Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Maybe this year?

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! We enjoyed spending time with many of our sweet friends here over the holidays. It was sad not to get to see family during this time of year, but between Ben's job and the price of travel it just wasn't going to be possible to make it home for Christmas. So, we made the best of it and really enjoyed having a lot of great, quality family time! It was a lot of fun to see Hunter enjoy all the magic of Christmas this year, although it was bittersweet knowing that our family is not yet complete. We were really praying that our new child/ren would be with us before now, but God apparently has other plans. Luckily, His plans are ALWAYS better than ours!

I just contacted our agency since it has been two weeks since we last spoke with them, and hopefully we will be hearing from our social worker this week to set up a date for our home visit. Honestly, I have to admit that I'm completely crushed by that answer. When I spoke to them two weeks ago we were told that we could expect to hear from her in a week. I know that in reality it's because of all the holidays and vacations, but selfishly I want everything to happen NOW!

While everyone else has been taking time off, we have been working hard to get ready for this home visit. We purchased our fire escape ladder, a locking safe for all the medications, put outlet covers in EVERY exposed outlet in the house, bought a new fire extinguisher, got our TB tests done, medical exams scheduled, completed some online training, made copies of nearly every paper in our safe (okay, maybe not ALL of them, but it sure felt like it!), and we are about halfway through the five and a half hours of training DVDs that the agency sent us. At this point I think that all we have left is getting our first aid kit together. I suppose that is where my frustration is stemming from. We have been working so hard and now we just have to wait some more. And more importantly, the children who will join our family have to keep waiting! I am so ready to meet him/her!!!

Keep praying, friends! Pray for all the precious children who are needing families. Pray for peace and patience for us as we continue to wait. I can't believe that we have been on this journey for a full year now!

Love you all, and praying that 2012 is the year of HOPE!

B, E & H

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Today I called the agency to make a payment (always a bit scary, but necessary I suppose...) and found out that they had just gotten the packet of paperwork that I sent YESTERDAY! Praise God for small miracles! So, now they will give it to the Pierce County social worker and we should be hearing from her within a week or so. When we talk with her we can set up our home visit and get rolling! So excited to actually be making progress.

Since Ben has half days this week and a long weekend for Christmas we are hoping to complete a lot of little things as far as getting the rest of our papers together and getting TB tests done, medical exams... stuff like that. It's such a relief to know that we are finally getting somewhere in this process. Now we just need the Army to let us stay in WA for long enough to finalize an adoption! But I suppose for now we should just be content with what God has given us :)

Love you all, and Merry Christmas!!!

B, E & H

Monday, December 19, 2011

First round...


Yesterday was our seventh wedding anniversary and we celebrated by finishing round one of our paperwork! I'd say that's a pretty awesome anniversary gift! :) Here's to hoping that the fourth time is a charm!

Today I will head to the post office, send that think envelope off to our agency (along with every kind of insurance imaginable, I do NOT want that to get lost with all the Christmas mail! We worked way too hard to do it over) The next step is to get every thing else prepared for our home study and foster licensing. I have to do some research on our sprinkler system (to see if we need to purchase fire escape ladders), find out where to get TB tests done, make copies of lots of papers, get a first aid kit together, lock up every medicine in our house, put safety plugs in every exposed electrical outlet... you get the idea. There is still LOTS to do, but at least we are on our way!

Thanks again for all of the prayers and support during all of this craziness. We really couldn't do it without each of you behind us, cheering us on!

Love you all, and wish you all the BEST Christmas yet!

B, E & H

Monday, December 12, 2011

Paperwork is HERE!

Just a quick note to let you know that we have received the paperwork from our agency and so we will be BUSY with that for a while! Between Christmas festivities and working on this giant stack of papers on my desk it will be a challenge to find much free time to blog. I promise that I will keep you updated if we have any news though, but it may be quiet on here for a little bit. I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas! We kicked off our Christmas fun this morning with Hunter's pre-K Christmas program. It was adorable and he did a great job (of course he did!)

Love you all!

B, E & H

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Decision time!

Well, after thinking it over and doing some research we have made the decision to go with an agency who will be able to get us foster licensed AND help us find adoptable children. Phew. What a relief. I feel like this has been such a crazy journey so far, and yet we are still just at the beginning. Remember my post about the steps to adopting? And how one of the beginning steps was to find an agency? Yeah... guess I should learn to take my own advice. Honestly, this is probably for the best though because back when we were at that step we were not nearly as open as we are now. So we have come a long way from where we started. And now we are back at the beginning. What a mess, right?!?!

Anyway, our application is at the agency (or should be tomorrow if it isn't there today) and we are hoping to get the paperwork from them super fast! They said that it typically gets mailed out 1-2 days after they review our application so I expect to see all of the paperwork next week. The cruel irony is that we have to redo ALL of the paperwork. AGAIN. The biographies, the personal questions, the fingerprints, the medical exams, TB tests, vet records, tax returns, bank statements, references... you get the idea. So, if you don't hear from me for a few weeks you can assume that I am once again buried under the mess of paperwork on my desk. The good news is that as soon as we return our paperwork we can begin getting foster licensed and home studied. The agency is predicting that we can have it done sometime between February and March. Which is AWESOME. Then we just have to find a placement (or placements) and see what happens from there.

We will need a miracle to keep us in Washington long enough to complete this adoption, so please pray that the Army finds some way for us to stay here. We have heard of one possible opportunity, but it seems that there are lots of people trying to take this spot, so we just have to pray that Ben is chosen for it or that something else happens. Either way we feel like we can't quit yet and that we need to try and see what we can do while we are here.

Thanks for all the support so far!


B, E & H

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What do you want for Christmas?

I heard this on the radio today and I just had to share it with you all. It really helped me to realize just why we are fighting so hard to make all of this work and bring home our kids!!!

