Tuesday, May 3, 2016

On This Day in History - Swain Edition

APRIL 29. This is a big date in our household. On this day in history:

1986: David was born.
1989: David received his best birthday present (unbeknownst to him). Jordan was born. Yes, we have the same birthday!
2009: David proposed, and we were married 3 months later!
2014: We packed up boxes to move into our first home. 
2016: We saw our daughter for the first time!

Yes, you read that right! The phone call and e-mail that we have been waiting for during the past year and a half finally came on our 30th and 27th birthday! We have been matched with a little girl! 

If we are being honest, she is not who we expected. We thought we would be matched with siblings. We thought we would be matched with children with severe special needs. We thought they would probably be school age, but God had a different plan. We have approached His throne throughout this process asking for His guidance and provision for our family and our child, and He matched us with Sherly (pronounced Share-lee). We could not be more thrilled, thankful, and at peace. Our daughter is 16 months old, does not have any known siblings, there are currently no known physical or cognitive delays, and is the most beautiful baby girl we have ever laid eyes upon. She lives in an orphanage in southern India, and we cannot wait to go and get her!

Currently, we only have access to one sleeping baby picture, but we have requested updated pictures from the orphanage. We are not allowed to post her picture online or send it to people via e-mail or text message, but if you come to us personally, we are so happy to show you her beautiful baby face. We are so in love with her beautiful brown eyelashes, cute button nose, tiny ears, her baby neck rolls, and precious slobbery lips. 

So, what's the next step? We wait. We are waiting for updated medical reports and measurements for the agency to add to our portfolio to submit to the Indian government. There will be plenty of paperwork in the future before we can travel to pick her up, and we will have more information as we progress in the process. We have been told that it will likely be around a year (give or take) before we are able to bring her home. It can be as early as 8 months (this is what we are hoping and praying for) but there is no guarantee.

Thank you all for holding us in the Light when we are in the valleys of the adoption process and for celebrating with us when we are on the mountains. We love you all and cannot wait to share more about Sherly as we learn more and get closer to bringing her home. 

Love and blessings,

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Quick Update: We Are Still Waiting

We finally mailed our dossier! We are officially waiting. 

Allow me to apologize. I think the last post ended something like "we will continue to keep you updated." That was in July 2015. I officially stink at blogging, but to be fair, not much has changed. Since the last post, the following steps forward and backward have occurred:

  • Our home study was finalized… but not until December 2015. Yes, you read that correctly. After we had all of our documents turned in by July, it took 5 months to finalize. Do not let this be a deterrence if you are considering adoption. This is very atypical for a home study. There were some papers that had to be re-done due to specific wording that was needed for India, some of our sent-in reference letters were lost, and there were multiple corrections that needed to be made in each draft that was sent. 
  • The dossier was completed and submit in February 2016. For those that don't know, the dossier is basically a large packet of all the important paperwork that we have completed during the whole process thus far, made to present to India for approval to adopt. Thankfully assembly of the dossier did not take as long as expected, and after we received the home study (needed in the dossier) it was fairly smooth sailing. 
  • As of today, we have been waiting for 8 weeks. There are no papers that we can fill out. No doctors we need to visit. No reference letters to assemble or notaries to get. We are just waiting for CARA approval to adopt from India. After this happens, we have been told that we will be matched with children fairly quickly. Then more paperwork comes, and 8-12 months later, we get to go to India to get them!
At times the waiting is unbearable, and during those time our friends and family have done a great job lifting us up both emotionally and spiritually. Friends consistently ask about our adoption, and comically/unfortunately our conversations typically go something like this: 

Friend: How is your adoption going? Anything new? (Cue excited and encouraging smile)

Us: Slowly. Nothing new. We're still waiting. (Cue sigh and eye roll due to exasperation of the adoption process.)

End of conversation.

Please don't get me wrong, we love when you all ask us how it is going. That means that you are thinking of us and our children. We are just eagerly anticipating the day when you can ask, and we can tell you who our children are and show you a picture! 

We are so excited about the future. I cannot wait to see their little faces on my computer screen, to decorate their bedroom, to hug them and hold them tight, to buy toys and books to read them at night, to make pictures to aid in our broken communication for the first few weeks together, and to do simple things like go to Target with them in tow. Until then, we will dream and pray and talk to you all about our concerns and hopes for the future. 

