Friday, October 31, 2014

EXPERIENCE MATTERS- Christian Adoption Consultants DISCOUNT!!

 Who can you trust with your adoption journey?  How do you choose where to turn?
 Someone with at least some experience?  Definite yes because EXPERIENCE MATTERS.
 That is the great part about signing on with us through Christian Adoption Consultants!

When you sign on with us as consultants you are getting a family that has experienced every aspect of adoption several times.  We know how it feels to wait to be matched.  How it feels to pace the floor waiting to hear back if a birth mother has picked you.  We understand the extra cleaning and nesting that happens as you spend those endless hours checking your phone a million times because you know maybe you didn't hear the ring (even though you set the ring tone on the highest setting and the phone has never left your hand).  
 We understand the journey that is tough when you are trying to get work done and yet these dreamy thoughts of your next child pops into your brain and distracts you.  We understand loss- the loss of being able to have biological children.  The loss of a child as we have had a failed adoption (both of ours were international) and the loss of a child that went to be with Jesus before you could hold them in your arms. 
 We also know the sheer joy that comes with the call that you have been chosen for a child!  The call that your child is being born!  The joy that comes when you walk into the room and there they are! The call that the paperwork is signed and your child is legally yours!  The court date of finalization where you get to testify that YES you want this child and they will be forever yours and now carry your last name! 
When you hire a consultant you are hiring someone who will connect you with several agencies and answer your questions along the way.  You are hiring someone who looks forward to every step anticipating they way you will feel because they too have felt those same emotions.  You are saying I am trusting my journey to someone who has the experience.

That is a lot of trust and we don't take that lightly.  We feel confident in sharing in your adoption journey because we have done this 9 times for our own family as well as for the many many families we have been able to walk through this experience with already.

I had one of my clients tell me the other day you are always so happy to answer questions and share your joy over our steps along the way.  It's true this is not a job- It is our passion!

Let us share our passion and extensive knowledge with you on your adoption journey!

Now is the time to start as we have a 10% DISCOUNT now through November 7th!  So let me answer your adoption questions today and help you on your journey to adoption! 
CALL 813-360-7368

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why I became a Christian Adoption Consultant.

 Everyone has reasons for what happens in their lives.  Reasons we start to do something.  Reasons we step out in faith.  Reasons we change jobs or move.  Our reasons for working for Christian Adoption Consultants are many!   
 One is that when we found out about Christian Adoption Consultants we were in the midst of a failed international adoption.  We couldn't do foster care because "we had too many children", and we were doubtful that with 7 children we could even do a domestic adoption.  We were heartbroken, devastated, and felt like we had no hope of adopting again.

Until we found out about Christian Adoption Consultants through a blog I had read.  The family I was reading about had just adopted their 10th child through Christian Adoption Consultants so I immediately called and asked how they did that which led us to call CAC right away!
At the time were Christian Camp Directors and had a busy retreat planned for that weekend so very little time to talk about it.  That Monday however we started working with Christian Adoption Consultants.  Let's just say we had a whirlwind experience that led us to our baby girl and by the end of the week she was in our arms and ours!!!
 This is not a typical story, but it is ours and we were thankful!  We loved that even as a "larger" family (at the time remember we had 7 kiddos) that there was someone out there that would work with us, and welcome us to work with them.  They showed us through the entire process!  We didn't have to feel overwhelmed with how do you know you are working with a good agency?  Will we have to wait years to get matched?  How do I know what questions to ask?  All of that and so much more was answered by working with Christian Adoption Consultants
 It's not hard to see that this sweetheart changed our lives again!  Then of course we brought home 2 years later her "older" sibling.  Of course they are only a month apart.  Michael brought a new dimension to our family that we were thrilled about.  Michael came home to us through Christian Adoption Consultants Special Needs Program. 
 So why did we become Christian Adoption Consultants?  Easy!  When you have had 2 great experiences with people who know what they are doing and wonderful to work with you want to be a part of that! 
 So here is our Top 10 reasons:

1) We love helping families through the adoption process.  Seeing their faith as they wait for their little ones to arrive and then seeing them grow as a family.  It is very rewarding!