Love you,

B, E & H

Friday, December 2, 2011

Driving while blindfolded

While talking with Ben last night about the CRAZY information that I got yesterday I realized the best way to describe this journey so far is driving with a blindfold on. That's what I feel like we have been doing for the past year. Driving blindly, wildly through an unknown route just hoping against all odds that we will get where we need to be. Jokingly Ben noted that we must be driving a vehicle with steel bumpers because we somehow keep hitting walls and obstacles and yet we bounce off and keep going, even if it is in a slightly different direction. There is certainly some truth in that!

Yesterday was a busy day. One of those days where I literally ran from one thing to the next and tried to make sure that everything and everyone stayed happy in the process. Most of it was fun stuff, but it was just a super busy kind of day. By the time 4:00 rolled around we had accomplished a LOT and I was ready to just take a few minutes off, get ready for my evening event and relax for a second. And then the phone rang. Forty five minutes later I finished that conversation, got dressed for my holiday extravaganza, bolted out the door and at 10:00 last night I finally had the chance to talk to Ben and process the information I was given.

The phone call in the afternoon happened to be a wonderful man who works for WARE (Washington Adoption Resource Exchange). He answered a LOT of questions and showed me that we have been way off track this whole time. The very abbreviated version of the conversation helped me realize that our home study is essentially useless. Yes, you read that right. Wasted time and money and we are back where we began. Little did we know that in order to adopt from the state we would need a home study written by a state licensed placing agency. Our home study would allow us to adopt through an attorney, from a birth mother, essentially a private adoption. The problem is that we aren't seeking a private adoption and since we have never done this before we naturally had no idea what questions we needed to ask before we had the home study done. We did have a licensed social worker write the study, but it turns out that the agency that he operates under is not state licensed. Who knew? The man I spoke with yesterday was wonderfully kind about it and he told us that we were certainly not alone in making this mistake. The frustrating part is that we were open with our home study writer about what we were trying to accomplish, and I and really wish that he had been honest with us about the fact that his home study would not be able to help us. I also feel deceived because we specifically asked if we could be registered in WARE after the home study was completed and he assured us that it would be no problem. What a sad, sad world we live in.

So, now what? The positive thing that came out of my phone conversation yesterday is that we now have a lot more direction then we have had since we began this process. Basically, we have two choices: we can become foster licensed and attempt to find children through that route or we can work with an agency who will help us find children. We had already begun to find that we were most likely going to need to do this, but it is nice to know for a fact that these are our only options. Now we have to do a lot of research and try to figure out which one we want to pursue. It is going to have to be mostly based on which is going to be the quickest route, although we are still praying that God will be able to keep us here long enough to get everything figured out. Today while Hunter is at school I am going to call the foster licensing agency that we have already been speaking with and make sure that the paperwork that we need is on its way. I'm also going to contact two agencies that may be able to help us and see if that seems like a better option.

As frustrating as all of this is, I know that it is for a reason. Honestly, I can't even begin to imagine where we will end up, but I know that it will be worth the wait in the end. As Ben and I talked through all of this information last night, we pondered why we hadn't just become foster licensed back in the spring when we did our PRIDE training through Tacoma Youth for Christ. We quickly realized that at that time we were only open to one child who was younger than Hunter and we were essentially asking for the impossible so there was no real point in becoming foster licensed. Wow, how things have changed. I feel like we have continually been challenged through each step of the way. First, we were looking for one healthy newborn, then a healthy toddler. After a while we began to think that perhaps a set of two young children wouldn't be so bad. God really challenged us by presenting us with a 4 year old boy who had some very real special needs, and we realized that we may be open to a child with some challenges. After a while we found that we didn't really care about birth order and that Hunter would probably love older siblings, so we could take children that are a bit older. Now we have been praying about maybe looking at a set of three children! Oh, we have been challenged. And through the challenge we have quickly come to see that it is not about us. This is not at all about what we want. It is not about what is most comfortable and what is easy. This is about who needs rescued and who needs loved. We have experienced all these delays for a reason and I am excited to see what will happen!

Thank you for all of your prayers for us. Please continue to pray. Pray for wisdom and clarity as we determine what the next step will be. Pray for our children, we know that they are out there somewhere just waiting to come home to us. Pray for peace for us as we try to sort through this all and see where we are being led. It sure feels good to take off the blindfold and begin to see the road, but after all of this time driving with a blindfold on we have no idea where we are and how to get where we are going!

Love you all, thank you for loving us too!!!

B, E & H

Monday, November 21, 2011

Where do we go from here?


I feel like I have so much to say but I don't even know where to begin. First, we did get our home study completed so we are officially home study ready! It was a HUGE relief to know that we have made it this far and that we are finally getting close to bringing home the newest member(s) of our family.

The relief of having the home study complete was quickly overshadowed by the fact that we had no idea where to go from here. I had incorrectly assumed that upon completion of our home study our home study writer would have the ability to register us in WARE, giving us the ability to search for waiting children and also giving social workers throughout the state the ability to find and contact us. Apparently things have changed and as of right now we are still waiting on an answer concerning whether or not we will be able to be registered in WARE. Without it we have no real way of connecting with children or social workers and essentially rendering our home study useless. I honestly can't even begin to explain how disappointed and frustrated we are at this point in the process.

We had eventually given up on the idea of using an agency to help us with the adoption after the advice of many people and agencies along with the fact that so many agencies didn't want to work with us because of the time constraints (we honestly don't know how long the Army will allow us to stay at Fort Lewis). At the time it wasn't a problem but from what I am now being told Pierce County (our county) has recently gotten rid of their foster to adopt program and so there is a lot of confusion about what is going on with that. As I understand it (and I don't understand it at all...) what it means is that state social workers will no longer facilitate the adoption of children in the foster care system, thus forcing any parents who are wanting to adopt children who are in the foster system to use an agency. This is a HUGE problem for us as we don't have an agency and are not currently foster licensed.

