Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bliss.

Words cannot adequately describe how blissful the last 4 months have been. Tiring, yes. Frustrating at times, yes. But wow, the joy and thankfulness far exceeds those other things. I'm assuming since you are reading this, you are my friend or Jason's friend on Facebook. And if you are, your newsfeed is inundated daily with photos of basically the two cutest kids on the planet.

But, we hadn't updated in awhile and since Jason wrote the last post, I thought I would share my perspective of this whole whirlwind season in our life.

Being a mom rocks. Once we found out about the twins and that we had been chosen, I had to quit my job. Up until that point it was sort of a point of contention for Jason and I. I always expressed my desire to be a stay at home mom but financially it wasn't going to be an option for us. This was something that I had a really hard time with, thinking of bringing home a baby then having to leave them with a babysitter while I went to work (like every other mom, ever). But once we were chosen, it was really a non-issue anymore. It wasn't going to be possible for me to go back to work, and I was thrilled! :)

The first few weeks after bringing them home, I was a wreck. I am SO thankful that Jason's mom, Charolett, was here with us. I didn't know what to do with one baby! Much less, two preemie babies and one of whom wore a heart monitor 24/7. But, these two little nuggets were gracious from the get-go and eased me into motherhood nicely. It still feels strange sometimes. Even last night, I went upstairs after I had already put them into bed and heard their sound machine on. I stood in the doorway of their room, a room that up until 4 months ago had housed a guest bed and was waiting in anticipation for the day that our child would sleep there. And sometimes, it's still hard to believe that they are here and they are ours. For the first couple weeks, I kept wondering when we had give them back!

I can't lie and say that it's all been rainbows and lollipops. Some days are hard. Some days I don't get to shower. Sometimes, by the time Jason comes him from work, I can't remember if I have even peed that day. Some days, I am covered in spit up from head to toe. With all that said though, we were blessed with two of the most sweet natured, happy, fun babies!

Our relationship with their birth family is such a blessing to us. Their birth momma is just a really amazing young woman. We have seen them once since we brought them home and it went wonderfully! It was just like seeing family that we hadn't seen in awhile. We are looking forward to sharing with the kids as they get older just how wonderful their birth momma is.

I really can't believe that it's been 4 months. It's gone by so fast. Everyone told me it would and I suppose I really didn't believe them. It feels like they change everyday. They are wanting to move around so bad and I'm scared to say that they could be crawling soon! I'm really not ready for that!

Well. That's all I really have right now. I can't wait to start updating more once they start moving around and talking. That's when the real fun begins! :)

Love y'all!
Corey and Jason

Now, here are some pictures (as if you don't see enough on Facebook):
Little hams

They love each other!

Such a good daddy!

Big girl!






Monday, June 9, 2014

Where the waiting ended.

I told Corey that I would update our blog months ago… now seems like a pretty good time.

Adoption Story

We can agree that the entire course of our lives can be changed with a single phone call. These phones calls seem to have a way of coming at the most unexpected moments. We pray these phone calls carry good news and not crippling bad news. Monday, May 19th we received our phone call.

It was a perfect day to be outside. My mom had come to visit to help Corey and I prepare for our last home study visit on Tuesday, May 20th.  Corey was off at work at the preschool. I had just started mowing the lawn. My phone rang and I stopped the mower to answer a call from our good friend from church. She called to inform me that her friend since childhood had just called asking if she knew anyone that was adopting. She explained that there were twins that had just been born in Rockford and the birth mom has had a plan for adoption. I tried to keep my “cool” as I heard these words that would change our lives forever. I tried to sound “professional” to not get my hopes up. I mowed the rest of my lawn in tears as my mind raced towards the future of being the father of twins. It wasn’t long before I drove my tractor into the tree in my front yard. It was a humorous break from the heavy news I just received.

To speed up this story, I spent that afternoon trying to figure out if all of this was possible. Corey and I talked with our adoption consultant and our social worker. We made sure we got the birth mother our profile book that day. We prayed and spent the rest of the day waiting.

The next day our social worker from Bethany Christian Services called Corey on her way up for our home study. I was doing some work on the computer as I saw the tears begin on Corey’s face. Corey told me that the birth mom called the hospital social worker and said that she was choosing us. Crazy enough the hospital social worker is good friends with our social worker.

Our home study went great that Tuesday. We even had a much-needed door installed for our basement by Mr. Handyman at church. (Husband to the friend that called on Monday). We spent a little time during our home study discussing what would need to happen for this adoption process. Things were getting very exciting!

