Adoption Blog

Following the Call #13 – Meeting our Girls

“I’m gonna puke. I’m gonna puke,” chanted over and over in my head. I also said it out loud over and over to Luke and may have even texted it several times to a few friends and family members.

We were in the car on the way to meet them–our children–our daughters. How does one prepare for something so monumental? Apparently, in my case, by chanting about how nauseous I was and insisting that Luke continue to pray. “No no, babe, stop talking, just pray…I can’t talk to you right now, I’m trying not to barf,” was something along the lines of the dialog in the truck that day.

After our 45 minute drive to the town they lived, we continued to drive. We drove by the house one time and then drove all over the tiny town, because, we were, of course, ridiculously early. Luke and I thought it was a good idea to orient ourselves to the town we would be spending lots of time in, and we didn’t think we were allowed to show up early. However, the first thing the social worker said to us as we pulled up right behind her right at 10:00AM on the dot was, “Oh you all are just getting here? Usually the adoptive parents can’t handle the wait and are already inside playing with the kids when I show up”. In my head I screamed, “We could have done that?!


Walking into the house, everything happened in slow-motion. Two of our girls ran to us, excited to meet us, and ready to play. They had already seen a video and pictures of Luke and me. We made a video of our home, their future rooms, and our dogs so they would know what to expect. They recognized us immediately. The social worker had introduced us, in the video, as their new mommy and daddy. So that is what they shouted at us as we walked in the door. It was shocking, overwhelming, and amazing all at the same time. I remember so vividly, Luke and I looking at each other in ecstatic amazement at being called those named we’d longed to hear. We picked them up and hugged them, letting them then drag us wherever they wanted.

Sitting quietly on the couch, sat the child I was so afraid wouldn’t like me. I slowly walked over and asked if I could sit next to her. Surprisingly she said yes. I carefully sat next to her, not wanting to scare her away. In next moment, time stopped, and that tiny little girl scooted right beside me, cuddling up against me.

This was the same little girl that didn’t even look at people she’d known for a long time and absolutely didn’t let people touch her. I very clearly felt all the tension and anxiety ooze right out of the bottom of my feet, and I heard God say in the most gentle and loving way, He planned this so please stop worrying. Hours flew by as we played with the girls. The social worker was shocked and amazed. Right then and there our 4 week plan turned into a 3 week plan.

Pictures from our that first meeting.



At naptime it was time to part with the girls, but their amazing foster family invited us back over after the girls woke up. They were so welcoming and helpful. The next day, we got to pick up the girls and take them on our first unsupervised outing to breakfast, the park, and lunch. Then, we sadly packed up the car and headed back home leaving our sweet girls behind. Our hearts were so filled with joy, but now three little pieces were missing.


Following the Call #12 – Logistics and Blessings


The night before we met our children, we traveled three hours north to prepare. Part of preparing for our meeting was preparing a backpack full of activities for the girls, special photo albums of us and our live, and a special stuffed animal for each of the girls.

God’s plan is always so interesting to watch unfold and such a huge blessing. I often found my breath taken away as another one of His miracles, whether big or small, was revealed. Luke and I had no idea that we would be preparing to bring home children so quickly, so many, or from so far away. We saved and prepared our home as much as we could for two children, not knowing their ages. Our family and friends blessed us with a gift card shower.

Now, traveling once to a location a few hours away would be no big deal, right? But that is not what we were doing. The social workers came up with a four-week plan to transition the girls to our home. It was made very clear that the more time we spent with them the easier the transition would be. They wanted us there on the weekends and during the week, increasing each stay as we went along. During our classes, we learned if our children were from out of the county, there would be traveling involved and a period of transition. I don’t think we imagined it would mean a month of traveling, though.

This meant that we needed a place to stay on and off for the next few weeks. First, we looked into staying at a hotel. The area wasn’t great, and the decent hotels were pretty outrageous in price, at least for stays up to four days at a time. I began to panic. Ya know, I sometimes wonder what God’s reaction is to my panic and worry. Does He laugh? Shake His head? Get frustrated as I imagine I would, or does He repeatedly whisper, “My dear sweet daughter, I have this under control.”?

Luke and I were both unfamiliar with the area, so we didn’t immediately realize that his aunt and uncle lived 45 minutes away from where the girls were. His aunt and uncle live in a beautiful home that just happens to have a full one bedroom apartment attached to it. They were more than happy to let us use it as we saw fit for the next 3ish weeks.