2)  Getting to pray for our clients and their families is a wonderful thing.  Drawing closer to God through being on your knees for other families is great!

3)  Encouraging others on this journey.  Having been on many adoption journeys ourselves as well as reading and watching others is something that we feel we can do.  It isn't easy and we remember and know those feelings well.  So being there to just encourage and root for our families as they show their profiles is rewarding.
 4)  Sharing the ups and downs of adoption.  You see it isn't just a journey for a little while until our clients are matched.  I love keeping up with our clients and being there for all of the ups and downs.  There are sometimes when it gets hard.  That baby you prayed for, for months is awake all night every night.  You have added another child and now juggling everything is a little tougher than you thought.

Oh and the joys of seeing them roll over, take a first step, meet siblings, and the millions of steps towards going to school, those adorable costumes this time of year, opening Christmas gifts, and many many more great memories! 

5)  The privilege of praying for the many birth families.  This is dear to my heart as we have birth families of our own we pray for, but each child represents their birth families as well.  Those who made a huge unconditional gift of life!

6)  Working to share our adoption knowledge!  We have fostered, adopted through foster care,  sibling groups, older children, at birth, different skin colors, various alcohol and drug exposures, special needs, international adoption, regular domestic adoption......  We love sharing our hearts with people about all of the above.  Sometimes people just want to know that someone understands their questions.  I have never worried about sharing what we know with people.  Clients have many times said I am not sure how to ask ........  We are a safe place to ask any and all questions regarding adoption!  So ask away!
 7)  I am pretty sure I have the best job in the world, but what makes it even better is that the other consultants I work with are amazing!  We often converse with each other and are able to encourage and ask each other questions sharing important knowledge to pass on to our clients.  This just makes working with Christian Adoption Consultants even better!

8)  There is a real need for adoption!  I tell people all the time that although there are some programs that seem to take longer there is a real need for adoption domestically and internationally.  This was a myth I believed for years especially regarding domestic adoption.  It is not true and we have families getting matched all the time dispelling this very myth.  
9)  We get to live our passion!  Jason and I love adoption which may be obvious since we have adopted 9 children, but in all reality our children get to live it with us.  We get to share about our clients with our children when they get matched.  When the child is placed with them.  When I am on the phone searching for a family for a specific situation.

Listen getting to have your work be your passion is great and getting to see the joy on your children's faces because they get it too is even greater!

10)  We love it because Christian Adoption Consultants worked for us- twice!  It has been such a blessing to us that we want to share it with anyone who will listen.  We want everyone to know that domestic adoption, international adoption, and special needs adoption doesn't have to be scary.  It can be amazing and we can help!

Now for even more amazing news!  
Between October 29th- November 7th we are offering 
a 10% discount!!! 
(On the top 3 packages) 

So if you have questions now is the time to ask away!!!
Don't let the unknown keep you from adoption ask your questions now and we are happy to answer them for you!

CALL 813-360-7368

Monday, October 20, 2014

Letting Go of Perfect

 Today's pictures have nothing to do with the post, but are of our picnic with my mom and dad from our road trip vacation :).  This is what happens when you don't blog for a have many pics yet to use.  I love this first one as if my mom and Michael are having a conversation- ADORABLE!

So what happens to us when we wake up and realize our family that we prayed for, yearned to have, and strive to keep all our ducks in a row in order to build....and then you turn around one day and realize it is so far from perfect? 
 I think for us this has happened on numerous occasions.  There are plenty of times that we have gone through the process of "letting go of perfect".  Hey, let's be real there are times we have to let go of thinking we are even "just ok" in our family.   
 Don't get me wrong there is plenty of love in our family.  There is also plenty of grief and trauma (from us as well as our children).  There are plenty of times we just want what we want PLEASE - NOW!!!  There are times we have to walk through the mud and gunk of our children's past and present.  There are times I just want 10 minutes of peace and can't find it even in a closet with chocolate- although I highly encourage all moms to have it!! 
 There are times we feel we are in life's groove and have it all down pat. 