Right now I am waiting to hear back from the social worker who wrote our home study. He will be able to verify whether or not we can be registered in WARE. After we hear from him I'm hoping to have a clearer picture of what we need to do next, but right now I feel like we are just floundering. I have no idea where to go and what to do. We may need to start finding an agency who will work with us, we may need to become foster licensed... we have no idea what it will take, but we will do anything and everything that we have to in order to make this work!

Please pray as we continue forward in this process. Pray that we can figure out how to work our way through this system. If we have to hire an agency please pray that we choose the right one and that things move QUICKLY! And most importantly please pray for all the children who are caught up in this mess of foster care because they are the ones that are truly suffering through all of this.

One positive that has come out of this for us is that it has refreshed our passion for the children in the foster system and reminded us just how much they need to be able to be in a "forever family."

Love you all,

B, E & H

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's in a name?

So, as I finished up a study on covenants in the Bible, I came to an interesting realization. I already did a post on how we are all children of God, and what that means, but as I studied covenant I realized how important our name is in relation to God as His children. Let me explain:

When God takes us into covenant He changes us and also changes our name. There are many Biblical examples of this from Abraham (formerly Abram), Sarah (formerly Sarai) and many of the disciples and apostles. Looking at other passages we find that God told the nation of Israel that they would be called by a new name (Isaiah 62:1-2). Furthermore, we are told in Revelation 2:17 that "To him who overcomes... I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him." So even though we may not be aware of our name change if we are in covenant with God, we will find out in heaven the name that He has given us! Wow!

You are probably wondering why in the world I'm giving you a lesson on covenant and name changing, but I promise that I do have a point to make! In our society today we see echos of this practice of name changing, the most common is in marriage. Often the wife will take the last name of the man she marries as a sign of their marriage covenant. I really found it to be so neat that when we finalize the adoption of whatever children God gives to us, they will take our last name as a covenant that we will always be their parents, just as God changes our names when we become His. Maybe you don't find that to be quite as interesting as I did, but in a way it made me realize just how much God must love us that he will name each of us Himself, just as we give our own children a name. And what a beautiful picture of love that we can share our last name with some of God's children!

Well, thanks for reading my rambling! Sometimes I think that this blog is more for myself than it is for anyone else because it gives me a place to record some of the crazy thoughts that often run through my head. If you enjoy reading them, I'm sure glad! And if you don't, well... just scan through to see where we are in the process and go back to whatever else you were doing. I promise that I won't be offended. :)

As a side note, yesterday I approved the final draft of our home study! This is HUGE news, except that ultimately nothing has changed because I never got a final copy or any information concerning our registration in WARE. And naturally, when I called this afternoon to ask about all of that no one answered the phone. So, as soon as I know that we are home study ready I promise that I will let you all know! In the meantime, be praying that things begin to move quickly because we are beginning to get a little nervous that we may not be able to finalize an adoption before the Army decides to send us somewhere else. But for now we just have to trust that if God has led us to it, He will get us through it!

Love you all!

B, E & H

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A glimmer of hope

So, we did see a draft of our home study late on Thursday night. Praise God for small miracles! There were a few things that needed to be fixed and I emailed off those corrections on Friday morning and so now we just have to wait for the final draft to come out. I am praying that all the corrections will be made and that we will be registered in WARE by the end of this week! Okay, honestly I'm praying for Monday but I know that it would take a genuine miracle for that to happen, so I will be content with having it done by the end of the week.

Ben will be out all week, playing Soldier in the field, so Hunter and I will be keeping busy by continuing to organize the house to empty out our spare bedroom closet. We have a few play dates set up this week as well and we are excited to just spend some time catching up with friends! We had a wonderful weekend just spending time as a family, having a "camp-in" and going off-roading. It is always such a blessing when Ben gets a long weekend because then it seems like we actually get to spend time together instead of just running around getting ready for the week.

Thanks for keeping up with us, and I promise to keep you posted on the status of our home study!


B, E & H

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


After calling AGAIN, I finally received a call back from our home study place. And naturally I was vacuuming and missed the call. Argh! Anyway, she said that they would work on our home study tomorrow and we would get the draft tomorrow or Thursday. I feel like I should dress up like little orphan Annie and go around singing "Tomorrow, tomorrow, we'll get it, tomorrow... it's only a day away!" I'm not going to hold my breath though...

So, today we are going to make some pumpkin bread, maybe visit the park, have a pot roast for dinner, thank God for the sunshine and try not to dwell on "tomorrow!"

Love you, and keep the prayers coming!!! (Especially the ones for patience, okay?)

B, E & H

Monday, November 7, 2011


As you may have guessed by the fact that I have been silent, we are still waiting. I called the home study place on Friday afternoon and left a message. I called them again today and was told that I should get a call tomorrow morning letting me know where they are on the home study. To be honest, I'm struggling to trust God and to trust that the writer of our home study knows what he is doing! I realize that there are many families waiting and wanting their home study completed, but it feels like we are soooooooooooo close, yet not close enough. I just have to be content with knowing that God has a child or children in mind for our family and no one will stand in the way of His will for those children.

