Archive for November 2009

Your adoption questions, My answers

Monday, November 30, 2009

First of all, thank you to those of you who asked questions and took an interest to our adoption story. Its great to hear so many of you considering adoption!

I also want to start off by saying that this is OUR story, experience and opinions, every one's is different and there are no two stories alike! You should also know that we chose to adopt domestically (meaning in the states) and International or Foster Care adoption is a completely different ball game.

So lets get started. (There were a few duplicate questions so I paraphrased a few of them)

What agency did you go through?

We went through Bethany Christian Services...they have an office close by and we were very pleased with them as an agency and what they do to bring awareness to adoption.

Do you have a closed or open adoption?
We have an open adoption with Grayden's birth mother and a semi-open adoption with his birth father (meaning we have never met each other (his choice), but know a lot about each other and have seen pictures, etc)


Why did you choose to go the route you did?
We chose to have an open adoption for many reasons, we wanted Grayden to know his birth family and never want to hide any details from him. We wanted to be able to share with him how much his birth family loved him enough to choose life and adoption for him!

Our agency strongly encourages open adoption as well.

It has allowed us to better know the birth family and connect with them easier.


From the beginning to the end how much money was adopting your little boy?

We are choosing not to give you an exact figure on how much our adoption cost mainly because every agency and situation is different in terms of cost. And to be honest I am not really sure what is has all added up to be.

Domestic is more affordable than International in most cases but more expensive that foster to adopt programs. Our agency based its fees on the adoptive couples yearly income. It is expensive, but we'd pay any amount of money for our little blessing. I will say that it was between the $15-25,000 range.



Will you adopt again in the future?
I hope so! We are waiting and praying for the right timing of it all.


I have always heard that adoption is so expensive! Is it very expensive?
Yes, but I want to say again it was worth every penny and more.

My husband and I may adopt and would like to know if there are any programs out there that help pay for the process?

YES! There are numerous grants available to help people with some of the adoption costs, as well as loan programs and a Federal Adoption Tax Credit and in some states a State Adoption Tax Credit.

How did your adoption go through so quick (start to finish)? I've heard stories of couples who go through the process only to be agonized by the wait, which some say can take years...?

It did go quick, we started our home study in November of 2008, went active with the agency (meaning our profile could be shown to expectant mothers) on Dec 23, 2008 and we were matched on March 5 2009.


(the night we got "the call")


How did it go so quick? Lots of prayers! The wait can be agonizing, it was really hard to leave it in God's hands and have faith that His timing would be perfect but we did our best and are so thankful our adoption did go so fast!


What is the thing that surprised you he most about adopting?

There were lots of things that surprised me, but what surprised me the most is how much I would love a baby that I didn't carry in my belly for 9 month and give birth too and who wouldn't share my DNA. I knew I would love any baby God blessed us with but never did I expect just how much I love him! And how none of that stuff matters anymore AT ALL. I love Grayden more than words can express.


Did you ever consider adopting from another country besides the states?

Not really. We don't qualify to adopt from many other countries at this point so we just went right to domestic.

Was it a very invasive process? One of my daughter's classmates was adopted from China, and her mom said they had to fill out approx 20pages of info about themselves.

Yes, paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. The home study consisted of a 35 question self study for both Robb and I to answer, fingerprinting, physicals, individual interviews, compined interview, a home inspection, and friends referrals.


Was Grayden born in Michigan or did you need to travel to another state?
Yes he was born in Michigan

Did his birth mother choose you, or did the agency?
His birth mother chose us. She saw our profile online and then requested to see our profile book we made along with a few other couples. She decided she wanted us to be the parents in her 7th month of pregnancy.


My husband and I have just started looking into adoption to expand our family.....any advice for me?
Hmm, my advice is DO IT :) And guard your heart, it really is an emotional process full of ups and downs. I say to people all the time that "adoption is not for the faint of heart." You have to be strong!

What arrangements to you have with the birth mom as far as contact?
We email her with pictures quite often, once or twice a week. And so far have had 3 visits with her since he's been born and another one in the planning stages for next weekend.

How involved were you with her before he was born?
We emailed a few times a week and she'd let us know how she was doing and how her appointments were going, we discussed names and really just spent those couple months getting to know each other better.


Did you bring Grayden home from the hospital or did he have to go to foster care for a while?
Yes, we brought him right home from the hospital.





