Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our Story

I don't know how many people out there know the whole story about how we decided to adopt, and lately God has been so good to help me see how HE worked through the whole thing that I wanted to share how this all came about.

In the Fall of 2006 we decided that it was time that we started trying to have a baby.  So I went off the Pill and we started trying.  Without going into too much detail, I had some issues with my cycle becoming normal again once I was off the Pill, and after several months of not being able to have a normal cycle, was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome ("PCOS").  I did my research and saw that this didn't necessarily mean I was infertile, or that I would never be able to get pregnant, but it did probably mean that if I couldn't have a normal cycle with the drugs the doctor had prescribed, that I would probably need fertility drugs to help me ovulate and, thus, get pregnant. 

That diagnosis began a rough several months for me.  I was really mad at God because I felt like He didn't love me.  I looked around me and saw everybody else getting pregnant the first time they tried or even sometimes by accident, and it just felt like He loved everybody else so much that He wanted to bless them with children, but He didn't love me enough to bless me that way.  I can see now how big of a pity party I was throwing myself, but at the time I felt very unloved.  And so I struggled A LOT over the summer of 2007 - mostly in my relationship with the Lord.

And then some time that Fall God finally got to me and I realized:  YES, He created me differently than He created everybody else, but that's a GOOD thing.  And it's not because He doesn't love me, but that He loves me SO MUCH that He would create me uniquely and call me to live my life differently than everyone else around me at the time.  AND THAT'S A GOOD THING!  I can't even tell you the heavy burden that was lifted from me when I finally understood that.

Not long after that, I hit the magical year mark.  Some of you may not know about this magical mark to which I refer.  Well, it's that point at which the doctor's office realizes you've been "trying" to get pregnant for a year, and they kick into fertility drug/procedure mode.  I wanted to yell at them.  I hadn't been TRYING to get pregnant, I'd only been TRYING to have a normal cycle, which was NOT working.  But they were on a mission to help me get pregnant, so without really realizing what was going on, Rob and I were swept onto the fertility roller coaster.  They started me on my first round of Clomid (to help me ovulate), then they started scheduling all kinds of tests.  Needless to say, I didn't get pregnant that first month, and the Clomid made me really sick.  They wanted to increase my dosage the next month and begin running more tests.  And all the while I'm wondering how we got there.  So one day, a few days before one of the bigger tests, I looked at Rob and said, "do you want to do this?" and he said, "no" and I said "neither do I.  You want to adopt?"  and he said, "Yes!" 

And that was it.  Another burden lifted, followed by abundant joy!  For us, fertility treatments just didn't seem natural.  And I struggled with that for a long time because isn't that what every woman wants?  Aren't we supposed to want to do whatever it takes to have a biological baby?  I just didn't really have that desire.  So for a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.  But Rob kept telling everybody it felt MORE natural to him to adopt than to have a biological baby, and it finally occurred to me that that's how God MADE us!  He created us from the beginning to be adoptive parents!  That lesson He'd taught me about creating me uniquely was because He'd created me to ADOPT! 

Through this adoption process, I feel like I've come ALIVE!  I am fully convinced that this is what I was made to do.   And not that my whole identity is wrapped up in adoption, but I cannot deny that God planned this for me and intended for me to do this. 

When I think back to where I was about three years ago - all of the pain and disappointment and separation from God.  And when I compare that to where I am now, I am humbled and amazed to see how He's redeemed it all.  He turned my mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11) and He gave me beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).  So now when I think about the future and the inevitable dark and rainy days, I feel like I can face them with a sense of confidence that God will be there, He will be with me, and He will redeem it - whatever IT is - because that's how things work.  That's how God works.  "In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  (Romans 8:28)  I get it now.

SO....  Are we infertile?  I don't think so.  Maybe.  I don't know.  Who knows?  Who cares?  Does it matter?  I don't think our story follows the pattern of so many other adoptive parents, but I'm OK with that.  God has blessed us beyond measure, and I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Even though I've been encouraged by our progress so far, it kind of feels like it took FOREVER to complete our Application and obtain all of the necessary documents.  But I looked at the calendar today and realized something....

3 weeks ago today, we received our very first call from Gladney wanting to set up our phone orientation.  It took us exactly 2 weeks to fill out the Application and obtain all the necessary documents. 

3 weeks!  That's ALL, people!  We've been at this 3 weeks so far! 

Maybe this doesn't mean anything to anybody else but me, but it was really nice to have some perspective today.

SO, as I promised Michelle, here's a shout out to Jayne, Jessica, Stephen, Michelle and Jennifer for doing references for us, and getting them in BEFORE we even got our Application in!  Y'all ROCK!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gladney Application... CHECK!

I'm pleased to announce that we mailed our Gladney Application and ALL of the supporting documentation today!  They should receive it tomorrow!  We also mailed our first set of documents for our dossier to Kate at KBS Dossiers, who is helping us compile our dossier. 

