About Us

We are Chris and Megan. First and foremost we love our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are daily humbled by His plan for our lives and love seeing what he does when we trust him. We have always wanted to adopt but had planned on having biological kids first. We felt God calling us to adoption first and after lots of prayer are excited to be starting our first adoption! We love the people and culture of Uganda and are excited to bring that culture into our family. We seek to honor God in our adoption and eventually in the way we raise our kids. We covet your prayers as this will be a long but exciting journey to our forever family!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Empty Arms Are Empty Arms

Yes, we chose this.  Yes, we were told starting out how long this process would be. Yes, we knew we would still be a family of 2 for Christmas this year. But, empty arms are still empty arms.

I wasn't told how bad I would ache. I wouldn't know looking at our beautiful tree how much would feel missing this year. Two ornaments hang in anticipation of a little to know they were thought about long before we had a face and a name. We don't know him...her...them? but we wait with heavy expectation for the Christmas when they delight in the lights, songs, food, family and friends and ultimately in Jesus.

Advent has had a deeper meaning this year. I understand the ache and the anticipation just a little clearer. The excitement of the celebration is fogged a bit with the "not yet." I've found myself prayerfully whispering, "Come, Lord Jesus, Come" and simultaneously "Bring them home, Lord Jesus, Soon." I ache with the groaning world for our savior to come and also for our family to grow.

We've received different reactions when we say that there is an ache this season but earlier this week an instagram "friend" reminded me that empty arms are still empty arms. She knows this same ache and just expressing the simple understanding freed me to ache with anticipation.Regardless of how we got to this point, our arms ache to hold our child/children close and tell them about Christmas. We ache to buy the presents we know they'll love, sing songs that bring big grins, to celebrate advent as a family.

Each week of advent the words have sunk a little deeper.

We have hope in Jesus who has come and also in His final triumphant return. We have hope in one day growing our family through adoption.

In knowing Jesus a little more, we have found deeper peace. In relinquishing control, I realize it is an illusion. In giving up and letting go, we have found more peace.

But coupled with this hope is joy. Joy that Christ was born, he has saved and he now reigns! We have joy in the wait and hope of our family growing. We will one day revel in the joy of littles laughing and signing along side us. We have joy as we walk deeper and deeper into a dependent relationship on Jesus who has come that we might have life!

We love more deeply. As we have walked farther into the adoption process I've come to love Jesus so much more. As we've studied attachment and bonding issues I've seen more clearly my heart that struggles to know the infinite love of my Father. I see my depravity and it draws me deeper to Him.

Merry Christmas to our sweet child/children! Christmas has arrived Uganda!! We pray, if you're born that you would know how deeply loved you are by your loving Father. We pray for your birth mom and dad that they would know Jesus' deep love this Christmas.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Somewhat Unconventional Spring Break

Huh? Spring break....yeah we know it's a ways away but we have been planning our spring break since October!!

Let me back up a bit, we have an amazing orphan ministry at our church, it's actually the reason we switched churches a little over a year ago. We knew we were going to need support and wanted our child to grow up and be celebrated in their adoption both legally and in Christ. Project Hope has become our family, they've rallied arounds us and we've been able to rally around families and individuals who are passionate about caring for orphans both locally and globally.

A while back the leadership of Project Hope began dreaming of how to globally care for orphans well other than just through international adoption. One of the venues they began investigating was how to empower local churches abroad to care for their orphans well, to teach on the importance of permanence to families who had taken in children and how the gospel is the center of all of this. Most importantly, we want to show how God is for permanent families whether it is through reconciliation, reuniting previously separated families, domestic adoption etc, and through empowering families to keep their kids when resources are limited.

So that brings us to Spring Break '15! Chris and I were asked by the Project Hope leadership team to pray about going with a small group to Rwanda for 10 days. It immediately didn't seem possible for Chris to go with work and school but after talking with his advisor it is looking like we will get to do this together!! We have been praying for years to find a way to do global ministry together and we are so excited for this trip! This will be the second time both Chris and I have gone to Rwanda but our first time being able to go and minister together!! See this beautiful place, Chris took this picture when he was there in 2011. I love how well it captures "The Land of a Thousand Hills"

Our Goal:
This trip will be a vision trip to learn how to come along side overseas local churches and help them care for orphans in their community. We will be partnering with Saddleback Church to learn about their vision and implementation of global orphan care in Rwanda through the PEACE Plan. Our goal is to utilize aspects of what we learn in Rwanda together with the vision and heart of our church to modify and create our own vision and plan to participate in global orphan care.