It was a huge blessing, especially for me, as I have a habit of being quite terrified of hotels. Bugs. Yuck. Luke doesn’t put any of our luggage down when we travel until I have thoroughly inspected the hotel room, because my anxiety is on high alert. So, having this apartment was a HUGE financial saving grace. It helped me not to freak out over bugs. It also meant we didn’t have to check-in and out of hotels for three weeks and later would prove very useful with three kids! We were beyond grateful.

His provisions only continued during this time. As I look back, I remember feeling like we were constantly surrounded by reassurances that this was His plan. We were walking in His will. These were our children and He had everything under control. Another blessing I vividly remember was Luke’s brother and sister-in-law buying us a car seat. That was huge, because we needed THREE of those things!!! Car seat laws are no joke, my friend, and of course, with good reason. Luke’s boss was also extremely understanding, flexible, and blessed us immensely during this time.

I cannot even come close to listing all of the blessings we received during this time. Our cups overflowed with blessing.

Along with financial and logistical concerns, I heard the words of the adoption specialist repeated over and over in my head as we waited the rest of the week to meet our girls. She told us at our disclosure meeting that one of our children was extremely introverted, refused to look at or have any interactions with anyone other than the foster parents.  The social workers would be looking to her to decide when the girls could come home with us. This meant if she did not feel comfortable with us after four weeks, the timeframe would be extended and extended until she was ready. This child hadn’t even acknowledged or made eye contact with the social worker she’d being meeting with for over a year. She struggled to connect.

To put it lightly, I was nervous. Could she connect with us? Would she like us? Would she like me?



Following the Call #11 – Disclosure Meeting

I remember exactly where I was when I got the phone call, it was Friday, July 29th.

Babysitting, I was standing in the hallway of the Beerys’ house trying to make sure their oldest son was taking a nap. I couldn’t scream or cheer for joy because two little ones were napping or trying to. So I paced. Paced as Jessica gave me the details and promised to email me more. Then I, of course, called Luke. We were excited, scared, shocked, happy, so happy, and pretty much any and all emotions you could imagine. Did I mention happy? We were parents! Luke and I wanted kids for so long, but were waiting for just the right time, God’s timing. And here it was, the perfect time. Our hearts were overflowing.

Of course all of that excitement and thrill led up to more waiting, but we didn’t have much time to sit around and worry about it. We had to get our house ready for three children. Up to this point, we had only prepared for two, so we needed another bed, three car seats, to switch our guest room into a kid’s room, and a TON more. Not to mention tell our families and friends!

How we told our parents!

In foster adoption, when you are matched with a child/children, you then have a disclosure meeting. During the meeting, everything that is known about the children, the situation that brought them to foster care, and the current state of the case are divulged to you. You are then given 24-48 hours to decide if you would like to move forward with placement.

Our disclosure meeting was scheduled for a week later, Monday, August 8th Our social worker, the girls’ social worker, and the adoption specialist attended this meeting. It was rough, to say the least. Our girls had been through a lot, more than most of us go through in a lifetime. We sat there as the social workers read every terrible thing that was known to happen to our soon-to-be children. I cried. Wanting to hide it, because I didn’t know these social workers. I did not want them to think I couldn’t handle it. Ultimately, they might change their minds. It was so awful. There were things in this meeting that made me question whether we could handle the suffering they had endured. God, were we really the right parents for these sweet, heartbroken children? I didn’t know, but I knew He held them in His hand.

When they finished sharing all the information, and we asked all the questions we could think of, (I definitely had a list of questions I had prepared beforehand) we got to call the foster mom that was caring for the girls and ask her a ton of questions.

Luke and I then decided to go in the other room and discuss our decision. I voiced my small concerns, we decided right then and there, and then we returned to the waiting social workers.

We said YES.

Not a moment later, we asked when we could meet them. I was not about to let these three women leave my house before I had a firm date as to when we could meet our children, being ever the persistent one. With much pushing, prodding, and some very serious insisting Luke and I convinced them that we could not possibly waiting any longer than the upcoming weekend.   (I should note here that our girls were from a city over 3 hours away. This largely affected meeting the girls, visiting them, and transitioning them to our home.)  Then and there, it was decided that we would meet our future daughters on Saturday, August 13th.


Following the Call #10 – Waiting for a Decision

We waited two weeks and two days to find out.