While we wait I have been doing a lot of reading. One book I read is Wait no More by Kelli and John Rosati. It was a quick read but it really helped clarify in my mind that we are on the right path. We know that this is not going to be easy, but the more that we learn about the foster system and the children who become a part of it, the more it becomes painfully obvious that we can't turn our backs on these children. Yes, they will come with baggage. Lots of baggage. And yes, they will be scarred, scared, defiant, hurt, broken, bruised, grieving, sad, angry, bitter and so much more. Can you blame them? These kids have been abandoned, neglected, and abused. Not all of them were intentionally hurt. Some of the parents struggle with mental health issues, drug addictions and circumstances that are beyond their control. But that doesn't change the reality that these children need to be LOVED. God doesn't call us to love the lovely. He doesn't ask us to love those who love us in return. Instead we are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). Do you know what follows this verse? (When I looked it up it made me smile!) That you may be children of your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:45). WOW. God wants us to love the unlovable just as He loves us and ADOPTS us into HIS family!!! I know that this is going to be a long and tough road. We are going to have our hearts broken when we love a child who isn't yet able to love us back. But this is what we are called to do. Isn't it beautiful???

So, who do you need to love?

B, E & H

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Prayers, please!

Yesterday I got in touch with the social worker for a particular sibling group that we have had our eye on for quite a while now. I honestly don't know what details I can or cannot share with you, so all I will say for now is that these children need our prayers. Ben and I are hoping that these two may be our "forever children" although it seems like the odds are against us, but either way can you please be in prayer for them? Specifically, pray that the judge will be given wisdom to make the right decision about whether the children should be sent home to be with their mother or if they need to terminate all parental rights and find an adoptive home for them. It will be a couple of weeks before we hear anything again (and that is assuming that their court date doesn't change by then) but I wanted to have this situation bathed in prayer!

We are still waiting to hear back on our home study, but it should be finalized very soon! We are so excited to feel like we are finally making some progress.

Thanks for joining us on our journey!

B, E & H

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


This morning I called our home study agency again. I'm pretty certain that they are sick of me, but the squeaky wheel gets the oil, right? It's a good thing that I called because I found out that yesterday they received our FBI fingerprint clearances and after a little convincing they told me that they should have our home study completed sometime next week! Now, I'll believe that when I see it, but either way, we are getting CLOSE! Hence the title of this post...

I'd be lying if I said that everything has been easy. You've probably read some of the struggles we have had - agencies, home study, etc. -  but what I'm referring to is the inner struggles. Let me clarify.

We KNOW that this is what we have been called to do. No doubt about it. However, that doesn't make it easy. Right now our life is pretty comfortable. We have a nice house, wonderful neighbors and friends, a pretty well behaved and very lovable little boy, a happy marriage... you get the picture. This process has forced us to step out of our comfort zone in so many ways. We have had a glimpse into some of the terrible things that happen to children and families and instead of running away we have had to walk toward the suffering. That is hard. But, it is the only way that we can truly find the heart of God. Isn't that beautiful? The thing that carries me through is that it is through our response to suffering that we can be the hands and feet of God. What a privilege.

By accepting this call to adoption we are opening ourselves to a world of pain and suffering that we may not otherwise know. We are exposing our son to things that he wouldn't otherwise experience and we are certainly becoming vulnerable to a lot of pain, heartbreak and rejection. And I wouldn't change it for the world. However, it is comforting to me to know that even though I know that this is what we are supposed to do I'm not alone in wishing that it could be easier, or less painful. Jesus, while praying in the garden before his arrest and crucifixion asked God, "Father if you are willing take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42)" It comforts me to know that the Savior of the world, God's very own Son, understands that it is often painful to do what God asks of us.

We have been so incredibly blessed to have the support of all of our family and friends, and for that we are infinitely grateful. And we are praying that the transition that is sure to come will be as easy as possible. While we continue to wait we will prepare as best as we can, but I feel like no matter what we do we will never be fully prepared for what may come.

Love you all, pray for us! :)

B, E & H

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Sometimes it seems like God has forgotten about us, but let me tell you that he hasn't! Over the past few days (and the next few weeks!) I have had the opportunity to open my home to so many wonderful kids and it just makes me smile to think that God has given me this "training" opportunity! :)

Every time I begin to panic and wonder if I have it in me to care for more children God gives me a chance like this to prove to myself that I can do it, and I can enjoy doing it! Okay, I guess this post is really more for myself then it is for you guys, but I just wanted to have it in writing that "with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hello again!

So, as you may have guessed there really hasn't been too much going on with our adoption stuff. Mostly just waiting. A lot. I have to keep reminding myself to enjoy the wait because the chaos is sure to follow. Kind of like the calm before the storm if you will. Not that things are ever very calm around here, but you get the idea :)

I called today to check on our fingerprints and the lady that I spoke with at the FBI (it was strange, I've never called the FBI before...) said that they should be arriving at our home study office at the beginning of next week. After those arrive they will begin to write our home study and we expect to see the draft in 2-3 weeks. Then we approve the home study, the draft is finalized and we are ready to go! It seems like things have been moving so slowly that it's beginning to become less and less real that we may very well have one or two more kids in our house by Christmas! For some reason Christmas has become my goal. I have this dream of a wonderful, cozy Christmas morning with our complete family. I can't wait to spoil these kids! Normally I am very frugal and not into giving Hunter too many gifts and such, but since the kids we will get have probably never experienced a BIG Christmas I really feel like it would be an amazing bonding time, plus it would give them some stuff to call their own! Anyway, enough dreaming for now...

The difficulty right now is that I want to make so many plans, but yet I don't want to commit to things we can't do. For example, there was a decent price on plane tickets to go home after the holidays, but how many tickets do I buy? Last night we purchased tickets to the monster truck show in January, 2 adult and 1 child. Hmmm... Guess we will just have to see how that works out! I certainly don't want to completely put our lives on hold while we wait, but I also don't want to open our family up and then not include our newest member(s)! Adoption is so crazy... but what a fun journey!

I guess that is all for now. I have a few blog posts bouncing around in my head, but I haven't yet had the opportunity to sit and type them out. Hopefully I will get to that soon. In the meantime I am enjoying spending time with our little family and praying for the sweet "forever child(ren)" that God has in mind for us!