Our goal is to work behind the scenes to minister to and encourage Rwandan church leaders who are caring for orphans in their communities. We will learn how Saddleback has helped to educate and encourage permanency in local families. Our goal is to encourage the local church to find families and then support those families so kids can get out of orphanages and into local, permanent homes as well as helping the church to find resources to keep kids in their families. Our daily, minute by minute goal is to be able to pull out at any time and still have the work go on because we are not coming into rescue or provide but to encourage and support the local church. In this, all glory goes to God and the work is sustainable and long lasting.

When we return, we will begin dialoguing with the Project Hope team, elders and missions team to prayerfully consider our church's involvement in caring for orphans around the globe. Rwanda has done an amazing job of getting kids out of orphanages and into Rwandan families so we are excited to learn how to come along side and encourage other churches in other countries that our church partners with to do the same.

We would love you to fervently pray for us and the other team members as we plan, travel and then hopefully create a God honoring, global orphan care ministry in our church. Our church has never had a ministry like this so we are excited and somewhat anxious to step into the unknown and be part of the beautiful mess that is to come. We are so thankful to be part of a church who cares so deeply for the vulnerable.

Specifics of the trip:
Length of Trip: 10 days at the end of March/beginning of April
Estimated Cost: $3000 per person

If you feel led to give, we will be fundraising for our trip. All donations are tax deductible, if unused the donations will go to the rest of the team and then to the short-term missions fund.

You can make checks payable to Grace Evangelical Free Church and write "Rwandan Missions Trip" and our names Chris and Megan Negrete in the memo line.

You can send to us (please email us for our address: negretefamilyadoption@gmail.com) or you can send directly to our church: Grace EV Free, Attention Jeff Khalil, 12717 Santa Gertrudes Ave, La Mirada, CA 90638.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Biometrics Appointment Complete!

Another check on the checklist, another task marked off!!

We submitted our I-600A less than 3 weeks ago. We were told to expect up to a 2 month wait for our biometrics (fingerprint) appointment. I prayed and prayed we would receive our appointment date by the end of this week. I came home Monday to 4 letters from USCIS with our appointment date set for noon on December 12. It was such a direct answer to prayer, exceeding our request for an already speedy process!

Silly government people who assign random times during normal working hours. We both couldn't do it but we've heard from numerous other families that they will often take walk ins. So today, I left school early and we rushed over to the office...we got a little lost on the way, stupid iphone lead us to the completely wrong place!

When we arrived we were told we had to speak with the immigration officer to see if he would allow us to walk in. Thankfully we saw the nicest immigration officer there is and he did everything he could to get us processed! In the meantime he asked us about what we do, where we're adopting from. He was excited that we will have the "United Nations" in our family!
We waited about an hour and a half but ultimately got it done!

So now we wait and pray we can receive our official I-600A approval before Christmas, can you think of a better Christmas present than that??

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Results of Auction

Before we tell you how God provided in amazing financial ways, we first want to give you clarity on all the behind the scene miracles that made this possible.

I had a magic number of wanting 100 items for the auction. I almost gave in and thought 50 is enough, I can settle. Then 75 is great God can use that but something kept moving me forward, kept encouraging me to email more and more people. Boy am I glad I did! We were blown away by having over 100 items donated by family, friends and strangers...135 to be exact!

If you are an adopting family, we hope the numbers encourage you to press on. It's a long, time-consuming endeavor but the blessing is far greater than just the monetary blessing. We met many amazing people who wanted to walk this road with us and met many amazing adoptive families. Some of our greatest joy came from connecting with other families who were banding together to bring kids home!

