Sunday, December 16, 2012

Birthday struggles

I've been trying to keep my posts less "woe is me" and either more factual or at least a little more hopeful. However, today is just not one of those days. On Friday I turned 25 and it was kind of hard. I know, that's not "old", but please don't tell me that I'm "still young". I have heard those words so many time from many well intentioned people. I know that those words are meant to be encouraging, but what I hear is that my desire is not valid and that it shouldn't hurt so much because I'm young. The reality is this, I have been aching for this for four years and my pain is just as strong as any other woman, and while I may have more time, I still see myself as one year older. One year less of "having time". Another year has passed, the most difficult year to date, and I have yet to be a mother. At the same time I feel very selfish for feeling this way because on Friday, multiple lives were lost that will never be able to be 25 and I should be celebrating the fact that I have lived 25 years and that this has been the biggest struggle in my life. I want to have hope for this next year and I want to enter this next year with joy for the things that I do have and the blessings in my life.

This morning as I was dealing with this I turned to Hannah's prayer from the book of 1 Samuel. Hannah also ached for a baby but "the Lord had closed her womb" (1 Samuel 1:5). Hannah's thoughts centered on the fact that she was childless and she was bitter, which I can completely identify with. God had a plan for Hannah and her future son, and it took her turning to desperation and vowing to give her child over to God before God granted her request. Hannah was only able to keep her son for herself for a few years before handing him over to Eli the priest and only seeing him once a year after that. However, in return God granted her 5 more children. The devotion I was reading regarding this story said "There are Hannah's in the world today and there are purposes of God yet unfulfilled. Maybe he has "closed the womb" for a purpose. Maybe he is looking for desperate ones." This struck me in a new way. I'm not saying that God has "closed my womb", but I have felt for a long time that God is using our infertility to accomplish something greater than us and I do feel that "that something" is adoption. I don't think that God is asking us to hand over our child to a priest and vow not to shave his/her head (some might question our parenting if we did), but he may be asking us to do something that we wouldn't necessarily do if we weren't "desperate". Maybe that something is doing foster care and risking giving that child up after only a few months or years. Maybe it's adopting an older child rather than a newborn. We haven't previously been open to these ideas, but I find myself considering them more and more as I question how the pieces of the puzzle are possibly going to come together to adopt a newborn. Please continue to pray for us as we discern God's plan for our future. That we won't act out of desperation in haste, but that God will use our desperation to lead down the path He has laid before us.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I let fear control too much of my life. I fear the idea of not ever being a mother, not having enough money, not knowing what the future holds. But I'm aware of this and I'm praying to be released from this fear. One of the best pieces of advice that I read lately is this: don't TRY to raise the money. Let God lead you on what to try and go for. That way he gets the glory and we don't. Please pray for me as I work through this fear and do my best to hand our future over to God. This is a short post, but I felt like I needed to come, write and ask for prayer. Thank you for your love and support.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Despite how it might seem at times, I don't particularly like fundraising. I don't like asking people to donate money to our cause, once again. Maybe it's a pride thing, but I think that most people feel this way. Asking for money is hard because it makes us feel selfish and vulnerable. It requires faith and trust in others and God. We've all been asked to buy this or that that we really don't want or need, but we do so because of the person who's asking us. We don't want to be those people, so we're looking to you for suggestions.

Adoption is one of those things that many people fundraise for (if you don't believe me, google it) due to the high cost of welcoming a child in need into your home and life. And in our case we can't adopt without fundraising and putting ourselves out there. So far, we have had some very generous donations that have enabled us to begin the process and for those we are beyond thankful, but they have been few. I know that some of you can't donate and we completely understand because we have been there and continue to find ourselves there at times. I also know that some of you may be waiting until we have a baby on the way, but once we are matched (meaning an expectant mother or set of parents has chosen us to parent her/their child once he/she is born) we will need a significant amount of money immediately. This would not necessarily be the case if we were not working with an agency, but since we are doing some work with them, we would need that money quickly. We were recently informed that we did not receive one of the grants that we applied for and we can't get a loan for the amount that we would need at this point. So we are looking to you for ideas.

What kind of fundraisers would you be interested in? Do you prefer dinners, yard sales, online auctions or things that you can purchase and use like jewelry or other items? We would like to do a pancake breakfast, but since we aren't able to regularly attend church at our home churches and haven't really found a solid church family here yet, we aren't sure where we would host this event. So if you have a suggestion we are open to hearing it!

Please remember, we are not doing this for us or only to become parents. We are adopting because we feel as though this is a calling that God has placed on our lives and hearts and a way for us to "love the orphan". That being said, when you donate you are not donating to us, you are donating to provide a child with a loving home. The fact that we get to become parents from this process is a huge bonus :).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The road of infertility is filled with waiting. First you wait to get pregnant, when that doesn't happen you have to wait to complete a year of trying before seeing a fertility specialist. It then takes a month or two to get into the specialist and then once you complete some sort of treatment you have the infamous two week wait to find out if the treatment was successful. Now we have moved onto adoption and we are waiting some more.

