Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Into the unknown again

It is a sad day...today we called our adoption agency to tell them we will not proceed with this birth mother.   To make a long story short, last week we found out that the birth mother tested positive for cocaine during her 7th week of pregnancy.  This past week and a half we have been working with our caseworker to figure out the truth.  We even scheduled her for a drug test on Friday that she did not go to until the next day.   To our utter disappointment, we realized that she has been lying to everyone the whole time.  Come to find out, she has a problem with cocaine and has used during this and other pregnancies.  Even though she wouldn't fully admit to it, we highly suspect that she is also using marijuana, smoking, and possibly drinking alcohol.   She was telling the doctor one thing, our adoption agency another, and then us something totally different.   Because of this she totally lost our trust and we don't know where the truth ends and the lies begin.  Our hearts are broken, but we still pray for her recovery and the health of the baby.  Hopefully this will be a wake up call to her and she can get her life straightened out.  I'm not sure what hurts more, being lied to or losing this baby.  In the meantime, we are back to square one with broken hearts and deflated hope.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Peanut's heartbeat

My mom has affectionately nicknamed the baby "peanut."  "Peanut" has even received a Christmas present from Mimi and Papa this year already.  Our present from this little peanut was to see him/her and hear the heartbeat.  On Friday, Noel and I went to Rachel's doctor appointment.  We were able to see a sonogram of the baby.  It was amazing.  It has a little head, arms, and legs already.  We saw it moving around a lot.  The baby was very wiggly.  The doctor zoomed in on the sonogram and showed us the heart.  It looked like a little flutter.   We got to hear the fast "whooshing" of the heart beat.  It was the best sound I ever heard.  The doctor printed out pictures for Rachel and then some pictures for us.  If I figure out how to post them on here, I will do so.

The next appointment won't be until January.  I don't know if we'll go to this one because she will only be doing some blood work and the glucose test.  The doctor said at 17 weeks, he will do the level 2 sonogram and we should be able to determine the sex of the baby.  So just 8 more weeks to go!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"The" meeting

Today was a great day...today we got to meet our birth parents Rachel and Frank.  Noel and I were so nervous about this meeting.  We were so excited to meet them, but were worried about saying something stupid, or what if they didn't like us?  We first met at the adoption agency with our adoption counselor.  I could tell they were just as nervous as we were.  We introduced ourselves and then started to tell Frank and Rachel a little  bit about us.  Our conversation quickly felt comfortable and we began to talk about silly random things like our pets and what movies we like.  I guess it was due to nerves, but it was fun.  We seemed to hit it off with them right away.

Rachel's main concern is that we will follow through with what type of contact we agree too.  She was burned by this in the past and we assured her that we will be true to our word.  I commend her for putting her heart out there again, so we will be very careful to guard it and be respectful.

We decided to out to lunch together,  They took us to one of their favorite Chinese buffets- China Sea.  I told them it was fortunate for them that I finally started liking Chinese food in the past 7 years :)  (thanks to Noel, Julie, and Susan).

They showed us pictures of their children and some pictures of the baby they placed for adoption earlier this year.  They have some really cute kiddos, so this made Noel and I even more excited.  Rachel told us she has  feeling this one is a boy, so that made Noel really happy.  I think we still have about 11 weeks or so until we find out for sure.  She also told us that the furthest she has gone in a pregnancy is 38 weeks, so she is confident this baby will be born in June-  YAY!

I just can't describe what a blessing they are!  Rachel is so sweet and thoughtful.  She told me that she is getting registered with the hospital she wants to deliver at.  She said she likes this one particular hospital because they work with adoptions and provide a room for the adoptive parents to stay in with the baby.  They will also give us a car seat, a months supply of formula, blankets, and many other things.  This sounds wonderful!  She surprised me so much with her excitement for us, especially since we will be first time parents.  Rachel said that it makes her really happy that I'll get to experience everything with her like I was the one going through the pregnancy.  She wants us in the delivery room and will even let Noel cut the cord if he wants to (not sure how he feels about that yet :) ).  It just amazes me how the Lord has put this together with such amazing people.

So as I was just typing that last paragraph, I got a text message from Rachel that said she is so excited and hopes we can get really close.  So please be in continued prayer over this precious couple and baby. 

Oh ya, I can't forget to mention that we are going with Rachel to a doctor's appointment on Friday where we will get to hear the baby's heart beat and hopefully see a sonogram!!!  I'll post a picture if I get one.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Her name is Rachel.  She is 28 years old.  She chose us to be the parents of her baby.

"The" phone call came about noon on November 23rd.  I was sitting at my desk at work.  Our caseworker was on the other end of the phone and said, "Briana, I think I have some news to make your day better..."  Rachel came into the office that morning to select her adoptive parents and they called me right away to give me the news.  So I asked a ton of questions, wrote down everything, and called Noel immediately.  He was, quite understandably, a little flustered but excited.  We called the agency back and asked them if we could come see her profile and get the paperwork.  So they kindly worked through lunch to get it ready for us.

We got to the adoption agency and started looking through her profile.  She is truly an answered prayer.   She does not do drugs, or alcohol, and is even already taking pre-natal vitamins. The baby, our baby, will be Caucasian-Hispanic and is due on July 5th.  She should be comfortable with the type and amount of contact we will have with her during the pregnancy and after the birth.  Our caseworker informed us that she has placed a baby for adoption before, and they feel that she will follow through with this adoption.  They also told us that when she looked at our profile she immediately fell in love with us.  What a great feeling it was to hear that.  She wants us! We are wanted! We saw a picture of her and she has such a kind face and sweet smile.  I have not met her yet, but she already has a very special place in my heart.

Noel and I have been talking over the past few days about how we can see God all over this situation already.  She is exactly the birthmom we were hoping for and the timing was perfect.  Another incredible blessing that is totally all God is that her expenses were not too costly.  We will be paying for about 9 months of expenses and they will fall under a very average range, less than average actually.  We had so many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but the Lord made it so much sweeter to give us this gift now.