On Monday, May 26th we met with the birth mother and her aunt. This is an important part of the story. We want everyone to know how awesome, brave, and loving the birth mother is. She wants the absolute best for her children and loves them in a way only a mother can. Our first meeting with her was nothing short of perfect. It sort of felt like meeting family you didn’t know you had. Her aunt greeted us with hugs, smiles, and encouragement. She has been a blessing to Corey and I from the day we met her. We all talked for about 20 minutes and then we drove up to the NICU to see the twins.

Sometimes things happen so fast that you aren’t really sure how to process them. We were literally driving to see our children for the first time. It was a surreal moment. We walked into the NICU, held each baby, and cried. I am not sure what happened the rest of the day. I described that moment to Corey as if nothing in the world mattered while at the same time it all mattered very much.

We spent the rest of the week visiting the twins in the NICU. We held them, fed them, and changed them while the nurses gave us tips. On Wednesday of that week, our church wrote us a check from the donations people had given for our adoption costs. From all the unbelievably generous family members, friends, and local churches we had enough to cover our entire adoption costs the week we brought our children home. On Thursday of that week our adoption license had been finalized. On Friday of that week we brought our children home.

We met everyone at the hospital that Friday.  I can’t really accurately describe that day other than it was bittersweet. The birth mother met with the social worker and the babies, we met with the social worker, and finally we all met together in the room with the twins. We took pictures together and I had the opportunity to pray for everyone before the birth mother and her family left. These are not images that easily erase from your brain nor do I want them to. It was life in its most raw and real form. It was powerful and beautiful.

On Friday, May 30th, we brought home beautiful and healthy twins. Ezra Lee Payne and Eliza Renee Payne. The birth mother chose the middle names and they are such a perfect fit.

Why We Share Our Story
1    1. God is bigger than expectations. God is more powerful than I often recognize. Our story is nothing short of a miracle. We want people to stand with us in awe of our great God. We spent years struggling through infertility and praying for God to bless us with a child. We never expected our story to be this amazing. We went through our entire adoption process from the preliminary application to placement in 4 months! That does not happen. Our story is a testimony to the power of the local church. It is the power of God’s people showing love to one another. Our connection with the adoption agency, the adoption consultant, the birth mother, the financial resources, the prayers, and the encouragement all stem from the workings of the local church. God’s glorious redemptive plan for humanity is through the power of the local church. Corey and I experienced the power of the local church in a way that we had never seen. My hope is that our story encourages those that are far from God and strengthens those that are close to God. Our story is ultimately God’s story. It NEVER goes according to our plan and it ALWAYS is for His good. Adoption has a way of changing your life. We pray that our story would point to the life-changing message of Christ. The Gospel changes everything.
2    
      2. We also want people to know that our adoption story is incredibly rare. There are many loving couples that have waited far longer than us and have gone through more heartbreak than we care to live. We do not want to our story to become the comparison for future adoptions. My prayer is that we encourage more future adoptions and that the local church continues to support each scenario with the same love and compassion that we have received.

Something I Personally Learned
TRUST! You will often hear in adoption circles to “guard your heart.” Almost everything in the adoption process is out the hands of adoptive parents. An adoption process can end at any second and without warning. “Guarding your heart” helps adoptive parents to not get their hopes up in the case something goes wrong. I spent a lot of time trying to perfect this art of “guarding my heart” before I gave up during one of my morning times with God. I began to realize that this mindset is not really helpful or even Biblical. Ultimately what we are saying to God is, “I am going to guard my heart because I am afraid You are going to break it.” I was using a cop out to not trust God with the thing that I need to trust Him most in. Trust involves submission. I submit my heart to God, trusting that He can make my week great or He can break my heart. Regardless, my joy is found in Christ and not in the outcome of an adoption process. That is a gigantic pill to swallow.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I must not forget that my definition of “good” and God’s definition of “good” can be very different. I must remember that it is all for His purpose and not mine. All of this requires TRUST.

Shout Out
My Beautiful Wife- Her courage and love for Christ in all things is encouraging. I have never met a stronger woman. She is my best friend.
Our Family- For love and support when we needed it the most. My mom stayed with us for a month through this whole process. I am so thankful to have a mother that works so hard and loves her family with a fierce love.
Faith Community Church- It is an honor to serve at a church with people that represent the love of Christ. The support of our church leaves me speechless. I love it!
Tiffany and Jonathan- Words can’t express how much we love these guys. Our lives would not be the same without them.
Our Kentucky Church Family- They never stop loving us! Thank you!
Our Friends- We literally have the best friends on the planet. Thank you for supporting us in many ways.
Bethany Christian Services- We love this agency and their commitment to birth mothers. Our social worker from Bethany is amazing.
The birth mother and her family- You are strong, you are loving, and you are family.