How often do you get told that Grayden looks like Robb? (Because right now, at least, he totally does! I think their resemblance is so special :))
A lot!! I personally don't see the resemblance (other than the fact that they're both super handsome) but we do hear it a lot. No matter who he looks like we think he's a perfect fit for our family!


Do you have a separate blog about your adoption?
Yes, I updated it a lot while we were going through the adoption process just to keep track of things that were happening and where we were in the process but I don't update it much anymore. I had been writing all his monthly posts over there but you may have noticed I have been switching them to this blog. Currently I only post over there when we have visits with his birth mom. I have chosen to keep it private, for the privacy of his birth family.


What are your plans for telling Grayden about his adoption?
that's a great question. We already tell Grayden about his adoption. I just randomly bring it up, we know he doesn't understand yet but that way we think it will just come naturally to talk about his whole life long.

We didn't want to hide his adoption from him until a certain age or something and then sit him down one night and tell him his background, that just seems so movie-ish . I think it would be awkward had my parents sat me down on my 13th birthday and told me I was adopted.

So we have already begun to tell him about his birth mom and I pray for her with him and we read him children's books about adoption. It just works for us!

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Thanksgiving Pictures







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He *IS* Good

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Thanksgiving Day.

I don't know how to begin to write this post. I try to put into words what my own mind can't even grasp. But I'll try.

My heart has never been so full of joy and thankfulness to God for the great things he has blessed me with. There is not day that goes by that I don't thank God for the revelation he has done in my life; and likewise there is not a day that goes by where I don't remember where we've been and the heartache that went along with it.

It's so easy to give thanks today because of where we are now, and what we have now

but its still so hard to give thanks for where we've been and what we've lost in the process. Friends, I pray that giving thanks comes easily for you today but I know that for many of you its so hard. My prayer for you today, Thanksgiving Day, and always is that you remember God loves you and he has promised to "never leave you nor forsake you". He is good.

Psalm 118
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.


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Philips, Craig and Dean Concert

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Friday night we were invited by a local radio station to see Philips, Craig and Dean in concert!


We've been spoiled lately but I think that was the last of the concerts for awhile!

P.S Thank you for your prayers for my family and my Grandma the past few days, she seems to be doing better the last couple days!! We really appreciate your care and concern!

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Double Trouble

Tuesday, November 24, 2009









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Adoption Questions?

Saturday, November 21, 2009


In honor of National Adoption day today I thought I would offer you readers a chance to ask me any questions you may have about Grayden's adoption or domestic adoption in general. I'll give you a couple days to leave your questions in the comment area (or you can always email me too) and I will do my best to answer them sometime next week!

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Pray for Grandma W

Friday, November 20, 2009


My Grandma W moved into the Hospice House this past week. She fell a few weeks back and fractured her tailbone, since then things have all gone downhill, she has been in and out of the nursing home, therapy center and the hospital many times in the past 4 weeks. We pray for her comfort as we wait for God's will in her life. Her 90 years! here on Earth may be nearing its end, but we know she has many loved ones waiting for her in Heaven and whenever God calls her home she will be pain free and healed.

We appreciate the prayers for my Grandma and our family in this difficult time.

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Happy 4th Birthday Pacey

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Pacey Valentino~ 4 years old


The sad thing is that Robb had to remind me of this occasion this evening around 5:30...in years past I would NEVER have forgotten such an important day in our furbaby's life...funny how quickly things change when a baby comes into the picture :) Don't get me wrong, we still love Pacey more than anyone should love a dog but he has been put on the back burner since Grayden came into our lives and took over this house :)

Happy 4th Birthday Pacey Boy.

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i need help

from you....
does anyone know why all the stuff on my sidebar moved to the very bottom of my blog page? And how do I put it back?

I went to my layout tab and everything is right where it should be on there....weird.

If anyone knows how to fix this, let me know!
Thanks :)


ETA~ Ok, we're all set now!! Thanks!

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wordless wednesday

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

*thank you so much Holly, this is so special*

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Gorgeous Saturday in November

Monday, November 16, 2009

We had such gorgeous weather here in West Michigan on Saturday, it was in the high 60's and we enjoyed it thoroughly!
Robb and my dad spent part of the afternoon hanging Grayden's new baby swing up high in the tree and I stayed put on the ground taking pictures where it was safe! Our trees are so big they didn't have any low branches so up, up, up it went!


