Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Promise

Where do I even start? I guess I will start the night of Sept.29th, 2006. I was at the computer about 10pm looking up dreamy European Cruises for ideas of how to celebrate this coming year of 2007 when both Joey and I will turn 30-years-old and we will also arrive at our 10 year anniversary. One of the cruises showed a stop in St. Petersburg, Russia. I am not sure why but the next thing I did was google "Russian Adoption." The next thing I knew I was reading a website called "The Spirit of Adoption" on the America World website. I read a story by the founder of the agency and just began to cry and cry. Now don't get me wrong, for those of you who know me, crying (happy, sad, angry, glad) is not exactly out of the ordinary but what happened next is. All of a sudden I was physically shaking and my teeth were chattering and I just could not stop searching for more and more information. I felt the Spirit of God moving in my heart and I was overwhelmed with joy, relief, anticipation, excitement, fear, and absolutely "pregnant" with faith. I knew I was not physically pregnant but with the feelings I just described I certainly felt "pregnant." I was just flooded with emotion and so grateful to God to placing in me a promise. A promise to fufill the dream of becoming a mother that I have carried since childhood. Finally about 12am I pried my fingers away from the keyboard.

"Joey...Um, we have to talk" I said sheepishly, not having any idea of what his response would be. He came upstairs and I explained to him what had just taken place and the feelings I was experiencing. He said, "Okay, let's do it!" No hesitation from him at all! I was shocked. He said he was ready to adopt and preferred to do it internationally and that he had been thinking of it.
This confirmation sent me over the top and I fell apart in his arms with so much joy and I did not stop talking and dreaming for hours. I wanted to call everyone I knew. But decided just to call two people that I thought might be up- my brother Brandon and sister Brittany. I left both a message. It was and still is so exciting telling everyone and everyone is so excited for us because this is definately an answer to prayer.

As I said before, Joey and I are coming up on 10 years of marriage. My plan was of course to marry young and have children young. Well that wasn't going to work because Joey joined the Navy after we graduated high school and was stationed in Virginia. We were married two years later and I also moved to Virginia for two very challenging years of marriage. It just wasn't a good time to start a family. We were so far away from our family and friends back home, we barely knew anyone, Joey was out to sea constantly and it was just a huge time of adjustment. After his four years were up we moved home a short time and then decided to move to Los Angeles to follow my dreams of acting and singing. Still no children. We were both working full-time (which is why I didn't take the time to go after my dreams until 6 months before we left) and Joey was going to school. We were incredibly busy and the years passed so quickly we didn't really have time to start a family. ( So ironic because that is my strongest dream and hearts desire.) We finally agreed to move home in 2004. I hated not being near my family and by that time I remembered how desperate I was to be a mom. So we moved home and took the necessary steps to get pregnant. I went off my birth control and changed medications because I take blood thinners for a clotting disorder that started when I was 14. I had to change medications from a pill to an injection because the pill could cross the placenta and harm a growing baby. Well, it's been 2 years now come November. We started to seek fertility treatment earlier this year because we still weren't pregnant and I was only having aprox 4 cycles a year. We stopped this spring because we found out when I switched medications that I had been prescribed signifigantly less than my body needed and when I started upping the dose, my never ending cycle returned. I am still working on getting this regulated but it turns out there may not be a fertility problem after all.

So you might be thinking at this point, "So adoption was plan B" but it's quite the contrary. At this point I actually do not want to get pregnant because I would not want to jeopardize this adoption. We have always been open to the idea of adoption whether we have biological children or not but just figured it would be domestically so when God put this on my heart, I knew it was Him because the thought of Russia had never crossed my mind and at this point we were focused on trying to conceive. I am so happy he interrupted our plan! I am so excited to follow his. There is nothing more comforting than knowing you are walking in the will of God. I know His hand will guide us through. There are so many unknowns at this point that I will discuss in a minute but despite all the odds being stacked against us, I believe this adoption will come to pass because He is able to do all things. I see things so clearly now. I was handling infertility alright I guess but on my worst days I would think horrible thoughts like, "It's not fair. What did we do that was so wrong that we cannot have the blessing of children? Why does EVERYONE I know have children with ease? I am trained ( I was a nanny for 3 years and the oldest of 4 children and have taken childhood education classes.) At my age and maturity in life I know what is most important to teach them! I have so much love to give! I have two spare rooms! Why God Why?" And His response would be "Trust me." Well now that He has revealed this to me- it is beyond a shadow of a doubt- PLAN A+! All this time I felt punished when really I now believe I am privleged. God knew that there would be sin and abandonment in the world and he knew he would need parents for the innocent orphans and He chose US! Joey and I! We are so honored! I know that this is already being orchestrated by Him even though we are just beginning. I am dreaming of the day I can look into the face of our child or children that he has handpicked for us. I feel so blessed.