- Jason  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Home Study and Home Sick.

Hey all!

Seems like it's been awhile since I posted, but I guess Easter was just two weeks ago! Wow, time is flying by so quickly, it seems like I can't keep up.

This is a busy time for Jason and I. Wrapping up the ministry year with the students, end of the year happenings at the preschool, graduations, graduation parties, ect. By the time May is done we are exhausted! And adding our home study into all of that...whew.

We had our very first interview with our social worker two weeks ago and it went great! Our next is tomorrow, where we will be doing separate interviews. One of us will go in from 10-12 and the other from 1-3. We are a little unsure about what to expect but she gave us a few details about what will be discussed. I'm a little nervous! Following this interview will be our last and final step in the home study process which will be our home visit, which will take place on May 20th! We are just so overwhelmed with how quickly this all went. I don't know other adoptive families experiences, but a month to get the home study done seems fast based on things I have read. But man, what a blessing! The Lord may just have a little nugget waiting for us to get this all done! :)

We were so happy to get to spend time with my parents over Easter and excited to see Jason's parents in a couple weeks when they come to visit Memorial Day weekend! We've missed our families. We haven't seen them since Christmas, so it's very nice when they are able to come visit. But even those visits are way too short. We are looking forward to and planning a trip to Kentucky in August when the preschool is shut down. We are planning to be there for 10-12 days, which we are ecstatic about! I think we have both been feeling a little homesick lately. It comes in waves and at different times. I know it always hits me in the late Spring around Derby time. What a special time to be a Kentuckian, right?

Anyway, thanks for keeping up with us! Keep your ears open for a couple fundraising opportunities coming up in the next little bit!

Love y'all!
Corey

Thursday, April 17, 2014

He chose us.

Happy Easter y'all!

Hope we are all stopping to reflect on the significance of this week. This week I have been thinking a lot about our adoption process but also how, through Christs' death and resurrection, we are adopted into the Fathers' family. How beautiful is that?

Ephesians 1:3-5 (ESV) says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."

He chose me.

In the same way, He has already chosen our child. Our God is so huge. Sometimes it's really hard for me to wrap my brain around.

Just a little (well, not little) update. Things are moving...fast! A lot faster than we expected.  

We attended our first training course this past Monday night and we have another next Tuesday. At the meeting Monday night we turned in all of our home study paperwork and I was expecting it to take some time before they contacted us to begin the interviews and such. I got a call from our social worker, Sharon, Wednesday and we scheduled all of our interviews and a tentative home visit date. All of which happen within the next 3 weeks or so! Crazy! 

It's totally feasible, barring no serious hang ups, we could potentially be licensed by mid(ish)-June. At which point we could begin to start presenting to prospective birth mothers. 

My head has been kind of spinning since Wednesday thinking about it all and also thinking about all the things that we have to do in the meantime.

Wowzers. 

Love y'all!
Corey and Jason

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Welcome Spring!

The weather is finally starting to show signs of Spring! How exciting is that? It's been such a long winter. I have longed for flip flop weather to return since it left. Welcome back!

It's been some time since I updated but that has a lot to do with the fact that we have been buried in home study paperwork! It took us awhile to gather all the necessary items to get all that done but we have finally finished it all! Woohoo!

Next Monday evening we will be going to our first of four training courses. We have another the following Tuesday. These will help us fulfill our hours required by the state to be licensed. The final two classes will be in June and July. Once the adoption agency reviews our home study paperwork, they will schedule our interviews and home visit. We will have 3 interviews (one together and then each of us separately) followed by our home visit last. During the home visit they will be checking our home just make sure it's in compliance and a safe environment for a babe. After these are completed the social worker will write a home study report, send it to the state, and then we will wait for approval. Once we are approved, then we will be ready and wait to be matched!

Also, we are continuing to work on fundraising and we just want to say a big thank you to all of you who have donated and also those of you who are bathing this process in prayer! The Lord is working in ways that maybe you guys won't be able to see but, believe us, He is! We are so blessed by you all!

We will keep you up to date on any fundraising opportunities! We are looking at doing another t-shirt drive maybe in May sometime with this design!
LOVE this design! 

Love y'all!
Corey & Jason

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Face lift!