So we still have 7 months to go before this baby is born.  We should hopefully be able to go to some doctor appointments with her and be there at the birth.  I will keep posting as we gather more information and get to meet Rachel.  In the meantime, please pray for Rachel-  pray for her health, safety, and as she continues to make the best decision for her baby.  Also please pray for this little 'peanut' as he/she is only about 8-9 weeks along.  Pray for baby's health and safety as well.  Last, but certainly not least, please join me in a prayer of Thanksgiving to the Lord for he has heard our prayers and is answering them.  Praise be to God!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

20 years in the making

Well...I guess it's 19 years in the making, but 20 just sounded better.  You might be wondering what I am talking about...well let me tell you.  When I was 10 years old, I met my best friend Amy.  We were in the same 5th grade class, rode the bus together, and lived in the same neighborhood.  We were practically attached at the hip.  We spent a lot of time together at each other's houses.  It was at Amy's house where I first experienced and learned about foster care and adoption.  Her family fostered at least 5 children that I can recall during the time we were in school together.  I can remember getting very attached to those kids.  The first little boy I can remember was named Luke and he was two when they first got him.  He couldn't say my name right, so he just called me "Bina" and it stuck.  I also remember the day I first met Caleb, the 5 year old they ended up adopting.  He seemed to fit right in like he was there all along.  I would have never thought that these experiences almost 20 years ago, would have left such an impact on me.  Since then, I have always had a heart for adoption.  I can honestly say that the Lord used the Webster's to plant the seed for adoption in me so long ago. 

The reason I have been thinking about this lately is that this past week I was in Houston for a work conference and Amy and I got to meet up for dinner.  Life gets so busy and we live in different cities.  We tried to remember the last time we saw each other, and we think it was almost four years ago at her wedding.  The great thing about a friendship like this is that we have always been able to pick right up where we left off.

Monday, September 20, 2010

7 years

Today, Noel and I are celebrating our 7th anniversary.  Woo-hoo lucky number 7!!  This year we decided to forgo the usual romantic dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant.  Instead we chose to get a meal to go and come home and pig out.  You might be wondering, "where did you eat?"  The answer to that question is Bob's Smokehouse- the best BBQ place this side of town.  As we pulled up to Bob's we noticed that the gate was closed and the sign said they closed at 6:00 pm.  Would you believe we pulled up at 6:01?  Fortunately, Bob was standing outside and waved us in to go around the back.  We went in and ordered our food.  Noel got the two meat plate with three sides.  And I ordered the "moo-moo" chopped brisket sandwich with potato salad.  Noel told Bob it was our anniversary and he threw in a peach cobbler.  How's that for service!  So, we came home and pigged out.  As we started eating, I put my arm around Noel and said "I love how this can be our anniversary and we can just to get some BBQ and be as happy as can be."  He just looked at me with a huge grin.  And as I type, Noel is asleep on the couch in his BBQ-overload-coma.   Ahhhhhh, sigh of contentment :)

If you would have asked me last year on our anniversary, I would have thought we'd have our baby by now.  Oh well...maybe next year we will be taking our baby to Bob's on our anniversary.  Lucky number 7, right?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Our first adoption

I've been thinking that this is actually not the first time we adopted.  Our first adoption occurred in November 2008.  We adopted the cutest little one year old red haired...dog.

We were on our way home from visiting Noel's parents over the Thanksgiving weekend.  We pulled onto our street when we see this tiny little dog running after our car.  We got out and he, although slightly timidly, came right up to us.  It was cold outside and he was just so cute.  I couldn't recall that any of our neighbors had a dog like this, but I took him from door to door asking anyways.  Our neighbor across the street said that he showed up over the weekend and she felt bad for him so she had been feeding him.  We decided to make fliers and put them up around the neighborhood.  In the meantime, we went to HEB to get dog food and we kept him in the back yard-- well we tried to keep him in the back yard.

This leads me to the conclusion of how he got lost in the first place.  Every day we would leave for work and he would escape out of the back yard and chase our cars down the street.  We would have to try and hurry out the door every morning before he noticed.  This dog has an adventurous spirit.  To make a long story short, we never found his owners and decided to keep him.  We named this little doggie Charlie.  He has been my shadow and buddy every since.

Having Charlie has really tested our "parenting" skills.  That little 10 lb dog is so stubborn!!  Noel and I have had many "conversations" on how to deal with him.  If it were up to Noel, Charlie would have fond a new home a long time ago.  But I fell in love with that little pup, so he is here to stay.  Fortunately over the past several months, we have been working really hard training him.  After attending the Burns Family doggie boot camp, I am happy to say that Charlie is much better behaved- although is still quite stubborn at times.

I relate this a lot to parenting because it is a work in progress and a learning process for us all.  My mom did always say that she thought our first child would take after Noel and be a red head-  who knew he'd also have four legs and a tail??

Say cheese!
Yo quiero Taco Bell
Charlie watching Noel mow the backyard

A little patience goes a long way- 7/16/10

So, there really is no news to report.  We are still waiting on "the phone call" while getting a long lesson in patience.  I can honestly say, even though I want to get our baby already, I am at peace during the wait. When we started this process, I imagined myself feeling anxious all the time during our wait.  I thought to myself that I would jump every time the phone rang thinking it could possibly be the agency.  Fortunately, so far, my preconceived notions were wrong. 
I am conteientious of the fact that this month is July-  the month the "psychic daycare" lady told me that we would have two boys.  Well, the month is only halfway over, but it is not looking to good for her prediction.  I suppose I will have to update this on August 1st and let you all know what happens :)

We are still working on picking out some names.  After much consideration, we have decided to nix Bueford and Beulah-  I know, you all are devastated.  It was a close one though ;)   We do have a front runner for a boy name, but the girl's name is much harder to agree on.  I will keep those names secret until we find out the sex of our baby.

One thing that hasn't changed over the past few months is that God is still an awesome God.  I wasn't expecting that to change of course, but only our awareness of his awesomeness.  The Lord continues to be faithful by sending donations our way.  To date, we have received $7500!!  I can hardly believe it myself.  I have sent off one grant application but still have a few more to get finished up.  Please join me in prayer as we try to raise the rest of our funds.

Well, I suppose that is all I have for now.  Hopefully sometime soon we will receive "the call."  But until then, we will just continue our lesson in patience.

