Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Andrew's first week

I promise I will write more about our adoption experience at some point, but for right now just finding time to post pictures is a challenge. So until I can find time to write more, here's some pictures from our first week with Andrew:

He's such a sweet little guy, we have all been thoroughly enjoying him. The boys LOVE him. A few nights ago at bedtime Caleb prayed, "Dear Jesus, please bring us mo' and mo' babies."

Luke has two weeks paid paternity leave (yes, you read that right, paternity leave!) so we are thoroughly enjoying having some down time with all five of us at home. It's been a very merry Christmas for our family!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Here's a pic from Christmas Eve with Luke's family. This is our three boys posing with their cousin Logan. We had a great time and everyone enjoyed meeting Andrew!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We're Home!

I'm pretty tired today so I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. We got home last night with our sweet little Andrew. It was a long day, but it was a great day. We are all very happy to have him here with us, and so thankful for all our friends and family that have supported us through this journey.

He' s been a really easy baby so far, but I am still exhausted from all the whirlwind of activity over this past week. I promise to post some pictures of his homecoming soon. Today I am just trying to relax and enjoy being at home with my three sons.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Introducing...Andrew Bryant!

We found out today that our court date to finalize our custody of him is next Tuesday, the 23rd at 12:45. If all goes according to plan, we should have him home for Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We've got a baby! (almost)

We have had a very exciting week. On Tuesday afternoon, we got a very unexpected call from our adoption agency that we had been matched with a baby boy! We were so excited (of course!) and couldn't wait to see the little guy. I feel like we haven't stopped moving since we got "the call." This has all happened so fast, which is why I haven't found time to blog about this until now. My head is kind of spinning from everything that has gone on over the past few days, but I will try my best to explain and share all the details. It's been a very exhausting couple of days, so forgive me if my writing gets kind of rambly. My brain is functioning on coffee, Diet Coke and very little sleep!

This is the information we found out on Tuesday when our caseworker (Donna) called:

-He was born on Sunday, Dec. 14th
-His birthparents were meeting with our caseworker to sign the termination of parental rights papers on Tuesday evening.
-Both birthparents agreed and supported the adoption, so the legal stuff should be very clear-cut and easy.
-He is very healthy, except for a slight case of jaundice.
-He was being discharged from the hospital Tuesday and being sent home to one of Bethany's interim foster families until we could bring him home with us.

Donna gave Luke the number for one of their attorneys, and Luke spent a lot of time Tuesday talking to him about our next steps. Here's what has happened since Tuesday:

-We drove to St. Louis yesterday evening so that we could meet with our attorney this morning. He is a top-notch attorney; he helped write the official Missouri Book of Adoption Law so we trust that he knows what he is talking about! He has worked in the St. Louis adoption and juvenile courts for decades and knows the judges really well. We feel like we are in very good hands with him. We meet with him again tomorrow to sign papers and he will hopefully give us our court date for next week by sometime tomorrow afternoon.

-After meeting with our attorney, we drove to our adoption agency's office and met Donna who took us to meet our newest son! His foster family met us at the church where the dad is a pastor and the mom works at the church school. We got to spend a few hours there holding him. He is so sweet and snuggly! We were so thankful they allowed us to use the church nursery so that we could have some bonding time with just our family. Isaac and Caleb got to play and work off some energy while Luke and I took time holding this sweet little guy.

We officially decided today to name him Andrew Bryant. Andrew is a name we have had on our mind for a long time now if we ever had another son. Andrew was Luke's grandpa's middle name, and it also falls in line with our Biblical names for Isaac and Caleb. Bryant is Andrew's birthfather's middle name, and the middle name his birthparents chose for him. We really liked the name Bryant, and wanted to give him that tie to his birthfather. So, Andrew Bryant will be boy #3 at our home!

When we left for St. Louis yesterday, I had this grand idea of blogging throughout this whole journey, and posting pics so everyone could see everything that was happening. This plan was ruined when I realized on the way to St. Louis that I forgot to bring the camera cord that hooks up to the computer to download pictures. So you'll have to wait until tomorrow night to see pictures. We've got some great pics to share!