I think I have already made it very clear how I feel about waiting, and up until this point, I really had no clue what real waiting felt like. This time the waiting wasn’t to check off a box, move forward towards the next step of the process, or to meet some arbitrary deadline I had set in my head. This time we waited for an answer to our life being radically changed. The biggest, most exciting, and terrifying change either of us had ever known. Would we be parents to three little girls all at once, or would we go on waiting for the next call?

During this time a lot was happening. We prayed fervently for these little ones. Although we desperately wanted to be chosen, we also decided to pray for the “perfect” family for these three. We wanted whatever was best for them and whatever would bring them to know Jesus. Our family and friends joined us in praying; we could feel the prayers surrounding us.

Yet another huge decision had to be made.  It was also quite terrifying, in it’s own right. Should I quit my job? The adoption specialist was looking for a family that had a parent who could stay home. Luke and I had decided that I was going to stay home when we had/were placed with kids.

BUT time was running out, and school was about to start. I had a very short time before I was supposed to report back to school for “Beginning of the Year Meetings” and to prep my classroom. I was beyond nervous to make this decision. We couldn’t completely afford it. I had applied to work at an online school, so I could work from home. However, this school was notorious for waiting until the very last minute to hire, so that they could see what enrollment numbers would be. My interview was very promising. I thought I might eventually get an offer, but could I quit my job on that hope? Especially not knowing whether or not we would be chosen for these girls.

A dear friend and I decided to fast for a short time for various reasons. One of the things I decided to pray about was the decision to quit, during those prayers I felt God say, “Trust me. Quit.”

Angrily, I countered with, “But first, tell me if we are getting the girls.”

To which, I again heard, “Trust me.”

(I should add here that Luke had been telling me to quit since the end of the last school year.)

I rather grumpily conceded and with the attitude of, “Fine, I’ll text my principal now.”

Bye Bye Classroom

Wouldn’t you know it, not two days later, we got THE CALL.


Following the Call #9 – Certifiably Crazy

When I looked at the phone and saw the Koinonia phone number, I thought Jessica must have finished that last section of paperwork a day early.

There are stories about what was about to take place, but this kind of stuff happens to other people, right?! I was not prepared for what came next. We were NOT certified yet. We were still supposed to be waiting at least three more weeks and waiting was the name of this game, wasn’t it? I mean, we’d spent much of the last seven months…waiting. I was prepared for waiting for the first time. Yet God had other plans.

Jessica wasn’t calling to tell me that she was done. She was calling to tell me we were one of “those people”. The people that for some reason are called BEFORE they are even certified. (Here, I need to make a side note. I fully believe that everyone in this process will get matched/placement, when God has found the child or children that you are meant to be parents to. In some cases that may be parenting those children for a short time and other times it will end in adoption, but either way waiting a minute or two years is waiting, no matter, how excruciating, for your child(ren).)

She told me that she just got an email about THREE little girls that she thought would be perfect for Luke and I. I just about fainted. Three kids at once… and before we were even done being certified. The girls were 1, 3 (actually she was 2 at the time, but would be three by the time we met her), and 4.

Were we interested, she asked??? “Um I have to call Luke,” was my response. What else could I say? Luke had given me authority to say yes and no as I pleased, but we didn’t know calls were going to come so soon (it can take months or even years to be matched). And we had said we would take up to three children, but were we sure? I surely wasn’t at that moment, zero to three is a big jump, crazy if you will. Could we handle three children? Were we ready and able to parent that many kids? Jessica, said she would email me the details on the girls and to call her back ASAP because it is VERY important to get your name in right away.

Now I will let you in on something I did not know when we entered into this process. Your yes does not mean you get the child/children. When you say yes to a child or children, your home study is then placed into the ‘yes’ pile. Social workers typically take 20-40 home studies. This is why you want to say yes quickly. If you take too long, they will not accept your home study. The social worker then narrows it down from there. Therefore, it is possible to say yes to many children and not be placed with any of them. This usually happens with the matching process, but less often if you are doing foster care only.

So I called Luke. He almost had a heart attack.

We prayed, and called Jessica back with a YES!

And then the whole waiting part of this journey was over and everything went speedy fast from there.


HAHA, Just kidding. Nope. Next, we waited weeks for the adoption specialist to pick a family for these sweet girls. This would be the longest and most difficult emotional waiting we would do so far. Would it be us?

Adoption Blog

Following the Call #7 – Finally, the Home Study!

