Week 8 has come to an end. It was another busy and exciting week but it was also a week where I had to continually wrestle some big fears- more on that in a bit.
We ‘ended’ our week long fundraiser and raised $20,000!!!! It still seems so surreal. TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. Honest moment- I struggled with this big time. It was an extremely humbling experience and something I feel we don’t ‘deserve’. Why would people want to help US? But time and time again we were reminded of what true love, empathy, compassion, and Christian community looks like. THANK YOU.
Some of you commented, ‘we can’t offer much but here’s $5.’ Your ‘not much’ was HUGE to us. To those of you who gave us encouragement, $5, $50, $500…we couldn’t have done it without you. God worked through each and every one of you to affirm His purpose in our life. Greg and I said over and over and over again, “This is ALL God. We have never been so certain that this is what He has called us to.” The best part about it all- knowing we can tell our child someday about the amazing people who loved him/her and jumped up to support before he/she was even born. THAT is love. You will ALWAYS be a part of our child’s story and for that we are grateful.
Monday was also an exciting day. We were able to cross another big item off our to-do list: our profile book! The profile book is arguably one of the most important pieces of the adoption process. This a book that is given to expectant mothers for them to decide who they want to raise their child. It a summation of who Greg and I are. Where we live. How we live. The hopes and dreams we have for our family. It is filled with pictures, stories, facts, and promises. It is what the expectant mom will use to ‘pick’ us.
We could’ve made this book ourselves. Many people do. However, we chose to have it professionally done by a recommended graphic designer. Many people were surprised by this as they think this is something that would be right up my alley. So why did we pay for someone to do it? A few reasons.
1) With ALL the paperwork and phone calls and documents and everything else ‘adoption’, this was the ONE thing I could hand off and have somebody else take care of. Less stress for me.
2) I felt like it was a lot of pressure. I’m my biggest critic. To let a professional that has made dozens of these do it, put my mind at ease.
3) First impressions matter and this is a super important first impression. Again- this is brand new territory to us. I’ve never made a profile book before. I don’t know what’s good/bad. I don’t know what’s important/not important to include. I wanted it done well and done right.
So, when we got the proof to edit on Monday I was so nervous. What if I hated it? What if it didn’t represent who Greg and I really are? I held my breath and opened the PDF. I started scrolling and tears filled my eyes. It was PERFECT. I was so relieved. It was the best decision ever to let the ‘pro’ handle it. She told our story so beautifully and this will be a forever keepsake. Here’s just a small taste of what’s inside:
Beyond wrapping up the fundraiser and approving our profile book, the other big thing we worked on this week was grants. There are MANY adoption grants available- ranging in amounts of $100-$10,000. It’s a lot to wade through and figure out which ones you can apply for and which ones you can’t. Each grant foundation has different requirements as to who can apply. Some are strictly for international adoptions. Some are strictly for special needs adoptions. Some are strictly for older child adoptions. Some take 6 months to a year for approval (by that time it could be too late for us as some only give the grant money to the agency directly).
After lots of searching and researching we applied for 6 grants. It was extremely time consuming as once again you need to send/upload all kinds of documents, answer many ‘interview’ questions, and fill out applications. For quite a few of them we have to wait until we have our home study to send them in. We are *hoping* we’ll have our home study report this week. Would you pray with us that we get our home study report soon and that if it’s God’s will, we would be able to receive one of the grants we applied for?
This is week is looking ‘slow’ on the adoption front. However, as soon as we have that official home study report in our hands, documents will be packaged up and quickly sent off. As soon as Faithful Adoption Consultants has our paperwork, we go ‘active’! Would you also join us in praying that we could go ‘active’ within the next two weeks?
Fear. I have let it take hold this week more than I’d like to admit. I’ve thankfully been going to counseling the past few months (I started before we kicked off the adoption process and realize now that God knew I was going to need it, so thankful!) and it has helped me so much on this journey.
(Shameless plug: counseling is one of the BEST things ever. I had my first ‘counseling experience’ from 2016-2018 and knew I need to go back a few months ago as I saw some thought patterns/personal struggles creeping back. I equate counseling with going to the dentist or getting a haircut- it’s something you do to take care of yourself. Especially now as we work through a pandemic, fear of the future, etc…if you are struggling, please reach out!! I’ve been doing my counseling via telehealth and it’s been so helpful. I share to try and help break the stigma- counseling is GOOD! Don’t be scared to ask for help.)
I told my counselor this week that my biggest fear is a failed match. We could get to the hospital and a day or two after birth, the mom could change her mind. In the adoption world, that is a ‘win’- a mother choosing to parent is always a good thing. However, it terrifies me. If we get that far and it fails, we could also lose a good chunk of money- which is scary and something I would feel SO guilty about (after all our fundraising).
My counselor helped me walk through this: what is the worst that could happen? A mom could change her mind and we lose money. Will people hate you? No. Will people still support you? Yes. Might it take some time to raise more money? Yes. Does God already have your child picked out? Yes. Will there be another match? Yes. What percentage of matches fail? 7%. Is 7% a large chance? No. Has God shown you this is where He is guiding you? Yes. “Then Kim…you need to pack all this (your fears) up in a little box and put it on a shelf. Get rid of it. IF this (a failed match) happens, and only IF, then you can take the box down, unpack it, and get through it. For now, put your fear in that box and move forward in faith and excitement.”
So, I’ve been daily putting my box away. And when I’m tempted to take it down and peek into it, I stop myself and put it back. It’s been hard, but it’s getting easier. Faith over fear. (Also this is a hypothetical ‘box’ if you haven’t caught on. :))
I also told her I’m fearful because everything has been going SO well so far. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s a very, very, very ‘small’ form of PTSD from our miscarriages. I’m relying on our previous experiences. Every time we’ve been hopeful about starting a family so far, it fails. My brain is used to that pattern and is expecting this to fail as well. She had me reframe my mindset and think of it this way- ‘what if your three miscarriages were the ‘shoe dropping’ already and now this is your time to experience blessing and joy?’ It’s all about your mindset. This week I’ve been working hard on choosing joy and seeing the positives.
How’s that for an honest update? I always strive to be real and open. This journey is so exciting and joyful but it is equally scary and unknown. As we head into week 9, will you also pray that I focus on faith over fear? Pray that we can have joy without fear of the future. God will get us through it one step at a time. Where God guides, He provides. And one day, hopefully soon, we WILL be holding our child.
To end: I know today is Mother’s Day. It’s still a hard day for me and there are so many of you on my mind. I don’t know if this will ever be a ‘happy holiday’ for me…even when we do have a family. It’s a day we’ll always be reminded of our babies in heaven. To those of you remembering babies or longing for babies, I see you and I get it. Hugs to you. May you feel loved and worthy today. And for all you mothers out there- hug your babies tight and be extra thankful for the title of ‘Mom’ today.
Until next time,