As you can see, our blog got a bit of a face lift! Isn't it awesome?! Our wonderful friend and a fellow
adoptive momma, Amanda Stichter created this for us! She and her husband, Jarrod, were recently matched to a baby girl due in August! She is building a portfolio of blog designs to begin designing as a job for when they bring their precious girl home! We are so thankful that she offered to do this for us! Do you need a blog designed? Maybe a personal blog, business, or adoption? She's your girl! Also, visit their blog and read about their journey and their awesome match story! They have been a blessing to us, even in the short time that we have known them. We couldn't be more happy for them!

And now to the thank you! You guys more than DOUBLED our goal for selling the shirts on Chrome Buffalo (and there are still 4 days left)! Jason and I are so grateful. We have already been getting photos of you guys wearing your shirts and it gives us so much joy! We can't wait to put them into a book for our little one. You guys rock!

So as of right now, we are in the process of filling out all the paperwork to begin our home study. When I got it in the mail this week, I thought I'd die. It's SO much! But after a mini panic attack and some encouragement from Amanda, I put on my big girl panties and buckled down to get it started. It's going to take some time but I am hoping that we can get it all done within the next couple weeks. There is a lot of information to gather and things to do. Fingerprinting, physical examinations, insurance documents, birth certificates, tax returns, and so on. But we are trucking along nicely. We will be able to schedule our interviews and our home visit once all of this is paperwork is completed. Would you pray that we don't hit any roadblocks that would hinder us from completing quickly?

With our new design, there is now a tab specifically for prayer requests. I would ask that you check that often so you know how to be praying for us. I will try to remember to post new requests regularly!

Love y'all!
Corey and Jason

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fundraiser!

Hey y'all!

If you aren't on Facebook, you haven't seen our very first opportunity to raise funds. Throughout my research, I have been looking for creative ways to raise money and came across a really helpful blog with TONS of really awesome ideas. On this website there was a resource called Chromebuffalo.com. This website allows people to create a fundraising drive, set a goal, and have people purchase t-shirts on your behalf. Shirts are $22.00 and we get $11.00 from the purchase of every shirt! Our 10 day drive begins on Saturday, March 15th and ends on March 25th. Our current goal is set at $500.00 and we are very excited about this because the shirts are awesome! The shirts won't be available for viewing until Saturday morning when the drive goes live. But trust me, they are really awesome!

I have been blown away at the response so far! People have been sharing on Facebook and posting on our behalf and I am so humbled and touched by all the people who are taking this journey with us!

If you choose to support us with this fundraiser and purchase a shirt, we ask that you send us a photo of you wearing the shirt! We would love to put together a book of pictures for our child of the people who loved them (and us) even before they were born!

The link to our drive is: http://chromebuffalo.com/a/cb?drive=404
It goes live on Saturday morning!

While I've got ya, we had our first meeting at our adoption agency last Wednesday. This was a pretty informal informational meeting that we were required to attend but it was helpful nonetheless! It was nice to hear in person all they do as well as put some names to faces of people that we have been talking with. The next step is the home study! We will be working on our a lot of paperwork over the next week or so and then they will schedule our interviews and home visit! We have decided that we are going to be working with an adoption consultant as well. I'll explain a little more about that later, but that just basically means that we have someone who helps us go throughout the process in BIG ways!

We are so humbled by all of you who have been praying and supporting us. There are really no words to describe the gratefulness that we feel. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. You are loved dearly by us.

How to be praying:
1. Pray that we can get all our home study paper work completed quickly.
2. Pray that Jason and I can keep Christ at the center of this whole process. It's easy to make it all about us when in reality it's all about Him!
3. Pray for patience.

Love y'all!
Corey and Jason

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Encouragement

Pressing on!

Our formal application was accepted last week and were were invited to be one of the several families to begin the home study process in March! We are pretty impressed with our agency up to this point. They have been quick to respond to our questions and concerns and have processed our paperwork very quickly!

Jason and I had the opportunity to meet with a couple from our area yesterday who are in the midst of their adoption process. They are much farther than we are. They have recently gotten their home study approved and now are being presented for potential matches. I am so thankful for the 2ish hours we were able to spend with them. They gave us TONS of great information that will be very useful within the next several months. They also gave us some information for a consulting agency that has been instrumental in their process. This is a great option for us as well as we move forward and something that we are talking and praying about. We left the coffee shop feeling very encouraged and we know they will be great friends!

I know that adoption cases are very rarely identical, one to the other. So in many ways, I don't expect that our process will go any quicker or more smoothly than another. But, the Lord has led us to this place. Through many years of heartache and the emotional pain our infertility has caused us, we are in a place now where we know the Lord is going to bring us to our child. We feel blessed that we are able to take this humbling, anxiety-ridden, intrusive, personal and beautiful journey to find the child that the Lord has picked out just for us.