First: The Numbers (Ironically I'm not a numbers person, I hate math, I'm not even sure if I did the percentages correctly but it helps me to quantifiably see the story of our auction)

512 People/Shops were messaged/emailed via websites, blogs, Instagram, Facebook pages but mostly off of Etsy!! Thank you Jesus for Etsy, so many people with such AMAZING talent. I would browse Etsy for hours each night for months drooling over the amazing creations people have the talent of making. Thank you Jesus for your creativity in so many beautiful ways. I began emailing in the spring but really ramped it up the last few weeks of September and through until the end of October. I spent the last week of October and first week of November working on getting the word out and asking people to promote the auction page. We also ran two promotional giveaways for people who shared a photo. We ran these the week before the auction to help drive traffic.

Of 512 People/Shops contacted, 28 people/shops emailed to let us know they could not/would not donate. A little over 5% had let us know they wouldn't help! That was huge, I specifically made sure to let them know they were appreciated for their response. It was so helpful just to have information either way. Many also let us know they were praying for us and wishing our auction huge success. It was so encouraging!

Of 512 people/Shops contacted, 2 people wrote hateful/hurtful messages about why they wouldn't support our adoption. One said we should "leave it to Brad and Angelina." The other let us know she had reported us as "spam" and warned us our Etsy shop would get shut down if we kept emailing people. Both rattled me a bit but I had to keep in mind that 2 of 512 had this response.

Overall of the 512 people/shops contacted 110 responded, leaving 412 who ignored the messages

Here is where the good stuff comes!!!

Of 512 People/Shops Contacted, 82 Committed to Donate. That's 16% of people. Not a huge percentage but getting each and every donation was a huge blessing that kept me eagerly pursuing more! Their notes were extremely encouraging. Many told us they were praying for us a few told us they don't normally donate but God was telling them this was something they couldn't pass up. Some are not Christians but saw the beauty and heartache in adoption and wanted to help in some way. God used the hearts of those who were unaware or closed to Him to still accomplish his work. WOW! Many wrote well wishes for our child/children and many gave some of the most expensive items they sell hoping it would gain us the most amount of money. I would begin and end my days with reading messages from all the donors who committed daily. To say we were humbled would be an understatement. Numerous nights I was in tears with God's provision though people who he used to tangibly bless us.  Our "village" grew by so many! WE ARE SO GRATEFUL!! 

Of the 512 People/Shops Contacted and 82 who committed to donate 77 actually donated That's 15% of all people contacted.  I mention this only to encourage you not to be discouraged if you ever run an auction. We were told to email everyone and anyone and I kept that in mind. Some nights I would email 40 people and get one response but that one response humbled and blessed us greatly! Some of the items were unused things already had, things we had been given at an adoption conference, and things my mom brought home from China this last spring. 

Then the bidding started and we were further blessed. Each bid was a huge encouragement. It was another person stepping forward and saying "we're walking this with you." God used those bids to show us His faithfulness and sovereignty in even the littlest of things. EVERY SINGLE ITEM WAS BID ON!! That's huge!

I closed the auction on Sunday the 16th, had all orders organized by the 17th and everything was shipped by me or I had contacted the shop owner by today..the 22nd. So much time, work and effort but so worth it!!

So here it is....after shipping costs  our total amount raised was:

All glory and honor and thanks be to God who provided more than we could ever imagine. We watched 135 items multiply in ways only God could orchestrate!! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!! We have so much to be grateful for!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Another Step!

We mailed in our I-600A yesterday!! In short, the I-600 A is a precursor to classify an orphan as an immediate relative. Our form will be sent to the US Embassy in Kampala to allow for Advance Processing once we adopt.

While it doesn't mean much now, it does mean that we've finally taken the next step past our unending home study.  We still have not completely resolved the home study issues but the copy we had was able to be submitted!  We will now wait for our petition to be accepted by the USCIS, we will then be given a biometrics appointment. Once those have cleared, we will officially be on the wait list!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Another Fundraising Opportunity

With Christmas right around the corner, we would love to encourage you to support small business while supporting our adoption!!

Erin at Meadowbelle Market has offered to give us some of her proceeds for every purchase. She's extended two options for you the buyer!!