Close encounters- 6/17/10

Drumroll please... 5/23/10

Six weeks ago we sent out fund raising support letters for our adoption.  So far, we have received...drum roll please...$5,000!  Praise God!!  Any amount helps, but this is great!  Each penny has brought us closer to bringing home our baby.  Thank you all so much for your extreme generosity.  We have been praying that the Lord blesses you all for your gifts.
We have worked a little on the nursery lately.  We rearranged the furniture and started putting the crib together.  We were almost done with the crib and realized that we didn't have all the screws.  So Noel is searching for the exact ones we need.

I've also created our baby registry at Target.  If it wasn't for my dear friend Candes, I would still be wondering around the store with the scanner.  I did pretty good until I got to the bottle isle.  Why are there so many types of bottles?  Don't they all do the same thing?? I just don't get it.  It was so overwhelming, thanks to Candes, she steered me in the right direction. 

We have weekly contact with our adoption agency.  They have been showing our profile regularly.  We either get phone calls or emails about cases (birth moms) and then we decided if we want our profile shown.  That decision making process is much harder than I could have thought.  Right now we are waiting to hear back about a birth mom who was mailed our profile last week.  She is due in December, so that would give us a little more time.

It is so unreal all the different types of cases that the agency comes across.  Just a few days ago we got an email about a baby that was born on Wednesday, the mom decided to place the baby for adoption then, and the baby was born heroine addicted.  We just never know when or under what circumstances our baby will be born.  Please continue to pray for our baby and birth mom during this process.

A tough decision- 4/22/10

Nicole is 19 and Floyd is 24.  They have been together for 5 years and have two little boys.  They knew that they could not provide for their baby girl, so they picked us to adopt her.  Oh, did I mention she is delivering the baby girl four days from now??  We were shocked when our adoption agency called at 2:30 this afternoon and told us the news.  Noel and I immediately went over to the agency to talk with our caseworker and pick up their profile.  With deer-in-the-headlight expressions on our faces, we took their information home to pray about and discuss it. 

During this process, I have been dreaming of the day when we would get this call.  I wondered how I would feel, what I'd be doing and where I'd be.  What would the birthmom look like?  What is her personality?  How many months do we have before the baby is born?  Nothing prepared me for the whirlwind of emotions that would occur over the next few hours. 

On paper, everything looked great for this case.  Their story was incredible- such love and sacrifice for this baby.  There was minimal drug history, no alcohol history, and very minimal family medical history.  The costs would be very low since we'd only be paying expenses for 6 weeks postpartum.  From all accounts this looked like this would be a very healthy hispanic baby girl.  How could we pass this up?  It just about seemed like a perfect situation, but Noel and I were not on the same page about it.  I was excited about this, but he just wasn't getting "the feeling."  By feeling, he meant, the peace God gives us in a situation to know it is the right decision.  I honestly, don't know if I felt that or not, I was just so excited.  So with much prayer and discussion we decided that we weren't the home for this baby girl.  This was such a difficult decision--  no actually way beyond difficult.  But we know it was the right decision and the Lord's plan for this baby.  Noel and I both know in our hearts that when our baby comes along, we will both know for sure. We know the Lord will give us that peace and reassurance that it is the right time and baby.  Like my brother said, "It will be like when you met your spouse, you will just know."  He is right, I know that we will "just know."

So for tonight, I am writing this with a disappointed, but grateful heart.  The agency told us about the couple's second choice family and they sound wonderful.  So congratulations to this couple in Houston who will be getting a very important phone call tonight.  Our prayers are with you!

Whew! - 4/20/10

Last Monday, our adoption agency called and asked if they could show our profile to a birthmom.  She called me, but I was out working, so didn't get the message.  She then called Noel and told him the details about this mom.  When I got back in my car from the daycare I was inspecting, I checked my cell phone to see about 7 missed calls and frantic voicemails from Noel.  When the agency called, they needed a response in 5 minutes, so he went ahead and told them yes.  This birthmom had a few more issues in her life than we were comfortable with and she was due in one month.  The thought of actually having a baby home with us in a month was a scary thought.  We were thinking more in the 6 month time frame.  Well, to our relief, she chose another family.  As my mom said "well, that just wasn't your baby, it was for another family."  Well said Mom!  It was a very good reality check for us though because it is making it more real now.  Also, I don't think either one of us was under the illusion that this birthmom's situation would be "perfect, but it was so good to realize that there are going to be issues in every situation.  I know that when the time comes, the Lord will give us direction and peace about the decision to be matched with the birthmom.

A weekend of fun and baby loot! -4/11/10

Well, we had a great weekend.  We met with my brother, his wife, and two kids at Carino's to celebrate my birthday Saturday for lunch.  We all stuffed ourselves with Italian food and then went back to their house to hang out.  They also let us go through their kids baby toys and equipment since they don't use it anymore.  I was so excited, it was like going to Babies R Us.  They gave us a swing, bouncer, excersaucer, jumperoo, walker, and a garbage bag full of toys!  It was some good baby loot!  So today I had the task of washing everything and then finding room for all this stuff.  I knew the day would come when our home would be over taken by baby stuff.... so it begins.  I was able to get everything in the nursery and closet, but we now have an exersaucer in the living room. 

While we were at lunch my very perceptive four year old niece Natalie over heard us talking about baby equipment.  She looks at me and asks. "Are you having a baaaaby?"  I told her no, that I am not having a baby but that we are adopting a baby.  She looked at me funny and I asked her if she knew what that meant.  I explained to her that another mommy is going to have a baby that she cannot take care of so she will give the baby to me and Uncle Noel to be our baby.  I then told her that this meant she would have a baby cousin.  She smiled at me really big and said "oh, oooohkaay."  Later that day as we were going through all their old toys, Natalie kept putting things in the bag and said "here your baby can have this," and  "oh, your baby will need this,"  and "give this to your baby."  Needless to say she is very excited about having another cousin.