We got an email about 3 weeks ago asking if we wanted to be presented to an expectant mother who was making an adoption plan for her baby. After hearing about the situation and health history we excitedly agreed. We scurried around getting our application and clearances in, getting fingerprinted and ordering a rush copy of our adoption profile. We were told we would know what the expectant mother's choice was by the end of the following week. I spent that week going between emotions of wanting this so badly to absolute fear of trying to figure out how we were going to come up with the money that would be due at placement. The only thing we could do was pray and trust that if this was the baby that God intended for us that He would provide the money some how, some way. We didn't end up hearing anything and I called on Monday morning to see where things were at. We were told that she was flip flopping between two families, but we were her third choice, which we were told was really good. However, just because we were this mother's third choice doesn't really mean much since everyone is looking for something different in a potential adoptive family for their child. We finally received word this week that she did settle on one of the other families. We would be lying if we said we weren't disappointed, but now we will be more prepared for the next situation. All of our documents are in and we won't have to rush order more profiles. We will also hopefully know if we have received any grants, put in a loan application and have more time for fundraising.

The waiting is hard and not knowing if we are going to get a call tomorrow or six months from now is challenging, but in an odd way, it is easier than fertility treatments while also a little more terrifying. If we had been chosen for this situation the baby would have been born next month, which is fast but is a common reality in adoption situations. But to not be chosen is easier than finding out that I'm not pregnant and that we have two less embryos left to work with. With adoption I know that there will always be another adoption situation and that there will be a baby that is meant for us in the end. Please continue to pray for us as we wait and trust and please pray for all of the expectant parents and birth parents that have chosen or are choosing to place their children for adoption. I can't imagine the process that they must go through in effort to make the best choice for their child.

If you would like to see our adoption profile you can view it below, it will play automatically and typically it would look more like a book rather than a slideshow of individual pages.

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | Start your own Photo Books | Create custom Christmas Cards

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why choose domestic adoption

Initially we were pretty set on international adoption. When I researched adoption in the past I was set on international adoption, I never even considered domestic adoption. Throughout the past year though, we have researched adoption more thoroughly. We have researched all of our options inside and out and we had to make a decision that was best for us. I think I always felt drawn in to international adoption because I felt like these children were the ones that were "really in need". They were the ones in orphanages and children's homes. I think I thought of it as a great ministry, which it is, but so is domestic adoption. The other reason was that I think I always felt that domestic adoption was for couples that couldn't have children and I still don't think of us in that way. We still have a very high chance of conceiving with fertility treatments. We may not be able to conceive on our own, but I am only 24, healthy and with no known fertility issues. However, success rates are low and the emotional toll has been too much to continue down that road at this time. I am saying these things to show how we came to the decision to adopt domestically and what I had to deal with in my own heart, not to say anything against anyone who has adopted domestically.

The reality with international adoption is that it's a long process and there are very few babies available. Do we have to adopt a baby? No, but as first time parents we want the whole experience. I know there are people who don't agree with that logic, but we have to do what's best for us as a couple. You don't have the benefit of your child knowing and possibly having a relationship with his/her birth parents. This is not always the case, but it's much more rare than in domestic cases. It also becomes more difficult because Elias has Cystic Fibrosis. Many people in our own country don't understand CF and when you consider adopting from Africa that number declines even more to pretty much no one ever hearing of this disease as it doesn't affect anyone of African decent (I hope that's the right spelling). This means that we could be matched with a child and be told at the very end of the process that we will not be approved because Elias is not 100% healthy and they don't understand his condition. We can't afford to go down that road emotionally or financially.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us wanting a baby, preferably a newborn, and working with peoples who are more open to Elias having CF as long as his doctor feels that this will not affect his ability to parent. So our option becomes domestic adoption. We have a said from the beginning that if we adopt domestically that we would prefer a minority adoption as they tend to be harder to place. After talking with our attorney that became even more obvious to us. She informed us that if she has an expectant mother who is expecting a healthy, caucasian baby she could show 50 profiles to that mother of prospective adoptive parents for her to choose from. But if that baby is bi-racial or full African American she may have 2 profiles to show that mother. That mother then has 2 choices for who will be the perfect parents to her child. Imagine having to choose the perfect parents for your child from 2 profiles. This makes us so sad. It makes us sad for the mother that in trying to make the choice that is best for her child is limited because of what her child's race will be. It makes us sad for the baby that didn't choose his/her race, but has less potential parents that are open to him/her because of race. Please don't misunderstand me, everyone has a reason for choosing what kind of child they can parent and I would never judge someone for that decision. It may be because adopting a full African American child where they live wouldn't be accepted by their community and they don't want to bring a child into a hostile environment. It could be because of family members; it could be because they don't feel that they can answer questions about their adoption over and over again. Or it could simply be, such as in the cases of some dear families that I know, that the child that they were presented with was caucasian. I'm not judging any family that makes a decision for whatever reason, I'm just saying that God has lead our hearts to these parents and these babies.