1. You can receive 10% off of your purchase and we will receive 40% of the proceeds. Use the coupon code NEGRETEADOPTION


2. You can purchase at full price and we will receive 50% of the proceeds. Write NEGRETEADOPTION in the comments section.

Here are a few of the amazing items in her shop!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Auction Starts Tomorrow!!

Oh my gosh, it's time!! I'm so excited, nervous and freaking out just a bit! Our auction starts tomorrow and there are so many amazing items. I'm so excited to see what everyone gets!

We've changed the auction a bit after talking with other families who have had auctions and extended the time because next week is crazy for me:

Join the page to be able to bid: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1435369746717958/

Leave your name, bid and tag the last person so they know they've been outbid :)

Auction begins TOMORROW!! Friday, November 7th at 10 AM PST and closes Sunday, November 16 at 9 PM PST. Once I've posted the winner bidding is officially closed!

We will contact you through Facebook to notify you on how to pay. A $3.00 shipping charge will be added per participant, not per item!

Happy Bidding!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Home Study Complete!!!

So after a few weeks of silence we finally have exciting news to announce!!  Our home study is complete!!

Seeing the word "done" on that paper made a wave of peace pass over me. We've strived and longed for this day, this email, this news!! 

If you recall, our last visit was August 26th. You see there has been such a long silence because our home study agency made two more mistakes (for a total of 6) on our home study which we had to revise before it would be accepted by our placing agency, the one person who can sign off also took a vacation in the middle of it causing further delay.

But finally, the day has arrived and we are so excited to move forward onto the next step which unfortunately involves  A LOT of waiting. But we are one major step closer to our referral!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Our Auction

We hope you liked what you saw in the sneak peak! There are 43 items on the page now and we will continue posting until the beginning of the auction. If you check out the Our Ugandan Adoption Page, you will see we have paid all our home study fee. We now have our final fees to our placing agency, travel fees and after adoption fees to raise. In total we are expecting about another $23,630 in expenses to complete the adoption!

So here's how it works! Get on Facebook and head on over our Facebook Auction

From there you can request to join the group!

You can browse through the items but you CAN'T bid until the auction officially opens on November 7th at 7AM PST and closes November 11, 2014 at 10 AM PST.

Please share this link with family and friends, post it on Facebook, Instagram, any kind of social media! (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1435369746717958/)

The most important thing you can do in the next 33 days is get as many people into the group as possible. The success of the auction depends on hundreds if not thousands of people seeing the page, joining the group and bidding!

We will send out reminders when the auction is getting closer!

Thank you to the dozens of people who have donated already! The tangible love and support we have seen poured out has been richly blessing us and encouraging us!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Online Auction

Many people have rallied around us and gifted us amazing items to auction off!! We are working on the Facebook page and will post the link here sometime this weekend!

If you make things, are crafty, artistic...own a business and would be willing to donate your services...have cool items others may love and you're wanting a way to support our adoption we would love to add even more items!

It will begin November 7th and end November 11 at 10 AM PST. Here is a sneak peak of just a few items that be in our auction!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Adoption Guilt and Choosing Joy

We promise to remain transparent in our adoption including the good the bad and the ugly...today it's the ugly and vulnerable. Please see our struggling hearts as we trust God with all the adoption decisions. 

Our current struggle is this sense of guilt over "choosing" a child. I've been struggling with guilt ever since our home visit. For days it consumed me, I hid it, wrestled with it and let it cloud the Truth we've been following since the beginning. I finally crawled out of my hole and asked Chris if he's feeling the same. His guilt isn't as overwhelming and frequent but he has felt it also.

At our home visit we were asked what "kind" of child we were willing to adopt. Age and gender and number of kids was easy to answer but we had to go deeper. Would we accept a child with down syndrome? Missing limbs? Missing digits? Developmental or learning issues? Autism? Medical issues both large and small? HIV? We were honest in what we felt like we could handle but it left me with a sick feeling. If I get pregnant, we will love, cherish and celebrate while still hoping for a healthy child. Could/should we extend the same parameters for our adoption? We had discussed our desires numerous times, prayed fervently and felt God leading us in the decisions.  We were prepared, had ready answers but both left the meeting with a deep guilt. Our social worker was extremely positive and encouraging, she commented numerous times that our parameters are much more broad than most families she works with. 

