A Weekend Training

I am so behind! My intention was to try to update this monthly, but I completely missed April… whoops! This is what went down during the month…

It’s real!

Nathan and I submitted our “official” application for adoption on Monday, March 28th, 2016, the day after Easter. This document wasn’t as in-depth as the couple’s questionnaire, but asked about our family history, health, and generic information like that. We wanted to go ahead and get this submitted because the weekend was coming, which would be our training sessions with our agency, Loving Alternatives (Friday, April 1st — Saturday, April 2nd).

We received this book at our training, written by Doris Howe. Doris is one of the case workers who has been with Living Alternatives for many, MANY years. This book shares many of the stories that she has encountered during her time with LA.

Loving Alternatives is the adoption agency within the ministry Living Alternatives. We are using the agency out of Tyler. Our weekend involved getting to know the heart behind their mission, the logistics of an adoption through them (which included a CHECKLIST, which made my heart smile), and all of the documents to get us to the next step after training… our home study.

Most, if not all, agencies require you to attend a training that involves certain number of hours learning the logistics, paperwork, and timeline for the adoption process. It is not for the faint of heart, and they want to make sure that the applicants that work with them are solid. I don’t blame them, but it is still a ::little:: tedious. BUT, if it gets us closer to our child, then bring it on!

Our training on Friday night introduced us to the agency. We learned their history and all about the different facets of their ministry. Also, they answered many misconceptions that come with adoption, which eased our hearts a bit. They informed us of typical costs and wait times, but assured us that all situations were different. We were shown a variety of sample profile books and were told that the next day, Saturday, we would be meeting an adoptive couple, the child they adopted through LA, and the birth mother who chose this family.

Fatherheart. This is the property of the women’s home that LA provides for the pregnant mothers who need a place to stay, learn, and grow. Some of these women choose to parent their baby; others use Loving Alternatives for their adoption services. It’s a beautiful place that has a beautiful heart behind its ministry to these women.

Saturday came, and after learning a bit more about the heart behind LA, we met the family we were informed of the night before. They shared that the relationship they have with their birth mother isn’t typical, but it is such a blessing. Their child calls the birth mother “Miss Sara” (name changed), and although she is three now, one day she will understand that she grew in Miss Sara’s tummy, but in her Mommy and Daddy’s hearts. One day, when she has questions about why her mother “gave” her up, she will understand that it was Miss Sara who loved her so much, she wanted her to be raised with a loving family that could support her… something that Miss Sara couldn’t do for her at the time. She will already know Miss Sara and have an understanding of who she is, rather than not knowing anything at all.

Many people are turned off to the idea of an open adoption because they are afraid their child will love the birth mother more, or that the birth mother will try to take your child from you. In LA’s case, they urge families to stay in communication (mainly through letters and photos) with their birth mothers as a ministry opportunity. These women need to know the love of Jesus and the love that they can extend to their child, if they choose to parent, or the love that their child will receive from their parents, if they choose to place for adoption.

It was such a beautiful weekend hearing about this ministry, how they minister to these women, and how we can be a blessing to the birth mother that chooses us. The staff at Loving Alternatives consider themselves missionaries and do not collect a salary for what they do: their main job is to point these young mothers to Jesus. I took many notes, but one (of the many) thing that resonated with me was,

“Blood is thicker than water, but spirit is thicker than blood.”

When we add a precious child to our family, they may not have Nate’s blue eyes or my dark hair, but we will be joined with that child through a covenant that includes Christ and the birth mother. A covenant in spirit, through Christ, is what will bond our family. Not blood, but love.

As of now, we have submitted all of our paperwork and are awaiting to schedule our home study. We are so excited, anxious, nervous, [insert emotion here] about this process, but know that He is on our side. If God is for us, who can be against us? He has overcome the world, and He will be with us through all of this!

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