One last thing, adoption is an amazing ministry no matter how one goes about it or where they adopt from. No one has to adopt, anyone who chooses to adopt is doing so for so many more reasons than themselves. Adoption is not for everyone and both parties need to be one board. Do we want to be parents? Yes, but if we all just wanted to be parents most of us could find a way without adoption whether it be fertility treatments until we're blue in the face, surrogacy, donors, etc. We choose to adopt because we want to provide a child with a  loving and supportive family and home. We want to support expectant parents that feel as though they can't parent their child, but they still want to give their child an amazing life. And through all of that we get the opportunity to become parents.

Once again, thank you for your love and support. We are still raising money and are currently selling poinsettias until the end of this week as well as beautiful handmade necklaces. I can't post pictures, but if you follow this link you can see the necklaces that this woman makes.
We do not have all of them available, but if you see one you like let us know and I'll see if we have it. We do not have any dragonfly necklaces or the one with the dove on it. Thank you again and we hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Hi Everyone! We just wanted to share with you a great new holiday fundraiser! I know that no one really wants to think about Christmas yet, but I was informed today that we only have 8 weeks until Christmas so I guess we need to start thinking about it. So, in honor of the holiday season, we are going to be taking orders for poinsettias until Nov. 16th. They come in pink, white or red and they are about 16" high and 16" across. They come in 6 1/2 inch pots and cost $12 apiece. We have a picture on a sales flyer that we were sent, but I haven't been able to copy it to here. The poinsettias will be delivered to us on Nov. 27th and then we will distribute them accordingly. We have to have all orders and money to us by the 16th to give the greenhouse time to process everything. If you live anywhere between Utica and Lowville we can make it work. Poinsettias are not only a great decoration around the holiday season, but they also make great gifts. If you are interested in ordering a poinsettia you can email us at:, we will then provide you with further instructions regarding payment and delivery. We can also email you a copy of our flyer that has a picture of the three poinsettias that are offered. Thanks and I hope that everyone is well and safe after the storm!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Some facts about foster care

I wanted to write a post about foster care and how it functions. I have this tendency to obsessively research things that matter to me to feel like I'm actually doing something. I recently realized while talking to a friend that not everyone has researched adoption and foster care as obsessively as I have. I know, this is quite the revelation. Thus the reason for this post.

We have received many loving suggestions to try adopting from foster care to keep costs low and I have replied that we don't feel like this is right for us as this time, without any real explanation as to why we don't feel that foster care is necessarily right for us. As I have said in other posts, we are currently taking foster care classes and my heart has definitely been opened to these children, however the emotional cost of trying to adopt from foster care may be more than we can handle at this time. This does not mean that we won't consider this route in the future or that we won't accept a placement if it feels right for us at this time.

The first and most important part about foster care is that the goal of foster care is reunification with with the child's birth parents. Very few children enter foster care already free for adoption. Yes, children do become free for adoption while in foster care, but this is not the case with all children. All children enter foster care with a plan. The primary goal is usually reunite the child with his/her birth parent(s). There may even be a set time frame, such as 3 months, that they would like to try to aim for. For some children, they enter foster care with only one plan, which is reunification. Other children enter care with what is called a concurrent plan. In this case the foster parents have to work with the birth parents on making reunification possible, but if reunification is not possible the foster parents most likely are in agreement that they would be willing to adopt the child, or children in a case where there is sibling group. This means that we could have a child come into our home that has a high chance of being freed for adoption, but for a certain period of time we will have to work toward reunification and there is no guarantee that the child will actually become free for adoption.

Another part of foster care is that if a child has been in care for 15 of the most recent 22 months a petition has to be filled to terminate parental rights. This does not mean that this petition has to be granted. The situation, the birth parents, the judge and a number of other factors determine whether or not the petition will be granted.

So let's say that we had a newborn come to us that stays in our care for 15 consecutive months, a petition is then filed, but let's pretend like it's not granted. Maybe the birth parents have been trying really hard to get their child back and it's looking like that may be possible. But let's also say that it takes a long time time for that to happen, and the child is in our care for another year or more. Now this child has been in our care for 2-3 years, since he/she was a newborn. We are attached to the child and the child is attached to us, but we are not his/her birth parents and the birth parents are doing everything they need to do to have their child come back into their home. We have heard stories of situations like this happening and frankly they scare us. Yes, you have given a child a wonderful start to his/her life, but if the birth parents don't want a continued relationship with you once that child goes home, you may never see that child again. That is a huge loss!