I've prayed this verse for days (Psalm 61:2) We've both been praying about our guilt and the parameters we established and don't feel God asking us to change our parameters. This has led us to believe this guilt comes directly from Satan. Our dear friends have encouraged us and helped us to see that we are trusting God with all our decisions. It has been extremely to talk with other adoptive families who have walked this same struggle. I have been reminded of John 10:10 which says "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." Jesus would you give that peace? Would you help us to see the life in this adoption and replace our guilt with joy! We praise you for the child you planned, before the beginning of time, to graft into our family! While the guilt will still creep in, we are choosing joy in knowing each day we are a step closer to meeting that sweet face!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Organizing Grant Applications

No one who adopts can care too much about destroying the rain forest because there are millions of papers to fill out/submit/copy/sign etc...

From application, to Uganda manual to home study and now....GRANTS!!

We are committed to a debt/loan free adoption. Our community has rallied around us and donated all but 50 pieces of the puzzle! Check that out, you can actually tell what it is and there is only a tiny pile of un-donated pieces left!!

You can still be a "piece of our puzzle" by donating $10/puzzle piece (For more information click here Puzzle Fundraiser).

We are also diligently saving as much as we possibly can! But, while we wait for our home study to be written and approved, we are filling out at least a hundred more papers applying for every possible loan. Thank you Jesus for all the people/foundations/non-profits who have acknowledged the financial burden but huge blessing that adoption is. Another adoptive mama sent me her long list of adoption grants with helpful notes on each. There are over 55 grants on her list! What a huge gift!! Most of the grants require a completed home study, others require details of our referral and pictures/ medical information of our child/children (which we won't have for a while). But while we wait for the completed home study we are starting to fill out the generic information, financial information, testimonies, desire to adopt etc!!

Because I'm also committed to being highly organized, I made this binder to help keep everything straight.
I have two pages in the front with important information each are asking for like work addresses, contacts for our home study and placing agency, email addresses, phone numbers etc. I created a folder for each grant, I started off with just 10 and will work on adding more after I've tackled these.
 I just 3-hole punched each folder and put the grant application inside each.
 The labels are easy to see and keep everything organized. At the back I have a miscellaneous file which will have a copy of our completed home study, tax files from the last few years, marriage certificates etc. (Things multiple grants are asking for)
My favorite part of these specific file folders are the "notes" section inside the back panel. I'll write special instructions, application deadlines and general notes about each grant.

Thankfully I had the binder and file folders on hand after not using them for work last year so it was all free!! This may not be very exciting to many of you but it makes me eager to get started!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Home Visit

I would describe our home visit as uneventful! But the hours leading up to it were stressful!

Aside from the craziness of cleaning, organizing, hanging pictures (thanks awesome sister Hayley for helping!) etc. the whole day today was nuts!!

I went to work, my kids were unusually horrible and driving me crazy. No one would listen or focus, I thought I was going to loose my mind. Thankfully we had a dance class scheduled at the end of the day at then end of the day....until LOCKDOWN!

As I picked my kids up from lunch, I noticed several circling sheriff's helicopters and many more sirens and knew it was coming. Moments later we are rushing kids into the classroom, locking doors, turning off the lights and staying quiet. I watched as the minutes crept by and realized the helicopters were still circling after more than an hour. Just before our normal dismissal time, the police allowed us out of lockdown to get kids home to their parents (all the while not knowing if the situation was under control or even what had happened). It turned out, deputies went to an apartment complex for an investigation where the suspect opened fire and shot a police officer and then barricaded himself (at the time of writing this, he is still barricaded with SWAT and crisis negotiators on the scene). All this happened about a block from our school.

I made sure all my students got to their parents and left as quickly as I could, praying I wouldn't miss our home visit!

I got home just after she had "toured" our house and she asked us a few more specifics on the child we hoped to adopt (age, disabilities, cultural expectations, experience with parenting etc.) It was quick and painless, she left only about 30 min after I got home. Chris said his individual interview went well!! Now we wait (notice a trend here) for the home study to be written, then checked by our placing agency then officially approved. We are hoping to be HOME STUDY APPROVED within the next few weeks!! We'll be celebrating big time!!

