Our Little Family

Our Little Family

Friday, August 15, 2014

May We Introduce......


Ezra Faith Chapman
Born on August 13, 2014
6lbs 14oz

That's right folks!  You are not seeing things!  Our journey to Ezra has led us to Ezra!

As most of you know we were home study approved at the beginning of June and were available to be matched with a birth mom.  Well, on August 6th, we received a call from our case worker saying a birth mom had seen our family profile book and wanted to meet us!  We got to meet her and talk together on Tuesday, August 12th.  Our meeting went really well!  We all felt comfortable with each other and decided it was a good fit and that we would move forward with an adoption plan.  Her baby girl was due on August 22nd.  Well, the next morning at 8am, we got a call from our case worker saying birth mom had gone into labor overnight and baby girl was born at 4am on the 13th!  We got to see her later that same day and got to spend more time with her at the hospital the next day as well.  Today we went to the hospital, signed all of the paperwork and officially brought home our baby girl!!!

Our family is over the moon in love with this sweet one!  We are so blessed and so thankful for this sweet little gift.  Thank you all for your love, encouragement and support along our journey to Ezra Faith!!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Approved!!!!!

We just got the word that our home study was approved by the head of our adoption agency!!  We are once again home study approved, only this time in South Carolina! You know, exactly one year ago, we were just home study approved the first time for our international adoption process.  It is so crazy how much can change in a year!

Okay, so what's next?  We are ready to be matched!!!  This could happen in two different ways.  The first is that we could receive a call saying a birth mom has seen our profile book (basically a scrapbook telling our story) and would like to meet us.  If at that meeting, both parties feel like we are a good fit for each other, we will be matched up together!  The second way it could happen is that we could receive a call saying a baby has just been born and the birth mom has picked our family after looking at the profile books.  In that scenario, we may or may not get to meet the birth mom.  We are very much hoping to be able to meet her and have an on-going relationship though!

The time frame on all of this varies greatly.  Honestly, it could be two weeks, two months, or two years!  We are just praying that God brings all of us together at exactly the time we are suppose to.  The boys however are praying that God brings their new baby sister fast, like this summer! ;-)

So, now we are in "get ready" mode!  We have started getting her nursery ready.  Here's a couple of pics for you all of that!


We are also starting to collect the other baby items we need like a carseat, stroller, bedding, clothes, diapers, bottles, oh my!  You kind of forget how much one tiny little person needs until you need it all again!  The boys are LOVING getting to be a part of picking things out for her!

So, from this point on, you may not be hearing a ton from us.  We're simply in waiting mode now!  We'll update you all as we know more, but for now, please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers and hopefully we'll have a new little addition to introduce you all to soon!!



Thursday, May 8, 2014

We're Movin and Grovin!

I am beyond happy to report that we had our first home visit today!!  No more delays!!  It looks like we should be done with all of our interviews and home visits by the end of May, which means that by the beginning of June, we will be ready to be matched!  It's gettin real up in here!!

Also, thanks to a sweet friend, we now have our first baby item in this house!


The boys were adorable when they were checking it out, and Titus ran to get his bear to test it for the new baby. ;-)

Our next update should be that we are once again home study approved and include pictures of Ezra's room.  At the moment, there is nothing in there, so y'all wouldn't find it very exciting. :-)  Until next month then!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Out of Your Control

I have been putting off updating our blog for one reason alone - delays.  Honestly you guys, I'm tired of that word!  Going into this adoption journey, we heard that there would be delays.  Yes, got it, no problem, minor hiccups (probably not going to happen to me).  That is honestly what I was thinking two and a half years ago when this whole process began.  Two and a half years later, I'm starting to get it.  You know, on one hand, I hate the delays because I just want it all to be easy and smooth!  You decide something, bam, it happens!  But that's not how life in general works, so why do I expect adoption to work like that?  So I am learning to accept the delays.  I am learning to love them.  Why?  Well, for me, it gives me a sort of reality check.  I can tend to be a "happily ever after" kind of girl and approach pretty much everything with that mindset.  Delays bring be back to reality.  It helps me to remember that anything worth having is worth working for and not giving up on!  Delays build my faith and my endurance. Delays remind me that I am NOT in control.  Delays help me to learn to surrender my selfish wants and immediate gratifications.  No, I am not in control of this process, but I never have been.  However, I DO know the Person who is in control.  I will never be able to have this process look the way that I want it to, but I can have peace and joy throughout it, no matter what it looks like!