Love you all!

B, E & H

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Yesterday it occurred to me that I haven't really discussed some of the preparations we have been making to get ready for our new little one(s)! So, I figured now was a great time to let you know how we are trying to prepare ourselves and our home for the changes we will be making.

One of the most difficult parts is just not knowing what to expect. I mean, I don't know about you, but I am definitely a "type A, plan everything out, plan for every contingency and then execute" kind of person. Ben is as well. For that reason this is taking us entirely out of our comfort zone because we have NO IDEA what is going to happen. We really can't predict a timeline, although our personal goal is to have our new family together by Christmas. We don't know what ages, genders, race or even how many children to expect! It's such a vastly different experience from a pregnancy. Sure, sometimes for various reasons you don't know the gender of the baby, but at least you know what age the child will be! :)

This is quite the adventure, folks! There is no "What to Expect when You are Adopting" book out there. I mean, sure, we went to training that gave us a lot of ideas about what we might see or expect, but it was certainly just the beginning. This complete lack of knowing what to expect is one of the interesting things that sets domestic and foster adoption apart from every other type of adoption. What a thrill! All the other families we know who have adopted at least knew before they got their child what the gender and age of that child was. There are always surprises, both with adoption and with biological children, but this may certainly be the biggest surprise of our lifetimes!

As an example of the confusion involved I'll try to explain about our spare bedroom. We were trying to get our spare bedroom (currently an office) ready, but where to begin? We removed the four giant bookshelves and placed them in the living room and the master bedroom. Then we took the desk and put it into the master bedroom. You might be wondering if the master bedroom is full yet. The answer is yes :) So, now we have an almost empty bedroom, but what do we fill it with? A crib? Bunk beds? Do we paint it pink, blue or green? See, the part of me that loves to plan everything out wants to have the room perfectly put together so our child/ren can see that we were waiting for them, but the reality is that it's impossible to know what we will need! So we wait :)

We have the same dilemma for clothing, bedding, sheets, socks, shoes, toys... I guess we will just go on a MEGA shopping spree once we know what we will need! The exciting part about this is that we can choose exactly what that child loves. How fun!

In the meantime we are keeping busy by reading some great books on child-rearing and discipline. This is one area that makes me nervous. Discipline is difficult enough with my four year old that I raised, but to take another child who has probably seen and experienced more difficulties in his/her young life than I will ever experience and mold them to what I think they should be... wow. What a responsibility! I understand Hunter. I know his moods and his quirks. I know that when he gets really grumpy it's probably because he's thirsty. I know that if you raise your voice at him he will most likely cry. With a child that I haven't raised from birth how will I know all this? I realize that I will learn it all in time, but I also know that it will be a difficult beginning. That's why Ben and I are doing our best to equip ourselves with any knowledge that may help us when that time comes, but we hardly know where to begin. If you have read (or even heard of) any great books that may help us please share! We are open to any ideas and suggestions.

Well, there is just a little glimpse into the planning that we are doing. I feel like we should be doing sooooooooooooooo much more, but how do you plan for the unknown?

Have a blessed day!

B, E & H

Monday, October 3, 2011

If you can't say anything nice...

I remember being told as a child, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Right now I just have to bite my tongue, but know that there really isn't any exciting news here. Just slowly making our way through the process, battling a few problems but hopefully nothing that will hold us back in the long run.
In the meantime we have been super busy around here! We are finally getting into the swing of things by balancing school, housework, AWANA, FRG, Bible study and all of the millions of little things that seem to come along each week. Last week was Military Police week so we had a lot of fun doing activities for that and attending the MP Ball. It was a fun evening, but it sure is a lot of preparation for one night! I'm glad that it's over for another year :)
If you think about it, pray for us this week, specifically that we will overcome the frustrations and feel like we are making some forward progress. We are hopefully very close to getting our FBI fingerprints back (I think it has been almost 8 weeks, so we really should see them any day now!) and that should be the last key piece needed to finalize our home study and begin looking at children to place in our family!
Love you all, thanks for being a part of this with us!
B, E & H

