We have had so much going on lately, between this adoption process and football season, that I have been neglecting to blog! I think about it and then get busy with something else, but I figured I had better blog now before Miss Bentlee comes home, because then I will definitely won't have time! :)
One of the things I have been meaning to blog about for a while now is our Adoption Benefit Dinner. It was awesome! We had a great turnout (about 120 people) and everything went really smoothly. We had a wonderful response to the themed baskets and the dessert auction, and I think everyone had a great time! We had people come that we knew from high school, college, church, work, and other friends and family, and it was so amazing to see how many people love and support us! Overall, we made about $3500 from the dinner! It has been such a blessing to see how the Lord has provided for us through this journey. (You can check out pictures from the benefit dinner on Facebook!)
We also had a few more fundraisers, at Mooyah and Fresco's, in addition to our Adoption Bug t-shirt fundraiser. Again, we were overwhelmed by the number of people who came out and supported us! These are the fundraisers that helped us raise money:
-Adoption Benefit dinner
-A friend at church who did photography mini sessions
-A friend at church who did a Scentsy fundraiser
-A friend who ran 60 miles in a month and had people sponsor him per mile
-Our Adoption Bug t-shirt fundraiser
-Our cleaning lady gave $50 per each new cleaning service we referred
-Our friends are running a marathon and people are sponsoring them to run
-Lots of people sent us donations either through mail or PayPal
Between all of these fundraisers, we have raised the ENTIRE amount of our adoption! That's right, in about 8 weeks we have raised over $17,000!! If you had told me 8 weeks ago that we would be able to raise the whole amount we needed for our adoption, I would have told you that you were crazy! In fact, I think we are both still in shock! We believe this is totally a God thing...how else could we have raised this amount in such a short time??
Over the past few months (as a reminder, this whole process started June 3!!) many people have asked us questions about this process, and we have certainly been learning as we go. One of the most common questions we hear is surrounding the finality or legality of the process....meaning, "What if...." We know that a lot of people are unfamiliar with the adoption process, and these types of questions are normal, so I wanted to explain this part of the process.
So far, we have submitted our profile, been chosen by the birth parents, met them in person, done our home study and GOBS of paperwork, had background checks, took some classes on bonding, attachment and CPR, submitted more paperwork, paid several huge amounts of money, submitted more paperwork, attended doctor's appointments with the birth parents, and....you guessed it, submitted more paperwork! At this point, we have completed everything we need to do (except submitting our last payment) and we are just waiting....waiting for our home study to be officially approved, and of course, waiting for our baby girl to make her appearance. So what's next? The hospital...
Even though we will have everything wrapped up by the time of delivery, there will be one more obstacle to hurdle before our sweet baby girl can come home with us. That obstacle is the 48-hour-period. Basically, the birth mother has 48 hours after the birth before she can sign her rights away. The reason for this wait is because in the past, birth mothers have signed immediately after the birth, and later argued that they were still under the influence of drugs and the adoptions were overturned. So to protect the birth mothers and adoptive parents, the law was changed to 48 hours. During that 48-hour waiting period, the birth mother has the right to change her mind. Even though we have paid our money, jumped through all of the hoops, and done everything we needed to do, she could make the decision to parent and we would go home empty-handed....with no refund of our money and no baby.
Some days, that thought can paralyze me with fear.
We also know it's in the backs of other people's minds as well, and some even have voiced that fear to us (although, honestly, that just makes it worse for us, so please believe and be positive for us!!) But when those doubts creep in and threaten to cut off my ability to breathe, I have to remember one very important thing...
GOD IS SOVEREIGN!
God has been completely in control of this entire process from the beginning. He impressed it upon me to finally share our story publicly on our blog, which my friend read. He led us through the journey of infertility treatments, and put it upon our hearts to stop treatments in May. Before we knew what the next step would be for us, he put it on my friend's heart to approach us about adopting a certain baby girl. He allowed us to meet the birth parents, have a great connection with them, and encouraged them to choose us. He allowed us to raise the ENTIRE amount of the adoption in less than 2 months. He has allowed this process to progress smoothly from the beginning, with no hiccups or set-backs. And He has brought so many friends and family around us to support us and love us through this process.
When I have doubts about whether or not the birth mother will go through with this adoption, I have to remind myself of how incredibly the Lord has provided for us and orchestrated this whole process from the beginning. I also believe Jeremiah 29:11, that the Lord has plans for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Mike and I have prayed from the beginning of this process that the Lord would close this door if this was not our baby. We have been praying over her crib every night, that the Lord would protect her and bring her home to us. Even though we have been hesitant to put our whole hearts into this process, the Lord has thrown the door wide open over and over again, showing us that this is His will for us. Part of faith is believing WITHOUT seeing. We don't SEE our baby girl in our house or FEEL her in our arms yet, but we do BELIEVE that day is coming soon. Fear is powerful. We can either choose to live in fear, holding back and stressing and wasting this exciting time, or we can choose to trust in the Lord and His plan, we can choose to be excited about this process and enjoy every second of anticipating our baby girl's arrival.
We are making the choice every day to trust in the Lord and His plan, and to believe until we bring Bentlee Danielle home with us forever!