The effects that our failed embryo transfers have had on us are pretty big. Foster care class has showed me that I have had to go through the five stages of grief with these failed transfers. To experience intense grief for months at a time several times over has been really difficult. To parent a child and then have that child go home and possibly never see him/her again sounds so overwhelming and almost more than we can handle. It would be different if we already had one or two children, it would still be painful, but it would be a little easier to accept. But to have that child be our first child and possibly only child, and to risk losing that child just doesn't sound like something we can take lightly. Like I said, we may have a situation that is presented to us that just feels right, but for our own emotional health at this point we have to be selective even if it sounds selfish. Thank you for caring enough to suggest adopting from foster care and please do not be offended if/when we say this isn't right for us as this time. We just have to protect our hearts at this time so that we can be fully ready to welcome a child into our home that is right for us.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The next steps

Many of you have probably been wondering how our meeting with our attorney went last week and I apologize that I haven't updated you more quickly. The rest of the week was busy and then Elias and I went away over the weekend for an overdue anniversary getaway (our anniversary was in August). We had a wonderful time and it was so nice to have some quality time with each other! But now that I have some free time, I figured that I would catch all of you up to date.

Last Wednesday we travelled to Albany, NY to finally meet with our attorney face to face. I had talked with her a couple of times over the phone and via email, but there was still A LOT to discuss. I have say that she is a wonderful woman and I am so glad that we will be working with her. I had no idea how much more we still need to do and that we still had a few decisions to make regarding which direction we would go. Because we had our homestudy done by a social worker apart from an agency we didn't get any of our clearances done for the adoption. We have all of these in for foster care, but of course we would have to have them done again since agencies are not allowed to share this information. We basically had two options, do our clearances through the state and be allowed to adopt from any state, or see if an agency will review our home study and perform our clearances for less money than the state. In this case we would not be able to adopt outside of NY, but since we are trying to keep costs low, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you adopt from out of state, you are required to stay in that state until parental rights are revoked which means that you not only have travel costs, but you also have hotel costs for the time being and there would be court fees as well. Ultimately adopting from another state usually adds on a few thousand dollars unless you have family or friends to stay with, which we have decided may not be the best option for us. So we have decided to utilize our attorney in conjunction with an agency that she has worked with before. This will allow us to get our clearances done as well as having a more concrete idea of how much total costs with be rather than going private route where costs can vary greatly. Birth mothers can request assistance for living costs, medical costs and counseling. With an agency, depending on the agency, you may have the advantage of having a set fee so that you don't face a bunch of expenses that you may or may not be able to afford. This would be the case with the agency that we are working with.

So now our attorney will send a copy of our homestudy to the agency to be reviewed and we are officially waiting. We could be waiting for 2 weeks or 2 years, it will ultimately depend on whether an expectant parent(s) chooses us or not. We are currently working on putting together our adoption profile so that if we were to be contacted we will have something to provide the expectant parent(s) something that tells about who we are and why we want to adopt. We have also submitted two grant applications that will be awarded in December, so please pray that if we are meant to receive a grant that God will bless us in this way.

While all of this is going on, we are also still taking foster care classes. We are halfway through and they have been very interesting. We have still not made any decisions regarding whether or not we want to pursue fostering right now or not, but the education aspect has been great and there is always a chance that we will be presented with a situation that just feels right. Right now we are just taking it one day at a time and praying for wisdom as we walk this road. The fact that we are making progress and that adoption feels more tangible has definitely lessened the sting of infertility. I feel as though we are really working toward becoming parents and that this is the right path for us at this point. I can't say that it never feels overwhelming or that I don't wish that we could just get pregnant for free and without being fingerprinted or cleared for child abuse like most couples, but I know that this is right and that in the end we will be providing a child with a good home while also receiving the biggest blessing that we could ever imagine. Please keep praying for us as we continue to move forward on this journey. Please pray that we will have wisdom when making decisions about situation that may come up and whether or not they are right for our family. Please pray that God will continue to open doors to make our dream a reality. Thank you again for your love and support and feel free to contact us at any time with questions!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