HA HA HA HA!!!!  That can be squashed in less than a millasecond! 
 There are days when we can laugh a lot in the midst of turmoil.  There are days when we love fiercely and set our minds on consistently trying to do the right things. 
 There are days we beg God to show us how to love in the face of hate that comes from our children's mouths, and days we fall on our faces before the Lord because sometimes this life asks everything of us with no reprieve. 
 There are days of JOY!!!  Days when we just almost feel like we have it all. 
 Followed by days we don't have anything - or so it seems. 
 But letting go of perfect is a practice we have to pursue because when we hold ourselves to a standard we can not achieve it only leads to disappointment, doubt, and resentment.  We ourselves can fall deep into despair.  We blame ourselves thinking if only we knew it was going to be hard we just would have ??  BUT we can't do that. 

Instead we have to dig deep and say - God I am not sure why I keep thinking that this will get easier with time.  Why can't I just stop being selfish, why can't I just stop my anger from taking over, why can't I just be a better parent, why can't my children just obey without a fight, why can't they see how much I love them.  
 That's when it hits me that our relationship with God is just as imperfect.  There are days I chase after God, days I spend my days in praise, and days I can't bring myself to come before His Throne.  I want to run away.  I refuse to put Him in my life as Lord.  I want to throw a tantrum and tell Him NO! 

Oh my how much adoption and parenting reflects the Lord's relationship with us.  Except HE IS PERFECT.  That is a pretty big difference and the reason we have to let go of perfect.
 So I read and reread other bloggers articles on letting go of anger, of how to connect more with my children, of how to be a better parent and spouse.  Then I have to set them aside and remember to die to self.  To let go of perfect. 
 I see the most perfect poses on FB (mine included)....and as I try to take them all in, I once again have to let go of perfect. 
 I see those that have what seems like the perfect family life, the best relatives that live close by, the wonderful relationships, the best ___________, and I have to set that aside, and let go of perfect. 
 I have to find the balance once again in my life of wanting to do better with my time, with my energies, and with my talents- and still letting go of perfect. 
 I have to examine the fact that I WILL FAIL- today, tomorrow, and next week with the fact that I am still alive and ticking.  Along with letting go of perfect. 
 So today may be a great day or one of your hardest.  It may be a huge step forward for you or the two steps back. 
I pray you know that God is not done with you, with me, with our children, with our neighbors, family and friends.  That God doesn't make junk and yes I am talking to myself here, but HE creates love and gives it freely.  That there is always hope because that is the whole reason Jesus came to Earth, shared with the disciples and people, why He chose to die on the cross, and rise again!

We all need healing in many different ways.  We all crave the touch of our Savior.  In order to attain this we have to let go of perfect and just simply seek HIM in ALL THINGS & IN ALL SITUATIONS!  

Here is to me reminding myself to let go of perfect :).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

When the grief of a birth mother hits you- an adoptive mom's perspective.

 You know over 13 years ago when we began doing foster care with our oldest sweetie- Abigail... no one told us a whole lot.  I mean we took the foster care classes and "adoption" through foster care classes - as they were back then.  They told us about the fact that children in foster care may have experienced some really not so nice things. 

They said they may only come with a few things from their biological parents home.  They told us about behaviors they may have.  They told us about foster care, how it works, what are the goals, and what the "steps" are in the process. 
 Of course I don't know if they really told us what to do about any of those behaviors, or how to help your child heal, or how to bond with your child.  Of course that is a whole other post. 
 BUT NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT GRIEF!!!  Specific to that of the birth mother.  No one explains that you are doing this because you care about the children, but that you will have a lot of emotional feelings for the birth family as well.  No one says it....or at least not out loud. 
 Clients I work with in domestic adoption say all the time, I don't know what kind of relationship I want to have with the birth family yet.  What do you think about that?  I know some of them are just not sure because it isn't something reading an article prepares you for.  It isn't something that you just know inherently.
 It is usually something that hits you!  RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES!  Somewhere between getting matched, or taking in a foster child....and the consents being signed, or the stinging words of the judge saying from now onward you have no say over anything having to do with this child, or maybe on the airplane ride home from another country. 