God is really serious about teaching me about waiting for His timing. Like, really serious. I was again waiting, waiting, and waiting for our last step, the home study. As I mentioned in my last post,  literally waiting in the waiting room at my doctor’s office. If that doesn’t say WAIT, I don’t know what does.

Once that last piece of paper was turned in, we were told we would have to finish those last three classes before we could begin that last step. But we had an unexpected blessing and the agency allowed us to start the home study process while taking the classes because we had turned everything else in! I was so pumped (particularly about NOT having to wait) and it made getting that last piece of paper even more pressing.

Our agency assigned us a social worker, Jessica, and we could not be more blessed to have her! We scheduled our first home study session as soon as she had a free moment. The home study process consisted of three visits including interviews and the inspection of our home. Remember all of that paperwork we had to do way back at the beginning? Well that came back to haunt us (wink, wink).

In our first session, Luke and I had an interview with Jessica at our home. We talked through the first packet and went over general life information together. It wasn’t invasive or uncomfortable. That interview lasted about an hour to an hour and half. I would say it was a nice time (at least for us) of Jessica getting to know us and who we are as a couple.

In my head I was planning out when we would have each session and I wanted it to be every other week. I probably bugged Jessica a bit during this process, trying to schedule these meetings, but she is so nice I doubt she’d say if I did! I was racing a clock in my head all the time! It was crazyville. Very shortly after our first interview we had our second. This one was a LOT more awkward and my overshare-r came right on out. In that meeting, we had individual interviews with Jessica and went over the dreaded Packet Two. Jessica made it as painless as possible. She was very easy to talk to. My individual interview was almost twice as long as Luke’s, as expected, at least by me!

The last session of the homestudy includes the social worker confirming she has all the information she needs and checking the house to make sure it meets all of the laws and requirements. This includes things like: having a fire extinguisher, locking up all cleaning supplies, hazardous materials, and medications, having a first aid kit, baby/toddler proofing (if you are taking this age group), working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and having rooms prepped for children (more info on this later). If you have a pool or two story there are added requirements. This isn’t an exhaustive list…I’m sure I am missing things.

Side note: Don’t stress by thinking, “what if something is missed or forgotten!?” Not to worry! While we were still in the paperwork and classes stage, our agency sent out Barb, an amazing helpful woman, who went through our home with fine tooth comb. She told us all the things we needed to do. So we had a much, much smaller list of things to accomplish, and we knew exactly what we needed to do before the home study.

We prepared the room with a twin and a crib because we imagined we would probably be getting siblings. We were open to a sibling set. P.S. if you are willing to take children ages two and under you are required to have a crib ready to go.

Once Jessica went through our house and checked off all of the things on her list, we were DONE! Our part was complete. We turned in every paper, checked off every box, completed every class and interview.

All we had to do was… you guessed it WAIT.


Following the Call – They’re HERE!!!

We are so thrilled to announce that our sweet sweet children are home and finally in our arms!!!! After a few long weeks of traveling and visiting they are HERE.

We have three adorable little girls, four and under.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for and supporting us through this process. I will be getting back to sharing the process of our foster adoption and will share more detail on how we got to this point. We also would like to ask for your help and understanding with our sweet little ones. They are easily overwhelmed by meeting new people and are just learning that we are their new parents. As we build trust and attachment in our relationships with them we ask that you be patient as we very slowly introduce them to each of you. When we are able to introduce you or if we happen to see you out and about please don’t rush up to them, pick them up, or put them in your laps. Please ask them and us before you hug them.

We love you all so much and we are so excited to share this journey with you! Thank you so much for all of your love, prayers, and understanding.


Following the Call #5 – Mounds of Paperwork

Devastated. That is how I felt after finding out we would have to wait a quarter of a year to take the classes we needed to move forward. I was under the impression that we had to take the classes before we could begin the process of becoming certified to foster and adopt. Never have I been so thankful to be wrong!

We were quickly assured that we would have plenty to do while we waited! We had mounds and mounds of paperwork to look forward to. Paperwork that exposed all of our “deep dark secrets”. We had three packets to complete. Packet one (the application) was complete before we found out that we would miss the classes. Then we had packet two…oh packet two…the exposing packet! Packet two was fun. It asks tons of questions about marriage, the good, bad, and ugly. I mean it dives right in, sex life and all! This packet also asks a billion questions about your parents, your upbringing, and your always fun and entertaining teen years. The best part of this lovely form was that 90% of the questions were multiple choice. No need to explain your answers here…

Fost/adopt is not for the faint of heart or those looking to hide from their past. This is authenticville, the open book lifestyle! Thankfully I am open to a fault and maybe overshare on occasion. Packet two was long and it was an individual packet so Luke and I had our own. SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. I may have been a little nervous to turn it in. I mean do they read the answers to the questions about the teenage years? That can’t still be held against me right?!?!? Just kidding. I wasn’t a rebellious teen by any means, but still teenagers are crazyville. They aren’t fully baked.