It has been quite awhile since I have posted, but I wanted to wait until a few things were finished before I gave an update. As I said in my last post, we have now decided to utilize an adoption attorney and get our homestudy done by a social worker without using an agency. So we contacted our social worker and she emailed us a list a questions about us, our home, our family, how we were raised, how we plan on disciplining our children, our marriage, etc. Elias and I both had to fill out these questions and then we sent them back to her before she came to our house. I have to say that her coming to our house was a little nerve racking considering our house is not much to look at on the outside and our dog is not the best with meeting new people since we don't have people over much; by which I actually mean that we don't have people over at all unless our parents come to visit. Needless to say, the week prior to the homestudy visit we deep cleaned our house for the first time in a long time! The visit was scheduled for about a week and a half ago and it went quite well. The majority of the time was spent with the social worker talking about issues that adopted child can face, then individual interviews with a very brief walk though of the house. We certainly wouldn't have had to have cleaned as much as we did, but our house definitely needed it. She said that the study would be complete by the end of this month or the beginning of next. Much to our surprise she sent the first draft (which is 7 pages long) this past weekend! This means that only a few things need to be filled in and tweaked and it will be ready to submit to our attorney and we will be in the waiting phase. I also contacted our attorney today and we will be setting up our first consultation to find out what comes next.

While all of this has been going on we also decided to begin taking foster care classes. As I have said before, we don't know if this is the right choice for us due to the emotional toll that foster care can take, but we figured that it can't hurt to take the classes, keep options open and if nothing else, they will better prepare us for adoption. The series is about 12 weeks long and runs every Tuesday evening from early September to the end of November. So far, they have been good, and we are trying to stay open minded, but we are still in the exploration phase of whether this is right for us or not. Please continue to pray for wisdom for us as we continue to seek what God's plan is for us. Thank you again for all of your love and support!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Recent Decisions and Developments

Recently, Elias and I have made some big decisions regarding how we are going to proceed with adoption. Before I get into that I want to mention our puzzle fundraiser one more time. We purchased a child's floor puzzle. There are 48 pieces to this puzzle. We are now looking for individuals to sponsor pieces of the puzzle for only $10. If you sponsor a piece of the puzzle then you will have your name written on the back of a piece and our child will be able to read the names of all of the people that helped bring him/her home. Ten of the pieces have already been sponsored, so we are only looking for 38 more people to complete the puzzle. We really want every piece to have a name so that our child will know how much he or she was loved even before we knew that he/she would be coming to live with us. Now, we understand that $10 is a lot for some people and if that is you, we completely understand if you can't donate. However, we also want to challenge the rest of you to think about how easily you spend $10. If you go out to eat that will pay for roughly one person's meal at a sit down restaurant. Have you gone to the movies lately? One ticket can cost most than $10! I could go on, but I won't. Every time I post an update to Facebook roughly 50 people view that update (yes I can see how many people view our blog, but I don't see specific names so you can breath easy). This doesn't include the views in between posts. So if each person that viewed our blog could spare $10 we would have our puzzle completely funded plus some. Please consider this as you follow our story and if you can't donate please continue supporting us in prayer. Also, please keep in mind that if you have donated more than $10 to us in the past you already have a piece of the puzzle.

Okay, now onto what you really want to read about. About 2 weeks ago I received the name of a social worker that I contacted to ask a few questions regarding the homestudy process. During my conversation with her I learned that rather than paying $2,000 for a homestudy through an agency we can have her do our homestudy for $600. The catch here is that not all agencies will accept that homestudy or as one told me, they would have to review the homestudy for $500. Umm, $1100 is still less than $2,000....The kicker is that this agency uses this same social worker to complete their homestudies! She also recommended possibly using an adoption attorney since we are open to a child of any race. After our conversation I proceeded to research adoption attorney's in New York State and found one that only practices adoption law. We liked this due to the fact that just because an attorney can practice adoption law, doesn't mean that they are good at it. She basically said that since we are open to a child of any race, it may not be worth using an agency at all because of all of the networking that occurs between attorneys and between attorney and adoption agencies. For example, an attorney or an agency may have a family list of families that are only will to accept children of 1-2 specific races. If they have a baby come to them that is not of those races then they will contact other attorney's or agencies to see if they have a family that is open to that race. This isn't limited to race, it could also be special needs, medical history etc. Race is just more applicable to our situation.

We also learned from the social worker that we really needed to decide if we wanted to go domestic or international. At this point we feel that a baby is best suited for our family. It is very unlikely that a baby will become available from Ghana, so we have decided to pursue domestic infant adoption. We have started the homestudy process with this social worker which will allow us to apply for grants and we will begin working with the adoption attorney that we spoke to earlier. We are hoping this this will be a faster and less expensive route, but in the world of adoption nothing is guaranteed. We feel excited and nervous about this new path, but we feel as though it is right and we can't wait to see what God has in store of us!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tonight I was chatting with a friend from Bolivia on Facebook. We were talking about how we are trying to adopt and she reminded me of the reason that I believe we have been chosen to adopt. God could heal us at any time, but He has chosen us to care for one or more of His children that either have no parents or who's parents love them enough to recognize that they cannot parent them, but that someone else can give them the life that they can't.