This is what I have been wrestling with and learning during the past two months, and this is why you have not heard from me.  My goal through all of this is to learn and grow, not to just hunker down and hold on til it gets better.  And so that is what I am doing.  Some days are harder then others, but I know that I am going to be better because of it, a better person, friend, wife and mom.

So what are these delays I keep referring to?  Well, we were all set up to have our first home visit and interview at the end of January.  Send in the first Polar Vortex.  Yup, ice on the roadways equals a reschedule for the home visit.  No problem, rescheduled for two weeks later.  Send in the second Polar Vortex.  Ice on the bridges and roadways, trees down everywhere, home visit cancelled again.

Another delay we have been dealing with is construction on the condo building we are currently living in.  About a month after we moved in, we found out that the HOA here just awarded a contract to completely rehab all of the outside of the condo buildings and to fix some issues they were having with mold and flooding.  We were told it would start some time after the holidays and take about four to six weeks to complete for each building.  Our building was first on the list.  Well, we are now eight weeks into the rehab and still no end in sight.  It is chaos around our building right now, and all of this construction was not going to look well in our home study.

So, because of the ice storms and the construction delays, we were now just seven weeks from the end of our lease at our condo.  We had decided to move to a house in a neighborhood closer to work and church at the end of our lease.  This posed yet another problem.  The home study interviews and finalization time frame is five weeks.  We would finish it and then move two weeks later and need an update.  We talked everything over with our case worker and have decided that the best thing to do is just delay our interviews until we get into our new place.  That way we won't have the construction to worry about and won't have to pay for another update to our home study.

In light of all of this, it is now looking like, our home study will be finalized at the end of May.  From that point on, we will be ready to be matched.  Honestly, sometimes I wonder if it really will happen, if we really will come to the end of this long journey.  But then I remember that life is just a series of journeys.  When this chapter ends, we will be starting a new one.  None of these chapters in our lives are perfect or without ups and downs, but that is what makes our life so good, so full, so interesting and so dear!  We would become quickly bored with the perfect life and never be challenged.  So, I am looking ahead to the rest of this journey with excitement and anticipation, both of seeing it come to an end and also just seeing how it all plays out.

Our next update will probably come from our new home and may very well include a picture of a certain little girl's nursery, so stay tuned! :-D  And thank you all once again for walking this journey with us!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Outward Not Inward

This life is not about me.  It's about others.  I was not put on this planet to spend 80+ years trying to figure out how to make myself the most happy, comfortable and content.  Nope.  This life is about others, all of those people around me.  Don't believe me?  Go watch The Christmas Carol right now!  Want to end up like Scrooge?!!  Seriously though, think about this, when you are having a bad day, who is your focus on? Usually self right?  Want to turn that day around super fast?  Try buying a homeless man lunch, holding a door open for a mom with her hands full of groceries and little people, genuinely compliment the cashier at the store about themselves, send a friend a fun, thinking of you e-card, stop and pick up an item for an older gentleman who dropped it, you know what you will find?  By getting your mind off of yourself and your situation and on to others, your day will start to turn around!  You will gain joy by seeing and doing for others!!

This is a lesson that I have been learning so much recently, and it applies to all areas of life!  Think about it, school, work, friendships, marriage, parenting, and yes even adoption journeys, in all of these things we have the chance to see others, to love others and not just focus on ourselves!  Isn't this the lesson that we always hear being taught at Christmas time?  It's about others, it's about giving not receiving?  How come we start talking about that lesson each holiday season but forget that it is something to work on the whole year through?