WHAT???  Wait a minute?  What about the woman who carried this child for 9 months?  What about the biological father who may or may not even know about this child?  What are they feeling?  How hard is all of this on them?   
 It is at those moments that you feel the weight of it all.  The heaviness of the situation.  The pain of loss. 
 Oh some of you and maybe even myself at times tell ourselves that the gain is great.  It is for us we get to be their parents and we love them more than life so of course it is a gain too. 

But you can't have great gain without great loss.  That loss of being known to the family that once held you tight.  The loss of a relationship that God created.  The pain and loss of sometimes circumstances beyond your control such as poverty, addiction, or feeling trapped in a relationship that is harmful.  Those situations are HARD! 

They are not situations that I have faced or even really know anything about.  Which can make it hard to know how or what to feel, but grief comes because of compassion.  Compassion for them, and for how hard those situations are.  For how hard that decision must be!!  Love for them in what they are facing right now. 
 The list of reasons birth families place their child into another's arms is long, sometimes it may not be their choice, but a judge has had to make that tough choice for them.  Each one a real struggle.  Something they wrestle with for a long time.  When that reality hits for you...what do you do with that?   
 Grieve!  Grieve about it!  Let your child know you are grieving.  Share with them about it.  Share with them about their losses, because I know for a fact our children feel those losses.  When you open up and become real with them it helps them and you heal.  Let those emotions be real and don't hide them away! 
 I truly believe that when we are real and open it helps us, the child/ren, and their birth family.  It says we care and we want to help you and your birth family. 
 It says even though I may be out of my comfort zone I will send those pictures and letters.  I want to write to you about how amazing this child that we have in common really is!!!  Even if we meet up- I am not "threatened" I am empowering myself, the birth family, and our child to heal.  I am saying that YOU - THE BIRTH FAMILY MATTERS TOO! 

What if the Body Of Christ worked together like this more often.  Then we get inspired!  We start sharing that even though there are hurts that God created us to work through those for the benefit of ALL.  What if we got on our knees and thanked the Lord for the special people in our lives and that included our children, family, and birth families?  How would that change our focus in adoption? 
 Trust me I am not saying it is easy!  I am not saying it is something that comes naturally.  I am saying when that grief hits you, and you respond in a way that is honoring and loving our world can change in ways no one can describe.  We start loving more like Jesus! 
 After all isn't love the whole reason we started the adoption process?  We just don't always expect the love to be for our children AND their birth family.  I can assure you that even if you have never met and may not ever get to meet them you can still have a love for them.  You can still pray for and rest assured that God carries that love to them.  
 In the past couple of years our vacations have been awesome!  Because we have had fun- yes, but also because we have chosen to visit some of our children's birth families.  Were we nervous - ummmm....YES!!!!  We were very nervous. 

Things many adoptive parents ask and sometimes what keeps them away from doing visits are questions like:  What if our children love them more?  What if they don't want to come home with us?  What if we don't seem "as good" in our children's eyes?  We can break down with those nerves. 
I can assure you that this hasn't happened at all.  What has happened is experiencing the huge smiles on our children's faces (even though some of them were nervous too), the smiles on their biological family's faces, and of course on our faces too!!!  The joy of a time of healing, of something very different than we expected.  The time to say- wow look at these wonderful children!!  Aren't they the greatest?  And having them in total agreement!  How can that be negative? 

Oh and don't worry because from every experience I have ever had with birth mothers I have worked with and our own- both families are always nervous!!!  Both sides feel judgement in different ways.  So know that you are in good company, and that sharing the love of your children doesn't make it smaller- it multiplys!!! 