This dear friend of mine lived at the children's home that we were connected with and as we were talking about adoption she said that it is a beautiful thing because there are so many children in the world that don't have parents........just like her. My heart sank when I read this line because even though I know some of her story I wasn't really thinking of how our choice to adopt would affect her on a personal level. She was fortunate to live at Stansberry, a home where she was well taken care of, but she has gone through so much in her young life. Things that are hard for most of us to imagine experiencing. She would have given anything to be adopted into a loving family, a family to call her own.

She reminded me of how blessed we are that we have been called to adopt. That God would trust us enough to give us guardianship of a child in need. When I think of this way, it makes sense that it would take us a little longer to become parents because He needed to prepare us on a different level. We won't get 9 months to wrap our heads around becoming parents, in fact we will be fortunate if we get months at all. We have to be ready when our child arrives.

My friend is now in school to become a social worker and I couldn't think of a more appropriate job.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Recently Elias and I began reading a book on suffering. In the introduction the author talks about the character of God and how we are many times taught that we suffer and prayers are not answered because we have a lesson to learn. I wouldn't say that we have felt as though God is trying to teach us a lesson that we have to learn before we have children, but I would say that I have definitely forgotten to look at the character of God throughout this process. The author reminds us that to know God's character all we have to do is look to Jesus. In my anger, grief and bitterness I have many times felt like God was completely against us having children and in many ways it felt like we were being punished even though I know that is not the character of God.

After reading this, I was walking Scrumpy in our field out back the other day and praying. I have to admit that I was surprised when the prayer that came out was for God to reveal is his character more to me. Shortly after praying this prayer a revelation, or maybe more of a reminder, was brought to mind. I was reminded in that moment that God is not doing this to us. We are a fallen and sinful people and therefore we have to experience suffering in life. While God uses that suffering and sometimes promotes the most growth from periods of suffering he does not cause us to suffer. In my anger I have lost sight of this. I have focused more on the fact that if God is all powerful, then he can provide us with a child at any time. But on this day, I was reminded that the one who is causing me to suffer is Satan. Satan has gotten into my head and heart and caused me torment and grief, and I have allowed him in my life allowing me to torment myself. Rather than recognize that God is grieving with us and hates that we have to go through this pain, I would get angry and blame him, ultimately giving Satan more power causing me more grief and anger. As soon as I realized what I had been doing and remembered God's true character of love I felt like I had been released from the bondage that I had been living in for the past number of months. I can't say that I never am sad or discouraged or that I won't have these feelings in the future, but I no longer feel like God is against us. I am not saying that it's not okay to get angry or to grieve, but I was allowing Satan to lie to me and distort the character of God. Rather than turning to God in my anger and grief I was pushing him away allowing Satan more power of my life and emotions.

This new freedom is a beautiful thing and I hope that in the coming days, months and possibly even years that I will remember this truth. Even on the hard days, I hope that I will remember that God is love and he is for us, not against us, and that he wants this for us just as much, if not more, than we do. Thank you again for all of your prayers. I truly believe that they have helped me to remember who God really is.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mixed emotions

I have been struggling to figure out which emotions to blog about first. Both could be quite lengthy or I could keep them both short and put them in one post. I know that if I write about one I'm going to want to write about the other the next day, so I figure it will be best to just keep them short and put them in one post.

The first item is how incredibly blessed I am. I write a lot about sorrow and frustration as these emotions tend to be quite common in my life right now, but I want everyone to know that even in the midst of this struggle I do know that I am blessed, even if I don't always sound that way. I am blessed in the big ways of having food, shelter and clothing. I have an amazing and supportive husband who is willing to sacrifice for me and walk me with down this very difficult road. We have incredible families that have supported us emotionally and financially when we have needed it the most.  Some of you may not understand this, but I am so blessed to come home to the sweetest dog that couldn't be happier to see me and makes the pain of infertility a little easier to bear. I also am blessed by the little things like running water, clean running water at that (which is actually a really big thing), electricity, and after our time in Gambia, I realize how blessed I am to have a washing machine.  We both have jobs and vehicles to get to those jobs. We have more than we could ever ask for, yet I struggle to be content. I should be able to look at all that we have, be thankful and not want anything else, yet I feel like there is a part of us that is missing. A part that leaves a burning desire in my heart, which leads me to the next part of my post.

I feel as though God has given us the desire to be parents, yet it feels like we are at a complete standstill, and despite our best efforts, we can't move forward. I have to admit, this has put a huge strain on my relationship with God. I read stories over and over of couples that struggle with infertility, then decide to adopt and God just opens doors. And then there is us, we decide to adopt and cannot find a door that is even cracked for us, nonetheless open. People talk a lot about God's perfect timing as if it will make the wait easier, but the reality is that this just makes the pain grow stronger because I have no idea when that "perfect timing" will be and I can't for the life of me figure out why it has to be so long for us  and so short for others. Frankly I'm just tired. Tired of this journey with no end in sight and tired of feeling like God is not on our side. While this may not be true, this is how I feel and thankfully God understands that. Once again please pray for. Pray for our relationship with God to be strengthened and renewed, pray that we will begin to understand where this road is leading and where God wants us to turn. Also, please pray for us as we are facing insurance issues and need to obtain new insurance for Elias in the next 30 days or else we will lose our reimbursement program that is vital for us to afford his medications and quarterly clinic appointments. Once again, thank you for walking this journey with us.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What is a homestudy?