I would love for it to be said of me at the end of my life that I genuinely saw others and cared about them.  I will be honest though, I've got a long way to go!  You know, so much of the time in this journey to adopt, I get so wrapped up in how it is affecting me, that I forget about the others that it is also affecting.  This journey also involves an amazing, hard working husband, two big-hearted little boys, tons of unbelievably supportive family and friends, several adoption agency workers, a birth mom facing the hardest decision of her life, and a tiny baby whose world is about to be turned upside-down.  See?  It's not just about me.  This journey is about all of us.  Your life always touches someone else's life.  Always.  

And speaking of our adoption journey, I realize it has been a while since I have updated you all on what is going on.  Welp, we finished our paperwork for our new agency and turned it all in at the beginning of November.  Our next step is a mandatory adoption training that our agency is hosting next Friday, December 13th.  After completing the training, we will be assigned our case worker.  Our case worker will then do our home visit and personal interviews.  Once those are completed, we will once again be home study approved, but this time in South Carolina!  Which means that sometime at the beginning of 2014, we should be ready to be matched!  We'll keep you all posted as we progress!

From our family to yours, we hope you have an amazing and blessed holiday season!  We are so very thankful for each and every one of you!  Your love, prayer, support and encouragement mean the world to us!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Enjoy the Ride

An Attitude Adjustment.  That's what my dad use to call it.  You see, I was not a defiant or rebellious kid, but oh man, I was queen of the attitude department!  I can't tell you how many times I would hear him say to me, "Nichole, you need an attitude adjustment."  Well, I'm all grown up now, and have I now out grown the need for attitude adjustments?  Um....no.  They just come in different forms now.  I received a couple out of the blue this weekend.

You see, on Friday I was at Costco for my normal shopping.  As I'm walking through Costco I see quite a few moms with little people in tow.  I started getting sad that both of my little people were in school and I was there shopping alone.  Then I walked by the toy section that they are putting up to get ready for Christmas.  As I'm walking through that section I'm feeling even more sorry for myself because most of the toys are for little people, and I am so sad that my guys are too big for a lot of it and that I don't have a new little person to give those things to.  By the time I get to the check out line, I have tears in my eyes over how big my kids are getting, how long this adoption process is taking, and how alone I am at that moment.  Well, my cashier and the guy who was loading my cart were both very friendly and happy people, so they had me smiling and laughing within seconds.  As I am walking away from the check out, I'm still smiling about something that they had said, and I hear, "Would you look at that lady's smile!  I bet she has a lot to live for!"  I turned toward the voice and saw this sweet older gentleman looking at me.  As soon as my eyes connected with his, he asks me, "Do you have a lot to live for?"  Yeah, can you say attitude adjustment??  Immediately I am reminded of all I have been blessed with and all I have to be thankful for!

Then the second adjustment came on Sunday.  Our pastor spoke on joy.  The things he was saying were just hammering me, like "Often we don't experience joy because we're preoccupied with self."  And "What are you waiting for to happen before you will be joyful?"  Oh and, "Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!" Okay seriously, I was expecting someone to tap me on the shoulder and say, "You know he is giving this message specifically for you right?"  But that wasn't even the attiutde adjustment part, that came while leaving church.  We had picked up the boys and were driving through the parking lot, and Joey remarks, "Why is everyone SO happy?"  Um, yeah, so I immediate ask myself, why does joy look so foreign to my 9 year old?  What am I showing him every day?

Here's the thing guys, if I didn't received ONE MORE THING for the rest of my life, I would die an EXTREMELY blessed woman!!  Why am I letting days go by without noticing and overflowing with thankfulness for the amazing little boys I have been given, the awesome, hunky man I get to live with, all of the "stuff" that makes my life so cushy, an abundance of friends and family who love me and my family?!!  I have been blessed!!

In some ways, I am thankful that this adoption journey has taken so many twists and turns, because it has ended up being more of a journey for me then a journey to a child.  My true heart has been laid bare so many times, because I need to learn, heal, grow.  This journey is not just taking us to the perfect little girl for our family, but it is making us into the perfect family for her!  So while part of me wishes I could just wave a magic wand and have a baby girl in my arms right now, the other part of me is thankful for this journey, however long it is going to be, and for all of the lessons I am learning along the way.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Expect the Unexpected

If I could give one piece of advice to families considering adoption, it would be that - expect the unexpected.  It is a journey that requires patience, endurance and flexibility.  It is a journey that will change you and shape you in ways that you never thought possible.

In our last post, we had said that we were waiting to hear back from the Thai government to see if we could proceed with our international paperwork.  Well, on the 15th of this month we got the word.  We had been turned down to adopt from Thailand.  It seems the Thai government is getting stricter on the criteria that they are requiring from potential adoptive families, and we no longer met the program requirements.  This is one of the challenges with international adoption.  You have to go into it understanding that things can change.  While we understood that, it was still hard to hear.  So, we had some decisions to make.  We had been talking and praying about our options for over a month, since we first got word from our adoption agency that this might be a possibility.  We did even more research on the different countries that fit our family.  We still wanted to be able to request a girl, and we didn't want to have to travel more then once.  And so, after much prayer and discussion, we have decided that the best fit for our family is to switch to a domestic adoption and adopt right here in the US.

Screeeeeech!!  I can almost hear the brakes squealing to a stop as you all are processing that piece of news.  Yes, it's true.  We have decided to adopt domestically instead of internationally.  We are already approved to adopt her in the US, and we are still able to request a girl.  Plus, because we are open to any ethnicity, our wait time is going to be a lot less then it would have with Thailand!

Now this is not completely out of left field.  A few posts ago I mentioned a training that we went to as a part of our home study.  At this training they covered both international and domestic adoption.  Honestly, this was our first look at what domestic adoption really was.  I have to be honest with you, when we originally started this journey of adoption, domestic adoption was NOT something that we wanted at all!  What we have learned along the way though, has opened our eyes so much to both international and domestic adoption and how both options work.  We both had come in to this process with so many preconceived ideas, but me more then Daniel.  I was absolutely SURE that it had to look this way and that way, and I wasn't willing to consider anything else.  Along the way, part of my journey has been me having to lay down all of my preconceived ideas.  The thing that the Lord has been showing me is that it's not so much about WHERE you adopt from, as it is about the HEART for adoption that He has put in us!  And so, one by one, roadblock by roadblock, I am having to open up my vice-grip on what I think it should look like.  It is actually very freeing!

Funny side note, all of this time, seriously since we first started talking about adopting, Titus has been referring to Ezra as "Baby Ezra".  Despite many people trying to explain to him that she would actually be a toddler and not a baby at all, he has insisted that she is Baby Ezra.  And from the very beginning, Joey has been begging us to please adopt a baby!  He has a super soft spot for babies and REALLY wanted his new sister to be tiny!  Of course, I was adamant that we were NOT going to have another small baby in this house!  Nope. No way.  I was so done with the baby phase. (Can you say my way or the highway?) ;-)

Weeeeell, we are now going to be welcoming a small baby into our home, not a toddler!  How am I feeling about that you ask?  I couldn't be more excited!  Yup, I've done a complete 180!  I have got baby fever like crazy, and have already been looking in to cloth diapers, cribs, strollers, the whole lot!

It's just funny to see the journey that the Lord had to take us on to get us to this spot, because honestly, if you had asked us to consider domestic infant adoption when we had first started our process, we both would have just laughed and said "nope, not for us!" .  Yet, here we are, doing just that!

Now, practically speaking, what does that look like for us?  Well, because our agency was only international adoptions, we had to switch to a new agency.  We have found one that we are very excited to partner with!  We will have to do a little more paperwork, because of the switch, but it's not going to be like the paperwork we had ahead of us in the international process!  Once all of the paperwork and interviews with the new agency are done, we will be ready to be matched!

It's crazy to think of how close we may be to our sweet girl!  We'll keep you all posted as our journey progresses!  Again, thank you all for your love, prayers, support and encouragement!!  We are SO blessed to have friends and family like you!