Thank you everyone who prayed for us, text us, called us, left facebook and instagram encouragement!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Empty Closets!!

Well it only took 4 days but all my teaching stuff has been moved to my new classroom!! My amazing master teacher gave me all her books/ materials when she retired after I student taught. We have been storing these for years and praying they would one day be used. 6th Grade just wasn't the place for all those "little kid books." But now there are little kids who are loving those books and we have empty closets!! The baby room is screaming to be filled with kid stuff...and kids!!!! (Don't tell Chris)

My first week of teaching is almost over and it's been wonderfully exhausting. Boy oh boy can 8 year olds talk. They don't need any kind of an audience to have a full conversation. Everything is made into a toy. And, maybe I'm ignorant, but do all 8 year old boys put EVERYTHING in their mouth? Paper, tape, erasers, paper clips...literally anything! I bet I said 100 times today "spit out whatever is in your mouth." I don't even ask anymore but if I do the girls all die laughing.

We are having fun learning about number lines, place value, CVC words, short vowels but most importantly about being a team. We have coined the phrase "don't be a Kobe." It means to not be a "hog" of time,  words and attention.

I'm nervous to say it, but I think I'll actually enjoy this job!! I LOVE third grade!! Today they about drove me crazy with all the talking, but it hit me how I've longed for this. We've spent hours, days, weeks, months, years praying I would enjoy my job and the passion of teaching would return. I think I feel that passion pushing through, I'm seeing glimpses of hope that I won't just push through this position but actually love my job and thrive as a teacher!!  (Pictures will come of the completed classroom when it is completed! I take every kid-free 5 minutes to hang up another bulletin board or arrange the calendar. Hopefully by the end of next week it will be done!)

We would love continued prayer as I work with kids from hard hard backgrounds whose brokenness can't be healed easily.

Also, pray for us as Chris has started at UCLA. He is only taking one class until October when he will be taking a full load. We are both excited but realize the time constraints it will bring and the tension that it will place on our marriage.

Friday, August 8, 2014

What a Difference A Day Makes!!!

Remember a few posts back..."What a Difference a Year Makes." Well that's all still great and true but today has blown me away. It is awesome to serve a God who works on long and short schedules...like really short...less than 6 hours short!

I've been struggling a lot the last few weeks with being unemployed. I want to trust that I am not defined by my job but when my job is my passion and uses my gifts it's hard to separate. Yesterday and today I couldn't shake the "God what are you doing? Are you going to provide me a job? Are you listening to my pleading, do you hear my desperation?"  I was offered a position earlier this week that only paid $10 an hour and was basically babysitting and I've questioned God, "am I meant to take a low paying, boring (for me) job? Are you asking me to depend on you more and more financially??" Neither Chris or I felt peace accepting this job so I turned it down but I've second guessed whehter it was the right choice. Little did I know the plans God had to move and to provide!!

To give the specifics of how quickly things have transpired here is a time stamped detail on what occurred!!

Friday, August 8, 2014:

11:00 Check Edjoin (teacher job site). This has become my morning routine submitting applications for jobs. I submitted 3 applications this morning.

12:32- Missed call from Mr. R- the principal of one of the jobs I just applied for (only 92 minutes later!)

12:42- Notice missed call and call back. Mr. R conducts phone interview to determine next steps and to see if we both think this would be a good match.

3:45- Mr. R. video conferences in to do a mock demo lesson (talk about awkward trying to pretend two grown men are children and doing it remotely with no whiteboard...it was weird).

4:30- I finish my mock demo lesson and answer more interview questions.......and then......HE OFFERED ME A 3RD GRADE POSITION!!! and can I go sign all the papers today (unfortunately I couldn't make it to downtown LA with traffic by 5:30 so I'll go in first thing Monday morning to process all my paperwork)

Oh, and the first day of school is Tuesday!! And, I'll meet all my students and their families on Monday!! Yikes!! Ok God, slow down a little and let me breathe but Yahoo!! I have a job and I LOVE third grade!! I'll be teaching in Compton...an area and student population I love!!

