Thursday, July 24, 2014

Finding Peace and Moving Forward


The door and blinds have both stayed shut, I have tried to forget it exists in my home, but I bet I walk by that room 50 times a day.  I haven't been in there  since just after we heard the news.  We had spent hours painting, placing and re-arranging furniture, cleaning, and transforming this used-to-be office into a beautiful nursery. Today would have been her due date, so last night I decided it was time and I just needed to face the reality. 

There it was: the pink glider in one corner, and a cherry blossom tree in another, a perfectly white crib with the prettiest pink and tan damask bedding I have ever seen, still in it's packaging, baby books, stuffed animals, blankets, little outfits already washed and folded... all ready to go... just no baby.  I went in, shut the door behind me, sat in the floor and began to pray and to reflect.  It felt so good, so peaceful, such a relief from the heartache I thought I would find within those four walls. 

I think I have felt every emotion possible about the situation but just being in the nursery made me feel better and even excited again. It reminded me that there is a purpose for our journey, God knows the plans He has for us and therefore we don't have to worry. He has chosen us for adoption, there is a reason for all of this, we just have to stand strong in our faith and watch our future unfold. This room is where our hopes and dreams will one day come true and it will not be empty forever.


 It is all in His timing and it is all good with my soul!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Speechless..

Oh how I dread sharing bad news, but my heart aches today as we finally heard from our adoption agency's attorney that they have in fact filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after closing a few weeks ago. We were told that there were few funds remaining to be returned to the waiting families. Not sure what the next step will be for us as they had half ($15000) of our entire adoption savings and now it is just gone. Trying to keep the faith that this is all meant to be and praying for guidance. 

We are going to have phone conference with our social worker next week to see what our best options are to be able to move forward with adoption.  We have come too far to give up hope.  We know that our story has a happy ending. 
 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Agency Closing

We received this email today from our agency:


Families,

It is with a heavy heart that we write this email with bad news.  Effective immediately, One World Adoption Services will be closing its doors.

We would like to provide you background on our closure.  The Council on Accreditation (COA) has decided to suspend One World Adoption Services’ Hague Accreditation based on alleged complaints made approximately 3-4 years ago, from a Non-Convention (i.e., Non – Hague) country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.  While we believe that the allegations in the complaints are without any basis, the COA found otherwise. We are sure many of you have heard about many of the problems plaguing the Congo. In fact, it appears that most agencies have stopped their adoption programs in the Congo based on that country’s problems.  As of today, the Congo has suspended adoptions as they revamp their adoption laws.  Although we had reached the point where we were no longer conducting adoptions in the Congo, the COA insisted on coming after us for the outdated complaints.  We have attached a letter which will explain the background of the cases, the results, what OWAS did to respond, and the outcome.  

One World Adoption Services did everything it could to fight this, however, despite the fact that this will effect multiple families that have nothing to do with these older cases, as well as more than 120 children, OWAS has no other choice but to cease its business as a result of COA’s actions.  COA has been advised about the number of children, adoptions, and families that this will effect, but COA refused to change its position despite the Federal Judge’s statements on the record encouraging COA not to take this path.

We will be sending a letter in the next few days referring you to an appropriate agency who can continue your case. We have spoken to several Hague Accredited Agencies that will accept the transfer of cases in process. Of course, you have the right to choose to use any agency that is Hague Accredited.  We will need to know to which agency to transfer your case by June 30, 2014. If we do not hear from you by that date, your case will be transferred to a Hague Accredited agency and you will be promptly notified.

If money is owed to you, you will receive an email over the next few days concerning the financial aspect of your case, and next steps for that.  OWAS knows that many of you will have concerns, and they will be addressed as promptly as possible.

Sincerely,
One World Adoption Services

  

 We aren't sure what this means for us yet, so please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. 


Friday, June 20, 2014

HOMESTUDY APPROVED :)

We are homestudy approved!!  What a lengthy process this has been, but we are so glad to have this milestone under our belt.  We are ready to be matched!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Back to the waiting game.



Nicole and I had shared many text over the course of the last few weeks, getting to know one another and sharing our hopes and dreams for the baby.  We had decided together that a 3D ultrasound would be a neat thing to have for both of us.  I called and scheduled one as soon as I could. I sent Nicole a text on Friday to let her know what time and give her the address, she said she couldn't wait!