Well, now that you know the backgroud and the promise, I will tell you where the faith comes in. I was so scared to go to bed that night. I didn't know if I would wake up and the feelings I had would be gone or if fear would take over or what. I did feel slightly different (coming down from the high I suppose) but I picked up my Bible and began to read. I received confirmation after confirmation and I knew that what I had experienced was real. Phew! Now we had to choose an agency. I was ready to get started immediately! I was filling out the application for the first site I had stumbled on when reality and reason in the form of my husband stepped in. He reminded me that we should probably do some research.

Through our research we discovered that Russia is having some major changes with their accreditation system and there are now only 14 U.S. agencies legally able to adopt out of Russia. There are about 26 more with their NGO status but I am not sure how that will work. There was over 500 before. Well- this serverely limits our choices. We researched for about a week and half and then mid-last week decided on Adoption Associates which is a well organized Christian Organization with a full staff in the U.S. as well as Russia. We learned of the daunting 6-15 month process of adoption and the cost in upwards of $40,000. We do not know how this will all work out or where all the money will come from but we have faith that it will all come together because what God has started, He will bring to completion. We are very nervous for a many reasons but the largest being that AAI's accrediation expires in March and because all the laws are in Russian government right now and up for change, they are unsure what will be the outcome for renewing. An AAI representative assured us that they are doing everything they can at this time to make sure their is no lapse in accrediation and her Russian staff is pro-actively working to obtain the latest information. A bonus for us is there is a 25% reduction in fees at this time partially due to the fact that because the agencies dropped so signifigantly, there are many children needing families at this time. She informed us that this a perfect time to adopt and they expect the process to move quickly. Please be praying for us that all goes smoothly with as little hiccups as possible. My children are already in my heart and my patience is not that great.

We turned in our preliminary application on Wed. and received several phone calls that day of follow-up which was much appreciated. I know good communication will be key in this journey. We sent it in as well as we needed to send in our $75 application fee. Our 2 hour phone interview is scheduled for 7am Tues morning. We are so excited. I am fairly confident in this company that we have chose. I emailed aprox. 20 of it's references last Tues night because we wanted to sign-up on Wed. morning. I honestly did not expect a response. I have since received 9 responses, 6 of which came that night. Each person so kind, honest, and transparent. I am forever grateful to them. All had very positive experiences and most offered continued support. I then sent in our application with great confidence. I apologize for being so long winded this first go-round but I just wanted to let my family and friends who I have yet to share this news with know the "WHOLE" story so they can come along this journey with us from the start. Thank you in advance for your support and prayers and for those that have been praying for our circumstance all along. We love and cherish you so much.

Hopeful & Excited,


Steph said...

What an amazing story your child(ren) will have to tell someday. What amazing parents they will have and how amazing for them to be loved so much already even without you knowing them yet.

Your comment about the hiccups made me laugh... when I was pregnant, one of the most annoying things was when the baby had hiccups... I hated it, but even with the discomfort, it was a reassuring sign that the baby was still there, on it's way and preparing me to be a parent. I pray that you will have far less "hiccups" then I ever did and that they will be good ones, ones that, even though they may be annoying, or tedious or something unplanned, they are pointing you in the right direction and leading you on your way towards parenthood.
I love you and I am so happy to be part of this... I am praying for you and Joey and the children that will be blessed to call you both parents.

Steph said...

PS- that picture is SO good of you both!!! I love it!

Anggi said...

I woke up at 4:30 this morning unable to sleep any longer that is when I checked my e-mail and read your blog. I felt almost immediatly that this is truely an amazing God thing. I am the only one up but as I read and tears filled my eyes I said out loud, "They are already parents." What an awesome God we serve. Over the last year and a half God has been bringing a lot of head stuff down to my heart. I began to truly believe that he allows suffering and pain into our lives so that we can really know joy. Holding your children will be all the more sweet because you had to miss them for long first. What a joy it is to see that His hand has been at work all this time even when we couldn't see or understand what He was doing.

Anonymous said...

Erin & Joey,
We are so excited for you. We are so glad to be able to experience this incredible journey with you. God is so good and so faithful and His timing is always perfect. We love you and know you will be awesome parents and we're looking forward to having more nieces or nephews.

Uncle Tom & Aunt Lisa

Cherie said...

Hey Guys!! Thanks so much for sharing the awesome news! I know you will have a journey to remember and your children are going to be such a blessing!! I too had baby *hiccups* while pregnant with my children...they will happen, but may they be hiccups of joy!!! Please do keep me posted, I will cherish all the joyful news as I walk my path the next few you both soooooo much! Cousin Cherie