This means we have full benefits and we can continue the adoption!! It also means we have a steady income so we can feel confident with Chris working less and focusing on his NP program.

We would both appreciate prayers for this big and fast transition but we would also love prayers of praise at how quickly our God can provide!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Individual Interviews

This post may be super boring for you but I searched and searched for information on what social workers ask during the home study process. My hope is this alleviates some fear and stress over "preparing" for the interviews. Today I had my individual interview for our home study. Both Chris and I were supposed to be interrogated interviewed but he had to work instead so we can go to a wedding on Saturday. He will make his up on the 26th or 28th and he'll do it on the same day as our home inspection part!! That means we should be wrapping this whole thing up by the end of the month!! After that, our work is done and our social workers will be writing our home study.

So a quick recap of my interview. She asked:

  • About my relationship with all family members and how they feel about our adoption. 
  • About my parent's marriage and how I perceived it. 
  • About my parents/siblings occupations, where they lived, how old they are, where I am in birth order, their temperaments, how often we talk/see each other. 
  • Our relationship history, dating, engagement and marriage.
  • What I identify as my strengths and weaknesses, strengths and weaknesses in our marriage. 
  • How I feel about myself (self-esteem).
  • How we plan to talk with our child about adoption and how open we are about discussing it. 
  • Who is my "circle", who will I turn to for support when things get hard
  • How I handle stress, ways of coping when it gets hard
  • My educational background, where I went to high school, undergrad and graduate
  • How satisfied/valued I feel in my profession
  • If there are any fertility issues preventing us from having biological kids.
  • Overall health, mental, emotional and physical
If I think of more questions I'll add them later. Overall it was easier than I thought, the worrying and fretting was all for nothing! Adopting parents, don't fear!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Homestudy Intake Interview

We got an email yesterday to schedule our initial intake interview. I immediately emailed back and asked if we could do it this afternoon and she said yes!!

We met for about half an hour and she asked generic questions...why do you want to adopt? Why Uganda? How do your families feel about the adoption? She asked about our relationship, how we met, our dating period and engagement and general marriage. It was pretty easy and painless. I was nervous going into it but it was way easier than I had expected.

Tomorrow we'll schedule our individual interviews that can be up to 2 hours long and then she'll come out to our house and check out the physical environment. After that, she'll write our home study!! This is really happening and now I'll be freaking out about the individual interview and if my knives are high enough, the fire extinguisher is in the right place and all the harmful chemicals are properly contained!

Friday, July 25, 2014

What A Difference a Year Makes!

A year ago this weekend  we took a few days and went to a quaint bed and breakfast (The Keating House) in San Diego. It was a sweet weekend to be together, explore the city, celebrate my birthday and slow down. Hours were spent walking on the boardwalk, at a Padres game, walking thorough Balboa Park. We spent a lot of our weekend intentionally talking about our future. We spend time praying and reading the Word and talking some more. At the end of the weekend we felt God leading us to begin two major life changing ventures...Chris would apply for Nurse Practitioner programs and we would start an adoption before trying for biological kids. We both felt God pushing us to trust Him in two major changes and trust His plan for our family.

I immediately started pursuing adoption agencies and talking with dozens of families who had adopted. I researched Ugandan laws, the current feelings toward international adoption and attachment theories. We switched churches and found one we ADORE who has a strong orphan care ministry along with sound Biblical teaching

Chris found the top schools, ones he qualified for and started making notes of when to apply. He started gathering transcripts, his diploma and enrolled in a class to meet the pre-requisite needs.

In our plan, Chris would go to school and we would begin our adoption this fall...We all know how that panned out!

Chris somehow misread the admissions process for multiple schools and was only able to apply to UCLA. This was our only shot at him becoming a NP, we agreed if he didn't get in he would not try again. He applied in the middle of December and we began the long wait to find out if he was accepted in April.

Over the holidays we told our families we were wanting to adopt and that it would be coming in the fall. We processed fears and joys with them and helped them learn the process we had been researching for months.