After visiting with my brother and his family, we met up with our friends Craig and Ginger.  We have known them for about 8 years and Craig was the pastor of our church in college where Noel and I met and he married us.  We had such a wonderful visit with them and their daughter who is now 11.  She was actually the flower girl at our wedding when she was 4.  They offer such Godly wisdom and encouragement.  They are some of the most Christ like and loving people we know.  If you know them, then you know that you can't have a conversation with Ginger without her asking you, "how is your relationship with Jesus"  or  "what is the Lord teaching you lately?"  She just loves to get down to the 'nitty gritty' of faith and I love it. 

Today we went to church which there was awesome worship.  Afterwards, we came home and Noel make me a homemade chicken caesar salad- YUM!  And then, I took my Sunday 4 hour coma.  It was a wonderful birthday weekend.  Hello 29!

Parents in Waiting- 4/4-10

Ready, Set, Provide!- 3/21/10

If it were just that easy to ask God for something and it just happen right away.  I am definitely a product of the instant gratification generation.  If there is one thing I have learned so far in this adoption process is to trust God and His timing for everything.  After all, His timing is perfect.  It is much easier to see that after the fact though.

Since we completed our home study a couple of weeks ago, we have both been so relaxed.  The amount of stress that went away after that day was noticeable.  Now we are just working on getting our financing together.  That is where I can't wait to see God's provision.  We are hopeful to see what God is going to provide, but do not feel that we deserve or are entitled to any of it.  We know that it is only because of His provision and blessing.  We have recently received a substantial donation that just left us speechless.  This donation came from true angels that shall remain nameless, but have really changed our lives in more ways than this.  This donation will cover one third of the cost of our adoption!  Absolutely incredible-  words cannot describe the miracle that is.

In the next couple of weeks we will be applying for grants and sending our support letters.  So if you are reading this and I have asked you for your address...you know what is coming. :)  We are seeking financial support, but more importantly we are seeking prayer support.
I also have all the nursery room furniture.  I sure do love Craig's list.  I have got the best deals so far on the crib and a dresser.  The room is not set up as a nursery yet.  We won't do that until we are matched with a birth mother and find out if it is a boy or girl.  So for now, it looks like half guestroom - half nursery (and it still contains all the clean but not folded laundry).

And...relax! 3/5/10

Whew!  We had our home study this morning, and we "passed with flying colors."   That is what our adoption counselor said.  Noel and I have spent the past two weeks getting everything ready for this home study.  This week alone, I probably spent at least 15 hours doing a deep cleaning of our house.  We had several conversations this week apologizing for turning into the stress monsters we were both acting like.  The actual home study only took about two hours. She asked a lot of questions, but we had already answered the same questions on our application.  We then showed her around the house.  In my mind I was envisioning the adoption counselor going through our home doing the "white glove test."  Fortunately this was not the case.  When the gun question came up, she merely asked if we had, fire arms in the home and if they were locked up in a separate cabinet than the ammo.   She didn't even ask to see it, so during the home tour, I made it a point to show her exactly where the gun and ammo cabinet was.  Noel and Todd worked too hard on that for it to go unnoticed. 

After the home study, Noel and I had a wonderful lunch date at our favorite place, La Madeleine.  It was so nice to spend this time with my husband and to finally not feel stressed.  After our lunch date, we came home and I entered into a 3 hour "coma."  I laid down in my chair and slept so good.  I really do love naps :)

I just love when I see God's finger prints all over a situation.  He has blessed us yet again with our adoption counselor being a Christian.  It was so encouraging to have this home study interview and be able to share our faith and plans to raise our child in faith.  I felt like we were really able to be ourselves and she perfectly understood.  She even offered us some very encouraging words.  We were discussing the obstacles that some adopted children face.  She reminded us that by raising our child to love the Lord, He will honor and bless us for doing so.  And in this blessing will be His protection for our child and family.  That was so encouraging to remember.

So our next step is to gather our financing for this adoption.  This is not something that we wanted to do until our home study was complete.  We will need to pay the agency fees before our profile can be shown.  So now, money is the only obstacle in the way of bringing home our baby.  In order for our profile to be shown to birth mothers, we must pay this fee that was more than what we paid for my new car last July. We are still holding onto the belief that the Lord will provide the finances since we truly believe He placed this desire to adopt in our hearts.  So please join us in prayer for the Lord's provision.

Time for an update- 2/22/10

Well we have been very busy getting things ready for the homestudy.  I found a really cute crib online at craigs list.  It was a steal- $95 for the crib and mattress.  I love getting good deals.  We decided not to put it together yet.  Right now it is stored under our guest bed.  The fact that I can even say that it is under the guest bed is a miracle.  Noel's parents came to visit a couple of weeks ago.  My mother-in-law and I tackled the guest room.  We cleaned out the closet and underneath the bed.  We had so many boxes of stuff!  I consolidated my junk down to two boxes which are now stored in the attic.  I found two boxes of Chemistry and Business college textbooks, thanks Noel.  I can't complain though, because I had a box of notebooks from my college classes.  I am not sure why we kept these things maybe I thought I would come across a situation where I would need to pull out my Astronomy notes to decipher that constellation that is shaped like the letter "W"  (It's Cassiopeia by the way. :) )  Or maybe I could have used my Abnormal Psych notes to figure out my spouse-  just kidding.  Despite all the "what if" situations- neither Noel nor I ever looked at that stuff after graduation.

We have also made a lot of progress on the built-in-gun-safe-ammo-locker.  Actually, I can't take much credit for it because Noel and one of our dear friends have been working on this project.  I just painted it.  It will be really cool when it's done.  Noel has also cleaned out and organized his "man room."  It is awesome because I can actually see the floor now in there ;)

The last thing we've got accomplished to get ready for the home study is purchasing a rocker recliner for the nursery.  We ordered it from our favorite furniture store about a week ago and I went to pick it up today.  I am so proud of myself because I unloaded it from the truck, drug it inside, took it upstairs, and then attached the back to the seat all by myself.  I can't wait to see all the bruises on my legs tomorrow from being Miss Independent.

So a lot of progress has been made since my last update and we are so close to scheduling the home study.  Almost there... 

Say a little prayer- 2/2/10

Would you join us in prayer?  We have been praying daily for our baby and birth mother.  We don't know who they are or even if our baby has been conceived yet.  We are praying for their health, safety, and salvation.  We want our birth mother to know Jesus as her savior and have confidence in knowing that one day she will be spending eternity with her/ our child.  We can only imagine the circumstances surrounding this baby's conception and birth.  We know she has to be in a difficult place in her life in order to give up her child. 