We weren't planning on hanging it until the Spring but the weather was just too nice to stay inside all day. And he LOVED it! I foresee many hours spent pushing him in that swing in the near future.



I also made some more baby food for Grayden on Saturday, this time on the menu was carrots, pears and bananas!

After that we were off to Qdoba for dinner and came back home to give Grayden a bath and then Robb and I settled in front of the computer to catch up on 'FlashForward'!
I could handle a few more weekends as nice as this one for a couple more weeks until the snow falls!

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Selah/Avalon Concert Pictures

Saturday, November 14, 2009





They were SO good!~
We got great seats and we were so blessed by the music!
What a great night!

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Grayden Robert, you are 6 months old!

Thursday, November 12, 2009



Grayden~ I can't believe you are half a year old already, what a big boy you are!

Mommy and Daddy love you so much, you have brought SO much joy to our lives! We are so thankful to your birth parents and to God for choosing us to be your parents, we hope and pray that we are doing a good job! These past 6 months have been the best times of our lives!




Here's what you have been up to this month:

You eat 4 6-oz bottles and 8 oz before bed. You also have oatmeal in the morning and rice cereal at night. And you've been trying some veggies and fruits like green beans, peas, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, and applesauce. So far you seem to love peas and bananas the most!


You're sleeping habits continue to seek improvement! You wake up a lot and we are not sure why but last night you slept 9 hours straight and then woke up for a bottle and slept another 3 hours so maybe you are starting to get back on track like you were 2 months ago, fingers crossed :)
You weigh 18 lbs 6 oz and 27" long....you've moved up into the 75th %ile!
You wear mostly 3-6 months clothes
You are in size 2-3 diapers.

You are developing so much physically, you are putting yourself into the seated position, pulling yourself up to stand, and just recently mastered the army crawl/forward scootch! You can slowly get anywhere you want.




video


You had your first sleepover by grandma and grandpa r's house so mommy and daddy could get a full nights sleep!

You had your first cold, you were pretty sick for about 5 days and had a fever, cough and runny nose. Not fun!
You went to grandma and grandpa l's cottage up north for the first time and we had so much fun there!

You had lots of pictures taken this past month, Grandpa R's side of the family all got together for a family picture and we had our picture taken with Mommy's side and had our immediate family pictures taken! Good thing you are so photogenic!




You started sitting in the high chairs are restaurants instead of staying in your car seat! This makes you seem like such a big boy to me!

video
This iAlign Lefts what you did the whole time during dinner Tuesday night at Logan's.....you'd arch your back so that you could watch everybody as they walked by you!
You dressed up for your first Halloween!


You love to give kisses.


You love books and love to be read to!



You love to just sit and play for hours!

video
You went to your first concert tonight, Selah and Avalon

We can't wait to see what you'll be up to next!! Love you tootie ;) ( I promise I'll stop calling you that by the time you are in Kindergarten!)
~Mommy and Daddy

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Selah Tonight!

First of all, Grayden turns 6 months old today!! I can't believe it. So, to celebrate we are going to the Selah/Avalon concert tonight! I am so excited, I love both those groups, but I am looking forward to seeing Selah the most, I've seen Avalon in concert a few times before including once last summer. I bought there new CD the day it came out and I now know EVERY single word to every song. In fact when I hear the ending of any of their new songs on the radio I start to sing the beginning of the song that comes after it on the CD! Ha!
Have any of you been to any of there concerts? Are they as good as I think it will be?

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{family}

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A couple weeks ago we spent a gorgeous fall afternoon having our family pictures taken. It was so much fun and Val did a great job capturing Grayden's personality. I just love them all and had the hardest time picking which ones to order!

Click here to go to Val's site and check out a few of our favorites.

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Amazing Race

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our neighbors, Jim and Sarah, invited us to be a part of their 'Amazing Race' party a few weekends ago. It was a blast. We raced all around town participating in detours, road blocks and trivia tasks!

Robb rocked the obstacle course at the Aquatic Center and we ran around downtown (Robb was still wearing his swim shorts at the time) trying to sell dead flower bouquets to strangers for $1. Our teammate bobbed for apples in a toilet bowl filled with Mt. Dew (eww!) and we had to feed 5 baby calves and make a fire. It was intense! We came in second to last place but had a GREAT time racing!

Here are some pics of our adventure!














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