About a month later, God made it clear that we were to start our adoption and not wait until the fall. We found our agency, applied and were accepted. We found a home study agency to do our California home study and began diligently reading, collecting important documents, going to classes and filling out paperwork.

And now here we are...a year later. We have turned in ALL our home study paperwork and are yet again waiting on our home study agency to set up interviews (don't get me started on how frustrating our home study agency has been. Nice people but difficult to get information from and very slow at EVERYTHING ***NOTE: This is a different agency than our placing agency who is helping to reform adoptions in Uganda***).

We moved 30 miles away to be closer to Chris' work and school, I lost my job, Chris has completed his pre-requisite courses and starts school in 3 weeks!!

Wow what a year it's been. A year ago we had big dreams, we were on cloud nine with anticipation and hope. This year we are in the thick of it and still just as excited for where God has led us. It's crazy to think that last year these were dreams and today they're our reality!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The 5 Year Plan

We turned in all our paperwork for our home study on our anniversary last Monday!! We are now waiting to hear from our social worker for our interviews!! I'll update when we know more. When we are finished with our interviews, we will have our last payment to our home study agency. We still have 64 more puzzle pieces left...a fully "donated" puzzle= a fully funded home study. We would love to have names fill each piece before that last big check is sent off. I'm praying we can finish our interviews before school starts back up. If you would like to "donate" a puzzle piece, click on the donate button on the left, each piece is $10 and you can donate as many as you would like. In the comments section at checkout you can let us know what names you would like on the back.

In other news............

Tuesday we had a call from our placing agency. We talked for about 45 minutes about what the reform may look like and what it means for our adoption. Basically, we are in for a long, confusing and unsure ride. We've are looking more at 5 years until we adopt but no one really knows because the process is so confusing. We also found out here were about 30 families in the Uganda program but with the news of reform and the longer wait time, there are only 17 families now and that number will probably shrink after our agency finishes calls with all the families.

What We Don't Know:
How our family will grow...we had originally thought we would have biological kids after we adopt...now we're not so sure we want to wait that long and may try to have biological kids before we adopt.

The exact timeline...no one really knows could be 5 years, could be sooner

If it will be a legal guardianship (like it is now) or a full adoption. We will hopefully know more when Uganda makes amendments to the Child Act

What We Do Know:
We are adopting from Uganda...when our agency was in Uganda we were confused. We knew God had called us to Uganda but it seemed like doors were closing. We haven't stopped praying about the process and we both clearly know God is telling us to continue with this process for the long haul. Our agency has given us the opportunity to switch to another country but it isn't right for us.

We are participating in an ethical adoption. Our agency has been very open with the process, who they met with, the results of those meetings and the steps they are taking to protect vulnerable kids. We are constantly aware of the ethics of adoption and feel confident that we are working with an agency who cares just as much about ethics as we do.

We desperately need prayer, consistent fervent prayer. This reform process is going to stretch and push us and I don't expect the road to be easy but we are committed to loving Ugandan people in every step of our adoption.

2 Years!!

Happy Anniversary to my best friend! I wouldn't want to do this crazy life or an adoption with anyone else!!

Standing beneath that tree 2 years ago we promised to walk hand in hand together. Some days that is easier than others. Some days we're knocked to our knees before God...some days we rest together and other days we dream and run together! Marriage is such a unique blessing.

This has been a year of taking risks...I hate risk...Chris love risk. In the past year, Chris applied for NP school meaning 2 years of intense school, we started an adoption that we cannot afford, I chose to stand firm on convictions knowing it may cost me my job, we moved to a bigger/more expensive house without having a new job so we can have room for baby. Some days I freak out not knowing how everything will work out and Chris sweetly reminds me "God brought us this far, I'm confident He has a way to provide"  It's so comforting to have a husband who helps me to trust God instead of my plan. He's pushed me to Him every time I doubt. I'm so thankful for this risk taking, God trusting, walking hand in hand year! I can't wait, and am slightly terrified, for what year 3 will look like!

Each year we go back to the Arboretum where we were married. It's a sweet time to remember that wonderful day and dream about the next year!! I'm so thankful we live close to where we were married and that it's a public place that we can visit every year!!