We finished our adoption profile book and ordered it online.  It turned out so good.  I am so excited to present this to birth mothers.  We have also finished our "Dear birth parent" letter, but we won't turn these in until we finish our homestudy.  We should be able to get our homestudy done this month.  We are currently working on getting Noel's office/ arsenal cleaned out and organized.  Other than doing some minor baby-proofing and cleaning, everything else is ready.  We are not going to set up a nursery yet but I have been looking for a crib.

So that is it for now.  We are just working on the house little by little when we get time and have the energy to do so. 

Photo Shoot- 1/5/10

I recently confirmed the notion that I could never make it as a model.  Last week some very dear friends of ours helped us out greatly by doing a "photo shoot" for our adoption profile book.  We had a great time and actually got some good pictures.  It took a lot of work on my part to convince Noel that he should not wear his GI Joe shirt in our pictures.  I wanted to to look "natural" but presentable :)  So, below are a few of the best pics we took.  I'll let you decide if we look like people you'd want to give your baby to.

Accepted! 1/5/10

You know you're in Texas when the weather drops below 45 degrees and people tell you to "drive careful out there" because it's cold, not snowing, sleeting, or raining...but just cold.  This has nothing to do with our adoption but it's just an observation I've made over the past few weeks since we have actually had winter weather down here in South Texas.

Noel and I realized that neither one of us had checked the mail in like 4 days, so Monday morning I figured I should check it.  Inside our mail box, was our acceptance letter to Adoption Angels.  I wasn't particularly worried about not being accepted, but it did make things feel more official.  Over the past week I have been working our our profile photo book.  I thought it was going to be an easy and fun task and couldn't wait to get started.  Boy, was I wrong.  I actually had to start over a couple of times before I felt like it was turning out right.  I am making a photo book online and will have it printed.  It was actually pretty stressful to make at first.  I felt all this pressure to make us look very marketable and appealing.  How do you describe your life in pictures in 20 pages, while at the same time trying to convince a woman to give her your baby??  Well, I'm not sure either.  We actually are meeting with Adoption Angels tomorrow to review our photo book and "dear birth parent" letter before we finalize it and turn it in.  Our next step to to schedule the home study, which we will also discuss tomorrow.

God still never ceases to amaze me with his blessings.  Over Christmas, some of our family members blessed us again financially. Our baby fund is growing by God's provision :)
Also, on New Year's Day one of my cousins called.  She works at a bar/ restaurant and was talking to one of the customers.  He was telling her that she has a 27 year old daughter who was about 3-4 months pregnant and wanted to give her baby up for adoption.  They want to find a really good home for the baby, so my cousin told him about us.  She called me and I told her to give our name and number to that customer and he could call if she's interested.  We aren't holding our breath about it, and are kinda leery, but we are open to whatever God has.  So far, no word from this guy, but I'll keep you all posted.  Our hearts are still feeling led towards Adoption Angels at this point.

Application Done! 12/17/09

Yay!  The application is finally done!  Noel is hand delivering it to Adoption Angels tomorrow!  Praise God :) Noel and I sat down together tonight and reviewed all the tiny details and signed everything.  There were a few things we could have tweaked, but decided not to because I don't think it will make any difference.  At that point we would just be nit picky.  The agency is closed all next week for Christmas, but hopefully it will get reviewed the next week and we will know if there is anything we're missing.  The next steps are to work on our "dear birthmother letter," adoption profile photo album (the fun part), finish getting the house ready for the home study (the hard part), and come up with a lot of money (the next-to-impossible part).  One more thing down... many more to go.
Merry Christmas and God Bless you all!

A decision! 12/10/09

We had a second meeting with Adoption Angels yesterday morning.  This time we were able to meet with the director of the agency.  She was very kind and answered a lot of questions.  We were able to discuss more about the fee policy and we now feel more comfortable with that.  She also told us that they have placed 60 babies this year!  That is a much higher number than anywhere else we've seen.  The average wait time is 6-12 months once you get everything turned in.  She reviewed our profile and preferences and seems to think that we will be matched soon.  How exciting!  At the end of our meeting both Noel and I felt very comfortable and confident that this is the agency that will help us to start our family.  So the decision is made and we will be submitting our application with Adoption Angels as soon as we can.  I have been praying a lot over the last few weeks that the Lord would show us what direction to move in and Noel and I are both in agreement that He's lead us to Adoption Angels.  Most of the application is finished, but I still have a few more things to fill out and documents to gather.  I am hoping to drop off the application by the end of next week.

God's provision- 12/3/09

WOW!  That is a good word to describe the happenings of this afternoon.  I got a call from one of the ministers at our church this evening.  He said someone left an envelope for Noel and I at the church today and told them to give it to us.  He had it and I met him at HEB to pick it up.   I immediately got back in my car and opened up this curious little white envelope.  Inside was a simple card that said "For your baby fund..." and $500 cash!!!  What a blessing!  I could hardly believe it.  I called Noel right away and all he could say was "wow,"  "oh wow."  This is so much more to us than just money.  It is confirmation from the Lord that we are still on the right path.  I have been praying a lot this week for God to give us direction and for us to recognize it.  I think we got this message :)

We are going to schedule a second meeting with Adoption Angels.  We are still having a hard time accepting the fact that we could loose all the money we paid for the birth mother if she changes her mind.  So, we want to meet with them again to get clarification on the fees.  Above all, I know the Lord already has our baby picked out and no plan of his can be thwarted.  Please join me in giving thanks and praise to God for the incredible blessing we got today!! :)

What color baby do you want? 11/13/09

A little update- 11/10/09

I spend a lot of time in the car for my job.  I drive all around San Antonio daily.  Everywhere I go, I have seen billboards for "Adoption Angels."  I have seen these signs for years now, but didn't pay much attention to them until last week.  Last Friday as I was driving to a daycare I saw another sign for this agency.  This time I decided to look them up.  I didn't really know what they were but was still interested because it said "adoption" in the name.  So that night I looked them up on the internet and found that they are a local adoption agency.  I read through just about their whole website and was totally impressed.  They seemed like just what we want in an agency. 
I called them today to ask a few questions.  So far I found out that they work with adoptive families and birthmothers from all over the nation.  They typically work with 15-20 adoptive families at a time and currently have 16 birth mothers.  Those are great numbers, I was so excited!  So we set up an appointment to meet with the director and adoption counselor for first thing Friday morning.  Please pray for us to make wise decisions when deciding if we should chose this agency.  We are praying that the Lord will make this choice clear for us.  I have found that He tends to make choices obvious, but we are the ones who make things confusing.  So we'll keep you all posted!