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Process

So, we have gotten a lot of questions about the process of adopting (at least our process) so I thought I would just write and explain a little about the whole process and where we are at, etc. Let me start with a disclaimer; EVERY FAMILY HAS A DIFFERENT PROCESS. Things are different between each country, state, agency, and even each family! So, I'm explaining our process and it may be vastly different from what you have heard or even experienced, but that's okay! Here goes:
Step 1: Deciding to adopt :) This is the easy step (really it's a HUGE decision! But you get my drift...)
We had been thinking about this for a long time but decided to take the leap in December 2010
Step 2: Where to adopt from? We weighed our options, but we really felt that domestic was the best choice for us for many reasons. For one thing, travelling outside of the country would be nearly impossible for Ben while he is in command. But aside from that we also felt that there was no real need to go elsewhere when there are many children right here in the U.S. who need loving homes just as much as orphans in other countries.
Step 3: Find an agency Well, here is where things get "fuzzy" for us. We chose an agency. We loved them, and still love what they do, but apparently it was not meant to be because things didn't work out as we planned. So we chose another agency, and that also fell through. SO, now we are going to work with Washington State DSHS and not use an agency. So, while you can have an agency, and most people do have one, it's not necessary for domestic adoption.
We contacted the first agency at the beginning of January 2011 and the second agency in June 2011
Step 4: Training! This is the part where it's not so fun. Training. Washington requires (for some cases, not all) PRIDE training. It's thirty hours of mind-numbing information all about children in the foster care system in the state of Washington. We completed our PRIDE training in April and were quite glad to be done with it! Then we also completed classes on blood borne pathogens and CPR. If you are working with an agency you will also have to do some type of an introduction class for the agency (we have also done this). There is plenty of training, and hopefully it will pay off when we have a new child or children!
We completed our PRIDE training in April 2011
Step 5: PAPERWORK This is the part that seems to never end. We did paperwork after PRIDE training, and then paperwork for each of the agencies (who we are no longer working with). The next step also involves more paperwork, but you'll see that in a second...
We started the paperwork after PRIDE (April 2011) and I'm pretty sure it will never end... :)
Step 6: Home study This part is also different for everyone. Because we don't have an agency we had to hire a private home study agency to complete our home study. In our case it was relatively simple, we called and the social worker was able to come out the following week. He sat down with Ben and I and asked a lot of questions and then toured our home. The home study requires a lot of different things from FBI fingerprints, background checks, recommendations, medical check ups, a LOT of paperwork (we are talking hundreds of pages, honestly!) and of course the home visit. The home study is the key to the rest of the adoption, but right now we are stuck waiting for the FBI to finish processing our fingerprints so they can tell us that we aren't criminals. :) The fingerprints usually take somewhere from 6-13 weeks to process and we submitted these sometime in mid-August so we should be getting close to hearing something. We are really hoping to be "home study ready" by the end of October.
We began the home study in August 2011
Step 7: Find our "forever child/ren" After our home study is complete we will be registered in the WARE (Washington Adoption Resources Exchange) database which will serve two purposes. 1: It will allow us to search and see children who are currently in the system. 2: It will allow social workers in the state access to our profile so that a social worker can potentially contact us with a child or children who fit our criteria. We are very anxious to get to this step so that we can actually work on finding our child/ren!
Step 8: Placement Once we identify the child or children that we are interested in we will probably have a few visits and slowly transition the child into our home. This can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months depending on many factors.
Step 9: Finalizing the adoption The final step in the process will be to finalize the adoption. The state of Washington requires at least six months between placement and finalization, so the child/ren will have to live with us for at least six months before they are "ours" as far as the state is concerned. However, obviously we will consider the child ours as soon as they are welcomed into our home and we pray that our friends and family will do the same. All of the children that we will be looking to adopt will be "legally free" meaning that all of the parental rights have been terminated so there is no chance of the child going back with their biological parents. Because we don't know exactly how long we will be stationed at Fort Lewis we agreed that this was the only way we would ever have time to finalize an adoption. It typically takes about two years from the time the child is removed from his or her home to the time that the state terminates the rights of the biological parents. It is a loooooooooong process and time is NOT on our side!
Well, there you have it. We are currently on step 6 and we are hoping that we will be on to step 7 soon! As soon as our home study is done we will be able to have a child placed in our home and we are praying that it will be quick. For the sake of our waiting child/ren we really hope that they will be with us by Christmas, but we know that it is all in God's hands!
I hope that helps you to understand some of this crazy ride that we have been on! Thank you for all of the prayers and kind words of encouragement, they really mean a lot to us. Especially on the days where it all seems like it will never come together. Love you all!
B, E & H

Friday, September 23, 2011

Beautiful Picture

This song perfectly demonstrates how we are ALL children of God! Enjoy...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Hello, friends!

I had another post in the works, but I really felt inspired to share with you a little bit of what God has been doing around here. First, I have to tell you about the MANY people that we have discovered through this adoption process who are also inspired to adopt. When we were first thinking about adoption we really had a fear that adopting a child into a military family might not be the best thing for the child. Boy were we wrong!

At the time we really only knew one family who had adopted. While they are the most humble and Godly family, I'm going to brag on them a little bit because they have been such an inspiration to us. I met the mom of this family in my MOPS group in Missouri. I was immediately drawn to her sparkling eyes and sweet smile, but more intriguing to me was the fact that she had two two-year olds. What's so special about that? Well, one was blond haired and looked JUST like her mama's clone, while the other has the most beautiful chocolate skin and curly black hair and they were obviously not both her children. After striking up a conversation with this amazing woman I found out that she has five sweet children, two biological, two from China and one from Haiti. Oh, and her husband was in Korea for a year. WOW! God used this family to help us overcome our biggest fear! These children (two of them have major medical issues) were not hurt by being in a military family, instead the whole family was blessed because of their choice to adopt. What a story!

When we moved here to Washington we chose a church pretty quickly. We didn't choose the church because of this, but we soon found out that the pastor and his sweet wife had three beautiful children from Korea. At this point we're thinking... Okay, God, we get it... We had the privilege of watching this family bring home a fourth child who has "designer genes." Sweet Ella Grace, who couldn't walk when she came home, has made amazing progress and has been such a source of joy to everyone who meets her. What an inspiration this family has been to us through the whole process. Their support has been more than we could have ever asked for, and just being able to witness their family grow has been a miracle to us.

Friends, if that were all this wouldn't be a God story! Everywhere we have turned lately it seems that someone else is adopting. When we were still on the fence about adopting I mentioned something about it to a dear friend of mine who was travelling to Ethiopia on a mission trip. She then told me that she was hoping to find a little girl there to adopt. Her sweet daughter is now home with her! When we finally told our neighbors about the adoption (we were a few months into the process at this point) they told us that they had always wanted to adopt and now they are also in the process of adopting out of foster care! A new neighbor friend that just moved in was adopting when she found out she was pregnant. Now she is thinking of becoming a foster parent. Every time I tell someone that we are adopting we find out that they have always thought about it or want more information. God is doing something BIG and I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of it!

I know that not everyone is called to adopt, so please don't misunderstand me. What I do want to get across is that our God is RELENTLESS when he is pursuing us. Ben and I came up with every possible excuse about why we shouldn't and couldn't adopt but God was not going to just let us go. He has continually pursued us and shown us that we can do this, and that we just need to rely on him. So, my question for you is what is God after you about? What has he been chasing you down with? Maybe it's something life altering or maybe it's just something small like mending a broken relationship. Whatever it is, I pray that you will give in to God and watch him pour his blessings out over you. God is good!!!