***Today's pictures brought to you by swim time on vacation.  Note daddy is chasing the boys playing the gotcha game.  It is a long family tradition.  Oh and the JOY of seeing Michael learn how to swim!!!  It is amazing to watch him figure out breath control, coming up for air, and loving splashing away!!  :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why we just cut up our credit cards.

 IS HE THE CUTEST OR WHAT?  Ok I am a little biased ;), but seriously!!! 

OK so today I wanted to just put something out there.  Why we just cut up our credit cards.  :)
Some of you may have just gasped.  Some may be cheering us on.  Some may be rolling your eyes. 
 I can assure you that whichever reaction you have- I am totally fine with it.  No for real, I am not offended.  What I did want to do is explain why because it is important to us and for us as we explain it to our children. 
 You see we have been taking the Financial Peace University class - Dave Ramsey.  Our church has emphasized wanting everyone to take the class.....because imagine what a large group of believers who are getting debt free could do?  I mean think about it!!!  I have, and I LOVE IT!!! 
 So I have to say- we are debt free except our mortgage.  That is still debt- yes.  We are working on that.  So why did we take the class?  Because we wanted to learn more!  There are always things we can do better.  When we do better we can be "free" to follow what God has for us.  Believe me we have learned more!!!  It has been great.   
 So my credit card story starts with when I was in college.  I got a credit card when I was a senior doing my practice teaching.  I was completely responsible, although I know my mom just about had a heart attack over it.  She didn't need to fear because she did an amazing job at teaching us as we grew up about spending, saving, and giving.  I literally kept track of all purchases in my check book- so I always knew I had enough money to pay my card off every month.  I told myself I was making sure I had good credit. 
 When we got married we had a couple more credit cards, and got rid of some.  Again, we always paid it off- except 2 times.  Once when we miscalculated our expenses from a vacation we took.  It left a pit in my stomach I can not even describe!!!  Literally felt sick :(.  The second was a simple oversight....mistake....oooppppssss forgot the deadline.  UFFDA!!!! 
 We have happily enjoyed the benefits of credit cards without the bad parts, or so we thought.  We got Hilton points and enjoyed free stays, we got cash back, and more!!!
 So it comes back again- why did we chop up our credit cards??

Because Dave Ramsey was doing his teaching and explaining why we cut up credit cards.  Having fun because he is an extremely good speaker.  It occurred to us that our children have seen us use credit cards their whole life.  Sure we use cash- on rare occasions, but 90% of the time we use credit cards. 

So in our children's mind- we are constantly using debt to pay for things.  Now this is NOT to bash anyone at all!!!!!  Know my intentions are not that, but when I saw the Barbie doll that has a credit card going shopping with "mommy" who has a pretend credit card saying- "let's go shopping" (part of the video he does).  It hit me like a MACK TRUCK!  I don't want to leave that legacy to my children. 
 Proverbs 22:6-7 (NIV)
Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
The rich rule over the poor,
    and the borrower is slave to the lender.
 When he pointed out the scripture we typically know as a parenting scripture- start children off in the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. 

Then the NEXT VERSE says- The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. 

It hit us that we are slave to the lender.....even if we pay it off every month.  So why don't we use cash?  Sure we can say because we love the credit card benefits.  Maybe, but is going into debt- being a slave to the lender worth it? 
Romans 13:8 
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

So we decided to cut up the plastic!  I mean the thing is that even though we were getting benefits- we will more than earn those and then some because of the fact that when people use cash- they spend a LOT LESS.  Because we "feel" the money and cash has an emotion attached to it that credit cards just don't have.  They just have a swipe and a number that we are numb to.  Cash has a feeling as we count it out and hand it over.  The feeling of- how hard we worked to save that up in order to spend it.  It is emotional to do that, and therefore we typically think twice about our purchases on a whole different level. 
When we buy something online we will buy it with a debit card.  We know sometimes for work you can't get away with it.  We know that this is not for everyone and that is ok. 

What we are saying is that we were convicted.  We want to change our patterns and habits to do the best we can with what we have.  We truly believe that this is part of that journey for us.  I am pretty sure there are a million other lessons we need to learn.  ;)  Daily!