Just Chillin'- 11/6/09

Nothing new to report, we are just chillin' and waiting to submit our application.  We both got our physicals done but I still need to get a TB test.  This was Noel's first physical in about 10 years, so they did a complete panel of blood tests.  He got the results mailed to him this week.  To my amazement, his cholesterol levels were normal and one was even LOW!  For those of you who have seen Noel eat I know you are just as amazed as I was.  He delighted and gloated in these results.  After consulting a doctor friend of ours he told Noel that in order for him to get his cholesterol higher he can either exercise regularly, eat more, or drink a glass of wine or beer a day!   Poor Noel.

In the meantime, Noel has taken on the hobby of restoring a 1953 Willys Jeep.  I just went downstairs to see the maiden voyage.  Somehow the "drive" and "reverse" gears seemed to be switched.  Needless to say the jeep didn't make it out of the garage.  I am back upstairs sitting on the couch while the whole house is vibrating due to the loud engine and praying that the jeep doesn't come crashing through the walls.

In the meantime for me, I am once again learning patience from the Lord and having my heart prepared for parenthood.  I am also trying to stay sane during the jeep restoration project.  It's called character building, right?

A snag- 10/18/09

I received the following email from our adoption counselor on Friday:
"Hi Briana I was waiting to email you until it was a definite, but the Executive Director informed me last week that at this time she didnt want to bring anymore new families into the program because three placements that were supposed to have occurred in the last few weeks had not.  Our ratio right now is 25 active families, 4 waitlist families to 8 birthmothers.  The ratio is skewed and too high therefore MMH does not feel it is ethical to bring in more families until our active family number decreases.  We are going to re-evaluate this at the beginning of the new year.  Hopefully some placements will occur between now and the end of this year.  Im so sorry.  I know this puts a snag in your plans and I will be happy to send any paperwork I receive from the doctors back to you in case you would like to use the report with another agency.  Please let me know if you would like me to check back with you in January to let you know how things are with us and to see if the waitlist has reopened. "
We were so disappointed when we got this email.  This means our wait for a baby will be even longer.  Noel and I decided to stay with this agency and just wait it out. We will complete our application and finish getting the house ready.  As soon as the wait list is open, we'll submit our application immediately.  It is hard to keep waiting, but we know the Lords plan will prevail.  He already knows who our children will be and they will be given to us as the perfect time.  My heart just goes out to those families who did not have their placement go through.  I am sure they are devastated.  My prayer is for that baby.  I pray that their birth mother will be able to take good care of them and that they have a good life.  Please join me in praying for the 8 other babies who will be born.  It is not for use to decide what is best for them, but I just pray that the placements happen.  Maybe this is a very selfish prayer, but I want what is best for those children.  Having those babies placed with adoptive families will bring us that much closer to bringing home our baby.

Before and After- 10/15/09

So here are the before and after pictures of the path we made from the back door to the patio.  I hauled all the stones from the garage to the back yard and Noel laid them to create the path.  We built the patio ourselves two years ago and it was such a long, hard, and grueling process.  Note to self- don't ever build a patio again.

What does this have to do with the adoption you might ask?  Well not much other than it got the stones out of the garage so we can start cleaning that out next.

We got the yard mowed this week too.  It looks so good and I put forth no effort so it was worth every penny.  Since the weeds are still green, it looks like we have a nice lush lawn.  So, I don't mind that there are still tons of small little weeds covering the ground.  I was going to take before pictures of the jungle but it was just too frightening.  As the lawn guy so graciously put it in his thick Brooklyn accent "your yard ain't got no hope, just burn it and start over."  Thanks for advice but I don't think our neighbors would like that.

So, here's to another baby step.

Making a little progress- 10/5/09

I just realized that it had been about two weeks since I last gave an update.  The reason for that is there is not really much of an update.  We are still working on the application, or to be more accurate, we haven't made any more progress on the application.  I feel that I got behind in life by being sick for a week.  I have been playing catch up at work and with housework. 

     I have been doing a little research per se.  I watched a few episodes of "Adoption Diaries" on WE.  It has really given me a good perspective of what the adoption process will truly be like.  I am starting to understand the sacrifice of the birthmother.  She will actually be giving us a human being. That blows my mind!  I am already so grateful to her (whoever she is).  This mother and baby are already in our prayers.

     We have made a little progress on the "to-do" list.  I am learning to be happy with making "baby steps" in this process.  A couple of weeks ago, we did start to clean out the garage.  We got as far as moving the pallet of cobble stones from the garage to the backyard and made a pathway.  Noel did a great job making it and it looks fabulous.

      I am so thrilled about the recent decision we made-  we have decided to hire a lawn service to come mow the lawn!  You just don't know how happy that makes me.  Our yard once was dead, and now with all the recent downpours, it is flourishing with lovely green weeds and resembles a jungle.  We always said we would never be like those people who hire someone to mow their yard.  The Burns' were going to be people that take pride in our own lawn care for goodness sakes!  Well, never say never.  Our plan is to only get them out one time and help us reclaim our yard and we'll take it from there.  I think it will be the best $39.95 I have spent in a long time.

     I also cleaned out all the under-the-sink cabinets this weekend.  Here's a few things I found... a giant bottle of PineSol that was at least 5 years old and barely used, lotion and body spray that I've had since I was 15, medication that expired in 2004, and my favorite... my broken funky retainer.   I have resolved to reform my ways and not be such a packrat.  We'll see how that goes :)

Get to work! - 9/17/09

     We have decided to go with Methodist Mission Home here in San Antonio for our adoption.  I started filling out the application and my questionnaire.  There are a lot of steps in this application process.  There is the actual application, the three personal references, the medical physicals, the pastoral reference, the employer reference, our individual questionnaires,  financial agreement, background check request, numerous legal mumbo jumbo forms, and then copies of our marriage license, tax report, birth certificates, map to our house, photo and floor plan of our house, and insurance coverage.  I think that's all but I am sure I left something out.  So needless to say, it is a lenghtly process just to submit an applicaiton.