What is a homestudy? This is a question that I have been getting frequently as of late. I have talked about wanting to get our homestudy done so that we can move forward with the adoption process, but I have never taken the time to explain what this is. A homestudy is performed by a social worker or adoption agency and is an evaluation of your family. Finances, health, relationships and possible criminal history are reviewed. You may have to answer questions about your community/neighborhood, school systems and resources  for children with special needs. Families are also asked personal questions to get an idea of who they are, how they will parent, why they are adopting, etc. All of this information is compiled into a 8-10 page report to ensure that you are suitable to adopt and to give agencies or social workers a better idea of what kind of child is best suited for your family.

This entire process takes about 3-6 months to complete. At a meeting that we attended, they stated that home studies could be completed in as little as a month, but this depends on how busy the social worker is and how flexible our schedule is to meet with the social worker. Once the homestudy is complete then you can begin the adoption process and begin applying for grants and other financial aid programs. In New York the average cost of a homestudy is around $2,000. We have raised/saved $760 at this point, meaning that we still have a ways to go before we can complete our homestudy and begin applying for grants and other financial aid. Once again, we ask for your help so that we can move forward. We are currently at a standstill and this is a really difficult place to be. Please continue to support us through prayer, and if you are looking to contribute financially we still have our coffee fundraiser open to the right of this page, and as I stated in our last post, we will be purchasing a puzzle where you can "sponsor" a piece for $10 and your name will be written on the back for our child to see everyone who helped bring him/her home. And as always you can donate directly to us online by clicking on the link at the right or by mailing a donation directly to us at:
Elias or Jessica Zehr
710 Old State Rd.
Poland, NY 13431

Thank you again to all who have donated and for all of your prayers and support.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


9-The number of embryos that we started with back in December.
3-The number of embryos we have left today
3-The number of failed transfers that we have had to date.
9-The number of months we have been traveling back and forth to the fertility clinic in hopes of conceiving a child.

Since the adoption process is moving so slowly, we figured we would try another frozen embryo transfer since we don't have to pay for the transfer itself as long as we it before December (this does not include bloodwork and ultrasounds). After some discouragement of finding out that our new insurance didn't cover anything fertility related (and some rather large bills of procedures performed before knowing this detail), we went through with the transfer. We stepped out in faith and said "this is it!". We are getting pregnant this time, this one will finally work. Well, we were wrong. Once again we are crushed, confused and hurting. The answer for us is to schedule a follow-up consult with the doctor, which I think we should have had long before now and should not have had to request ourselves. Unfortunately we won't be able to even speak with the doctor until July 30th. This is over a month away! I'm sorry, but I'm not real impressed. I want answers now. Obviously something needs to change and obviously something more is going on and they can't give us answers as to what.

For so long we thought that male factor infertility was our only issue. I took my fertility for granted and just assumed that my body would be baby friendly. This has been a hard reality for me to face and now I'm wondering if my body is actually attacking the embryos and now allowing me to get pregnant. This would not be good news as this is not an easy fix, and if you find a doctor that is willing to work with you on this it would not be an option financially for us.

In our situation there are two sides to the spectrum. There are the couples that choose to not even try IVF  as they don't feel it is right for them and they turn their energy to adoption. Then you have other couples that have 8-9 failed IVF's and a number of frozen embryo transfers in hopes of 1 or 2 successful cycles. Then you have us, we wanted to try IVF, but we also want to pursue adoption in hopes of becoming parents some how, some way, as soon as possible, while also providing children a home who are in need. I always pictured have both biological children and adopted children, but that may not be how God has pictured our family. We are still actively pursuing adoption, but there is only so much we can do at once and until we have the finances to move forward we are at a stand still. So we will be beginning another fundraiser to try and raise more money. We will be purchasing a puzzle and you can "sponsor" pieces of the puzzle by donating $10/ piece. Your name will then be written on the back of the piece and the puzzle will be displayed in a double sided glass case for all to see who helped us bring our child home. Please let us know if you are interested and please pray for us as we once again grieve, seek and move forward.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A post about life

This post has nothing to do with adoption or infertility. Just life in general.