When we turned in packet two and no one told us to take a hike, we moved on to packet three. Now I have to say, I am list person and Koinonia was very kind to supply me with the ultimate list. Packet three had the most things to check-off, so naturally it was my favorite. It also had way less questions and a lot more things to do. We had to get fingerprinted twice for the foster care and adoption background checks (please do not believe that California shares fingerprints you have to get different ones done for everything). The prints are the most expensive part of getting certified, I think Luke and I paid around $150 each. That is one of the very few things that we had to pay for.

We also had to get our DMV records ($5 each), take a CPR class ($50 each), and pay co-pays for our physicals ($20 each + blood work cost). Yes, you have to get a physical to adopt! They gotta make sure you are healthy enough to chase after little ones! That is basically the total cost we accrued through the certification process. We did have to spend some money to get our house up to home study standards, but that cost will depend on what you already have in your house and usually isn’t much (more on this later).

Packet three also required us to draw up floor plans for our house and yard, make an emergency contact list, write rules for our home, name someone guardian of our kids if we croak, get vaccine records for the pups, prove our income and employment, make a detailed financial statement, and I am sure there’s other stuff I am missing…


I was so anxious to check things off our list that I may have become a little bit of a stalker. I definitely called our doctor’s office a few hundred times and might have camped out in their office on a Friday afternoon to make sure they gave us the LAST piece of paperwork that we needed before they closed. I’m pretty sure the receptionist thought I lost my mind. She might have contemplated calling security when the words, “I will wait as long as it takes” escaped my lips. They were already closed at that point.

In my defense, that piece of paperwork was SUPER important, it meant we could start the home study process. So ya know, it had to be done because waiting until Monday sounded like eons of torture. Plus I was fairly confident the Lord would do what He needed to do to slowdown this crazy train if He wanted to, even if I was camped out in my doctor’s office.

Did I mention waiting isn’t my strong suit?


Following the Call – The Decision to Start #3

One year ago, almost to the day, our journey towards adopting started. I was getting ready to start a new school year. As I sat on my bed prepping and watching TV, a commercial for an online school came on and I had the strongest feeling that the Lord was telling me this would be my last year teaching. I was very excited about going back to school and so I shook it off, thinking that can’t be right!

As the school year continued, more and more signs started popping up, it was a rough year to say the least. The year started with severe behavior issues, difficulties with parents, and quite a few CPS calls. Interacting with CPS and having to put a student in a cop car, in September, that would take her to a foster family was really heart-wrenching. I didn’t know if I would ever see that student again or what the family would be like and she kept asking if she could come home with me. That broke my heart.

Luke drove right over to the school and comforted me. His first response when I told him the story was, “Is that an option? Could we actually take her?”. We weren’t approved, plus we lived with Luke’s parents at the time, so it didn’t seem like a possibility. But at that moment I knew we needed to start praying about adopting from the foster care system in the very near future.

Our dear friends, Russell and Janna, began the process to fost/adopt shortly after that day. I was so ridiculously excited for them and a teeny bit jealous. Luke and I started picking their brains, maybe annoyingly. We wanted to know everything about the process!

The school year continued down a sad road, I called CPS several more times on many different students. I really started to fall into a dark sad place realizing what some of my students and their families go through. God really used that dark place to lead Luke and me.

In January, Luke and I started researching adoption agencies. I had always thought that you only used an agency if you were adopting out of the country or if you were doing a private adoption. I also thought that if you used an agency, that you would have to pay agency fees. That is NOT the case. We found out from Russell and Janna that there are agencies that you can use free of charge for adoptions through the foster care system. On a side not, I just want to let you know adopting from the foster care system is very low cost (I will cover cost in depth in another post). These agencies help people to navigate through child protective services, educate, and teach what to expect.

After researching for a week or so we decided to use the same agency as Russell and Janna, Koinonia Family Services. We know a lot of people that have used Koinonia and loved them! We were ready to get started!