How to be praying for us:
1. Pray as we consider working with the consulting agency. This is a very promising option for us!
2. Pray that our agency will continue to work quickly and efficiently!
3. Pray for patience.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Moving right along...

Our preliminary application was accepted last week! We were expecting now to have to wait to receive our formal application and other forms until they were ready to move forward, but the very same day we received all the forms we needed! We have spent the week working on these. It takes some time to get all our information together. They need quite a lot, although I'm sure they'll be asking for more. So, our formal application is completed and submitted, along with some others. And now, more waiting! :)

I have to say that Jason and I are feeling such an immense peace about this whole process. Sure, there is some anxiety about certain aspects, but the Lord has really given us a calm spirit about this journey that we are starting on. We know that the Lord already knows the beautiful woman that will carry our child and already knows everything about our baby. Isn't that just a mind-blowing picture of how huge and amazing our God is? I'm blown away each time I stop to think about it.

Our God is so good.

Pray for us about:
1. Pray that our formal application will be processed quickly and without many hangups.
2. Pray as we continue to raise funds.
3. Pray for patience.

Love y'all!
Corey 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Hiccups

Hiccups are the worst. There is probably very little that I hate more. Sometimes they hurt and most of all they always are at the most inconvenient times. 

So, there is bound to be hiccups. We are fully expecting them. The first is our meeting for February 10th has now been cancelled. It took me almost 2 weeks to finally get in touch with someone to gather more information about it, only to find out they had called it off. I'm not angry. I understand that things happen. This process will be slow and there will be many bumps in the road. This will be the easiest bump, I am sure (but frustrating, nonetheless).

So now, we are waiting a WHOLE extra month, until they are offering another meeting. This one is tentatively scheduled for March 5th. So now, more waiting. It's kind of a helpless waiting too. There really isn't much we can be doing in the mean time. Our preliminary application is completed and going to be sent out tomorrow. Although Bethany is a large agency, their number of families is far greater than the infants available. So following our preliminary application being accepted, we are then but into a waiting pool with other families. We will be contacted when they are opening up the home study to a pool of waiting families. I was told this would probably happen in March!

So until then, I will be working on the house. With all the cold and snow we have gotten this year, I am getting a bad case of cabin fever. So I suppose I should maybe put that to use and start purging things that we don't need anymore. We are setting things aside to hopefully have a yard sale in the late spring/early summer. The funds for that will go into our adoption fund. We are still brainstorming other ideas of fundraisers. If you have any ideas, feel free to make suggestions!

Pray for us about:
1. Pray for the March 5th meeting and that it doesn't get cancelled!
2. Pray that I (Corey) don't jump the gun too much. I have already started looking at nursery's and all things baby. I really can't help myself :)
3. Pray that our prelim application is accepted with no problems and that we are placed in the pool of families to hopefully begin the home study process in March.
4. Pray for patience.

Thanks y'all!
Corey and Jason

Sunday, January 26, 2014

And the waiting begins.

Hurry up and wait.

It's so backwards, but that's what I am finding the adoption process to be already. To be honest, we really haven't done much up to this point. We have chosen an agency and are attending a meeting on February 10th, and this is when I expect the real waiting to begin. I suppose a little back story, although if you are reading this you may have been following our past blog where we posted about our infertility. Back in the fall after a couple more tries and quite a large sum of money, our fertility treatments had failed, we began to really pray about pursuing adoption. It has always been something that Jason had felt strongly about, but I just wasn't there. I wasn't ready to make the decision to move forward because I didn't want it to be one of a "last resort" of sorts. To most people after many failed fertility treatments, it's the logical place to go, but I wanted to spend time in prayer to make sure that the Lord was leading me to this place out of love instead of selfishness.

So here we are, almost two months later and we are ready to move forward full steam ahead! But with all the excitement that comes along with it, there also comes fear and anxiousness. We are not expecting this to be an easy (or cheap) process but we are confident that the Lord has already worked out all the details.

I will update this often to keep you up to date on what's going on with us. Each post will provide some specific things you can pray for us about. We ask that you lift us up in prayer as we move forward.

How you can be praying for us?
1. Pray for our meeting on February 10th. That we will acquire all the necessary paperwork to get started with our home study process quickly.
2. Pray for guidance in the area of finances. Pray for us as we begin to pray about how our adoption will be funded (i.e. fundraisers, letters, ect.)
3. Pray for patience. (This will be included every post!)

Thank you in advance for your prayers and love,
Jason and Corey