Andrew is adorable. He loves to be held and snuggled in a warm, cozy blanket. He has a beautiful face and lots of soft, curly hair. His feet are huge, and since his birthfather is 6'1 we're expecting him to be pretty tall. He is a precious little baby and Luke and I are so excited to bring him home.

Here's what still has to happen before he's officially ours:

-We meet with our attorney briefly tomorrow to sign some papers. He should let us know by tomorrow afternoon when our court date is. After the court date, we'll go spend some more time with Andrew before going home. It will be hard to leave him here, but it should only be for a few days.

-When our court date is scheduled, we will drive back to St. Louis for the day. Our attorney is going to try and get this court date scheduled next Monday or Tuesday, but if he can't it will be scheduled some time after Christmas. The court hearing only takes about ten minutes. The judge will finalize the birthparent's termination of parental rights, and grant the transfer of custody to Bethany. Bethany will be his offical guardian and we will be named foster parents. (After he has been with us for six months, we will have another court date where we will be able to officially adopt him.)

While the birthparents have signed the termination of parental rights papers, those papers are not official until the judge approves them. So it is possible that the birthparents could still change their mind and decide to parent. We don't think this will happen, they seem to have clearly made up their minds and haven't shown any signs of hesitation. But there is still that possibility. It's difficult to be in the situation of wanting to embrace this little guy as our own, but knowing that there is still a slim chance they could decide to parent. But we've trusted God throughout this whole process, and we'll trust Him through to the end.

God has blessed us in so many ways throughout this whole process, and we have been especially blessed over the last two days. I could write pages about how God's timing has been perfect, how His providence has abundantly smiled on us, and how much we enjoyed spending time with our three boys today. We are excited to share more about everything He has done in our lives through Andrew's adoption, and are so thankful for all the people that have been praying for us over the last several months. It is so exciting to have so many people that share our joy!

Look for pictures tomorrow night. We are hoping to be back home by tomorrow evening, and I will get busy downloading pics as soon as I can!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's going on...

I know many of you are probably wondering what's going on with our adoption since we haven't mentioned it in a while. We haven't mentioned anything lately for two reasons:

1) I have been potty-training a puppy, home-schooling our children and getting ready for Christmas. I have barely had time to write out a grocery list, and definitely haven't made it on to our blog much. (Murphy seems to be settling down a little bit and is potty-training quite nicely, so hopefully we'll be out of this high-maintenance puppy stage soon.)

2) As I mentioned in a previous post, Luke had been trying to get in contact with an agency in the South where there seems to be a greater need for families to adopt minority infants. After several weeks of phone tag with a very kind, but incredibly over-worked caseworker, we're thinking that it doesn't look like that is going anywhere. Our plans were kind of in limbo for a few weeks because we weren't sure if we were going to be "redirecting" our adoption to the South. I didn't want to update the blog until I knew what direction we were heading.

While the Southern agency not working out was slightly discouraging, we were encouraged by some news we received from Bethany over the weekend. Since Friday we have learned about three different adoption situations, two of the situations involving twin boys! None of the situations will be decided immediately; we will probably have to wait a few weeks before we hear anything either way. It was really nice though to finally hear of something going on after several weeks of not hearing anything. Please be praying for these three birthmothers and this big decision in front of them.

So there's the official update! We'll try to keep the blog updated as we hear any more news.

Now back to potty-training, home-schooling, and getting ready for Christmas...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas came a little early this year...

We were originally planning on giving the boys their puppy on Christmas morning, but for several reasons we decided we didn't want to wait that long. So our plans changed and we actually gave him to the boys on December 1st. They were so surprised!

Isaac was completely speechless when Mom and Dad walked in with Murphy; he just stood and looked at Murphy with a huge grin on his face. I think he was in a state of shock! He eventually came out of it and he and Murphy became instant best friends. He told us, "This is my best Christmas present ever!" Caleb was excited too, and is really enjoying having someone younger than him in the house that he can boss around. Overall, the addition of Murphy to our home has gone quite well, and the boys LOVE having him.

Here's some pics from the night we got him:

I have never been excited about getting an indoor dog,but I must admit that I have become quite attached to this little guy. We think he's a keeper!