Some may be think this statement came out of the blue, but in fact this decision has been in prayed for, thought about and pondered for a long time (15 years to be exact).  However, the fruition/playing out of the decision has come out in the last few weeks.

A few years ago a friend approached me and asked if we ever considered adopting.  I replied oh yes, we have thought about it but that’s as far as it went – a thought.  My friend approached me again asking to go for coffee to hear about their adoption journey.  This same friend approached me a few months ago and said I really want to talk to you about adoption and I think you should consider it.  After a week or so we agreed to meet up at Starbucks.  She let us know she is now working with an adoption agency and wanted to discuss the process and give us more to think about and consider.  To be honest, we met a little hesitantly not because we were nervous or didn’t want to – it was because we were leaving for a vacation to Colorado the next day and we had A LOT of packing to do and getting ready for the trip – you know last minute cleaning and vacuuming (all of the things we hate doing but for some reason are important as you are ready to leave for vacation).

We met and she let us talk about ourselves and our thoughts about adoption.  Adoption is really important to Gary and I – it’s embedded in our lives and history.  As we were talking, the discussion made me realize just HOW much adoption has been part of our lives – up front and personal not a “we have a second cousin’s brother in law’s daughter who recently adopted” but more like I’m (Hope) adopted as well as my sister and nieces and nephew.

As I reflected on all of the ways adoption has touched our lives, instead of seeing life events as singular, I began to link all of the pieces together and I could see God’s hand weaving our stories together.  Honestly, I’m not sure why it took so long to link it together, but it was definitely an “AH HA” moment.

So after the meeting, Gary and I packed up and headed west to Colorado.  I wish I could say that we focused on discussing it and hashed out all of the details and had a plan.  But alas, nope.  I think the discussion went like this:

Me:  “so do you think we should adopt?”
Gary: “Yes do you?”
Me: “Yes”
Gary: “Do you think we’re ready?”
Me: “I think we’ve been ready.  We just needed a push.”

and with that my friends is how our final decision to push forward came about.  After our discussion at Starbucks, we thought it would be easier to put together our profile book first and do the paperwork after it.

We enjoyed our trip out west came back and I started to think (kind of) about putting together our profile book.  For being a first born child, I’m a procrastinator.  I hate making decisions,  I would rather be part of the crowd than leading the charge, I dislike deadlines which is kind of ironic since my job is all about deadlines and multi-tasking.

I think we naively said Yes to creating a profile before we actually realized all of the details and paperwork that was needed.  But that was actually a GOOD thing because I think if we really sat and looked at all of the paperwork that we would need to fill out to complete the homestudy, it may have freaked us out and may have hindered us from moving forward.

I started to work on the profile book (can I just say I’m thankful for Facebook & Instagram? those two apps made it SO easy to upload photos to our photo book).  We found out we needed to have our profile completed pretty rapidly i.e. we had 2 days.  So I fell to my college days – the ALL NIGHTER – those words still cause me to shudder.  Armed with our lap top and cups and cups of tea I started.  I couldn’t even decide on a background – if I couldn’t even decide on a background for the book how in the world would I even be able to be a mother? After a few tries, I finally settled on a background that fit our personalities.  I may or may not have asked our case worker that it would be easier to ‘friend’ a potential birth mother on Facebook than putting together the book.  But I’m pretty sure that would be violating something.  Writing our story actually came easy to me.  It’s easy to write about things/people you love and our photos are full of them – family, friends, kids from church, promises from the Bible.  I didn’t realize the profile book would be the easy part.

THE PAPERWORK

I neglected flipping through the manilla folder which held paperwork.  The forms were what I expected – government forms asking for date of birth, social security numbers, addresses, the normal information.  Then I found the check list and I began to panic.  Do we have updated rabies shots for our cats- can our vet get them in? We had to have physicals performed – can our referred physician fit us in or is he even taking new patients? We had to have referrals – would those we ask say YES? We have to have fingerprints completed- where in the world do you go for that?  Gary can you fill this form out? Gary can you fill out this form? Are you listening to me? I may or may not have tried to bribe him to fill out the forms (it didn’t work).

Any joy of adoption was quickly falling under the cover of THE PAPERWORK and my emotions.  As I started going through the paperwork feelings of panic, overwhelmed, insecurity, realizing the money we would need to find to pay for it started taking over.  I realized that it had been days since I read the bible, prayed, remembered the promises I placed in our profile book.  I was trying to do it all on my own and in doing so, I was a mess and illogical and grumpy.

I was reading from one of my favorite authors Nancy Leigh DeMoss and on her website “Revive Our Hearts” they have quite a few 30 day challenges.  I found one 30 Days of Gratitude and I thought this might be a good reminder in the midst of THE PAPERWORK there can be joy in it.  In fact, in every daily task or event (regardless of how mundane we think it may be) there is Joy and we can have an attitude of gratitude.  The days focus around some of my favorite verses (they were read to us at our wedding).

Colossians 3:12-17 (the Message)

12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

I needed an attitude change and a reminder that this journey isn’t about how fast we can complete the work or grumble about THE PAPERWORK but rather to think about all of the ways God has showered blessings on us and our family even before the little Walter will arrive.  God has orchestrated this adoption and He has called us to serve, love and follow Him.  This journey is a step of faith in so many ways: will we be matched, will the funds come in on time, will the adoption be finalized, will we have a healthy baby? A bunch of “Will we’s” That if we are not careful the doubts and fears can overwhelm the JOY and promises that God gives to us.  Promises that “He will never leave us or forsake us, promises of giving us a hope and a future, promises to always be with us, promises to love us with an everlasting love, promises of peace and comfort”.  PROMISES that is what He gives to us.

The adoption is off to a fast start, but we know it will be a long journey and we have God who will be with us every single step of the way – in fact He has gone before us and will carry us even in the hard days.  And He has blessed us with a huge group of friends and family members who are encouraging us and praying for us and praying for the Little Walter who will be joining us.

We are thankful for you joining us on this ride!