     Before we turn in the application, we need to get our house ready.  There is so much more to do to get the house ready for adoption than for giving birth.  Traditionally one just gets the nursery ready with all the cutest stuff.  When you adopt, you have to make sure everything is child proof, get the nursery ready, make sure there are no safety hazards, and in our case clean out the garage and work on the yard.

     Have you ever read that book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?"  It is one of my favorites  It is about a boy who gives a cookie to a mouse, who in turn asks for various other things. All these things lead back to the mouse wanting another cookie.  It is a great story that teaches about cause and effect.  That is what I feel like we are doing getting our house ready.  Our first step is to clean the garage out.  Before we could do that, I had to pull weeds in the backyard, so I could clear the ground, so we can create a pathway from our porch to the patio, so we can get the stones out of the garage, so we can make more room in the garage, so Noel can work on modifying his gun safe which is currently in the garage, so we can bring it upstairs to put his guns in, so we can pass our homestudy, so we can adopt a baby.  The next step is to clean out the guest bedroom that will be the nursery.  I have a closet full of stuff and a lot of boxes under the bed.  To conquer this task, we must first buy more plywood, so we can add storage space in the attic, so I can store the useless crap that I can't let got of, so we can clear out the guest room, so we can  make it into a nursery, so we can pass our homestudy, so we can adopt a baby.  Whew!  I am exhausted thinking about all this work.  Needless to say, there will be a lot of rearranging happening in the near future.  The goal for this weekend is to lay the stones in the backyard and start to clean out the garage.  So wish us luck; we have a big task ahead. 

The Psychic Daycare- 9/16/09

Cough Cough, Sneeze Sneeze- 9/10/09

I hate being sick!  I have been sick for about 4 days now.  I haven't been to work in two days and I won't be there tomorrow either.  I feel so sick that I can't even enjoy the fact that I am not at work.  It seems to be just a nasty chest cold.  I haven't started oinking yet so I don't think it is the swine flu. 

The reason that I am so upset about having a cold right now is that we were supposed to go to Houston for the other adoption orientation at Caring Adoptions tomorrow.  We were even gong to get to stay with my cousin and his wife.  (Thanks anyways for your generosity Greg and Jana!)  I have been praying for God to make the decision clear about what agency to use, but seriously, a cold?  I am not saying this is a sign, but it makes me wonder.  We are going to call them next week to see if we can set up a phone orientation or something.  So far our heart is still leaning towards Methodist Mission Home.

Today while I was at home resting, I was rotting my brain watching hours of TV.  I saw two very interesting shows.  The first one was called "An Adoption Story."  It comes on TLC and is just like "A Baby Story."  I am so glad that I watched it.  It was about this incredible family who adopted 6 children!  Yes, 6 children.  It was just so encouraging to see how they built their family.  They opened their hearts and just waited to see what God was going to do. 
The other show I watched was about the increase in teen pregnancy in the US.  They said that each year 730,000 teenage girls get pregnant.  That is almost one million.  That just makes me think that out of those 730,000, there has got to be a baby out there for us.  That was an encouraging yet frightening statistic at the same time.

In the meantime,  we sent out a letter to our church pastor who said he'd pass it on to the rest of the pastoral staff at all of the church campuses.  We are asking for prayer and hoping that someone who reads the letter will know of a girl who wants to place her baby for adoption.  Even if we chose an agency, the teen/woman can enroll into the agency, receive their services for free, and be matched with us right away.

Now, back to being sick...   

What's in a name? - 9/8/09

I feel that I need to clarify something.  I have gotten too many questions and comments like:  "Hmmm, Bueford or Buelah?",  "That's a joke, right?",  and "Your not really going to name your children that, are you?"   So, the answer is NO we are NOT really going to name our child Bueford or Buelah.  As wonderful as those names are, we were not serious when we said that.  Beulah has some history with Noel's family though.  It was Noels' great grandmother's name, so here is us paying homage to her.  I am sorry to those of you who were hoping on those choices or have already gotten blankets and onsies monogrammed.  I also thought I should clarify this because we don't know who might be reading this and they don't know our slightly odd sense of humor. 

So, what is in a name?  Do people really think about this before they name their children? The life long consequences of having a bad name?  I've been in the childcare field for about 10 years now, so I have come across some doozies.  Some of my personal favorites are:  Starbright, Fantasy, Princess, Prince, Neveah (heaven spelled backwards) Diamond, Harley, Sunshine and the best one..... drumroll please.....Abcde.  Yes folks, that is the frist five letters of the alphabet and pronounced Ab-see-dee.  Abcde is my dad's favorite and nothing would make him happier than for us to name our daughter Abcde.  Noel and I aren't too keen on Abcde, but were thinking more about Mnopq (pronounced Nop-que, with a silent M).

I think if we all talk to our parents they'll tell us the names we were almost given.  My mom says that she was almost named Bulgeria, but they decided on Barbara instead- thank goodness.  If it were up to my dad, my oldest brother would be Wolfgang, my other brother would be Joel, and I would have been Ann Marie.  Either way my name would have been normal.  But regardless of what I was named, none of my family calls me Briana.  To them, I am known as Annie.  Not sure why, but I was born, and Annie it was.  Now to complicate things a little further, one of my Aunts and Uncles and their family (you know who you are) all thought my real name was Brianne (since I was known to them by Annie).  It wasn't until about three years ago, they realized it was Briana.  All this time I just thought that was their special pet name for me.  It is amazing that I never developed multiple personalities from all these different names.

Noel Ray was named after his two grandfathers and I was named Briana Rene just because they liked it.  I can live with that.  So with all this talk of names, you might wonder if we put more serious thought into what our child's name will be.  The answer to that is no, not really.  So for now, our child will still be known as Bueford or Beulah.

