First I just have to say, THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Im not sure why but sharing the news felt like such a personal and sensitive thing to share. (even though it was REALLY exciting.. I was surprised how personal it felt) I think partly because we had been holding on to the news for so long, partly because it all the sudden became that much more real, and mostly because the Lord is doing such a deep and real thing in our hearts through all this that it just feels really personal and hard to somehow find the words to get it out.
But I so appreciate all your text, emails, phone calls, comments, and even cards in the mail! I feel like even if people didnt care, we'd obviously still be moving forward, but it sweet to see so many of you around us see the Lord doing this and understand and were able to speak words that affirmed and encouraged who we are as parents and believers. I do appreciate it so so much. Im sure I wont be able to say thank you enough.
So there is a lot to this story and Im not sure where to begin. I'll just run through some of the details because a few people asked. Then I will share other parts of the story in their own post because I think they deserve their own post.. and I would basically be writing a novel if I put it all in here at once.
After a lot of prayer and then a pretty amazing experience where the Lord totally spoke and affirmed that it was time for us to pursue adopting and working with children who dont have families (which I will share this story) we feel like we were supposed to work directly with Family Services here in Cleveland. This means that we will be working with the county and children who are in foster care.
So, we will technically be foster parents. Our goal is adoption though so the idea is that we will be fostering to adopt. This does mean technically that a child could come in our home and then go back and be reunited with their birth family. Although Im sure I cant fathom the depth of what that would feel like.. I absolutely support that and do believe in the idea of an entire family being restored and Freeland & I feel like we would love to work with a family to help them do just that. Even though we really really really want to adopt. We feel like the Lord just told us to do this so we are just saying yes and moving forward.
(ps: I just wanted to also say that it is possible to work with the foster care system, Family Services, and do JUST adoption. You dont always have to do foster care.. people always say "I just couldnt have a child come in my home and leave" and there are ways to work through that not happening. (it just means you could be waiting for awhile) Its also very possible (as Ive witnessed it 8+ times) to have a child come in your home as a foster child and stay with you and quickly be adopted too. We dont know everything. We dont know the full ins and outs.. We're just starting all this and we arent expert advocates on adoption by any means.. I just wanted to share that too because I know the stigma comes along with foster care)
We started our training in January (which was a step of faith itself because of Freeland schedule). You have to complete 36 hours of classes and training. It wasnt that bad at all and I actually feel very thankful for it because it really helped us think through some things and we were able to meet other families doing the same thing. It also helped us feel like we were "doing something" instead of just sitting and waiting. And it brought up good conversations for us both too. I have one class left to make up and Freeland has just 4 classes left which he will finish on the 18th of May.
We've finished our home study with our case worker in March also. So once Freeland finishes his classes this month our case worker will officially submit our paperwork to be processed. She told us here in Cleveland this will take about 1-2 months to process. Once it is processed we will officially be waiting.
So as of now based off what we have been told we are expecting to be officially waiting mid July. We could be placed within hours or we could be waiting a few weeks or months. We have no idea. It could all happen before July or it could take longer. Who knows!!? (answer: the Lord)
Our home is ready, we are ready, and our kids are ready. So we will see what happens!
Im sure I left a ton off. I will sit down and write out how this all happened in our hearts and how the Lord affirmed it for us. (because its a pretty awesome story) And I took pictures of us telling our families of course too - so I'll share those!
Thank you again for celebrating with us! Its fun seeing what the Lord does when we ask him what his desire is for our family!
Here are a few more pictures that I took on Easter before we shared the news:
Chapel was not havin it anymore: