Thursday, December 31, 2009

Adoption Chronicles- The back story, pt. 5

We started working with our adoption agency quite heavily over the next couple of months. We read several books on adoption and parenting and attended many meetings and seminars at their office. There were so many questions to ask on so many topics that we didn’t know where to start.

Many of the books that we read were a great help in us understanding the process we were embarking upon. We read about adoptions both closed and open and how they have been handled throughout the years. We knew given the circumstances of our adoption this far, it was certainly going to be of the open variety and it was exciting to learn about all of the advantages that would come with that. Through the process however, we also discovered the misconceptions that are out there about open adoptions and we found that educating our friends and family (in addition to ourselves!) would be key.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Adoption Chronicles - The back story, pt. 4

Our New York visitors arrived a couple of weeks later and we had a wonderful weekend getting to know each other. They spent plenty of time hanging out at the Mall of America and we cooked many of our favorites for them. We showed them most aspects of our lives, including the church and school. They were able to sit in on a service and hear David lead worship. David and I were already scheduled to sing a duet that week, which ended up bringing them to tears, feeling as though that song was meant just for them. Maybe it was, but we hadn’t literally chosen the song for them. It really just fit the service thematically! They also had the unique opportunity to meet with a friend of ours who had adopted three times, and (with the help of our agency) a birthmother who ironically had placed her child with our same friend. This enabled them to see both sides of a successful adoption story and ask any questions that they had. At the end of the weekend, the birthparents sent their mothers off for a while and shared with us that they’d made the decision to place their baby for adoption and asked if we’d be willing to adopt. Thrilled, yet still slightly guarded, we accepted.

The next four months were spent continuing to learn about adoption, completing our home study, and nurturing the new relationship that we’d begun with these two people who were making the most selfless decision I could imagine.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Adoption Chronicles - The back story, pt. 3

Meanwhile, the majority of our friends only knew that we were starting the adoption process. We had only let just a couple of friends in on the NY possibility so that they could offer their prayer support. Later that same week I received a text message from our dear friend Laurel in Michigan. Like most other friends, Laurel only knew that we were beginning the process. Her text message read “You have a precious baby girl in your near future.” I texted back “Would you like to elaborate?” She responded “What’s to elaborate on? You’re getting a baby girl very soon!” I called her and asked where this was coming from and she explained that she’d spent some time in prayer for our adoption that morning and three things became very clear to her. The first was that our adoption was not going to take as long as we think it will. Most adoptions take a couple of years or more, and ours was not going to take that long. The second thing was that our baby was already on its way. It’s already been created and is less than 9 months away. The third thing (enter her disclaimer because she knew we’d think she was crazy) was that the baby was a girl. She didn’t know why, but she was just positive on all three of these things. I then confessed to her our big secret about the possibility that we had been pursuing in New York, complete with the slipped announcement of the baby being a girl. For the first time since we’ve known her, Laurel was speechless. (Just kidding Laurel, we love you!). If we needed any more confirmation that God’s hand was in this adoption, this was it.

Adoption Chronicles - The back story, pt. 2

I decided to write a letter to this young pregnant girl with an enormous decision ahead of her. Instead of approaching it with the I-hope-we-get-to-adopt-her-baby mentality, I chose to do what I could to share our story, as a couple who has chosen to adopt. I knew she had a laundry list of fears, anxieties, and unknowns regarding adoption, and although it was new territory for us as well, I thought it might be good for her to at least hear that most people who are looking to adopt are really just good people who want to be parents more than anything. We corresponded a little back and forth over the next couple of months and in August she made the decision that she wanted to meet us face-to-face.

Plans took root for both birthparents and their mothers to fly to Minnesota for a weekend to get to know us. We were excited about the possibility that this offered but still remained guarded. We’d already experienced so much disappointment in our venture towards parenthood, we had to protect our hearts. While on the phone with the birthmother’s mom discussing the coming trip she offered to tell me the gender of the baby. Though I wanted to know, I knew that knowing would make it more difficult to distance myself, so I opted to wait. Though later in the conversation, she slipped and used “her” describing the baby, I pretended I hadn’t heard.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Adoption Chronicles - The back story, pt. 1

After 6 years of trying to become parents, we made the decision this past spring to pursue domestic adoption. We had done some research, talked to friends, and had finally chosen the agency we would be working through. After filling out a preliminary application we were scheduled to attend our first informational meeting to find out what this process would entail. Two days before that meeting, something happened that couldn’t have been more unexpected.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and my parents called from NY where my dad pastors a Wesleyan church. Apparently that morning a woman from their congregation approached my mom and shared that her young daughter had become pregnant. Just a couple of weeks prior on Mother’s Day Sunday, this woman was sitting in church listening as my dad prayed for all of the mothers and the women who longed to be mothers, and felt the Holy Spirit tell her that this baby was to be a gift for the pastor’s daughter. Though she’d never met us or knew about our struggles or new decision to adopt, she then asked my mom if David and I would be interested in adopting her daughter’s baby. Flabbergasted, my mom told her she’d certainly ask us. As my mom shared this with me over the phone, I kept hearing this little voice in my head saying, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” However, I wasn’t about to close the door without at least peeking in.

Adoption Chronicles - Overview...

Howdy all!

This is an explanation of the series that we are starting here on the blog called the "Adoption Chronicles." Over the next series of posts, we will be telling the story of our road to parenthood. So, for those of you who are interested, tune in! For those of you who just want to hear about other Gafford happenings, just ignore the Chronicles and tune into the other posts. So, thus we begin...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Test, Test, 1, 2, 3...

Just checking settings between Twitter, Facebook, and the blog. :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Backstage with the gang...

I'm sitting backstage with the worship team from this weekend, and we have egg bake, crackers & cheese, BBQ sausages, nacho dip, and so much more. A huge thanks to my loving wife Melissa who helped me get this all together over the past 3 weeks for the team. Also a special thanks to mom Gafford who helped with the prep during their recent visit to MN.

This weekend at church we are doing the experiential worship stations with tables all around the worship center, but I can't help but wonder if I was sitting in the crowd if my nose wouldn't lead me to the table backstage loaded with these goodies. We can worship God with food, right?!

Here's a pic of Pam enjoying the festivities... :) Thanks for all you do here at Five Oaks you great volunteers!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The baby furniture arrived on Sunday and David surprised me yesterday by building it during the day while I was at work. Special thanks goes out to Bryan for helping David! No real accessories yet to speak of, but the room is finally cleaned up, furniture assembled, and baby clothes put away in the dresser. I'm feeling more and more ready every day! (Which is good since she's due in 15 days!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Classroom antics

This week in our Bible curriculum we've been learning about Queen Esther and how she was unselfish to risk her life by approaching the king to save the Jews. In their workbooks they were asked to write a letter to Esther to tell her ways that they can also be unselfish. One little girl wrote, "Dear Esther, I can be unselfish by when it's Christmas time I can ask for lots and lots of presents." I knelt down and told her that asking for lots and lots of presents sound like it's selfish not unselfish. We're trying to list ways to be UNselfish. She asked me what unselfish meant. I told her that unselfish is when you think of other's needs before your own. It's the opposite of selfish. She got this look on her face and said, "Oh. I've never done that before." I couldn't help but laugh and just suggested that it might be time to start trying.