Next step is Home Study, which I'm hoping (maybe a bit too optimistically) will be completed by the end of February.  We'll continue to work on our dossier while we wait for our Home Study to be completed.  We're also waiting to hear back from USCIS (Immigration) as to when they've scheduled us to be fingerprinted to obtain FBI clearance. 

It's a really exciting time that's 99% positive.  I'm a bit worried about our physician letters and if they'll actually work for the dossier, but I'll let Kate decide that.  Needless to say, the doctor's office didn't understand WHY we needed everything to be so specific!  I  finally picked up the last letter today, which they had to re-do THREE times!  The front desk lady practically threw it at me this morning when she finally acknowledged I had been standing there for about 3 minutes!  God bless 'em.  I guess they have rough jobs.

Thanks for sticking with me through this post that's been all over the place.  It's a snapshot of what my mind looks like right now :)

Monday, January 25, 2010


At the beginning of this adoption process (you know, 3 weeks ago - Gosh, it feels like so much longer) I told myself that I would trust that any delays in the process would be used by God to bring us the EXACT child He wanted for us.  Things had been going so well, I hadn't really had much reason to put the aforementioned "trust" to the test. 

Since we had our physicals on Thursday, and the results of all our tests were negative, we THOUGHT the doctor's office would do all the required letters for us today, and we could mail our application and dossier documents tomorrow.  You probably know where this is going... No letters today.  I guess if we get the letters early enough tomorrow, we may still be able to mail the application and dossier, but if not, it'll have to be another day.  I'm a bit dissapointed - I HATE not being able to control the process - but it all comes back to trust.  Do I trust that God will use even this small delay to bring us the EXACT child He has for us?  ABSOLUTELY!  So, mark it on the calendar: today, Monday, January 25, is the first of many exercises of faith and trust.  Anybody want to wager how many more there will be in the next year and a half?

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Another day I'll probably write about why we decided to adopt, and then why we decided to adopt from Ethiopia.  For now, though, I'd like to share some statistics about Ethiopia that I've seen on several other blogs that get me every time I read them...
  • one out of every 20 children born alive die in their first month of life 
  • one out of ten die before reaching their first birthday 
  • one out of six die before reaching their fifth birthday
According to the Embassy of Ethiopia, the country currently has a literacy rate of about only 33 percent. With a population of 65 million, 39 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. As disease spreads rapidly, more than 1.5 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS annually.

Other Ethiopia Statistics:
  •  52% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition
  • 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)
  • 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia
  • 24% of the population of Ethiopia has access to safe drinking water (this includes the cities, the rural areas are - as you can imagine, much worse off)
  • The median age in Ethiopia is 16.9 years
  • In 2006, a mere 731 Ethiopian children were adopted by American families (do the math: of 4.6 million orphans in the country, this is far less than significant)
  • Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
  • In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)
  • Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)
  • Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school
  • 88% will never attend secondary school
  • Ethiopia's doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000
  • In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports
  • The average income in Ethiopia is less than $100/yr

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thank You Madonna, Angelina and Brad

I don't really follow celebrity news too much. But unless you live in a bubble, you hear things now and then, and I was aware that Madonna and Angelina & Brad had adopted children - I thought some of them were black, and maybe they were from Africa.  That's about all I knew, and frankly, didn't much care.  I realize there are celebrities that do really good things, but in general, I don't try to model my life after celebrities - they have way more money than I do, and I often wonder how happy they really are.  But I digress...

On some level, we've known  for about the last year that we would adopt from Ethiopia.  On occasion, I worried about people's reactions when they found out we would be adopting (and raising!) a black child.  It wasn't until we were confident in our decision that we even told many people, and certainly didn't start telling EVERYBODY until we'd begun the process.  I must say that there were times I even braced myself for people's reactions - would they second guess our decision?  would I have to justify to them why I felt this was God's calling on my life?  But an amazing thing happened when I began telling people - especially people at work...  On more than one occasion, I got "You'll be just like Angelina!" or "Maybe you'll start hanging out with Madonna!"  And people were actually EXCITED because we were doing something that (I guess) they've only seen celebrities do.  And I was amazed!  It had never even crossed my mind that people would be accepting of our adoption because of the path that celebrities have paved for us.  Now, before you think I'm super-naive, I realize that not everybody will be accepting.  People will question, they will second-guess, they will judge and some really won't like it.  But it would seem so far that those people are not the majority.  So for that, I simply say...

Thank You, Madonna, Angelina and Brad!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

By Our Love

"By Our Love"...  The title of our blog comes from the hymn recently made popular again by Jars of Clay, "They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love."  It's how we seek to live our lives, even though so often we fall short.  We hope you'll stop by our blog now and then to catch up on our latest news and read about our journey to bring home baby #1 from Ethiopia.  It's a journey we feel created to make and couldn't be more excited that God has given us this gift!  We invite you to come along side us as we walk this new, challenging and abundantly-blessed road.

Robert and Rebecca (a.k.a. "Rebob")