We had scheduled it for yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), I hadn't spoken to Nicole since last Friday, but knew she had all of the information about the appointment.  We were so excited to see her again and get to see our new baby growing and moving around. We arrived at the ultrasound clinic on time and checked in but Nicole wasn't there yet, so we waited...and waited...and waited.  By this time it was 30 minutes past, so I called our agency.  They let me know that they had just heard from Nicole and she was having second thoughts... my heart just sank.  The tears just rolled down my face as we made the hour car ride home.  My worst fear was coming true.

So we are back to the waiting game, just waiting for our agency to match us with another little angel.  We know that this is God's plan and we are just waiting to see what is next for us.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Our Dream Come True

"For this child we have prayed, and the Lord has granted us the desires of our hearts" 1Samuel 1:27


It's official, we have been matched with a baby girl due July 24th! We are so blessed, God is so good!


Last Wednesday, while at work, I happened to see a facebook post from our agency stating:

OWAS Domestic Program is in need of a homestudy ready family in GEORGIA, for a Caucasian baby girl due in July. Families must be married, no other children and open to sending pictures and updates to the birth family. Interested families can EMAIL their profiles and homestudies to jessica@oneworldadoptions.org
 
I knew we weren't homestudy approved yet, and didn't even know how to begin a family profile, but thought to myself... why not?  So I sent them an email.  I heard back Thursday evening, as we were scrambling to pick up and deliver the yard sale donations (which was a great success!).  The agency sent me over guidelines to complete our profile and said that since they were writing our homestudy for us we could finalize that afterwards if we were matched.  They were meeting with the birth mom the next morning (Friday) at 10:30am and needed the profile completed to present it to her with the other profiles.  So Steven and I worked on the profile all night, I finally finished at 5:30 Friday morning.  I sent everything over and said a little prayer.  At 12:24pm on Friday I received a call, the birthmom, Nicole, wanted to meet us in person!  My heart stopped!  We shared the news with our close friends and family and were on pins and needles all weeekend.

We met with Nicole on Monday afternoon at 1pm, we were very nervous.  She was so sweet and positive about her adoption plan.  We clicked really well and ended up talking for almost 3 hours!  

We received the official call on Tuesday at 11:45am, and we are matched!!!
 
We are in shock, this all happening so fast, but we couldn't be more excited!!  There so much to do to finalize our paperwork and raise the remainder of our funds.  And we get to start putting together our nursery!!  This is truly a blessing, a dream come true! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Moving Right Along


Things are all coming together :) We met with our social worker on Monday of this week and turned in our finished packet of paperwork.  Our social worker is fantastic!  She is very informative and knowledgeable.  We completed our couples interview and our home safety check this week.  We have to wait for our FBI reports to come back, we have to have our septic inspection, and we are meeting for our individual interviews at the end of this month.  Once that is all complete, we will be homestudy approved and ready for the matching process to begin!!! 


Our goal is to have one event a month to benefit our adoption.  Last month I had the baby blankets and that was a HUGE success!  I have received 36 orders and I'm still getting more in every week.  I am working everyday to fulfill these orders but can only make about 2 a night after work so it's taking me a little longer than I expected.  But it is so much fun and they blankets are so cute!

This month's event:  yard sale!  We are having our first yard sale for our adoption fund this weekend and we are hoping that the weather cooperates with us for that.  We have been so blessed by friends, family, and strangers that have donated TONS of items for this event. Here's the information if you would like to stop by and see us:

HUGE Yard Sale to benefit the Garner Adoption
When: Friday April 4th and Saturday April 5th
Time: 8 am - 2 pm
Where: 1065 Delmont Terrace Roswell, GA 30075
What: Adult & Children's Clothes, Electronics, Jewelry, Furniture, Books, Toys, Housewares, Decor, and MORE!
Call 770-853-4717 or 770-856-8868 for more information or directions
Cash, Paypal, and Credit Cards accepted!

