First, please give a brief overview of your family: Â how many children, how old they are etc.
My husband and I have one son, Matthew, who is 16 months old. I never feel right answering this question without mention of our two precious babies we lost. We had a daughter in 2008, Sophie, who was stillborn. We also lost our son in 2009 due to aÂ first trimestermiscarriage.
1.Â Â Â Â What led you to adoption?
The short answer is God. The long answer is a drawn out struggle with infertility and babyloss. We so badly wanted to be parents, and we felt like we could build our family through adoption. We both are from families with no experience with adoption, so this journey was completely in uncharted waters. We were learning as we went, and so were our families.
2.Â Â Â Â What was most helpful in the beginning of your journey?
Adoptive Families Magazineâ€™s website was fantastic. Their website has a lot of information on all types of adoption as well as a listing of agencies and attorneys. It was also very helpful to speak with other families who were built by adoption. If you donâ€™t know any, join a Yahoo group or other online group where you can find others who adopted.
3.Â Â Â Â What were/are your favorite adoption resources?
–Adoptive Families Magazine (their online site is atÂ www.adoptivefamilies.com)
-Adopting.org was great too, and they have boards that you can post questions to for other families who are going through or went through the process.
4.Â Â Â Â How did you fund your adoption?
Great question! I added a PayPal button on our blog, and I cannot even tell you how amazing it was to watch the generosity of our loved ones. My parentâ€™s church even took up a collection for us. Donâ€™t be afraid to send out a letter or email telling people you found your path to parenthood but you need to fund the costs. We set up a fundraising site atÂ www.adoptionbug.comÂ where the sale of t-shirts resulted in a donation to us. I also had a friend host a Pampered Chef party for us and she generously donated her commission price back to our adoption. It was amazing to watch checks come in the mail every day and often from people we donâ€™t even know. Lastly, because our adoption was very expensive, we took out a loan for the remaining piece. Weâ€™re still paying that off. And, miracles abounded even right up to the minute we left. We were only given two weeksâ€™ notice for travel, and Matthewâ€™sÂ GodparentsÂ donated their frequent flier points to us and we flew for free to Russia the first time. Really, if this is Godâ€™s will for your family, He will make it happen. Just trust, pray and ask. And get ready to see a miracle.
5.Â Â Â Â Why did you choose International/Domestic/Foster?
We started our process with domestic adoption in mind. And, my husband would tell me here and there he just did not feel like a good fit for us. We worked up to the point of being ready to actually be listed with aÂ domestic adoption agency. Then we stalled. It did not feel right for us. We had stopped our adoption process just about completely this time last year. I knew I couldnâ€™t push my husband towards domestic if he didnâ€™t feel good about it. We even had a baby born situation (when a child is born and placed for adoption, but there are no intendedÂ adoptive parents) last December that feel through. We had no idea what we were going to do. A friend forwarded an email to us in January from aRussian adoptionÂ agency that changed our lives and opened the door to our son. From the moment we learned of this Russian program, both of us felt a peace. We felt like we were in the right place. And, God confirmed that by moving everything in our adoption along at lightning speed. We applied to our agency in January and we were home with our son in July.
6.Â Â Â Â Anything you would say to encourage those still on the fence?
Do not give up. Just because you have already tried so many paths to parenthood and not succeeded, it doesnâ€™t mean your story is completely written. Be patient. Pray. Discern. I requested a lot of intercession from St. Thomas More, the patron saint of adoption. Talk to others who adopted, and lean on them for support. We all remember being on the fence and not knowing what to do next, and weâ€™re happy to encourage and pray for you as you discern.
7.Â Â Â Â Any adjustments/challenges with your child/children
The first week we had custody of Matthew was tough. He was 12.5 months old and went through aÂ grieving processÂ for the only people and place he knew. He didnâ€™t know us, we didnâ€™t know him, and we were in another country in a tiny apartment. We saw a lot of behavior issues from him at that point. Since weâ€™ve been home, we have seen this improve greatly. We are working through a language delay, but otherwise, heâ€™s on point with his peers. And, some days I wonder if his behavior is perhaps adoption related, but I have to remind myself I have a perfectly active toddler who is just into everything.
8.Â Â Â Â What was your biggest fear?
Something happening that would have prevented our son from coming home (an in-countryÂ naturalÂ disaster, the country closing to international adoptions, us arriving to adopt him and not having the correct set of paperwork, etc). Russia requires two trips, and during our adoption process, there were a lot of negative things in the news about Russian adoptees. I was always worried that we were going to hit a roadblock and not be able to travel. There were a lot of scary moments. The day before we were to leave from Russia, our agency director called and said the country had placed a halt on adoptions and we couldnâ€™t travel. I was in Starbucks and I just began to cry. Within 2 minutes of this, my husband called me and said that travel was back on. The day we left for Russia, we were the first flight in two weeks to arrive in country on time due to a volcano erupting. I am pretty convinced God has a sense of humor to put a volcano on the map during our travel time. I can honestly say that with all those possible roadblocks, there was a divine plan for us to be with this child, and the way at any moment anything could have gone wrong yet did not, was just a complete miracle.Â
9.Â Â Â Â What has been your greatest blessing?
Matthew! Heâ€™s just amazing. When we met him, we laughed because he is so much like us. He looks just like my husband, which God totally had a hand in doing. He is the happiest child I have ever met. And, I know from theÂ very beginning of time, we were meant to be together. I love that our story of heartache, longing, wanting and sorrow has turned into the greatest story of love, joy and complete contentment. The days of loss and sorrow which pushed my faith to an almost breaking point has turned into days of joy and peace which have strengthened my faith more than anything in my life. I tell my son just about daily that the day I met him, he made me into the happiest mama in the world (a line borrowed from the book,Â God Found Us YouÂ by Lisa Tawn Bergen). There is a joy deep in my soul now just from being in our home listening to the squeals and giggles of a child. The very home for so long I was certain would never have baby sounds in it finally does!Â
10.Â Â Please feel free to touch on or add anything I didn’t address!
If youâ€™re waiting to start the adoption process, or still arenâ€™t sure how you are going to become parents, take care of your marriage. Waiting for a baby is hard and it is certainly enough to cause disagreements and turmoil in a marriage. Make sure you still find time to connect. And, if youâ€™re on a tight budget, you can always do fun inexpensive things like have a picnic on your living room floor or write a love letter- all things youâ€™ll find really hard to do once a little one joins your lives!
Thanks for sharing your beautiful story!! Â You can find out more about Meghan’s family at Lil Chopstick.