On hot days like today I am taken somewhere else. I am taken to a room in a developing country, surrounded by the spanish language and beautiful Bolivian babies. I am taken to a Gambian compound where I am sitting on a little wooden stool under a tree, teaching the Bible to youth. I feel an ache in my heart for these places and I am reminded that my heart is no longer wholly in the United States. Rather, I have left a piece of my heart in La Sala Cuna where I sat with those babies every day. I have left a piece of my heart in dusty Gambian villages with families that have persevered even in the difficult times.

My heart is scarred.

The beautiful thing about this though is that my heart is not missing the chunks that I have left in other countries, rather, pieces of my heart were patched with pieces of my experience in that country. In Bolivia, the pain was immediate and searing as I left part of my heart there and received a patch that would throb for the next year as the pain gradually decreased, leaving me with only a familiar ache. As for Gambia, there were many times that I didn't think I would notice the part of my heart that I have left there at all. But over time as that patch became a part of me I have found myself missing Gambia and aching for our life there. It wasn't the throb of Bolivia, but it is more recent and the ache now stronger than that of the country I first fell in love with.

Despite the aching and longing that I feel in my heart I am reminded of how enormously blessed I am. I have seen beautiful things and heart wrenching things. I have loved deeply and then dealt with the pain that leaving brings when you allow yourself to love. I have been transformed into a different person that reminds me of a joyful young woman that I want to return to while also reminding me of the person that I once was and that I never want to become again. This transformation hasn't been easy and there have been times where I pushed away the people in my life that I love, simply because I didn't know how to bring the new me and my old life together. Each time I come back from another culture it feels as though I have learn how to socialize all over again. But once again I am reminded that I am blessed and that I will never be fully American again.

Yes, I hope to visit these places again, maybe even serve in one of them again, but for today I will simply remember. Maybe even shed a tear now and then, but I will praise God for the time that I had and the memories that were made.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I just wanted to write a quick update letting all of you know where we are at right now. I wrote previously saying that we wanted to try and begin our homestudy in May so that we would be closer to being ready to receive a child if/when that situation came up. Unfortunately we weren't able to make that happen. We don't have the finances raised/saved to pay for a homestudy at this point. I just have to believe that God has called us to at least begin the adoption process now so that we will be ready for our child when He brings him/her to us. While faith and trust have been a regular struggle for me recently in this process, I have to trust that God has put the desire to be parents in our hearts for a reason. It's too easy to feel hopeless, and if I'm honest with myself and all of you, there are days where I have succumbed to that hopelessness. But I know that God has a plan in all of this and that children are in our future. Please continue to pray for us and support us in any way that you feel called. If you are called to pray for us then please pray hard! If you feel called to support us financially then please consider doing so. No matter how you support us, we thank you. We can't do this on our own and that just continues to be revealed to us more and more.  We thank you for the blessings that you are in our lives.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Why does adoption cost so much?

So, for all of you out there wondering why in the world we would anticipating between $15,000-$30,000 in adoption costs, here is a breakdown of where all of that money goes to.

First you have adoption from the foster care system which costs between $0-$2500. This is least expensive form of adoption and we are not opposed to this option. However, please put yourself in our shoes. You spend 3 1/2 years trying to get pregnant, you spend thousands of dollars to result in 2 failed embryo transfers. Then imagine risking fostering a child that you fall in love with, desire to adopt and then ultimately watch that child be returned to parents who may or may not be in the best interest of that child.

Then you have domestic adoption which can range from $5,000-$40,000. International adoption ranges from $7,000-$30,000. Both are contingent on whether you use an agency or not, and what the variables of travel fees, legal fees, etc. Here is a more detailed breakdown of all of the individual costs. Some of these costs vary and there are other costs that are not listed here, this is simply an example of an adoption budget. This is a chart that we borrowed from:

Please note: We are not planning on adopting from Russia or China, this is just an example. Also, at this point we are looking into an independent adoption from Ghana which would eliminate program fees and application fees, but would still run between $15,000-$19,000. In addition it looks as though this will be the final year for the tax credit and the likelihood of us adopting before the end of the year is unlikely at this point.

One last point that I forgot to put in my original typing of this post is that the average birth in an American hospital without insurance, costs between $9,000-$25,000. This means that the cost of adoption is comparable and at times even less expensive than a hospital delivery.

Agency domestic infantFost- adopt2



Documentation Authentication


I-600 Visa Application






Program Fee








Foreign Fees




Reports 1






Birth Family




Foster Care



Average Cost
(before tax credit)
Tax Credit3

Maximum Credit

per final
per final
per attempt
per attempt

All budgets

1. May be included in program fee or homestudy fee.
2. Costs of adopting a child from foster care may be eligible for reimbursement (up to $2,000) by the child's state, depending on state regulations. Also, adoptions of U.S. children with special needs are eligible for the federal tax credit, regardless of actual expenses.
3. Subject to income limitations.