Love you, friends!

B, E & H

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011


Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him
- Psalm 37:7
Sounds simple, but what a challenge it has been to just sit back and wait. Up until the past week or so we have been so busy with paperwork and all that it hasn't been so hard to wait patiently. However, now we are at the point in the process where we are just waiting for our home study to be finished. Sure, we have a couple things to do (like go to the doctor, ick!) but it has all been scheduled and so we are just waiting. After we both have our physicals this week the only thing we are waiting on (as far as our home study is concerned) is for our fingerprints to come back from the FBI. Just like everything else that has been quite a process; we have actually had our fingerprints done three times now! We are really praying that this will be the last time. The first set went to the agency that we began working with in December, but the prints expire after a year so we didn't want to use ones that were that old. The second set went to Antioch, but they haven't returned yet (the FBI can take up to 13 weeks to process the prints and return them to the agency) and since we aren't working with Antioch any longer it seemed silly to wait on those prints and *hope* they would be released to us. Soooooooo... one last trip to WSP (Washington State Police) and our prints are hopefully being processed in Virginia right now!
We still have a couple open doors, but nothing is certain. There is a baby that we are really praying about. While we weren't necessarily looking for a newborn, this situation presented itself and we certainly felt like we needed to be open to it. If God chooses to inspire this birth mother to pick our family we know that it is His will for us to be the parents of this little one. There is also a sibling set (4 year old boy, 2 year old girl) that we are sepecifically praying for. They are tied up in the court system right now until at least the beginning of November, but we are definitely interested in possibly being a forever family for these children. The social worker was very receptive to us so if nothing comes up sooner I will be contacting her in November to see how the children's situation has progressed and if they will be needing a permanent home.
In the meantime I promise to keep you updated if anything wonderful happens! We are basically just waiting, hoping to hear about a child or children who need a family. Once our homestudy is completed we will be able to login to the WARE (Washington Adoption Resource Exchange) website which will allow us to have more access to children who are waiting in the system. Being registered in WARE will also allow social workers to see that our family is looking for children. I'm really hoping that this will help to open some doors for us in the process.
Pray for our patience during this wait. I know that at any moment the floodgates may open and we might be rushing to find everything we need to welcome a child into our home, but in the meantime it feels as if we aren't making any progress.
Thanks again for all the prayers and support!
B, E & H
When I was waiting quietly for the Lord, His heart was turned to me, and He gave ear to my cry.
- Psalm 40:1

Monday, August 15, 2011

We're BACK!

Well, after a whirlwind adventure to IL, KY and OH, Hunter and I are finally back and trying to resume life as "normal." We had the opportunity to visit with my family and actually spend some time with them which was wonderful. After being in IL for a few days we headed to the Cincinnati area to meet up with a sweet friend of mine and her two amazing kids. It was an extra special treat because it had been TWO YEARS since I saw her and during that time she had adopted a little girl from Ethiopia. Hunter is in love with her! :) Then we headed to Ohio to see Ben's family and attend his youngest brother's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and we are sooooooooooo excited to have Karli as the newest member of the family. Anyway, then it was back to IL to return the rental car and now we are finally home! It was a great trip, but it sure is good to be home!
The night before we left on our adventure we began our home study. We are very excited to have this process well on it's way although I will certainly NOT miss the paperwork part of it! I think that I must have scanned and emailed about 60-70 pages yesterday! And that was certainly not all of it!
As I mentioned in my last post, it seems like things with the little boy we were hoping for aren't going to work out. Although I haven't heard anything more from his mother, I am assuming that the silence means that she isn't interested in us and has asked another family to parent him. However, we have had THREE other leads in the past couple weeks! One definitely isn't going to work (not-yet-born twins that have already found a home), but the other two still have some glimmer of home. Please be praying that God will make it clear to us when we have found our newest family member(s)! We have definitely already been feeling the roller coaster of emotions that is characteristic of adoption and we know that it is far from over! One thing that we have been soooooooooooooooooooo aware of during all of this so far is the overwhelming support from family and friends. We are so grateful to each of you for all of your prayers and encouragement. You have no idea how much it means to us!
So, today is kind of an "up" day for me concerning the adoption. Friday was definitely a "down" day. I know that we are going to have so many more ups and downs, I just pray that God will give us the strength to handle each day as it comes.
Love all of you and thanks for joining us on our adventure! :)
B, E & H

Monday, August 1, 2011

Moving forward

Right now it looks like the mother of the little boy we were hoping to adopt will choose another family to keep him. We really have mixed emotions. On one hand, we know that if he belongs in our family God will make sure that he finds his way to us. On the other hand we are disappointed because we really hoped that things may work out in this situation.
Really all this means is that we will continue to move forward and pursue an adoption of a legally free child(ren). It's a small setback, but nothing that we can not overcome! We know that God has everything figured out and that there is a wonderful child (or children!) waiting for us! In the meantime please be praying about a few leads that we have. We can't post much information about any of them, but God has been faithful about opening doors. I can't wait to see what he has in store for our family!
Thanks for being a part of this wild ride, I promise there will be more updates soon!!!
B, E & H

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


If you haven't ever adopted, or known someone who has adopted, you can not fathom the amount of paperwork that goes into adopting a child. I mean seriously, to have a baby there is NO paperwork. You get pregnant, have the baby, sign the birth certificate and you are on your way.
NOT SO with adoption. I can't tell you how many papers I have filled out so far, but it has to be well over 100 and I still have a TON left. Last night I filled out two different 15 page forms (THIRTY pages total!) One for myself and one for Ben. That was just one of eight forms that we each need to fill out simply to complete one part of our homestudy. Seriously, the amount of writing and typing involved is crazy. So, if you know someone who is in the process of adopting you might want to buy them a cup of coffee. Chances are they are staying up late to work on paperwork :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just a quick note...