Competative Baby Matching- 8/27/09

The Game:  Competitive Baby Matching
The Players; 12 Baby Mamas, unborn babies, unspecified amount of possible Baby Daddies, 25 adoptive families, one adoption counselor
The Purpose:  To have a baby placed in an adoptive home permanently
Rules:  Baby Mamas must agree to give their baby up for adoption.  They will choose the couple that their baby will be placed with.  Baby Daddies must relinquish their rights.   Adoption counselors will coordinate matches between the birthmother and adoptive family.  Adoptive family will wait, pay $$, wait, pay more $$, wait some more, pay even more $$ all while praying like crazy and getting their home ready in hopes to have a baby placed with them.
The twist:  There are twice as many adoptive families than babies, the baby daddy might decide to not allow the adoption to happen, and the baby mama can change her mind up to 48 hours after the baby is born.
Game is over when:  The baby is successfully placed with adoptive family an no one has lost their mind in the process.

Competitive baby matching is what I call what we learned about tonight at the adoption seminar.  Right now at Methodist Mission Home the ratio of adoptive parents to birth mother is 2:1.  This means the average wait time 18-24 months!  I feel like we are in competition with other adoptive families to be matched with a baby.  How is the birth mother going to pick out the right family?  Why would she choose us over some other family?  What if she changes her mind at the last minute?  So many unanswered questions.  The adoption counselor said that there is a trend nationwide that birthmothers who had intentions of putting their babies up for adoption have now decided to parent them.  Just in the last 6 months, 17 of their birthmothers decided to drop from the program and parent their babies!  Also, she said the abortion rate has increased too.  I wish those babies would have been given a chance.  I would love to rescue one from being aborted.
On the encouraging side of things...Noel and I are really happy with this agency.  Their fees are more reasonable than most, they offer so many other services, and they are Christ centered.  They have been around for 130 years and have a great reputation.  It is up to the birthmomther to choose the family, so the match could happen very quickly.  Just because we may be family 25 of 25, she could pick us right away.  And the best news, God is who is in control and already knows who our child will be.  I'll just trust in Him.

Oh, by the way, last Sunday at church, all 14,000 of us, at the same time, prayed to God for rain.  In San Antonio we have been in a drought for months and months.  Everyone's grass is dead, crops are dying, and we are on water restrictions.  I am typing to the sound of rain and thunderstorms in the background. "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:19.   Thank you God for the rain!  Now, can we have a baby?

Bigger than You- 8/23/09

14,000 people gathered this morning in one place in San Antonio to worship God.  We were just two of 14,000. Our church and two other Oak Hills campuses all met at the AT&T center to come together to make the commitment to love and serve our city.  Oak Hills church calls this "Bigger than You" meaning there is a much bigger purpose here than just living our selfish lives and keeping to ourselves.  The Lord calls us to love Him and love your neighbor.  So we are putting those words into action.  The vision of our church is to begin this community service by starting with the children of this city.  When I heard these words, I became so excited.  I thought to myself "I love children, I can do this, and I have even made a career out of it."  Then I really started thinking about what that really means for us.  I try to see the 'bigger picture' or really 'God's picture' of things but sometime its hard.  I really do feel that our inability to have children so far is so beyond anything medical.  No matter what we do, what procedures I have or medicine I take, we are not going to conceive if it is not God's timing.  Throughout this process I do believe that God has big plans for our child(ren).  Little "Buford or Beulah" will be born at the perfect time and placed with us at a perfect time.  We will raise this child to love the Lord with hopes that they will make the decision to follow Jesus and do His will.  Our child will be placed with us at a specific time for a specific purpose which is much bigger than what me or Noel had in mind.

I love it when I finally get what God is trying to tell me.  He has been communicating all along, but I don't always listen.  As a very dear friend told me on Mother's Day this year, that she knows that God's plan for our family is for His purposes and His plans and that our fertility issues are not because of us, but because of God's "bigger than you" plan.  How exciting!!  I feel like the church wanting to start with outreach to the children of this city and our decision to adopt is all part of God's plan.  He has placed the same desire in our hearts but it will just be accomplished in various ways.

So our mission... is to be obedient to God, open to His plan for our family, and to wait and watch in amazement of the work He is doing.

Buford and Beulah- 8/22/09

Ok... here we go!  Noel and I have decided to start our family by adoption.  Let this journey begin...
Before we got married we talked about making adoption be a part of how be build our family.  It was always something that we talked about doing "someday."  Someday has now arrived.  We have been praying for our children for years now.  We pray that they will love Jesus as much as we do, that they will be happy, successful, and will love others like Christ did.  We often talked about what we think they would look like. Will they have brown, blonde, or red hair?  Will it be curly or straight?  Will they have brown, blue, or green eyes?  Everyone wants children who look like them- a little girl who looks just like mommy and a little boy who looks just like daddy. 
We have faced fertility issues for about 2 and a half years now.  We have never been told that we cannot have children, so we have come to peace in knowing that it just hasn't been the Lord's timing.  Through much prayer and many conversations with each other, we feel that the Lord is leading us to adoption to start our family.  What an overwhelming task lies ahead.  We are quickly finding that there is much more work and expense involved in adoption than conception :)
We have already probably gotten too far ahead of ourselves.  We are thinking about what we need to buy, what things we need to do to "child proof" our house, and picking out baby names.  All this without even attending an adoption orientation yet.  So far, our plan is to adopt an infant domestically.  We are looking into a couple of adoption agencies and are also open to finding a birthmother and pursuing a private adoption.  Our first orientation is on 8/27 at Methodist Mission Home here in San Antonio.  Our next orientation is on 9/12 at a agency in Houston.
We spent the weekend in Dobbin spending time my family because my Dad had back surgery (again).  In the many hours we spent in the waiting room and traveling back and forth to the hospital, we had to find ways to keep ourselves entertained.  So we tossed around the ideas of baby names.  Since we were in the country, the most suitable names we could come up with were Buford for a boy and Beulah for a girl.   You must first understand the life of those who live in the country and second, you must understand mine and Noel's sense of humor.  So, for now, we are affectionately referring to our baby-to-be as Buford or Beulah...