 Also....
 Stay tuned to our Fundraising page for our T-SHIRT pre-orders coming up in a week or two!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March updates :)

We have been so caught up in paperwork and our checklist that I haven't updated this blog in a month!  Things are moving right along just as planned.  We had the opportunity to speak to our social worker (that we will hopefully meet in person soon) and she is wonderful!!  It really helps out to know you have someone there to support you and answer all of your questions during this lengthy homestudy process. We are about half way through our to-do list and should have our first meeting with our social worker in a few weeks. Once we complete the homestudy process, we can move on to begin matching us with a birthmom!!! Ahhh... It brings tears to my eyes just typing those words.

We are also excited about how well our fundraising/fundraiser planning is going!  Check out the fundraising tab on this page for details and updates.  In less than a month I have received 20 orders for the baby blankets!! I'm thinking the sewing machine and I are becoming great friends!  We are in the works of planning our yard sale for April 5th.  This just happens to be our 5th wedding anniversary, and what a great way to spend it! We are also designing a t-shirt, planning a photographer fundraiser, and a fundraising day at Mickey's Hotdogs in Buford (the restaurant that Steven's parents used to own). 

Thank you all for your continued support and love! Talk to you soon!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Let the paperwork begin :)

We are approved and officially have our Adoption Agency!  


This is such a milestone in the process and I feel like it's really happening now.  We still have a long road ahead but we are moving right along :)

Next Steps for us:
- Complete Homestudy Contracts (already in progress)
- Mail in Homestudy Contracts
- Submit first Homestudy Payment ($1000)
- Plan our FUNdraisers!  We have so many exciting ideas
- Research Adoption Grants

Once these items are completed, we will be assigned our social worker and will begin our Homestudy process.  I've heard lots of mixed reviews on the Homestudy, some say it's as simple as completing a check list and other say it's brutally painful.  We'll see how ours goes, but I think we'll be OK. 

After talking to our agency about our adoption, it looks like our adoption expense will be somewhere between $20,000-$25,000+/-, this does not include our travel fees, legal fees, birthmother expenses, or post placement fees.  To better prepare for these expenses, we have opened a special account at our bank for our adoption fund.  The folks at our bank were so kind and even gave us a piggy bank to start filling up for the baby fund!  (We are really hoping for a great year in real estate)




We are excited to be able to incorporate some great people and great ideas into our fundraising planning.  I will fill you in on those ideas as we go along and if you have ideas you would like to share, please feel free!  So far we are planning to organize a huge yard sale and do a t-shirt fundraiser.

We have set up a "Baby Garner Fund" donation site for anyone that is interested in supporting our journey, it is a fee free site and goes straight to the baby fund.  It can be found here:
http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/garner-party-of-3-adoption-fund/130587



Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Application is in!

Wow!  I am amazed at how much there is to know about adoption and how much we have already learned by attending the four adoption seminars this past month!  After carefully considering each of the four agencies/consultants, we have made our decision to apply for adoption through ...




 You can read all about the agency here: www.oneworldadoptions.org 

One World is a local agency in Sugar Hill. Steven actually used to deliver their mail!  We feel that this agency fits our needs, desires, and adoption goals perfectly.  We have completed our application for domestic infant adoption and submitted our application fee.  We should know if we are approved by their agency within 72 hours, so I'm hoping we will know by Friday :)  We are so excited to have officially started the process! 


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

1...2...3...GO!

Wow! This has already been such a learning process, there is so much about adoption that we had no idea about.  One thing we already knew before and know now more that ever is that we have some of the best and most supportive friends and family anyone could ever imagine.  So many of you have put us in contact with your network of friends, co-workers, and relatives that have successfully adopted in the past.  That gives us so much hope! We love all of the success stories and advice from those who have been in our shoes! 

So far we have 3 appointments set up with adoption agencies, I have included the links below so you can learn more about each company and the programs that they offer:
  1. January 16th - Bethany Christian Services  http://www.bethany.org/main/infant-adoption
  2. January 18th - One World Adoption http://www.oneworldadoptions.org/adoption/domestic-adoption-program/
  3. January 25th - Adoption Information Services, Inc. http://www.adoptioninfosvcs.com/index.html 
There is one other agency we are considering, but the closest seminar they are offering is in Orlando, FL on Feb 8th. American Adoptions http://www.americanadoptions.com/adopt/articles/cId/56

Hopefully in my next update, we will have our plan together and God will begin leading us down the path He has chosen for us! Until then all we can do is ....



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

video

We are so excited to have shared our news with you all today!