Love and blessings, 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Gaining Momentum

 Photo provided courtesy of a Google search.

When I was a child, I loved to roller blade. My aunt and I skated nearly every day in the summer, and I made up dance routines in my skates to Martina McBride for school talent shows. (Did I mention that I've always been SUPER cool?) Prior to becoming an expert child skater, my parents had to teach me how to maneuver in these awkward, rolling shoes. It's easy to recall my mother strapping pads to my knees, elbows, and wrists. We would then argue regarding the necessity of wearing a helmet - a battle she always chose and always won.  I proceeded to attempt to control my wobbly, uncoordinated body as I rolled/fumbled to the sidewalk that led to the desired hill. If I could make it to the hill, I figured I was in the clear. No skating was needed at that point because all that would then be required was coasting skills. I could do that on my bike, so no problem! Slow but steady progress was made towards the hill, occasionally becoming unbalanced due to cracks in the sidewalk; however, more rolling occurred and no falls were experienced. My unwavering confidence grew and was as big as the ginormous mountain (aka. hill) once I reached the top. My wheels slowly began to roll down the hill, gaining momentum as they traveled down the sloped surface. Soon I felt like I was flying! No one could stop me now..... that is until my wheels hit a boulder (aka. pebble) in the middle of the sidewalk. I was in no way equipped to avoid the rough terrain, and I took a tumble. This occurred approximately 3 more times down the one hill, each time gaining more momentum as my wheels hit the pavement. 

I tell you all of this to say, the journey of adoption is a lot like learning to maneuver your body on a pair of skates. From the initial application until now, we have been rolling down the hill, gaining momentum, and hitting rocks along the way that halt us in our tracks. Unfortunately, we have had doctors turn us away because we were only 13 minutes early instead of the desired 15 minutes early that was never communicated, notarized a ton of documents ($35-$55 per transaction) all at different times due to not being provided with all of the needed paperwork, others have consistently ignored e-mails, documents have been sent to incorrect addresses, and professionals cancel visits due to sickness and vacation. 

The good new is that we are well equipped with supportive family and friends to be our padding when we fall. You ask about our children on a regular basis, and you lift them up in prayer. You send encouraging notes and you give us your full change jars. You gave us Mother's and Father's Day cards, and you have hugged us on bad days. You requests updates on the process and when there hasn't been any progress, you have cheered us on.

We are happy to report that our home study is almost complete. All paperwork has been turned in and our third (out of four) visit is planned for this Wednesday, June 8th. When this is completed, the next step is completing our dossier. We will continue to read the required education material and compile the needed documents to present to India. 

Our adoption fund has grown, and we are over 1/3 of a way to our goal! We couldn't be more ecstatic. Thank you for your love and generosity in helping to bring our children home. We will continue to keep you updated as we continue in our journey. 

Love and blessings, 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Virtual Coffee Date

Hello all! It has been a while since I have updated everyone on our adoption process. Grab a cup of coffee and cozy up. I'll tell you all about it. 

Full disclosure: This photo was provided courtesy of a Google search. 
Thanks Google! 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I'm tired of completing paperwork and responding to e-mails. That's a bummer though because we haven't even scratched the surface of everything that has to be completed before we get to meet our kid/kiddos. In general, I am not the promptest responder, so it has been a struggle. That being said, all of the detailed questions have sparked great conversations between David and I regarding parenthood, traditions, discipline, and just how different our lives will look when our family of two expands. By no means do we have it all figured out, and I'm not sure that we ever will. We are at peace with uncertainty. The joy is in the journey. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there is an abundance of literature laying around our home. I have been reading books on adoption, financing adoption, memoirs of individuals raised in India, and Indian culture. Most of these books have only been partially read, but I'm working on it. I want to be able to foster love and respect for Indian culture while introducing American culture in our home. Although I'm not sure what it will look like, I am hoping that aspects of each culture will be incorporated into our lives and daily activities. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, although I have been educating myself on adoption, parenthood, and culture, I have been spending a large majority of my time strengthening my faith, beliefs, and community. In our opinion, the most daunting aspect of parenthood is spiritual. Fostering an independent thinker that thirsts for God and relies on Him is a great task that cannot be taken lightly. As of now, the best way we know to do that is to lead by example and surround them with a strong, dependable community; however, we realize that, at times, we will fail. We have been diving into the Word headfirst, and working on strengthening and developing Spiritual Disciplines. As a family, our hope is to leave the world better than we found it while bringing all glory to God along the way. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that although I haven't updated the blog regularly, I have updated the thermometer on a regular basis. As of today, we have raised $8,200, including our personal savings. A portion of this has already been given to the adoption agency, AWAA, for application fees and the home study fee. We are so excited for upcoming fundraisers including the puzzle piece fundraiser and selling hand lettered art prints (photos to come during upcoming weeks). For the puzzle piece fundraiser, we have decided to use an art print from Mercy Ink ( 

