Friday, April 2, 2010


This morning I had my MOPS meeting, so we got out of the house pretty early. I was one of the speakers today and I really enjoyed sharing our adoption journey with the other MOPS Mom's. I was a bit more emotional than I expected to be, but it was such a great meeting! I so enjoyed the other 2 speakers as well. One spoke about how important MOPS (Mother's of PreSchoolers) has been in her life, and the other spoke about being the mother a special needs child. So inspirational! So I thought I would post what I spoke about this morning. WARNING: This is a REALLY long post! : )

I have two beautiful girls…Whitney (who turned 19 yesterday) and Ana Kate who is 2 and ½. When I married Doug Whitney was 13, so he had quite the initiation into parenthood. After we had had been married for 2 years we decided it was time to have more children and we knew that we wanted at least 2 more. Whitney never missed an opportunity to let me know that she didn’t appreciate being an only child, so we took that into consideration.

I initially brought up adoption to my husband. At the time I wasn't really sure where my passion for adoption came from…I just had a weight on my heart for all the children in the world that needed a family and I believed this was the path to our child(ren). I now know this is something God put on my heart. We both prayed about it and did a lot of research on adoption and soon decided to move forward. One thing I want to be clear about is that we chose to add to our family through adoption. Many people think that adoption is for those who cannot get pregnant and the ‘last option’ after failed fertility treatments. That isn’t always the case. Adoption was our first choice...and that is true with many adoptions.

So then came all of the decisions…domestic (open or closed), international (which country)….we read a lot of books and finally decided on international adoption for a variety of reasons, but mainly it just ‘felt’ right.

We began searching for an agency and chose ours based on 3 main things:
1. Christian based
2. Small
3. Local (located in Fayetteville)
When we first talked to the couple that ran the agency we thought they were wonderful and we soon realized that not only did we attend the same church….but we attended the same Saturday night service! This was a wonderful 'coincidence' and gave us the feeling that we were on the right path.

Then came ALL the paperwork…
Once we made the decision to adopt internationally we reviewed the countries and decided on China mostly because of the stability and reliability of their program. The paperwork involved in international adoption is mind numbing! I embarked on a 3 month process to put every relevant detail of our lives into a huge dossier to send to China. This involved full physicals and blood tests, police background checks, financial statements, fingerprints for the state dept., etc. I really never knew before how complicated this process was.

As the dossier was nearing completion and there was nothing more left for me to ‘do’, I began to read obsessively about international adoption and specifically China adoption. I read every blog that I could find and I realized that while the current wait for referral was 14-18 months they were predicting that it would get longer. One day I stumbled onto a site that said for those just beginning the process, the wait for referral would most likely be 5 to 6 years! After hearing that I couldn’t stop thinking about it….could it really take that long? Shortly after that Doug and I went out to dinner one night and I out of the blue I said to him. "We talked about adopting more than one child, right? What if we ask our agency if we can start a 2nd adoption now…from Vietnam?" He agreed with me, our agency agreed, and I quickly started compiling our 2nd dossier! I now know that that thought didn't come from 'out of the blue', that is was God's way of leading us to our daughter. Vietnam was a program we had originally talked about, but the process was not as structured and we knew that there could be a lot of changes along the way. This was very scary and why we had avoided it at first. Our agency had urged us to consider Vietnam (they have 3 daughters from Vietnam) and had a heart for that country. So again we felt that God was working to make sure we were on the right path. Once our Vietnam dossier was complete all we had left to do was wait...

And wait, and wait. Wow...this was the most excruciating part of the entire adoption process. There are just so many unknowns and it was a very stressful time for us (me in particular). I had stress on a level that I had never before experiences. I had heart palpitations and other classic symptoms of anxiety. I would pray and pray and try not to be anxious, but I couldn't seem to overcome it. I eventually had a mild case of shingles brought on by stress and I decided I needed to just calm down, but that was easy to say and hard to do! I convinced myself that once we had our referral I would finally be able to relax. Oh how funny that sounds to me now.

On March 15th we got our referral for a beautiful 6 month old baby girl. Her pictures were amazing…she had the biggest dimples and looked so happy and healthy. I couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms. Of course once I had those pictures my anxiety kicked into overdrive...there was not relaxing! I prayed for her daily and constantly she healthy, does she have enough to eat, and is someone holding her when she cries?! I continually worried for her and I knew that I would never really relax until I held her in my arms.

After almost 3 more months of waiting we finally got our travel approval on June 6th, then the very next week (June 13th) we were on a plane on our way to Hanoi. We finally held our baby girl on June 15th, 2008 which just happened to be Father’s Day…so that was really special for Doug. We had our adoption ceremony the next morning and Ana Kate was officially ours!

Looking back on our adoption I would have to say that year of waiting was one of the most difficult times in my life. But every minute was more than worth it because Ana Kate has been one of the biggest blessings in our lives! She is an amazing girl with an amazing spirit and I thank God for leading us to her! To close here is a poem that I found regarding adoption and it just seems to fit so perfectly:


I didn't give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.

For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you
The gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.

--- Unknown
So there it is...very long, but our wonderful, amazing adoption story.

Now back to the rest of our day... : ) Ana Kate did take a nap because I woke her up at 8 this morning, so hopefully she'll go to bed at a decent time just never know with her. Her stomach issues appear to be getting better, so hopefully she will be back to normal soon.  It is raining today and not as warm as yesterday, so we weren't able to play outside. On top of that shortly after Ana Kate woke up from her nap I started feeling very sick to my stomach and soon had a fever.  I think I may be coming down with the stomach flu, or maybe it's food poisening...not really sure, but it came on so quickly.  I layed on the couch most of the afternoon and night and if I hadn't composed most of this post earlier in the day I would probably only be posting a picture.  That being said, I took a few pictures with flash from the couch...nothing special, but they document part of my girl's day!  Hoping to feel much better tomorrow, now I am heading to bed!


Stickhorsecowgirls said...

This is one beautiful little girl! Loved reading your story. I love your heart. C