As many of you know we met with a little boy and his family yesterday. He is a super adorable 4 1/2 year old boy who Hunter enjoyed playing with. He has some issues (ADHD, speech delay, etc.) but we still feel called to pursue the adoption with him. We are well aware that it will be a difficult task to integrate him into our family while also learning to cope with his needs, but we know that if he belongs with us we will be able to make it all work!
His mother is meeting with another family on Tuesday and then she will have the difficult decision of choosing which family (if either!) is right for him. As much as we would love to have him join our family, we would ask that you pray that he finds the right home whether it is ours or someone else's. He has had a tough little life so far and needs to be in a home where he can have lots of love and stability.
Thanks so much for all of your encouragement and prayers so far!
We love you all!
B, E & H

Friday, July 22, 2011

More news!

What a whirlwind the past couple weeks have been! If you read the first post you probably saw that we have been working on all this adoption stuff since December and quite honestly, we feel like we haven't gotten anywhere. It's been frustrating. It feels like it comes in waves. We do a huge pile of paperwork, then we wait. Then we get a bunch of phone calls, then we wait. Over. And. Over.
HOWEVER... the past week has been a complete whirlwind of activity. It started like this; Hunter and I were out running errands on Wednesday of last week and my phone rang. It was a sweet friend of mine (who is also in the process of adopting) and she says, "Did you get the email?" I respond, "Nope, I'm out running errands. What email?" (Here comes the CRAZY part) "The email about the little boy here in the Seattle area that needs a home. He's four and a half." WHAT?!?!?! So, here we are, in the Costco parking lot and I'm making a call about a little boy who could potentially become our son. I can't even begin to describe the emotions in those few minutes.
So, to make a really long story short, we are meeting this little boy on Saturday. We have no idea if it will amount to anything. His legal mother is interviewing us and two other families so she could choose someone else. Or we could meet him and decide that he is not a good fit for our family.
In the meantime I have been speaking with an adoption attorney, a home study writer... it has been chaos! But, God has been lining everything up perfectly. It just happens that husband of the woman who sent the email about this boy is an adoption attorney. And yesterday I found a home study writer who can begin our home study NEXT WEEK! Oh, boy do we have a lot to do!
I really don't know if we will be the family for this little boy, but if you don't mind would you pray that we have a lot of clarity about this situation? So far everything about this situation has been very much directed by God. We have been praying specifically for a little boy, around four years old. It's pretty awesome!
Okay, back to doing paperwork. Last night I received two emails from our home study writer with about 12 different attachments. Which need to be filled out by Wednesday night. Oh, and Ben will be out in the field on Monday and Tuesday so it's going to be a few more days of craziness for our family! :)
Thanks for coming on this WILD ride with us! I promise to keep you all updated!
Ben, Em & Hunter

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Where to begin...

Well, this blog has been in my mind for quite a while now, but I have been waiting for just the right time to start it. I guess now is just about as good a time as any! If you found this blog I will assume you figured out that we are in the process of adopting. It has been a long journey so far and we are still figuring out just where God is leading us through this process. One thing is for sure... we are learning a lesson in PATIENCE.
I guess the best place to start will be with a little background about our journey to where we are now. Ben and I had felt for a while that we were being called to adopt but we didn't know where to begin. We knew that an international adoption was out of the question because of the travel involved. It would have been nearly impossible for Ben to take the time off to travel to another country during his time in command. We prayed a lot about it and in December of 2010 we finally took a leap of faith and decided to contact a local adoption agency which arranged domestic infant adoptions. Due to the holidays we actually had to wait until January of 2011 to contact the agency, but once we did they helped us gain a better understanding of the whole domestic adoption process and what we would need to do before we would be eligible to adopt in Washington state.
We began by getting fingerprinted for an FBI background check, signed a lot of consent forms for background checks in all FIVE states that we have lived in during the past five years, and finally attended PRIDE training. If you are not familiar with PRIDE it is a 30 hour, four day course that covers lots of adoption and foster care related topics. It was painful! But, we knew that it would all be worth it once we had the newest member of our family home with us.
During PRIDE training we began to be interested in pursuing an adoption of a child who was a little bit older and had been in state foster care. Because we don't know for sure when we will be moving again we are not good candidates for foster-to-adopt, but we are eligible to adopt a child who is legally free. This basically means that they have been in the foster system for a while and their birth parents no longer have any rights, the child belongs to the state. So, this opened another door for us.
In May or June we found out from the agency we had been working with that they were overloaded with families and probably wouldn't be accepting applications for new families until sometime in 2012. That definitely wasn't going to work for us since we can't predict when we may be leaving Washington. So, the hunt was on for a new agency. At least now we knew that we could look for one that also provided the option of adopting legally free children from foster care. Again, God quickly provided us with the name of a wonderful agency called Antioch Adoptions. We loved everything about them from the beginning! I won't go into it all here, but you should take the time to look at their website and read all about how they got started ( We knew we HAD to be a part of this amazing adoption story!
So, in June we attended their introduction class. We quickly returned our application and began speaking with the agency. They graciously agreed to take us on despite all of the challenges of working with a military family. We were thrilled!
Now we are working on background checks, getting ready for our homestudy, doing interviews... and generally just preparing our hearts and home for the wonderful little family that God has in mind for us! (Oh, and did I mention that we said we would take TWO kiddos?)

Thanks for following us on this CRAZY ride!
There is a lot more to tell...but you will just have to wait for a little while on that part! :)

Ben, Emily and Hunter