This is the image being used to create a 500 piece puzzle. Each piece is $5. An individual may purchase one or more pieces of the puzzle. On each piece, the name of the purchaser will be written on the back. When the puzzle is assembled, it will be framed with double sided glass, so that all of the names can be viewed. If you would like to donate towards the puzzle piece fundraiser, please either donate through PayPal using the link to the right of you can contact us directly. If you choose to donate using PayPal, please indicate that you wish for your donation to go towards the puzzle piece fundraiser in the comments section of the Pay Pal transaction. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am truly thankful for all of the support, encouragement, and prayers that we have received. We have truly been blessed with a wonderful community of people, both in our own city and thousands of miles away. Thank you for keeping us an our children in your prayers, and know that you all have been in ours. 

Love and blessings, 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Predestined for Adoption

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."
Ephesians 1:3-6

David and I have been prayerful about expanding our family, and we have elected to do so via adoption from India! We look forward to the upcoming future with anticipation, excitement, fear, nerves, and utter joy. This is a decision we have known about since we were dating, and I can't believe the time is now here to take the step (read: headfirst dive) into parenthood.

The discussion of children has been one that David and I started early in our relationship. We both have a heart for orphans and truly feel called to the path of adoption. Through various experiences, we have been exposed to the needs of orphaned children, and we truly feel that those children could benefit from our love just as much as we could benefit from theirs. For the past five years, we have been planning and taking steps to prepare for this journey. To put curious minds to rest, we are not currently struggling with infertility. We honestly have never attempted to have children, and as of now, that is not in our future plan. That being said, I cannot speak for God's future plan.

Through a lot of research, both by us and family members, we have chosen to work with America World Adoption Association (AWAA). They have been a great fit for our family, and everyone there has been supportive and encouraging. Initially, we started the adoption process with Africa in mind; however, God had a different plan. We submitted a pre-application with AWAA stating our interest for adopting children, and they sent back options for international adoption that best correlated with our application. From all of the possible countries, it was apparent that God chose India for our family. No question about it.

So here we are, a few piles of paperwork down, and a billion to go. We are currently in the middle of completing our home study and at the beginning of dossier building (the paperwork needed to present to the Indian government). We know very little at this point regarding the child/children we will bring home. Our desire is to bring home two children (one under 4 and one under 8) with special needs, but we are open to any scenario that God directs. Special needs encompasses a wide range including physical disabilities, cognitive delays, and sibling sets. Basically, this means that we may bring home one to two children with special needs, or we may bring home two to three children (typically developing or with special needs) who are siblings. God is in full control, and we are at peace with any of those scenarios.

If all paperwork is completed and approved in a timely manner (both in the United States and India), the adoption can take anywhere between one to one and a half years. This means that our children are likely already born, and others care for them on a daily basis. We hope that you will join us in prayer that they feel loved and that their birth family feels wrapped in God's arms.

The intimidating aspect of beginning the adoption process is the amount of funds needed before bringing your child/children home; however, we have faith that God will provide. It has been estimated that our adoption will cost around $50,000. If you are interested in aiding to bring these children home, please refer to the funding tab above. Prayers are always appreciated.

I have decided to document our adoption journey until we bring our baby/child/children home as a way to update family and friends on the process (which is more detailed than I ever imagined). We will attempt to be as transparent as possible, in the hopes that we will bring glory to God along the way.

Love and Blessings,